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Melinda’s gymnastics had come in handy learning from Charlie, but she was too aware that he completely outmatched her with experience. When she lost track of him, she was on edge, but kept moving. She had gotten good at all the climbing and jumping, using the environment, but she’d only been training like this for a year.
Then Charlie seemed to come out of nowhere, but she figured she just hadn’t noticed. He didn’t waste any time trying to lure her into attacking first, which had her dodging and trying to keep from getting backed against a wall,”Fuck. Really not pulling the punches today.”
She knew she wasn’t in any position to throw any punches of her own unless she wanted to end up flat on her back. She dodged and danced around. When she got an opening to go around and past him she did, and started by moving down a floor, out a window and in just below it where she immediately tucked herself against the wall next to the window hoping to trip Charlie up when he followed. Her main advantage against most opponents was speed and maneuverability, but it wasn’t like Charlie didn’t have those too. Well, there was the fire but no matter how bad she wanted to win, there was no way she would pull that out against the guy she considered more of a dad than her actual dad.
Charlie grinned at Melinda's quickness, but he wouldn't go easy on her this time. He took his jacket off, flinging it off to the side as he dashed up on of the buildings. He relished in the fact that parkour was a cake walk for him, scaling the building with ease. When he reached the top, he pulled his tie away, throwing it to the side, then loosening the top few buttons to get comfy.
Charlie glanced over, watching Melinda swing from the brackets of the building until she could reach the top. He looked around and noticed Rin and Leena going at it, but Rin was clearly at the advantage. His forte had always been to use his surroundings to bounce and maneuver around people, trying to catch them off guard.
"We've got to get them to play together." Charlie said out loud.
[i "I know."] A voice said right into his ear piece. He smiled at that, knowing Leena's tone was an impatient one. [i "I'm working on it. Cut me some slack. He's your son, after all."]
"Don't go too far from that area. I'll push Melinda that way." He said before taking a mad dash to the building across from him. He grabbed onto the support beams, swinging himself into the momentum and continued running, hauling ass until he jumped into the window just below Melinda. He swung himself up with ease before pulling himself into a martial arts stance. With a smirk, he dashed at her, fists flying.
His mother's punches were brutally strong, denting various objects she was hitting in an attempt to reach him. Unfortunately for her, brute strength wasn't enough against a bouncy opponent.
"You sure you don't have super powers too?" He mused as she barely missed another punch.
"That'd be much easier for you to accept that years of training." She laughed, going for the trip, only to catch air. "You ever gunna fight me, grasshopper?"
"I have to pick my moments." He said, leaping at her to make her dodge, only to catch her wrist. He pulled her over his shoulder and flung her across the way, but she was able to somersault herself back into an upright position. "One punch from you, and i'll miss breakfast." Leena laughed at his remark.
"Fair enough." She grinned before launching at him again, forcing him backwards. She could clearly see Melinda dealing with Charlie. She hoped that they could work together.... This was the [i true] test.
Different. Before she could start asking questions, Rin came in. Him being there perked her mood up. She didn’t see him a whole lot, but he was always so affectionate when he did see her it was practically impossible to be upset at him. “Hey.”
Charlie answered for her, and she looked around puzzled with a sinking feeling as the room rumbled and changed. This looked more like training with Leena.
Whatever it was, Mel was hoping she wouldn’t be left too sore tomorrow since that was the big day. Melinda listened to Charlie talking, half wanting to look around but wary of taking her eyes off him.
She got a feeling something was behind them just a second after Rin did, just in time for him to push her. If he hadn’t, Leena would have gotten her. Melinda was a little off balance and stumbled to catch herself, only to see Charlie coming at her. She cussed and instead of keeping herself from falling she let herself arc back and go onto her hands before flipping back to her feet, on balance and a little farther away. It was hard to knock her off balance and even harder to keep her off balance for long. Rin and Leena were gone, presumably in one of the buildings. Melinda backed up, trying to keep some distance. As helpful as Rin might be to her, Charlie and Leena were a more dangerous combo. Best keep them separated.
So Melinda took off in a different direction than the one she assumed Rin had, climbing up an unfinished part of a building to get higher ground. That section had bars and stuff that were usually tucked [i inside] the wall. Here they were exposed and she could use them.
Charlie grinned at Melinda. Over the year that they had stayed here, they had made such a vast improvement of self, and of powers. Looking at her now, she looked much more like a formidable young woman, who people should come to respect, or else...
Before the events of training she seemed spunky, but extremely timid. Perhaps even a little rambunctious. Now, she was still spunky, but more resigned; more in control. His wife had done a wonderful job in the small amount of time she had to train her. So much so, Charlie wondered if Melinda could be a suitable leader for any kind of escapade.
He wondered that as he quietly strode through the building toward the girl.
"We're going to be doing something a little different today..." Charlie started as a door swung open...
"I'm back." Rin said, casually walking in the door. He looked up to see Charlie standing there with Melinda and greeted them both with a smile.
"Just in time!" Charlie mused, beckoning him over. Rin raised an eyebrow with a slight smirk, pulling off his gloves and mask, tossing them on the floor nearby. His now exposed face also revealed the facial hair he had been steadily grooming. He looked mature, and maybe a little dangerous, that blue hair still as striking as ever, matching the eye color in likeness. He ran a hand through his now disheveled hair to put it back into place. He glided over, snaking his arm around Mel and planting a kiss on her forehead.
"Hello gorgeous." He smirked slightly, before looking to his father. "Are you done already?"
"On the contrary," His father mused, leaning to one side and pulling out a remote, "I've got a special lesson today... For both of you." He pressed the large button on the remote. Suddenly the room rumbled, and all of the equipment began to descend into the floor, being replaced by building-like structures that were either half-done, or made to look like rubble on purpose. It took a few minutes, but after all the gym equipment was well hidden, it looked like a destroyed city, ready for...
"...For what, exactly?" He said, turning back to his father after awing at the change of scenery.
"Today, as your final day, we're going to do something different." Charlie put tossed the remote to a part of the floor that was still mat-covered and pulled away his jacket. "Out there, you're going to be in a rural area. It won't be like training in here. There's going to be more people, and they're probably going to have weapons, and you're probably not always going to get through a situation just being sneaky." Rin narrowed his eyes at his father for a moment. "And, as we know, people tend to do the unexpected..." He grinned.
Rin felt a tingle on the back of his neck and he turned sharply, in time to see his mother coming down on them, grinning wildly and teeth bared. With a curse under his breath, he pushed Mel out of the way and flipped backwards, Leena barely missing the two. Instantly she was up and coming after Rin, who decided to shed his jacket mid blocking of her punches. He took off into the buildings with a grin equaling his mother's.
As if of que, Charlie also turned to Melinda, trying at her with a trip to, hopefully, knock off her already haphazard balance from being pushed.
Melinda loved the gym Rin’s parents had. They’d also been nice enough to add stuff if it was needed. Spending time there cleared her head, and she got to think while running, jumping, climbing, and bending herself into a human pretzel. For her that was relaxing.
Hopping up onto a bar she flipped onto her hands and moved like that a little ways before letting her legs down and going to an arch and standing up, then darting forward to hop up on a higher level. The suit moved well, and she liked practicing in it so she would be comfortable in it when the time came. Just thinking about it made the butterflies in her stomach get all agitated. Her original suit had been pink, as requested. She liked it well enough, but made alterations over time and kept changing her mind about the color until settling on black because at least that wouldn’t stick out as much, and she was less likely to keep changing her mind about how she looked in the color. Everyone looked good in black.
The year had been rough, especially at first. The training was exhausting, and learning to control the fire had, paradoxically to her, made it harder to control outside of training for the first few weeks. Rin’s dad, Charlie, had said something she didn’t quite understand about it not being that weird and that she’d get the hang of it. Probably. She did, but not without a few accidents. The other training was fighting, which she picked up on faster, though not without landing on her ass a number of times. Charlie did a lot of that training with her, and he was clearly a lot better. He was a good teacher, and taught her to use what she had. She was small and flexible and fast. Plus the fire, but that only came in as a theoretical discussion when sparring with Charlie. Or Rin, the handful of times he’d been there at the same time as her.
That was one thing that frustrated her, even today when the overall mood for her was nervous. She barely got to see him aside from meals and sleeping. She made the most of that time, but it still left her irritated thinking about it sometimes. They were consumed by training and preparing, because they weren’t the only ones. Melinda was determined to get those others out, which was sometimes about the only thing keeping her from some impulse to grab him and run off for the day. Finding out there were others just like her and Rin only they were stuck working for those creeps really bothered her.
Charlie somehow figured some stuff out by getting enough blood. It wasn’t enough that Melinda didn’t mind the needles, she still hated them but put up with it. Charlie seemed pretty excited about it, but Melinda didn’t totally get it all. It messed with their DNA somehow, it was the same thing but affected each person differently, and whatever it was the creeps had it and Charlie wanted to see it. It was also apparently old. She kind of wanted to grab it and give it to Charlie, whatever it was, because she was sure it would be safer in his hands.
Melinda hopped up and pulled herself up onto a bar way up, and started swinging around and up in seemingly random ways. She had little purpose but to stretch and just practice. It was what she did when she wasn’t needed training with Charlie or Leena, and didn’t want to sit still.
Charlie’s training she picked up easier. Leena’s was less frequent and also harder. That was more a mental exercise. It also weirded her out at first because it seemed like there were two Leenas. The Leena that was Rin’s mom and really sweet and tended to overreact sometimes. Then there was the Leena that put Melinda through training. That Leena didn’t go easy on Mel, and made scenarios or obstacle courses and things Mel swore were straight from hell. There were tricks and traps, and at times they forced her to make split second decisions. The thing that Leena kept drilling into Melinda was to keep calm and focused even when things got hairy.
Melinda wasn’t sure she mastered that lesson, but she’d made some progress. She just hoped it was enough progress that she wouldn’t lose her cool once they actually went out to save people.
The world always looked neat upside down. Melinda looked out at the gym stuff around her, her feet pointed in the air as she kept her balance and held the position. From time to time she still wondered about her friends, and sometimes even her family. What they thought of her just disappearing. She hadn’t talked to any of them since before things went crazy.
Behind her. She swung down to see Charlie coming in. Today was the last day of preparation, with tomorrow being the big day where they hopefully broke into a facility and broke out, hopefully with some more company. She wondered how that would make today different, because obviously they needed to go over their plans.
“Yeah?” Mel dropped off the bar and climbed down to the ground to go meet Charlie. Usually this early it was time for a warm up spar and a reminder she needed more for breakfast than coffee and toast. She wondered if that was going to be the same today too. She was really starting to think of this as home, something she’d realized weeks ago.
"Rin." a voice interrupted his thoughts. He shot his eyes open, darting it around, but there was no one around him in this serene place. He looked through the thicket of trees surrounding him, eyes scanning over every branch and darkened nook by the overhang. He could hear the birds around him, and the shifting of leaves and grass in the wind, while a waterfall trickled in some distance, close enough to him to be heard. Everything was still, and beautiful. It had just rained earlier, so the smell of dew rose as the sun evaporated it. nothing was out of the ordinary.
Rin stood on the stump he had been previously meditating on, still wary of that voice that woke him from his thoughts. He couldn't place who's it was, either; Couldn't remember the inflections, or the gender of it. It was as if a far off dream had haunted him and left just as quickly as it had came. It was familiar, but not... He gracefully hopped down from his stump to make his way back towards his home for the past year.
Melinda would no doubt be training again.
The last year had been tough on the two of them. They had hardly any time spent together, between training, studying, researching, and amplifying every skill they could attempt to master in a year's worth of time. They saw each other mostly at meals, and when they went to sleep, unless they decided to skip sleep... Which did, occasionally, happen. Rin let out a breath and the heat retracted on his face from the mask he was wearing. Spring had arrived not long ago. The winter chill was leaving, but it would still be relatively chilly in the mornings. He adjusted his gloves.
Over the past year, Rin had been having his father train Melinda in various fighting styles, so that she could play catch up with him. Not to say Rin was a master, but that he'd been doing it a lot longer than him. He brushed up here and there, but most of his focus was spent with his mom. She was a pro hacker, and to get exactly what Rin had decided to do, he was going to need her.
A gathering of Intel noted that there were hundreds of facilities, located all over the US, conducting the same kind of "experiments" to people with the promise of a lump sum that would get them through life. But at what cost? Rin looked down at his gloved hand and flexed. Delving into if further, it seems the HAD been capturing some of their "rats" and testing them out; Using their abilities to their advantage, and , even in some of the harsher cases, attempting to brainwash them. Some of the worst case scenarios were where they had tried, and failed... because the scientists had killed them trying. They'd collected data from hundreds of people, maybe even thousands. Rin hadn't gotten a chance to sift through them all. Some days, it was too exhausting to think about.
It was more exhausting to think that he could've been just like them, or Mel...
His mother had also located their files as well. The most recent update on Mel was the increase in her temperature, and the big stamp at the bottom in red letters: "MIA".
His, however, had updated to a few more details. Probably because of the incident at Melinda's house, they had written down the change in temperature, the color of his eyes, and the power to freeze a body of water. They didn't specify how large, either.
The research his dad conducted on them both gave way to some kind of incredible discovery: An element of an ancient something. It was extremely old, but he would need a sample of the actual artifact to get to the bottom of the element itself. For the time being, the conclusion was this: It added an extra strand of to your line of DNA, creating a shock in your system, and awakening something deep within you. Each person was different, however. Rin could tell that from the various files they'd hacked into.
It was very Spiderman-esque.
Decidedly, Rin and Mel created a plan, that his parents heartily agreed to help in, to do what they could for these people.
A rescue mission.
Today, this morning, was the last day of their official preparations. Between trying out various suits, and delving into the science behind their powers, and the daily training in martial arts, and street styled combat, they had come quite far from the two kids running to his parents a year ago.
Rin paused, the sticks and branches crunching under his weight. Tomorrow would be their first rescue mission, which was in a facilty about 2 hours from them. Tonight was going to be the debriefing, on how they would get there, as well as the floor plans of the building, and how they were going to act, and react to the situations coming at them.
He felt nervous, and anxious, and excited all at once. Rin wanted to hurl, and also to run as fast as he could until he passed out. But he had to remain calm. He'd use all his adrenaline tomorrow, for whatever they were going to encounter.
It was some kind of Super hero comic, come to life right before Rin, and it was hard to decide if he wanted it...
...Or if he hated it.
He approached the house after a few minutes and made his way to the hidden, downstairs facility of his parent's real house.
Melinda loved driving him crazy, loved being with him, loved him. It wasn’t until the next morning when she had to be awake and alert to train that she realized what a bad idea staying out so late was. Worth it.
She was very reluctant to get up at all, except there was that damn routine that had her awake and miserable at an early hour wishing she could get more sleep. Rin had said they wouldn’t have much free time after this, and she wondered again just what his parents were going to do for training and stuff.
He gripped her shoulders, growling quietly into her ear as she tortured him with kisses in the sweetest of spots. He let his arms trail down to the small of her back before picking her up bridal style, hugging her close to him.
"[i Screw] it." He said huskily. "I can't wait that long. I've got plenty of room in the back of the car." He mused, carrying her over, barely looking at where he was going. He couldn't keep his eyes off of the girl in his arms. His grip on her tightened slightly as his smile grew.
He set her down, reluctantly looking away from her to position all of the seats in the car until it looked flat enough for them to lay on. After turning down the volume, he pulled her into the car, swiftly hovering over her as he pulled the doors in behind them.
"Mel... I've gotta tell you something crazy." He said quietly, gazing down at her. "I have never felt like such a fool around anyone. Not like this... This weird sensation in the pit of my stomach every time I look at you." He sighed slightly. "I'd do anything for you. Anything..." He said the last word like he was incredibly sure of it before leaning down and crashing his lips on hers.
He had a way of taking her breath away with a touch or kiss. Dancing was forgotten just then, though the music continued.
She smiled into the next kiss, winding her fingers into his hair. She gave a gentle tug, planting soft kisses along his jaw and down to his neck where she paused,”Almost seems a shame to leave so soon, but…” She ended the thought with another kiss, and then another at the curve between his neck and shoulder.
"I would hope not." He laughed slightly. "It would be a shame to lose a Princess to some strange Prince..." He said this, slightly trailing off as he lifted his hand to her face. He trailed his fingers along her cheek before running them through her hair. He Grinned slightly at this, looking down into her face.
With a slight smirk, he used his other hand to tilt her chin upward, leaning in for a kiss. It was long and drawn out, and slow and as romantic as kisses on hilltops above glistening cities and under starry skies could get. He deepened the kiss, and although it was gentle, he had a need behind it.
After a few moments he pulled away just slightly, enough to whisper. "Shall I take you home, Princess? Make you mine..." He teased before chuckling ever so darkly and kissing her again.
That dip got a smile and made her stomach flutter,”I’m plenty satisfied with this.” She gave a little smirk,”Mhmm, you seem to be doing just fine to me.”
Melina gripped onto him a little tighter, leaning in close when he pulled her up,”Oh, I’ll make sure you spend time with me. I’m a very clingy princess. We’ll be busy, but we’ll still find time. I’m not letting you go.”
"Well, i can't say I wont try to make it happen." He mused, giving her a small smirk before pecking her on the lips. "Regardless of our free time, or lack there of," He chuckled slightly, "We'll be okay. We're going to make it. And we're going to do good." He nodded firmly to make himself believe it more than her.
In fact, he had no idea where this new beginning would lead them. He only hoped that it would be a good adventure, and not a bad one.
"Soo..... I know it wasn't exactly what you wanted but... Is this satisfactory to your request, Princess?" He teased gently, pulling her closer to him before dipping her over his knee.
"Also... I may have exaggerated a tad when I said I couldn't dance." He mused with a slight shrug.
“I like the sound of that.” She murmured. It wasn’t entirely proper dancing, but she liked it plenty anyway. The music, the stars, and just being with him.
She ran her fingers through his hair, leaning into the kiss and forgetting about the dancing just then,”I love you too. And you better have time later too.” She gave him a light kiss, and then another,”Maybe not for all this, but we can watch movies at home, or make dinner together.”
He grinned down at her, wrapping his arms around her waist. Gently, he swayed her to the music, chuckling slightly.
"I don't know... keep me forever?" He shrugged slightly, as if he were nonchalant about it. "Or, you know... whatever you feel is necessary." He laughed slightly, continuing to sway her.
"...We're going to have a lot on our plate soon." He said quietly. "So... I want to take this little time we have, right now, to tell you that I love you." He grinned slightly before kissing her.
An idea, but she didn’t elaborate, just started driving. She grinned and waited quietly, watching the darkening scenery go by. Wherever he was taking her wasn’t in town, which just made her more curious.
She didn’t ask, though. She just had an amused smile, letting him have his fun with the secret while it lasted.
Out in the middle of nowhere, and he was setting up music on the speakers. Her grin widened. It was crazy loud, so she was quick to get out of the car. And boy, the view was breathtaking. She walked with him, looking up at the stars stretching out above and the little town below. “Wow.”
That was all she could say for several moments. It was beautiful, and the music added something else to it. She looked up at him, slipping her arms around his neck,”It’s lovely. You are just full of surprises, mystery man. What am I going to do with you?”
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