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Author's note: Written awhile back but I hope its good.
The first time X met the strongest man in the world he was sure he was going to die. Laying flat on the dirty concrete X waited for the three guys who jumped him to take what they wanted and leave. Only problem was, it seemed they wanted to kill him. Kick after kick was delivered to his body, and he crumpled into a ball to avoid damage. It didn’t do much good, and his eyes were nearly swollen shut making it hard to see where the next hit was going. Suddenly there wasn’t a next hit. Daring to see what was happening X looked up. After three resounding thumps, all three guys fell to the floor, in a matter of seconds it was over. Crawling painfully up, X saw a tall man, who looked slim, but was obviously stronger than he looked. With black hair, pale skin, and sunglasses on, he wore ripped, faded blue jeans, and a short sleeved white button up shirt. He looked like the greatest hero ever, and X couldn’t help but gape. Even as his hero turned to look at him from behind the shades.
All X could do was nod stupidly, and the man grinned at him.
“Great. See ya around kid.”
Realizing he was going to disappear without thanking him X spoke up. His throat aching in resistance of being used.
The man stopped mid turn as he was leaving, and tilted his head in a questioning manner.
“Teach, teach me how to fight.”
The man laughed without humor.
“Teach you to fight? Kid I don’t take students.”
“Please teach me. I cant fight, but I live in this neighborhood and get attacked all the time. Just because you were here today doesn’t mean these guys aren’t going to get me later. I need to be able to fight. So please teach me.”
X had gotten on his hands and knees, begging with the stranger. If he could learn to fight from this man he would be invincible. No more worrying about being jumped, having his money jacked, and being beat within an inch of his life. Feeling the burning prickle of tears behind his eyes, he willed them away, and the pain slowly making it hard to keep his eyes open. The stranger relaxed his stance, face going from questioning to pity. Sighing, he turned to face X completely.
“What would you do with the things I teach you?”
Seeing the ray of hope for what it was, X answered honestly.
“Yeah I like that answer, no hesitating, just straight out. Okay kid I’ll teach you, on one condition.”
Smiling a bit the stranger removed his shades, to reveal sharp black eyes. The smile faded, and a serious gaze replaced it. His relaxed stance looked menacing, and the muscles that lay dormant tensed underneath his skin, as he spoke.
“Don’t ask questions, just do. I say it you do it, that’s it. I am teacher you are student, if I say jump you say how high. If I call you at two in the morning I don’t care if your in the hospital dying you better run to wherever I am, and run freaking fast. Are we clear?”
Not sure how to take this X was a little more than skeptical. Sure he could pretty much do anything he wanted, he had absent parents, and no siblings. No one to ask questions, no one to say no. He didn’t have any excuses, so why not? Aside from the fact that it seemed this guy was a bit off his rocker. He thought sarcastically. But a sane person couldn’t fight good enough to defeat three people in a matter of seconds. With that X made up his mind, and looked up to meet his new teacher in the eyes. His own blazing with determination. With this there would be no backing down, no complaining, and no excuses.
“I accept your conditions.”
The man grinned once again, and nodded.
“That’s what I like to hear. Meet me in the morning at the front of your school.”
“My school? But how-”
X’s question was cut off by the look the stranger gave him.
“Sure I’ll be there.”
Nodding the stranger left. Leaving X kneeling on the ground, still in incredible pain. Minutes after the man disappeared from his sight X slowly started to get to his feet, fighting the pain. Once he was standing he limped all the way to his scattered things, giving one of the guys who attacked him a kick when he passed him. It made him feel slightly better, and bent down slowly to grab his backpack. Slinging it over his shoulder, he limped home, holding his ribs to keep them from falling out. Cause it sure as hell felt like they were going to. X couldn’t even begin to evaluate how badly he was injured, and knew it would be better to lock himself in his room for the rest of the night. Didn’t need his mom seeing him on her way in later. If she came home, but he could never tell with that woman. One day she’s crying over a black eye he got the next she’s telling him to suck it up. Ah the love of a mother, a smile broke out on his battered face at his own sarcastic comment. He really did love his mom, it was just she was always working, so he didn’t really know his mom, and she didn’t know him either. They were like two strangers in the same house, and that was only sometimes. It drove X insane, being home alone like that, but its not like he could walk around outside. The minute he tried to go somewhere, it was like bad people could tell he was easy pickings. Not after he learned how to fight from that guy. Breaking out of his train of thought to open his door, he didn’t expect to see lights on.
“Oh your home late.”
It was his mother. She was still dressed for work, and looked like she was going to be out the door any second, but she paused after really looking at him.
“What happened to you?!”
He was waiting for her reaction. X knew he wasn’t going to get away with looking like he did without her freaking out. It was common mom freaking, so he attempted to smile, and play the its not as bad as it looks card.
“Nothing, got into an argument with some guys at school.”
“What kind of argument lead to this?!”
She was still yelling, and grabbed hid face in her hands, moving him from side to side. He tried not to wince as she jerked him around, but only ended up with a really bad headache on top of it.
“I can’t believe this is happening to you. Are you being bullied at school? Cause if you are I can-”
X cut her off.
“Mom I’m not being bullied, and you going to the school would just be embarrassing, and you know it.”
She frowned deeply, and kissed X on the forehead.
“I really don’t want to leave you like this, but I have to get back to the office. The CEO wants me to cover a big project, and this might be my big break. We can finally get out of this neighborhood if I can sign this deal with my pitch.”
X smiled at his mom.
“Good luck mom. Now I have homework so I better go do that.”
She nodded. It looked like she wanted to hug X, but thought better of it with how hurt he was.
“I’ll see you later sweetie, I love you.”
X’s mother left. The door closing, and locking behind her. X sighed. He hated being home alone. Trudging up the stairs, he arrived to his room, and threw his backpack onto the floor right next to the door. Then unceremoniously collapsed onto his bed. He grunted in pain, and grouped around his covers for his iPod dock remote. He left expensive thing like his iPod at home.
The song that came on was like heaven to his pounding headache. It was Sound Off by Trapt. And he loved every guitar rift, and drum beat at full volume. No one had reported him yet for the loud music; so he figured no one cared. In his head he sang along to that and every song after, until he fell asleep. Falling into a blissful dreamless sleep, he hadn’t gotten in a few days. It must have been the beating. He thought in the back of his mind as he woke up with his alarm the next morning. Moving his epically sore body was a chore to say the least. X figured if he had been hit by a car it would be less painful to move. Once he was out of the confines of his mattress, X looked around some for clean clothes. He found a pair of un-holy, or ripped jeans, and a simple red shirt. Then he stumbled to the restroom. He showered quickly in the cool water, and assessed all the damage. His torso was bruised excessively, and his arms as well. Though his legs were scrapped, and a little bloody, they weren’t nearly as black and blue as the rest of him. It was kind of relieving to know his feet were undamaged. Unlike his hands that looked like they went through a meat grinder. He was surprised he wasn’t looking at just muscle and bone on them with how scrapped up and bloody they were. X remembered many of the guys who jumped him stepping, and hitting his hands, that he had held up in defense. Of course it didn’t do him any good, but there was no helping that part of the factor.
As soon as he got out, X dried off and got dressed in the clothes he had gathered. It was painful, but he had expected that after last night anyway. Sighing once he had successfully got his shoes on. Now, he thought, to actually get up would be the fun part in this game. It really wasn’t, in fact it hurt more to stand up this time then it had to get out of bed. X felt like screaming with every move he made, but once he was up that was it. He was able to move. Confirming his suspicion on class changing later being a nightmare on his achy body. As he went to leave his room, X gingerly bent to pick up his backpack and was glad the amount of pain it caused was minimal. Comforted by the fact that he wasn’t going to suffer through every move he made today, X headed to school. As he walked he couldn’t help flinching when he passed the alley from last night. The memory still much too fresh to deal with it mentally, or emotionally. He did get the tar beat out of him there, so it was only normal.
When X got to school he wanted to turn around and head back home. In the first place the glance he risked taking of his face earlier wasn’t pretty. Dang it wasn’t even possible to hide all of the things messed up with his face. He had a black eye, torn up lips, his left cheek was scrapped from getting a little to friendly with the pavement. And then his neck seemed to be one giant bruise in and of itself. Taking a deep breath and feeling his sore ribs creak, X walked into the building. Head hung so anyone who wasn’t looking wouldn’t notice the injuries. But of course he felt the sea of eyes trailing him to his locker. The obvious whispers surrounding him as he past people who clustered together in groups in the halls. X tightened his hand on the strap of his backpack, and marched on. Telling himself it would be over in eight hours, and then he was supposed to meet the man who would teach him how to fight. So something like this will never happened again, and he wouldn’t be put in these kind of acquired situations anymore. The reminder helped him make it to his locker without looking at the other students once the whole way. X almost felt proud of himself for pulling it off. That is until he was slammed face first into his locker. Luckily he turned to his right just before the impact so he avoided the worst of his wounds taking the brutal hit.
“X, oh X, you just look so perfect today. I wonder what is different about you.”
As X felt the hand on the back of his head relax he lifted himself from the locker, and was bashed back into it. More than a little hard. The person holding him captive, against the locker leaned in closer to whisper harshly to X.
“I don’t like my boys getting thrown around by your friends, tell them to butt out or your going to be the one paying.”
Shoved once again into the still closed locker, X carefully lifted himself from the cold metal. Looking around he saw Tyler was already gone. That’s who it had been. Tyler Cortez, the son of Alastair Cortez, who ruled the whole west side of town, and then some. Just so happened that’s where X lived. And Tyler had it out for him, for some god unknown reason. Sending lackeys or just beating him, himself, Tyler didn’t care. One way or another X was going to be beaten within half an inch of his life, for the rest of his life if he didn’t do something eventually.
After reawakening all of his sore, and aching body, X attempted to open the locker he had been slammed into. It was his after all, and it held all the things he needed for the first half of the day. As he closed his locker, after obtaining the things he needed, X braced himself. It was going to be a long day. And he could already tell, this was just the beginning of Tyler’s encounters today.
X made it through the whole day. To his surprise Tyler had played it easy on him. Only the occasional tripping in the hall, or slamming into a locker. Nothing serious, like punching, or kicking. He would never risk it on school grounds, during school hours. His father might have been the scariest man in the city, but that didn’t stop the principle from disciplining Tyler when he acted out. Least to say he wasn’t surprised when he saw Tyler following him out the front doors that day after school. Not one but. In fact X knew this would happen when Tyler held back so much in the sanctioned walls of the school. So X picked up his speed. Weaving in and out of the crowed teens all trying to leave the school as fast as possible as well. X got shoved around, and bumped into, causing serious pain to his damaged body. As he reached the gates that’s when he saw him. The man from the night before who had saved him. X couldn’t help but smile in relief. Looking over his shoulder quickly, X saw one of Tyler’s guys pull him aside, and whisper something to him. Then pointing at the man X was approaching. Tyler look ticked off, but X wasn’t worried about it anymore. He now stood right in front of the man and smiled a bit. Pulling his aching face painfully, and making the smile a grimace instead.
“So teacher what do I call you?”
He asked as the other students went by without a glance to them.
He stuck his hand out and X reached up and shook it. Trying not to wince horribly when his hand was touched. It really did hurt him.
Was his reply to Shin. And with that they began their journey. Because in the game of the streets you had to learn from the best to leave the rest on the floor.
As they left the crowded school yard of other kids watching them, Shin walked without checking if X was following behind him. And X knew he just expected him to follow without being told to. X sighed. He was starting to wonder if this whole do as I say no questions asked bit was a good idea. There were definitely a lot of complications in understanding when he couldn’t ask questions. Not to mention a lack of communication between the two of them.
“Today we’ll just see how much stamina you have.”
Shin said without turning to face X. He was leading X to a close by park. Though it wasn’t really a park. It might have been at one time, but by now it was barren of plant life, and tagged on every possible surface. Hardly anyone was there during the daytime. It was at night when you had to avoid once public places. They were either over run by gangs, or gangs were fighting over the turf to take it over. The park was somewhere in between. The gangs had split it up, and were always fighting to gain more control over the area.
“How are we going to do that?”
X asked. Then wanted to smack himself for being so stupid. The look Shin gave him only confirmed his idiocy at asking a question. The first thing Shin had demanded was that he didn’t ask questions and that seemed to be the first thing X did.
There was a smack to the back of his head, and X thought his brain might fall out his nose. For something that seemed so harmless, like the hits his mom gave him when he was being stupid. It hurt ten times as much. X had to wonder if Shin was holding back at all when he hit him like that. But he saw his mistake, and decided he shouldn’t anger the older man.
“Okay I deserved that.”
He said rubbing the now sore spot on his head. Shin pointedly ignored the slight glare he got from the teen. As long as he didn’t complain he might put up with the kid. The big word there being might. Shin figured he should mess around with X since he was obviously close to giving up already. Maybe if he pushed him hard enough he would say no go, and Shin would be off the hook for teaching him.
“For that I’ve changed my mind you can call me Master from now on.”
X wanted to throw himself in front of a bus now. But figured it would hurt more than anything his new Master, was going to put his through.
There was a heavy dose of sarcasm in his words, and Shin grinned childishly at him. The kid definitely had guts. The kind you didn’t find anywhere but in the slums of the city. It made Shin almost want to help him. This seemed to trigger why he was here, and stopped smiling. Then Shin grew serious. His smiling face now hard, and eyes emotionless. Making X nervous, and stand up a bit straighter. This was it, the training was going be begin and he could feel it wasn’t going to be easy. He just hoped with how sore he was he didn’t screw up as badly as he thought he would.
“Starting today I want you to come here and run from one end of the park to the other at full speed. When you can do that maybe I’ll teach you how to fight.”
X felt his jaw hit the floor. He mentally picked it back up, and stared wide eyed at the obviously crazed man standing in front of him. That was insane! Shin had promised to teach him. At this reminder X grew angry. Something that didn’t happen often. Not with his lifestyle till now.
“You said you would teach me.”
X seethed. His words oozing with anger, and unfairness. Shin, still looking far more serious then X would have liked, just looked down at the kid for a few silent seconds before finally answering him.
“If you can do this then I might teach you how to fight. Do you have a problem with that?”
X didn’t know if this was something he should agree to. For all he knew Shin was playing him. In fact he was pretty sure that’s what the older man was doing. But that little piece of him that desperately wanted to know how to fight yelled out at him. Then he thought of the freaks that would be roaming all over the park at night. If he couldn’t fight he would eventually become one of their victims again. And when that happened he wanted to be as prepared as possible. Even if it meant just being able to out run the creeps.
With a new fire in his eyes X looked up to meet Shin’s own blank eyed stare. Shin almost smiled to himself. The kid looked like he was ready to take on the world. That was the kind of thing he was looking for. It was just a matter of making the body obey what the mind wanted.
“Fine. I should be able to do this in a week.”
Shin wanted to tell the kid he was crazy. But thought better of it. There was no way he could do it anyway. The park from one side to the other was over three miles. And from what he knew about the kid he wasn’t in any sports. Not that kids on this side of town were into sports, or even played them these days. So unless he had been practicing running for all these years by himself, Shin knew it would take him months to master three miles in a week. A little part of Shin wanted to tell X to take back his words, but as before he figured it was better this way.
“Are you sure?”
He asked. It was his way of letting X dig himself out of this hole he had just dug, silently begging him to take his words back. But if X agreed his deadline was a week, then there was nothing Shin could do but drop it when he couldn’t run the distance Shin had required. There was no reason to change what he expected from X.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
X smirked coughing Shin to chuckl lightly at X, and turned to leave. Shaking his head slightly to himself.
“Then I’ll see you in a week. Same place as before.”
X didn’t say anything as he headed home. Shin never looked back at the kid he knew was walking away from.
As X walked back to his apartment, he avoided being spotted by anyone who might have it out for him. A.K.A people who had jumped him before. Once he made it home scratch free, he dumped his school stuff, and grabbed his moms unused work out gear.
She had bought a high grade heart moniter, and a step pacer, that told you when you slowed down. All he had to do was sync it to his phone and it would beep loudly at him when he slowed down. Once he set it up to three miles, because weather Shin knew it or not, X did know how big the park was. He headed back, and it was getting dark. Not only was he about to be stupid going out at night, he was still epically sore, and about to run like an idiot. Through a gang infested area too.
X couldn’t help thinking to himself that he had lost it, and was finally finding a way to get himself killed. Then the reminder that he only had a week to accomplish his goal he started to run. And by the time a week passed