Kit’s arms were growing heavy, the thick sheen of sweat coating his entire body and soaking his training outfit was starting to drip ever closer to his eyes, yet through all this his mind remained sharp and focused like a razor. He didn’t want to think about his father. After two years he had reconciled himself to the idea that his father would never be back in his life again. Jaxon Davenport had left his son and his daughter alone with their dying mother. He tried to keep his mind honed on the training, but it began to slip. He just kept playing it back in his mind. ~
“What? You expected me to call you dad?” Kit asked his father mockingly.
Once he said it, it was out there, for everybody to see. Foxie was shocked, Perrin knew, Kit knew, but still, even he was surprised saying it outloud for himself.
“Alright squirt, your brother doesn’t want you running out here,” Daisuke yelled from the yard.
“But Renka and Kisara are running,” Ayano returned as the door opened.
Kisara and Renka were the first ones in. It didn’t take them long to read the atmosphere, they didn’t know what had been said but they knew it was big. Next came Daisuke and Hitomi, Daisuke it appeared had caught up to Ayano and was in the process of pretending to prepare to eat her, he had Ayano facing away from him as he pretended to pull her in closer to his open mouth. Daisuke was the only one who wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings and so he couldn’t read the energy the moment he stepped in.
Ayano dropped the pretense of their game almost immediately, she stiffened like a board, causing Daisuke to look up in an alarmed manner. The wind was knocked out her. Her small mind was staggered. There was only a breathless whisper to show her understanding. “Daddy?” it was barely audible above the sounds of the evening, yet they all heard it.
Everybody in the dojo knew by now of Kit’s… position. Daisuke couldn’t reconcile it with what was happening, when his mind was staggered by this new development it put his entire world off kilter. He nearly dropped Ayano to the ground as he struggled to understand. Luckily Hitomi was as sharp as ever and caught the younger Sunahama before any harm befell her.
Even the stoic Hitomi seemed to be at a genuine loss for words. She had never been much of a talker, but that had always been by choice… now she simply didn’t understand.
They all looked befuddled. It was a shock… even to the ones who had already known who Jaxon Davenport was. For them it wasn’t the shock of learning who he was, so much as having it acknowledged that he was here, and thus this was real. “Daddy?” Ayano said again, with slightly more breath as she stepped forward.
This time Jaxon responded. “My angel… you’ve… grown,” Jaxon told her. He sounded astonished. There was a look of genuine disbelief on his face as he whispered.
“Yeah… the mothers in the neighborhood say you miss it if you blink. I guess the same thing happens if you walk away,” Kit told him, Ayano had intended to keep moving but Kit held one of his hands out so his palm held her shoulder back.
“Kit… my boy,” Jaxon said… there was pain in his eyes now.
“Not any more! I’m nobody’s boy now. Boys are children… I haven’t been a child for almost two years now. I had a father, but he left, and now you’re here, and I don’t even know you or what you want, but you want to call me your boy? You had a chance at that… you passed,” Kit answered him in a guarded tone.
“What do you want me to say?” Jaxon asked him. He tried to hide it but it was pretty obvious that he was suffering from this.
“I want you to tell me why you’re here,” Kit pressed him. “Why now? After two years… why did you come back now?”
“You want me to say it was for you or your sister? Well I want me to say that too, but I think we both know that that’s not the reason I’m here. I’m a lot of things, I know what most of them are, and I don’t want to add ‘liar’ to that list. I’m here because the network insisted on sending me here. I told them it would backfire. They didn’t listen. I’ll finish my duties here and report back. There you have it… the truth. Is that what you wanted?” Jaxon asked him. He wasn’t trying to be conceited, he was being genuine, cold, but genuine.
“I wanted a father,” Kit responded before he turned and headed for a door to a different room.
“Ayano… let’s go play outside for a while,” Foxie said as he suddenly seemed to recover. Behind him Kit could hear the sound of life returning to the other living statues. ~
After Kit left the girls followed Foxie and Ayano. “Daisuke, Hitomi, check on Kit, Jaxon and I need to speak,” Perrin commanded them as he turned his gaze to Jaxon.
After the other two left the room Perrin stood for a moment. “Why did the network send you here?” Perrin asked him calmly.
“They want me to help with some of the promotional work… they want to use me in Kit’s billing… tell the world he’s my son,” Jaxon answered him.
“You aren’t a liar, that I know, but I know there’s more to it than that,” Perrin urged him.
“They want to make sure he’s alright. His shrink says he refuses to talk about me, and they were worried that something might happen in the ring. So they decided to send me here to check on him, thought he might talk to me,” Jaxon answered.
“No… they sent you here to induce a shock to his world. They think the same thing will happen when he steps in the ring, that the power will go to his head, that he’ll hurt somebody. They sent you here to shake up his world and see how he reacts. They’ve ruined all my careful planning with this stunt,” Perrin told him in an agitated voice.
“I’m not arguing, but I was sent here to give an evaluation of him, what I’ve seen so far doesn’t look good,” Jaxon returned.
“He was making progress, it was slow going but he was getting there, I was so sure that given a few more months we could have gotten him to open up, but them sending you here has locked him up tighter than ever. What happened between you two?” Perrin asked him with a sigh.
“Two years ago I left him, that’s all there is to it,” Jaxon answered.
“No… I know you Jaxon… I know the type of person you are, there’s more to this. You wouldn’t just leave them, you had everything you’d ever wanted sitting right in front of you, you were driven as a fighter but that was never what you really wanted, so what happened?” Perrin pressed him.
“You don’t want to know, so just leave it at what it is,” Jaxon answered him half-heartedly this time.
“You’re right. I don’t want to know… but I NEED to know if we’re ever going to fix this,” Perrin responded.
“How are WE going to fix this?” Jaxon asked him.
“I have a spot open for a new teacher, and we have students interested in learning boxing, I think you would make a fine addition to our teaching staff,” Perrin proposed.
“You can’t mean what I think you do. You want ME to instruct him? It won’t work… he’ll never allow it,” Jaxon told him incredulously.
“Not him… not directly, but my nieces have learned all they can from me, it’s about time they found somebody else to learn from, and I need to focus more of my attention on Kit and our latest pupil. You would join our staff and be placed in charge of Renka and Kisara’s training, with special dispensation to disperse advice to Kit from time to time,” Perrin explained it.
“Kit will never allow it, he’ll leave when you try to tell him. He’s stubborn to a fault,” Jaxon reminded him.
“He reminds me of somebody else… too headstrong to listen to reason, but he’ll concede on this… like that other person when he cares for somebody he goes to great lengths for their good… Ayano will keep him here,” Perrin told him.
“You’d use his sister, my daughter, like that?” Jaxon asked him.
“For his own good? Yes. I agree with you that the network made a mistake in sending you here Jaxon, but now that Pandora’s box has been opened, it would be a shame if we didn’t at least see what was inside,” Perrin suggested. Jaxon didn’t answer him for a time. “But for his good, and yours, if we’re going to do this I need to know… why did you leave?” Perrin asked him.
“This will take some time… do you have something to drink?” Jaxon asked him.
“By keeping you here I’m trying to show Kit that he can’t run from his problems, that he has to face them. You’ll have to do the same. You’ve had enough already,” Perrin responded.
“You said his scores are like Mako’s… does that mean… does he have…” Jaxon began to ask.
“It would appear he has her gift yes… the eyes of the beast. Why did she call it that?” Perrin asked him.
“The average hawk has 20/2 vision, meaning it can see from 20 feet what an average person can see from 2, but that isn’t the only reason a hawk is so adept at swooping in and capturing their tiny prey. They have an instinctual ability to discern a pattern for their prey’s movements and assume the most likely course of action, resulting in successful captures. Most animals that hunt have similar mental processes, things they aren’t even aware of… until she took your test, Mako assumed she was like everybody else. After the kids were born she lost her will to fight, she fought by remaining calm, but the kids changed her, after Kit, she was always worried, never in control of herself, she was a doting mother after all. After she lost her calm, she lost her eyes… it wasn’t just good eyesight, it was a clear mind that allowed her to fight like she did. Luckily she retired before she found out,” Jaxon tried to explain it to him.
“It relies upon the user being a calm-style. That’s why you’re interested… you’re afraid. You think if he has her gift, that he doesn’t have yours,” Perrin theorized.
“The heart of the wild is no gift. It’s a curse, a plague from a nearly forgotten time, one that is better left in the past. The pure power of it all… it has devoured men in the past,” Davenport told him with a haunted look.
“It is a gift Jaxon, even if you don’t choose to see that,” Perrin insisted.
“Tell that to Robert Dunland, he has received your ‘gift’,” Jaxon bit back irritably.
“What happened in that fight Jaxon? The network has the footage in the archive but it’s a restricted piece. Nobody speaks about what happened that night. I know that your comeback was well underway, and I know that part of the tour was a slated match with Dunland. It was a much billed fight but because of the holidays it was taped to be released later, the fight never aired. You two were at the height of your respective careers. After that, Dunland was hospitalized for months on end, and then announced he would not be returning to the ring. Your comeback tour stalled, you fought like you’d lost your will. I see him from time to time when I’m in his area… he’s in a wheelchair,” Perrin told him.
“You don’t have to tell me, I know… I put him that chair,” Jaxon growled back.
“Before he was arrogant, and something of a sadistic bastard, he enjoyed toying with his enemies before he defeated them, made a big show of it… now… now he’s like a cowed deer, he avoids eye contact, flinches at any sudden movement, stutters, he spaces out from time to time, has tremors, and when he comes back he’s in hysterics,” Perrin explained.
“Stop! I know all about it, just stop talking about it!” Jaxon bit out suddenly. He held his hands up as if he were trying to put space between them, but his hands were shaking violently. He saw it and then he drew them in closer to himself, he was seething as his body trembled. He was trying to calm himself Perrin realized. He decided to press on
“You broke him Jaxon,” Perrin told him. Suddenly his shaking stop,Jaxon’s eyes narrowed. He reached out and grasped Perrin by the collar with his left hand, his right rose up in a fist, Perrin attempted to catch it, but Jaxon’s fury propelled fist pushed through his guard and caught him square in the face.
Jaxon screamed out savagely as he released Perrin to fall to the ground, he followed him down and mounted him. He brought his fist up again, but this time Daisuke grabbed him by the elbow to stop the blow. “Calm down Jaxon,” Daisuke urged him. Jaxon reacted by throwing his elbow into Daisuke’s face as he stood up, now he stared down the wolf. His eyes were sharp, but the whites had turned red from the veins, he stared at Daisuke with a look of pure, uncomprehending rage. He stood for a moment, confused, but then he raised his hands into a boxing stance as Daisuke instinctively raised his guard, his nose was bleeding. Jaxon moved in, he was faster than Daisuke had expected, he threw the punch and Daisuke just had time to guard, but like Perrin it did no good. Daisuke stayed standing, but the strike dazed him.
Hitomi struck from Jaxon’s left, she tried to strike him in the throat, but she let out a wail as her hand hit, it was like striking a wall. “Jaxon… we don’t… want… to hurt you,” she tried to tell him as she cradled her left hand in her right. She’d struck him with her fingers extended, hoping to make a sharp blow that cut off his air and took him to the ground.
Instead the weasel turned on her, then he put his head down as if thinking, he looked over at Daisuke, then at Perrin. His eyes were cold as he looked at the three surrounding him, then slowly, yet purposefully he stepped toward Perrin, his shoulders slumped. “He’s calming down… we’re good,” Perrin told the others. Just as the old man lowered his guard however Davenport struck him, one hit right in his eye. In a flash the elder was down. Daisuke and Hitomi took a second to comprehend what had happened. Daisuke was the first to respond.
He went in fast, trying to rush his friend, he was now angry as well. Jaxon was his friend, but he had crossed a line. Jaxon didn’t even move to guard. He struck fast, first to the stomach, next was a cross to his face, he grabbed him by the knee and leapt into a knee, finally he wrapped himself around Jaxon and held him in a rear naked joke. As he held the lock in, Jaxon wormed his neck back and forth until he heard a crack. He wasn’t hurt… he didn’t feel it. He shifted his torso to the left slightly, then brought his right elbow back, straight into Daisuke’s midsection. Immediately the hold was released. Without slowing he rolled over and struck, one hard hit to the face. His left arm darted down and held Daisuke to the floor as his right came up again and again.
Hitomi ran over the moment Daisuke had released him. She wrapped one icy hand around Jaxon’s right when she got to them to try and stop him, but instead his hand pulled her down as well. Daisuke went limp as the blow hit and that just left her. She rolled away from him fast as she tried to calm herself. She stood up and took a defensive pose. Jaxon lept to his feet and rushed her. He tried to tackle her to the ground but she rolled out of his grasp. He stood up and shook his head, he was back to being the calm sort of enraged. He stepped toward her in his boxing guard raised. She didn’t lash out, she’d seen how effective that could be, instead she elected to go on the defensive for the time being. He jabbed at her, but she slid her hand onto the back of his forearm and deflected it from her torso. For about four minutes the fight continued with Jaxon striking out and Hitomi deflecting it, but it changed quickly.
Jaxon threw a right hook, which Hitomi then attempted to deflect, but the moment he felt her hand on his forearm Jaxon pulled his fist back and followed the punch through, instead hitting her with his elbow to the temple. Hitomi staggered a step and Jaxon followed up on her, a quick deliberate punch to the liver kept her stunned, then it was a hit to the midsection, followed by a quick right hook, into an uppercut, then he swept her legs out from under her and as she fell he made a hard overhand right to her midsection, he’d stuck just as she hit the ground so her body had no way to cushion the blow. Her eyes went wide as the wind was knocked out of her. She rolled over onto her knees with her head to the ground, clutching both her arms to her stomach. Jaxon’s body trembled as he bellowed a savage roar at her twice.
He advanced toward her slowly, but just before he did Ayano stepped in between them, her arms outstretched. Jaxon’s eyes narrowed as he reared his right arm back and began to let it fly. It was halfway to his daughter when suddenly his arm went slack and he collapsed to the ground. He had his hands cradled around the back of his head, his elbows rested on his knees, as he crumpled there. His head touched the ground and he was sobbing.
“NO! NONONO. STOP! PLEASE STOP! STOP! NO MORE! PLEASE,” he was pleading with somebody. He was completely hysterical as he rocked back and forth on his knees with his head occasionally hitting the ground. After a time he stopped speaking entirely as feet kicked against the ground. Then ever so faintly he could hear him softly pleading with somebody. “Don’t hurt them,” he’d whimper. Ayano moved over to her father and put her arm around his shoulders but he didn’t seem to notice. She sat there with her father though he was so distant from her.
“Oh Jaxon… I didn’t know. I can’t comprehend how truly tormented a soul yours must be. I am… so sorry, but I understand now Jaxon… I understand all of it, why you left… why you stopped fighting… all of it. It broke you,” the elder apologized to him softly, his voice was a mixture of pity and reverence. Half an hour later some network doctors came, they approached Davenport cautiously as they tried to bring him back to reality. He was still beyond understanding when they slowly escorted him from the building. ~
. He tried to hold it all in, he had been doing it for two years now. First came the fear, why is he back? Then came the anger. He began to feel it flowing into him, it distracted him, his movements were different, they were off. Different… but not wrong. It felt like his anger compelled him. He struck hard and a part of him relished the exertion. Where before his arms had felt heavy and sluggish, now they just felt… numb. He took his breath in quick pants trying to squeeze this feeling, to understand what was happening to him. Before his anger had always clouded his judgment, made him rash and impulsive, but now it was like his anger pushed him forward, channeled mind and made the world around him sharper. He hit the bag and it gave, he struck again, the ache in his arms gone he felt a soothing sensation in his heart… he didn’t exactly enjoy hitting the bag, but he wanted to do it again… and again.
He tried to remember his training, the combinations he needed to use, but what was the point. He could hit the bag the way he wanted and it would give, he would feel the same pleasure… always following the endless rules of the dojo. They told him how to hit, they told him where to hit, they told him when to hit, but it was just a bag, he would hit it and feel the same joyful numbness no matter how he hit it. All their rules made no difference, and who’s to say they weren’t wrong. They said there were two types, and they put him in column A, but maybe… maybe he belonged in column B.
His world was small, just himself, the bag, and the mat. His world was so small it blindsided him. One moment he was attacking the bag savagely, the next he was on the floor, his head was ringing. In a moment his small world had gotten bigger. Somebody else was there… when the ringing went away it took the cloudiness with it. Kisara stood there above him.
“I know what you were thinking. You were thinking we’d misjudged you, that your anger made you better. Every fighter thinks at some point that his elders were wrong. Your anger clouded your judgment, you lowered your guard, got tunnel vision. That works fine against a bag, but a bag doesn’t hit back. You dance around the bag the way you do because you treat it like a real enemy, something that both gives and takes blows, you lost your thinking to your anger, it wasn’t an enemy, it was an outlet. Try that with me,” Kisara told him.
He was frustrated by her. She’d hit him, initiated an unprovoked attack against him, and now she was lecturing him. He stood up, his body was trembling as he seethed in anger, he lashed out at her but she dodged it effortlessly, catching him with a quick jab to the ribs. He attacked again but she guarded the blow then attacked him. He attacked, she countered. It continued for another thirty seconds, none of his blows could hit, he was getting more and more frustrated by it all. He found himself stepping into his form subconsciously, he took a deep breath to calm himself because this was what they had taught him. Kisara came closer to draw him into an attack but he rocked back on his heels and to take a step away. He focused himself, controlled his breath and waited for her to come again. She stepped forward and instead of backing away he shifted to the side, he had a clear shot at her but he didn’t take it, she would close the hole up before he landed a hit. Then she dropped her arms with laugh.
“You see? They were right. When you’re angry you don’t try to think about what you’re doing, the anger focuses you, but it also blinds you to your surroundings.That doesn’t happen for me, when I get frustrated I start to pay more attention to things, I may act more impulsively, but I still think things out. When you slipped into your stance and followed your training, you got better, you stopped with your pure offensive, and began to think critically. When you step into a ring you have to let go of everything else. Next week, you have to remember what it means to be a fighter… remember that you represent the dojo and everybody in it. It doesn’t really matter if you win or lose this fight, just that you acquit yourself well,” Kisara told him supportively.
Kit felt himself start to blush as he was embarrassed. Kisara was kind of cute when she said that, it was a different side of her he’d never seen before. Her cuteness seemed different than Renka’s, not worse, just… different.
“You’re pretty amazing Kisara,” Kit told her honestly. He hadn’t meant to say it, and now that he had his cheeks suddenly began to burn. For her part Kisara’s face changed as well as she blushed. She had a shy sort of smile on her face as she looked down at the ground.
“Well… ya know… I just… kinda… sorta… wanted to help ya out,” she said nervously. She shook her head a moment later as she tried to collect herself. “Anyway, you’re in the ring now so none of it matters,” she said as she resumed her fighting stance. Kit looked at her for a moment, then nodded his head as his determined look came to his face again. ~
Renka hid at the door with a voyeuristic grin on her face. Her body was absolutely bubbly as she watched Kit and her sister share a special moment, yet at the same time, she was bothered by it. She understood her elation, her sister had a crush on Kit and they were sharing a very intimate moment together, even if it wasn’t romantic, what she didn’t understand was why she felt a bit irritated by it at the same time.
Before she could get much time to ponder this she heard a loud roar coming from another section of the dojo. The sound of sparring died off as Kit and Kisara heard the sound as well.
“What was that?” Kit asked Kisara.
“I don’t know… lets check it out,” Kisara told her. Renka decided that she would rather not be caught here so she left to investigate the commotion as well before the others found her. As she walked away she had a bad feeling in her stomach that something else had been happening.