Don't Complicate This

The Cage 
The better part of her knew it was foolish to come out here, a risk that could easily put her in a bind when it came to her professional career. It's difficult to sit in a chair and tell someone the importance of not acting out their enraged impulses once you were spotted at a place like The Cage. Such a sighting could easily mean the loss of patient trust, which in turn could open a much larger can of worms that she thought wise - an unfortunate rabbit hole.

Yet still, there she was, a lengthy day off marked by chores and errands and she had finally snapped and given into the nagging impulse. For now she steadied her hand and reminded herself of the possible repercussions of allowing herself to sign up into a fight instead of just watching. Nursing a cocktail and observing with an intensity as another brawl seemed to be sputtering out - the victor more or less chosen by now. Though as far as she could tell, both looked equally exhausted when push came to shove. It stirred something inside her, but it did nothing to cool off the edge in her being that had pushed her enough to come out here in the first place.

It was nice to think that she had all her ducks in a row, that every moment of the day was handled with calm calculation. But there were moments that even she could not control, impulses that gnawed at the edges of her resolve even still after so many years. Fighting staved those off, having a living thing to channel all that frustration on, it was worth it's weight in gold. It's frowned upon, we have an image to uphold.

Even still, her crumbling resolve was apparent in her choice of dress for the evening - stretch cotton through and through, leaving all jewelry back home at her apartment. Hair tied up and back in a severe bun, a look she did not favor on most days - it reminded her of an overbearing professor. But it would be useful, should the need arise ...

Alright, let's bargain with one another: If someone signs up soon - you will volunteer in turn. If no one signs up in the next fifteen minutes, ... we will go home.

Frequently finding herself having such internal dialogues with her beast, well aware that it would easily pass as a form of madness were others to be able to pick up on it. Taking a moment to see how the ultimatum sat with her other half before nodding curtly and glancing to the time - fifteen minutes, a gamble that was stacked in the the favor of common sense and responsibility.

He didn't know why he was here. No... actually, he did. Without Milla around there was nothing to take the edge off and it seemed that even working himself into the ground, quite literally, did nothing for him. Pre-Carmilla, it had worked. He was content with eating large meals, working out and just working and now he needed something more.

He wasn't interested in the 'why' as much as the 'how.' How will he find more than one way to release the edge? His beast was near the surface no matter what phase the moon was in and he was slowly getting used to the feeling. It wasn't like he was out of control, just more aware of the beast and what it wanted. What it needed. Lately he wanted control and he was coming up with ways to give him just that.

It was probably why he ended up at the Cage. From what he heard, the place was no a wolf-owned company as the pack was finally starting to expand. He made his way inside, easily enough, walking around with his beer loosely held close to his chest to avoid spillage if someone brushed against him. He was walking around the tables, trying to find an empty space when he walked by one occupied by a woman. A woman who smelled feline but .... nothing that triggered a species. A Were, for sure, but not a lion... not a tiger and she sure as hell wasn't a leopard. So what?

She intrigued him. He reached out, two fingers tapped the table as he walked around it to see her. She studied the ring and judging by the way she was dressed, she was contemplating getting in herself. "You going to give it a go?" he voiced his thoughts, his head tilted in pure curiosity as he stopped and turned toward her. He pulled out the chair and sat down, placing his drink on the table before him. "You should... I think you'd come out on the better end."

Ten minutes ...

Since she had been given the green light to come inside, Yana had given up on trying to pinpoint the smells and types of people who were occupying the surrounding tables and bar. There were humans of course, the underlying odor of wolf, and some outlier's that were non-specific, but short of getting up close and personal to anyone it seemed like it would stay an unsolved mystery. The only thing that really mattered at the end of the day was that she felt fairly confident she was alone. Not too soured by that fact, still riding the high of her first run-in with a fellow cheetah since arriving in Cordova. A silver lining, the promise to not give-up hope and assume that she was a stranger in a foreign land.

Drawn from her thoughts by the tap on the table and snapping her attention to the man who circled around, keeping a hold on her glass and watching him wordlessly as he invited himself to the chair across the table. There was something distinctly cat about him - an underlying sense that he was closer to kin than many who were getting out their anger and frustration's within the grounds of The Cage that evening. A welcomed addition to the space she had claimed for herself, even if only for a little while.

"Considering it, if the challenge arises. ... Is there an offer in there?" Sipping at her glass and savoring the warmth that blossomed from it, even if it had no real lasting effect. Not easy to flatter, a barely notable smirk tugged at a corner of her mouth at his bet, shrugging her shoulders as she sat up a bit straighter now. "Noted. That is the intent, at least."

Eight minutes ...

For as long as she could remember, one of her personal strengths had been a sense for people, reading the room and the individual's who occupied it with a calculated ease on more occasion's than not. A quiet observer who made notes and kept their nose clean unless it was time for action or her hand was forced. While she had no idea who this man was or where he was from, riding on the assumption that he was here like so many others, in an effort to extinguish some sort of negative energy. "Rough day?"

He couldn't quite figure out what she was. Feline, that was certain, but beyond that he had no clue. Perhaps she was a spitting house cat... that was possible right? The idea caused him to smile as he drew her attention to him. He took a sip of his beer, as she responded to him. He couldn't place her accent either. So, this woman was just a mysterious box. Perhaps he should call her Pandora.

He leaned forward, making sure to not spill his beer as he did so. "There might be. If you answer a question for me..." he said, his fingers gently tapping the table as his thoughts scattered. He had been in that cage before and the outcome was what he had wanted. He wanted someone to cause him physical pain. He received it from another Were. This time, he wouldn't want pain. He'd want to win but he wouldn't be able to show his true strength. "Do you favor stripes or spots?" he asked, the question obviously hinting at what species she was.

He gave a nod, understanding that nearly everyone who entered the cage wanted to win. His gaze turned toward just that as two people battled it out. They were humans, that much he could tell. Their movements were too slow and they showed true wear and tear as their bodies were hit. That was not something a Were couldn't fake. Her question caused him to return his attention to her, a brow raising.

"I've had my share. You?" There was a reason she was getting into the cage. Either she needed to take the edge off as well or she just liked to be in pain or cause pain. It was simple. "So? Are we going to put our names in or what?"

Yana maintained her mask of disinterest, tracing the rim of her glass to distract herself from looking too curious about the nature of the his impending question. That same mask, slipping for a moment as she cracked a smile at the nature of his question and pulling her eyes away from him, head held high as she watched the two men who had been fighting half stumbled their way down and back to their own separate realities. "I definitely am more of a spots sort of lady - quick about it, too." If that didn't give him enough - then she wasn't sure they would be having very many intelligent conversations.

Five minutes ...

The question about her day before enough to make her shake her head, waving it off by barely lifting a hand. "I'm always peachy - just a little tense. I am sure you can understand." Not wanting to rub in her lack of shared misery, leaving it at that and wasting no time knocking back the remainder of her drink when he pressed on about their plans.

She had ran into a few lions and tigers in her days in San Francisco and the travels that had ensued following her time with the coalition. Confident that neither of those scents matched him, she considered what options were left on the table and opted to make an educated guess as to the nature of his beast. "Well? Come on then, slow spot ... I mean, sport." Cheeky and showing a bit of her hand in her sudden excitement - a rise in adrenaline as the beast inside her was intrigued by the looming prospect.

Leaving her glass at the table and pushing her chair in with her hip before she meandered over, assuming him to be just behind. "Yana Novik, and ..." Glancing over her shoulder with the quirk of a brow.

She was good, but he didn't care about her mask of control. Instead, he had a mission and he planned to see it fulfilled. Right now, it was information and then it would be scratching an itch. But he preferred the two happened in the order specified.

She smiled at his question causing him to wonder if she wanted to ask him the same thing. At least she was willing to answer. He leaned back as he thought of all the large felines around the world. A cheetah then. That was the only fast cat out there. At least, faster than the average. Everyone knew lions, males, were slow as fuck. And lazy.

Interesting. He had never encountered a cheetah before. He finished off his beer as she started to speak again. Peachy, huh? He wouldn't have compared her to a fruit, but he guessed that was alright too. But tense. Yes, he could certainly understand that. He was the same way. Most Weres were. "I do," he simply said with a nod. There wasn't anything else he could say.

A smile was given at her little nickname. Compared to her, he was a slow spot. But at least his beast gave him more power, where are her's was fast and in the wild, terribly inbred. At least, that's what Animal Planet claimed. He couldn't argue with them. "Don't worry, I'll catch up," he grumbled as he scooted the chair back and pushed it in as they headed toward the bouncer that would put their names in.

"Rowan O'Tera," he said, when she looked back at him for his name. There, introductions were made and now they could get on with it. He wondered if her human would be just as fast as her beast counterpart. No doubt she was a fighter and just because she was a female didn't mean he would take it easy on her. "You ready for this?" he asked as he prepped for the cage.

Rowan O'Tera. She considered him for a moment, not bothering to mask her staring as she decided if she thought the name fitting. Seemingly satisfied, she glanced back to the bouncer as he ran through the very minimal conditions and terms. Lacing her fingers and stretching her arms as high above her head as she could, rolling each ankle in turn once she was at the base of the ring.

Noticing how he made no comment at her shot in the dark as to his particular type, assuming she had hit the mark and trying to consider what she knew of leopards. She could think of easier fights - but she also liked to think she had had tougher one's under her belt. Even if the evening ended in defeat, it would provide insight and experience in case there was a next time she ran into a leopard. A win / win.

Fights, like most things required first and foremost an understanding of one's own strengths and weaknesses. It was around those parameters she would attempt to build her understanding of Rowan's. Confident at any rate that she knew herself well enough to give him a run for his money.

While her inherent strength rivaled and easily surpassed that of most human women, well aware that in relation to most large cats she took a back seat. The name of the game in any sparring scenario was defense - the fight, just as psychological as it was physical, at least if she was going to stand any real chance of coming out victorious. There could be no rage induced off the cuff swings, every move needed to be measured and purposeful- possible repercussions calculated before they could unfold.

Take a hit, slink back and wait for the next opportunity to present itself - let the powerful wear themselves down and out. Get the poor sucker to do your work for you. "Come on then, Rowan. Beer is on me if you manage a victory. Shots are on you when I win." Stepping up and taking her time as she choose the far side and watched him closely, determined to bide her time. A patient hunter.

He noticed her eyes on him, his lips twitching upward in a rather charming smile as he stretched his arms. He moved them in a circle, relaxing his rotator cuffs before bending down and stretching each leg individually. Her bounced side to side, feeling blood rush to his muscles, making them more limber. All the while, he was thinking of how many cheetahs there where and if they were a common species. He wouldn't know, assuming that his kind was more rare.

He lifted his black tee over his head, putting it in a little cubbie for the fighters next to the ring along with his shoes and socks leaving just his loose jogging pants. He was ready to get in, offering her a hand in the ring if she so wished. He watched as she walked to the far side, leaving him with the side closest to the exit, and then they were closed in. He bounced from one foot to the next, staying on the balls of his feet for better stability and lightness.

So she was going to be fast, naturally, and stronger than human woman. She was smaller, which accounted for a smaller area of attack. Of course, he didn't want to hurt her, but there was something about a good fight that excited his beast. His head tilted when she spoke, easily tuning out the roar of the crowd in order to hear her. "Sounds like a solid plan, but I will win," he said, throwing her confidence back at her. Just seconds later, the bell rang and the fight was on.

The confidence that oozed from his prediction pulled a smile across her face - one that looked like it would be right at home with a pat on the back. That's nice, dear. Just before the bell rang, patting the front of her hair to make sure there were no glaring loose sections to offer any distraction. With the proverbial clock officially started, hunching over slightly and smiling a little wider at chatter of the crowd that dwindled just slightly.

Focusing on her opponent entirely, the boundaries that marked the room limited then to the extent of the ring itself. This Rowan, from what she gathered, definitely seemed to have had better days than today. And while she wished him no ill will, that suited her just fine in the context of the fight. Hopeful that it would make him reckless, cautiously optimistic that he would be sloppy. And while she didn't have to throw her punches necessarily - planning to exploit any advantage she could get.

Rubbing the palms of her hands together, intentionally slow as she hugged the parameter and avoided the initial impulse to react and go in swinging as soon as the bell rang. Staying to the side and trying to keep her face blank as she made her way around - tense and seemingly ready to spring into action at any moment.

Without much in the way of warming, diverting her path and cutting directly across the ring, springing forth from her corner. At the same time, curling her hand into a fist and pulling her arm back before swinging forward with as much force as she could muster - aiming a punch at his side. A flash of gold reflected in passing within her eyes - a pleased comfort from the beast within at the thought of drawing first contact.

Dice dictate it's a hit!



She was terribly mistaken if she thought that just because he was having a shitty week that he would be sloppy. The fact that he was able to focus on something instead of the seemingly endless thoughts in his head benefited him. He wanted to see what Yana had in her. Most women he met, since being from the South, tended to stay out of the ring and into themselves. With Yana patting her hair for now known reason to him, it definitely made him wonder if she was cut out for this.

Then again, she had her hair pulled back so tight that it should have made her eyebrows rise. A soft smile was given as he shifted on his feet, his stance widening for balance and stability while his hands, loosely fisted came up to block his face. The bell rang, but she didn't wait for a circle here and a circle there. She went straight at him. He had just enough time to tightened his abs and twist every so slightly so she hit muscle instead of bone. Still, the impact knocked the breath out of him as he took a step to the side.

She was tall, and to hit him in the side for that, she had to have been hunched over just a tad, perfect for him. He brought an arm up, his fist circled aiming to slam an elbow down on her back. He wanted her to fall or lose her balance, or both. At least give her a bruise to remember him by.... ever the romantic. He kept a loose fist by his face, to block any attempts at payback there, but that said little for the safety of the rest of his body as he was now face in the same direction she was. Toward the exit.

The thought barely crossed his mind that she was using her Were stretgh to fight him. He only hoped that he would have to conduct damage control if her beast wanted to show itself. The crowd would be too far away to notice a change in eye color, but still. If she wanted a fight she would get one.


The contact made her mask slip, a lopsided smirk at the feeling of her fist hitting against skin and the sound of his breath rushing out as he staggered step to the side. Reeling at the force she had foolishly decided to put into the punch, she scrambled to right her footing just as he went to bring down his elbow. The force behind it being enough to make her stumble in that narrow window of vulnerability, a barely registered grunt as she caught herself with the open palms of her hands and landed on her hip. A sharp inhale of breath at the promise of some degree of bruising there in a couple of hours. For now, however, there was only adrenaline.

Nearly proud as she considered in her briefly stunned state the amount of force behind the driven elbow that connected a few inches off from her spine. A comfort in the knowledge that this would be fair, a victory that - if earned, would be her own and not willingly given. Taking a split second to scold herself and her own display of ego and arrogance in that revelation - rewriting her understanding of this fight at every move.

Taking only a few seconds to assess their relative positions and with a tense look in his direction, attempting to swing her leg around. Aiming for the back of his knee in the hopes that she could buy herself enough time to make a window in which she could get back to her feet and get a firm grip on the upper hand.

Hit! I assumed during his stumble she was able to stand?

He had used just enough force to knock her down, his elbow coming down just off of her spin and forcing her to the ground. He didn't waste any effort in reveling in his small victory. No. The fight was just starting and he had to keep his wits about him, especially if she was having her beast fight with her. He could only hope that she was strong enough to keep control otherwise he would be forced to try and bring her down.

He was far too close to her, and just as he was about to move, her leg shot out, quickly hooking around his knee and causing him to stumble, though the force wasn't powerful enough -due to the odd angle- to knock him to the ground. He had fallen for that same exact move with he had fought with Liam. But not today. Still, Yana was able to stand during his stumble as he quickly righted himself and went after her before she had a full chance to recover.

He went int with a quick one-two jab aimed, yes, for that beautiful face of hers. He wasn't going to discriminate. She was a Were and that made her powerful. The face was up for grabs especially since he was hoping to get to her before she was able to block it completely. Because of the speed of his movement, it was no where near his full strength.


In those precious seconds between standing and taking a couple shuffled steps backwards, Yana worked diligently to calm herself. Forcing a deep breath in and out through her nose and willing herself to level out enough so that she could regain the same white knuckle grip she held on her composure in day to day life. You can have fun, but you need to be mindful. Words to live by in all aspects of life.

Quickly realizing the error of her ways before she had time to correct them - having taken a few seconds too long to reflect, it seemed. A couple of steps too short of immediate safety, for that matter. Seeing the fist coming just in time to turn away from a direct hit to her nose, grateful for that at least, Though as his fist made substantial contact just under her left eye she grunted - wincing at the ache and gasping at how that impulsive gesture only made the throbbing pain worse. That, was definitely going to bruise.

Okay, so now she was mad.

Frustration fueling her alone to not retreat immediately, to stray from typical tactics and to respond in turn as soon as possible. One arm staying raised to hopefully block any future assault directly to her face. Hunched over now to try to protect her midsection in the mean time. Free hand swinging up in an effort to try to connect with the underside of his jaw, stepping into the punch to put more force into it.

Miss! -cough- I told ya so ;)

He made contact, thought the speed at which he was hitting wasn't hard enough to break any bones, he knew that it was definitely leave a bruise. He balanced on the balls of his feet, his arms up in a block for any direct assault to his face, but he hadn't seen the uppercut that she threw. The blow knocked him back a few steps, his teeth and gums humming from the impact as he shook her head in an attempt to recover.

He had to give it to her, she was fast and she could take a hit. The thought caused him to smile as he shuffled in, his right legs swinging out to try and knock her feet out from under her by hooking around an ankle. He knew time was running out and soon the match would be called. No matter who was victor, it was a good fight. He kept his arms up for protection and balance. No way was he going to let her get in another uppercut like that. That son of a bitch hurt. Especially with her bone-y little knuckles.

Hit! >_>

As soon as Yana drew back she uncurled her fist and shook her hand, smiling despite the discomfort and side stepping around him as he began to right himself. This was always a crucial point in any fight - the moment in which the tide was turning and confidence could easily turn to arrogance. It as where people (herself included) got sloppy and ruined whatever they had worked so hard to gain. Reminding herself to take it all worth a grain of salt, it wasn't done until it was done.

His leg shot out and brushed against hers, enough force that she stumbled but did not fall - tilting her head to the side and smirking as a form of unauthentic apology once she untangled herself from him with a quick step backwards, Trying to fake him out with her right and moving in to jab him with her left, aiming for his stomach now that he seemed to be so concerned with his face. Her right forearm in front of her face, not wanting to give him another window of opportunity to potentially break her nose.


He held back, knowing that any human would start to tire during the end of their round. His hazel eyes glanced upward to look at the time clock knowing that the match would soon end. His foot brushed her leg, but she was still in the fight, and she stumbled, but kept herself upright. He bit the inside of his lip softly as he shuffled he advanced. But she recovered quickly.

She went to the right, and he shifted, but she quickly went to the lift instead, her small fist coming in contact with his muscular stomach. It didn't hurt all that much. Of course, it was already sore from her first Were-assisted hit, but it didn't take the break out of him. He reached out in an attempt to hook his arms around the back of her neck and force her upper body down.

If successful, his knee would come up in an attempt to knee her in the gut, if things ended badly, then her face. He wasn't aiming for that part of her again, but things never went the way they wanted to in a fight.


Despite however much she prided herself in being hyper aware of her surroundings, Yana had neglected to anticipate his arm coming around to make purchase against the back of her neck. Tensing when he attempted to pull her down on his knee, attempting to twist her body to the side and back. Her efforts rewarded by a hit - his knee itself connecting first with her collar bone, the force of it being enough to make her jaw come down against his leg in turn. The distinct taste of copper on her tongue being enough to make her stomach squirm - running her tongue over her bottom lip and wincing when she found more blood, the skin apparently split just to the side.

Wrapping both of of her arms around his lifted leg, comfortable in the crook of his knee as she tucked her head down and tried to push forward and against him while at the same time attempting to lift his leg higher still. The plan being to get him down and out on his back within these precious last few seconds, to see him incapacitated now that he had gotten more hits in than she had anticipated or was comfortable with acknowledging.


He could smell blood and for a moment, he wasn't sure if it was hers or his. Either way, he was fine with it. His brows creased together as concentrated. They were close now, barely any room between them. He could feel her hands wrap around his knee, causing him to balance on his one remaining leg. She heaved and he could feel his body tipping backward. He decided not to fight it. He went down. But if he was going down, then he was taking her with him.

He attempted to grab her shoulders as he fell backward. His instincts told him to land on his feet, but he went against them. He fell back against the mat with a loud thump, knocking the air out him. He hoped that he was able to pull her down. If he had, he would have lifted his legs up to push her away from his body. He wanted to vault her up and over him. But the move could easily turn sloppy.

A few seconds later, the bell rang, signaling the end of the match. He breathed hard, rolling over to look to see if she was okay. He sat up to his knees, a small smile on his face as he took a deep breath and realeased it. "Where did you learn how to fight like that? You're pretty good," he said as he she stood, offering her a hand.

Damn it. Caught off guard by the firm grip he had on her shoulders as he went down with little in the way of struggle, trying to twist away just as her feet started to lift off. Seeing where this was going and moving to grab hold of his wrists - to dig her nailsin even as she flipped over him. All of her efforts to squirm away before he had successfully gotten her off her feet earning her another bruise as she landed on her left hip instead of her back.

A genuine laugh for the first time of the evening when the bell rang, briefly relaxing against the mat below and taking a deep breath. Slowly allowing herself to sit up and pressing the back of her hand to the corner of her mouth, glancing down at her hand to try to assess how bad the cut was. Not terrible, it seemed - enough that in theory it would be far less of an annoyance by the time tomorrow arrived. "San Francisco. You did well for yourself, Rowan." Slapping her hand into his and hoisting herself up and back onto her feet with ease.

A heavy sigh as she brushed herself off and stepped down, going for her shoes and minimal belongings. "More importantly ..." Rolling her ankles each in turn to make sure her shoes were on comfortably. "I believe if we are counting by hits and not blood drawn, you owe me a shot." Removing the tie from her hair and leaving it on her wrist for the time being - that, was certainly enough fighting for one evening, after all.

He helped her stand and soon they both exited the ring, Yana first, then him. Her wounds should be fully healed within the hour. Soon another pair of contenders passed them and entered the ring, the crowd eager for another fight. He took his shirt and quickly put it on, next were his shoes. He offered a small smile at her comment. He probably was a little harder on her than he should have been, with the smell of her blood still in the air, but he knew she could take it.

He wasn't going to discriminate based on gender. Otherwise she would have laid him out like a pancake. Now that they were dressed, there was another matter they needed to attend to. He hadn't forgotten. Technically she had gotten in more hits than him. "I suppose you're right. If I remember right I owe you.... shots?" he said with a raised eyebrow. He knew he owed her shots but he was being the kind guy and asking in case she changed her mind.

He headed toward the bar, not checking to see if she would follow or not. The air was cooler now that he was finally away from the throng of people near the ring. The fight had definitely put his beast at ease but he wouldn't a drink or two to top off the evening. He sat at one the stools at the bar, turning to see if Yana was still with him.

"That you do, Sir. Whiskey or vodka is fine, I am not particular." Pulling a smile that was amused, and perhaps a little smug on the wings of her flawed victory. Not particular, now that was a laugh in and of itself. The promise of reward, and free alcohol to boot was enough to make her follow on his heels over to the bar. Side stepping and weaving past people until they crowd broke, coming up alongside him and propping her elbows on the counter - motioning to the bar tender to make sure they were noticed before turning somewhat to more or less face him.

Conversation, while not necessary, at least registered on her radar as a viable option now that she had worn out some of the tension that had her ready to snap moments prior. A new interest and respect for her bar companion - having always measured people by their beast and their character in equal measure. There was value in someone who was not willing to throw their punches, enough so that it at least sparked some interest. A rarity, these days it seemed.

"So, let's revisit the topic: where did you learn to fight?" Wondering if he was local, entertaining a few theories as to what he could possibly do for a living.

Her scent, as well as the scent of blood, followed him tot he bar. When he turned, he knew she would be right behind him. Still, he was polite and offered her the bar stool next to him by pulling it out. The bartender was with them shortly. "Can we have a couple of Bad Apple shots?" It seemed like it would have been a good shot. It was with Crown Royal Regal - apple flavored and some cinnamon. To be honest, it almost sounded like Fireball with a hint of apple. But he wouldn't be able to tell until he tried it.

Besides, the name sounded interesting.

He turned to Yana when she started to speak, a corner of his lips curving upward. "Growing up I had an older cousin that wanted to make sure I new what I was doing," he said simple, his hazel eyes following the bartender as he made their shots for only a second before returning to Yana. "I won't bore you with the details. Are you new to town?" He could tell by her accent that she wasn't from Cordova, or the US for that matter. It didn't take the bartender long before their shots were given to them and rowan placed one in front of her and took the other one. "To a well-earned victory."

"Ah, a cousin - that was nice, I am sure." For her part, the year or so immediately following her infection had been a somewhat trying period. Nolan had never excelled at bedside manner, and her personal issues when it came to control had made for quiet a few internalized power struggles against her beast. At the time, the coalition in San Francisco had been very archaic and Spartan in their handling of most matters. That mindset, it had been what had forced her to adapt and funnel that frustration into sparring - but it felt like something a bit too serious to discuss over shots that were named Bad Apple.

"Fairly new to the area, not new to the country, however. I've been here since I was twelve." Well aware that her accent was noticeable enough for even the most flighty to notice on a long enough time scale. "My family is from Belarus. Minsk, if you would like to be particular about these things." Muttering a thank you when he passed her the second glass, tapping hers against his before raising it to her lips and shooting it back. Considering her glass and the cinnamon apple burn as it bloomed in the back of her mouth and down her throat. "Not terrible. If there is ever a rematch, you may order these again when I win."

All Rowan did was nod in response to her comment about his cousin. He was dead now, killed. He missed him, having someone to talk to and guide him, but he was never coming back. He had gotten over it throughout the years but it was not something that he brought up. He glanced at his companion, noticing that now that her hair was down, she looked less sharp. Less like a school teacher ... or drill seargent and more... well, free.

Perhaps they both needed to de-stress over a few rounds in the cage. He listened carefully as she spoke about her family and growing up in a different country. He'd never been out of the country and was naive to where smaller countries were simply because he never needed to know. Perhaps he should change that lack of knowledge in the future. It wasn't like he didn't have enough time on his hands.

"Do you miss it?" he asked, genuinely curious. Most people made America look like this superb country but when they finally arrived, they were let down. He wondered if she were one of those people. Besides, he was happy to talk about anything other than himself. The shots were given and his lips twitched into a smile. He threw the shot back, the alcohol breifly burning the back of his throat before settling in his stomach. The burn there reminded him that he needed to eat something when he got home.

"I can, can I? I think this round was only a fluke. But you earned it. I think you got the crowd going," he teased before looking back at the crowd gathered around the cage, sheering on the next contestants.

"Minsk?" She balked at the thought before she could bring herself to stop - staring at him as if he lost his mind. Recomposing herself once reality set in, he didn't know, of course. He had no idea of her or her life. "It's a cold place, I don't much care for being cold. We left when I was twelve so ... I am not overly fond of my home, I suppose." Her own experience within America being a more or less positive one. Not exactly the type who would wear an American flag shirt and attend an Independence day firework celebration. Yet still, she knew things could be infinitely worse if she were still in Belarus. Infinitely more mundane.

"Sometimes I miss San Francisco, though. I had a family there, of sorts." Intentional in her lack of detail, confident enough in his ability to keep up - feeling safe in the wager that he would understand the implication. Lifting her arm to nudge him with her elbow, no real force behind the gesture as she glanced over her shoulder to the cage and then back to him. "If that is a challenge for another evening, Rowan O'Tera, I accept. But just know, for next time of course, you've set the terms and I will not play nicely."

He simply blinked at her when she stared at him. He knew he hadn't grown a second head, but she was looking at him like he had. He leaned back, getting comfortable in his seat as she started to speak again. So she was was from a land of chill and shivers. He wouldn't have liked it either since he was from Texas, the land of dry heat and cattle.

"I can understand that. I was born in Ireland but moved to the US when I was a little over two. I don't miss it, but I also don't remember it," he said, finally offering up a bit about himself like she had. He decided there was no harm sharing where he was born since he had no blood relatives still living. He didn't even have a pard, as Yana was hinting at.

Or whatever a band of cheetahs are called.

He hadn't even known there was such a Were species. Then again, leopard were rare as well. "Tell me if I'm over-stepping, but why did you leave San Francisco?" he asked, genuinely curious as to her reason. If she missed it, why not go back? There couldn't be anything stopping her unless she was a part of another group... or if she was running from someone.

He couldn't help the toothy grin he gave as she challenged him. She had no idea what she was getting into. He hadn't used her full strength or full speed since they needed to appear human, but perhaps next time they wouldn't be in the presence of humans. "I don't doubt that. But neither will I."

You are overstepping. The comment nearly made it past her lips in a rare show of her hand, but she caught it in time and pushed it back down. To evade was to admit to having something to hide - and that was unacceptable as far as she was concerned. "My family, they went through a very large shift in power. It was no longer a beneficial environment for me to be in, and so I left." Simple and to the point, leaving out specifics and pressing forward despite the desire to order herself a second round now that she was brought back to that time. The utter shameful horror that was the transfer of power the last time she had been in San Francisco.

"Pardon me for being so direct, but you haven't ... met anyone like me before, have you? Around these parts?" Cautiously optimistic, well aware the odds were slim. But hell, it had been a good couple of months in terms of uncovering kin - maybe he could set her on the path towards more. A little less subtle in her wording this time around, confident at least that she could spin it to being about Belarus if there were any eavesdroppers.

The promise of an opportunity to really roll up her sleeves and put her full force and movement into a fight was an alluring one, indeed. Still she tried to remain composed and indifferent on the outside, a curt nod at his warning of sorts. "Perhaps then, we should make that happen. Maybe somewhere less public." Hesitating a moment as she considered her words and furrowed her brow, looking back to him now. "Fighting, I mean - please do not misunderstand me."

He nodded in understanding. That was all he needed to know. So one alpha had been taken out and that meant the whole group dinamics had changed. It wasn't unusual when there was a shift in power to do such a thing. There was always a reason as to why the shift happened, but it hadn't been the best for Yana. Rowan wasn't dense. He could tell she didn't want to talk about it so he didn't push for more information. In fact, that was all he needed to know.

Although Rowan, himself, hadn't been a part of a pard, he could feel himself leaning toward starting a group of his own, only because his beast seemed to like the closeness of others. Being on his own wasn't cutting it anymore. Still, he could hide the smile at her own direct question. "No. I haven't. You're one of a kind in my book," he said as a wayward compliment. Anyone listening would easily think he was trying his hand at flirting. It was easy to assume. The two just went at it in the ring, they shared a drink and now they were talking. She was beautiful in her own sharp and brazen beauty and he... well he was a guy and he wasn't blind.

Still, the thought of a rematch had his beast's head lifting and blinking at her in interest. He wouldn't have turned that down. Still, he couldn't help the laugh that had parted his lips as went to correct herself. "Of course. There's no other reason as to why we would meet in private. Is there?" he said, raising a brow in question as he motioned to the bartender for another round.

"Flattery, despite what a better person might tell you, will get you many different places in life." Laughing at his delivery despite the unfortunate news - hell, she had been half expecting it anyway. That was fine, there was time, she was patient. And if nothing else, perhaps, maybe - one day ... one day there might be a coalition in Mountainside. Now that she would most certainly make sure to have her hands in one way or another.

Propping an elbow on the bar now, Yana rested her chin in her hand and watched him, his smile contagious enough to tug at the corners of her lips "You're either very good at playing coy or the biggest prude I have ever met." Seemingly undisturbed by the implied meaning of the sentiment, unshaken as she graciously accepted the second round and downed the shot in one swoop. "I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the former."

Licking her lips, the cinnamon burn more enjoyable this time around, tapping the side of the glass with a nail before she set it down. "These could be dangerous on a long enough time scale." Glancing to her phone to check the time before turning on the stool to face him. "Let's exchange contacts, ... for sparring purposes, stop smiling."

Oh. He knew. But he liked playing coy and flattery was everything. Getting other's to admit what they were actually hinting at was a joy for him. This way everything was out on the table. There was nothing left to hide. His head tilted in a feline gesture as she smiled back. So. Not so strict as she would have seemed, nor liked. Perhaps she was like him, wanting control over everything around her, if not everything then just herself.

There was no way to tell as he didn't really know her. Still. "Mm. You'll never know," he said, his voice a low rumble as the shots were placed in front of them. He tipped his toward her in salute before downing it. These weren't half bad. A good medium for men and women stereotypical drinks. Not that he was stereotyping her.... the drinks could simply be enjoyable no matter who you were.

He looked at the simple shot glass, the sides smooth but durable before running a thumb over it and setting it down on the table. His dark eyes met hers as she suggested changing contacts. He could do that. Besides, if Carmilla was seeing other people, then why no loosen up a bit. He grinned as she teased him. "You'd have to make me. But I don't think you can," he said, before giving her his number.

You'll never know. That was sweet, really. Confident in her own abilities were she to set her mind to something, bordering on arrogant in regards to what she could accomplish if she really applied herself. Picking up her phone, she typed in his number and shot him a quick text: To get your ass kicked again, call. - Yana x

Looking him square in the eye now and chuckling, an expression that did plenty to convey her overwhelming doubt in regards to his theory. "Only one way to find out if I can, I guess I'll be hearing from you." More challenges, a dare of sorts even if it was not said in so many words. "Two shots seems like a fair enough trade, you're off the hook for now." Pointing to the settling bruise on her cheek and the cut at the corner of her lip. Unperturbed out of the heat of the moment, letting it roll off in the knowledge that things would be much better after a good night's rest.

Offering her hand out to him once she slid her phone into her pocket and patted herself to make sure she had her keys. "Until next time, then?"

"You'll be hearing from me again," he said confidently after he gave her his number. If they didn't have human supervision then they could really put their strength and speed to the test. He smiled as pointed to her injuries. They were already starting to heal because of the blood that ran through her veins but hell, he hoped no one around them noticed.

He closed out his tab and handed the bartender his card for heir two shots. "Fair enough. Next time you'll be buying me the shot though." He took her hand, shaking it firmly. "Until then, Yana," he said in fairwell. He'd wait to get his card back and then he was out of here. His beast was satisfied but his stomach wasn't. He'd go home, cook a decent meal and then fall in bed. He'd probably get called into work tomorrow anyway. He needed to save his strength.

-end thread-

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