2019-10-01 - Suspicion


Matt and Maeve meet again and learn sekrits!

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Oct 1 07:17:33 2019
Location: The Gym

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Theme Song



The place isn't pretty. While there has been some growth in the Hell's Kitchen, as it would always be known, area of New York, it still has a lot of areas that could use some attention to bring into the modern era. This gym happens to be one of them. Yet, despite the fact he was built in the seventies, it has been open under one name or the other for decades. It might change hands but it was always a gym. Aerobics in the eightie. Kickboxing in the nineties. Onward it went.
At this point, it is just a bit of everything rolled into one desperately-in-need-of-a-makeover package. From the outside, it just had one word painted on the blacked out window. GYM. Inside, most of the equipment was well used but still operable. From the boxing ring in the corner to the blue mats laid out on the opposite corner for the martial artists. Some free weights in another area. A few heavy and speed bags. Not fancy but functional, like most of the regulars who came here.
One of those was Maeve. This was a place where she was able to be herself. No work. No masks. Just her dressed down into a pair of black shorts and a matching sports bra. When in her suits, the only thing people could really discern was her strong calves. Here, she was revealed as being completely toned and muscled, everything defined, very little body fat at all. Her hands and feet were wrapped and she was currently working at one of the heavy bags with a series of kicks and punches, over and over, a sheen of sweat covering her body from the intensity.

There's a kinship shared between the gymnasiums in New York. A lot of storied history between them where in the years past they'd suffered through the same economic down turns, enjoyed the same surges of fitness aware trends, and often-times they came up and were opened with the help of one or another. Sure they were in competition with each other, but with that feeling of sportsmanship between the owners it was more good-natured. Not quite the same thing they shared with the mega-gyms that wanted to drive the mom and pop training facilities out of business.
And if there's one gym where a good chunk of the others have come from, it's been Fogwell's. No less than a dozen places can all trace their 'lineage' back to their owners having trained there or taught there or fought there. A good pedigree to come from Foggy's family business. Though it's something only mentioned in passing by the old coots of the place.
But such camaraderie leads to some back and forth between the places. Practical jokes? Sure. Some good natured challenges and ribbing? Definitely. Yet they also sometimes come through for each other. Like Matt Murdock does for the manager of Maeve's gym today.
"Hey Berty," The voice of the young man is heard as he calls out across the gym, entering and carrying a gym bag at his side. He's dressed appropriately for the gym as if he was getting ready to work out, long jersey fabric shorts, sneakers, and a white t-shirt that proclaims 'Fogwell's Gym' in large letters, but it's the flush of his features, the way his t-shirt had some sweat stains to it already, it's apparent he most likely already had his workout a little earlier.
The smile is there in the greeting, no cane out for the moment or perhaps already put away. And Berty steps around from his desk, "What're you doin' here tanight, kid? Ain't it a bit late for ya?"
"Got a long night ahead of me, Bert. But thought I'd run these over." He hefts the gym bag and extends it forward where the gym manager takes it off of him.
"This the tape?"
"Yeah, and the med kits. Got an inspection coming up?"
"Yeah, lil bird told me tomorrow. So gotta get my ducks in a row. Thanks fer this, Matty. Much obliged."
"Sure thing."

When she is working out, Maeve is still hyper aware of her surroundings. Old habits. From her days as a criminal, being in prison and now guarding others from people like she used to be. Though she seems completely focused, she is aware when the stranger enters. Not one she has seen before in this gym. And not a stranger, though he was not a regular at this facility.
It was a face she hadn't seen for a year. When he managed to get charges against her dismissed, allowing her to remain on the street working her way to trying to balance her karma a bit.
She pauses, putting a hand to the bag to still it then turns to look toward the conversation. She leans against the bag, one hand gripping the chain at the top as she watches the blind lawyer chat with Bert. Only once they seem to be done does she call out. "Mr. Murdock. Guess we finally managed to pass each other on the street after all. Or the gym." She waves a hand at the room then realizes that was silly once again. Blind. Can't see things like that. Yet, people have their habits and using hands when talking to help punctuate points is one of them.

The lawyer in his suit at their conference and at their court date gave her no hint that he could dress down on occasion. She'd only seen him in suits and ties and with those leather shoes without tread that were made for people who wouldn't need to do something so egregious as walk around. But it was all to present an image.
So when he turns to face in the direction someone called out to him, and then he takes a few steps across the way, she might not have imagined what he was hiding under those fine clothes. Considering the firm well-developed legs as toned as her own complete with the small dimple marking the powerful musculature. Or the dense forearms with their clearly delineated vascularity twisting upward. And the way he fills out that sweat-slickened t-shirt with its contours hugging the strong curves of his chest. It turns out he had his own secrets apparently.
His smile brightens his features almost instantly though his head is tilted to the side, a little confused… searching his memory. "Hello!" He calls out, perhaps trying to buy some time. His footsteps are quiet as he walks over, sneakers barely making a sound as he stops right at the edge of the training run where the heavy bags hang, as if knowing the layout of the place from memory.
"Ms…Brennan?" He asks, holding up a hand and aiming a finger gun at her hoping he has the right name and the voice. To be fair she was in his memory well-situated as a nice victory that he was pleased about. A nice ending.

"Got it in one. I'm impressed, Mr. Murdock. And not a lot impresses me." He may have learned that from their dealings a year ago. Maeve finds herself looking him over, a little surprised to find what was hidden under his suits. She shouldn't be. Considering her own physique and how she kept it out of view of those she worked around. After all, it might give away information about her skills, if it was known how she kept her physique. She wasn't perfection. There as a scar here or there. A knife wound. A shank back in prison. Even a couple of circular ones indicating where bullets had added their part to her story, right at her lower back.
"Never seen you here. Did we just happen to miss each other or just passing through and thought you might get a membership?" As they were. Bert wasn't real formal about such things. It was more a pay if you could but even those that couldn't, as long as they followed the rules, he generally allowed access. It was more family.

"Oh." Matt rests his hands on his hips and takes a deep breath, still smiling a little at the corner of his mouth, "Usually I work out over at Fogwell's." He lifts a hand and gestures with it over his shoulder in the vaguely general direction of the place some several blocks down the street. "A friend of mine, his family runs it so. I get all the perks. Like clean towels, and a free locker and…" He starts to trail off.
Though that's when Berty pipes up as he walks by, taking that gym bag with him as he says sidelong, "This guy botherin' you, Maeve?" He acts like he's eying up Murdock and glowers.
"Want me ta take him outside and mess him up for ya?" But his smile breaks through the tough guy facade, letting them know he's kidding even as he keeps on walking towards the back of the place.
Matt holds up his hands, "C'mon, Berty. Last time we went a few rounds I had bruises for a week."
"That's right, Murdock. So don't step wrong while yer here!" He winks at Maeve as he disappears from view in the next moment, leaving the two of them alone. Except for a few of the guys working the free weights and the tread mills.
"Old friends," He offers in way of an explanation.

"Bert, since when did I need you to take someone outside for me? I'll do my own dirty work," Maeve says to his teasing tone, giving a very fleeting and very rare smile. It is something that comes out when she isn't trying to guard herself. Around Bert and the others here at the Gym? It's a pretty common sight.
As he disappears to the back, she focuses back on Matt. "You look like a gym rat so it would make sense. Free weights, I'm guessing for some of that?" She looks him over critically. "If I didn't know better, I'd guess some gymnastics training? Calluses on your hands boxing and martial arts. How does that work? Not meaning any offense but kind of hard to see what your opponent is doing."

She can see his smile slip a little pained, as if the explaining of it might be considered difficult, but it's still a smile as he turns his head to the side. The lenses in his glasses catch the light a little and when he turns back there'll be a faint gleam and then it's her own reflection again looking back at her.
"Well, I mentioned my father was a boxer. So I picked that up. Though I mainly just work out with it. Some martial arts, jiu-jitsu and judo, grappling. It helps when you can keep a hand on your opponent at times."
A tilt of his head is given as he uncurls a hand towards her, "But sometimes you can manage with other senses." He holds up a finger, "One sec, here… step onto the mats?"
And as he asks that of her he'll bring one foot up to rest on his knee, and pulls off his sneaker. Then he shifts legs and does the other, now just in his white athletic socks. He'll step out onto the mats as well and takes up a place some six feet from her.
"So…" he holds out a hand in her direction. "I can… tell you're there. I'm somewhat familiar with this place. I could hear your footsteps on the mats, these are…" He grins, "Particularly old ones, so they crinkle and gasp as you move on them." Then he straightens up a little, "But the air in here is a bit musty, and you're not. Also when you move you can… kind of sense the change in air pressure right? I'm sure you've done that before. Only I've had a lot of time to sort of focus on that."

As he motions, Maeve nods then realizes the rocks in her head aren't going to make enough noise for him to hear it. "Sure." She moves over there, feet already bare other than the wraps so she doesn't have to take the extra time to remove shoes. She takes up her spot even as he is already doing the same, picking a spot so they are basically squared off. As he explains the bits and pieces, she lets out a very low whistle.
"I never thought about it. When in a fight, sometimes you can just tell things are coming or sense them. Even fight in the dark, when you have to. But you have taken it to a whole new level." She has no idea just how much of a new level he has taken it to.
"I am very impressed, Mr. Murdock." Then she grins despite herself, the smile making her more cute than her usual normal appearance. "So the first order of business is buy Bert new mats."

"Good luck with that," About Bert getting new mats, he lightly kicks the ones they're standing on and grins. "I think these were the ones we had originally at Foggy's back in like… the late 90s." His lips twist into a small smile. He cups a hand to his ear and says, "If you listen closely, you might still hear the sounds of a young Matt Murdock being thrown around like a sack of potatoes."
But then he takes a few more steps and extends a hand towards the foot of that boxing ring, resting it there then turning back to face her and leaning against the edge of the ring, arms folding over his chest as he pays attention to her, "So how long have you been coming here? Was that you on the heavy bag earlier?"
He waits a moment for some acknowledgment and then continues, "You have a lot of power, I could hear the thumping even over Berty's shouting."

"You aren't kidding," Maeve says with a mock grimace. "He'll probably have these same mats twenty years from now. Just have duct tape all over them." She tries to ignore that one of the mats does have duct tape already on a corner. At least it is in a far edge, not on the working areas.
Being on the mets, she finds herself shifting her weight from foot to foot and listening to the crunching sound from the stuffing inside the blue material. Probably could tell where someone was with every footstep if focused. "Yeah, I was on the bag. Just working on some kicks mainly but I change it up with punches. Back and forth. I like to keep in shape and this is my main place to do so. Outside of work. I try not to use the company gym though. Gives away too much if people see you in a gym. Or am I just paranoid?" she adds with a soft laugh.

He grins and rubs at the stubble on his chin with a fingertip, looking thoughtful as he murmurs, "Well. Considering how we met, Ms. Brennan, I don't think it's paranoia if you know for a fact that there are some people carrying enough of a grudge and so are out to get you."
Then Matt turns his head slightly to the side, as if looking past her, "Though now that we've met and we're not in an official client attorney situation." Uh oh. He leans forwards a little and seems legitimately curious as he asks, "I had been dying to ask you, though it wouldn't have been professional to do so, how did you take out those three guys at once?"
He straightens up a little, "I mean you're…" He holds a hand across his chest about mid-way between those pectorals and gestures to… about her height. "And I know some of those fellows. They're…" His hand lifts upwards to signify people taller than himself. But only by a few inches.

"Mr. Murdock," Maeve begins in a slightly chiding tone of voice. In truth, she's amused. It isn't the first time she's been underestimated because of her appearance. It won't be the last. Throw in he isn't able to see the physique on display so he likely things she is small and squishy.
"Of all people, I would think you would understand don't judge a book by its cover. I had just done so, thinking that with your challenges, you would be at a disadvantage. Yet, you explained otherwise and I understand how there might be some advantages. While I may be less vertically blessed than those I was facing, I have been doing martial arts since I was six. And I was lucky enough to come to the attention of a grandmaster who saw some promise. He took me in and taught me more. There is a reason I do what I do for a living, despite my lack of height. I'm good at it. Damn good. I'm not stupid enough to think myself unbeatable, as everyone can be beaten. Just your average thug isn't going to be the one doing it."

"Well yes," Matthew responds, suitably chided but managing to smile through it all, "But I was more meaning the details of the fight. How did they come at you, and how did you take them down?" He gestures openly, expansively to the side as if trying to encompass the enormity of the world in that movement. "I trust you claim you are talented, I would just hear a recounting."
He then pushes away from that boxing ring and stretches his arm across his chest, loosening up a little as if he were either expecting to work out some more or perhaps expecting the need to cool down a little further to prevent aches and pains in the morning. "Though I understand if you'd prefer to maintain and preserve more of that interesting mystique you have about you."
She might think with his differences that he might not be able to discern much about her beyond her height, and her voice. But even as they're standing there chatting amiably, he is gauging her. He can tell that she's strong, from the way the chain and the heavy bag was rattling in protest to her strikes. Can sense the way she moves and the confidence in her tone of voice. He can even take in the scent of her, the strong clean odour of a healthy woman in the prime of her life having just exerted herself rather well… and able to do so for a long time to come.
He is curious, but then something else about that scent whispers to him that she may be curious as well.

"Yeah, mystique," Maeve said with a small laugh, dismissing that right away as the silliness it obviously was. "People in here know what I can do so no worries about that." She considers then gives a little shrug. "It wasn't really that challenging."
She moves on the mats, taking up a spot more central now. "They were all in front of me to begin with. Straight ahead and the others at 45 degree angles. When the first one swung on me, I dropped back through a doorway. That forced them to come at me one at a time. At first." She scooted back on the mats as she had when they came at her.
"They were more skilled at brawling, street fighting. Not really trained but good enough they were the bodyguards for their boss normally. Anyway, first one went down fairly easy but he managed to get me too far back from the door, allowing the other two in. One had some Karate skills so he was the one that took the longest. The other managed to grapple me at one point." Even as she is talking, she's moving on the mats. Her arms shift and twist, coming up in a block or going forward into a punch, her feet crunching with each step. With his explanation on his senses, she's hoping he is getting an idea at least. "I was able to use him holding me to get my feet up to take out the second guy. A backwards strike of my head to his nose got him to let me go. Then a simple roundhouse kick finished it off." There were a few more punches and kicks than she was saying but it summed it up at least.

Matt stretches his other arm across his chest, taking deep steadying breaths as he listens to her and nods as she moves. And to his credit he seems able to track her reasonably well as she gives her explanations, though doesn't seem to mind when her movements carry her closer to him and then back away, as if understanding where she would be in his mind's eye.
"When you talk about this you can sort of tell you have real enthusiasm for the martial arts." He means it as a compliment as he adds, "I don't think I've head you quite as excited in the five or six hours we spent together working, than I did just now describing how you whomped on some guys."
That said he gestures with one hand, "Would you like to give me some pointers? I have some time to kill and it might be fun to see how I measure up against a real fighter." As he says that he rests his hands again on his hips, awaiting her answer.

That compliment is enough to make her blush. Something that Maeve never ever does. "I..yeah. I enjoy keeping fit. Martial arts are my biggest love. Gymnastics a close second but I didn't give them as much attention as I should've when I learned how to fight. I like it, which I guess is kind of weird to like getting in fights. I enjoy a challenge and I know that there is a lot I still have to learn. I'm still trying to find a good dojo or private teacher. My last one kind of spoiled me so now the strip mall places just hold zero appeal."
She tilts her head to the side, considering him critically. "I have no problem working out with you. Not sure what pointers I can give as you already are teaching me stuff with the sensing where people are thing. Feel free to join me but anything specific you want to work on?"


Though he cannot see that blush, cannot notice the crinkles near her eyes, he can tell small other idiosyncrasies that might clue him in. The way she grows warmer with that blush, small increases of temperature around her features and shoulders. She has no idea the extent to which he can sense her. The way her heartbeat has picked up ever so slightly at the chance for a match. Or the increase to her pulse racing a little more as she eyes him critically. There's the scent of her and her exertion from the last hour tinged with the products she uses on that red hair and the leather of the gloves on her hand. As well as trace… trace hints of blood. Not hers. Interesting.
But the Matt she sees, he is easy-going, smiling sincerely as he folds his arms across his abdomen, and answers her enthusiasm with some of his own. "I find it usually easier to focus on grappling to start. Since it helps me get a feeling for…." His head tilts slightly, as if looking past her. "How my opponent moves. And what sort of sounds they make."
He takes a few steps and moves onto the old old mats that had been much maligned by their conversation earlier. Pausing just long enough to slip out of his shoes and set the down on the edge of it. He'll move forward and each step causes a soft 'whuf' of sound from the old blue plastic and fabric.
Turning to face her general direction he smiles as he uncurls a hand, "From there can move up to strikes and the like if you feel it best." Giving her the lead she deserves in this matter.

"Grappling is fine by me. Do you want to be…" She stops herself, realizing the question she was about to ask could be taken completely inappropriately. "We'll figure it out," is what she opts to say.
Already on the mats, she waits as he moves closer then takes steps toward him. She may be putting her feet down a little louder than she has to be she wants to be sure he knows she's approaching and doesn't just go for a punch. Sure, it could be avoided but better not to get into a brawl before there was supposed to be one. "I'm going to put my hand on your shoulder."
She reaches out a hand and rests it on his right shoulder. Then she follows suit with the other hand, to his left shoulder. This will allow him to get a grip on her as well. Hopefully he meant this type of grappling instead of what she originally thought of which was more traditional wrestling where they started on the floor.

As she steps forwards he holds up a hand, "One moment." He takes off those glasses, folding them neatly and placing them on the raised mat of the boxing ring. His eyes are closed, hiding the dark irises from her, perhaps with a small hint of self-consciousness. But he explains to her, "I know it disturbs some people so I'll keep them shut. Normally I have a strap but I didn't bring it with me." For the glasses.
But then she steps closer to him, extending her hand and he nods with agreement, "Like jiu-jitsu, or judo. I understand." Two of the styles he's admitted to training in. His own hands come up, well-practised, clean in movement as one lights upon her shoulder, the other slides over to her bicep and catches the crook of her elbow.
His eyebrows lift and he says, "You've been working out." He teases a little considering that she… is rather fit and muscular.
But then he offers a nod and with that they're off. Though gentle at first. A slight push here, a small pull there. Each starting to feel the other out, get a vibe for their level of ability, each sensing the equilibrium of the other. His head turns to the side slightly, and she might feel his foot trying to hook hers…
Only for him to instead of go for her foot to roll forwards into her legs trying to bring her down with that single smooth movement, one hand curling around her ankle as he twists it up and around. Not quite locking, but more gaining a grip.

"I'm certain it's fine. But whatever makes you more comfortable," Maeve responds about the closed eyes. Certainly, it doesn't matter to him that they are clossed. Oddly, it's a little disconcerting from her side of things. Knowing he is blind was one thing. Having it reinforced by him working with his eyes closed just made her wonder if this was a good idea. Yet, he seemed confident of his abilities to try at least so should she not give him a good workout? Should she go easy on him? If she were in his shoes, that would piss her off to have someone not give their all.
As the push and pull began, she was automatically gauging his movements, his balance. All things that came automatic in these moments. It wasn't really a thought process, it was instinct and gut. Experience. Muscle memory. Everything tied in there. Perhaps some thought but she found she did better when she tried not to think too much.
As she felt that foot sliding forward, she shifted her weight just to have him use that timy lessening of pressure on the upper body to go for a roll. Only, she wasn't one to just go with it. As he did his forward roll to grab her ankle, she bent over him, going for chest to back and her hands going to try to reach around his waist on her way over. It would hopefully end up with him finding the foot he caught already off the mat, her body in a forward roll, and her taking his body with her so that he ended up topsy turvy.

It was a smooth twist and a reversal of positions, her roll taking her past him as she evaded and ending with him rising up to one knee without having a good grip on her leg. It's all it takes for him not to stumble forward onto both knees when she wrenches her ankle back out of his grip. It lets her get to her feet with her hands on his shoulders while he only has one foot planted on the mats, the other leg is stuck with his knee on the ground.
But at her evasion he can't help but smile a little. Of course it makes sense for her, she's nimble, lithe. She won't want to oppose him too directly. Although… his hands upon her, he can tell that she is well-trained, honed like a weapon and her body has not an ounce of fat on it…
For a brief instant he reflects he better not take this too lightly, or it might be over in a flash.

Now that she is past him, Maeve comes up to her feet and quickly twists in place to come back around facing him. In that position, she has a chance to go for a grb which is what she opts to do. She tries to close with him. It's not one of the most graceful moves ever performed but she reaches for one of his arms, trying to capture it and pull him off balance from his leg.
This is where those muscles he felt might come in handy. Only, now that she has felt his movements with her hands on his shoulders, felt his strength challenging hers, she knows she's in for a challenge her simply because it is extremely fit. It means he won't be a pushoever physically.
Realizing she might not be able to get by on strength alone, she does shift her balance to put her weight on her back foot then swings the first foot forward to press against his calf and try to off balance him by pushing it the opposite direction. It isn't an actual kick.

Anticipating his movement to try and regain his feet, she's able to draw him forward, hand tight around his wrist and then jamming her foot into his calf and /forcing/ him off-balance causing him to spin roughly to the side where she is able to lift him up and over her hip, and bringing him down /hard/ upon the mats. It's a sound 'ippon' and would count for a point in a tournament. And perhaps she might have a moment of hesitation thinking that there would be a good instant to stop the bout and reset. He'll even feel her wrapped hand loosen on his after he hits the mats with a /whuf/ of out-rushing air…
But then he _grabs_ her wrist and instead pulls her hard and fast off her feet, raising one leg as he pulls her down onto her back on the mats with another /crunch/ of impact. Her arm is pulled taut, elbow pressing against his inner thigh as he plants one leg over her chest, the other over her neck as he locks her arm in place…
But the pain comes when he lifts up with his hips, extending that elbow sharply..

Now she made a mistake. She thought that he would be a pushover. Not exactly a pushover. More she felt she had him outclassed and took it to be that simple. Instead, she found herself on the mats with her arm captured.
Next thing she knew, the pain was too intense for her to get out of the hold. Not without turning this into more than a friendly match. It wasn't at a point it should be escalated that way.
She reached a hand around to touch his arm with her free hand and she tapped twice.

There's an instant when it's in transition, where there's the struggle, the pounding of pressure and blood, the focus of two martial artists straining against each other. His hands around her wrist holding it locked, with her elbow tight against his inner thigh. He lifts his hips and she strives to resist to try and pull free…
But then she taps, twice on his leg and instantly he lets go, letting her wrist slip free and leaving her unharmed save for a dull ache in her shoulder that she knows very well with a hold like that… could be much much worse.
The blind man with the devil's smile rises up onto his knees, at least having the good nature to breathe a little roughly, catching his breath as he wipes a hand across his brow and closes his eyes for a moment, hiding the scarred irises perhaps self-consciously.
"That was good. And hey, sorry about… you know." Being so aggressive, "I usually find that when I first spar with someone for /some/ reason they take it easy on me." His lip twists, "So I mean… hey now you don't have to."

First, Maeve is now annoyed. She does not like losing. Ever. Even when it is just sparring like this. Second, it's her own damn fault because she was trying not to go too hard on the blind guy. What would that look like? Beating up the fellow with the handicap? Third, she just got her butt handed to her because she was being easy on him and he was smiling. Smiling was not the proper reaction to this situation. He wasn't gloating but then he hit number Four.
He called her on going easy on him. He knew what she had done and it embarassed her that he knew. The flush suffused her skin, crawling up her chest to her neck and even ears all the way to the tips.
"It won't happen again," she says in practically a growl that really is a bit out of place for a friendly sparring match. She clears her throat and tries again but there has been the tiniest of shifts in her. Maybe it is something that can be sensed but now, she is not going to take for granted her superiority.
She moves toward him, bringing her hands up for his shoulders again and now her grip is a little tighter, more firm than it was last time perhaps. It had been the last round, but moreso when they started grappling. Not while they were just standing preparing to go.

He'd been gaining his feet and he could tell she was… not pleased. It had to do with the way her heart was thumping, usually only that heavy when adrenaline was surging, when there was that fight or flight reflex thundering through one's body and causing that tension. She had it in spades and it was almost definitely the former.
The mats crinkle and crunch under his steps as he rises up and shes already there, already resting her hands on his shoulders and getting a firm grip on his shirt. His own hands rest on hers, nothing to grab save the tight muscles there or the straps of her sports bra which… might be frowned upon.
"Good, ready?" He asks her again and lowers his head, eyes open partially by reflex but his head is turned a little to the side. Briefly they are close together, his breath mingling with her own, brushing across the curve of her neck and causing faint chills as he exhales sharply and /pulls/
Then a push, then they begin that dance again.

In truth, he is stronger than her in his upper body. Men generally were stronger than women in that way, while women often had stronger legs. Yet she had worked her whole life to balance things out more. Not bulking up to a level she had a hard time moving, as some bodybuilders suffered. But strong and toned, just enough bulk to be effective without interfering with her flexibility and dexterity.
As they do the push pull, each trying to find an advantage, they circle and move around the mat. Air is forced out of lungs at an increased rate for both of them as they strive and strain.
She goes for a leg sweep and he easily avoids it. It is followed by another push by her then a yank as she turned her body, going to try for a quick shoulder throw to get him off his feet.

She is enough of an expert, she can sense the give and take in these things, can tell when one senses the rhyhtm in another and goes with and against the current of their strength straining against each other. He seems to be masterful with it, as if his lack of eyesight let him gauge the equilibrium between them perfectly. When she strained he put up just enough resistance, foot planting and resisting. Then she slapped her bare foot against his inner calf muscle and he winced… but maintained balance.
Yet when she drew him in close, his chest hard against hers for a moment, she could feel how he flows with it, cleanly. Smoothly. She's able to make the twist, his arm sliding over her back as she draws him across her shoulder, taking his weight for a brief moment before /slamming/ him hard down on the mats, his arm slapping outwards to break the impact of the fall but still it's enough to have him curl up around where she grips his shirt with her hands, fingers digging into his skin at points.
Most wouldn't be able to tell, most would think they had just caught him. But she might sense… if she's good enough, that he went with that movement. Not so much throwing as allowing himself to be shifted to change the arena.
His shirt rides up as the mat catches it, his leg planting on the floor as he tries to turn away grabbing at her wrists, other foot lifting up to push into her hip as they grapple. She has the superior higher position… but she knows well that she is far from invulnerable.

This could go any number of ways. She was hoping to get her legs involved, using that slightly superior strength there to her advantage now. Yet, he is doing a fine job of keeping her pushed away so she can't quite get turned to do so without giving him an opening.
She already learned not to do that the last point. Even a tiny mistake like that, he'll be able to turn. He is far better than she expected and she will not take him lightly again.
THrowing in her bit of a temper tantrum and her mind goes a different direction as she moves for his arm.
He anticipated that and shifted it out of the way…and right to where she actually had wanted it. What she is planning is not something she should do. It's a friendly match. But he doesn't want her using kid gloves and this will prove he has made his point. While sort of making her own at the same time, in that he shouldn't irritate her.
She slips past his arm and grabs it, using her stance straddling him and her body to hold it in place to the side so she can get her other arm into the fray. The second arm snakes around behind his neck, pulling his head forward and down and locking it basically against her ribs and in her armpit.
That isn't much of a hold of course. He could get loose. Until she adds the final part.
Her knee comes down against his chest, directly on his sternum. It isn't a pretty position, leaving her mostly bow legged as she maintains her position, but it is effective. She can press her weight on his chest while maintaining the tension with her arm around his neck.
While he gets to enjoy the sweat in her armpit up close and personal, he also should be very aware that she could easily kill him right now. A push and pull, with her strength and skill?
Seems that the fight just got a bit more serious as she holds him there moments away from a broken neck.

That's not how it usually goes, not how people tend to respond when he gives them that first check and then they respond. Usually there is playful banter and then a stady equilibrium is created where the sparring partners match and train to learn from each other…
But Maeve's first move after she had lost that point was to go for a lethal technique. Avoiding the obvious arm bar attempt and going for the metaphorical and literal throat. As she's able to isolate his arm, then steps over him and plants her knee as she gets an arm around behind his neck pulling him in tucking tight as he tries to pull back but that just puts more pressure in…
Perhaps she's trading on the fact that it's a friendly match, that he doesn't think she'll go so far so quickly, only when she bends her knees and hunkers down and there's that sudden tension as she leans back. He can hear her heart hammering, her the anger in her raging almost as she locks in under his chin, her fingers pressing, aggressive rude. There is no modesty in the fight with her…
She wants the win and then she twists just enough he'll scowl, breathing against the bare flesh of her side and immobilizing his other arm by leaning there…
He tries to shake his head, no going, then he taps on her outer arm twice to signal she wins that point.

He can sense it. All of it. The adrenaline, the breathing, her heartbeat. The scent of the sweat on her form, from the earlier work on the bag and now in the match with him. Feel the sweat dripping down her arm along his neck and down to the mats below where he probably can even hear it land with a wet sound though it is simply a single drop.
When he taps, three long seconds go by while she remains as she is. Not pressing. Not causing more tension. Perfectly in control of her body and his as she keeps him at that precise point of discomfort but without crossing the line. So easy. It would be so simple from that position.
Then she lets go all at once, allowing him to fall back if he should choose to do so. She remains above him for a single moment more, her petite figure towering only because of his prone position on the mats. Then she swings her leg over him, stepping aside so he will be able to rise.
Only once she is to the side does she offer him a hand up, holding it out in front of him.

She can see the twist of his features as he half-slaps her hand aside, not meanly or too terribly rudely, but defiantly with a hint of a smirk on his lips. On one level he can tell she is not playing around, there is real anger and tension in her manner. And on another he knows that technique she used is banned in competitive matches due to the pure danger of it.
But what he can sense more is how he can drive her, push her to the edge and yet somehow… maintain that believability. It's true she's an ex-con, and there is something still in her of the felon. For some reason he's curious to see how deep it goes.
Back to his feet he straightens up, but no words. Instead he raises his hands at the ready before him. His head's turned slightly away. And when she moves to rejoin… to grapple again, he pushes her hands away and then his fist blurs out in a quick /whap/ to tag her cheek as he says low, dangerously to her.
"No more freebies." This time, they're not going to hold back.

That was interesting. He knew where her hand was. That trick with other senses picking up, changes in air pressure. No joke there. He can sense a whole more more than she ever gave credit for as her hand is lightly slapped aside. She shrugs and steps back, holding up her hands in a half surrender position, letting him know she was aware that she had pushed things.
Once he was back on his feet, she watched as he raised his hands. She moved to take up the grappling position only to suddenly have a quick /whap/ to her cheek.
Her eyes went wide and she frowned as those eyes narrowed immediately after. So much for grappling. She escalated. He is responding in kind.
"Fine by me," she says flatly, a bit more distance in her voice than there was before. It isn't that she is being more rude but it is part of her, that compartmentalization. As the violence level rises, she locks away the sense of humor and other side. She isn't one to be bantering during a fight. That's for other people.
She shifts. More bladed toward him. left side closer. weight back on her right foot. A shifting of that foot, the crunching of material beneath.
When she attacks, it is all out. No slowness. Not hesitation. Nothing to give him a pass because he's blind. She's going for hits, full out.
Two punches followed by a quick front kick then another swing of the fist toward his face. "KIYAAA!"

Even as she struggles with her own dichotomy, Matt Murdock is one that has his own to deal with. There is something about her, something that wants to run along with her as she rushes toward that edge of things. Something he finds admirable in the severity with which she's conducting herself. And yet… and yet he must maintain. He rationalizes with himself, that the things he's done aren't beyond the ken of a normal blind man who has trained extensively. There have been others, in the past. Exceptions.
But how likely is it for someone to meet them?
Even as he instinctively is blocking her strikes, stepping back, turning his hips to the side as he leans back and out of the way of a punch, then accepts several others on forearms and shoulders as he hunkers down in a traditional boxer's defense. She goes for that kick and she feels him pushed back by it, then she throws another punch…
And she hits. Hard. Clean. There's a crack to his jaw and a spatter of blood as his head snaps to the side…
Just time enough for her to feel a little smug about clocking the blind man as he reels, leaning back, hand flaring other reaching toward her…
And then her extended wrist is caught before the snap back. The other hand grabs her waist and that tight gym short hem as he gets a hold…
There is the rush of the mats crashing up at her as he /slams/ her hard onto the ground locking her arm over his thigh and his knee /digging/ into the side of her face as he holds her down. Quietly he focuses, a whispered, 'Hassshaaaaaaaaa' as he puts on the pressure, expecting her to tap. And yet there's the primal side of them that likely dares her not to.

It is this moment that the tap should happen. The pressure is there. The pain spreads out from the joint that is being strained beyond the limits it should have to suffer. Any sensible person in a friendly match would do so.
This was no longer that sort of match.
They had agreed no freebies. He wasn't getting one this quickly. Particularly on a first throw.
Maeve makes the decision for him. One moment she is in the hold, the next she is pulling her arm just so. If he doesn't let go, she will dislocate it herself. There is the first *pop* of sound indicating what is about to happen.
Being who he is, he lets go. She rolls immediately to her abdomen, freeing her other arm. That arm is brought upward, grabbing the leg that he is using to kneel on her neck. With all her strength, she yanks, trying to get him off of her.
It works. He is tilted backwards and falls, giving her that release she needed. She scrambles back with her good arm coming up to the ready.
She brings her good arm across her body, gripping the one that was strained. With a bit of a wiggle and shove, it goes back into place with another small *pop*, since it wasn't fully dislocated.
She brings that arm up, ignoring the pain from the aggravated shoulder, holding her hands at the ready and prepared to go again when he is.

There was surprise at the execution, at the seriousness of this match now that she seems to no longer be holding back. At least her mental game is there, wandering past where most practitioners allow it. He can tell, the way she moves, the way she fights, she's taken life before. She just hasn't been caught. Whatever the circumstances, he is more wary as he gets back to his feet.
Outside and around them the night time crowd has thinned, the gym owner having departed to the back. It is deceptively just them even though at any moment someone could come through the door. Yet for now, this is everything. The fifteen square feet of blue fabric on the floor, and the person opposite each other.
Bringing his hands up his features twist into focus, concentration. He lifts his chin and nods once, then gestures her forward. Matt's head is turned to the side, listening or her approach, sensing where she is primarily by the soft crunch of the mats beneath her bare feet.

Each step is louder as she closes that distance quickly, moving in for the attack again. This time it is led by a side kick. Then she considers something. Even as he dodges out of the way of the kick, she is spinning her body around in a gyre to bring that leg around again, wondering if she can catch him off guard since she isn't moving her grounded foot.
It doesn't work. He manages to block the kick, pushing her leg away and causing her to retreat two steps to be certain he cannot take advantage of her momentary surprise. It isn't just the footsteps. He'd mentioned the change in air currents before. Could that really be it?
Her mind was working through it, trying to figure it out, even as she followed along with her original thinking.
A quick leap into the air with a loud "CHAAAAYAAA!" It is a punch but she is putting her entire body and all her strength behind it, coming in airborne. In truth, he probably can avoid it while going for his own strike against her.

She is seeking, mentally searching to try and come up with a way to counter him, to prey upon his weakness for she knows no fear in this fight. The victory seems to be the most important aspect and on some level… that appeals. It's a pity that both of them want the win greatly. Only as she leaps into the air with that kiyai shout, he can almost 'visualize' it in slow motion, can gauge her proximity, the focus, can feel the texture in the air…
He knows he can counter her.
And in the time of a single split second he know he should not. Not if he wants to maintain his identity. For a moment his hand lifts to make the needed block…
And then it lowers slightly as he turns his head, as if confused.
She feels the punch land with a _crack_ as he staggers. Falls to the side. Not out, but stunned.

He should never have moved his hand. Now she knows. Even as she connects, even as she makes the contact with her fist to his face and he staggers a step. Even as he tries to bring up his hands as she is closing with him.
This time, she is going for the finish, just as he had done previously. She makes a grab for his arm and shirt, pulling hard and trying to bring him down to the mats on his back. It works but she isn't going to give up her advantage as she moves in.
This time, she comes in from near his legs. She hooks them both with her arms nad this is where her muscularture comes in hand. With a grunt of effort, she lifts his lower body and is forcing it upwards. She positions herself against his lifted legs, shoving ever higher so that he ends up balanced on his shoulders and neck, head forced an an angle toward his chest.
Once there, she drops her body into a horse stance for better stability and strength, a sharp "CHIYAAA!" from her as she focuse full, arms straining to maintain the balance of him there as he is laid out below her all topsy turvy with his legs basically above his face.
If she applies pressure, his neck could break. If he squirms too much, he could cause himself injury.
It is a move that is also banned in competitions due to the dangerous nature of it. Yet her body is taut, tight, every muscles flexed to maintain that perfect control. His arms are in a position they can touch her leg to tap out if he wished.

There's no hesitation this time, perhaps not knowing how far she is willing to go or perhaps making sure that she's eased back and appeased, there's a single quick tap-tap-tap on her leg as she starts to exert pressure on his back and shoulders, bending his head toward his sternum. The wince on his features isn't feigned and once she does let him go… he rolls to the side quickly and then draws himself up.
A grimace is there, then he says simply. "Alright…" He pushes himself to his feet, rising roughly and scowling as he rubs at the back of his neck painfully. "I think… we should call it there." A small half-smirk touches his lips…
But she likely knows… knows aspects of him that his carelessness revealed. And he's trying to slip past them with that smile, return from that anger and competitiveness with the glib comment.

There is much more to Matt Murdock than meets the eye. A less practiced or intelligent competitor might have missed those few clues. Maeve did not. He was better than he had let on.
He had let her win.
Which brought up the question of what could he really do if he let loose? How good was he? And somewhere deep inside, she knew she wanted to find out.
Things were about to get more interesting around here.
"Sure. Good match."

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