pacific rim (kaijou) - fight
i started outlining a pacific rim au a loooong time ago and it’s probably never going to get turned into a full fledge fanfiction, but i like what i have enough that i don’t want to let it go. i cleaned up some scenes i’ve already written, and i’m just going to drop them here so somebody can enjoy them.
characters Joey Wheeler/Seto Kaiba
warnings Minor Violence, Gozaburo’s Alive
Joey Wheeler is brought on board the Shatterdome to pilot the latest addition to the Jaeger lineup: Ultimate Dragon. Now he’s just got to find someone who’s drift compatible.
Ranger testing was everyone’s favorite day in the Shatterdome. Those marked for drift compatibility gathered into the training room, with the crowd of support staff and Rangers watching eagerly from the sidelines. They packed into the doorway, laughing and taking bets as the recruits waited, staffs in hand. Seto’s eyes drifted to the already paired Muto brothers and their new companion. Wheeler had an easy indifference to him, hands stuffed in the open military coat. Yugi laughed with him, and Yami’s gaze glanced Seto’s way. He returned to looking over the Ranger files. Behind him, Gozaburo was a rock.
The crowd settled, and Yugi shoved Wheeler forward. Wheeler took the staff and held it like a question. There wasn’t an ounce of formal training in his stance. Seto kept his expression steady as Wheeler shot his idiot grin his way. At least watching him get knocked on his ass would be an entertaining way of spending the afternoon.
But, of course, the universe liked to disappoint Seto in the worst of ways.
Wheeler was clumsy with the stick, but he took no prisoners. The first candidate took the brunt of the training staff to the face, bloodying his nose, and Wheeler was sharply reminded this wasn’t an actual fight. The next two were dropped to the ground in easy succession. The only person who he didn’t hit out right away was Valentine, who matched him hit for hit before she hooked a leg under his and knocked him onto the flat of his back, her staff stopping an inch from his face. He laughed it off as she helped him up, and then Valentine swung the staff around, landing another point at his neck.
Seto scoffed as he marked her off the list. With most of their hopefuls diminished, Wheeler was standing alone. He whirled around on the platform where Seto and the general stood, anger pinching the corners of his lips.
“You got something to say?” Wheeler sneered.
Seto didn’t bother to look at him, and from the corner of his eye he could see Wheeler’s grip tighten on the staff. “I’ve got plenty,” he said. “You’re not trying to win, Wheeler. Compatibility isn’t a game of dominance. And you were going easy on her.”
Valentine flipped her hair back as she returned to formation. Her tone was playful, but her pride was on display. “You can’t blame him for that, Kaiba. Most guys don’t fight a girl as pretty as me.”
Seto did allow his eyes to draw up, and he stared Wheeler down. “You can’t hold back.”
Wheeler’s chin drew up, and he crossed the staff over his shoulders. “Why don’t you come down here and show me?”
He laughed. “You wouldn’t last two seconds against me, Wheeler.”
“Yeah, alright.” He grinned again, giving a theatrical look to his audience. “If you’re chicken.”
Seto’s fingers gripped the edge of his data reader, and his blue eyes bore cold fury over his opponent. Wheeler only smiled back at him. On the platform behind him, the mountain moved, and Seto’s throat went dry at the sound of Gozaburo’s voice.
“That man issued you a challenge,” the general said.
Seto looked at him, teeth grinding down. He set aside his equipment and let his blue coat drop to the floor as he took up a staff. The crowd pressed forward with renewed interest. The Muto twins shared the same nervous expression, but he focused his attention on Wheeler as he stepped down onto the mats. Wheeler held his staff lazily, body slouched back, but there was a kinetic energy drawing in the tight muscles of his arm. Seto twirled his staff for the show of it as the two circled each other.
It wasn’t a surprise that Wheeler struck first. It was an ugly thing too, telegraphed from across the room. He swung the staff up, and Seto blocked it easily, using the momentum to strike at Wheeler’s neck. Seto stopped the momentum an inch from his skin, and Wheeler flinched. His brown eyes drew up to Seto. The joviality was burned out of him by an anger broiling underneath. They took a step apart to reset. One-zero.
Wheeler moved again, arching the stick to hit Seto straight on, and when Seto rose to block it, he dropped, landing a hit to Seto’s stomach. One-one.
Seto didn’t give him a chance to reset. He swung his staff to Wheeler’s knees, but he managed a block. Offering no reprieve, Seto hit for Wheeler’s shoulder, which clacked against his staff, and then his stomach. When Wheeler blocked him this time, Seto wedged his stick and pulled, forcing the staff from Wheeler’s lax grip. It spun across the room and clattered to the ground. Wheeler was defenseless now, and Seto took the moment to gloat, until Wheeler’s fist flew at him, stopping short enough of his ear that he could feel the air rushing past. His hand unfolded, and he flicked Seto in the side of the head.
Someone snickered in the audience, and white hot rage burned through Seto. He could feel Gozaburo’s gaze on his back, and Wheeler was smiling again, like he’d gotten the upperhand, like he was enjoying making a fool out of him. When Seto’s hands moved, it was not in the controlled measure. He slammed his staff into Wheeler’s stomach. Two-two. Wheeler staggered back as a heavy breath escaped him, but the second swing he dodged. His arms went up in a boxer’s stance as he avoided every strike, and when his wild swing hit nothing but air, Wheeler punched Seto’s rib. The shot was heavy enough to knock him back, but Seto wasn’t about to give up. He dodged the blow meant for his face and shouted as he launched himself at Wheeler. The two landed on the ground with a heavy thud, both gripping onto Seto’s staff as they grappled against each other. Seto pinned Wheeler to the floor with his knees and they both put the full force of their strength into the contest. Seto’s breath felt ragged in his throat as he bore his icy gaze down on his opponent. Wheeler thought he could touch him that he could strike him like they were equals as though taking his Dragon wasn’t enough when he was just a deadbeat nobody who’d gotten lucky. Rage clouded his head and his vision, and Wheeler twisted beneath him as they both fought for control, and then like a knife Gozaburo’s voice said, “That’s enough.”
Neither let go, but slowly the struggle stopped. Wheeler was looking up at him wild wild eyes, chest moving heavily, his golden hair stuck to his sweat slicked face. Finally, against every instinct screaming inside of him, Seto released the staff, and he stood. His hands were red, his side ached. He steadied his breathing as much as he could, aware that the room was quiet, that the whole of the Shatterdome was watching. Seto turned and stopped when he saw Gozaburo’s face. He was smiling.
“It’s clear who the best candidates are,” he said, and dread washed over Seto like ice cold water. “You’ll both report to the Shatterdome in two hours.”
Seto was happy his back was turned to the others. His mouth dropped open, and he stuttered out, “You can’t be serious--”
“My decision is made,” he said. “Two hours.”
Giving Seto no chance to argue, he turned and walked away. Seto stood there, fists curling, and Wheeler managed to his feet behind him. Realization clicked too late.
“No way,” Wheeler said. “I’m not getting into any machine with you.”
Seto didn’t dare turn around. He didn’t know what he would do. If he would scream, or shake him, or just resign himself to this fate. There was no changing the general’s mind. The choice was made. He and Wheeler would walk into Ultimate Dragon, and hopefully, if they were lucky, walk out again in one piece.
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