Day 1 Training

Evening, in a studio apartment in one of Dallas's better neighborhoods. There's a surprising amount of open space, with pads laid down for various purposes, along with a full size reinforced punching bag and a rack of practice weapons — weighted to feel just like the real thing. Hiro has already risen, and is practicing his forms — using a six-foot staff with iron caps, the heavy length of oak spinning easily in his hands as he strikes and guards against imaginary foes. Dressed in a simple cotton shirt, sweat-pants, and slippers, he looks less like a dangerous vampire and more like a devotee of the martial arts.

At least someone is prepared for what is about to happen. It isn't as if this is something that she's done often, so she comes dressed as she would to any non-aquatic practice: black track shorts with white stripes and a white LSU logo and a purple razor back tank top with LSU written in gold letters across the bust. At least she has the sense to wear a sports bra. It very well may be the first time anyone in this state has seen her in her old college gear. Faith knocks at the door as she paces the hall, her sneakers appearing fairly new. Even with her jacket on, it's cold outside and getting into someplace warmer would be nice.

Hiro of course heard the light footsteps outside, and sweeps his staff around before grounding it next to his feet. Leaning it against the rack, he walks over to the door… checking the security peephole (of course) before opening it. "Good evening, Rose. Please.. come in." He steps aside to let her enter, nose crinkling at the cold. "Damn, I thought Texas was supposed to be /warm/…." Shutting the door behind her, he rubs his hands together. "I presume you had no problems finding the place?"

He may have known someone was out there but man is he taking his sweet time answering the door! The cold wouldn't be so bad if she weren't wearing shorts, honestly. When the door is opened she actually squeezes in as quickly as she can, thankful to have some sort of warmth. "It's the middle of winter," she points out. "Lived in the south all my life and even I know that it gets cold." Faith would likely die if she ever moved north. Once inside and beginning to warm she removes her jacket. "I had a harder time getting here without anyone asking questions." Her current living situation isn't going to be explained though. "It's a nice place." This is said, of course, as she sweeps the area to take in as much as she can.

Patience is a virtue — and he didn't force her to wear shorts, after all. Hiro's eyes do follow her as she doffs her jacket — looking her over, though he keeps his expression carefully under control. The studio is notable for looking fairly, well, normal — part of it partitioned off into living quarters, with the rest given over to the practice area. Some small odds and ends to make the place lived in, but nothing elaborate. Hiro quietly paces up behind her, inquiring, "What do you think of it?"

No, he didn't but she was a swimmer for a living; wearing skimpy outfits in the cold is something she's grown used to. It's just been a few years, what with being locked away in a mental institution with no memories and all. Part of her search of the area is to find a place to put said jacket. "I think I'd like to know if there are any places open here. I'll be needing an apartment." With the search over, Faith turns to look at Hiro, not at all distrusting. Yet. "A little too much practice gear for my taste, but to each their own. It looks comfortable. You know, homey."

Hiro shrugs. "I don't have too many vices… and I have found there's no such thing as practicing too much. It helps keep me focused." He politely takes her jacket, hanging it on an unobtrusive coatrack next to the door. "There might be something, but it could get expensive." Something else she said gets his attention. "Without anyone asking questions? I assume you mean your sister?"

Once she's free of her jacket, Rose pulls her hair back into a ponytail. If she's going to be working out, she might as well do it now. "That's true, but I really only need a place to live. Between the state and the facility that you saved me from, I think I'd be able to afford it for a little while." Maybe. Her hands fall back to her sides as he mentions Hope. "Hmm? Oh, no. She'd freak out in general if I went out at night. I haven't really spoken with her too often since I got better. I think she wants me back in an institution."

Yes, practice and working out. That's why she's here. Hiro firmly puts away some decidedly ungentlemanly thoughts, focusing on the task at hand. "In any case… I suppose before we start we should talk about what you're trying to do. Self-defense is as much a state of mind as anything else." He walks over to the rack, picking up a wooden practice knife, the 'edge' blunt and harmless. "I can't really help you against vampires — you'll simply be outclassed, physically — but I can teach you a few tricks that work well versus humans."

The back of her neck is rubbed, a bad habit she's developed from her roommate. "Well, I have to be perfectly honest with you. Vampires are part of the reason I feel the way I do." Faith looks away, back to the furnishings of his place. "I got lucky and killed one. I'm sorry, please don't hate me but it was to save my life. And it wouldn't have happened if Ivan hadn't been there." Vampires just seem to keep attacking her, no matter what she does. "I know I'm not match." This is said almost sadly. "But those people who took me initially? They were humans and they are the ones who may come back after me."

Hiro shakes his head, and reaches out to place a hand on her shoulder gently. "I don't hate you for trying to protect yourself." His touch is cool, but kind. "But I understand. I just don't want you getting a big head over this." After a couple moments, he finally lifts his fingers away, looking at her. "Are you ready?"

It is a cool touch, one that almost alarms her. It's been quite some time since she's been indoors with Hiro. Faith shudders under that touch but doesn't pull away. "I think I lost all real confidence and self respect when I regained my memories." There's only two other people she's so open with; Hope and Ivan. "I'm doing this for myself, just to feel comfortable. I kind of liked it when I was too ignorant of the truth to not go out at night." Because, honestly, vampires seem drawn to her. Finally she nods. "As ready as I can be."

Hiro nods. "Alright then. The first lesson is avoidance." He tosses the wooden knife in his hand. "When someone comes at you, they commit to a course of action. In other words, inertia is limiting any response they might make to you. Ideally, you want to put yourself in a position to counter, but not getting hit never hurt either." He mimes coming in with a mid-point stab. "Particularly with knives and clubs, you can usually turn or step to the side to get out of their zone."

Despite the fact that she appears uncomfortable, a side that she's showing very few these days, Faith is taking mental notes of what Hiro has to say. Even if he's miming, she still steps back, her eyes falling down to his hands. "Not getting hit for a change would be nice." Other than that, she remains silent, listening to what he has to say.

Hiro nods. "Awareness is crucial. It may sound like paranoia, but if you're that concerned, it isn't paranoia. All the training in the world can't help you if you're caught unawares." He mimes a horizontal sweeping blow. "Typically, you don't see this much, unless you're trying to roundhouse punch someone. Easy to duck under, and then they're off balance." Hiro smiles. "And then you kick them in the nuts or the knees."

Various nods and glances are made as he continues instructing, the words being taken in as best as she can understand them. Despite the serious situation, at least to her, Faith begins to laugh. "Does that mean that I get to kick you in the nuts during these sessions?" Her sarcasm is her only defense when she's stressed.

Hiro smirks. "If I deem it necessary. My injuries will heal faster than yours — and I can live with a little bruising if it keeps you safe." He studies her. "There are several spots to aim for if you're going to hit someone. Knees are good, as nobody runs fast on a dislocated knee. The instep of the foot. The groin — especially for males. The solar plexus is a hard target, but hit it just right and your opponent spends the next few minutes trying to remember how to breathe. Throat — particularly the front, where the larnyx is. And, of course, the eyes."

It's a toss, really, on whether she should blush or laugh. This being so, Faith nearly nods . The smile slowly fades as the conversation turns serious once more. Stepping up to him, she places a hand on his abdomen. If he doesn't prevent it, that is. "I was an accounting major," she explains, as if that will justify her actions. "I'm not all that familiar with anatomy. Just where exactly is that perfect spot to hit?"

Hiro doesn't stop her, though it does make his eyes flicker with something unreadable. "Too low," he says. "You need to hit just under the breastbone — as I said, it's a tricky target. Too low may not slow the opponent down much at all, and too high and you bounce off his sternum and ribcage." He takes her hand in his, raising it up to the spot he indicated, just under his sternum. "Obviously, don't use this on someone who doesn't breathe."

It's likely a good thing for her that she's not paying attention to his eyes at the moment. This is a learning experience, after all. Her cheeks do begin to redden slightly when she realizes that she's in the wrong location. "Numbers, I'm telling you. They tell you nothing about this." When he relocates her hand, and only then, Faith looks up at Hiro. She attempts to feel around his chest in that area that he indicated. "Obviously. But a good strike here would help me with someone else?" See? She's trying ot learn!

Hiro tries not to chuckle. "No, they don't. No, you missed it — here." He puts her fingers on his sternum, then moves them down just under it. "To be honest, maybe you'd be better aiming for a more obvious target, like the knees or throat. It /is/ kind of a tricky spot to hit."

Hey! She's trying here. Once he moves her hand again she looks down at it and tilts her head. "I got it." And just as he challenges her, Faith gives him a momentarily icy glare. It's her normal look, really, since most people annoy her. "Well, it wouldn't do anything to you even if I did show you I could hit that." That being said, with a smile of course, she stops attempting to feel his chest. "But okay, aim for something easier for me. A good kick to the knee can't feel good."

Hiro nods. "Correct. The knee is far more fragile than people expect — a direct impact can at least hobble an opponent. Aim for the sides or back — because the knee hinges that way, kicking someone in the back of the knee invariably ends in them stumbling or falling down. Kick someone hard enough in the side or front and you stand a good chance of damaging the joint or the kneecap."

The knee is something she's well familiar with, especially due to her previous encounters with sports. Still, she looks down as he speaks, envisioning different ways to strike someone. "I think that would be best for me," she responds as she does so. "If I can get back to swimming on a regular basis, I actually have quite a kick." Looking back up at him Faith nods. "So try to avoid, and if possible aim for the knee in the process."

He nods. "You're not really trying to /win/ a fight here… just trying to avoid further conflict." Hiro looks at her thoughtfully. "Have you considered carrying a weapon? Not necessarily a firearm… a knife or pepper spray, perhaps. It never hurts to have an additional advantage." He passes his practice knife back and forth in his hands absently.

There's something to think about. "Well, it's crossed my mind, but I haven't actually carried a real weapon before." The quickly made stake doesn't count, in her opinion. Faith laughs nervously as she watches him. "I don't want people to think that I'm so far off the deep end that I think I'm Rambo. I just want to be safe." Besides, a weapon in the hands of the inexperienced can be deadly.

Hiro frowns a little, but nods. "That's your decision. I don't agree, but…" He puts the practice knife back on the rack. "Alright. Let's try a few things." He steps onto the mats, slippers whispering on the fabric. "I'm going to strike at you — slowly — and you avoid, and counter if you can."

"I just can't go back to living in an institution. I want to, you know, be safe. I guess I fear my insanity more than anything." It's an honest concern especially for those who have lived a life like she has. Yet he's moving so she does too. Faith stands on the mats, some space from him. She takes a deep breath, uncertainty clear but without comment. "Alright, I'll try." At least her confidence should build after a couple of these lessons.

He doesn't move at vampiric speed, thankfully (that would be stupid). Hiro's strike is a bit slow, the kind you'd get from a lumbering drunk — heavily telegraphed, as his hand sweeps around. "One should face their fears, though. Perhaps with any luck you'll be able to put the past behind you. I won't tell you that's easy, though."

She for one is very thankful that he doesn't use his full powers against her. That would probably make her cry. Still she dodges as he comes at her, or attempts to at least. Something about what he says, about the situation, prevents her from moving as she'd like to. Faith does manage to escape the weakened blow but at the cost of tripping herself and falling on her side. "I'm trying," she admits through gritted teeth. "It'll be easier once my parents leave me alone and the police stop thinking I'm some sort of terrorist."

Hiro doesn't press the attack, instead moving over next to her. "I'm sorry, Rose… I didn't realize how heavily this was weighing on you." He hunkers down, reaching out to take her hand in his. "Listen, if you don't want to move on so quickly to practicals, we don't have to. I just thought you wanted to learn as quickly as possible. It's obvious how much this bothers you."

If she were the Rose that he met she would be crying at this point. Good thing for her that she's not. "It's okay. I'm actually used to people not knowing what's going on with me. Hell, most people don't even believe what I say most times." Faith reaches for his hand but doesn't stand up just yet. She shakes her head. "No. Work me as hard as you can. Those people are still out there and I need to be prepared for next time."

Hiro smiles slightly. "You're really intent on this, aren't you?" There's a touch of admiration in his voice, and the way his eyes glint. "Absolutely intent on not being anyone's victim, at least not without a fight. I'm impressed." He doesn't force her to get up, though, not yet.

At least he's smiling and not scolding her. She would much rather crawl under a rock but at least she's trying. Faith moves enough to come to stand on her knees. "I was better than this before. Two years takes a toll." The young woman shakes her head before looking to Hiro, her determination showing. "I want to dictate my life. If I'm in harm's way I want it to be my decision. I'm not going to remain locked in a damn coffin to be used in some sort of attack against -anyone-, human or vampire."

"I agree completely," Hiro says, levering himself up on his knees as well, facing her. A little close, and he realizes he still has her hand. "It's… always better to make your own way in life, in the long run." Then, almost embarrassed, he lowers her hand, releasing her as he looks aside.

She doesn't really think anything of the situation, really, as it isn't like they were holding hands in that sense. He did offer to help her up, after all. "I lost my way for a while. I'm ready to find it again." No matter how embarrassed Faith is, at least she can put things in perspective. Seeing him look away she decides to change the topic. "What now?"

"Again," he says firmly, standing up easily. "Let's see if you can dodge without falling over." Hiro puts his thoughts back in order, backing up after helping her to her feet once more. "I'd hate for you to leave here without learning anything."

"Well," she says once standing. "If I didn't learn anything then I don't have to pay for today's lesson, right?" This is said as a joke to try and bring at least some humor to this situation. Defense mechanisms are a horrible thing. All the same Faith stands at the ready, determined to not actually make such a fool out of herself. Hopefully.

Hiro shakes his head. "We won't worry about that until later." Again, the looping blow aimed at Rose, forcing her to dodge, getting her moving again. Sometimes two swings, as the training goes on, and the speed picks up a touch — just enough to keep her paying attention rather than falling into a rhythm.

Rhythms are a bad thing. Any sort of rhythm, especially anything related to life. Faith, of all people, can educate people on such a subject. A rocky start indeed but she picks up, eventually catching on to the point where he is able to increase the speed without worrying about her falling on her face. It isn't exactly tiring or all that physically exhausting, yet for some reason she's acting as if it is. Perhaps the two years she spent without exercise has something to do with it.

After a while — perhaps an hour — Hiro calls a halt, seeing the fatigue in her eyes. "Enough… you need to take a break, if nothing else. Or rest, and come back another night." He looks at her, his dark eyes gentle. "You don't need to be worn down to a nubbin by training the first night."

She bends over, hands resting just above her knees while she attempts to catch her breath. "I feel like I haven't even done anything." This of course is said while she's still bent over. Faith makes a mental note to start going to the gym during the day to help with these sessions. "If you want to stop, you know, for good, I understand. It's a lot of work."

Hiro shakes his head, walking over and laying a hand on her back. Despite the work, his touch is still cool. "I said I would help. You came to me in good faith — pardon the pun — to ask me. I don't feel like my time is being wasted." His lips quirk up faintly. "Workout sessions with a pretty girl? How lucky does a man get?" He's teasing, of course.

Again it is cool and this time she actually jumps. Her temperature is so high compared to his that the sudden chill is a bit of a shock. "It's a name that causes those puns to happen. That's why I think I liked Rose so much. Faith and Hope as twins?" Apparently not everyone is a fan of the naming scheme. Faith stands as tall as she can to regard him. "You're just trying to make me feel better for being this bad." Her mind wanders off to other things, taking the time to do some math. "I didn't bring any form of payment with me, but I can bring something next time."

Hiro shakes his head, waving her concerns aside. "We can discuss payment at a later date. Consider these first couple of lessons repayment for all the havoc I wreaked in your life initially." He does give her a smile, though. "It'll be all right, Rose. Trust me." He knows she trusts him, though.

This is not a situation that she's used to dealing with. He's being charitable and not because she's mentally unstable. Faith sighs roughly before shaking her head. "Like I said, I don't hold you at fault for anything." Still she's not going to argue if he doesn't want to take any money from her. It isn't as if money is something she can come by easily. She does trust him, this much made obvious by the smile she offers him. "I do."

Hiro smiles back, and reaches out to brush a fingertip down her cheek. "Attagirl." It's a tender touch, even with his abnormally cool skin. "We'll work something out. I want you to feel at ease when you're practicing."

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