"Bastard," she growled as she pushed herself up from the floor. "I hope you burn in hell!" She performed a flawless drop-kick and her foot met bone with a satisfying crunch.

"Ah..." her adversary massaged his jaw. "Is that any way to talk to your partner?" he asked as he dodged another of her attacks.

"You're no partner of mine..." she snarled. She swung wildly through the air at him relentlessly, but he dodged every one.

"More finesse, less power. I keep telling you, if you hit someone hard in the wrong place, it doesn't do anything, Ep."

"Eppie," she grunted. Hatred and anger pushed her more than endurance and strength as she swung wildly again and again.

"What?" he blocked an attack and kicked out her feet, where-upon he proceeded to sit on her.

"Ten bucks on Eppie," she heard from somewhere to her right.

"It's Eppie," she growled, "It's not Ep. It will never be Ep. Eppie!" she proclaimed before flipping him off of her.

"What kind of name is Eppie anyway? What's your real name?"

"Eppie," she answered, grabbing his head in a chokehold.

He coughed and struggled for a few minutes, and she was certain she had him - that was, of course, until he flipped her over top of his head. Landing flat on her back, the wind was completely knocked from her lungs.

"What's it short for?" he asked, straddling her legs and pinning her down momentarily. She gasped, trying to get air back in her lungs, trying to control her anger, trying to get this piece of shit off of her as soon as possible.

"Nothing – my name is Eppie. Check the damn birth certificate!" She flung him unceremoniously off. It may not have been pretty, but it got the job done.

When he caught his breath, he turned and glared at her. "I'm..." he ran his hand down his face, "I'm done with you. You don't listen, you never learn." The spectators fell silent. "How many times have I corrected that move right there for you, and you just refuse to accept that I could be right?" She rolled her eyes. She hated being lectured, and who the hell was he to lecture her, anyway? "Well, I'm through. Your next attacker can kill you, for all I care."

Eppie grunted as she forcefully pushed her dirty blonde hair back from her face and out of her gray eyes. "You act as though attackers are just lining up at my door to take a hit at me. Besides, my way works just fine..."

"It's going to get you killed!" he interrupted, shouting at her from across the mats. "Look, this isn't self-defense classes at your college anymore, this is the FBI. Those tricks don't work here. People are smarter than that!"

She inspected him, this piece of work that she'd learned to hate more than anything else in the entire world. Sweat rolled down his tan skin and into his bright blue eyes. His black hair was spiked and messy because of their fighting match. He was twenty-five years old, two years older than her. He was right, she had a lot to learn... but she would never admit it to herself, let alone admit it to him.

"You just don't get it, Ep," he shouted again. She hated being yelled at. He shook his head and then turned his back on her.

Oh, hell no.

She hated that even more.

She let out a battle cry as she lunged at him. She kicked off of her left foot and went flying, her pointed right foot aimed at his head.

"Rale!" a spectator warned. He stepped out of the way just in time and her foot crashed into the aluminum siding before dropping (along with the rest of her) onto the ground.

She lay there, breathing heavily, her chest heaving, anger coursing through her. She rolled over onto her stomach and screamed in frustration.

"Finesse, Ep. It's all finesse," Aaron Rale said patronizingly, his bright blue eyes sparkling as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. He smirked at her before smacking her butt. "Nice ass, by the way. Been working out?"

Before he knew it, her foot had shot out with lightning speed, and he was on the ground next to her. She sat on his back and ignored his kicking legs. "No one touches my ass," she growled. She shoved his arrogant face into the mat before getting up and stalking from the gym.

"Pay up, it was Eppie..." Aaron Rale glared at the voice before slapping ten dollars into his hand. Grumbling, he took off after her.