"Jango!"

"Hey, Jango! Wake up!"

With a loud snort, Jango shot awake, a low groan escaping his lips as he felt a crick in his neck. Sleeping on the train, never a good idea. But the ride out of the Omega Sector to almost any other can take anywhere from one hour to six. He swore when he and Kendrick got on the train, it was late at night, and now the sun was peeking its head and blinding him.

"We're here." Kendrick helped Jango onto his feet, giving Jango a moment to shake off the sleep and wipe the drool off of his green hoodie. It bore the same star mark as his boxing trunks did. "Come on, bro, move your feet."

"Yeah, yeah, I'm comin'." Jango followed behind Kendrick, his hands in his jeans' pockets as his orange sneakers clicked against the floor of the train. They stepped onto the station, looking over to the nearby docks as the salty air hit their faces. The sea air seemed to wake Jango up, starting to pop the knots that were in his neck.

"Alright, bro, I'm gonna head to the gym." He pulled out his phone and looked at the clock. 6:59 AM. "I know you didn't get too hurt in your bout, but don't overexert yourself or anything. You still got damage to shake off."

"Gotcha." Jango chuckled, "don't you worry about me, I'll just do some roadwork." He got ready to dash off, but Kendrick got a hold of his shoulder before he could get going.

"Jango," Kendrick began, "don't get into any trouble I'll have to fish you out of."

A smirk spread across the boxer's face. "Kendrick. My brother. It's me. When do I ever get into trouble?"

"Would you like your list in alphabetical or chronological order?"

"Oh shut up." A laugh was shared between the two before Jango took off into a jog, running away from the rails and across the docks. His footsteps echoed in his ears, looking back at Kendrick as he saw him start punching the numbers. When he turned back to the road ahead of him, he started along his usual routine of running along the road around the sector. Normally, he'd be in his tracksuit, and wouldn't have a bag of luggage hanging off of his shoulder, but this wasn't a regular workout and he wasn't in training for his next fight.

At least, not yet.

His legs worked on instinct as he ran around the outer rim of the sector. He skimmed along the back alley of Megacity before he leaned in and began to run though one alleyway and into the inner street. Taking to the sidewalk, he kept away from the early hustle and bustle of running cars passing trucks. He was intentionally taking the longest route to his apartment. Even if this wasn't a proper workout, he wanted to get something done before he lied down to relax after his fight.

A wide smirk pushed itself onto his face; the thought of his recent win got him giddy. It filled Jango with both euphoria and energy, as though he could run for hours without exhausting himself. It was just like his first win back in the amateur leagues just a short two years ago. It brought a chuckle out of his throat.

However, once he passed another alley way and got ready to run up a steep hill, he heard something. The rumbling of trash cans. A stray cat or maybe a raccoon? Most likely. Nonetheless, the noise brought Jango to a halt. Most people would have the common sense to continue on their way and not get involved. But not Jango; in fact, his instincts told him to come a little closer, hanging just around the corner of the alleyway.

"U-unhand me!"

No doubt that was a voice. Jango didn't need to look in to see what was happening, but he did anyway. The site wasn't too common, especially in the Omega District; a group of thugs, no doubt belonging to some gang, was cornering someone. He couldn't make out who, but the voice from before was definitely that of a woman. He couldn't get a good look at her beyond a soft gold headscarf.

"Now look, babe, don't make this difficult." Jango counted and saw about three thugs.

"Yeah, just give us your bag and we'll be on our way." Despite the grin on his face, the sight got Jango's blood to boil. Without any hesitation, Jango stepped into the alleyway, putting his fingers to his lips. He gave a powerful blow, his whistle echoing through the narrow passageway, ringing in their ears as they turned to face the boxer in green. He wore a wide smirk on his face, cracking his knuckles as he let out an uneven chuckle.

"Well, well, well! What a surprise!" He planted his right first into his palm as his green eyes scanned over the group, wearing the same black bomber jacket and purple fur collar. "I go out of town for just a day and The Rats are already crawling out of their holes." He watched the group sneer as they all turned to face him proper. "I thought I exterminated you lot before I left for Gamma Sector. But I guess I missed a nest or two."

One of the punks gave a hiss as he shouted, "and just who the hell are you?!"

"Oh, that's adorable! You don't know who I am! Shishishishi~" His laugh got the punks to grind their teeth with irritation. Without a second thought, one of the punks ran right for Jango. He balled his hand into a fist and threw a wide haymaker, missing Jango as he easily backed away. He hadn't even bothered to put up a guard, simply backing away as he lazily moved his head from side to side. For a trained Boxer, the lashing out of some street thug swinging his arms moved almost in slow motion for Jango.

"Hold still, asshole!" The punk shouted, panting from not even a minute of lashing out. "Just who do you think you are?!" He got his answer once Jango threw a hook with his right, hitting the thug across his cheek. He flew off of the floor and fell upon the ground.

THUD!

"Who? Me?" Jango chuckled as he shot a glare at the remaining thugs. "I'm a Fox. And you lot? You're Rats. That makes you my prey." He watched as another punk growled and rushed at Jango. He tried to throw a sloppy roundhouse kick, but Jango blocked it with his arm and chuckled. "That's cute." He then promptly slugged the off-balanced thug with his right, striking under his jaw with a strong uppercut. Falling off of his leg, the punk's head smashed onto the alley ground below.

Jango then glanced at the third punk, who flinched and gave a cowardly whimper. Jango watched him raise his arms to cover his face in a shaking guard as Jango let out a chuckle. "Look, kid, unless you want to end up like your two buddies down on the floor, just run away while you can." Without thinking twice, the punk quickly turned and ran as fast as he could, leaving his fellow thugs lying down on the dirty ground below his shoes.

"Typical vermin." Jango chuckled as he turned to leave the way he came. "You should do your best to stay out of the alleyways. I get that it's broad daylight, but this is where the Rats hangout." Without waiting for a reply, Jango took off into a sprint and dashed away, making it out of the alley and heading up the steep hill.

His legs ran up the sidewalk, but all on his mind were the two punks he beat up just moments ago. He thought back to the previous year, dealing with similar punks like that. Jango wondered if such a large gang like The Rats were still crawling about, but by the time he reached his apartment, he had decided to put the thoughts away for now. For now, there wasn't really much he could do about it without any leads. All he could do now was climb up the steps to the 3rd floor and pop open the door of his place. He unceremoniously tossed his backpack off his back.

"Maybe I should go on some kind of patrol." He said aloud as he walked into his apartment. It was a small apartment, the most he could afford, with one bedroom and a bath. He waltzed inside, popping open his fridge and grabbing an apple. Jango stuffed it into his hoodie pocket and grabbed a banana, peeling it before he headed out of the apartment and made a dash back down and away from the complex.

With his impromptu breakfast on hand, Jango resumed his roadwork. He ran along the sidewalk as he watched the sector start to wake-up properly. He darted across streets and around corners as he approached the golden-colored building that was the Echo Romeo Gym. It was a two floor building, with the name on a billboard on the roof, along with the star mark on Jango's clothes.

Pushing the door open, the cold air hit Jango like a truck. He gave a short sigh as he tossed his peel and apple core into a trash can as he looked around the gym. It was a boxing gym with a modest membership, many of them much older than Jango himself. Almost none of them looked his way, but he didn't mind; he knew many of them. Most of them were regulars that had been going here since he was a kid. The gym was alive with punches thrown against bags, or landing into a sparring partner's torso. His green-eyes glanced around, but then landed when he saw someone hitting a heavy bag. It wasn't unusual for a boxing gym, but he didn't recognize the one throwing the punches.

Jango at first assumed he was a rookie hoping to join, but that couldn't be. His punches were too sharp. He's trained before, and no doubt was a proper boxer. He was a young man, with straight, pink hair that couldn't be mistaken for someone else. His gloves smashed into the bag, standing in a wife beater and shorts. His brown skin was clear of any sweat, seemingly having just started.

"Yo!"

The sudden call got the guy to glance at him. Jango looked into his sky blue eyes as he smirked, "I don't think I've seen your face around here. You new?"

"New to the sector." He turned to face Jango properly, "I came in from Alpha Sector."

"Alpha, huh? That's a long ways away." Jango mused as he looked him over. "Hold on, have I seen you before?"

"Depends. You into boxing?"

With a snap of his fingers, Jango grinned, "oh, now I know where I've seen you! You're Blake Coffins, right? I saw your match last month."

"Correct." Blake nodded to him, "you must be Jango Fox."

"Oh? So my reputation around the sector speaks for itself." Jango smirked, lightly flexing his right arm best he could within his hoodie."

"Hardly." Blake said flatly as Jango chuckled. "But I saw your match on TV. It was interesting." Jango raised an eyebrow as Blake continued, "you obviously outmatched your opponent."

"How do you figure?"

Blake crossed his arms, "don't play dumb with me. You strung him along from the start." He pointed one glove at him, "you had that look in your eyes when the tide turned. That wasn't your first bout."

"Shishishishi~" Jango laughed as he said, "yeah, you guessed right. I spent two years in the Amateur Boxing League. My record was pretty rocky at first, but I think it speaks for itself."

"Figured as much." Blake said simply, "there was a surprising amount of hype for you when you were just an opener for the main event that night. So thought that those reporters were doing more than just hoping for a good underdog story."

Jango returned with a shrug of his own and said, "you flatter me, really, but you have me at a disadvantage. You know so much about me, but you haven't spoken much about yourself." He popped his hands into his pocket as he said, "so, what of you? Word around the grape vine is that you're some natural born prodigy."

Blake sucked his teeth, "I hate that word. 'Prodigy'. Especially with how it's so casually tossed around." He mused, "but I suppose if the shoe fits."

Another laugh escaped Jango's lips, "shishishi, how modest." He crossed his own arms in return as the two stared the other down. It was a brief exchange as a door behind Blake opened up. Jango looked over his shoulder, seeing Kendrick and another man, with a pink buzz cut, walked out of a room in the back.

"Pleasure doing business with you." The buzz cut man said as Kendrick gave him a nod before looking over to Blake and Jango.

"Jango?" Kendrick asked aloud, "thought I told you to take it easy today."

"Oh, you know. Just stopped by to see how things were going." Jango said with a small wave before looking back to Blake. "And then I see you wheeling and dealing with my competition behind my back." Blake gave a suck of his teeth and rolled his eyes as Kendrick gave a chuckle of his own.

"Ja haha. It's nothing like that." Kendrick assured him, "Mr. Coffins and his boxer are in this sector for a match tomorrow. They're just here to do some final tuning before he gets into the ring."

The older gentleman approached Jango as he said, "your manager was very generous in allowing us to work in his gym." He gave a short bow, "and I apologize if my son and I are using your space." Blake rolled his eyes as Jango gave an uneven chuckle of his own.

"Er, it's cool." Jango assured him as the man stood up straight. "I'm supposed to be resting today, so it's not like you're imposing on me or anything. And if it's cool with Kendrick, it's cool with me."

"If that's the case," Blake began, "then if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to my training. I want my 5th match to be won decisively." He got ready to go back to hitting the bag, but Jango quickly gave a sharp whistle, causing Blake to pause. A low growl escaped his voice as he glared into his green eyes.

"Hey, it's not like hitting that heavy bag is gonna do you any good." Jango started to take his hoodie off, tossing it onto a nearby chair as he stood in his orange t-shirt. "You look pretty warmed up, so how about we do a quick sparring match."

"Sparring, eh?" Blake cocked an eyebrow as Jango began to make his way to the boxing gear.

"Now, hang on, Jango!" Kendrick grunted, "I told you to take it easy."

"Oh, I'm barely even scratched from my match." Jango grabbed a piece of protective headgear and began to tuck in his dreads. "And besides, a quick 1-Round fight with protection isn't gonna make either of us too weak for our next matches."

Blake glanced over to his father, who seemed to be in thought. He then said, "I think I'm in agreement with Mr. Fox here. This'll be good for both of them." Blake gave another suck of his teeth as he and his father made their way to the gear. In moments, they were both in gloves and headgear, mouth guards popped into their chops and the two made their ways into the gym's ring.

Jango leaned into the red corner, while Blake was hopping from foot to foot in the blue. Jango could tell from the look in his eyes that Blake was going to take this session as seriously as any other boxing match. Good, he thought. Even if it was just for one round, Jango wanted this fight. He wanted a fight with someone who could really challenge him. The Rats couldn't. Knot couldn't either. But Blake was a genuine contender.

DING!

Both boxers dashed towards the other, their fists up and ready to box. Blake was quicker, both on his feet and on the draw. He threw a solid jab, forcing Jango to tighten his guard to block before he avoided a straight from the right. It was a basic one-two combination.

Then Blake threw another one, forcing Jango to dodge again.

And then another one-two, Jango dashed to the side to evade.

His punches were sharp, but they were repetitive. Jango could feel the weight of each one of Blake's fists. Fast enough to slice through the air, yet heavy enough to leave the ring shaking. Each miss closed the gap little by little as Jango continued to dart and dash around, shifting his weight to evade each swing. They weren't sloppy; they were tight, well thrown punches. The only thing that kept Blake from landing a solid blow was Jango's ability to dodge.

With a light 'tap', Jango's eyes grew wide as he felt the corner post. When did he find himself in the corner? Did he not notice? He had no time to think, as Blake began to race right for him. Jango could see the cross coming. As Blake got in close for another straight, Jango pushed forward. Blake pulled his arm back, but Jango had already fired a short uppercut, nailing Blake right under his jaw.

(He's got a strong jaw.) Jango thought as he watched Blake back up after the blow. In a blink, Blake had thrown a sudden jab. Jango darted to the side, putting up his guard to block a sudden straight. (And he shook off the damage almost immediately.) Blake threw another jab, but this time, Jango fired back with a wide punch from the outside. It was Blake's turn to dodge and evade. These punches flew almost wildly, heavy blows that did nothing but fan Blake as he ducked and evaded.

Jango got a glimpse of the frustration in Blake's eyes. He was sure that Blake was more annoyed than worried with Jango's haymakers. For Blake, they came at a snail's pace and were so obvious that he could dodge even swing without any real concern. He'd fire back with a straight, but Jango blocked it and fired back with a wild swing.

Blake bit down on his mouth guard as Jango threw another haymaker. The pink-haired boxer dived in, right under Jango's arm. He got ready to hit Jango with a body blow, but he was able to quickly pull back his arm and tighten his guard. The impact was loud and solid, forcing Jango to skid back.

(Damn. I knew he had a good punch, but it's unbelievable how hard he hit!) Jango said, grinning widely. (If that had hit my body, I might have doubled over.) Blake wasn't done, he dashed for Jango, ready to land another straight, but Jango did the same. He mirrored him with his own straight, but Jango was but three inches taller. It was a small difference, but he was able to put more of his weight as his right came down like an ax. It broke right through Blake's guard and sunk into his cheek.

(Reeled him in like a fish. He's tough, but he's got no guard.) A smirk formed onto Jango's face, but it vanished in an instant as he saw Blake quickly recover. Even with the headgear, it was quite the sight to see Blake put his hands back into his orthodox stance. (Even my Chopping Right didn't put him down.) Blake fired a volley of jabs, for Jango to back away to avoid his range. He seemed almost unfazed by two hard punches to the faces, but his determination only brought a chuckle from Jango's throat as he said, "you've got a lot of grit." No response, but he saw Blake tighten his fist as he began to breath heavily. (No doubt my punches are having an affect on him. But damn can he take a hit.)

Jango got ready to run in again, but he hesitated as he watched Blake tighten up his guard. He lowered his head and brought his arms in close, guarding his torso as his fists protected his chin. (Peek-a-Boo, huh? My punches are working and you're tightening up your guard!) Blake began to bob his head, bouncing to and fro as he started to inch his way closer to Jango. (Not done yet? Fine by me!)

As Blake inched closer, Jango dashed towards Blake. He threw a jab as Blake ducked underneath the blow. Another and another, each jab missing as Blake bobbed and weaved underneath the blows. His previous blows hadn't slowed him down and now that his center of gravity was lower, Jango found it much harder to land a blow. He leaned in and threw a hook, hitting Blake's guard. He expected his guard to falter, but it stayed firm and Blake stood his ground.

He fired another hook from the left, Blake stood firm. Before, Blake had almost no guard, but it was like Jango was punching a brick wall. (I've got your rhythm. It's only a matter of time before your guard breaks.) He stepped back and tried to break through with an uppercut, but Blake stood his ground.

Blake bobbed his head from side to side once more as Jango darted for him again. This time, he pulled his arm for another Chopping Right, determined to break right through Blake's guard.

But then, the straight didn't connect.

(Wait, where did he go?! Did he vanish?!) Jango's green eyes grew wide before turning to see that Blake was right under him, a hook prepared from the left. It was all so slow to him, yet Jango wasn't fast enough to react and put up his guard. In a split second, Blake had struck Jango right in the lover. The impact was loud enough to echo through the ring. Jango bit down as spit fired against the back of his teeth. It felt as though Blake had snatched the air right from his wings.

His knees were shaking. Jango doubled over from the sudden jolt of pain that shot up his spine and down to his toes. He tried to recover from the sudden blow, watching as Blake shot an uppercut. He put up his hands to block, but Blake broke through and nailed him under his chin. His head reeled back as Jango bit down on his guard. Jango's eyes rolled back as he fell backwards.

THUD!

Jango snapped back to reality once his head hit the ring's mat. He gave a gasp, choking on his own spit as he coughed up his mouthpiece.

"Alright, that's enough." Kendrick said as the bell began to ring. Mr. Coffins began to clap as Kendrick began to make his way into the ring.

"I must say Mr. Regulus," Blake's father began, "your boxer is well trained. That Chopping Right of his was well executed. It's a good thing we've been working on our guard, right, son?"

Blake popped off his headgear as Kendrick began to help Jango sit up. He took out his mouth guard as he said, "right." He pulled off one of his boxing gloves as he rubbed his cheek. He cringed; his mind thinking how well he would have taken the blow if he was not wearing protection. As he made his way out of the ring, Jango managed to sit up.

"How you holding up, bro?" Kendrick helped to get his gloves off his hands.

"F-fine." Jango managed to say as he took off his head gear. He had a wide grin on his face, even if his ears were still ringing.

"I'm going to do some roadwork." Blake said simply as he put down his protective gear.

"Alright, but hurry back." Mr. Coffins told him as Blake headed for the door. "We need to do some mitt punches. That left hook was a little sloppy." Blake gave his father a thumbs up as Jango managed to get onto his feet.

"Hey! Blake!"

The pink-haired boxer paused and glanced back at Jango, raising an eyebrow at him.

"Nice match." Jango smirked, "I'm looking forward to when we face off in an official match." He gave a weak chuckle as an arm cradled his liver the best he could.

Blake looked back into his green eyes. He could feel the fire coming off of them. Blake tightened his fist and smirked at him. "As am I."

"F-fine." Jango managed to say as he took off his head gear. He had a wide grin on his face, even if his ears were still ringing.

"I'm going to do some roadwork." Blake said simply as he put down his protective gear.

"Alright, but hurry back." Mr. Coffins told him as Blake headed for the door. "We need to do some mitt punches. That left hook was a little sloppy." Blake gave his father a thumbs up as Jango managed to get onto his feet.

Blake could hear Jango's uneven chuckles from over his shoulder, bringing him to roll his eyes as he popped open the door.

"H-hey, Blake!" Jango's call got Blake to turn and face him. His grin got Blake to clench his teeth as Jango called over, "good punch. That was a good match." He watched as Blake sucked on his teeth and took off without a word.