Chapter 4: Training and A Party
"Move your feet Will," ordered Daniel. Taking his advise, Will side-stepped and Nash just barely missed his head. Will countered with a right hook but Nash was too quick. He leaned forward just slightly and Will's punch just grazed him. However, Nash had leaned to far forward. Will brought his left hand, his strong hand, in an upper cut motion and clopped him right in the nose. Nash tried to recover but wasn't fast enough. Will brought his left hand again and nailed him in the stomach. Then he swept Nash's leg out from under him with a well placed kick. Nash landed on his back, stunned. Before he could recover Will straddled him, pinning his arms with his knees, placing one hand on his chest and the other was poised to strike.
"Well that was entertaining," laughed Kelton who was leaning against the wall. "I'll say your aggressiveness has improved significantly."
"Not only that," added Daniel, "but both your speed and perception have as well." He walked over to them applauding Will. They were in Kelton's personal gym and Anthony was on the other side of the room, lifting weights and watching the fights. Daniel reached out a hand to help Will and Nash off the ground.
Daniel Cassaway was the same height as Will, yet had a much more muscular body. Despite this, he was not imposing or very large, his muscles were just more pronounced. In fact, whenever Will saw him without his shirt, he called him the "American Bruce Lee." . Kelton Jackson on the other hand, was about the average build of a man his age. He had rather long, brown hair that often got into his eyes along with a mustache and chin beard. However, his most unusual feature were his finger nails. For a guy they were really long and rock hard, Will was often afraid that Kelton would claw him if he got mad.
Once off the ground, Will made his way over to a gym bag that contained everything for their training sessions. He reached in and pulled out three foam swords. These items, though simply toys, had the weight and feel of an actual sword. Will smiled to himself, this was his favorite part. He tossed two of the swords to Kelton who smiled in return.
"Ready Kelton?" Will asked as he got into a defensive stance. Kelton tossed one of the swords up, causing it to do a flip in the air, and caught it. A very nefarious smile formed on his lips.
"Raaaah!" he screamed, charging him. Will was not phased by Kelton's apparent viciousness. He ran to meet him head on, the two charging like mad bulls. However, at the last second, Will side-stepped and whacked Kelton on the back. The blow sent him stumbling into the wall. This caused Kelton to get angry, something that no smart man would do in a fight with him. He turned and launched himself at Will who in response went on the defensive. With his single blade, Will blocked each of Kelton's strokes, hard pressed to keep up his defenses. Kelton hammered blow after blow, hoping to wear his opponent down. Eventually, he landed two smart taps on Will's sides, causing him to stagger, clutching his ribs.
Kelton believed his victory was assured and raised the swords for a "killing" blow. However, Will wasn't done yet. He thrust his sword forward, aiming for Kelton's stomach. Kelton, his reflexes like a cat's, quickly blocked the jab. He was now on the defensive. Despite having only one blade, Will's speed was impressive. Once he swung, if Kelton were to block it, he'd immediately swing again, not giving Kelton any room to mount an offense. Will was soon able to land two blows of his own on Kelton, one on his left side and the other on the top of his head. After that, neither could gain an edge, a stalemate ensued.
Nash and Daniel both were leaning against the wall, enjoying the spectacle. Out of the four of them, Will and Kelton were easily the better sword fighters and their speed and agility with the blades was something to behold. Kelton's ferocity could not be matched yet Will was able to hold off his attacks with amazing finesse, adding little tricks into his sequence. Eventually however, Kelton's power blows were too much for Will and he disarmed him. Will made a move to retrieve the sword but Kelton quickly placed his at Will's throat. Even though frustration burned inside him, Will accepted defeat. Daniel and Nash applauded them for their efforts and even Anthony was clapping.
"So, who do I get to fight?" he asked cheerfully. The other four all looked at each other nervously. Anthony was easily the biggest out of them all but that was not why they feared fighting him. It was his insane speed that scared them. Anthony was faster than just about everyone they knew in both reflexes and running speed, more so than even Will's youngest brother Samuel and Harley, both of whom could out run the best marathon runners. They looked at each other nervously and each pointed to someone else. Anthony smiled and laughed to himself.
"Aww, no one wants to fight me?" he chuckled. "What about you Nash? It's been a while since we sparred." Nash hung his head a little, he had been called out and it wasn't in his nature to back down. He raised his head and looked at Anthony's smiling face.
"Alright big guy, you are on," he said determinedly. "Which do you want to do?"
"How about boxing, what you and Will were doing earlier?" Nash was even more dismayed. While he wasn't a bad fighter himself, he had seen what Anthony could do and the prospect of boxing him was the most frightful thing Nash could think of. However, he nodded his head and grabbed his boxing gloves. Anthony grabbed the ones on the ground and walked to the center of the ring. Nash followed him and as he did so he passed Will, just within ear shot to catch a whisper from him.
"Good luck," he whispered just so that Nash could hear. Nash turned to his friend and nodded his thanks. Once he reached the center, he raised his hands into a defensive position and Anthony did the same.
For a few seconds the two of them just stood there, as if sizing the other up. Then they began to circle, neither of them was willing to make the first move. Eventually, Nash struck. The punch, a right cross was fast but Anthony was still faster. He deftly blocked the punch and came across with one of his own, an upper cut that landed right under Nash's jaw. Nash staggered back and nearly fell over, not only did Anthony have the speed, but he also had strength behind every punch.
Anthony took full advantage of Nash's stunned state. He leaped across the mat and would have knocked Nash hard on the head. However, Nash recovered quickly enough to jump out of the way. Anthony missed by centimeters and Nash, thinking quickly, rammed a punch to the back of his head. Anthony fell hard but did not stay down for long. He quickly rolled and just barely escaped another blow. Nash's fist smacked the floor hard and he knew that he had gotten over confident and blew it. Soon, Anthony was on him. He rammed his shoulder into Nash's ribs and knocked the wind out from him. Nash rolled with the impact and was on his feet before Anthony could take advantage of his weakness. It wasn't enough though.
When he had fully recovered, he met a flurry of fast punches. Nash raised his fists to ward off blow after blow to his face. However, in doing so he had left his torso exposed. Many of the punches landed on his stomach, his ribs, and even his legs. His legs began to buckle and Anthony soon had him on his knees. Eventually, Anthony was able to beat past his arms and land a punch to the side of Nash's head. He went down and laid there on the ground, panting. Anthony went over to Nash and helped him to his feet. The two bumped fists and relaxed.
"Well, that was fun." The five men looked over and standing in the door way, next to the water fountain, stoop Will's youngest brother Samuel. The youngest of the Halter children, he was a boy of nineteen with extremely long legs and dirty blonde hair. He had a very slender build, one of a runner, and wore glasses that were very similar to Will's own. He had currently been doing laps around the gym's running track outside and had taken a water break. When he saw the fight between Nash and Anthony, he had stopped to watch.
"It was," Nash responded sarcastically. "Do you want to give it a try?" He began to hand Sam the boxing gloves. Sam quickly refused.
"No thanks," he said. "I'm a runner, not a fighter. Besides, coach said I didn't need to injure myself." Sam was on the soccer team for the college he attended.
"Oh come on Little Bro." coaxed Will. "It'll be fun." Sam thought about it for a second and then nodded his head.
"Alright, but only if I fight you Will." The two brothers had a long standing rivalry in just about everything that they did. Fighting was no exception and it was known that Will was easily the better fighter, Sam being more of a pacifist. However, if he ever got the chance to show up Will, especially in front of the guys they were now with, he took it. They each took the gloves from Nash and Anthony and stood in the middle of the ring.
"This is gonna be good," Kelton whispered to Nash. He nodded his head in agreement. A fight between the two brothers was always really fun to watch.
They began in a similar fashion to Anthony and Nash, circling each other, neither seeming like they wanted to make the first move. However, Will was more than ready to strike first. He rushed Sam and swung wide. Sam ducked the blow and went for Will's head. Will ducked as well but instead went for the stomach while Sam was focused on the head. His fist met its mark and knocked the wind out of his brother. Sam doubled over, clutching his stomach. Will then leaped at him, aiming a punch for the back of Sam's head. However, this had been a ruse. The younger boy came up with an upper cut that hit Will square in the jaw. The blow sent Will onto the ground, flat on his butt. His pride stung, he quickly got up and again rushed Sam. He tackled him and brought Sam to the ground. Quickly he pinned him and made Sam tap out. Will had won again.
"You okay?" Will asked. Despite how much he loved fighting his brother, he always made sure he wasn't hurt.
"Other than a little bruising to my pride, I'm good." Sam shook himself and got up quickly. "My laps are done, so if you guys are ready to go home I'd like to leave now." Will looked at the others and each seemed like they were done.
"Yeah, I think we are ready. Do you want to come over for lunch or go back to Mom and Dad's?"
"I think I'll go home. Just don't forget to pick me up before the party."
"You know that Mom and Dad are coming too right? You don't have to ride with me."
"Yeah but they are coming later and I want to be there as long as I can."
"Alright, I'll be there around 6:30 okay?"
"Got it." With that, they each got into their respective vehicles and drove away.
Once he dropped Sam back off at their parents' house he made his way back to the apartment. Excitement coursed through him and he rushed to get back home to get ready for the party that night. Two weeks had passed since Becky's miraculous return from the dead and they finally were about to have the long expected party. However, what made the event so much more exciting was the fact that both his parents and Becky's each said that they had an announcement to make. The anticipation was killing him.
It did not take him long to get back to his apartment. Nash and Anthony were already back and he was surprised to see that Kelton had come as well. He entered the building and saw both Anthony and Kelton sitting at the kitchen table eating their lunch. He could also hear the shower running and guessed that Nash was in there. He quickly warmed up some left over lasagna and joined the two at the table.
"So, any plans for tonight?" Anthony asked. Will did not have to ask what he meant. He smiled and shook his head.
"No," he answered. "Proposing tonight isn't the smartest thing. I want to get her alone, away from any prying ears of our friends. That way, she gives the answer she absolutely wants to give and feels no pressure." Anthony nodded to himself, satisfied.
As soon as Nash got out of the shower, the other three readied themselves for the evening's events. By around 6 o'clock, Will was ready. He left the apartment soon after and picked up Sam. The two then made their way to Becky's house.
"Are you absolutely sure I can't tell him?" Becky asked Sarah. The two were waiting in the living room for the others to arrive. Sarah shook her head sadly, Becky had kept asking this for the past two weeks and it hurt her to keep giving her the same answer.
"You cannot tell Will the whole story of what happened that day," Sarah responded. "If you do, there is no telling how he would react." Becky hated keeping secrets from Will. She loved him, more than anything, and wanted to him to know everything. Yet, his own sister Sarah, someone she had come to consider as her own sister, was telling her to do just that.
"Why exactly can't I?" She had asked this question before but never was fully satisfied with the answer.
"We were told that each one of us has to find out for ourselves first. Not only that, but we don't want them thinking we are crazy. I hate keeping secrets from him too Becky, he is my brother after all, the one who I tell everything to."
"But what if he isn't who you think he is? What if he's just a normal guy who has nothing to do with this?"
"I have little doubt that he has one inside him. I mean, the chances of that happening, with everything else around him being just right, are way to slim. However, if we are wrong, and he is just a normal human, then you can tell him. However, considering who you are, I think that fate would not give you someone that you couldn't be with. That is just too cruel. Take this in to consideration too, if he doesn't experience this himself, do you really think he will believe you?"
Though Becky saw the thought of her and Will being tied together by fate as romantic, she still wished things were different. If only she had not been gifted with this, then she and Will could lead a normal life together. She longed to tell him, yet she could see Sarah's point, she did not want Will to think her crazy, more likely than not he would assume she had hit her head a little too hard at the crash. Becky hung her head and accepted what she had to do. Just as she came to this conclusion, the door bell rang.
Will was excited Nash observed. He moved as if he had ants in his pants and just couldn't keep still. Nash smiled to himself, happy for his friend. The two of them had been together since they were kids, each keeping the other strong even in the most difficult of times, like when Drake was born. When he arrived, it was too early and the doctors thought that he would not have made it through the night. Will was only three at the time but yet he had sensed the seriousness of the situation. He and Sarah, who was only two, could barely stand to see their baby brother so close to death. Nash had been there, along with Anthony, to keep Will's spirits up and it wasn't long until Drake had become a healthy baby boy. Nash shook his head at the irony of the memory. Now, that same baby who Will had loved from the moment he had been born, was now his worst enemy. Funny how life could do that to you. But this was not the time for sad thoughts, this was a happy day, one for partying.
After Sam had rung the door bell, it wasn't long until Rachel had opened it. She ushered them inside and Nash could see that a few people had already shown up. There was Harley and his roommate Keith Harris. Kelton's two roommates, Daniel and Gavin Rogers, who was Becky's older brother, were there, as well as the twins Jana and Chey Blake. Not long afterward, Dallas Sullust came in. Nash was always impressed by this man. His body was that of a man who constantly exercised, and his fighting skills were way above that of most people, even Daniel who was a master. Gabe Challos arrived next, soon followed by David Quan, John Soma and Hans Rogers, the third of the Rogers children. Eventually, Will's and Becky's parents walked in. The party had reached its maximum.
It was a real blast. As soon as they arrived, Will and Anthony hooked up a Wii U and Nash's speakers. Very soon, Super Smash Bros. dominated the TV. Will lost one of the rounds due to Chey surprising him with a bear hug. Kelton, Harley, Keith, and Gabe all hung around the snack table, drinking punch and discussing random things. Nash often wondered why Kelton lived with Gavin and Daniel when he was closer to those three. Becky was sitting between Will and Sam on the couch, watching them play and snuggled up next to Will. Jana was doing the same with Anthony. The whole room seemed like a cozy little haven. His happiness was spoiled when Rachel began to make her way over to him. She indicated that the two of them needed to speak alone. They found a small corner of the room where it was a little more quite and yet they could still be part of the group.
"Let me guess, Becky is a kaiju and she wants to tell Will," Nash said, beating her to the punch. Rachel nodded her head in response.
"Yep. We were right about her. From the description she gave there is no doubt that she is Manda. Not only that but she is starting to have the dreams."
"Have the twins shown up yet?"
"No, not yet. All this is starting to get to her and she hates that she can't share it with Will." Becky never hid anything from him and now she was hiding the biggest secret she has ever had. Nash found it troubling that the twins hadn't shown themselves to her. Every time another kaiju revealed itself, the spirits of the dead shobijin came and helped them through it. Could it be that they believe Becky will have enough help from her friends?
"Let's just hope that she can keep quiet," Nash said. "It would be...unfortunate if Will found out too soon." Rachel nodded and the two sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed themselves. From where they sat they had a good view of the party. The games of Smash had ended and, despite the music, a quiet lull fell over the party. Everyone was talking and just enjoying the friendship they all shared. Taking advantage of the inactivity, Will's dad Tim stood up.
"I think it is time for us to make our announcement," he said. He turned off the music and the whole room turned their attention to him. "Will's mother and I, along with the Rogers have a surprise for all of you. For a few years we have been putting back some money to give you something that would show how much we care for you, even those of you who aren't our kids. So, we got each of you a plane ticket to New York that leaves in a week."
A shocked silence fell over the room. Nash could not believe what he was hearing. It was common knowledge to them all that the Halters were not an extremely wealthy family, they could definitely not afford something that big. However, the Rogers were and the combined power of their money as well as saving up for a few years, would easily be enough. Despite this, no one could speak for a few minutes. Finally, it was Will who did speak.
"Really Dad?" he asked. "How could you afford this?" Tim chuckled a little bit and Will's mom Beverly smiled at her son.
"We just wanted to give you and your friends something nice sweetie," she said. We know how many of you wanted to go to New York, so we decided to help with that dream."
"And don't worry about asking off for work," said Becky's dad Scott. "I've already made the arrangements and you all have a two week vacation starting next Monday." Scott owned a very successful business, one that published and sold comic books, novels, and the like and each of them worked for him in some capacity. Silence followed for a few seconds.
"Thanks Mom and Dad," said Will finally. "And thank you Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. We can't wait."
Drake looked out of a window on the top floor of his condo, surveying the city below him. There was a soft knock on the door behind. Drake sighed to himself. Hopefully this was going to be important.
"Come in," he said. The door creaked open and Bruce walked in. Drake saw his reflection in the window and smiled, Bruce never came here unless it was important. As Bruce entered, he noticed the shower was on. Drake's wife Meg must be in the shower. Out of everything Drake had, his wife was the thing he guarded most jealously. It wasn't like he loved her or anything, he did not have the ability to really love anyone. It was most definitely a possessiveness, craving human affection, something he has wanted ever since his family shunned him for his bad choices. Bruce was incapable of doing this but yet Meg had filled it perfectly, most likely just worming her way into a position where she could feel safe.
"Sir," Bruce began, "our spy has gotten back to us."
"Ah, so Zilla did his work," Drake said, smiling. "So what did my dear old parents do for them?"
"They bought all of them tickets to New York." At this Drake was a little shocked. "How could your parents have afforded something like that?"
"No doubt they had help from Becky's parents, that family almost rivals me in wealth." Drake began to stroke his chin, the habit he had for when he was thinking. "Ready the jet Bruce."
"Yes sir. Which of us will be going with you?"
"None of you," Drake said, shocking Bruce. "I plan to do this alone and I will kill my brother before he even has a chance to transform."
"Yes sir," said Bruce, shaking off his shock. "I will make the needed preparations." With that he exited the room. Drake smiled to himself, his time had come.