Condemned

Chapter 17: The Fight

Chapter Seventeen: The Fight

AN: heya guys, and welcome to the next instalment of 'Condemned'! ;D

For details of the story playlist, see the end AN once you've finished reading the chapter.

As always, thanks so much for the follows, faves, reviews and support. The last chapter got some really useful, constructive comments, so a big thanks to all of you- if I could hug you all individually, I would.

For details of the story playlist, see the end AN once you've finished reading the chapter.

Anyway, time's ticking, so here we go! Enjoy, and please R&R!

-Recap-

"You have to talk to him," I plead softly. "He won't listen to me. At least try- please."

Andri stares at me coldly. "He would not take my advice. I am, after all, some sort of hindrance to him."

"He respects you, you must realize that." Somewhere in that sentence Andri gives a guffaw of amusement, then directs my gaze to the deep bruising across his jawline.

"Does this look like a mark of respect to you, my dear?"

I sigh, feet kicking at the straw on the floor as I stroke one of the garments in my hand- realizing it belongs to Nas, I drop it immediately to the ground.

"Besides," Andri says, a strange clarity rising in his solemn voice, "I fear we may be too late for such interventions."

I follow his eyes to the center of the pit, where a great, raucous crowd is beginning to assemble.

The fight has begun.

My stomach sinks as soon as my eyes find Bane. Not because I'm worried for him- although that is also a factor- and not because he looks unprepared- in fact, it's the opposite. He looks ready; so ready to fight and destroy that it crushes a part of me, his utterly focused determination swamping the entire cell, and I know, right there in that moment, that he cannot loose.

But then I see him.

Dandachi, Bane's opponent.

He is the complete opposite of what I was expecting, for all but the scarring. His physique is tall and dominant, but far leaner than I'd imagined. He seems ill-put together, as though drawn by a child- a body which seems to be of equal length to his legs, with low-hanging, barrel arms and a neck like a tree trunk, so thick it seems to carve into his shoulders.

His head is square, with a powerful chin and high-set eyes which fall deep into his face, and a thin mouth, thickly lined with the hardships of his life. I imagine, odd-looking as he seems, that he would have been ruggedly attractive in his younger years- were it not, of corse, for the scars... thick, jagged branches which knot their way in gruesome paths up and over Dandachi's skin, gnarling his vocal chords into charred contours at the mutilated skin of his neck. The cooked flesh climbs it's way up the line of his jaw like an infection, a parasite that needs cutting away. The dead skin follows down Dandachi's collar, spreading like the fire which caused it across his bare chest and back, dissapearing down his left side into the band of his rugged trousers.

A smallish man who seems to play the part of referee crouches down beside the two opponents, now facing each other and begins to draw two rough circles around the places they stand with a stub of chalk. He stands back up as the crowds heckle, a small group huddled around the referee's assistant, hastily placing their bets. The refugee let's out a guttural bark to inform the crowd of the impending battle, then stabs a three-fingered hand in the air and counts down from three in Arabic.

"Who goes first?" I ask Andri, remembering the same format being used when Bane fought the Cajun, Carriveau- they take it in turns to strike eachother until one hits the ground.

"Dandachi," Andri says, "out of respect, because he is the older of the two."

Surley enough, Dandachi takes a swinging punch and cuts up Bane's jaw, and I wince, thinking of the agony his jaw has caused him before. Bane shakes it off, though, and quickly aims a sharp jab at Dandachi's abdomen, right over a patch of the scarring.

This painful cycle continues for several minutes, the two hitting each other repeatedly back and forth, before I look away uneasily and ask Andri, "how can they do it? Just stand there and take the hit, not even flinch?"

"Practice," Andri says. "You don't play by the rules, you don't get your winnings. Moving or defending yourself counts as a forefit, and your possible winnings are given to your opponent. It is as simple as that."

"So it all comes down to money again," I say skeptically, and Andri knods,

"Doesn't everything?"

There is a particularly loud cry from the crowd and I flick my head back, face between the bars, to get a better look. A couple of audience members, stragglers at the back, have moved inwards and now block my view of the battle raging in their midst.

"Can I just go a bit outside?" I say hopefully, craning my head a little to try and see, "just so I can get a better position, there's no danger, everyone's at the fight anyway-"

"Certainly not," Andri says sharply, muttering Budalasha under his breath when I turn my head. A little parting appears in the crowds and, as awkwardly positioned as I am, I can see a chip of the fight through it.

Bane has just taken a hit, a dangerously high lump apearing at the side of his head, as he swings back his fist and jolts an uppercut underneath Dandachi's chin. The huge man reels a moment, a slither of blood dribbling from his nostril, but looks otherwise unphased. The two continue like this for a few minutes, one lugging swing after another, and I wince at each of Bane's reactions.

Andri is beside me now, his face against the metal warmed by the strong sun, stubble toughing its curved surface because his face is so close.

"This is unbareable," I say, almost angrily, "how can anyone enjoy watching this?"

"After twenty years with hardly any form of entertainment," Andri admits, "it's hard not to."

I shake off his comment and refocus my attentions to Bane, who looks just as determined but half as powerful as he had when the fight had started. He swings a forceful fist in Dandachi's direction and hits the same spot as earlier, right underneath his chin, and it seems almost to leave a dent in the man's thick charred skin. Bane readies himself for Dandachi's next blow, and as he does there's a glint of silver as Dandachi's fist flies and suddenly he's clutching his face, bent forwards more than before, and I see a flash of red begin to flow between his fingers.

"No!" I give a guttural cry, slamming my fingers against the bars though I know from past experience this yields no response from anything or anyone.

Except Andri.

"Be patient," he says.

Before he can explain any further my attentions are back to Bane, who has now wiped the blood from his face and has uncovered a thick red slit, diagonally down his lip and stretching about two inches across. He visibly struggles to restrain himself while the Booker's assistant scratches a chalk strike into the dusty ground beside Dandachi's ring, indicating that he has played foul.

Suddenly I realize something.

"It's three strikes, right?" I say to Andri, remembering Bane's earlier fight with the Cajun man, Carriveau. "Three strikes then they loose by default."

"I know what your thinking," Andri says. "I thought it myself. If they really are intent on playing as dirty as rumor would have us believe, then the strike system will end the fight long before any genuine victory will. But it doesn't matter- either way, there will be a rematch declared. Neither will submit to failure or success, not when it is handed to them on a plate. They will fight again and again until one of them is dead."

I watch a moment, downfallen yet thoughtful, as the referee takes the blood-tainted short-knife from Dandachi. He gives it to him without any fuss, a light smirk swamping on his flame-licked features. Bane hits twice then, seemingly as compensation to the wound on his face. As consequence, the assistant strikes a line of chalk to match Dandachi's outside of Bane's circle, then the swinging match continues a little longer, uninterrupted. Both party's receive another foul under the direction of the Booker, both strikes for stepping out of the line.

Until there's a break in the violence and suddenly Dandachi spits in Bane's face.

The whole complex of the prison, even down to the familiar whistling of the cook from down the corridor, ceases into silence.

The Booker's boy crouches steadily, unsure whether or not he should rule the final strike.

The decision is made for him as Bane leaps like a panther from his circle, drowning Dandachi in a sea of fist-fire and growling fiercely The Booker calls an end to the fight as Bane and Dandachi claw at each other on the ground, announcing that both have declared themselves forfeit by deviation. Neither seem to hear, both too caught up in ahnnialating the other, and with a brisk nod the Booker orders his assistant to strike the final fouls into the sandy earth. The boy shakes his head uncertainly, pointing to the place where the rings and chalk-strikes resided, which is now dust-blown and smothered in flaying limbs and angry fists as Bane and his opponent continue their vendetta.

The booker frowns, clearly now more interested in taking his bet money than stopping the brawl, and calls over two men, who are quickly joined by another two as they fight to break the ongoing violence apart.

There fumes a burst of disappointing sighing as the two are finally wrenched apart- the crowd were clearly enjoying the brutal turn the fist-fight had taken. The Booker set about claiming his bets, proclaiming, Andri explained, that since neither party had won, all bets were loosing bets and he would be keeping all the winnings. Another fight breaks out between a small group to his right because of this, which the Booker quickly sets about taking more bets on.

I watch, thankful to God that it's over, as Carrieveau, wielding a half-conscious Bane, makes his way over to our cells, followed shortly by Firdos and Barsad, who are still buzzing excitedly like two schoolgirls. I reach straight for the key and head for the main door, desperate to get Bane cleaned up and make sure he's okay.

Almost instantly all the animocity against Bane seems to be put to one side in Andri's mind, and he begins laying out medical equipment and asking Andri to clear the bed and wipe down the surfaces with cold water, which he had already began doing even before he was asked. Feeling useless, I stand in the doorway a moment and watch the four approaching, before Andri snaps me back to reality and pulls me back inside, telling me to go and fetch the razor, 'just incase'. I hate to think what medical procedure bane might require with the services of a blunt blade, but try not to think of it and drop the key to the floor and sweep into the bathroom to collect the cut-throat.

When I come back out, the four are at the door, Carrieveau trying to squeeze both Bane and himself through the doorway at the same time, which is proving to be difficult with them both being such large individuals.

Barsad and Firdos slip in behind them, fussing over Bane with now worried expressions as he is lay down on the freshly cleaned cot. Andri shoos the pair away through the door to the other cell and sets about his examination; he mutters what he sees to Bobby in Arabic, who knots back suggestions of how to proceed through his own vast knowledge.

From what I can see, the damage could have been worse- though it's still pretty bad.

Bane's left eye has closed up from one too many punches, his already unstable jaw looks a little out of place again and the cut dealt to him by the glass Dandachi held is doing him no favours- it's deep at the fleshy part of his lips, then thins out again at the firmer skin. It's longer than I origionally thought, ending just above his nostril and grazing his chin, fading into his jawline. It bleeds clogged red and is the first thing Andri sets about working on.

Bane's chest is just generally swollen, especially the line of his collar bone which I think might be fractured; Andri moves his hand under Bane to check the area where he was stabbed before, and when he brings it back there's a little brownish-red membrane of blood across it. Ungraciously he demands Bane be flipped over, and the barley-stirring man gives a whispery groan as he's moved by Carriveau, with the not-so-useful 'assistance' of Firdos and Barsad.

Andri, frustrated with the two getting in the way, sends the them outside of the cell, where they remain sitting for the next half an hour or so as Andri works on the minor injuries Bane has been awarded. He is particularly frustrated with the fact that the almost-healed stab wound has been mildly torn again, and bandages it with so much of the bandage supply I fear we may not have enough for any further injuries. Bane rouses after about fifteen minutes, but remains quiet even when I try addressing him. After another five minutes, I try again.

"Bane?" I say, with an unfamiliar clarity.

This time he stirs a little, head cocking against the board of the cot as he makes eye contact with me, and I feel my chest skip a little with an unfamiliar feeling, something like relief but a little more...

well, more.

"Is it that bad?" He says, reading my facial expression.

"You're pretty messed up," I admit, pressing a cold, wet wedge of cloth to his lips. He jolts a little from the surprise of it, the cold water running down the sides of his face, and, as he opens his lips to speak, into his mouth.

"You should see the other guy," he says, attempting a smile then wincing at the effort of it as it draws the ripped skin of his lips tighter.

"Careful," I say, pushing the cloth to the wound again, and he closes his eyes. I stare at him, wounded as he is, and sigh a little.

"What?" He says, hearing it even over the usual prison racket.

"Nothing," I reply solidly, and press a little harder than I probably need to.

AN:

Question Time:

Story Playlist: was discussing the story with a reader who emailed me, and we were talking about making a playlist for the story. If anyone has any ideas of songs which would go with Condemned which you'd like to contribute, or any other queries, pop it in the reviews section or contact me:

Email: passmeanotherbiscuit yahoo. co. uk

DA: shazammize. deviantart gallery/

(obviously without the spaces ;D)

until next time! x

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