I have to thank a pair of people who went over this and made it far better than i could Honeybree and Pepper_pace. The two of you did so much for this story i can't even begin to thank you. For all of you who read this story please enjoy it. It is a long one, but I couldn't cut corners on this one. So enough of my useless rambling and enjoy the show! comments and votes are always welcome as is your enjoyment.


The bell rang out as the two warriors slumped against each other. Their corner crews ran in to break them up as the jam packed crowd roared. It had been an epic war between two titans of the sport. The two men could barely stand up as they had gone through six rounds of pure torturous hell. They moved to their respective corners and slumped onto their stools while the normally reserved crowd stood on their feet voicing their approval of the event. Despite his exhaustion, the deafening crowd was all too apparent to Marcus Daniels as his trainer washed the blood out of his eyes. He knew that he was done. He been a mixed-martial arts fighter for a long time, and this fight was the culmination of his efforts.

His body knew all too clearly exactly why he was done. His head felt like there were a thousand bells ringing behind his eyes. His arms ached badly from the many kicks he had taken, not to mention the vicious take downs. The harshness of the ring had finally taken its hefty toll on him as he met his trainer's eyes and wordlessly indicated that he was through. His breathing was ragged and his legs felt like they would fall off. He then looked across the ring and saw that his opponent was in no better shape. The young Japanese fighter was barely conscious and his nose was broken twice. The poor man couldn't stand up as his left leg was clearly going to need a cast from the vicious leg kicks he had taken. They shared a look from across the ring and both men nodded their heads to each other in a show of deep admiration.

The two warriors were led to the center of the ring as the announcer read off the decision to the crowd. The man spoke in excited tones as he read the judges scores in Japanese. 30-29 Matzuzami. 30-29 Daniels. 29-28 Daniels 29-28 Matzuzami. The decision was a draw. The crowd was mixed as both sides of the fans hoped to see their own warrior as the winner. But for the two men in the ring who had battled so hard it was the right one. Both had fought to his absolute limits and neither had fallen. Both had knocked the other down twice, and both had taken a substantial amount of damage in the process.

They hugged each other in a show of respect while the crowd chanted for a rematch. Normally Japanese crowds were reserved in competitions such as this, but when they saw how hard the two had fought most couldn't help their excitement. The two fighters were led to their locker rooms and as they went down the aisles Marcus was surprised that many of the fans shouted their approval.

Marcus Daniels had just fought the last fight of his career. It pained him to the limits just to draw breath. He had taken four vicious kicks to the side and knew that some of his ribs had been broken or at least cracked. He limped to his bench as his trainers removed the tape from his hands and feet. He looked across the room to the large mirror that took up most of one wall. As he stared at his reflection all he could see were the colorful bruises that now decorated his body. He disregarded the sight of his well defined body and short cropped hair that was little more than a military cut and green eyes that seemed to easily reflect coldness and warmth. What he saw was a very large purple bruise on his side and his right eye was swollen shut. The injury to his eye was courtesy of the same kick that the younger man had defeated him with in their previous fight. This time he had managed to get up before the count reached eight. His lip was split on the left side, but he took pride that he had fought the man off as well as he had. The fans had wanted a rematch from their first encounter but instead they had just gotten a brutal war.

Marcus' trainers and doctors looked him over and it was decided that he should be rushed to the hospital as his breathing had become shallow. He did indeed have three cracked ribs, but the damage to his head was far more serious. He had a severe concussion due to the three nasty head kicks he had taken. It was confirmed that his fighting days were over when the doctor gave him the prognosis the next morning. Due to the severity of the injuries he was recommending that he no longer fight for fear of further damage to his brain.

Marcus lay back in the bed and absorbed this. He knew this man was one of the best head trauma doctors in Tokyo and he realized it was in his best interests to hang up the gloves before he became a vegetable. He slept for a while then awoke when his promoter, Nick Canlos came into his room. Nick of course wasn't so sure of the good doctor's decision so he decided to try to talk some sense into his warhorse.

"Marcus, dude we can get the rematch. Seriously man! It will make us a fortune." Nick hovered over him as he contemplated the wealth that could still be made.

"No Nick. I'm done man. I barely survived that fight. My body just doesn't have it anymore." He had tears in his eyes as he admitted the one thing that no professional athlete ever wanted to say aloud; his body was done.

"Marcus come on dude. You've had a lot worse than this and come back from it." Nick said hoping to change his mind.

"That was two years and nine fights ago. Dude, I'm almost thirty six. My body just can't keep it up much longer. Plus with this new concussion I got to look at my long term. I'd like to be semi healthy when I get older you know. I don't want to end up like the old timers who can't think without being doped up." He replied.

Marcus had fought since he was eleven. He had trained in several gyms and dojos over the world. From the U.S. to Thailand he had trained hard. He had gone to France and Russia where he learned their style to mix up his routine. He had been to Brazil and studied under some of the best fighters in the world and where he had actually lived for a time. He also had fought in any venue that he could to get experience. He knew that his long record was a distinguished one, 94-9-1. But for all his wins it was nature that would have the last say for his career. Twenty five years of it and his body just didn't have it any longer. He had seen the older guys trying to fight the new breed and many were devastated by them.

"I'm done Nick. I just don't have it anymore." Marcus said dejectedly.

Nick looked at his client and friend hard. He saw the look in his one good eye and knew he meant it. He knew well enough that Marcus was a stubborn man who gave his all in everything he did. If he meant he was done, than he was done. Nick patted his friend on the shoulder then nodded his head. They had made a decent living for a good while. The last fight had netted them a substantial haul so they weren't hurt financially. Nick also had a cadre of young bloods that were eager for further glory. He looked at his friend one last time then he left to make the preparations for the retirement announcement.

He was done. He was finally done. He whispered a soft prayer to his ancestors for guiding him along his path. He had taken to some of the tenants of Buddhism while he was in Thailand and it had truly helped him out in his life. He decided to meditate, hoping that it would clear his mind and ease his pains, but his body cried out in such agony that he had to call in a nurse for painkillers. She gave him a shot and he eventually relaxed. Marcus lay back in his bed and sighed to the ceiling. Once the medicine kicked in he fell into a deep slumber.

Seven months and three weeks later found Marcus at his new gym in the sunny city of San Diego, California. He was home and even though he had never been a champ, he was still very well respected in the fighting circles and that drew a large crowd of people anxious to train under him. He had invested wisely in his time and had a decent stockpile of money to fall back on. He used that to invest in the gym and a few other businesses in the area. The money all then went into advertising his gym and other investments. He realized he was doing well when the owners of several fighting alliances offered to let him train some of their prospects for which he charged a nominal fee. He trained them as hard as he could using all he had gleaned from his many fights to make them ready for the ring and further glory.

Marcus also helped the community as he used his gym as a means to get underprivileged kids away from gang life. Some he was able to save, but not all. Marcus was in a unique situation as he interacted on the regular with ex-gang bangers but he also drew a lot of law enforcement. He took his new life in stride and was happy that most found the gym to their liking and before long he was doing extremely well.

It was late in the night after he had closed up one evening that he decided to go out for a drink. He had an apartment above the gym so he didn't have to worry about getting drunk and not being able to get home, not that he did that anyway. As he walked to the bar at the end of the street he heard a scream. He spun about and saw a young girl running from three thugs. They all hooted obviously trying to make a grab for her. He watched as she was chased into a nearby alley and then he sprinted towards them.

Earlier that night Annabelle Melendez had been as happy as she could be. She had been allowed to attend a concert with one of her cousins and had felt very grown up as the two danced and sang to every one of the songs. She had been tired but still amped from the music and the rush of being allowed to go out alone.

Maybe her head was still in a daze from the concert, but somehow she had gotten on the wrong connector and it had taken her to the wrong side of town. At fourteen years old, being allowed to attend the concert alone had taken a large measure of trust from her very uptight parents. And not only was it now past her curfew, she couldn't find a phone booth. Then she saw three men leering at her.

Annabelle wanted to turn around right then and there, but had already caught their attention. She looked down at her feet as she passed them and one of them called her a wetback. Annabelle felt sweat sprout from her pores as she quickened her step trying to ignore them. At four feet eight she was a tiny girl. She was just hitting her stride in her youth, but the promised growth spurts hadn't come yet. The three men easily stood six feet tall and their bodies showed some muscle as well. All three had shaved heads and wore jeans with suspenders showing their allegiance to the local skinhead gang of the city. Being of Mexican descent had no doubt caused her to be the target for their hatred.

She walked as fast as she could but then heard the clear sound of their footfalls as they fell in behind her and began to follow her. The clunking of their Doc Martins was loud enough that she was too afraid to even look behind her. She began to walk faster hoping to get some distance from them but they began to pick up their pace. She then broke into a run, dropping her purse as it slipped down her arm and to the pavement. They ran after her hooting and calling out every foul name in the book. Annabelle screamed in terror, running faster than she had ever run in her life. She turned quickly down a back alley hoping to get away from them, but she was quickly caught.

As Marcus rounded the corner he heard the tearing of cloth which caused him to run faster. He saw the girl against the wall, her shirt ripped open and one of the thugs was trying to get his pants down. The other two had taken hold of her arms and was holding her in place against the wall. The one working at getting his jeans undone took a moment to slap her face in order to make her more complaint. As Marcus reached them Annabelle saw him and the look of pure fear in her eyes caused his rage to escalate.

"Let her go. Now!" he commanded.

The thugs regarded him in amusement. He noted the gang tattoos on one of their necks which confirmed his suspicions. The three men were a part of the local white power gang. One of them released the girl and sneered then ran at him. Marcus set his feet in a standard Muay Thai stance with his front leg up and his fists cocked ready to explode. As the thug approached him he was sent flying as Marcus snapped a kick into his mid section. The thug fell flat on his back unable to get up or inhale as the kick had knocked the wind from him. The second thug ran at him only to have the wild punch he had thrown blocked while Marcus wrapped his hand behind the thug's neck and brought his knee up repeatedly. The five knee strikes that slammed into the thug's chest and midsection tore the air from his body as well. Marcus then stepped back and released the flailing individual, causing him to hit the ground. When he looked up he saw that the last one had a knife and was holding it to the girl's neck.

"If you hurt a hair on her head boy, I'm gonna stick that thing up your fucking ass and break it off. Now let her go before I get angry." Marcus said in a deathly calm voice.

"Fuck you man! I'm leaving and this fucking beaner is coming with me. Don't try and stop me or else!" he shouted. Marcus stared into the man's watery eyes and knew that he was fucked up on drugs. It meant that he would only have one chance to pull this off.

He took a step back and then shrugged and raised his hands innocently. The last thug walked towards him cautiously as Marcus gave them a wide berth. The girl whimpered as she was dragged along by her arm. He saw that her arm was all that the thug had hold of and decided that he had to make his move then and there.

Marcus quickly reached out and grabbed the girl by her other arm and then yanked her towards him and away from the goon. When she was clear he ran straight at the punk. The thug stabbed at him, but Marcus swiveled and blocked and took the stab in his left forearm. Marcus swung in anger and nearly tore the fucker's head off with a savage right hook. The thug staggered back as Marcus then shot a crushing side shin kick into his midsection that rocked him to his foundation, doubling him over. He then drove his knee straight into the punk's nose and felt the crunch as it shattered and a fountain of blood shot from his face. His head whipped back and his glassy eyes were blank as he hit the ground with a tremendous crash, but he was out cold before he ever touched the ground.

Marcus stepped out of his stance then looked down at the deep cut in his forearm. He grimaced but ignored the pain as he looked down at the girl who was huddled into a ball and crying her eyes out. Blood was pouring from his arm so he quickly took off his shirt and wrapped it around his forearm to staunch the bleeding. After he was sure he wasn't going to bleed to death he slowly walked towards the girl, hands out where she could see them.

Annabelle saw his feet approach then looked up fearfully. Her lip was split and she was a teary eyed wreck. Through her blurred vision she saw the man who had saved her and she cried out as he reached out his hand to her and quickly she came to her feet and lunged into his body. She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed as he held her.

"It's alright honey. You're safe now. Let's get you inside and call the cops." Marcus spoke tenderly as he placed a protective arm around her and led her back to his gym.

Once inside he locked the door and called the police. He then went into his back office where he pulled out a blanket and draped it around her trembling body. The police arrived quickly as most were friends of his and found the punks who hadn't had time to recover and leave the area. They had little trouble in putting them in cuffs, but the leader had to be rushed to the ICU. The others complained of him attacking them as they were arrested. But all anyone needed to do was to take a look at the young girl to know the true story. Marcus was looked at by an EMT for the two inch deep gash in his forearm. He looked over at the girl who refused to talk to anyone. She was so terrified that she sat trembling in her chair. He was told that he needed to pay a visit to the hospital to have his arm stitched but refused. They did a good job of taping the wound close with surgical strips and then wrapping his arm in gauze. Again it was strongly suggested that he get stitched as soon as possible.

"Let me just get her home. She needs it." He said, concerned for the girl's well being.

Annabelle heard that and she perked up. She saw his face and started to tear up again. He walked to her and took her up in his arms. She was still wrapped in the blanket and looked so frail that two of the officers agreed to let him drive her home. They would just follow them to her house and then take her statement there, where hopefully she would be able to talk. Marcus lifted her in his arms and then carried her to his car where he set her effortlessly down in the passenger seat. He drove her to the address that the police had found when they had picked up her purse.

"Are you going to be OK honey?" he asked, his voice concerned as he drove.

She shook her head then leaned into the door and brought her knees up to her chest. He saw she was about fourteen or so, she was likely of Mexican descent by her looks. She was wearing a green shirt that was sadly ripped and a pair of shorts. Not short shorts, but green cargos. She also had on pink tennis shoes and in a word she could be called cute. He turned his attention back to the road grimly. A short time later he found the address and pulled into the drive-way of a small but nice house.

When the car stopped moving she looked up and began to cry again. He turned off the engine then took her up in his arms again which caused her to stop sobbing. She hugged his neck as he carried her to the door of her house. The door swung opened before he even reached for the beel and two very relieved parents came rushing out. Her mother cried out and took her daughter from the man holding her. Her father looked at Marcus with tears in his eyes.

"Oh my god thank you! We were so worried. What happened to her?" he asked as he madly shook Marcus' hand.

"She was attacked by a group of punks. She's gonna be fine, she's just in shock," he said remembering what the paramedics had said. He then continued, "Listen, I got the police here, please--when she can, have her talk to them so they can take care of the little fuckers."

"Yes, of course." her father said his own eyes tearing up as he looked at his precious angel.

Marcus then reached for his wallet and pulled out a card then handed it to the man. Annabelle's father accepted the card, looking at it.

"If you need me for anything just call me," he said politely.

"Again, I can't thank you enough, sir. Thank you." Annabelle's father pumped his hand gratefully. The look in his eyes was one of pure relief and joy that his daughter was now home safe.

Marcus nodded his head and turned to walk away. He didn't get too far before he heard a voice from behind him.

"Wait!" he looked back to see it was the girl.

She was standing there with the blanket still clutched around her and she suddenly ran to him. He caught her in his arms and hugged her as she sobbed into him. Annabelle didn't want to let go of him, but after a few moments her mother and father gently pulled her away. She sobbed as she went back into her home. Marcus shook his head in sorrow for her. He knew this would very likely scar her. He only hoped that eventually she could push past it and move on with her life.

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bycreepyrj© 14 comments/ 40672 views/ 58 favorites

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