The Cage 

She probably enjoyed the whole sparring thing a little too much. A little too much that she was already seeking places where she could exert this energy she couldn’t seem to satisfy unless she was punching someone. Really nicely, sure, but still punching someone.

It was so thrilling? She just needed... someone who was willing to be punched and punch her back.

Cedar Creek was by all means shady but she was quickly learning the wolves seemed to have the best facilities for working out. They were all probably incredibly buff for it. Sure, Isla hadn’t been but she was a doctor.

A beer or two had warmed Maxine up inside and got her surname in the list to fight. Surname because it sounded more badass than Maxine the grandma who baked cookies.

Ten minutes later, she heard her name being called. Definitely hadn’t expected it so soon, but she rolled her shoulders as she approached the ring. She took her jacket and cap off, tied her hair up quickly, and went in.

The eyes could definitely be felt and that was half of the awesome.


Since her defeat at the hands of the jaguar and the near-shift that came of it, Julie found that her reputation had suffered. Her presence went largely unnoticed, her ego neglected, and a rare few who had witnessed her defeat even dared to question her authority as a ref when she was on the clock. While the latter could easily be resolved with a twisted wrist or similar reminder of who was in charge, the solution to the former would prove more challenging.

The Spaniard had to work her way back to the top.

There was no joy in the climb back to to where she once was; her name no longer carried as much weight as it once did. Yet, there was a lesson to be learned from the mistake that had cost Julie her repute among the regulars of the Cage.

As soon as she had lost her head in the ring with Abraham, the fight was as good as lost.

Julie would make an effort not to repeat such a costly error.

When her family's name was called into the ring alongside another, Myers, the Spaniard ducked under the ropes and into the ring, sizing up the woman who entered from the far corner. Her opponent was short, but well-built; Julie found their difference in height jarring.

However, the scent and metaphysical presence emitted by Julie's opponent was unmistakable.

Her opponent also entered the ring as her name was called. She was incredibly tall for a woman - girl? - and she looked nimble. The exciting thing was that she was a wolf.

Maxine wasn't familiar with fighting etiquette but she made sure she wasn't looking at her unpleasantly, even smiling briefly, as she moved to the centre of the ring.

Cool outfit, wolf!

While Julie had never encountered this particular scent before, instinct demanded caution. The wolf within recognized the ursine nature of Julie's opponent, and that was enough.

Looks were exchanged as the pair neared the center of the ring; the Spaniard offered a faint smile of her own, albeit a predatory one. There were no hard feelings, but the bear stood between her and a victory she desperately desired. Niceties wouldn't get Myers very far.

The bell rang, and Julie's coiled muscles sprang into movement. Closing her fists, she lifted them up before striking for the woman's nose, as quick as an adder.



Okay. She had an odd smile. Maxine wasn't a big fan of it.

She lifted her fists up to her chest as the bell rang, and this girl reminded her more of a gazelle than a wolf. There was a fist coming for Maxine's nose and before she could block it, it struck. Hard. A little blood might have come out.

She struggled to recover, but she swept a fist in the direction of the girl's jaw anyway as she tried to regain her balance. There was more force than there would've been with a human, but nothing that'd be unfair. Rivera had set the tone!


Myers didn't keep her fists up, and she paid for it. Julie was pleased with drawing first blood in any fight, but especially one with a Were.

The Spaniard tried to pivot back to avoid the incoming blow, but she underestimated her opponent's reach; the result was a painful blow to the jawline. Knocked off balance from the hit, Julie shook her head and got back in the game, focusing her gaze on the brunette despite the throbbing in her jaw.

Adrenaline coursed through her. The wolf within danced madly in excitement.

Julie closed the distance again, jabbing a fist toward her opponent's cheekbone.



Maxine's punch did little in the long run, throwing her off balance temporarily but then she was right back in the game.

She'd figured the wolves were all about their fitness. But this girl wasn't even jacked and she landed another punch to her face! Maxine's head turned the other way as her cheekbone was struck painfully, saliva pretty much flying out of her mouth.

Wolves? The bear minded them a bit more. Not in a favourable way, either.

Maxine staggered back a few steps, before lunging back forward to hit the girl directly in the mouth.



Like a musician, Julie had found her rhythm.

Her lips parted in a smile upon landing a second blow, saliva slinging from the bear's mouth as her head turned from the impact. The crowd cheered at the display, and there was the temptation to revel in their cheers.


Shut up. Stay focused.

The Spaniard lost her smile and continued her assault, sidestepping Myer's attempt at landing a hit and throwing a fist toward her brow.



She missed.

Don't lose focus. You can still win. Even as this girl freaking hit her square in the face again and Maxine stumbled back another time. Rivera was trying to make her face fall apart. Awesome.

Not really.

It was embarrassing. She'd ran into a titan or something or she just wasn't ready for this level of fighting. Maxine's gaze threatened to seep amber but remained its usual dark brown for the moment, as she snapped her head back to stare at her opponent head on.

She just needed to imagine something that made her really angry.

Like Levka.

About how stupid he was about anything not Were related.

So she did, and this time Maxine swept an arm through to the girl's tiny abdomen. Normally she would've crouched a little, but the height difference made it easy for her.



Fighting felt good. Winning a fight felt good.

Being punched in the gut did not.

Myers surprised Julie by going low, and the blow was enough to knock the wind out of her. The Spaniard wasn't built to withstand many hits like that, her form hardly meant for endurance. She gasped for breath; too much of that would be the end of her.

After a moment's recovery, Julie swung her fist in kind, hoping to land a vicious blow to her opponent's solar plexus.

Let's see how she liked it.



The hit seemed to be the worst one so far for the girl, but the one she threw Maxine's way was.

Un. Fair.

She felt like swiping a leg to get her to drop to the ground, but didn't know if that was allowed and secondly, was too busy with one knee buckling. It dropped, almost hitting floor, pain spurting through the middle of Maxine's body. She gasped, a droplet of blood from her nose reaching her upper lip.

With two hands on her knee she regained her balance, straightening again to give the girl a taste of her own medicine. Maxine moved towards her at full speed this time to punch her down, swinging for her face.

All or nothing.

She told her bear to back down for just another moment.



That did it.

The blow dropped Julie's opponent to one knee, gasping for air with blood on her lip. Spectators roared, and Julie contemplated grabbing the brunette by her hair and delivering a devastating final strike.


She shook her head, allowing her opponent a moment of respite before the bear was back at her again.

While the bear's incoming fist could be evaded, her speed had Julie on the move. The Spaniard didn't linger again, throwing a similar punch toward her opponent's head while trying to remain a safe distance from the bear.



The speed she'd invested in didn't take well with the miss as Rivera dodged.


Maxine's right foot landed hard on the ground to stop herself from a humiliating fall, swerving around and pretty sure a muscle or tendon or something at the back of her ankle snapped for it. It was worth it if it meant dodging the incoming blow to her head, which Maxine ducked when she saw.

The crowd was a lot and she only just noticed them in a moment of silence in her brain. She had a feeling they were cheering for the wolf.

It was frustrating.

She exhaled through her nostrils, not all that unlike her animal counterpart, gaze narrowed. Maxine needed to try the finishing blow. She struck hard towards the girl's chin, avoiding putting any pressure on her right foot because that thing hurt like hell.



The whirlwind of motion came at a cost. Myers seemed to have hurt herself in her own recklessness, and Julie was quick to pick up on that in true predatory fashion, noticing how the brunette favored her right leg. There was opportunity here; the wolf within had no qualms with exploiting such a weakness.

How easy it would have been to topple the woman with a low-sweeping kick.

Julie's predatory resolve faltered.

Avoiding the uppercut of a blow with a backward step, she continued to dance around the injured bear, keeping her at arm's length. A moment passed in tense silence as the Spaniard prowled a semi-circle around her opponent, weighing her options.

Should she end the fight here? Would the bears take offense to a wolf humiliating one of their own?

Her gaze moved across Myers' form before meeting her gaze, and she struck out with her fist for her temple.



She moved around her, and it was annoying, and despite the fact her right foot screamed as she tried to put pressure on it, she did it anyway after a few moments. You suck, foot. Bleed inside and tear and whatever but she wasn't going to let you make her lose.

Maxine kept up with the girl well enough, even as she missed, going on to anticipate her opponent's next move.

She grinned wildly.

It'd be another blow to her face, she guessed. Because Rivera was really looking to mess her face up, and probably because it was easier for her to reach because she was taller.

So she saw the swipe coming, and managed to block it with her forearm, pushing to the side and using her other fist to drive it directly to her abdomen again.

The hit to the stomach had hurt her before. She had to try it again.



Despite her apparent injury, the bear was desperate for victory; Julie admired that.

Too bad only one of them could win.

That the brunette had anticipated her move and effectively countered it warned that Julie was moving too slow, too caught up in her own head. She was reminded of her near-victory against Abraham, how well that fight had started out for her before the tables turned. The humiliation of that defeat had been caustic.

Julie wasn't going to let that happen again.

Shut up. Focus.

The Spaniard cleared her head of thought as the brunette came at her again with a familiar attack. Employing the impressive block from mere moments ago, Julie deflected the incoming blow and caught her opponent's arm in a bind.

It was Julie's turn to flash a mad grin.

Digging her heels in, the Spaniard gripped the brunette and sent her crashing into the floor with all her might.




And then a hand on her arm, throwing her down to the ground. A weaker Were. A younger Were. A slimmer Were.

It shouldn't have been happening, but her back slammed against the ground loudly as she scrunched her face up. Maxine instinctively kept her right foot from hitting the floor so it didn't cause any more damage.

She looked to the girl, tapped the ground beside her with one hand and lifted the palm of her other in front of her face. Her eyes burned a bright amber, and despite the screaming crowd, she mouthed to the other Were.



The thunderous sound of her opponent's back hitting the floor of the ring drove the audience to maddened glee, more than half of them likely expecting the Spaniard to descend upon the brunette. Victory was bittersweet, however, for Julie caught a glimpse of brown eyes glowing amber as the bear tapped out.


The wordless plea was enough.

Looking to the ref, Julie shook her head; the fight was over. She then kneeled beside Myers, her voice half-lost in the din, "Can you walk?"

She clenched her jaw, imagining how nice the sound of the crowd would've sounded if she was standing and not lying like some helpless loser.

The girl kneeled beside her, and it was enough kindness and normality that the bear backed down some. All the same, Maxine kept her gaze down from the crowd as she lifted so her hands supported her as she sat.

"Yeah. Probably," she murmured back, but not in an unfriendly way, blinking away the amber for the first few moments.

Julie nodded, watching keenly as the brunette picked herself up and blinked the amber from her eyes. Once the threat of Myers losing her head passed, the Spaniard offered a hand to help her up.

"Do you need someone to look at your leg?" She had no idea whether the bears had Medics of their own, or even a leader capable of healing them like Alina could her wolves. Still, Julie spoke as if she had any sort of authority on the matter, like the pack's own Medic would heed her call.

Maybe, maybe not.

The girl helped her up, and it was...

Welcomed. She accepted it with a hand, hopping up on one foot.

"It's okay, I can ask my... leader," she grunted. Not sure how she was going to drive home, but she'd figure that out. Maxine went to give the girl a shake of her hand, but up to her forearm instead, something more sturdy.

"Nice match," she said, simply.

Don't be a bad sport, Maxine.

Even though she just wanted to get out of here now.

No grudges were held, no malice felt.

Julie was quick to stand alongside the bear, helping her up in the process.

So the bear king could take care of this. That eased the only real concern Julie had.

When Myers grabbed her forearm, the Spaniard smiled and returned the gesture—a warrior's embrace. It felt appropriate, all things considered. "A good fight," Julie said in agreement, admiring how the brunette was a better loser than she was.

She would offer to help Myers out of the ring if she needed it, following alongside her in some doting fashion.

With the wolf inside her pacified with a victory, Julie's predatory side subsided for the time being.

"Julie, by the way."

She was pretty glad the girl wasn't smug about her win. Even though she had fought pretty darn well.

All in all, confirmed: wolves were devoted to their gym life. Even if they looked on the lankier side. Don't underestimate.

Maxine headed out of the ring with her, mostly on one leg. Some people stared and she stared back for a beat or two, jaw still clenched, before Julie took her attention. She put her cap on and did the same with her maroon jacket.

"Maxine. Myers - obviously." A small smile, she tried to roll her ankle but there was a sharp pain.

The bear wasn't a fan of this whole thing. Of some scrawny wolf and losing.

"Think I'm going to go get this fixed up. Do you go the gym? Might see you there."

So she could... fight her in practice and work on winning. Not going to lie, that was the intention behind the question.

Accompanying the brunette as she hobbled her way over to where she had left her things, Julie idly wondered how far Myers would get like this. Hopefully the bear king would be quick to aid one of his own.

"Maxine," she echoed, nodding softly.

Maxine Myers. It had a cute ring to it, which explained why she had only gone with Myers on the roster.

The Spaniard knew that life; Julie wasn't a particularly intimidating name either.

Upon being asked whether she went to the Gym, she smiled and nodded. "Most afternoons." The possibility of seeing Maxine again excited her, for the bear had put up a good fight. "See you there." Spoken as if a future meeting was inevitable.

Afternoons. Okay. That was specific enough that she didn't feel a need to exchange numbers, and the promise of seeing her again (and another chance to win), left her less frustrated and more looking forward to the future.

Julie also wasn't unpleasant, at all, despite what her fighting style might say when it came to her nature.

"Damn right," Maxine said, managing a slight grin. "See you around," she added, before moving painfully towards the exit.

Now to not tell Levka she'd done this to herself.

"Hmmm." Julie mirrored the subtle grin, anticipating seeing the bear again in the future as she watched Maxine limp her way out.

Her victory deserved a celebratory drink.

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