the-hitter:

Luke sighed. This was why he never did things that weren’t akin to beating the pulp out of someone. Things got lost in translation, people got the wrong idea and now he was probably going to have to make sure that everyone in the team could actually protect themselves. Yes, he was paid to get there before anyone got hurt but Luke was a planner, he looked at every option and sometimes he wouldn’t be able to get there in time.

"I apologize." If he kept his sentences short, he wouldn’t offend her again, that was his logic. "I didn’t mean to make you feel that way."

Luke looked at the gloves before forcing another rare smile in her direction. “You don’t have to do this anymore if you don’t want to.”

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Charlie wanted to tell him that it was okay, that he didn’t need to apologise now that things had been cleared up between them and that it had mostly been her own fault for jumping to conclusions instead of just asking him. Computer coding she could understand, it was a series of numbers and letters that could be solved, but people? Yeah, they were harder than any binary code she had ever cracked or any firewall that tried to keep her out.

Instead she settled for offering him a reassuring smile, as well as finding people hard to crack, Charlie didn’t like to keep let her walls down around people for along period of time. She preferred keeping them up, hiding behind her fears with a quick witted joke or a sarcastic comment.

If he had told her that before they had cleared things up, she would have jumped at the chance to give up on his mission to train her — one he was bound to fail, because Charlie didn’t have an athletic bone in her body. She got a stitch just jogging down the stairs once to beat Eric to the mozzarella sticks. However, Charlie found herself conflicted. As much as didn’t enjoy the physical side of this training, she did enjoy having this one on one time with Luke and that made the training bearable most days.

Huffing a sigh, knowing she would regret it in the weeks to come when her bones ached and every step felt like hell, she slipped back on the gloves and strolled back over to the mat, turning back to face him. “I don’t want to, but you want me to. So, if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.”

erikthegrifter:

ageofcharliebabyy:

Charlie [08:37 PM]: You didn’t laugh at my joke! DO YOU WANT WAFFLES OR NOT?

Erik [08:40 PM]: Terribly sorry.  Ha ha ha ha.
Erik [08:42 PM]: Look, I was really fucking tired of waiting for an answer while you made sex eyes at muscles or tex or whoever that day.  If you don’t want waffles, I’m going to eat my own.  NOT COMPLICATED.

Charlie [08:45 PM]: I do not make sex eyes at muscles!
Charlie [08:45 PM]: It’s Dex, not Tex. It’s not hard to remember, meat head.
Charlie [08:46 PM]: WHAT’S NOT COMPLICATED IS REMEMBERING MY FRIENDS NAME.

erikthegrifter:

ageofcharliebabyy:

Charlie [08:28 PM]: Two aerials meet on a roof, fall in love and get married. The reception was brilliant.

Erik [08:30 PM]: Telescopes?

Charlie [08:37 PM]: You didn’t laugh at my joke! DO YOU WANT WAFFLES OR NOT?

Charlie [08:28 PM]: Two aerials meet on a roof, fall in love and get married. The reception was brilliant.

the-hitter:

He’d stuffed up, he could see it in her face, she was so close to running that he had to grab her, keep her there. He knew that she’d lock herself in her room with her computer and he wouldn’t see Charlie for days if he let that happen. He didn’t want to be the reason that she was upset. Watching her reaction, he felt a weight on his shoulders lift slightly.

Luke returned her small smile, glad that she got what he was trying to say. Sitting next to her, he ran a hand through his hair. Luke wasn’t good with conversation, he never had been but Charlie made the effort. She slowly understood what he would be trying to get across, she was pretty much his translator to the others as it was.

"A dead weight?" He stared at her, wondering how on Earth she had gotten to that conclusion. "No, how did you… Charlie, do you know how dead in the water we would be without you? You’re not even close to a…Did I give you that impression?"

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Charlie, do you know how dead in the water we would be without you? The words sounded inside of her head, the smile on her lips growing wider than before. Those words were like music to her ears, soothing any remainder of the doubt that she had been feeling just moments ago. It was strange really, Charlie never doubted herself. She was the founder and one of only two members of the Charlie For The Win club, and never let what people thought of her get under her skin. She was thick skinned, she had to be to survive her years in foster care.

Children could be vicious.

"Yeah," Charlie dropped her gaze again, she wanted to come up with some kind of lie that wouldn’t make him feel bad but the only thing that came out of her mouth was the truth. "Sort of, I don’t know. It just occurred to me that you don’t go to these measures with the rest of the team. I don’t think that now though. I now know that you recognise how awesome I am."

the-hitter:

Luke pulled the pads off his hands, more concerned that he had been before. It was so rare that Charlie was serious with any of them, she was normally the one who smiled and had sugar rushes that none of them could comprehend. But at her question, he froze.

Her face had dropped, she wasn’t looking at him and Luke felt a rush of guilt at the mere idea that he had upset her. That wasn’t what this was about it, he never wanted to do that. His eyes widened and he tried to think of what to say, tried to explain that the idea of her being hurt, even in the slightest, would drive him insane. 

Letting out a breath, he gently took the gloves off her hands. “The others, they’ve had training and it’s not that I don’t worry about them but I worry about you more.” That didn’t come out right, that made her sound weak. He began to stutter over his words, kicking himself internally. “I mean - shit - Okay, Charlie.” He sat her down on the bench where he did weights carefully, trying to move his mouth into the words that his brain wanted to say. “Okay. Look. I would never forgive myself if something happened to you when I could have trained you to get yourself out of it. We’re in a dangerous line of work, we annoy a lot of people and if you’re put in harm’s way, I want it to be so you don’t need me. I mean, it’s okay if you want me around but I…dammit… I want you to be safe. Just in case. This is a precaution.” 

Luke let out another deep breath, rubbing his temples with his fingers. “Did that… Does that make sense?”

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Luke’s words felt like he had just punched her in the stomach, knocking the wind right out of her. So, she had been right? He did think she was weak. She didn’t want to hear any more after that, she didn’t want to do another second of training. She just wanted to grab her bag, run back upstairs and lock herself in her room like she always had. It’s what she was good at. This was why Charlie stuck to computers and video games, nothing on there could hurt her as much as his words had.

Charlie was about to do just that before she felt he took her wrist in his hand, leading her over to the bench and sitting her down. She was thankful for that kind gesture, if he was going to deliver some more home truths, at least sitting down would cushion the blow for her.

Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, she listened to his words carefully, something she had become accustomed to since they began working together as a unit. Not many people could speak Luke, but spending all of that time having him inside of her ear, made her somewhat an expert in deducing what it was he was trying to get across. Though things still got lost in translation at times, which became evident to Charlie as she felt the ache in her chest ease away, the realisation that his words had once again became lost in translation brought a soft smile to her lips.

"So, you don’t think I’m dead weight?" She finally lifted her eyes to meet his steely gaze, the ache in her chest replaced with the sensation of butterflies fluttering around inside of her.

the-hitter:

Luke was trained to notice tiny shifts in people. It gave away what moves they were about to employ, if they were going to be a liability, if they were going to be unpredictable. It was apart of being a hitter, you had to have the ability to keep control of a situation.

And he could tell by the force of Charlie’s punches that something was stirring under the surface. It bothered him. It really bothered him to know that she wasn’t actually happy right now. This was one of the few times where they were actually alone together and she seemed to hate it. Luke was aware that she detested the physical aspect of this but he didn’t expect it to be this much. Yet, something in his chest twinged selfishly at the idea of giving it up.

He paused, dropping his hands, letting them both take a break. “Yes? “

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Charlie felt relieved when he dropped his hands, glad for the break from pounding her fists against the pads. Weren’t those things created to avoid people getting hurt doing this? Maybe she was as weak as she thought Luke saw her as. She hoped not, because now more than ever did she feel the urge to prove herself, something Charlie never really felt. There was a time when she was content spending her days behind her computer screen, the only human interaction she indulged herself in was when she verbally abused people on Call of Duty for staying in her re-spawning spot and killing her over and over again.

Bastards. 

Somewhere along the line though, Luke’s opinion on her had come important to her. Which was a strange concept in itself considering how much she didn’t like him, or about any of the team members when they were first banded together. You put that many criminals into one group, people were bound to clash. What she didn’t expect was wanting him to think highly of her — or at least not think she was dead weight.

"Why is it you’re only training me?" Charlie found herself unable to look him in the eye, the anger that she had felt towards his assumed reasoning behind the training replaced with a fear that she could have been right. And if she was, she didn’t want him to see the look on her face as she would try to digest the harsh truth. 

the-hitter:

He watched Charlie as she tied back her hair, nodding approvingly at the gesture. She was learning. Slowly, but she was. He never meant to lecture her but it was the only way she paid attention, it really was the only way he could get her listen. 

The fact of the matter was Luke training Charlie was the only way he could show her that he cared without saying it. It was a gesture, it wasn’t as though he were training everyone in the team. It was just her but he didn’t think that fact had clicked with Charlie yet. He wanted her safe.

That wasn’t a feeling he was used to.

He passed her the boxing gloves before he could get distracted, putting the pads on his own. “Alright, warm up. Come on.” He held up his hands, letting her punch into them. Her technique was improving, but the compliment got stuck in Luke’s throat. She had a habit of being able to do that, Luke suspected that Charlie had no idea how attractive she truly was, even like this. He averted his eyes, barking out the occasional command now and then for her to change of her pattern, her stance or her posture.

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Reluctantly, Charlie slipped on the boxing gloves. She wasn’t quite ready to stop letting Luke know that she wasn’t enjoying this one bit. Okay, there might be one part of this whole hellish ordeal that she enjoyed but it was something she could never tell him about. It wasn’t fair to Luke, Charlie knew that deep down but she hated the training. She hated any kind of physical activity, actually. What she hated more though was that Luke only seemed to be offering her the training. It was never Jules he was barking orders at, or Erik was never the one he was getting sweaty with. 

Now that was a picture worth painting in her head.

There was an ache in her chest as she reached the only logical conclusion — he thought she was weak and a liability. Charlie didn’t like thinking that that was how Luke saw her, but the ache in her chest slowly turned to a white, hot fury churning away in her stomach that made her throw faster and harder punches.

"Can I ask you a question?" Charlie followed his orders, positioning her feet exactly how he showed her and shifting the weight in her stance so that her hits packed more of a punch. 

the-hitter:

Luke dropped onto the ground when he heard Charlie’s voice, not letting the fact that she had surprised him shake him. Shoving his shirt back over his head, he turned to face her. “Hey. You took awhile.” He knew she didn’t want to do this but Luke didn’t care what arguments she gave, she was going to learn how to throw a punch. “You prepared for this?” The wry smile he gave her was something of a rarity but it was mischievous, hardly reassuring what so ever, but seeing Charlie in the Gym was like seeing a fish out of water.

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The disappointment of Luke putting his shirt back on hit her like a ton of bricks, a body that defined by muscles should not be kept hidden away under layers of fabric. At least, that’s what Charlie’s opinion on the subject was anyway. What was that saying, If you’ve got it, flaunt it? Well, Charlie thought Luke definitely had it and that he really should flaunt it. Of course, Charlie would never admit this to Luke’s face, she was too embarrassed by her feelings for him to ever let them see the light of day. Plus, spending all that time in the van observing the rest of the team meant she got to see what the others different, and what she saw with Luke was girls she could never be.

Well, there went her self-esteem for the rest of the day and any drive she might have secretly had for today’s training lesson. Dumping her bag on the floor, Charlie tied her back into a loose pony tail for efficiency. It was surprising how many times Luke had scolded her on wearing it down for training, pointing out that an enemy could easily use it against her to bash her head against a wall.

Who would have thought hair could be smooth and deadly?

"As ready as I’ll ever be." Charlie returned to the mat, rolling the sleeves of her hoodie half way up her arms. "The sooner this hell is over the better."

the-hitter:

Luke was waiting for Charlie to show up, they had agreed that he would begin training her. She needed to be able to defend herself ‘just in case.’ It would give him some peace of mind, but she was taking her time getting down to the training area. Luke wasn’t one to just sit around so there he was, doing chin ups to pass the time.

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Holy mother of sweaty back muscles.

Charlie stood in the door way watching Luke, her eyes trailing over the muscles in his arms. For a second, standing there watching Luke, she had forgotten the reason she had come down here. Against her will, might she add. ”Okay, I’m going to just—” Charlie slipped in between Luke and the door way, edging herself into the room as she kept her hands raised and pressed against her chest to avoid any stray touching.