Author's Note: As much as possible "Dragons of the Darkwave" will attempt to remain true to the feel of the canon of series and movie. This story, combined with "Dragons of the Darkwave Part 2", toy with the working relationship of Spike and Vicious in the syndicate. This one explores their development from teenager, pre-initiates through their rise in the ranks as enforcers. The story of Spike's beloved Jericho. The origin of where Vicious gets the Colt Commander he leaves with Julia for Spike's kill shot … Part 2 explores the final year before Spike's exiling swan song, his time with Julia and precisely why he is left with no choice but to leave. The Red Dragons have never seen anything quite like these two—truly feared together. So what began to tear them apart ...

Session 1

Droplets spattered across the dojo floor, thick as rain. Hot, each drop shot with red. Alone. The youths each toed the line and delivered a venomous glare. Violet purple irises of one pulsed as they focused the pupil like a katana blade into the hostile umber gaze of the opponent.

Vicious fought to catch his breath. Strands of his cropped silver-white hair plastered to his forehead with sweat. The silk shirt clung to his heaving chest. Bruises and cuts blossomed with scarlet. He swallowed, wiping a hand across his mouth. Blood and saliva. His limbs shook with a mixture of fury and fatigue.

Inches from the primed fists, Spike trembled just out of reach. He panted like a dog. The mass of scruffy green hair dripped with perspiration. His own torn shirt hung awkwardly on his lanky limbs. Barefoot, he shifted his toes. Not for the effect of a hit, just to keep himself from collapsing. Will, and sheer will alone prevented that. His fists were all that remained still. He sucked in a deep breath before rasping out, "It doesn't matter … what you try … I heard … what sensei said … "

Vicious coughed, his foot catching his balance with a squeak on the mat. " … I'm not deaf … and I'm not surrendering … so it looks like we keep going … until one of us … can't … "

A slow smile parted Spike's fat lip. The bruise above his eye distorted the glare. " … the door opens … when one of us submits … " He pumped his fist, a rivulet of sweat dribbled out. " … guess we'll be here for a while … "

Sensei Leonard narrowed his eyes through the two-way mirror. His hand pressed against the door just shy of moving it. Hours ago he left his star pupils inside the dojo with the rules of the challenge. Far more hours than he imagined would pass for the fourteen year olds to still continue their sparring match. His skin crawled at the dark expression in their eyes. Exhaustion peeled back the veneer of their youthful bravado. He knew it would. But this is not what he had expected. Not at all like anything he had seen before.

Exhaustion exposed a savage determination in both boys that bore no equal—save for in one another.

Leonard swallowed and gestured over his shoulder, afraid to look away. His boss, capo Mao Yenrai, came to his side, his beady eyes widened. "Leonard, how long have you been testing them?"

"Too long. Mao, I know you instructed me not to intervene. But if this goes on much longer, their own bodies will shut down. See how slick the floor is with their sweat? They haven't stopped to drink, even though there is water." Leonard gripped the door, the only barrier holding him back from entering. "This is very disturbing. Neither one will give even a bit. No mercy."

Mao rubbed his chin. "Remarkable. I knew Vicious's determination from his training with you. But to see that Spike, who has only been in your instruction for two years, can rival his stamina. Tell me, what do you make of this?"

The sensei tore his gaze from his students, their limbs shuddered with each strike. "Caution. Great caution will be essential with these two. They are an immovable object and an unstoppable force. If focused in the same direction, I have no doubt they will become the Red Dragons most feared team."

Mao's chest rose at this.

"But if separated, if their forces are brought into competition … they will destroy everything that stands between them and their goal." Leonard heaved a sigh. "Let me go in and stop them. Trust me Mao, there is no point in letting this brawl go further. They will not submit to one another."

Through the glass, Mao tracked the clumsy motions of the staggering boys. Each one fought more to remain standing now then throwing strikes at his opponent. He shook his head. "Remarkable. No other capo in all of the syndicate has initiates of this calibre. Somehow, I end up with two!"

"You may not find that a blessing down the road, my friend." Leonard winced as Vicious shambled forward and lunged to grapple Spike, who only narrowly evaded the grasp. "You have awakened titans."

"Your instructions were the door would only open when one of them surrendered, correct?"

He nodded.

"Let's see how far they can push it."

Vicious threw an open hand toward Spike and snatched hold of his shirt. Unable to evade, Spike attempted to spin to tug his clothing free. All that achieved was to tear the sodden garment off his frame. Vicious stared at the shredded shirt in his hands.

Slowly it dawned on him. He twirled it in the air and made a rope.

Spike blinked, widening his stance as Vicious moved forward one jerky step at a time. The damp shirt spun into a frayed whip. The tip lashed out at Spike's ribs. Burning muscles protested, unable to respond in enough time to evade. The tip stung his bare ribs. But instead of wasting a breath on a scream, he reached down and grasped the end of it, yanking hard.

Not expecting this, Vicious stumbled forward like a dog on a leash. He recovered his footing only to realize that Spike darted around, pulling the whip up high. Vicious barely managed to wedge his hand in front of his neck. The fabric tightened, only by wriggling his fingers could he continue to breathe.

Spike snarled wordlessly, pulling up on the make-shift noose. Already his spent limbs quaked with the effort. His grip slipped on the damp fabric.

Vicious twisted his feet on the mat, fighting for purchase. He gripped the end of the lash with his free hand and slapped it around Spike's wrist. In a rapid series of twists he cut off the circulation until Spike's fingers turned blue, losing their tension.

Gravity pressed down. Knees came to the mat, slipping on the damp surface. The horizon of the room kilted as they slumped into the loosening trap. Bodies more bruised than not.

"... surrender … " Wincing, Spike gripped his hand, the color slowly returning. His eyes rolled trying to fix on a point, any point, somewhere.

"... never … " Vicious meant to say more but the racking cough stole his words.

Two hands pressed them apart. Leonard became a barrier. "Enough."

"... Who … " Spike began.

" … won …?" Vicious finished.

"It was a stalemate. Now, drink." He forced a water bottle into Vicious's open mouth. Mao did the same for Spike. In their arms, the muscles of both combatants refused to rest. They continued to fire even after both closed their eyes.

Mao stared hollowly at his newest hopefuls. Soon they would enter the ranks. Soon they would rise and serve the syndicate well. Their fight … had already begun.

See You Space Cowboy