Post by Jackie Bariole on Feb 2, 2020 14:31:19 GMT -5
Jackie wondered if she hated anything more than the training facilities. Whether at Atlas or in Haven, she struggled to think of a single place in either academy which she had despised more completely or avoided more determinedly. It was in the Academy's high tech training room that she'd hurt and humiliated so many of her classmate, and in that same room that her friendship with Robin had ended, and where her downfall at Atlas had begun. It was in the gymnasium at Titan that she'd first started on her path as a huntress, tossed astride it by the travails of that torturous experience, and chased along it by memories of what had followed. For years after, she'd wondered what her life might have been like if she hadn't been there, then, trying to get stronger. Inexplicably, after what had happened, what she'd done to those three girls, she'd not willingly stepped into a gym since. Though before, she'd no intention of becoming a huntress, and had trained anyway, she had avoided all forms of exercise thereafter, even once she'd made up her mind to apply to the Academy.
It would be easy to say she hadn't seen the need, that the unlocking of her semblance made all forms of exercise irrelevant to her, but that was only partly true. In reality, Jackie would have preferred relying on her own meager strength instead of putting faith in the capriciousness of her semblance. After all, she'd seen at Atlas how terrible things could become when she relied to greatly on her semblance. Yet she'd always been afraid to try. After Titan, after the ridicule and the cruelty she'd endured, she'd always been afraid it would happen again. And, should it ever happen again, she wasn't sure she would stop with threats and bruises. She wasn't even sure she would stop at all. Robin had validated that fear, as though it had needed any validation.
Yet even she, shortsighted as she so often was, could see her present circumstances were wholly untenable. There was what she'd done to Kishka, for one thing, and the growing tensions between herself and Nasrin for another. Both were born from the same, inescapable truth. Jackie had been required to do something, found she was not up to the task, and, in spite of all previous experience, had used her semblance. All while hoping that, for some indeterminate reason, this time would be different. That Jackie never stopped hoping was a fault she'd observed in herself, too many times to count, but it never stopped her from hoping things might be better this time. It hadn't been. It never was. The only thing that came from her semblance, the only certainty in its inconstancy, was that it would inevitably make things worse. It had always been a short term solution resulting in long term problems. Like Robin, and Atlas.
That was why Jackie, dressed in a long sleeved shirt and full length work out pants, found herself in the gym of Haven's training facilities, despite there being few other places on the whole planet she would less like to be. Standing outside Mantle in the midst of Winter would have been preferable. She'd been unsure where to start, or how to begin improving. Her physicality was her greatest weakness, but how to ameliorate it? She thought about running on the treadmills to start, but Jackie found the idea of struggling along, panting and gasping, not to mention getting all greasy, absolutely mortifying. Not that she was presented with any appealing alternatives. The machines had seemed the safest place to start, until she'd watched one student, following an intense and sweaty routine, leave his machine without wiping it down. She could have wiped it down herself, of course, but even considering it made Jackie's skin prickle in abject disgust. Revulsion aside, most of the machines had alarmingly arcane functions, few of which were adequately explained by the minimalist diagrams attached to them. From the pamphlet on one, she guessed the user was meant to lie prone and do something with there legs, but Jackie couldn't determine what. What she could determine was that the posture required to do it would draw her pants tight on her rear while simultaneously raising it up in a presentation she was not at all comfortable with.
All of which eventually brought Jackie to the free weights. While she was sure none of the barweights or dumbbells were wiped down with anything even approaching the regularity the many posted notices demanded, she'd long ago made her peace with touching filthy things with her hands. She didn't enjoy it, actually finding it quite distracting, but it was far more tolerable than, say, reclining in a pool of someone else's cooling excretions. Tolerable enough that Jackie could put up with it long enough to get through a whole routine.
Which was not to say she knew the first thing about what a complete, or even serviceable workout routine looked like. She'd tried to research the topic beforehand, both as a means of educating herself and of controlling the anxiety which always cropped up around strange and unfamiliar activities. What she had found had hardly been illuminating, however. None of the articles, studies, nor videos she'd viewed on the subject suggested where to begin, nor even something so simple as what weights she should use. The most helpful instruction to this final regard had simply said to find a weight sufficient to strain without exhausting, but the whole process of exercise seemed specifically designed to exhaust, at least so far as Jackie could tell.
In the end, she chose a matching pair of dumbbells, intending to simply do some curls to start. Ignorant as she was, cultural osmosis had at least ensured she knew what a bicep curl looked like. Jackie was shocked by how heavy the weights were. They weren't especially large, with ends barely wider than her curled fists, but it was a strain to even get one all the way up to her shoulder. Lifting both simultaneously was an effort she promptly abandoned, feeling faint after only two repetitions. One at a time was only marginally better, requiring Jackie to strain for every degree of bend. Her face went for pink to a deep purplish red as she held her breath, trying to get the weight up to her chin. When she finally managed it, she gasped and immediately let her hand fall back down. That had been a mistake. The rubber coated weight collided with her knee, just as a sudden faintness overcame Jackie. Both weights fell from her nerveless fingers, each landing on a foot. Aura flexing, Jackie put her hands out and barely caught herself on the rack of weights before her. Blue and black coruscated across her body, as she heaved out labored gasps, in a desperate and pitiable effort to clear her head.
"Fortune save me..." Jackie whimpered, shuddering around her ragged breaths, "That was two..."
How was she ever going to do this?
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