Scene Title Determination
Synopsis Determination - (noun) - firmness of purpose; resoluteness.
Date July 15, 2021

A hiss of breath erupted between clenched teeth as trembling muscles started to fail. Flat on her back on a long bench, sweat trickled through folds of thinning skin and into a forest of shaggy, damp, bottle-blonde hair with gray roots. Above her head was a bar, that on its own was not heavy, but with the added disks, made her tremble under the load.

“Come on, Deb. One more. Just one.”

The sound of clattering weighted plates was a grating annoyance against Deb’s ears. A sign of weakness to her mind, a loud one at that. Before she had been injured in the mother-fucking Pure Earth attack, she had been able to bench more.

Teeth grit hard against the anger that boiled up from the depths of her gut… or maybe that was just the threat of bile…. and icy blue eyes glared at the weight bar above her, back lit by the harsh gym lights. While she had picked this place away from the Hounds and especially Avi’s and her friend’s concerned looks, there were still plenty of people to see the moment her muscles failed.

There was no flinch from the elderly Hound, when the bar and weights dropped, because she had complete faith in her spotter. Before the bar could have crushed her nose, the trainer's hands grabbed it and moved to help settle it into its cradle.

“Damn. I thought you had it for sure,” tsked the spry young thing helping her, probably the same age as her kids would have been. There was a mix of pain and numbness at that thought, quickly shut behind a flimsy door of sheer willpower.

The juxtaposition of the youthful trainer's hands and Deb’s age spotted, thin skinned ones wasn't lost on her. Lips pressed tight as self-deprecating thoughts pressed in from the dark corners of her mind, voiced by the man that had forced her into the Hounds. One thing was clear though….

This getting old shit was for the fucking birds.

It was bad enough she had to prove she was strong enough to go back out into the field, but admitting she was old… well, that might get back to ears she didn't want hearing that. Or maybe she just didn't want the pity that went with that statement.

Instead she gave a small grunt of agreement, that lacked any real conviction, to the trainer’s words.

“You are making amazing progress for a woman your age. Especially one that got impaled but a chunk of metal.” The trainer said offering over a small gym towel when Debra sat up and drug her arm across her damp forehead.

“I don’t need you babying me,” Deb snapped back, snatching the towel with a glare up at the other.

A patient sigh left the trainer, eyes giving Deb a flat look, while proceeding to unload the bar. “Debra… I hardly know any woman your age that could bench press this much without snapping like a twig.” The pair of 40lb discs from one side was held up as if to prove a point. “Give yourself a little bit of credit. I know you are chomping at the bit to shoot up bad guys again, but you can’t rush these things. I mean, I’ve seen the scar on your back to go with the front, a little further to one side and you’d be wheelchair bound.”

Debra had to grudgingly admit the trainer was right. Her back twinged at the memory. Though, it wasn’t the injury that bothered her, but the knowledge of the time it took her body to heal itself. The older you get, the longer it takes to bounce back and not just from the injury, but the loss of muscle tone from being bed bound. She’d been pushing herself ever since and progress had been slow.

“Yeah, well, even if I was, I wouldn’t let it stop me,” Deb dryly joked, as she sorely got to her feet and gave a half assed wave of dismissal. Her whole body complained about the workout and she’d really start to feel it as soon as she fell into bed.

However, Debra was a stubborn old bitch and it kept the fire in her warrior’s soul lit. As far as she was concerned, she was going back into the field, even if it killed her. Maybe she'd find out that Valla… walla… halla…whatever Viking… place, that her son babbled about when he was a teen, was real.

So, everyone could fuck off with their pity, concern, and doubt.

She'll be back.

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