Chapter 4

By The Lizard

Hwoarang, arm tucked against his rib-cage in a sling, could not help but feel relieved as he headed towards the doors of the hospital. He hated the stink of them, bleach and chemicals, shining white floors and near deserted corridors that echoed every minute sound. He suppressed a little shudder, quickening his pace and hoping he'd not have to return any time soon. They'd told him he'd need check-ups of course, but he had no intention of showing up for those. All he needed to be certain of, was that his arm would be recovered in time for the Iron Fist tournament

He was only a few short yards from the exit when he saw a battered old car come screeching to a halt on the other side of the doors. The driver clambered out so hastily that he almost stumbled on the kerb before running around to the passenger side and half dragging a large, semi-comatose man out alongside him. Hwoarang's eyes widened as he recognised the pair. It was that damn cop and the Mishima. No, Kazama boy. Jin, he noticed immediately, was covered with a rather liberal spattering of blood, shirtless and clutching at Wulong so pathetically that the cop had to swat his hands away in order to haul him off his feet and carry him inside. He might be small for a professional fighter, but he certainly had some strength to be able to lift that mass.

Hwoarang backed away from the door, turning to hide his face as Wulong stormed in, a herd of doctors and nurses flurrying around him and arranging Jin on a trolley before wheeling him away. The cop followed, hot on their heels, a slight limp to his step that he bravely ignored. For a moment, the Korean youth stood staring, confused, wondering what Jin was doing with the police, and why both he and Lei looked like the living dead. He almost brushed their presence aside, tugging his jacket more firmly across his bandaged arm and moving for the door again, but before he even knew what he was doing, he was following the crowd down the corridor, keeping enough distance so as not to be noticed by the ever-alert cop.

Jin was wheeled into small room, Lei, despite his protests, herded away by several nurses who insisted that he be checked over. Perfect. Now the cop wouldn't give him away and have him thrown out. Finding a spare seat nearby, he slouched, folding his arms and settling in for what he assumed would be a long wait.

It was not more than half an hour before the majority of the staff left, murmuring softly to each other as they flicked through charts and piles of paperwork. Hwoarang sat up, surprised at how quickly the Japanese boy had been dealt with, and peered through the small glass window. One nurse was remaining, adjusting the settings on a machine by Jin's bed, a drip slowly dribbling blood through a needle into the boy's wrist. His shoulder was swathed in bandages, another wrapped around his head, but otherwise there seemed to be very little wrong with him.

The nurse finally made her exit, happy that everything was running properly, and Hwoarang glanced furtively around before slipping inside, staying in the shadows as he surveyed the half-naked youth in the hospital bed. It seemed he was out cold, eyes closed and long, ebony lashes casting dark shadows over his high cheekbones. Odd how he seemed so vulnerable lying there. Appealing even. Hwoarang crept closer, daring to slink all the way to the side of the bed, ignoring the temptation to brush aside the strands of blood-encrusted hair, which lay on his brow.

Abruptly he scowled, straightening up and wondering why in the hell he was lurking here like some pervert, watching his opponent of all people! You hate him, despise him. He reminded himself over and over again, embedding the thought in his mind. He almost gave a yelp when Jin murmured something incomprehensible, pale lips parting slightly as his bruised throat strained to emit sound.

Just talking in his sleep.nothing more. Hwoarang inhaled deeply, backing off as quietly as he could, walking on tip-toes so that his spurs wouldn't clink against the floor. Unfortunately, he had failed to take note of the table behind him with its tray of surgical implements gleaming in the dim electric light. He backed into it, sending it toppling with a crash that sent his heart beating so wildly he could hear nothing but its frantic drumming.

"Fuck!" He hissed through his teeth, turning just in time to see Jin sit up in bed with a start, eyes wild and for a moment unfocused. "Oh FUCK."

Apparently it didn't take Jin long to realise it was him, dark eyes flashing with recognition, one finger pointed at him accusingly. He seemed about to say something. yell or scream for someone to help him, and Hwoarang panicked. Leaping from amidst the fallen instruments, he landed with one knee on either side of Jin's hips, forcing his hands down on either side and pinning them with his knees. Hastily he clamped his hand over the boy's mouth.

"Shhh!" Hwoarang hadn't a clue what he was doing, but if anyone were to walk in now, he'd be in some deep shit that was for sure. Jin stared up at him, struggling despite his injuries, straining to free his hands to no avail. "Damn it Jin! I'm not here to hurt you just stop squirming!" It seemed Kazama didn't believe a word of it, and he growled beneath Hwoarang's hand, twisting so violently that the bed threatened to overturn. "Jin please!"

Perhaps it was the desperate note in his voice. Perhaps the boy just finally weakened too much, but he stopped struggling, chest heaving as he strained for breath, a defeated look in his dark eyes that made Hwoarang feel sickeningly guilty.

"I'm going to take my hand away now, just.please, don't start yelling." Hwoarang gave him a pleading look, and slowly withdrew his gloved hand. Jin lay silently beneath him, too weary to even speak. Hwoarang gave a sigh of relief, head bowed for a moment, face masked by a mass of fiery hair.

"What're you doing here?" Jin finally summoned enough strength to string a sentence together, uncomfortable with Hwoarang sat on top of him, and wishing he had a little more in the way of clothing.

"I saw you get brought in with that cop." Hwoarang tried to keep the distaste from his tone as he mentioned Lei. "I was curious, wanted to know whether the two of you would still be coming to the tournament or whether you were too messed up to participate." Now that he said it, it seemed like a pathetic excuse, but Jin would have to accept it.

"You're that determined to finish our fight are you?" Was that a weak little smile Hwoarang detected on those bruised, swollen lips?

"You betcha, it won't be half as fun if I don't get to kick you and that cop around." Heaven help me, I'm smiling back. Hwoarang thought with dismay. "I need to prove to my troops that I was just playing with you back there."

"Sure you were." Jin began to chuckle, but ended up coughing more than anything else, face contorted with pain, despite the anaesthetic in his blood-stream.

"What happened to you anyway? I don't remember messing you up this badly." Hwoarang narrowed his eyes, sitting up a little, but still clasping the rails on either side of the bed with his hands.

"You didn't. I got in another fight." Jin shifted beneath him, tugging to try and free his hands. "Do you have to keep sitting on me? I'm losing the circulation in my arms."

Hwoarang's eyes widened as Jin spoke. He had been quite comfortable until Jin brought up the subject of their current position, and Jin arched a brow as he saw colour flush the Korean's cheeks and the bridge of his nose. Embarrassed was he?

"Yes, I do have to stay put. For now anyway, I want to be able to shut you up again real quick in case you decide to be sneaky and give me away." Hwoarang seemed to regain his composure, pressing down harder with his knees as if to emphasise the point.

"You think I have the energy to call loudly enough? I can barely speak above a whisper!" Jin grumbled, and with a sigh Hwoarang shifted his knees enough to allow him to free his hands. For a moment they sat there in awkward silence, just staring at each other, Jin feeling horribly vulnerable, and Hwoarang self-conscious. Jin finally broke the silence. "What happened to your arm?"

Hwoarang blinked, as if Jin had been speaking a completely different language, and then gave a nervous laugh.

"Oh this. Someone broke into my place last night, had a bit of a fight. Scared them off of course." A flicker of that smug smile worked its way onto his features, but it didn't linger long. Why do I keep staring at him!? He thought irritably. And why has Jin suddenly gone pale as death?

Jin was staring at him as if he were the devil, panic-stricken, breathing suddenly erratic. Hwoarang gripped his wrists again, sure that he was about to start screaming. Something was very wrong.

"Jin.what is it? You want me to fetch a doctor?" Hwoarang frowned, utterly confused.

Jin however, was finally starting to see things clearly. Flashes of the previous night were flooding back in waves, squeezing into an apartment through an open window having tracked a familiar scent, the sound of running water, and finally Hwoarang shouting at him, threatening.

"Jin! Snap out of it!" Hwoarang was frantic, shaking him roughly by the shoulders, but the glazed look wasn't leaving his eyes. "Jin!" Hwoarang slapped him sharply across the side of the face, and at that moment, Jin let loose a hoarse cry, so loud it almost deafened the Korean. "Jin, calm down!" Another cry, and Hwoarang ran out of ideas. Leaning down, he pressed his lips forcefully against Jin's, eyes tight shut, fingers still locked around Jin's wrists. There were no more cries. Jin lay completely still beneath him, almost as if he were asleep, but when Hwoarang dared to open his eyes, he found Jin staring quietly up at him, expression unreadable.

Slowly, Hwoarang sat up, trembling ever so slightly, staring back for what seemed a small eternity before averting his eyes, face suddenly angry.

"Shit. sorry." He began to climb off the bed, but Jin's hands captured his shoulders, torso half upright, body shaking with the effort it had taken to move.

"If you don't kiss me again I'll start screaming." Jin murmured, looking about as confused as Hwoarang, though his hands seemed fairly sure of themselves as they tugged the Korean back down to him.

Jin's words were enough, Hwoarang didn't need any more tempting, and a second later his arms had locked around him, so tightly that Jin thought he meant to crush him. The Korean pushed him back against the narrow hospital bed roughly, lips harsh against his bruised ones, tongue slipping serpent- like into his warm mouth. Jin responded more fully than Hwoarang had imagined anyone could, eager and demanding despite his body's current weakness, back arching from the bed.

"What the.?"

Both men froze as they recognised the voice of the cop, obviously rather astonished at the scene he'd walked in on, and Hwoarang hastily leapt from the bed, leaving Jin to tug the crumpled sheet up around his chest.

"Hwoarang!" Lei sounded furious as he recognised the gang-leader. "This is one fuck-up you won't get out of so easily."

Return to Archive | next | previous