Chapter 13

By The Lizard

"I see you were due in for a check-up on your arm a week ago." The perpetually weary looking doctor peered at Hwoarang over narrow-framed glasses, his voice a dull monotone.

"Yeah well, I was busy and it feels fine." Came the sharp reply. Hwoarang was in no mood to be lectured. He just wanted something to get rid of his headache and then to get out of the hospital as quickly as he could. "Can I go now?"


"Why the hell not?" Hwoarang sat up in the bed, scowling at the doctor who took very little notice, and took forever to answer.

"We're still waiting for the results of the X-rays, and it's standard procedure to keep all patients who've received a blow to the skull in overnight for observations." Tired eyes returned to the chart, glasses nudged further up the narrow nose by one finger. "And don't worry, you'll have your detective friend in the bed next to you to keep you company."

Hwoarang was sure he saw a sadistic smirk on those thin, dry lips before the doctor wandered off. The Korean and the cop had been made it clear in front of everyone that despite their co-operative efforts during events that night, they were still on terms that were barely civil. The staff had been rather shocked to hear some of the language passed between them as they were kept waiting in the ER for attention. Jin had been the only reason either of them had stayed calm.

Hours passed tediously, nurses approaching cautiously from time to time to flick through his chart, ask hesitantly if they could take his temperature. He co-operated as best he could, grateful for any kind of interaction, no matter how brief. To his utter disgust, he even found himself wishing they'd hurry up and bring Lei to the ward. Sarcastic, annoying company was better than none at all.

After having woken due to Jin's insistent shaking, still flat on his back in the middle of the road, Hwoarang's first question had been about the cop. He'd remembered seeing him sprawled on the floor, unmoving and perilously close to heavy boots that might trample him at any moment. His initial concern had swiftly changed to irritation at himself for worrying about a man that had tried to arrest him only a short time ago. For some reason, perhaps because Jin seemed to think so highly of him, and because of the aid he'd provided when they were under attack from Bryan, he couldn't bring himself to hate him anymore. That didn't mean he'd let the cop know that however.

Finally, after about three hours of waiting, the Chinese cop was wheeled up, fast asleep with a bandage around his head and a drip being wheeled alongside him. He was hastily lifted onto the bed beside Hwoarang's and made comfortable before the overworked nurses strode off elsewhere.

"Typical, he had to be fast asleep." Hwoarang muttered under his breath, glaring at the still form and folding his arms, wishing he could just fall asleep too and then staring up at the ceiling.

"Not asleep yet, brat." The sudden rustle of over-crisp hospital sheets as the cop sat up made Hwoarang jump. "Just faking it so that I wouldn't have to answer any more questions or fill in those damn forms. I swear I've done three exactly the same since they brought me in."

Hwoarang couldn't help but grin, despite the "brat" remark. He'd had to do the same, and the cop's attitude to procedure amused him. In addition he was rather pleased to finally have someone to talk to.

"Quit complainin', you're not the only one. Why'd it take you so long to be brought up here?"

"I had some burns needed treating and a couple of cuts that needed stitching up. Nothing fancy, but everything involves long waits in this place." The cop reached under his sheets, fishing out a white, paper bag before proceeding to consume its contents, some rather flattened doughnuts.

"How'd you sneak those in?" Hwoarang asked, trying to sound nonchalant, but silently wishing he had the nerve to ask for one. Lei glanced sideways at him for a moment, then leaned around in his bed, making sure there were no nurses lurking around to confiscate his little feast.

"Some buddies from the force dropped 'em in for me when the docs weren't looking. They took some hiding I tell ya." Wulong looked rather proud as he added that last part, then chucked one of the sugary morsels across to Hwoarang, who luckily had fast enough reflexes to catch it rather than let it splatter all over the brilliantly white sheets. He was so hungry it was gone in seconds. He and Jin never had gotten around to getting any food. "Consider that a thank you for your help." Lei added, speaking with his mouth full and spraying copious amounts of sugar over his bed, before scowling and brushing them away with the back of his hand.

"I owed you, thought I may as well lend a hand." Hwoarang brushed the thanks off with a shrug of his shoulders, trying to hide a faint smile. He'd liked helping out, actually being on the right side of the law for once.

"Well then it's an apology for me yelling at you when we were brought in." Lei replied, peering in the bag as if he'd expected there to be more doughnuts, then sighing, tilting his head back and shaking the sugar in the bottom into his open mouth. "It wasn't your responsibility to be looking out for trouble like that. How were you to know Heihachi's men were going to come out of nowhere?"

"That I will accept." Hwoarang chuckled quietly, not wanting to attract attention from the staff. "I could have been a little more observant though."

Lei stared at him blankly for a moment, crumpling up the bag and shoving it back under the sheets. Hwoarang wondered what the hell he'd done wrong, arching one brow.

"Kid, don't start being all agreeable and humble. I don't know how to handle you if you're not being a smart-mouthed punk."

At that they both burst out laughing, so loudly that they heard approaching footsteps as one of the nurses came to see what all the noise was about. Flopping hastily onto their backs, they both feigned sleep until the suspicious nurse had peered in and wandered off again.


The cop rolled onto his side so that he was facing Hwoarang, nodding in acknowledgement.

"You think you'll be all right to fight in the tournament? It's only three weeks away." The redhead spoke quietly now, though Lei could still make out a broad smile on his face in the semi-dark.

"A few cuts and scratches aren't going to put me off, kid. Besides, I want to know why Heihachi invited me to participate again. There's something weird going on with all these disappearances."

Hwoarang was abruptly reminded of Baek when Lei mentioned the disappearances. He'd learned from Jin that other fighters had gone missing, and he felt that Lei was onto something when he assumed that they were somehow connected to the tournament.

"What about you? Something tells me you'd still fight even if you were on crutches with both arms in plaster-casts." Lei smirked faintly, shifting about as he tried to get comfortable.

"Damn right. I still have to beat Jin. And now I'm pissed at Heihachi too. It's too good an opportunity to pass up."

"You and Jin can't settle your differences in a friendly spar? Why do you need to prove you can beat him in a tournament?" Lei asked quietly, frowning a little now. He'd come to the conclusion long ago that the Korean in the bed opposite him, and Heihachi Mishima's grandson were more than just friends, and couldn't really understand why the element of competition was still so strong if they were really lovers. Hwoarang hesitated before answering. He hadn't really considered his need to win since he and Jin had gotten involved.

"Why not?" He finally asked, shrugging slightly, and then narrowing his eyes. "Why are you always so defensive about Jin? Come to think of it, what the hell happened that day you brought Jin here to the hospital? Both of you have some explaining to do."

Lei stared at him quietly. He hadn't expected to be questioned about that.

"I bumped into him earlier that morning after having spent another night chasing Fury around. He got himself lost in the bad, erm, real bad part of the city, so I hauled him out of there." The cop ran over the words again in his mind. They sounded believable enough from his perspective.

"Don't give me that crap. There's something you're not telling me."

Lei growled softly under his breath. Apparently from Hwoarang's point of view the story was lacking in substance. He should have expected that from a street-smart kid like this one, who dealt with lies on a daily basis.

"Ah, stop pestering will you. I can't think straight now, you're giving me a headache. Ask Jin, not me."


Lei waved one hand and rolled over to face away from him, effectively ending the conversation. Hwoarang however, was far from finished talking, and a moment later he'd perched himself on the side of the cop's bed, shaking his shoulder roughly. Lei gave a yelp as one of his burns was aggravated by the touch, and turned over again sharply, intending on waving a finger in the boy's face and succeeding in jabbing him in the eye instead.

"You bastard! My eye!" Hwoarang yelled, getting to his feet and clutching his face, knocking over Lei's drip stand in the process, which fell with a loud metallic clang on the cold floor. Wulong gave a screech as the thick needle was jerked painfully beneath the thin layer of skin that held it in place.

"You clumsy little-!"

"What's going on here?" The stern voice of the doctor bellowed over their yells, and the lights over-head flickered on, stinging their eyes. "Fighting again? That's it, you two are being separated from now on. The other patients on the ward are trying to sleep!"

Hwoarang and Lei glanced at each other briefly, and then turned back to the doctor.

"Sounds good to me!" Lei responded, rather cheerfully, thinking that he'd at least escape any more questioning, only to find himself getting jabbed in the gut by the Korean's elbow.

"Shut up or I'll tell them about the doughnuts." He hissed under his breath. "He's just joking, we'll behave, just don't move us OK?" Hwoarang turned to the doctor, eyebrows raised hopefully. The man didn't have much time to respond before several nurses rounded the corner and settled them back in their beds. The doctor sighed, heading off to deal with more important matters

Once the lights were off again, the nurses departed, and Hwoarang satisfied that Lei had done no permanent damage to his eye, they sat in awkward silence, exchanging glares every now and again.

"Damn, I hate hospitals!" Hwoarang finally snarled, kicking his sheets down to the end of his bed roughly. He was either too hot or too cold.

"Hwoarang, shut up will ya and get to sleep. Some people have to work tomorrow."

The Korean did as requested, with a fair deal of muttering. He was tired enough from the evenings events, and his love-making with Jin to fall asleep fairly quickly, and when he opened his eyes the following morning, it was getting close to midday. With a groan he rubbed his eyes, wondering where the hell he was, and why he was wearing a back-less gown. Someone had pulled the sheets over him again, and there was a slim figure stood next to his bed.

"Good morning!"

The voice was far too cheerful. He wished he hadn't woken up. Resisting the urge to go back to sleep, he glanced over at Lei's bed, wondering whether the cop was awake yet. The bed was empty.

"Hey, where the hell's the Chinese guy gone?" He asked, sitting up and frowning at the startled young nurse.

"Oh, Mr Wulong left at about 4am without bothering to sign himself out. For a policeman he's rather irresponsible." She added, before heading off further down the ward. Hwoarang scowled. Why hadn't he had the bright idea of sneaking out?

Slumping back against his pillows with a sigh, he heard an odd sound coming from beneath his pillow, as if there were some paper crushed there. Reaching an arm beneath it, he drew out a crumpled white bag with very bad handwriting on it. He frowned as he read it. Damn Wulong.

"Hope you slept well, brat. Sorry I left without a goodbye, but your snoring was keeping me awake. Give my regards to Jin when he visits."

Hwoarang amused himself by starting to tear the sticky bag into tiny pieces, until the nurse returned and lectured him on his messy habits, asking him why he had a bag that had obviously contained some food in it, when he wasn't supposed to be eating until after they were satisfied there was nothing wrong with him.

His silent glare sent her scurrying away before long, and he made a mental note to pay Wulong back at the earliest opportunity.

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