Chapter 15

By The Lizard

Hwoarang sat with his back to the wall, slouching with his knees drawn up, slightly apart, bare feet braced on the floor. His arms rested limply between his legs, fingers curled possessively around a snub-nosed revolver, pointed down for the time being, but fully loaded. He was cold, the draft that came in through the shattered window making the thin curtains billow, tugging playfully at his hair. He hadn't bothered to dress himself again, and what was left of his jeans was shredded strips of material that clung tentatively to tense thighs.

He took a swig from the bottle at his side, some strange tasting liqueur that he couldn't even remember buying. The alcohol warmed him at the core, but the heat soon dissipated, and he was left shivering and stiff, staring at the figure that lay on the mattress in front of him.

Jin Kazama slept soundly, sprawled on his stomach, face turned to one side. A collection of dark bruises marked his cheek, and Hwoarang felt somewhat guilty as he eyed them, knowing that it was he that had inflicted them. But what else could he have done? He'd taken the one opportunity presented to him. If he hadn't, he'd probably be lying there dead, or wishing he were.

The devil had faltered, only for a moment, but Hwoarang had sensed it and used it to his advantage. He'd twisted sharply to the side, launching his elbow back and into the devil's ribs so that it had been thrown off, sent rolling into the fragments of glass by the window. Hwoarang hadn't paused to wonder why it had hesitated; he'd flung himself on top of the creature, battering at its face with his fists, trying to knock it senseless, and at the same time roaring Jin's name at the top of his lungs. The moment the devil had lost consciousness, the markings upon his skin had faded, the wings suddenly losing their form, becoming a strange, black smoke that dispersed so quickly Hwoarang wondered whether he'd actually seen it happen.

All that was left was a bloodied, Japanese teenager, Jin Kazama once more.

Hwoarang cradled the bottle against his side, head bowed, struggling to keep his eyes open. He hadn't wanted to hurt Jin. He hated that he'd had to resort to harming him to save himself. It made his head ache just thinking about it. To make things worse, he was sat there clutching a gun, a weapon he'd bought after the devil had attacked him the first time in case the intruder returned. What would he do if Jin turned again? Would he actually be able to bring himself to fire it? He clenched his teeth, muscles twitching in his jaw. Why did everything have to be so complicated?

A soft groan came from the still form on the mattress, and Hwoarang sat up, suddenly wide awake again, fingers tightening on the gun.

Jin wished he hadn't woken up. He couldn't remember ever feeling quite this bad, face sore, head pounding, every muscle protesting as he tried to sit up. In addition he hadn't a clue where he was. Forcing his eyes to open, he reached up to his face, brushing hair out of his eyes and immediately finding his fingers were sticky with half-dried blood. Had he been in a fight?

Making an effort to glance at his surroundings, he realised where he was, but couldn't remember how he'd come to be there. Why was the window smashed? His heart fluttered wildly, panicked as he began to look around for Hwoarang. It didn't take much searching. In the dim evening light, he saw the Korean sat across from him, naked to the waist, jeans in tatters, a gun levelled at his head. Jin's breath hitched in his throat.

"Don't do anything sudden Jin. I'm kinda nervy." Hwoarang's voice was softer than he'd ever heard it, which did not bode well. "Just, sit back against the wall over there real slowly."

Jin stared at him in disbelief, but there was no arguing with a gun, especially with Hwoarang on the end of it. Doing as he'd been asked, Jin crawled to the top of the mattress, as far from the Korean as the room would allow, and sat back against the wall, legs crossed in front of him.

"I'm sorry I messed you up. I didn't mean to hurt you badly or anything." Hwoarang's voice was so quiet it was barely above a whisper, and Jin had to strain to hear him.

"You did this?" He asked, tentatively brushing the tips of his fingers over his cheek, wincing a little as he rubbed a thin cut over his temple. Hwoarang nodded, hand shaking as he raised the bottle to his lips again. "Why? What happened? I don't understand."

It was Hwoarang's turn to stare in disbelief.

"You're asking me?" He gave a quiet and rather unstable sounding laugh that made Jin all the more nervous. "You're the one that should be explaining yourself, Kazama. When were you planning on telling me? Or was that supposed to be your way of explaining things? You're one fucked up little- !"

Jin recoiled at those words. Hwoarang hadn't called him Kazama for a long time now. The fact that he was resorting to using it again stung like a slap in the face. His mind raced, trying to remember what had happened, how he'd come to be in the apartment. It was with a certain amount of dread that he realised there was only one real explanation. He'd turned, and he couldn't remember what he'd done. He drew his legs up, burying his face against his knees and groaning quietly.

"Hwoarang. I can't remember. I swear I can't. I never can when that happens. Not until later anyway."

"If it's happened before you should have told me!" Hwoarang suddenly yelled at him, getting to his feet, waving the gun dangerously, the bottle still clutched in his other hand. "You should have told me it was you that attacked me that night!"

"And then you wouldn't have let me anywhere near you!" Jin snapped back, just as harshly. He could see Hwoarang was either drunk or close to being so, and though logic told him to try and keep his cool, and not further anger the volatile young man, he couldn't stop himself. "I didn't even know if it was going to happen anymore, I thought it was all under control."

"Damn right I wouldn't have let you anywhere near me! You tried to kill me, and you probably would have today after you finished-!"

"Finished what?" Jin interrupted, wanting more than anything just to sit there and cry.

"Well what the hell do you think? Look at me!" Hwoarang spread his arms to either side as Jin glanced up at him, seeing again the torn jeans, tattered as if by an animal's claws, the bloody mark on his shoulder. It was all too clear what his other side had tried to do, and he felt utterly disgusted.

"I'm so sorry." He murmured, burying his face in his hands, but Hwoarang seemed to choose not to hear his apology, flinging the bottle across the room angrily, the remaining contents spilling out onto the floor.

"Get out!" The Korean snarled at him, and Jin looked up to find his face streaked with tears. "Just get out Jin, and stay away from me!"

For a long moment they stood staring at each other, both silent, Hwoarang still keeping the revolver aimed at Jin's head. Finally, when the tension had become so thick that either of them could have snapped at any moment, Jin rose slowly to his feet, beginning to move along the perimeter of the room, heading for the door. When he reached for the handle, he paused, instead turning to face Hwoarang. He simply couldn't leave things like this. He cared about him too much.

"I said get out Jin." Hwoarang didn't yell this time; he just sounded plain tired, and his eyes were heavy lidded, red-rimmed from crying. Jin ignored the command, instead beginning to move towards him. "Come any closer and I'll shoot you." The Korean straightened up, taking a step back, hand shaking as he tried to keep the gun steady.

"No you won't." Came the soft reply. Hwoarang's finger tightened on the trigger, but Jin brushed his hand sideways and gently tugged the weapon away from him, tossing it away across the floor. Hwoarang continued to back off, trembling quite obviously by this point. Jin reached out for him, and before the Korean had time to protest, pinned his arms against his sides.

The struggle that ensued was brief, half-hearted even, and finally they sank down against the floor, Hwoarang with his back to the wall again, Jin clutching at his waist, head resting against his chest.

"Jin, what are you?" Hwoarang whispered quietly, not looking down at him, not really moving at all, arms limp at his sides. He so badly wanted to hold him, but he was still angry, still fearful.

"My father's son." Jin responded, feeling almost numb, terrified that Hwoarang would shatter this temporary calm and demand that he leave again.

"That's not much of an answer, Jin." Hwoarang murmured, looking down at the ebony hair pressed to his bare stomach, tempted to brush it away so that he could see Jin's face more clearly.

"No, it's the best explanation I can give you. I don't know what he was, but I'm the same. I'm the same, it's in my blood, but I don't have the control and there's no one to tell me how to stop it."

"You still should have told me." The Korean finally touched him, just a hand on his shoulder, but even that was enough to give Jin some hope.

"I know. I never wanted, or thought that this would happen. But I'm so glad you were mine, even if it was just for a little while."

Hwoarang frowned faintly, watching Jin sit up, shuffle a little closer, and then place a palm on the wall beside his head, leaning towards him. There was so little space between them, that initially he felt trapped, his body tense and his breathing deliberately shallow. When Jin leaned in hesitantly, and pressed the lightest of kisses against his cheek, he finally snapped.

Jin found himself flat on his back, the heels of Hwoarang's palms forcing his shoulders hard against the floor, nails biting into his flesh.

"I've never been so damn scared, Jin. Not since I was a kid."

Jin nodded dumbly, sure that Hwoarang was intent on leaving him. There was such fury in his eyes that he wouldn't have been surprised had he retrieved the gun and put him out of his misery.

"I want to hurt you for that. You don't know how badly."

Another mute answer from the Japanese youth. Hwoarang didn't need to hear anything from him to know that he understood, it was all too clear in those dark, sorrowful eyes.

"But I'm not going to." The redhead finally.

"Why not?" Jin was blatantly confused, and for a while Hwoarang considered answering honestly. He swallowed noisily a moment later, shaking his head with a nervous smile.

"Doesn't matter. I'll tell you some other time."

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