Chapter 16

By The Lizard

Jin caught sight of a faint smirk upon Hwoarang's lips, sending him a playful glare in return. The shirt he'd borrowed wouldn't button up over his chest, and the Korean found it awfully amusing. With an exasperated sigh he tossed it aside, opting instead for one of several black wife- beaters. The sound of a tearing seam broke the silence, and from Hwoarang's direction there came a half-smothered snort.

"Jin, I don't think you're going to find anything to fit you in there."

"I would if everything you owned wasn't so tight-fitting. Do you buy them a size too small or something?" Jin tugged the ruined wife-beater off, examining the torn stitching and looking rather sheepish as Hwoarang snatched it from his hands, tossing it aside.

"Sometimes. But you know it looks good." A quick wink in Jin's direction, and Hwoarang returned to the mattress, searching through crumpled sheets until he found a navy blue T-shirt that would swamp even Jin's broad frame. "You'll have to wear this, I don't have anything else." Jin eyed the garment as it was tossed to him. "I sleep in it sometimes, needs a wash though."

Jin tugged it on over his head, relieved that it wasn't threatening to split at the seam, and happy to be wearing something that smelled of the redhead. It was strangely comforting in a way. Silently he watched Hwoarang changing his torn jeans, cringing slightly as he caught sight of long scratches and inky bruises, but also feeling the familiar reaction he always got when observing those sleekly muscled limbs. He fought the improper thoughts away, sighing softly. Now was no time to be considering such things, not after what he had almost done that afternoon. At least, he mused to himself, Hwoarang wasn't feeling threatened or hiding himself. That would have been a heavy blow.

Together they left the apartment, bags slung over their shoulders, filled with the few pieces of clothing and necessities they needed, and headed out for the one place they'd agreed they would be safe for a while. At some point, Jin reached out to snag Hwoarang's hand in his own, not caring about the odd glances thrown their way, and ludicrously happy at the mere fact that he hadn't been shaken off.

Upon reaching the hotel, Hwoarang gazed at a boarded up window with no small amount of hesitation.

"Are you sure he'd still be staying here? They didn't throw him out or anything?"

Jin shrugged slightly in response, tugging the Korean inside after him. After a polite enquiry at the front desk, they were outside again, feet dragging a little by this point. They were approaching the more up-market district, and Hwoarang didn't like it one bit.

"Why do you think he asked them to give you instructions on where to find him?" He asked, one brow arching curiously. Jin gave his hand a little squeeze.

"In case I needed him I suppose." He answered quietly, hesitant about saying what he had to say next. "He's the only person besides you that knows." Hwoarang's pace slowed suddenly, until their arms were stretched between them due to his lagging. Jin came to a halt and turned to look back at him. "It's not like I had a choice. It happened in front of him, he saw."

The Korean was beginning to understand things a little better by this point, Lei's eagerness to avoid him in the hospital, his reluctance to answer his questions. And now they were seeking him out for sanctuary. As much as he hated to admit it, the cop was a good man, keeping such a secret and asking nothing in return. For some reason that made him all the more annoying. Hwoarang wanted to hate him, but he couldn't. He began to walk again, giving Jin a reassuring smile and noting the vague suspicion on his face. It was uncharacteristic of himself to act to such news calmly, but he was too tired for any heated words, he just wanted to be somewhere safe, where he could rest without fear of being found by Heihachi's men.

The next hotel they wandered into was on a grand scale compared to the last one, porters rushing around with bags and suitcases, highly polished marble floors and old Grecian style pillars looming above them. Everyone seemed busy, even the guests as they ushered the staff before them, giving orders, and not necessarily politely. It didn't seem right that Lei stay in a place like this. Both knew he'd be uncomfortable in this kind of environment, so why was he staying here?

Jin approached the reception area nervously, surprised at his own wariness, despite having stayed in more expensive places in the past. The gentleman behind the desk forced a smile, ready to inform him that they had no vacant rooms, and perhaps adding that they were out of the price range of a couple of scruffy dressed teenagers.

"Can you tell me whether Mr Lei Wulong is here? He left us instructions saying if we needed to find him he'd be staying." Jin managed to keep his voice quiet and stoic, Hwoarang waiting near the foyer, arms crossed, expecting they'd been sent on a wild goose chase and that they'd have to find somewhere else afterall.

The receptionist seemed to scowl faintly at that question, and then excused himself briefly, leaving Jin waiting at the desk. Hwoarang took the opportunity to slink over and talk in hushed tones.

"Jin, isn't this a little too high-profile? People might recognise you here, and if word gets back to Heihachi we'll be in trouble." Jin shook his head in response, glancing at the guests as they strutted around like peacocks, too interested in themselves to notice anyone else.

"Don't worry about it. I can blend in fairly well. It might have been a different matter if I had some outrageously bright hair or some other way that people could pick me out." He smirked, teasing the Korean by flicking a few strands of hair away from his face. Hwoarang was about to make some clever remark when the receptionist returned, his smile even more strained.

"Mr Wulong will be down to meet you in a moment, sir."

Jin breathed a deep sigh of relief, slouching against the desk wearily. His feet were aching, the boots he'd borrowed from Hwoarang too narrow for them, rubbing his ankles raw. Hwoarang was narrower all over, and yet he was that little bit taller too, so that if he'd not been quite so muscular, he would have a lanky frame. Jin found that imagining a lanky Hwoarang was rather difficult, especially when the Korean was looking at him with one brow arched and demanding to know what he was staring at. He just grinned, shaking his head.

When Lei finally arrived, some ten minutes later, the receptionist abruptly made himself busy, barely able to bring himself to greet the guest, his smile faltering into something more like a grimace. The cop smirked, but paid him no more attention, instead joining his visitors with a bright smile, and then leading them off towards the elevators. Once inside, the smile dropped, and he glared at first one, then the other.

"You two are taking one hell of a chance coming here." He muttered, leaning against the mirrored wall and folding his arms. "That incident at the High School is all over the radio already, they're giving descriptions of both of you. I'm surprised you weren't arrested on your way here."

Jin glanced at Hwoarang guiltily. Heihachi would, no doubt, find some way to skirt the law and pull his grandson out of trouble, and probably blame it all on the Korean in the first place. Hwoarang seemed calm however, resting a cool palm on his shoulder.

"The two of you can stay here for the night, but I'm moving you elsewhere in the morning. I don't want any more trouble with hotels. I'm already getting it in the neck from the chief for the bill from the last mess." The cop paused, shaking his head. "Make that messes plural. The insurance people don't like me."

"We won't cause you any trouble. We just couldn't think of anywhere else to go." Hwoarang interrupted, but not snappily, as he might have done in the past.

"Damn right you won't be causing me any trouble. Just sit tight and stay quiet. I've already told the old stiff at reception to keep his mouth shut about me having guests, so he shouldn't be a problem. But don't go making any phone-calls from here, and stay in the room. No wandering around." Lei glared at them both until they both nodded their assent. "You boys gonna tell me what happened?"

"It was all my fault." Jin blurted out, forcing himself to stop for a moment and then continue more calmly. "Hwoarang didn't kill anyone, it was all me. Or, sort of me. It happened again, Lei." He couldn't bring himself to look up at the cop; he was still too ashamed of himself.

"Got angry again did you?" Lei murmured quietly, watching Hwoarang, thankful that he seemed to be in the know finally, and that there wouldn't be anymore questions from him. "That makes it number three doesn't it? I think it's about time we stop ignoring it and hoping it'll go away on its own."

"What do you mean? Find a way to get rid of it?" Hwoarang asked, his eyes glued on the subdued Jin, who was still staring at his feet.

"Do I look like a scientist? I wouldn't know where to start with something like that. What we can do is try and control it." Lei gave Jin a little grin, and wandered out of the open elevator doors, hands shoved in his pockets and fumbling around for the keys. Jin didn't dare to hope that Lei's suggestion was actually going to work.

It didn't take them long to get settled, and once satisfied that they were going to behave, Lei slipped out to purchase a few essentials for Jin, leaving them with a miniature feast he'd had sent up by room service, and a mini-bar which, he assured Hwoarang, had nothing worth tasting in it. Once the redhead had spent a good few minutes searching through the overpriced and elaborately named beverages, he was inclined to agree.

Jin lurked near the window, huge panes of glass stretching from ceiling to floor; such a thin barrier preventing that 60 foot drop that he couldn't help but feel dizzy. Suppressing a little shudder, he turned away, finding himself face to face with Hwoarang, who had been lurking quietly behind him, thumbs hooked in the waistline of his chaps. Jin stared at him, losing himself in eyes the very colour of burnt sienna, eyes that did not lower their gaze, but locked with his own, as if trying to read his thoughts. Very slowly, Hwoarang lifted both arms, beckoning with his hands for Jin to come to him. A moment later and they were in each other's arms, entangled so tightly that it seemed it would have been futile to try and separate them.

Hwoarang could feel the rise and fall of Jin's chest against his own, taking quiet, trembling little breaths. He seemed so scared that he ended up gently stroking his dark hair, whispering comfortingly against his ear, and after some time this seemed to calm him. They rested easily against each other, feeding off the mingling warmth, not bothering to speak; to spoil the moment with words would have been a waste.

Lei intruded a short time later, and Hwoarang braced himself for some unwanted remark, peering at the cop blankly as he tossed down his purchases on the white leather couch. To his surprise, they were given nothing more than a brief glance before they were left alone, the soft click of the bedroom door announcing that Lei had retired for the night.

"Hwoarang?" Jin murmured wearily against the Korean's neck. "What do you think Lei's going to do? He said we'd try tomorrow."

Hwoarang shrugged slightly, then moved away, taking hold of Jin's limp hand and pulling him towards the couch, pushing off the bag and slumping down in its place. Within a short time, they were curled against each other drowsily.

"Don't worry Jin, he's got a sharp mind, I'm sure he's got some good ideas."

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