Chapter Five - Love is a Loser's Game
“Crime Scene Investigators have discovered DNA all over the crime scene that was also on the weapon. The Chief of the department made a statement earlier today saying that Jin Kazama’s DNA was not found anywhere near the crime scene, and there was no way he could be the killer. However, they haven’t been able to link the DNA on the scene to any –”
Jin turned off the television with a sigh of relief. He was cleared! Now the only one he needed to hide from was Heihachi. Luckily Heihachi hadn’t reported that it wasn’t the Tekkenshu who took Jin so the cops were completely off his case, but that only meant that the old man had other plans. He shuddered at the thought of being at that bastard’s mercy.
It was Christmas Eve. Three of Hwoarang’s friends had gone back to Korea and Unknown just wasn’t there anymore one day. Jin was alone with Hwoarang and Bae, which he didn’t mind all that much, except that Bae was always bringing Women back to their ever changing hotel rooms. Jin normally loved women, but not the type Bae attracted. The groupie kind of girls who jump around screeching at the very mention of a ‘hot guy’. It disgusted Jin how anyone could get so obsessed over someone’s looks.
For some reason, Jin had not once seen Hwoarang with a man or a woman since he had returned. He had caught sight of Hwoarang checking out both genders at bars and malls and such, but no action was ever taken. Hwoarang barely even looked at Jin anymore. The Korean seemed slightly depressed, constantly drinking and gambling, even though he was bad at both. It was almost scary when Hwoarang got high. Not fear for your life scary, but fear for his. Hwoarang would rant when he was drunk and ramble on and on furiously. He’d never watch where he was going. He’d get in trouble with all the wrong people. It was scary. Especially when he took off in a drunken rage with his bike.
“Want a beer?” Bae asked, walking into the room with a six-pack.
Jin shook his head and stared at the blank TV screen. “No thanks,” He muttered, trying to figure out whether it was better to be sought by the law and Heihachi or to be sought by Heihachi alone. Would anything be different? He still couldn’t show his face.
Bae frowned and sat next to Jin, “What’s wrong?”
“My name’s cleared. I’m not the Killer,” Jin said almost robotically.
“Is that a bad thing?”
Jin looked at Bae, attempting to fight back tears, “I…” He paused, feeling his voice about to crack, “Heihachi is still after me… But the officials aren’t and I can’t figure out why Heihachi would allow my name to be publicly cleared… Unless he already knows where I am.”
“Jin, you’re giving in to him,” Hwoarang said, walking in the door, “All this shit is doing exactly what he wants it to! He’s crippling you with fear. He’s weakening you so that once he finally does find you; you’ll be too weak from being freaked out all the time that he’ll be able to do with you anything he fucking wants.” Hwoarang put the keys down on a table by the door, “Being afraid of what he has up his sleeve won’t make anything better, in fact, it will only make things worse! So just forget about him. We’ll worry about him once we know for sure what he’s doing. It’ll do no good to guess.”
Jin looked down at his feet, “I don’t want him to win.”
“Who the heck does?” Hwoarang said, almost laughing. He grabbed a pair of industrial platform boots and considered them.
“What are you doing with those?” Jin asked Hwoarang, looking up in confusion.
Hwoarang frowned, “I bought them. I’m gonna wear them.”
“You can’t wear those.”
Jin frowned in turn, “Because your already taller then me.”
“I am?” Hwoarang asked bewildered, “No I’m not. You’re bigger then me.”
“No,” Jin disagreed, “I’m more muscular then you but you’re taller. Do I have to prove it? Trust me Hwoarang. I’m shorter.”
Hwoarang walked over and pulled Jin up, standing against him and measuring the difference above their heads with his hand. “How tall are you Kazama?”
Bae raised his eyebrows at the two men, “I can’t believe your arguing about who’s taller. Couldn’t you think of something better to fight about? Like… Pottery or something.”
“Big deal I’m a centimetre taller!” Hwoarang laughed, “Jin… That’s kind of petty for a man of your calibre, isn’t it?”
Jin grinned, glad that Hwoarang was finally paying more attention to him, “Do you even know what Calibre means?”
“No but I know where to use it.” Hwoarang admitted, also grinning.
Bae rolled his eyes and walked out of the room leaving the two fighters to each other. With him gone, what remained was an awkward silence. It was easier to talk like idiots when someone else was present, but alone, they were forced to acknowledge that things were not the same with either of them. Not a word was spoken. They stood there, watching each other, trying to think of something to do.
It was not long before a brick flew in through the window, just nearly missing Hwoarang’s head and landing on Jin’s bed. The Korean ran to the fortunately opened window and seen an unmarked black van, “Shit. We have to go. BAE!!!”
Bae ran in, baffled, but seen the brick and immediately ran to grab his stuff. Jin and Hwoarang did the same, taking their suitcases and running out of the room. They made their way down the hallway, down the stairs, and into their Honda.
Hwoarang was put in the driver’s seat, Bae figuring that if they had to lose anyone, Hwoarang was the man to do it. They drove for a mere 5 minutes toward their next hotel when the black van was sighted. Jin was worried. Was it someone working for Heihachi? Who else would be after them? Unless the Crazy Korean pissed someone important off. Jin sat sideways in his seat staring out the back window, trying to catch sight of who was driving the van.
“Stop the car!” Jin ordered.
“Are you insane?” Bae asked, staring at Jin.
Jin shook his head, “It’s Lei Wulong. Stop the car. Maybe he’s got a good reason for following us.”
“Yeah,” Hwoarang muttered, slowing the car, “Like busting our asses and getting a special Christmas promotion. Or maybe he’s somehow gotten in good with Heihachi and is on the job. Bae, get out see what he wants. He’s got no dirt on you.”
Bae shrugged and got out of the Honda. Jin watched him walk over to the van with a relaxed strut. It was hard to imagine why Lei Wulong would be following them. Once Lei climbed out of the van, Jin was able to see that there were no other people in the van. Why would Lei come alone? Were there people in other cars watching them ready to strike? Hwoarang must have been thinking the same thing because he started scanning the streets, paying the most attention to parked cars.
Their friend came back with a shrug, “He says he needs your help. According to him, someone else has been following us. He hasn’t been able to identify them because they’ve been staying in the shadows but he figures with our help he could bust them.”
“It’s a trap,” Hwoarang assumed, starting the engine up again.
“Wait,” Jin put a hand on his Rival’s shoulder, “Let’s here him out.”
Hwoarang looked at Jin as if he were stupid, “How would he know someone had been following us unless he was the one following us?”
“Why don’t you ask him that?”
It was too late to argue. Lei Wulong was already by Hwoarang’s window and leaning in. His hair was moving dangerously near the cars zooming by, but he didn’t appear to be fazed in the least, “Allow me to defend myself, kid.”
Hwoarang sighed and leaned back, “By all means, pig.”
“I noticed the man following Jin when we took him in as a serial killer. Maybe it’s the real killer himself following you guys, who knows? All I know is that he’s potentially dangerous and I’m a cop so you might as well take me with you.”
“Yeah, like that’s really going to happen,” Hwoarang laughed, putting his hand on the shift.
Jin leaned over and whispered in Hwoarang’s ear, “Don’t make me beg.”
The Korean froze in the act at Jin’s words, and slowly turned his head to look Jin in the eye, “Fine. Since Kazama feels safer with a cop but we’re going to have to search you for a wire.” His words were slightly angry but his eyes were not.
All three boys waited for Lei to reply while appeared to consider something. The super cop’s eyes were scanning the streets, as if he were watching for speeders or any other crime being committed. “Alright. Frisk me all you want.”
“Give me your gun,” Hwoarang said, “I’ll give it back once we get somewhere. I just have to make sure you’re not setting us up. Give me your gun and get the fuck in the car, Wulong.”
Lei didn’t argue. He handed Hwoarang his gun and climbed in the back with Jin. Bae climbed into the front next to Hwoarang and buckled his seatbelt. Lei did the same, realizing who was at the wheel. Hwoarang slipped the gun under his shirt and pulled into drive. It was a tension filled silence as they made there way to wherever it was the Korean was taking them.
Jin attempted to figure out who would follow him specifically. Heihachi would but he wasn’t the type to keep to shadows. Who else had anything to do with Jin? Lei said ‘He’ so it was obviously a man. Could it be one of the gay-bashers from last year? Were they smart enough to find him and follow him without going noticed? It was nerve-racking thinking about all the possibilities. Hwoarang was right. He shouldn’t let things he could do nothing about get to him so badly.
They ended up in a high crime rate district. Their careless driver seemed to know exactly where he was going for he took the turns and twists almost subconsciously. They stopped in front of a dark building and Hwoarang got out, “Come on. Bae, search him.”
“What? Me?” Bae asked, “I’m the straight one here! It should be you frisking him.”
“Fine. But if I have nightmares, I’m kicking your ass.” Hwoarang grabbed Lei and pulled him out, “You know what to do, pig.”
Lei spread out and winked at Hwoarang. Jin felt a twinge of anger at that one gesture, but didn’t let it show, thinking it would just be petty of him. He didn’t want Hwoarang think he was one of those jealous jerks who got mad about simple eye contact. He grinned to himself at the pointlessness of his thoughts. He had no reason to be jealous or care about what Hwoarang thought. He doubted Hwoarang cared about what he thought.
After it was official that Lei was not bugged, and no other cars passed by, they stepped into the building. It was empty except for a few canvases and paintings hung on the walls. It was an art studio. Hwoarang smiled at the memories. During the third tournament he had come to the studio often, it being his ex-girlfriend’s home. She didn’t live there anymore. She had committed suicide two years before and the neighbourhood was keeping this place up to honour her work.
He turned to Lei, “Now, let’s talk about this situa…”
A bang on the roof cut him short. All 4 men stared up, and were startled into fighting stances when the door slammed open. Standing there was a horribly scarred man. Hwoarang recognised him as Jin’s father. Kazuya Mishima.
“Kazama, Jin,” The middle-aged devil said coldly.
Jin’s eyes shimmered with fear, “Mishima, Kazuya…”
“It is due time that I get back my other half,” Kazuya said, his eyes glowing and his skin turning a subtle shade of purple. Hwoarang watched in amazement as the older devil sprouted bare wings. They had no feathers like Jin’s had, and the Korean found that stranger then the concept of them being possessed by a devil in the first place.
Jin didn’t hesitate. The marks appeared on his forehead and his eyes began to glow as well. His black-feathered wings sprouted with a sickening noise and the mark on his arm began to show through his shirt. Bae took a step back, never having witnessed something like it before in his life. Hwoarang envied the man for having such a normal life, but the envy had quickly turned to pity.
The older devil flew up so that he was hovering beyond any present Mortal’s reach. Jin flew up after him, the large ebony wings beating the air with great force, forcing gushes of wind into Hwoarang and Bae’s faces. The two devils fought much like two birds would. Flying at each other, and away in order to build up more speed and force for which would be used in their next charge. They fought for what seemed to be hours to the young Korean. He watched hopelessly, knowing there was no way he could help his beloved rival. He willed Jin to win, whispering encouraging words ever now and then that he was sure Jin couldn’t even hear. He didn’t want Jin to hear.
Hwoarang glanced at Lei Wulong who was watching him. ‘Damn pig,’ he thought, ‘why’s he staring at me this time?’ but he didn’t voice the question. Instead he turned back to the battle. The dance of Father and son. The dance of a broken devil. It was a contradiction in itself. Love and hate. They admired each other yet were both disgusted by each other. Kazuya was here to destroy the young man he created.
One strong blow sent Jin Kazama hurdling to the ground in a flurry of feathers and blood. He didn’t move. His eyes were shut and his mouth twisted into a grimace. Hwoarang felt the anger rise up inside of him and once Kazuya’s feet touched the hardwood floor, Hwoarang ran at him, sliding at the last moment, knocking the devil off his feet. “You bastard! You can’t have him!” Hwoarang shouted, getting up and performing almost rhythmic moves on the older Japanese man. Kazuya, once finally able to fight back, released a powerful fist into the Korean’s stomach, sending him sprawling on the floor, 5 metres away.
Lei Wulong and Bae quickly carried Hwoarang out to the car; Jin was already lying in the back, still unconscious. The Blood Talon Didn’t think it had been long enough for them to have accomplished carrying the young devil out, but he had no sense of time anymore. He always lost track of time when he flew into a rage. Hwoarang climbed into the back with Jin and pushed the locks of hair falling into Jin’s eyes away. Knelt between the seats, there being no room to sit on the seats. His hand found Jin’s and he rested his head on the young Devil’s broad arm, and was grateful that Lei Wulong was driving since he had no seatbelt on.
Jin awoke to the sound of soft murmurs coming from another room. He looked around, realizing he was in a different hotel room, and he was, in fact, alive. Was that incident with his father only a dream? The answer to that question came as he sat up and winced at the pain in his side. He took a deep breath, trying to breathe some of the pain away. It worked slightly, enough for him to get up.
He walked slowly over to the door of what he assumed was the bathroom by the size. The door was open a crack so whomever was inside, must not have been doing anything private. He quietly pushed the door open just in time to see Lei Wulong grab Hwoarang’s neck, and pull the redhead into a deep kiss. Jin, in shock, stumbled backwards and ripped over a messy opened suitcase, and landed in such away that twisted his arm along with enhancing the pain in his side. “Shit!” He cursed loudly.
Hwoarang ran out of the bathroom and stopped in front of the floor bound Kazama. He outstretched his arm in an offer to help Jin up, but the young Japanese pushed Hwoarang’s hand aside, and pulled himself up, ignoring the great pain.
Jin stared at Hwoarang in disbelief, “‘What’s wrong?’ No. Don’t let me interrupt you.”
“Interrupt?” Hwoarang asked in confusion, “Oh that? Jin… Do you really think I’d be making out with a cop? That bastard was just upset that I didn’t think any man or woman would ever find him attractive so he tried to show off his sex appeal. It was just a joke.” He paused, “Since when did you get all jealous?”
“I’m not jealous. I’m just sick of this!”
“Sick of what?”
Jin narrowed his eyes as he stared at the wall absently, “I’m sick of you and your stupid mood swings. I don’t know whether you want me or you want me dead! And I’m stuck traveling around with you like this! One minute your teasing me and then you spend a few days ignoring me or treating me like I’m the rotten fruit spreading my disease to all the other fruit in the damn fridge!”
Lei walked out of the bathroom, “What’s all this fighting about, boys?”
“Fuck off, pig. Go keep Bae company at the pool, we’re talking,” Hwoarang ordered, calmer then usual.
Lei obeyed with a shrug and Jin looked down, avoiding Hwoarang’s eyes, “I can’t figure you out, and I’ve been trying ever since that potluck last year, but I haven’t been able to and I’m sick of it!”
“Well if it makes you feel any better,” Hwoarang sat down on the bed near Jin, “I can’t figure you out, either.”
“Can’t figure me out?” Jin asked, so frustrated he almost started laughing, “What the hell is there to figure out? You’re the one who pulled me into this whole man on man thing!”
Hwoarang frowned, “Don’t make it into something it’s not.”
“I couldn’t possibly do otherwise if I don’t know what it is!”
“It’s not that difficult to understand! We’re two rivals who have come together under difficult circumstances. That’s the bottom line, and if you want it to be different, make it different. I’m not building the situation all by myself here! You’re part of it too.”
Jin almost growled, “I don’t give a fuck about the situation! I’m not asking about the situation! I’m not asking you what I want! What I AM asking about are YOU, Hwoarang. You!” He paused to add emphasis, “Am I just an experiment? Am I just your rival?”
“What the hell do you care?”
The words made Jin laugh, and he looked directly at Hwoarang, “I don’t know, Hwoarang! Let me think about that,” He said sarcastically, picking up a bit of his rival’s attitude, “Do we honestly need to go in circles here? Will you just answer my question, Hwoarang?”
Hwoarang seemed slightly uneasy at the conversation, “Why should I? Just because you want me to?”
“I think you owe it to me.”
“I don’t owe you anything, Kazama. Get off it.”
Jin was beginning to enjoy their verbal argument. He had never seen Hwoarang squirm so bad before. “Fine. Do what you want. If you don’t care then I will take that as my answer.” He got up and headed to the door, “Fag.”
All of a sudden, before Jin touched the doorknob, he was slammed against the wall, a fist rushing toward his face. He didn’t flinch, and the fist landed in the wall, so close that he could feel a slight breeze in his hair. “What did you call me?” Hwoarang asked through his teeth.
“Fag,” Jin repeated, bravely, “What do you think I called you?”
Hwoarang grinned, finally seeing the Jin was trying to get him wound up and he let go of the young Japanese, “Why are you so bent up on how I feel about you?”
Jin raised an eyebrow, “Must you ask?”
“Yes. I’m just as confused as you are. Sure I pulled you in, but just because it’s my fault doesn’t mean I have a clearer view of how your mind works.” He sighed and sat back down on the bed, “Why, Jin?”
“Because… I think I love you.”
Hwoarang’s head shot up, and he stared Jin in the eye. Jin half expected the Korean to say it back, but instead, Hwoarang’s voice came out quiet but strong, “My heart’s a hunter, and love is a loser’s game. Merry Christmas, Kazama.” With that said, Hwoarang stood and left.
Jin remained against the wall, staring after Hwoarang in shock. He couldn’t move, paralysed with pain. The pain of his old wounds and the pain of Hwoarang’s words. “Loser’s game…” He mumbled, his eyes closing.
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