Chapter Six - Not Ready For Goodbye
One of the scientists accompanying Heihachi frowned. Heihachi knew he was being stubborn but cutting some of their health care but he hadn’t even considered caring. What kind of boss would he be if he were weak enough to show any sympathy whatsoever? They were just lucky he was allowing them to have dental care.
“Mishima, Heihachi…” The scientist said quietly, “The media is following you. It’s Christmas and all you’ve done was take things away from people. This isn’t going to look good to any of your clients.”
Heihachi considered that, “Very well. I’ll find a good deed to do. Miss Iwamura! What’s something I could do to make myself look good?”
A woman sitting up with the chauffer glanced back through her compact mirror at Heihachi, “Plastic surgery?”
“Very funny. No. I mean something I can do for other people to make me look like a noble generous man for the festive season.” Heihachi rolled his eyes. Why were all assistants so sarcastic?
“Is it really so hard to think of something yourself?” She asked, as she closed her compact, “Just look out your window at all the people in need of help. Look at all those street kids who have no one to spend any night of their lives with.”
Heihachi looked out the window, his eyes widening, “Well what do you know, a red-headed Korean passed out behind a bar on Christmas day. Well if this isn’t convenient, I don’t know what is! Are the media vans still behind us?”
“Good,” The old Japanese man smiled evilly, “Keep them a good distance away so they can’t hear what the boy says to me or I to him. He’s bound to refuse and spit some nasty words in my face, but I’ll talk him into it. Stop the Limo!”
The car stopped and Heihachi climbed out, slowly and gracefully, like any arrogant man would. He walked down the alleyway up to the unconscious Korean and almost kicked the Blood Talon awake until he remembered the media would see that. He leaned down and gently shook the young man. Not a movement resulted. Heihachi cursed under his breath and shook slightly harder.
“Huh-what-no,” Hwoarang mumbled, rolling over, still asleep.
Heihachi jabbed Hwoarang in the ribs, blocking the gesture from the Media with his body.
Hwoarang shot up to a sitting position and he scrambled backwards once he laid eyes on the man at his side. Mishima, Heihachi found this display of fear completely entertaining and slightly insulting. Perhaps it was only the young man’s hangover or maybe Hwoarang was high on something. He could only guess because he didn’t care enough to find out or even ask.
Heihachi smiled at the young man, “I have decided to do you a favour and take you in for Christmas.”
“Oh… While you’re out doing favours would you mind jumping off a plane with a parachute made out of bricks?” Hwoarang asked, smiling back.
“So much anger in your voice. What’s the matter? Lonely? Come. You can make friends at the party tonight.
Hwoarang’s lip curled in disgust, “I’d rather peel my skin off my face and dive into a tub full of lemon juice and iodine then make friends with the kind of people who would be at your party. Go away.”
“We have plenty of lemons and Iodine at the Estate, now you have no reason to refuse. Come.”
“I have plenty of reasons to refuse,” Hwoarang replied, “Firstly, I have plans on account of I’m going back to Korea tomorrow. Secondly, I have friends who are probably already waiting for me. Thirdly, I really hate you.”
Heihachi frowned, faking being hurt by those words, “Why hate me? I’m only trying to be nice.”
Hwoarang laughed, “You know I’m not dumb. I can see those cameras over there. I know exactly why you’re doing this you cheap bastard.”
The old man grinned and pulled a baggy halfway out of his pocket so that only Hwoarang could see, “I promise you shall be rewarded.”
The two of them walked back to the limo and got inside.
They arrived at the Mishima estate not 20 minutes later. Hwoarang had never seen it before and was amazed at the size of the place. This is where Jin lived? He thought, Wow. He knew Heihachi was watching his reaction, but he had yet to care. “So when do I get to leave?”
“Do not worry. Once I am finished using you, I will have you sent to Korea on a private plane. Anyone you came with may join you because I will not allow you to go get your stuff so you might as well have them bring it. If it happens that you have come to Japan alone, I will foot the money for new stuff.”
“Why can’t I leave to get my stuff?”
Heihachi smiles, “Because you would just try to get away and that wouldn’t look good to the media. Please behave at the party. The news will be there.”
“The news, huh?” Hwoarang said with a mischievous smirk.
“Mishima,” Heihachi’s assistant said as she looked back at the Korean, “Perhaps you should have taken in someone who didn’t know you enough to hate you.”
Heihachi shook his head, “No. If I don’t know them, I can’t bribe them, therefore they would be out of my control. Now if Hwoarang behaves he will get more then just a baggy of weed. If he doesn’t, this little baggy will be all he gets, and he will be banned from the tournaments.”
“Whatever. I’ll need to use a phone then and cancel my flight.”
“As you wish.”
The car stops and they get out. The woman opens the huge doors and everyone enters, Hwoarang trailing slowly behind. Inside, the building was busy with preparation. Decorations were being hung everywhere, people were wheeling food and empty dishes, and even furniture, left and right. Hwoarang almost tripped over a child dressed as an elf.
Heihachi watched Hwoarang and laughed at the clumsy Korean, “Miss Iwamura will take you to your room. The only room we have suited for a young man would be Jin’s old room. There should be some proper clothes in there since you can’t wear those rags to a formal party.”
Hwoarang nodded silently, feeling to awkward to speak in such a place. He felt like his standing there was a crime. The woman led him up the stairs and into a huge room.
The walls were covered in books and the floor was dressed with an elegant Persian rug. The bed was huge with a black canopy that was surprisingly masculine. An empty desk stood in the corner next to a red oak armoire. Miss Iwamura walked past the awestruck Blood Talon and opened the Armoire revealing a collection of formal wear.
“One of these are bound to fit you. There’s a phone in a desk drawer. On the phone is a button titled ‘RS’. Press that when you’re hungry and tell the people what you want. The kitchen is closed after 3 am and it opens again at 7. I will come back for you in two hours. You may explore the Estate or wait here if you like. Oh and through that door is a TV room with a large collection of DVDs if you get bored. Nobody uses that room so you won’t likely be disturbed unless you’re needed for something.”
Hwoarang nodded, still unable to speak and the woman left. He had trouble believing that Jin had lived in that room without becoming a complete snob. How was he able to stay anywhere else after being in such a room for about 4 years? He walked over to the Armoire and considered what he would wear. None of it seemed like his style, but he hadn’t expected any different. He settled for a navy blue suit and black shirt, and completely ignored the tie rack.
He frowned into the mirror and took off the blazer. What would he tell Bae? That he allowed Heihachi to bribe him with a baggy of weed which he probably wouldn’t even get? What would he tell Jin? That he was wearing his clothes and attending a party to make Heihachi look good? He sighed and opened the drawer of the empty desk. The phone was a reddish brown, matching the room perfectly. He picked up the receiver and dialled Bae’s cell phone number.
After one and a half rings there was an answer, “Yeah?”
There was a pause, “Hwoarang, where are you? We looked everywhere!”
“Sorry honey, but I got picked up by an old man who has decided to use me… How’s Hiro?”
“He’s upset. Won’t admit anything’s wrong but,” Bae said quietly, “He’s not hiding it very well. Started drinking last night…”
Hwoarang frowned, regretting what he had said, “Let me talk to him.”
There’s a shuffle on the other line and quiet murmurs. A pause. More murmurs. Eventually Hwoarang hears someone take the receiver, “Hello Hwoarang.”
“So you’ve discovered the joy of alcohol?”
“You mean the joy of acting like an idiot and waking up with a horrible headache and hanging over the toilet spewing your guts out?”
Hwoarang considered that, “Yeah.” He grinned, “So how’s Bae treating you? Has he put out yet?”
“Where are you?”
Hwoarang took a deep breath, “I’m at the Mishima estate.”
“WHAT?” Jin sounded more surprised then angry, “What are you doing there? What on earth would make you go there? Did Heihachi somehow find out about what’s been going on? Are you… No… You wouldn’t be using a phone. What’s going on?”
Hwoarang played with the phone cord, “He found me when I was asleep in an alley somewhere and somehow convinced me to come with him.” He bit his lip, “I’m supposed to attend a Christmas party tonight and then he’s going to ship me off to Korea without letting me leave. I thought I should say goodbye.”
There was a silence on the other end. Hwoarang stayed silent himself, wanting to give Jin time to think about that.
Finally Jin spoke, “Hwoarang… Did you mean what you said? I know this isn’t the time to ask this but before we say goodbye I’d like to know the truth.”
“What makes you think I’d lie?”
A pause, “… Hope.”
“Sometimes I wonder if I have a heart at all,” Hwoarang said, partly to himself, “My heart’s a hunter and love is a loser’s game… Lyrics from an American 80’s rock band,” He grinned, “I did mean it in a way. Love is a loser’s game, but we both know that if anyone’s a loser, it’s me. I guess that mean’s it’s my game and I’ll play it however I like.”
“Love isn’t a game.”
Hwoarang rolled his eyes, “Work with me here. If you want me to admit anything at all, you’re going to have to shut up.”
“Now. As I was saying, If I didn’t have feelings for you I wouldn’t have risked my life to save yours! You think I’d risk my life just to get laid? Nu uh! So Yeah… You can talk now.”
Hwoarang’s brow furrowed in confusion, “Say what?”
“Aw man! You can’t be serious! You’re as bad as a chick!” Hwoarang whined, attempting to start and argument in order to avoid, “Quit being such a girl!”
There’s a pause again, “No. I’ll be a girl all I want. Maybe if you hadn’t dressed me up like one I wouldn’t be acting like this. Say it.”
“I’m in your room.”
“Hwoarang… Say it.”
Hwoarang glanced around, “No wonder you’re such a bitch. Look at this place! Shit man.”
He heard Jin laughing, “Have you seen my old bathroom?”
“You had your own bathroom?”
“Yes. There’s a door between two bookshelves. That’s the bathroom. There’s a window in there that I used to sneak out of just about every night.”
Hwoarang went to the door and opened it. He stepped back in shock at the Mountain ash hardwood floor and the marble counters. A white whirlpool tub sat in the centre of the large room, which immediately caught the Korean’s attention.
He walked over to the window and had to climb onto the expensive looking toilet in order to look out it. It looked out over a huge thorn bush and a bunch of trees, “I… how’d you sneak out of here? It looks painfully difficult. Hell it looks painful.”
“I made a kind of a safe place to land when I was doing yard work one day. You can’t see it from there but there’s a whole patch without any branches or thorns. It’s basically just leaves. It’s right under the drainpipe. So how’d you like the bathroom?”
Hwoarang looked back at the tub, “That thing is huge! It looks like it can fit –”
The Korean paused, taking in the tone of Jin’s voice when he said that, “Hiro… Are you flirting with me?”
“Perhaps I’m merely trying to loosen you up so you’ll say it.”
He stepped back into the bedroom, looking at the bed, “I’m wearing your clothes.”
“You wearing a tie?”
Hwoarang shook his head, bewildered at Jin’s sudden playful attitude. This was the man he was supposed to loathe? This was the man he wanted to beat into oblivion? Yes. But Jin was also his secret. “I got to go. I’ve got an hour and a half left before that Iwamura bitch comes to get me.”
The tone in Jin’s voice changed, “You won’t say it?”
“Very well,” Jin’s playfulness was gone. He sounded more formal then anything, “Goodbye.”
Hwoarang grinned, “Bye Jin. Love ya man,” and hung up.
He walks back into the bathroom and gelled his hair back a bit in order to not look too horrid in the suit. He glanced once more at the tub before going back into the room and ordering some food.
An hour later Hwoarang was lying on Jin’s bed, wearing a tie, going through books he found on the red oak nightstand. A lot of them were about Native American legends and folklore. Others were about politics and Family. There was one particular book that caught Hwoarang’s eye. It wasn’t a book at all. It was a comic book hidden inside a political text. The hulk. ‘So Jin is a closet comic book fan,’ Hwoarang grinned, ‘nerd.’
A sound came from the bathroom. He got to his feet and opened the bathroom door. Jin, halfway in the window, was startled by the noise and stumbled the rest of the way in. Hwoarang crossed his arms and looked down at the fallen Japanese man, “Wow. They’re right. You are graceful.”
Jin got to his feet and dusted himself off, “Why’d you shut the window?”
“I wasn’t expecting company.”
“It gets stuffy in here when the window’s closed. You should have kept it open.”
Hwoarang raised an eyebrow, “You came here to lecture me and get us both killed or do you have additional reasoning?”
Jin frowned, “I’m not lecturing you.”
“I get lectured enough to know what lecturing is.”
“Maybe you get lectured so much because your range of things considered lectures is far too broad,” Jin stated quietly, walking past Hwoarang and into the bedroom. “Stop making a mountain out of a molehill.”
Hwoarang rolled his eyes, “I don’t give a fuck what you call what your doing. No matter what you name it, it’s still annoying. Now why the fuck are you here? What would possess you to do something so stupid?”
“You’d do the same.”
“Yeah but you’re supposed to be the one with common sense! I’m the idiot! Now why are you here?”
Jin looked Hwoarang in the eyes, “I wasn’t ready for it to be goodbye. Not over the phone. I know that this time when we say goodbye it’s the end. It’s all over. Next time we meet… We’ll be enemies again. We’ll have had to force ourselves to forget any of this ever happened and I didn’t want my goodbye to this to be over the phone. I guess,” He paused, “It’s just too impersonal.”
Hwoarang sighed and sat down on the bed. He stared down at his hands while he scrambled for words. What could he say to that? He wanted to be angry. He wanted to be able to yell and scream and fight. To be on familiar ground, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so. He shook his head, not knowing what to do.
Jin crawled on the bed and sat behind Hwoarang, having his legs on either side of the Korean. He whispered, “If this is goodbye I want to make it a good one,” and pressed his lips against Hwoarang’s neck.
The young Korean closed his eyes and took a deep breath, troubled by Jin’s ability to win arguments. Hwoarang turned around and eased Jin into a laying position. His eyes took in his rival’s body savouring the image for he did not know when he’d get the chance to do it again. He leaned down and stole a kiss just in time with the silent opening of the door.
The boys heard a gasp and looked up to see Heihachi standing there, staring at them. “GUARDS!!!!” The old man screamed before passing out.
Hwoarang and Jin looked at each other and sprang to their feet, going immediately into fighting stances. Mishima’s troops started filing in fully armed. The boys were able to unarm a few of them with simple kicks but they had to keep moving to stay out of range.
Shots were fired only at Hwoarang for Jin had to be alive for Heihachi to use him. The Korean was surrounded. 3 of the troops leaped on him, bringing him painfully against the corner of the desk. One troop twisted his arm behind his back and forcefully pushed him to the floor. Hwoarang breathed in through his teeth, his eyes closed. He blindly swung with his free hand and grabbed a hold of a man’s face. Opening his eyes, he saw a big-eared Japanese man in his grip. He grabbed the man’s nose and threatened to break it by twisting it sharply but not enough.
The man shrieked with pain and other troops ran to him, trying to pull Hwoarang’s hand away, but he was too stubborn. He took their nasty looks as a challenge and he twisted the man’s nose completely, not even flinching at the sickening noise it made. The man fainted.
Hwoarang grabbed at someone else but groaned when his arm was jerked sharply. The troops standing around him started kicking and stomping him as if he were an inanimate object on fire. He shielded his face with his free hand, and held his breath, attempting to refrain from screaming. Then… Darkness.
Jin sat at the table in front of the window as he watched Bae pack Hwoarang’s bag. He hoped Hwoarang would wake up so he could say goodbye… again. His eyes drifted to the lean Korean sprawled out on the bed, face full of cuts and bruises. Bae fixed Hwoarang up so Jin had no idea what kind of damage there was below the neck.
The Korean woke, wincing as he moved to sit up. His eyes were half closed, weighed down by pain and exhaustion. Jin watched him, wondering if he should help the man up or just let him be. “Good evening.”
Hwoarang glanced at Jin without moving his head, “What time is it? How long have I been out?”
“Not long. It’s 11. You’ve been out for only about 5 hours. I expected longer with what happened to you… You should sleep more,” Jin frowned.
Hwoarang shook his head, “You’re leaving, aren’t you?”
“I have to get back to my apartment so I can pay my rent first thing in the morning. Otherwise I’ll lose the place and be homeless for a month.”
Hwoarang stretched, only wincing slightly, “Is it safe to go back there?”
“The only one I have to worry about now is Heihachi and there’s no way he’d know where I live because my lease is signed under a different name.”
“When are you leaving?”
Bae rolled his eyes and walked out the door, “I’ll be back in three hours.”
Jin stood up and sat on the foot of Hwoarang’s bed, “I’m leaving now. I was just waiting to get my chance to say goodbye.”
“We’ve got three hours.”
Jin sighed, “Hwoarang. You’re obviously in a lot of pain. I’ll only hurt you more.
Hwoarang pouted, “Oh now your common sense comes into play! Shut the fuck up and bend over, bitch.”
“No,” Jin sighed, “Our break from rivalry shouldn’t end with me hurting you. That’s just not right,” He paused, “Besides, you really need your sleep.”
“I said bend over.”
“… Or what?” Jin said, feeling brave.
Hwoarang smirked, “Or I’ll make you, which will only hurt me more. Nothing you can say will stop me.” He started to get to his feet in order to prove that he wasn’t bluffing.
The corner of Jin’s mouth quirked into a bit of a smirk of his own, “Alright. Lay down.”
“I said bend over.”
“No. If this is the goodbye you want, we play by my rules not yours, Doo San. Lay down.”
Hwoarang attempted to stare Jin down, but sighed and laid down, submitting himself to Jin. Giving up control was hard, but perhaps it would be worth it. Jin straddled his supposed rival gently; shifting his weight in such away that Hwoarang went without pain.
The young Japanese removed his own shirt, his muscles flexing as he did so. His companion’s shirt was next to go. He suddenly stopped, seeing the horrible bruises littering the Korean’s slender frame. “Dear god,” He breathed.
Hwoarang glanced down at his own body, sadly, “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what?”
Hwoarang gently pushed Jin off him, grabbed his coat off a chair and walked out the door, “Bye.”
Jin stared at the door, bewildered. “Why does it always have to end like this?” He asked himself aloud, “Merry Christmas, me. This is bullshit!”
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