Author's Notes: Lots of flashbacks, which mostly occur before the Iron Fist Tournament 3.

The Chronicles of Obsession: Innocence

Chapter 2 - Admiration

By Jiji Kero

Hwoarang peered outside of the planeís window, gazing at the glittering lights of Tokyo. The city seemed to drift on beyond the horizons of the dying of the sun, leaving an endless stream of lively, dancing lights. But the sights of the grand city did little to stir emotions in red haired, anxious man. All that occupied his mind was the rematch against his nemesis, Jin Kazama. He thought through and through, reliving his defeat from the last match, to engrave Jinís movements in his mind. He recalled other battles, conversations, anything that gave him a sense of his enemyís fighting spirit. He shook his head to clear his mind free of the drowning nuisances. He slipped his hand into his pants pocket, feeling around for a slick piece of paper. When he felt it in his grasp, he pulled it out and studied the photo.

It was a photograph of Ling, Jin, and himself before the tournament had started. It was shortly after school had gotten out; Ling and Jin were still wearing their school uniforms. Hwoarang had promised Ling that he would take her to the amusement park, in hopes she would stop complaining about Heihachi making her go school; something about Heihachi making a deal with Lingís parents that related to the tournament if he remembered correctly. Hwoarang went to the school to pick up Ling, not expecting to see Jin there. Of course, the two ended up arguing. Ling, meanwhile, ran around the field trying to find someone to take picture. Right when the two were in each otherís faces, the little shit had to pop up behind them with a big smile and clasped her arms around their necks. Hwoarang and Jin ended up face-pressed against each other, cheek to cheek, with Ling happily grinning above them as the flash from the camera went off. He laughed softly at the memory of himself spitting on his shirt, trying to wipe the feeling of Jin off his face.

He glanced at his faded reflection from the glass window as another notion overcame him. A smirk came across as he gave the idea more thought. He could picture his drill sergeant hunched over his bed, yelling so loud it would probably wake up the entire army, only to realize his was wasting his energy at a pillow hidden underneath the olive covers. He imagined swearing would reign the superiorís words for the next few hours. He made his sergeantís life hell, Hwoarang knew that and was slightly proud of it. All though the Korean did everything in his power to set off his superior, he actually liked the guy. He respected him for putting up with pathetic excuses of human beings and turning them into men. It was very rare for him to feel great admiration for someone. It was even more of a rare find for himself to feel secure with a person. And strangely enough, he felt secure with his drill sergeant as he was with his mother. He wasnít afraid to be himself and if there was something bothering him, he could ask him for some sort of guidance. He had on several occasions. On the outside, the two were like dogs snapping at each otherís throats, but on the inside, they were grown men who held each other in high esteem.

It reminded him of Ling. True, the runt tested his temper many times, but she could never push him so far as to hurt her physically or emotionally. Deep down, he admired her as a fighter and person. Her spirit was that of a raging lionís and her aura was like a calm, yet fierce river. She didnít reframe from saying her mind and she didnít take shit from anyone. Thatís probably why he grew so attached her and didnít make any objections when she claimed herself to be his little sister. He began to view his return to Japan as a fond memory rather than a vendetta. He looked forward to seeing Ling again and the times they will shareÖ and in his heart, he looked forward to seeing Jin again as well.

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