Author's Notes: I'd like to thank the Dictionary of British Slang and the Sake Scale webpage for helping me to make this chapter. :)
The Chronicles of Obsession: Innocence
Chapter 4 - Improvising
“Oi! Oi!” (Hey! Hey!)the cab driver said, trying to wake up his passenger. Hwoarang slowly drifted his eyes slightly open, seeing nothing but a blur.
“OIII!” (HEY!!)the driver exclaimed. Hwoarang suddenly snapped back to the real world and his eyes flipped open completely. He had just realized he fell asleep. He pulled himself forward and slightly stretched by straighten his back.
“Ohayougozaimasu.” (Morning.)The driver commented with a smile. The Korean shook his head from any sleepiness that still remained in his body as he yawned. He looked outside trying to get his bearings, just in the knick of time to see the registration hall. He nearly jumped at the window as he watched it passed by.
“K-koko! Koko ni!” (Here! Right here!)the red head stammered as grabbed his heavy, green bag. The driver swerved towards the sidewalk, bring them to a sudden a halt that nearly forced them forward. The driver glanced at the meter and turned his body around to face his customer.
“Go-sen-en desu.” (That's 5,000 yen.)The driver read from the meter once more. Hwoarang reached into his pocket, fumbling around for some yen. He pulled out a set of six 10,000 yen bank notes and tossed in the tray, he supposed the driver deserved a 10,000-en tip. He opened the taxi door and rose out of the cab, flinging his bag over his shoulder as if it was as light as a pillow. The Korean walked over to the Mishima Grand Hall, keeping his eyes on the sidewalk.
As Hwoarang approached the set of stairs that led to double doors of the registration hall, he heard fast paced footsteps coming his way. Before Hwoarang could even look up, a tanned blond dressed in Hawaiian shirt and crimson red pants with jumpers hanging at his side runs into the Korean, knocking him to the floor. Hwoarang landed on his back, letting out a growl as his bones smashed his skin against the hard concrete sidewalk. The Korean grabbed the back of his head, feeling a slight aftershock from his skull hitting the ground. He opened his eyes only to have his vision blocked from seeing the sky as his army bag came flying down setting a crash course for his face.
“SHIIIIIIT!!” he screamed as the bag soared towards him. The blond man clenched his eyes shut, hearing a huge thud colliding with the human body. He opened an eye, watching the Korean groan as he struggled to throw the bag off himself.
“Aw, bloody hell. I’m sorry, mate!” the British said as he stepped over the Korean, tossing the bag off to the side. The blond held out his hand to Hwoarang. The red head sighed at the extended and grabbed the blond’s forearm. The British man hoisted Hwoarang up in no time.
“Blimey! You’re a light one!” he said in reference to Hwoarang’s weight. The Korean frowned at the Brit’s comment as he brushed himself off. The blond laughed at the Korean’s action and smiled.
“Aww, don’t get all mardy, mate!” he said as he gave Hwoarang a good whack on the shoulder. Hwoarang stared at the odd man as he lifted his bag on the floor.
“I wasn’t being… mardy.” The Korean retorted. The Brit chuckled at the Asian’s attempt to speak British slang and gave him another smacking pat on his back.
“That’s gradeley!” he exclaimed happily, “Are ya here for the pagga?” he asked with a dorky smile. Hwoarang looked at him dumbfounded.
“Pagga?” he said confused with his eyebrows arched down.
“The tournament!” the blond said with a laugh. Hwoarang wasn’t sure if wanted to tell the truth with this guy for fear of what words and actions might come as a result of it.
“Yeaaah…” Hwoarang finally said hesitatingly.
“That’s great, mate!” the Brit shouted as his arm gripped over the Korean’s shoulders, pulling him closer. This guy was way too touchy for Hwoarang. “I’m game too! Name’s Steve! Steve Fox.” Hwoarang pushed off the British’s arm and kept distance enough from him so that he wouldn’t be able to grab him again.
“I’m Hwoarang.” Steve stared at him with an arched eye.
“Ho what?” the Brit asked with bewilderment. Hwoarang’s right eye twitched at the sound of “Ho” and let out a sigh to keep himself cool down.
“HWOA-RANG.” The Korean stated with every annunciation he could put into it. The baffled look didn’t even fade on the blondie.
“Who-a-rung? Bah, screw it, I’m calling you Ho.” Hwoarang stiffed an irritated remark and just let out a hissing sigh instead. Hwoarang started walking up the flight of stairs with Steve tagging closely behind him.
“You know you can’t register, mate.” Hwoarang stopped dead in his tracks and looked over his shoulder at the foreigner. Steve seeped in air through his teeth as he continued, “The buggers decided to delay the tournament for two bloody months. A bloke can’t even register until a week within the pagga.” The twitch in Hwoarang’s right eye returned again.
“You’ve gotta be joking.” The Brit shook his head and sighed at the poor man’s denial.
“Check for yourself, mate.” The Korean rushed up the stairs and saw the note posted on the dark, double doors. Hwoarang hovered over the paper as he read it. The Korean slammed his fist into the wood carved door, creating an indent.
“DAMN IT!” He said in an outrage. Hwoarang hunched over the note with his fingernails digging into the cracks of the wood. Steve came up behind him and hung his arm around the Korean’s shoulders once again.
“I say we get pissed,” Steve said exhaling a bit of air. Hwoarang didn’t have to think about the meaning behind that one since he was thinking the same thing.
“Let’s,” Hwoarang replied sadly, “Let’s get pissed ass, drunk.”
Steve tossed his head as he chugged away at the glass bottle while Hwoarang gaped with his jaw dropping to the floor. The Brit slammed his drink down when he was finished.
“That was fuckin’ 14.5% alcohol!” Hwoarang exclaimed. Steve squealed out a laughed as he polluted the air with his sake stench breath.
“Yeah, that was great!” the blondie replied, not even thinking about it, “Hey, bartender! Can ya get me another one of these?” he said waving the bottle around for more indication. Hwoarang snatched the bottle from Steve’s hand, fearing the alcohol would kick in at any moment.
“You idiot, that was the equivalent of four beers in 20 seconds!” he stated as he glanced over the bottle’s label for information. Steve stiffed a laughed as he rested his elbows on the counter.
“Oh, come on, don’t be such a wuss. You couldn’t even taste the alcohol!” he retorted, “Hey bartender!” he cried trying to get the guy’s attention while Hwoarang read the contents on the sake bottle.
“Well, when it’s –30 on the goddamn sake scale, of course you’re not gonna be able to taste it!” Hwoarang shouted at the blondie, placing the empty bottle on the counter. Steve started snorting laughs as he lied his head down, trying to focus while the sake started the effects on him.
“Ha, he, uh, what’s a sake scale?” he spoke with as much concentration he could use.
“It’s the scale sake’s graded on. The higher the positive number the more dry it is while a more negative number is sweet. Most sakes are around –3 to 10 and you had a –30. That sake is the sweetest you can get!” the Korean yelled. Steve was still resting his head on the table, fiddling with the bottle in his hand.
“Wow. This stuff is good. I like this, I like this… jobbie,” he said clutching the bottle in his hand, “I like this type of alcohol... What’s it called again?” Hwoarang sighed as he closed eyes.
“Sake.” The red head stated. The blondie snorted a laugh as his head plopped on the counter.
“Oh, right,” he said as he laughed some more, his voice echoing off the counter. “Oh, wait!” he exclaimed as he lifted his head up, “I wanted some more this stuff,” he said, looking at the bottle in his hand.
“Oh, no, you’re not gonna have any more of that,” Hwoarang declared as he stole his bottle away.
“NO! My bottle! Waaahh!” Steve cried reaching for the bottle that Hwoarang kept out of his reach.
“Its empty, you idiot!” He barked at the Brit. The Korean thought fast, trying to figure out a way to deal with this drunk. Hwoarang glanced at his own, personal sake and smiled. He placed in front of Steve, “Here, drink this. It’s Kira. You won’t be able to chug this one down.” Steve whisked the bottle into his hands and threw his head back as he began to chug. Two seconds went by right as the blondie sprayed the alcohol all over the counter. Hwoarang grinned to himself as he placed his elbows on the counter, resting his head in his hands.
“What the bloody hell is this?!” Steve said with shock, glaring at the evil sake. The coil smile remained on Hwoarang’s face as he spoke.
“Sake, only its +15 on the scale, extremely dry with a lot of acidity.” Hwoarang quoted like a scholar. Steve groaned at the sake bottle before him and began to pout. The Brit skimmed around the room, trying to figure out where the bathroom was.
“Hey, Ho, where’s the john?” Steve asked still looking around. Hwoarang glared at him for using that word.
“DON’T CALL ME THAT.” He said stated explicitly.
“Aye, sure, whatever you want Ho, just tell me where the bloody john is!” Steve cried desperately. Twitch. Hwoarang was going to have to call his right eye that.
“To.. your.. right.. all.. the.. way.. in.. the.. back.” He said trying to control his breath with every word he spoke. With those last finished words, Steve twirled around in his seat and jumped to feet. He reached into his pocket, pulling out a cell phone and placed it on the counter.
“Keep an eye on this for me, eh?” He said as he ran off to the bathroom, not without a few trips and stumbles of course. Hwoarang watched the drunk scurry off into the hallway and glanced back at the phone. Another coy smile smirked across his lips as he picked it and held it in his hand while he opened his bag. He tossed the phone in with his clothes and zipped the bag up.
“Like he’s gonna remember that he gave me the phone.” He said as he pulled his sake bottle into his hand, taking a sip. Well, Hwoarang came across the impossible. He found someone more annoying Ling. I should introduce her to him, he thought to himself with a grin. Hwoarang debated on whether or not if he should leave. However, he didn’t like the thought of bouncing and then come across the person again. The guy after all, was going to be in the tournament as well. As the Korean pondered, Steve came slowly back to the counter.
“I feel a lot better.” The Brit commented. The red head snapped out of his thoughts, pulling himself back in the conversation as if he was plotting nothing.
“That’s usually what happens when you throw up.” Hwoarang said as he took another sip of his chilled sake. The blondie turned his back to the counter and hoisted his elbows on the counter top for support, stretching his legs out.
“Hey, how long have you lived been here?” Steve asked with curiosity. Hwoarang pulled out his right wrist and looked at his watch, doing the math in his head.
“2 hours and 13 minutes.” Hwoarang quoted exactly. The Brit looked at Hwoarang with an arched eye.
“Don’t wind-up with me, bloke.” Steve demanded. For some reason, Hwoarang started to catch on to the Brit’s strange language.
“I’m not lying.” He replied, softly sipping his sake.
“Then where ya from?” he asked, turning to face the red head.
“Korea. I lived here for 13 years though.” He said pushing his sake aside as he rested on his right arm.
“Shit, I thought you were born and raised here with all that bloody talk about scales.” He said with a laugh. At that moment, Steve heard some other girls laughing from a table nearby. He was able to spot them when they started up their giggling again. He noticed that they staring and pointing at Hwoarang, even blushing now and then. The blondie nudged the Korean’s leg.
“Hey, those girls over there are getting off you.” He whispered, leaning to the side of Hwoarang’s shoulder. The Korean took a glimpse over at the table with the giggling girls. Shit, I should have left, he thought to himself. If its one thing Hwoarang couldn’t stand, it was a herd of Ling Xiaoyus.
“I’m not interested in those type of girls.” Hwoarang stated as he lightly shut his eyes. Steve browsed across the room, looking for a pretty target.
“Are there any birds that you fancy here?” Hwoarang didn’t even look up to see if there was anyone who caught his eye.
“Nah, I don’t go for outer species.” He replied with a smirk. Steve glared jokingly at Hwoarang and smacked him across the back of the head. The Korean laughed, breathing in some air, “How about you?” Steve glanced from table to table, spying any girl that may have potential.
“Narr. Not a damn one... Good thing I get off with birds and blokes.” He said elbowing Hwoarang with a snicker.
“Sounds like a good idea. More fish in the sea I always say.” The Korean said with a shrug. Steve scraped his feet against the floor, pulling his legs underneath as he peered at Hwoarang.
“Angon there, mate. You’re not scared of a “poof” ?” Hwoarang shifted more of his weight to his other arm as he leaned more on his left leg.
“No,” he glanced over at Steve and budged his foot with a tap of his combat boots, “So, did it increase your chances, any guys here that catch your eye?” I can probably lose him if he hooks with someone tonight, Hwoarang schemed. The Brit scouted once again, seeing if any guys grasped his attention.
“Aside from you, there’s no one interesting,” he said with a hint of a flirt. Oh, shit, Hwoarang said in his mind, he knew what was coming. “How about you? Do you swing that way? Or do you only bat on one side?” Steve asked, leaning closer to the Korean.
“I’m taken if that’s what you’re asking.” Hwoarang quickly replied. The Brit inhaled a hiss between his teeth.
“Well, that’s some hard-shit, mate,” he said, inching closer to Hwoarang, “Here I was thinking we could shack up for a night.” He said with his breath lightly floating on the Korean shoulder.
“Yeah, I don’t she would be happy with me about that.” Hwoarang said, not flinching at the blondie’s advances. He better get the idea, Hwoarang murmured in his thoughts. Steve stared relentlessly at the Korean’s bronze, silky skin that curved around his well-toned arms, waiting for him to cringe or show any action of abhorrence. Hwoarang could feel Steve eyeing his body and turned his head, facing him directly.
“What?” Hwoarang asked sternly, staring in his eye. A huge smile swept across Steve’s face as he started to burst out laughing and he gave Hwoarang another slap on the back, sending Hwoarang hunched over in his seat. The Brit collapsed back against the counter still chuckling.
“Blimey, I thought you were winding-up. You’re probably the only bloke who isn’t homophobic.” He commented as he grabbed the sake bottle, taking a sip.
“You were testing me.” Hwoarang said with sudden realization, looking up at Steve. Steve coughed as he pulled the bottle away from his alcohol-drenched lips, gagging on the dry taste of Kira.
“Many blokes cant about being open-minded,” he said, still choking on the sake, “but in reality their idea of being open-minded is keeping their backs to the wall. They think we’re animals or something, that we’ve gotta take it up their ass.” He explained as he glared at the sake bottle he held in his hand, wondering if it’s safe to take another drink. Hwoarang’s eyes shift to the floor as he thought about it.
“It makes sense… Its human nature to fear what they don’t understand.” The red head remarked.
“Still the same fuckin’ faggot.” A harsh voice retorted to the Korean. Steve and Hwoarang both looked up to see a gray haired man dressed in navy pants and a light emerald colored open shirt with a tattoo curled on the left side of his neck. The Korean frowned at the sight of the troublemaker.
“Bryan, you’re still kicking I see.” Hwoarang commented. Steve glanced back and forth between the two, confused.
“You know this bloke, Ho?” The Brit asked, glaring at Bryan. Hwoarang sighed deeply, he knew Bryan was going to tormenting him about that nickname
“Unfortunately.” The Korean replied back, preparing himself for the coarse man’s words.
“Ho?” Bryan said with a laugh, “Well, its about time people start calling you for what you are, HO.” Hwoarang closed his eyes and paid no attention to Bryan’s comments. The Korean reached for the sake in Steve’s hand and pulled it into his grip, taking a huge sip. Bryan started cackling at the boy’s silence and proceeded to taunt him, “Aww, what’s the matter, HO? You miss Jin? Are you still jerking off thinking of that Kazama boy, HO?” Bryan said with a menacing grin.
“Not as much as Lei Wulong does thinking of you.” The Korean retorted with a smile, narrowing his eyes at Bryan. The smirk fell from the bully’s face as he began to scowl at Hwoarang with raging eyes. In a swift movement, Bryan clenched his fist and raised his hand for a hard blow to the Korean’s stomach. Hwoarang saw it coming and did a duck n roll off his chair, grabbing his bag just as Bryan’s blow smashed into the counter. The Korean had rolled forward and slid his right leg braced himself to a stop. Steve jumped out of the savage’s way as the counter shattered like a glass window, sending chucks of wood and splinters flying in the air. Hwoarang watched as the debris cleared the room as Bryan glared over his shoulder. People rushed for the door while others watched in fear.
“FUCK YOU, you piece of shit.” The cyborg roared at Hwoarang. The Korean tossed his army bag over his shoulder while placing his other hand on his wait.
“No thanks, I don’t do assholes.” Hwoarang rebutted. Bryan’s eyes shifted to the floor as he his lips curled a sneer.
“Get the fuck outta here, you queer.” Bryan bellowed, standing over the crushed counter.
“I plan to,” the Korean said, turning his back to the beast and walking away. Bryan glanced up at Hwoarang one more time and a grimace swept across his face.
“Oh, Ho, if you happen to see your mother, tell her she did a good job naming her kid after herself.” The man blurted out. Hwoarang halted to a stop and peered over his shoulder with eyes of fury. The Korean whipped around to face the monster as he threw his bag. The red head clenched his fist, digging his fingernails into his skin. The tightened grip in his hand flexed his muscles, giving him broader built.
“You wanna say that again, you little fucker?” Hwoarang asserted loudly with anger ripped in his tones. Bryan returned the glare as he moved to face him.
“Looks like we gotta another mama’s boy, another pathetic case like Jin.” The man snorted in reply. The Korean’s eyes began to steam with fire and his body torn into a fighting stance. Hwoarang wasn’t angry that Bryan compared him to Jin, he didn’t care about that. It wasn’t just about Hwoarang’s mother, but about Jin too. True, he hated the guy, but he knew about his mother Jun Kazama. Hwoarang was told she was a spirited woman who loved with all her heart, which reminded him of his own mother. He also knew how much Jin loved her and continued to carry out her beliefs. That was the one thing that kept Hwoarang from completely hating Jin. The truth was he respected Jin for his constant love of his mother and for doing everything in her honor. Hwoarang respected Jun Kazama, and that aspect of Jin. He respected his own mother, Baek, Ling, hell, even his drill sergeant. And if anyone, anyone, insulted or hurt the people he respected in anyway, they would pay with their blood.
“You’re a dip shit who never knew when to close his fucking trap!” Hwoarang growled, raising his clenched fists and slightly sliding his legs in opposite direction. In a moment’s second, Hwoarang leaned over his left leg and sprung from all the strength he gathered, lunging at Bryan. Steve watched Hwoarang loose his cool and saw him racing for Bryan.
“Shit!” The Brit exclaimed as he did a run jump off the barstool, doing a leapfrog over Bryan and rushing at Hwoarang. The Korean desisted in his steps when Steve met up with him and grabbed both of his fists. Hwoarang stared angrily at the blond, trying to break his hands from of his grip.
“Get the fuck out of my, Steve!” Hwoarang roared. The Brit’s hands gripped even tighter as the Korean tried to shake himself free.
“Don’t be a fuckin’ div! There’s innocent people here and this is beneath you!” Steve said, trying to convince Hwoarang.
“Beneath him? That fuckin’ faggot lives on his hands and knees, there’s no such thing as beneath him! Figuratively and literally!” the cold hearted man taunted with a laugh. Hwoarang scowled at Bryan, growing more anger with every passing second. The Korean yanked his hands to his lower right, pulling Steve along with him. The Korean hunched over, pulling the blond behind him as he raised his right leg and flipped it around in a 360 circle. Hwoarang delivered a blow into Steve’s back, driving his heel into his spine and broke his hands free. Steve collided to ground, his face scraping against the floor from the strong shock that was deliver from the kick. The Brit wasted not time and rolled over, springing himself back up just in time to grab Hwoarang around the waist.
“Let me go!” Hwoarang screamed as he glared at Bryan who just stood there, taunting and laughing at him. Steve hung on for dear life and took brutal hits to the face from Hwoarang’s elbows.
“You’re gonna get yourself in trouble with the pigs! He’s not worth it!” the blond said, trying to convince the fiery red head. It was to no avail, Hwoarang continued fight, “DAMN IT, HWOARANG!! Get a hold of yourself!” The Brit cried. The Korean paused for a moment at the sound of his name, but still remained growling. Steve took the opportunity and continued, “Would you want your mum to see you like this? Even if it was for her sake?” Hwoarang’s eyes grew wide when those words pierced his heart…
“I hate that man! I HATE HIM!” the lady screamed, holding her head in her hands.
“He was just trying help, mom… wasn’t he?” the boy said as he lightly touched her shoulder, trying to comfort her.
“Yes, but…” she stopped and glanced up at her son. He always had soothing, gentle touch. She laughed a little to herself as she took her child’s hand, “You are so much more forgiving than I am, Hwoarang.” She pulled her son into her loving arms and held him close to her heart. “How did I end with such a loving, caring son?” she asked herself. The mother took her son’s head into her soft hands as she shed tears of joy. “Promise me you’ll stay like that. Don’t lose that innocence, not for me or anyone.”
Hwoarang stood there liked a stunned, wounded animal, not knowing what to do. The blond slipped his hands from the Korean’s waist when he reached a calm state. Hwoarang closed his eyes, shutting the pain out from his mind and took a deep sigh. Steve placed a hand on the Korean’s shoulder, concerned about his state of being.
“You all right?” he asked. Hwoarang nodded quietly and turned around.
“I’ll be fine.” The Korean assured. Hwoarang walked passed the blond and reached for his bag, flinging it over his shoulder once again, “I’ll be hanging around the Shinto district if you want to stop by. I’ll catch ya later.” He added.
“Ta, love. Ta.” Steve said, waving a light goodbye. The Brit watched as Hwoarang drifted away like a lone wolf, keeping the pain hidden deep inside his soul.
“The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4”
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