Author's Notes: I am an angst whore. Read this one and weep, romance fans. I did warn you that this chapter would happen at some stage.
Chapter 11 - Crimson
It wasn’t raining tonight, but even so, it was unseasonably chilly and dry. But he was alright, since his body didn’t rely on heat energy to strive and survive. He was dressed for the old anyway, with the same clothes he had on earlier; the dark blue shirt and black slacks, only now with a silver tie and the long, thick trench coat over the top. With his arms folded over his chest, and his back resting against the slate walls of the outside opening of the hotel, he awaited her arrival…
After another quarter of an hour’s wait, finally, she appeared. Typical Nina, too. She had a pair of thick black leather pants on, beneath a dark purple, vinyl sleeveless halter net top, a pair of combat boots, and a woollen coat that hung lazily about the back of her calves. She’d made her face up, too. As she exited the hotel, she linked one arm under his, and tugged him gently away from the wall, not pausing in her stride. “I’m surprised you waited for me.”
He chuckled softly; his deep, breathy laugh sent shivers throughout her entire body…she blamed it on the cool air about them. “It would’ve been rude not to. Besides, I don’t mind a little good company every now and again.” He allowed himself to be dragged down the stairs, but caught up her pace as they got to the bottom. “So, where are we going?”
Her small hand remained tucked happily in the crook of his elbow, and in the cold, she found herself very comfortably nestled against his upper arm. “Well, I don’t imagine you’ll mind sitting down by the river tonight, for a while. We have a lot to catch up on, and it’s peaceful down there. Besides the duck shit, maybe…”
Again, he chuckled. He’d noticed, over the last forty-eight hours, that his mood always improved around her, no matter how much they clashed in ideas every so often. It was that reason alone that he agreed to come out with her tonight, since he figured catching up was what she had in mind all along. It was good to keep in contact with ‘old friends’. He allowed her, again, to lead him around. This was his home town all the same, so he knew exactly where they were going.
It certainly was a pleasant night. They’d found a relatively deserted spot down on the rich, thick grass down by the waterfront. In front of them, only a few metres away, ran a wide, clear river through the middle of the city, led along between two walls of deep grey bricks; it was mid tide. To their right hung a heavy old bridge across the river; its archway, decorated with the same ragged, rectangular bricks, supported a broad main road, which, oddly for this time of the evening, was relatively empty. The other side of the city was a glittering haze of bright lights, reaching up, trying to touch the clear black sky, mimicking the city’s colourful twinkling in its mysterious black and white patterns of stars and constellations. It made a perfect moving photo before their eyes as they sat there on the ever so slightly damp grass.
They’d been talking for a while now, a few hours; and had only just brushed upon the topics at hand. For now, Nina had settled with moving him toward memories of the first tournament.
“And do you remember that time Paul got a little of his hair cut off by Yoshimitsu’s sword?” She could barely stop laughing as she spoke.
He too, was having difficulty with self-control; but he was trying not to laugh at all, which was sadly failing, and quickly. “How could I forget? I’ve never seen a grown man cry so passionately.”
She giggled and clung to his bicep a little more. It had been so very long since she’d enjoyed herself this much, particularly with a man. “I wish I had a camera at that moment. Good blackmail…”
“I’ll say. Almost as good as the time when your sister lost her bra in mid-fight…” He grinned at the memory, for some reason.
Oh yes, that was funny. “I’d never seen Marshal with a stiffy before, and funnily enough, I don’t think I want to again…” There was silence for a few seconds, until Nina remembered something. “Speaking of stiffies...”
Kazuya blushed slightly, and said nothing, only arched a brow. Oh, how he’d hoped she hadn’t remembered….
“…I remember a certain someone who enjoyed a certain battle with me a while back…”
Even in the darkness of the gloomily-illuminated parkland, the blush on his pale cheeks had grown definitely brighter. “You do?” I’ll bet she doesn’t, he thought to himself, then again, knowing my luck, she does…
She smirked. “Oh yes. I remember being tackled, doing nothing…then, since you didn’t throw any punches, I decided to just lie there…then I felt something against my stomach…”
Mildly humiliated, he tugged his arm away from her grasp, smiling bashfully. His head tilted down in embarrassment with the memory. “Now why would you remember a small detail like that…?”
She wasn’t going to let him off a good embarrassing moment like that; she reached over and pulled his arm back. “From what I remember, it wasn’t small at all…”
With that comment, he half-exploded with embarrassed laughter. Yes, embarrassed was the only word he could attach to himself at that point. “Anyway…”
After that, she decided to let him off. No point in making him want to walk off on her. “Hm.” A moment later, she swung around, and in one swift, graceful move, sat down again so she was straddling his thighs, facing him. “That’s a little more comfortable.”
He looked, at least in her eyes, a little startled at this sudden change of position. And it seemed Jin was right. His cheeks turned slightly pink again, and he leaned back on his hands. Typical shy reaction there. “That’s better.” A moment after, she rested her small hands against his neck, lightly, so as to avoid startling him again…and withdrew them at three times the speed they arrived.
Her reaction made him jump somewhat, and he looked up at her, perplexed. “Kazuya…your skin’s like ice.”
Smiling, he relaxed. “Oh, is that all. For a moment I thought you’d cut your arm off or something…”
Of course, she felt a little silly for leaping out of her skin like that. Bu frankly, it couldn’t be healthy for him to be that cold. “You should be dead if you’re that freezing…” She placed her hands on the centre of his chest, and after a couple of seconds, the coolness from his body seeped through his shirt and into the palms of her hands. Yes, he was definitely more and more like that Greek statue analogy she made of him earlier. Cold and perfect, icy in personality; perfectly chiselled, delicate in physiology. And physically, he might as well be made of stone. Cold, hard marble. So attractive, yet something beyond human. Somehow, that made him even more beautiful to her.
He rolled his raven eyes. “I am dead, remember?”
How could she forget? No wonder he wasn’t shivering. But she still felt that maternal instinct; to keep him warm and dry. In doing so, the blonde assassin pressed herself up against his icy chest, wrapping her soft, warm arms around his neck. “Well, dead or not, you don’t need to sit there while you ice over…time to thaw you out.”
As she hugged him, he just sat there, unmoving. He stayed in the exact same position as he’d been in earlier. After a few moments of absolutely no reaction, she glanced over at him suspiciously. What was he, gay? Sex goddess on his lap, and still he wasn’t warming up?
Of course, there was a perfectly good reason behind him sitting there, doing nothing. He saw nothing sexual in her advance, even though his mind wanted to. He told himself that she was simply trying to do him a favour, following her female instincts, and trying to give him some warmth. It was a pity she didn’t know it wouldn’t work. “You’re wasting your time…” His words were soft, though they in themselves were plain, cold and abrupt.
A small fleck of his dark, silky hair had become intertwined amongst the fingers of her right hand. “Don’t tell me you stay as cold as a statue all your life…”
He shook his head slightly, managing to get his hair even more caught up in her playful fingers. “No. I’m only cold when I’m hungry.”
A pale brown brow rose on her forehead. “Ah, Mr Mishima needs a drink…” A small smirk played on her full, shining lips. She shifted so her neck, when she dropped her head to the side, was mere inches from his lips. “Go on.”
For a moment, he lost himself, and let his nose drop towards the pale, smooth skin before him. He caught a whiff of strong yet elegant, definitely expensive perfume, the faint smell of talc, and a hint of the powdery makeup on her face…the smell of a dignified woman. It set his senses on fire as soon as it hit his nose, and for a moment, he was filled with desire. His lips lowered and brushed against her warm, soft neck.
Remembering himself, he paused. “Are you sure?” He hated, with a passion, the idea of hurting someone, but only if it was for his own benefit or pleasure. If they deserved it, he was, as everyone was well aware, very willing and capable of making them suffer, and suffer well.
Her fingers moved a little higher, her polished nails gently scratching lightly at his skin higher up in his thick hair. “Of course,” she purred in his ear in the sexiest, deepest, huskiest voice she could manage, “I wouldn’t have offered myself if I didn’t want you to…”
The soft whisper, the warm puffs of soft air against his ear, sent shivers through his entire being. However, he resisted the building desire inside, and simply kissed her neck again, his lips barely touching her flesh. He noticed the downy hairs on her neck standing up as he touched her, and felt a light tug on his own hair where her fingers had found themselves a playground. All at once, the temptation was too much for him. One arm looped gently around her waist, and the other reached up to hold her upper arm, barely touching her. His lips parted again, but this time his canines were exposed. He felt her arm tense under his hand as the unnaturally sharp teeth sunk into her flesh, but other than that, she offered no reaction at all. In fact, she seemed to relax in his grasp.
The guilt he’d grown accustomed to wasn’t as strong as it normally was; it was barely there at all tonight. Slowly, the hot liquid escaped her, and poured past his lips, down his throat, and deep within him. He withdrew his canines, and kept his lips in place, not spilling a drop. He knew from experience not to draw on her, because that caused more pain than it was worth. He simply sat there, holding her, letting it come. For several minutes they sat there in silence, the sound of Nina’s breath and the city in the distance all that offered any audible distraction. Within her grasp, she could slowly feel Kazuya’s neck warming, along with the powerful chest she was resting against. The last thing to be granted heat and life were his lips, which remained cold for almost all the time he held her there.
Eventually he pulled back, letting just a small trickle escape the two round holes on her neck. She turned slightly to watch him as he leaned down again to slowly and delicately lick each of the little crimson rivers with the pointed tip of his tongue. As he did so with each, he would pause when he reached the hole, and with the ability he’d gained in becoming this dark creature, he closed the wound to the point all evidence of it had gone. With his stomach full and Nina’s curiosity pacified, he nuzzled her shoulder softly with his nose and lips.
She snuggled up against his now warm body, silently basking in the delicious sensation of his face against her. She could feel his heartbeat through his chest now; it relaxed and soothed her. Her mind now a little foggy, she was perfectly happy to simply sit there in the safety of his powerful arms. “You’re very welcome, Kazuya. Any time.”
They’d sat there on the grass for another half an hour, practically in silence. Though both were reluctant to admit it, all they wanted was to remain in each other’s grasp, and found comfort in such close quarters.
And now they stood face to face in the hall of the hotel, between their respective rooms.
Nina was the first to break the silence. “Kazuya…” A cautious step forward, and she grasped his hands. They’re so refined, she thought to herself as she held them in her own, He’s a fighter, he’s so old, yet his hands are so…delicate. She’d expected them to be a little rougher perhaps, with thicker, clumsier digits so common in men where she came from.
He said nothing; instead, he looked straight back into her eyes questioningly. A few hazy seconds of nothing ensued; then, without warning, she closed her eyes, leaned up, and captured his lips in hers. At first he didn’t react, then slowly, but surely, he responded, letting her explore his mouth at her own will. His mouth still tasted of her blood, but she didn’t mind. It characterised him so much more accurately. As his eyes too fell closed, her tongue explored this new territory; the dangerous weapons themselves, as she reached for the roof of his mouth, then his tongue too, his teeth, then back to play with his tongue. As far as kisses with men were concerned, this was the softest, most delicate, most innocent kiss she’d ever experienced.
At first his mind was a whirlpool of pleasure, heightened desire, and the want for more. But of course, the sensation was familiar. Jun. Her face flashed through his mind, and he froze. Memories of her turning to look at him, smiling in that way oh so typical of Jun, her raven hair flowing like silk in the warm breeze, made his heart ache. And then he remembered his son. Their son. Jin. With a slight, ragged sigh, he pulled back, his closed eyes looking down at the invisible ground in shame.
“I’m sorry…” His words were almost breathless, and wrought with sadness.
Her bright azure eyes opened again to look up at him, and as he eventually looked up at her through lowered lids, she saw the pain evident in those ebony orbs. It was guilt. She understood.
He tried to explain, but his tongue fumbled with the words; his lips wouldn’t cooperate. He was torn. He was torn between the two; the saviour of his soul, his late guardian angel; and this dangerously sexy, gorgeous, and somewhat loyal assassin that had changed her desire for his blood into a want for him to take hers. He couldn’t explain it with more than one word.
She sighed, closing her eyes, and rested one hand on his cheek. “I understand, Kazuya.” That was all she could say to comfort him. “Good night.”
He’d heard the unmistakable sound of a kiss outside the door as he lay in his bed, willing himself to sleep. The paper-thin walls of a hotel were never good as far as privacy of conversation went, so he heard everything. A definite kiss after quiet conversation down the hall. The kiss seemed short-lived, however; it was his father’s apology that had broken it, so it would seem. He could almost feel the tension building on the other side of the door. Then he heard his name, and words from Nina in reply, as if to soothe the guilt he could tell his father was feeling. Hearing this, he rolled over to face away from the door, and fought back hot, stinging tears of loss. His mother flashed through his mind.
But Nina was not a woman he would grow to hate. He never knew his father as a boy, and he’d learned, especially now, of his love for his mother. And Jun was the sort of woman who would keep her love silent; it was obvious now how she felt about him. He also realised she’d want Kazuya to be happy, not to mourn her death seven years after her passing. He had to move on. Besides, he’d grown to like Nina a lot. She was not the fearsome, obnoxious woman he’d been led to believe. She was cool, actually. Of all people, he wouldn’t mind her spending time with his father.
The door creaked open as another one shut across the hall. He feigned sleep. The bed behind him, a few seconds later, creaked ever so slightly as weight was put upon it, and the sounds of rustling clothing followed. Light, crinkling fabric was easily recognisable; off came the shirt. The tinkling of a metal belt buckle followed, then a zipper’s familiar sound, and the crumpling of a pair of slacks on the ground. The whole time, Jin as convincingly asleep.
Then, there was no sound. After a few seconds, Jin realised there were sad eyes cast down upon him from behind him, watching him as he ‘slept’. Sad paternal eyes, feelings of guilt and loss apparent in the raven orbs Jin knew were watching him. What seemed like eternity ensued before the shuffling of covers began, then slowly silenced, followed by a click as the lamp between the two beds was turned off, and darkness filled the room once more.
It was so painfully obvious. A man’s heart could only be kept alone, without love, for so long. A man’s heart, also, is always loyal to the first true love it finds. A man’s heart, when thrown between the past loss and present offerings, would be torn under the pain and stress of the choice. Such a heart was always considered a pure one; no matter how much sin, deliberate or accidental, it would cause; that part of the heart was always pure in such a man. Kazuya was lonely, and it was Jin’s fault.
If he weren’t there, Nina and Kazuya would be together. But instead of mourning over the drama unfolding, Jin smiled.
He knew what he had to do; he had to make sure they succeeded.
Jun would have wanted it; she would understand. She was his guardian angel, after all.
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