Author's Notes: Whee, another chapter of the vampire story! A bit of background coming in here, and maybe a slight bit of a precursor as to what’s coming next. A bit more vampire stuff, hopefully, now that all the Tekken is out of the way.
I’m going to try involving a few more Tekken characters too; characters I don’t always use...in some way or another.
Chapter 20 - Otousan
The hotel function hall was once again decked up and fancied-up enough to be fit for a king; today, it was for the King of Iron Fist. Like a week ago, it was packed with people dressed in their finest clothes, with buffet cocktail tables littered about the room, each lavished with golden and crisp white table cloths and excessive numbers of flower vases; even the massive chandeliers above the crowd had been tended to, with golden-hued spotlights reflecting their light upon the crystals, and down onto the people below.
Nina Williams, sitting contentedly on a chair by a table near the front of the room, was being interviewed by a local TV reporter. One long, creamy leg was propped up over the other, exposing itself from underneath the deep blue satin dress she was wearing. Jin, on the other side of the table, was chatting happily with Miharu rather than staring at the bared skin like he might have in the past. The spare seat at the table was obviously for the one who’d be giving him glares for doing so, after all, and no one knew when he was coming.
Looking rather depressed and disgruntled, Heihachi sat at a table up on the stage behind the lectern. His black tuxedo was obviously tailored just for him, and would have been extremely expensive...but from what the proceedings were about, it would soon become the most expensive thing he owned – if Kazuya let him keep it.
There were guest speakers every now and again for the next hour, between sessions of orchestral music played by a live band; the atmosphere was one of happiness and joy, yet at the same time, as formal as an occasion could get. The scene was making Jin thoroughly uncomfortable, since he wasn’t used to wearing so many clothes, such stiff clothes, and clothes that wanted to strangle him. He felt completely out of place. That, and his father didn’t seem to know that ‘fashionably late’ meant just a little late, not very late.
Finally, he decided to appear; the double doors at the back of the room opened, and claps and cheers erupted from the crowd as the tall Japanese man strode into the hall, in the same colours as everyone else for once. From a distance, Nina was unable to read the expression on his face. It seemed he had gone with the usual stoic, cold, emotionless look, but as he drew closer, she could almost feel the pride radiating from him. He’d defeated his father, that’s what was making him feel so good, she knew...not because he was now one of the richest men in the world.
A foray of cameramen and men and women armed with microphones surged forward and began harassing him with questions, but he didn’t even acknowledge their presence. Instead, he pushed past them and headed over to Nina, placing a quick kiss on her cheek. After doing so, he smiled softly at her.
“My, you’re in high spirits...I wasn’t expecting that.”
He smiled a little more. “I’d be happier if I hadn’t been held up for an hour fighting off television crews and the like...what did I miss?”
She leaned back coyly, resting one elbow on the table next to her, and at the same time, exposing her cleavage. “Oh, nothing but a whole pile of boring speakers...I think the only interesting speech is going to be yours.”
He glanced down at his watch. “Well...I don’t think you’ll have time to get bored with mine.”
“Good...I’ve heard enough speeches for one evening.”
Smiling again, he headed off toward the stage where Heihachi was seated, and, reluctantly, sat in the seat next to him. Another speaker stepped forward and began explaining the situation; what was to be handed over, the rules and requirements of the Japanese government in the decision, and various other boring regulations to a half-interested audience. The feeling of revolt began to rise in the back of Heihachi’s throat as the man droned on...he was going to lose everything to that wretched son of his. He’d maintained the Zaibatsu for so many years, and now, because of his mistake in luring Kazuya out, he was going to be forced to give it all away. He didn’t deserve this, did he?
Kazuya, on the other hand, was feeling violated by even being close to the old man...he felt dirty by being within that creature’s space, and had to resist the urge to go to the other side of the room. Admittedly, it would be one hell of a night to get through, what with all the legalities to get through; it wouldn’t be a short evening by any means.
Over the next half an hour, the scene became that of formal seriousness and filled to the brim with legal jargon. Document after document was signed by various persons, promises were made, and each of the Mishima men was required to speak. Heihachi’s grudging speech was almost depressing...he managed to make most of the audience feel guilty for supporting the Zaibatsu’s change of hands...for the time being. As Kazuya spoke, their minds, in most cases, were changed. Heihachi was a cruel, ruthless man, and while he maintained the company, it was in cold blood and, sometimes, with criminal intent.
More documents were signed after this, just when it seemed to be winding down. Jin glanced over at Nina in dismay, and she only reflected the same expression. Miharu stirred slightly on his lap as he sighed, but snuggled back up against his chest a moment later, falling back to sleep. If only I were so lucky, he thought to himself, watching her in peaceful slumber.
“Tell you what; I’ll be lucky if either of us will be awake by the time this is over. No luck for Nina tonight...” she whispered to Jin, smiling somewhat.
Jin pulled a face, but smirked. “You’re not meant to talk about that stuff with me!” He whispered in return, not particularly wanting to know about his dad’s love life.
“Aww phooey...you’re not fun!”
Again, things seemed to wind down, and by now, a small portion of the audience had already left. Kazuya glanced over to the man sitting next to him, who seemed to be trying to hold his dinner down, and making quite a job of it too. As he signed his name to the very last document, something caught his attention. Familiarity. It was something familiar. That was the annoyance of the curse; this sixth sense. He could never quite explain it; he knew there was a presence – it made him feel nostalgic, warm, safe, yet at the same time, on edge and very aware of his surroundings. It was someone ne knew, and from the way he was feeling...it was someone of his kind.
For the time being, he ignored that presence, and concentrated on the task at hand. The papers were taken from him, and a speaker began to close the ceremony. Heihachi beside him sighed loudly and sank even lower on his chair. Somehow, something deep inside Kazuya compelled him to feel just a little bit sorry for this creature...but the rest of him was too busy laughing. Finally, justice had been served; there was no room for sympathy.
Then, there was that feeling again. This time, his dark eyes snapped up toward the back wall...that someone was over there. Images of the volcano flashed before his eyes, forcing him to blink sharply and sit back in surprise. Thankfully, no one really noticed, from what he could see. The images remained; memories of falling, feeling his flesh burn, choking weakly in the haze. Then the feeling of a cool touch – a cold hand on his shoulder – frighteningly comforting, considering the volcano had been unbearably hot...
He knew who that someone was, now. No doubt he was here to lecture him too...but he’d have to leave it until later. Somehow, he lost interest in the occasion completely. Thankfully, it was ending, and people were leaving...as he stepped down to go home, the reporters charged at him again...but found getting through the crowd already around him quite difficult. After answering a few questions and managing to escape the few remaining fan-girls (oh how he hated their kind) he left the building, somehow managing to evade too much more unwanted attention.
Perhaps it was how well he blended into the night; as if he didn’t exist.
Surprisingly no one followed him; he made his way out into the cool night are alone, since Nina and Jin had already returned home. The reporters had finally got the message and left him to himself, and almost everyone else had gone home already as well.
The night’s proceedings had left his mind in somewhat of a turmoil. He’d defeated his father, finally, but he’d allowed him to live. He was now CEO of the Zaibatsu, but he didn’t particularly want it. He finally had people he cared about, yet still he felt alone. There was so much to think about, to consider, to do...it was a good thing he was happiest at night, and intended to spend the night awake, or he’d find himself at a loss as to how to force himself to sleep.
As he made his way casually through Tokyo’s city streets, he knew someone was there. Everywhere he went, each way he turned, he could sense that presence. It was like the lingering sensation of a touch against his back; trails from fingers still silently searing against his skin, as soft as snowfall. He couldn’t hear them at all, yet somehow he could hear their every breath, every beat of their heart.
He followed his instincts and headed down darker streets; the lack of street lights, other than the massive roadside lamps, ensured the atmosphere was one of a dark, dreary orange. The presence still lingered.
Finally, he stopped, still looking directly ahead. The presence came no closer, went no further.
“You’re just going to keep on following me, aren’t you?” His deep voice was so quiet it could barely be heard.
A masculine voice, nowhere near as deep as his own, replied. “If I have to...”
Kazuya turned around half way, and looked over his suited shoulder. Standing behind him was a rather lanky-looking man, barely an adult – if that at all. He was most definitely Japanese in origin, though he didn’t look anything like modern-day youths. His dark hair was long, and drawn back into a ponytail behind his head; there was almost something old-world about him.
Turning around, Kazuya sighed softly and folded his arms over his chest. “What is it you’re going to lecture me about this time?”
The youth headed into the shadows without any further words; Kazuya followed. As he too entered the darkened area, he saw him sitting on a brick ledge in front of an iron-barred window, sitting at ground level. “Kazuya-kun, I’m sure you know what I’m going to say...”
He sat down next to the smaller man, resting his arms over his knees. “About associating with mortals?”
Nodding, the youth shifted so he could rest his elbows against his legs. “When I found you, of course I had no idea what sort of a person you’d turn out to be – I’d never met you. Of course, I realised very quickly how...antisocial, you tend to be. I was actually happy at the idea; because it was highly likely you wouldn’t involve yourself with mortals.”
Kazuya frowned at the ground. “This is the twenty-first century, not the eighteenth. People aren’t as anti-undead as you would imagine any longer.”
“I know, but it’s best they don’t know. There are still slayers, still haters, still those who hide behind their prejudice like a shield, saving them from the unknown. They don’t understand, mortals...they assume.” A moment of silence hung over the two before the youth continued. “That young blonde woman I’ve seen you with...”
With the mention of a name, the younger man sighed again, hanging his head slightly. “Yes, if that’s her name; Nina. I feel sadness whenever I see you with her...you’re exposing yourself to her and her kind so much; it may be your end. I can tell she’s dangerous...”
“She’s an assassin.” Kazuya could already see where this was leading.
“All the more reason for me to be worried about you.” Kazuya could feel the dark eyes against him, silently pleading with him. “Please, Kazuya...don’t get too close, if you must continue to be close to her. If she finds out...”
“She already knows.”
After another uneasy silence, Kazuya felt cold hands against his cheeks. He looked up to see the youth staring down at him with troubled eyes. “Kazuya...” It seemed he’d found himself lost for words. “Kazuya, you’re like my son...I can’t stand seeing you in such danger...”
He reached up and wrapped one of his larger hands around a bony wrist, and gently pulled it away. “Eimin, you may be older and wiser than me, and you may have created me, so to speak...but you can never again understand how I feel...I’m still human.” The hands left his face, and Eimin silently fell to his knees in front of him. “I’m double-cursed; what took my humanity away to begin with now ensures I keep what little I have left. The demon spirit stops the curse of the undead from robbing me of it...”
Eimin knew it was true; but still, in the sense of the undead, Kazuya was his son. He’d saved him from certain death in that volcano, and delivered certain death in another way; rebirth into a new realm.
“I’ve also just won the most gruelling tournament the world has to offer...I’m more than capable of looking after myself. I’m not a child...” The look of defeat on the other man’s face made him feel almost guilty for doing something so seemingly harmless.
“Alright, Kazuya.” He sighed again, and reached up to wrap his arms around the larger man’s shoulders. “Just...don’t die, okay? You’re my first, you know? The first I’ve ever given this life to...you’re the most precious possession I have.”
Despite being called a possession, despite being hugged overly affectionately, despite this almost child-like treatment, Kazuya tolerated every moment of it, and responded with an arm around Eimin’s waist. “You’d be surprised...I have a knack for surviving the most treacherous of conditions and situations. Need I remind you of the fall I withstood as a child, or your rescue of me from the volcano? I took out the gang that had us as a bounty too, with the help of my son and Nina.” He ran the fingers of his free hand through Eimin’s hair once, then sat it back down on the ledge. The undead, after all, were affectionate toward each other – Kazuya was considered rather antisocial by them in general. “If a skinny little creature like you can survive two and a half centuries, I can survive twice that.”
The arms around him tightened for a moment, then released; he felt a soft kiss against his forehead. Eimin actually smiled as he stood. There was pride and love in those eyes, despite the inherent darkness of their kind mingling amongst the emotions. “Alright, I believe you. You are the King of Iron Fist, there’s little that can get in your way.”
Kazuya chuckled and stood as well. “You know Eimin...you’re much more of a father than that bastard Heihachi ever was. I think I might as well adopt you as my father...” The last comment was meant as a joke, but he was half-serious. Eimin had, after all, endlessly cared for him, taught him all he needed to know, and stayed eternally patient. Kazuya, after all, was also known for being stubborn. He still refused to harm a human and use them as sustenance meaninglessly, no matter how much he’d been almost forced to do otherwise.
Before they parted, Eimin gave him another tight hug. It was a situation in reverse; a teenager was father of a man who seemed to be almost thirty years old. Saying nothing further, Eimin disappeared off into the shadows, and Kazuya headed back toward the hotel. It would be their last night here. In the morning, Heihachi would be moving out, and Kazuya and his newly acquired family would be moving in.
When he did get back, the lights were out and he was greeted by the sounds of two people snoring. Jin was by the window, passed out in his boxer shorts with the covers kicked off, and Nina was snuggled up in Kazuya’s bed. Obviously she’d expected him to be home just a little bit earlier, probably to get a little ‘work’ done...but had fallen asleep long ago.
As he took off the majority of his clothing and hung it up in the wardrobe, he watched her silently as she slept. It was pitch black in the room, but he could see her perfectly. So beautiful, so peaceful; he hadn’t the heart to wake her by climbing in beside her. She was his deadly angel. Besides, his instincts were urging him to venture back out into the night and feed. He would do the former of the two; but as usual, never the latter. His hunger and cooling flesh would have to stay there, for the sake of innocent humans.
He climbed out of the remainders of the tuxedo and pulled on a casual shirt and baggy trousers, before venturing out into the night once more. He might as well get some of the Zaibatsu work done now, since he would feel drained and weakened during tomorrow’s daylight. Sometimes it didn’t bother him too much, the sunlight that is, but other times, especially on particularly sunny days, he felt a hundred years old. Work was never fun in those conditions.
So, leaving his two sleeping beauties out cold in the hotel room, he silently slipped out and to the main Zaibatsu office in the heart of the city.
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