Author's Notes: Once again it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, hasn’t it? I’ve had pretty bad writer’s block for the last few months, and I’ve been caught up in art, school and websites. But here I am, with new inspiration, updating old stories and starting new ones. Enjoy!
Chapter 22 - Exchange
The process of reclaiming the Zaibatsu had been as difficult as he’d anticipated. Kazuya, flustered and exhausted, stood and watched beneath the shade of the mansion’s upper balcony as workmen moved things in and out of the main doors. Clothes and personal possessions belonging to Heihachi were being shifted out, and what little Kazuya owned was being taken upstairs. Nina and Jin were also having their belongings carted inside, and the both of them had made themselves rather comfortable on the front lawn, watching as the job was done.
Kazuya himself wasn’t looking his best. Whilst his appearance was impeccable – his shirt buttoned to the top, fastened with a dark blue tie, his hair swept back perfectly – he looked at least ten years older, painfully tired, and deadly pale. Something about him also seemed to say that one gust of wind might tip him over. Nina watched him from the corner of her eye as he stood there. So far, she’d never seen him quite so sickly in daylight, and for that, she was rather concerned.
The top gates by the courtyard’s entrance swung open, and a traditionally dressed Heihachi Mishima strode through. He too was flustered and exhausted, but seemed to have oodles more energy than his pallid son. He marched over to the truck being loaded up with his belongings, and had a good shout at one of the workmen merely doing their job. An air of raw frustration emanated from the elderly Mishima.
Kazuya merely watched in mild amusement as the old man hurried the workers on, barking at them harshly in Japanese to be careful with his gear, and to ‘hurry the hell up’. Nina chuckled to herself and relaxed on the grass, lying down and exposing more of her ample cleavage through the halter neck top she was wearing. Jin, on the other hand, pretended to completely ignore his grandfather.
After a while, Heihachi spotted the younger Mishima standing below the balcony in the shade. The mere sight of him was enough to make his blood curdle. He made a distinct effort to remain as far away as possible from Kazuya, but at the same time, within range required to continue supervising the removal of his belongings.
The tension in the air grew substantially as time passed, and everyone, including the workers, was suffering from its intensity. An awful silence had grasped the peaceful atmosphere by the throat. Eventually it became so intense that Nina had to break the silence, for the sake of her own sanity.
“How much stuff are you taking with you anyway? That’s the second truck that’s been filled!”
Heihachi turned and snorted gruffly at the blonde woman, unable to help noticing what she wasn’t hiding with that shirt on. “I’m taking all that belongs to me...I’m not letting that scoundrel keep the things that I have bought!”
She rolled her eyes and hummed to herself, soaking up the sunlight. “Have it your way. We don’t want your stinky old furniture anyway.”
He seemed to ignore her comments, and instead, turned his attention to his grandson. “You’ve been quiet, Jin...”
“I have nothing to say to you.” He kept his back turned toward the old man.
“I’m your grandfather, you should show me some respect!”
For a moment, Jin was silent. Should he grace him with a response? “You’ve earned none.”
Heihachi was doing his best to contain his bitter rage. The situation was bad enough, but with the people he hated the most in the same courtyard as he? It was almost too vile to handle. “He’s the one who’s earned none, but you follow him around like a duckling...” He motioned violently toward his son.
Jin’s cheeks reddened with anger. Somehow, he managed to swallow the rage and simply balled his hands into fists. “He’s done more to earn my respect than you’ll ever have.”
There was a tense silence. Heihachi’s voice, in a deep growl, broke it finally, as he spoke his words painfully slowly. “What did he do, exactly?”
Now even Kazuya was watching, as was every one of the workers in the area.
“He loves me...as a father should...”
Heihachi’s blood boiled, but he managed to maintain his calm. “Love is for the weak, Jin. You were always too weak, too emotional to become anything great. You’re just like that wretched father of yours.” The old man turned on his heels, barked at a worker to hurry up, and marched right out of the courtyard, and down the long driveway winding through the lush Japanese gardens outside the mansion.
Moments of intense silence prevailed before anyone dared to speak. The atmosphere was thick enough to choke on...for a few seconds, even the birds seemed to stop chirping within the mood of dread.
Kazuya sighed, folding his arms over his chest. “Funny, that. Who’s the old man all alone?”
Despite the darkness in the air, Nina chuckled. “Emotion’s not a weakness, it’s our strength. It’s what gives us enough rage and determination to get a good job done...”
“Well, that, and the compassion to break the cycle.” Jin’s voice was still soft and subdued, though this time, because he was engrossed in thought. “I could have stayed like I was...I originally hated him and you equally...” His dark eyes glanced up at his father, with almost a tinge of guilt within. “But when I overheard that conversation in the dojo, I decided to give it a chance. Why start another generation of son hating father?”
Even though he felt like he might fall over any moment, Kazuya smiled. “It would never have worked the same though, because I’m not quite ready to torment someone for no reason.”
Nina grinned and sat up, wrapping her arms around her knees. “What about people who deserve it?”
“You bet I would.” He grinned back. “I’m not someone you cross the wrong path with...”
No one disputed that fact. Especially the workers carrying gear to and fro, who immediately hurried up considerably with their duties.
With all old gear moved out, and the new already put inside, there was nothing left to do for the rest of the day. While the others basked in the afternoon sunlight outside, Kazuya made his weary way inside, upstairs, and into the room he’d decided would be his bedroom. It wasn’t the master bedroom, of course, since that was where the Old Man used to reside...instead, he’d set aside a large enough room at the other end of the hall. It was bigger than the room he had as a child in this old place, and far away from the memories from the past.
His suitcase was still lying on the double bed at the centre of the room. He sat down beside it and opened it, pulling out clothes and tossing them into a pile on the bed. After the suitcase was empty, he shoved it onto the floor with a loud clatter, and flopped back exhaustedly against the thick, plush bedcovers. He felt completely drained today. Good thing the curtains were closed, because he was sure he’d be burning in the sunlight if they weren’t. It was one of those days, it seemed.
For what seemed like forever he just stayed lying on the centre of the bed, half-asleep, his mind racing through thought after thought. How could such a warrior feel so weak and drained of energy, of life? He knew days like this came once in a while, but it didn’t make him enjoy them.
A second later, he was blinded by brilliant white light.
“Good heavens, you’re lying in the dark with this mess?”
He shielded his assaulted eyes with his arm, and sat up. “Nina...turn that light of, will you?”
She was already busy tidying up the pile of clothes he’d created, and was folding the clean clothes into a set of drawers at the end of the room. “I won’t be able to see what I’m doing, sweetie...”
Yes, it was one of those days alright. He groaned and rolled over, plopping the nearest pillow over his head. He felt so shitty today.
After the drawers stopped slamming, and Nina had stopped crashing about, he felt someone sit beside him. He was too tired to respond...so Nina placed her hand on his backside and petted a little. “You okay?”
“No, I feel like shit.” His voice was somewhat muffled from beneath the pillow.
She’d thought so...he was so pale earlier on, and rather sluggish in comparison to his normal energetic self. She reached over and turned the light off before pulling the pillow off his head. Of course, she encountered no resistance, and rolled him over onto his back. “You just need a good feed and a good day’s sleep and you’ll feel fine in no time.” She leaned down and gently kissed his lips, then nuzzled his cool cheek with a coy smile. “I know you do...”
How could he resist this time? As she leaned across him, offering her neck to him, he brushed aside the golden locks of hair with his cold fingertips, taking in that delicate feminine scent he’d quickly learned to adore. The soft, warm flesh of her neck pressed against his cool lips...he didn’t hesitate to open his mouth, and press those long canines against the smooth skin offered to him. Once again, the warm life-giving liquid flowed past his lips and down his throat, and he lapped at her neck hungrily as more came.
Still, with the sustenance supplied to him, he didn’t feel much better. He let her sit back up, but instead, she turned and snuggled down next to him. Her body’s warmth made him feel a little sleepy and relaxed...he wrapped an arm around her waist, and let himself doze off. Or at least, tried – she responded by giggling and squirming a little. No chance of falling asleep with that going on. He peeked up at her with one open eye, and she grinned in return.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to sleep this lovely afternoon away...”
He rolled his eyes and rolled over to face away. “I don’t like afternoons.” That was normally a lie, but not today.
“Aww...well Jin and I are going to see what else we need to get for the house, we’ll be going down to the shopping centre in a while...should we just let you sleep?”
He nodded weakly and yawned. “That’s a good idea. You two have fun...”
Nina leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. “We will...see you later.” Before leaving, she gave his butt a little squeeze, then made her way downstairs to find Jin.
After she’d gone, Kazuya kicked his shoes off, then flopped back down on the bed. It only took him a few seconds to fall fast asleep. When the sun goes down tonight, he’ll feel human once again – or as much as is possible in his current condition.
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