DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Sucks to me. Tori sings good music, so I rape from her lyric collection to make me feel better about life. standard warning: Nothing, really. Just a fun and entertaining family chat between Lee and Jin, over drinks. Beware a smattering of foul words, and my interp of super-cynical Chaolan. ^_~v
Er . . . suppose that's it, huh? On to fic!
I believe in defending in what we once stood for.
"I've come to the conclusion that our family has . . . severely fucked up somewhere along the way." Lee Chaolan sipped his tea, a cynical smile passing briefly over his face. He sat with crossed legs across from his nephew, watching the boy intently for any sort of reaction.
Jin was staring gloomily into his own cup of tea, large hands folded around the delicate china. After a moment's pause he looked up, but refrained from commenting.
Lee's smile returned, but even to himself it seemed self-mocking. "Yeah, kid, I hear you. But seriously. I think back, trying to pinpoint some time, some event that I could say was the start of it. I can't. Ever since I moved in with them, it was like this. Shit, kid, sometimes worse. Especially when -" He stopped abruptly, breath caught in his throat like he was about to spill the secrets of life. He swallowed hard, closed his eyes and continued. "-Especially when your father was still around."
"My father?" Jin repeated softly.
"Yeah." Lee sighed. "Kazuya and the old bastard hated each other -- if they were even in the same wing of the house, there would be fights like even you couldn't imagine. Things that you won't see at any tournament. Always over stupid things." It wasn't hard for Lee to recall the string of brutalities that composed his youth. He returned his gaze to Jin, noting the introspective look the boy's face held -- Lee wondered what injustices he'd endured under Heihachi's 'training'.
Not what he and Kazuya had, that he was sure of. Jin was only wary of his grandfather, hurt by betrayal but most likely too much like his mother to /truly/ hate; nothing at all like the burning hatred Lee and Kazuya shared for the man. Lee figured it was stupid to think that their father had maybe learned his lesson after how his own children had turned out; he settled on thinking the old bastard was looking for some back-up. It certainly made more sense.
The boy looked as if he was wrestling with himself. He started to speak, stalled, then started again."My father . . ." Jin looked pained, lowering his head as if he were guilty of some crime. "Tell me about him. Please."
It was a question Lee had been preparing himself to answer. He wondered for years how he'd tell his brother's son about him; but faced with the situation outside his own mind, all the things he'd planned to say -- all his elegies -- fled his tongue.
With a sigh, he settled for the plain truth. "Kazuya was an asshole."
Lee watched the boy's eyes widen with surprise; he figured Jin was prepared for something different in regards to his father. He could almost see Jin's mind working furiously behind dark honey eyes, testing his words against those that Heihachi had surely spoken to him on the subject -- after all, that was the crux of the issue between Lee and Heihachi: Kazuya had always been the righteous one in Lee's mind, and that conviction was strong enough to make him betray his 'father'. He'd never been forgiven.
He waited patiently for the inevitable look of confusion that settled over Jin's face. And when he smiled at the boy, the expression seemed sad. "He was an asshole and I would have died to make him happy. I guess you'd have to see what he went through to understand how he worked -- he had to be cruel to survive. Otosama hated him." The way Lee referred to his adopted father seethed bitter hatred, and Jin fought not to flinch away: he'd rarely seen such obvious hate for anyone in his life.
He looked towards his uncle, frowning as an empty, unfocused expression drained all emotion from the man's face. "I don't know what you've heard about him. Everyone has their own opinions, I suppose, but he never really tried to hurt me. Even though I was adopted solely for him to have someone to focus his hatred on -- even though that's how things turned out -- he never purposely tried to hurt me, all those years. Not really. I gave him plenty of opportunities: shit, kid, I even begged him to kill me." Lee pointed a slim finger at his nephew. "Living with otosama does that to people. Did you know that seven of the maids who worked for him committed suicide?"
Jin's surprised look told him he hadn't, and Lee laughed. "I'm not trying to make excuses for him -- I stopped doing that, long ago. I want you to know that he wasn't necessarily bad. You wouldn't be here if he was. Your mother knew better."
"Okaasan loved him till the day she died." Jin murmured. He finally took a drink from his own cup, and made a face. "It's cold."
"It happens." Lee shrugged. "Besides, tea doesn't really seem appropriate for this particular conversation." He stood, padding across the floor towards a large cabinet. He slid open the door, kneeling to rummage through a wide selection of bottles until he found the one he was looking for -- a wide-mouthed, amber colored flask with romanji on the label.
Lee stood and chose two glasses from the top of the cabinet, then returned to his place at the table. The way he poured the drinks seemed to Jin a subtle religion; there was something too sanctimonious in the way he worked at the task. He decided not to ask, and instead murmured his thanks as one of the glasses was passed to him.
"Nothing at all to thank me for," Lee returned quietly, taking a long drink of the potent alcohol in his glass. "Scotch is bad for your health, kid, and your mother would have beaten my ass down for even thinking to offer you some."
Jin's brows furrowed. He recognized his uncle's words as they were meant to be; the mention of his mother was not meant as an insult or to provoke grief -- there was too much respect in the older man's tone for that. "I'm not a kid."
He took a sip of the alcohol and made a face, provoking a smlile from Lee. "I know. I don't know if I'd be talking to you right now if I thought you were." He looked thoughtful for a moment, his gaze focused out the window, towards the Shinjuku skyline. "But you should be. You should be wondering who to take to the prom instead of worrying about whether or not your grandfather is going to try to pull some stupid shit on you again. Life sucks that way, huh?"
The boy's face was unreadable, save for the slight frown pulling at his lips. "My mother . . ."
"Everyone loved your mother. Didn't matter who they were, everyone was looking out for Jun: even that broom-headed American had a soft spot for her." Lee's eyebrows furrowed, and he folded his hands beneath his chin, staring at the polished table top. "The way Kazuya looked at her . . . I never saw that softness in his eyes like that, not for anything. She accepted him for everything -- maybe that's how she calmed him. It was amazing. . ."
"Ojiisan hated her."
Lee scoffed quietly. "He wouldn't know what to do with kindness if it kicked him in the head. Everything he ever does is meant to hurt somebody, and for all I know he's going senile. Why have another tournament? What the hell is he planning, if he's willing to risk the entire Zaibatsu?" His eyes flickered to Jin, a small frown pulling at his lips. "He's looking for someone. You're the only one left that he even considers close to him in power. . . maybe it's you."
"Maybe." The boy frowned. "But it doesn't matter."
"Oh?" Lee raised an eyebrow. Something in Jin's tone had sounded so much like Kazuya. And the look in his eyes . . .
"I have to kill him. He's evil."
Lee shook his head, pouring himself another drink. "Yeah, he is, but what are you going to do? Just walk up and break his neck? Are you prepared to spill your family's blood?"
That comment made Jin flinch, but he raised his head to stare intensely at his uncle. "No one else will. Maybe no one else can. I have to do this, because no one fights back."
"I guess you're right," the silver-haired man murmured, his gaze turning inwards. He remembered what it was like to face the huge patriarch of the Mishima family, remembered the way he'd been so terrified he couldn't even respond to his taunts. "But it doesn't really matter."
"What do you mean, it doesn't matter?" Jin's eyes were blazing, his expression almost horrified -- Lee stared at him calmly, catching small glimpses of Kazuya through his son's subconscious gestures. A flip of the head there, the way he gripped the table's edge as if it were an anchor...
"Because no matter what happens, he always wins. Whether you fight him or obey, you always turn out the way he wanted you." A sympathetic smile touched his face. This boy's task was terrible, and Lee doubted he was strong enough to handle it. Mishima blood was fierce, but not everything -- the raw power housed within him was contained by the gentle nature Jun had imbued him with.
With that in consideration, Heihachi would have little to fear from his grandson. Strong, but not more than the head.
He'd won again, and no one had even noticed. Lee suddenly felt more sympathy for the boy sitting across from him than ever.
"Fight it," he growled. "You can. Don't let him beat you, too. No matter what it takes . . . beat him."
Jin nodded, startled by the sudden flare of intensity that had struck the older man. He wondered what it meant, but was grateful for the support. "I'll do it."
"You have to." Lee said, finishing his glass in one long pull. He stood, smoothing the creases from his dark shirt. "You're all that's left. The rest of us are merely noise in the background . . . but I'll help you where I can."
Lee smiled at him, giving a short bow before heading for the door. "It was good talking to you, Jin -- despite his interference, you've grown well, and I wish you the best of luck. I've got some business to take care of, though, so . . ." He picked up a brief case. "You're free to stay if you like."
"I'll let myself out." Jin was staring into his drink.
"Mm." Lee waved, and was gone. Jin looked up as the door closed, and watched it for several minutes.
He'd said that Heihachi always won.
He'd said that no matter what, you were always what the old man wanted you to be.
He'll never be God.
Jin felt the blood rise within him, hated the old man for his treachery . . . and for a moment, he was scared.
He won't win.
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