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DISCLAIMER: All featured Tekken characters are the property of Namco and not the authors.
Notes: Some belated translation for reference: ojisan = grandfather, oi = hey. Constructive criticism is welcomed!
Warnings: Eventual lemon parts, language & violence.
Chapter Four - Transport
By Aaronica and Orfik
Jin wobbled on his feet, but it may have been simply from fatigue.
"Another vehicle was brought," Hayase Keika said, interrupting Jin in the moment that he opened his mouth, "to escort you home."
Jin tried again to speak; again it went unheard.
Yet to look at the focus of her protection she continued with a politician's smile, "I'm sure that you realize that your contact with Jin is strongly discouraged, and suggest that until he recuperates fully, you av--"
"Stop." Jin squinted as if still interpreting the flow of her dialogue.
"Stop," he repeated, and added slowly, "We're going to the house, Joon-kun and I, and I'm going to sleep fine there." There was a moment in which Hayase and Jin watched each other. "I want him to come."
Hayase folded her hands gently before her. "As the director of your protective forces I suggest you leave this decision to me, considering your fatigued state of mind, Mishima-s--"
The sound of Jin's palm connecting with the metal frame of the elevator was a vast, metallic bass sound that echoed through the metalwork for several floors in either direction. Nonplused, the security director looked from the arm jutting horizontally six inches from her face to its owner, whose dark, sleepless sockets seemed for the moment utterly shrewd and stoic and severe.
"Please don't call me that," Jin said. He lowered his arm calmly. "Ever again."
While the guardsmen still looked noticeably tense Hayase gauged this situation thoughtfully, and showed no signs of defeat even in her simple reply.
"Kazama-san, I have no authority to stop you in a decision like this. If you say that he will come with us, then the five of us will go. Come; all of the bills are already paid and the cars are waiting." And she and the guards moved back a pace in the elevator to at last permit the boys an escape from the hospital.
Jin curled his arm around Hwoarang's and shuffled heavily into the elevator. Behind them, as they ascended, Hayase Keika smiled to herself.
Hwoarang watched the scene play out between Jin and his arrogant chaperon with tense silence. He had parted his lips to spout vitriol at the woman number of times, but Jin's sober, weighted words aborted each attempt. The Korean was standing just behind Jin when his shoulder jerked; that was all he saw, for when he realized what the Japanese meant to do his fist had created a crater in the ringing wall.
Shocked beyond words, the hooligan's first reaction was to smile, make some gallant snap at Hayase, and then threaten her men. The seeds of anger that produced the incident, however, compelled him to level the woman with a pleading look. Pleading: stop upsetting him. Pleading: I'll go, I don't have to come, just stop fucking with Jin. Jin became something else when he was angered.
Before he had a chance to voice his entreaty, he was being urged in a determined arm lock by Jin. Hwoarang remained stiff the entire ride down, and his shrunken jeans had little to do with it.
"She cares about you," he managed to whisper, hoping his vouchsafe might lessen the anger the Japanese was feeling towards Hayase right now. He remembered the weight of the demonic seraphim on his chest, suffocating him.
While the elevator descended Jin's chin was dipped towards the floor and his lids wavered heavily over the dredges of his pupils. A placid, faraway look lingered on most of the soft lines of his face but Jin was doing his best to stay awake. Sleep would come to him now, he knew doubtlessly, and to shrink from consciousness, to settle under the warm blanket of sleep there where he stood, was a difficult temptation for Jin to evade. He drew most of his strength from the possibility that they would simply cart him back into a hospital room were he to do so.
"She only cares for ojiisan," he murmured. When the thick metal doors pulled open Jin slowly but diligently lumbered through them, his fingers lacing with Hwoarang's for a much-needed squeeze.
"But ... you care about me." Soon enough Jin realized that he and his Joon would need to be lead, and settled back so that the Mishima employees could overtake them and direct them to the cars. There were two, as Hayase had promised; waiting in the front of the parking garage, two smooth streaks of black, highly polished machinery that stood out for their very lack of personalization. Such were many things in the Mishima world that Hwoarang would see.
The silent men divided there, one pacing to each car in order to open the rear doors. Hayase took the first and Jin, in subconscious habit, drifted with Hwoarang to the last. He climbed inside, gladly moving over for Hwoarang; as the guardsman shut them in and opened the front passenger door, Hayase spoke coolly from the first car.
"No, Sakato. Let the master ride alone with his guest."
After a mere glimmer of a pause the man complied, shutting the door to the empty seat and going to the first car.
The car ride began smoothly, and Jin, settled against Hwoarang, did not watch its progress through the darkly tinted windows.
"Maybe we could get a pet someday, Joon," Jin dreamily wondered aloud.
So intent was Hwoarang on acting the sentinel and making sure nothing edible in the cab was consumed that when Jin suggested something he gained a, " .. what?" on Hwoarang's end.
Once they were tucked away in rolling luxury it became clear that the cool, contemptuous disposition the redhead maintained in Hayase's presence was nothing more than a facade; Hwoarang seemed distracted, and could do nothing for a while but gaze insecurely out the window. He imagined the Mishima Empire was guiding him to his death, or an ambush; maybe they would drug Jin, and then shoot him.
Those stupid assholes. His jeans weren't that tight, and his recent movement had loosened them up a bit.
"Not a panda!" he finally protested, an irritated memory in the Korean's eyes. When he perceived that his angel was wavering on the cusp of sleep, he drew Jin's larger frame into his arms, holding him securely against his chest.
" .. a dog would be nice," he trailed off in a murmur, careful to elevate his casted wrist above the Japanese's reassuring weight when he rested his chin on a strong shoulder. " .. or an iguana. Would go nice with my hair."
He spent the rest of the ride muttering possibilities, his light eyes fixed on the vague peripheries of landscape rolling by while he held on to Jin. Strangely enough, even in his diligence he was still caught off guard when the limousine halted. When the door opened, a dull dawn flooded them both.
The air about the Mishima manor, while still and cool, was laced with a tense, urgent energy. To Jin, though, that was really how it always seemed to be. There were a handful of guards in eyesight and doubtlessly many more just outside the fringes of vision, but it would be hard to concentrate on these men when confronted with the estate itself: the building was three stories tall and stretched out on either side in absurd expanses. It was made of white stone and numerous tall, windows, some of which actually being doors that opened onto round, carved-stone balconied patios.
The building was flanked in flawless greenery, with a wide stone walkway leading to the main entrance; in the center was a round stone fountain, and on the edges of the walkway were exquistely-trimmed potted bushes, high vases of flowers, and carved busts of the estate's namesake. Each stared with stony eyes and an omnipotent grin at Jin, Hwoarang, Hayase and her men as they moved to the front entrance. It had taken Jin a long time to immunize himself from the intensity of the statues' gazes.
Jin moved heavily, his head gently bowed and his hair brushing over the upper half of his face, and it was from continuous contact with Hwoarang that he summoned the energy to do so. Along the way he mumbled to the director of security that their belongings should be brought to his room later in the morning, after they had slept. He added also that a separate room would not have to be prepared for Hwoarang and, in a pleasant surprise, Hayase made no argument. Once they climbed the five stairs to the main doors and were let inside, she wished them a good rest and Jin exhaustedly led Hwoarang away from her presence. Her guards stayed with her -- but two more joined the teenagers, following along a short distance behind them.
"They have to do it," he murmured in explanation to Hwoarang. "But they won't come ... inside with us." Down the long, high-ceilinged, art-lined hallway, Jin stopped before the door to his room and turned its exquisite golden knob. The familiar sensation brought a weak smile to his face -- they were home, now; he and Hwoarang, together here.
Jin's room itself was far more spacious than he needed and frighteningly high-ceilinged, lit by one gigantic, low-hanging chandelier. It was also floored in highly polished wood without a rug in sight. Under one tall window on the right wall was an ornate wooden desk, the corner of which holding a potted maple bonsai; a tall wooden bureau stood nearby, and the enormous but surprisingly sparsely furnished bed was stationed in the center of the opposite wall, freshly made for Jin's return.
The wall opposite the door was composed almost entirely of windows looking out at the manicured grounds behind the estate, with gauzy white curtains currently draped over much of the view. The growing colors of the sunrise trickled into the room through every entrance it could get, and the pale glow of the chandelier seemed paltry in comparison. On the right was a door that led out to Jin's balcony, something he would be glad to show Hwoarang later in the morning.
"Joon..." Jin's voice, already thin from his fatigue, was practically lost in the expanse of the room. He left the Korean go, finally, lurching slowly to the bed. Not bothering with the sheets and blankets he half-fell, half-lowered to the mattress, and turned a little on his side. There was probably something meant to be added to the utterance, but Jin was already fast asleep.
Earlier, when as he was led to the mansion under an open sky bruised with lavenders, corals and maizes, Hwoarang felt as if he was being swallowed. Mishima Palace suffocated him with violent immediacy, and Jin's presence at his side was a limited supply of oxygen. Despite his own crushed and casted hand and convalescing ribs, he thought of Jin as fragile in feelings at least, and had tried his best to maintain a expression of indifference to the trap he was walking into.
" .. what did you expect .. ?"
Having never undressed, he rose from his end of the bed and walked toward the door, ferreting a glance over his shoulder. He had waited hours beside the Japanese, his left hand light on Jin's waist, before he acted on his resolution. His orange hair, unrestrained by goggles and having grown just past his shoulders, glowed a rich copper in the noontime sun that streamed through the window.
" .. what did you think I would do .. ?" he whispered to the figure sleeping beneath immaculate print sheets. It was Hwoarang's apology, laced with an entreaty for understanding as he slipped out Jin's door.
As he stole through the halls, his vivid, soft brown eyes alert and brimming with anxiety, he wondered if Jin would understand upon waking why he wasn't beside him. Pretending as if everything were contentment and stability. Accepting room service and expensive sake and designer pajamas.
Aside from the fact that Jin's costly style wasn't his bag, Hwoarang had a strict code of ethics when it came to freeloading. At some point in their stay in the hospital, he decided against taking advantage of the accouterments Jin's status offered him. He didn't feel entitled to it.
He had to earn things, even if it meant swindling. Such was Hwoarang's way. Having nearly cleared the hall, his chin suddenly met with the force of an elbow. Before he could react, a knee in his abdomen had him doubling over in sharp pain, and a sweep to his ankles just as quickly threw him on his back. A series of blinks soon focused four leering, unfamiliar faces to view.
"Don't remember us, do you?" a man with thin brows and slicked, black hair asked, smiling down at him.
"Filthy fucking Korean. You and your greasy punks took half my month's pay."
"Hurry up, grab his arms," the one who had clocked him in the chin commanded, reacting before Hwoarang had a chance to recovered and let off a volley of kicks. Even as he was lifted and restrained by two of the men, Hwoarang smiled through bloody lips.
"You pussies have to quadruple team to beat a kid? Deserved everythin --" he gasped breathlessly as a knee connected with his spine.
Another blow to his head plunged Hwoarang into darkness.
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