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DISCLAIMER: All featured Tekken characters are the property of Namco and not the authors.
Notes: Constructive criticism is welcomed!
Warnings: Eventual lemon parts, language & violence.
Chapter Ten - Tea
By Aaronica and Orfik
Hwoarang had some business with the cook, which was why he was approaching the brewing altercation from the counter in the rear and not the entrance. Said cook might have placed a call to a nearby precinct soon if the voices from the front hadn't interrupted the Korean's transaction, but the orange-headed hustler had time to study the scene in front quietly before he said anything, and to conceal a reaction at seeing Jin there, let alone involved in the situation. He shot what remained of his gang an exasperated I-can't-leave-you-alone-for-one-second glare.
"When morons insult women, I can't help but intervene," Lei replied. A moral dilemma? Of course not. The women just don't know any better, is all.
"What's going on?" the Japanese asked suddenly, baffledly, looking at Hwoarang.
"We just wanted tea and he bothered us." Ryo pointed at Lei again, but his finger was less sturdy.
"That's right," Lei grumbled, "Whine and cry to your Mama, go on. Keep lyin'."
Hwoarang glanced at Lei, doing his best to seem unimpressed by the blue shield.
" .. is insulting people a criminal offense? You know, this here is unlawful harassment. We just wanted tea." He grinned. Then he looked at Jin a little anxiously. It was bad timing on two fronts.
Jin rubbed the back of his neck, because he knew neither who was right nor who he wanted to believe.
"Wulong-san, let's just go elsewhere," he offered, partially to end the argument and partially as a favor to Hwoarang.
"Insulting an officer is most certainly a crime. It'll go very well with Little Taiko's burglary charges."
Suddenly, Hwoarang leapt at Taisho and put him in a headlock because The General was about to propel himself into Lei like a rocket.
"Taisho, calm down!" Ryo began biting his fingernails. Lei laughed.
"You boys behave now," he said, patting Taisho's head as he stepped past. He would, for the moment, agree with Jin. The little looks exchanged by Jin and Hwoarang hadn't went unnoticed. He would comment on that a little later. Because really, Jin deserved classier friends.
"Yeah, we're all friends here, right?" Hwoarang said, both his smile and his hold on Taisho strained.
Jin was not socially graceful to begin with, and in this situation he was left even more clueless than usual, his normally serene face now bordering on blank.
"Let's go, Wulong-san," he echoed again, quietly, as he turned away to leave. The stares they were all getting threatened to summon heat in his face. /I love you, Joon-kun/ he thought to himself, because right now he couldn't say it aloud.
Grappling with his burly friend was a full-time preoccupation for Hwoarang, but he managed to give the retreating Jin a stare that was something to really talk about over one ham shoulder. Goddamnit -- but what the hell was he doing here, and why was he on speaking terms with Lei Wulong? Why in hell were they leaving together?! It was almost too much for the Blood Talon, and Taisho might ask later why he was trying to break his damned arms off.
Feeling especially evil at the moment, Lei winked over his shoulder and tossed an arm around Jin, just to be 'chummy'. Jin opened the door and blushed violently.
Hwoarang contemplated committing a real crime just to bring Lei back so he could show him just what an old man he was. But not with Jin involved -- not ever with Jin involved. He let go of Taisho, and didn't say anything, which was strange after one of Hwoarang's headlocks.
Jin had a problem lifting his face and talking loudly enough. He had never excelled at hiding emotions, let alone ones these sensitive.
"Where would you like to go?"
"Where is your little friend least likely to show up, hmm?" He would have said 'boyfriend'. But he wasn't sure Jin could blush any more.
The Japanese was far too polite to show any signs of his resentment which was fast growing against the policeman.
"There is another restaurant on this road, I think, but I don't know how far."
Lei smiled a casual little smile and took his arm back to himself. Enough teasing for one hour.
"Lead on. Unless you'd rather go for a drive."
"You have a car?" Jin asked, perhaps a little too quickly, as he turned his face towards Lei.
"Rented," he said. "Yes, Jin. I have a car." He cocked his head to one side, and said with a little lopsided grin, "How far you wanna go?"
Jin wondered if the policeman meant that to sound the way it did.
"Where do you like to eat?"
"Any place good. You?" Lei's eyes sparkled with mischief. Oh, he'd meant it to sound that way, all right.
Suddenly Jin remembered. "We should go to that restaurant that we'd planned to go to originally."
Lei let out a little gasp and snapped. "Well now, that is a good idea!"
"I think I know the way there, if you still want to drive." Hopefully having some food would ease Jin's nerves and steady his mind, he thought.
"Sure thing. I parked about a block down. Can you stand to walk that far?" /Or should I carry you? Nonononono, or should I drive back and pick you up./
"Yes," Jin answered in a tone that suggested he wasn't sure if that was a jest. "How long are you going to be in Tokyo, Wulong-san?"
"Until I track down that drug dealer I was looking for the last time we met," he said.
Jin smiled, beginning to relax again, albeit very slowly.
"You won't be here for very long then, I guess," he noted.
Lei smiled. "Depends. He's a slippery little bugger, that one." Slippery and dead. Decomposing.
Someone bumped into Lei, but it was only a young woman trying to get past them, and she apologized as she went. Lei nodded his head. Poor women, couldn't even get through a crowd without help. They were a sad lot, as a whole. But he didn't mind.
"I'm sure you'll get him," Jin affirmed, glancing about them. "Where did you say it was that you parked?"
"The grey one," he said, pointing to a rather nondescript Toyota. A good normal car.
"Should I just head for Mishima Polytech, then, or do you know a short-cut?"
Jin could not remember the last time that he had driven in anything that wasn't expensive and black. That plain Toyota was an exciting prospect.
"No, that's the best way."
Lei got out his keys and checked the car. The door-locks weren't automatic, and so he had to reach across the seat to unlock the passenger door. Jin had a sunny little smile as he climbed inside the car and pulled the door shut.
"Thank you for the ride."
Lei nodded, starting up the engine. "No problem at all. Probably not as classy as you're used to. Probably a bit of a relief."
"You're right," he said, as he fiddled with the seatbelt before snapping it into place. "I don't think I'll ever be used to it, though." Jin was smiling because it was the nice thing to do, even if the topic itself didn't encourage such a reaction.
After a minute, he said, "Did you go home after the Iron Fist tournament?"
"Hmm? Oh, well, yeah, I did." The streetlight turned yellow. Lei sped up.
Jin held onto the dashboard with one hand, although the motorcycle-driving of a certain Korean should have been enough to immunize him completely from any fear of speed. Or death, practically.
"Have you just been working since then?"
"Of course. Half the time I go to the tournament, it's for work." It was a confidence he knew he didn't have to worry about Jin breaking. He made the light. Barely.
"I think that was why many people did, actually, from what I remember." Some of Jin's memories of the Iron Fist were fast fading while others, understandably, remained quite lucid. But then he began to wonder why he was even discussing the tourney.
"Make the left here. Not this one, I mean, the one just ahead. What are you in the mood to try there?"
"Well, a lot of people had ulterior motives." The turn was made. "Hmmn... Dunno yet. I'll have to have a look at the menu, I guess. Do these hamburgers have squid?"
"Mm-hm! They're authentic." Jin remembered something -- someone, more specifically -- and his eyes momentarily drifted out his window. But then the look faded.
"Ooh," he said, pulling into a space near the door. "May have to try one of those."
"They have things like hot dogs and pretzels, too," the Japanese said as he undid the seatbelt and let himself out of the car. He relished the opportunity to close his own door.
"Crazy," Lei said before reminding Jin to lock his door. "Pretzels, huh?"
"They're best with extra salt." Jin got to the door first and opened it for them both. "Since you drove, let me pay for lunch."
"Deal," Lei said with a grin. Hmmn ... and after lunch he could go to his hotel and take a nice, long nap.
Jin was proud of himself for being Normal. He got in line, already taking out his wallet.
"Wulong-san, what's the name of the man who you're after, anyway?" he said as he skimmed the overhead menu.
"You might remember him from Iron Fist," Lei said, glancing over the menu himself. "He's suspected of involvement, and I wouldn't put it past him. Bryan Fury."
Jin's eyes drifted to the side, and he rubbed his shoulder uneasily. That was the same man who broke his nose and Hwoarang's hand and them both in the hospital, and then went into hiding. He hid his shock well.
"Yeah; I think I remember," he said absently, looking at the menu again and forcing himself to read it.
"Hard to track down, like I said. I may be here longer than you think." Lei'd decided to take the easy way through American food choices. A squidburger.
It was Jin's turn to order and he was finding it difficult to shake of the memory of the zombie cop.
"You can order first," he told Lei.
And so Lei ordered his hamburger and some 'iced tea', whatever that was, and stepped aside. At the very least he'd bought Jin some time.
Yet Jin wasn't even hungry anymore. At least they were safe in a crowded restaurant, he comforted himself.
"I'll... have... a hot dog with wasabi, and some fries, and a Coke, please," he said, fishing the right number of bills out of his wallet.
Lei frowned at the price (it was a lot more than his usual takeout choice) and commented on it when they sat down. It was an odd thing to do, considering his company.
"It's good when you get tired of the usual place," the teenager said, testing his fries. He offered them to Lei, too.
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