In the Shadows
Chapter 6 - Out of Sight, Still in Mind
“Food’s done,” Lei stated, as Jin gathered a few plates from the upper cabinets. Hwoarang was sitting impatiently at the rectangular dining table, just outside the kitchen’s breakfast bar.
“I’m pretty hungry myself by now,” said Jin, who began setting the table.
“Well I’m still starving,” Hwoarang clarified for what was surely the eighth time.
“You sure proved that point by just sitting here the entire time, rather than helping Jin and I,” Lei stated in a smirk.
“Lei, don’t start it again,” criticized Jin, who was just now sitting down at the table. “Hwoarang didn’t say one rude thing to you this time around, so stop begging for it.”
“Yeah Wulong. Stop begging for it already. You know you’re not gonna get it,” the redhead stated in more of a mocking tone.
“Alright Hwoarang, that’s enough of the immaturely dirty comments from you,” Jin ordered in a fairly stern tone of voice. “All I want is a quiet a dinner and a good night’s sleep, and rather either of you two like it or not, I am going to have these things one way or another.”
“Now you’ve gone and done it,” Hwoarang muttered in Lei’s direction.
Lei chose not to reply, knowing this would only serve to agitate Jin even more. Instead, he just did the sensible thing, and began picking here and there at the various foods scattered about his plate. Once again, he was taking a trip down retrospect lane he’d rather not tread in... His hotel room had been ransacked much earlier in the day, and by whom, the answer was still technically unknown. Lei knew, though... It had to have been Fury...
What if Lei had of been there earlier? If he had of never met with Jin in the coffee shop, and Fury instead came to him in his sleep...? Oh gods... the sheer thought of it was too horrible to comprehend...
The detective looked up, following the sound of a snap.
“You spacing out again?” Hwoarang inquired from across the rectangular table, “You’ve been playing with the same grain of rice ever since you sat down.”
“I’m still wondering what’s really going on here, I suppose you could say...” Lei remarked.
Jin gave a nod at this. “And you’re not the only one...”
“Say, why are you using chopsticks?” Hwoarang questioned rather randomly. “I think they’re stupid. Why not just use a fork? Might as well eat with the pins you like to hold your hair up with.”
“As the Chinese tend to say, steel utensils are for the uncoordinated and weak at mind,” Wulong remarked with a smirk.
The redhead returned the smirk. “And chopsticks are either for ancients, or those annoying American tourists who think using chopsticks make them look ‘cool’.”
“Right about the tourists...” Lei cringed after swallowing some domburi.
“I think I’ll just be uncoordinated and weak at mind today, too,” said Jin, who sure enough continued eating with a fork.
“Haha, you called Jin weak at mind,” Hwoarang said with a slight guffaw, gesturing to Lei who was seated across the table from him.
“Can’t you two just eat peacefully?” Jin once again criticized, “I’m really getting tired of repeating myself.”
“Sometimes, I don’t really know if you act more like Jun or Kazuya...” Lei muttered under his breath.
Jin’s glance shot up from his food. It wasn’t a pleasant look, either... “What did you just say?”
“Nothing, Jin,” Lei sighed.
“No, what did you say?”
Lei flinched, noting the tone in Jin’s voice sounded more along the lines of angered. “That wasn’t meant offensively.”
“How dare you compare me to that man?” Jin flared, his muscles notably tensing.
Lei only rolled his eyes at this. He had enough of his own problems mounting on his conscious.
“When I am talking, one will know it is not wise to look away from me,” Jin stated in a stern voice.
The long-haired fighter didn’t say anything, and only stood, gathering his still mostly full plate in hand before heading over to the kitchen.
Jin exhaled a long sigh, then running his right-hand back through his spiky hair. He hated being compared to Kazuya. He hated the thought of being anything like him. He hated having the knowledge that he was the son of this man.
“Jin, you okay here? You sure are steaming...” Hwoarang brought up, after tapping Kazama on the shoulder.
“It’s just been a long day, I suppose...” Jin replied with another sigh in his low voice. “I have a feeling... Just some feeling that something’s terribly wrong here...”
“I’m starting to agree with you...” Hwoarang replied, leaning in as he lowered his voice a bit. “What do you think really happened to Wulong in that mirror house? I mean... What you said earlier... Do you think that really happened?”
“Something tells me if it had really happened, Lei would be much more upset than he is...” Jin whispered in remarks. “But when I got there... He seemed so frightened... I’ve never seen him like that before...”
“Didn’t seem scared when I got there. Just pissed.”
“Thanks to you,” Jin smirked.
When the two fighters noted Lei was nearing the table once again, they both quickly left the subject which they had been previously discussing.
“I know what you were talking about...” Lei muttered. “I already explained what happened. Just leave it alone... And Jin, is it okay if I use your laptop for a few minutes?”
Jin nodded. “Sure, it’s already logged. Go ahead.”
As Lei entered the next room through the bedroom’s open door, Jin and Hwoarang once again looked back at each other.
“Yep, he’s lying, alright,” Hwoarang assured with a nod. “I’ve done it a lot myself, so I can always recognize it.”
“I just thought of something else...”
Jin looked down at his plate ever so briefly, setting down his fork before once again redirecting his glance to the redhead next to him. “If this person knows where Lei was staying earlier, and knew he was at the theme park, then...”
“Oh shit...” Hwoarang remarked, getting the full picture instantaneously. “Fuck. If someone wants Wulong to bite the dust that bad, that means they’d blow up this entire complex to make him dust. There could be a bomb or something here right now.”
Jin shook his head in disagreement. “No... I think Lei would already be dead then... Whoever wants him, wants him alive...”
“That is fucking creepy...” Hwoarang said with a shudder. “Damn, you think some psycho’s going to try and break in here tonight?”
“They just may try at that...” Jin stated in all honesties.
“Which means we better be ready to kick some serious ass tonight,” the Korean assured with a nod.
Jin only exhaled again. He’d really been counting on actually getting some sleep on this night... But Hwoarang was correct. This wasn’t exactly the prime timing for it. If one blink of an eye could catch you off guard, then two blinks could catch you twice as fast...
In the next room, Lei sat rather discontentedly at the desk placed in the bedroom’s far corner. In another attempt to push these rather disquieting thoughts from his mind, he had yet again failed miserably. The harder he tried to forget, the more he remembered in turn. After signing onto the internet under his own name rather than Jin’s, he knew this was the time to go check his e-mail. Maybe more word on the case had turned up? Or at least something... The internet was always the first place anything ever popped up these days.
Lei was quick to check his inbox. Ah, great... A nice mail explaining that no fingerprints were recovered from his ransacked room, since whoever this was had been wearing gloves, and that they had obviously come in through a window on the outside. Lei sighed. He’d been wondering on that issue... Since there were cameras plated in the hall ceiling. This person had apparently cut the window’s glass, before unlocking it by reaching their hand inside. This had Fury written all over it, didn’t it? The more Lei thought about it, the more he began to reach the veracity of the situation. He couldn’t beat Fury physically. But maybe... Just maybe mentally was a whole other story... Still... Hard to consider this option for someone who doesn’t need a second-guess to be classified as clinically insane.
All those years... Wasted years... For what?
Due to his arrogance, Lei had never realized how easy it would be for Fury to kill him at any moment he felt like it... Obviously, there was something else he’d rather do first... Lei shuddered in the spinning chair. There was no way... no way in hell that would ever happen... Yet it almost had... If not for Jin, it would have...
He would have been fucking raped.
“Gods...” Lei murmured, covering his mouth with a hand thereafter. In the back of his mind... No matter how far back, nor how small a portion... did part of him desire this...? It was that part that felt remorse... Remorse for what had happened years ago... Though the shoot-out in that Hong Kong alleyway was started unintentionally, he had, in fact, started it... Lei had wanted to believe this wasn’t Bryan Fury. That this wasn’t the same man who had been his partner... That it was just some... some thing in his body...
That was still Bryan, alright...
Lei saw the sudden, ‘incoming message’ blinking alert on the screen before him. His brows furrowed following. Who could this be? Though it was probably one of his colleagues. Of course. Who else would it be? Funny how they’d know he was online at this exact moment, though...
Wulong accepted the message nonetheless.
I am watching you right now. You are to meet me in the nearby Central Square Park in exactly one hour. Don’t tell Jin or Hwoarang, or I assure you they will suffer for it. They will suffer if you choose not to meet me here. You will suffer if you choose not to meet me here.
See you soon...
Lei’s jaw literally dropped, as his expression painted over in more of a pale, shocked appearance.
This day just kept getting worse and worse...
Then the detective was struck by another realization, and next thing, he was hurriedly out of the computer chair and at the large window to peek through open blinds.
Whoever this was, was watching him right now.
Just great. Just fucking great. It was Fury, wasn’t it?
“Read my lips...” Lei harshly whispered. “You will not harm my friends.”
“What are you doing?”
Lei jumped slightly, before turning. “Oh, Jin. N-nothing.”
“You sure are stuttering a lot lately...” clarified Jin, who then took a few more steps into the bedroom. “I’m not stupid, Lei... And the fact that you keep talking to me like I am is something I’m surely not fond of.”
“Do you want to die, Jin?” Lei whispered, side-glancing to the window yet again.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“I meant exactly what I said,” the detective replied, making sure his words sounded sincere. “Do you?”
“But why, Lei?” inquired Jin, who was still refusing to give up just yet. “Why can’t you just tell me what’s going on here?”
“Because you’ll die if I do...”
“I’m not afraid,” Jin assured in a stern tone of voice. “I do not lose.”
“This is no time for arrogance,” the other fighter retorted. “It’s just like you said. There’s something very wrong here... But only I can fix it.”
Jin just continued to stand without movement, surely appearing confused overall.
“Eh, I agree with Kazama here,” Hwoarang stated, obviously revealing that he had indeed been listening to the entire conversation right outside the door. “If I’m going to be faced here tonight with psychos who are probably gonna wanna kick my ass at your consent, then I’d sure as hell like to know why.”
“I assure you, neither of you will be attacked,” Lei remarked at this.
“I noticed you left yourself out of that,” Jin spoke directly following this. “And just how do you know that?”
“I made a mistake in my past,” Lei suddenly admitted, stepping forwards more into the light. “But that’s just it. It’s my mistake, and my past. I tried to forget about that mistake I made over the years, but I now know I can’t anymore, and I have to do something about it or people are going to continue dying. I can’t bear this any longer... It’s too painful...”
Jin and Hwoarang both stood blankly; neither of them knowing exactly what to speak in remarks to this statement.
“What exactly is this mistake that you made?” Hwoarang asked shortly later, not caring about the issue that he was treading into someone else’s personal business.
Lei exhaled a long sigh, looking down at the carpeted floor. “I... got someone killed... And now someone wants revenge against me because of it...”
“Killed someone... you?” Hwoarang questioned, sounding perplexed. “It was a bad guy then, right?”
Lei’s eyes closed, before he spoke the next few words. “It was my partner...”
Jin and Hwoarang stood blankly yet again, both with shocked appearances on their faces.
“Could you two please leave me alone for a few minutes?” Lei silently requested. “I just need some time to think...”
The other two fighters both gave a nod or two, before turning around to once again exit the bedroom.
“Holy shit...” Hwoarang muttered, as Jin shut the bedroom door behind him. “Why do you suppose Lei would kill his own partner?”
“Maybe he didn’t necessarily mean he killed his partner, rather that he got them killed as he said,” Jin added on. “I just can’t see Lei doing something like that...”
“Everyone gets mad sometimes, Jin. Anger can make you do things you don’t mean to do,” the redhead replied.
“That look...” Jin said in a lower voice, as he and Hwoarang took a seat on the small couch, “I’ve seen that look before... It’s the same kind of look Lei always gets when we discuss my mother... Whoever died, he obviously cared for...”
“I’m actually starting to feel sorry for the guy... A little... As in not very much, of course,” Hwoarang quickly followed up. “He’s still an asshetic cop, after all.”
Jin rolled his eyes. “You don’t honestly still think there’s something going on between us?”
Hwoarang then sighed himself. “Okay fine, I guess not. I just... you know, want you all to myself... Get kinda jealous and stuff here and there sometimes...”
Jin chuckled slightly, “You don’t have anything to worry about. I care for you too much to ever want to hurt you in such a way.”
“Yeah yeah yeah... Get all mushy on me right when Wulong’s in the bedroom,” Hwoarang huffed, though more playfully.
“Hey, we still have the couch right now?” Jin said with a grin.
“Uh oh... you’re setting up the cop for voyeurism now,” the Korean laughed ever so slightly.
“I’m sure he won’t mind if I just do... this,” Kazama assured, right as he leaned in towards Hwoarang, who was already doing exactly the same. Their lips were quick to meet afterwards, as Jin brought up his right-hand to the side of Hwoarang’s face. Long fingers raked through vibrant strands of soft red hair, while Hwoarang gripped the back of Jin’s neck to pull him in harder, deepening the kiss. This didn’t last long, however, for the two quickly broke apart when hearing a strange noise come from the next room...
“Jin, what was that?” inquired Hwoarang, with eyes fixated on the bedroom’s shut door.
The Karate fighter was already out of his seat as he quickly sauntered to the closed door which separated the two adjacent rooms. He was quick to open it thereafter.
“Lei?” Jin questioned upon his first step into the dark room. He soon flicked the light on, only to see no Lei whatsoever...
Hwoarang was at Jin’s side soon enough, and was then taking the same full picture into view as Kazama. “Oh... shit...”
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