Author's Notes: It took me awhile to figure that out in the past year, since that was the hole... Lei’s first partner never really died on an airplane at all, because it WAS Bruce. Lei only saw him as dead, because Kazuya had taken away all of his memories and replaced them with false ones. And yep... I am a real nerd. x.x;

In the Shadows

Chapter 10 - The Force of a Paper Cut

By Sapphire17

Lei’s eyes widened in ultimate horror. All these years... All these endless years he’d gone by blaming himself for so many deaths... Driving him insane. The guilt literally eating him alive day by day.

When all this time, it was Kazuya to blame...

“You... monster!” Lei exclaimed in hate. He even felt tears come to his eyes as he charged right up from the ground and right at the standing CEO.

Kazuya delivered a punch at first available opportunity, and sent Lei straight back down to the ground he had just come from. He then ambled over, reaching down to grab him by the neck as he raised the detective up to his knees.

Kazuya could see the tears in his eyes, making his inner demon grin in delight.

Lee watched from several feet over, and suddenly... this wasn’t fun for him anymore... True, he’d known all about Bruce’s brainwashing after the set-up plane crash all those years ago, on top of everything else... But still... This just wasn’t funny anymore... Somehow, it just wasn’t...

That look on Lei’s face reminded him so much of the one his own had bore so many times in the past...

“Kazuya, don’t do this...” Lee spoke in a calm voice.

Lei gasp for breath as Kazuya’s grasp upon his throat tightened, while he noted the way Kazuya’s eyes had once again taken on that inhuman amber glint of theirs. Despite the way his vision was beginning to blur, the long-haired fighter could visibly see the third eye beginning to surface between Kazuya’s glowing stare. Lei suddenly knew the answer to how the Mishima had been executing people...

Chaolan was right. Lei had unfolded it after all...

It now looked as though death was perhaps the price of learning this...

Lei continued to stare up into Kazuya’s glowing eyes, which were glaring down upon him murderously. He could only imagine what being shot with Devil’s eye-laser was going to feel like... It was said to be the worst imaginable pain ever... “Kazuya... isn’t there even a trace of good left in you? A trace of the man Jun fell in love with...? Even in death, she still loved you... Did it bring you pain, as it did I...?”

Kazuya’s grip temporarily loosened, as all those haunting memories of Jun suddenly came back to roam his thoughts. They’d been trapped in the untouchable corners of his mind for so long... Yet they were able to overlap everything else so quickly... Though Kazuya himself had taken a sudden pause, the demon who shared his soul didn’t agree with this... and was still thirsting for the amusement Lei’s belated death would bring.

Still, at this moment, something rather unexpected happened. Bryan’s form was suddenly mobile again, as his body shot up from the ground in furious rage.

Kazuya was too caught up in his current state of conflicting thoughts to even recognize Bryan’s sudden charge from the ground.

However, someone else did...

A loud cry of pain was heard, as Kazuya and Lei both fell to the floor in having been knocked over with such unimaginable force. For Lei, the hit to the ground wasn’t at all pleasant, yet the feel of his neck being free of Kazuya’s grasp surely was on the contrary. He took a brief moment to better gather his thoughts, and slowly raised his body from the uncomfortable sideways position he had fallen to land in. What he then saw caused him to elicit a startled gasp.

Obviously, Fury had rejuvenated to some degree. Kazuya’s recent declaration was of course enough to give him the will to fuel any outburst with... However, it was clear Kazuya had taken no hit...

It was Lee who had.

Internal blood was visibly draining from the corner of Lee’s mouth as Kazuya flipped him over. He could barely believe what had just happened... It had happened so fast without warning...

“Apparently, Jun wasn’t the only one who loved you...” Lei whispered, looking at Kazuya.

Kazuya felt his eyes start to sting with a familiar, yet distant burning feel as he held Lee in either of his arms; both of them still on the floor.

Above them, Bryan Fury stood to the best of his ability. He was hunched slightly, clutching his scarred chest in the pain of Kazuya’s vicious uppercut he’d earlier been presented with. Still, he was looking angry as ever. “All these fucking years. It was you to blame for my death... I am going to FUCKING KILL YOU!!!”

“Stop it!” Lei exclaimed. “Please... just stop it... I can’t take anymore! Don’t you see where all of this hatred as brought us? It’s molded us with these horrible facades, only to trick us to believing they really are us. A life based solely on hatred is a life we can only hate ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be this way...” Lei looked up at Bryan, who was already looking down at him. “All those years ago... I... I did love you... Damnit, I knew it was wrong, yet I did... But is that part of you still alive? Or did it die just as Kazuya felt his did? Why become the object of your disdain for yourself...?”

As several, unshielded tears fell from his eyes, Lei swore he could see Bryan and Kazuya both trying to hold back their own...

Gods... this was surely one of the most horrible times in their lives...


This went for every one of the four fighters.

Bryan turned his head to the side, making sure no one could see his current expression. No sooner later, he just... walked off.

Next thing, Bryan was out the office doors without looking back even once. No second words, no second glances. Nothing.

Lei found it in him to stand; continuing to watch Kazuya as he held the unconscious Lee in his arms. Apparently, Chaolan hadn’t needed to hear Lei’s previous words to understand them. He had figured them out for himself... Maybe Lee had been right about them having more in common than he thought they had after all...

The long-haired fighter then turned, and did pretty much the same thing Fury had... Half of him had been hoping to see Bryan on the other side of those doors, but no one was to be seen at all. Lei exhaled deeply.

This chapter of his life would have a definite bookmark in the memory department...

“Damnit Kazama, I hate it when you’re right like this...”

“No you don’t. You just hate it when you’re wrong.”

“Shut up,” Hwoarang remarked with a flustered sigh.

“But indeed that’s Lei’s police car,” Jin stated, sounding tentative about the possibilities. “So he’s in here, alright...”

“I’ll bet you Lee told him he had to come here,” Hwoarang responded in assurance, as he and Jin continued walking through the ground level of the floored parking lot.

“Really?” Jin asked; his voice tone one made up entirely of complete sarcasm.

The redhead only grunted and rolled his eyes. “I wonder what’s going on in there...”

“I don’t know. But if it involves Kazuya and Chaolan, then you already know it can’t be good...”

Hwoarang blinked. “...You think Wulong’s dead?”

“Don’t be ridiculous...” Gods, I hope not...

“No harm in walking a little faster, huh?” inquired the Korean, doing just that.

“Right there with you, Hwoa...”

The two fighters were just about to reach the back doors to the Mishima Zaibatsu at this moment, when something that definitely caught their absolute attention took place prior.

“And stay out! Don’t let me catch your snooping ass around here again, or the boss will surely have it!”

A tall, dark guard yelled this as he forcefully shoved none other than Lei Wulong through the glass-plated doors with an angered growl.

Hwoarang turned back to Jin. “See, I told you the whole time there was nothing to worry about, but you never listen to me.”

Lei just stood for a moment, indeed trying to make sure he even had the available momentum to retain proper stability. He redirected his glance upwards, to take in who were obviously Jin and Hwoarang.

The redhead flinched his expressions. “What the hell happened to you? You look like shit.”

Lei’s own expressions were actually rather zombie-like, as Jin’s became rather worried. “Lei, are you alright?”

Lei forced a weak smile. “Of course I am.”

And two seconds later, the detective fell forwards to land right in Jin’s arms.

Hwoarang growled. “See Jin, he did that on purpose!”

“Shut up Hwoarang, no he didn’t,” Jin responded at this. “It looks like he’s passed out... And look at all these bruises...”

“Hey, listen to that,” Hwoarang spoke up as he turned around. “That sounds like ambulance sirens.”

“It is...” replied Jin, already not partial to the given possibilities. “I wonder what happened in there?”

“Looks to me like Wulong was in some kind of a fight,” clarified Hwoarang, who was currently rubbing his chin in thought. “Doesn’t look like he’s breathing right, either...”

Jin nodded in agreement of what Hwoarang had just pointed out, before lowering both himself and Lei closer to the grey cement in order to take a look at something.

“Hey... he tore my shirt!” Hwoarang scowled, now noting the rips in the very center of it.

“That’s what I’m afraid of...” Jin replied, before grabbing the base of the pliable ebony shirt Lei wore and lifting it up a ways.

“Holy crap!” the redhead quite exclaimed at this. “Look at the size of that!”

“Gods...” Jin muttered. “This is horrible...”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if his whole freaking ribcage is broken from the looks of that...” Hwoarang stated in an uneasy voice.

“I think this is the point where we get Lei to the nearest hospital...”

Hwoarang nodded, still staring at the rather large bruising of beaten flesh around Lei’s entire chest and upper torso area. “This guy can’t seem to keep himself outta trouble...”

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