Author's Note: The story will rotate POV between Hwoarang and Jin. It will always be fairly simple to tell which is which, so you shouldn't get lost. Koorime wrote all of Jin's POV, actions, and dialogue, while Link621 wrote Hwoarang's actions, POV, and dialogue. Else than that, please enjoy.
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon, strong language, and that's about it. There is some character bashing, but it does not necessarily reflect our opinions of the characters. Any derogatory remarks containing something about being British are plainly out of anger for Steve Fox, and are in no way intended as discrimination.
DISCLAIMER: The Tekken Tournament/ King of Iron Fist and it's competitors are not ours, they are property of NAMCO. Lyrics quoted in the beginning are from the Wallflower's "Baby Bird" off of their album "Breach".
Tattered Wings - Part 1
~ "Come back babybird
With your dirty wings in tatters
Come home where you belong
Nobody knows you better
Now bring back your velvet heart
And we'll make you brand new feathers
Sleep through the morning light
With your arms around your brother" ~
Act I: Scene I
So, that was the great Steve Fox Jin had ranted and raved about for so long? I was surprised, to say the least. He wasn't quite what I'd... expected. Or, was that hoped for? Never, from Jin's shower of kind words, would I have guessed he was a snobby, stuck-up, cocky, arrogant, blonde, cock-sucking, mother fucker... not to mention British. Jin had never told me he was British.
It was cold outside, like every other day that winter had been. The trees were barren and hanging over me like skeletons reaching down, trying to grab me, occasionally succeeding in snaring my coat in their willowy grasp. It vaguely reminded me of Jin's spindly fingers as they would weave themselves with my hair in the midst of passion. I had to wonder, sometimes, what was passing through Jin's mind as his fingers laced in my short, spiked hair. Was he actually paying any mind to those fingers that made little patterns on my skull?
It wasn't long before I realized I'd quickened my pace.
It wasn't that expensive to catch a cab in the part of Tokyo where Jin and I lived. It wasn't like I couldn't take the bus, or my motorcycle either, but I'd grown fond of walking the streets alone. I think I picked up the habit when I was still back with my gang in Korea. I needed the fresh air... I needed the time to clear my mind. After all, I'd just left my... lover and his new "friend" alone together at a coffee shop while I was supposed to be with that aforementioned lover grabbing a cup of double shot mocha cappuccino. Steve Fox, English kick-boxing extra-ordinaire walked up to us, wearing a grin that could make the devil shy away, and called, "G'Day, Jin!"
My hands clutched into fists at my sides. That little son of an English bitch. He was so arrogant in the way he walked, as if he had something to flaunt. He kept smoothing his hair, as if to perfection, and looking through half-lidded eyes at me like he was trying to pick a fight. Did that little prick really think he could win a fight against me: the Hwoarang? I grumbled, pressing on through the bitter cold. I wasn't going home any more; not after that.
Who the hell says "g'day" anymore, anyway?
That impudent little bastard strode right up to us, with no regard of me, and began a conversation with Jin. Jin had to practically stutter out an introduction of me when Steve paused to take a breath. I licked my lips, irritated with how chapped they were becoming. The winter seemed to drag on forever, and the dry, cold air slowly sucked away my energy. I'm like a plant, I need sunlight, damn it! I'm positive I have chlorophyll in me somewhere; unlike Steve. He was just his own little ball of sunshine, now wasn't he?
I was ready to fucking kill that bastard, I swear. "Hwoarang, eh?" He looked me down, a smirk slowly growing on his face. "Jin has told me so much about you." Stupid Brit. Didn't he know he ought to call Jin by his surname out of respect? Or, were they really that good of friends? And what exactly had Jin said about me to get the kind of look I got from Steve?
"Bastard!" I shouted, booting a can that would have otherwise been squashed under my boot. "Monkey-raping bastard." I continued to curse under my breath, saying a few things I am sure were not anatomically possible. By the time I'd realized where my wandering feet had led me, it was too late to turn back. Wind gently blew fallen trash like dry leaves in late fall across my feet. The flowers he had placed before her grave shifted slightly.
"Hwoarang, won't you stay a little while longer?" Steve had teased as I got up, without waiting for my coffee to be delivered to me. I looked right at his eyes, and I could see he was catching every ounce of the intensity of my gaze without even flinching. Then, the smirk only grew. "Wouldn't it be rude to leave your date alone with another man? Maybe even... unwise, Hwoarang?" One thick dark eyebrow raised at me, giving him an amused look.
I looked to Jin. He hadn't spoken a word to me, and I couldn't see the look on his face under the shroud of his hood. His posture showed he was uncomfortable, but he didn't deny anything Steve said, and he hadn't tried to stop the fight that nearly broke out between us only moments before. "Do as you please," I spat, directed at Jin. He looked up at me, and I could see the slight shift in his hood as he turned his head, exposing some of his long ebony bangs and one of his almond eyes. I sneered, nearly seething with anger at the whole situation. Jin didn't look fazed in the least. Remind me to kick his ass.
I looked at her grave again, wondering why my feet had led me here. "Here lies Kazama Jun," the Epitaph read. "May she rest in peace."
"So, that's Hwoarang? After all I heard about him, I expected more. Jin, are you sure you're not setting your standards a little low?"
I raised my eyes from where they fixed on my hands, glancing at the kick-boxer. I looked away almost as suddenly. I couldn't seem to hold anyone's gaze for longer than a moment. There was especially something in the way that Steve looked at me, a light in his eyes that was playful yet equally derisive.
He didn't like Hwoarang.
"What standards?" Was my voice really that quiet?
"'What standards', Jin?" Steve smiled playfully, though it faded fast. "You really like him, huh?"
I didn't even have to look at him, knew the look he wore and it made a vague heat rise in my cheeks. "Do you think that I do?"
"You would have gone after him if I wasn't here, right? Not to mention, you didn't say a word, even when he was so... cold to you. If I didn't know better, Jin, I'd say you're in trouble."
I glanced sidelong as a waitress came up to our table, setting down our order. She paused as she held the third drink, glancing at the two of us. "Oh... I'm sorry, is this the wrong table?"
I shook my head. "No. No trouble."
At this, the young girl smiled and put the extra drink before me: Hwoarang's double shot mocha cappuccino. A weak smile. I wasn't too fond of the drink, it was far too bitter for my tastes.
I wondered if I was supposed to look at Steve when I answered him. "There's no trouble."
"I don't like this one bit," Steve hissed. "Jin, you realize what he is? He's nothing but a ruffian. He doesn't treat you well, he speaks like a pro athlete after a losing game, and he is arrogant enough to shame anyone I've ever known." Steve leaned across the table a little. "Not to mention, he wants to kick your ass the first chance he gets."
I tensed at the tone in my friend's voice. Yes, I knew all of this. But no, it didn't make a difference.
"He wants to be the best," I murmured. And Hwoarang would never stop until he was the best. But he would never take orders. He wouldn't listen to some drill sergeant, so why should he listen to me, or even Steve for that matter? I looked the heady blond in the eye. In a way, his manner reminded me of Hwoarang. "Don't you?"
Steve smirked, catching the drift. "Hwoarang is the best at what he does, as am I. The question is not really whether or not Hwoarang wants to be the best, Jin. The question is, is he the best for you? I think you should give it some serious thought." He took a sip of his drink.
I stared hard at my drink and the steaming mug that stood next to it. Nobody was perfect. I resisted the urge to bring my hand to the dark mark that burned on my arm; the obsidian that bled into my skin singed with renewed heat. No, nobody could ever be perfect. "I'm not looking for the best."
I stood, pulling the hood lower and dark hair fell around my eyes, shutting him out of my peripheral vision. Suddenly I wasn't thirsty. I just wanted to leave.
"In that case, might I suggest you at least don't settle for the worst?" Steve's smirk was evident in his voice. Then there was a pause. "Just... be careful Jin. You should know by now what he is capable of. Especially if he is already running rampant with your emotions."
My throat was suddenly dry; I couldn't help looking at him then. The British boxer was laid back against the seat, looking at me with a serious expression, though it was gentle and... endearing at the same time. Thank you for caring, Steve... But it's really none of your affair. Strangely, I couldn't find anything to say. I felt bad leaving without saying anything, but I had no response to that.
Instead, I threw down a few bills I knew was more than sufficient and turned on my heel. Cold wind cut into me as I opened the door, it was hard leaving this warmth to go back into that frigid air, but some things were inevitable. I didn't wait to see if Steve would stop me, it made no difference if he did or not. In the end, nobody came chasing after me, nobody called my name as I walked the busy streets of Tokyo, not quite sure where I was going.
I suppose that I was looking for him. I didn't have the slightest clue where I should look, in the end all these thoughts just tasted bitter on my tongue, so I started for the one place I knew - hoped - he would eventually return to: home, if one could call it that. It was just a place. An apartment I inhabited and invited the Korean to share with me when I learned he had returned to Tokyo; entered into the Fourth Iron Fist Tournament. I knew that he had nowhere else to stay, knew that he didn't have enough in his pockets to keep him off the streets at night. But I didn't know that he would accept aid from me, I don't even remember why I offered it to begin with: me, his supposed rival. Maybe I am his rival. In his eyes, I think am. All of this means nothing to me.
I returned to Tokyo for one reason: my sole purpose was to destroy the Mishima line, the heinous bloodline of corruption and deceit. There is shadow in our kin. Even without the devil inside him, my… grandfather proved no lesser demon. No… he is not a demon; he is a man. That is what sickens me. I should not have expected so much from humans… I don't know where I stand anymore. I'm no longer one of them, yet I'm not completely apart.
I cannot say my name and withhold my wince, feeling as though I have betrayed her: the mother that gave me her name, a banner of respect and one I hold dear. Somehow, I feel as though her name helps keep the demon at bay, but I will never be apart from it. It lingers in wait, never sleeping, always kindling and beckoning me with its talloned grasp… I feel my control slipping, every second of every day, my resolve depletes that sparse bit more. I would like to think that it's not worth notice, that I'm merely becoming more acquainted with the notion of existing as the shell of a hellspawn. One day, however, the last of my… humanity will fade, and only my father's curse shall remain. Before that morning, I will see my grandfather's work undone. I will end the Mishima line.
Swiping an entrance card into the apartment complex, I looked over my shoulder, almost expecting - hoping - to find a familiar redhead. I bit the inside of my cheek as I found nothing but passing strangers. A strange feeling twisted in my chest and I pushed the door open, stepping inside and out of the cold. It was warmer in here, but not by much.
Looking down at the streets from the balcony of our apartment, I found myself searching the pedestrians for that striking red mane. The mark on my arm burned spitefully once more as I thought of the defiant Korean gang leader and assumed rival, Hwoarang.
My hand clutched to the marred bicep through the thick material of my jacket... so cold. The wind seeped through the layers of cloth, or perhaps it bloomed from within. I stopped caring.
I was cold.
I needed fire… I needed that kindred flame that could ward the chill; that could help me forget. I didn't care that the memories and ice wind returned in the end. I needed something that could keep me to this Earth long enough to finish what I came for.
A strong gust bled my hood back and I recoiled; shivering. Stepping back into the apartment, I slid the balcony doors shut and kneeled before the live hearth. It was not enough. My hands shook as I looked at them, they covered my face and I breathed deeply. I had shamed her and myself.
Mishima. Kazama. I leaned my forehead to my knees, eyes closing wearily. Hwoarang.
So cold… Hwoarang…
It must have been sometime well after midnight when I finally made my way back to the apartment. It had literally taken me that long to soothe the murderous thoughts about that Steve Fox guy. Now, I know I'm going to kill him, I'm just not going to think about it. It's a sight-association thing. See Steve Fox, turn into a murderous monster and strangle him with his jock strap. Okay, maybe not quite like that, but heads would roll if he ever treated me like he did that day again.
The pompous, arrogant, worthless, impudent.... I smiled ironically as I reached the door to the apartment complex. "Who are you describing?" A voice inside my head wondered, "Steve or yourself?"
I fumbled for my key, amazed at how ungraceful my cold digits could be. I was sure I had put it in my back pocket.... Aha! My nearly frost-bitten fingers clasped around the key card and I brought it to bear in front of my face. I was wearing my gloves with no fingers that I wore to fight. Leave it to me to wear finger-less gloves on one of the coldest nights Tokyo had ever seen. I scowled, swiping the card through the door, which unlocked obligingly and let me into the massive building.
And I mean massive. Move over Empire State building.
Okay, not that massive. I grew up in a small temple dojo, though. Living with Jin was an altogether different experience than my childhood with Baek had been.
I didn't belong there, and I knew it. For Jin's sake, I tried not to be seen coming and going in my street clothes because I knew he was a respected member of the upper class. So, how did he end up with a worthless piece of AWOL Korean trash? I have no idea.
"Kazama," I'd said. "You live in Tokyo now? I thought you wanted to stay in your mother's cabin." He said nothing as we continued to walk toward the apartment where we both now reside. I realized, maybe too late, we were passing a graveyard. Turning my head slightly to the side, I looked past Jin, and one gravestone instantly caught my eye. "You came to be near your mother. I guess that makes sense." Jin's face was hidden in his ever-present hood, so I couldn't judge his expression. I just shrugged and let the boy have his secrets.
Sometime after that he'd asked me to move in with him. After all, I was going into the fourth Tekken tournament, the same as him, and he didn't say it, but I'm penniless. I think that was when our... whatever it is developed. I dare not say we have a relationship. After all, I don't love him. What the hell is love anyway? I'm pretty damn sure it's nothing like what I feel for Jin. Jin is my hard-earned friend, forged from respect instead of common interests and niceties. Jin is someone I like to be with, and who seems to understand me better than most people. Pushing all that aside, he is also a seriously nice piece of ass. I'd chosen the word "lovers" carefully to define us, because everything else was either crude or too fluffy.
The night-shift doorman yawned and waved to me. Doormen are one of the many reasons I really hate this place. They take everything from you just to hand it back to you. "Let me take your coat," they'll say, just to hand the folded version of the coat they've just removed back to you for you to carry. And don't even get me started on what happens if you have luggage. I acknowledged the doorman with a nod, refusing any more than this, and made a beeline for the elevator. It was one of those glass elevators that lets you see the lobby as you ride up. Like I wanna see the lobby as it drifts away like a memory!
I was a teensy bit afraid of heights, after all. Okay, so maybe I practically had a phobia, but regardless, I only kept my eyes fixed on the doors that would slide open when I reached floor fifteen. As usual, I practically spilled out of the elevator the fist chance I got, landing in an ungraceful heap on the opposite side of the hall. I sat there for a long moment, returning my breath to normal, and the elevator went off to claim its next victim. I briefly stuck my tongue out at the closed doors, then stood, dusting off my jeans. For some reason, I'd omitted the chaps that day. I think it was because I got up twenty minutes late and paid for it by being rushed out the door by a certain Japanese youth with ebony hair.
Room 1502 was on the far end of the hall to the left, in the most inconvenient little corner. I often wondered why Jin picked the place. I also wondered why there was no room 1501. It's one of those questions you just don't ask for fear of getting a logical answer. I still had my key card clutched in my hand, so I swiped it through the available spot on the door handle and waited for the little light to shift to green. The door unlocked, and I opened it gently, pushing it lightly with my shoulder. The room was dark except an eerie orange glow on the wall directly across from me. The entryway was a hall, so I couldn't really see what was going on inside the apartment. I could only assume that the fireplace had been started.
I turned to my right, opening the coat closet and hanging my well-broken-in leather biking jacket inside. I closed the door as quietly as possible. After all, I couldn't risk that Jin was asleep and I might wake him. He's kinda weird right after he wakes up. I know this from too much time spent warding off the early-morning version of Jin. He gets... well, grabby, I guess. Plus, this happens at about eight in the morning, halfway through my sleep schedule. Sometimes I find myself questioning the relative sanity of Kazama Jin. But, hell, I'm sure he beats the hell outta me.
When I was finally facing the hearth, I was met with a surprise. Jin lay there, looking as peaceful as an angel fast asleep in a fetal position. His hood was off his head, showing me his strong profile. Honestly, I never got sick of it. I frowned. I hope he hadn't been waiting up for me. I pressed the fingers of my right hand into the biceps of my left arm, carefully check if they were warm again, and then kneeled beside Jin. I cupped my hand around one side of the proud jut of his jaw, and found myself lightly caressing his cheekbone with my thumb. He was a sight to behold at any hour. I often felt myself wondering, looking at a face like this, if he could really have his father's curse.
He was a mirror for his mother when he slept.
I leaned down and lightly brushed my lips against his forehead. A couple of his long spikes of bangs were caught in between my lips and his skin, much to my amusement. This close, I could also smell his shampoo. I think it had to be some sort of mint, or something. Whatever it was, it was intoxicating. I pulled back, careful not to make noise or to breathe too heavily on his face. I could see his eyes were shifting under his eyelids, and I was sure he wasn't stirring; it was just REM. I smiled fondly, wondering what he was dreaming. I could see his lips moving very slightly, as if trying to form a word.
My heart felt cold. There I was, street trash, looking at my rival like he was everything beautiful and righteous in the world. Well, bull shit. And, since when did I care, anyway? I was pretty sure I didn't, and I was just being moody.
Shaking my head, I stood, heading for the bedroom. Inside, I stripped down to my boxers, searching for my pajama pants for over ten minutes. I swear I am the most disorganized person in the world. As I pulled them on, I caught my image in the mirror, suddenly feeling self-conscious. I clasped the root of this feeling in my hand, paralyzed, staring into my own amber eyes. Baek Doo San's locket was my most precious possession, but I was the only one who knew I wore it. At least, I don't think Jin had found me out. I averted my eyes as I removed the necklace and re-hid it in my tennis shoe, the only place I could think of where someone wouldn't eventually stumble upon it. "Someone" very specifically meant Jin, of course.
I grabbed the comforter off the bed, along with three pillows. I have to sleep with two pillows for some reason, don't ask me why. Jin, on the other hand, can hardly even sleep with one pillow. I'm pretty sure why he uses the pillow is just to keep from getting a crick in his neck, even if it causes him a little extra discomfort when drifting off to sleep. Hands full, I silently thank myself for leaving the bedroom door open and move back out into the living room.
I knelt by Jin again, carefully unzipping his jacket that he loved so desperately. I lightly placed one palm on the flat of his stomach, and smiled sadly. As I'd thought, his skin was like ice. I was naturally a warm-blooded person, always running what most people would consider a fever. Jin was quite the opposite. He was always a little colder than most except on one spot on his body. He would kill me if he knew that I reached inside his coat to gently test the temperature of the mark on his arm. I barely kept from recoiling in pain when our skin met. His flesh over that mark was searing, as if fire burned beneath it. But, why was it doing that then? It usually only flared up in times of extreme negative emotions, or so Jin had explained.
Trying not to think too hard, I gently lifted Jin's head, placing the pillow between his curled arm, and his head before letting his head ease back down. I took the other two pillows and set them next to his head on the ground. I then grabbed the comforter and lay it over the sleeping boy's body. In silence, I lay down beside him, slipping under the blanket, and feeling the heat of the fire at my back. I slid my arms around his waist, under the blanket, and pulled myself as near to him as I could without waking him. He was so cold. I'd never felt the skin of the living this cold.
I brushed my chapped lips over his soft ones, careful to not wake him, and settled into my pillows to sleep. I really hope I wasn't the cause of this. After all, I ran off because I was angry with that Steve guy. Or was it that he intimidated me? I hugged Jin a little tighter possessively, and let my mind drift off to the land of gumdrops, fairies, and the repeated slow, bloody murder of Steve Fox.
Black feathers fluttered down before me, tickling my bared skin. They skimmed swathes of heat over my bound wrists, the burning mark on my arm. The sharp pincers of heat elicited more pain than warmth; I attempted to pull away when it brushed my jaw but the invisible chains held me still. I opened my eyes and was instantly blinded by a pure effervescence of pearled white.
I recoiled but the light pierced the veil of my lids, unforgiving in its rays.
// Open your eyes, Jin-kun… //
My breath hitched at the voice that entreated gently, one that I had never thought to hear again and it rolled in my mind, echoing softly. I looked up as a warm hand trailed light fingers of my jaw; a beautiful smile crossed the peaceful visage of Kazama Jun.
// Kaa-san… ? //
My lips moved and though I could make no sound, I seemed to hear my own voice in my head as I had hers. I sounded weak, almost pitiful and I could feel the sharp sting at the back of my eyes. Her smile faded slightly at this, those glowing fingers moved to brush away the moisture that leaked from my eyes, her own lips moved silently as she held my gaze. Finally, she held my face in her hands; so gentle. I felt so filthy in those hands, my skin burned where she touched it. Her eyes searched mine until I nodded slowly, hands clenching into fists were they remained bound at my sides.
My mother's hand traced the dark mark on my arm, speaking softly still. I shook my head and tried to pull away from the touch; my mother raised her other hand to her lips, laying her palm flat on the scar.
// Wake, Jin-kun. //
My eyes slid open against the weight of sleep, blinking slowly as they focused in the dark setting of the living room. The fire had long since hushed to a few glowing embers; I found myself curled against a familiar form. Looking up from where I'd laid my head on his chest, I felt my lips purse as I laid eyes on the face of my lover.
Hwoarang's red hair sprayed out over the pillows as he slept, one of the soft cushions had fallen to the side and lay forgotten by the Korean's arm. A reassuring warmth settled in my chest as I nuzzled my head under Hwoarang's chin, smiling softly.
Hwoarang had come home.
Long fingers curled over the redhead's torso into a loose fist as I laid my cheek to the warm skin and exhaled shakily. Always so warm… My cooled skin exalted as I pressed myself firmly to the other martial artist, reveling in the newfound heat. That strange, twisting ache returned as I lay there, staring into the dying hearth.
It was sad, yet detached, however, unmistakably akin to loss…
I brushed my lips over the skin at Hwoarang's collarbone, the distinct contrast in temperature to my own core eliciting a small shiver. The tip of my tongue flickered along the sharp bone, questing for a flavor to that warmth that the redhead uniquely possessed.
"Well... good morning to you, too," Hwoarang suddenly grumbled in a very groggy voice.
I stopped, tensing slightly. I chanced a look up at the redhead, feeling a bit foolish. " ... "
"Are you warmer this morning, Jin? You were like ice last night when I came home." The Korean's voice held just a hint of worry, and he looked, miraculously, very serious.
My gaze averted down then back to the hearth. "It gets cold around here."
Hwoarang was silent, unlacing himself from my embrace to sit up, rubbing his neck. "Well, whatever. Just, try not to fall asleep on the floor next time. I'm gonna be sore all day, for sure." Hwoarang's arm did a poor job of hiding a blush.
A small smile found my lips, one of my hands slid around the redhead's waist as I leaned in, lips brushing beneath his sharp jaw. "Don't go yet."
Hwoarang turned his head to me, obviously fighting some stiffness from sleeping in an awkward position. His lips slowly curved into the devil's own smile. "Miss me?" he asked playfully. He put one hand under my chin, turning my face up to force me to look him in the eye.
I used one of my hands to cover the gentle fingers under my jaw, though for some reason I couldn't hold his gaze for longer than a few moments. "I didn't know if you were coming back. You were... angry with me." It wasn't a question but I lifted a shoulder, shrugging in dismissal.
"Hardly. To tell you the truth, I was too busy contemplating the death of that ostentatious bastard Steve Fox to... really...." Hwoarang laughed nervously. "I said that aloud, huh?"
Sighing softly my hand fell from his wrist, coming to a stop at his elbow. "You don't like him, do you?"
"Is it that obvious?" Hwoarang smirked.
"He doesn't like you very well either." Why did two of my closest friends have to detest each other so?
"Good for him. Maybe he'll stay away from us, then."
I noticed that Hwoarang's voice had become cold and frowned a bit. "What do you mean? Steve is my friend."
"Is that a fact?" Hwoarang seemed to bristle. "He sure was friendly enough, I suppose. I mean, I had no idea you guys were so close. He even called you 'Jin'. Maybe he's just a stupid gaijin..." Hwoarang released me, turning away. "I don't think he's the kind of person you should be hanging around."
My frown deepened as Hwoarang's words washed over me, these lines were all too familiar. Had I not already stated that Steve Fox was my friend countless times? The blond kick-boxer was far more amicable than Hwoarang knew, if only the redhead could get to know him… I reached for the Korean's shoulder and leaned forward, lips skittering over his ear, brushing straight copper tresses. "I choose my own company."
Hwoarang turned, fire in his eyes. "Great, I'm just a 'choice'." Hwoarang's eye twitched with irritation. He closed his eyes, shaking slightly. "Fine, then. I suppose you're thinking I'm being childish and irrational." When his eyes opened again, he looked more like the rival he'd proclaimed himself over two years before. "Maybe you should run to your little boyfriend and tell him all about it." He added, "I'm sure he'd like to know."
I felt myself scowl. I wasn't in the mood for this argument again, not now nor ever. "Indeed. You are being irrational; but I don't have to tell Steve anything." I looked away and sat back. "I chose you." It was as simple as that. I started picking up the strewn pillows, rising to my knees as I cast a sidelong glance at the now extinguished embers in the darkened hearth.
Hwoarang stood, heading toward the bedroom. "I'm going out," he practically snapped over his shoulder as he went in search of clothes. "I don't know when I'll be home."
My hand stilled and I bit the inside of my cheek, clutching the pillows in fists and under arm. Rising to my feet, I made my way into the bedroom and disposed them on the bed. To my side, Hwoarang busied himself in the walk-in closet, searching for his vest. A stream of muttered curses filtered to my keen ear. I looked back at the open closet, catching a flash of red hair and a particularly venomous exclaim from which I only managed to discern the name of Steve Fox. I moved to the bedroom's entrance, hand on the frame - and then turned back, closing the door behind me. Leaning against the cool wood, I folded my hands behind my back and stared at the made bed silently: waiting.
Fully dressed and fully disgruntled, Hwoarang came out of the closet wearing all but one shoe. He grumbled about it for a moment before finding it, and pulling something gold from it that was quickly shoved in his pocket before slipping into the pre-tied shoe. He then looked up. "Kazama...."
I was careful to show no response to the call, though low and threatening. I blinked slowly, pulling my gaze from the sheets to fix on the fiery martial artist.
"You're in my way," Hwoarang pointed out, straining to sound vaguely polite.
The situation probably shouldn't have been this amusing but I felt the corner of my mouth lift in the barest hint of a smirk; I didn't move.
"Do you want something, Kazama?" Hwoarang all but growled. He then closed his eyes, pausing to chuckle, and opened his eyes again, now looking amused.
If anything, those words only fed me, long fringe falling haphazardly around my eyes as I tipped my head forward half a notch. Perhaps some of the redhead's mannerisms were rubbing off on me. In any event, I was going to need a haircut. "You," I said finally.
Hwoarang blinked, glancing at his watch. "I guess it is just about eight in the morning," he commented like it was some sort of inside joke. Then, he looked back at me, seeming to be no longer disgruntled, and far more pouty. "After all my hard work to get dressed?"
At this I moved forward, hands sliding up his chest to the shoulders, stopping at his neck. I stroked the pale skin beneath my hands and was struck with the sudden notion to press my lips to it. "A few hours before eight. Dawn hasn't yet broken," I murmured distractedly. Undressing was just half the fun, I mused, pulling Hwoarang down to me.
Sparks of heat raced along my skin as our lips met. This was what I wanted. Drawing him against me, I shudderd as my arms were filled with the striking warmth. I almost smiled as his nimble fingers quickly unfastened the wristwatch while I led him towards the bed. The low frame knocked the back of my knees; I tumbled down and brought the redhead with me.
We collapsed onto the plush mattress, soft sheets creasing under our dense weight as I quickly divested Hwoarang of his shirt, fingers threading in the silken mane when I brought him down for another kiss. Even as I pressed myself up into the heated form of my lover, I felt the familiar twinge of that ache in my chest. In my heart.
It saddened me that I had to resort to such measures to keep Hwoarang's rage in check.
Hwoarang's mouth diverted so he could place light kisses along my neck, occasionally grazing his teeth over the sensitive flesh, smiling as I let out very tiny, almost weak pleas. He continued to work his way down, his smile growing. Meanwhile, his hands had traveled to my sleeves, impatiently snaring my jacket in thin fingers. He met with the collar at the base of my neck, and tugged at it gently with his teeth, giving me pleading eyes.
My brow creased in confusion for a moment at the expression he wore. Apprehension replaced confusion as realization dawned. I looked down and after a long moment, sat up; swallowing involuntarily, I started to slowly remove the jacket, repressing a small wince when the scar hissed spitefully.
Hwoarang's eyes narrowed, but not like they had when he was angry earlier. The look was predatory, though not quite spiteful. He let his left shoulder rest against my right shoulder, and twisted so he could press his lips over the scar. Instantly, he hissed in pain, but he was determined. He lightly ran his tongue over the design, tracing its curves like eyes over a nice figure.
My eyes widened, stomach wrenching as Hwoarang's lips caressed the scar, his slick tongue running hot over the searing brand. My initial reaction was a strange sort of revulsion that struck low in my gut; I didn't want him to do this, and I could find no logical reason why he should. Why he would. All I knew was that even if I had wanted to, I would be unable to stop him. The sheets were cold against my back. Mute and shivering, a cold chill spread in my bones, under my skin.
I thought that I heard dark laughter, derisive with the unmistakable undertone of power; perhaps it was just in my mind. I pressed a hand over my eyes, trying to block out the fearful echo, the frigid ice seeping through me.
Hwoarang paused, just lying warm against my body. "Jin, you're cold again," he whispered. He lightly stroked some of my hair in a soothing fashion, making a full 180-degree turn in his mood. A small smile graced his lips as he moved his hand to brush a thumb over my lips. "It's that mark, isn't it?" Hwoarang smiled sadly and I finally met his eyes. Bewildered by what I found, I was clueless to what I should make of it. He leaned down, claiming my lips to keep me from answering. Both his hands moved to fasten to my waist, anchoring us together. Hwoarang lifted his face so he could plant subordinate kisses on my face on my cheekbones, forehead, and even my nose and chin. "It's me, huh?" He suddenly wondered.
It wasn't Hwoarang; it was me. My hands tensed where they entwined in Hwoarang's hair, the other splayed on his back, fingers dipping into the hard ridge of muscle around the spine. I wasn't sure what to make of this new display that I could only call affection. Hwoarang seldom endeavoured far beyond brashly cute... this was a side to him I had always suspected existed. Suspected and hoped, but never seen.
Cold. It was so cold. My shivers only increased in tremor as I bit the inside of my cheek to suppress the small whimper that leaped in my throat. Burying my face in his hair to hide the tears that were soon to spill, I shook my head. Something in my stomach twisted violently and I had to bite down to keep from crying out. What was that? There was an answering twitch in my back, at my shoulder blades; and my eyes widened in shock. Pulling back, I was unable to withhold my grimace as my stomach seized again and the scar burned.
Holding my arm just below the mark I looked at it, almost expecting to see it enveloped in glowing white flame. "Ite.... "
Hwoarang recoiled in surprise, shifting from my eyes to the mark on my arm. "Jin!" He yelped, almost sounding horrified. He sat a moment, just staring at me before he moved again, putting a hand under my chin. "Jin, what is it?" He seemed to be trying to get my eyes with no avail. The smallest movement instigated agonising shocks that made me wince. His voice lowered just a bit. "What can I do to help?"
"Iie," I said immediately, though it sounded strained. I started to push past the redhead, barely able to utilize my motor skills properly as I was shaking so badly. Cold, pained and subsequently weakened, the mood seemed lost. Wasn't I supposed to be the strong one?
Hwoarang growled low in his throat. "Stay put, Jin, you need to rest. I don't know what's wrong with you, but I'm positive you shouldn't be up." Hwoarang put a hand to my icy chest, pushing me lightly back.
My breath came out broken and I crumbled under the heat. Aren't you strong, Kazama? I asked myself. Or are you no longer worthy to bear her name? She fought this evil until the end; until her end.... "I'm not-" I was abruptly cut off as the pain in my arm shot through me like a jolt of lightning. A strangled groan leaked through clenched teeth as my eyes squeezed shut and for a moment light flared behind my eyelids.
The mattress dipped as Hwoarang lay down beside me, taking me into his arms. He seemed oddly comfortable, though clamped around a rigid body. "Jin, I'm here," Hwoarang whispered.
My breathing was heavy as I clung to the uncharacteristically sympathetic Hwoarang; but I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to hold to that soothing warmth. Another chilled shudder ran down my spine and I buried my face in the redhead's neck to muffle a pained cry. "So… cold.... "
Hwoarang's arms tightened. He was shaking too, now. "I'll chase it away," he opted, sounding protective, almost like a father.
I was already shaking my head. "You can't." Nobody can.... I snarled inwardly as my voice choked, a soft sob threatening to tear from my lips. I had to be strong. I had to fight it. Had to fight... That particular venture promptly died as the cold erupted into a scalding overflow, nullifying any further thought and letting me know for the first time, the true essence of agony.
// You can never defeat what you do not know.... //
My back arched as the scream finally spilled forth, despite my futile efforts to stifle it. White-hot pain raced along my every nerve like electrified lava; I wasn't sure if I was still breathing.
"Jin!" Hwoarang exclaimed in fear. He had to back away from my flailing form. His brows furrowing as he bit heavily into his lip.
// You will know me.... //
Flash. Pain. Flash. Something tore deep inside me. I managed to bite back the scream this time, hands folding tightly over my abdomen. But that voice… I shook my head and reached for Hwoarang, faltering when I saw the terrified expression that he wore. No, I wouldn't let him see. "Please.... " I didn't realise I was pleading until I had said it, and it was already too late to take back.
Hwoarang's jaw was slightly ajar and he had to chomp it together a couple times at attempted speech before he decided to just leave it shut. He gently held out his hand, hovering just centimeters from touching my outstretched fingers. There, he stopped himself, looking quite unsure.
// Show me, little Jin. Show me how strong you are. //
The burning ache clenched in my chest as Hwoarang hesitated; but I focused all my will on ignoring the dark voice that whispered from the shadows of my mind. Leaning up, I took Hwoarang's hand in my own. Kissing the open palm, I pushed back the tears as the voice came again, raking invisible talons up my spine.
// Will you plead, little Mishima? //
I forced myself to meet the amber depths that swirled with doubt. "I need.... "
// No, it's what you want. How long will you fight me? //
"Jin?" Hwoarang leaned forward very slightly, shifting his hand to cup my face. "What do you need?"
// You will fall. Or you could rise... with me. //
No. Never. Not ever.
I braced myself against the agony wracking my body; it was purely metaphysical. If I could block it out....
// You will fall. //
I had already fallen.
But that was one of two things I could not ask of him. "Just make it stop. Please."
Hwoarang was at a loss, and it showed in his face. "I don't know how, Jin." He sounded weary and regretful. But, he also seemed to understand. "Tell me what I need to do," Hwoarang insisted, scooting closer again.
I shook his head helplessly. "Anything... " God, it hurt.
// You cannot ask this of him. //
"Hwoarang.... " I pleaded, unable to voice my need. Anything, I repeated to myself. Just please drown out that voice....
Hwoarang's eyes narrowed dangerously. He leaned forward, taking my lips with his own, his hands now resting over either side of my breast-bone. The kiss was chaste, and short-lived, and resulted in Hwoarang meeting my eyes from very close. "I still don't understand, Jin, but I'd do anything to help you."
// Do you see how blind you have made him? //
Anything... for me? I was devastated but I would not let the demon sway me. I silenced Hwoarang with another brutal kiss that lacked my usual tenderness. I pulled the Korean back against me, urging the redhead forward. I would have surprised myself, had my desperation to escape my own mind not been so overwhelming. My hands tugged insistently at Hwoarang's pants, refusing to break the contact of our lips. This significantly slowed our progress and I frowned in confusion as Hwoarang pulled away, chuckling.
What was he laughing at?
"Hang on a sec, I'll get there, okay?" Hwoarang chuckled more, unzipping his pants and sliding out of them on his own. "Aren't we feisty?" he added, pouncing on me, pushing me back into the bed. "Your turn," he purred, gently rubbing his cheek over the growing hardness in my pants. He then went for the button of the pants, somehow undoing it with his tongue, then yanked on the zipper with his teeth. "Can you handle the rest?"
I blinked in confusion, grateful for the lust that was swirling over for dominance. "W... what?"
"The pants, Jin," Hwoarang explained, rolling his eyes. He then smirked. "Or am I supposed to remove those with my mouth, too?"
"... Oh." I sat up, fingers slipping beneath the waist of my loose jeans and I pushed them down to my knees, having to settle back to draw them off completely. A small shiver coursed through me as I settled back against the pillows, only clad in boxers. Reaching for the martial artist, I pulled him down into a tight embrace. "I'm cold," I muttered, almost petulantly.
"I'm sure we can do something about that," Hwoarang whispered in my ear. He lightly licked the lobe of my ear, then gently blew out his breath over the wet skin. I shivered, letting out a shaky breath. He seemed pleased with my reaction and his way down to my navel, delving his tongue into the indentation there. Hwoarang kissed his way back up my abdomen and chest before he found my lips again.
The tease he was, Hwoarang met my lips only long enough for it to really be a kiss, and then he was off again, trailing butterfly kisses down the opposite side of my neck than where he'd started. A few more wet kisses into tanned flesh later, he was grinning at me challengingly just before taking one nipple in between his lips, nibbling it lightly. His stray hands were braced on my hips, both threatening the elastic of my boxers.
I stifled the low moan, but my voice was husky when I spoke. "Don't tease.... " That was stalling and I hated delay. Fingers threaded through the crimson mane as I arched into that wonderfully warmth mouth, aching to feel the slick heat again. I pulled Hwoarang's head up to me, one hand tangled in his hair as the other kept myself from falling back, bracing from behind. Kissing the Korean roughly, I parted after a few breathless moments when the need for air became too great. "Anytime this year," I growled, nipping at his lower lip.
"Really feisty," Hwoarang joked. He moved his attention back to the elastic of my boxers and carefully pulled them off. He moved to kiss the inner thigh of my right leg, gently making his way to where I wanted him. At first, Hwoarang just lightly licked over the top of my member, eliciting an annoyed but pleased reaction. Hwoarang licked a long line from the base to the head, gently blowing on the wet and hypersensitive flesh. My hips involuntarily bucked. I looked down at Hwoarang, urging him on, to which the redhead gave in. "All right, already," Hwoarang agreed. He took me completely in his mouth in one fowl swoop, drawing a gasp from me as I subconsciously bucked slightly again.
Hwoarang began lightly swirling his tongue around the skin, then would alternately gently suck at the sensitive flesh. He began moving his head up and down the shaft, developing a rhythm with my needy thrusts into his mouth. All the while, Hwoarang gently massaged my lower back, working out knots of fear and worry.
I was never a man of many words to begin with. Hwoarang often told me that what I lacked in words, I accounted for in volume. At the time I'd been too flustered to reply, but now... I was too enraptured to care. Beads of sweat trickled down my temple, my shuddering gasps came quicker as the martial artist's skilled tongue swept me to my climax. He was too good at this.
Then again, I had been telling him to hurry up, hadn't I? A guttural moan shattered the air as my back curved and a different fire scoured my blood. I stiffened just before coming with a cry, and nearly choked the man trying to swallow what I poured into his mouth. When the lights faded from my vision I looked down at Hwoarang as he smiled, licking his lips. He moved up to my mouth, pressing our lips together. Pulling back, he asked, "That better, Jin?"
Blinking dazedly, I barely had the mental coherency to return the kiss, doing so purely on reflex. A hand settled on Hwoarang's shoulder as I leaned into him. Once the blood had returned to my head, I managed a weak smile. I couldn't hear the voice anymore. I kissed the redhead again, suddenly very aware of the throbbing arousal by my thigh. Pulling back, I glanced down, then up at my lover, not quite sure what Hwoarang wanted me to do now. I pressed a gentle kiss to the wet lips, tasting myself on them. "... You want in?"
Hwoarang, bless his soul, blushed a little, looking very sheepish. "It's your night, Jin," Hwoarang insisted. "I'm helping you, remember?"
I kissed one rose-tinted cheek, inwardly touched by the redhead's consideration. He had his moments. "You are. Now I want to help you." A hand slipped over Hwoarang's nape as I leaned forward, drawing an earlobe between my teeth. "So... ?" I drew back, giving the Korean a little smile. "Do you want in?"
Hwoarang grinned back. "Do you really have to ask?" He pushed back enough to quickly remove his boxers, but then was upon me in a second. He put up a finger in front of my nose. "I'm so not waiting to go get lube," Hwoarang explained, much to my amusement. I obligingly took the finger into my mouth, followed closely by two more, sucking lightly, relishing in the noises I got out of Hwoarang. I knew this was for my own good, but I wasn't going to pass up on the opportunity to make Hwoarang squirm.
Hwoarang gently withdrew his fingers, allowing me the chance to let him between my legs. Hwoarang gave me one last quick kiss before sliding one saliva-slick finger into me, as if testing the water. He then put in a second, stretching me, and drawing unwitting moans of pleasure. Then, Hwoarang inserted a third finger. I bit my lip against this slightly more painful intrusion, but relaxed, letting Hwoarang stretch me further. Hwoarang finally withdrew, meeting my eyes.
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