Warnings: Yaoi, 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 Elton John song “Birds” off of his album “Songs from the West Coast”.
Tattered Wings - Part 11
How come birds
Don't fall from the sky when they die?
How come birds
Always look for a quiet place to hide
Can't explain what I feel inside?
Like birds I need a quiet place to hide
Act III: Scene III
The door to my room burst open and I brushed past Lee, not waiting for him to step back. My arms were extended as I felt my way around the room, throwing the duffel bag of clothes Xiaoyu had brought for me on the bed. It was nice to have someone as thoughtful as her around. I could hear Lee bustling around behind me as I stripped off my sweater, pulling on the first pants I could find. They felt like a pair of training pants, loose and comfortable; but I didn’t have anytime to choose.
“Jin, slow down. Think about what you’re doing,” Lee pleaded as I tore off the hospital gown, discarding it for a tanktop that I quickly covered with the sweater. I had to pause, suppressing a wince when the quick motion disturbed more than a few muscles in my back that were still healing.
“Are you going to give me another alternative?” I asked, glancing around at nothing and wondering where my gloves may have been. “Do you see my gloves?”
There was a soft sigh and I heard Lee step closer. There was the sound of a zipper from the bag before me and then the strong guards were pressed into my hands. “Jin, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but versing Heihachi in your state-“
“He won’t leave us alone, Lee!” I hissed, fixing the Velcro straps on my gloves. A few flexes of the fingers and I concluded that they were tight enough. “He took the gene, what else does he want?”
“Sticking around to find out is not a good idea.” Lee clutched my arm when I started for the door again – assuming I was going in the right direction. “Jin, you’re not strong enough to fight yet. We should get out of here now!”
I finally found the door again, managing to evade the jutting corner of wall that I had encountered on my first attempt, not too long ago. Suddenly, I stopped, realizing that I was alone with Lee. “Where is Hwoarang?”
At first, the hiss of a zip was my only answer and then Lee stood beside me, the duffel bag nudging my knee. “I told him to get changed and we’d be back soon.”
It could have been irrational, but my blood ran cold and my hand shot out for the door, throwing it open. “You left him alone?” I shouted back at the man, not sure if I was angry or afraid. “When you know that Heihachi is in the building?” I didn’t wait for an answer and Lee didn’t give me one. I must have paid more attention than I thought when he brought me the first time, because my feet led me down a flight of stairs and down a corridor or two. Before I knew it, I was reaching running my hand down smooth wood until I found the door handle again; it wouldn’t comply when I tried to open the door. My knuckles rang loud against the wood as I kept trying the handle.
Please let him still be here. Let him be alright.
“Hwoarang?” I called, ignoring the plea that my voice defaulted to. My ears registered slowing footsteps and I spun just as the person spoke, instantly calming the newly-risen knot in my throat.
“It’s okay, it’s just me,” Lee assured, sounding short of breath. Again I turned back to the door, and pounded against it with my fist.
“Hwoarang, open the door!”
There was still no response. I was beginning to feel frantic as I raised my arm again to knock. “Hwo—“
I froze as a loud crack rang out and when I reached forward, my hand met nothing. That was when I realized that Lee must have forced the door open. A moment later his slender hand was gripped on my forearm as he pulled me into Hwoarang’s room, cursing under his breath. Things didn’t seem so well. I heard the soft whine of another door opening before being slammed shut almost instantly.
“He’s not here, Jin,” Lee announced, brushing past me. I winced as the harsh screech of metal pierced the silence and my hands went to my ears in an effort to stifle the sound.
“What are you doing?” I was barely able to hear myself that I was sure Lee hadn’t. I had to wait until the sound ceased before I removed my hands and asked him again. There was a begrudging slam of something against wood; I didn’t like what I was hearing. “Lee?”
A sigh. “Damn, those things are heavy,” he grunted, much to my relief. I was still blinking in confusion, glancing around at nothing in some hopes of determining where he was when a hand landed on my shoulder.
“That should hold them for a few minutes.” The statement was quickly followed by a series of thumps from the other side of the door, but no one came through the door. Before I could ask Lee what he had done, his hand was gone; a moment later a strong gust of wind made me shiver.
“What are you doing, Lee?” I demanded again, annoyed when he gave me no answer. Instead, he pulled me towards the wind until I was at the window where I had stood only minutes before, speaking to Hwoarang. Something in my chest tugged painfully as I thought of him. If he wasn’t here, where was he? Had Heihachi taken him? Maybe he had heard them coming and left on his own… But then, those people at the door had arrived after us, so…
I stepped back as Lee climbed up onto the windowsill. I almost grabbed him, sure that he was crazy, but I only caught empty air. Less than a second later I heard a distinct clang of metal. What was he doing? A pair of hands clamped down on my wrists, tugging insistently. I pulled back, already protesting; no way was I going out there! Was he insane… ?
“Jin, stop being a baby and get out here!” Lee snapped, snatching my wrist again. “They’ll get through that door eventually and you’re just lucky that there is a fire escape, so hurry up!” I stopped struggling at his last words; I was finally starting to make sense of all I was hearing. Had Hwoarang also escaped this way? He had to have escaped; I wouldn’t accept any other answer. If Heihachi had him…
“Watch your head.” Lee’s hand guided me as I pulled myself onto the stone sill and through the window’s metal frame. For a second, I hesitated, before finally pushing off. Relief washed over me in a cool wave as my shoes met the platform with a slight shudder of metal. My hand instantly shot out for the rail, the wall, anything. Lee’s hand found mine and I clutched it tightly, both furious and a little more than scared that I was in such a situation and still couldn’t see a thing. Not the barest glint of light. It helped when Lee chuckled and patted my shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Jin. You’ll be fine; I don’t even have to tell you to not look down!”
I felt my features narrow into a droll glare and heard him laugh again; it was very comforting in light of the situation. Hwoarang was the one who had always feared heights, whereas my common perch was often on the rail of our balcony, or a cliff edge if I ever wanted to be alone. Then, I could see the height. It was frightening, not knowing what I was faced with. Thankfully, Lee’s hand was firm in mine as he started down a set of stairs. I followed cautiously, free hand on the steel rail when the metal construction groaned slightly at our descent.
“I already sent the others ahead,” Lee explained to me. “There’s a safehouse near the temple that belongs to my company and we’ll meet the others there…”
“What about Hwoarang?” I asked, somehow expecting him to have the answer. I wanted to know where he was, wanted to believe that he was somewhere safe. I think Lee had started to answer when the strangest dizzy spell swept over me, weakening my knees and snatching the strength from my spine. I sagged against the rail, managing to catch myself just before I fell on the step.
What was that?
“Jin? Are you okay?” Lee had stopped when my hand fell from his, now he was grasping my shoulders, palm gently patting my cheek. I wasn’t asleep, I was disoriented. Numbly pushing his hand away I tried to stand again, willing my knees to hold as I used both the rail and Lee as my brace. He was just starting off again when I heard it.
If it hadn’t been so distinctly human, I would have thought it a whisper of wind. If it hadn’t shaped itself into my name, I might have dismissed it still. Only one other had spoken to me like this, but I knew this time that it wasn’t the demon; it was as curious as I.
“Jin, what are doing? Hurry up!” Lee sounded further away, but no less frustrated.
“… Did you hear that?” I asked him cautiously.
“If anything, it’s probably Heihachi’s men coming after us. Quit stalling and move!” Lee’s claim made perfect sense, but I had only taken a step when it came again.
I know that voice. Oh God, I knew that voice! I naturally inclined my head to the skies, feeling the wind sweep my hair back and when Lee called again, I had attention only for the other voice. Close; so close.
“He’s up there,” I murmured, turning back as if to look up the stairwell, but knowing that I would find nothing. The moment my back was to Lee, the wind seemed to swell and push me forward, back up the stairs. My feet were moving, climbing the stairwell and rounding for the next set when I was pulled back roughly.
“What do you think you’re doing? You’re going the wrong way!” Lee didn’t bother to mask the exasperation in his voice that I could sense was bordering on anger. I placed a hand on his wrist that clutched tightly to my sweater. “Jin, we can’t waste any more time-“
“I have to go this way, you go back,” I told him, surprising myself with how calm I sounded. There was an odd sense of peace settling over me, like a thick blanket that was muffling sound and sense, despite the painful pounding of my heart. Its rapid beat made it hard to speak, but I forced a smile I hoped was reassuring.
Lee’s hand relaxed slightly under mine, and there was a pause before he replied. “Why would you go up there? The car is down in the lot.” Yes, I had heard him the first time and told him that I knew, even as the air grew colder around us. He still held me back when I started for the next stairwell, holding tight to my arm. “Wait, Jin… what are you doing?”
This was the moment where I was supposed to say something wise and preferably rhetoric; nothing came to mind. I did, however, know that I had to get up there. I needed to get to the voice that was calling me, but after that? Who knew? One step at a time seemed like a good idea. I didn’t even stop to wonder why I had to, the reason was rooted among instincts that I had long come to trust. The sort of thing you don’t question and hope doesn’t come back to haunt you in the long run.
So I told him the truth. “I’m not sure…” I looked up again, the hood of my sweater tickling my nape. “Will this staircase lead me to the roof?”
Lee stumbled over his reply. “Well… yes. But, Jin, wait,” he took my arm again when I gently shook him off. I stopped him before he could issue another protest, holding up a hand for silence.
“I’m going. You can follow if you must, but I would much prefer if you went on and confirmed that the others were safe.” The wind was growing stronger as we stood there in silence, his hand on my arm as I waited for his answer. We had been standing there for a near minute, which was actually a long time when left undisturbed. I found it hard to believe that Heihachi’s men had still not broken into Hwoarang’s room.
“Alright,” Lee finally acceded. “There’s no way I’m letting you off alone like this. I don’t know what you’re doing, Jin, but it’d better not be a waste of our time.”
I only gave him a short nod before turning back on my way, feeling my way along the rail as I climbed with Lee at my heels. He was so insistent and stubborn, really, he reminded me of…
“Do you have any idea what we’re doing?” Lee demanded, interrupting my thoughts.
“We’re climbing stairs,” I said simply as we rounded the bend and came to the next set. He scoffed and I knew he wanted a full explanation, but I couldn’t give him one. Right now, I didn’t know much more than him.
“Don’t bullshit me, Jin. What’s up there?” It would probably be too much to ask him to just follow and trust me, wouldn’t it? I don’t blame him for being wary to follow a blind man. I hardly trust myself anymore.
I had been about to turn and reiterate all said before when the next bend had me stepping on stone. If Lee didn’t grab me, I would have fallen where the cement tipped into a descending stairwell. I was going to need a guide dog or something.
“Watch it,” Lee chastised, only letting go when I pried his hands off me. Why did Lee have to be so physical about everything? I think I might have pushed him off a little harshly, but I couldn’t help it. Contact of any sort was not something I was quite ready for, be it skin or not.
I don’t think the memory of having to pick up Hwoarang’s bloody and battered body was going to fade anytime soon. It had scared me, how cold he was. He was supposed to be warm; he had always been so warm… Now that I thought of it, I might have offended him when he tried to hug me and I recoiled. It wasn’t anything personal, and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to. I couldn’t. As with Julia and every other person who tried to touch me; there was a feeling of distinct wrongness about it. I didn’t know what to make of it.
Hwoarang didn’t care that I had almost killed him, drove him off the cliff; I did. He wanted to forget it; I couldn’t. Had I missed something?
I swallowed the thick, dry feeling in my throat and turned to Lee who had finally re-established the concept of personal space. He didn’t say anything else at first, and I couldn’t imagine why, momentarily forgetting why I had wanted to come here initially. The next thing I knew, he was hauling me back, trying to urge me down the fire escape we’d gone through all the trouble of climbing. Finally, the belated sound of pounding footsteps met us and Lee took my arm, abruptly pulling me in the very opposite direction while cursing under his breath.
“Did you know he was up here?” Lee rasped. He sounded infuriated; an assumption confirmed when he quickly shoved me into a wall. The muscles in my shoulder protested loudly at the ungraceful meeting of stone and flesh; I would have appreciated some warning.
“I think he was calling me,” I snapped, my voice subconsciously dropping to his level.
“And you listened to him?!”
… That was a good point. Why did I follow the bodiless entreat? I didn’t remember consciously deciding to, but I was drawn here. Now that I thought about it, I couldn’t understand why it had seemed so important to obey and find the owner of that voice. All I could do was frown in confusion and Lee snarled, a hand resting on my chest for a moment.
“Suicide, Jin. He’s the one we were running from, remember?” His voice then became clearer and I think he must have turned to me then. “What is wrong with you?!”
I had no idea. It didn’t make sense, I knew that. However, I thought it better to hold silence than give him that reply. I was just considering drawing my hood up when another voice rang out, coming from behind us, beyond the wall we leaned on. Lee’s hand balled into a fist, clutching at my shirt. This time, I didn’t even think to push him off. Thought itself was gone as we heard that voice, every limb was numb and it was then that I remembered fear.
“Do not waste my time with games, Lee. There is no exit beyond that fire escape you just climbed…”
Heihachi. I had led us straight to him.
“Fuck,” Lee cursed through grit teeth. I turned my head to him, wishing I could see and tell him how sorry I was. “Damn shittin’ fuck!” he hissed, hand falling from my shirt and that was strangely the moment I remembered how to breathe. This was my fault, even if I didn’t understand why more than how I had done it. We’d taken the first step, we were over the bridge. Lee was right; it had proven to be a very bad idea.
“Shut up, Jin. I’m thinking.”
I muttered an apology, turning my attention downwards in that old habit where I would try to surmise things for myself. It was a waste of time and effort to try and negotiate to Heihachi, if he wanted something he was willing to use any means to get it. The expedition to uncover Toshin had proven that. A man who will throw his own son off a cliff needs to reassess his priorities. Well, if all else failed, we could… fight. I was healed for the most part; it was really just energy that escaped me.
I looked to Lee, waiting for his conclusion and when he sighed heavily, things didn’t look so promising.
“Alright, Heihachi has people surrounding us on that side - but, the space ahead of us is clear.”
“… Which way is the fire escape?” I asked slowly, wondering just what he had planned.
Lee chuckled, and it sounded far too bitter for him. “Back that way. We’d have to go through those flunkies of his…”
Heihachi called out again, sounding far less patient. “Chaolan! Bring the boy out now and I will let you go free. Additionally, I’ll dismiss those charges for all the damage that you made to Mishima property…”
“And what does kidnapping constitute for, Heihachi?” Lee retorted, responding for the first time. I looked at him, a little surprised by the rage I heard in his voice. “You’ve done enough!”
Heihachi laughed, the sound making me shiver. Too many hours spent in the dark with cruel voices had ensured that they alone could reduce me to this. If we did end up having to fight, I don’t know how much help I would be. The last thing I wanted to be was a burden.
“There is one last thing, one final test,” Heihachi declared, sounding vastly pleased. “I don’t have to be courteous, Lee. Don’t make things difficult, I just want the boy.”
My back pressed against the wall as if I could somehow sink into it. Something that confused me is why he made no reference to me. He knew that I was here, so why not address me directly instead of making demands through Lee? What was this final test he spoke of?
Lee sighed beside me and he lowered his voice to speak to me. “Jin, I think we’re going to have to fight our way out of this. Are you strong enough?”
I seriously doubted it. We both knew Heihachi, he never lied directly, but he was a master of finding loop holes. He wasn’t going to let either of us out of this, but I had to try. “How many are there?”
“Fifteen, probably more. They’re enclosing us in a perimeter, we can’t get to the escape without going through them,” Lee explained. “I know you can’t see, but Jun must have taught you to use your other senses.”
Of course, it was part of basic training… I nodded, hoping that this wouldn’t be the one day my training would fail me. The demon shifted at the notion of battle, a ghost in my chest that I ignored. I was not looking forward to this.
Lee tapped my shoulder. “Take the right, I’ll watch your back.”
I was really not looking forward to this. The moment I turned from the stone refuge, I slammed into something tall and solid. Not the best start, especially when my wrists were seized and I could hear Lee fighting out his own, somewhere far away. Reflex kicked into motion, knee rising to bury at the sternum as I thrust my wrists forward and twisted. My fists earned a satisfying crunch along with a surprised grunt, a quick slice to the side of the neck and the person fell at my feet. That was an improvement.
I focused entirely on the sounds being lifted on the wind, Lee was still fighting and I sensed more coming towards me. I had only fallen back into the stance when Lee’s pained cry rang out. It was silenced abruptly by the distinct hiss and snap of electricity; I heard nothing more from him. My immediate response was to go to him, but the second I lowered my fists, powerful arms seized me on both sides. Any further movement was out of the question when the rounded end of a metal rod jabbed at my back, the shock of electricity brought me to my knees. As though for extra measure, the hard pulse was issued again where the spine crept up into my neck. If my jaw had been working, I would have screamed.
Finally, the lights behind my eyelids faded and Heihachi’s laughter filtered in, the cruelty and malicious pleasure all too familiar. “Forsaken the Mishima art for some common excuse of karate,” he tsked. “You shame me, Jin. Were all those years I spent training you, for nothing?”
My chest was tight and my head was ringing, there was no way I would find the coherency to reply. Rough fingers lifted my chin since my head was bowed, but the hold on my arms did not release. I could sense and hear the crackle of electricity from the rod that hovered a mere breath from my skin; I didn’t dare move.
“Look what you’ve been reduced to. You have the power of the devil within you and still you cannot defeat a mortal. Such a waste.” My head lolled to the side when he let go, each motion was torture on my neck. My skin tingled in such a way that had me eager to claw and rip it off.
“Where is the Korean?” Heihachi snapped, and all I could do was shake my head. Even if I knew, he must have known that I would not betray Hwoarang to him. Anyhow, why should he care for Hwoarang’s whereabouts when he already had me? It was comforting, though. If they needed to ask me that, it means that they had not captured him. A good deal of the sound in my head ceased as I realized that he was safe.
“Gone,” one of the men replied. “The room was empty when we entered.”
“Lee! Where is he?” Heihachi demanded. His voice grew slightly distant and I thought he must have moved to the man in question. It was a while before Lee replied, at first all he did was groan in pain, for which he received a harsh slap. I cringed inwardly as I heard Lee cough before finding his voice.
“First you want Jin, now you have him. Only, then, you start asking for Hwoarang… “ Lee murmured in a dazed slur. His tone took on a note of wry humour. “So picky.” My brows narrowed in worry as he was cut off again and I heard a few choked gasps.
“Insolent,” Heihachi hissed, soon after there was the sharp crackle of an electro rod, but no cry from Lee. Oh God, no…
“Stop it,” I managed weakly. Not Lee, it’s not his fault! “You have… “ I paused to regain my breath, chest heaving painfully, “the gene. Why can’t you just leave?” This was the man I had returned to defeat, and where was I? “Leave him be.”
There was the sound of someone slumping to the ground, and I was very relieved when I heard Lee’s strained cough for air. “I will if you can tell me where he is, Jin. You did let him live this time, yes?”
I blinked in surprise, raising my head a bit at his approaching footsteps. “… ?”
“I must say, I was surprised to see that he was the one to rescue you. Lee or that Xiaoyu girl I would have expected, but not the Korean.” I could hear the sneer as he leaned close and I turned away, wanting to maintain as much distance between us as possible. “There is much that I don’t know about you, Jin. Apparently I was so misled to believe that he was the same Korean who wished you dead at the last tournament…”
I did look at him then, glaring with empty eyes at the man I had trusted so blindly for four years. It seemed only fitting that I could literally not see him now, for it didn’t make much of a difference from before. “ … “
“Did I teach you nothing?” he snarled, grasping my chin when I tried to turn away again. “You should have been raised among Mishimas, I could have taught you something about respect…”
There was a sputtering laugh from Lee’s direction; he managed not to choke when speaking. “Never did us any good, the only thing being a Mishima will teach you is that you can’t trust anyone; especially your own blood.”
“You should have less trouble then, isn’t that right, Lee?” Heihachi chided, the comment was falsely sweet with the intent to insult but Lee only snorted in reply. This seemed something they were both long accustomed to. I was almost hoping that they would continue with some idle dispute, but Heihachi turned his attention back to me after the last comment. “But you are one of us, Jin. However much it shames me. There was one moment in time when you made me proud, brought to a grand total of two when you proved your heritage in the lab. Those men’s blood stands as testimony.”
I really wish he would stop talking. I tried to turn away from him and was held strong by his henchman, the threatening spark of electricity at my back. “Why have you come here?” I asked finally.
“The demon stakes its claims in various ways. I knew your father had divided interests, but it was Jun that the devil decided upon. Like any being it fought for survival and tried to have Kazuya kill her. Unfortunately, it failed and Kazuya managed to stop it.” He paused and the full weight of his words stabbed deep in my chest. “You’re a strong believer in love, Jin. I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.”
“What do you want?” I snapped, closing my eyes against the dark laughter at the back of my mind. It too knew what Heihachi spoke of.
“Where is he, Jin?”
My eyes opened from darkness to darkness and I kept my head bowed. “What does it matter?”
“You would know soon enough, once you tell me where to find him,” Heihachi said and I knew that he would not expand upon his answer.
“I will not.”
There was a brief pause and then Lee positively shrieked, the sound made me jump. “Don’t be stubborn, Jin,” Heihachi warned, and my blood ran cold. I didn’t even know where Hwoarang was. Lee’s low moans urged me to give Heihachi an answer, even a lie, but something was stopping me. Heihachi grunted in annoyance, another pause and then Lee screamed, the air was charged with electricity and his cries; I just wanted to cover my ears. “It shouldn’t matter to you, anyhow!”
“Stop it,” I pleaded, feeling my eyes sting.
“Tell me where he is!” Heihachi shouted, a hand closing around my throat. It only tightened when I shook my head, wanting to give an answer but yet I couldn’t. White spots danced on the shadow of my vision and distantly, I heard the demon snarl, felt it slither beneath my skin. It wouldn’t let me.
He is mine…
The loss of air seemed to heighten the one sense I depended upon, and everything seemed to grow louder. Lee’s screams had died down to shallow gasps and Heihachi’s hand clamped down impossibly tight, any minute I was going to pass out. I don’t think he wanted an answer anymore, maybe he knew that I wouldn’t give it to him.
Suddenly, everything changed. Air was sweeping down my throat in cool gusts; I fell to the gravel, free and gasped for breath. The voice that I heard next was the last I expected.
“Don’t. Touch. My son.”
“Remind me to never go to a circus again. Those dancing bears sure can pack a punch,” I commented, trying, though in vain, to spark a reaction in Kazuya. We were running again, nearly to the exit, and both being hindered by our wounds. Okay, so I was limping about madly trying to keep up, and Kazuya was holding his shoulder that had been lightly clawed, but was otherwise untouched. I frowned. I really hated Mishimas, sometimes.
Sometimes? It used to be always.
Damn, I was getting too soft.
We stopped at the base of the stairwell, and I took the moment to lean against the wall, sighing softly as I finally got the chance to rest. Kazuya looked at the wound on his arm, lifting away his hand to reveal that some blood had gathered in his shirt and was staining the smooth skin of his palm. He cursed mildly under his breath and began to rip some of his shirt off for a makeshift bandage. I pushed off the wall and took the cloth from him as soon as he ripped it off.
Kazuya looked on in disbelief as I tended to the wound silently. I finally glanced up to meet his eyes and was surprised by the emotion there. He looked at me like one would look at a long lost friend who they saw from a distance, but didn’t intend to chase down. “What?” I asked indignantly, pulling the bandaging a little tighter.
“You remind me of them,” Kazuya commented, smiling at me. I almost didn’t recognize the expression on his face. I blinked at him in surprise as I secured the bandage. “I know why the demon was so worried about you. Why Jin....” Kazuya trailed off, turning from me. “We will be able to leave, as soon as we are through this door. If I haven’t been discovered yet, we can get you out of here safely.”
“No, we can’t,” I replied quietly, surprised that I had spoken. I wasn’t speaking for myself, I was speaking for the part of Kazuya that he would not voice. Kazuya glanced over his shoulder at me, and I nodded to him. “Lee and Jin are still in there. We can’t leave without them.”
Kazuya’s expression didn’t change, but I could see a darkness in his eyes that faded for a moment as I spoke, only to slide back into place as my words sunk in. Kazuya opened the door, putting us at the base of the fire escape. A patter of footsteps on metal alerted me to people on the fire escape above. Looking up, I could see two figures descending before focusing on Mishima’s men who dove out what had once been my window and clambered up the fire escape. Were the two figures, now in upward motion, Lee and Jin?
“Damnit,” I heard Kazuya mutter. He didn’t sound too upset... just yet, but I could tell by the way he held himself that he knew more than just what we could see. It was probably something that only Mishimas could understand, so I said nothing. Instead, I made a small jump to grab the bottom of the ladder and pulled myself up into a climbing position. “Hwoarang!”
“Let’s go get them,” I suggested, merely as an excuse for my actions at this point. I could feel my fatigued limbs not wanting to cooperate with my movement, and the pull of unhealed stitches in my back, but I scrambled up the ladder all the same, finally meeting with the first platform, followed closely by Kazuya.
“Where is he, Jin?” a demanding voice boomed from somewhere above. It was all too familiar. I was starting to feel like this was a bad idea as I raced on, moving only on the adrenaline that pumped in my veins.
We raced up the stairs as quickly as possible, trying to avoid being noticed my Mishima’s men. We were almost to the top when a pained, and not to mention painful, scream tore through the air. The hairs on my arms were standing on end, and for a moment the freezing air seemed to gust just a little bit harder. “Lee,” I heard Kazuya mutter in disdain.
“Tell me where he is!” I heard the same voice as before shout. It had to be Heihachi. Kazuya tensed as he walked just behind me, forcing me to quicken my pace somewhat.
He is mine…
I came to a complete stop as a cold jolt ran down my spine. What the hell was that voice in my head? Something inside me knew exactly what I’d just heard, but I didn’t want to come to terms with it. The demon was denying Jin any chance for survival, because it wanted to protect me. It would be the one to let me live, or let me die, as far as it was concerned.
More terrible shrieking filled the air, and I knew for sure Kazuya was right. Lee was the source of the terrible unearthly noise. But Jin was silent. What the hell was going on up there? “Lee,” I heard Kazuya hiss as he suddenly charged past me up the stairs and practically bowling over the guards in our way.
“Shit,” I grumbled, following him, and taking out the remaining guards in our way. There, amazingly enough, was still no sound of alarm as they were all too shocked. One voice was clear as day though, as I heard a muffled thud and deep gasping from somewhere in the center of the roof.
“Don’t. Touch. My son.” Kazuya put his hands up, taking stance against his father with absolute fire in his eyes. At his feet, Jin was desperately trying to recover his breath, and I could see his neck was vaguely pink with choke marks. Lee lay motionless closer to me, and I was too horrified to worry about whether or not I could see if he was breathing. Jin could wait; I had to help Lee.
I knelt beside the man in question, instantly calming when I saw the faint rise and fall of his chest. “Lee,” I muttered, gently brushing away his hair. “You awake?” I got a very assuring groan in response. The last thing I needed was Lee nearly dying on us. “Good. Kazuya’s here, too. We’ll get you out of this,” I promised quietly, just before a hand clasped my jacket.
“Hwoarang... you have to leave. He wants you,” Lee insisted, his voice faint. It was only then that his eyes faintly opened, looking at me with concern. “You shouldn’t... have come....” With that, Lee collapsed completely, letting out a faint sigh as he went unconscious.
I glanced up at Kazuya and could see that he was carefully facing off with Heihachi. Their fight was more like a dance than a fight with almost routine looking blocked punches, kicks, and moves they must have seen from eachother more times than either of them could count. It was beautiful, in its own way, how they fought in a choreographed manner, and it was sparing me the trouble of dealing with Heihachi. So, I looked back at the flunkies that had not been bowled over by Kazuya and was met with the barrel of a gun.
“Go ahead, shoot me. I’m sure that’ll do a shit load of good. If Heihachi’s temper isn’t enough for you, Jin will also turn into a demon and rip you to ribbons.” This seemed to sink in, and the guards lowered their guns, for the most part. One man didn’t take his trained aim off me. “I got off easy,” I added for good measure, looking right at the lone gunman. His aim was instantly diverted, pointing his gun to the sky.
“Hwoarang...” a voice said from behind me. I could see that Jin had pushed himself up from the ground, now sitting upright, though still supporting himself with his hands. Even though he had spoken my name, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what good it was supposed to do. From the look on his face, he didn’t know what he meant to say either.
I opened my mouth to respond, but just then, I heard a terrible cracking noise, and looked at the source to see Kazuya sliding down a brick wall opposite me. That wasn’t a good sign.
Then my world exploded into stars, and I felt myself crumpling before I could even register what had happened. “Foolish boy, I thought you would have learned your lesson by now,” Heihachi’s voice boomed above me. “You know, you’re just like her. Meddling in affairs that you don’t understand, just to find yourself in a world of pain every time you turn around.” I was trying to regain focus as he spoke, and wasn’t really able to register anything he said.
I heard Kazuya snarl, and I knew their fight wasn’t over. I glanced up to see Kazuya standing, and slowly advancing toward his father. “Leave Jun out of this,” I heard him snap, and my eyes focused instantly. It was just like Jin only a few minutes ago. When I brought up Jun, he said nearly the same thing.
Heihachi wants me. I’m like Jun. Jin’s demon staked its claim on me. Kazuya compared me to two people who would help him. And everything was starting to fall into place.
Heihachi wanted to exploit the power I had over the demon that Kazuya had mentioned before. How? I could not be sure. I looked up to Jin’s eyes, and was surprised by the emotion there. He looked terrified. “It’s okay,” I insisted. He shifted, looking almost as if he intended to respond, but couldn’t find the words.
I then stood, feeling my knees trying to buckle under me, and faced Heihachi and Kazuya. The latter was in the process of seriously kicking the former’s ass. My jaw dropped at the sight, surprised by the sudden rage in Kazuya as he pounded his father’s face with a series of heavy punches. Heihachi tried to scramble away from Kazuya, succeeding, but having his shirt torn away by Kazuya’s tight grasp. Again, surprise washed over me.
The scar; Heihachi had the scar too. But, he didn’t have the devil or the devil gene like Kazuya and Jin. What was going on?
Heihachi finally crouched, swiping out Kazuya’s feet from under him, and the once King of Iron Fist collapsed, taken by surprise. Heihachi took the chance to stomp on Kazuya with one high sandal. The younger man groaned in pain, curling slightly with the hit. To avoid the next kick aimed for his back, he rolled away, coming to a stand a few feet away from Heihachi. I stepped forward a little and stopped myself when I felt something cold and metal digging into my back. “Hold it,” a very cocky sounding guard said.
“How much you gettin’ paid to do this?” I asked, honestly curious.
“More than you can ever hope to make,” the guard answered, and I could hear his smile. The gun was thrust a little father into the unyielding muscle of my back alongside my spine. The more important thing was that he was too close to the first claw mark for my comfort. I had to be very careful to not swallow audibly.
“Wanna bet?” I muttered, liking the tone of my voice. It was the tone I used to challenge someone back in the day when I was still the head of a gang. A smile spread across my face, knowing that the guard himself was the only one who had heard at all. I could start a brawl, if I wanted to.
And man, did I ever.
I heard something click behind me, and I couldn’t identify what it had come from until another gun barrel pressed into my skull. “Sure, try me,” the guard suggested. It had been the damn safety. I was getting rusty.
By the way, fuck me. I hadn’t even been released from the hospital from one brush with death when I was off getting myself killed again. I looked to Jin, only with my eyes, fearing for my life if I moved my head, and saw that he was fumbling in his pocket for something. Did he have a plan?
Gold. Light flashed off the smooth surface I knew too well, gracing my eyes, and obviously those of the man behind me. “What the...?” He wondered. I knew, even if it was only for one moment, his eyes were off me.
I dropped as quickly as possible onto the ground below, essentially just belly-flopping onto the concrete of the roof. The complaint in my ribs was enough to make me cry out, and I had bitten my tongue hard enough to draw blood. I lashed out with one leg, throwing the guard who’d been threatening me to the ground, and smiling appreciatively when his pistol, previously pressed into my skull, slid to my hand.
Not to mention, the guard had fired his other weapon, squarely hitting Heihachi in the shoulder.
Yeah, take that, mother fucker.
I took the pistol in hand, quickly putting the safety back on, and yelled, “Kazuya!” My swollen tongue made his name sound more like “Kathua”, but he turned, ready to catch the gun just as I threw it. Kazuya turned back to Heihachi, held up the gun, and clicked the safety off, daring his father with his eyes.
“I suggest you call your men back and let us go free,” Kazuya warned, his voice dark. His aim looked perfect, falling between Heihachi’s eyes. I could see the men hesitating, all nervously baking away slightly. Heihachi himself was cradling the wound carefully. His idiot flunky had done a number on him. Not to mention, Heihachi had to be ancient by now.
Heihachi looked right at me as he spoke. “Yes, pull back.” Two of his men came to his side to help him up while Kazuya never removed his careful aim from his father. He was taken toward the fire escape from whence he came, proceeded by his men. “Hwoarang,” he said, just as he passed me. “I expect to see you at the next tournament.” Then, a grin I certainly was not in favor of met his aged lips. “If not sooner.” After that, Heihachi was led off of the roof, with only the one lone man now sitting on the ground beside me.
“He’ll kill me for this,” the man commented, sounding a lot less confident than before. I resisted the urge to smirk at him.
“There are worse fates,” Kazuya stated simply, kneeling beside his adoptive brother. He extended a hand to gently brush away some of the violet strands that lay carelessly across Lee’s temple. “You could be related to him,” Kazuya pointed out, as if it were a fate worse than death.
Maybe it was. The man didn’t seem to understand, simply cowering near my feet as I painfully drew myself to a stand.
The blind (and apparently mute, now, too) Jin clutched the locket in his hand, standing a few feet away. I turned to him, smiling. “Let’s get out of here.” I held out my hand, gently taking Jin’s free hand. “Is this okay, or would you like me to....” I trailed off as Jin used that hand as a line to draw himself against me, as if in disbelief. Breathing had been painful. Breathing and a clutching Karate master was even more painful on my damaged ribs, but it didn’t matter anymore.
“You’re safe...” Jin whispered into my jacket. I just smiled, nodding dumbly.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be alright, now. He’s gone.” The moment felt oddly perfect until I noticed something. I could feel something about Jin that was simply feeding off my warmth. He was cold, as always, and I felt myself growing colder as we pressed together.
The demon staked its claim on you.
I couldn’t tell Jin about that. He would want to leave me for sure, if he knew. So, instead, I looked to Kazuya who was lifting Lee in his arms, cradling the other man with care I’d never thought I’d live to see from him. “We are still not safe,” Kazuya pointed out. “We must get to Lee’s safe house.” Considering I had no fucking idea what the hell Kazuya was talking about, I assumed that Lee must have given him the idea.
“Down, then?” Kazuya nodded to my question, and Jin backed away from me. I was prepared to tell Jin to take my hand to I could lead him down the stairs, but he never let go of the hand, clutching it like he never meant to let it go.
I shuddered, trying to ignore the voice that made my skin crawl. Was it what Jin had put up with for so long? I didn’t want to think about it, frankly.
I led our procession down the stairs, encountering few problems ‘till the very base. I could barely climb the ladder properly from exhaustion, not to mention every inch of my skin was aching, and my ribs were so sore that I couldn’t breathe without pain in every last one. Jin could make it down the ladder just fine, but I had to guide his landing. Lee had to be passed to Jin from above the ladder, which required very careful directions on the part of Kazuya as he handed the badly broken Silver Devil to his son. Kazuya was the only one that got to the pavement without complications.
As promised, Lee had a car waiting for us in the parking lot. I hadn’t expected a limo. It was a little above my class, so I didn’t really want to get in. All the same, I put a hand on Jin’s head to guide him to duck as he got in and followed, sinking into the cool leather. Still, Jin held my hand tightly, almost frightening me at this point. Kazuya got in next, pulling Lee half onto his lap as the small man lay across the seat to rest. It was oddly cute, but at the same time, it made me feel something akin to guilt, as I sat there looking on.
Kazuya looked at me, then over to Jin who looked to be falling asleep, though it was probably just my imagination. His expressions had become much harder to judge since he went blind. I knew they would have plenty to discuss once we were in the clear. Kazuya wasn’t the only one that had to talk to Jin, either. We had never finished our conversation from earlier....
Somehow, everything would work out... really, it would.
No matter how many times I told myself that, something in me wondered.
Jin was broken. Maybe beyond repair.
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