DISCLAIMER: Me don’t own Tekken, k?
Art of Fighting
Chapter 6 - Truth Be Told
“I am not going on the carousel.”
“Come on, Jin!!”
“Yeah, Kazama, why don’t you ride the little pony?”
I turned my gaze on Hwoarang and glowered at him. He merely laughed at me even harder and that resulted in Xiaoyu and Julia grabbing my arms and dragging me to the ticket booth. Before I knew it, we were on line. I groaned inwardly and pulled my hat down even further down my head. Now they picked on me because the little girl was gone. Her mother had picked her up with a great amount of gratitude towards us for taking care of her. I smiled slightly at that memory. Little Mimi’s mother reminded me of my own mother. I sighed and looked up at the sky once again. The snow had ceased and I found myself missing the sight. Suddenly I looked around and caught Hwoarang’s gaze. I frowned and pulled on Xiaoyu’s sleeve.
“Why is it that you drag me to the carousel and not him?” I inquired suspiciously as Hwoarang winked at me while giving me a thumbs-up. Xiaoyu and Julia both looked at me with smiles that were enough to make me freeze. “Well, it was Hwoarang’s idea really,” Julia replied in a strange tone. I blinked in surprise. That was not what I expected. Then they turned around and began giggling to themselves. Now I was even more confused. What were they planning…? Then I remembered what Julia said and snapped around to glare at Hwoarang. “You twerp!” I exclaimed despite myself. Once again I made a fool of myself and Hwoarang was laughing.
“Twerp?? Twerp???” he kept repeating, as he slapped his knee in laughter. I rolled my eyes and slapped myself mentally. I really had to stop with the verbal attacks. They really weren’t my thing… But why would Hwoarang plan the whole setup? I mean it probably did prove to be a very embarrassing situation for me… Wait, there’s the reason right there. I sighed and pushed my hands even deeper into my pockets. It was strange… Earlier Hwoarang and I were acting like bitter rivals still, making threats at each other. Now he’s beginning to treat me almost…humanly. I didn’t get it nor did I know whether or not to feel relieved. Maybe I was examining it too deeply. I’m sure he’ll go back to his bitter ways tomorrow or something.
I glanced at him again and noticed he was staring at the sky as well. An almost innocent look made its way to his face and I couldn’t help but stare at him in awe. This cruel, egotistical, arrogant maniac still had the ability to look that innocent? I narrowed my eyes slightly. The way the moon’s light played over his face, casting shadows made him look almost angelic. Hold on a minute…angelic? Did I just think that? Oh, my God… I shook my head and turned away from Hwoarang. Where did that pop up from?
I flinched slightly as Julia grabbed my arm and dragged me to the carousel. I climbed onto one of the horses numbly. I didn’t even think about my embarrassment. Now all I could think about was Hwoarang. What made me think that? Hwoarang, angelic?? It was enough to make anyone laugh!
“Here we go!!” exclaimed Xiaoyu as the carousel began turning slowly. I saw Hwoarang walk up to the fence that surrounded us and lean against it with a hint of a smirk on his face. I quickly forced myself to forget. One little thought doesn’t mean anything. It was just a spur of the moment. “Hey, Kazama, smile for the camera!” I heard Hwoarang exclaim. Suddenly I turned around in alarm just in time to see a flash go by. Xiaoyu and Julia were squealing in laughter and I buried my face in my jacket. Fuck you, Hwoarang…
Throughout the entire ride I heard laughter from all around me…most of them being from little children pointing at me and asking their parents why there was a “big man” on the carousel. I kept my head buried in my jacket for the whole five minutes and then ran off of the carousel as quickly as I could. Then Hwoarang greeted me.
“Nice ride, Kazama? I hope you enjoyed it!” he exclaimed in mock sweetness. I eyed him dangerously. All thoughts of him being “angelic” left my mind at that instant as I spotted his camera. “I do hope you don’t intend on developing that film,” I remarked slowly as he placed the camera back into his pocket. Hwoarang arched an eyebrow at me. “And you plan to stop me how?” he challenged back. I felt red all over my face and before I could reply, Xiaoyu and Julia cut in.
Xiaoyu clamped onto my arm and Julia grabbed Hwoarang’s.
“Let’s go on the Ferris Wheel!” they both exclaimed unanimously. I stared at Xiaoyu strangely as she and Julia dragged Hwoarang and me to the large wheel looming before us. I heard Hwoarang from behind me complaining and smirked to myself. It seemed like Xiaoyu and Julia prepared my revenge just perfectly.
I sighed in my seat and looked down at the moving scenery before us. How could I have ever let Xiaoyu convince me to ride the Ferris Wheel with Hwoarang? I had only agreed because I thought I would be sitting with Julia or Xiaoyu, then those two forced both of us together into a seat before we could even object. Luckily the “seat” was more like a little carriage and it had two benches on opposite sides of each other. So naturally Hwoarang and I kept as far from each other as we could possibly get, but the thing wasn’t that spacious and as I looked out the window I began wondering why it was taking us so long to rotate.
I looked at Hwoarang in surprise and I saw him frowning to himself as he looked down below us. My gaze flew down to where he was looking and saw a group of men gathered around the generators that controlled the Ferris Wheel and groaned mentally. I sat back in my seat and lied my head down against the bar. A million thoughts flew into my mind. How long was I going to stay here? What happened to the ride in the first place? Was Hwoarang going to attack me? The last thought lingered for a moment before I looked out the window again. If anything, the sight was worth it. The sky was dark blue now and since we were so high up I could see the stars clearer. The snow had paused earlier but now was starting up again and I saw one by one, more small crystals falling from the sky. A pang of sadness shot through me as I looked at the innocent scene unfold before me below as the children and their parents walked among the rides and games with laughter in their eyes. I remember a time when I was actually one of those kids…
“What’s so special about the snow?”
I blinked and my gaze was instantly torn away from the window and I looked at Hwoarang in surprise. He stared back at me with a strange intensity in his eyes as I pondered his question. Snow was in general a blessing in itself. But for me, it had so much more meaning. “Why do you ask?” I said, staring hard at Hwoarang, wiping the emotion off of my face. I revealed too much of myself already in this one remarkably long day.
He eyed me searchingly before turning his gaze back to the window. “Every time it snows, your eyes become glazed over. And you also tend to stare at it for long periods of time with this look on your face—almost like grief or longing. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but this snow must hold some sort of significance to you. Not to mention you said that the Winter Carnival always managed to cheer you up and I guess it did because, hell, you even allowed Xiaoyu to convince you to ride the fucking carousel! I would have thought that even a guy like you would have fought back more,” he replied in an even tone, not looking at me once throughout his answer, which surprised me nonetheless. Was I really that readable to him?? I felt like he could freaking see through me with that description he gave me. It was so close to the truth that it scared me. I didn’t even need to give him an answer; he had it already.
“So am I right?” Hwoarang asked suddenly and I looked at him ponderingly. There was a strange glint in his eyes and I couldn’t help but feel extremely vulnerable at that moment. All this time I thought I had been hiding my feelings and yet he had been able to see straight through me. Then I was struck with the same thought I had before. Why did he care? It was so bizarre. Hwoarang always seemed to hate me, which I’m sure was true in the past, but now… I don’t know his feelings toward me at all. He still refuses to call me by my given name and he does threaten and avoid me, but it doesn’t seem as hostile like it was a few years ago. It almost seems…playful.
“You decide,” I murmured suddenly as I attempted to push my thoughts on Hwoarang away. He was just trying to confuse me. Why would a guy like him want to help me? I was a disgrace to all fighters everywhere according to him. I smiled bitterly. Right, a guy like that want to help me?? Suddenly I felt myself being pushed up roughly against my seat and I looked up in alarm at Hwoarang, who was glowering at me dangerously. His emotions ran freely through his eyes now, and anger was one of them. Keeping all of my bewilderment hidden, I stared at him calmly as he spoke.
“I don’t know what’s your problem, Kazama. You won’t tell any of us, and Xiaoyu and Julia aren’t even aware of it! I can see you’re pleading for someone to help you, why won’t you go to them? Hell, even Steve would listen to you and he barely knows you! Do you just want to waste your life away?” he hissed as his grip on my shoulders tightened. I flinched slightly at the discomfort in my shoulders before growing in rage at Hwoarang’s words.
I pushed him off of me and glared at him dangerously. “Well, maybe I do want to waste my life away! You’re right; you don’t know what I’m feeling and there is no way in hell that I will ever tell you! It’s my problem and I’ll deal with it my own way!” I shouted angrily, surprising Hwoarang and myself. I looked down at the floor, trying to calm the rage in me. Shouting wasn’t going to get me anywhere. “You think you know what I want, Hwoarang? You have no idea what you’re talking about,” I muttered between clenched teeth even as my conscience screamed out the fact that Hwoarang was correct in his assumptions. I was never going to let him relish in the glory of being right.
Then I looked up at him again and I saw him staring at me with something that resembled…pity? No, it couldn’t be. A guy like Hwoarang didn’t pity people like me. “I don’t know why you’re trying so hard to find out what my problem is, but I don’t like it. I know you and Steve have been watching me from behind my back. I don’t know why both of you are so completely intrigued by me. Am I your idea of amusement? If that’s the case, then both of you can just go to hell,” I added venomously. I didn’t know why I included Steve in the whole thing, but it was something that had been lingering in my mind for a while. Now I just gave out another piece of my soul to Hwoarang…great.
I turned around and stared out the window again. God, I was being so pathetic. Why did Hwoarang always manage to stir me up like this? Did he really think this was some kind of sick game?
“I try hard because you don’t. I don’t know what you’re thinking; I never said I did, but I do intend on finding out,” Hwoarang murmured quietly.
I continued staring out the window, trying to block off his words, but that was not the easiest task. I gritted my teeth in concentration. Snow…mother…the Winter Carnival…
“You want to know why Steve and I watch you so closely?”
My train of thoughts froze for a moment as I couldn’t help resist turning my head to face Hwoarang, who was looking at me solemnly as he continued speaking.
“Steve will kill me for telling you this so early and without him being here but… It’s because we both agreed you’re a…good person. Whatever it was that got you into this mess must have been pretty big and we wanted to make sure you didn’t do anything crazy. As fucked up as it sounds coming from me, you are a good fighter despite what I said before and it would be a shame to lose such a worthy rival,” he said with a hint of a smile on his lips. Yet his eyes were grim and so heavy with seriousness and sincerity that I couldn’t help but just stare at him in shock. Words failed me as millions of questions ran through my mind.
I opened my mouth to speak when suddenly a large jerk launched me to the back of my seat. I sat up quickly in confusion and noticed that we were moving again. I looked at Hwoarang and saw a tint of amusement in his eyes as he stared down the window. Once again the Blood Talon had caught me off guard and surprised me. If his words were true… Then maybe I lashed out at Hwoarang too harshly. If he and Steve really did want to help me, then I was in a stupor. It never occurred to me that they might actually want to help… All this time I thought Hwoarang was pushing me to get help, which he was, but the help was right before my eyes! Xiaoyu and Julia may be my best friends, but I felt like Hwoarang knew more about what I was feeling than they would ever know. Maybe trusting him wouldn’t be so bad… I didn’t know him as well as I would like to, but then that meant what he could do or say to me wouldn’t hurt as much because of the strangeness between us. I looked at Hwoarang and noticed he was staring at the floor in thought as well. Was I ready to share what I was feeling, though? How I was feeling insignificant to everyone and to myself? How I was longing for my mother and to be young again? How I was longing to just break down and cry without anyone staring at me in shock and dismay?
I crossed my hands and looked out at the snow falling by the pane. The emptiness inside of me was swelling up to enormous proportions and I didn’t know how long I was going to be able to stand it for long. I looked at Hwoarang and saw that he was staring at me again. I sighed and looked at him sadly.
“Maybe I should accept some help,” I murmured quietly as he eyed me carefully.
Umm…wow, my deepest apologies for the delay. Would you believe school?? It’s really not as easy as everyone says it is (and if anyone says it’s easy, they are so lying)! Okay, so that was quite a bit from Jin’s perspective and—oh-la-la—will he accept the help from Hwoarang and Steve? We shall find out in the next installment! Yeah, I’m cheesy, I know.
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