The sun filtered soft and golden through the tall windows of Jin's former room; as the teenager used to do, Takeda had pulled back the curtains in place of turning on the high, exquisite chandelier. In the late afternoon sunlight could stream gracefully through the glass and coat the length of the wooden floor, its reflection gilding everything in the spacious room with a gentle glow. The head of Mishima security had his profile to the window as he watered Jin's oak bonsai, unmoved from its position on the desk, and the warmth of the sun on the side of his face was comforting. The ceramic pot in which Jin himself had planted the tiny tree was simple but beautiful, glazed in midnight blue and patterned with segmented, bamboo-like dashes of white. Takeda lowered the half-empty glass of water to the desk and ran the tip of his finger slowly over the smooth, cool surface of the pot.
"Takeda," came the demand of a tinny but all-too-familiar voice through his earpiece. He raised a hand and turned on the microphone of his headset.
"Office." Before Takeda could reply, he heard the small click signalling a disconnect.
Takeda left the room, moving with ease through the labrynthian network of hallways to Mishima Heihachi's office within the estate, giving the glass to a maid along the way. He knocked three times upon the huge wooden door.
Takeda entered and closed the way behind himself, approaching and bowing wordlessly before the master of the house and recently-named Most Powerful Man in the World for a third year in a row.
Heihachi was seated behind his gigantic desk, a dark silouette cut against the hazy light that filtered through the closed curtains behind him. None of the lamps in the room were on but Takeda did not voice his curiosity of the darkness. He watched calmly as Heihachi settled back in the chair, crossing his arms over his massive chest.
"It's been four days. I'm sure you're aware the police got Fury this morning."
"I want you to put men on that Korean wretch. Keep him in the country."
"But more importantly." Heihachi pushed a piece of paper across his desk to the head of security, who lifted it and glanced it over. It was a printout of a hospital record.
"Australia," Takeda said, nonplussed.
"Boy found in the Northern Territory. No ID, strange wounds. Choose three men, you're leaving tonight."
"I understand, sir."
"Get him back, and if he won't come back, then shoot him..." Heihachi scowled deeply, his narrowed eyes boring into Takeda's face. "And do it till you're goddamn sure he's dead."
"Do you ever think about the future, Joon?"
"Not too much. I'm never gonna get old." Neither Hwoarang's tone nor expression expounded on the implications of his statement; both were matter of fact in execution. He'd turned his face into the pillow, away from Jin, expanding the nest the Japanese had made of his neck. The mold of back to chest fit with an ease that implied forever.
Jin's arms found their way about Hwoarang's neck and he was utterly content to ease himself close, kissing the smooth stalk of his neck as he did so. His lips hovering over the flesh, his humid voice said, "Then I'll stay young with you."
The nerves of Hwoarang's neck were cords strummed by Jin's mouth, coaxing the reluctant note from his lips -- a pure and rare pitch. " .. you ready to stay with me forever, Jin .. ?" Staring out into Jin's room now, sienna eyes noticing everything and nothing in the capacious spanse of it, Hwoarang felt his body anchored in the context of the warm one pressed against his back -- anchored but vulnerable to being flung into that impersonal vacuum at some point.
"Yeah. I'm ready," Jin affirmed with a kiss on the earlobe before settling his cheek against the Korean's soft crown and allowing his eyes to seep blissfully closed. He put his hand over Hwoarang's chest to feel the beat of his heart.
He was laying face-down as he had been before, except the agonizing heat was gone. Slowly clenching a fist, he could feel that his body was still heavy and sore but void now of its delirious pain. His back was throbbing.
Machines were beeping.
Jin's eyes opened, focusing quickly. Planting his hands at his sides he carefully pushed himself up with a grunt and sat back on his shins. A modest hospital room; four pale blue walls with one window, shielded by blinds. Opposite the window and flanked by two of its own, a door was cracked open to a bustling hallway. And all about him were those beeping machines, littered with tiny colored lights, and censors like plastic tendrils that clung to his bare arms and chest. There were two IVs in his right forearm. He stared at them mutely.
Someone knocked on the door and Jin caught it with his eyes in time to see a short, plump nurse enter. For one horrifying moment he thought it was Miki.
"You're up! My name is Hisami... Goodness, what's that look?" she asked cheerfully as she closed the door and came towards the bed, reading the panic-stricken look on his face easily enough.
"I'm sorry." Jin's apology was almost lost with the realization that the woman was speaking Japanese. "Where am I? What's happened?" To his own ears his voice sounded watery and distant. He closed his eyes, frustratedly rubbing his face with his hands.
"If you feel a little dazed right now, it's from the painkiller-- Percoset-- and it's nothing to worry about. I'll tell you as much as we know, but then I'll need you to do the same." The nurse was meanwhile pulling a chair to the side of the bed. "You're in Alice Springs Hospital in the Red Centre of Australia. Your entire back and the backs of your arms and neck are covered in second-degree burns from the sun, and there are two long wounds down your back that required stitches."
Behind his hands, Jin's eyes opened.
"Those burns will take a few weeks to heal, so until then you'll want to try to move around as little as possible, and you need to lay on your stomach whenever you're not sitting up. Two days ago a couple living about five hours to the north found you on their land and called us, and we 'coptered you in." Her brows and mouth turned down in a pleasant but plaintive expression. "And that's really all we know. No ID was found on you and no one's reported you missing... It's like you fell out of the sky!"
Jin dropped his hands and smiled weakly.
"Now, what can you remember? How about your name, to begin with," she smiled. Jin now noticed the clipboard in her hands, waiting for the information he wouldn't dare to give.
"Miyama... Kunzo," Jin said. It was the first lie that he had ever told. Hisami jotted it down.
"And how old are you?"
"Mm. Do you recall anything about what happened?"
Jin paused before shaking his head, gently so as not to further disrupt the burns on his neck. "All I remember is hearing the voices of a man and woman. I couldn't understand them." Hisami nodded, and this too was written.
"Do you live nearby, or have any family?"
"I think. I can't remember," Jin murmured, lowering his eyes to his empty hands, curled in his lap. They soon wandered over the clean white gauze taped over the backs of his arms. He hadn't noticed it before.
"Temporary confusion is common after trauma," Hisami assured him gently. "Until you remember, just rest as much as you can." She rose from the chair, clipboard in hand. "We'll bring you some lunch in a little while. And I apologize for the simplicity of the room. Our doctors fly out to visit patients; we only have three rooms of our own," she smiled. "I'll let you get some rest now. If you need me there's a red button on the right side of your chair. Push it and I'll be right here."
Jin nodded, thanking her gratefully before she left. He watched the door as it closed behind her, a hard, sinking weight growing in the pit of his stomach.
Hisami returned to the nurse's station, setting the clipboard on the counter. Kelly, the other nurse, glanced up from her nail file and watched her expectantly.
"He's a terrible liar," Hisami said.
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