If it is in normal style, then it is speech.
If it is in italics, then it is thought.
If it is in bold, then it is the individual's natural tongue.
If it is underlined, then it is Devil and the Creature.
Generally, if it is in italics and has singular quotation marks ( ' ' ) then it is Mental Speech.
Don't own any characters except Razer, Detective Burton and the rest of the gang (excluding Hwoarang).
All other characters belong to Namco.
Final chapter. I made it! Again! Yay! XD
Chapter Thirty-Six: Here We Are
Detective Anavel Burton,
I am writing to you to address the question you had left me. I have now come up with an answer.
"How do you see yourself? This incident? Problem?" you said.
Well, here we are. Let's start from the beginning.
I see myself as a victim of my past… something I cannot yet release. It haunts me.
It's the entire reason my curse is here in the first place, because of my Father's cruelty. It activated her.
As a result of being unable to let go of it, I am a burden to Hwoarang and to everyone else around me.
Despite what he says…
If I am to better myself, for Hwoarang, for my friends, I need to let go of this. I can't do it alone.
But I'm going to do my best to fucking try.
And before you turn around to me and go 'and of Jin Kazama'?
The selfish asshole broke up with me to 'protect me'. From what? I do not know or care anymore.
A part of my heart died when I walked away from him. I acknowledge the pain.
The rest of my heart rest remains safe within my best friend. And it always will. Forever.
Now, to move onto the next category.
I see this incident as an accident, like you said.
Attempted murder nonetheless, but you cannot arrest an entity within the sufferer.
It has strengthened me. I know that.
I just do not know how yet, and am trying to find out what exact part of me has strengthened.
None of it was my fault. It was her simply trying to seize control of my body for her own use. Forever.
Who knows what would have happened if it succeeded? It doesn't matter, I am alive and well.
The creature understands that she will not take control of me ever again without a fight.
I am trying to find a way to control her better than I have been. So far I have come up with nothing.
The only thing I can think of is to continue as I am doing, and fight her within my mind everyday.
I've done it for eight years already. I can keep going.
And last but not least, her herself.
I see this problem, this curse, as a hassle, yet for some reason or other… now necessary in my life.
As you said, everything has worth, even her. I just wish I knew what it was at the moment.
Perhaps she has been placed within me to better myself, or to teach me the meaning of struggle…
…Because if she was not here, I would not be alive, and I would not have met Hwoarang and the others.
Perhaps she was placed within me to teach me self control, or to try and push me to become independent.
They seem to fit with my past.
My Mother sheltered me from the struggle, from my Father as much as she could.
I could not control my anger whenever he hurt her, let alone when he killed her.
And I still can't let go of everything. Whenever it arises, I automatically go to Hwo, who makes me feel safe.
Whatever the reason, I must find it and realise it. Perhaps then she will leave me.
I look to the future now and only hope that things will get better.
I truly appreciate your assistance in my case. I hope to see you again someday, Detective, and perhaps we can talk about less-depressing issues, and more about pleasant ones. Thank you for everything you have done.
Detective Burton smiled and folded up the letter, placing it back on his desk, on the top of the envelope. He leant back in his chair, stretched his arms, and managed to successfully cracked his back, the clicks making him more awake, feel more lively, and made his back feel a lot less stiff.
His brown eyes took a look at the clock on the wall of his office, seeing it read 6pm. Quitting time.
He stood up and pushed his chair behind his wooden desk, collected his things in his brief case, including the letter he had just received from Razer (who was apparently still in Japan, according to the address. She must've gotten the address for his office off Seong-Hada a little while ago or something), and headed out the door, shutting off the lights in his room again. It was good to be home after the time in Japan.
There was a large feeling of satisfaction within himself as he shut off the television in the waiting bay.
"I can't believe he went away again…" Ling sniffled sadly, rubbing her eye.
Miharu patted her head gently, "He'll be back before you know it, Xiao. Trust me."
"But what if it takes two years again…?"
"You didn't believe me before that he would return, and here we are..." She crossed her legs in a bored fashion and cleared her throat, speaking once again, "I'm telling you now, Jin'll come back."
The 18-year-old Chinese youth looked from Panda to her best friend and nodded, "…You're right."
"I'm here for you, Xiao. Don't you ever forget that."
The smile that was on her face grew as she looked back to the hotel door, "Thanks…"
Miharu was aware of her distraction. She furrowed her eyebrows, "What's wrong…?"
"Nothing… I'm just remembering last night."
"When Razer came back?"
"Yeah. I think she was around Jin before he 'officially' left. It looked like she had been crying."
The Japanese girl frowned slightly and ran her fingers through her hair, "Poor girl lost her boyfriend and her best friend in one night. I hope she's doing okay. I'd hate to see her all upset again…"
"Well… She hasn't spoken to anyone really… I barely get a 'hi how are you'."
"Have you noticed how Christie's been trying to avoid her in case she kicks her head in?"
A hearty laugh, "Yeah…"
Hirano leant against the wall, patting Panda, "I wonder if they broke up."
"Why do you wonder?"
"Well maybe you and him can get together if they did."
Xiao snorted and blushed, "Yeah right. As if he'd wanna be around a little kid like me in that sense."
"Maybe. Plus that solidifies a threat to my relationship with Hwoarang."
"Threat as in?"
She shook her head, "It doesn't matter Xiaoyu. It's long and complicated. Don't worry about it."
"Threat as in?" Ling repeated.
"You obviously haven't seen the ring on Hwoarang's and Razer's finger."
"Ring!? Did they get married or something?! What the hell?!"
"He deserves better than her," Miharu spat angrily. She had nothing against the Greek woman… But…
Xiao's brown eyes sparkled with curiosity, "And what makes you think he deserves you?"
She paused, her mind reeling at that sentence. What made her better than the 20-year-old…? Aside from the fact that didn't bitch as much. Why was she angry at her? Why was she even… considering competing against her, so to say? Her throat went dry as she remembered saying something to Athane in the hopsital so long ago…
"He still loves you, with all of his being, and he won't stop, not matter what you, he, myself or anyone else does. Even if we do get together, you'll still have all of him…"
The 18-year-old shook her head and smiled sadly, "I told you it doesn't matter. At least not now."
A single day had passed since everything in his life burned. Jin Kazama was declared the official winner of the 4th King Of Iron Fist Tournament. The Mishima Zaibatsu by all rights was his, but he never came to claim it.
Instead, he found himself listening to the devil within's torments of his worthlessness, of how he was now forever alone, and how no one would save him now. It was the look of complete and pure fear on Xiaoyu's face that stirred him from his nightmare, awakening in a forest he knew automatically he had burned to the ground.
Here we are… The first day of your new, lonely, God forsaken life.
He stood shakily, still feeling dry tears on his cheeks, still feeling blood from the transformations, still feeling pain from everything, and breathed in, realising exactly how much destruction he had caused… It was all burnt.
If this keeps eating away at me, I don't know how long I can hold on… He thought sadly to himself.
The 21-year-old thought quickly and decided it was best to return to his true home… To Yakushima, to the place he had not been to since that fateful night Jun Kazama was taken from him those six long years ago. With a heavy mind, body, heart and soul, he followed the scent of civilisation away from the burnt down forest.
"In other news the world is still standing frozen in complete shock with the death of Heihachi Mishima, the owner of the Mishima Financial Empire. Unfortunately, his son, Kazuya Mishima, has not been found recently, leaving the Mishima Financial Empire to Jin Kazama, winner of the King Of Iron Fist Tournament 4."
"He'll never collect it," Razer muttered to the television, still angry as hell at him, closing another drawer.
"However, Jin also hasn't been sighted since his final Iron Fist match. People are unaware of where he currently is. As a result, it is most probable that the Mishima Financial Empire will be sold off. Further –"
She turned off TV angrily, throwing the remote on the ground. Her green eyes surveyed Hwoarang's old room one last time, making sure she had left nothing behind. He had taken most of his stuff to her room anyway.
Satisfied, Razer turned away from the room and closed it behind her, this room's key in her pocket, ready to hand in later, and headed back to her own room, where her stuff was already packed, along with the Blood Talon's other possessions. She kicked the door open violently and stuffed the rest of his items in his bag.
"Well that was rather loud and unnecessary."
"What do you want, Lei?" The angry woman asked, feeling her locket smash into her collarbone. With anger at it, she pried it open, seeing the pictures there, and took out the one of her and Jin. Her brighter green eyes glared at it angrily, but instead of opting to destroy it, she turned it around and put it back in, so he wasn't there.
Wulong smiled and took a step in, but suddenly thought better of it when she looked over her shoulder with frustration. He leant against the door's wooden frame, "I see you are taking Hwoarang's things with you."
"Will you be returning them to him when he returns from his service?"
His black hair moved to his side as he limped in slightly, "Would you like some help taking the bags out?"
"No," She answered coldly.
The cop furrowed his eyebrows, thinking. He recognised this attitude from the beginning of the King Of Iron Fist Tournament 3. Razer had been quite cold at the beginning, only slowly opening up as their friendship came into being. It was a defence mechanism, often being activated when she felt rather unsafe or possibly even sad…
Such as now. Here we are with the same defence mechanism again.
He smiled anyway, "If you say so then. Stay safe, okay? I will see you at the next tournament."
"Have a good recovery, Lei."
With that, the cop left, passing Julia, who was heading to her room alongside Steve, most probably in an attempt to talk with her once again. They stopped when they saw him, and sighed, Julia walking away with him.
The 21-year-old British boxer remained standing there, torn between going with his other friends to say good bye in a massive group, or just going to see the Greek woman, to make sure she was okay and all…
They'd understand if he wasn't there immediately, right? Maybe he could coax Razer into coming with him.
He turned down the corridor, walking slowly to the girl's room, soon coming face to face with her, noticing the load she currently had… Two bags rather than one. One obviously belonged to Hwoarang. He smiled a little before speaking to her softly, "Why don't you come and say good bye to everyone with me?"
The 20-year-old's gaze was still on her right hand, her light brown hair falling around her face, "…Okay."
"Nice ring…" He replied after a moment, realising she was still staring at it, that she wasn't moving.
A slight smile. She held out his hand to him to show him, watching his eyes scan the writing, "Hwo."
Steve smiled too, glad to see her just that little bit happier, "It's a thoughtful present."
He watched as the feeling of failure swallowed her again. He frowned and took her into his arms, glad he had his bag slung over his shoulder, and embraced her, feeling one of her arms come around his form too and clench him with all her might, "He'll be back. Don't worry."
"But you are all going away again…"
"Remember what I said to you right at the beginning of this tournament?"
"Yeah. A shame you couldn't keep the promise. Here we are with more destroyed promises."
"Actually… I was… wondering if you wanted to come and live with me for a while."
"Are you serious?"
"Yes, love," Steve replied, releasing her, "I want to take care of you until he returns. Like friends should."
She smiled whole-heartedly, "I truly appreciate the offer… But… I have a… 'family'… I need to return to."
"I am an orphan like you are, Steve, and like you, the person who took me in is now dead. So me, Hwoarang and a few other orphans we found banded together and made a gang. We live on the streets and hustle to live… There is no way I can leave them. Besides…" Athane looked from her feet to him, staring at him hard in his crystal blue eyes, "I have to thank one of them for loving me like a little brother should."
Seong-Hada, the creature within replied defiantly.
I owe him… so much… for what he did for me.
Fox nodded, "Okay. How about we exchange numbers then? Maybe I can come out there."
"To an abandoned shop in an alley?"
"Anything to see my friends."
The smile grew wider as Razer whipped out her cellphone in unison with Steve, punching in the number he read out to her, and watching his speedy fingers punch in the number she dictated in return. Once that was done, she slipped it back in her pocket and began to walk down the corridor with him, ready to say good bye to the friends she would probably not see until the next tournament.
As she continued to fight the scars life gave her, as she began trying to better herself for good.
One of his feet dangled lazily from the end of his 'bed', or rather a hard plank of wood. He stared up at the wooden 'bed' above him, drawing pictures and symbols with his eyes in an extremely bored fashion, humming 'Here We Are' by Breaking Benjamin to himself, the words coming alive in his head.
"Keep it down in there, soldier."
"Bite me, asshole," Hwoarang spat back with the same viciously bitter tone, sitting up.
There was a loud bang. The Blood Talon winced, realising his head collided with the damn 'bed' above him.
"You deserved that," The Ambassador replied from his desk, holding in his laughter quite well.
The scowl Hwoarang delivered to the Ambassador had him silence immediately. He swung his legs over the side, looking at the floor lazily, his hands resting over his knees. He woke up in this prison in the Korean Embassy, waiting to be court martialled. How lovely. More fucking service at home. More shooting people. He soon found himself tapping the imaginary drum beat to the song with his fingers against his knees. Just anything to occupy him.
A glint drew his attention from the floor to his hand. He stopped humming to himself and smiled uncontrollably, taking off the ring Razer had given to him a few days ago. The Korean rested his elbows on his thighs and held the ring between both his hands, looking at it lovingly…
The next thing he knew, he had taken off his rocket pendant as well, both items sitting innocently in each hand, both being clenched tightly, desperate not to let go. It was almost as if he was holding her again. That was the depth of each item's strength, its complete meaning to him…
How much he loved her.
He remembered their fingers slipping apart in the separation. He had been carried away, and could see her pass out from his sienna eyes, he too joining her later in an approximate five hour or so sleep. There was nothing in his dreaming state, nothing but that time at the beach the day before, just walking around, being together…
Something he couldn't have the way he wanted anymore, but something he still wanted more than anything in the world. Knowing he couldn't have it was stinging and aching terribly, but also knowing that she loved him in the same way was just as comforting. The only thing stopping them was Kazama. He wondered…
Hwoarang sighed a little, traces of agitation within it. He put them both back on carefully, missing her already, even though it had only been a day. It was like when the Tekken Force was after her in the last tournament, and she had to be kept in Pigtails' room for her safety. God those days were agonizing… The two years away were even worse. And now what, another two months to top it all off… Probably more.
The Blood Talon reached onto the floor, finding his gloves, and began to throw one of them up and down in complete boredom, now actually singing along to the song playing in his head with a whispering voice, "'So here we are… fighting and… trying to hide the scars. I'll be home tonight… Take a breath and softly say good bye.'"
The wooden chair scraped across the ground as the Ambassador stood up, "Soldier."
"What?" Hwoarang growled irritably, all singing now ceased.
"I've received this letter for you from the military," the Ambassador replied with a slight smile, slipping it through the bars, waving it around slightly, getting his attention quickly and easily, "Take a look."
The 21-year-old Korean stood from his 'bed', careful not to smack his head into the 'bed' above him again, and dropped his gloves on the floor, eyeing the Ambassador carefully. He took it from him gently and opened the envelope, wondering who it was, what he or she wanted, and why the hell he or she was writing to him.
As his sienna eyes scanned the note, his face went from a hard, annoyed, angry and sad one, to one of complete shock and surprise. He just couldn't believe it, though he desperately wanted to deep in his heart.
It was fucking impossible.
Hwoarang's eyes darted up from the paper to the Ambassador, "Get me out of here. Now."
Author's Note: …I did it? And somehow met up to expectations for Just Like Me? AWESOME! XD Took three months to write (October 2007 – late December 2007/early January 2008), and about three months to post, lol! 29th June, eh? Cool, cool. The day that Better Than Me was completely posted. To be honest this one didn't feel as long as Just Like Me did in terms of posting :\ lol.
To get an equal response (yeah, alright, I have a few more reviews than the other story, but it's basically the same) for this was still pretty amazing for me anyhow. I didn't really expect people to still be paying attention to this story. With both fics, I was worried you guys were gonna go "oh, great, a love triangle with an original character, yawn" and just totally ignore it, but I guess I should stop listening to fear, hey? Hmmm. Time for special thank you's, because these guys really kept me going in those times of doubt.
I can't really say much. Everything that could've been said, I said in the Just Like Me thank you section. So, I guess all I can say is, thanks for staying interested and stuff, y'know? Oh. And thanks for leaving essay-length reviews. Good to keep me occupied ;) XD But really, I'm glad you've been enjoying this fic as well. You still pick up stuff I never even picked up (INCLUDING SPELLING ERRORS! ZOMG! –hides in shame- v.v XD), and still keep giving me feedback that really helps boost my confidence and helps me become a better writer. So, thanks :D
I repeat everything I said in the Just Like Me thank you section, and more. Queen D, you said something to me on MSNM that really made me feel like I wasn't wasting my time with these stories, and even though that was almost two or so months ago, its still stuck with me (lol, with me, NO PUN INTENDED XD!). It might not be the exact words but its close enough – "Razer's like… She's not an OC. You've practically made her into a Tekken character. For me, at least." You have no idea how that made me feel. That level of praise feels unusual, but wonderful, and the fact that Razer even feels that way to you, to just one person, means so much to me. Thank you for sticking by my side through yet another long story and for making me feel as if I wasn't wasting my time XD
Alright, you jumped on the band wagon in Better Than Me, and you haven't read the fic before it, but you're still going strong and understand all the stuff going on, and that rocks. I think, at least, with dealing with the doubt, I have you to thank the most. Whether its was through the private messages or the silly chats on MSNM, you really boosted my confidence and told me that if I wanted to do it, then I should do it, and not worry about what others think. And this wasn't just for Better Than Me, it was for ALL my ideas, for any of my fics (i.e. Critical Failure). Thank you so, so much for your advice, your praise, and your friendship, Thunder. If it wasn't for you, I don't think I would've been over that fear just yet. Eskimo on, my soup-loving pirate pimp :P
And lastly, yet again, My Beta:
WHAT'RE YOU DOING BACK HERE, READING THE FIC THAT YOU'VE ALREADY READ? –shifty eyes- lol. Can't say much more than thank you. I love your little crazy ideas that inspire me to put certain parts of the fic in XD Wouldn't have been the same without your input in the writing stage. Neither Just Like Me or Better Than Me would've been the same without it. Thanks a million, again :D
I can't forget the rest of you guys either, so many thanks to: Dynasty021 (back for more hey? :P Thanks XD), XxBaByAnGeLxX (thank you!), Salysha (thanks for the advice buddy, glad you've enjoyed the fic!), slheggypff (thank you :D), Dilu (thanks for your enthusiasm!), story+time (thanks!), PopShop (Mmm, with the way the poll is going at the moment, J-Woman, Hwoarang probably won't be in your redhead collection, lmfao XD! Your reviews never fail to make me rofl, ya know that? XD 'Feminine Adventure' as a tampon brand, wtf, how much did you drink when you read that chapter?! XD!!), Esther-Diana (thanks!), . (what an interesting username, thanks XD) and Crystal –Lady Nefarious- (thank you!).
Alright, things are gonna be a little different this time. Unlike the last time we got to here, With Me, the sequel to this story, HAS NOT YET BEEN COMPLETED. I am still working on it and am finding it really hard to push through. I guess its writer's block. I mean, I know what's going on but it won't come out. I have the ending all ready in my head, but its getting to there that's slowing it down. I'm writing Chapter 26 as I type out this Author's Note, lol. ANYWAY! There is a massive decline in quality, in my opinion, especially between chapters 8 and 16 or so, so I'm really, really reallyreallyreeeeeeeeeeally trying to bring that up to date, as well as editing all chapters any how (but mainly those ones. They just suck -.-;!). I'll post it up when I can, which should be soon-ish, I'm on holidays now (for three weeks, huzzah!).
With Me will be focused on events in Tekken 5, and should be closer towards the Adventure/Action stuff that Just Like Me was. Its just that, Better Than Me didn't have a major, evil, supernatural foe (i.e. Ogre, Jinpachi), so there was no way it could've been Adventure/Action like Tekken 3 and 5 are. It called for drama. So to those who weren't as interested in this fic as they were in the previous, well, just a heads up that you may like With Me more than this one. The thing is though, I think my problem at the moment with the writing is transitioning from Drama back into Adventure/Action as the 'main genre', y'know? But anyway. The new fic will be a little more angsty than the other two as well, so yeah. So, with that said and done, I'm off for now. Thanks again, guys!