Disclaimer: Tekken and Tekken characters are the property of Namco Limited. This is nonprofit fan fiction.
Warnings: This features m/m slash, which means that two men are portrayed in a romantic relationship. If that bothers you, skip this story and read something you are comfortable with. This story is rated PG-13, or T.
He had coped for so long. He had kept fighting; he had saved the world and risen against the Mishima power, just as Jin Kazama had always wanted to, but the world had changed. Things that mattered back then did not matter anymore. No one remembered why they fought, and no one cared if they were victorious.
No one thanked him for saving the world and, truth be told, he did not care anymore.
He had fought Kazuya Mishima to death, only to have the lesser of two evils rise to power: Lee Chaolan. Sharpened by years under Heihachi Mishima's cruelty, Lee Chaolan did have one redeeming characteristic: he did not have the Devil Gene. With Jin Kazama dead—God, that word still threatened to consume him—and with Kazuya, Heihachi, and Jinpachi Mishima finally destroyed, there was no reason left for Hwoarang to fight. No dream to realize. He had fulfilled the last promise.
The dream had been Jin's—his one obsession. His destiny, as he had called it. Nothing could stand in the way of his quest to save the world from the Mishimas and ultimately from himself, but for a time he had shared himself with Hwoarang. They had shared a life that now, after all was said and done, still consumed Hwoarang and still killed him inside. To think about all that they could have had together was unbearable.
Hwoarang perched by the waterfall and looked into the cascading water. He remembered this as the place where his life had started and where it had ended. This was where he and Jin had fallen for each other. This was where Jin had died. Hwoarang shut his eyes so tightly it hurt, and tears wet his cheeks. The pain was so raw. He sat there a long time, consumed by the grief that he could keep at bay less and less with each passing month.
"Hwoarang?" a quiet voice came from behind him.
Hwoarang rubbed his face dry and got up slowly to face Jin, who looked at him with concern. The concern deepened to alarm as Jin saw the tear-stained face.
"Hwoarang, what is wrong?" Jin took a step toward him with open arms.
Hwoarang took a minute step back. He wanted to back away, but there was nowhere to go.
"What is it? Love, what is it?"
Hwoarang continued to stare. Jin closed the distance between them and pulled Hwoarang by the hand away from the brink. He cupped Hwoarang's face ever so gently and looked him in the eyes. Jin could not read anything in them that would give him a clue. Jin pulled Hwoarang into a strong hug.
It took a couple of seconds, but then Hwoarang first relaxed, then returned the hug with strength. Jin smiled to himself with relief and held Hwoarang in a tight, comforting embrace. "Are you all right?" he murmured.
Hwoarang didn't answer straight away, but then he replied in a whisper.
"What?" Jin let go and looked at him in confusion.
"You are dead, even now. I know that. God help me, I know. I don't know why you come back to me. I'm not strong enough to resist you, Jin."
"What are you talking about? I'm right here," Jin said and reached out to Hwoarang, who evaded the touch.
"You are dead, Jin."
"Hwoarang, please," Jin spoke soothingly, like he had done this before, many times. "Whatever you are talking about, it's not true. It won't be true. I am here, with you. We all go a little crazy with the pressure, but it's not true. I'm more than alive, and I'm with you."
"But you died...." Hwoarang was clearly battling uncertainty.
"Please. I'm right here with you. Let me show you...." Jin stepped forward and very carefully, very loosely embraced Hwoarang and kissed him softly.
Those lips were real... and so was the scent, and the feel, and everything felt so right. Hwoarang's hands crept to grip Jin Kazama's back, and he returned the kiss. They kissed deeply; they broke the kiss to plant several small ones on each other's lips, and they sunk into a long, sensuous kiss again. They pressed their bodies together and kept each other close, so close.
When they finally broke off, there was humor in Jin's eyes. "See now? I'm with you. All the way and always." He reached his hand and softly wiped the last of the wetness on Hwoarang's face and in the corner of his eyes. He kissed Hwoarang again and reached to take Hwoarang's right hand in his.
Hwoarang drank him like a starving man and looked at him with bright eyes. "All the way and always," he said and took Jin's left hand in his. He looked into Jin's eyes, which radiated warmth. They pressed their foreheads together, and Hwoarang pulled their crossed arms to his chest. Jin bent to kiss Hwoarang's knuckles softly. Hwoarang rested his forehead on Jin's and closed his eyes.
"That's enough. Pull him out."
The dark figure turned to the lab technician, who tried to suppress the chill that ran through him at the sound of boss's voice. He moved fast and pushed a few buttons. The lights in the other room went out, leaving the solitary man sitting in the darkness. The hologram on the wall died; the special IV stopped running, and the regular life support took over again.
"Next week again, sir?" the technician inquired. He was hoping the boss would just say yes and leave him alone.
"Yes," the dark figure said, but the rest of the technician's wish did not come true. The boss was scrutinizing him, and the technician had to face him and look into the burning orbs. "Turn on the lights in the experiment room," the figure ordered, and the lights came on in the other room, which they viewed through a one-way mirror.
Tied to a chair, a worn-down figure still stared at the wall with empty eyes, although the hologram was gone. The figure must have been a handsome man, but now an observer saw only malnutrition, a collapsed posture, and faded hair that had few traces of red left. The man did not have much muscle left anymore, and it was unlikely he could have even walked on his own. As it was, all his moving was done for him, and only the IV gave him enough nutrition to keep him from completely fading away. There was no life in the man's eyes, either—the technician had informed the boss that the man had stopped reacting to visual stimuli other than the holograms six weeks ago.
"How long does he have?"
"How long will he live?" he repeated, with annoyance.
"Oh. They say one month, at most. Could be just one week now. It's hard to say in the end, Mr. Kazama," the technician supplied, careful not to show how the question had come unexpected. Then again, he was sure that his moment of uncertainty had not escaped the boss.
"Next week will be the last. Then, you will give him an overdose. Make sure you have something decent waiting. A quick death; no pain. If I see him suffer, I will cut off your head. Keep him alive until then." He said that conversationally. There was rarely emotion in his voice anymore. With one last look at the solitary man, Jin Kazama turned to leave. Hidden inside the trench coat, his black wings almost knocked the lab technician over.
He was out of the door when something unexpected happened. The lab technician spoke up.
"Uh, sir? Why?"
"Excuse me?" Jin turned around so quickly that the lab technician almost had a seizure. He pursued still, something which drew a ghost of a smile on Jin's face.
"Why him, sir? Why have you kept him all this time?" The lab technician was scared, and yet he dared to ask. The question was intrusive and not related to work. Jin liked that. He had not had an employee stand up to him for eighteen months now.
For whatever dark reason, Jin decided to humor the man. It made no difference anymore. "He is the only one to ever defeat me."
"Is that it? That was his crime?" the lab technician said before realizing that he had signed his own death warrant.
"No," said Jin curtly and shot such a look that the technician felt his blood grow cold. Jin turned to leave again. "Have him ready next week, same time. And—" just as the technician was about to thank his fortunes, he continued, "—remember that I expect anyone working for me to be prepared for the unexpected."
It was almost as though the boss had read his mind.
That thought reached Jin as soon as it was formed, and Jin grinned to himself. Coat flapping, he walked out of the lab. Switched buildings, silenced any lackeys who tried to stop him for instructions, and finally found his way to his office: an enormous room, furnished lavishly, secured against any tampering, including 9-Richter earthquakes and tactical nuclear missiles. There, he finally answered the foolhardy lab technician's question. It hadn't been a crime, but...
"He made me feel."
Hwoarang's last promise? To kill Jin Kazama.
Hearty thanks to Gypsie (Gypsie Rose) for the proofreading!
Published March 5, 2008.
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