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 Angel.
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.
Author's Note: If you had to take a break reading Chapter 39 and its ten thousand words, you will probably need to take a break with this one too, as it is over eleven thousand words (yup. Another OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAAND chapters XD). I much rather this one. It just ties the whole story together so much better, etc. Even elements in Take Me Back are mentioned, yet until you read it, some won't exactly make sense.
This is the true ending to With Me, I suppose. It's been with me since the start, and you have no idea how good it felt to get it out. But regardless, please enjoy the very last post of With Me. If it weren't for you guys, I wouldn't be writing as well as I do now, nor be as 'well known' for my skills in this section. Thank you. Honestly.
NOTE: This is Hwoarang's Epilogue. To see Jin Kazama's, go to the previous chapter.
Epilogue Two: Horizon
Voices echoed in his head.
"Make sure you get a place with lots of space," he said with a bright smile, "If there's going to be four of us living here, and then people coming to train in the dojang, then it's seriously gotta be spacious. I don't wanna sleep in a pantry or a bathtub or something dumb like that."
Seong-Hada grinned at his former gang leader, "Just share with Razer like you did on the streets. When it got to six of us you pretty much dragged her from her room and into yours, and you let me and Nas-San take hers. I'm pretty sure she'd be fine with it. I mean, Han-Geong actually thought that you two were so comfortable around each other that you wouldn't bother turning away to change underwear and stuff."
Hwoarang looked at him dumbly and spoke sarcastically, "Why didn't that ever occur to me?"
"What didn't? Not bothering to turn away when –"
"No, it explains why he used to give me funny looks every morning."
"Yeah, I remember them. I think you hit him in the balls once because of that…"
The nostalgia of his old, dead gang mates had the smile on the Blood Talon's face fall off suddenly. He continued staring at the wooden ground of his room. He missed them all terribly, sparing the two sadistic bastards who had slaughtered most of them, and their strange little activities and behaviour. He'd never forget the amount of times that little Roh-Hwang walked into walls.
A shame that he had been shot dead in cold blood by the police.
How fortunate that he had been saved from the torture of his so called 'friends'.
"Look," Baek cut in through the cold silence, "I'm going to buy what I can afford, simple as that. So stop bickering."
"We're not bickering!" Seong-Hada remarked, "If you wanna see bickering, all you have to do is ask!"
Before the day could be waste any further, Hwoarang grinned, "Get out of here, both of you. I'm tired."
"You're such a whiner," the 19-year-old growled teasingly at his fellow youth, following his Master out of the room. The eldest of them all closed the door gently behind him, giving a small smile to his oldest student. He had been awfully tired lately, and he easily pinned it down to the wound inflicted on him by Jinpachi.
He hadn't heard from Razer's Mother since the fight, and assumed that she didn't need to contact him anymore. There was no reason for her to hang around because there was no supernatural threat. She didn't need to warn everyone of something, and there was nothing wrong with her daughter anymore either.
The wound was healing up slowly everyday. His back was gradually becoming more and more mobile, and the pain was becoming duller and duller. If he twisted his back at an odd angle though, he'd definitely pay for it, and the pain wouldn't settle for at least an hour. This knew that this would keep him out of training for a fair while.
Within a few moments after they had left, he moved to lie down, however there was a knock at the door. With an agitated and sleepy sigh, Hwoarang stood and went to open it. The wood swiftly swung back on its hinges, as guided by his hand. On the other side stood his best friend, "Hey, you."
"Hey. Did you need help hobbling to the airport? The others are leaving soon," Razer smiled.
He grinned briefly, stepping out, closing the door behind him, "I don't 'hobble' anywhere."
"You what, 'limp' then?"
Although he didn't interact with them as much as the others, it was sad to see Steve, Christie and Eddy leave (though Lei's exit was somewhat amusing. He had been dragging Feng Wei onto the plane, and had shoved some guy named Johno aside with Detective Burton). There were some laughs and some tears, but they all knew that they would meet again in the Sixth Tournament, whenever it was held. Photographs and phone numbers were exchanged, as were kind words and compliments.
Steve was unable to control his smile when he came to the first person he met at the Fourth Tournament, "I'm so proud of you."
The woman in question was clearly perplexed, and raised an eyebrow, asking, "Why?"
Beside her, Hwoarang listened, though pretended to be completely oblivious. To add to his acting, he focused his gaze on Marduk, someone he was not fond of, interacting friendlily with King as they boarded their plane to wherever. He was intrigued by this, because for all he knew, they were in different countries.
"Well… you've changed a considerable amount. At the start of the 4th Tournament, when I met you, you were so anti-social, so quiet, so… far away, and just… lost. You were so lost, love. I could've waved a thousands pieces of your favourite food in front of your face, or the most attractive man in the world, or your worst enemy, or an alien, or I could've threatened to bowl you over with a stone boulder… you just would not budge. Despite your progress, you reverted back to that same girl because of the… unpleasantness… near the end of the tournament.
"And now? Look at you. You're not as cold, you're not far away or lost. You're smiling. You're happy. If I dangled a thousand pieces of chocolate before you, you'd snatch it up, for sure; and I had somehow gathered enough strength to lift Marduk and hold him up in front of you, I'm sure you'd beat him to bloody pulp. You're living. And it's just wonderful to see. For that I'm proud of you, because you're not letting anything hold you back from what you deserve."
The Blood Talon undoubtedly agreed. For the first time in a long time, she was living, properly. He was glad that he was not the only one who thought such a thing. There was nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. There were no threats, be they of supernatural origin, of family or of internal struggles. They weren't starving, they weren't homeless and holding onto each other for warmth.
He looked up from the ground, still hunched over, though now staring now into a mirror on the wall opposite him. He was in his room in the new dojang, which he and the others had inhabited for about a month or so now. He stared at himself for a few moments, before a small smile cracked through, like the smallest rays of sunlight.
The fight to survive.
The long road, the truest struggle.
The hardest test that he had ever endured.
He nodded firmly, his smile a little wider, "It's over."
Are you sure you want to do this? Angel inquired cautiously, Are you sure of your decision?
I have never been so sure in my life, Angel, Razer replied, waiting for the secretary to be done on the phone with the person she had come to see. As she waited, she drummed her fingers across her arm, trying to keep her collected thoughts together, It is going to be hard, sure… Emotionally, financially, and so on… But I want to do this.
You have only been in Japan for a month. Are you sure that you want to just get up and…?
I know your intentions are good, but nothing you will say will change my mind. I have done so much thinking for the past month, and my mind is made up, right down to the smallest detail.
She projected a graceful smile, I know everything will be okay for everyone. Just take each day as it comes.
"Yeah, just head in, he said its fine," the secretary stated blandly, returning to her work. Her fingers zoomed across the keyboard at a million miles an hour, filling out various forms on the computer. Athane wondered how the person could type so fast. She was a slow typer herself.
She entered the large office room, her green eyes landing on Jin Kazama, who was hunched over on his desk. She noticed a disgruntled face on his visage, and laughed to herself as he crumbled up the piece of paper in his hand and tossed it in the bin beside him. It seemed that he didn't notice her approach him.
'Were you hoping to scare me?'
The 20-year-old grinned and replied in turn, 'I was hoping to surprise you. What are you doing?'
'Giving out money to other companies,' the new CEO stated, tearing out a cheque, placing it on top of a pile. He looked up to her and tilted his head slightly, smiling, 'And what are you doing? Should you not be looking after Hwoarang at Baek's dojang? I know he has not completely recovered yet, though he acts as though he has.'
'Baek'll put him into line if he decides to be an idiot,' she turned away and spotted a nearby chair. She moved to sit, swivelling it so it was facing towards her close friend, and tapped her fingers on the arm rests, 'It has been just over a month since the incident, though. He's healing up quite well. The scab is almost gone.'
Jin nodded and returned to his work, 'That is good.'
After various periods of bone-chilling silence, memories (such as birthdays), some general teasing and apologies, she was given a calm stare and a warm smile. She slowly placed the photograph she had picked up back onto his desk and spoke, trying to cut up this period of silence, "Shouldn't you be doing paper work?"
Jin followed suit, then drummed his fingers together, "I am more or less intrigued in the nature of your visit."
"I just… came to see what you were doing."
"What do you think I would be doing at work? Creating pornographic videos with my secretary?"
"That sounds like something Hwoarang would say…"
He smirked a little, "But seriously, why are you here? What do you need to talk about?"
She rubbed her wrist and looked down, 'Do you remember when I called you up a few days ago and told you about my… 'problem'?
'I've reached a decision about it.'
Yet another uncomfortable silence. She nervously looked up at him as he spoke verbally, "And this decision is…?"
"I think we should just stay friends."
He nodded, smiling, looking back to the papers in front of him, "A wise decision indeed, my friend. With my new position as the CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu, I do not think I will have time for a relationship for a while. Besides, I need to get used to this before I can leap into anything else that is new. I am glad that this weight is off your shoulders, and I truly thank you for the brief time we did have together."
"And I thank you too, Jin. But I haven't finished what I was going to say, either."
"Forgive my interruption," the Japanese man rested his elbows on the table and pressed both hands against one another. He turned his head to the left and looked at her, still smiling, "Please, continue with your information."
"I've decided that I'm moving."
This caught him by surprise. He raised both of his eyebrows, chocolate brown eyes widening a little bit, "You are leaving Tokyo?"
"I'm leaving Japan."
"You are returning to South Korea with Hwoarang, Seong-Hada and Mr Doo San?"
Truly confused, he leant back in his chair, looked back to the papers and scratched his neck, trying to make sense of the situation. She's leaving Japan, but she is not returning to her old neighbourhood with the three Koreans. Or, she's returning to Korea alone. But that doesn't make sense, she can't speak the language and would be as good as a limbless fighter.
It took him a good, solid minute to figure out what she was saying. The 21-year-old looked back up and at his ex-girlfriend once more, the situation finally sorted out in his head. His smile was wide, and that in itself settled her nerves, "If you ever need anything… money, a car, or a friend… please call me or email me, and I will have what you desire sent out to you. Best of luck to you."
Razer scratched the back of her head and nodded firmly, "Thank you. For everything."
Jin smiled and turned wholly in his chair to embrace one of his closest friends.
A sweet 'ding-dong' reverberated through the area.
"We have a vistorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" Seong-Hada yelled, stampeding to the front door. His bare feet thudded over the wood, the sound eventually coming to a sudden stop. He turned the doorknob, throwing the wood wide open, and inwardly squealed with glee when he saw the person on the other side, "Xiao!"
"Hey!" she remarked, throwing her arms around her friend lightly, "Long time no see!"
"Yeah, it's only been, oh… a month. Four weeks. Thirty days. You need to visit more!"
She nodded, letting go of the 19-year-old. Stepping inside, she took her white runners off, leaving them beside the three other pairs of shoes, and ran her fingers through one of her pigtails, looking around the area, "Wow, you guys have set this up really nicely. It looks all warm and cosy. It really feels like a home."
"Yeah I know. Thank Baek for the 'shiny' interior layouts," he grinned with a light wink, taking her petite hand. Pulling her along gently, he led her away from the front door, "Come on, let me show you around the place!"
Like a good tour guide, he showed her around their new home, pointing out various bits and pieces, telling her a couple of stories here and there about this lounge and that table. She simply smiled and nodded, pitching in a laugh every so often. The Chinese girl was truly happy for the three youths, for after so long, they had a proper home and a great man watching over them all.
When they came to the back yard, they noticed Hwoarang playing soccer by himself. Seong-Hada was perplexed at this, for he had never known that his close friend played the sport. He opened the door and called out, "Hwoarang, what's this? You never told me you played soccer!"
"Junior championships," he chuckled, kneeing the ball up to his chest, "Four years in a row. I quit when I was eleven."
"I see," he remarked, smiling, "Just make sure you don't tire yourself out, or put your back in a… corproising…? Position."
"'Corproising', SH, isn't a word. It's 'compromising'."
"Shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut upppp!" he huffed, pointing a finger at him. He couldn't hide the slight smile in his frustrated voice,"If it wasn't for Razer, I wouldn't have bothered with this stupid language in the first place! You should've taught her Korean, dammit! Korean is not difficult; English is!"
"She knows some words and phrases."
"Like what? 'Hi', 'thank you', 'I love you', 'do you speak English'? Anything else?"
"Oh, that's not all. She knows 'fuck', 'I know', 'chicken', 'you and I', 'please sing a song', 'how much is this', 'where is this place', what time is it', 'bitch'…" he trailed off for a moment, smirking, and observed his younger friend from the corner of his eyes,"'Chop sticks'. 'Spoon'."
He froze into place and blinked rapidly. Seong-Hada's suspicions told him that he was about to lose money, "She remembered?"
Hwoarang dropped the ball and strolled over towards the door, giving a small nod and smile to the visitor, before turning back to his former gang mate. He stuck his hand out and leant against the frame, still smirking, "Cough it up."
He fumbled through the pockets of his black tracksuit pants with his free hand, pulling out the total to their bet, grumbling 'dammit' over and over in Korean, shoving it in the 21-year-old's hand. He tugged Ling away, continuing on with his tour, pointing out this and that, "There used to be a piano over here. Why you'd need a piano in a dojang is beyond me, but anyway…"
The Blood Talon smiled to himself and turned away, shoving the money into his pocket. Treading his bare feet over the wood carefully, he walked towards the edge of the veranda, looking around, bored. It wasn't the same as the old dojang, but there were still some striking similarities, such as the large cherry blossom tree in the back corner of the yard. It amused him that people thought that they were only indigenous to Japan. That wasn't true, they were native to a majority of Asia.
He didn't know how long he had been staring at the flora blankly, but before he knew it, there was a light touch to his shoulder. He looked over it and smiled, stepping to the side slightly so that the person could stand beside him, "It kinda looks like home, doesn't it? Like, it does, but it doesn't."
Razer nodded, her hands nestled in her pockets, "It amazes me that the tree is of the same type and in the same location."
"Even the fence looks the same."
"Just a different colour, of course."
"Yeah…" he put an arm across his chest temporarily, stretching it, before letting it drop again, turning to look at her.
It was that 'look' again, the one she had been trying to figure out for years.
"So how's Jin?"
Do you want me to tell you?
"He is settling in his new job very well."
"Nice," it only got firmer with his smile.
"Yeah. We had a bit of a talk."
"Life, in general… The past, the present, and the future."
"Oh, you know, where we see ourselves soon, who we see ourselves with, and so on."
Hwoarang chuckled to himself and smiled, turning to look at her, "Man, I'm gonna be envious of the guy who gets you."
"I do not see how you can envy yourself."
The Korean did a double take, the smile slowly seeping off his face until there was nothing but a blank stare residing. His counterpart turned her head to the right and looked back, partially amused by his expression, but nonetheless smiling slightly in return. She was clearly trying to read what was going through his mind by the look on his face, or what he may or may not have been planning to do.
His head dropped down, his sienna eyes staring at the floorboards and at their feet. Lost in the wave of happiness, he fell to his knees and firmly wrapped his arms around her waist, cheek pressing against her stomach. Closing he eyes, he took in the moment for all it was worth, committing it to memory, right down to the smallest details. The feel of the wood below his jeans and knees, the warmth of her body, the overwhelming joy, the soft hand patting the top of his head… All of it.
"Neona…" he choked, holding her harder.
"Neona," she replied with a nod, smiling.
'You and I'.
The look in his eyes… that you have not been able to pin a name to yet… It is protection.
Of course, she murmured to Angel, her smile growing, I should have known.
They said nothing more for a good ten minutes and merely remained frozen in place.
Soon enough though, the silence was broken by a feminine whisper, "Leave Japan with me."
He looked up at her, curious, "But where will we go?"
"You took me into your home, into your country. Let me take you into mine."
It seemed like only yesterday that the proposition of moving to Greece with his best frie – girlfriend, had been put on the table. It seemed like only yesterday that they had headed back inside and shoved everything they owned into bags, zipping them up hastily, thereafter dumping them on the floor, making flight and travel plans.
It seemed like only yesterday that Hwoarang had told Baek what had happened after six years of silent hope. It seemed like only yesterday that Seong-Hada had blabbed about it to everyone, all the while grinning his God damn head off. Even Steve called when he heard the news. The very first word that dropped out of his mouth was an excruciatingly loud 'about fucking time dammit' that could be heard from all parts of the dojang.
It only felt like a few hours ago that they were at the airport, bidding everyone good bye. A 'damn proud' Baek, squeezing their shoulders. A teary Seong-Hada, squeezing them both in a hug each until they almost suffocated. A sniffling Xiaoyu, demanding that they email her everyday 'or else. I don't know what, but 'or else!''.
A delighted Miharu, wishing them all the luck in the world. A calm Jinrei, telling them to keep their wits about them and to be careful. A smug Asuka, claiming that despite their absence, she would continue to dominate the arcades here. And last but not least, a peaceful Jin, who simply wore a smile and stated that if they needed anything, just contact him. And then they were gone, off on a new adventure. Just the two of them.
Despite what it seemed like or felt like, in reality it had been two months. The snow storms were no longer common. The blinding white began to recede, allowing full life to return back to the land surrounding their new mountain home. The warmth of the summer sunlight was easier to feel now than it had been when they moved in, though it did not warm them as much as the knowledge that after so damn long, they were an item.
When they first arrived, Hwoarang noticed the forlorn smile and hints of tears in the woman's eyes. However, before he could sport any act of comfort, she had opened the door immediately and practically ran inside, looking around. He had stumbled in after her quietly, closing the door, and watched as the smile lost the sadness.
"It's the same," she had said, "Everything is the same. The couch is still here, the photographs, the tv is in the same spot…"
They had changed things around a little. For one, the television wasn't practically sitting in the middle of the room. It was now angled in a corner, and the couches had been angled appropriately to suit the situation. They gathered all but a few photos and put them away in Razer's box safely, where the rest of her past memories lay, and so on.
They even had jobs now. She worked at a library part time, which he found amusing, considering how much she read. He taught Tae Kwon Do at a nearby gym five days a week. Per his request, they were all English speaking students only. It made teaching a lot easier. His knowledge of Greek was fairly limited. It was safe to say that he knew as much of that as Razer knew of Korean.
With the money that they were earning, as well as the generous amount that Jin had slipped in Razer's pocket via a cheque (a fact which she found humorous), they were settling in quite well and had a few accessories already. The Blood Talon had bought some equipment for work, and as a combined effort, they had bought a computer. The excuse was that they were 'afraid' of what the 'or else' part of Xiaoyu's threat would be. He even had a motorbike again.
Their best purchase, though, had just slipped her head under the covers of their bed and began to lick the fallen male hand vigorously. The act grudgingly roused the sleeping youth, who raised the attacked hand and looked at it through heavy eyes, noticing slobber all over the back of it. Disgruntled and still in a sleepy daze, he wiped it on the duvet before peeking over the side, seeing their puppy attempt to jump up on the bed.
You're not allowed up here… he inwardly groaned, rolling over, feeling the covers, his boxers and the rocket pendant twist due to his actions. Rubbing his eyes with the palm of his hand, he silently observed the sleeping woman next to him, and only now realised that the sudden source of his numb right arm was because Razer was using his bicep as a makeshift pillow.
As much as he wanted to just lie here, Hwoarang had to get up. He had to let the dog out and feed it, and he had to feed himself too. His stomach was clearly protesting against the lack of contents. After briefly ruffling his girlfriend's hair, he slowly sat up and slipped his arm out from underneath her frame, relishing the freedom once the task had been accomplished. Soon enough, the blood would circulate back to the arm.
He swung his legs off the bed, carefully making sure not to tread on the happy animal that was now licking at his toes. For a few moments, he reached forward and scratched the husky pup behind its ears in silent greeting. The 21-year-old had always been terrible with names, so he had let Razer pick the name for the creature, though she was only slightly better at that task than he was.
He didn't know why she decided upon that name, probably because it snowed here and in Korea. That or it was starting to snow at the cathedral during that massive battle between the genes. Or the fact that huskies were made for snowy conditions. Little did he know that the underlying reason was deeper. Snow covered all, leaving everything a bright white in its wake. White is the symbol of purity and hope.
A new life, a new entity… It was only fitting.
It seemed that the Korean had entered into a robotic state. His brief pondering had led him downstairs and to the back door already, which he had just opened. Snowy bolted outside to do her business, and in the mean time, one of her masters quickly grabbed a can of dog food, opened it, dumped the smelly contents into her dark green bowl and disposed of the plastic garbage.
It was when he walked into the cupboard did he decide that it was time for coffee.
The dog eventually lumbered back inside and located its food, thereafter beginning its consumption. By that time, the Blood Talon already had the coffee in his hands, and was sitting on the computer, booting it up to check for emails from the others, or to see if anyone was online to chat with. And as always, it was taking its time logging in.
The moment he had successfully signed in, he spotted no emails. However, a chat box came up.
Hambagah says: omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomg hiiii!
He smiled and replied.
Idiot says: Seong-Hada, hey!
Hambagah says: WAZZAAAAAAAAP? :D
Idiot says: Not much, just woke up -.- You?
Hambagah says: nm, just chattin' lulz
Idiot says: lol
Hambagah says: So what's been happening lately?
Hambagah says: Don't you have a job you should be at atm?
Hambagah says: lololololololol
Idiot says: Nothing really, and it's fucking 9am on a Saturday, so no
Hambagah says: awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Hambagah says: hey hey hey
Hambagah says: ummmm…
Idiot says: ?
Hambagah says: I don't remember, lol
Idiot says: -.-
Hambagah says: oh oh oh ohohohohohohoh I remember now!
Hambagah has invited you to watch his/her webcam.
Oh great, so he wanted to show him something. Soon enough, he clicked accept, and his friend was on the screen in his pyjamas, waving about what appeared to be an orange belt. His face was full of pride and content. Soon enough, he put it down and began to type again.
Hambagah says: I got my orange belt! Baek says I'm going great :D
Idiot says: Sweet, nice job!
Hambagah says: ty, ty
Idiot says: lol
Hambagah has requested to watch your webcam.
Idiot says: Dude, no, I'm a sleepy wreck
Hambagah says: Yeah that's something I've seen before
Hambagah says: Come onnnn, click accept
Hambagah says: If you know what's good for you, you will :D
Idiot says: Fuckin'…
You have accepted the invitation.
Hwoarang quickly ran his fingers through his hair, lazily fixing it up, and rubbed his eyes, taking another sip of his coffee. He monitored Seong-Hada's expression, which went from patiently waiting to hyperactive happiness, and couldn't help but grin himself.
Hambagah says: It's so good to see you! :)
Hambagah says: Wait
Hambagah says: Dude
Hambagah says: Put a shirt on
Hambagah says: Srsly
Idiot says: XDDDDDDDDDD
Hambagah says: xD
Hambagah says: Hold on, lemme get Baek
Hambagah says: He wanted to talk with you
Hambagah says: brb
Idiot says: k
As the figure of his friend left the confinements of the camera, he watched an email alert arrive at the bottom right hand of the screen. Noticing it was from Miharu, he clicked it immediately, putting the coffee down, and watched as the email opened itself.
All he had to do was read the first line and roll his eyes.
'Hey Hwo. I got sent this 'email'. I thought you might find it useful, heheheheh.'
Deleting the penis enlargement spam, he heard a voice from behind him, "I love her sense of humour."
"Good morning to you too," Hwoarang remarked with a lazy smile, looking up and back at the woman.
Razer sleepily rubbed her eyes and patted his head, "Who are you talking to?"
In that instant, Seong-Hada came back into view with Baek in tow.
Hambagah says: back
Hambagah says: OMG RAZER
Hambagah says: OMG HI
Hambagah says: OMG SUP
Hambagah says: :D :D :D
She leant over Hwoarang and typed a response.
Idiot says: Hi, I just got up and I am very tired. How are you?
Hambagah says: I r t3h great :D
Idiot says: …t3h?
Hambagah says: nvm (never mind)
She shrugged and stood up straight again, waving at her two friends briefly. They waved back.
Hambagah says: Anyway I'm gonna hand this keyboard over to Baek nowww.
Hambagah says: ttyl in… 5 min or somethin'
They watched as the 19-year-old stood from his seat, and as their Master lowered himself onto the chair.
Hambagah says: Hello, you two.
Hambagah says: I trust that you are both doing well over there?
Idiot says: Yeah, we're doing great.
Idiot says: We even have a dog now :D
Hambagah says: I see.
Hambagah says: Just remember to look after each other.
Hambagah says: If you ever come back to Japan, please visit us.
Idiot says: Will do, appa.
In response to being called 'Dad', Baek paused for a moment and smiled, even looking for an emoticon to show it.
Hambagah says: :)
Hambagah says: It feels so strange not having you two around anymore.
Hambagah says: Inside these walls, it is so quiet.
Hambagah says: I listen out, expecting to hear a pained yell or many snappy insults at one another.
Hambagah says: I am met with nothing but a television and breathing.
Hambagah says: Not even the seldom hyperactive phases that Seong-Hada goes through succeed.
Idiot says: We've grown up, Baek.
Idiot says: The people you remembered us as are gone.
Idiot says: We left 'em behind, long ago.
Hambagah says: I know.
Hambagah says: And in their places are two wonderful young adults.
Hambagah says: I may not be either of your fathers, but…
Hambagah says: I'm sure both of them would be proud of you, just as I am.
While the compliment pleased Hwoarang, it unsettled Razer slightly. Would he be proud of who she was? Would he be proud of how she had shaped herself? Of how she lived? Of who she was with? Of her friends? Anything? More importantly, why was she curious about this? She already knew the answer. If he were alive, he wouldn't care, though deep down, she wished he did.
It was at the end of her silent thinking did she realise that there was no pain in thinking of him and the events back home. She could walk amongst the memories freely and know that they were only memories, and nothing more. She could dream and know that they were only dreams, and that the events didn't happen anymore.
That she was safe and protected. That she was free.
You've let it go.
I didn't even realise I did.
Some things work in mysterious ways, Razer. But well done regardless.
Maybe I can…
Maybe you can what?
You know… That.
Oh… Well, maybe you can.
The Greek blinked for a moment and looked down at the Blood Talon, "Mm?"
"You alright?" he queried, eyebrows furrowed.
"Yes, I am fine. I'm just going to make some breakfast. Did you want anything?"
He shook his head and pointed to the coffee, "I'm good."
Nodding briefly, she turned away, folding her arms across her chest, Do you think I should?
It is your decision to make, not mine.
Angel left her alone to think in silence for a good fifteen minutes. In that time, they had eaten breakfast (she had made him some toast. Coffee simply wouldn't be enough), and both had gotten changed into their day clothes. In addition, Seong-Hada had returned to the computer and was speaking with Hwoarang again.
Hambagah says: And that's when I said to the guy 'go and ask someone who actually speaks Japanese.'
Idiot says: lol XD Niiiice.
Hambagah says: Anyway, I'm gonna go nowwww.
Idiot says: Sure.
Idiot says: Stay safe, man.
Hambagah says: You too :)
Hambagah says: Later :P
Idiot says: Baiii!
Hambagah has logged off.
"Raze? Did you wanna check your mail?" Hwoarang asked, standing up and leaving the computer, "If so, then the comp's all yours."
He looked around, trying to spot her, eventually finding her in the kitchen, looking out the window. He stayed silent and motionless, observing her too. It was as though she was staring out into the horizon, thinking again. One hand was around a glass of water, and the other was idly resting on the bench. She didn't even seem to notice that Snowy tugging at the bottom of her dress, trying to get her attention.
The 21-year-old walked in and took the dog away from her dress. Picking the animal up and off the floor in one arm, he tapped his girlfriend on the shoulder, watching as she came back to reality and turned to look at him, a simple 'hm' slipping from her mouth. He spoke, "Are you sure you're okay?" A nod. Shrugging, he turned away, taking the dog with him, "The computer's yours if you wanna check your mail."
They both entered the living room again, the eldest sitting on the floor and playing with their pet, the youngest sitting at the computer, signing into her email account. She expected no emails, for most were sent to Hwoarang's address (seeing as he used it more), but she was surprised to see one sitting there. She smiled and opened it.
To: Razer Athane
From: Jin Kazama
Subject: Check Up Time
It is currently… some ungodly hour of the night here in Japan. The flickering screen of my laptop hurts my eyes, as though they're burning. I can hear you saying 'stop looking at the screen and go to bed then, idiot' in my head, but… you know what? I'm determined to write out this email to you because I have not spoken with you since the day you left this country and returned to your homeland.
I apologise, firstly, that it took so long to contact you. This is my 'check up' email so to say. The first of many. I am sure you are wondering how I have found time to do this? Well, I am my own boss, am I not? I set up my own break time, for three weeks. Today is the first day I have had off since becoming the CEO of the Zaibatsu, so I used it to train again. I think I am starting to become fat…
For the rest of these three weeks, I am going to do some changes around the Mishima Mansion (with help from my maids of course, and I have already banished that useless Kuma to the Hokkaido forests. Honestly, why did my Grandfather keep him around?), train, hang out, and just relax in general. The school holidays are coming up soon for Xiaoyu and Miharu, so I assume that they will be coming to visit often, and maybe even stay over for a few nights. It will be good to see them again, I haven't seen them and interacted with them such large scales for a long while.
Xiaoyu is doing splendidly – she has passed all of her final exams, even Maths! Can you believe it? I can, Miharu can, Seong-Hada can, even Asuka and Mr Doo San… but she, herself, can't believe it. The silly thing needs to stop doubting herself. She is currently looking around for an art college. Did she ever tell you that she loves to paint? Well, she does, and she thinks it would be a good place to start. Little Ling even has a job now (no not with me and the Zaibatsu, that would be a scary thought, lol. And yes. I used lol. You're not imagining things, Raze) – she is working at a music store that is closer to her home. Ironically, it is in that same chain of stores that I found your shirt, three years ago :P (more shocking news – I used an emoticon! Are you surprised?).
Miharu is doing very well also. She too passed her exams, though her marks were not as good as Xiaoyu's. But she doesn't care, she just wants to get a job right now and become, and I quote, "rich, rich rich! Maybe I can make my own company. 'Hirano Industries', rival company of the Mishima Zaibatsu! Shoes against robots!". She has not found anything yet, though she is badgering Ling for a job at the same store. So far, her attempts have been unsuccessful, but she keeps trying. Her fighting technique is getting better too – Xiaoyu's Grandfather has taken her on as his student.
Asuka… on a personal level, I do not know how she is doing as much as these two, but she is moving in with me at the start of the coming year. Her Father and I have met a few times (though on business terms – he required financial assistance to rebuild his dojo), and he deems me worthy enough to house my cousin. It is wonderful feeling to be trusted, after not trusting myself for so long. I do not know, maybe I am even beginning to trust myself again. Little steps though, only little steps. But that is pretty cool, don't you think? A little cousin to harass, mwahaha…
As for your two Korean friends, they are doing well, so do not fret. Baek is getting plenty of students, which he is surprised about, and the money is slowly flowing in for them. He has spotted Kazuya a few times in his wanderings, though he doesn't think anything of it. He is even thinking of a second job, surprisingly, though he does not know where to start. But regardless, he has his health and he has Seong-Hada to keep him company.
That happy little monkey has been great. SH is slowly learning Japanese, with Xiao and Mi's help. Do you know what else? He even calls me, every day at five in the afternoon just to see how my day has been, even if it is only for thirty seconds. Such an adorable little thing, I can see why you and Hwoarang are so fond of him (though I know nothing of your history, this is only on an observational level). He successfully managed to get a job at… wait for it… the Italian Restaurant. I know, I am as baffled as you are. First Xiao and the music store, and now SH and the restaurant XD (oh look at that, another emoticon… What does this one mean though? Help, please?).
All five, and myself, send best wishes to you and Hwoarang, and Asuka has a special message for him. She asked me to tell you to tell him that she is indeed 'ruling the arcades' here. The persistent little thing is trying to teach Xiao and Mi how to play… what was it called… Soul Calibur? Or something… She's trying to teach them some game, but they just grow bored of it and stalk off to the shopping stores. I think, in a sense, she misses the challenge that she had with you two, though she will not admit it.
But enough of how things are over here; how are you and Hwoarang? Are you both getting along well? Is Greece and your Grandparents' home as you remember? You are not suffering from any memories? Do you both have jobs? How is his injury, is it healing? Is he having trouble with the language? Have you run into anyone you remember? The paparazzi aren't following you, are they? I know that out here, they have reported that the two of you were spotted in Greece, and are trying to get more information. Just thought I should give you a heads up. Seeing as the two of you were in the final four, they are probably going to be keeping an eye on you. They did that to me for the third and fourth tournaments as well.
Please write back when you have the chance, I would love to hear from you. I doubt I am going to sleep any time soon, I am having too much fun looking around on the internet. There are so many games on here, and some of them are puzzling and challenging. Just the type of thing to get my brain working and to keep it functional during my holiday break. Anyway, this concludes my check up, so… I am off. Until next time, Razer.
P.S. Just remember, if you need anything, I will have it sent out to you.
She clicked the reply button, smiling. It was wonderful to hear from him after so, so long.
To: Jin Kazama
From: Razer Athane
Subject: RE: Check Up Time
Hey, you. I just got through your email, it made me grin. Great to hear from you.
Its morning out here, and its kinda warm. It's a nice change. Up here in the mountains it can get quite cold, so to have a warm day up here is just awesome. We're not wrapped up in blankets with chattering teeth, or basking in front of a heater. In fact it's so pleasantly warm at the moment that I'm sweating a little. Yes, you really needed to know that XD (XD is face, by the way. Turn your head to the left. X is the eyes, and D is the open mouth. I thought that you, Mr I'm-Fully-Japanese, would've known that).
No need to apologise about the delay, I've been busy here as well so I haven't had time to start a long email and send it. Its Saturday here, though, and I don't have work (yes, I work. Guess where, c'mon. …Have you guessed yet? No? Well… I work in a library, lol (I can't believe you used 'lol'. LOL!!)), so I've got heaps of time to reply to this email. About time you gave yourself time off, you're too much of a work-a-holic. And you? Become fat? I doubt that, buddy. Maybe 'I've lost muscle definition :(' but not 'I'm fat'.
Oh man, Xiao and Mi might be staying over huh? And Asuka's coming to live with you? You'll be surrounded by women! I can see it now, all of you in pink, fluffy pyjamas, congregating around a bunch of girly magazines that depict exactly which bra is the hottest at the moment (or which guy is the cutest at the moment), painting your toenails, debating over which colour would be best suited, etc. Have fun with that Jin, really ;) Hehehehe.
Awesome, congrats to Xiao for passing maths. I remember in the Third Tournament, I was in her room… she stumbled in with Mi, fully pissed off, holding an exam paper for maths. The result was 34/100. Ouch. But it's great that she's improved. And yes, Xiao working at the Mishima Zaibatsu would be a scary thought. Your office products wouldn't be safe Jin, they'd all be pink! I kid, I kid. At that music store huh? And SH at the restaurant? Talk about strange. Though, SH always wanted to become a chef, so I'm pretty sure he's happy with his job.
'Hirano Industries'? For shoes? I'd buy 'em. Miharu knows her shoes, according to Hwoarang. You can have a joint partnership ;) lol. Tell Mi to keep trying for the job, it took me ages to get that job at the library. And cool about her fighting improving, maybe she can participate in the Sixth Tournament (and do better than she did in the Fourth, no offence to her).
You've met up with Asuka's Dad? Well then, how does it feel to meet your Uncle? :P And I think Asuka would do the harassing, not you. Sorry Jin but you don't exactly 'harass' very well XD And I'll be sure to inform Hwoarang that she's dominating the arcades soon.
Hwo and I just spoke to Seong-Hada and Baek via chat, and they neglected to tell us all that information. I don't think Baek should get a second job – he's good at what he does, and he's getting old. He might not be able to cope with all the stress :(… Creepy that he's seen Kazuya around, though. I wonder what's become of him since the end of the tournament… I remember you telling me that he and Heihachi (individually) have come up and bugged you about the Zaibatsu, trying to get it off your hands.
OMG SEONG-HADA'S LEARNING JAPANESE? LOL. He threw a fricken hissy fit about learning English (apparently) and demanded that I learnt Korean instead to talk to him, haha. When Hwo and I met him on the streets, he knew no English. First word he learnt in English was 'baby' (hence him going around and saying 'Seong-Hada babyyy!' a lot). He's yet to master the word 'hamburger' – he settles on 'hambagah' instead. But yeah, SH is like that. He called up a lot at the tournaments. He's really a great friend.
Hwoarang and I… we're going great. Everything's been moving smoothly so far. Neither of us are ill. We haven't fought, etc… He even picked up his music again. He bought a guitar a few weeks back, and is considering a keyboard. Greece is like I remember, as is the home, though we've put our own personal touches to it. The memories come and go, but I do not fear them anymore, because that's all they are – they're a memory. He can't hurt me anymore. What happened to me as a child, all the abuse to me and my Mother… it happened. But I can't let it hold me back for the rest of my life. And I won't.
Like I said, I've got a job at a library, and Hwo's working as a Tae Kwon Do teacher at a nearby gym. He's taking English speaking students only, because his Greek sucks. It's hilarious watching him try to say stuff, though I'm sure that it was hilarious to him watching me try to pronounce Korean words. Though I can't laugh at him for long, he ends up pouting and I just go "…oh fine I'm sorry, stop being so adorable".
His ribs, which were damaged in his fight against Kazuya, have (finally) healed. His back… it's coming along nicely. There's a scar from where Jinpachi inflicted the fatal blow, but it seems to be fading away quickly. He can do a majority of the kicks again, so he's really pleased about that. Unfortunately he still gets random attacks and just literally has to stop what he's doing to cope with the pain. It's really hard for me to watch but I try to be there. Luckily they're not as bad as they used to be, and they don't last as long… but the fact is, they're still there, you know?
I haven't run into anyone or anything that I know or recognise yet, or at least, that I remember. Though that will change once I finish this email, and I will give you the details later. I haven't noticed any paparazzi yet. I guess that's because they don't know where we live, mwahaha. Aaaand it's gonna stay that way. :D Besides, we don't need that stuff. I guess though if they come up, we could just train Snowy (that's our dog, she's a husky, only a puppy at the moment) to scare them away.
Hey! Stop playing games, turn off the damn laptop, and go to sleep. The idea of you going on a break from work is to relax. So… go and relax would you? You deserve it, honestly. You push yourself too hard, work-a-holic ;) Talk to you later, alright?
P.S. I don't need anything :) Thank you for offering, though. Also, Angel says hello.
As she clicked the 'send' button, she felt a breath by her ear, "'That will change'? Who are you going to see?"
"Hasn't anyone ever taught you not to eavesdrop?" Razer inquired, crossing her arms, looking at Hwoarang.
"How am I eavesdropping? I'm technically not 'listening' to anything," he smirked cheekily.
She rolled her eyes and couldn't hide a grin.
"So who are you seeing?"
"It's not a 'who', so to say… It is more of a 'where'. And I want you to come with me."
The 21-year-old did as instructed, swerving the motorbike, going down a very narrow pathway. The path was lined with tall trees, their dark green leaves caving over them, creating a tunnel-like environment. He was clearly confused, though he did not question her sense of direction, or where she was leading them to.
"Right here? Are you sure, Raze?"
"No one really knows about this path, and considering it is a Saturday, everyone will most probably be staying inside. Just park it here, it won't be stolen. We also will need to walk a little bit, but not very far, okay?"
Hwoarang nodded, parking the vehicle as advised. He waited until his girlfriend got off before he did. Making sure everything was set up, he turned back to her. There seemed to be a nervous aura around her, one he too found unsettling, as it got under his skin. It must have been about whatever this was, though. He furrowed his eyebrows, watching as she turned away from him and looked around.
How the trees have grown in your eight year absence… They are so tall now. Light used to be able to touch the foliage floor, and now, the cracks can barely get through the thick leaves… I'm surprised we didn't notice this last time.
I did notice… But you were corrupt.
Just because I was corrupt does not mean that I didn't notice these things.
Her gaze lowered to the floor, where she noticed a small bunch of flowers idly growing. It appeared they were doing quite well in this area, as a small stream of sunlight touched them from a gap in the canopy. Without a second thought, she squatted down and gently removed them from the ground. The weak roots gave way, tearing below the soil.
Hwoarang watched in silence as Storm Wind brushed the dirt off the bottom and held them in her hands, observing them in silence. The brilliant yellow centre and dark purple petals stared back up idly, quite healthy and alive. His memory wasn't the greatest, but he was pretty sure that he had never seen this side of her before. But he knew better than to question her now, particularly in the soundless state she was in.
Razer turned to look at him briefly, before looking away, holding the flora in one hand by her side. She began to walk back the way they had come, her footsteps heavy yet quiet. Her voice small, she spoke over her shoulder, "Follow me."
They made a right at the exit and continued walking for a good five minutes. No words were said, only occasional glances at one another. His expression was full of worry, and in response, her own was along the lines of a simple 'don't worry, I am okay'. But still, they continued to walk, hand in hand, the oldest of the two swinging their joint hands back and forth childishly, in an attempt to keep their moods stable and to break up the anxiety.
They turned left and stopped. The Blood Talon looked to his left, noticing how the woman simply stared down the street.
He felt her grip on his hand tighten, "This is the street I grew up in."
In response, he squeezed back, though verbally said nothing, too surprised to do so.
He never thought he'd be brought here.
…You took me home.
Braving the apprehension, she began to take steps forward, heading down the street. He followed, standing right next to her, looking around the place. This was the place of her undoing. These were the people who remembered the little girl who was sent through hell in the comforts of her own home. These were the people who, out of respect, put three crosses at the front of where her home used to be, eventually taking one away when they realised that she lived.
The street itself seemed nice and friendly. There was a sense of community floating around, definitely. Through sienna eyes, he noticed a middle-aged woman tending to her garden, gently pouring water over small patches. As they walked by, close to her fence, she spotted the flow of Razer's white dress and looked up. She spoke, though he had no idea of what she said, "Welcome back, Razer."
"Thank you," the 20-year-old replied monotonously, trying to control her breathing.
"It is about time you brought him with you."
She said nothing and continued on her way.
They passed the homes, and unlike last time, very few people stuck their heads out of the doors and windows, but those who did were pleasantly surprised, waving at them, saying hello and so on. And to her surprise, everyone said the same thing when they noticed Hwoarang by her side.
'It is about time you brought him with you.'
'You are going to show him?'
'Good to see that he is with you this time.'
Though he didn't understand what they were saying, the smiles on their faces meant that their comments were probably good. He'd ask her later, he guessed, when they were alone. They must've seen them together so much on tv at the tournaments, and therefore knew that he was an extremely close friend. But he was still struggling to believe that she had brought him home. He never asked, though he was a tad curious… He didn't want her to bring him here if she was still uncomfortable with the whole thing.
Then why was she dragging him by the hand, leading the way, looking up at a giant, white wooden house?
Soon enough, they passed it, and sienna eyes fell upon the designated area, the former number thirty eight. The grass was there, as she had described to him on the phone. And standing there out the front were the two crosses she had described. They weren't as he imagined, but they were still there, standing tall and proud, firmly lodged in the ground.
When they stopped before them, Razer spoke again, "And this is where I lived."
Hwoarang still said nothing and silently surveyed the area. He squinted, seeing her parents' names and ages inscribed, and bit the inside of his mouth. They were both thirty seven when they died? That's what she told him. Geez, so young, so young. But still, to stand here right now… Never in a million years did he think she'd bring him here.
What an awkward spin on 'meet the parents'… he thought to himself, if only to break up his own anxiety.
He felt her let go of her hand. With the flowers she had taken from the forest in hand, she took a few steps forward and placed them at the base of her Mother's cross, smiling, even talking, "I promised you that I'd come back, and here I am. I found these flowers in the forest. They were always your favourite, I hope you like them. Oh… And I brought someone with me. I don't know if you… watch over me or whatever but, if you don't – or do – this is Hwoarang.
"I suppose I need to explain a little…? When I left home… I met him. And he saved me. He nursed me back to health and showed me that life was worth living. We have practically been through hell and back, side by side, and… I do not know about him but I can't imagine life without him. We did not talk about boyfriends much when you were alive but, I know you would think he is a great one. And he is. I do love him, and I hope you can see that.
"He has done everything for me, and I do not even know where to begin to return the deed. He died because of me, Mum. I don't know if you saw that. If that is not the greatest expression of love, even though it's the saddest and most heartbreaking, then I don't know what it is. I've wanted to bring him here for a long time and show him where I lived. He knows of what happened, and I figured that it would be good to show him. I hope you do not mind."
Razer lifted her head and looked to the Blood Talon, who was standing next to her. A hand was on her Mother's cross, and he was looking directly at it, as though he was communicating to her, somehow. She really needed to stop thinking so deep. It is possible that he understood some of the things she said, though she sorely doubted it.
No… thank you, Hwoarang.
He grinned uncontrollably and took his hand off, placing back by his side. His gaze drifted to the other cross temporarily, his insides burning with anger for those few moments, before looking back to the Greek, whose face was clearly confused. His grin widened slightly, "What? You make it seem like I muttered something under my breath."
"That's because you did."
"Pssh," he snorted teasingly, lying, "Stop imagining things."
She smiled and shrugged, giving up for now, taking a step back, watching as her boyfriend followed suit. They linked hands again and looked around in silence. Both were trying to think of something to say, or something to do to cut up the current unpleasantness. Normally the silence wouldn't disturb them this much, but it was because of the nature of their journey today.
Hwoarang looked to her and followed her finger. It was pointing at the white house, at the very top of the window sill on the second floor. To see better from her angle, he leant in close, directing his head behind her line of sight, "Yeah?"
"The roof… it used to come up to there. And here…" she lowered her arm some more, "Just there was my parents' room. Over here…" she guided her hand to the other side, though still at the same height, "is where my room used to be. My walls were this… light green colour, you know? It was very calming."
He nodded, listening to her prattle on, "I would've thought your room's walls would be blue."
A light laugh, "Well, they weren't. The room was originally a light pink colour but Mum painted over it before I was born –"
"Ah… Razer, Razer, Razer. Back again, I see."
Both heads turned to see an elderly woman, standing next door, all smiles. The woman tilted her head down slightly and waved at them. Hwoarang was clearly confused, though understood that she was a friend when Athane let go of his hand and practically ran over, embracing the shorter person.
The 20-year-old remarked pleasantly in greeting, "Angela."
Hwoarang raised an eyebrow, surprised. This was the woman she stayed with when she first returned.
As he moved over, adjusting his goggles, he heard Storm Wind speak, "It is wonderful to see you again. How are you?"
"I'm good, child, I'm good," she replied. With a smile, she looked to Hwoarang, "And this is Hwoarang?"
"Yes, this is him."
"What is his Greek like?"
"Very, very basic. You can have a go if you like but don't expect a spectacular result," she smirked.
In an almost sinister and teasing grin, Angela waved at Hwoarang. The Blood Talon smiled and waved back, rejoining his girlfriend's side, holding her hand once more. There was a brief pause before the elderly woman decided to open her mouth and ask the foreigner, "How are you?"
Alarms went off in his head. He knew what that meant!
'Ti kanis' means 'how are you'! Yeah! …Crap, how do I reply?
He paused for a good, long moment, even looking at the ground. He was aware of Razer's eyes on him, and the expression that was on her face was most probably an amused one. He suddenly looked back up, happy, a tad hyper that he found his answer, and smiling, and answered, "Kala. Esis?"
'Good. You?' Or, 'well. You?'.
"I'm good, I'm good!" Clearly pleased with the result, Angela looked to Razer again and waved them over towards her house, "Come on, get inside, get inside! It's cold out here. I don't want you two getting sick…" They were practically ushered into the woman's home. She closed the door and locked it behind her, going into the main living room, still prattling on, "Make yourselves at home. Can I get either of you anything? Sit down, sit down! No need to just stand there!"
Athane pulled the Korean onto the lounge, sitting the both of them down. After a quick English check with him in regards to whether he was hungry or thirsty, she replied to their host, "No no, we are fine thank you."
Briefly nodding, Angela sat down in the chair opposite to them and clapped her hands together lightly. As her two guests leant back, she leant forward, beaming, "So, the tournament! Tell me all about it! How did it go?"
"It went good," she responded, resting her head on Hwoarang's shoulder lazily, "This loveable idiot got second place. The runner-up money pretty much took care of the initial bills when we moved into the house, and a few more after that. And there is still some in reserve for the future."
"I see he's earned his keep then!" she laughed.
Razer couldn't help but giggle either. Intrigued by what made her laugh, the 21-year-old leant in and asked, "What did she say?"
"She said that you've earned your place in my home."
He looked back to his right and also laughed, smiling, "I guess."
"He has a wonderful smile," Angela blurted out of the blue.
She briefly looked to Angela, answering her, before looking to him, "Yeah, he does. He does have a wonderful smile."
Hwoarang covered his face, blushing (even though he, as he had said many times before, does not blush), and looked at the Greek lying on him, still smiling. He spoke without thinking, still too happy to care, "Yours is better."
She too smiled whole-heartedly before turning back to her long-time friend, conversing with her once again. The time went by quickly for those two, but for the foreigner who barely understood anything, it dragged on and on and on. But he remained quiet and reserved, trying to be polite, even though in reality, he was bored out of his mind.
He looked back to Razer, "Mm?"
"She said you don't have to sit here. She said you can go and grab something from the kitchen if you like."
"Is she sure…?"
He nodded, let go of her hand and stood, thanking the elderly woman in the local vernacular, "Efcharisto, Angela."
She smiled, though he didn't see, for he had already turned out of the room and left, exploring down the corridor. His hands were childishly in his pockets, reminding himself not to touch anything because this was someone else's house. What if he broke that picture frame that was oh so innocently hanging from the wall? It was crooked too…
Maybe I should straighten it?
He aggressively shook his head, reminding himself not to touch anything. This wasn't his home, or a friend's room. He had no business here at all. …Then again, the woman did say that he could have some food. Okay, so he could touch anything food related, but nothing that wasn't food related. Yeah. That'd work.
He soon found the kitchen and entered quietly, realising that in actual fact, it wasn't that far from the living room. He quietly looked around, noticing the simple decorations in the area, such as a glass chicken (for whatever reason), and a little chef, Okay, so, stage one complete. I'm in the kitchen. Now to find some food for everyone.
The Blood Talon settled on opening the cupboards above the sink, seeing if there was anything interesting to eat in there. He took one hand from his pocket and opened one of the doors, then the other. It was a lucky guess, and inside were assortments of cookies, biscuits and small cakes in various glass jars. So many options…
He leant back, thinking, wondering which jar to bring inside. He liked the look of the various small cakes. In one of the jars, the cakes were tiny and covered in what appeared to be white powder. If he were to hold them, they would just sit nicely in the middle of his palm. There was another that looked so much bigger, and it appeared to be flaky.
There was another jar that held medium-sized cakes. They were a light brown colour, almost orangey, and they appeared to have small pieces of nuts on them. They looked damn tasty, just sitting there, acting all innocent in the jar…
Little did he know, Razer had walked in as well. He had been in there for a while, leaning back, arms folded across his stomach, looking at all the foods that were available. A thoughtful look was on his visage, as though he were determining which food everyone would like as opposed to him, or just her, or just Angela. The very sight of his confused yet unwavering expression had her heart melt.
He was like a lost puppy, wanting to please, but confused as to how.
She approached stealthily, standing directly behind him, and looked over his shoulder, inspecting what he was inspecting. He started to reach a hand out, going to grab the jar that had the small, white cakes, but before long, she had grabbed his forearm and guided it in the direction of the medium-sized snacks. She let go as he seized it and brought it back, placing it on bench before him whilst closing the cupboard door silently.
"So how long have you been spying on me?" Hwoarang asked through a smirk.
"Long enough," she replied, wrapping her arms around his stomach. She rested her chin on his left shoulder, "Those are honey short bread cakes. I have been meaning to buy some so I can show you. Angela likes them, I love them, and I think you will too. They are very sweet and tasty."
He smiled and looked at her, throwing his arms behind him, hugging her too, "I'm sure."
She squeezed tighter, turning her head up to look at him.
"Thank you for bringing me to your home. It must've been hard."
"I thought it would have been too, but… it wasn't. I guess having you with me made it so."
Hwoarang's gaze drifted from the woman behind him to the window nearby. He gazed out into the horizon, "Saugapo."
Razer smiled and closed her eyes, breathing in deeply, "Sarang hae."
They stayed there, almost completely forgetting where they were and what they were doing here, entwined (however awkwardly) in each other's arms, taking in the warmth of the other person. Things could be burning down around them, and they wouldn't care, because this was perfect. Despite heartache, laughter, fear, peace, despair and joy, they found their way through those times, side by side, hand in hand; up to this moment with one another.
"Home is who…" Angela murmured with a smile from around the corner, "Not where."
Author's Note: Are we sick of author's notes yet? ;) lol. And so the story ends. This took a year to write, and I was just about to give up on it, especially at my down time (chapter 11 – 20, and even afterwards). But I'm glad I got through it, though it pushed my patience to the very limits, to the brink of lesser insanity -.-
I'm stunned at my review count. Seriously. 232 (as of posting this) reviews is quite shocking for me. I never thought I would get over 200 reviews in my life, but you guys did it, to my surprise, so in all seriousness, thank you so, so much. The overwhelming praise… is amazing. Honestly. I can't express my gratitude to each reviewer and each reader enough. And as always, its time for the special 'thank you's.
I don't really have anything to say. Okay well, it's not that I have nothing to say, or whatever, but it's just there's so much I want to say to you that it gets clogged in my throat and I can't get it out. And in cheesiness, I repeat everything I said in the previous two fics a thousand times over with maximum strength. From the "very interesting! A great start… update…" (first review you ever wrote me in JLM :P lol) to the "Razer is practically a Tekken character, for me" on MSNM, to the "…ZOMG. WORTH THE WAIT" in my hiatus during WM; you've… wow I don't know.
I never thought I'd meet someone like you through here, let alone have a fellow author evolve into one of my bestest best friends. On writing and personal issues, you've always been there for me, giving me suggestions, helping me out, pointing me in the right direction in my times of doubt, encouraging me to just keep trying, no matter how hard it is or how ridiculous my idea may be. You've done this for me from the very beginning. You were my first reviewer. And I can't thank you enough for everything you've ever done for me.
In my times of darkness, you're my torch. When I'm drowning in the pressure that I put on myself from writing, you give me a hand and pull me into your little boat. When I'm flying too high, you either come and join me in the air so I'm not alone, or grab me by my foot and pull me back to the ground. You are my rock, and just as I will always have the biggest, most awesome fan and friend in you, you will always have the biggest, most awesome fan and friend in me. And before this gets too cheesy: Seong-Hada baby! Uhhhh.
Uh k, didn't expect it to be that long o.o Now to other people who deserve attention XD
AmberAnodyne and Sei Honou:
Did you know that these two started my series at the exact same time and got through all the way before I had even finished? That's pretty amazing in my opinion ;) And then they'd come on MSNM and rant over and over about it, talking about how much they loved such and such, LOL o.o But its fun, its fun X] At least when I start Take Me Back, you guys won't have to read a lot to catch up eh? :P
AmberAnodyne: Like TeaC0sy, I'd bitch to you about this story -.- Thanks for letting me do so, firstly, and secondly, thanks for helping me out with the writer's block. If it weren't for you and TeaC0sy, this story would not have been finished – it would've been given up on. So know that you helped complete a creation ;) lolololol. And thanks for letting me use Scar and Faith temporarily, it was fun :P All the best in the future.
Sei Honou: OMG SEIIIIII. Hi. Sup. I'm good, you? K enough with the pointless stuff XD You're a dedicated little fan, aren't you? ;) When you should be doing your homework, you're reading this story instead XD (you too, AmberAnodyne. Get back to work). Anyway thanks for standing by me, you're a hardcore fan!
And last but not least, again, my Beta:
FOR THE THIRD TIME, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING BACK HERE?! XD Jokes. You're, as always, full of awesome. Thanks for sticking by me for another rollercoaster story. You've watched my writing grow with me, and it was a pleasure to let you read the chapters before everyone else, and hear your "that's cute!" rambles (i.e. Snowy in this chapter XD). Anyway thanks again, you are so groovy ;) XDDD
And I can't forget the rest of my loving fans, so many thanks to: [[=story+time=]], DEGxMDM, Dynasty021 (thanks dude! I'm glad you've enjoyed this story), HOIME G, Esther-Diana, AngelEyes87 (man, I can't wait until you come back to FFN X]), XxBaByAnGeLxX, Salysha (thanks as always!), spongecake 2 (YOUR. REVIEWS. ARE LEGENDARY. I WANNA MARRY YOUR REVIEWS XD Thanks a bunch!), , DiamondStarr, Emerald Silent Eyes, MoonTeARZ, and last but certainly not least, PopShop (oh now you start reading, J-Woman? Took your sweet time didn't ya?! XD Thanks!).
So uh… The last time we were here, I was at least twenty chapters ahead… I'm not even ten chapters ahead of you atm in Take Me Back, so… I'm not posting it straight away, and the posts between chapters will be delayed further to possibly once every week or two. But it seems I'm getting my writing speed back, so hopefully when I post the first chapter, I'll be twenty chapters ahead of you again, bwahahaha. Regardless! THE PREQUEL WILL BE HERE. I promise ;) Those who are hardcore Jin x Razer, sorry to say but, the whole of the Prequel is Razer x Hwoarang, so uh… read if you like? lol. But yeah. Anyway, see you guys around! Oh, and yes. No Tomorrow will be updated soon. ;)