Both parts take place during the 4th tournament.
Bad Habit: Part One
A humid breeze greeted Xiaoyu as she pushed open the door leading to the roof of the hotel. The concrete platform before her yawned and stretched, lazily bathing in the strong afternoon rays. It was the type of day ideal for a long drive with the windows down and the music up.
Had she not been sneaking out, she might have stopped to soak in the pleasant weather.
Once outside, she paused briefly, casting an uncertain glance over her shoulder.
But she wouldn't be gone long—five, ten minutes at the most. Her grandfather wouldn't mind if she was a little late for the training session.
Breathing deeply, she released her defensive grip on the door and allowed it to creak shut.
A look to the far left told her she'd come to the right place. There he was, casually leaning against the back wall, his leg propped up to steady him. So this was where he went to avoid his master's hounding.
Xiaoyu hesitated, realizing then that she too was sidestepping her responsibilities, but she quieted her conscience with hasty determination.
Reaching up, she felt her fingertips brush against the smooth material of one of the ribbons nestled in her hair. She touched the loops she'd so carefully tied that morning and was abruptly overcome by nostalgia. The knot was not unlike those she had in her throat whenever she tried to talk to him, occasions that brought about dryness in the cavern of her mouth and churning in her stomach.
Today, that would change.
In one swift motion, Xiaoyu yanked it from her hair. Shimmering strands cascaded down and rested gently against her shoulder.
The other ribbon soon followed suit. She felt some intangible weight begin to lift from her chest as she raked both hands through the abandoned black tresses. Once satisfied, she started in his direction, pointedly ignoring her quickening pulse.
Hwoarang gave no indication of awareness as she neared. His eyes were focused on some distant point, his hands burrowed in his pockets.
She was slowing down, intending to stop a pace or so away and mirror his casual position against the wall, when she suddenly lost her balance. A surprised yelp escaped as she tripped over an uneven strip of cement. She was able to catch herself during the descent, but a humiliated glow claimed her face. She looked at him, expecting an annoyed, maybe even sympathetic, stare.
He hadn't so much as glanced over at her.
How could he be so smooth?
Nothing seemed to phase him. She wanted to be the exception, to really grab his attention.
Wary of amount of space between them, she adopted a similar stance against the back wall, though her hands were folded behind her back. Seconds, then minutes, of silence crawled by, marked only by nonchalant smirks that anyone outside the little universe they'd created would have missed.
Suddenly, he moved. She watched out of the corner of her eye as he slid a cigarette out of the rather crumpled pack in his palm and wedged it between his lips.
She reached into her own pocket. Her fingers eagerly flicked the abandoned hair ribbons aside and enclosed around the object she'd been searching for.
She, too, brought a cigarette to her lips.
She felt his eyes on her—starting at her mouth, then traveling along the length of her neck and downward—and suppressed the urge to smile proudly.
He shifted, standing upright now. She waited, somehow remaining outwardly stoic even with the anticipation of his next move killing her.
Replacing the cigarette in his pocket, he moved to stand before her, so close she could feel the steady rhythm of his breath against her cheeks. When she was certain her eyes would not betray her and reveal the nervousness coursing through her veins, she looked up to meet his stare. The sheer intensity possessing his dark orbs threatened to buckle her knees.
The sensation multiplied as he—gradually, calmly—began to close the distance between their faces.
A sharp crack interrupted the expectant daydreams fogging up her mind.
His tongue guided the piece of candy cigarette he'd bitten off into the depths of his mouth, and he flashed her a winning grin before walking toward the door.
A shiver slipped down her spine as both frustration and exhilaration shook her.
How could he be so smooth?