Author's Note: HOLY FUCKBUCKETS, THE LAST CHAPTER. I admit I'm posting it just to get it out of the way, and I held it back for a few weeks, but hey, it was for a reason! This last chapter is for TeaC0sy, because she's been there for me since the start, and it's her 18th birthday. Happy birthday, sweetie. I hope you enjoy your gifts :P And to all of my readers… It's been a hell of a (great? bad? average? cookie?) ride anyway, so, yeah. Thanks so much for sticking by me. And now, the last chapter :3
Chapter Thirty-Five: Survive
Almost jumping off of his chair, the youth sleepily rubbed his eyes and yawned, sitting back up and throwing all of his books into the waiting, open bag by his leg. He heard quiet, stifled laughter behind him, and slightly annoyed by the fact, he turned his head to see another boy looking at him, clearly amused. He narrowed his eyes, "Quiet, you. That wasn't funny!"
"Oh Shin, it was hilarious," the boy responded, pulling out a pen from behind his ear and throwing it into his light grey backpack. He tugged down his maroon beanie and zipped up the bag, stood and ignored the screeching legs of the chair on the school floor.
Shin shook his head, a small smile on his annoyed visage, "Shut up, Changmin."
School was finally over. All that was left to do on this dreary Wednesday was to complete the homework assigned, which fortunately was not a lot today, and then start eating loads of potato chips while playing a couple of games with one another. Such luxuries would not be around for much longer, however, because exams were due to start soon and assignments had to be turned in at the same time.
"Man," Shin began, walking out of the classroom with his cousin, rubbing his face tiredly, "I can't wait until school is out. Not much longer. Then I can get a job and make millions, while you'll be stuck at University, ha!"
Shaking his head and again pulling down on his beanie, Changmin sighed and looked around as fellow students poured out of the classrooms and into the corridor, like a wave. He knew some people and befriended them, but it wasn't quite the same as the redhead that both he and the other boy had become so familiar with in middle school. They missed him a lot, and the girl – both wondered if they were even alive anymore.
It was such a shock when they heard the news of the dojang's destruction. Both boys couldn't form a coherent sentence for hours, and it was Shin who first asked the gossiping man he'd heard it from, who'd announced it, if there were any survivors. He didn't know. They even went around the place to look for them, but they did not find that red hair or those green eyes, and it hurt them.
But all of these years on, they learnt to dull the pain of losing their friends and just move on. The only thing that they knew for certain was that they were missing, and to console themselves they had to remind one another that 'being missing doesn't constitute to being dead'. They well and truly believed that, and would continue to believe in it until they saw them again. They'd waited all these years so far, and they could keep waiting if necessary.
And wherever they were, they knew that Baek Doo San was smiling down on them with sincere pride. They missed him too, but unlike their two friends, they knew that he would never come back.
Looking to his left, Changmin noticed a girl – in a skirt – bending over to stuff her books into the bottom locker. He smirked a little and looked back to Shin, who had noticed the same thing, of course, "Hwoarang would so manipulate that situation further. What do you think he would do – pull the dress up further, pull the underwear off, or just slap her ass?"
"Probably slap her ass," he laughed, pushing open one of the glass doors. Their school bus was already waiting for them, with a noticeable line, "Ah, memories… Whoa, hey, watch it kid! You almost knocked my hat off! My hat!" Not even bothering to wait for an apology, he shook his fist at the perpetrator with a mock-glare.
"Dude, it's just a hat," Changmin remarked.
He hissed, "You wouldn't be saying that if someone took off your beanie!"
They were waiting in line now for the buses, silent but listening to what the other people were saying.
"I still don't get how you could've possibly missed that catch," one guy said, "It was like coming right for your chest!"
Someone else in another conversation spoke, a female this time, "And I totally bled like, everywhere –"
Another male in a different chat, "I still think the chord progression would be better if it was C D C A, not C A C D…"
Another girl, an alternate discussion, "I wonder who they are, over there across the road… The boy's really cute! That girl's lucky to have him. And a motorcycle! Wowwww."
Rolling his eyes, Shin followed the girl's line of sight. It landed on a boy and a girl across the road, sitting on a large, black motorbike. The boy was leaning back a little, and the girl had her chin on his shoulder, her arms lazily draped around his waist. Both were watching him – their eyes were directly on him. He squinted to see red hair – and –
No. Fucking. Way.
"He used to go to the middle school that a lot of the other kids here went to," another girl replied, "I don't quite remember his name though. He used to be somewhat of a bully but, it was really him just keeping others away because he didn't want them to get close or something. He's actually not bad. The girl is his best friend."
Changmin looked to Shin, whose jaw had almost hit the floor. Confused by his expression, he looked in the direction he was staring, and unintentionally mirrored his cousin. He swallowed hard, before looking to his cousin. Both dared to raise a hand each and wave at them, seeing if they'd respond, and held their breaths.
Hwoarang nodded at them before placing both of his hands on the handlebars, whilst Razer raised one hand and lazily waved back.
One of the teachers interjected, trying to usher them into the now waiting bus, "Come on then, in we go!"
They began to turn back into the road, aiming to leave.
"N… No!" Shin suddenly burst out, "No!"
Both he and his cousin stepped out of the line and began to bolt across the road, but were promptly forced to take several, bounding steps backwards when a car almost hit them. Ignoring the 'watch it, stupid kids!' that derived from the rushing, male driver, they weaved through the traffic to try and get to them, ignoring the shouts of the teachers.
They both made it to the other side of the road unharmed and continued trying to run after them. Changmin soon enough gave up, tired, and watched Shin continue his way towards them. He kept edging himself on, murmuring under his breath 'gotta keep going gotta keep going gotta keep going', but no amount of mental preparation would help the burning in his legs. He gave up at the corner, knowing he could not catch them and that it was stupid to try in the first place.
Shin spoke, huffing, "Why did they go…?"
Changmin had since appeared a few feet behind him. With a small smile, he placed a hand on his cousin's shoulder, staring straight ahead of himself, "I don't know. But the important thing is we now know that they're alive, that they're okay and that they're still around."
"But we've waited for so long…"
"At least… they're surviving," Changmin remarked, "And when they're ready, they'll come back."
The sun shone down on a beautiful, Seoul day.
The rays lightly kissed the skin of a silent, reminiscing pair, sitting outside a McDonalds store.
"They have grown," she said softly.
Hwoarang grinned, took another long sip from his coke and thereafter blew hair from his face, "I know. They're looking well too. I'm kinda surprised though that both still have that fascination with their head gear. I mean what, is that just to tell them apart? Pssh… It's not like they're twins or anything! Shin's the one with the higher cheek bones, and Changmin's the one with the rounder cheeks…"
He is one to talk about 'head gear', Devil chuckled, referring to goggles around his neck. A sudden, annoyed grunt had her interests shift from the man's neck to his hair.
He was running his fingers through it, trying to comb it out of the way of his eyes. The Korean's other hand was grabbing his goggles and starting to pull them up and over his face, so he could keep the flaming hair back, "I hate how long my hair is getting. I seriously do. I don't know why you like it so much…" he looked up at her, able to see much clearer now that it was being pushed back, "I only keep it at this length because of you."
Razer tilted her head a little, a small smile blooming, "And why is that?"
He hesitated for a moment before mumbling, "To make you happy."
She reached out to pull on his hair, the smile wide and full now, "You're silly, you know that?"
He swatted her hand away and ducked his head down a little, "Hey!"
"Your hair doesn't make me happy, you do."
He smiled a little and looked down, "…Razer? Can I ask you something?"
She readjusted her gaze to the can of coke in his shaking hands, "Yes."
"Do you think… we'll always be like this?"
She paused for a moment, "Can you clarify what you mean by 'this'?"
Oblivious. He means oblivious. He means dancing around one another holding out your heart, but there is ink in both his eyes and yours, and neither of you can see what is being offered. He means being forced to look at one another, wanting, but never reaching out and... taking, as she spoke, she indeed mirrored a reaching out and grabbing action in her host's mind.
He looked up and smiled a little, but Devil noted how it appeared he was in pain inside, "Best friends as always, you know that type of stuff."
She smiled too, "Of course."
He reached out one hand across the table and grabbed hers with it, using the other to raise the coke to his mouth, having it linger for a bit, "Whatever problems happen, we'll work them out together."
She grasped his hand with all of her might.
"Here's dinner!" Seong-Hada smiled, placing nine small, oval bowls on the countertop. There was some left for him in the pot, and as he watched his friends gather around to grab one for each of them, he heard Ki-Yerr question him on all of the good food, "We made enough money for me to cook up a large meal. I've even put some aside for tomorrow. Don't eat it too fast, we have fights soon – Hwoarang, don't talk with your mouth full."
"Wht, hv – OW!" Their leader, hopped around on one foot for a bit, having slammed it into a wall by accident. Abandoning the rest of his sentence, he began to shovel down the delicious food, hoping to get out and start fighting as soon as possible – once the food was digested, of course. He noticed that the others were taking the same stance. The money was quite important.
"Maaaaaaaaaan!" Roh-Hwang chimed, petting his stomach, "This food was awesome, Seong-Hada!"
"Thank you," he remarked with slightly narrowed eyes, "Next time I'll make sure it's horrid for you."
"Is your snarky attitude still about last night?"
"Of course it is! …But it should go soon, I hope…" the 17-year-old had been sleeping very peacefully last night when at three in the morning, Roh-Hwang bumbled in with an already half-naked prostitute – a bra, an extremely short skirt, and with one shoe on – and then had the nerve to ask if they could borrow his bed. He declined, of course, forcing them to move out into the street instead, but that particular topic was still sensitive.
The time came for them to go their separate ways and cover more ground. Hwoarang took Razer, Seong-Hada, Han-Geong and Roh-Hwang into a particularly wide alley, one that connected two main streets. He gave Nas-San control of the others, and had Chang-Sun, Jung-Keun, Ki-Yerr and Mijj-Dala go to the other side of town, and ordered them to come back by one or so in the morning.
Stars glittered in the black blanket. The moon gave them light to see the people slowly come together. Fat, thin, white, Asian, men, women – they had all come, dressed in their own unique styles. The Blood Talon noted a particularly heavyset man dressed in black and white standing in the direct middle, fists clenched with obvious visions of glory. He immediately knew that he would step up some time soon.
There were three lanky, bony men, dressed in tight, black jeans and sleeveless black shirts. They were the obvious remnants of Man-Su's gang, but the obvious uncertainty in their eyes indicated to him that they would not step forward today. After all, it was him and his members that put them out of business – and if they wanted to join him, he would not accept them. Not after all of the fighting and pain they'd put his friends through.
The muscular man next to them stepped out and pointed at Han-Geong, asking for a fight. They began. As they did, there was money exchanged and given to Seong-Hada, and general silence from the spectators. As the blows were exchanged, more people slowly came, the most recent being a young male and an even younger, shorter, smaller female.
He didn't know why those two interested him so much, but he turned to look to Razer when his name was called, "Mm?"
"Do you think that we'll be doing this type of stuff forever?"
"Doubt it. But for now, it's what we gotta do. And you gotta do what you gotta do, one day at a time, to survive. It might not be honest, but… it's all we have."
Both of their heads snapped back to the match, where two gurgled cries got their attention. Han-Geong was thrown to the ground, but both people knew it was an act. He coughed and put up a hand, indicating his surrender, before standing and brushing the dust off of himself shakily. Money was exchanged and panned out to the masses appropriately, before the blue-haired man called for the next person to have a go at whoever, and to 'please bring all your weapons to me' because 'they're not allowed!'.
"Besides," he remarked, smiling at her fondly, "What doesn't kill us can only make us stronger, right?"
Razer laughed a little and nodded, "Yeah… Yeah."
How we survive is what makes us who we are.
Author's Note: The end! The end! The end of this god damn arc! Jk. Or am I? Lol ;3 Thank you so, so much for sticking by me. You guys have been with me since the start, through my ups and my downs, and I really can't thank you enough. You're all amazing. All of you. You've done so much for me, I just wish I could return the favour. And I've got so much to say.
First thing's first, if, IF I do post the Tekken 6 "Me" Fic, it will be off of Jin's Prologue (you guys all remember that, right? :P). So for those who haven't, go check it out so you know what'll be going on and such if I do post it. Secondly… Remember that atrocity known as "Just Like Me" that I wrote about three years ago now and started posting? Well guess what? It's been slowly revamped and rewritten :P i.e. I've replaced the old, shit chapters with shiny, newer ones. It's not entirely finished, but it's getting there. I was hoping to have it all done by the time I got here but, you know, motivation and stuff and Uni etc. I've done twenty-five chapters so far, so, nearly… XD. I did that because firstly, I hate how it reads now, and secondly, for those who've only just joined me, they have something nice and new to read :) Lastly, I've been getting some art on the series (no not fanart. Commissioned. Cos I/AmberAnodyne/etc can XD), so, if you wanna head off to my profile to check it out, they're there :P They mainly feature Razer and Seong-Hada, though, cos, you know you love 'em ;) XD
And now for the giant thank you's, as always XD:
You know, you're the only reader who has gotten a big, fat thank you note at the end of every "Me" fic, right? XDXDXD Cos you're just that awesome :P I fear I'll be repeating myself like at the end of the last three stories, but, thanks for sticking by me. You've done so much for me and I hope you'll stay with me for many years to come. You're an epic writer, an epic artist (yes. I still have that picture. Why? Cos I fucking love it) and just overall an epic best friend. I know we don't talk as much as we used to (FUCK YOU COLLEGE/UNI. MAINLY UNI NOW. ETC.) but I will never forget the days where we'd speak for hours on end, and I treasure the times we do have to speak to each other now. I'll always be there for you and do everything in my power to help you out, make you smile or just make you lol XD
By the way… Happy birthday :P xoxo
Oh shi – ! It's you again! Again, thanks for sticking by me and letting me bitch about this to you. Though, I finished this so long ago now that I actually don't remember bitching about it, BUT I KNOW IT HAPPENED XDDDDD. Anyway. Do get a jet up your arse and start "Reckless Hearts 2" :P BY THE WAY YOU GUYS, GO READ AMBERANODYNE'S "RECKLESS HEARTS". THIS IS NOT A SHAMELESS PLUG/ADVERTISEMENT XD But back to the Amber-centric stuffs. Thank you thank you thank you. You're amazing. I wish I had more to say but I don't. But know this, I can see your msn icon flashing at the bottom of my screen as I write this :P XD xoxo
And for the fourth time, my beta:
O HAI THAR SIMPLE PERSON. Thanks for readin'! And thanks (especially) for coming with me to that Tekken Tournament/Fanfic Competition (lol you guys, I came third in that tournament, and I won that fanfic comp. Was an FF7 fanfic called "Hero". Woooooo!). Much appreciated, your support was so, so appreciated :3 If it wasn't for your encouragement, this fic/arc wouldn't have happened. So, for my success, I have you to thank :) I won't put xoxo in yours, cos I know you're not like that, so, have this: -brofist-
And for the rest of my loving fans, THANK YOU: Esther-Diana, Angelic Hellraiser, HOIME G (dunno what happened to you, but, I hope you're well!), [[=story+time=]], Sei Honou (where are youuu! I miss you!), Dynasty021, spongecake 2 (hey ho, thanks a bunch :3 Thumbs up to you!), Silent Blaze, Fraulein Leni, Danko Kaji (BAEK! BAEK! XDXDXD), LIZ-Buff, arne0107 (you there good sir! Update your fic, and please be safe!), AngelEyes87 (thanks a bunch~!), Elizabeth Hardman, Hidden Fan, risefromgrace16, and last, but not least, the anonymous reviewer who seriously left me no name to thank her/him personally by, but I do have something to say to her/him:
Seriously. If "Whisper For Me" (the Tekken 6 Me fic – oh look at that you guys, you've got a title to possibly look out for. My mistake :P) does go up onto FFN, which WILL NOT follow canon Tekken 6, it's because of you. Your words of kindness in my hour of need will not go unanswered, somehow. Aside from my regular posse of fans (however tiny they are at the moment), it well and truly felt like I was wasting my time writing it (and even finishing up on TMB). And then you came along and essentially reminded me that none of this was in vain. I know you probably feel like you didn't say or do much, but you did something huge for me. So, thank you. I don't know if you're a hugger, so you get a cookie instead –gives cookie-
And with that, I basically take a break from the Tekken section for a while. Not long, just a while. I will update I Will Not Bow soon, I hope, because I seriously need to update that thing. In addition, I'm starting to get a 'foothold' of sorts in the Kingdom Hearts section – I've almost completed my first multichap there, and I have plans for a few more, so I'll be hopping between those sections ;) And again, you guys. Thanks a bunch, and take care of yourselves…!