Disclaimer: Tekken and Tekken characters are the property of Namco Limited. This is nonprofit fan fiction.

Warnings: Slash, yaoi, m/m relationships. Unprotected sex. This story is rated M for mature emotional and sexual themes.

Pairings: Lars/Hwoarang; references to Jin/Hwoarang

Mood music: Civil Twilight – Letters from the Sky.

Down and Low

by Salysha

It was dim, and not only in his mind. Hwoarang huddled to himself and shook.

But he couldn't keep crying forever. The tears had to dry sometime and leave behind a broken man. Hwoarang raised his head and looked about, but the room remained bleak. He scrambled off the floor and sat on the four-poster bed. The velvet curtains of once-royal red sprinkled a cloud of dust and then hung as lifeless as before. He, in turn, hung his head and stifled a sob.

He brought the back of his glove to his nose, but no blood graced it. There was no legit excuse for him to feel woozy anymore. He kept asking himself why he had come here, but the thought was devoid of merit or real question. He knew why, and now that he had his answer, nothing held meaning anymore. He planned on sitting here until he rotted. It didn't matter who found him.

He was too tired to sneer. No one would find him; none would come looking for the wreck among the ruins, when there were smaller and less precarious buildings where to look for cover.

Sense of time had abandoned him, but then the impossible happened: footsteps sounded out in the hallway and, not a long time after, the door to the room opened and closed. Hwoarang was no longer alone.

"You are the only one left."

Hwoarang didn't say anything. He should have known the universe wasn't through with him yet.

"I can't find anyone else," the newcomer said again and went to the window. Rays of torture exposed the room momentarily, as he pushed the curtain open and gazed into the yard. The wreckage satisfied him, apparently, because he allowed the curtain to close and the blissful duskiness to take over again. Eyes that had adjusted to the level of light saw gray effortlessly, but it was dark enough for else to melt in obscurity.

Hwoarang closed his eyes. The danger was imminent, and he exposed himself to it willingly. Maybe the newcomer would end it for him, so he wouldn't have to.

"Aren't you going to say anything?"

The newcomer was now openly staring at him. Hwoarang knew how the stranger looked; a brief glimpse had confirmed it was the soldier he had seen numerous times beside someone much worthier. A sob escaped, and there was no way to draw it back.

"Are you injured? Are you hurt?" The stranger sounded concerned.

"Go to hell," he said, and, for a moment, the world looked beautiful. The final word had been his.

"Good," the stranger said without anger. "I was worried."

Did this remind him of another time? Of someone else whose trademarks were laconism and stoicism and the ability to stand above all remarks, who only on a few selected times had revealed something of himself?

"Go to hell," he repeated hoarsely.

"If you want to leave, I can't stop you, but I won't go anywhere." The voice was calm and unangered; its owner could have been talking about the time of day.

Hwoarang closed his eyes and his head drooped forward. He heard a rushed step and drew up instantly, fighting the fatigue with sheer resolve. He was no longer approached, but he was painfully aware that the stranger was watching over him.

"I used to come here," the stranger said suddenly. "Some of my things are still here."

Hwoarang studied his feet, shuffling them along the carpet. "...Swell."

"My name is Lars Alexandersson." The stranger's voice took a more melodic note as he pronounced his name. The words were swallowed back in a sing-song intonation that contrasted oddly with the soothing baritone, though their fusion was not displeasing to the ear. It was clear that the stranger was expecting a mutual introduction, but as none came, he resumed his activities with a sigh. The shuffles and clanks made the only sound in the room, until Lars spoke again, "You are Hwarang. You ranked high at the last tournament."

Hwoarang's mouth twisted in a humorless grin. "Not many people say it that way."

"Jin Kazama knows you. He has spoken of you."

"Doubt that, but thanks."

"No, no. Jin Kazama holds you in regard. He never speaks of anyone else, but he has mentioned your name several times."

"...Swell," Hwoarang said wanly.

Lars finally seemed to take the hint, but only halfway. He no longer expected Hwoarang to participate in the conversation, but carried a perfectly harmonious monologue all by himself. He wasn't intruding in his space, but he wasn't leaving, either. Hwoarang sighed to himself; the universe found any unusual and cruel way to punish him. He batted his eyelids, fighting to stay sober.

Lars still kept his lonely conversation. It was almost as though muzak, except amongst the pleasant chatting, two words started to surface repeatedly: Jin Kazama... Jin Kazama... Jin Kazama...

Hwoarang willed himself not to react. He tried to calm down and block out the voice. The voice was hypnotic, just like Jin's... He gulped; his eardrums twanged in his mockery; he yawned, he tried to focus on the floor, on the wall, on the door, on himself, anything but the voice. Jin Kazama this. Jin Kazama that.

"...although Jin Kazama—"

"Can you shut up about him?"

Lars was reduced to silence. He cleared his throat, and quiet descended. Hwoarang's heart pulsed unbearably; he could hear the rush of blood in his ears. He closed his eyes and fought the onslaught, seeking to master himself. Rudimentary control returned, and the surrounding world faded back in.

"Were you intimate?"

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Did you and Jin sleep together?" Lars asked quietly.

The pain was crushing, and it broke the last of Hwoarang's resistance. He was too tired to pretend anymore. "Twice," he breathed. Saltiness stung his eyes.

After the tournament, he had gone after Jin to find out if he had been wrong all this time. Jin had been reluctant to disclose the truth, but he hadn't been wrong. They had gone to bed and spent the night together. He had liked it, and he knew Jin had enjoyed it, too.

The second time… Hwoarang's pulse picked up like an explosion and he blinked rapidly. Air got stuck in his throat. The second time had been even better, but when they finished, Jin picked up his clothes and told him that there could not be another time. He had been too shocked to stop Jin from leaving, and Jin had never returned. After, Jin had blocked any attempts to contact him, had diverted any demands for an explanation; all was as though nothing had happened.

The world had gone to hell, and the nation had sworn revenge on the newly-arisen warlord. Yet, Hwoarang had come to the tournament one more time for all the selfish reasons, and now, he knew: he was nothing to Jin.

"I am sorry."

The voice was compassionate and sincere. Pleasant and low—like another, more familiar one—it made Hwoarang see red. The hell did this prick think he knew about it? He hadn't been there, hadn't shared what they had. He hadn't seen the agonizing build-up over the tournaments, let alone lived it. He hadn't seen the eyes they had made at each other when no one was looking, and didn't know what it meant. The wrath vanished as quickly as it had come, and there was no consolation for the lachrymose Hwoarang. He had been there, and he knew what he had lost, and, so help him God, he did not know why it had happened.

The last click sounded to the back of him and something clanked softly on the floor. Shuffling noises sounded, and then Lars appeared before Hwoarang. He knelt down and cupped Hwoarang's fists loosely into his hands.

"Get off!" Hwoarang struck his hands away.

Lars let go only momentarily before Hwoarang felt hands brush on his upper thighs and engulf his hands again. Then, in a low voice, "I know how it is."

Hwoarang was too tired to fight back. If this piece of work wanted to hold on to him, so be it. An inscrutable gaze sought eye contact, which he evaded determinedly. The hands stayed curled around his fists, thumbs brushing against his knuckles just lightly enough so that he didn't lash out and push the hands off. One hand remained holding on to his, but another left his hands with a light brush and slid down to his thigh.

Slowly, Lars got off his knees and rose until he was in level with Hwoarang's face. Still seeking eye contact and still deprived of any, he leaned in until he was in level with Hwoarang's face and kissed Hwoarang.

The contact, warm and firm and masculine, was broken when Lars pulled back, his kiss neither rejected nor reciprocated. As Lars leaned in again, Hwoarang turned his head aside. Lars sighed a softly. "Doesn't matter."

As Hwoarang kept his head turned, Lars brushed his lips lightly along his face before delving in more deeply and leaning in until his lips met Hwoarang's ear. He placed a light peck to the back of his ear, breathing into the copper hair that was neither very clean nor very dirty, and started kissing his way down the side of Hwoarang's neck. Hwoarang neither pulled back nor gave encouragement, but his breathing sounded audible now, uneven. Lars continued, feeling the redhead shiver.

Lars ceased his careful exploration and placed the last kiss, as the high-rising collar grazed his cheek softly. He pulled up. Hwoarang scanned him from the corner of his eye, and belatedly noticed that the soldier had taken off his heavy armor and was now clad only in long johns. The thin material revealed the athletic build underneath only a little too well. His member drew a visible outline against the clothes. Hwoarang looked away.

Lars leaned over again, hovering over Hwoarang in an almost threatening manner, dominatingly. Hwoarang backed up on the bed, displeased with the invasion to his personal space. Lars advanced on him faster, rising to the bed and straddling him, until Hwoarang halted, eyes locked unwaveringly on Lars, harsh and forbidding. A brief non-smile betrayed Lars' lack of expression before he, too, halted. Slowly, Lars abandoned the support of the mattress and brought his fingers on Hwoarang's jaw. Stilling Hwoarang's head with his hand, he leaned in close and tilted his head, kissing Hwoarang.

Hwoarang did not move, but as Lars pressed on, he sank back to support himself on his elbows. Lars gave a short chuckle and brought a hand to the back of Hwoarang's neck, exploring along the Korean's mouth relentlessly despite his overtures going unreciprocated.

Lars pulled back to look Hwoarang in the eye, too close for comfort. The corners of his lips rose to an esoteric expression before he grabbed Hwoarang's head and brought his lips upon the Hwoarang's in a blatant display of strength and masculinity. This time, a response came: subtly, Hwoarang pursed his lips.

At the first opportunity, Lars shifted his position. Glancing briefly at Hwoarang, Lars reached a hand between his legs and fondled him through the jeans. He felt his way around, tracking shapes and curvatures with a confident, steady hand. Always, unmistakably, his hand returned to trace an arc.

"Don't you want it, too?"

Hwoarang said nothing in answer. He shifted, forcing Lars to move and straddle him further below. His expression as hateful as before, Hwoarang reached down and unclasped the belt of his chaps. Then he let his hand drop on his side and rested on his elbows.

Lars gave a dry sound of amusement. He slid further down, lodging between Hwoarang's legs. He nudged the chaps' belt out of the way and worked the real belt buckle open, without help forthcoming. Massaging Hwoarang's fly as he went, he opened the jeans and zipped them all the way down. He pushed at Hwoarang to open his legs and dug into his underwear with a knowing hand.

As Lars pulled out his length and subsequently sunk his mouth onto it, Hwoarang watched him going for a time before bringing a hand to his head and grabbing his hair. It was a disrespect he would have never given into, had it been someone worthy doing it, instead of this one. His hold loosened and he sunk back, reflexively.

Lars worked him through to the end without holding back. Though the look Hwoarang afforded him in the end aspired to be none the friendlier, the breathless panting and the healthy color on his face were in plain sight. Lars waited for his recovery, toying idly inside Hwoarang's pants without being asked to stop, catching his own breath. He stopped only to remove his shirt.

Hwoarang stirred, his eyes sharper now in stark contrast to the visible fatigue, and Lars moved as well. Poised, he tugged his pants down, revealing strong thighs, a patch of hair that tapered toward the navel, and everything in between.

Eyes unwaveringly on Hwoarang, he reached for the zipper of Hwoarang's vest and begun sliding it down tooth by tooth. The metal screeched indignantly. Lars snuck a hand inside to caress Hwoarang's chest. More smooth skin was revealed, and Lars ducked down, tracing the line down with his lips. The only disruption to his trail was when he reached up high enough to touch upon the metal necklace that hung around Hwoarang's neck. The instant, Hwoarang seized his hand roughly, nearly hissing. Lars patted his chest and kissed his abdomen in apology and was tolerated to finish unzipping the vest. He moved to tug at his pants.

The jeans and chaps and jazz came off quicker than expected; Hwoarang had been helping him. Exposed to view, Hwoarang draped his legs across the sheets coolly.

Older by those few critical years, guiding him to his will, Lars coaxed Hwoarang on his side, facing down the mattress. If Hwoarang didn't want it, he would turn on his back. Hwoarang didn't turn.

Lars took a moment to shuffle through something on the bedside. "I wasn't prepared. I am sorry," Lars said quietly and squeezed Hwoarang's shoulder like he meant it. A cork was uncapped, and an unmistakable scent of lotion diffused in the air. "I'll be careful."

Hwoarang braced himself against the mattress, bending his knees slightly as Lars worked on him. Lars drew near in the end, carefully hugging the curve of his body.

Lars blinked the sleep away with a gratified yawn. He straightened up and examined his company. Hwoarang was still sleeping deeply, secure in his arms. A small smile crossed Lars' face. Leaning down, he placed a small kiss on Hwoarang's shoulder before pulling back up, head tilted, scouting the room lazily, erring on the copper hair.

No one else would have caught the sound, but he did. Steps, quiet and stealthy, sounded from the hallway. Lars listened to their progress closely. The steps finally stopped on the door. Then, the door was opened ajar.

Lars remained still. The newcomer moved noiselessly like a shadow until he reached the bedside. Only then did Lars raise his eyes from the floor and fixate them on Jin.

Dark and nightmarish in mood and appearance, Jin stared at the pair frozenly. The room was quiet—the only sound disrupting the uncanny hush was Hwoarang's even breathing. Lars pushed doubt aside and steeled himself.

He nudged the covers out of Hwoarang's grasp. Hwoarang mumbled a protest in his sleep and went back to oblivion. The hems in his grasp, Lars began exposing skin to view. Jin stared at his hand's progression, petrified. Lars kept sliding the covers along the smooth abdomen, down past the navel. Jin's breathing was audible. He finally desisted just before revealing more beyond a dark edging. There was no question that the man in his arms was naked. Then he slipped a hand beneath the covers. His knuckles bore imprints on the textile as he massaged what was below gently. Lars' eyes closed as he bent down and kissed the crane of Hwoarang's neck. Then he pulled his head up and looked straight at Jin.

"Fuck off, Lars," Hwoarang mumbled and swatted at Lars' hands half-heartedly. He pulled at the covers without opening his eyes and buried his head in the pillow.

When the glaze finally left Jin's stare and he looked Lars in the eye, Lars saw murder. He knew real threats from empty ones, and what he saw made his blood run cold. He had no doubt that had Hwoarang not been there, Jin would have drawn blood.

But then, Jin turned to Hwoarang. That look... for the first time, Lars hesitated. Jin had regarded him with pure hatred, but none of that was present as he looked at Hwoarang. His expression held incomprehension mixed with something else, but Jin Kazama wasn't easy to read. Lars espied the emotion with a pang. It would have been a more dramatic expression from anyone less guarded, but Jin looked like he was about to cry.

Jin turned on his feet, swaggering dangerously. He caught his bearing and left without a word, soundless as he had come. The door closed behind him.

"Hm?" The quiet click had stirred Hwoarang.

"You can sleep," Lars said in his ear and squeezed him lightly.

Out in the hallway, Jin kept going until he arrived at the ground floor of the building. His hand shook uncontrollably, and the corners of his eyes burned in agony. Not this. Not him. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. Jin clenched his hand into a ball so tightly that his tendons were at risk of exploding. With all the thought, he buried his fist into the wall, only vaguely aware how the bone fractured and ligaments tore at the impact. Not this way.

Somewhere in Egypt, a vault opened before its time. Without the predestined champion to stand in its way, anguish saturated the air as the body of the lone, hopelessly outmatched guardian fell to the ground. The face of the earth shambled, and the world cowered in fear as an ancient beast entered among the living uninhibited.


My sincere thanks to Gypsie (Gypsie Rose) for the proofreading!

Revised February 9, 2010.
Published January 30, 2010.

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