He hated hospitals. They were cold and sterile, filled with colorless rooms and bare walls, and they were much too confining. The last thing a lone wolf like himself wanted was mandatory bed rest, but the nurses had been insistent and stubborn. Terry felt like a lab-rat, stuck full of needles and wrapped in more gauze than he would care to ever see in his life again.
He had suffered worse than he thought, but at the moment he was more worried about Andy, who still hadn't woken up. Well, that and Geese's last words. He hadn't mentioned them to anyone. He barely remembered what had happened after seeing the man plummet to his death. He remembered seeing Mai come charging into the room, with Mary and some medical technicians close behind, but the rest was a haze. Once the adrenalin rush had worn off after that last bout the wounds he'd received finally caught up with him, and he'd nearly fainted right then and there. Then again, he might have, he still wasn't quite sure.
His thoughts were interrupted as the door to his room opened and one of the nurses came in.
"Good morning Mr. Bogard. How are you feeling today?"
Terry stretched his neck and gave himself a once over, moving his sore muscles and joints as much as his bandages would allow. "Not bad, all things considered."
"That's good. The doctor will be in to check up on you in a bit. In the meanwhile, you have a visitor."
At this Terry perked up. While Mary had come to check up on him from time to time, it was far too early for her visit, and as far as he was aware, everyone else who might have made the trip was only a few rooms away.
His question was answered when the mysterious visitor stepped into the room.
"Hey pal, how are you?"
Terry grinned in spite of himself. "You're a long way from home."
The native Korean smiled down at his friend and shrugged. A South Korean Tae Kwan Do hero, Terry had first met Kaphwan Kim during Krauser's worldwide tournament. They had since become fast friends, though Terry often referred to him using only his last name, finding his first name too difficult to pronounce properly. Kim never seemed to mind, but the last Terry had heard about him he was supposed to be in his dojang back in South Korea.
"I came as soon as Cheng sent me word," Kim explained, "but it appears I wasn't fast enough."
"Crazy old coot didn't need to drag you into this." Terry scoffed.
Kim folded his arms as he looked down at his injured friend "From my point of view it looks like you could have used every bit of help available," he said, matter-of-factly. "I'm a little angry you didn't give me the call yourself."
Terry could only give the other man a half-hazard shrug. "I'm sorry. When word first got out about the scrolls things started happening so fast I guess it just didn't cross my mind."
"Well next time it had better be the first thing that you do. I promise I'll be much more accessible."
Terry smiled at his friend, "I have no doubt. So, how's the family."
Terry could see Kim's chest expand ever so slightly. The man loved to talk about his family.
"Myeng and the boys are still back at home, and are doing well. Those two are turning in a decent pair of fighters themselves. I only hope I live to see the day they surpass me."
"I donno," Terry said in challenge. "You've set a pretty high bar."
"It will happen, my friend," Kim affirmed. "They take to the martial arts like fish to water. Almost as good as they've picked up the English language."
"Giving them language lessons now, huh?"
"I figured it was for the best to do it early, if they're going to be spending time here in the States."
"Here?" Terry asked a little confused. "Intend to do a bit more traveling these days?"
"It's actually something I've been meaning to talk to you about," Kim explained as he pulled a nearby chair to the side of the bed and sat down. "I've been intending to open a branch for my Tae Kwan Do school here in the States. Southtown seems a good a place as any. I wanted to get your opinion before making anything concrete."
"I think it'd be a great idea."
"I thought you would," Kim said, nodding assent, "but we can discuss that later when you're feeling better." He indicated the many bandages that covered his friend. "As it stands, you look like you've been through a train wreck."
Terry leaned back against his pillow with a groan. "Wouldn't be the first time."
"That was your own fault for training on top of a circus car," Kim reminded him. "So what's the final verdict?"
"Five cracked ribs, a fractured forearm, four broken fingers, a torn hamstring, a dislocated shoulder, a broken nose, a twisted ankle, more bruises than I care to count, three kidney stones, two black eyes and a partridge in a pear tree."
"Didn't think street fighting could induce kidney stones."
"You were supposed to have stopped listening by then."
Kim smiled. "At least your sense of humor's intact."
Terry enjoyed a brief bit of light laughter with his friend before the other consequences of recent actions caused his lighthearted mood to fade.
"Andy suffered the worst by far," he continued to explain. "He's been in a coma for the last few days. They say he's been stabilized, but they don't know when he'll come out of it. Mai hasn't left his side since he was admitted.
"Joe's been likewise glued to Kane's little sister's bedside. As far as I can tell he didn't suffer many injuries… at least not physical ones. Rumor is she somehow got in the middle of him and Billy and nearly got herself killed. I don't think he's spoken more than ten words since."
Kim sighed. "It pains me to hear of such suffering because of the evil of the world. I truly wish I could have gotten here on time."
"It would have been nice to have you Kim," Terry agreed, "but after what I've just been through, I'm glad there wasn't anyone else at the top of that tower." Terry's eyes lowered, the vivid imagery of that fateful night still crystal clear in his mind. "Kim I thought I was going to die up there. I thought Andy had died! He was toying with us the whole time. I'm convinced that if anyone else had followed us into that room he would have killed them outright just to spite us."
Kim looked down at his somber friend. "And yet, here you are… battered, but still alive. One can hardly say the same for Geese."
"Luck," was Terry's one word response. "It was the Jin twins' interference that saved us. If they hadn't decided to crash the party our roles would be reversed right now… though I doubt Geese would even have needed any medical attention."
"Ah, yes… the immortals," Kim said thoughtfully. "What became of them?"
Terry sighed, "I have no idea. Mary told me that Mai sprinted up the entire building once Geese hit the ground, but neither of them remembers seeing the Jin twins on the way up."
"Oh, right… I suppose you two haven't met. She's a freelance detective who's been working closely with the Southtown Police force. We've been working together on the whole 'scrolls' business."
"Hmmm… I seem to be out of the loop a bit," Kim concluded for himself. "Maybe we should start back at square one."
Terry obliged him, giving a brief run-through of everything that had happened since word of the Scrolls of Immortality had begun circulating Southtown up to and including his final battle between him, Andy and Geese. Kim held onto every word, only punctuating the narrative with the occasional question.
"So apparently possessing the scrolls was necessary to obtain their power," Kim said thoughtfully after Terry had explained what had happened to Geese upon their destruction.
"It would seem that way," Terry confirmed. "He could hardly move after the Jin twins recovered them. Of course, we'dve both been screwed had Chonshu just taken them instead of destroying them like he did."
"So what happened then?"
"Geese snapped," Terry told him bluntly. "Tried to take out then entire top half of the building he was so pissed. I only barely managed to contain it, but at that point we were both spent." He paused for a brief moment, trying to recall the scene completely. "Come to think of it, that was probably when the twins beat feet."
Kim nodded. "Makes sense to me. Without the scrolls they were probably spent as well, and I doubt anyone would want to be in the same room with that much power being thrown around."
"Either way, Geese ended up against a weak section of railing and he couldn't get himself away from it in time."
"And that was that, huh?"
"Well… almost." Terry admitted. "I got the crazy notion in my head to try to save the man."
"Really?" Kim said, interested in this unexpected development.
"I tried to catch him before he fell," Terry explained, his mood souring as he remembered that moment, and the brief conversation they had."
"The look on your face tells me there's more to this," Kim said, reading his friend's expression."
Terry shook his head, as if trying to clear it. "I… I don't know. He said something to me then… something that can't possibly be true. Then he jerked his arm free." Terry rubbed his forehead, as if trying to erase the unsettling memories of that moment. "He was laughing at me the whole way down. The look on his face…"
Seeing his friend struggle for words, Kim decided he'd heard enough. "You needn't worry yourself anymore, my friend. Geese chose the unforgivable path of evil. It was justice that decided his hand."
Terry scoffed at that. "Right… justice. I wish. After it was over the city tried to nail me to the wall with homicide charges."
"Everyone knows the history that he and I have," Terry explained. "With the Jin twins' disappearance and Andy fully unconscious, they figured there were no witnesses against the idea that I deliberately threw him over the edge."
"That's ridiculous!" Kim said, quite upset himself. "After how many times you've single-handedly saved this city and they just throw you to the wolves?"
"Again, I got lucky." Terry clarified. "Thanks to some news crew on the scene, they managed to get decent enough shots of Geese hanging against the railing, and my trying to catch him when it broke. When they realized there was evidence against their claims and that they wouldn't be able to find a jury impartial enough, they dropped the charges."
"Heh," Kim smirked. He had visited Southtown enough to know the politics of the city. "They're probably just mad that they won't be getting their bonuses this year."
Terry smirked in kind. "I hope your right, and that's all there is to it." With another sigh he seemed to sink even more into his bedding. "Sometimes I don't know why I bother, Kim."
"You bother because it's the right thing to do, Terry," Kim was quick to reassure him. "That's all there is to it."
"I wish I could agree," Terry said in lament. "I don't know what to do with myself now."
"Rest," Kim commanded, "and heal. You've done enough for now. Let everyone else worry about the details."
"No… there's one more thing that I have to know," Terry half snarled, surprising Kim. "I have to know if what Geese told me has any truth to it."
"Terry… what exactly did he tell you?" Kim asked hesitantly.
"He…" Terry took a deep breath before continuing. "This doesn't leave the room, Kim. I mean it! No one else knows… especially not Andy."
"I will not tell a single soul," Kim promised.
With that assurance, Terry continued. "Geese… implied that he wasn't the only one responsible for my father's death. He claimed that Sakazaki had played a part as well."
"The Kyokugen disciple?" Kim asked, a somewhat surprised look on his face. Every fighter who considered himself halfway descent was aware of the Kyokugen Karate training dojo in Southtown, as well as the masters who ran it.
"Right." Terry was feeling more and more restless merely discussing it. "I don't know if he meant Ryo or his father, but I have to know if it's true."
"What do you intend to do?" Kim asked, more than a little worried about where this conversation was going.
"I honestly don't know. I can't think of anything else besides asking them directly. Knowing Mr. Karate though it's not going to be a walk in the park," Terry said, referring to the younger Sakazaki with his self-appointed title. "They're always hidden away in the Sarah. Finding them is going to be difficult enough, and even if I can, I doubt they'll just let me walk up to Takuma and ask."
"No doubt," Kim agreed with a concerned look on his face. "Perhaps you should try approaching them through the city gym?"
Terry shook his head. "I'm too worried that if I give them any forewarning I might never be able to find them at all. No, I'm not going to give them a chance to run from the answers. I'm going to have to be direct, no matter the consequences."