If you were to ask Asuka Kazama why she was present on the highway that night, she would probably insist she'd merely stumbled upon it.
The fact of the matter was she had a knack for discovering, and ultimately neutralizing, danger. If there was a fight going on within a five mile radius, it was almost like she could feel it, hear the ominous bone cracks and groans of an argument gone awry from where she stood even when the wind didn't carry the evidence her way.
Some might call it a sixth sense.
She would often cure boredom by taking long bike rides through the city surrounding the Iron Fist arena, aimlessly pedaling through what had become an industrialized concrete kingdom and secretly observing her surroundings, waiting.
A thud, a crash, a yell. Whatever the case may be, when it reached her synapses she knew it was time to defend another helpless victim.
And so it happened that she had been drawn to the scene of the accident in question by the sound of pounding fists.
Having been headed in the opposite direction, she immediately changed course. As she picked up her pace, she overlooked the protesting tug of exhaustion on her calves, mind muddled by the prospects of the confrontation ahead.
One car had careened into another in an explosion of screeching and bent metal. The two drivers would be standing at the twisted intersection of steel, the more timid of the pair stuck absorbing the abuse of their deemed formidable opposition.
That prick! A good elbow jab to the gut would check his attitude.
Or—a bully and his goons, picking on a weaker classmate.
Cornered with no conceivable method of escape, the poor kid would be cowering with his back against a wall or, worse, hugging his knees to his chest on the hard ground to attempt to deflect some of the impact of their merciless assaults.
Despicable! Two or three roundhouse kicks, depending on how many there were. An extra kick to a choice place for the leader, just to hammer the lesson home.
In all likelihood, it was a meaningless drunken brawl. She would pound both of their faces in for wasting her time.
Whatever was going on, she could tell the severity had increased dramatically in seconds. The smacks and thuds had begun to be accompanied by howls of agony. Her teeth clenched as she urged the pedals to spin faster, although she was already practically floating across the asphalt.
At last she saw them.
She stopped, gradually as not to earn herself a mouthful of rocky scurf, once within the vicinity. Sweeping her leg in an effortless dismount, she examined the situation.
Two men were battling it out with fatal intensity. She vaguely recognized them from her participation in the tournament, but had never learned their names. Neither acknowledged her arrival.
The one closest to her had taken severe damage. His fair skin had already been ravaged by a series of scrapes and gashes, but he was still standing, if not shakily. The leather had been torn away from the knuckles of his gloves, yet he displayed both fists in front of his chest proudly. Copper hair, wildly disheveled, blocked his eyes from view.
The offender was a brunette and in a blatantly advantageous physical state. Whereas his foe was hunched over slightly and breathing heavily, he stood upright and didn't appear to have sustained any injuries at all during their scuffle.
The next thing she noticed were the markings—ancient, tribal-like markings steeped in tanned flesh. The black symbols crossed his chest and arms, the likes of which she'd never seen before.
At the time she joined them, the raven-haired mystery had been delivering a succession of blows at impossible speeds. After a brief pause to regain his footing and wits, the redhead lunged at his opponent with a rally of kicks. The brunette evaded every attempt with humiliating ease, then landed a hit of his own straight across the knees.
The defiant redhead finally buckled to the ground with a painful grunt. Another hit, this time to the face. His bottom lip screamed and spilled red life onto the street below.
Before she could formulate a plan of attack, Asuka found herself hurtling forward to the fallen man's defense.
His attacker was unnervingly agile, and stole an additional blow to the ribcage before she'd even blinked. The redhead emitted a low moan that made her chest seize up, then collapsed.
"Stop right there!"
As fast as she was running, her heart had darted far ahead of her. The brunette proved quicker than both of them.
He stopped her dead in her tracks with a single glance. His eyes—an eerie pale silver, almost white—injected an eternity of aggression and loathing into her very core. He walked toward her slowly, nonchalantly, Father Time with all the world at his disposal. Wings, black and majestic and terrifying, rustled gently as he approached.
Whatever he was, he was most certainly not human.
Asuka, an intruder, a new obstacle, faltered in the path of such animosity.
Then, suddenly, a reprieve. He smirked—such an evil, omnipotent smirk—and crouched, preparing for flight. In a moment, he was gone, leaving a flurry of charcoal feathers and unsettling silence in his wake.
Her brain struggled to grasp such a bizarre development. She stood, seemingly seized by an invisible force casting her attention skyward. Dizziness and disbelief produced a magnitude of three on the Richter scale.
"Who—what was that?"
Her own voice snapped her out of the trance his departure had caused. Her thoughts, and gaze, crashed back down to the highway and landed on the limp hammock of body tissue a few feet away.
Forcing her unsteady legs into a sprint, she threw herself beside him. She swallowed to try to rid her throat of its arid ache, but to no avail.
"Hey, can you hear me?"
She instinctively checked for vital signs. Relief rushed through her when she felt the gentle prod of a pulse beneath her fingertips.
Taking out her cell phone, she called the local hospital and requested an ambulance. Satisfied but still on edge, she used both hands to delicately lift his head into her lap. His hair, damp and matted with rubble, caressed the exposed skin in a way that almost tickled.
"Don't worry," she said softly, "I'll stay right here with you until help arrives."
She fought to catch her breath as she monitored his, a shallow, barely existent flutter against her thighs.
"What happened? Why were you fighting that—thing?" she mumbled, mostly to herself.
Looking around them, she spotted what appeared to be mechanical remnants and scraps scattered along the shoulder lane. Further up, she could make out the charred skeleton of a motorcycle.
"Did he—" She allowed her question to fade into the night, stare returning to the motionless mass in her lap.
His once brash countenance had adapted the calm palette of dreamless slumber. She ran her thumb across a forehead creased with sweat and smudges of dirt, held the curve of his jaw in her palm.
"It's alright. You're gonna be fine."
The squeal of encroaching sirens removed her from her temporary reverie. Asuka jerked her hand away and turned her head with a huff, decidedly oblivious to the pink smatterings on her cheeks.
Some might call it attraction.
She'd call it none of your business.
A/N: To my knowledge, how Hwoarang got to the hospital after his encounter with Devil Jin at the end of the fifth tournament was never directly explained, so I created my own theory. :)