Author's Notes: Good day, everyone. It's me again, Another-of-Me. This is my second story in English. I hope it's good enough to be read.
Summary: A side story to Another Promise. Jin visits his rival in hospital along with his sins and regrets.
Genre: Shounen-ai, M/M.
Disclaimer: Tekken and all Tekken characters belong to Namco.
He is the person who could survive by himself when around him, his great grandfather, his grandfather, and his father, against him. He is the competitor who won the tournament, and now also owns the Mishima Zaibatsu Corp.
He is the great Jin Kazama.
So, he shouldn't be like this. Down on the bench, both elbows on the bed before him, hands grasping his own head that felt so heavy. Eyes hiding behind palms, fingers like a rambling plant in his hair, traces of tears staining both cheeks. He is sobbing, breathing so heavily and asking for forgiveness. Pathetic.
On the bed is Hwoarang, the Korean street punk leader also known as Blood Talon. He is so powerful, so strong—as strong as Jin Kazama. They are rivals. He once had high pride in his life, never accepting a defeat.
He shouldn't be like this, either. Lying limp on the bed, unconscious. Breathing, but so slowly. Skin tone so pale, bandages covering almost all of his skin, plaster surrounding his right leg and hand. A cylinder of oxygen helps him to survive, a machine monitoring his heart beat.
So soulless, so weak.
Like begging for his own salvation, Jin's head slips down from his palms, fingers grabbing his raven hair. One look at the Korean youth has only made him fall deeper into his regret.
"I'm sorry…" Only those words can he summon from his mouth. Two words, but they draw his feelings.
Sadness. Anger. Remorse. Fear.
"I . . . am . . ." He tries to find other words, but always ends up back at the start. "I am ... so sorry, Hwoa-!"
His tongue becomes numb when he tries to call out the redhead's name. He presses his lips together tightly as tears run down his cheeks, his breath stuck in his throat, his heart shattered.
With the remainder of his courage, Jin looks up at Hwoarang's face. Oh God, what I've done?
He wants to touch the boy. He wants to feel the Korean youth's soft skin as a cure for his broken heart. With trembling hands, he tries to stroke the redhead's cheek. He wants to be able to recall this memory, when he stole an opportunity to touch Hwoarang's cheek so tenderly without the Korean knowing.
Jin pulls back quickly, making a fist above his own head to suppress heavy sobs that could wake everyone in the hospital. If only a scream could become his true salvation, he would do it a few times over. Unfortunately, he realizes it will only turn everything from bad to worse.
Touch it. Stroke it. Stealing an opportunity? He has no heart to do anything after what he has done, the actions that brought the Korean to this condition—lying helpless, bandage here and there, silently trapped between life and death.
But he isn't dead. He is alive and has survived from his critical state, but the heartbeat coming from the machine beside him is too weak, too faint. Remembering how active the Korean at past, it's so different.
Once again he tries, this time with Hwoarang's hand. Slowly but surely, he slips his left palm beneath Hwoarang's. Oh God, it's still soft. Only a few areas of skin are exposed for him to touch, but he can tell the smoothness and softness of the Blood Talon's skin is still the same.
The heat left in Hwoarang's hand encourages his other hand to grasp it, too. Left on the bottom, right on the top.
It hasn't changed at all.
Now, both hands fully grasp redhead's left palm and squeeze it gently. He lifts it a little so he can kiss those fingers. Oh God, how I love him so much. He replaces his lips with his cheek, then stares at the sleeping boy.
What have I done to you? He closes his eyes. If I was stronger than 'it', maybe this wouldn't have happened.
A few moments later, Jin lifts his head abruptly. He glances in the direction of the door not too far from him, behind the curtain. He closes his eyes, listens—and he hears it.
Steps. Still far away, but he's certain the nurse is coming. The turnover of shifts has arrived. All nurses will check every patient in hospital, and then security will be increased.
In other words, it's time for Jin Kazama leave Hwoarang's side.
If nurses find him here and spread gossip—the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu visited a participant of the Tekken tournament sneakily, after hours— what will happen? What if it reaches the head of G Corp., Kazuya Mishima's ears?
No! He can't let that happen. Hwoarang would be in danger.
"I have to go," he whispers near Hwoarang's ear. He can smell Hwoarang's scent there. He wants to stay, to savor it a bit longer, but knows he can't.
He stands silently, turns, and heads for an opened window. Before he leaves, he looks at Hwoarang over his shoulder.
"I'll be back," he whispers again.
He jumps out, slides the window shut behind him, and disappears under the moonlight.
A few seconds later, a nurse comes into Hwoarang's room. She takes a look at the machine's indicators, writes something on her clipboard, then scans the sleeping boy. When her eyes land on Hwoarang's left hand, she's startled.
It moves. As if being shocked by electricity, his hand shakes a little. Her eyes move to Hwoarang's face, and she sees it, slowly running down his cheek.
"Doctor … doctor!"
-Two days later, in the afternoon.
"Master. . ."
Baek gently places his hand on Hwoarang's shoulder. He knows his pupil is trying to sit up—again—although it's still difficult for him to even speak. Typical Hwoarang.
"Please, for the last time, do not try to move or speak yet. Concentrate on your recovery. Just rest."
Baek sighs. He hasn't left Hwoarang's side since yesterday. When he got the information from the doctor taking care of his pupil, he ran to hospital as fast as he could. How could he continue in the tournament with Hwoarang lying in such a hollow state? He cares for him too much, as a student and a son.
He hasn't even changed out of his dobok. He can't remember if he's eaten yet, either.
This morning, Baek saw Hwoarang open his one eye. He was relieved, but it didn't last long. Since then, Hwoarang has been trying to get up or speak to him. He can't let that happen, of course. Hwoarang's recovery is his priority now. He has to keep telling the boy to rest and, for a moment, Hwoarang agrees, only to try again soon after. If he left him alone, the boy would probably end up walking around the hospital, or, worse, outside somewhere.
Baek looks at Hwoarang and sees that his soul is weak. Rest for one or two days won't be enough to get him back his great state. Yet his will is still as strong as ever. Did 'rest' even exist in Hwoarang's dictionary?
Again, typical Hwoarang.
"Okay, Hwoarang." Baek sits down and grasps his own knees. "I'll tell you a few things about what happened after you got here. Then, you get some rest."
Hwoarang looks at his master solemnly, waiting for him to continue before giving any signs of agreement.
"The resting starts tomorrow morning. Deal?" Baek adds, hoping to bargain with the always difficult Hwoarang.
Hwoarang gives a weak smile in response. Baek can't help but smile back.
"Okay," Baek says, "First, you've been asleep for three days."
Although faint, Baek recognizes the disbelief on Hwoarang's face. "I can hardly believe it, either. Remember when you were eight and collapsed from a terrible fever?"
Hwoarang nods, smiling weakly.
"However, you were already back to training at the dojang the very next day. I had to run around, inside and out, to catch you, begging you to get some rest. You made me into a fool back then, son."
Sometimes remembering an old story makes old people forget their original thought, in this case to convince Hwoarang to rest. Curse of nostalgia. "But, you're fine."
A weak chuckle and a faint smirk come from Hwoarang's mouth. He nods again. Yeah, he remembers that day—the day when he played 'hide and seek', the day when he saw how concerned his master, his true father, was for him.
Baek laughs, relieved from remembering that moment and seeing Hwoarang's smile. Then he sees Hwoarang's face regain a serious expression, so he goes on.
"Okay … you were judged incapable of proceeding in the tournament."
Incapable of what? The hell! Hwoarang can't believe what his master is saying.
"You lost the tournament. You were beaten badly during round two. After that, you were unconscious and unable to stand or walk, let alone fight. That's all I heard."
He has never accepted defeat in battle, let alone this. But now ... oh, his pride is shattered. Damn it! As Hwoarang glares at the ceiling, his breath hardens, his hand trying to make a fist.
Baek sees his reaction and knows he has to stop him. He knows how hard it is for his pupil to admit defeat, but Hwoarang needs to rest now. If the boy denies it, he will ask a doctor to drug him. Forget the consequences, all he wants is for his pupil to get better. There is no choice.
He touches the boy's shoulder, causing Hwoarang to look at him. "We'll stop here, and continue tomorrow."
Hwoarang closes his eye.
Thinking it a good time to leave, Baek gets up and heads for the door.
Why can't you just sleep, son?
It can't be helped. Baek knows what Hwoarang truly wants to hear. He was waiting to tell him because of his health. He sighs and turns around to face the boy.
"Yes, he won the tournament. I'm sorry I can't tell you more, but I didn't see what happened onstage. All I heard was that he beat you down, that you were badly injured, and were taken to the hospital."
Hwoarang closes his eye, again. He doesn't need to know what happened onstage because he was there. He was against him, if it really was him.
All he needs to know is ... where he is now. He's won the tournament, so he owns the Mishima Zaibatsu Corp? Fuck!
Baek turns and starts to leave Hwoarang again.
It's just a whisper, but Baek knows he means it.
"Rest," he replies.
"Thank God you're back."
Sounds of happiness, relief, and gratitude mingled in one phrase.
Patient finds his consciousness.
The Japanese youth stands beside the bed, reading health reports left behind by one of the nurses. He scans through records of Hwoarang's activity throughout the day.
Medicine. Lunch. Initial wound treatment. Patient complains. More medicine. "That's my rival. Good job, punk," Jin says, hoping for a reply.
Unfortunately, there is no response from the Korean. He continues to lay there on the bed, eyes closed, sleeping. This time no cylinders are helping him breathe, no machine monitoring his heartbeat. His chest is moving up and down at quite a good pace. He still looks pale, but better than before, at least.
I wish I could see you when you're conscious. Damn new job and the time that keeps ticking. He has to spend every day attending meetings, planning things to intensify people's hatred. He hates it.
Jin reads the rest of the report. All he can understand is that Hwoarang has been drugged in order to sleep through the night. This eases him. The Korean won't realize if he got company at midnight.
At the same time, he feels empty.
He puts the clipboard down and sits on the bench. Once again, he surrounds the boy's left hand, lifts it, kiss it, consumes the heat on Hwoarang's hand as many as he can.
There's so much memory left in the Korean's hands. Most of the time, they were used against him, for battle or just sparring. Sometimes he wishes those hands were used to caress him—his face, hair, hands. The Blood Talon never did it, though.
How stupid I am, wishing you felt the same way about me. He was stupid to think he could make Hwoarang love him, to wish he had no Mishima blood in his veins. Idiot.
He knows he has to stop his happy relationship with Hwoarang because of the freaking demon inside him that can kill anyone. He really can't forgive himself, ever. How pathetic you are, Jin Kazama.
Suddenly, he feels Hwoarang's hand shaking. Did he already wake? Hwoarang! He stares at the boy.
No, Hwoarang isn't awake yet. His eyes are still shut, but they look so tight. Eyebrows knitting, his breathing has become shallow. Nightmare.
No, please. No more pain for him, even in a dream.
Unwittingly, Jin's right hand strokes Hwoarang's cheek passionately, the other hand still beneath the Korean's. Something tells him to do it, and for a moment he gets lost in his mind. What have I done? What I've done to you . . . Wha . . . What the!
He starts to pull away, only to realize he can't. Soft. Up and down, feeling his soft skin. This is a memory that he wants to summon back. He doesn't want to stop.
Hwoarang becomes calm. He stops shaking, but his breathing doesn't return to a normal pace and pain is still readable on his face. Jin feels the Korean's hand grasping his, quite tightly.
What do you see? What do you feel? What's happening?
Jin grasps back. Somehow, he has to. He isn't sure about his action, but then, slowly but surely, Hwoarang's face is peaceful again, his breathing calm. Jin sighs in relief. Seeing you being hurt, it's hurting me, too, punk.
He plays with Hwoarang's bangs, stroking them aside so that all of the Korean's face gets an angelic glow from the moonlight. He runs the back of his hand from forehead to brow, down to cheek, jaw line, and chin, stopping at his bottom lip. His thumb follows the curve slowly, left to right, back again and again.
He can't stop thinking about how he misses the Korean's smooth skin, voice, smirks, even swearing. He misses him so much.
When he's had enough, Jin stands and takes a step back. He stares at the sleeping boy for the last time.
"From now on, we will stand in distinct ways. I'll make the world walk in my darkness, and you'll always swear my name, more often than you already do. You'll hate me more, and I'll make you live in hell." He smirks. "Well, according to your story, you already live in hell 'cause of me. So it should be easy for you."
Jin turns, facing an open window leading out into his new world fraught with disaster.
"The next time we meet, you'll see me with a mask of coldness and emptiness." He glances at Hwoarang over his shoulder. "You'll always see me, but I won't see you."
Closer to window, he stares at the silver marble floating in dark sky for a while. He wonders how often he will adore that heavenly scenery once he steps out from that room.
"I swear this won't be happening again." He tilts his head to side. "I won't let it out to harm you."
But you can harm me, more than anyone else. I love you, but I hurt you. Disgrace me, hate me, and in that moment I'll be able to face you. Because I deserve it.
He jumps out and closes the window.
Jin walks to his car, hidden in an abandoned park a few blocks from the hospital where Hwoarang is sleeping.
/Did you just visit him?/
'None of your business.'
/You should let me out. I miss him. And don't keep me on your mind too often, I can't see anything./
'Like I will!'
/Oh, dear. How cruel you are. I just want to see my . . . art in his flesh./
Cruel? Does this ... demon recognize what it just said? Jin doesn't answer.
/Alright, don't bother to do it. I'll check him by myself, then./
'Don't you DARE!'
/Oh yes, I will, baby./
In a second, Jin kicks 'it' to his unreachable mind. He can practically hear the devil laughing him as he does.
He doesn't need to hear it, to listen to the devil's words. He knows it will only make the devil stronger.
However, he cannot deny it. The devil is indeed getting stronger day by day, especially after their battle with his great grandfather. From now on, he must be very careful in every action and decision he makes to keep the devil at bay. He can't let it out.
Goodbye, Hwoarang … I'll miss you.
Early in the morning, Hwoarang opens a single eye. In the corner of room, he hears the nurse finish doing something and proceed to leave.
No, he's not awake because of the nurse's activity, nor the decreasing influence of the drugs on his body. He's still sleepy, but he denies dreaming.
Something in his heart is different, and he feels it in every beat. He can't describe the feeling, yet he knows it is different.
Along with the oddness, he finds warmth in his cheek. He touches it, then closes his eye. His mind treads through memories, trying to find some connection with this—something he loves, something he misses so much, something he has always wanted—until, slowly, it rests on someone's shoulders.
He gradually sees an outline, a raven-haired man surrounded by a soft white glow. The man turns to the side, allowing Hwoarang to see his beautiful cheek and smile. His eyes are mostly hidden beneath bangs and the brightness of the light. It doesn't matter, though, because the Korean already remembers and recognizes the warmth when sees him.
He knows who it is, who the warmth belongs to.
'Were you here before, bastard?'
The man turns his head and starts to leave.
'Fuck! Answer me, damnit! Were you with me last night?'
Hwoarang tries to reach out to him, but the light brightens and consumes the man's body. He disappears before Hwoarang can catch him.
I miss you, Jin.
Deepest thanks for Zana Banana as Beta Reader.
Author's Notes: Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy it. I got this 'imagination' when I saw Baek's prologue story at Tekken 6. If you like the story, please review.