Part Eleven: The Art Of Fighting
I'm a goddamn idiot. Gripping my hair in frustration, I threw the dart straight into the bull's eye of the board opposite the room. There were three other darts poking out neatly around the one that just landed—evidence of my skill as a dart thrower. I glared at the board. This really wasn't helping at all. I threw the rest of the darts carelessly, one of them landing with a definite thud on the wooden floor.
Throwing myself to the floor, I relived yesterday's events. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, I wasn't. I smiled sourly. The look on Jin's face was treasure. So much shock, so much astonishment, it made number three on my "top ten things I screwed over in my life" list. But it was when he turned and ran that really stung me. He could have said something—anything. Even an exclamation of how he never wanted to see me again would have been better than the silence. At least then I would know how he felt. Now I was just left in a swirl of reasons my mind concocted.
I closed my eyes and tried to focus on something else, but it was all in vain. Jin's face kept popping up before me and finally, I stood up and gave a long, hard kick to the punching bag hanging from the ceiling. Amazingly enough, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders as I did this. I smiled slightly and took off my shirt. Well, if training was the only way to keep Jin off my mind, then train I would do. Slipping into a more comfortable pair of pants, I began to stretch before beginning a rigorous cycle of kicks and punches on the bag. It swayed each time I landed an attack and it gave me an odd sense of tranquility.
I didn't know how long I was keeping up this routine before I heard someone clearing their throat behind me. I turned around in surprise and saw Steve smiling whimsically at me.
"Nice to know you like beating up my punching bag to a pulp," he commented.
A small smile crept its way to my lips as I wiped my forehead with a towel. "This is nothing. I haven't even begun some of my serious moves," I replied.
Steve narrowed his eyes. "You ain't going to lay a single finger on my bag!" he exclaimed indignantly.
Laughter escaped me and I shook my head at Steve. "So why did you come and disturb my training, huh? Are you trying to be suicidal or brave?" I inquired, arching an eyebrow. Steve of all people would know not to interrupt my training unless it was for an offer to spar—and I knew that wasn't the reason now.
The blond looked at me innocently. "I was actually trying to be helpful," he answered.
"Helpful?" I repeated, not understanding his words.
Steve nodded and I watched as he gestured to something on the side with his hand. Suddenly, I saw a tall and dark figure enter the room. I froze. Jin, my mind screamed at me. He looked at me calmly.
"Well, I'll just leave you two to yourselves!" exclaimed Steve as he left the room with a resounding slam of the door.
Jin and I stood staring at each other. My mind was reeling. Okay, so he was here. Did that mean I didn't repulse him? I sighed.
"Look, I'm sorry about yesterday, okay?" I said, breaking the silence. My impatience echoed in my tone and I cringed slightly when I saw Jin jump in surprise. I ran my hand through my hair. "It was rash of me, I know, and I didn't mean to scare you off."
"You didn't scare me off."
Raising an eyebrow, I looked at Jin. He stared back at me intensely and I narrowed my eyes. "I didn't, eh? Well, it sure as hell looked like it," I replied. My mind told me to calm down. Don't let your temper get the best of you, Hwoarang. But then why the hell did he leave like that?
"It was more like…you surprised me off," remarked Jin quietly. He sighed and looked at me apologetically. "I'm sorry. I don't want you to think that I was mad with you. I was just really…in shock."
I regarded him thoughtfully before turning my back on him, crossing my arms. Surprised, huh? Well, fuck, I could understand that much. I suppose I didn't give him much warning. But still…running away like that was cowardly and something I never expected Jin to do.
"I understand if you don't want to speak with me anymore," murmured Jin.
I turned halfway and saw him staring at the floor guiltily and suppressed my snicker. "Excuse me, Jin? If you expect me to let you go that easily, then you don't know me as well as I thought you did," I commented before reaching over to grab a spare pair of pants and tossing them to him.
He caught them and looked at them dubiously. "What are these—?" he began.
"Sparring, my friend. No way in hell I'm going to let you leave without knowing a couple of things first and what's the perfect place to reveal secrets than in a fight?" I cut in.
Jin looked at me in surprise before breaking into a smile. "Fine," he said.
I grinned wickedly. A fight with Jin—there was a time when this was literally the only thing that consumed my mind before I finally met Steve. Then he showed me the lighter side of the world and I haven't looked back since. Of course…how could I resist a chance to pummel Jin to the ground? Especially when he agreed to it.
Jin stepped out of the room for a moment before coming back quickly with just his tank top and the pants I gave him on. He warmed up for several minutes while I cleared out the room and took out the mat. When I finished, I saw him waiting patiently. I smirked.
"You ready for a beat down?" I asked, a bit of my old arrogant self showing.
Jin's eyes glittered. "I don't think that'll happen, Hwoarang," he said softly.
Just then, Steve emerged. I looked at him exasperatedly. "What, you damn Brit?" I sharply asked.
Steve's eyes widened at the sight of me and Jin. "Whoa, what the bloody hell is going on? I was planning on a peaceful makeup," he said in surprise.
I arched an eyebrow. "What? Steve, you know me! A peaceful makeup—that's nothing but bullshit when it comes to me," I replied as I fitted my headband. My hair was beginning to get annoyingly long. Strange how I used to style it above my shoulders—I would never be able to tolerate it now.
"But…but!" stammered Steve.
I laughed. Steve at a loss for words was a rare thing. "Come on, Steve. Just let me have my way with Jin. Besides, he agreed to it quite whole-heartedly," I said, eyeing Jin.
He nodded slightly and Steve hung his head in resignation. "Fine, you bloody, violent people," he muttered as he left the room.
I grinned. "All right, Jinny-boy. You ready?" I asked, as I gathered myself into a stance.
Jin nodded slightly before suddenly launching forward at me.
I'll admit I was a bit surprised. Usually Jin wasn't the type to attack headlong; that was my forte. I couldn't resist my grin as he punched and kicked his way through my defenses. He was just playing with me—I could tell. Humoring me to make me overconfident so that I would eventually make a mistake. But I was much smarter than that. Maybe in the past it would have worked but ever since my training in the army, I've learned a thing or two about tactics. It does come in quite handy considering most fighters depend mostly on their skill and instincts rather than actually plan a strategy.
I landed with a thud on my back. Jin looked down at me for a split second before making another move to attack. I rolled over quickly and jumped back up with a solid kick to his back. He stumbled forward and paused momentarily to shoot me a surprised look. I shrugged humorously.
"Come on, Jin. Did you honestly think my technique wouldn't at least change a little in the past few years?" I questioned before leaping to punch him.
Jin swiftly blocked it with his arm and he and I were locked together as we tried to push the other down first. Jin smiled at me.
"No, I just didn't expect that move," he answered.
I arched an eyebrow and promptly dropped to the floor in a clean sweep that knocked him to the mat. "Better start expecting then," I taunted, jumping away quickly as his leg struck out at me.
Jin stood up and we circled around each other slowly.
"What were you saying before about secrets?" he asked.
I gave a half smile. "Oh, you'll soon find out," I answered as I began a series of punches. Jin managed to block all of them and land in his own attack on my stomach. A brief second of searing pain overloaded my senses and I had to jump away from Jin as he began another onslaught.
Damn punk, I thought inwardly. Though I was amused. The pain subsided quickly and I focused all my concentration on acquiring my revenge. Jin seemed to suspect this and retreated to a defensive stance as I neared him. I feigned a punch and as he moved to block, I changed it suddenly to a heavy kick that knocked him down to his feet in pants. I smirked at him and leaned over him.
"How's that, eh?" I asked.
Jin continued breathing heavily for a few more moments before grinning at me. "Not bad," he commented. Then he got back up and tripped me so that I was on the mat now.
Needless to say, I was angry with myself for allowing this to happen. I regained my footing and, in a very uncanny move, ran to Jin and grabbed him in a headlock. Jin sputtered and I could feel laughter rising within me as I looked down and saw his stunned expression.
"What the hell, Hwoarang?" he called out as he tried breaking free. He kicked and punched but I clung on tightly.
"Expect the unexpected, Jin," I said.
Jin smirked and stilled in my grip. "Right," was all he said before suddenly pushing through my grip with amazing strength. I let go of him and watched as he landed a few feet away from me, trying to recover his breath. Jin then turned to look at me, a mischievous glint in his eyes. He then gathered his form into a stance and I narrowed my eyes. To be truthful, Jin was looking very much desirable at this point. I hadn't seen this kind of fire in his eyes since the first time we fought in the tournament—and that had been quite a while ago. The fight always elicited buried feelings. It was both a good and bad thing. And since I had been pushing down my feelings for Jin, this was a bad thing since I didn't know how my body would react to this kind of closeness to him.
Sometimes I really hated crushes. But this was far from an ordinary crush. I hated Jin. And then I liked Jin. And sometimes I did both. He brought out all sorts of feelings from me—most being exasperation and amusement but occasionally, some fondness and lust. Like now, for instance. I clicked my tongue. Damn, why did I suggest sparring with him?
"So why did you kiss me?" asked Jin suddenly.
"You want to know?" I replied, walking slowly towards him.
Jin nodded but watched me warily. I smiled slightly before making a sudden grab at him and tossing him over my shoulder. He landed painfully and shot me a confused look.
"Why do you think?" I asked as he stood up. He stared at me and proceeded in a flurry of punches, which I blocked.
"I don't know what to think," he muttered to me as he I caught his fist with my hand.
I arched an eyebrow. "Come on Jinny-boy, I know you're not that dense," I replied.
Jin pushed away my hand and we were once again in a lock. "Well according to Steve, I'm quite dense," he remarked.
"Steve says that to everyone," I shot back. Jin then made one of the most unpredictable moves possibly imagined: he pushed me to the mat and sat on top of me. "What the fuck are—?" I began before he silenced me.
"I want to know why you kissed me, Hwoarang, and I am not going to be patient anymore," he stated firmly.
A strong wave of passion washed over me and I wanted more than anything at that moment to show Jin exactly how much I wanted him. I bit my lip and breathed in deeply to regain my composure. Adrenaline still pumped through me, though. I wanted anything but to lie still; however, Jin didn't look like he was going to let up any time soon.
"Why do you think, genius?" I muttered.
Jin frowned. "You asked me that already," he said.
"Yeah, well, you didn't think too hard on it. Come on. In any fucking relationship, what does a kiss usually mean? I didn't do it to shut you up so what else could it have meant?" I replied sarcastically. It took all of my willpower not to grab Jin and do a repeat performance of yesterday as I watched him figure out the answer.
Jin looked at me finally. "You're gay?" he asked, a teasing tone clearly ringing in his words.
All right, that was enough, my mind decided. Without any regard as to how Jin would react, I rolled away from under his grip and pushed him down to the mat while sitting on his abdomen. Jin looked up at me astoundingly before smiling slowly. I narrowed my eyes into a glare. This little prick was playing with me. I smirked. Jin would have never done this if we were off the mat.
"Do I have to point it out to you?" I said, tilting my head to the side.
Jin grinned. "Whatever do you mean?" he queried innocently.
I gave a low growl and leaned down once again, planting my lips firmly on his. This kiss was the complete opposite to our first one. That one was sweet, tender, and soft. This one was aggressive, teasing, and definitely not soft.
"You guys done—?"
I groaned into Jin's mouth before pulling away to look at Steve murderously. This guy had the worst timing.
"Well!" exclaimed Steve when he looked at me and Jin, "I see you've resolved your problems. I'll be leaving now."
And with the quickest exit imaginable, he left us alone for the third time. I rolled my eyes and looked down at Jin, who was doing his best not to laugh. I sighed. "Damn that Brit. He so ruined the mood," I complained.
Jin shot me a look. "And who's to say we were going to go beyond that?" he asked.
I feigned shock. "Why, Jin, I simply meant that Steve ruined our most perfect kiss! Who ever said anything about going any further?" I teased.
"Knowing you, you wouldn't have been able to stop even if you wanted," retorted Jin.
I gave him another outraged look before dropping the act. "But…you do know now, right? I don't have to give you any more pointing do I? Because I assure you, I will arise to that occasion magnificently," I said.
Jin stared at me silently and I could just see the enjoyment he was getting in his eyes. "I know, Hwoarang," he replied simply.
I watched him warily. "And you don't mind?" I queried.
Laughter greeted me and suddenly, Jin sat up slightly and grabbed the back of my head with his hand to pull me closer to his own where he gently pecked me on the lips. He then pulled away several inches to look at me in the eye.
"If I did, you think I would allow myself to be in this position?" he asked.
I grinned slightly. "You sure you actually have feelings for me—or is it just hormones because you haven't been laid in months," I stated bluntly.
Oh, it was very cruel of me to say such a thing but hell, I wasn't going to let myself get played. Not when this was the guy that ran away from me the first time I kissed him. Yeah, I already forgave Jin for that but I had a cold heart. It took a lot to melt it completely and Jin had already accomplished in doing a lot of melting. I wasn't going to let him in any further until I knew for sure what he felt. Lust and love were two entirely different things and often the border that separated them was very fine.
"I know I feel deeply for you. I think I've known it for a while now, but I kept it down. I allowed everything else to pile on top—my sadness, my pain, my suffering. I grew so used to being negative that feeling happy was something I couldn't quite grasp at first. But you were the one who caused it. Being with you made me feel lighter, different. When I was with you, I didn't feel like I was alone," replied Jin.
I arched an eyebrow. "That could be describing Steve, too. After all, most of the times it was the three of us hanging out," I pointed out.
Jin shook his head slowly. "No. Being with you is completely different from being with Steve. Even when all three of us were together, I lingered more towards you. I didn't understand it for a while and figured it was because I was more familiar with you than Steve. But when he and I got to know each other better, I found I still gravitated to you more," he explained in a low tone, before suddenly smiling. "I know—you think I'm dense. Even I think the same of me."
"Well, I was about to say you were a dumbass for not realizing your own feelings but being dense works for me," I quipped. Jin eyed me exasperatedly. Hey, I can't help it. I wasn't much for long explanations. I just wanted to know if Jin really had feelings for me and he goes into a long rant. "So you and me—you want to try it out?"
"You and me…" murmured Jin, looking at the floor wonderingly. He smiled. "That would be…interesting."
I gave a short laugh. "Interesting? It'll be fucking crazy that's what," I said as I made my way off of him. Jin looked at me curiously.
I rolled my eyes and helped him stand up. "I meant it in a good way. Besides, when you're with me, you can't possibly expect things to be normal. There's no way I could stand for that," I explained.
Jin watched me carefully and nodded. "Trust me, Hwoarang. I know that by now," he replied.
We remained quietly standing for a few more moments. It was odd to think that just a few months ago, I had no contact with Jin whatsoever. And right before Xiaoyu's birthday, we reunite out of the blue. I hadn't expected it and neither did he. Who would have thought all the chaos we went through would eventually lead up to this?
It's ironic to think that a fight was what began my rivalry with Jin and that it was a fight yet again that led to the blossoming of our new relationship. That was the art of fighting, I suppose. Once you lost yourself to its gravity, it would lead your life for you.
"I think we should head out. I don't want Steve to be getting any weird thoughts on what we're doing," remarked Jin, looking at me amusedly.
I laughed. "Steve has a perverted mind, you know that," I said.
"That doesn't mean we have to fuel it even more," he shot back.
I swiftly threw a punch at him. "Don't think you can purify Steve's mind. It's way too dirty for you to handle," I warned.
Jin grinned at me. "Is that so? And I suppose you would know, right?" he inquired teasingly.
"You know it."
We stared at each other for a bit before laughing. Yeah, Jin and I were definitely going to be one hell of a crazy pair. He, with all his past issues and me, with all my psychological instability. If we actually were going to last as a couple, we probably would end up driving each other mad. Either that or we'll have another scuffle a year from now that will result in us getting married. The art of fighting—you can't deny it. I learned that a long time ago.
It's the end, folks! (Tears, tears) Wow, it took me over two years to finish this baby. I'm thankful to everyone who read because you really were the reason I kept going when I felt frustrated. Also, I'm thankful to you guys for putting up with my laziness. I put you all through a lot of waiting at certain points and I am eternally sorry for that. ;;
Ahem, and now to more business… In response to Jade Queen of the Damned, yes, there is going to be a sequel. Hehe. So I hope you're all up to sticking around for a bit more. There are some plot threads I left hanging at the end of this story that will be covered in the sequel but to be quite honest, I don't know how the hell I'm going to start it. ; So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! And that's all for now. This fic is done but the epic most certainly isn't. I never even expected to write a sequel but when I wrote up this part, it occurred to me that I had to. Well, hope to see you all again soon!