Tekken: In His Ashes

How did it end up like this?

That was the very question he had asked himself constantly as he surveyed his surroundings. As far as the setting goes, it was a grand spectacle to say the least. Molten lava, burning ash, acrid smoke, a most appropriate (dare he say perfect) setting for the once mighty Kazuya Mishima. In his heart, hell, even his soul, he always knew that should he ever one day lose his life, it would likely be in a scorching blaze of glory, though he now wished it would not be so literal, much less inside an active volcano.

Beaten and battered from the hands of his own kin, he laid motionless on the hot surface of burnt rock that served as his bed. His vaunted strength, the same gifts given to him within his genes, had long left him, his otherworldly powers, a demonic essence that was as mysterious as it was destructive, had since failed him, and his awesome kingdom, the great and mighty corporation of the Mishima Zaibatsu that was his birthright, had been snatched away from him. The only thing left was a broken husk of a body, and given his surroundings, it seemed he would lose even that.

To his surprise, he was wide awake; the many wounds he had suffered had left him unconscious, and yet, it seemed, at the most opportune of time, he was roused from his deep slumber. Roused, yet unmoving; all he could do was watch as flickers of flame and searing ash left their marks across his skin. The constant pain he felt across the whole of his body only served as yet another reminder of his fall from grace. If there was a maker in all of this, he thought, he must be delighting in his suffering.

It was for that reason that the former King of Iron Fist champion remained calm while bearing witness to his impending demise. In spite of his helplessness, he was still a Mishima, and in the face of death, he will look upon his doom with his head held high and eyes wide open. That, and continue to ponder the very question he as while his skin blistered and burned all over…

How did it end up like this?

It was no secret to the rest of the world that Kazuya hated his family. He had hated his own kin ever since his father, Heihachi Mishima, dropped him over a cliff when he was but a child. The resultant fall left him a massive scar across the front of his torso, a constant reminder of Heihachi's cruelty and spite as well as his near death experience. On that day, the once cheerful, exuberant, optimistic boy had vanished. In that child's place stood a cold, vengeful, malicious monster in the flesh, willing to do anything and everything to attain what he wanted. What he wanted was to become stronger than his father so that he would one day exact his revenge and take what was rightfully his, the Mishima Zaibatsu. Innocence was lost, his soul burned with pure hatred, twisted and irreparable. To that end, the demonic essence known as 'Devil' appeared before the broken, bleeding child…

Kazuya had no idea what exactly the Devil was, where it came from, or why it even took interest in him. What he recounted was that it appeared before the boy as a purplish blue mist, lacking form or substance save for three cold, bloody eyes, watching him with no remorse, or any emotion for that matter. What it wanted from him was a body to inhabit, as well as his soul. Kazuya, for all the wealth and talents bestowed upon his heritage, was a mere boy whose life was slowly ebbing away. But it wasn't so much that he wanted to live as much as the boy wanted to hurt his father the same way he had hurt him. It was through both his blessing and his rage that the child and the beast fused together and became one. The boy was healed from his from his wound, and was reborn into something greater than either man or demon… he became the embodiment of evil and hate, molded into his image, and the bane of Heihachi's existence. For all the power he had received, there was a heavy price to be paid, a fact Kazuya would come to understand after he won the first Iron Fist Tournament. Having seemingly fulfilling its end of the bargain, the Devil demanded its payment, and little by little, Kazuya felt himself lose control.

Then she came along. A delicate little crane dressed in white, he thought, with wide brown eyes, shoulder length black hair, a light complexion, and a soul seemingly pure and innocent of corruption. At least that was what she exuded from the exterior and her mannerisms. Beneath that unblemished exterior, however, was an unquenchable fire for justice in the form of a highly skilled practitioner of a fighting style known as the Kazama-ryuu Kobujutsu, a style that was as graceful as it was deadly. Where the Mishima style karate emphasized strength and powerful strikes to utterly defeat and overwhelm an opponent, the Kazama style of fighting emphasized agility as well as the opponent's own momentum to subdue and neutralize an attack. In the right hands, it was a powerful fighting style, and Jun Kazama embodied the very principals that were at the heart of the Kazama-ryuu Kobujutsu. In short, Jun Kazama was a strange woman. A rather soft-spoken, gentle little creature, yet strong and passionate in the pursuit of peace, Kazuya found himself rather fascinated by that duality, if only for a brief moment. Unfortunately, all it took was, in fact, a brief moment for his own hardened exterior to show weakness as Jun, foolish and backwards as it may be, made her way to the main office of the Zaibatsu and challenged him to a fight…

Kazuya scoffed at the woman's actions even now as red hot flames continued to rain down on his body. The searing pain felt unending as more of his skin crackled from the intense heat. He still did not scream… would not allow himself to scream, bearing the torment to the bitter end. Whatever marks the fire had left, it was still nothing compared to dark imprint Heihachi had given him long ago. Thus he would endure in silence, all of it to the bitter end. An end, he remembered, that began the moment he embraced that woman…

Jun Kazama…

The thought of that name alone was more than enough to incite his wrath. How dare she invade his privacy. How dare she challenge him as though he was some… pitiful… mortal! Did she not realize the foolishness of her endeavor in saving some pathetic, worthless little vermin!?

How dare she soil his bed chambers with her purity…

How dare she ruin his plans…

Kazuya felt hoarse, yet he managed to let out a guttural growl under his feeble breath. He choked quietly as the dense fog of smoke filled his lungs. His eyes moistened as tears threatened to run down the side of his head as he continued to inhale and cough from the thick ash. The heavens must truly find his position to be an utter joke. Why else would he be awake and feel every sensation only to be unable to move? That thought disgusted him… yet he used all of his willpower to rein in his emotions. He would not let the world, not a man, creature, demon, or even the creator itself, be given the satisfaction of seeing the mighty Kazuya wilt under his own fury. And so, like the samurai of ancient times, he held his head high (as much as he was physically allowed to), and stared down the heavens above.

Suddenly, he felt a flash of warmth bathe him. A slight shimmer of light crept into his sight, seemingly pushing away the dark clouds of smoke. Sparks of fire and molten ash still landed on his body, immolating his skin, and yet he felt no pain. Just as he thought things couldn't get any stranger, his surroundings suddenly, as best as he could put it, 'stood still'. Lava froze in mid-eruption, flames halted in their path, and even the burning ashes and debris paused in midair. Time stood still, everything was but a photograph, and Kazuya himself was in the middle of it. For a moment, there was no sound, not even a rumble from his hellish crib. Then the surroundings itself faded altogether, leaving nothing but white. Moments of silence had passed, though it felt much longer yet shorter at the same time. It was a sensation he could not explain. Then he heard the sound of quiet weeping. That was when he realized…

"Y-y-you…"

He did not need to look up to know who it was. Though he had never seen her, somewhere within his heart and soul, he knew her almost his entire life. He knew since the day his father dropped him over the cliff. When he vowed vengeance, he had felt her. When he made a pact with the Devil, he heard her calling out to him. Years later, when he tossed his father over that very same cliff and became the King of Iron Fist champion, she pleaded to him to spare his life. When Jun had challenged him to a match, he felt her influence over them. And now, on his very death bed, she had come…

"Why… of… of all t-times…" he grunted under his breath.

As he began his protest, Kazuya felt the warmth of her lap against his back. He was still too weak to move, and thus had no choice but to look up at the benevolent face of the one who had brought him to ruin. Clothed in white seemingly made from the purist of light, the touch of immaculate skin softer than any silk he had ever felt, and a face that surpassed any beauty he had ever known, she was the personification of truth and love made into flesh. Golden locks of hair shimmered against the holy light, creating the most breath-taking image he had ever laid eyes on.

"Wh-why… why… are… y-y-you… here…"

She continued to weep, looking at the ruined Kazuya with sorrow in her dazzling blue eyes. She reached over with her hand to caress his now scarred face…

"Don't touch me!" he snapped. His body trembled both from shock and in rage, his voice dripped venom in every syllable, and for a moment, she flinched at his words.

Watching her whimper made Kazuya want to vomit. His anger was fueled only further by the glistening tears dripping from her eyes. He wanted to lash out at her, strike her down with all his heart and all his might, yet found even lifting his head off her lap to be difficult. He wanted to shout at her, curse her name, yet was unable to speak above a whisper. It was all he could do as she looked down at his beaten and bruised face with those striking, radiant, virtuous eyes. Warm tears continued to flow from her eyes, and eventually fell and touched his cheek.

"Don't… don't… touch me…" he repeated, though with significantly less authority in his tone.

Once more, she reached out with her hand and gently caressed his face. Kazuya wheezed hoarsely as the tension from his body slowly evaporated from her soothing ministrations.

"Don't…"

Weeping quietly, she gently lowered her head to his face, skimming his cracked lips with her fingertips. Eyes still moist from her tears, she forced herself to smile at him.

"L-leave… me… please…" he trembled, realizing the futility of his struggles.

This was how she snared him, he thought. Through one moment of kindness, compassion, endearment… his failings… she caught him in her web of deceit, rendered him nothing more than a feeble child in her hands… all in the guise of protecting him. And now, as a final insult, in his death bed, she would make her final move…

"Wh-wh-wh-why… w-w-won't you… l-l-le… leave m… me be…"

She leaned over and tenderly kissed him on the forehead. Kazuya lazily exhaled what was to be his final breath. She then wrapped her arms around his head in an affectionate embrace, nuzzling him like a mother to her son. Closing her eyes, she spread her white, angelic wings to the air, and in a single flourish, wrapped them around both herself and Kazuya.

"Kazuya…" the angel uttered his name.

The volcano erupted, violently spewing molten lava and death all around. The molten bed in which Kazuya had laid burned with vigor, yet he felt nothing. He saw himself buried underneath the fire and ash, yet it no longer mattered. It would be the last thing he saw before he felt oblivion's embrace…


AUTHOR'S NOTES: Well, this isn't exactly 'Kings and Queens', but it is something. Ever since TTT2 came along and reintroduced Angel, I was sold on her new design. Of course, my need to write about her and Kazuya didn't come about until fairly recently with me writing up a story on some dead man coming back to life, and somehow things went here and there and I had this idea pop into my head, thus what you see here. So, if nothing else, here's something new to read about.