Acceptance

Chapter 6

By The Lizard


It caused quite a stir in the hospital when, on the following day, mid- afternoon, Heihachi Mishima himself arrived with his entourage, typically stern of face, his slate grey hair rigid on either side of his head. Only a man of his reputation, and with the kind of aura he exude, could have carried off such a style without mockery. His presence seemed oppressive, people fell silent as he passed, and his escorts took him straight to Jin, as if they had known where he was all along. The boy was already dressed, the hospital staff having provided him with a shirt due to his lack of one, but Heihachi's glare was still entirely disapproving. Jin listened with bowed head as the man spoke in his usual low growl, no pleasantries or enquiries as to his health, just a simple warning that he had to stay out of trouble. He needed to be in perfect physical condition for the Iron Fist tournament. He hadn't been trained in Mishima style karate for 4 years to waste an opportunity such as this.

Without further ado, Jin was lead from the hospital to a waiting Limousine, armed guards waiting at the doors. None of them noticed the red-haired, slenderly built male who waited a short way off, arm in a sling and a deep frown on his face. No sooner had the car pulled away, than he sprinted towards his motorbike, and sped after them.

Hwoarang had left the previous day with mixed feelings. Jin's words had at first hurt him, then angered him to the extent that he had snapped at some of his gang members, and then spent the remainder of the day in complete confusion. He simply could not accept that there had been no feeling behind that kiss, that it had been "nothing", as Jin described it. He had decided, without question, that he would come back and find out the truth, and if Lei was there, he'd just knock him out and be done with it. Damn stupid cop. Why'd he have to come in at that precise moment? And why now, did Heihachi have to turn up to complicate matters? Jin should still be in hospital, he wasn't fit to be moved.

It was difficult to tail the car without being noticed, and on several occasions, Hwoarang was forced to drop back so far that he had trouble finding the sleek, black vehicle again. Before long, they were leaving the clustered city buildings behind, moving onto narrower roads that obviously saw little use, trees lining either side in thick copses and branches tangling above to form an archway of sorts. Hwoarang felt distinctly uneasy now that he was out of the city, and with fewer chances to conceal himself, he was forced constantly to hang back until the car was a mere pinprick in the distance before continuing. Perhaps an hour out from the city, and having ridden constantly uphill, Hwoarang received his first glimpse of Heihachi Mishima's home.

High walls enclosed the grounds, sentries posted strategically, and to make matters worse, they were all armed with Ak-47s. That didn't bode well. He had been assuming that he'd have an easy time breaking in, just as he did when trespassing every where else, but there wasn't a single strip of wall unwatched, and the gargantuan gates were too high to scale. The house itself.or houses it seemed, for there were several buildings upon the premises, showed not a hint of Western style, but that would fit with what he had heard of Heihachi, typically traditional, feet planted firmly in the old ways.

He watched as the gates swung open, black-suited men with radios attached to their belts and the distinctive bulge of hang-guns beneath their suit jackets. Hwoarang was about ready to give up, his damaged arm aching terribly after the hour's exertion. He shouldn't have been riding round on his bike like this, he still needed the support of the sling, which now hung empty against his ribs, or he'd never be back in top form for the tournament. Common sense told him to turn around and get back to the city, forget about this mad escapade, but his stubborn side won over as always, and as the gates closed, he made a slow approach, leaving his bike hidden within the trees, and setting off on foot.

A circuit of the wall took him well over an hour. The grounds were far larger than he had expected, and as he had guessed, there were no weak points, not a single guard that wasn't fully alert, the constant demand for reports on security from somewhere within keeping the black-clad men on their toes. Hwoarang sighed, arm back in its sling, the other hanging limply at his side. He hadn't taken the time to wonder why he was doing this, but now, slumped against a tree, he realised the futility of it all. Evening was fast approaching, and he really didn't know the way back on his own. Attempting it in the dark would only complicate matters to.

A sudden thought occurred to him. Maybe, just maybe, there would be fewer guards once night had fallen, and he'd be able to find a way in. Find a way in to confront Jin over something utterly petty, he realised, a scowl curling his lips. And what're you going to say to him exactly? Fuck knows. "Why'd you say it meant nothing to Lei?" "You hurt my feelings." Hell, he was beginning to sound like some lovesick teenage girl.

Setting such insecurities aside for now, he sat down at the base of the tree, watching one of the guards with contempt, and waited for darkness to arrive. Which, naturally, it did, some 2 hours later, when the Korean was developing a numb behind from being sat on the ground for so long, and was almost half-asleep. His head jerked up sharply as he felt himself beginning to doze, and with a subdued groan, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. The guard was exactly where he had been when he first sat down to wait, showing not the slightest bit of fatigue, and there was precisely the same number of guards lining the wall as their had been earlier that day. He'd waited for nothing, time to admit defeat and head home. Or was it?

Out of the shadows leapt a figure, vaulting down from the wall as the guard turned to face the opposite direction for a fraction of a second, and darting into the cover of the trees before they were noticed. Hwoarang got to his feet, only to stagger and find himself clutching at the tree to stop himself falling. His legs were almost numb from sitting for so long. Forcing his legs to move to get his circulation going again, he watched as the figure cast a quick backward glance at the wall and continued deeper into the trees, heading just slightly off course of his own position, but getting closer by the moment.

At one point, the figure moved into a patch of moonlight between the trees, and it was then that Hwoarang's suspicions were confirmed. The furtive man was Jin, looking very much like a stalked deer, afraid that he'd get caught on his little excursion. There was no denying however, that he looked distinctly happy, probably, the Korean mused, because he was free of restrictions and rules outside the property. He could imagine the Japanese youth doing this on a regular basis, and who could blame him?

Hwoarang waited until Jin had moved close enough then shifted to intercept him, positioning himself directly in the other man's path. It wasn't long before he was spotted, and Jin drew in a sharp breath, obviously fearing he'd been caught. Hwoarang smiled a little maliciously, and moved into a patch of light where Jin would be able to identify him.

"Hwo-Hwoarang!? What're you doing here" Jin straightened up, trying to stop the frantic beating of his heart. There was nothing to be scared of, no reprimand coming.just Hwoarang. Damn the fool for scaring him like that, he hated to be seen in a panic.

"Well I thought I'd drop by and pay you a little visit, Kazama, but I don't think your Grandfather would have appreciated me dropping in without an invite." Hwoarang flicked a few strands of hair out of his eyes, moving a bit closer.

"How'd you know I was going to come out here though?" Jin asked, obviously still confused.

"I didn't."

"So what? You were just sitting out here for no reason?" Jin frowned, finding his eyes wandering inappropriately, and hoped the redhead hadn't noticed.

Hwoarang silently damned him for asking such difficult questions. Now he'd have to admit why he'd come. He was so flustered by this line of questioning that he entirely missed Jin's wandering gaze.

"Not no reason. I was going to try and sneak in and find you. But the sentries made it more difficult than I'd have liked."

Jin still looked confused, and straightened up a bit, folding his arms, head on one side. Why had Hwoarang come all the way out here? Surely not just to see if he was on the mend? He narrowed his dark eyes, leaning sideways against a tree.

"Why'd you want to find me? So eager to finish our fight? I don't really think it'd be an even battle, what with your arm all trussed up like that."

"I didn't come to fight with you damn it, and don't assume that you'd take me down just because of this. You were only out of hospital this morning yourself, remember?" Hwoarang couldn't stop his temper flaring. It happened automatically when his pride was in question, but now he noticed that Jin seemed not even slightly injured. Judging by the way he'd vaulted the wall, he wasn't in any discomfort. "How-How'd you heal so fast? There's not a scratch on you!" He stammered, taking another couple of steps towards Jin, scrutinising him with a frown. Jin looked decidedly worried, but gave no reply. "Heihachi must have some damn good doctors in there to get you mended that fast. They'd have to be miracle workers."

Jin couldn't think how to reply. He couldn't let Hwoarang know about his alternate side, that he carried the devil gene and all the advantages that came with it. One of them being the ability to heal far faster than was normal. He escaped the questions with another of his own.

"That doesn't matter. What did you want to see me about, if not to fight me?"

Hwoarang was taken aback by the harsh tone, not sure what to say. Hadn't Jin guessed why he was here yet? Was he really that slow, or just na´ve? He cleared his throat, avoiding Jin's eyes.

"I wanted to talk to you about what happened yesterday, actually."

Jin felt his cheeks grow hot as they coloured with a dark blush. So he wasn't the only one to have been thinking about that.

"Oh." Hwoarang glanced up at Jin's one word answer, getting angry again

"That's all you've got to say? "Oh"?

"Well what did you expect me to say?" Jin asked, somewhat startled at Hwoarang's attitude. "It's fine, I'm not going to tell anyone if that's what you're worried about. I know you only did it to shut me up."

"Damn it Kazama, are you really that dense? You think I came all the way out here to remind you to keep your mouth shut?" Hwoarang was beyond frustrated, ready to lash out at anything. He wasn't accustomed to having to make his feelings known, especially not on subjects like this.

"Well why else?" Jin asked, just as flustered, but more nervous than he was angry. He almost yelped when the Korean stepped towards him, pushing him roughly against the tree and holding him there, expecting him to strike him.

"Because you said it was "nothing"! That's fucking why, Kazama." Hwoarang glared at the trapped youth, breath hissing between his teeth. "And that's bullshit, you know it is! Don't you ever dismiss me like that!"

Jin was speechless. This was, perhaps, what he had least expected from the brash young man that held him so roughly, and he hadn't a clue what to say in response. Hwoarang was waiting for him to say something, but his closeness was too distracting, that fiery temper making him all the more desirable. His silence was taken the wrong way.

"Fine, never mind. You keep denying it like a good little boy." Hwoarang growled, stepping back and releasing him.

"Hwoarang, wait!" Jin yelled after him as the slender Korean stalked away, his anger evident in every taut muscle of his frame.

"Forget it!" The boy snapped back, not even turning around. Jin would have dashed after him, but he could hear the guards on the wall calling to each other. They'd detected them, and were heading out to apprehend whoever was so close to the Mishima residence. The roar of a motorcycle's engine drowned them out, and Jin watched as the Korean sped out onto the road, riding recklessly, and disappeared into the night.


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