Author's Notes: Whee! She-beast and her sister are in this chapter! Soís Roger! *giggle* Oh, and the lyrics quoted by Hwoarang are from "Nobodyís Real" by Powerman 5000. Thatís all I have to say.

Disclaimer: Tekken is not mine, it is Namcoís. If they offered me Hwoarang, Lee, and Jin (in that order) Iíd take them up on the offer, but it isnít gonna happen.


Epitaph

Chapter 4 - Nobodyís Real

By Link621


ĎNobodyís real but theyíre willing to let you go... Nobodyís real but you feel them tonight...í Gack, Powerman 5000 was stuck in my head - again. I started to quietly sing to myself as we looked at the map as a group. I got evil looks from the whole lot who were looking at me like I needed to be sedated. I was the only one even relatively cheery, come two in the afternoon, and I didnít get it. Usually I was the most cynical, except maybe Lei. Even Ling was in a dark mood. It might have something to do with the swamp Iíd led the group through earlier that day. Nothing BAD happened to ME. Jin fell in a lake, Ninaís hair got caught on a branch, Lei was nearly bitten by a snake, Ling discovered mud that was like quicksand, and Pandaís fur was so matted with mud it was hard to tell it was Panda. All this was funny as hell, to me.

I shut up, seeing that I was on the verge of losing my life, and went back to the map. "Well, the swamp was a good sign we are headed in the right direction... but the map just sort of leaves off when we get to this point. I think this is the part where we split up." I looked around the circle again. "We should pair off and try to find the Unknown. I would say that we should go alone, but those AI seem very dangerous. Are we agreed?" I looked at Jin in particular this time. He frowned back at me. The others seemed to find my plan to be a blessing. "Great," I said enthusiastically.

"All right, Iíll take care of Panda," Ling suggested, hugging her pet. Panda seemed unimpressed. Like any girl, she was upset about getting so much mud in her hair. I had to smile - a panda with an attitude? I laughed. Ling had her job cut out for her, if you asked me. No one did, of course.

"Okay, doughnut-boy, youíre mine!" Nina put a slender arm around Leiís shoulders.

"How do I know youíre the REAL Nina?" Lei gave her a peevish and untrusting look. She laughed.

Jin took my hand from behind the table with the map and deduced quietly, "So you and I are together, right, Hwoarang?" I nodded back to him, ignoring his hand carefully clenching mine. He was so gentle with me, like he could never hurt a fly even though I could feel the bubbling power just waiting to be set free whenever I looked into those dark eyes. Jin was a wolf in sheepís clothing, in the most literal and horrifying way. It was scary to think how much Iíd come to trust him.

"I guess so," I replied in mild tones. Better not to show any emotion in public, even if that meant holding back anger as well. I took my hand from his, brushing back a lock of copper hair, and pointed to three areas on the map. "These seem to be the best strategical points to hide if I were the Unknown. We should check in these places." Everyone nodded, and we agreed on places to look. Jin and I were headed to an old temple off to the north. We would have the shortest route if you didnít count that we were headed almost entirely uphill. It was gonna suck, in other words.

Well, nothing could be done about it. We all said goodbye, and made sure to split up the gear so that we were all provided for. With that, we left, never looking back.


My arm came out of the sling that same day. Jin had tended to it some, making it easier to move it without pain. I practiced some punches, annoyed that I was weaker, but it was a blessing that I could use the arm again, at all. I had offered to spar Jin to pass the time as we walked, confident in my skills with my arm, now. He had commented that he liked my singing better, and we moved on, as I gradually grew bored.

Anyone who says I have the attention span of a goldfish is just about exactly right.

I took to walking right behind Jin; accidentally stepping on his heals from time to time. Finally he turned and snapped at me. I gave him puppy eyes, and he apologized, going back to walking. I got an evil smile on my face and followed him, farther back this time. I watched his walk closely, noticing that he swung his right arm further than his left, and that he swung his hips. I walked behind him, with a ridiculous rendition of his walk, an old clown trick. I eventually gave myself away because I was laughing so hard. Jin turned to look at me, and it didnít take him long to realize he was being mocked. He threw a shoe at me, hitting me in the shoulder mercilessly. I cried out in pain and clutched my left arm, glaring at him. He glared right back at me.

I was about to comment on how he was never getting any from me when there was a noise from off to my left. I snapped my head to the left to try and see what produced the noise. Jinís eyes followed mine into the foliage, and we both saw the last thing we needed. It was Yoshimitsu and a Kangaroo. From the looks of it, they were both not only Tekken fighters, but also the AI of those fighters. I snarled, getting into stance. We didnít really have time to deal with the machine version of a samurai in denial and a boxing kangaroo. Jin seemed to agree. He was in stance, but not happy about it.

The kangaroo came out first, and attacked Jin. I watched as my boy avoided punches until he could use "demon paw" on the poor animal machine. The creature went flying, and Jin ran after it, stomping on it as he passed. When the robot tried to stand, Jin spun, kicking it with some of his demon energy. It went for a spin down to the ground, and lay still, face in the dirt. I was glad that fight was over. No sooner had I thought this than Yoshimitsu shot past Jin. Both stood still, back to back, for a moment until Jin suddenly fell to his knees, and then on his face. Yoshimitsu swung his blade around in celebration. I growled.

"No one terrorizes my rival but me!" I shouted. I charged Yohimitsu, using a torpedo kick to get on the other side of him, then threw a hard left kick into his side. The average person would be knocked down. Robot Yoshimitsu was disoriented, at least. Yoshimitsu turned to me with fire in those bio- mechanical eyes and raised its sword. "Shit, heís gonna slash me," I realized aloud. Yoshimitsu paused, not slashing until I said the word Ďslashí. It made me wonder. I said, "Right punch, Yoshimitsu!" The robot threw a right punch at me. It figured that they would have some horrible glitch. "Double Hiri-kari," I said with no passion in my voice. The robot version of the alien stabbed itself in the stomach twice, obviously bringing its own demise.

Jin was back on his feet, but so was the Kangaroo. The Kangaroo fired a volley of rapid punches at Jin, hitting him in the throat. He coughed hoarsely, unable to draw a decent breath. He collapsed, trying to breathe, so I attacked. I used an ax kick, which apparently took quite a toll on the robotic creature. I took an uppercut in the jaw, and I tasted blood. The damn thing hit hard. I spun and jumped, hitting it in the hip with a kick. It collapsed, and I tried to find a way to finish it off. Before I could, Jin appeared out of the air, charged with energy, to land on the creature with his fist, and spring off as fast as heíd come. I blinked at his handy work for a moment before turning to him.

Jin smiled at me tiredly. "Letís keep going," he suggested; his voice still raspy. I nodded in reply. I went to Jin, and gently encircled his waist, pulling him into my arms. We stood, chest to chest, in the middle of the jungle, and met lips. The kiss was brief, and nothing but the touch of his lips to mine, but it was enough to get the point across. The point that we loved eachother, and were glad for the otherís relative safety.

When we drew apart, we found ourselves looking at a team of two REAL fighters, who were both angry looking women. I recognized one of them as Julia Chang, the she-beast that thought I was gay. Erm, well, now she was really gonna think I was gay. The other woman was exactly like Julia, and I had to assume it was her sister Michelle Chang. She looked like someone I would be friends with, if we ever just sat down to talk. Something told me they werenít here just to talk. Maybe it was the fact that they both fell into fighting stances upon seeing us? Nah, that couldnít be it.

"I donít want to fight you, Julia," Jin muttered in a cold voice. I looked at him to see that he was closing his eyes as if remembering something. With Julia? I looked back at Julia and saw her expression had softened a little as well. "Canít we work together instead?"

"Jin, I vowed to kill your grandfather, as my sister has done before me. It got in the way then, and it will get in the way now, and you know it." Juliaís voice was also mild, almost disdainful.

"No, Julia, what got in the way then was the tournament. I fell in love with another competitor, Julia, there was someone else. I thought I made that very clear," Jin explained with an edge to his voice. I decided it was now time to stop paying attention to them, and moved to looking at Michelle. She seemed used to this argument, so she also turned away to look at me. I came out of stance and went over to offer her a hand.

"Iím Hwoarang, itís nice to meet you," I introduced myself with a smile. She took my hand with a smile as well, and also a look in her eyes that told me she was up to something.

"I am Michelle Chang. Itís a pleasure shared, Hwoarang." Michelle motioned to Julia and Jin who were now in each otherís faces arguing lividly about something. "You know, Hwoarang, they used to be a couple." That hurt. They were a couple? Then Julia started hitting on me when they broke up? Well, thatís just great. What else had Jin done besides just dating her? How intimate were they? "I always thought they were a horrible pair. Jin was only with Julia because she begged him to give her a chance. Julia was just about as happy as could be, and Jin always acted like he didnít care. Something tells me, he only did that because otherwise he would have torn Juliaís throat out to shut her up."

"Sounds like Jin," I commented with a frown. It did sound like Jin, but he had still been with that She-beast before me. The damned SHE-BEAST. My blood boiled. I would kill Julia Chang if it was the last thing I did. When I looked over at her, she was giving me the dirtiest look Iíd ever gotten. She was also out for blood. That suited me just fine.

"You are with this MAN WHORE now? I canít believe you would sink so LOW." Julia pointed to me as she spoke to Jin. ME a whore? Look whoís talking! I cracked my knuckles, and I could see that Michelle saw the gesture. She waved at Jin to get his attention.

"Hey, Jin, why donít we let them fight this one out?" Michelle waved Jin over, and he came. I ignored this, storming over to where Julia was taking stance. "Donít kill my little sister completely," Michelle called after me. "And Julia, you will live to regret hurting him, and you know it." Michelle was wise, I realize now, but at the time I just wanted her to shut her damn mouth.

I was the first to attack, hitting Julia with a quick left kick. She retaliated with a hand to the stomach. I spun, hitting her in the ankles then the head with two kicks and sent her to the ground. My stomach didnít hurt where she hit me, but it would leave a bruise, I could tell. Julia pulled herself to her feet and ran at me again. Amazingly enough, she managed to tackle me, punching me repeatedly in the face. It hurt, quite a bit, in fact. I could feel blood trailing down my face, and I could taste it metallic in my mouth. When she finally got off me, maybe thinking sheíd won, I stood, taking left stance. She growled and charged at me again. I grabbed her by the arm and grinned. I used her arm as an axis to do a sideways flip kicking her in the head twice as I came around. Then once again as I was landing and she was crumpled on the ground. I bounced back and forth slightly on my toes as Baek had taught me. That way, I was always ready to move.

"I hate you," Julia muttered from the ground. "Why is it that you get Jin, and I donít?" Julia stood slowly, fire in her brown eyes. "Why does he love you, and not me? I just donít understand!" I watched as she began to cry, going back to her knees and shaking violently. I blinked.

"Does this mean the fight is over? ĎCause Iím really starting to get hungry. We should get going, Jin," I commented, turning to where my lover and his exís sister sat. Michelle looked worried for Julia, and Jin looked... well, it was hard to say what Jin was feeling. He looked puzzled, almost, but at the same time like he was predicting everything that was happening. I held out a hand to him. "Jin..."

Jin stood, taking my hand, and puled himself against me. He out his head on my shoulder and just held on to me like the world was ending, and I was the only one who could protect him. Michelle went to Julia and began to gently stroke her hair, whispering consoling words. It took my by surprise when Julia stopped crying. What didnít surprise me, is why. She ran at me with a murderous look in her eyes and with a battle cry went for a kick. Jin detached himself quickly and used a demon paw punch, putting her on her back, barely able to get air. "But, why, Jin?" she whispered, tears in her eyes again.

"Because I love him," Jin said very plainly. He looked at Michelle. "Please, go back to the base. I donít want her getting hurt anymore. Please, take care of her. Weíll extract revenge on Heihachi for you, I promise." Jinís eyes, usually so dark with the barely restrained devil within him, we brighter. They were filled with light that made me feel comfort just to be near him. I never really thought that maybe Jin took after his mother more than his father, but looking into those eyes, I knew he both had his fatherís curse and his motherís blessing. Jin was split right down the middle into two people, and both of them loved me. Still, the good side maybe had feelings for Julia too. If he did, this was his way of saying goodbye.

"I will," Michelle said with a slight nod of her head. She carried her sister on her back as she left, headed south. Jin and I continued north for a good two hours more before we actually stopped. The whole time we walked, we were silent. What were a few words between lovers? That day, nothing at all.


I made sure to clean all my cuts and to look at the places where Iíd been attacked before sitting down to eat with Jin. Heíd made me a BLT, and was eating a turkey sandwich. We ate in silence for quite a while before Jin finally spoke. "I had a weird dream last night, Hwoarang. I dreamt that you said you loved me. I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking it might be true that you had said that, but when I looked at you, you were out like a light."

I laughed nervously. So, Jin had been asleep when I told him. Well, might as well just leave it as a dream, for now. "Weird dream is right..." I laughed a little more and took another bite of my BLT. Jin stared at his food blankly. I think I hurt him. Sighing, I went over to Jin and put an arm around him. "Whatís wrong, Kazama? You donít have your usual energy."

He looked at me and my world ended. There was pain in his eyes that I couldnít even begin to understand. Such pain that the only thing that I could relate it to was the pain of losing Baek. I couldnít imagine why he was giving me such a look. Finally, he explained, "I feel like Julia sometimes, you know? I couldnít be happier to be identified as yours, but I am also constantly finding myself wanting to hear words come out of your mouth that never do. Just like Julia... It is just like what I did to Julia." Jin put his face in my shirt, shaking slightly. My eyes were wide and I couldnít find my voice, at first.

"I DO love you, Jin..." I tilted his head up to look at me. "Iíve felt this way for a while. Damn it, now that I think about it, when I saved you that night, it was because I loved you. Well, so at the time I was also hoping you were still strong enough to be my rival, but I wouldnít have risked my ass for you if I didnít love you. Jin, I want us to beat the unknown together. I want it to fall by our hands because then we have truly fought together, not against eachother. I realize we canít be together once we leave this island, but I want us to have this chance now." I bent my neck so I could brush lips with Jin lightly. I hadnít actually put much thought into it, but we couldnít be together after this. In fact, there would probably be a tournament after this where we would face eachother again. Next time, surely as rivals.

"Really?" Jinís eyes sparkled in that light way again. It was starting to get a little creepy how cute he could look when I knew just how hard he could punch.

"Really," I promised quietly. Jin threw his arms around me, holding me tight, as if afraid to let go of me. I was taller than him, and had a generally more dominant attitude than him, but it was at times like this that I realized he was actually built bigger than I was. I let him hold me like he was, trying not to move my arms too much so I wouldnít upset the balance of his world. With a smile, I gently put my forehead against his. We didnít have much time left together, I knew that now, and suddenly, that mattered a whole lot more. I wanted Jin forever, I could have him for another week.


Link: Yeah, another chapter done. This story is too damn long! There are only three chapter left, though. Yea for three chapters!

Hwoarang: I hate you, I really do.

Jin: Iím so happy! ^^

Hwoarang: Dumb ass.

Link: Er... anyway... In the next chapter, they just arrive at the temple when they are forced to face Ling and Panda. Ling becomes a major issue. Angsty crap ahead.

Hwoarang: See what I mean, Jin? Sheís just out to torture us!

Jin: ^^ We make a good couple, donít you think?

Hwoarang and Link: ... ^^;


Return to Archive | next | previous