Author's Note: I wrote this a while ago before I bought or even played 1 and Tag. I only had the knowledge of Hwoarang’s story (sort of) and so it is a little spaztic, for which I apologize. Anyway, thanks for reading. Peace, everyone.
Disclaimer: I have purchased all of the Tekken games save Advance and I bought the movie after seeing it twice rented. I still do not own Tekken.
Jin Kazama smiled at his mother. She was finally trusting Jin to go out on his own at age nine. Before, she had said that if he were to find his father, Kazuya would most likely throw Jin off a cliff, whatever that meant. Jin, who had never known his father, as best he knew, expected a reunion would be a good thing... his mom was notoriously crazy, after all.
Jin promised his mother he would just go to the park and no further before he left. He walked out into the crisp morning air and toward his destination with pride. He liked the idea of at least a little freedom. Rounding a corner, Jin walked over the bridge that lead to the clearing. Some kids were playing on a jungle gym that went ignored by Jin. He continued walking until he was beginning to get sore, and he had reached his favorite place. There were ruins of a temple that had fallen, but a perfectly intact arch that was nice to sit against. There was also something new.
A girl - or was that a boy - sat against the arch, head hung. The kid wore jeans and a too-big navy shirt. (S)he appeared to be sulking with the bowl- cut of copper hair falling over the already shadowed eyes. If it were a girl, she was a beautiful tomboy. Were it a boy...
When those amber eyes raised to look at Jin, he had his answer. He was a boy, a very handsome boy at that. "Oi, omae..." the boy called out to Jin in accented Japanese. "You need somethin’?"
Jin blushed and stuttered, "N - No! I, uh, I was just wondering the same for you..."
"I’ve never wanted anything enough to ask a stranger," the boy shot back. There was a hint of defensive anger in his voice that Jin wasn’t ready for. After a pause, he asked faintly, "So, why are you here?"
"To be with the spirits. There are many here." Jin motioned to the fallen temple. "I usually don’t find anyone here, though."
"Hm," was all the boy replied. He stood with an arrogant flip of his hair and asked, "What kind of spirits are there?" Though he looked as if he didn’t care, Jin could hear the interest in his voice.
"Those of the boys that died in a fire." Jin looked at the other boy carefully. Standing, he was a little taller than Jin, and skinnier. He was built like a martial artist, but wasn’t muscle-bound like the pictures Jin had seen of his father, the great King of Iron Fist.
"Hm... dying at a temple? I wonder why the temple was set on fire...?" The boy’s eyes wavered a little. Jin could see that he was a caring soul, even if only deep within his soul.
"Maybe it was a Buddhist temple? There were the Buddhist hunts a century and a half ago..." Jin heard stories of those horrible times from his mother who was very set on peace. Jin was positive she belonged to every activist group under the sun, almost to the point of being ridiculous.
The boy looked shocked for a moment before he chuckled. "Japan is a strange country. Ever since I got here, I have seen nothing but strange people... and things." The boy narrowed his eyes, sparkling with humor, at Jin. "Like you."
Jin was a little surprised. He wasn’t used to being called weird. Frowning, he changed the subject. "So, how old are you?"
"About ten," the boy replied. "I don’t know when my birthday is, but Baek says I was three when he began caring for me, and that was seven years ago." The boy frowned a little. "No one my age lives at the dojo, so I don’t really make many friends."
"Really? My birthday is tomorrow, and I’ll be ten. Maybe we could be friends?" Jin saw the smile instantly form on his new friend’s lips. "I’m Jin Kazama." Jin held out his hand in greeting.
The boy looked up at him for a moment before taking his hand carefully. "I - I have no name..." the nameless boy replied. He hung his head, as if from shame.
"What do your parents call you then?’ Jin asked to try to figure out what his friend mean by being "nameless".
"I have no parents," the boy replied frankly. "I think they died when I was three," the boy added. He dropped his hand back to his side as he spoke.
"Who brought you to Japan, then?" Jin was baffled. What DID the boy have in his life?
"Master Baek Doo San. He is teaching me Tae Kwon Do." The boy smiled.
‘Oh’, thought Jin.
"Oh," said Jin after a small delay. That was when someone could be heard yelling some Korean word in the distance.
"I have to go," said the boy a little regretfully. "I’ll come see you again, Jin." With that, the boy turned and ran away. Jin smiled to himself. He was glad to have come down to this spot on a day when he could meet such an interesting boy.
Jin listened hard and he could hear someone yell in Korean again. It sounded like, "Hwoarang". What did that mean? Jin tried to ignore the growing curiosity as he turned to go home.
The boy’s eyes widened. "Ka - Kazama?" He almost smiled before it fell apart again. "Jin Kazama?"
"You! We met at the park!" Jin couldn’t believe his eyes. What was such a boy doing with a gang? Obviously he was the leader, but still...
"Boss, you know this guy?" one of the flunkies had taken a baby-step toward his leader.
"Eh," the boy fell out of fighting stance as he answered. He held out his hand. "My name is Hwoarang; it’s good to finally meet you again." Jin took the extended hand, amazed that the handshake was the same as it had been before.
"Hwoarang... it really has been a while." Jin stepped back. He was about to strike up a conversation when Hwoarang suddenly fell into a fighting stance. "Hwoa-Hwoarang?"
"We came here to fight, right? Wouldn’t it be rude to stop the fight over a nice childhood memory?" The boy’s voice was arrogant. Somewhere along the line, he had changed quite a bit. Jin had to wonder just what had happened to the Korean youth.
Hwoarang’s gang left the scene before the fight even started. leaving the two boys alone. Jin fell into stance, facing Hwoarang, and wasn’t quite sure how to feel about the arrangement. He didn’t want to fight Hwoarang, but he was curious what would happen in a fight against someone raised in a dojo.
He was fast, was the answer. Jin was able to block the attack, but just barely. The Korean unleashed a flurry of punches and kicks faster than Jin was ready for. He was only able to block by sheer virtue of the attacks weren’t as strong as his. Jin and Hwoarang would meet a stalemate of speed and power. Jin realized then that this fight could turn the two boys on eachother and considered stopping it. That was when Hwoarang threw an unexpected uppercut followed by a heel-drop kick, putting Jin on the ground.
Jin pushed himself up and was forced to roll forward to avoid the next attack, only to end up practically pressed against Hwoarang when he stood up. Hwoarang grinned and grabbed Jin, suddenly rolling backward and using one of his feet to propel Jin into a forward roll. When they landed, Hwoarang was straddling Jin’s upper body, in position to roll forward again, and had his arms poised in a criss-cross position to break Jin’s neck. That was when he paused. Hwoarang shook his head and rolled forward, coming to a stand. He shook his head again as he pulled his gloves tighter.
Jin was angry. How did he let the boy get under his defenses enough for that? Jin got to his feet and hit Hwoarang with a running tackle. Hwoarang lay on his back under Jin as Jin hit him with a few solid punches in the face. The boy didn’t cry out or writhe in pain. He just took the hits, seemingly ignoring the blood collecting on his face. Jin stopped then. He didn’t want to beat Hwoarang this way. The Korean had stopped the fight on his own accord.
Hwoarang slowly, painfully turned his head to look up at Jin and they met eyes from only a few inches apart. Jin suddenly found himself focused on the Korean’s mouth, and how close it was. He slowly leaned further down, seeing no rejection in Hwoarang’s eyes. He almost thought their lips would touch when three things happened all at once.
First, one of the gang members yelled, "Boss!" A moment later, Hwoarang had a knee in Jin’s stomach, doubling Jin over himself and Hwoarang rolled Jin over his head. Hwoarang used the moment when Jin was shocked and winded to get to his feet.
"What is it?" Hwoarang asked just as his flunkie came into view. Jin could hear that Hwoarang was having some trouble using his jaw and felt both satisfaction and strong regret.
"One of the boarders at your dojo just called to tell you that they are under attack by some ninjas dressed in all black. They said that Master Baek is holding fort as best he can... but even that won’t last forever..." The man looked away from Hwoarang’s suddenly intense gaze.
Hwoarang glared at Jin. "It was a good fight, but you had better hope I don’t find out that you were sent to distract me, or I will kill you." Hwoarang took off running for his bike without commenting further. Jin watched him go sadly. He knew that his grandfather Heihachi Mishima was behind this, and that meant Baek was as good as dead. Jin stole a motorcycle and went in pursuit.
Hwoarang nearly tripped on the last step as he burst onto the scene. Baek was there, wearing his gi, and was badly burnt. He was fighting off three men with four more already fallen. There was time enough for one man to punch Baek before Hwoarang was there. With a hard right kick, he clipped a man in the ribs, resulting in the two of them back to back. Hwoarang spun quickly, landing a left kick in the man’s spine before switching his attention.
"Hwoarang!" Baek said in amazement. With a second wind. Baek attacked one of the two remaining men. His attacks were blocked until he suddenly dropped down and took his opponent out at the ankles. Neither one was able to get back up yet.
Hwoarang ran over to the other guy and grabbed one of his arms. He kicked the man in the ribs with a satisfying popping sound, then put his boot to the whimpering man’s cheek. "Who sent you?"
"I’ll never talk!" The man had fear in his voice.
"Hm... Okay." Hwoarang applied a little pressure, then abruptly straitened his leg, snapping the man’s neck. The man dropped limply to the ground at Hwoarang’s feet. The Korean turned his attention back to Baek at that moment. Baek was still down, and his opponent was using his hands to slowly drag himself over to Baek. Hwoarang did a heel-drop kick that landed right at the base of the attacker’s skull, and the fight was suddenly over.
Hwoarang kneeled by Baek and said quietly, "Master, we should leave here quickly and get your burns treated." The boy brushed some stray hair away from his master’s face.
"Sorry, Hwoarang..." Baek coughed up blood, surprising his pupil. "My injuries are worse than you think. It would be best to think of me as dead and get out of here before you get hurt." The older man smiled very slightly. "I wouldn’t want you to get hurt, Hwoarang."
"Master!" Hwoarang moved to cradle Baek’s upper-body in his lap. He curled his whole body against Baek with his master’s head rested against his chest and knee with arms fro supposrt. "Master, you are my life! I cannot lose you now!" Hwoarang felt himself begin to cry. "Master... please don’t leave me alone..."
Baek coughed again; this time getting blood on his gi and Hwoarang’s chaps. "I was invited to the King of Iron Fist tournament. Why don’t you take my place there? Maybe you will find that certain someone... to replace me..."
"No! Master!" Hwoarang’s voice was high and choked. "No, you can’t die. I won’t let you die! Not after all we’ve been through together." Hwoarang began to whisper the word "please" like a mantra.
Baek’s eyes fogged over. "Hwoarang, I loved you like my own son... Please don’t let everything I have taught you go to waste. I always have hoped I did the right think by becoming your caretaker... now I know..." Baek’s voice trailed off weakly.
"Now I know why parents are always... so proud..."
"Master... please... don’t speak..."
"I loved you, Hwoarang, please never forget that. Many may not see your true value, but I know you are, deep down, a wonderful boy... MY boy..." Baek suddenly went completely limp.
"Master? Master!" Hwoarang couldn’t help but cry endlessly then. He buried his face in Baek’s hair and cried tears enough to shame the great flood, but it would never be enough to bring his master back to life.
There was suddenly an explosion from the burning dojo. Hwoarang felt strong arms around him, lifting him. "C’mon!" That was Jin’s voice. "You shouldn’t die here, too! We have to hurry!" Then, they were in motion. Even in a rush between life and death, Hwoarang made note of how oddly safe he felt in Jin’s arms as the boy half-dragged half-carried him down the stone steps.
When the two boys reached Hwoaran’g bike, they heard a second explosion followed by a rush of fire that singed the near-by stairs. The shock-wave threw the boys off their feet, putting Jin on his back with Hwoarang on top of him. There was a moment when the distance between Hwoarang and Jin was small enough that a whisper would lead to a kiss. Both boys lay still and focused on that moment until a piece of debris hit Hwoarang on the back of the skull, making him see spots before passing out.
Something was born in him that night he and Jin fought. A strong sense of equality, and that Hwoarang wouldn’t have a sure win. Jin was his rival, but he was nowhere to be found, and it was Hwoarang who had one the title "strongest" in the Tekken Tournament. How ironic... and yet so sad that no one could beat Hwoarang anymore.
Hwoarang rolled his eyes up to look at the sea and frowned. The trophy in his hands was meaningless, just as his life had become, and he wished to cast it away into the sea. Hwoarang stretched his right arm back for the throw... Then... footsteps? There was a boy holding his arm as if shot running around the corner of an old warehouse. He wore black shoes and slacks with a partially buttoned white-collar shirt - nearly red now with blood. Hwoarang wouldn’t have recognized him were it not for the conspicuous spike of black hair. It had to be Jin Kazama.
Jin ducked into the warehouse, and was followed a moment later by three of Mishima’s special forces carrying UZI’s. That was when, mildly amused, Hwoarang made an "o" motion with his mouth. He might as well check on the situation.
Sprinting over to the opening in the doors, he looked in on the three guards circling in on Jin who had fallen. They were yelling at him in Chinese, so Hwoarang didn’t get much of what they said. He didn’t know that Jin knew Chinese, but it was hardly the time to get all impressed and amazed and such. He grabbed his goggles and slid them back over his head, holding back his hair.
Hwoarang threw the bust and then ran into the room on the balls of his feet, so as to be quiet. When the bust clanged to the floor between the guards and Jin, it got their attention - but a bit too late. Hwoarang spun into a right kick to take down the first guard. The second guard was caught but a kick that launched him strait up into the air from his chin. The third, Hwoarang used for a test subject to see if his trademark move still worked. He grabbed the guy’s arm, put a kick into the ribs, then grinned. He placed his foot against the man’s cheek and straitened for that "snap" he desired. Hwoarang then turned to Jin and his eyes widened.
Jin was literally glowing with energy. He looked up at Hwoarang with something in his eyes that was not human, but also not animal. It was like primeval energy in his eyes before he jumped. And what a jump it was. He went crashing out the third-story window and didn’t look like he was hurt in the process. Bits of glass raining down went ignored as Hwoarang changed his attention back to his own hands.
Could he beat that? He didn’t know. He was excited to find out, though.
Hwoarang’s lips curved into a half-smile as he balled his hands in fists and let them dop to his sides. He had a rival again, and life was good.
~ The end ~
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