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DISCLAIMER: All featured Tekken characters are the property of Namco and not the authors.
Notes: Constructive criticism is welcomed!
Warnings: Eventual lemon parts, language & violence.
Chapter Three - Hospital
By Aaronica and Orfik
Hwoarang's good hand closed over Jin's tear-soaked fingers, bringing them with strained encouragement to his lips. He lay with the Japanese in his hospital bed, stiff with fear. His legs were tucked like a womb about Jin's curled body -- a tense, wary shield as he wondered at what chain of events brought on these nightmarish events. The doctors and nurses were as frightened as he was earlier when that insignia on the Mishima heir's arm began to bleed, and probably even more frightened when, miraculously, the gushing blood tapered off, only to be wiped away from the perfectly healed, intact skin. That was two days past, and Jin had yet to find even a lingering blink of sleep.
Before, as Hwoarang had reasoned, Jin's anger from Hayase's threats had called the devil from its festering place deep inside him. But what reason did he have for anger now? And Hwoarang felt as if something important was being withheld, some key to the enigma that might explain why demons chose to continuously torment Kazama Jin.
"I wish .. " he stuttered, his mouth moving against Jin's bent fingers, " .. I don't know how to make it stop. What does he want to do .. ?" Hwoarang asked suddenly, as if he could make it stop.
"It's okay, Joon," he said distantly, blinking for the first time in a very long while.
"It's my fault. I think... I might be thinking some of it up. I can't tell because I'm so tired." Jin was quiet for a moment and then he turned his haggard face upwards to Hwoarang. His fingers curled softly towards the other's.
"Do you still love me?"
"I do," Hwoarang responded in a frightened whisper. He closed the distance between them with a cool kiss against Jin's troubled brow, repeating with the conviction of a heroin addict, "I love you." But Hwoarang stroked that inscription of lightning again, recalling the stains of crimson around the hem of the doctor's pants, the soaked gauze, the cowering nurse.
Nonetheless, the long kiss and pair of affirmations eased knots in Jin's shoulders that he had not even known were there. He sniffed, loudly, but only once.
"I love you too. It'll be better when I get some sleep. I think if I want them to let us out... I think I'll sleep better in my own bed." Jin's hand moved slowly and thickly, as though underwater. It closed about Hwoarang's hand and brought it to his lips so that he could kiss its fingers; beautiful fingers; fingers of a saint; his saint.
"I love you so much ... This'll stop soon. I promise. You and me in my big bed, it's filled with feathers..." he whispered before his eyes drifted closed.
"Yes," Hwoarang attempted to soothe, although he knew he would never be allowed in that idyllic bed, in the environs of the Mishima empire, " .. just us."
Ceasing his insistence on comprehension, Hwoarang wrapped his arms tightly around Jin, tight enough to make both their sleeping rife with intimate discomfort; yet Hwoarang even unfurled a leg -- stiff from elevated restraint in Miki's trap -- to tangle with his cursed shrine's, burying his parted mouth in the springy, dark hair of Jin's head.
"Joon..? You were there in the warehouse that first time, weren't you..?" Jin asked tentatively, in search of affirmation although he truly didn't want to hear it. He squeezed his eyes closed, meekly nuzzling at Hwoarang's neck. His beautiful neck.
The clammer of bed pans and syringes falling from a nurse station and its subsequent clean up excused Hwoarang's affirmation for three weighted minutes. Jin might have thought he fell asleep, before his sudden answer broke the noisy silence.
"Yes. .. it was unfair." That had been the only reason, he had told himself, that he followed Kazama Jin, and helped Kazama Jin.
"So you saw--. That was the first time. I didn't know you were there. I thought maybe it wouldn't happen again," he admitted softly, almost embarrassedly. And then after a moment, Jin added, "Thank you. I never thanked you for it."
"You were beautiful," Hwoarang remembered, from his vulnerable perspective. The preternatural glow that warmed Jin as he flew had seemed the hands of angels tucked beneath his arms and legs, easing his retreating flight. Hwoarang dreamed about it for months, even after they began speaking again, up until that first kiss. And then he hadn't dreamed at all, with the exception of one chilling nightmare with a demon whose black wings swallowed him, whose talons rent him, whose mouth bit him.
"Were you scared?" Jin was watching Hwoarang's face with the fascinated earnestness of a child listening to a fairy tale, and some of the feverishness seemed to have been cooled from his eyes.
"No, I wasn't," he responded sincerely, his tone lacking in the haughty machismo common to a recounting of such events. He traced Jin's jaw repeatedly with his arched thumb, returning the gaze as he continued, " .. I could never forget how special you were, Jin. I think it's part of what was eating me up inside."
Jin's eyes sank heavily to the sheets closest to his face before shutting entirely, and he huddled just a little closer against the Korean.
"Joon," he murmured against Hwoarang's chest, "do you think they'll let us go soon?"
"I only stay here for you," and it was true, considering Hwoarang's outpatient status with only a broken wrist and hand.
"If you want to leave, they can't keep us. There's nothing wrong with you." Nothing medically wrong, because those injuries had disappeared after the bleeding, hadn't they? In Hwoarang's soul he knew it was true, and he suspected it was at least partly to blame for the Japanese's restlessness.
After a perplexed moment Jin said, "But Hayase-san told me they wanted you here another week." His sleep-deprived mind tumbled in circles about epiphany as if afraid of attaining it. The moment it happened, Jin's eyes sparked with icy hatred.
" .. hah. What reason did she give you .. ?" Hwoarang asked, smiling at the calculating cleverness of the ruse. He cupped the ridge of Jin's shoulderblade in his palm, drawing back a little to find his face.
Jin's body was like iron in Hwoarang's hands. There was a strangely hollow, vacant look on his face as he began to very gently detach himself from Hwoarang and rise from the bed.
" .. Jin .. ?" he repeated, keeping his hand curled around the Japanese's shoulder as he rose behind him, his chest touching the tensed back.
" .. it doesn't matter, Jin, we can leave tonight." There was something wrong, and Hwoarang knew it from the way his skin tingled, and the sudden urge he felt to reassure his one love.
When Jin turned back towards Hwoarang a little humanity had trickled back into his face, relaxing its delicate features, although the sleep-deprived emptiness would have been harder to get rid of.
"I'll just talk to her. I just want to know why she does these things. And I'll talk to the nurses, too, and they'll help us to leave." Jin's smile was wan but genuine.
"We can get out of here."
" .. tonight," the Korean agreed, encouraging the returning warmth by melding Jin's back with his palm, working the muscles like clay. He leaned forward, pressing his lips against the other's. Only under the touch of that master sculptor could Jin salvage his sanity.
"We'll go to the house--" it was 'the house,' not 'Jin's house'-- "and I'll show you my balcony and my bonsai and how soft my bed is." That was what Jin had been missing before.. A goal. An ending point. Jin put his arms around Hwoarang's neck in an effortful but passionate hug and then plodded hopefully towards the door, and out it.
Jin left before the Korean's objections could be voiced, but afterwards, he climbed from the railed bed and headed for one of the room's closets, opening door after door to stacks of the same medical blue patient bottoms he presently wore.
"Well," Jin resigned himself as he pulled down the starched blue top that went with it and pulled it over his naked chest, " .. we can knock anyone who tries to stop us out." He was murmuring this as he walked to the door, peering out.
Jin's hands rested on the nurse's desk and he was leaning forward inquisitively to something the woman had to say. He nodded and then smiled, thanking her, and then with the brightest expression his face had mustered in days, was returning to the room.
"She says we can go, and she'll call the house and get us a ride, too."
"Where are our clothes .. ?" Hwoarang asked him, lingering at the portal.
"Where are our clothes .. ?!" he called louder to the nurse, letting his own anger surface now that Jin's stability was affirmed.
Jin sat on the edge of Hwoarang's former bed, his hands in his lap. "I thought--"
Miki barged through the door, then, carrying a plastic basket of clothing with her face stretched politely.
"It's fresh from the launders." Hua Raing was good at hollering.
"Arigatou gozaimasu," he insulted, jerking the basket from his nemesis' hands and unceremoniously shutting the door in her face. He ferried the pile over to where Jin sat, setting it down beside him and handing him pieces of clothing as he rummaged. A strangled cry erupted unannounced, filling the room.
Hwoarang held up his warped chaps for Jin's inspection, his brow squeezing tightly enough to wrench tears from his eyes.
Jin's face fell pitifully. "Joon, she--"
The Kazama anxiously scratched one heavy brow.
"Are you sure they're yours? Maybe they put someone else's in by accident," he offered. Hwoarang's shirt was extra-starchy.
"No one else has that kind of style," except Doo San, Hwoarang might have added, were he not so distraught. For the sake of Jin's temperament, he gagged on his rage and forced the crispy garment over his head.
And then the real struggle began. Hwoarang turned away as he battled with the feat of squeezing the muscle of his long, lean legs into a pair of jeans shrunk one size too small when it was bought one size too small to begin with. His grunts were plentiful.
Jin didn't know whether to stare or to snicker and in the end it was a little of both. Soon enough, however, he pushed up from the bed and peeked into the basket, pulling out the blue sweater and grey slacks he had been wearing on the night they'd gone to the gardens. They'd even washed his socks, and his -- his underwear. He felt the heat rise in his face as he withdrew the latter from the bottom of the basket.
"If you can wear them long enough to get home, I'll get you some other ones!" Jin was almost cheerful, drawing from some sudden fount of energy.
Hwoarang's underwear weren't in the basket, which had a lot to do with him turning away. After those muscular globes were squeezed into the denim, however, he faced Jin, his face on fire, tucking his shirt into the waist before zipping and buttoning.
"I just have to break them in, again." Regarding Jin for a few seconds, he reached for his hand and murmured.
"Your house is probably watched by her men ... "
Jin finished the union off a touch gladly as he nodded.
"It's their job. They keep the house in order and they're supposed to protect me, but I really wish they weren't so forceful," he added sheepishly. His brows dipped on the outer edges, weighted with concern.
"Joon, you're bright red."
"I'm .. I'm all right, but I don't think they'll leave us alone there." He frowned as he started for the door, tugging Jin after him, and peered out cautiously, "It's clear Hayase doesn't want me screwing with the Mishima heir." Assured that the coast was clear of Mishima elements, he stepped into the hall.
"Wait, I have to get dressed --" He was too full of love to pull away from the doorward tug, his clothes balled in a hand and his eyes wide.
"But why would she care? Why doesn't she want me happy?"
"I'm a hooligan, she'd probably tell you. A heathen. But really .. " relenting in his urgency, Hwoarang refocused his attention on Jin, offering a crooked smile.
" .. she's right about that. It's only natural that she wouldn't want me corrupting such a nice boy." /.. like I care. I love you./ He returned to acting the sentinel at the door, waiting for Jin to finish dressing.
Jin pulled off the hospital shirt and tossed it on the bed ... except that it slipped off the side and fell to the floor. He went to retrieve it. When he rose from bending to pick it up he had to support himself with a hand on the bed, waiting for the sudden dizziness to clear.
"They said she wasn't here. She must be back at the house. I hope she doesn't come with the car." He sat on the bed, tugging on his sweater.
Cursing under his breath at this possibility, he angled himself against the door and folded his arms across his chest with frustration, pensive for a moment. When he spoke again, it was with a pitch of concern.
"Maybe we should leave before the car gets here, then. We can go to the warehouse."
Hastily adorning himself with underpants, socks and then his slacks, Jin wobbled as rose from the bed.
"If we make them angry they might retaliate. I could make them let you come. I'm the only living Mishima, they care about that more than anyone else," he said, holding his face as he gravitated to Hwoarang. Jin's desperate, days-long weariness was condensing now, seeping into him as bone-deep exhaustion. He put his arms around the Korean's shoulders and lay his smooth forehead against his neck. Only for a minute. Just let him have a minute.
"...I'll go wherever you go."
Absorbing Jin's drowsiness through his skin, Hwoarang massaged wakefulness into the narrow of his back with a hand, content to nurture for the remainder of the night -- were it not for sounds of footsteps that made him grow urgent. Pulling from a tight embrace, he held Jin's hand in his right, the casted left tucked against his side as he pulled the Japanese to the door.
"I trust you. We can go to your home," he whispered, casting a wary look out the frame.
The trotting of a doctor with a nurse was noted with relief, and assured that Jin was near, Hwoarang started to the elevators.
"Oi," interjected a nurse, standing from the station. " .. Hayase-san should be here any minute. You boys should wait in your room, where you can rest." Hwoarang ignored her recommendations, proceeding to push the button of cage two ten times. When the door slid open, there stood Hayase-san, punctual and in the company of two muscular guards.
"You aren't well," she stated plainly to the Korean, her gaze half-lidded. " .. but very impatient."
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