In the Shadows
Chapter 11 - You Are Your Own Shadow
Two days later...
“Lei... You sure it’s a good idea for you to be leaving already?” inquired Jin, as he helped the detective pack what things of his were in the mostly white hospital room.
Lei nodded in approval of his decision. “It’s only a couple rib fractures and some bruising. I was told they’d heal on their own in time.”
“Sheesh. You’re as stubborn as I am,” Hwoarang sighed, leaning against the wall of Lei’s previous hospital room.
“I wouldn’t say that stubborn,” Lei smirked, though more playfully. “Besides, I just can’t afford to stay here any longer. I’ve got to get back to Hong Kong as soon as possible. My flight actually leaves in less than two hours, so I’ve got to hurry as it is.”
“Where are you going?” asked Jin, in noting Lei was about to turn left down the hallway in exiting the room. “The elevators down are the other way?”
“I know,” replied the detective. “I just need to see someone first...”
In your average hospital bed, sat none other than Lee Chaolan. He was fairly bored at this point in time. True, he didn’t mind sitting around, but this was much different than lying out in the sun under an umbrella with a berry margarita.
Lee heard the sudden knocking upon his door. “Come in,” he sighed, hoping it wasn’t yet again another annoying nurse bugging him to get some rest, or worse, another one trying to flirt with him.
Chaolan actually gave a slight smirk when he saw who it was. “They’re letting you out already?”
Lei gave a partial sigh. “Actually... I was supposed to stay here a few days more, but my force wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“You mean you wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“Well...” Lei began in remarks. “That is true, also. I don’t want to get behind on my work. There’s already another new case in China I’m needed on.”
“Lucky you. I still have around a week left in this seldom place...” sighed Lee with arrogance in his voice.
“Don’t fret over it. In no time, you’ll be back to your old, swindling self,” Lei chuckled.
“Hey...” Lee began in retort, letting out a slight scowl. “I am not old.”
Both of the fighters then guffawed ever so slightly, though being Lei, his laughter was always much brighter than anyone else’s. “Well, I’ve got to get going. I just wanted to thank you for the other day.”
“Thank me?” Chaolan questioned in slight confusion. “What are you talking about? I deceived you, blackmailed you, and helped set up several near-death experiences for you.”
“True... but you also saved much more in the end,” Lei replied in a quieter, empathetic tone. He then proceeded to turn around once again in leave.
“I’ll tell a certain someone you said hi,” stated Lee, right before Wulong departed.
Lei turned his glance back one last time while standing in the partially open doorway. “You can tell a certain someone I said to stay out of trouble, or I’ll be back.”
The Silver Devil grinned his trademark half-smile again, right as the door fully closed. “Looks like you won’t be away too long, then...”
“Ready to leave?” asked Jin, who was standing with Hwoarang at the hospital’s front entrance.
Lei nodded. “Indeed. I was ready to do that the second I arrived here, go figure.”
“Need a ride?” inquired Jin, as he handed Lei the other of his two bags.
Wulong shook his head. “That won’t be necessary. Several members of my force arrived yesterday, and I have to ride with them to discuss a few cases and such. They should be waiting for me outside.”
“Alright then,” Jin replied with a smile. “I guess this is goodbye.”
“Only goodbye for now,” Lei smiled back, walking a few feet over to the Japanese fighter to give him a belated hug. “Thanks for everything, Jin...”
“Yeah yeah yeah, that’s enough already...” Hwoarang sighed with his arms folded.
Lei only chuckled as he pulled away from Jin, who did the same thing in letting out a few unrestrained chortles of his own. The long-haired fighter then walked over to where the redhead stood with unfolding arms.
“See you later hothead,” Lei stated, extending his hand out.
“Alright Lei-Lei,” Hwoarang smirked, reaching his own arm out to shake Lei’s hand. “You know, you’re not such a bad guy... sometimes, I mean...”
“Thanks, Hwoarang. Coming from you, I know that’s a big compliment,” Lei said with a smile, before turning to exit the hospital through its translucent, revolving doors. He looked back to give his two friends a final smile in parting, when a look of curiosity painted its way to Lei’s face instead. Behind Jin and Hwoarang, a set of elevator doors had just closed together. In the elevator, he sworn he had seen...
“What is it?” Jin asked in slight puzzlement, after Hwoarang had turned around to see nothing Lei could have been staring at.
“Nothing.” Lei shook it off completely, once again showing a brighter smile. “See you guys later.”
“You know...” Hwoarang began, making sure the long-haired man was outside of the hospital before continuing, “I’m gonna miss picking on him.”
Jin turned to smile at Hwoarang, as he threw his right-arm around him. “Hey, you and I can finally have some quiet time of our own now, without all the worrying.”
“Never mind, I won’t miss him that much,” Hwoarang laughed, as he and the Karate fighter then proceeded to exit the hospital for themselves.
“Whatever am I going to do with you?” Jin sighed.
Hwoarang imitated Jin’s previous sigh. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll think of something, Kazama...”
From a high, lucid window of the hospital’s highest floor, a tall man in a long, dark green coat watched as a police vehicle drove off below, and into the distance. The man only gave a dark grin, before he turned to once again exit through the door of the empty, renovated waiting room.
He had a plane to catch.
As he exited the dark room he had previously been in, and ambled down the wide, tiled hallway step by step, no one really gave him a second look.
Except one person.
Just as the man stepped into a vacant elevator, another man smiled as the metal doors closed. He then folded the newspaper he’d formerly held in front of him, crossing his legs as he tranquilly sat in the dark, leather armchair. It was one of many occupied ones in a small resting facility twenty yards or so just in front of the four elevators.
Kazuya grinned, as Bryan Fury disappeared behind closing doors. “You can never hide from the shadows you live in.”
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