Summary: After watching Jin become overwhelmed by the Devil inside him, Jun struggles to find the perfect host for her powers.
Feedback: Comments are welcome; constructive or positive. Flames are nice too because they make for something to laugh at and keep my feet toasty.
Special Thanks: To my beta Kat for betaing everything I send her, and listening to me talk her ear off about this thing.
Disclaimer: The characters found here *do not* belong to me. The story itself *does* belong to me. I am making no profit from this endeavour.
Notes: a dobuk is a Tae Kwon do uniform. I could have called it a gi, but why bother when Kat was so nice to tell me the proper term? XD Thank you, K!
"Angel/Devil's words inside Hwoarang/Jin's head"
Please see the Index for more details and chapter links.
Jin Kazama was consumed by darkness. His nightmare burning inside him as the devil within taunted. Laughed. Caused him to thrash about in his dream state, so very desperate to throw off the oppressive voice and the black energies that threatened to consume him. "Hate me," the voice echoed amidst the laughter. "Curse me! Give in to the anger!"
Jin cried out, unable to block the voice from burning his ears, ringing through to his heart as he felt it wash over him. Ringing true with the small part of his being that he'd fought against his whole life.
"Awake. Kazama Jin!" That voice woke him from the dream, but not the nightmare. Jin stared down upon the face of his father, although Kazuya Mishima had given in to the devil him long ago. They were the eyes of a devil that regarded him with almost glee from within the scarred but handsome face of his father. Jin flexed his arms, restrained by the chains that suspended him high above the floorboards of Hon-Maru dojo. He reigned in his right arm and the chains snapped with surprising ease and he fell to the floor, the darkness inside him welling forth at the thought of finally ending his accursed bloodline.
"You… if only you were dead!" he bellowed, letting the demon within him gain strength from his anger. It was so easy. He could kill himself once they were both dead. He felt the surge of power fill him and he rushed at Kazuya. "Once I kill you… it'll all be over!"
Jun Kazama watched her son, Jin, fighting within Hon-Maru temple. Hidden in the spaces between the air and ether she was powerless to stop him as he beat his father and grandfather to a pulp. Even if she had her physical body, she doubted she'd be able to stop him when he was under the influence of the dark powers.
Since Jin's birth she'd known what lay dormant inside him. She'd sensed it inside of Kazuya and had tried to save him from it, which in part resulted in Jin's conception. However, the devil inside of Kazuya had already grown so strong that no matter how hard she tried, in the end he turned from her and she was left to bear Jin and raise him on her own.
She'd always been sensitive to the spirit energies of others and it grieved her when she sensed the same evil that turned Kazuya away was growing inside her unborn child. She resolved to train him to withstand the temptation of that evil, to plant the seed of goodness that would blossom and overshadow the darkness until the vines of compassion choked off the evil roots planted by his father.
She'd planned it that way, but some things couldn't be avoided and she'd been separated from him. Physically apart but never far she'd stayed with him in her bodiless state, encouraging him to grow strong spiritually, to be able to resist the pull of evil. However, she'd become weaker in this state and the years passed and as she watched Jin fight his grandfather, unnoticed from within Hon-Maru, she knew that he'd be unreachable after this. Devil had been given too much leeway and it was not a force that willingly backed down from a soul that was given so freely. She'd always been over his shoulder, whispering encouragement and nurturing the goodness that her seed had contributed, but after this day… without a body, she would be too weak.
She willed her incorporeal form closer to the battle, taking hold of the golden Buddha that grinned serenely at the sight of Jin holding up his grandfather to strike a final blow. She focused her thoughts on the gold, reflecting it towards Jin and broadcasting her image in one last ditch effort to subvert the evil that the devil was compelling him to do.
Her mind swelled with white light and she used up all the energy she could muster to appear to him, if only in his mind. Pushing the black aura away from his eyes she flooded his senses with goodness and held her breath.
Well, she would have if she could.
Jin faltered. His fist hovered in the air over the prostrate fighter, wavering as he stared at her, clearly unsure of what he was seeing. He tightened his grip on his grandfather's body before dropping the old man to the floor and turning away from her. A fragment of a smile turned the edge of his mouth up before he looked sternly at Heihachi. "Thank my mother… Kazama Jun."
It was the last time she could directly intervene and he'd said as much to his grandfather. She'd saved his life, but it would be the last time she could sway his intent to kill.
In the spirit plane she saw the devil inside her son engulf his form, its hollow laughter ringing out just for her. "I hope the old man's life was worth it," it taunted. "It's the last life he'll spare with your help. Jin can't hear you anymore mother." The name came out as a sneer and Jin turned and flew up to burst through the ceiling of the temple, leaving a shower of wood shards and black feathers falling to the ground behind him. Amongst them she spied a single, white feather illuminated by the moonlight before it fell behind a flurry of black feathers.
Jun turned away, looking at the gold face of the serene Buddha. She needed help.
She'd promised that she'd keep him safe, no matter what. "No matter what…" she said to herself. But that was just the thing, she couldn't anymore. She needed a body. Someone that could get close to Jin now that Devil had closed him off to her.
The form she was in couldn't break through Devil's guard anymore. The moment he'd come into contact with his father… she sighed, images of Kazuya flooding her mind and she wanted to weep in frustration. Had it been fair that her desire to help the older Mishima overcome his own evil had damned Jin to his father's fate? No, she couldn't think such things. Not now, it was too late to second guess herself.
She breathed in deeply, the smell of candles and incense in the temple passing through her incorporeal body and closed her eyes. With a flicker of a thought she let the room around her dissolve into light and she focused on the arena far below the temple.
She filtered through the arena, quickly gliding past the many bodies that were there to watch the spectacle, as well as the many that had come to compete. Only a handful shone bright enough to attract her attention. She opened her eyes, looking at the people she had to choose from. There was always a diverse gathering at the tournaments. So many people from all over came to compete, and it wasn't the promise of money or power that attracted them either. Heihachi had hurt so many of them, and made a lot of enemies…
There was a woman who glowed brightly and Jun Kazama focused on her, gliding through the building until she could see her clearly. She was just finishing in the shower and was making her way to the lockers. Jun had seen her before at one of the previous tournaments when she herself had been competing or… no, this woman looked similar but wasn't the same person. A relative perhaps? She concentrated for a moment, bringing to mind the list of fighters' names that had been competing at the most recent tournament. This was… Julia Chang. Yes, she recognized the energy about her. It was so similar to Michelle's. The older woman had always been so in tune with her surroundings, Julia appeared to be the same. Jun focused on strengthening her presence.
Julia stopped towel-drying her hair and looked around, her eyes wide as she appeared to have sensed the new spirit energy. Jun wasn't solid yet, but Julia's eyes stared in her direction, as if she knew there was someone there but just couldn't see it. Jun brightened, this woman had the strength of spirit that she needed. Julia could handle Angel's powers and defeat the Devil inside Jin before it could gain any more strength.
While Jun couldn't appear fully to people, she could partially pull their consciousness into her level. In a sense it was as if they were dreaming, although they were still wide awake. She reached out to probe the boundaries of Julia's aura, connecting with the levels that dealt with her dreaming mind and intuition. She instantly found herself amongst a sea of trees that clustered around rocky terrain. The locker room had vanished as Jun was pulled into the inner mind of Julia Chang.
The dream-winds carried through the branches of the tall pines and whipped Jun's short black hair around her face. This woman's spirit was strong and focused. Jun looked around, seeing the woman standing further up the mountain on an outcropping of rocks. "Hello, Julia," Jun said, approaching her. The tournament was in the real world, but in this dreamscape the woman was completely different. Not different… natural. She wore relaxed jeans that had seen wear and tear with a farm, or some sort of outdoor activity. Her thick, brown hair was separated into two braids, with several feathers tucked in between the ropes that reached down her back. She was beautiful and, like Jun, she probably relied heavily on her spirituality while she fought.
The moment Jun had called upon the dream state, the woman was aware and ready for her. "Who are you?" she demanded, defensive, but not raising her fists.
"I don't mean to hurt you," Jun said, spreading her arms wide to show vulnerability and that she indeed did not mean to attack. "I… need help."
The woman relaxed a fraction, "I cannot sense any evil in you… what is it that you want?" She turned away from Jun, looking out over the tree line that spread before them. She closed her eyes and drew an imaginary breath.
"There was a man who fought in the tournament… Jin Kazama." Julia said nothing so Jun continued. "There is an evil inside him that I have been fighting against for a very long time… but I cannot do it as I am now. Not anymore."
"He's gotten stronger," Julia said matter-of-factly. "I could sense something evil growing stronger a little while ago, although I didn't know who it was. You're saying that the darkness in him finally won out?"
"Not exactly… he's my son… he's good, but my powers are too weak without a body to house them. I need your help, I can give you-"
"I'm sorry," Julia said, cutting Jun off as she turned to face her. She had a look of sadness on her face, but her mouth was tight with resolve. "I cannot accept your power. Your son… I fought with him in the fourth round. While we fought, I could sense that presence inside him… even with your powers I doubt that I could get close enough to save him. Jin is not someone who opens up to people easily." She brushed an errant strand of hair from her face and took a step towards Jun. "I'm sure there is someone who can help you," she put her hand on Jun's arm in a comforting gesture. "But I'm afraid that he is a closed book to me. Perhaps he could be reached by someone that the devil does not suspect is trying to help him, although I don't know who that could be. A friend, or someone who he is comfortable with? A familiar face? I'm very sorry for your situation, but I'm not someone who can help you."
Jun nodded and Julia pulled her hand away. While someone with strong spiritual powers would be able to interact with Angel, a stranger wouldn't know Jin enough to get close to him. She just had to find someone Jin could trust and Devil wouldn't be concerned about. "Thank you," she said, releasing the dream state and letting the scenery fade back to the locker room. Julia shook her head once as if to clear it and returned to getting dressed. She may not have been able to help Jun directly, but she had given her some valuable information. Jin could be reached, but she'd have to be more selective with who she picked instead of simply choosing someone with strong spiritual powers.
Jun Kazama closed her eyes again, focusing on feeling her son's energy. He was many miles away, feeding Devil's destructive urges. She would have to find someone closer to him, perhaps closer in age? Her eyes flashed bright as she remembered someone she'd seen following her son around. Someone from school! Of course! She spread her invisible wings across the stadium, feeling everybody's presence echoing through the mental feathers. The strength of the fighters was easier to sort through when she narrowed it down; young, female. Very young. Yes, she found her. Opening her eyes again she had moved to a section of the bleachers where a young Chinese girl was chatting with another girl. Her strength of spirit was not as strong as Julia's, but Jun recognized her as one of Jin's schoolmates.
Ling Xiaoyu swung her arms about in a very animated fashion as she explained some aspect of her fight to her friend. Jun wasn't completely focused on reality and couldn't perceive audible conversations or sound clearly. It wouldn't be prudent to interact with Xiaoyu's mind while she was in the presence of another. She'd have to wait until the girl was alone, or possibly asleep. She patiently waited for a moment to approach Xiaoyu and ask for her help.
It seemed that Xiaoyu was joined at the hip of this girl because they never left each other's side until late in the evening when she returned to her hotel room and prepared for bed. Jun waited patiently for the girl to make some phone calls and then crawl into bed. It wasn't long before her breathing evened out and she was sleeping. Jun reached into her dreams and let herself become swept away in them.
It was always more difficult to interact with people through dreams since they were so erratic and changed too frequently. It was difficult to maintain a sense of equilibrium let alone carry on a conversation, and more often than not the dreams weren't even remembered. Jun only hoped that Xiaoyu's mind was receptive to her presence. She was running out of time.
Jun closed her eyes against the barrage of random images that flew at her from all sides, only opening them when she felt her feet touch something solid. She was in a small, rectangular device that she realized was a gondola. Xiaoyu was at the other side of the car with Panda. The girl hadn't noticed her presence yet; she was too busy trying to keep her balance on top of a giant disco ball that Panda was pushing around the floor of the car. Jun looked out the window, seeing a plain mountain landscape beneath them, but the edges grew fuzzy and disappeared a kilometer or two out. It seemed that Xiaoyu's attention was in the car itself.
Jun sighed; it wasn't the most ideal situation, but the scenario seemed stable enough for her to approach the girl. She took a few steps toward the disco ball, side stepping the glass orb as Panda gave it a swat and it rolled past her. "Hello, Xiaoyu," she said, anxious to get to the point of her visit. The more time that past, the stronger Devil became within Jin.
"Miharu!" Xiaoyu exclaimed, leaping off the ball and throwing her arms around Jun. The startled woman looked at her reflection in the window and saw that she appeared as the girl's friend from after the tournament.
"Great," she muttered under her breath and fought to change her form. She may have been a separate consciousness, but it was Xiaoyu's dream, and the girl was subconsciously applying her own rules and shapes. Taking Jun's unfamiliar form and giving it a recognizable exterior.
"Miharu! We're going to the moon!" Xiaoyu announced, releasing Jun and rushing back to Panda. The scenery changed and the gondola car morphed into the inside of a spaceship; the folly of working in someone else's dreams. At least Xiaoyu was aware of her presence!
"I'm not your friend, Xiaoyu," Jun tried to explain,. "My name is Jun. I need your help."
"So do I," the girl said suddenly, jumping into one of the pilot seats and punching a few buttons on the console. "We're under attack!" At the announcement a loud siren began to blare from somewhere in the cabin and the ship rocked to the side, supposedly after being hit by enemy fire. Xiaoyu punched another button and a panel slid aside, revealing manual controls rising from the console. "I'm gonna have to do this manually. Hold on!"
Jun lost her footing and fell against Panda as the ship rocked to the other side and the two of them fell against the wall. The large panda cushioned her fall and she quickly climbed to her feet. Everything on the ship appeared to be bolted down in one manner or another and Jun held onto these control panels and seats for stability as she made her way towards Xiaoyu who was having fun flying the ship out of the way of enemy fire.
"Miharu! Take the guns! We've gotta kill these things before they blow up my amusement park!" Xiaoyu indicated the seat next to her and Jun climbed in, strapping herself down as Xiaoyu jerked the controls again, turning the ship upside down and sending Panda tumbling on her head.
Jun punched a few buttons in front of her, but she found it really didn't take much skill to blast the enemy ships out of the skies. It was Xiaoyu's dream, after all, and in her dreams she always won. "Good shooting-" Xiaoyu started once she'd stabilized the ship again. "Miharu? Why are you wearing someone else's face?"
Jun unbuckled the straps on her seat and climbed out, happy to have a chance to tell the girl why she was there, although she was starting to doubt the girl's ability to handle what she was about to offer. She really was just a child…
"I'm not Miharu," Jun said. "This is your dream, but I'm not part of it. I need your help." Short and precise. She was running out of time.
"Really?" the girl's brow crinkled upwards and she thought for a moment, her spaceship controls forgotten. "This isn't how my usual trips to the moon happen."
"I'm sorry that I've visited you like this. It's rude of me to intrude into your dreams, but I'm running out of time and I didn't know how to contact you otherwise!"
"Oh, neat!" Xiaoyu said, as if suddenly realizing the situation. "I'm dreaming! That means that I can control what happens? So cool!" She started punching buttons on the console, seeming to half-understand what Jun was telling her. "Alright, I want us to go to the moon, and I want my theme park there! Everything will be so light, I wanna float!"
Jun was growing impatient. At any other time she would have calmly enjoyed the girl's enthusiasm for lucid dreaming, but she didn't have the luxury of a social visit in the girl's mind. She had to get through to this girl and make her listen. Jun looked at the display screen, seeing that it covered half the wall and would be suitable to catch Xiaoyu's attention. She calmed her mind, ridding it of her worries and only filled it with the task at hand. She drew up her memories of Jin's fight with Heihachi and Kazuya. The awakening of the Devil inside him and then projected it towards the screen. She may not have been able to manipulate the other's dream, but she could add content to it.
The monitor showed a view of the outside of the ship; a plain star-field with the occasional bright light passing by. Then it flickered under Jun's influence and changed to the fight scene from earlier that day. Xiaoyu's head shot up and she leapt from her seat to get a closer view.
Jun focused on remembering the events that had happened to Jin at the end of the tournament. How his grandfather had kidnapped him and chained him up in his elaborate ceremony, only to be awakened by his father, Kazuya Mishima. She showed Xiaoyu the fight between the two men and how it was only her powers that had stopped Jin from killing his grandfather. Xiaoyu's attention was wholly focused on the screen, and when the display was over, Jun explained her need for help before any more of Xiaoyu's dream events could take over. "Because the devil inside Jin has been strengthened I cannot influence him anymore. He can only feel the evil inside and it will consume him. I am not strong enough to hold it back anymore. Not in this form. I need help."
"And you need my help?" Xiaoyu asked excitedly.
"I was hoping you could," Jun confessed. She was so very tired. She didn't have much energy left to look for someone else if Xiaoyu declined.
"Oh, I don't like thinking of that demon hurting Jin," Xiaoyu started, her eyes shifting to look at her pet. "But I can't! I can't leave Panda!"
"What?" Jun asked, surprised. The girl may not have been her first choice, but she was a good one. "Why not?"
"Panda!" Xiaoyu said, calling her dream-version of her friend and bodyguard to her. "She's in love!"
"Well, that's nice-"
"And she wants babies, so I asked a Doctor I met at the tournament to help her!"
"That's nic- wait, what? You gave your bear to a Doctor you just met?"
"No, silly, you're not listening. Panda has a boyfriend, but they can't have babies because he's a grizzly and she's a panda. Kuma knows a Doctor Boskono- or, whatever his name is. Anyways, he said he can fix them so they can have babies. Panda is with him right now, and I need to take care of her after the procedure."
Jun didn't know what to say. Xiaoyu had explained it so fast and so quickly. It was so much to absorb, and she was starting to feel like she couldn't save Jin from his father's fate.
"I'm really sorry, Jun," Xiaoyu said after a moment. "I'd like to help Jin, but Panda is my best friend. I can't leave her, no matter how much I want to help Jin. What kind of friend would that make me?"
Jun nodded. Xiaoyu had her own life. She couldn't be expected to drop it because Jun asked her to, but still… her thoughts returned to Jin. She'd raised him with so much hope for his future, but now it seemed that everything was falling apart around him. His mother was taken from him, his remaining family fought to manipulate him for the gene inside him, and there was nobody she could turn to for help.
The screen flickered from the fight sequence and Jin's image appeared on it. Jun opened her eyes and looked upon the image of her son. He looked so angry, so unlike himself. There was a darkness surrounding him and Jun looked at his aura, now thoroughly blackened with the influence of the creature inside him. She almost threw up her arms in despair but stopped short when she noticed a faint haze of clear, red energy that was misting outside of the dark cloud. Devil was blocking all of Jin's emotions and energies, replacing them with its own repugnant presence., but this one energy was coming from Jin, and it was strong enough to seep through Devil's defenses.
The more she focused on the red, the more she recognized the pattern. It was aggressive, passionate. Of course Devil couldn't hold down energy that was so full of life! Jin's emotions were black, except for a passion that rose to the surface of his emotions. Jin felt something for someone. As weak as the feeling was now, it would not be held back. All Jun had to do was figure out who else Jin socialized with, who inspired him.
It would be a long shot, and she realized she should have taken this approach first. Someone that Jin knew, had spoken with… someone who had broken through the barrier he'd kept up for so many years, and someone she'd never met before.
"Why don't you ask one of his other friends to help?" Xiaoyu asked, petting her dream-Panda's head as the creature wandered closer to her. "What about that redhead who's always following him around?"
"He has other friends?" Of course! Xiaoyu knew Jin's friends. She couldn't help directly, but she could point Jun towards the right person.
"Well, I don't know about friends. He was always so quiet that not too many people tried to talk to him at school. But there was always that one guy who was always hanging around Jinny at the tournaments. I don't know if they were friends, though. That guy was always itching to fight. Jin never seemed interested, but I could tell he liked having the guy around. I thought he was kinda cute, but not like I'd ever date him. Guys who dye their hair red? C'mon!"
"A redheaded fighter?" Jun looked at her doubtfully. "Where would I even start to look for someone like that?" she bowed her head. How the hell would she know if he was the one who could help. But… if Jin didn't have any other friends… "I mean, if I knew what he looked like, that would be something…"
"Oh, I know!" Xiaoyu said excitedly, bouncing in her captain's chair. "This is my dream, right?" She pushed a button. "Viewscreen on! Show me that guy from the tournament!"
Jun smiled at the incredibly vague instruction, but the screen flickered, displaying the girl's memory of the man who could help her. It was a still image of a young man with orange-red hair. He had a devil-may-care grin directed right at the camera, or rather at Xiaoyu, for her to remember it as such. That grin pretty much said it all to Jun. He was nothing like Michelle or Xiaoyu even. She'd be lucky if she could influence this Korean to buy a stick of gum, let alone talk to him to ask for his help. "Why do you think that guy could help me?" she asked the Chinese girl, who was busy playing with the ship's console.
"Well, I don't really know if he can. But I always see him around Jin at the tournaments. Nobody else really goes near Jin. I guess being the grandson of Heihachi has its disadvantages, huh? I hope he can help Jin!" she said as an afterthought.
Jun felt so tired. She hadn't projected her spirit for such a long time before. It was such a mentally and spiritually draining endeavour. She hoped this worked, because otherwise she'd have to rest and that would give Devil the time he needed to completely corrupt-! "No," she said under her breath. "I'll make this one help me, no matter what."
Jun looked at the image of the man on the screen, concentrating on his features. The image was of the past, and she grit her teeth as she attempted to locate him in the present. On the screen his hair was long, down to his shoulder, but as the ship around her flickered and phased, she could see his image changing on the screen. He shifted in stance and expression and she balled her fists to maintain the lock she had on him. His hair shifted and then jumped up to a short buzz cut, his white dobuk flashed and was replaced with green army fatigues. Jun steeled her resolve and approached the viewscreen. The image began moving as it followed the young man in his present time, now as a video rather than a still picture.
"You'd better hurry," Xiaoyu said, rushing back to her seat and strapping herself in. "This is the part where we get to the moon!" The dream around them began to change again. The window to the redhead was closing fast and Jun reached out to touch the screen, her hand passing through into his world. She kicked off with her feet, rocketing through the opening just as the dream behind her collapsed and she found herself transported many kilometers away, landing in a military base in South Korea at the feet of Hwoarang.
The Korean fighter was unaware of her presence. Unlike Julia who'd been able to sense Jun's arrival, Hwoarang was blissfully unaware of anything except his Lieutenant who was grilling him from the outside of a prison cell.
The man was bellowing and quite red in the face, although Jun couldn't understand a word of Korean and had to guess what was happening. Either way, it didn't take a genius to figure out that he was in trouble with the army. The man continued yelling, and she picked up one or two words about the tournament that she recognized. Though the man yelled, Hwoarang appeared to be doing a good job of blocking out the barrage of insults and lost in his own little world.
Jun sighed. She'd have to wait to climb into his head as well. She closed her eyes and meditated, waiting for the right moment when she could approach Hwoarang with her offer.
~End Chapter One~
| Index | Chapter Two |