Summary: Jun has decided on Hwoarang as a good host for Angel's powers, although the only thing keeping her from her goal is Hwoarang himself.
Chapter Warnings: Violence, disturbing violence
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: I understand that Jun doesn't speak Korean. This could cause problems for her while she's following Hwoarang around while he's running in Korea and (supposedly) speaking Korean to his fellow Koreans. Hwoarang speaks Japanese when interacting with Jin (except for the end of T4 where he speaks English to him O_o). Aaaanyways, Jun can speak with Hwoarang when she interacts with him directly, however, when she's following him around in Korea and he's speaking Korean? Yeah, she gets go play the guessing game as to what is going on.
Oddly enough I have experience doing this when I traveled to El Salvador without knowing a lick of useful Spanish. It's amazing how locked in your head you can get when you can't interact with others for 2 weeks except through an interpreter… but I'm digressing. My point is that it IS possible to get the gist of what is going on and pick up on people's personalities just by observing them without words. I had wanted to have more exposition through observed dialogue while Jun was following Hwoarang around, but since I had to nix the dialogue it's a bit sketchy. I hope I made up for it with Hwoarang's version of events.
"Angel/Devil's words inside Hwoarang/Jin's head"
Please see the Index for more details and chapter links.
It seemed that Hwoarang had gone AWOL to attend the tournament, and although he'd served the army well in the past, his superiors were fed up with his flagrant disregard for the rules. It was amazing what you could learn from listening to the tone of people's voices and their body language when you couldn't understand what they were saying. Hwoarang didn't stay in his cell for very long and was packed up and shipped off on a mission to a small town in South Korea. Jun didn't bother following him the length of the way, but contented herself with hovering on the outskirts of the town while he did what he had to do, all the while questioning her sanity in entrusting the powers of Angel to this man.
It was well past dark when she saw his fiery aura emerging from the village and she followed him back to the military base for his debriefing before he was released to begin his duties for the day without sleep. By the time he retired the next evening Jun was beginning to lose patience and immediately attempted to enter his mind as she'd done with Xiaoyu. She discovered right away that it would be an uphill battle to even locate him in his dream, let alone interact with him.
He was in no way as aware as Julia, but Jun found that his mind was in even more of an upheaval than Xiaoyu's had been. His mind was so busy and active that his dreams rarely remained constant and she could only stabilize herself in one setting before she was tossed on her head and whirled about into a completely different setting. Xiaoyu's mind was hectic, but certain elements remained constant so that Jun had been able to catch her footing. With Hwoarang, however, she was completely at the mercy of his imagination, which was unfocused at best.
Almost upon arrival she was ejected from Hwoarang's sleeping body as a particularly violent event took place in his subconscious. It was hopeless. She couldn't contact him now, and was too exhausted to look anywhere else. Although she was hesitant to accept it, Jun realized that Hwoarang was strong of spirit, if not a little dense. Alright, very dense. He wasn't as grounded as Julia had been, or even as in control as Xiaoyu, but he had something else that the other's didn't, and it was at that point that Jun shuddered to realize that he was the one. Hwoarang had his own inner demons. Where Julia would attempt to use empathy and conversation to get through to Jin, Hwoarang would let his fists do the talking, and in the end, while Devil could ignore words, he couldn't ignore a fight that was influenced with Angel's divinity.
Jun shook her head and picked herself up, looking back at Hwoarang's sleeping form with resolve. She couldn't contact him now, but she could wait. She needed to rest anyways. She'd need all her strength for when she was able to contact him.
Jun waited, watching Hwoarang from her place in the spirit world that overlapped the realm of the living. She meditated, slowly regaining the energy that she'd expended in saving Heihachi from Devil and then traveling to meet with Julia and Xiaoyu. All the while Hwoarang went about his life in the military; undergoing intense training and the occasional mission out with his unit. While Jun wasn't fond of the military, she could appreciate the dedication it took to stay a part of it. Army life wasn't for the weak, and while Hwoarang openly detested being there, he completed all the exercises that were asked of him, no matter the conditions or how drained he was afterwards. He was stubborn. When others would have given up, he pushed himself beyond his limits. It was as if he took everything as a challenge to prove he could do it.
Unfortunately, he also took rules forbidding certain behaviour as a challenge and he was often stuck with unpleasant duties as punishment for his aberrant behaviour.
Jun couldn't repress her laughter when Hwoarang re-dyed his hair and his Lieutenant nearly had a heart attack because of it. The old Korean obviously ran a tight ship and liked his men looking uniform and presentable. While some commanders could overlook a simple thing like a tattoo or hair dye, this one had been putting up with Hwoarang's rule breaking since he'd been picked up after the tournament. It was obvious his patience was running dangerously thin when he caught Hwoarang applying the bottle of red dye to his roots. He barked something at the redhead and Hwoarang came back with a sly comment that she was sure was funny. It made the other man's face tighten up as if he'd swallowed a fly, so it had to be. It was obvious he enjoyed the reactions he got from the older man, and Jun just had to laugh harder.
The Lieutenant didn't seem to share her opinion and glared harder at Hwoarang. He said something else, looked at his watch and then left. Jun had seen that routine before; it preceded his missions.
It was a somber room that met Hwoarang when he went for his briefing. Jun waited outside, not interested in the details of what Hwoarang was being told to do. She learned soon after she began following Hwoarang around that those briefings could get ugly if he was told to do something he didn't want to do. He never had a choice either way; his skill in combat was just too great. But despite there being no choice in the matter, it didn't stop him from telling his superiors to go fuck themselves.
Two hours later Hwoarang was led out of the room to a waiting helicopter. Jun hated riding in them in her spirit-state, but she wouldn't leave Hwoarang either, so she climbed aboard. As they lifted into the air she noticed that Hwoarang was in a foul mood. Well, more foul than usual. His clothes had changed as well. While he and his teammates usually wore their military fatigues on their missions, this time they wore all black, with more belts and gadgets attached to them than usual. His teammates had already pulled black balaclavas over their heads and were resting night-vision goggles on their foreheads.
Hwoarang glared at them before pulling on his own balaclava and Jun's soul tightened at the sight. There was something different about Hwoarang at that moment. Something was burning and dying in his eyes. His flippant attitude had been replaced by a sort of cold acceptance. Death had descended upon the three men in that compartment and none of them spoke as the helicopter carried them towards the horizon and their drop-off point.
Jun followed Hwoarang as his team was dropped off in a forest clearing some distance away from anywhere. The three men remained silent as they lowered their night goggles and proceeded to use hand signals to indicate where they should go and what positions they should take on the way there.
It was difficult for Jun to see exactly what was going on in the dusky twilight, so she stayed even closer to Hwoarang than she usually did, twining herself in the outer edges of his aura and letting him carry her along to his destination. It was a good hour of brisk creeping before the men approached a thick stone wall barring their path. They seemed to have expected it, however, and they each began to follow a predetermined course of action. One approached the wall while Hwoarang and the other stayed back, guarded by large trees and keeping watch. After a moment the man by the wall pulled a grappling gun from his vest and fired a hook towards the top ledge of the wall. It passed over and hooked the other side. He gave his teammates a sign and then Hwoarang approached the rope, quickly scaling the weathered stone until he reached the top and he looked about. Jun passed through the wall to see where it was that they were going. The moon was dark and the gardens beyond the wall were difficult to see except for the light of the stars. Jun wondered what the hell the army could want with a place like this. Hwoarang leapt to the ground behind her and she followed him as he hurried through the gardens, sure footed as he traversed the pathways as if he'd known them his whole life. His teammates followed him for a distance until they approached another wall. Jun looked up, realizing that it was a large house that they'd come to and not another retaining wall. The mood between the three men seemed to intensify even though none of them said a word to the other.
Hwoarang was standing back against a hedge while another man performed some calculations on one of the devices he had on his arm. In the distance Jun could hear the barking of dogs, and all three men went rigid, turning to each other before they gave a flurry of hand signals and they rushed further along the wall of the house.
The guard dogs were not far away, their kennel in all likelihood being around the corner from where Hwoarang and his team had exited the gardens. Their barks rang loud as they rushed along after them. Hwoarang's team ran to the back corner of the house and then stopped. One pulled out a gun from its holster at his waist and he aimed, firing three times; each shot finding its mark with accuracy that only a military-trained crack shot could possess. The three dogs fell down dead and Jun saw the brief glimmer as their souls fled their bodies and they began to grow cold.
She felt the anxiety within her growing the longer she stayed with Hwoarang on his mission.
Still, she'd come this far. She had to stay the course, as sick as it made her to do it.
The three men made short work of disabling the remaining security features and entering the house. Any guards they encountered they dispatched with efficiency, although Jun noticed that Hwoarang preferred to knock his opponents out cold than resort to using the firepower that his teammates seemed to favour. At least Hwoarang saw no point in killing someone that wasn't a challenge.
The three men eventually split off, making silent hand-communications with each other before proceeding onward. Jun stuck with Hwoarang. He trailed down a hallway, pausing in front of a door before checking the electronic map that was sewn into the arm of his stealth suit. He seemed to nod to himself before gripping the handle and opening the door as quietly as he could. The room inside was dark except for a dim light that shone from an outlet in the wall, lighting the surroundings to show that a child lived there.
"Oh God…" Jun felt her feet grow sluggish as she stopped just past the doorway. Hwoarang paused briefly before continuing onwards into the bedroom and quietly approaching the bed. Her words caught in her throat, her spirit felt like it was growing tight, shriveling at the realization of what they were there to do. "You can't!" she screamed, wishing that for just one fucking time Hwoarang would hear her.
He didn't stop until he reached the bed and looked down to its sleeping occupant. She wished she could know what he was thinking. Just to know that he was planning on dropping his gun and going AWOL again. She could see the colours of his aura shifting together as if they were being stirred by a strong wind. He was at war with himself. She forced her legs to move and she came to stand by him, looking down at the girl who still slept, blissfully unaware of the man who stood above her. She could have only been eight or nine years old.
Hwoarang pulled his night goggles off his eyes, propping them on his forehead and he stared hard at the sleeping child. His brow furrowed, almost angrily as his hand jerkily moved to his side arm. He wrenched the weapon free of its holster and he cocked the hammer back, aiming it downwards, but his hand shook as he tried to bring it up to the girl's head. He didn't want to do it, but it seemed that he didn't have a choice.
His missions up to this point had involved apprehending enemies of the government. Supporters of Northern Korea, or even other soldiers who had gone AWOL. In each case Hwoarang had never drawn his weapon, instead relying on his Tae Kwon Do skills to knock his opponents out before any bloodshed could occur.
Unfortunately with this mission, the goal was bloodshed and his arm wavered erratically as he finally forced the pistol to the girl's head.
Her family had probably done something to piss off someone in the government, and Hwoarang knew that she didn't have to die. He shook his head, tears coming to his eyes and his finger edged towards the trigger.
Jun shook her head, this was not happening. It wasn't, couldn't be happening. Hwoarang wasn't perfect, but how could he go through with an order like this? What had they said? What sort of hold did they have over him that could make him even agree to take on a mission that involved killing a little girl? She felt herself sinking to the ground as Hwoarang hovered over the girl, visibly wrestling with his conscience. He was beyond her reach, just like Jin was. She was powerless to influence either of them, and she could only watch as he tightened his grip on the gun handle before cursing quietly and angrily re-holstering the weapon. He wouldn't do it. His aura showed his resolve and the relief that went with it. He turned on his heel and walked back to the door just as a woman came running in from the hallway and collided with him.
She looked up at him, wild shock in her eyes and she began scrambling to her feet, screaming something at him and trying to hit him. Hwoarang easily missed being hit, but she seemed to forget about him after her initial swing and rushed to the bed instead, pulling the girl up and yelling something to her. The urgency in her voice didn't need translation; she was trying to escape.
She rushed past Hwoarang, bringing her daughter with her in a desperate attempt to get away. Hwoarang didn't move to stop her, but the other two men who'd come with him were there and one of them kicked her backwards into the room. She fell to the floor, blood leaking from her mouth onto the wood floorboards.
Then things got ugly.
One of the men began yelling at Hwoarang and pulled the gun from its holster. The redhead began yelling back, putting his fists up to show that he wasn't going to take what was said lying down. Or maybe he would defend the woman?
The man with the gun didn't seem to care. He ignored Hwoarang for a moment and wordlessly aimed the gun at the child and pulled the trigger. Her small body collapsed to the floor; dead with one shot. Her mother howled with a gut-wrenching agony that made Jun shudder to hear it. The man looked at her with annoyance and turned the gun on her, pulling the trigger without a second's hesitation. As she lay there dying he said something to her, almost gloating above her as she lay helpless in a pool of her own blood. Her gasping noises were pathetic, and Jun nearly wept as she saw the woman's life light flicker around her body, her aura growing weaker until her soul was finally released and disappeared from view.
Jun felt cold, though she had no body. She was numb, dimly aware of the arguing going on around her. The man with the gun was arguing with Hwoarang, trying to take on a commanding tone, but Hwoarang wasn't having any of it. He spoke to him with the same disrespect that he had for his superiors on the base. His aura was burning a fierce red, clear and crisp and focused.
His teammate holstered his weapon and stepped up to meet Hwoarang's fighting stance. His mouth was covered by his balaclava, but his eyes showed the smile that lit up his face.
Hwoarang grinned, pulling off his own mask and goggles and dropped them to the floor. He lunged at his teammate, driving his fists through the man's defenses to meet their mark beyond. He punched and kicked with all his might, defending against the other man's attacks which were nearly as skilled as his own, though they carried more weight behind them. Hwoarang skipped around a well-meaning kick and hoofed his opponent in the gut, dropping the other man to his knees. As the man gasped for air Hwoarang pushed the offensive and leapt at him again, intending to finish the fight. The man rolled to the side at the last minute and caught Hwoarang off guard, pulling him to the floor with him.
The two wrestled around on the ground for a while, trading punches to the face and elbows to the gut while their third teammate and Jun anxiously watched from the side. They both knew this wasn't the place to do this. Not in the home of a murdered man and his family, but only the silent man was able to do anything and he just stood by and watched as his teammate landed a few solid hits to Hwoarang's face knocking his head back against the floorboards and dazing him.
Hwoarang was down. He rolled about to try and get up, but through his stunned state he couldn't climb to his feet fast enough. The sadistic man pressed his advantage, raising his foot and kicking Hwoarang in the head with all his might, ending the fight.
Jun rushed to his side as he lay unconscious on the floor, even though she was powerless to help. There was blood leaking out of his nose and she felt a terrible anxiety grip her as she realized that he was very seriously injured. She felt a tinge of relief as his teammates carried his body back to the extraction point, neither saying a word to the other as they were transported back to the base. At least they didn't leave him there to die.
Hwoarang was put in the hospital. Jun followed him through the operations that the doctors were all too anxious to perform on him. From what Jun could gather he had some serious head trauma. She couldn't understand what they were saying, but she didn't need to. When they were done with him and wheeled him into a private room she could see from the bandages that he was hurt badly. His aura was darkened around his ribs, and there were spots of muddied grey colour hovering around his head where that man had kicked him. She released an imaginary breath as she stood over him. Such actions as breathing and being sick with worry were beyond her now that she didn't have a body, but it was a phantom feeling that she felt nonetheless. She drew closer to him, inspecting the IV that was fed into his arm, dripping nutrients and drugs into his system. He was in very bad shape. Just like Jin, only she couldn't be with her son now as she was for Hwoarang. Devil would push her away and use Jin to spite and hurt her for trying to stop him.
Jun put her hand on Hwoarang's, hovering it where she thought his hand began to create the illusion that she was in fact touching him. It was so frustrating being unable to interact. She looked back up to his face. Though his nose was broken, he still had a look of serenity on him. Jun had never seen it before; not while he was awake, nor while he slept. He was truly unconscious. A spark of hope surged through her then. It was her opportunity. She'd started to think that she'd never get the chance to speak with Hwoarang, but now he would listen. She hated to think that it was such violent and tragic circumstances that brought about her chance, but she'd use it to make things right; for Jin and Hwoarang.
She took another imagined breath and brought her hand up to delve into the deeper layers of his aura, mingling her spirit with his energies until she felt a familiar pull. She allowed herself to be drawn inside, sucked into a strange world that was void of the familiar chaos and excitement of healthy dreams. It was void of anything except blackness. She closed her eyes and completely let go of the outside, thoroughly losing herself within Hwoarang's damaged nightmares.
~End Chapter Two~
| Index | Chapter Three |