Summary: Hwoarang is running out of time and at the insistence of the voice in his head, and with Dr. Yon's help, he sets about escaping.
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 couldn't help inserting a het hint in here. I like Yon too much to do it. So sue me, we know he'll be with Jin in the end!! XD
"Angel/Devil's words inside Hwoarang/Jin's head"
Please see the Index for more details and chapter links.
Hwoarang started awake. The sun was now hanging low in the sky and there were dull oranges and reds spilling through the window. Without looking he knew he was alone. It was a peculiar feeling, but he could sense it. "Fucking weird," he mumbled and sat up. It wasn't until he'd swung his legs over the edge of the bed and stood up that he realized his pain had diminished. He felt stiff more than anything, but his ribs… he grabbed the IV and wheeled it around to the private bathroom to get a better look. He pulled open the hospital shirt and looked at his bandaged torso. There was a dark, purple and green bruise peeking out from the edges of the bandages, but when he poked at his ribs he only felt discomfort spread through him. It was nothing like the agony he'd felt before.
There was something going on and Hwoarang wracked his brain to try and figure out what it was. He used the toilet since he was there, and was washing up when he heard it again.
It was that woman's voice. It sounded like it was calling him from outside, and yet he knew nobody had spoken.
He peeked his head out of the bathroom. "Hello?" he whispered, feeling paranoid but positive that he'd heard something.
"Bed!" It commanded him and while he would have loved to argue it, he rushed back to his bed, putting the IV stand back where it had been and set himself up in bed like Yon had left him the day before. The voice annoyed him, but he understood the meaning of its command.
He'd just closed his eyes to feign sleep when he heard heavy footsteps in the hallway and he could sense they were coming for him. He remembered Yon's advice to fake it and he did his best to keep the expression of someone who was seriously injured and sleeping, rather than a man who was awake and ready to fight like hell to get out of there.
"Lieutenant, he's still recovering!" A woman hissed. She sounded older, like the Dr. Lee he'd met. She sounded upset.
"I don't give a shit," a man said. He sounded much older and hardened. "I got a trial on hold because of some limp-wristed pantywaist is too sick to be there. The Major is breathing down my neck and I have to talk to the Sergeant!"
Hwoarang could hear the man standing over him and he did his best impression of a corpse that he could manage. The woman was arguing vehemently with him, and luckily it sounded like she was on Hwoarang's side.
"Lieutenant, I don't care what you have waiting on this man. It's a miracle he's alive and I want to keep him that way. I'm in charge of his release, and I'm the one who says- Stop that!" Hwoarang felt a sharp pain in his chest as the man began poking him, supposedly to see if he was awake or just faking it. He decided to play it up and let out a strangled moan, trying to sound as pained as possible without sounding awake.
"Lieutenant!" her voice rose in pitch and command and the man's hand was pulled away. "I'm going to have to ask you to leave! He's heavily sedated; he won't be able to answer your questions. I'll give you updated progress reports on his recovery, but you can't come down here every day to check up on him!" She was good. He heard the man muttering something unflattering under his breath, but the Lieutenant left them alone and Hwoarang feigned sleep until he could sense Dr. Lee leave as well and he was alone again.
He opened his eyes. "What?" The man's poking hadn't been as painful as he'd pretended, but he planned on faking it as long as was necessary until he got out of there. "What do you want, voice? Being all mysterious and shit?"
"It's almost time for you to leave. Yon will visit you later tonight, tell her you're ready."
"Lady? I'm still hurt! My head is still fucked, sure my ribs aren't broken but they only feel bruised now. The last thing I need is to be running-!" He was cut off as he felt himself overcome with a sudden sensation of warmth growing in his belly. It spread through his core before exploding from inside him and spreading through every cell of his body. It was more powerful than an orgasm although it lasted as long as one in that one moment he was riding the waves of bliss, the next he was lying in his hospital bed trying to figure out what had happened. "What was that?"
"You're healed, leave tonight." The voice said and then was silent.
"What?" Hwoarang shifted his position to test the statement and… he sat upright, leaning over to try and grab his toes before rolling haphazardly off the mattress. He felt fine… no, wait. He wiggled his toes; he felt great! His strength was renewed and he felt as if he could take on the whole army single-handed. "Nice trick!" he said, reaching behind him to scratch his back. He felt great except for a strange sensation that was throbbing through his shoulder blades. He grabbed the IV drip and went into the bathroom to look in the mirror, but once he'd pulled his hospital top off and tried to look over his shoulder at his reflection, he couldn't see anything. It itched and he reached up to scratch it, pulling back when he felt a strange bump poking out from underneath his skin. He reached back again, wondering if he'd imagined it, but he felt it again; right above each shoulder blade was two, large bumps. He ran his fingers over them, feeling the heat glowing from them and pulled back. He'd ask Yon about it when he saw her later. He had other things to worry about; like getting the fuck out of there.
His nurse came and left, same as usual with barely a word exchanged between the two. Hwoarang feigned sleep for half of the time, and plotted his course once he'd gotten off the damned base. He'd probably hitch a ride or two until he got to a city where he could take a train out to Doyon's place. He hadn't spoken with his friend in years, but they'd been like brothers when they were kids. He didn't doubt Doyon's hospitality when he got there.
The Blood Talon shifted uncomfortably; his back still had those lumps. When he lay on them he discovered they were pliant, moving inside his body to accommodate the bed (although he didn't know if that was good or bad). He watched the clock on the wall tick down the minutes of the day. Noon came and left, and he felt himself doze off when he started awake.
She was on her way.
He could feel her… down the hallway just coming off the elevator. Her footsteps were quiet, but he could still make out the distinct click-clack of her shoes on the cheap tile floor. He climbed out of bed, absently running a hand through his hair and got tangled in the IV; he felt nervous, like he was waiting for a date or something.
When she came through the doorway she rushed to his side. "Hwoarang, what are you doing?" she whispered. "Are you alright to stand?" she offered her arm to support him but he shook her off.
"Yon, I'm fine, but it's time for me to go."
She gave him an appraising look before nodding. "Nobody would have thought you could heal up so fast, but I have been altering your chart a bit to hide it. Are you sure you're okay to go?" she reached out to poke him in the ribs.
"I'm fine, Doc. Geez, why does everyone keep doing that?"
"Would you like me to poke you in the head?" she asked and started poking him in his face.
"Hey, stop that!" he said, smacking her hand away and smiling. "Stop having fun at my expense, eh?"
"I'm sorry," she said, the laughter fading from her eyes and she looked sad. "So you really want to leave? Tonight? That's the strangest thing. I had this feeling that you'd want to leave so I packed up some clothes for you… isn't that weird?"
Hwoarang shrugged his shoulders, although he felt the tug of that voice in his head and he knew that she had something to do with it… or maybe Jun did. Either way, it was time to get the hell out of there.
"There's a guard around the corner where the elevator is. That's the only way out of here so we're going to have to be sneaky." Her eyes took on a mischievous light that Hwoarang couldn't resist grinning at. She was having fun!
"I hope you have a plan," Hwoarang said warily, entertaining the idea of just climbing out the window.
"Yes," Yon said with a grin. "I've got it all planned out."
Hwoarang raised an eyebrow as she left and quickly returned with an armful of bandages and some clothes. "Alright, get dressed and I'll fix you up!"
"Hmm, I think I saw this in a movie once," Hwoarang said, looking at the jeans before looking back up at her. "Uh, a little privacy?"
"Oh!" she exclaimed and turned around. "You know, I am a doctor. I've seen it all before…"
"I don't care," Hwoarang frowned as he began to shrug out of the hospital clothes and into the denim and t-shirt that she'd given him. He pulled the black hoodie over his head and looked at her. "Hmmm," he said disapprovingly as she turned around again and he looked at the bandages she held in her hands. "Is this your best idea?"
"Yes!" she rolled her eyes. "Once you're done up wait for my cue. I'll distract the guard while you rush down in the elevator. Take it to the basement and wait for me there. Nobody is down there unless they're looking for old records or office supplies. There should be a supply closet close to where you exit so just wait in there for me. I'm going to create a false emergency with one of my own patients in the other room on this level…"
Hwoarang didn't want to know any more and nodded curtly while she wrapped his head up, and then worked on his hands. She did a good job of leaving enough room to see out of, while covering up his features and hair. After he'd been made up to resemble a burn victim she hurried to the doorway. "Try to avoid attracting attention. There's another patient who has injuries similar to the way I've bandaged you… if you get into a tight spot, tell them your name is Mian. Then? Try to get away before they realize that the real Mian is still in his bed on the second floor, alright?"
"Geez, I feel so confident," Hwoarang muttered under his breath. Yon didn't hear him and walked out of the room, beckoning him to follow before instructing him to wait in an empty room while she proceeded further ahead.
Moments later he heard the doctor cry out for help and a heavier set of heavier footsteps rushing down the hall towards her. The guard. "Here, I need you to hold this!" Yon yelled, and Hwoarang heard the man's voice stutter something before she yelled at him to do what she said or her patient would die. Hwoarang tried to keep from laughing while he left his hiding place and snuck past the room that Yon and the guard were in. He rounded the corner and saw the elevator at the end of the hall with an empty chair beside it. "No guard," he mumbled and ran towards it. The elevator took what felt like forever to get there, but once he was safely inside he let out a shaky breath and pushed the button for the basement. Once the doors dinged open, he checked to make sure nobody else was on the floor before he proceeded to the supply closet as Yon had instructed. He closed the door behind him and walked into the storage room, seeing the metal shelving units that lined the walls. It was stuffy with the smell of musty paper; he didn't have to worry about anybody finding him there. He busied himself with taking the bandages off his head and hands, trying to figure why Yon had been so meticulous with wrapping him up, but it did help to pass the time while he waited. He didn't even need the damn disguise…
It was a good fifteen minutes later and Hwoarang was starting to pace back and forth among the shelves of supplies before he heard someone at the door. He ducked out of sight, his paranoia going full tilt, but quickly popped up again when he heard Yon's voice.
"Oh good, that went better than I expected. Let's hurry. I think Dr. Lee will be coming to visit you in an hour or so, and when they find you're gone…"
Hwoarang nodded, "They'll probably bring the dogs out to track me down."
"Right," she nodded. "You'll have to travel for a while before you can get to a town since the side of the fence I'm taking you out to faces a forest…"
"Alright, alright, let's get going, then. I fucking hate it when I have dogs after me!" he walked over to the door and opened it, peeking out again to see if anybody was there.
"Better let me lead," Yon said, and she took him down a few dimly-lit passages before coming across a thick, metal door. "This is it," the doctor said, and put her hand on the handle. The metal squeaked loudly as she pushed the door open, although there were no alarms and they walked out the back door without incident. Yon had been very thorough in her orchestration of his escape.
"How long have you been planning this?" Hwoarang asked wedging a stone between the door and its frame so Yon could get back inside.
"The day your memory came back," she said matter-of-factly. "I didn't think you'd be this well to travel, so a lot of the troubles I was going to have getting you painkillers and someone to take care of you are moot."
"Yon, I don't want you to go with me anymore," Hwoarang cut her off. "You'll already get plenty of shit for helping me out like this."
She laughed softly and stepped closer to him. He hesitated before putting his hands on her shoulders. "You must be wondering why I'm doing this," she said suddenly, laughing though there were tears at the edges of her eyes. "Heh, when I tell you it will be even more confusing. I… was a student of Dr. Geum. He was a friend of my family when I was growing up," she sighed, leaning against Hwoarang's strong frame and he awkwardly folded his arms around her.
"Then why the hell are you helping me? I killed…"
"That's just the thing; you didn't! Did you really have a choice? Dr. Geum knew what he was doing, although I don't think he'd have gone as far if he'd known that his family would pay for it as well. At first I didn't know who you were when you woke up. If I'd known I probably wouldn't have helped you at all… but after I heard from your teammate… that evil, evil man was bragging about it, about Min! He was making it out to be some joke!" she let out a sob as she buried her face in his shoulder. She stayed quiet for a moment, regaining her composure while he stroked her back. "I knew someone would be sent for him, but I didn't know when. Heh, it's just like he always said. The cleaner a government looks on the outside, the more dirt they are trying to cover up. The further the lengths they'll go to protect their secrets."
"Yon…" Hwoarang tightened his grip on her shoulders and pulled her away from him. "I'm so sorry." He really felt it.
"I know," she nodded, sniffling. "Well, are you sure you can make it out of here? What about the fence?" she changed the subject and Hwoarang was grateful for the distraction from his own guilt.
"Yeah, I can climb it. They think a little razor wire will stop me, but I learned a few tricks the last time I went AWOL."
She let out a shaky sigh and looked up at him. "I know you'll probably be fine. I was just… nevermind," she averted her eyes.
He put his furrowed his brow while tilting her head up to look at him. "You think those assholes will get me again? Not a chance!" he smiled and leaned in against her, lightly pressing his lips against hers.
She kissed him back in earnest, wrapping her arms around his neck and parting her lips. It was heated and full of feeling, but all too soon Hwoarang broke the kiss and pulled away from her. She was smiling, although it was a sad look. She wasn't a blushing virgin full of hope; she knew they'd probably never see each other again.
Hwoarang knew it too as he let go, his fingers traveling down her arms to her hands and he held them for a lingering moment before letting go and turning from her. There weren't many people he'd met that would go out on a limb for him like she had. He felt his heart swelling with warmth when he thought of her and with that happy feeling thrumming through his soul he quickly dashed away from her and towards the retainer wall. It took a little longer than the first time he'd escaped, but the company that had installed the security features had been lax in a few aspects and if they'd cut corners on one section of the fence… it only took the Blood Talon a bit more time before he found a new flaw in wire and climbed over and away to freedom.
Hwoarang stumbled for the fifth time. He would have known where he was if he hadn't been running from the dogs. It seemed like someone had noticed too soon that he was gone and sounded the alarm. He'd have been making better time, but the woods were dark and he was having difficulty keeping his footing. He could sense the dogs far behind him, but he knew that with time they'd catch up to him, and he really didn't want that to happen. That voice might have healed him with that light, but it would take a real miracle to piece him back together after he was torn up. He cursed again as his foot hooked on a tree root and he tumbled face-first into the dirt. "Ugh, things couldn't get any worse," he scrambled to his feet and felt around. It seemed that there was an incline in front of him and he sprinted up and quickly caught himself before he fell down an even steeper hillside. It was more like a cliff face that just dropped down some fifty metres before continuing on with more forest and roots and tripping. Hwoarang sighed; he wished he was back in the hospital with Yon. He closed his eyes, focusing on the spots on his back that were still bothering him, regretting not asking her about them.
He reached back to feel the bump and was surprised to feel it had gotten bigger. "Why the hell didn't I ask her about these things? This can't be good."
"You again! Alright, so I got away. Now what?"
"You're going to have to start learning how to do this on your own, you know," the voice chided before he felt a sudden pressure building in his chest cavity. "Focus!" the voice said and it was all Hwoarang could do to NOT focus on the sensation. It wasn't necessarily painful, but it wasn't pleasant either.
The pressure built up until he thought he'd explode. He dropped to his knees, reaching back to pull the hoodie off and claw through his shirt at bumps he knew were causing him the discomfort. He at his back until it turned to pain, and still there was no relief. Gasping in desperation he did what he was told and focused. The pressure felt like energy swirling around inside him, traveling from all over his body to his chest and then towards his back. He concentrated on the feeling of that energy and was startled when he could begin to see it as white light in his mind's eye. It flowed through and out of him until it dissipated into little star bursts just beyond the threshold of his aura. It was all so clear to him and he willed that energy to move as one towards his back, spilling out of him until he opened his eyes and was surrounded by the light. It was just like back in the hospital, only now he had a better grasp of what was happening. That voice wasn't in control this time. He spread his arms out, letting the currents flow through his limbs. It was almost energizing and refreshing and when he finally felt the light dissipate around him he was aware of a new sensation.
There was a weight on his back. Nothing too heavy, but noticeable and… "Weird," Hwoarang said at the new feeling. It was impossible to comprehend, but as he extended what felt like his arm and lifted it up, he could clearly see that his arm did not move, but… he could feel it! It was as if his arm had moved but didn't. He moved the phantom arm again and the weight on his back shifted and he hazarded a glance over his shoulder.
"Holy shit!" he screamed, turning around; the action futile as the grand, white wings that stood proud off his back moved with him. "What the fuck just happened?" he yelled, turning again before stopping and catching his breath. "Hello? Voice? I need your HE~LP!"
There was no reply, although he could almost swear he felt her laughter.
"Lady, I don't have time for this. I got those guys on my ass-"
"I'm aware of your predicament. Those things aren't for show, you know!"
"For the love of God, do I have to spell it out to you? FLY!" Her laughter rang through his head before falling silent again.
"Fly?" he asked, but received no answer. "Damn, you're vague! Help me out here!" He took a deep breath. "Fly… Okay, okay, fine. Sure, just watch me fly. Right off this cliff…" he approached the edge and peered down. The drop suddenly looked a lot farther and he felt his knees go weak. He absently reached back to feel his new appendages and his hand sank into the soft feathers. They felt strong as he extended them both out from his body until he felt the tendons stretching. They extended well beyond his fingertips; more than enough to carry his weight.
He stepped up to the edge, feeling the wind in his feathers, moving them with a gentle, invisible caress. "I've got to be insane," he said, looking down before closing his eyes again. "Death by falling or death by dogs; why are they both so damn appealing?" He could hear them getting closer and his adrenalin started pumping through his body. Fight or flight… literally!
The ground stretched out before him, but that wasn't his destination. His dark-brown eyes snapped open and stared out at the horizon and the glowing moon that filled it. He muttered prayer that he'd heard Baek whisper on occasion and took a deep breath before launching himself over the cliffside.
The freefall was exhilarating, but over all too soon when Hwoarang felt his wings catch an updraft. The muscles in his back flexed with new strength while the wings were pulled taught against the wind like a pair of sails carrying him upwards to soar over the tops of the trees. He flexed the feathered limbs and brought them down to propel himself higher into the sky. A few more flaps and he was higher than before and moving so quickly. He flapped his wings again; instinct taking over and he tilted one a fraction until he could feel himself traveling in that direction. It was like steering a bike once he got the hang of it. The wind blew through his hair and he fought a shiver that rushed through his body. It was getting cold and he wished he'd grabbed the hoodie from where he'd thrown it on the ground. The shirt had stayed intact through his transformation, although it did little to keep him warm. The dogs were far behind him, as was the military base and Yon. Hwoarang felt his heart tightening at the memory; it didn't feel right to leave her, but this was the way things had to be.
A few hours later he was a spot in the distance, praying that his friend, Doyon, hadn't moved.
~End Chapter Eight~
| Index | Chapter Nine |