Summary: Hwoarang meets up with his old friend Doyon and asks to stay with him while he waits for the army to stop looking for him. As he begins to settle into his old life, he becomes comfortable and complacent about helping Jin.
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: The area they live in was inspired by the movie District B13. Yes, it might be unimaginative of me, but I couldn’t find any sites online dealing with the rougher areas of S.Korea. Korea also has a bit of a problem with gambling (from what I was able to find) so it's no surprise that Doyon would see the opportunity to make some money in his neighbourhood. He's just so enterprising...
"Angel/Devil's words inside Hwoarang/Jin's head"
Please see the Index for more details and chapter links.
The man in blue was running for his life. His face was burning bright red as he huffed, turning around to see if the men were still behind him before ducking into an alleyway. His glazed eyes turned to the dirt-strewn passage between the two buildings, looking for a hiding place when he felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder and he jumped.
“Rora,” a large man with black hair barked. He shoved the man in blue against the brick wall. “You wouldn’t be running away from us, would you?”
The man named Rora laughed nervously, eyeing the large man’s black suit and dark glasses. “W-who, me? C’mon, Hitch. I couldn’t see you that clearly. I thought you were this other guy, see? I, uh, he, hmmm… what can I do for you?”
Hitch said nothing and moved aside as another man stepped in behind him. The new man’s hair was dyed bright yellow and he carried a bit of weight around his face and belly. Heavy gold hoops hung from his ears and rattled as he threaded his fingers together and cracked them loudly while leisurely approaching the man in blue. “Ro~ra!” he exclaimed in a sing-song tone, clamping the man on the back before punching him in the gut.
“D-Doyon, man,” Rora huffed, doubling over. “I’ll get the rest of the money. I still got till tomorrow, ya?”
The blonde sneered, leaning down to grab the quivering, greasy man by his chin and tilt his face up to his. “I know that, Rora. I just wanted to remind you to not screw me over again. I’ve been really generous with you.” He pulled his fingers away from the man’s face and snorted, spitting on the ground at his feet. “You’re a resourceful little fuck, Rora. Don’t disappoint me.” He nodded to Hitch before turning on his heel and walking out of the alley.
The sky was overcast and the bright-blonde frowned and struck a match, bringing the glowing stick up to his cigarette. He sucked in a lungful of smoke and looked at Hitch who had joined him. The two men said nothing and walked along to a waiting Cadillac at the side of the road. They climbed in the back, the driver taking the vehicle out onto the street the moment the door slammed shut.
“Fuck, it feels good to get my hands dirty!” Doyon said, balling his fist in front of him and pulling his smoke away with the other. “Sometimes I hate all the bullshit I have to deal with now. I just wanna get out there like the good old days, ya know?”
Hitch nodded silently and pulled out his own pack. “Yeah, power is such a drag,” he said dryly, crossing his legs while he sucked on his own cigarette and stared out the window. The buildings rushed by in a blur as the car swerved around a corner and Hitch wordlessly observed a wrecked car here or downed pole there. The area became more and more lawless the further they traveled until they arrived at Doyon’s building; The Devil’s Cage. It was an apartment complex built in the mid-eighties which had been high-tech at the time but now stood as a dilapidated example of what the area had become; obscure, obsolete, and overrun with degenerates.
Degenerates just like Doyon who’d carved a niche for himself and built his way up. It wasn’t anything to open up a casino in that city, especially in the seedier areas which was his home. Loan-sharking also helped to subsidize his expenses in keeping his casino well-furnished and in the end he was able to turn out a very tidy profit from it. Though it wasn’t the most original idea out there he’d made it work and he was proud of what he had. Nothing came easily to him and he’d had to step over the bodies of many powerful people to get to where he was. He didn’t regret any of it either. To survive you had to take, and he took all he could from everybody. He just wished that his family had lived long enough to benefit from his success.
The driver activated a remote controlled door mechanism and the Cadillac pulled into the underground parking. A few of Doyon’s guards waved them in, clearing the spike belt out of the way and radioing ahead that he was there. The car stopped further in before a large elevator and Hitch climbed out of the car and turned to wait for his large, silent companion. Doyon sprang from the back and ducked his head to light another smoke before joining Hitch in the elevator and riding up to the penthouse suite.
The doors chimed open and the two men stepped through. Hitch removed his sunglasses and tucked them into his pocket before heading to the hidden stairwell that connected the suite to the lower casino levels. The blonde watched the older man as he disappeared into the stairwell and shrugged his shoulders before continuing in to the main living-area. The other man’s problems weren’t his concern.
The main living area was where Doyon relaxed with his friends, although it was big enough to also house a training studio where he could to practice on the bag and lift his weights. He’d been a skilled fighter in his youth, although that had been a long time ago and he’d taken up much less safe (although much more profitable) habits since then. Beside the training area (where Hitch trained more than he did) there was another section that he walked directly towards. A 62” widescreen TV sat on a simple display pedestal in the centre of the room. It was set up in front of the outer wall that was lined with full-length windows that showed a breathtaking view of the city. For those using the plush couches it would have been an awesome sight to see the world from that vantage point… that is, it would have been if the TV wasn’t in the way.
A foreign movie was blaring from the sound system and a pretty, young woman was lying on one couch watching the screen with rapt attention. Another man sat on another couch, although he was more interested in a hand-held videogame in his lap than the action on the massive screen. His dark eyes were glued to his game until he noticed that Doyon had arrived. He made to get up, but the blonde waved him away, indicating he didn’t need his services at the moment. Shrugging the brunette man sat back down, his long braid falling between him and the couch and he un-paused his game to continue playing. The woman didn’t notice that Doyon had arrived at all until he sank into the couch beside her. “Hey, baby,” he said by way of greeting before putting his arm around her and giving her a kiss.
She rolled over to face him and placed a lazy, wet kiss on his cheek before giggling. “Hey, back at ya. Why couldn’t Hitch have taken care of that guy, or Mickey? You know I worry about you, baby.”
“Bloom, I gotta go down and let them know I’m serious. Fuck, I get all lazy and shit and that’s when those punks think they can just rip me off!”
The woman flipped her blue-black hair over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. “Geez, baby, why do you have to be so mean? I just worry about you,” she leaned over to kiss him and he laughed, meeting her mouth with his and putting his thick arms around her waist to pull her down into his lap. Moments later his cell phone rang and he broke the kiss.
Bloom climbed off his lap and continued watching her movie while the blonde talked snapped his phone open and began to talk business. “Yeah? Who? Naw, I ain’t seen em’- huh?” he furrowed his brow. “Hwoarang? Is that you, man?” he pulled a tin out of his pocket and slid a cigarette out. With the cell tucked under his ear, he climbed from the couch and walked to one of the full-length windows that faced the dilapidated skyline. “Buddy, it’s been too long!” he lit the smoke and blew out a puff. “Hell yeah, I’ll send Hitch out to get you. Naw, I’m not into that anymore. Y-yeah, she’s still around. No, she doesn’t do that anymore. Yeah, I’m sure. Uh-huh, alright, where are ya?”
He snapped his fingers for something to write with and Bloom glared at him and snapped right back in a mocking gesture. He scowled and she waved facetiously before finally getting up to bring a notepad from the kitchen. The hefty blonde snatched the paper from her and scribbled down a number before shutting his phone. “Hitch!” he bellowed, rushing down to the other side of the suite to find his bodyguard. He couldn’t find the other man anywhere and he stomped back out to talk to the other man on the couch. “Mick, find Hitch and tell him to go to this place to pick up my buddy. He’s gotta bring him back here unless Hwoarang wants to go somewhere else first, alright? Hitch’s probably down visiting his sister… again.”
Mick nodded and grabbed the paper, loosely wrapping his floor-length braid around his neck to keep it out of the way before turning and heading towards the stairwell to the lower level. Doyon turned back to Bloom. Her amber eyes met his and he winked, “I think we’re gonna have to break out the welcome wagon for this one.”
The elevator doors opened and Hwoarang stepped through into the penthouse suite and whistled. He was impressed; he’d heard that Doyon had done well for himself, but he hadn’t pictured his old friend as the type to let it go to his head. The man who’d picked him up, Hitch, walked on ahead of him. Their conversation on the way over had been minimal. Hitch seemed like the kind of guy who was both quiet and pissed-off all the time. He’d barely received a raised eyebrow when he’d climbed into the car and his wings had caught on the roof. Sitting in the back seat was difficult, but he managed to tuck his wings to the side and found out just how flexible they were.
Hwoarang followed his silent escort through the suite and into an impressive entertainment room. The redhead automatically noticed the training area that Hitch was headed for, but he was distracted by the cry of his friend who was rushing to greet him.
“Hwoarang! C’mere, ya bastard!” He wrapped his arms around his friend in a gruff embrace before pulling back in shock. “What the fuck is that, man?” he exclaimed, releasing his hold on one of the redhead’s wings. His shock turned to doubt which melted into a wry smile and then a shrug of his shoulders and he turned back to his couch. Hwoarang inwardly sighed in relief when he saw he wouldn’t have to explain much. Doyon always did have a knack for dealing quickly with the situations he was faced with; even the truly bizarre. He followed his friend to the couch and he folded his wings up so that he could sit comfortably opposite Doyon who was relaxing beside a pretty brunette girl.
Hwoarang turned to the man who sat beside him, expecting a reaction but getting none as the silent man hadn’t looked up from his videogame.
“Hwoarang!” Doyon exclaimed once he’d gotten comfortable. “It’s been too long. Want a smoke? Mickey, give him a smoke.”
The man didn’t even pause his game as he single-handedly reached into his pocket and flicked a cigarette from a beat-up red pack. Another flick of his wrist and he produced a lighter, flaming and ready to light Hwoarang’s smoke. The Blood Talon put the white cylinder between his teeth and lit, inhaling deeply. He didn’t smoke often, but he needed it then. “Thanks, pal. Lt. Hardass wouldn’t let one of these within 5 km of the fucking compound,” he pulled the fag away and exhaled through his nose. “Not that it stopped half the guys there, though.”
Doyon lit his own cigarette. “Shit, they had you in the army? I thought you got outta that!”
“Naw, I still have a few months left of service, but some stuff… happened.”
“I can see that,” Doyon said, eyes shifting to just beside Hwoarang’s head. “So, those wings part of their experiments or something? Do they work?”
“Yeah they work, but I didn’t get it from there. Uh,” he took a drag, wondering if he could tell his friend the details. He trusted Doyon wouldn’t freak out, but he also didn’t want to seem crazy either. ‘The mother of this guy who’s ass I’m gonna kick appeared to me in a dream and gave me some sort of power that she wanted me to use to save her son.’ He rehearsed the conversation in his head before deciding against it. It sounded stupid, even to himself. If it hadn’t been for the physical evidence, he would have dismissed it as a dream and forgotten about the whole thing. “It’s a long story, Doyon. It has something to do with the King of Iron Fist tournament. I picked these up through there.”
“Yeah?” Doyon asked, leaning forward in his seat, clearly intrigued.
“It’s not a drug, Doy,” he said, glaring at his buddy as he could see the gears in the other’s mind churning. If it hadn’t been for the street, Doyon would have probably turned into an upscale businessman; the guy was always looking for ways to make a buck and recognized what people were willing to pay lots of money for. Hwoarang snorted, “I don’t know how the fuck I got them and I don’t really want them, but I… I just need a place to crash for a little bit. Is it cool if I stay here?”
“Guy, did you say you went AWOL? The army’ll be after ya. You could be too hot to handle…”
“Remember Ami Yuu? You owe me, man!” Hwoarang hated to pull out his ace in the hole, but he really needed help, and he couldn’t exactly walk down the street to someone else.
“Fuck, man! I’d hoped you’d forgotten about her!” Doyon thought hard, making it look every bit as painful as it probably was. “FINE! You can hide out here for a bit, but if my crew sees any of your military motherfuckers sniffing around, ya gotta go. I have too many investments to risk, even for you.”
“But if you were gonna risk them; you’d do it for me, right?” Hwoarang showed his smug grin and poked at a metallic tin that had been left on the table. “What’s this, a present for me?”
Doyon nodded. “Only for you, man. Bloom, bring out Blue Lightning.” The woman who’d been quiet until that point let out an excited squeal and leapt out of her seat. She rushed down the hallway and quickly returned with what looked like a huge, blue vase, although Hwoarang knew that it was anything but. She set it on the table and uncoiled several tubes that were neatly wrapped around the stem.
Hwoarang peered around the hookah to his friend. “I thought it you didn’t like hash anymore, Doy. What’s up?”
“Every once in a while, man. It’s not good for business to get all doped up, but you’re here and it’s a fucking celebration. Just don’t tell mom, kay?” he grabbed the tin and withdrew a small black block and quickly set a lighter to it to loosen it up. He crumbled the bits into the bowl and quickly heated it up and passed it to Hwoarang. “First hit?”
Hwoarang wasn’t much of a smoker, and the hash was a creeper and after a while he was feeling too relaxed to bother even trying to move. The drug was gone quickly and Doyon had brought him some beer that he let sit on the table, only taking the occasional sip from. There was a happy buzz thrumming through his body that he hadn’t experienced since he was a kid and he was just letting his body relax for the first time in weeks. His eyes lit up when he looked down at his hand he could see a golden light surrounding it. “Woah,” he said, flexing his fingers as the light moved around his digits. He felt the heat in his hand and wondered if it had any connection to the power he’d been given. He felt so comfortable, except for his wings that were folded at an odd angle. It wasn’t painful, but it was a dull irritant that was all Hwoarang could feel. He huffed and tried to concentrate on the energy he could feel in his body that was connected to the golden glow around him. He worked it towards and through his wings until he visualized them vanishing in a burst of light. His feathered appendages seemed to feel warm, and then there was an absence of discomfort. He reached a hand over his shoulder and discovered that they had disappeared just like that, just like he’d visualized. “Hmm, that’s interesting…” he mumbled before quickly looking up to Doyon to see if the other man had noticed. He relaxed as he saw the businessman was too busy making out with Bloom to notice anything. He looked over at Mick who was still playing his videogames, oblivious to everything around him. Hwoarang relaxed and watched the end of the samurai movie that Bloom had started, his mind occasionally wandering to the reality of his situation and what he’d have to do about it. He’d already figured out the wing bit, and he wanted to play around with it some more, but he knew that wings alone wouldn’t help him with Jun’s request and he’d have to learn more about his powers. His instinct was telling him to rush off to find Jin and kick the crap out of Devil, and he would have done it too if it weren’t for the small issue with the army. They’d tracked him out to Japan last time, even though it was out of their jurisdiction. They’d find him again if he got too sloppy, and he wanted some uninterrupted time alone with Jin.
‘Just the two of us…’ he thought contentedly. First he’d defeat that Devil bastard and then he’d get his rematch. He snorted; it probably wasn’t even about the rematch anymore, but he clung to the challenge as an excuse to continue chasing the other man. He’d begun to view Jin as not just another fight, but as someone he’d like to… spend time with. He felt a rapport with the other fighter and it was so strong in his mind that he couldn’t ignore it. He didn’t know if Jin felt the same – probably not if he had Devil to worry about – but he intended to find out.
Hwoarang settled into the couch. Though he felt strongly about finding Jin and dealing with Devil, he had to lay low for a while. Being with his old friend and in a somewhat-familiar setting was bringing him back to his old ways. He’d stay for a few days… yeah, since he couldn’t leave he might as well enjoy himself.
~End Chapter Ten~
| Index | Chapter Eleven |