Summary: Jin and Hwoarang find a safe harbour for the night before deciding on a game plan for how to get back to the South end of the island where Jin lives. Of course, nothing is simple when either man is concerned and what could have been a simple bus ride turns into the beginnings of an adventure.
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 hope this chapter is a bit more light-hearted and enjoyable than the last one. I enjoyed chapter 22, but it was heavy with unresolved issues. Now that those issues have been more-or-less taken care of, I wanted to play around a bit.
"Angel/Devil's words inside Hwoarang/Jin's head"
Please see the Index for more details, chapter links and fanart.
After an hour of hiking through the woods, Hwoarang finally broke through the brush and out onto the single road that ran along the perimeter of Yakushima island. Jin followed and together the two men climbed onto the asphalt surface that was lit by sparse street lights and a waning sun. Hwoarang stretched languidly, as if the worst of their trip was behind them. Jin looked up and down the road, wishing he could join his friend in his optimism. “Where is this sign you saw that pointed towards the Miyanoura port?”
“I don’t know,” Hwoarang said, looking around. “But I think it was pointing that way,” he motioned down in one direction before walking forward.
“Are you sure?” Jin asked, falling into line beside the Korean. “I’m not too familiar with this side of the island…”
“Of course I’m sure, Kazama,” Hwoarang said, wrapping an arm around Jin to roughly pull the brunette along with him. He held the other man tightly to him to make sure that he followed his lead, only relaxing his grip when he was sure that Jin would follow. The two walked along in silence. Hwoarang stopped to massage his injured leg once or twice, although every time he tried to complain about it, Jin would bring up the strange pain he felt in his arm and this would usually shut him up. “Damnit, Kazama, you’re just like Angel. She’s all no-nonsense too. Why can’t you just listen to me complain for a bit, huh? Neither of you are any fun!”
Jin arched an eyebrow at the comment.
“I guess I can’t get away from her, even while she’s sleeping,” Hwoarang grumbled, stuffing his hands into his pockets as he hurried his pace to catch up with the other man.
“Yeah, and you like to complain just like Devil does… only you’re not as angry. Guess I can’t get away from him either?” Jin commented flatly, the weight of the statement lightened by the smirk he tried to hide.
“Don’t compare me to that asshole,” Hwoarang said, reaching back to grab the pack of cigarettes that weren’t in his pocket. “Shit…”
Jin shook his head and they trudged onward, the sun slowly slipping away and the forest beside them growing darker by the minute. “Hwoarang…” Jin asked, breaking the comfortable silence that had fallen between them. “Would you still have come if Devil wasn’t an issue?”
“What, you mean if it was just me on my feet and the couple bucks in my pocket?” Hwoarang asked with a look that asked if he were crazy. He made sounds of thought before reaching out to slug Jin in the shoulder. “Damnit, Kazama, you know I would have. I was always after you anyways.” He wanted to add in a comment about their fight, but the words suddenly felt weighted on his tongue and he swallowed them, rather than let them out. It was starting to be about more than his rematch. His feet faltered, leading him to walk that much closer to Jin. He balled his fists as he fought the urge to wrap his arm around the other man and grit his teeth at the ridiculousness of that urge, forcing his hands to stay weighted and heavy by his side. All he could do was continue to walk next to Jin.
Neither man said another word, until they both let out noises of relief as the lights of the large town of Miyanoura glowed in the distance as they rounded a bend in the road. They walked onward, noticing the buildings that sprang up on either side of the road before they found themselves in the heart of a large port town. The streets were still bustling with activity even that late into the evening and both men’s eyes grew big at the myriad of shops and vendors that lined the main street. As they continued on they found secondary roads that branched off and shot out towards the forest, and down towards the beach. “So, where to?” Hwoarang asked, his eyes darting along the lines of vendors that were grilling up all sorts of delicious smelling things. His belly grumbled loudly.
“First we find a place to stay,” Jin said, walking towards one of the side-streets that led towards the water.
Hwoarang was about to complain about how hungry he was, but decided that finding a comfortable place to sleep would be better. He could feel the exhaustion seeping through his body, and when he stopped moving he’d be done for the night. “Do you even know where you’re going?”
Jin didn’t say anything, but marched purposefully forward and Hwoarang followed behind, crashing into the other man moments later as Jin stopped in front of a small building that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a little bed and breakfast. The flickering sign in the window proclaimed that there was still some vacancy, as well as a pool and water-front view. The brunette turned to his companion, tilted his head towards the building before shrugging his shoulders as if to say, ‘this will do, won’t it?’
The Korean didn’t get a chance to reply, Jin led him inside to speak with the staff and they were handed a key and ushered up to the third-floor. The hallway was short, with only two doors on either side showing a good deal of privacy for the occupants of either room. The pair walked to the first door and Jin inserted the ornate key into the lock and turned the knob.
Hwoarang pursed his lips, emitting a low whistle as he peered into the room. “Pretty nice, Kazama,” he said as he marched inside and flopped back on the large king-sized bed at the centre. There was a large floor-length window that opened onto a private balcony and the Korean lazily looked over the other amenities, noting that there wasn’t a television, though it hardly mattered because he was only worried about two things; food and sleep.
Jin walked up to the bathroom, peering inside before turning to Hwoarang. “I really want a shower,” he said, pulling his shirt over his head and wincing after he pulled the torn clothing free.
“You alright?” Hwoarang quickly asked, hopping up from the bed and swearing as he landed on his injured leg.
“I’m fine, my shoulder is just sore,” Jin said, looking over at Hwoarang with equal concern.
“Ah, that’s because I had to snap your shoulder back into its socket while you were unconscious. You should be fine,” he pressed against his leg. “Heh, I think you might have nicked the bone a bit,” he almost laughed before sitting back on the bed and smiling through gritted teeth at his Japanese rival who was staring at him with wide eyes of concern. “I’m fine, Kazama, just really hungry. Get your shower and then we can get something to eat. I’ll worry about washing up when we get back.”
Jin sighed and nodded, turning to the bathroom and leaving Hwoarang by himself. The moment the door had shut behind him, Hwoarang was on his feet again and opening the door to the hallway. They were in dire straights for supplies and he had just the idea of where to pick up some more.
Jin turned the shower to hot and stood under the spray until he was as red as a lobster. He loved bathing in waterfall that fed the stream by his home, but nothing beat a steaming-hot shower after the kind of fight he’d endured with Hwoarang. He’d lost track of how long he’d been under the spray, but when the heat started ebbing from the water, he decided he’d been there long enough. Hwoarang would kill him for using all the hot water, but he didn’t care. His shoulder was feeling much better, and it was with that sleepy, comfortable demeanour that he stepped from the bathroom to find Hwoarang set up behind a group of items strewn across the bed.
Items that weren’t there when he’d gone for his shower.
“Hwoarang?” he asked, tightening the towel around his waist. “What are you doing?”
“I found supplies,” the Korean said by way of explanation. “I didn’t know what we’d need, so I grabbed a bit of everything.”
“What do you mean ‘grabbed a bit of everything’? Where did you get this… stuff?” he asked, reaching out to pick up a shirt that advertised the Hardrock Café in New York City in a big, obnoxious logo.
“Umm… the laundry room was unlocked?” Hwoarang answered questioningly. “I’ll return the stuff we don’t use, but I figured that we’re on a budget, right? C’mon, I don’t feel like wearing rags; these jeans have seen better days, and my tank is ruined!” he pulled the white fabric from his chest to better show the blood smears and tears. “I just grabbed some stuff to wear right now, nobody is going to miss this shit.”
Jin couldn’t repress the grin that crept up into his face and he shook his head, reaching out to pull a comfortable-looking pair of black pants from the pile. The linen was soft and well-worn and he had to admit he was grateful for something else to wear other than his filthy training pants.
Hwoarang quickly splashed some water on his face to clear the blood and grime before finding something to wear and the two men walked back towards the lights of the main street. Jin’s stomach had joined Hwoarang’s in a chorus and the fighters had both agreed that food was the next thing on the agenda. The main drag was bustling with people and vendors the further they traveled towards the harbour.
“Shit, I didn’t think there’d be a place like this on the island,” Hwoarang muttered as he eyed a street vendor’s wares. ‘Fresh Grilled Flying Fish’ was scrawled in large yellow Kanji along a sign with the same written in English just below it. The sign was nailed to the wall outside a small restaurant which also had a crude drawing of a fish with wings and a smiling man in a boat with what looked like a butterfly net.
The Korean looked between Jin and the restaurant and then back to Jin again. “Hey Jin, can we…? Hey!”
Jin was standing in front of a street vendor’s booth where a man was cooking up noodles on a grill. Hwoarang looked from his rival to the grill and then back to the flying fish. “But Jin!” he protested, turning back to really lean into the other man. “Fish!”
Jin looked from the doorway that Hwoarang was all-but jumping up and down in front of and the ramen noodles he’d been considering. The ramen vendor gave him a sour look, no-doubt unhappy that potential customers were being won over by the restaurant. Jin looked back to his friend and shrugged, walking over to the shop advertising flying-fish. “I don’t know if we can afford it,” he said, patting his pocket for whatever money he had.
“I’ve got money!” Hwoarang said, pulling a fistful of bills from his pocket.
“Hwoarang…” Jin said warningly, eyeing the money. “Where’d you get all that cash? I hope you didn’t steal-”
Hwoarang rolled his eyes. “Who leaves their cash in with their laundry? This is the money you gave me!” he beamed, waving the bills about before turning to the man behind the counter and placing an order for the both of them. “You were too preoccupied with getting me to leave you alone that you didn’t notice that you’d handed me half your savings!”
Jin patted his pockets again, realizing that it was a good thing he’d given the other man so much money; he was broke. He approached the counter, standing beside his rival-turned-companion to watch the chef at work. It was impressive to see the flying fish, still complete with their wide fins and impressive tails, battered and cut up. It was all done out in the open and he had to admit that the show was well-worth the higher price. It was one of the signature dishes of the town, after all. Hwoarang was getting too excited for his food, Jin could feel his energy radiating from him and he began feeling excited by proximity.
The Korean was quick to snatch the meal from the gentleman behind the counter, leaving Jin to give his thanks before following him into the café to find a place to sit. He wandered past the tables and through a doorway, taking a seat at a small, secluded table that was on a patio to the side of the building. Jin sat opposite, looking around at the scenery and seeing why Hwoarang had picked it. Their vantage point gave a great view of the street, as well as the sky and when he turned in his seat he could see the water in the distance, rolling on the horizon behind a smattering of buildings. He turned back to the redhead who was already pulling his fish apart with his chopsticks and gave him a wry smile. “So you get a nice sea-side view and I get to look at the street?”
“I’m the tourist, Kazama,” he said, licking some sauce from the chopstick. “Do you think I’d see things like this back home?”
“Hmm, I guess not,” Jin mumbled, digging into the soft, flaky meat of his own meal. He brought the first bite to his lips and gently placed it on his tongue, letting the flavour properly wash over his taste buds before he began chewing. Hwoarang, he doubted, bothered to taste his food with the way he inhaled it. Less than ten minutes later Hwoarang had abandoned his chopsticks and was picking at the remnants of his fish with his fingers, ripping the battered fins off and popping them into his mouth. Jin was twice-grateful for the Korean’s choice of seats since nobody could see them out there. He bowed his head, focusing on properly tearing a strip of fish from the bone, though failing as it flaked away.
“Hey,” Hwoarang reached across to touch his arm. “Are you… he’s still not there, right?”
“No,” Jin shook his head, setting his chopsticks down. “Like I said, he’s worn out and weak. I won’t feel him for a few days… maybe a week…”
“Then why the long face, Kazama?”
“When he gets back…”
“Hold it. Worry about dinner. He’ll come back no matter how much you worry, right? So what’s the point?” Hwoarang put his hands behind his head and made a show of stretching backwards.
“No buts, Kazama. Stop worrying. Do you think I got where I am by worrying about tomorrow? We’ll deal with it when it gets here. Now, I’m still feeling kinda hungry… maybe some noodles or… hey, do they have a dessert menu here?” He began looking around and Jin rolled his eyes, propping his elbow on the table to rest his head and watch him.
“Fine,” he said after a moment, still lazily resting his jaw in his palm. “But if you spend all our money on food, then we really will have to worry tomorrow.” He nudged Hwoarang in the leg with his toe before picking up his chopsticks, deciding to try eating his fish again. He was ready to give up and throw the wooden utensils away. His comment about their finances seemed to have little effect on the Korean, who quickly sprang from his seat and hurried back into the restaurant.
Jin stared down at his meal, nearly half-finished, and then back to the doorway that Hwoarang had disappeared behind. He sighed heavily, set his chopsticks down and picked up the battered fish with his hands, ripping the pieces off with his fingers and bringing the succulent morsels to his mouth. The batter crunched between his teeth and he understood why the other man had torn into his plate with the ferocity of a wild dog. It tasted better when eaten with ones hands. He lost himself in his dish, cracking a fin between his teeth as Hwoarang returned to sit heavily in the seat across from him.
“No dessert?” Jin asked, trying to regain his composure, but it was too late. Hwoarang’s eyes were dancing as he looked him over, and Jin tried to ignore the amused expression on his face. He stared at the other man, challenging whatever he was thinking. Had he expected him to eat the damn meal any other way?
Hwoarang stared back and Jin tried to maintain the blank, unreadable front that he usually wore to close everyone else out, but something was different. He just couldn’t seem to completely shut himself off from the other man. The way that Hwoarang was looking at him was unnerving, penetrating. Jin didn’t know when it had started, but they’d become locked in a staring contest, and gazing into the depths of the other’s amber eyes left him feeling exposed. His pupils were dilated, he noticed, shadowed by his dark brows that twitched with thoughts Jin couldn’t quite see in the swirling depths. It was not unlike before their fights where he observed the other man’s whole body to read his intentions and movements; but being that close, and peering into his eyes was quite a powerful feeling that Jin suddenly felt overwhelmed by, and he turned his head away. “We’ll have to figure out how to get back to Onoaida,” he said to fill the air that suddenly felt so heavy around him. “This is the north end of the island, and my place is on the south… I can check into the bus schedule to find out when the next one leaves to take us home.”
He chanced a glance back at Hwoarang who was having trouble looking at him, a light blush across his attractive features before he shook his head and reached out to grab at Jin’s fish. “Sounds good, Jin,” he said, tearing off the last fin and popping it in his mouth. “Mmmm, yummy,” he licked his fingers and Jin was mesmerized by the action before he cleared his throat and averted his eyes.
“Yes, well, the busses never run at regular intervals, so it’ll be a pain in the ass…” Jin tried to stay on topic, unsure of why he was having to fight to speak properly.
“Why don’t we just cut through the centre of the island ourselves, then?” Hwoarang asked.
That brought a genuine smirk to Jin’s face that made him want to laugh out loud. “Well, I’d like to just spend a few days hiking through the island to get down there, but I don’t know if you could handle it, Hwoarang.”
He gave in to the urge to laugh when Hwoarang’s eyes went wide and his mouth moved, no words coming right away. “W-what?! C’mon, Kazama! Don’t just assume that I can’t take it!”
“Hwoarang,” Jin laughed. “We don’t have all the time in the world. The bus is faster. I’d love to go for a hike through the forest, but it would take too long and the bus would take less than a day.”
Hwoarang shot him the dirtiest look he’d ever seen and folded his arms over his chest. “How long would it take to hike through there?”
Jin looked up to think, “Well, it would take me about three days-”
“Three days it is!” he pushed his hand out between them to shake on it. “You said you’ve got a week till that bastard comes back, so three days won’t even cut it close. C’mon, Jin, I hate waiting at bus terminals for the next ride. Let’s do it!”
Jin looked at Hwoarang with an appraising eye, seriously considering if it was a good idea as he reached out to take the other man’s hand. What Hwoarang had seen of the island so far was remotely civilized and he doubted that the Korean had ever been dropped into a situation that could compare to the harsh conditions that made up the interior of the island. He couldn’t help feeling a sense of foreboding at his agreeance to cut through the island to get home. Devil may not have been there to bother him, but that didn’t mean that Hwoarang alone wouldn’t drive him crazy.
Jin followed behind his companion as they returned to their room feeling more tired than usual and just wanting to crawl into bed for a nice, deep sleep. That thought left his mind as he was reminded handful of the clothes that Hwoarang had alleviated from the laundry room. “We’ll have to get some supplies before we go,” he said, looking down at the bed draped in other people’s clothing.
Hwoarang looked down at the shorts that he’d stolen and the trusty tank top that showed off his upper body. “Hey, I picked some winners here, Kazama. What’s the matter with what you’ve got on?” he turned, pulling on the corner of Jin’s shirt for emphasis.
“The problem is,” Jin lectured, moving the clothes off the bed. “This stuff is touristy and probably won’t last the trip. We need something a little more-”
“Fine,” Hwoarang cut him, tossing a pair of socks over his shoulder as he walked off to the bathroom. “If you’re gonna bitch, I’ll steal something better.”
“It’s alright, Kazama. I saw some nice shorts for you…” he ducked inside the room, the door blocking the shirt that flew his way.
Jin ground his teeth, trying harder than he should have to frown before he broke and a smile spread across his face. He didn’t know why, but he found himself infected by Hwoarang’s good moods more often. Perhaps since Devil had worn himself out with that final laser blast, the Mishima heir had finally managed a quiet moment to himself in his thoughts and he’d found himself thinking more and more of his uninvited, yet incredibly welcome, guest.
He absently brought his hand up to feel his wounds through the fabric of his shirt, his mind wandering to the fight and the injuries that Hwoarang had sustained at his hand. The other man wouldn’t admit it – except to complain – but Jin could see the limp that he tried to disguise and knew that he was in pain. Jin shook his head, pulling the shirt up and over his muscular frame as he searched around in the closet for a blanket to curl up on the floor with; Hwoarang was hurt, he should have the bed to himself. He didn’t mind sharing sleeping quarters or even curling up on the same mat as the other man, but he had a feeling that Hwoarang’s comfort levels were somewhere outside sharing a bed with his rival. It was just as well, he didn’t mind sleeping on the floor.
The raven-haired man rested his head against the pillow and looked out the floor-length window, taking in the waning moon and he was reminded of a couple nights back when he’d been flying towards it. He closed his eyes, the entire incident too painful to remember. Instead he focused his senses to the water splashing down in the shower, the sound a tame roar, barely muffled by the thin door and his mind wandered to the man inside. Red hair, grown out to a beautiful dark brown, but he couldn’t help but still think of Hwoarang as a redhead. His thoughts had been on him even before he’d heard him fall into the river. Now that Hwoarang was there… Jin couldn’t go ten minutes without thinking of him. It was insane. No wonder Devil had been so agitated, and now that the beast was sleeping… Jin shuddered. The memory of their fight was running over and over in his mind with the fiery Korean looking at him so intensely… Jin was finding himself thinking of the other man with the same intensity. Even his frustrations with the true reason for him being there didn’t dampen the feeling, the two just co-mingled in the back of his mind, a volatile mix that he found both angering and exhilarating to experience.
The roar of the shower dragged on, adding the right background noise and Jin found his eyes drifting shut to the sound, the roar boiling hot inside his imagination. Unbidden he could see the water rushing hot over Hwoarang’s body, matching the intensity of the other man, his red locks that had grown to his shoulders, sticking to his neck. Jin shivered, the sound of the shower changing as the water was shut off and he listened to sloppy, wet footsteps travel from the bathroom to just behind his head.
Jin didn’t move. He was mesmerized by the sound of his heart pounding so loudly in his ears, and the feeing of water dripping hotly on his back. He cracked his eye to look up at the other man, all feelings of trepidation leaving him as his gaze fell upon the small, pink towel that had been wrapped around his waist. Instantly, Jin forgot the flurry of thoughts that had been thrumming through his mind as he burst out laughing. “Nice towel,” he blurted out, enjoying the Korean’s embarrassed look as he folded his arms over his chest and frowned through a furious blush.
“Shut up, it’s the only one left after you had your shower!” he leaned over Jin again, his hair falling forward and dripping water along him. “More importantly, what the fuck do you think you’re doing on the floor?”
“Ah, trying to sleep?” Jin offered, rising to sit and stare up at the other man, his eyes still full of mirth. That rare emotion that felt so good inside him.
Hwoarang huffed and turned away, glancing over his shoulder before digging through the clothes pile for something to sleep in. He favoured his injured leg, being mindful of the bandages that wrapped up and around his very exposed thigh. “You’re still hurt, Jin. It’s the last comfortable bed you’ll get to sleep in for a while, so this is your last chance…” he pulled out a clean pair of cotton shorts that were just a little too short, but he shrugged and stepped into them, discarding the towel before turning to stare at Jin again with his hands on his hips. “Hey, I don’t go offering for people to sleep with me too often, so take your chance while you can…” he trailed off mid-sentence, his eyes going wide and his face going even redder than it had previously. “That is, I usually sleep alone… I like sleeping alone! It’s just… fuck it, Kazama. Last chance, I want this bed for myself!”
Jin’s laugher had died down, though he couldn’t wipe the grin from his face as he watched Hwoarang fumble with his words while wearing shorts so small that Heihachi would have smacked him for even thinking of wearing them. It was just… he never expected to see Hwoarang that way… ever. It took the edge off his previous thoughts when coupled with the fact that he was climbing to his feet to hop into bed with the other man. “You’re right. We’ll need our strength for the hike,” he said as he slid under the sheet, grateful for the spacious size of a king mattress. Hwoarang stayed on his side and Jin reasoned that it was just like sleeping in separate beds. So long as neither of them liked to move around in their sleep, they would be fine. After a minute, Hwoarang’s breathing dropped off to a low, steady rhythm; though Jin’s took a little longer to reach that blissful state of oblivion. His mind was still focused on that abrasive redhead that he just couldn’t seem to get rid of and how he was grateful for that one fact.
Jin found himself standing deep in the woods of Yakushima forest. He didn’t recognize the path he was standing on, nor the trees that formed shadowed walls along the edges, almost as if they’d been cleared away to make a perfect path straight through the brush. That thought alone should have bothered him, though the Japanese fighter found that he expected to be there.
He eyed the forest border carefully, sensing strange phantoms weaving between the thick tree trunks. Their voices were familiar, though they faded before he could properly hear what they said, their shadowy figures flitting between the trees, never leaving the safety of the undergrowth. He frowned as he stared up at the black sky above his head that was oddly void of stars; their brightness suddenly fading as a brilliant moon pierced the horizon, washing the night in a dark indigo. He frowned, the glowing orb was frozen in place, barely moving – or moving so slowly – that Jin was sure it had stopped. There was something odd and disconcerting about it, despite the fact that only a sliver was visible from behind the horizon. The white, sun-washed surface seemed to shimmer before it changed, the illusion cracking and the sliver was stained red, almost as if it had been drenched in blood. He blanched at the sight, having seen a hunter’s moon before, although he knew that this was not the case. His eyes grew wide as he looked upon that face that was a just peeking out from the ground.
Jin suddenly found it impossible to breathe properly, the air feeling thick in his lungs, his legs locked to position and he felt the electricity crackling within that sanguine body that clung to its place just beyond his vision. The lightning in his own body responded to the call and he fought to will it down, never taking his wide-eyes from that terrible face. He was trapped, like a deer in headlights and he completely understood the message that Devil was trying to send to him: he was coming back. As slowly as the moon was moving, it was moving, and eventually Jin would have to confront that beast again and the thought terrified him. What if he couldn’t do it? What if he just didn’t get strong enough by that point? Trapped inside the dream that the black beast was forcing upon him, Jin felt an overwhelming sense of desperation washing over him. The emotion radiating from the blood moon and directly affecting him, telling him he’d never be good enough. Wasn’t worthy… Jin started as he felt something on his shoulder. Heavy and kneading, though he couldn’t pry his eyes away from that awful face peeking over at the horizon, watching everything he was doing. He’d been able to repress him before, but somehow he was getting – he started again, that pressure on his shoulder increasing and he could have sworn that he heard a voice cursing.
“Heh,” the voice exhaled in his ear and he felt his adrenaline jump through his veins. It was somehow familiar and the mere utterance caused Devil’s spell to waver. “Those fuckers are gonna smash together if they keep going… well, crash really slowly, anyways…” the voice continued conversationally and Jin felt the pressure again, this time accompanied by am arm that snaked around his back, pulling him against a solid body that he couldn’t really see but just knew was there. He was spun around until he’d turned his back towards that awful moon and he was faced with another sight. On the horizon behind him was another celestial body peeking across, only this was a brilliant white sun that was a mirror image to the moon’s position, climbing opposite until the two would eventually meet in the sky overhead. Was that the crash that… Hwoarang had mentioned? He couldn’t see anything but the sun, though he could still sense the other man’s presence close by. Not choking him off, yet near enough that he could draw comfort from it – from him. He felt his anxiety over Devil’s impending resurrection break like a dike, bringing a comforting wave of relaxation that washed over him and the landscape wavered as Devil’s spell was broken and he drifted off into dreams that were his own.
Hwoarang woke with a start, jolted from the dream that had felt so tactile, although the meaning was lost on him the moment he opened his eyes. The feeling of ease was replaced by annoyance when he shivered and realized that the sheet that he and Jin had been sharing was expertly wrapped around his rival’s body, leaving none for him.
“Hey,” he reached over; trying to pull a corner out from under Jin’s body, but that was met with a grunt and Jin holding the linen closer to himself. “Ch,” Hwoarang frowned, half-wishing he’d let Jin stay on the floor.
After a brief struggle, he managed to detangle Jin’s legs from the sheets and pull a healthy portion over to his side of the bed again, putting distance between him and the other man. He didn’t even want to think about how easy he found it to sleep in the same bed as Jin. He eyed his raven-haired bedmate, feeling sleep tug at his sub-conscious and he closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again, Jin had expertly traversed the no-mans land between them and was sleeping entirely too close to Hwoarang for his machismo to tolerate. He tried pushing the dark-haired man away, but the separation was short-lived, and the two found themselves closer than before. Hwoarang resigned himself to sleeping against the other man and awkwardly turned Jin around so that at least his back was the part touching him. He leaned heavily against the warm body, deciding that it wasn’t cuddling, and he actually found it very comfortable before he shut his eyes, his mind drifting back to his dreams of sunrise and eager angels.
~End Chapter Twenty-Three~
| Index | Chapter Twenty-Four |