Summary: Hwoarang and Jin make the journey from Yakushima to the King of Iron Fist Tournament without a hitch. There is an absence of danger when they first arrive, as if the Zaibatsu has no interest in Jin, which is fine, because someone showed up for Hwoarang.
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: As always to my dear friend and beta Kat. You've been with me since the beginning of this journey and I dearly appreciate and value your presence along every step of this wonderful trip.
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: Hee, they've finally made the move to the tourney! This story is really keeping me going throughout all the things that school is throwing at me.
Thanks for reading! Hearing your thoughts and comments are really encouraging and inspiring. Thank you, guys.
"Angel/Devil's words inside Hwoarang/Jin's head"
Please see the Index for more details, chapter links and fanart.
Hwoarang slipped his coins into the vending machine slot and whacked the buttons until two coca-colas dropped unceremoniously into the catch tray. He grabbed both and headed back to find Jin just as the engines for the ferry began to start up. The small upper deck rattled with the effort and he stumbled down the stairs to the lower deck, avoiding bumping into the other passengers that were travelling out to Kakoshima. He was surprised at the number of foreigners that were milling about the small vessel (he hadn’t seen that many of them when they’d been on the island), though he hadn’t really been paying attention, either. He’d been too busy trying to keep from laughing as Jin said goodbye to Nana. Inoue and Momo had understood all-too easily and been giggling as they’d ushered them out of the onsen office, but Nana, on the other hand, was predictably unpredictable. She acted surprised and sad when they stopped in her cafe, and then turned around to give them each a bag full of homemade sweets (he assumed) and things to eat on their trip. It was as if she’d been waiting for them to leave, but was still caught by surprise when they told her as much. In a way he was sad to leave (alright, he’d grown to like them, somehow) but the moment he’d stepped onto the ferry, all he could think about was the upcoming tournament.
He stepped up behind his dark-haired lover, completely taking the other man by surprise when he pressed the cold can against his neck.
Jin jumped back in surprise and frowned at him. “What?”
“Here, Kazama,” he tossed the can into the air and Jin caught it with one hand, still pursing his lips in a sour expression as he cracked it open.
“So,” Hwoarang started, ignoring the look and resting his elbows on the back railing of the ferry. “What’s the plan? I don’t usually travel to the tourneys all first class. Are we flying in?”
Jin nodded, pressing the red and white can to his lips and tipped it back. Yakushima was behind them, slowly growing smaller as the boat pulled away. The little road around the island didn’t seem to dampen the overload of green as they traveled away from it. Several patches of clouds came into view, the dark mist raining down to feed the ancient rainforest at the interior. It was always raining somewhere on the island.
Hwoarang leaned on the railing, resting his chin on his arms and watched the island disappear behind them before looking up at his companion. “Oi, Kazama,” he nudged the other man with his toe. “I’m bored.”
The other man stepped back and looked at him, “I’m not here to entertain you, Hwoarang.”
“Yeah, but you do entertain me, Jinny,” he purred and wrapped his arm around the other man.
“H-Hwoarang!” Jin tried to push him as he was pulled towards what looked like a staff room. “W-we can’t!”
“Ha ha, I was just kidding, Kazama,” Hwoarang stopped groping his rival and instead grabbed his hand to pull him along the deck. “Let’s check out the front of this tub, then. I wanna see where we’re going!”
“Fine,” Jin allowed himself to be pulled along. “You’ll probably want the window seat too…”
Jin lifted his hood as he stepped onto the steps leading down from the airplane. He knew that if someone was looking for him, they’d find him, despite his poor attempt at concealing himself. Any assassin’s task would be made that much easier with the redhead bounding down the steps behind him.
“Wi~ndo~w se~at, wi~ndo~w seat!” he was humming to himself. “Thanks for letting me sit there,” he leaned on Jin when they’d finally stepped onto the tarmac.
“I had a feeling you’d want it,” Jin said, trying to be quiet to compensate for the other man’s volume. If he knew his grandfather, there’d be a limo or something just waiting to pick him up and take him to the tournament. Heihachi liked to keep him under thumb, though there didn’t appear to be any burly men with guns waiting for them there. Not even when they got inside the terminal; nobody seemed to be waiting for them.
Either that or his grandfather was hiring smarter goons.
The dark-haired Japanese man adjusted the strap of his duffle bag on his shoulder and puffed out his chest as Hwoarang whistled loudly for a cab. Well, if anyone was there to kill them, they’d missed all their opportunities. Jin tossed his bag into the trunk of the bright, yellow car and climbed inside, fastening his seatbelt as he gave instructions for how to get to the hotel.
The driver knew exactly where to go and weaved dangerously in and out of traffic to get them to the doorstep in record time. Hwoarang chatted him up the whole while, and it seemed that the older man was also a fan of the King of Iron Fist Tournament. He admitted to cheering for some American fighter who utilized a kickboxing style, though he wasn’t adverse to accepting an autograph as payment.
Jin marveled at the way that Hwoarang was able to smooth talk the other man, convincing him that a personalized autograph from a real fighter from the tournament would be the best gift for his kids. He managed to somehow rope Jin into signing the sheet of paper as well, though the dark-haired man kept his mark simple and precise. The redhead signed his name with a flourish that seemed to make the driver happy as he pulled their bags from his trunk and left them on the curb of the hotel.
The two fighters grabbed their effects and went in to the reception desk to see what rooms had been reserved for them. The Zaibatsu always arranged for all participants in the tournament to have a room at a selected hotel (typically owned or under the influence of the Zaibatsu). It was in part to keep an eye on the participants, though it suited Hwoarang just fine, since he’d have been crashing on a park bench otherwise.
The woman behind the reception desk had been waiting for them, and handed them their room keys shortly after they’d walked into the lobby. Hwoarang dropped his bag to the ground and tore into his participation package to find his schedule.
Jin, on the other hand, kept his manila envelope tucked under his arm; the schedule and all the other contest information would still be there when he was in the privacy of his room. Still, he made a mental note of Hwoarang’s scheduled fights, which the other seemed too eager to talk about the moment he found the sheet in the black envelope.
“Man, they don’t have me on until later tomorrow! Hey, when are you fighting?” He pulled Jin’s envelope from under his arm and withdrew out the sheet of paper with his fights on it. “Man, you’re on for tomorrow morning! Really early, too. Guess we can’t be up late tonight, eh?”
“Ah,” Jin took the schedule from the redhead and looked at the time slots and arenas he was scheduled for. He frowned when he saw some of the names he was slotted against; he knew his grandfather was manipulating the matches to wear him out, though there was nothing he could do about it. Early matches would be the least of his worries when it came down to the end.
“Man, I was hoping to get a little warm-up or something before my bout… do you think they’ve got a dojo here?” Hwoarang folded his arms and leaned heavily against Jin to show his annoyance.
“This hotel is owned by the Zaibatsu. It’s logical for them to have a training room for the fighters… so they can keep and eye on them,” Jin flipped his room key over. “I’m in 801, where are you?” he looked over to read the card in the redhead’s hand.
“808,” Hwoarang frowned. “What, we’re not together?”
“They had no reason to put us together,” Jin said, tucking the card into his pocket. “Our situation hadn’t changed until recently, anyways…” he bowed his head, memories of the other day coming to his memory so clearly. It had only been one day since he’d consummated his relationship with Hwoarang back in Yakushima. It had been such a short time, but still, it felt so far away. “I’d like to stay in your room with you,” he finally voiced, feeling nervous for no reason he could understand. He could feel Devil’s disapproving thrum in the back of his mind, but it was easy enough to ignore. He gasped when Hwoarang wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling him in close.
“Of course you’re going to stay with me,” Hwoarang said just as the doors chimed open to the eighth floor. “I’m feeling kinda tired, so I might not be able to pay you back for last night. We might have to just sleep, but don’t worry, I won’t make you sleep on the floor.”
Jin’s mouth turned up into a small smile.
“Heh, not like the shitty bed you made me sleep in.”
“B-but, I let you sleep with me last night,” Jin followed the redhead out into the hallway.
“That’s exactly why I’m going to let you sleep with me tonight,” Hwoarang said, stopping in front of his room and sliding the card key into the lock. “But no cuddling, Kazama,” he pointed at Jin with a mock-threatening tone. “I don’t cuddle.”
“Sure, sure,” Jin waved his hand to dismiss the comment and deciding not to mention how Hwoarang had somehow entangled his arms around his frame the previous night. He was about to follow the Korean through the door when someone called out to him.
The dark-haired man recognized the voice and spun around just in time to catch Ling Xiaoyu as she threw herself at him. He dropped his bag, caught the petite girl as she knocked him back against the doorframe all the while excitedly babbling about something.
“Hey, hey,” Hwoarang popped out into the hallway, looking more amused than he had the right to be. “Friend of yours, Kazama?”
“Y-yeah, from school,” Jin said just as another girl walked up to meet them.
“Hey, Ling,” the new girl said, grabbing hold of Xiaoyu’s bubblegum-pink bikini top and snapping it back. “Are you getting lazy, all of the sudden? Don’t make Jin carry you to the pool, even if you’d like it,” she winked and a blush came to Xiaoyu’s features.
“But, I…” she looked at Jin and quickly hopped back to the ground.
The dark-haired fighter breathed a sigh of relief and looked at the Korean who’d come to lean against the doorframe and observe the whole spectacle. “So who are these people?” he asked in his accented Japanese.
“Xiaoyu is a friend from school, and… Miharu?” Jin tilted his head. He remembered this other girl, though he hadn’t talked to her much. “We all went to school together.” He looked to Hwoarang for some help, the way that Xiaoyu was looking at him made him uncomfortable.
“So, are you going to introduce your friend, Jinny?” Ling asked, clasping her hands behind her and rocking on the balls of her feet.
“Hwoarang,” the Korean said flatly.
“Ohh?” Xiaoyu seemed to think for a moment, raising a finger to her mouth. “That reminds me of that dream I told you about, Miharu.”
“Which one was that again? The one with the giant gumball?” the other girl crossed her arms and smirked.
“Noooo, the one with the spaceship!” Xiaoyu corrected, and Hwoarang raised his eyebrows while staring pointedly at Jin.
“Hey, Jinny,” she turned back to the dark-haired fighter. “I had this dream about you, it was weird.”
Hwoarang seemed to bristle at that comment, and Jin tried to ignore it and politely asked Xiaoyu to go on.
“Well, this woman kept following me around and asking me to find you. It was really weird, she was all in white and she was really strong and even told me she’d give me her powers if I agreed to help her!” she swayed and appeared to think for a moment. Her dark mood lasted for a second and then she seemed to bubble up again. “But I told her I couldn’t because I had to be there for Panda. Jin, did you know that Panda and Kuma are in love? She is taking care of her little Kumandas right now! They’re so cute!” she hopped up and down and turned to Miharu. “Isn’t that a weird dream, though?”
“Not any more weird than your other dreams. Weren’t you on your spaceship going to the moon again?” Miharu laughed and reached out to tickle her friend. “But Xiao, I wanna go for our swim!”
“Oh, right!” Xiaoyu seemed to brighten. “Would you like to come along, Jinny?” she asked the quiet fighter.
Hwoarang stepped in to answer for him. “Yeah, he would, except that he’s got an early fight tomorrow morning and I’ve gotta get him to bed. Sorry girls,” he pulled Jin back into the room and began to close the door. “Bye!”
“Sorry, Xiaoyu!” Jin called out before the door shut all the way. “Hwoarang?” he asked, turning to his friend who was locking the door. “Why’d you pull me away so quickly? She was just being nice.”
“Yeah…” Hwoarang bristled and stomped into the room and inspected the contents of the bar fridge. “A little too friendly, Kazama.”
“Okay, Hwoarang?” Jin walked over and sat on the bed beside the other man. “She’s just a friend from school… are you… jealous?” he couldn’t repress the smile that sprang to his face.
“Damn right I’m jealous,” Hwoarang withdrew a baby bottle of booze and quickly cracked the seal on it. “I can’t help it. She fucking jumped on you,” he frowned and tilted the bottle against his lips.
Jin leaned against his lover, nuzzling his neck and nipping on the skin behind his earlobe. Once he had the redhead’s attention, he rolled off the bed and dug some cashews from the fridge. He cracked the tin and sat back on the king sized bed. He munched on a few salted nuts and turned back to Hwoarang. “Why do we always get rooms with one bed?”
“If you wanted separate beds, you could have asked,” Hwoarang said dryly. “You could always go to your room and stop eating my nuts,” Hwoarang said before he realized what he’d said. He grinned wolfishly and stared at Jin who seemed oblivious.
“I mean, is it that obvious that we’re a couple?” Jin continued thinking aloud while he threw a few more cashew nuts into his mouth.
“Momo did, I know that much,” Hwoarang said, rolling onto his stomach and kicking his legs out so he was really spread across the bed.
Jin’s head shot over to him with a look of horror on his face. “Not her…”
“Yeah, she’s a real pervy old lady. I like her!” Hwoarang grinned widely.
In one fluid movement, Jin set the tin down and grabbed a pillow to smack Hwoarang.
The Korean caught it mid-air and pulled Jin closer to him. “You know, they’re not wrong in assuming…”
Jin looked at him seriously. “You want us to be a…” he trailed off.
“Well, unless you don’t want me to hang around… and you think you can get rid of me,” Hwoarang waggled his eyebrows and tried to pull Jin closer for a kiss.
“Wait,” Jin pulled back. “Aside from the whole Devil thing, you still want me for something more than, ah, fooling around and fighting?”
“Idiot,” Hwoarang said, reaching out to take hold of Jin’s jaw and guide him closer. “How many times do I hafta say it? I was always after you,” he leaned in to brush a kiss along Jin’s parted mouth. “Yeah, so I like you a whole lot more now, and I still want that re~match,” he winked, reaching out to trail his fingers down Jin’s back. “But, that’s not the only thing I care about.”
“So,” Jin smiled and leaned into Hwoarang. “Does that mean you want this to be more than a one-time thing? You want to be my boyfriend, then?” he reached out to run his fingers through Hwoarang’s short hair before tightening his grip.
Hwoarang began to answer, but Jin pulled him in for a kiss, allowing the redhead’s tongue to have full access. He could taste the alcohol on his lover’s breath and drank in the flavour that he’d always associate with Hwoarang. He should have been sleeping or something, preparing for the early-morning tournament he had the next day, but he couldn’t stop his hands from reaching out and touching Hwoarang. They pressed against the Korean’s thin t-shirt, travelling over the clothed contours of his body before they travelled to the hem of the garment. He scraped his nails along the waistband of his jeans, inhaling sharply as Hwoarang’s tongue thrust inside his mouth, roughly owning the kiss and Jin finally pulled his shirt up to reveal the expanse of his lover’s perfect chest.
Jin fell back on the bed, pulling the other man with him until Hwoarang was casually half-draped across him and languidly kissing him. The Korean roughly pressed him down, and Jin relished the power the other man had over him. He loved the way Hwoarang touched him; traveling his strong hands along his body and lighting his senses on fire. The Korean’s hungry mouth swallowed up his moans, and he dug his fingers into Hwoarang’s thigh before a loud knocking sound broke through his senses and they reluctantly broke the kiss. “W-what was that?”
The two fighters stopped and looked at each other before turning towards the door where the sound had come from.
“Who the fuck?” Hwoarang growled and snorted angrily.
“Probably Xiaoyu again,” Jin sighed, grabbing a hold of Hwoarang’s shoulders to hold him close. “Don’t answer. Let’s pretend we’re not here,” he smirked mischievously, hating to deceive the girl who was so kind to him, but at that moment, he didn’t want any interruptions.
Hwoarang’s smirk matched Jin’s and his fingers reached to trail further along Jin’s thigh, just as the knocking resumed, escalating to loud bangs.
“Hey, Hwoarang! Open the fucking door!” a voice from the other side boomed in, causing the two fighters to break apart.
“Oh, fuck me,” Hwoarang cursed, looking at Jin before practically leaping off the bed.
“My thoughts exactly,” Jin muttered and followed behind his redheaded lover. “Who is it?” He didn’t recognize the distinctly masculine and gruff voice from the other side, though it was hard to ignore the thickly accented Japanese that it barked.
Hwoarang pressed his back against the wall, seemingly trying to decide what to do, before he took a breath and looked through the peephole. “Oh… wow…” he flicked the lock open just as another barrage of knocks and banging started.
The door swang open as soon as Hwoarang turned the doorknob to reveal a chubby Korean man whose most memorable feature was his loud Hawaiian shirt, although the shade of red that his face had achieved was running a close second. “Gigi!” he shouted and his frown disappeared, immediately replaced with a wide grin as he stepped in to hug the redhead.
“Fuck,” Hwoarang muttered under his breath.
Jin arched both eyebrows and folded his hands over his chest. Hwoarang looked back at him and tried to grin, though it was painfully clear to both men that their evening of passion was definitely over.
~End Chapter Thirty-Five~
| Index | Chapter Thirty-Six |