Chapter Summary: After a week of not seeing her 'friends', they turn up out of the blue and try to make it up Akira, only she lands herself in some very serious trouble.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tekken but I do own my OCs and plot. If you steal, be prepared to suffer.
Chapter Warnings: Swearing and some hint of drug use.
Notes: Yay, I've finally finished this chapter! It's taken me ages! I enjoyed writing it though, even with the sucky dialogue and chapter ending.
Extra Notes: I'm gonna be on a short break for now – need some time to plan the next few chapters.
Chapter 19 – The Final Goodbye will be up soon!
A Tekken Story: Through the Years
"I can remember the very first time I cried
How I wiped my eyes and buried the pain inside
All of my memories - good and bad - that's past
Didn't even take the time to realize
Starin' at the cracks in the walls
Cuz I'm waiting for it all to come to an end
Still I curl up right under the bed
Cuz its takin' over my head all over again
Lyin' awake watchin' the sunlight
How the birds will sing as I count the rings around my eyes
Constantly pushing the world I know aside
I don't even feel the pain, I don't even want to try
Do you even know who you are?
Oh, yeah, yeah
A borrowed dream or a superstar?
Oh, I wanted to be a star
Is life good to you or is it bad?
I can't tell, I can't tell anymore
Do you even know what you have?
I guess not, oh I guess not"
"Lonely Girl" – Pink
Chapter 18 – First Time I Cried
It wasn't a week later until I saw Nanaya, Shiki, Lulu and Hiryu again, and even when I did, they acted like nothing happened.
"Ah, there you are!" Nanaya greeted as I stepped out of the café after my shift," We haven't seen you all week!"
That's because you didn't answer any of my messages I left you.
"Sorry…I've been busy," I adjusted my bag on my shoulder," So, what's up?"
"We just wanted to see if you want hang out?"
"Well…yeah," A 'duh' went unsaid.
"Sure, but I need to get changed. Meet me back at my house in an hour?"
Nanaya and the others arrived on time, Nanaya waiting on the path leading up to my house while Shiki, Lulu and Hiryu were sitting inside Shiki's dad's 'borrowed' car again an hour later.
"So, where are we heading?" I asked as I bolted the car door shut after I got in.
"Downtown, to an empty house we know about,"
An ice-cold sensation travelled along my arms," An empty house?"
"Yeah, no-one's lived in there for years…we just wanna have fun that's all," Nanaya peeked at me in the rearview mirror," What, you're not scared are you, Akira-chan?"
I squinted at him," Of course not,"
Shiki started making clucking noises from the front seat.
I kicked the back of his seat with the heel of my boot, earning a small whimper from him," Shut up," I tossed my hair over my shoulder and held my chin up," I'm not scared,"
I've just never been to an abandoned house with a bunch of misleading, disloyal punks.
"Good answer, otherwise we wouldn't be friends, would we now?"
Friends don't eachother drunk and leave them to get home on their own just because they don't want to get into trouble.
It was already dark as we cruised through town, the moon producing a vaster gibbous glow than usual in the starless night sky, even though the thin tufts of clouds that floated past. Shinjuku seemed almost empty, there was hardly anyone pacing along the streets or driving past on the roads. It was too open, like a spooky Halloween night you see in the movies. The scenery made my blood run cold and my stomach drop to my feet.
Despite no obstructions during our voyage, the drive was longer than I expected. I didn't speak; I just stared out of the window with my arms and ankles crossed, absorbing the robust conversation fluctuating around me but looking reserved and diverted. My concealment was unmasked as we swung into the gloomier part of the city.
This part of town was where most of the crime was committed, including the murder of the Swedish artist called Alexander Larsson who Mrs. Hayashi discovered not long ago. We toured into a shadowy street with irregular-blinking street lamps, dusky roads that howled with empty winds and paths littered by torn pieces of paper and crushed cans. It looked like no-one had lived there for at least a decade, maybe more.
"Still not scared, Akira?"
We pulled up to the house at the end of the road. It was boarded up with no lights and in a desperate need of a paint job. The patches of grass adjacent to it was overgrown and riddled with wild weeds. Up close, I noticed that the windows had been shattered and the glass splinters remained on the ground, so I treaded carefully as we made our way to the house. Without a key, Nanaya accomplished opening the door by ramming his shoulder into the door until it slackened and kicked it open. The inside of the house was just as bad, the paint was crumbling off the walls, the few portions of furniture that was there was overturned and damaged, the floorboards were creaky and scratched as if people had been holding their own private gatherings and the walls were cracked. To my surprise when Lulu switched on the living room lights, they worked.
"So, what are we doing here?" I asked, lowering on the side of the couch that wasn't as badly tattered.
"We're going to have a little party, just the four of us," Nanaya scraped a chair lengthways across the floor and sat opposite me. Lulu sat on the floor below me, Shiki took another chair and sat next to Nanaya while Hiryu hung back, leaning against the wall with the broken window.
"I don't know if you remember what happened last time I went to a 'party' with you…," I narrowed my eyes at Nanaya and Shiki as Lulu giggled like an annoying schoolgirl, plaiting her orange hair.
Shiki pretended that he didn't notice but Nanaya scorned in return," Don't worry, it's not gonna be like that party. No, ours is different," he stretched his arm into his jacket pocket, pulled out a clear bag and tossed it onto the table separating us," Here,"
Inside the clear bag was a dry, plant-like, mossy-green tobacco substance.
My throat felt tight when I recognised what it was. Sweat beaded on the palms of my hands. My body felt like it was immovable, like I was trapped.
"Oh, it would seem that our little, innocent Akira-chan knows what the main event is," Nanaya teased a singsong voice, making chortles erupt around me, sounding menacing," Still not scared, Akira?"
What happened to you? I thought you were my friend…
"I-I'm not scared," My hand that was grasped on the arm of the couch contracted," W-Why would I be?" Damn, my throat was dry all of a sudden.
"Oh, you're not s-scared, a-are y-you?" Shiki taunted my hesitating, his eyes wide with terror, his mouth ajar, both of his hands gripping the chair in fright.
"No? Are you willing to take some then?" Nanaya's sickening grin only added the fuel of the panic burning in my chest.
I swallowed, nodding;" Sure," I leaned back on the cushion and shrugged as if it was no big deal.
"Alright then," Nanaya took the roll-up paper from Shiki.
This is bad.
I examined fixedly as Nanaya opened the bag, took a pinch of the drug and sprinkle it onto an open paper.
Very bad. Dammit, I need to get out of here!
I stood snappishly to my feet as Nanaya sealed the roll-up close," Where you going?"
I freaked, my thoughts jumbled," I, ur, I need to use…the bathroom,"
I drew my smokescreen up again," Of course! I just need to use the fucking bathroom! It's not like I need your frickin' permission!"
I spun on my heel and dashed for the stairs, taking two steps at a time. The corridor from the top of the stairs was coated a large, black shadow, just like the street. After many minutes of fumbling, feeling along the wall and choosing the wrong doors, I found the bathroom. I yanked myself inside and locked the door behind me, releasing my breaths in deep pants.
Goddammit! This is bad, very bad! I need to get out of here…but how?
I had no-one to call, not my friends, not my family…all because I pushed them away.
Like a goddamn idiot!
I flicked on the light and paced around the room.
Damn, damn, double damn! What the hell am I gonna do? I can't go back down there…but I can't ask anyone for help…
"They all care about you…I do too,"
"You're just going to throw away everything…and everyone. Your family, your friends, me…us?"
"Who have I called before when I needed someone?" I sat down on the closed toilet and pulled out my cell phone, scrolling through my contacts.
That's right; I called him when…he helped me.
Will he help me again?
After much consideration, I undecidedly called Jin and held the phone to my ear, praying he would pick up…and not hang up on me.
After four rings, he answered," What do you want?"
The stony tone in his voice made my heart," Jin, it-it's me, Akira,"
"I know. I presume you want something from me? Money, perhaps? Or are you making more prank calls?"
I puffed out a breath, holding my head in my hands, shame clouding my thoughts," Jin, please just listen to me," My voice signalled I was on the edge of tears.
He seemed taken aback a little, but his voice was still hard when he spoke," …Alright,"
I massaged my forehead with my fingers," Look, I'm in trouble. I'm with my fr-Nanaya and the others and they just offered me drugs-,"
"Akira, just calm down, OK?"
"Good, now tell me what happened,"
"Nanaya and the others met me at the café after my shift and suggested we hand out, so they drove me to this abandoned house. When we got in, they said we were going to have a 'party' but they offered me drugs,"
"Did you take any?"
"Of course not! When Nanaya was preparing it, I pretended I needed the bathroom,"
"I understand. Do you know where the abandoned house is?"
"Ur…it's downtown. The bad part of town. I don't think anyone lives in the street at all,"
"OK, that helps a little. Are you still in the bathroom?"
"Is it locked?"
"Good, keep it locked. Don't open it for anyone, understand?"
"I do. But, what am I going to do?"
"Just stay calm, OK? I'm going to come and get you,"
I almost wept in relief," OK,"
"Now, do you see a window?"
I scanned the dim room and found at window encrusted with grime just below where the wall connected with the ceiling," Yes,"
"Good. Can you unlock it?"
I climbed into the unclean bath and stood on the narrow rim of the tub with the tips of my toes. With a few punches, the window budged and I shunted it out the rest of the way," Yeah, I've got it unlocked,"
"Alright, good job. Listen to me carefully now: I'm going to hang up the phone so I can come and get you, alright? But I want you to do something for me, OK?"
A dread-filled lump jammed up my throat," O-OK, what do you want me to do?"
"I need you to climb out of the bathroom window,"
"Don't worry, you'll be fine,"
"How long are you going to be?"
"I'm not sure, but I'll be as quick as I can, OK?"
"Remember: Don't open the door for anyone,"
I stayed on the line for a few more seconds until Jin terminated the call, leaving me alone once more. Totally consumed in my own thoughts, I didn't notice the hammering footsteps mounting the stairs, along the corridor and stop outside the bathroom, thump a fist against it," Hey, Akira, c'mon down, otherwise you won't get your turn!"
It was Nanaya, I guessed out of his mind from his non-logical laughter.
"I understand, I understand! Jeez, I'll be out in a minute!" I bellowed back in aggravation to mask my real distress-filled tone.
"Alright, don't bitch at me!" Nanaya said through the door and few seconds later, his footsteps dulled away.
I postponed any movement until I was sure he was back below with others, wasting their lives away before climbing back into the bath again, stepping up on the lip of the tub, and reaching up on tippy-toes for the window. Once my fingertips were latched around the windowsill, I elevated my weight up with my palms, twisting my torso and pressing up against the slippery tiles for an extra boost so I would align my body to get out the window. After much effort, I managed to pass my hips through and swing my feet so I could drop down onto the small platform underneath the window. It was narrow, so I had to balance on pads of my feet, my back aligned with the wall and my arms spread out for stability. It was uncomfortable, but I'd rather wait out here for Jin than go back downstairs to my 'friends'.
Man, what a mess…
I held on with all my strength and self-motivation, even though my arms and legs started quaking with effort and strain and the cold wind whipped my hair in my face, and about five minutes later, I heard footsteps staggering through the untidy grass and towards the house.
He craned his neck up, his eyes traveling up. He didn't look pleased to see me; he looked more irritated than anything," Are you alright?" he whispered but not cautiously.
"Good. Alright, I need you to jump,"
"Are you crazy?" I hissed in a low voice, my eyes roaming down the drop from the platform to the ground.
Jin's unruly eyebrow raised a tiny proportion, "Well, you don't really have any other choice, do you?"
He lifted his arms out, towards me," I promise I'll catch you,"
"Fine! But, if you drop me…,"
Cautiously, inch by inch, I slid my foot off the platform and jumped. I didn't screamed, but I shut my eyes to brace myself from contacting the floor at a hard rate, the air rushing harshly against my arms and legs, thinking of nothing but the loud thump when the floor broke my fall and the pain that would follow…
Except, it never came.
I felt no pain as I crashed into the hard floor or any gasping and yelling. Instead, I felt something steady under my legs and back, holding me against something solid. All I heard was silence.
And when I opened her eyes, I knew why.
Jin had caught me at the right moment and was holding me in his arms against his upper torso.
He said nothing as our eyes connected, his expression not altering in the slightest percentage. I don't know, but I felt like I couldn't look away, tear my gaze from his. I felt…imprisoned.
Two seconds later, my hidden-consciousness returned.
"What the hell are you doing? Put me down!" I shrieked, struggling out of his arms so I landed in a heap on the ground.
"I thought I told all of you to stay the hell away from me!" I could feel my cheeks scald with infuriation, "You bastard!"
I sprang to my feet and dusted off my knees," You stay away from me in the future…next time I may not be so nice," I revolved around and started to stride away.
Jin's hand caught the back of my elbow," Hey! What's the matter with you?"
I shook off his grip and carried on walking, but with additional promptness," I said leave me alone!"
"Wait! Why are you doing this?"
"I don't have to explain myself to you!"
His synched footsteps following wound me up further," You should! You're my friend!"
"Fuck you, you're not my friend!" I picked my feet up so I could surge away.
"If I had not met you, I wouldn't have the friends I have today…you are a true friend,"
I could feel an ice-cold sensation accumulating on my eyelashes as I heard Jin's proximate, persistent footsteps behind me," Akira! Wait!"
"Just leave me alone! I don't care anymore!"
"Too bad I don't care about all of you… There's no turning back. I don't care anymore,"
"I just want to know why you're doing this!"
I looked over my shoulder," Stop following me!"
"Not until I get some answers!"
I braked to a standstill and twisted around, my clamped fist clashing against his cheek on its own accord," I told you to back off!"
As I watched Jin skid along and recoil off the ground, I realised what I had done, even though I never planned on acting on my thoughts of hurting Jin so he would leave me alone…not even with my harsh front.
What…have I done? I thought as I dropped my now-relaxed fist.
"A-Akira…," Jin struggled as he tried to sit vertically, his arm holding his abdomen, his eye shut from the impact," I know why you're doing this-,"
Enrage charred inside me again," Shut up!" My other hand tightened and smacked him squarely on his nose, resulting to him lying horizontal on the ground again.
"Stop acting like you know me! You don't know me! Not anymore! I've changed!" I exclaimed at him.
Despite his injures, he managed to his lift his head up to meet my eyes again," Y-You're wrong, Akira. You haven't changed…," he sounded winded as he spoke," You're acting like this because…your father died-,"
"Enough!" I sent a swift kick to his stomach, causing him to groan excruciatingly and roll onto his side, wheezing," I've heard enough!"
Jin coughed a few times, struggling on the ground, he murmured," A-Akira, please…,"
I shook my head forcefully," Stop saying things like that! I told you before, I don't care anymore! I never will, not ever again! You're mistaken!"
He fell onto his back again," I believe…in you…,"
My body screamed with frustration, so as the final blow, I upraised my arm, aiming to hit him with my forearm. But, before the attack connected, Jin clasped my wrist, preventing my outbreak.
"Stop…this…," he struggled to sit up straight again,"…Akira, stop hurting yourself,"
I gasped as the ice-cold sensation accumulating on my eyelashes fell, making everything around seem to progress in slow-motion, almost a fixed hold.
What…did he just say?
"You…," I was barely able to configure words, I was totally speechless.
"I understand why you're doing this…it's because your father died, right?" He freed my arm but kept his eyes permanently on me.
"You've been acting this way…because he died,"
I have to tell the truth…
I closed my eyes, allowing the tears to fall freely in collected drips," I'm sorry…I've cuased everyone so much trouble…,"
It's over. The disguise is over.
The unmitigated anger I had felt, the unmitigated warnings I had made, the unmitigated torture I had induced upon everyone but the unmitigated danger I had inflicted on myself…I felt it all that spilt second. I knew what I had done, and I regretted it in an instant. Swamping responsibility rocketed and devoured my mind.
My finger dug into the dirt, leaving behind claw-like gouges in the dry earth as I screwed my eyes to block the spattering tears, chokes caught in my throat," Dad…It was my fault Dad died!"
My eyes didn't have to be open to know Jin was regarding me in surprise," Akira…,"
I sponged my eyes with the back of my hand," Do you remember that day…when I fainted…in the rain?"
"I fainted because…," The words wedged in my throat like shards of glass," I had a vision of my father's death…a week before it happened,"
I think Jin may have ended his mouth to say something else, but he decided against it and shut it again.
"My father died…because I couldn't save him!" More tears rolled down my cheeks, one after the other, as the stifle I had been holding back built up and slipped through my throat," I did nothing! I saw what was going to happen to him…yet I didn't tell anyone or do anything to prevent it! It's all my fault!"
"Akira!" Jin's voice sounded urgent as he cupped my damp face with his hands, but I refused to look at him," Akira, don't say things like that! Your father didn't die because you didn't say or do anything. It's not your fault,"
"It was! If I had told someone or gone to London-,"
"It would have no use," Jin interjected," What's done is done, Akira…even if we don't like the outcome, we can't change the past, right?"
How can you say that?
"Akira…look at me,"
With some disinclination, my eyes fluttered open.
His mouth was stretched into smile, but it wasn't a smile of happiness, it was a smile of consolation,"…I understand what you're going through right now…what you're thinking…what you're feeling…I experienced those when my mother died…," I could see his own tears glittering in his eyes,"…I said and felt those things too…but, with time, people told me it wasn't my fault…that if I hadn't be too weak to defend my mother…to prevent harm towards, she'd still be alive-,"
I overlaid one of his hands with own," But it wasn't you fault, Jin! She didn't die because you were too weak!"
The corner of his mouth jolted," See? You're doing exactly what I did – you're blaming yourself,"
"But…," That's different. I hiccupped from the force aching in my throat," What did you do?"
"People told me it wasn't my fault…and over time and thinking about it, I started to believe it. I started to believe that it wasn't my fault that Mother died,"
"…Do you believe it's not my fault that Dad died?"
Jin shook his head and I could feel his fingertips touch my hair," No, I don't. I think you should stop blaming yourself,"
Clean tears swelled in my eyes again, replacing through the stains my previous tears had made, only this time I didn't hold back. Instead, I wrapped my arms around Jin's build and buried my head onto his clothed chest. Jin said nothing; he simply allowed me to bawl irrepressibly and patted my back selflessly, holding me close.
"I'm sorry," I said after I had subsided and my face wiped dry, my voice now hoarse," I've caused everyone so much worry…you, Ryo…Mom and Hana…,"
Jin laid his hand on my shoulder as I twiddled with a few blades of grass," They must hate me all now,"
"I'm sure they don't. After all, they did what they did because they care about you…very deeply,"
"But what if sorry isn't enough?"
"Don't worry, they all love you so much, so deep down, I think they'll find it in their hearts to forgive you,"
"I hope so," I sighed and supported my head on his shoulder,"…I should really get myself home, I'm sure it's late,"
Silently, Jin detached himself from me and bent down infront of me. I blinked at his back, unsure of what he was doing.
He eyed me over his shoulder," You want to get home, right? Get on my back, I'll carry you,"
The idea was appalling (I was emotionally worn out) but it was the fact that Jin would be carrying me that I felt uneasy about," Er, are you sure? I'm pretty heavy…,"
"Don't worry about it,"
Unwillingly but at the same time I swayed to accept Jin's offer, I scrambled onto his back and chained my arms his neck, securely but making sure I wasn't suffocating him. He hoisted himself to his feet, hooking his arms under my legs.
"Thank-you," I nestled my cheek onto his back as he began to stroll out of the forest.
Even though we were on the other side of town, Jin hauled me all the way home, and very promptly, I considered.
I grumbled as I gazed up at the house when we standing infront of the steps," I really don't want to face anyone right now…," I felt downright drained.
"Not a problem," Without warning, Jin bustled up the steps and propelled himself up, grabbing the roof that dipped above the door. I squealed as he yanked us up onto the roof itself, so I held on more fiercely as a reaction, scared of falling. To my surprise, Jin moved with such effortlessness, it looked like he had done this before, possibly many times. Once both his hands and feet were planted on the roof, he shifted me again so I didn't continue to slip off and crawled with attentiveness over the tiles, to the other side – just above my bedroom. All the while, I was hanging onto him, not anticipating falling and having to explain to my Mom why I fell off the roof. When he reached the edge, he circled and stooped down, letting his body dangle from his hands clutching the rim of the roof for a moment before liberating his hold and dropping, landing faultlessly onto his feet on the balcony outside my room.
"Will you be OK getting in?" Jin asked as I rooted both my feet onto the concrete.
"Don't worry, it's not like I haven't climbed through a window tonight already," I heaved the handle on the lock and glided back the window.
I turned and beamed for what seemed like the first time in years," Thanks for today…and for everything,"
Jin shrugged," I'm glad I helped…it's good to you back to your old self again,"
I could feel my cheeks tint as I said what I was thinking," J-Jin, I know what I'm able to say next may seem a bit…out of place, but I was wondering if you wanted to stay with me tonight?"
This is dangerous…very dangerous!
His face didn't even flinch, not even in surprise at my advanced proposal," Sure,"
"G-Great," I stepped into my bedroom, Jin followed closely behind me.
With obvious devoid of an exchange between us, I flung myself into bed. Jin slinked in on the other side of my bed and stretched his arms out, granting me to arrange my body against his. His body fitted with mine as he bounded us together with his arms. Within two minutes of curling up to Jin's warm body, I found it difficult to keep my heavy eyelids open, but before I submerged into drowsiness, I swore I felt a nudge against my forehead, like a goodnight kiss.
I awoke to an empty bed the next morning. I distended out my hand for my alarm clock to check the time, only to snatch a post-it stuck on my lamp.
Sorry, have an early morning start with Grandfather. I think you have a talk with your mother today. I'm sure she will forgive you.
Determined to face the music sooner rather than later, I unhurriedly headed downstairs.
Mom was in the kitchen, organizing tea and some breakfast for herself. I watched her for a few instants, listening to her hum as she waited for the tea to boil and stroke her small forming bump as she stirred her bowl of soup.
Out of nowhere, I acknowledged myself to her," Good morning, Mom,"
She aimed her focus on me over her tray, trying her hardest not to look shocked," Good morning, Akira,"
I risked pacing into the kitchen and relit the oven.
"What time did you come home last night?"
I waggled my head from side to side but couldn't meet her eyes," I don't know. It was late though, past my curfew. Sorry,"
With sudden assurance, I whirled around," Mom, I-I just what you know something," I took a deep breath," Over the past few weeks…I want to apologize about my behaviour. I c-couldn't have done the things I did…," the common ache around my eyes made me stutter," I'm so sorry about everything, all the things I said, all the things I did…I didn't mean any of it. It was all uncalled for. If you don't want to forgive me, then I understand-,"
I stopped short as Mom clinched me to an earnest hug," Akira, don't worry," her own voice fissured," You're my daughter; I always forgive you, no matter what. Just promise me something,"
I squeezed her attiring tighter," Anything,"
"Whenever something is bothering you, whatever it may be, we sit down and talk about it. OK?"
"Come on, I'll make breakfast and we can talk, But we'll start by cleaning up your face. What were you doing?"
"Urm, you may want to sit down before I tell you,"