A fanfic following the characters from Tekken, Soul Calibur, and Mortal Kombat. Epic!
A Tentative New Beginning
Jin Kazama leaned against the beautifully painted wall of his training hall, reaching up to wipe his brow and catch the beaded sweat collecting there before it fell into his eyes. Across the expansive room was a peaceful image, conjured in the mirrored glass, of the island he grew up on, and the young man gazed at it in quiet appreciation. It was almost time to cease practice for the day, and see about Mishima Syndicate business. Not that he relished the thought. With a sigh he pushed himself away from the wall and moved to the sliding bamboo door of the training hall, stepping into the empty, quiet hallway. No one else was around, he observed as he walked towards his office. It wasn't unexpected though - these were business hours, as it was only about 2:00 in the afternoon, and most of the residents in the Syndicate at this time of day were employees on the job.
With another sigh, Jin closed the door to his office and slipped into his desk chair, still wearing his red, studded sparring gloves and drawstring pants with fire trailing up one pantleg - his training attire. It didn't matter what he wore while he worked anyway, as he was the President. He glanced at the brightly lit panel on his vid-phone, which indicated that he had many messages to respond to, and with yet one more resigning sigh, he set about it as cheerfully as possible.
He had finished his 4 year term at Tokyo Mishima University nearly 3 months ago, but was still having a difficult time adjusting to not having to attend school anymore. He was 22 now, and serving as the fully active President of the Mishima Corporation. This was no easy job, especially not for a young man like himself who had so much else to think about - but his uncle Lee Chaolan, among many other close friends, helped Jin in business and personal ways. Lee acted as CEO and Vice President of the Corporation, and in truth took care of almost everything. A few years ago Jin had forced Lee to take part of the day off every day, and take Sundays off completely, because he was afraid that Lee would work himself endlessly if not. And now that he was out of school, Jin was shouldering more of the responsibility, despite vehement protests from friends and family. This was his legacy to continue and handle, after all. There was still a lot of wrong to be righted in the wake of Heihachi Mishima's rule.
Chewing on his lip slightly, Jin leaned forward as he finished his last returned phone call, his ever-pleasant tone wavering slightly on the weary side - it had been a long day. And the person he held the conversation with noticed.
"Have you gotten much sleep, Jin?" Julia Chang inquired in her unceasingly curious tone. In fact, come to think of it, chewing on his bottom lip was a gesture he had picked up from her, when she had lived in the Syndicate with him.
"Not really - I’ve had a lot to do, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the training hall lately. But don't worry, Julia, I don't need to hear your lectures again. I know that I have to get more sleep as acting President of the Mishima Corporation, and thus President of a third of the world itself in all practicality." As he talked he slipped into an impressively accurate mimicry of her voice, and she chuckled, which brought a smile to Jin's lips.
"It's just as well that I don't have to tell you again. I do get tired of repetition. Other than sleep deprivation, how are things there?"
"About the same as always, aside from mounting tensions on the Iron Fist Tournament subject. It seems that I am the only one now who does not believe there is a point in continuing that blood-bath."
"Jin, you know that there is a better way to go about it than the way Heihachi ran the tournament. He used it as a weapon against humanity - you could reform the tournament just as you've reformed the Syndicate itself."
"You think I should revive the Iron Fist too? That's surprising, I didn't think you would be for it. I just don't think it would be a good idea. Nothing good can come out of such violence!"
"Don't be so quick to think that. Actually, it could be really beneficial. The world's population relishes watching masters of the arts battle it out, they just enjoy it less when humanity's extermination depends on who wins or loses. There wouldn't be that factor anymore, and it could just be a showcase for fair and honorable battle between Masters. If you're concerned about reason and the like, aside from pleasing the crowd, you could sell a limited amount of seating for each match, and the proceeds could go to multiple charities. It could be quite popular, actually, and many people would pay a lot of money to watch something like that. It has become legendary, you know. And I don't think getting participants would be difficult if you just put out a call to-"
"Julia," Jin cut in patiently. "you make a good point, there is no doubt about that. I just need more time to think about it. Lee is encouraging me in the same way you are, with similar ideas, actually. I just need to map it out and ponder it more, alright? I just wanted to know how your expedition is going down there in Mexico." He finished with a smile. Although he could contact Julia any time he wished through telepathy, he preferred not to unless there was an emergency, and stuck to their weekly phonecalls most of the time, working around the differences in time zones.
She had finished up her assistant teaching job at Tokyo Mishima University a year before he had completed his schooling there, and within a month had left Japan to go back to America and make good use of her Degree in Archeology. Now she was leading a digging expedition in the southernmost reaches of old Mexico, and Jin missed her terribly. But she was not the only person he missed these days. Nearly everyone he really cared about had moved away and moved on. Bryan Fury, Lee Chaolan, Kimura (or what little he saw of his former bodyguard now), Taki (on the rare occasion), Heishiro Mitsurugi, and the few and far between visitors who would come were all that was left. Jin still kept in touch with all the friends whom he had bonded with when they had all fought the Toshin together, but it was not the same. He was lonely now, and it was dragging away at his spirit. The Devil inside of him loved it, and fed on Jin's mounting depression.
"Oh, the expedition," she trailed off for a moment and he heard her shout something in what he knew to be Spanish, though he only vaguely understood the language, to someone in the background "- It's going fine. For the most part, anyway. There have been a few complications, especially in getting good people to work with me out here. The majority of the work force is either corrupt or horrifically uneducated. I don't think your reform has reached out here yet, Jin, because these people speak more ill of the Mishima Syndicate than I have heard in a long time. I have made a point of not telling them that I am funded by, affiliated with, and best friend to the President of the Mishima Corporation. I think they would lynch me." She chuckled again, but there was less humor in it, and Jin scribbled a quick note about the political condition in Southern Mexico on a random notepad that lay on his cluttered desk. Then Julia said something that caught him off guard.
"Xiaoyu contacted me last week."
Jin nearly dropped the phone, Julia's tone changed to one of quiet sincerity. It was a moment before he found his voice and formulated a response.
"From the Temple of Light?" was all he could think to say.
"No, she was in the U.S.A. She said something about a meeting with the CEO and President of Disneyland Inc. A merger with her amusement park in California, I think. She heard that I was in Mexico and wanted to come see me, so she did. I was quite surprised to see her. Jin, she's so different now..." Julia trailed off, knowing that it could have been a mistake, to mention that to him. And she knew it hurt him, for she felt his mental backlash of pain.
"...Jin, I’m sorry. I know it's been a long time since you talked to her. I just...well, I’d hoped that she had maybe talked to you, since you were our only topic of conversation last week. I asked her why she still was generally refusing to speak with you, and adamantly refusing to see you, and we had a considerably in depth discussion on the subject. I assumed she would maybe try to talk to you. She told me that she would think about it. Anyway, I am so sorry. I didn't mean to upset you Jin..." She trailed off again, hearing Jin fall so silent. The information-processing banks in her head worked furiously to figure out a way to brighten her friend's mood. But as the conversation tapered off to its usual farewell and promise of next week's call, she knew there was no making it up to Jin. As she hung up she bit her lip and frowned, cursed softly under her breath and headed back to work.
Jin's hand trembled as he replaced the phone on its receiver. Xiaoyu had gone to see Julia. All the way across the ocean, to see Julia. No, wait, she hadn't made the trip specifically to see Julia - she had business in the United States from what Julia had said. But Xiaoyu had made a point of going to see Julia in southern Mexico, which is no short distance from California. Yet still she would not even make the short trip from China to come see him. And she would not let him come see her at the Temple of Light. Would she ever forgive him? he wondered. And the answer he gave himself tore at his heart, further dragging down his weary spirit.
He nearly gave in to his despair, which would have been a terrible mistake and a great favor to the Devil, when a soft knock sounded on the door of his office. Lifting his head and blinking away the mist in his eyes, he called "Come in" as confidently as he could manage. The door opened immediately, and in stepped Lee, dressed in his immaculate black tuxedo, a red carnation pinned over his heart. The expression of gentle concern and loving compassion on his Uncle's features told Jin that Lee had sensed his nephew's distress, and had immediately come to his aid. Lee closed the door behind him softy.
Without waiting for Jin to ask him to sit down, Lee slipped easily into a chair across from his nephew and fixed him with a silent gaze, before saying steadily "She will forgive you, Jin. You have to trust in that. Just understand that she needs time." Jin was not surprised that Lee already knew why he was upset, and also figured that it was not solely due to the telepathic abilities of his Guardian uncle. But his facade of serenity shattered as the supportive presence of his uncle gave Jin an outlet to express himself.
"But Lee, it has already been nearly 2 years! How much more time will it take? I cannot take this much longer, Uncle! I do not know if I can keep the Devil restrained when I am under such pressure and emotional distress!" Jin's voice raised to a thin, strained pitch as he went on, and though he did not see Lee move, his uncle's arms were suddenly around him. Jin let his tears slip from his closed eyes and fall onto Lee's shoulder as he gained his composure back, and after a few moments he straightened and managed a small smile.
"Jin, I know how it hurts you that Xiao-chan still refuses to see you. I feel that this will not last much longer, her resolve is wearing away. Julia informed me before I put her through to you, that she spent a day or so with Miss Ling last week, and they had quite a lengthy conversation about you. Apparently Xiao-chan relented and told Julia that she would consider speaking with you soon. That did not mean immediately, my nephew. You must maintain your patience and your strength, and trust that things will work themselves out. In the meantime, I have a suggestion, if you are willing to listen to my advice." Lee's gentle demeanor and soft voice seemed to pacify Jin considerably, and after drawing a deep breath to steady his nerves more finally, the young sorcerer nodded for him to continue.
"I know that this isn't what you really want to hear at the moment, but I am presenting my final argument on the subject and hoping that you will at least consider this. Just hear me out, Jin. I want you to resurrect the Iron Fist Tournament. All of the planning and preparation that it would require could easily and more pleasantly preoccupy your mind, and the physical training to prepare yourself would also ease your distress. Not only that, but Julia and myself spoke, and I’m sure she told you of the charitable benefits of reviving such a widely known event. The world would respond, and in a good way. You have worked so hard to ferret out the corruption in the Mishima Syndicate, and there would be no better way to broadcast its new face to the world than to introduce a new and improved tournament. Only my humble opinion, nephew, but an opinion shared by many now." Lee bowed his head respectfully as he finished, though he lifted his eyes and let his piercing auburn gaze connect with Jin's own of jet black.
Lee knew his nephew's reservations concerning the Iron Fist Tournament, and understood why Jin did not want to bring it back yet, if ever. But the truth was that Jin needed something, anything, to take his mind off everything else that was going on around him. And Lee could think of nothing better, and nothing more convenient. He saw Jin struggling to make it through each day, and with each day Jin's mental barriers were wearing down. The young sorcerer needed to take it easier, to relax and try to forget about everything that was troubling him. If he did not, then the worst fate imaginable would befall Jin and everyone around him. Lee only hoped that Jin would understand his position and agree to some sort of compromise if not to revive the tournament completely.
A thoughtful look touched Jin's sharply handsome features. He looked so much like Kazuya that at times it was easy to become lost in imagining that the cursed son of Heihachi Mishima was living again, Lee mused. But there were differences, to the trained eye. Jin wore his hair differently, and his eyes were warmer as there was much more kindness in Jin's soul. And anyone who knew Jin and had even just read about Kazuya would immediately understand that difference between biological father and son. Jin smiled, then, and that warmed Lee's heart, because Kazuya had never smiled after a certain point in his life, and seeing such a gesture from his near identical son let Lee imagine that perhaps Kazuya's soul lived on somehow through Jin Kazama.
"Lee, you are convincing enough, as usual, and this time you have the added advantage of Julia having pitched the same argument less than 15 minutes ago. I suppose you're right, about the tournament. If I can reform everything else about the Mishima Syndicate and eradicate all the other corruption in it, why not cleanse the pride of its legacy as well? So you win, I will begin planning the next Iron Fist Tournament. That means, though, that you will have to take care of more business than usual, since I completed school. Is that alright with you, Uncle?" Jin seemed to have recovered the majority of his pleasant demeanor, and his momentary breakdown dissipated into a quiet nagging at the back of his mind. But Lee knew better than to assume that his nephew was perfectly fine, and nodded without hesitation, explaining to Jin that he had actually hoped that he could take more of the workload for awhile. Work was nothing compromising for Lee Chaolan, and in a way he took comfort in knowing that if he had more to do, then Jin would have that much less to worry about.
After Lee had gone, Jin slumped slightly in his chair, his mind whirling from the new load he was going to have to handle. True enough that he would not have to deal with Syndicate daily business, as Lee was going to take over that - but now he had the daunting task of planning and preparing for an Iron Fist Tournament. A tournament that would give the new Mishima Syndicate a permanent reputation, one way or another. This tournament would determine whether all of the work done by so many people, all the noble and great lives lost in the years past to get here, was worth it.
That was something that Jin had fought with from the very moment he shouldered a financial empire - the responsibility to make it all worthwhile. To show those who lost loved ones that in the end it was for a good reason. But many times Jin had questioned if so much pain truly could serve a just cause. He desperately did not want to turn out like his biological father, or like his twisted and sickened Grandfather. Jin vowed that he would do anything not to become like them, and to show the world that no one would ever again suffer under the name and hand of Mishima. It was time to start making good on that vow, in a wider scope. And with that resolve in mind, and nothing else, the biological son of Kazuya Mishima, son in heart and soul of Jun Kazama and Lei Wulong, nephew of Lee Chaolan Guardian of the Grey Kingdom, and friend to countless people, began the newest aspect of his work to redeem an empire that had long ago fallen into darkness.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The late morning sunlight poured through the open window of the fairly plain room and touched the sleeping face of a slumbering young woman. She turned over and groaned, not wanting to get up yet, but knowing that before too much longer someone would come and wake her up, telling her not to waste the day. Advocates in the Temple of Light were just like that, and sometimes it was trying on the patience, though their intentions were good. Not wanting to hurt their feelings by having to get stand-offish with anyone, Ling Xiaoyu sighed and sat up in the bed, brushing her unruly sable hair away from her face. After taking a moment to yawn and stretch, she hopped out of the sheets and made the bed with a speed and deftness that astounded, making it obvious that she had done it many times before. She then moved to the more open part of the sparsely furnished room, right underneath the window, and fell easily into an opening Tai Chi position.
Closing her eyes, Xiaoyu felt the warmth of the sunlight touch her skin, as she wore nothing more than a short sleeping gown, and called to her mind an image of Lei Wulong. He had taught her Tai Chi when she was young, and told her that the secret to starting the day properly was a bit of the art, practiced in the fresh air. Ling never failed since then to start her day that way, every morning since she was 6 years old. Now she was 21, and those days practicing silently in the mornings, in the Temple Garden, seemed a forever ago. Lei Wulong Super Police, Jin Kazama's devoted stepfather, Jun Kazama's loving husband and the most beloved hero that the world had ever known, had died almost 5 years ago of terminal cancer. Xiaoyu refused to think about the circumstances of the great man's death this morning, at this moment. Instead she preferred to remember him the way he was when he stayed here at the Temple of Light with her, and Wang Jinrey. As she began going through the motions of the Tai Chi exercise, she kept her eyes closed and kept in her mind a perfect image of Lei, practicing the very same motions at her side.
Since she had left the Mishima Syndicate to come live here, 2 years before this, many changes had occurred in Ling Xiaoyu, though she didn't really notice it. They actually began before that, the very night that the Toshin, Angel of Paradise Vivarexis, has been destroyed and then redeemed. It was more the people around her who realized how different she had become. Once a high-pitched and high-strung, highly energetic and highly optimistic pixie, the young girl had been incapable of sitting still and speaking softly. She was full of energy and life, full of innocence and full of love for the world and for everyone she met. Xiaoyu of that time did not understand fear or hatred, refused to accept death, and rejected passive wisdom as 'boredom'. Everything had to be fun, and she lived for her amusement park, Wonderland of Lovely Xiaoyu. The woman she was now, though, was a far removed shadow of that bright and vibrantly alive child. And the process of becoming that had been long, hard, and painful. She knew death, now, and she knew passive wisdom, as well as other things she had never had the time for in her youthful naivety. Now she not only could sit still for meditation, she delighted in the silent peace that meditation brought her.
Xiaoyu had feared someone she loved, and for a moment even hated him.
This was the reason that Xiaoyu had really come to change so much. It was a pivotal and deciding moment in her life, the moment she realized that not only had she been mortally terrified of Jin, her best friend and trusted companion, but she had hated him for a brief second. That changed everything. Not only was she capable of it, she had realized then in a flash of pain and surprise, but she could feel it towards someone she undoubtedly loved. What could that mean? Determined to find the answer and distance herself as much and as long as possible from the source of her disturbance, Xiaoyu ran away to stay at the Temple of Light. Before that, she had witnessed so much death and pain that it became difficult to deny to her soul any longer that it was an inevitable part of life. And so was growing up. What happened with Jin only solidified the desperation in her heart to find peace, and balance these foreign elements within herself.
Though she had refused to talk to anyone about what had happened up until she met with Julia last week, Xiaoyu had used that night as a vivid reminder of what it was that she sought within herself. She never meant to hurt Jin so much by keeping away from him and refusing to see or talk to him - but there was no other way to do what had to be done. And now she had found her balance, and knew that she could face the world with a soul of unyielding strength and confidence. Uncle Wang would have been proud of her, she knew, for finally finding herself beneath all the materialistic desires and petty wants of a child - and as she ended her session with a difficult Tai Chi pose (the Dragon Chasing Butterfly), she opened misty eyes to the sky through her window, and let the silent tears of love, pain, sorrow, regret, and joy drop from her serene eyes. The sky was beautiful, and as the morning sun danced across her face, her heart whispered to her that now she could go back to what she knew and loved.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mitsurugi jumped slightly as Bryan's fist came down hard on the desk and he shouted into the receiver "I don't give a fuck if he's the damned KING OF ENGLAND! I don't give DISCOUNTS!" and the detective slammed the receiver down, turning a furious green-eyed gaze to Mitsurugi, who had stood quietly in the doorway for a number of minutes now. A sudden thought caused Mitsu to laugh, and quickly he clapped a hand over his mouth, hoping to suppress it before Bryan noticed. Too late, the ex-cop's eyes narrowed angrily, and he half-stood out of his chair "Is there a PROBLEM you-", but Mitsurugi quickly interjected before Bryan could go off on a raging, foul-mouthed tangent. "No, Bryan - I just thought how appropriate it was that you are Detective FURY." And the soft-spoken samurai took a seat uninvited across from the livid man, but the comment seemed to subdue the fiery-tempered Bryan Fury somewhat, and instead he crossed his arms over his bullet-scarred chest and glared at Heishiro Mitsurugi. "What do you want, then?"
Heishiro smiled slightly, having grown accustomed over the years to Bryan's way of expressing gladness to see a friend, and his way of having 'friendly conversation'. Despite the ex-cop cyborg's seemingly ill and irate disposition, underneath that act Bryan Fury was truly a compassionate and caring man. Maybe his co-inhabitant Lee Chaolan had something to do with that too, though. "Oh, I wanted to tell you something Jin told me about last night, if you haven't already heard it from Lee."
Bryan looked less angry and more interested now, and leaned back slightly in his high-backed leather office chair. "If it's something that has just developed in the last 24 hours, Lee hasn't told me anything about it, because he's been asleep. Our hours have gotten fucked up, so he's making up for some lost rest right now. So out with it, now that you've got my attention. And don't take a lot of time either, because I’ve got to pick up Taki for our...business meeting." Mitsu barely kept himself from laughing at that last attempt at covering up what Bryan and Taki were doing together - he couldn't bring himself to say that they were dating and Mitsu found that amusing. But he would never tell Bryan that, or tease him about it, unless he wanted to get beaten.
"Well, apparently Lee gave the Iron Fist argument one more try with Jin yesterday, and he finally gave in. Jin has been working all night and day on the plans for it. Last night when I went to spend some time with him, he had drawn up a list of eligible and possible participants, and he asked me to read over it. You'd be surprised at some of the names on that list. And I think you would be interested to know that your name was on it." Heishiro finished, smiling. His smile brightened slightly as the expected response came to Bryan's scarred face, the detective's green eyes growing wide with surprise then glowing with delight and anticipation. Mitsu knew that Bryan loved nothing more than a good fight, and with his Muay Thai kickboxing style Fury was more than capable of being a formidable opponent.
The two men spent a few more minutes conversing about the tournament - or rather, Bryan spent a few more minutes grilling Mitsu for more details and more names from the list of fighters requested to participate. Then Bryan was off for his 'business meeting', and Mitsu left the detective's office to return to his own chambers, ready for some sleep. As he walked, his mind wandered to Anna, and he wondered where she was and how she was doing. He wondered if she and Nina had reconciled yet, and if Anna would respond to the invite she would receive from Jin to be a participant in the Iron Fist Tournament. Anna was on the list, but Nina was not, which was not surprising - Jin still considered Nina to be a murderess due to her assassin background, and generally wanted to be as little involved with her as possible. Kazama held Anna Williams, though, in the highest respects, and had hand-written a letter asking her to come to the Syndicate for the tournament, if only to be a welcomed spectator should she choose not to participate.
As Heishiro changed clothes and slipped into bed, he thought about Anna, his Lightning Scarlet, again, and what would happen should she indeed come back for the Tournament. He had decided long ago to forgive her, at last. It had been almost 5 years since that fateful time, now, and he could not harbor such feelings of bitterness anymore. It was one thing to say 4 years ago that he forgave her, but another thing altogether to actually let go of the resentment. He just hoped that it was not too late to at least salvage a friendship between them.
As he dropped off to sleep, Heishiro thought also of the only other woman he'd ever found himself missing. Ling Xiaoyu - her exuberance was greatly missed in these quiet and dismal halls. He hoped that she returned to participate in response to her invite as well.
No, Mitsu thought, I wouldn't mind seeing her again at all - I could use the exercise.