Chapter 13 - Asuka
Asuka Kazama sat atop the roof of her father's dojo, deep in thought. Her cousin had started a war, and she couldn't help thinking back to that day at the end of the last tournament. She had sensed something important happening in the ruins of Honmaru, but she lost consciousness amidst a flurry of wind and debris.
"Beautiful, isn't it? The glimmering lights in the darkness," an ominous figure stood on the roof, startling her. Asuka squinted because the speaker did not look human but did look familiar.
"Jin?!" Then she rushed to start hitting him only to find herself stopped mid-air, struggling to stop her own hands from grasping at her neck.
"You will not touch me or I will throw you off the roof next time," the creature said coldly as he brought her down to land. "I did not come here to fight. Speak with me." The demonic traits flashed away from the body instantly so that Asuka could see the figure of her cousin before her. She still wasn't sure it was him. Maybe this was a dream of some kind.
She sat down annoyed. "What do you want?" Jin sat down next to her and was quiet for a long time, taking in the scenery he had described a moment before. She felt a chill in the air that receded the longer he stayed, but his silence confused her to the point of irritation. Didn't he say he wanted to talk?
The chill returned instantly as he snapped her out of her thoughts, saying, "I can't be the only one who has found you though I suspect I am the first to reach out to you. Correct?"
"Found me? What are you talking about?"
"Answer the question first," he ordered.
"Aren't you bossy? I don't even know what you're talking about, so how can I answer?" This conversation bothered Asuka. She should be punching him.
"Close enough," Jin decided. "You're related to me from the same side as my mother."
"I know that already."
"That makes you a person of interest to my enemies."
"Great." She rolled her eyes. She had enough problems at school dealing with people taunting her about her tyrant cousin.
"Don't be fooled by the G Corporation. If they come to you and ask for help in stopping me, don't believe them," he advised.
"And I should believe you? Sounds like a really obvious setup to me, Jin."
"Maybe," the young man replied cryptically.
"You're a lot of help," she said back with resigned sarcasm as she rested the bottom of her chin into the palm of her right hand, elbow on her knee.
"Why were you there?" Jin asked softly. "They found you in the rubble."
"A hunch," she confessed. It was strange that he should turn up just when she was thinking about it herself. "I was looking for something, but I couldn't find it."
"What was it?"
"I'm not sure. I thought I'd know when I saw it."
Jin reflected on her response without comment.
A suspicion entered Asuka's mind. "Wait…do you know what happened? You were there too, weren't you?" she asked. She suddenly gasped. "You! I was looking for that devil version of you!"
He smiled slyly, closing his eyes, reveling in the knowledge of all the details that happened that day. Her cousin didn't say anything to confirm nor deny her conclusion
Upon realizing he had no intention of responding further, Asuka asked pointedly, "Why are you so evil? What are you? You're not really Jin anymore, I think."
"Sounds like you have it all figured out," the human shape of her cousin said as he stood to his full height. She followed his lead and stood as well, still wanting to hit him for being such a monster. He paused for a moment to look her up and down and suddenly clasped her right hand in both of his, placing it on his chest.
"Hey, what are you doing?! You told me not to touch you." She tried to pull away, but he held tight.
"Wait," he commanded.
Bossy again. She stopped struggling for a moment as she looked at him in shock and repulsion. Her cousin's skin was like ice, and she could feel his heartbeat. However, the cold surrounding where they touched burned with its intensity. He released his grip. Asuka held her hand, trying to warm it.
"Geeze Jin, that hurt! What is wrong with your skin?"
The devil form appeared instantly with a smirk and replied, "I knew it was too late. You really hate me too, as well you should. I am just so horrible, after all. Absolutely unforgivable."
The last two words came out slowly and emphatically. Those and the ones before it reeked of an evil pleasure, goading her hatred. Devil Jin wanted her to despise him, as if he were drinking her emotions in the air. Despite sensing his intentions, Asuka's temper flared as she replied angrily, "You're a fool, Jin, letting yourself become this…" she gestured to his whole body, "…thing."
The evil form snickered. "And you're just a silly pathetic human that thinks insults have any effect on a shadow. You're weak little girl, and you have all but confirmed that the bond you share by blood with Jin Kazama is as meaningless as I thought. If you want to help your cousin, you need to see past your anger and past your hatred for why I am even here."
Confused and exasperated, Asuka could only reply instinctively, "I don't want to help you. How can I when you're so despicable?!"
Devil Jin's eyes flitted up and down as he looked at her for several long, uncomfortable seconds, sizing her up again, more thoroughly, and making some kind of decision that the teenage girl could only sense as possibly dangerous. He took a small step forward. She took a step back nervously.
"You said you didn't come here to fight," she reminded him.
He took another step, and she backed away again. "I have not attacked you since saying that," he claimed.
"You grabbed my hand. That hurt!"
The winged beast continued advancing. "Your pain in that moment was not my intent. An actual attack from me would hurt much more, I assure you."
Asuka neared the edge of the roof he had threatened to throw her off. She couldn't back away any longer. "Don't come any closer," she warned him. "I will defend myself."
His eyes lit up at the prospect, revealing his sharp teeth in a savage, hungry look as he whispered excitedly, "So will I!" Yes, then he could kill the girl for not heeding the warnings and proving herself worthless to his design.
She looked at the patch of ground awaiting her fall. The prey considered risking a jump and leapt down, landing safely to her relief. It lasted only seconds. Jin of course had leapt down to follow, guided effortlessly by his wings, and now she found herself backed into a wall. Why hadn't she just run? She desperately asked herself this question. The devil's motions had been slow and eerily gentle for a being of his kind, casting doubt in her mind on his actual intent. He placed his left arm to Asuka's right, his palm along the wall, leaning in close to her face, his gold eyes glowing in the darkness as they continually studied her. She had no idea why, but in this moment, he truly terrified her.
As if to answer and continuing his slow and gentle pace, he taunted in a low voice, "I could rip into your throat like a vampire with my fangs." He moved in close to her neck without actually touching it, using one of his metal talons on his right hand to brush up ever so slightly against the bottom of her chin. Asuka struggled between nervous breaths, feeling her heart race. Devil Jin moved his mouth close to her ear. "You know it too. You are learning to fear me," he told her. His voice had softened and did not drip with the same gleeful evil as before. This abject terror appeased him. He shifted back slightly so that he could stare at her face instead, lowering the hand that touched her chin. "Power is everything, and you might have a power that interests me. However, you can't use it if you refuse to cast a light to see the shadow." He pulled away more fully, giving her room to breathe, leaving her unharmed.
Asuka took a deep breath in relief and then gulped. "What's the shadow? You said that word earlier."
Devil Jin sneered. His tone shifted again, this time to a harsh and biting disgust as he retorted, "Do I look like a guide book to you, weakling?" With that, he spread his massive black wings, springing up into the air, and flew away.
The Kazama girl felt sick in her stomach as she slid against the wall to sit, taking deep breaths, holding back bile in her throat. She shook her head. This wasn't like her at all. Then again, she'd be dead if she hadn't played his little game. Asuka needed time to gather her thoughts and compose herself.
Later that evening, Jin calmly sat cross-legged looking intently at the flames in his fireplace, the warmth filling the room. He focused on the realization that something had happened again and beyond a mere occasional sentence passing in his thoughts. The line between himself and Devil had blurred. He shifted so easily from preying on Asuka Kazama's fear while offering guidance in what little help she could provide to him at his intended end. It must have been very confusing for her to see such an opposition behave with such unison and why she already decreed she did not want to help him. Devil found this result of the encounter acceptable. The visit had been far more rewarding than he expected.
Her fear tasted wonderful. Jin could sense she had a fire of her own she carried bravely to all. She had it the moment he appeared on the roof and even when she talked to him in his human form. Only after he had decided to toy with her as a devil did she falter, that fear reaching a fever pitch that paralyzed her…it was truly delicious. Jin closed his eyes momentarily and took a deep breath, feeling his irises lighten to Devil's gold under his eyelids as he exhaled. Upon re-opening them, brown eyes continued examining the fire. No matter how it tasted, he could not forget the real reason he went. He had made his warped plea for help and would guide her from afar to find him in case she changed her mind. She had at least sought him by instinct before and came to that realization herself after all.
Nina entered Jin's office. "You wanted to see me?"
"Have a seat," he told her.
Nina sensed something amiss. He rarely told her to sit. She chose if she did it based on the length of the meeting because Jin tended to be brief. With slight unease, she complied.
"To say I trust you without any caveats would be false. I can't, and I don't, trust anyone. However, my intentions require that I rely on others nonetheless, especially you, and I do trust you to at least do your job." He paused to look at her to see her reaction.
"Right. That's why you hired me. You made yourself clear, I remember."
Jin nodded. "I'll go into the details shortly, but I think it's time you knew the real end goal before I tell you how I intend to reach it."
"Go on," Nina implored, catching her surprise in her breath.
"I plan to kill Azazel and in turn die as a result."
"Die?" she asked. "Why? Jin, you have the whole world on their knees for you."
Jin smiled, closing his eyes for a moment, probably letting them change color beneath his eyelids. "Yes, that part was a lot of fun," he admitted with a low reverb underlying his words and opened his eyes. A trace of gold faded into the darker brown. The smile fell away as he continued, "But just a stepping stone…I will be free of my devil gene one way or another. I have a contingency plan, but it's not reliable enough. Even if I survived, I'm not sure I could willingly continue living as a human being if an emotion such as remorse came back at full strength. So…assume that's the plan. I kill Azazel and since this body can't survive without his power supporting it any longer, I die too."
Nina knew better than to ask more about his contingency plan. He'd explain it soon. She paused slightly before she responded to ask for reassurance, "That's what you want?"
"That's what I need," Jin replied gravely, meeting her eyes.
The right-hand woman sat quietly for several seconds, masking her feelings. After all, the man sitting in front of her was never really Jin Kazama. They had established that with different words that day in her hotel room and again that night by the fire. He wanted her here and hired her precisely so she would not try and do something like stop him, to ask him to not do it because somebody cared about him, even if he were a twisted dual being. Jin did not want her sympathy, whether she had any for him or not. Not now, not ever. This was her job, and he told her the job was temporary from the start. She would not fail him. "Understood," she finally agreed.