Description: With Steve severely wounded, Mitsuru drags him through Southtown, and finally finds help in the form of a Tekken Force checkpoint. Not only do they give Mitsuru and Steve the medical attention they need, but they offer to send Steve to a special hospital... and for Mitsuru to meet Heihachi Mishima, a well respected Grandpa figure to her and her family. Unfortunately, Heihachi has his own plans in mind for the Tokugawa family... as well as the return of his experiment.
It was a long week for Asano. One moment he's spending time with his ailing mother, the next he's being called in to help deal with the Darkstalker situation in Southtown. A stray government contract had the Tekken Force cordoning off certain sections of the city, though it wasn't enough to make much of a difference -- mostly because getting through these checkpoints required a background check that typically only the wealthy or authorized are able to pass. Every night the Darkstalker hordes would push against the checkpoints, and while Asano was a competent Hawk, the constant battle was beginning to wear on him.
This particular checkpoint was built on top of a strip mall in Chinatown. The strip mall was large enough that it suited Asano's purposes -- there was plenty of space for barracks and triage, and it was easily defensible. Makeshift little towers dotted the parking lot with a marksman at each one. Many cars have been comandeered and set up so that there were killzones that some of the Darkstalkers were fool enough to move into, though more often than not they leapt on top of the vehicles. Some Mishima marked armored vans blocked off the street, and a dais with a turret gun had been set up at the roadblock. Tonight was relatively quiet for now, and Asano sat in a chair on top of the dais on the street, a pair of binoculars in his hands while a Crow stood silently manning the gatling gun.
"Maybe things are turning around," the Crow soldier eventually broke his silence, and Asano looked over towards him briefly, lowering the binoculars to glare at him. The helmet the Crow soldier wore made him the victor of any staring contest, but the soldier was smart enough to turn his head away and get back to facelessly staring out onto the street.
Maybe it was.
There were telltale signs of a 'survivor' in disasters like this. Sometimes, it wasn't monsters. Sometimes it was a desperate family, a husband and a mortally wounded wife, begging to come through. Sometimes it was just a toddler, wandering around, asking about where his mommy and daddy were. Sometimes it was just a dog, whining as it limped down the street. Not everyone would die to the Darkstalkers. But some of them would make it as far as the roadblock, only to be turned away. They never went far. Sometimes they couldn't. Sometimes mistakes were made, and a little child accidentally finds his way through. But the appearance of survivors were obvious against the shape of monsters.
In this case, it's a dirty, battered girl in tattered a tattered grey sweat suit, marching barefoot with bloody feet through the streets, carrying a full grown man over her shoulder fireman style.
Mitsuru was marching for a while now. They ran out of safe zones she were familiar with once they hit Chinatown. She remembered the last time she was here, she was kidnapped, beaten nearly to death, and had a scar to prove it now. It was Chinatown, where she first met Steve. She's been carrying the unconscious man for a while, very slowly. It wasn't the strength that was the problem, nor the stubbornness. It was the energy. She was hungry now. She was taking more and more breaks. She was too afraid to leave Steve by himself, where the demon Lyraelle would be ready to swoop in and take him away forever. She had to keep going. She didn't even see the checkpoint, nor the obvious killzone she was now stumbling into. It was just clear here, short of the dead monsters still rotting in the streets. She didn't even feel her feet anymore, her sneakers having been shredded. She just needed to keep going.
She just needed to figure out what miracle she needed to save her friend.
Asano spots Mitsuru with his binoculars. Seeing the tall girl carrying the boxer on her shoulders, he wonders for a moment if he shouldn't call out to the rest of the squad her position. Who cares, right? She clearly wasn't going to pass the background check, and Asano was quite content with seeing her struggle with the boxer. It was almost entertainment on this piece of shit detail he found himself on. Unfortunately his subordinates weren't of the same mine, one of the marksmen staring down his scope at the pair.
"This is Crow-7, civilians spotted, two injured," the sniper spoke into his radio. Asano frowned and lowered his binoculars, looking in the direction of the sniper. "They're entering Sector 9." Asano sighed.
"Crow-7, fire a warning shot and tell her to stay put," the Hawk said into his radio, rising to his feet with a long-suffering sigh, beginning to make his way over to the killzone.
Mitsuru probably has never been shot at before, at least not like this. A bullet whizzes by Steve's head from Crow-7, who is already preparing another shot. The soldier calls out shortly after. "Halt! You're entering a private checkpoint! Stay put! We will come to you!"
Should the bedraggled girl look up, she'd already see Asano nearly in more appropriate talking distance, flanked by a pair of men who walk briskly to catch up with him before falling in step. She can recognize the uniform of these soldiers immediately -- these are Mishima-employed, just like the ones back in the Gears War.
The gun shot snaps Mitsuru out of her trance.
Stumbling a moment, she looks around. Where was she? Chinatown. She knew she was Chinatown. But where was she? What was that? She hears shouting, sounds. Someone shot at her? She gradually focuses on the men approaching her. Was she going to have to fight. She spreads her legs apart a bit, trying to fall into an impossible fighting stance. She would have to put down Steve, if she was going to fight all these soldiers. Soldiers.
And then, joy dawns on her intense glower.
Mitsuru, for a moment, looks ready to pick up speed, to run at them. Excitement was over her face, hope, a building hope. She knows this. She knows this! She knew all too well about the Tekken Force. They were with Mishima! They were friends of her daddy! This was a miracle. A few weeks ago, she would be terrified to come anywhere near them. But now, they were people she could trust! And they were telling her something. A glimmer comes. She remembers this. She freezes on the third step, holding still. She listens. She listens this time.
She didn't want people to die again because she's not listening.
The lanky, black-haired teenager was trembling, adrenaline rushing through her. "You are Tekken Force!" She exclaims, like this is a revelation to the guards as well. "You are with Heihachi-jiisan! Grandpa Mishima!" She was babbling. "We made it Steve! We made it! We are going to live! We are going to live!" She shakes Steve vigorously on her back.
But she waits for the soldiers to come over to her, and tell her everything is okay, and that they will do anything to help her and that there will be no complications or difficulties at all in their rescue.
When the teenager correctly identifies the uniform of the Tekken Force, Asano comes to a halt. She mentions the old man by name, and the Hawk's frown only grows. She could be bluffing, but after what happened to Matsumoto, Asano wasn't willing to take any chances. He still wasn't friendly, but his voice was softer than the marksman's, and he lifts a hand up as if to stay his men. "I'm going to need your names, proof of identity, and contact numbers to verify," Asano reports dully, his tone almost rote.
He didn't expect her to be able to supply proof of her identity -- she looked practically homeless. He was a little detatched from the happenings of the city -- most people who were able to pass through the checkpoint were in vehicles. This ragamuffin might know who they are, but that doesn't make her any less the homeless bum she looks like. He was only entertaining her to begin with because she dropped Heihachi's name -- otherwise he was already (and undeservedly) annoyed at this encounter.
Mitsuru didn't even recognize any annoyance.
"This is Steve Fox!" She begins, shaking the man on her back to indicate that Steve Fox was the one she was carrying, and not anybody else. "He's the middleweight champion boxer. I think. I don't have any proof..." The color drains from her face, as her smile droops. She looks around quickly, first behind her. And then, to Steve. "Oh." She says, with almost a small voice.
"I lost my bag."
She turns around, making a groaning sound. "Oh no, I must have left it somewhere... that's my homework too, darn it!" Mitsuru exclaims aloud. She turns back to Asano. "My ID is in there, and I think his ID is in there too, so I don't, I don't have proof of any of our identities..." She swallows nervously, gritting her jaw tight as she puffs her chest out, straightening her back even with Steve dangling over it. "Yare yare daze... good grief! It shouldn't matter, because you would know who I am!"
"I am Mitsuru Tokugawa!"
She exclaims, nose in the air as she expects the guards to know the name. "I don't have my ID, but you can call my daddy!" Her expression shifts a moment, a hesitation, as her posture lowers. "... Yes, please call my daddy. And tell him I'm okay! His number would be... would be..." The teenager hesitates again. "... It would be..." She stamps her foot.
"Give me a minute, I am used to just using his name on my cell phone!"
One of the soldiers steps forward and moves to pull Steve's head up by the hair so he can get a good look at the man's face -- and when he does, he backs up a few steps afterwards and looks over towards Asano. "...That is Steve Fox," he confirms, trying to conceal the excitement in his voice. Asano isn't a boxing fan, and the name means nothing to him. He just exchanges glances with that soldier, then looks back towards Mitsuru. When she gives her name, Asano starts.
"Wait a minute," Asano mutters. His own cell phone is pulled from his jacket, and he lifts it up and takes a snapshot of the girl's grubby face. He doesn't have Mitsuru's father's name, but he cross-references the image of her face with something else he pulls up -- information regarding Mitsuru's kidnapping and the men who had done the deed. Recognition is obvious on the Hawk's face as he looks from her to the phone, his brows rising.
Should he try to take the bounty for himself? The thought crosses his mind -- and then the image of Matsumoto in that horrible tank of fluid flashes before his eyes, and any selfish greed becomes overshadowed by self-preservation. "...Miss Tokugawa," he instead diplomatically says. "I don't have your father's number, but I'm sure I can contact someone who does." He nods towards the soldier who identified the boxer. "Take them to triage to get looked over."
Mitsuru actually -growls- when the soldier handles Steve so roughly.
She keeps herself from fighting, because as long as she does what she's told now, nobody gets hurt. But still, that growl becomes a huff of all huffs. She was uneasy still, she was worried about what happens when she isn't a runaway anymore. But it sounded like... it sounded like they believed her. She didn't fully trust everyone still. But she wasn't going to blow up.
"It's about time!"
She says that, as she finally goes to the soldier who touched Steve. "Good grief! Can't you see he's in trouble! An awful, horrible demon seduced him and beat him so badly, and burned him up! And there were monsters everywhere, and werewolves, and night club owners..." She rambles on. "He needs a doctor! And I need daddy to know I am okay! He is probably worried sick about me!" She repeats. She doesn't make Asano call daddy. She just trusts him that he will do it eventually.
Why would the Tekken Force not do the right thing?
The soldier leads Mitsuru towards the triage building -- a repurposed pharmacy that just so happened to be neighbors with a mattress store. Some of those mattresses have been moved into the pharmacy to serve as triage beds, but the pharmacy building was small and didn't see much traffic, so the facility seemed empty and shabby both. A Falcon-ranked officer was serving as the medic, but he insists on checking Mitsuru before he checks on Steve after the soldier gives him their identity.
"Mitsuru Tokogawa and Steve Fox. Hawk says to patch them up as best we can while he contacts our superiors," the Crow reports to the Falcon. The Falcon spends the next few moments trying to get Mitsuru to show him where it hurts most, and in the meantime Asano moves towards the command center in the barracks room, opening a laptop in his makeshift office.
After typing up a quick report, Asano sets up a video call with Fujimura, the Owl in charge of the Tekken Force's logistics. "Ma'am," he greets when she comes on screen. She doesn't greet him back, waiting. "We've got Mitsuru Tokugawa and one of her captors in custody."
While her expression doesn't change, she takes a moment to process it, before murmuring, "I'll be there in fifteen minutues. Prep them for relocation."
When Mitsuru arrives, the extent of the injuries becomes too clear.
Mitsuru is banged up, though the most significant injury seems to be a -badly- healed scar on her chest, which is more like a 'not healed wound' than a scar, which she is aggressively reluctant to share with the medic without persuasion. Mitsuru seemed to be having a -lot- of badly healed injuries, including a wrist fracture that didn't set right. As the examination goes through, she grows more cooperative. She has no reason to distrust it, but it seems that she really, really needed a doctor a while ago... and she didn't get one. At the very least, there is no sign of sepsis.
And when it's Steve's turn, she's practically an assistant.
The medic seems shocked Mitsuru is even alive initially, but he gets over that shock eventually. He's unable to do much for Mitsuru save wrap her in a few bandages just to feel like he's done at least something, before he finally gets started on Steve. Mitsuru's insistence to assist him is met with resistance at first, but he relents, and is in the process of examining Steve when the door opens and a woman comes in.
Fujimura was shorter than Mitsuru. She was shorter than most people, standing at a tidy five feet even. She wore a skirtsuit and didn't look very intimidating, though her expression was completely blank. She was flanked by two more soldiers and Asano, who watched her with an air of wariness to him.
She interrupts the examination by addressing Mitsuru first, bowing to her stiffly. "Mitsuru-sama," she greets, her voice a dull monotone. "My name is Suzumi Fujimura. I will be taking you to Heihachi. Your..." Her eyes drift towards the unconscious boxer. "...Friend will receive actual medical attention."
Steve's injuries are particularly nasty. His body is covered by the few blackened pieces of clothing that weren't burnt away by Lyraelle's fiery attack. The searing heat left large patches of second-and third degree burns speratically placed all over his body. Blisters, blares, and dark brown leathery- dried up skin, looking as if it's about to peel off.
Upon a closer inspection, it would be clear that he had multiple broken ribs from being slammed against the concrete.
He has a peculiar, thunderbolt-esque scar running all over his left arm, obviously old, and not from any recent encounters.
When Suzumi Fujimura arrives, Mitsuru started to get a bad feeling.
Focused on Steve, the arrival of the little lady just distracts her enough to keep her focus off the medical stuff. The teenager looks across, over at the woman. There was no mention of her father. It was Heihachi. She felt a knot in her stomach, especially, on Steve being taken away from her. For medical attention. She gets a flicker of a thought to yell, and swing her fists. But its her fault that Steve was like this. He -needed- medical help.
But she had to make sure.
"Where?" Mitsuru asks, crossing her arms. "Where am I meeting Heihachi, and where is Steve going for medical attention? I need to know, so I can visit him, and Daddy knows that everything is okay." Mitsuru was being very firm on this, looming over the woman in spite of their distance. "I mean, it's pretty presumptuous that I would go and meet Grandp- I would meet the old man. Yare Yare daze, good grief! You are lucky that I want to meet him in person, to make sure he knows what I expect to go on! Who the heck do you think you are anyways?" It was a bluff of a presence, sounding like a gruff street tough. But she was very worried about what was going to happen with herself, and Steve, and Bob now.
Talking to Heihachi directly might help smooth things over for everyone.
The medic bandaging Steve up brushes his arm over his sweaty forehead as he inspects Steve's injuries. What the hell have they been through out there? He swallows while looking between the girl and his superior officers. For her part, Fujimura remains expressionless. Asano was considering just thwapping the girl on the face -- her father would never find out, right? He doesn't dare make any move without Fujimura's permission, however, especially since she is using such a formal honorific when speaking to the girl.
"There is a hidden retreat just outside the city limits. It's safe there," the woman explains patiently to Mitsuru. "There will be a medical facility on site where your friend will receive state-of-the-art care. We might even be able to prevent any further scarring." She inclines her head after. "I am Suzumi Fujimura," she repeats in the same lack of tone she introduced herself with earlier.
That's all Mitsuru can muster when Suzumi Fujimura answers precisely about who the heck she thinks she is. She sputters, her bravado deflated by the simple social jitsu of the woman. "I- I know you are Suzumi Fujimura, I mean- just- oh nevermind." She huffs grumpily, her face turning bright red. She looks over to Steve, still blushing. He would get the care he needed, and they would... they would stop the scarring. That would be important. Scars were bad for memories. She lowers her head, face still crimson. Her voice is small, when she responds. "Okay then. I... will go then. But..." She raises her head up.
"I will be visit him freely, right?"
"I am sure Heihachi will allow you the freedom to visit your friend," Fujimura intones. She was lying -- she was never sure of the old man's intentions, but she didn't have any reason to suspect Heihachi would keep the pair apart once he found out they were friends. She had no idea that Steve was NT01, an experiment that Heihachi would be more than happy to have returned to him. While Fujimura handled the intelligence network for the Tekken Force, the science division was nearly as old as she was, and NT01 had been missing for longer than she's worked for the Zaibatsu.
Despite how 'friendly' the emotionless woman is being, it doesn't stop her from nodding towards Steve, the two faceless soldiers who are accompanying her moving to manhandle him onto a stretcher they brought with them. "Please come with me, Mitsuru-sama," Fujimura requests tonelessly.
Mitsuru gives one more look towards Steve. She swallows hard. It would be okay. Everything would be okay. She could trust Heihachi. She could trust everyone here. Because if she didn't, then what would happen? Steve could get hurt. A lot of people could get hurt. She just had to do this. She just had to trust that everything would be okay. She tries to put her hands in her pockets. There were no pockets. So she shakes her fists a moment, and crosses her arms again, as she walks towards Fujimura.
"Go- good bye Steve." She sputters hastily.
Fujimura leads Mitsuru to a caravan of armored vans with a single car amongst them. The soldiers load Steve into a stretcher, while Fujimura herself opens the back door to the car for the Tokugawa girl. Once she's settled in, Fujimura takes a seat on the other end in the back, making a phonecall. "Good evening, Nakatomi-san. Please tell Heihachi we're on our way," she requests, eyes flicking sidelong to Mitsuru. The caravan drifts through Southtown. Fortune favors them today -- none of the Darkstalkers attack the train of vehicles, and eventually Mitsuru can see outside the window that they're leaving the city.
It might be disconcerting that once they're outside the city, fujimura's thumb drifts over her phone's screen and the windows darken, making the outside of the car impossible to see whilst sitting in the back.
Leaving the city.
Mitsuru's feelings were getting worse and worse, as she sat in the car. As the windows darken, she squirms in her seat in the back. She idly looks at the handles of the door. Maybe she could open it, and leap out, and roll away to escape. Maybe that would work. She was fidgeting now. She looks over at Fujimura. "During the Gears War, Heihachi saved my family and I." She brings up, haphazardly. She was getting anxious. But not afraid, no. Just nervous. "I went to a bunker outside the city. I thought it was in the city, but it was outside. We... we were attacked by Darkstalkers there. The bunker almost didn't hold. I don't-" She swallows, clearing her throat.
"I didn't- I don't remember him living outside the city." She mumbles softly towards Fujimura.
"It is a security measure," explains Fujimura, sliding the phone back into her jacket smoothly so that she can give the girl her full attention. "You shouldn't worry about it," she attempts to reassure. Her dull Japanese is impossible to sound reassuring however. "Heihachi is the strongest man in the world," she states, her tone giving no real indication whether she believes her own words or not. "He will not allow the site to be overrun," she promises the younger woman. The car can be felt slowing down, and past the screen that hides him, the driver can be heard speaking to some official sounding people outside the vehicle.
The car's in motion again for a short time, and then comes to a complete halt. A light in the back blinks twice, and Fujimura leaves the car, rounding about and opening Mitsuru's door for her. Once she is outside the vehicle, Mitsuru can see they're in some sort of underground installation -- it might remind her of back during the Gears War again. Standing outside the car is Heihachi wearing a suit. An exhausted man who's also wearing a suit stands beside him, and a massive man stands on the other side, looming over everyone present and wearing the Tekken Force uniform.
Heihachi's eyes shift critically over Mitsuru, but he favors her with a rare smile. "Mitsuru-chan, you have grown," he praises. Both men with him seemed shock at his warmth towards the girl, while Fujimura gives the old man a bow he doesn't bother acknowledging.
Just a security measure.
Mitsuru shouldn't worry about it.
Heihachi was the strongest man in the world, and will not allow the site to be overrun.
These all were mysterious statements, that Mitsuru couldn't make sense of. And the car comes to a stop, the lights blink. The door opens, and... and they were underground? This was very familiar. Mitsuru felt a spark of relief. "Yare yare Da-" She begins, with a gruff, tough voice. But as she emerges... she sees him. IN the suit. For many people, there were a lot of emotions when encountering Heihachi. But for Mitsuru, she does everything she can not to hug the man who saved her family. There were proper protocols when around such a respected elder like the Mishimas. Mitsuru turns towards Heihachi, and her entire composure changes. She doesn't waste time.
Mitsuru bows to Heihachi.
"Heihachi-jiisan" She coos in a sickly sweet voice, befitting a princess of the Tokugawa name. "I am so happy you are okay. Daddy said that you..." Well, he said that they couldn't find his body after the Gears War. "That I wouldn't get a chance to see you again." She smiles softly, the facade of a rough thug nearly completely disappeared. "Thank you for rescuing myself and my friend Steve. This has all been a misunderstanding; and it is my fault. I ran away from home, and Steve and Bob kept me safe. I am trying to go home and make everything right with Daddy." And a light sparks on in her head, as she lifts her head.
"Are you keeping Mommy and Daddy secure again, because of the Darkstalkers?" Mitsuru suddenly asks, as if she just made the connection on why they must be so far out of the city.
The truth was that Heihachi hadn't yet announced to the world at large he was alive. It wasn't some great secret and many people knew -- mostly by witnessing him fight. Still, there's been some... resistance to his return. Doubts of his competency. It was easy to handle in-house, of course. Fear was a powerful weapon. And while Heihachi had no doubt Tokugawa would re-open his contract with the Zaibatsu, the old man did find it prudent to remind him why the Zaibatsu was needed in the first place. His daughter would be a valuable tool in that regard.
He didn't comment on the bandages and wounds. He was impressed but not surprised she had survived -- Heihachi had taken a personal interest in her growth since birth. After all, the Tokugawas were a great family -- someone like Heihachi was bound to be born to them one day, and the old man wondered if the girl was it. If so...
"According to your father, Steve Fox and this Bob were the ones who kidnapped you. In fact, Hachiko said he saw it with his very own eyes," the old man rumbles to the girl, placing a hand to the small of her back to lead her into an elevator, Fujimura, the tired man and the giant following them into it. They remain silent as it begins to descend, knowing this was not an open conversation.
Mitsuru lets Heihachi guide her, the touch of the Mishima a comfort in these difficult times.
She didn't even think about what going into the elevator meant. She was reacting to Heihachi's response. Sure, a lot of people were invested in her growing up. That's why she was in Seijyun High. To be molded into a perfect princess. "IT's a misunderstanding." She states firmly, but with elegance. "Hachiko is the one who made this whole mess. And..." Mitsuru considered explaining the part where her parents allowed Hachiko to make this all happen. But Mitsuru didn't wanted to embarrass her parent infront of Grandpa Heihachi. "And Hachiko is just lying to cover up his badness. He tried to get me kidnapped by the Southtown Syndicate, and tricked me into going into a tournament to get beaten up! I won my match though." She quickly adds. "Steve and Bob rescued me, they just didn't trust Hachiko because he was a slimeba- because he was not a trustworthy person! They were keeping me safe." Mitsuru gets a faraway look. "And then the Darkstalkers came, and... and..." She trails off. "... Heihachi-jiisan." Her voice was small, as she looks around in the elevator a moment.
"My parents are here, right?"
"They will be."
There's no real hiding the ominous way Heihachi says that. He can't help it sometimes -- it's the burden of greatness. His hands remain clenched into fists at his sides as the elevator decends, but when his head turns towards Mitsuru, there's that uncharacteristic warmth of his. "Your parents have been doing all they can to find you. It has been difficult trying to get them to stay in one place. Now that you are safe, they will seek safety as well, Mitsuru-chan. Everything is under control." Heihachi truly believed that. The darkstalker invasion had proven to be more lucrative than tragic in his eyes.
"As for Hachiko -- mmm. It doesn't surprise me the little worm has ties to the Syndicate. It appears /he/ will not be afforded the Zaibatsu's protection."
The weary man's cell phone buzzes quietly in his coat, and he takes the call and speaks in a hushed tone, one who's practiced in somehow taking a phone call politely. "NT01? What's that?"
Heihachi's smile fades when he hears that series of numbers, and the mask slips. The elevator lights flicker and in that instant, all the warmth in his face is gone, replaced by his cold scowl. His fists clench tightly, and visible currents of electricity course through him. "Nakatomi," he growls coldly.
"Heihachi-san," Nakatomi croaks, clearing his throat. "The other one is NT01, according to the labs."
The electricity blinks out completely, and Heihachi's smiling again. How could he not?
Everything was going his way.
Mitsuru didn't understand what she was looking at, when the mask slips.
Everything felt fine. And yet, in the flicker, Grandpa Mishima's face changed. Why would it change. And when he says they will be over, Mitsuru even felt relief. Of course they would be here. Mitsuru liked that warmth, Heihachi was somebody you could trust. Daddy would say that over and over again to her. And when something is true, you repeat it over and over again. Everything was under control. And Mitsuru actually felt that. But it's Nakatomi's mistake, his little slip up, when he says the words. The lights flicker out. She saw the scowl for a moment. And mindlessly, she just repeats back what she heard, like a child learning a new word. "... NT01... Other one-"
Mitsuru gasps. Steve. Lab.
"... No.... No no no." She sputters softly, covering her mouth in the darkness. Every piece connects in her head now. She was kidnapped again, wasn't she. And she just let Steve be kidnapped too. Everything was a trap. And she walked in it, blind to the danger. But how. How. No, it's not true. Mitsuru is just being crazy again. Jumping to conclusions. She did that, she remembers. She gets her crazy thoughts and thinks the worst and wrong things, and, and then she fights. She needed to think clearly. This was Heihachi-jiisan. He was a good man. Mitsuru just had to remember, just had to think about when he was a good man.
"Heihachi-jiishu, remember the Christmas when you were Santa?
Her words almost seemed like a dream in the darkness of the elevator. "You were Santa." She continued. "You had the white beard, and all the kids came to you, one by one. I sat on your lap, you remember? I told you wanted a pony. And I got one!" She was put down during the Gears War. They couldn't keep her safe. Harsh bites of reality. The darkness hides what was welling up in the corner of her eyes. But it couldn't hide her tone. "You're a good man. Steve's safe in the hospital. He's being treated, and then, I will go and visit him, and my mother, and father will come with me..." And there will be no strings. No schemes, no... controlling. No lies. Her body tenses up, tightening. Fight or flight. She was practically begging at this point.
"I can leave whenever I want to see Steve, right Heihachi-jiisan?"
It was always a trap, that's for sure. However, the snare was for the trusting little rabbit, not the fox. Heihachi almost doesn't notice Mitsuru's breakdown, how much he's enjoying this moment. Everything was returning to normal. Maybe he'll call Lee Faolan and offer him a Hawk position under Fujimura. Those two would be a nice couple. It isn't until Mitsuru says Heihachi's name that reality snaps in -- he'll never offer Lee a job, for one thing. He does remember being Santa one year -- everything was going so well those days too, and things became a euphoric blur, just like the episode he was about to have then and there. His smile fades into a frown, not quite his scowl. Just a frown.
He was old.
He banished the thought quickly, his ego not allowing thanatophobia to creep in. "NT01," he repeats to her patiently. "It is a very contagious, deadly disease, Mitsuru-chan." He's lying to her. That smile's back. It seems so fake suddenly, not at all as genuine as the one he just had on his face.
It's the same smile he gave her when he greeted her.
"Everything that can be done will be done, I promise you that." The truth. "You will soon be back with your parents, and NT01 will be a distant memory."
The elevator doors open.
They reveal what looks to be the inside of a traditional Japanese home, though the concrete ceiling throws the otherwise warm aesthetic off.
"Until then, you will not be allowed anywhere near him."
Of course, it made sense.
Mitsuru nods her head, desperate for anything that helped her understand how bad her thinking was. And Heihachi was so patient too. He was so understanding, he wasn't letting himself get mad when Mitsuru babbled about silly girl thoughts. He was even smiling again at her.
But she couldn't see the same smile as before.
She couldn't see any of the same people. It's like in the darkness, they were all replaced by doubles. Identical, but fake. The knots in her stomach were churning. It made sense. It all made sense. It was just an awful, awful disease that that wretched Lyraelle gave to poor Steve. Grandpa Mishima was spend millions and millions of dollars to save him. The doors open. She looks into the secure bunker. Just like before. When Steve was better, they all would visit him. She believed it her head.
But her heart wouldn't let her take another step forward.
"I don't like this Jiisan." She says with a building resolution. She shakes her head, staring into the room. "I want to get out of here. I want to go back to the city. I- I changed my mind." She starts to step backwards away from the door.
Into Heihachi himself.
They're the same height, but when Mitsuru backs into Heihachi, he steps slightly sideways so that her back meets his shoulder. His hand comes up, and he pats her on the shoulder.
"You are a child," Heihachi says, firm but warm. He's warmer to her than he's ever been to any of his own kin, that's for sure. That warmth seems so fake now. It wasn't just Mitsuru's heart sensing Heihachi's wickedness -- his mask was slipping further as he realized she was catching on to him.
"You do not know what is best for you. Your parents will join you shortly -- go on, pick a room before they get here, Mitsuru-chan. After all, this will be your home until this all washes over."
With that, Heihachi would give her a bit of a shove forward. He doesn't put too much of his strength into it, but he is trying to make it clear she has no choice in the matter.
Fujimura has the good sense to hit the stop button on the elevator so that it doesn't close on them in such a crowded space.
Mitsuru couldn't understand why the Heihachi from her childhood was gone.
When the old man turns her around, she remembered that warmth. Instinctively, she was drawn to it, for comfort and safety. But Heihachi may as well be driving wide-bladed knives into her chest, again and again. She cannot comprehend the depth of the betrayal. But the words. The words rattle in her bones, as the shape and shadow of her greatest hatred. You do not know what's best for you. There is that surge of rage, as she readies to strike back, blindly.
And she is shoved in.
The girl tumbles, more from shock than anything. She... She should be fighting now? Anger was blooming in her heart. But not Heihachi. Not Grandpa Mishima. She staggers around, rising up in a stand. Silvery energy begins to flow around her, as she looks back, dumbfounded. How... How could he treat her like this. How could she get out. She thinks. There was an easy way to do this.
She just had to fight the old man.
The plan was simple. She would pretend to accept her fate, when suddenly, she would turn around. She would stun Heihachi with a kick to the chest, and then rebound off to unleash a rapid fire punching storm against the man in the suit. Then, while the woman screams and the Tekken Force would retaliate, she would punch him out of the elevator, and push the button to go out. Then by then, Heihachi would have recovered, and then Mitsuru would punch, punch, and kick him, beating him up relentlessly until the elevator reached the top floor. And then she would make the lady drive Mitsuru to the hospital, and she would make sure he was recovering from the virus okay, and then she would go home. A perfect plan. All she had to do was defeat Heihachi.
And despair finally clenches it's grip upon her heart.
Reality had damned her fate. Trapped. She had trusted the wrong people again. Even Heihachi was using her, betraying her. And maybe... Maybe use her against her parents. Or maybe, maybe she was just being a silly girl again. Just a girl. Just a child. Mitsuru tightens her hands into fists, staring back at Heihachi. The princess, the little girl was gone. But it wasn't that bancho facade that she propped up around her now. No, she looks at Heihachi, with smoldering righteousness. Jaw tight. Breathing heavy. Hatred. She was bringing out hatred. A rage that was cooking, calculating on how she would escape her cage. She was understanding what kind of trap she was in. But that face would be too familiar to the Mishima.
The kind of face given to Heihachi once before from the likes of Kazuya.
Sweat drips down the forehead of Nakatomi as he sees those silvery strands dance around Mitsuru. He was already terrified from the NT01 revelation and Heihachi's reaction. Of course she's one of them. Those people who are better than him, better than human.
Fujimura doesn't react, of course. She just stares blankly at Mitsuru. Who knows what the Hell's going on up there.
It isn't Heihachi who meets Mitsuru's hatred with his own, though. It's the giant in the Tekken Force uniform. His face is scarred, and he sneers at Mitsuru over Heihachi's shoulder. He dare doesn't step forward, though. Heihachi is in the way, and bowling through the old man would be a bad career move.
Heihachi's smile was gone. The scowl was back, and he glared at Mitsuru. Little sparks of electricity danced at his knuckles, but it wasn't as extravagant a display as his usual. This was more controlled.
"Go to your room, Mitsuru." There was no 'chan' this time. "When I contact your parents, I will forward the call to your room after I am finished speaking with them."
And then Heihachi steps closer to Mitsuru -- an attempt to shepherd her further into the hall. "And if you disobey me, I cannot promise the good health of your friend. Do you understand me, little Mitsuru?"
The word he uses for 'little' isn't the polite version -- it's a mocking variant of 'kawaii', one reserved for speaking to children.
Mitsuru doesn't back off.
When Heihachi approaches, she stands fast on her ground. The silver energy was still ebbing around her. Her scowl was locked on. But she wasn't lashing out. Standing fast, boiling and steaming inside as Heihachi smashes that hammer into her, with every vile word. It wasn't his three henchmen that was drawing her ire. It was purely the man she admired and believed in. But he was still coming. He was still mocking her. And he was still trying to shepherd her. Mitsuru wouldn't budge; even if he was chest to chest with her, she would hold her ground. Her arms tremble, as she barely contains her anger. But she directs it. She focuses on it, as she finally musters her words, in the best cute voice she can, under the circumstances. "Let me repeat back, Jiisan, so I understand. I go and pick my room out. Talk to daddy, but only after you are done with him. I'll be a good little girl, who does what she's told."
"And you will keep Steve safe?"
It's not that Heihachi had any moral code that prevented him from beating children. Mitsuru was valuable to Heihachi, and was already substantially damaged -- hurting her further would lessen her value. If he could resolve this peacefully without backing down (they were like in this way, Mitsuru and Heihachi), all the better. His smile returns -- that fake awful smile.
"He will be given the attention he needs," Heihachi says diplomatically. "There is little information on NT01. So you see, Steve is a very valuable patient. I will do everything in my power to ensure he survives." He wasn't lying, but he was certainly not being truthful about his intentions for the boxer.
Mitsuru brings all the contempt that a teenager could muster, as she responds back. Mitsuru steps forward, chin up. "Steve's a grown man. He can take care of himself." She snarls. She was worried for him. He knew that they would hurt him. But she wasn't going to back down. She felt like she was burning. "And I might start hitting you. I'm not afraid of you. I'm just wondering if you are going to be the one who breaks my face in, Gramps. How about the Christmas cake. Or the weasel. Or the butt ugly jerk who looks like he kissed a food processor. Doesn't matter who. I'll just refuse again. I'll just refuse and refuse. Snap Steve's neck? I'll refuse. You're not tougher than Daddy. You aren't going to get anything from me, or him. Because you know what, Gramps? I like it when I find someone who thinks they are hot shit, and say no, right to their faces. So." She takes another step forward.
Oh well. He'd have to break her. Heihachi laughed first, but the laugh was humorless, forced and mocking. The electricity becomes more prominent now, and he clenches one hand into a fist as he readies himself to punch the insolence out of this poor teenager's face. "Do you want to know the truth about your father, little girl? Hmm? Why do you think he --"
It took a lot of courage for Nakatomi to do this. Heihachi would break her physically. She was only a child. Sweat poured down his face and as Heihachi began to monologue, he knew there was only one way to stop the young girl from being brutalized by Heihachi there and then.
He attempts to slap Mitsuru right in the face, as hard as he can, slipping between the two Japanese elite.
She could taste the electricity.
Mitsuru slows down, when Heihachi starts his laugh. She could feel that energy build up. She remembers the hardest she had been hit. And from what Daddy said, Heihachi could punch like a nuclear weapon. She might die in one punch. But she refuses to break. She refused. She fearlessly waits, as she lets Heihachi monologue. She was ready to take that punch to the face.
Instead, she takes the slap full on.
She staggers on the hit, her face swelling up with the welt. That was more of a demonstration of just how strong Mitsuru was. If a slap could make her stumble, what would a full forced punch from Heihachi do. And yet, she steadies herself, and lifts her head up again. Her cheek was swollen red, her scowl unchanged. She couldn't hide the tears in her eyes this time. And yet, through the pain, she steels her resolve, as she passes her eyes to Nakatomi, and then, back to Heihachi. She didn't reveal it before, when she cared about protecting her parents reputation around Grandpa Mishima. Now. She didn't care so much. "I knew the truth about him, when he told Hachiko to scare me straight about what happens to good girls on the Streets of Southtown. It's his fault all this happened." She states, heart swelling, chin sticking out again. "Now get out of here, Jiisan."
"I'm tired of you, and your dumb pointy hair."
Now Heihachi didn't realize that. There's a flicker of emotion on the old man's face -- not pity for the girl in front of him, but disapproval over Tokugawa's parenting. He would have respected him more if his intention was to make her stronger, and not scared of the dark. Still, he had to say, he was impressed. She didn't back down. He still wanted to break her face, though. Her comment on his perfect hair makes him all the more willing to strike her, but he reigns it in, Nakatomi's swat to her mouth enough for him.
Instead, Nakatomi gets shoved to the side by the old man, and then Heihachi stalks forward and goes to thrust his palm into Mitsuru's shoulder with enough force to dislocate a mundane person's shoulder before sending them reeling, his intent to knock her off her feet and outside the elevator.
Whether he succeeds or not, he growls, "As you wish."
It's a new experience of pain.
Mitsuru feels her shoulder dislocate, as she is sent spinning through the air out of the elevator. Mitsuru releases a groan of agony, as she collapses in the hallway. She can't stand up. Laying on the ground, she can only lift her head up. She does not cry. But she was no closer to getting out. She put Steve's life in greater danger. Nothing she did was rational, or for her general wellbeing. But it didn't matter. Nothing mattered, except the sheer defiance. Heihachi had her now.
And she was going to make sure he would never break her.
"I'll get you." She growls, looking across at the man who betrayed her. "I'll get you Jiisan! You... you butthead!" It's the best she could do. She felt dirty, after cursing. But she was angry, so angry. And in so much pain. She just lays there in the hall, staring daggers. This was her home now. The hall floor. All while she hurls her parting shots again and again.
Heihachi stares back at Mitsuru, though such a glorious contest is interrupted by the elevator doors closing and shielding them both from view of one another.
"Heihachi-san," Fujimura murmurs tonelessly. "Should I call Tokugawa-sama and inform him we have his daughter?"
Heihaci's eyes shift to the woman's reflection in the steel elevator doors, his ever-present scowl twisting further. "No. I will speak to Tokugawa myself," the old man eventually decides, already fishing out his cell phone from his jacket. He has a remarkable grasp on technology for someone his age. "Call Takenaka instead. I want Kliesen or Bosconovitch for NT01 within the week."
Log created on 09:41:24 05/19/2020 by Mitsuru, and last modified on 22:10:08 05/23/2020.