Jae Hoon - The Concerns of a Friend

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Description: How the heck does one get around Southtown when they're new? Jae Hoon certainly doesn't know! Upon receiving recommendations to talk to Terry, the youngest scion of Kaphwan is eager to seek the Wild Wolf out, although there certainly is other reasons for that. Rock doesn't seem to be fighting anymore, which is something of great concern to the boy most closest to him. Curious and anxious about these new developments, the meet-up with Bogard may get more emotional than it needs to, but Jae is worried. Hopefully, the advice given by the wandering spirit will be enough to bate those feelings.

Trying to find Terry Bogard is... not the easiest thing in the world.

Although one of the more popular champions renowned throughout the world, he's also notorious for his inconsistency; he has always been someone constantly on the roam, vanishing sometimes for weeks at a time. In theory he has a cellphone, but even Andy or Rock might occasionally struggle to connect with him direct. It's nothing quite so noble as a crusade to right the wrongs of the world... he follows the compass of rumors and instinct, always after the same thing; stimulating fights.

Yet it's one of those rumors of his carefree savior's antics that likely draws Jae's attention. Whispers and murmurs through Southtown that the Hungry Wolf just recently beat up a few members of the Syndicate pressuring a businessman; the sort normally considered untouchable due to retaliation, something that little affects the justice of Terry. Which means he's... somewhere, for sure.

He has no permanent residence, but he does have a number of normal haunts when he's taking the occasional downtime from training. One of them is a small park close to the mall; a fair crowd has gathered outside it, because a rather recognizable blonde-haired man is presently in the midst of a basketball game with a number of tenacious youth. It's not clear which, if any, are actually on his side; but he drives forward, leaving orange chi footsteps behind before lunging impossibly high into the air.

Spiraling gracefully, Terry descends to slam it into the hoop from nearly the three-point line, bouncing off to the side as a number of those in the court laugh and rib, some calling him a cheat. He bashfully adjusts his cap, the group gradually beginning to disperse from whatever challenge they were in, most gathering up the ball to begin taking shots. "Sorry... never was much good at holding back!"

Embarking on the endeavour of challenging the mall had been a rather big ambition of Jae Hoon's. While he is used to fairly busy streets and buildings loaded with bustling shops, it certainly helps to know the layout of the place. What had started out as an eager journey to gather supplies for his precious little hamster combined with a well-intended meet-up with a certain famous Wolf turned into an all-day escapade.

The Korean teen has been wandering the Southtown Mall for some time now. He'd graced the doors early, and it now lingers into the early afternoon, no thanks to his wandering. Adventurous to a point, he spent much of his time exploring, but also... kind of getting lost.

Kind of made his intentions of being on time a wee bit stressful, as he scrambled about through his errands at the tailend of his meandering.

Jeez. How could he have lost track of time like this?!

Hopefully the Wild Wolf hasn't been waiting forever...

Except, well. When Jae arrives at their agreed muster point, the acclaimed Bogard fellow is nowhere to be seen. A call is made to the phone number he'd been given, with no luck of an answer. While most are likely accustomed to the roaming spirit that is Terry, this is something the Kim ward really has very little knowledge about; to some extent, he's been warned by Rock that it may be a challenge to actually /find/ him.

Who'd have thought such a thing had to be taken so literally?

It is in his departure that he catches sight of brilliant golden hair glittering in the sunlight whilst traipsing along the sidewalk next to a park adjacent from the mall. Earth-coloured irises cast to the shine, and upon squinting, he is able to see a rather familiar face grinning among the crowd. It's been many years since he's seen Terry in person. Such times were rather nostalgic, considering that he'd been a young boy when he last saw this renowned man, but there is absolutely no doubt here. Jae quickly about-faces, making for the grassy plains of the park and inward further, to the concrete court.

The masses begin to disperse, which is the perfect opportunity for an approach. Plastic bags swinging at his sides, the lithe fighter stalks excitedly up to the edge of the court. "Terry?" he calls to the heralding Wolf. Upon receiving the older man's attention, a grin splits the handsome features of Jae Hoon. His free hand extends a gentle wave while his torso halves slightly into a polite bow. "Hey... I hope you weren't waiting out here for me for long. I had trouble finding you."

It's not a difficult thing to get Terry's number, nor to leave some manner of message... but knowing whether he got it or not is another matter entirely. Anyone would readily say that it's not intended to be anything negative... once within earshot, it's clear that Terry knows most of these people by name, signing a few autographs readily; which happen to be quite valuable, given how rarely he bothers to do such. And, one might note, how rarely those he gives it to parts with them; only genuine fans who truly appreciate it get such. "It's just a name, I don't see the big deal... Fighting? Fighting is all about heart! Without that, you won't go far. My hardest fight, ever... hmm..." His expression is very solemn. Clearly he has an answer, but doesn't seem keen on saying it out loud. That particular fight was not one recorded -- nor was the ending one he was particularly proud of.

"Ah?" Terry replies, tilting his head backwards to peek towards the man. Then he grins, seeming to instantly recognize the younger man. He hands back the red hat and marker to the boy before him, turning to flick up the lapels of his distinctive red jacket and walk towards the young fighter. "Well, well. Jae Hoon, right...? You SURE you're the spitting image of Kim? I'd have thought you'd be ten minutes early and calling ME tardy." He then reaches out to attempt and press a palm to the top of the boy's head and give his hair a ruffle. "If I remember right, you hated this. Done fully growing out of it?" he teases.

A slow, lazy flex follows, twisting left and right to limber up. "So what'd you need someone like me for...? Wanted to spar, or something? Did your dad lose one of his pet projects, and needs help dragging them back?" There might be a mixture of bitter and envious looks when Jae Hoon steals Terry's attention away, but not in any intentionally cruel manner. He IS a hero to the young and downtrodden of Southtown, after all!

Behind the dispersed crowd is... another crowd. Maybe the people he initially saw before had been regular park-folk, perusing about and conducting whatever business they had here. This secondary grouping of people swarm Terry like moths to a flame, and it's strange Jae Hoon missed them entirely. Maybe because they are so tightly compacted around the famous hero of Southtown?

Either way, he attempts to make his presence known, and is pleased to be successful in that endeavour

Through the masses does Terry carve a pathway of sorts, eventually ending up right in front Jae, who stands bright-eyed and shy in the company of the acclaimed man of his childhood. Even though he has spent a number of days in his past with the Wild Wolf, the bashfulness isn't staunched at all. Perhaps it is politeness that overtakes the juvenile of Kaphwan, or it potentially could be something else, but on the surface, it cannot be read into anything deeper at present.

Called out on his own tardiness, the fair-skinned fighter flushes slightly in embarrassment. To say that he is a spitting image of his father is a stretch, at least in appearances. As far as looks go, he most certainly takes after his mother, but in all else regarding personality? Yeah, he is usually quite representative of the patriarch's teachings. "I'm sorry," he goes to say, but is stopped short by a palm clasping upon his crown. The gesture is familiar, with his dark fringe being tussled about over his general periphery.

Ah. He doesn't miss this.

Yet, Jae Hoon does nothing to stop it, because the nostalgia is firm in his gut like a rock. It honestly /does/ feel nice to have a fatherly energy in such a foreign place, even if it is not of his own blood.

Smoothing out the distressed strands, he peers through them to Terry's face, in which he soon offers that same gentle smile from earlier. "Well, there was a couple things I wanted to talk to you about, if you have time?" Jae didn't want to be presumptuous, after all. "My dad - and Rock, actually - said you'd be a really good person to talk to about resources in Southtown; stuff like where to train, where to avoid, what kind of events happen here... you know. I tried my best to educate myself before moving here, but search engines don't always show the local stuff."

And then, he becomes slightly crestfallen. It is clear that the second-most pressing item on his mind is somewhat burdensome, given how his jovial disposition shifts just slightly. "I'm also really concerned."

At the desire to talk, Terry bobs his head once. He takes a rather generous amount of time disengaging with the rest of those present. Anyone who desires it gets a handshake and a last word, a few more things autographed, a couple more pieces of advice. He promises to head back later, and also a few other general things; one person mentions some shifty people in their street that he promises to dutifully interrogate, before jerking a thumb towards the sidewalk.

It quickly becomes apparent that Terry's not actually leading Jae Hoon anywhere. He's just -- walking. Not seeming to have any desire to just stay still; almost restless. Fingers lace behind his head, expression fairly distant. Despite such, both body language and the cock of his ear makes it clear he's engaging and paying attention. "This is my turf, for sure. Nothing else feels quite like home. I can go over it all... some spots are better then others, of course." There's some definite pride there, but for the most part about the city itself. He does spend the majority of his time here, after all, roaming far and wide. Countless things never make it to the internet still, and can only be learned through word of mouth.

A slight perk follows at the shift of emotion. His gait slows a bit, striding beneath a few street lamps. An occasional person takes note of Terry, but nothing more intrusive then a passing high five is done. "Worried...? About what?" he asks. Genuine concern in his voice. "And if you're asking /me/ about it, then..." A subtle implication there. An understanding of why Jae Hoon isn't bringing it up with Kim. That it involves something else... either in the city, or... people he considers his own ward.

Lucky for you, Terry: the concerns Jae Hoon has are about both those things!

The events of the back alley critter attack still remain fresh in the young ward's mind. Of all the places that such an occurrence could happen, it had to be in the business district. Shouldn't that area be considered safe? Acutely aware of Terry's tendency to go about, prowling in search of fights, it stood to reason that maybe he'd be inclined to also scope these troublesome beings out and help put an end to them.

Yes, he'd normally be inclined to talk to his own father about this, but distance is a thing. With Kaphwan maintaining focus on the reformation of criminals in Seoul, it is likely he cannot expend much effort in relieving Southtown of their demons. It's probably wise to rely on local resources.

Eventually, he turns mildly distressed irises to the Wild Wolf, raven brows arching to crease his forehead slightly. "I encountered a woman in the business district a few weeks ago; struck me as a type of Darkstalker. We got into a fight there, and she bit me pretty good." A digit tugs at the opening of his shirt, revealing the mostly healed scars that patterned over the once-smooth skin of his shoulder. "I've had some weird chi-related things happen since then, but otherwise have been fine. However, I don't imagine the regular citizens of Southtown would feel safe if they know of something like that creeping around their streets. I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but I figure you have more power to do something about it than I do."

With that put out there, his anxieties shift.

Doubled up with this is the concerning behaviour of Rock Howard. The training match with Tsugumi had been all the proof Jae needed to confirm the questions circling his head because, no. He hasn't missed the fact that the Howard scion hasn't appeared on a single tournament since King of Fighters. Pair that with the fact that the guy didn't even offer himself up for a friendly one-on-one with their newfound companions?

Absolutely, Jae Hoon is suspicious.

The Korean teen casts his gaze earthward, his paces slowing to a stop. The plastic bag casually swings at his side, eventually coming to rest against his thigh. Under the streetlamp does he stay, although not intentionally, with dark fringed strands hanging over enough to cast a slight shadow over his face. "The other thing is... I guess I'm just worried about Rock. He doesn't seem like himself, and... I don't think I can talk to him about it."

"Ah...? That...? Well. I mean... it's kinda like a wild dog. I *know* there's good Darkstalkers, but I also know there's bad ones." There's a fairly thoughtful frown creasing over Terry's face as he continues in the comfortable circuit through Southtown. Keeping an eye here or there, making his presence known. "Of course I'd do something about it personally if I came across it, but... outside trying to be in the area... that's the Library-whatever's deal, isn't it?" NOL he must be implying. He doesn't seem particularly pleased by that response, of course. "I can step up looking around... even if it just dissuades them from trying something, I can consider that a win." Monster Hunter Terry is not; he's no special senses or even much of a skillset for tracking wily monsters. Firmly defeating them, though, is another matter!

Hands settle back into the pockets of his jacket, whistling a simple tune during the brief downtime where Jae Hoon considers his next question. Slowing down once the younger fighter no longer follows, Terry turns back to glance curiously. Patient, expression still clearly showing his own concern. Doubly so, when his own ward is mentioned. "Rock...?"

He takes off his hat briefly, scratching through his blonde hair as he stares into the distance, before drawing it snugly back down. "I try to head to our home on the regular, but he always keeps to himself... I figured that's kinda normal. For him, and for his age..." A definite retrospective is present there. "But... I've noticed. That he's kinda shut himself off. I figured he needed some personal time to sort things out..." But maybe he could use some guidance. How long has it been since he and Rock had a proper heart to heart? Since he was truly asked for advice? The realization makes him frown deeper. He's always *assumed* what Rock wanted, but... does he actually know?

"Ehhh... I can definitely check in. But don't be afraid to bully him a bit. He'll relent if you make him do stuff... that's just the way he is. I know that might help! He's a good kid, as I'm sure you know, just... y'know. Should get out there more..." Knuckles press into a palm, distractedly popping them one by one.

"How've you been, though? You sticking around Southtown for the long term...? What brings you so far from your dad's? Is Dong Hwan with you, or did he stay back home?" And a bit of a playful stretch, follows. "And you finally ready to challenge me?! I remember when you were little, you said someday you'd take down the Legendary Wolf!! Haha... maybe in a few more years, eh!"

Sort... personal things out?

"Is there something going on that he's not fighting anymore?"

The very notion of something being so utterly devastating to Rock that he outright stops fighting? It's likely, but completely beyond Jae Hoon's understanding. Throughout the years, thick and thin, fighting and martial arts has been the sustaining topic between the two of them. It was how they bonded, and stayed that way all through till this day.

And now, with his moving to Southtown, they're able to rekindle the in-person friendship they'd been long deprived of; they may be in different classes, but it isn't difficult for them to meet up and do other activities. Not to mention the fact that they work at the same place. However, in most discussions the Howard scion pointedly avoids anything regarding training together, preferring to divert attention elsewhere.

Not the type to pry, the young fighter has remained at the sidelines, observing. As such, advice like bullying or pressing for more information definitely makes him a bit squirmy. If Rock wants to talk about these issues, shouldn't he just... wait patiently until then? Yet, here he is, asking Terry for advice on what he should do, as if he has the intention of forcing his way in.

Looking slightly uncomfortable now, he shifts his weight about, eventually settling with a slow nod. "Well... I guess I could consider that. It doesn't seem like a very nice thing to do, though..." He straightens, shaking off some of his uncertainties, and politely adds, "Thank you for your advice. I appreciate it."

Ah, such a considerate child, not wanting to hurt his friend's feelings and all.

The very atmosphere of the conversation shifts as the Legendary Wolf himself brings in cheer and curiosity regarding Jae's life. Brightening, the fair-skinned teen offers a kind smile to the christened fighter in an attempt to return the friendly mood. "I guess you could say I'm well. I came to Southtown alone, since my father is busy with his reforment. Dong Hwan also had no interest in my goals." A hand perches on the point of his hip somewhat proudly. "I wanted to continue to honour the Kim name by expanding my horizons. There's only so much I can learn in Korea, you know."

A flush then graces his features, while a hearty laugh emits from his lips. "I would be pleased to take you on some time; I'll let you know that I've improved considerably since then!"

"Maybe..." Terry says, regarding Rock. It might be due to his own concern for his ward's privacy, but it's also possible he's not entirely sure. He sensed there was some manner of drama around that time, and he's definitely seemed to lose motivation as a result. He assumed he'd just snap out of it, but if even Jae Hoon is growing concerned at this point... "I'll try to see what's up."

Although he does grin a bit, shifting over to lean against the side of a building with broad arms crossing before his chest. "Kim's all about tough love, right? Consider Rock in need of some... I'm sure if he knows people really care about him, it'll reach him." It does seem Terry thinks the opposite; that a direct approach is the right one in this case! Even if he can't admit to have done that himself, recently...

"Oh...? Well, this place is a great culture to see what society's all about. From fighting to food to music, you can find it all here! I was lucky to be born here, for sure!" A thumb's up is thrust proudly towards Jae Hoon. "Just see what it offers you, yeah? I'll give you an outline of the right places to be, people to know, but... for the most part, you just gotta put sneakers to the concrete and get out there."

Brows lift high at the latter. "Sometime, yeah! Five or ten more years, I reckon... think you're halfway to catching up with me! Ever wanna test yourself again, let me know. I'll promise to be as gentle as I can..." Relentlessly teasing!

Well, there is no sense in pushing it further.

If Terry says he will look into it, then all Jae can do is put faith in that and believe all will be well in the end. Whatever it is that Rock is battling, he hopes for it to swiftly come to an end with his friend coming out triumphant on the other side.

Whether he needs to act with tough love or to take a chance on prying or not is up for debate. Likely, the decision will be made when the time comes - if it ever does.

"I've been making it a goal of mine to take to the streets at least once a day, if I can." Being used to the city life, it isn't difficult to traverse the lengths of it in search of resources or other such necessities. Mostly, he's come across conveniences such as shop variety and food choices, which honestly seem endless at times. Terry isn't far off in his comments; Southtown truly does seem culture-rich in some respects.

Just made the whole move that much more interesting!

Prideful, although not to a fault, Jae Hoon considers the proposition. Striving to improve is a burning desire within him, and the suggestion of taking on someone like Bogard certainly is tempting in some respects. Not as a means to prove his worth or to feed his ego, rather to improve his skill through the keen eyes of a vetern fighter. Any angles he could get at being the best version of himself he could be is all part of what the youngest son of Kaphwan wishes for.

"You don't need to go easy on me," he smiles. "I would give it my all in a fight against you. I hope one day I can prove that to you, although I doubt it'll take ten years to do so."

Noting the time by way of a lazy glance at his phone, Jae's brows arch slightly up onto his forehead once again. "I have a bit of time before I need to return home. May I treat you to a meal or something as thanks for today?"

"Just don't forget... the world's pretty resilient. Mind yourself and your needs, too. There's more to life then justice alone." His hands settle deeply into his jean pockets, attention remaining squarely on Jae Hoon when he mentions that, causing another smirk. "Hey, any time. Definitely before you head back."

Pushing off the brick wall, he begins to march along once more, although keeping a somewhat sedate pace. "Hah...! You don't owe me anything. I know a spot nearby that's worth the time, though." He jerks his thumb in a uselessly vague direction as he continues along. "...means a lot, y'know. That there's other people out there keeping an eye on Rock. Appreciate that."

Terry wow jae.

More to life than justice...

Hm. An interesting notion.

One that Jae Hoon isn't so sure he'll hold onto for the time being. Such a concept is so deeply ingrained in every fiber of his being that considering anything outside of that was just ludicrous. After all, he takes after his father in many ways, and this is certainly one of them. An extreme ideal that not everyone could get behind or understand, which is something he has learned to accept about others. A life of service to justice is not for everyone.

It is as they are turning in a different direction, toward wherever Terry is taking them to, that earthly-coloured irises gaze up to the Legendary Wolf in mild surprise. The last thing he really expects is to receive some sort of gratitude for just being friends with the lonesome wolf cub, yet here it is. Plain as day, the words come tumbling out. Honestly, the young fighter isn't so sure how to respond to that.

Bashfully, probably.

But in truth, he realises just how lucky he is to have a friend like Rock. The guy may be shy and awkward around newcomers, but beneath that exterior? A kind, sensitive person lives within, and those traits are something he considers himself honoured with. Like a precious gift of sorts.

And so, Jae Hoon grins brightly, because that's all he can really think to do. That humble smile is turned onto Bogard as they turn a corner and meander towards their destination together.

"Of course. I'm here for him. Always."

Log created on 00:54:00 05/28/2021 by Jae Hoon, and last modified on 16:15:46 08/24/2021.