Cruel Punishment

Coalescence

"Why!?... Why did I do that!?"

Anna covered her head in embarrassment as she cowered under her sheets. She couldn't believe what she had just done. She had forced herself on Bryan; stolen a kiss from the scarred man and he rejected her. She felt completely and utterly humiliated.

A woman of her stature and profession was turned down by a man. It was hard for her to believe, but it happened. She never felt this way before.

Am I losing my touch? She questioned as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks. She thought… or perhaps hoped that Bryan had the same feelings for her. She wondered why he did not.

Bryan did not seem to be a picky man. She remembered the collection of women's phone numbers that were saved on his phone. She was certain that the man had no qualms about the women he takes to bed. He is definitely a womanizer always ready to flirt and toy with any woman he meets... Any woman except her. Anna sighed dejectedly at the thought. For some reason, she was off-limits to him. She didn't know whether she should feel honored or dismayed by this.

She reflected over the night when they almost… almost slept together. She remembered how he touched her; how he kissed her. She enjoyed every moment of it. He was intoxicated, but he remained very passionate and gentle with her. She wanted to experience that moment again even though his feelings were not really for her. That memory was all she could think about while she watched over him that morning. It was what spurred that awkward moment in the first place.

She wanted to convince Bryan; make him have those feelings for her. Within the small span of time they shared together she had developed some sort of emotional attachment to him. Bryan was always there. He protected her; watched over her. Anna had his complete attention. But now… she is losing him. Nina has reentered both their lives. The woman who she will never become.

Anna sobbed quietly under her sheets. She deeply wondered why the man highly regarded her sister. However, whatever his reasons may be, she knew that she was ultimately in the wrong. She never should have forced herself on him. Bryan deserved an apology, along with possibly dozens of other people. She had so many regrets. So many people were affected by the poor choices she had made.

Anna let out a defeated sigh as she got out of bed. She went into her bathroom to clean up. She quickly noticed her reflection in the mirror. She was a complete mess. Her eyes were glassy and red; her cheeks were flushed and dampened by her tears. She looked… weak, defeated. It was what Bryan hated most. Weakness. She thought it was why he never developed feelings for her. It was the same reason her sister hated her.

Anna hurriedly washed her face and fixed her hair. She didn't want Bryan to know that she was crying. She didn't want him to see her that way… not anymore. She examined her face once more; making sure that all evidence of the tears she shed were gone. When she was satisfied, she exited her room and stood in front of Bryan's door. She hesitated for a moment before announcing her presence.


Bryan heard someone knocking on his door as he lay in bed. He instantly knew it was Anna. He wondered what she wanted or more importantly, what mood she was in. He didn't know what to expect or say after that very awkward moment they had. He wished that they could ignore it; forget that it even happened. To him, it was the best way that they can move forward, but he knew things cannot always be that simple.

"It's me… Anna." He heard her voice through the door.

Bryan wearily got out of bed. He slowly opened the door expecting her to be in some sort of emotional mess, but was surprised by her calm and cool demeanor.

"May I come in?" Anna said quietly.

"Uh… sure." He said feeling a bit befuddled.

Bryan watched her as she walked in and took a seat near his bed. He closed the door and stared at her perplexingly; wondering if the woman was truly okay.

"I want to… apologize… for what happened." Anna said quietly as Bryan sat down on his bed. "I should have never done that."

He was surprised by her calm attitude. He thought for sure that the woman would be bawling her eyes out in front of him for one reason or another. Bryan knew Anna was the kind of person that always needed someone there for her. Someone who could support and care for her in times of need. After she decided to leave Lee, the only person she had left was him. Bryan didn't mind helping her out, but he wanted to be clear about the terms of their partnership.

"Anna…" Bryan said in a very even and calm tone. "I know you're going through some tough times and-"

"I understand." Anna said bluntly as she tried her best to maintain her cool demeanor. "I understand… I appreciate everything you have done for me so far Bryan… You have been a great friend."

Bryan humorously scoffed at her choice of words. "Friend?" He winced in disgust. "That's too soft."

"Too soft?" Anna repeated as she looked at the man. She quickly noticed his slightly amused expression. She was somewhat relieved that there were no signs of anger on his face.

"Well, how about companion or comrade?" She said with a subtle grin.

"Comrade?..." Bryan repeated as he rubbed his chin in thought. "I like that better… It sounds tough."

Anna giggled. "You know… You seriously have a problem if you feel emasculated by simple words."

Bryan smiled and watched her as she giggled some more. He was happy the woman understood what he was about to say and it seemed like she was taking it pretty well.

Anna's laughter slowly subsided. She was happy that the little issue they had earlier that day was easily resolved. But she still felt guilt over the other thing she had done.

"Bryan…" She looked at him with utmost sincerity. "I also want to apologize for the other night... that I told you about." She said bashfully.

"Another apology?" Bryan said in disbelief. "But, why would you apologize for that? I don't even remember what happened."

"…I took advantage of you." Anna said shamefully. "You were drunk… I could have stopped it… I should have…" Anna trailed off as she looked down at the floor.

"W- What!?" Bryan was both dumbfounded and shocked over what he had just heard. He suddenly burst out in laughter. He wasn't sure what happened that night nor did he ever want to know after hearing what she had just said.

Anna was completely surprised by his reaction and didn't know what to make of it. She silently waited for his laughter to subside; hoping that he will explain himself.

"Does room service got anything good to eat? I'm starved." Bryan said and smiled.

Anna blinked a few times in disbelief. She wondered what just happened. "A-are you okay?" She questioned carefully.

"If it's alright with you, let's just forget it ever happened." Bryan said and smirked.

"Okay…" Anna said confusedly. "B-but what was so funny?"

"Your apology." He said glibly. "You make it sound like I was raped or some shit." He chuckled.

Anna gasped and almost fell out of her chair. "I would never do such a thing!" She said in shock. "That night I-"

"Just forget about it Anna." Bryan said reassuringly and smiled. "Haven't you apologized enough today?"

Anna looked at him for a moment longer. It seemed like Bryan had truly forgiven her. As much as she wanted to give him clarity over what happened, she decided to concede with his wish. Perhaps it will be better if he didn't know. But she wondered why he wanted it to remain a mystery.

"Very well Bryan." Anna nodded and softly smiled. Even though she still felt confused by his actions, she was at least happy that the man had absolved her.

"Good." He said simply as he leaned back in bed and smiled. He was happy their awkward discussion was over.

Anna sighed as she stood up and walked towards the phone. "Let's see what they have on the menu." She said as she dialed the number for room service. She quietly waited for someone to pick up.

Bryan suddenly looked at the woman with a devious smirk plastered on his face. "Was I at least good?"

"What do you mean?" Anna asked perplexingly as she held the phone to her ear.

"In bed..." Bryan said simply. "Did I meet your… expectations?" He spoke his words seductively.

Anna immediately felt her cheeks warm up. She knew that her face was red. It was probably as red as her dress. She quickly turned her back towards him. She was too embarrassed to face him. She heard Bryan's laughter roared throughout the tiny room.


It was late at night when Nina exited the cab in front of Bryan's hotel. She was worried; worried over Bryan's safety. A huge chunk of the city was in lock down by the Zaibatsu. Jin had ordered hundreds of his men to search the city for the two assailants that attacked his empire. Everyone within the corrupt corporation knew what Bryan and Anna looked like. They were no longer safe. On top of all their troubles, Lee now knows that the two are working together.

Nina briskly walked inside the hotel and took the first elevator that came. She pushed the button for the appropriate floor and eagerly waited to reach her destination. Nina wondered how they are going to get out of this situation. Bryan was no longer safe here nor will he be safe in America. To add more to their troubles, he was running out of stimulants. Things were looking very dire for all of them.

Nina quickly exited the elevator and walked towards Bryan's hotel room. She calmly knocked on his door a few times but failed to get a response. She suddenly wondered if the man was alright. She knocked again more urgently than before hoping that the will hear her.

Suddenly, Nina noticed the door next to his slowly opened. She immediately frowned at the sight of her sister.

Anna quietly exited her room and solemnly looked at Nina. She felt ashamed as saw the angered expression on her face.

"I think he is asleep." Anna muttered as she glanced at Bryan's door. "I can open it for you if you'd like?"

Nina sternly nodded and stepped aside. She watched as her sister pulled out a keycard and dipped it into the lock. Nina immediately felt angry that her sister was so close to Bryan that he had entrusted her with the key to his room. She wondered what the details of their partnership were.

Anna opened the door and stepped inside. Her sister followed closely behind her. They both slowly walked towards his bed. Bryan was sleeping quietly on his stomach with the bed sheets sloppily draped across his body. One of his arms was dangling over the edge of the bed.

Nina softly smiled at the sight of him. She was immediately reminded of the time they spent in a hotel in Brazil.

Anna looked at her sister and was surprised by her softened expression. She never thought she would see her sister… smile. It was very subtle, but it was there. It lacked malice and hatred. It was genuine. It was real.

"How is he?" Nina asked bluntly; jarring Anna from her thoughts.

"H-he seems better." She stammered. "He finally woke up earlier today."

"He did!?" Nina said astonishingly as she gave Anna a worrying look.

Anna was taken aback by the sudden barrage of emotions she was witnessing from her sister. For a moment, it seemed like the hatred she had towards her was gone. Completely vanished. However, just as quickly as her softened demeanor had appeared, it had disappeared again. As if she had caught herself behaving out of character. Nina quickly cleared her throat and her expression hardened once more.

"He was awake?" She said in a stern, cold voice.

"Y-yeah… He was hungry so I ordered some room service. He ate, watched some TV then he went back to sleep."

"That's good to hear." Nina said as she turned her attention towards Bryan.

They stood next to each other in awkward silence for a while as they watched over him. After witnessing those new emotions from her sister Anna quickly realized that Nina was masking her feelings. She was merely pretending to be indifferent and apathetic.

She suddenly pondered if Bryan had seen the 'real' Nina; the unmasked one. She wondered how her sister would have behaved if she wasn't there; If it was just the two of them alone.

"He helped me you know…" Anna said quietly. She wanted to soften the tension between them. "He didn't have to… but he did." She smiled. "He probably saved my life."

Nina was astounded by what she heard. She looked at her sister disbelievingly.

"Despite everything I've done to him and all the trouble I caused he still helped me. He risked his life numerous times." Anna said somberly. "It would have been easier to turn me over to Lee. He would have all the stimulants he needed, but he chose to help me instead."

"I don't understand." Nina muttered.

"I wanted to find you Nina." Anna said as she looked at her sister. "Bryan wanted to find you too… but I'm sure he could have easily done it without me."

Nina was instantly perplexed. She was surprised that Bryan was looking for her. She also wondered why her sister was looking for her as well, but she was still had questions regarding their relationship. "So why do you think he helped you?"

"I don't know… He was a cop once, right?" Anna said quietly as she looked at Bryan. "I'd like to think that a part of that Bryan is still buried there somewhere. The part that used to care and protect others… the part of him that he thinks is weak…"

Nina instantly understood what her sister meant. Bryan had also risked his life a few times to rescue her. The man was a completely different than how everyone perceives him to be.

"I get it…" Nina said quietly. "I understand what you mean."

Anna smiled and eyes widened when she heard her sister agreeing with her. She almost felt like they were bonding somehow; that they had found some common ground. She sensed that the tension in the room was slowly lifting.

"I mean, the guy is still a complete jerk, but he is surprisingly a lot more different than I thought he was." Anna said and chuckled.

Nina sniffed and quickly turned away from her sister, not wanting her to see her amused expression. Anna's comment made her smile and she quietly stifled a laugh.

Anna was amused by her sister's coy behavior. She knew that her comment had made her smile.

"There is nothing between us… In case you were wondering." Anna said quietly. "He deeply 'respects' you Nina." She said and smiled causing her sister to slightly furrow her brow in confusion.

"That's what he prefers to call it." Anna clarified and giggled. "But please don't tell him that I told you that."

Nina softly smiled and shook her head in disbelief as she stared at the sleeping man. She quickly hardened her demeanor once more when she noticed her sister was staring at her. "Why are looking for me?" She asked tersely as she eyed her eyed; wanting to change the subject.

"I wanted to reconnect with you Nina." Anna said softly. "I know you despise my presence but I was hoping that you might finally forgive me."

Nina huffed angrily as she crossed her arms. "I can overlook what you've put Bryan through, but I will never forgive you for what you've done to our father."

Anna looked down shamefully. She felt absolutely distraught by her sister's harsh and cold words.

"But as much as I hate you Anna, I believe that now is not the time for us to fight."

Anna looked at her somberly.

"We have bigger things to worry about and I think it would be best if we worked together for the time being."

Anna gave her sister a hopeful smile. She was happy to hear this. She thought it would be a good opportunity to establish a decent relationship with her. She was determined to prove to Nina that like Bryan, she too was more than what she seems to be.

"Would you shut the fuck up?" Bryan muttered sleepily as he turned in his bed. "I'm tryin' to get some sleep here."

Both Nina and Anna quickly turned to face the scarred man.

"Bryan?" Nina said curiously.

"Nina?" Bryan quickly opened his eyes when he heard her familiar voice. He saw her standing above him with her arms folded across her chest. She was wearing her favorite purple camouflage suit. "Are you here to nurse me back to health." He said with a perverted grin.

Nina scoffed disdainfully. "Well it seems like you are doing a lot better."

"Yeah, but I'm still feelin' the pain from those two shots you gave me." Bryan smirked.

"You deserved it." Nina said bluntly.

"Aww… I guess you ain't gonna kiss my boo-boo and make it better." Bryan said playfully.

Nina smiled disbelieving at his silly comment. "I see you haven't changed much… You still have a mind of a child."

Bryan chuckled as he sat up in his bed. He was happy to see Nina again. Happy to know that she is safe. There were so many questions swirling through his mind. He wondered why she was in Japan and why she is working for the Zaibatsu. But none of it mattered at the moment.

"So what are you two doing here?... Watching me sleep?"

Nina immediately scoffed at his remark and smiled. Her hardened demeanor was long gone and forgotten. She quickly sat on a chair near the man's bed.

Anna quietly watched as the two of them reconnected. She couldn't help but feel sad by what she saw. It was hard for her to bear. Bryan was slowly slipping through her fingers. She was no longer important to him. She no longer mattered.

It was strange watching them talk to each other so casually. She wondered how these two supposedly cold, ruthless, and sociopathic killers act so … normal with each other. How did it happen?

Anna was still very curious to understand the relationship they shared but, she was certain she will never comprehend it nor is it her business to know. However, she learned a very valuable lesson throughout this entire ordeal. She realized that she cannot force a man to love her. Not Lee… and definitely not Bryan.

Anna sighed glumly as she turned around and quietly excused herself from the room. They didn't even notice when she left. She quietly shut the door behind her.

Anna turned around and immediately gasped when she saw Dragunov leaning against a wall opposite from Bryan's room. His ice-blue eyes focused directly on hers. His stare seemed to elicit some sort of power causing Anna to freeze where she stood. She noticed he was wearing the same outfit he wore when he invaded Violet Systems. They instantly brought back bad memories.

Anna feared him. He had kidnapped and possibly tried to kill her and now the Russian was standing directly in front of her. Even though he had saved both her and Bryan from the Zaibatsu, she wasn't sure if the man was upset over what happened between them several years ago.

"N-Nina is in there with Bryan." Anna stammered as she tried to keep a calm and cool exterior. "I think they need some time alone."

Anna watched as Dragunov's eyes quickly darted towards the door. She could have sworn she heard the man sighed as if he was irritated by what she said.

"They have a history together." Anna explained timidly. "I'm sure you probably know that already."

The Russian silently folded his arms as he leaned back against the wall. His eyes were focused on her once more. Anna was a little shaken when she noticed he was staring. His expression was completely blank and unreadable.

"Thank you for helping us the other night. We greatly appreciate it." Anna said softly; hoping to break the ice with the man, but he still remained deathly quiet.

Anna quickly grew uneasy by his silence. She wondered if he harbored any hatred towards her for what happened back in Russia. She was hired to take the man's life, but her mission was a complete and utter failure. She thought he wanted revenge, but she secretly hoped that he had forgotten all about it.

She wondered if they can put the past behind them. After everything she had been through, Anna realized what she wanted most is to be respected and appreciated. However, she realized that can only happen through forgiveness. She had wronged and angered so many people in her life. Bryan, Nina, Lee and even Dragunov. Even innocent people that she had never met were hurt and killed through the poor decisions she had made. She wanted to make up for it anyway she could. It was the only way she can move forward.

Anna took in a deep breath before she spoke again. She wanted to make sure that when she spoke, she spoke with confidence and sincerity.

"I'd also want to apologize for what happened in Russia." She said as she looked at him directly in the eyes. "I have nothing against you, it was just… business. I deeply regret any trouble that I have caused you." Her words were genuine and honest. "I hope we can move forward from this and quite possibly work together."

Anna quietly waited. She hoped that the man will respond positively by her heartfelt apology, but he remained deathly silent. Anna started to worry.

"Well… are you still angry with me?" She said pleadingly.

Dragunov looked at her for a moment as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. He suddenly began to rummage his pants pocket. Anna stood and watched him curiously. She was fascinated that she was actually getting some kind of response. Dragunov pulled out his wallet and opened it for her to see.

Anna saw a photo in his wallet. She quickly gasped when she realized it was her.

"T-that's me." Anna said astonishingly. She wondered where it came from. "May I?"

Anna cautiously took the man's wallet to get a closer look. She closely examined it and suddenly chuckled when she realized where it came from.

"I know where you got this." Anna said quietly. The photo came from a bar she used to work for in Russia. She needed the job in order to get closer to the man so that she could complete her mission of murder.

"But why did you keep this?" Anna said probingly as she pointed at the photo.

Dragunov turned his head away, breaking eye contact with the woman. Anna wasn't sure, but she thought that the Russian was… embarrassed. Or perhaps he looked away with anger or annoyance. It was hard for her to tell since his expression was always neutral.

"Are you still angry? Do you want revenge?" Anna asked carefully as she tried to figure out the man's motives.

She carefully looked at the man. She studied his face looking for any hint or flicker of emotion. Anything that can qualify as a response. Suddenly, the most amazing thing happened. Anna's eyes grew wide when she saw the Russian firmly shook his head no. She couldn't believe it.

"N-no?" Anna said disbelievingly. "You're not upset with me?"

Dragunov did not bother to respond to her inquiries, but it no longer matter to her. Anna was happy that he had forgiven her. She smiled happily as she returned his wallet.

"Thank you." Anna said feeling thoroughly relieved that the Russian wasn't out to kill her. "But I still wonder why you've kept my picture." She said politely.

Dragunov quickly looked away as he stuffed his wallet in his pocket. Anna swore she saw some color appear on his pale face. She giggled quietly to herself. She immediately remembered that Dragunov is a very awkward man. It was only thing she learned about him when she was in Russia.

"Why don't we go to my room and have a drink? They probably need some more time alone." Anna said and smiled.


"So how are things at the Zaibatsu? I'm sure Kazama must be fuckin' pissed over what we've done." Bryan said amusedly as he looked at Nina.

"Yes, he is…" Nina said glumly. "I need to speak with you about that – everyone actually."

"It's that serious, huh?" Bryan smirked.

"Yeah…" Nina concurred. "But let's not talk about it now… We need to wait until Dragunov is here."

"Alright then." Bryan said simply. He sensed Nina was feeling uneasy so he decided to change the subject. "So what's it like working with the Russian?"

"He's quiet…" She said bluntly. "…too quiet."

Bryan laughed out loud. "I fuckin' agree!" He said and smiled. "At one of the tournaments, I got that asshole drunk hoping that he would talk, but he never uttered a single word."

Nina giggled. "You're friends with him?" She said disbelievingly.

"Kind of." Bryan shrugged. "I don't know how it happened, but it seems like we have a mutual respect for each other."

"Well that's interesting." Nina said simply.

"I should get outta bed." He said resignedly. "I don't want the bastard to see me in my boxers."

"You don't have your clothes on!?" Nina said incredulously as she suddenly covered her eyes.

"Seriously Nina…" Bryan said teasingly as he got out of bed. "You have seen more than just my boxers." He laughed out loud when he saw the woman's cheeks turn a bright shade of red.

Bryan walked across the small room. His navy-blue, militant pants were folded on a table. He picked them up and began to put them on. Nina felt embarrassed but she couldn't suppress the urge to peek through her fingers.

She saw Bryan pick up his pants and gave it a whiff. She stifled a laugh when he saw the man's face furrow in disgust indicating that his pants were not as clean as he thought they were. However, he simply shrugged and put them on anyway.

"Disgusting." She muttered under her breath.

"Huh?" Bryan said as he looked up. He saw Nina quickly turned around in her seat. He chuckled at how embarrassed she looked. He thought it was cute.

"Naughty girl, you were peeking." He said seductively. Bryan slowly sauntered towards her as he buttoned and zipped his pants.

"I wasn't." She lied as she slowly turned to face him. She felt her heart race when she saw him standing right in front of her with a devious smirk. She felt a little uncomfortable by his proximity. Nina quickly stood up from her seat to get some space from him. She felt flustered. Old memories quickly rushed through her mind; feelings that she thought was long forgotten were fresh and new.

Bryan ogled her with eyes half-lidded as he slightly licked his lips.

"What flavor?" He said softly as he closed the gap between them.

"What?" Nina said feeling thoroughly confused.

"The lip gloss."

"S-strawberry."She stammered as Bryan stood in front of her.

Suddenly, without warning, Bryan pulled her close and firmly pressed his lips against hers. Nina was taken aback by the sudden gesture, but gladly accepted it. She missed him. She was happy to see him again.

Bryan quickly picked the woman up and carried her to bed. Before she knew it, the man was on top of her. Her legs straddling the sides of his body. Bryan hungrily kissed her as he explored the contours of her thin frame.

Nina softly moaned as he touched her in all the right places. Bryan eagerly began to tug on one of the many straps to her suit; wanting to disrobe her. He tried numerous times, but was unsuccessful and growing impatient. Nina was slowly drawn back to reality by the very awkward moment. She heard Bryan grunting angrily as he was trying to undo one of her straps.

"Fuck." He muttered as he sat up. Nina's legs was still straddling his sides.

"What's wrong?" Nina said confusedly.

"It's that outfit of yours… it's like a fuckin' full-size chastity suit! I need a locksmith to open that shit up!" He said and chuckled.

Nina was thoroughly embarrassed and angry by his crude behavior. "Unbelievable!" She said as she quickly got out of bed. "I know you're not the romantic type, but you sure can ruin a good moment."

Bryan chuckled as he lay down with his hands folded behind his head. "It's never too late." He said with a devious smirk. "Perhaps you can strip for me… maybe that will get you back in the mood."

"Or perhaps you can use your hands… I have some lotion if you need it." She said mockingly with a hand on her hip.

Bryan burst out in laughter by her comment. He really missed having these playful conversations with her.

Suddenly Nina's phone began to ring. She looked at it and immediately began to worry.

"Shit." She muttered.

"What's up?" Bryan asked as he sat up.

"It's Kazama…" She said as she placed the phone in her pocket. "I have to leave soon. He wants me at the Zaibatsu."

"Oh…" Bryan said feeling a little disappointed. "Hey, where did your sister go?" Bryan said curiously as he looked around the room.

Nina chuckled. "Are you serious? You now noticed that she is missing?"

"I kinda forgot she was in the room with us." He said feeling slightly guilty. He was so busy conversing with Nina that he didn't even notice when Anna left. He felt a little concerned for her. Even though she was acting like nothings the matter, he knew the woman was hurting inside.

"Why do you care?" Nina spat as she glared at the scarred man. "I'm glad she's gone. She was getting on my last nerve."

Bryan sighed resignedly. The way Nina spoke of her sibling bothered him for some reason. "You know, your sister really admires you Nina." He said honestly. "She really do… The girl sacrificed everything just to find you."

Nina crossed her arms and grunted angrily. She was infuriated that Bryan was sympathizing with her sister. "I don't care." She muttered angrily.

"Come on Nina." Bryan said, feeling annoyed by the woman's attitude. "How long are you gonna hold this fuckin' grudge of yours?"

"Until she's dead."

"But, she's your blood." Bryan tried to reason. "When you two become gray-haired, old ladies all you're gonna have are each other... Unless…"

Nina scoffed at his remark. "Unless, what?"

Bryan smirked. "Unless you two decide to duke it out with your walking sticks, I would love to be around to see that." He joked.

Nina couldn't help but laugh. Bryan always found a way to make her smile. "That sounds ridiculous." She chuckled. "But she will never live so long. I'll make sure of that." Her words suddenly sounded ice-cold.

Bryan chuckled as he learned back in his bed. "You say that, but deep down inside I don't' think you mean it… Your threats are empty Nina." He said and gave her a playful smirked.

She furrowed her brow in anger. "What makes you say that?"

"Well, it's true that you are the better assassin, but if you really wanted your sister dead, she would have already been."

Nina grunted in anger. She hated to admit it, but he was right. There were so many opportunities to take her sister's life but she always failed to do so; as if there was something stopping her.

"I know what happened to your father … Anna told me." Bryan said coolly as he looked at the woman.

"Then you should understand why I hate her." Nina muttered angrily.

"Your father's death… is not your sister's fault Nina." Bryan said reasonably.

Nina stared at him wide-eyed and full of anger.

"Your father thought that you two were ready to become full-fledge assassins. He thought so, but he was wrong." Bryan explained. "His mistake put you two in serious danger… and he paid for that mistake with his life."

Nina was in shock and disbelief. "What are you saying exactly?" She muttered under her breath.

"Your father is responsible for his own death, not Anna." He said bluntly. "You must know this Nina but you just refuse to accept the truth."

Nina quickly changed her facial expression. It was stern, cold and laced with indifference. She was masking her emotions once more. She didn't want to carry the conversation any further.

"I know that you were good at problem –solving when you were a cop. And I understand your logic Bryan, but I will have to disagree with you." She said flatly.

"That's sad to hear." Bryan said feeling a little disappointed.

"I hope Dragunov is here because it's time for all of us to talk." She said totally disregarding his last comment. Nina turned around and quickly exited the room.

Bryan sighed as he passed a hand through his hair. He could tell that Nina was masking her true feelings near the end of their conversation. He knew his words hurt her, but they needed to be said. She was upset with the wrong person the entire time. She needed to face that truth and accept it but sadly, it seemed like she never will.


"Come in." Anna said as she held the door open for Dragunov.

The Russian quickly entered the woman's room and sat down at the foot of her bed. His expression was still very serious and cold, but for some reason, she felt she had nothing to worry about.

"If I remember correctly, vodka was your favorite drink." Anna said timidly. "Do you want some?"

Dragunov nodded only once. Anna smiled as she removed two glasses from off the table. She walked over to the mini bar and put some ice in each glass.

"Well this brings back some old memories, doesn't it?" Anna said as she poured the drinks. She picked up the glasses and walked towards the silent man. She slowly sat beside him and handed him his drink.

Anna watched as the man slowly took a sip. He dare not make eye contact with the woman and kept his eyes focused directly at the wall across the room.

Anna sighed as she somberly looked at her glass. Feelings of loneliness were slowly creeping into her mind. Bryan was gone. He and Nina were in the room alone. It bothered her to think what they might be doing together.

She and Dragunov both sat in complete silence for a long time while occasionally taking a sip of vodka. Eventually Anna broke their silence.

"How do you do it?" She whispered quietly. "How can you feel so comfortable being alone… I can't stand it."

Anna didn't notice but Dragunov slightly turned his head to look at the woman. He saw the pained expression on the woman's face. He slowly lifted his hand and hesitated for a brief moment before awkwardly patting the woman on the shoulder.

Anna was immediately surprised that the Russian was actually trying to comfort her. She looked at him. Dragunov quickly broke eye contact the instant their eyes met. For some reason Anna sensed that the man was a little embarrassed. She smiled warmly at him.

"Thank you." She said softly.

Suddenly they both heard someone knocking. Dragunov slowly stood up and walked towards the door. He opened it and saw Nina standing with a scowled expression on her face.

"You were here the entire time?" Nina questioned; surprised to see Dragunov in her sister's room. "Interesting…" She said with curiosity. "Anyway, it's time that we all talk so come one."

Dragunov and Anna exited the room and followed Nina into Bryan's room and stood by his bed. Bryan was sitting fully dressed in his blue militant pants and a black t-shirt. Anna noticed remnants of lip gloss smeared on his lips. She suddenly looked away dejectedly when she saw Nina handing him a napkin. She didn't want to dwell on their relationship anymore. It was too difficult for her to bear.

Nina noticed the atmosphere in the room was completely different. It was somewhat tense; everyone was serious and focused as she thought it should be considering the tight situation they are all in.

"Alright, now that we are all here, we need to figure out a plan on how to take down the Zaibatsu." Nina said firmly as she sat on the bed besides Bryan.

"You want to destroy the Zaibatsu?" Anna said disbelievingly. "Don't you work for Jin Kazama?"

"No." Nina said bluntly.

"No?" Bryan repeated feeling surprised to hear this news.

"Kazuya sent me on a mission to infiltrate and spy on the Zaibatsu. Dragunov, who works undercover for the Russian government, was hired to be my partner this time around." Nina said as she glanced at the silent man.

"So… G Corp. and the Russian military are secretly working together to take down Jin Kazama?" Bryan said carefully; wanting more clarity on the matter.

"Yes. Kazama is rapidly gaining more power and expanding his military at an alarming rate. Governments all over the world started to get concerned and worried, especially after he started attacking smaller nations. We were sent to figure out his true motives and I have to say, they are not good."

"I'm guessing his plans involve Boskonovitch's dead daughter." Bryan said disdainfully.

"The android?" Nina said feeling somewhat astonished. "How do you know about it?"

"He sent us… well, kind of…" Anna said quietly. "It is part of our mission… He wanted us to retrieve that girl and in returned he promised to repair Bryan."

"But I thought Lee Sent you?" Nina said feeling thoroughly confused.

"He did." Bryan confirmed. "It's kinda complicated, but we are trying to complete both missions. Retrieving the girl and destroying the Zaibatsu. However, Lee doesn't know that I am also helping out the old Doc and Anna."

"Well he does now." Nina clarified. "Jin found clear pictures of you and Anna on one of the security cameras." She said quietly. "He wasted no time in telling his uncle about his discovery."

"Fuck." Bryan cursed under his breath as Anna gasped loudly at the terrible news.

"Yes… It's that bad." Nina said glumly. "What's worse is Jin ordered hundreds of his men to find both of you… There are check points all over the city."

"Why did this have to happen?" Anna said glumly as she finally realized the severity of their predicament.

Her words angered Nina immensily. It sounded almost absurd.

"None of this would have happened if you never spied on the Zaibatsu!" Nina spat as she stood up and gave her sister a deathly stare. "You've put us all in this mess and complicated things to no end!"

"I'm sorry." Anna muttered.

"We didn't want to, but we had to attack Violet Systems. Jin would have called us traitors if we refused. Our mission would have been a failure!" She yelled more heatedly.

Anna was too ashamed to look at her sister. She kept her head down and her eyes focused firmly on the carpeted floor below her.

"Why did you do it, huh? Why did you betray Lee?" Nina said mockingly with a hand on her hip. She happily watched her sister cower in shame. "I bet it was for some inane reason."

"That's enough… Nina." Bryan interjected coolly. "What's done, is done… Yelling isn't gonna change anything." He said reasonably.

Nina looked at him wide-eyed. She was shocked and angry that he was sticking up for her sister. However, she chose not to say anything more for the time being and heed his advice. Nina slowly took in a deep breath to help quell her anger.

"You're right Bryan… Now is not the time to fight." She said in a calm and even tone.

"You alright Anna?" Bryan asked as looked at her concernedly.

Anna slowly lifted her head to look at him. She was inwardly happy that the man was still protecting her. That he still cared. It made feel a little more confident in herself.

"Yes." She said quietly.

Nina folded her arms and sighed irritably at Bryan's behavior towards her sister. "I think the only way we are going to get through this is by working together." She said as she tried her best to remain indifferent.

"I agree." Bryan said.

"I agree as well." Anna said timidly.

Dragunov nodded his approval.

"Good." Nina said simply. "I'm glad that we are all in agreement."

"Honestly, I think we are all fucked." Bryan said half-jokingly.

"The future may look grim, but if we pool all our resources together, we may be able to get out of this alive." Nina said trying her best to raise the group's morale.

Bryan chuckled and looked a t Nina amusedly. "You say that as if you already have a kick-ass plan." He said mocking.

Nina looked at him a smirked. "Actually… I do."


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