Cruel Punishment

Inner Demons

It was a cold wintery morning. The sun was shining brightly in the sky as it melted the freshly fallen snow. The city had survived an overnight blizzard. It left so much white on the ground that schools were closed for the day. Plows and the scrapping sounds of shovels can be heard as people got up to clean the mess nature left behind.

On the outskirts of the city, a small, old cottage stood proudly having survived to mid-winter storm. The bricks, mortar and wood that made up the ancient structure still had the strength to survive the elements.

Lee sat on a couch within the cottage. He swirled a glass of wine in his hand as he watched the morning news. Even though the city had just went through a terrible storm, the media still focused on the frightful situation that was developing in Japan.

Lee grinned as he took a sip of his drink. He listened to the journalists report on the Zaibatsu. They said nothing but negative things to about his nephew. He enjoyed every second of it.

Lee suddenly heard the door creaked open behind him. He turned to see who had entered the room.

"Oh, it's you Samantha, good morning." He said and smiled warmly.

"Good morning sir." She said warily as she slowly approached and stood beside his couch.

Samantha didn't know what to make of her boss. He has been unusually happy and upbeat for the past couple of days. She thought it was odd especially after he learned of Bryan's betrayal. That news should have had the opposite effect on him. He should have been devastated, enraged to hear of his treachery just as he had when he learned about Anna.

For a very short while he was angry. However that anger quickly subsided and morphed into… something else. Something that she thought was eerily creepy and unsettling. She wasn't sure if the man was genuinely blissful or just plain insane.

"Sir… They are ready to conduct the final tests." Samantha said quietly.

"Look at that, isn't it wonderful." Lee said as he pointed at the television screen; totally disregarding what his secretary had just said. He listened with a cocky grin on his face as a pair of reporters spoke derogatory words in an attempt to further vilify his nephew.

"They are calling him a 'global terrorist' – 'a threat to all humanity!'" Lee said excitedly. "Isn't that great?"

"Y-yes sir." Samantha stammered as she looked at Lee concernedly.

"The whole world is uniting; banding together because of all of this!" Lee said and laughed. "And I will reap in all the benefits!"

"How so?" She muttered in confusion.

"My dear Samantha, don't you see?" Lee said mockingly as he gave his secretary a playful smile. "There is a war brewing… and war… is a business." He said as he stood up from the couch. "My Combot machine is practically ready to be shown to the world. A new machine that is more than capable of getting rid of the bad guys."

"You mean… the Zaibatsu?" Samantha carefully asked.

"Well, that's up to the highest bidder to decide, but yes… it's safe to assume that Jin will be the first one taken out." Lee said nonchalantly as he finished his glass of wine.

She couldn't believe what she had just heard. "You will sell your technology to anyone?" Samantha said in utter disbelief. "…Even if it risks endangering innocent people?"

Lee frowned. "Who cares?" He said flippantly and shrugged. "You cannot conquer the world with kindness. It's filled with people that will only use and abuse you. I should know…" He said quietly. "I have experienced it numerous times before."

Samantha looked down sullenly. She felt incredibly sorry for Lee. He seemed so vengeful and filled with hate. He was never like this. Despite his torturous past, he always remained optimistic about his future.

Lee wanted to do good in this world. He originally created and designed the Companion Robot to help improve the quality of life. Especially for those who are disabled or elderly. It was the reason why Samantha joined Violet Systems. She wanted to be a part of that dream – to be a part of history.

She didn't know what happened. Somehow that dream was lost and forgotten during their many years of research. It contorted and twisted into… this. A war machine. She didn't even notice when it was happening. However, it seemed like Bryan and Anna's actions had finally sent Lee over the edge. Their treachery had cut him a lot deeper than she could ever imagine.

Lee slowly walked towards Samantha. He noticed the trouble look on her face.

"You…" He said softly as he cupped a hand around his secretary's chin. He gently lifted her head so her eyes can meet his. "You are different from the rest... You've been with me from the very beginning. Back when I was pathetically running my business out of my home." He said and smiled.

"S-sir?" She looked at him with nervous eyes.

"You have witnessed so many women entering and exiting my life, but yet you still stood by my side throughout the years. " He said tenderly as he caressed her lips with his thumb. "So loyal… So vigilant… So caring… How could I have been so blind?"

Samantha felt her heart race and her cheeks began to blush. It felt good that he was finally acknowledging her. She always stood by his side… no matter what. Even though she didn't like where his plans were going, she was determined to be there with him until the end.

Lee chuckled as he saw the secretary's faraway look. "I have an idea!" He said gleefully as he walked towards the couch and picked up a bottle of wine. "Let's go out and have an early brunch!"

Samantha quickly blinked her eyes as she returned to reality. "B-but the snow sir… We can't go anywhere." She stammered.

"Oh, that's right…" He said with disappointment. "I know! I'll have one of the servants make us something to eat!" He said with a big grin.

"But what about the final tests? They are waiting for you in the lab." Samantha said baffled.

"Surely that can wait." He waved a dismissive hand.

Lee gently wrapped an arm around his secretary's waist and guided her out of the room.

"Come on, let's celebrate!"

Nina briskly walked through the underground parking lot of the Zaibatsu. She was in a hurry. She needed to be quick and couldn't stay away from the building for too long. She carried two heavy, black, duffel bags in each hand. Their contents were the key to completing her mission and ending the nightmare that was quickly unfolding around her.

Things have dramatically change for the worst ever since Bryan and Anna's attack on the Zaibatsu. The entire Tokyo district was under Jin's control and he ruled with a heavy fist. He instilled a curfew. No civilians were allowed outdoors after sundown. The punishment was death if anyone disobeyed this rule.

Thousands of Jin's soldiers roamed the streets. They were tasked to keep the city 'safe,' but in reality, all they did was harassed, beat and arrested anyone who they thought were a threat to the Zaibatsu.

His militia was loyal, but they were drunk with power. Nina witnessed so many atrocities committed by his soldiers during the short few days of his takeover.

Nina quickly walked towards a black SUV. She opened the trunk door and tossed the heavy bags inside. She closed the door and was about to get into the vehicle but someone quickly stopped her.

"Miss Williams!" One of Jin's men called out as he approached the woman.

Nina slowly turned to face the armored man. He stopped in front of her and quickly saluted.

"What is it soldier?" Nina said sternly.

"The young Master sent me. He wants to see you."

"Now?" Nina said in slight shock.

"Yes ma'am." The soldier concurred. "He said it was urgent."

"Thank you." Nina said. The soldier saluted once more before leaving.

Nina sighed warily as she looked down at the ground. She always dread going to his office. Every time she is summoned there it was always for bad news. It was never good. Then again, how can it ever be?

Nina slowly walked towards the secret, parking lot elevator. It will take her directly to Jin's office. She opened the hidden access panel and punched in the code. A false wall slowly slid open; revealing its secret. Nina took in a deep breath before entering the elevator.

Her heart beat nervously as she rode it to the top floor. She hated to admit it, but she was afraid of him. Every time she saw Jin, he looked progressively worse. As if he is slowly being overtaken by his curse. It was so bad that he spent most of the days and nights locked in his office in deep meditation. He was fighting to keep in control. But it seemed like his tactics were no longer effective.

The elevator stopped and the door slowly opened. His office was dark. Very dark and very quiet. The only thing that illuminated the room was the city lights outside. They shined through the tall, tinted glass windows on the other side of the office.

Nina cautiously stepped out of the elevator. The doors quickly shut behind her. She slowly walked through the dark office. Her boots clattered and echoed throughout the large stone room. She walked towards his desk and it was there she saw him. Jin was wearing a black, leather trench coat as he stood and looked out of his large, office windows. His back was facing her.

Nina stopped a few feet away from his desk. She could already tell that there was something odd about him. There was a strange black aura that seemed to emanate and swirl around him. It looked paranormal and ghostly. She had never seen something like that before and it made her shiver nervously.

Nina swallowed hard as she tried to regain her composure. "Sir… you wanted to see me?"

For a long moment, Jin did not move nor did he acknowledge her. He stood deathly silent. Nina didn't know what else to do.

"…The entire world hates me." Jin said flatly as he continued to glare out the window. "Everyone wants me expunged from the planet. They are banding together, joining forces so that they can get rid of me." He said and chuckled.

"But…" He continued. "They are taking quite a long time to attack… Why do you think that is?" Jin questioned as he turned to face her.

Nina gasped and her eyes widened in shock at what she saw. Jin's eyes glowed red in the darkness. He grinned at her sinisterly with fanged teeth.

Nina gasped nervously as she took a few steps backwards.

Jin chuckled as he slowly approached the woman. "My, my, my… so much fear… It's oozing out of every pore." He said mockingly. "You were always good at hiding your emotions, but I suppose everybody have their limits."

Nina quickly stopped herself from panicking. She cannot falter, not now. She stood straight although a little shaken. She breathed heavily, but managed to look the man directly into his crimson eyes.

Jin chuckled as he took notice of Nina's sudden change in demeanor. He walked up to her and cupped a hand around her chin. "You really are tough and resilient… I must commend you for that."

"T-thank you sir." She said nervously as she felt his clawed fingers dig into her flesh.

"I bet you are wondering who is in control right now..." He said as he studied the woman's face. "Is it Jin or the beast that lives inside of him?" He whispered teasingly.

Nina stared at him nervously.

"The truth is…" He said and smirked. "I don't know either!" He chuckled. "I would like to think that I am still Jin, but I am not entirely sure!" He stepped back and laughed aloud.

Nina took in a silent breath. He had lost it. She was certain that he was crazy; insane. Whatever it is that stood in front of her, she was certain it was not Jin. Not anymore. It was some twisted version of him. A mixture, an entanglement of the two entities to form the thing that was in the room with her now.

"You still haven't answered my question." He said as he shook a disapproving finger. "Why didn't they attack me yet?"

"I-I don't know sir." Nina stammered.

"Of course you do." Jin said as he approached the woman once more. "I already know the answer." He explained. "I just want to know if we think alike."

His last comment made Nina inwardly cringe. However, the last thing she wanted to do was anger Jin while he is in this state. She was all alone in his office. She had no chance of defeating him if she was to anger him now.

"It would be unethical… inhumane." She answered quietly. "To attack the Zaibatsu would mean to attack over a hundred million innocent people that live here as well." Nina clarified. "You are basically holding the entire country of Japan hostage."

Jin cackled out loud by her answer. "You are right! That is very intuitive of you!" He said and smiled. "I knew we think alike."

Jin walked back to his desk and sat on his chair. Nina was relieved that the man was no longer near her.

"So what do you think I should do in this situation? And don't play coy with me." He warned playfully as he crossed his legs on the desk.

Nina hesitated before she spoke. She was baffled. What was the point of asking her all these questions that he already knew the answer to?

"Y-you should attack sir…" She stammered. "You have the advantage."

Jin threw his head back and laughed wildly. He was impressed by her answer. "Yes, correct again Nina! You are a very tactical thinker." He said and smiled evilly.

"I-Is this the reason why you have summoned me sir?" Nina asked nervously. "To ask me these questions?"

Jin's smile quickly disappeared. His face was blank and indifferent. His sudden change of mood caused Nina to shiver momentarily.

"No." He said flatly as he stared at the woman directly in the eyes. "I called you here to tell you that you got 24 hours."

"Huh!? What do you mean sir?" She asked a bit urgently.

"I want to trust you Nina. I like your attitude and your bravery." He explained calmly. "You and I… We are alike and I believe you should be my second in command… But…"

"But what sir?" She questioned timidly.

Jin slowly turned around in his chair to face the windows. "Those two that defiled my empire… they are still out there somewhere." He said with a hint of anger. "It shouldn't take this long to find those rats." He muttered under his breath.

"I apologize sir… We are working hard to find them."

"…One of them is your sister… The other is your former partner?" He said as he turned back around and eyed her with curiosity. "…Lover perhaps?" He smirked. "You do understand what I am implying, right?" Jin said sternly.

Nina fearfully nodded in agreement. "I assure you… I am not helping or protecting the enemy sir. Everyone is searching vigorously to find them – including myself."

"Good." Jin said bluntly. "Prove your loyalty. You have 24 hours to bring them to me." He said coldly. "I'm sure you already know the consequences of failure."

Nina was shocked. She thought it wasn't enough time. Her plans were not completely finalized yet. She wanted to ask for more time but hesitated.

"You are dismissed Nina." Jin said sternly when he noticed the woman was still standing in front his desk.

"Y-Yes sir." She said a little shaken. "I will not fail you."

Nina turned and quickly left. She entered the secret elevator. She immediately began to gasp for air as soon as the doors closed. For the first time in her life, she felt incredibly overwhelmed.

"Ok… I'll take your bet and raise it by two."


"Yeah, two."

"Hmm…" Anna muttered nervously as she stared at her cards. She glanced over at Bryan. He looked bored as he lightly chewed on a toothpick.

"Come on Anna, time is money." He grumbled impatiently. He thought the woman was taking far too long to make her play.

Anna fretfully drummed her fingers across her lips. "I uh… I-I fold!" She yelled as she hesitantly place her cards face-down on the bed.

"Huh?... Already!?" Bryan said feeling both shocked and amused. "I didn't even flip over the last card yet!"

"I know…" Anna said shamefully. "But I've already lost a lot of money."

Bryan laughed. "Hey, it's not my fault you're fuckin' horrible at this game."

"No, you're cheating!" Anna said as she crossed her arms angrily. "You were a cop, so you're probably good at reading people's faces anyway."

Bryan laughed loudly. "Anna, your poker face is so terrible, a blind man could tell what kinda cards you're holding!" He laughed some more.

"You're such a jerk." Anna muttered under her breath.

"Well let's see what you got." Bryan said as he reached and flipped over Anna's cards on the bed. "Wow… two kings." He said feeling thoroughly impressed.

"What do you have?" Anna asked curiously as she looked at him.

"Heh… I got shit." He said glibly with a sly smirk.

"What!?" Anna snatched the cards from Bryan's hand. She eagerly examined each one. "You've got nothing." She said in disbelief.

"That's right girlie…" Bryan said as he lay back in the bed and folded his arms behind his head. "You could've won that round if you had the balls to play." He chuckled. "Now all your toothpicks are mine."


Both Anna and Bryan turned and saw Nina standing by the door. There was a look of confusion on her face. She released the duffle bags from her hands and allowed them to fall on the floor with a loud 'thud.'

"Yeah…" Bryan said and smirked. "We don't have any cash. That's why we're using them." He explained as he picked his teeth with one of the wooden sticks. "You want in on the next game?"

Nina stood there dumbfounded. Completely speechless.

"You should play against Dragunov." Anna said with a devious smile. "Now there's a face you can't read."

Bryan chuckled. "Yeah, you're right… That asshole would bleed me dry."

They both began to laugh. Bryan turned to look at Nina. "Where is Sergei anyway?"

Nina stood with her mouth agape. She felt one of her eyes twitch in annoyance. She had seen so many horrible things transpired over the past few days. Her mission had made her feel extremely stressed, overworked and frightened. She even feared for her life when she had to meet Jin earlier that evening. She was risking so much to complete her mission and quite frankly, save the world. It bothered her immensely to see the two people she was working so hard to protect was just sitting around in bed playing cards as if nothings the matter.

Nina suddenly gave them a deathly stare. "idiots!" She growled as she angrily walked towards them and smacked the cards on the floor.

Anna quickly got up from the bed as did Bryan. They both were shocked and surprised by her anger.

"What the fuck Nina!?" Bryan said angrily; confused by the woman's rage.

"The whole world has gone to shit and you two are just sitting around playing cards!?" Nina yelled. Her face was red with anger.

"Well what do you want us to do? You had us sitting on our asses for two fuckin' days." Bryan angrily grumbled.

"Haven't you been paying attention!? Don't you know what is going on out there!?" Nina said feeling thoroughly flustered.

"Actually, w-we don't." Anna quietly chimed in as she gave her sister an anxious look. "The television hasn't worked since Jin's takeover."

Nina let out a loud sigh as she sat on the bed. She looked down at the floor resignedly. Her sister was right, there is no way for them to know what is going on in outside world. Jin made sure to keep everyone in the dark. Only those who worked for the Zaibatsu know what exactly is going on.

"I… apologize." Nina said quietly. "I have been under a lot of … pressure… over the past couple of days."

Bryan looked at her concernedly. He had to admit that he had never seen Nina like this. Things must be really bad to make her act in such a way. "You care to explain what is going on over there?"

"Chaos… Absolute chaos." Nina said as she calmly stood to face them. "A lot of countries are uniting to get rid of the Zaibastu... However, nobody cannot do anything since Jin is basically holding Japan hostage." She said quietly. "To add to that, Jin is planning to strike first. I don't know how, when or where, but when he does... it will be the beginning of a new war."

"Is really going to do that!? Has he gone insane?" Anna said feeling utterly surprised.

"I don't know who is ruling the Zaibatsu, but it's not Jin…" Nina said looked down at the ground fearfully. "It's something else… something far worse."

"Are you talking about that curse?" Bryan said flatly as he crossed his arms.

"You've heard of it?" Nina said astonished.

"Who hasn't?" Bryan shrugged. "'The Mishima Curse' is what I think they called it. But most people think that it's nothing more than a fairytale."

"Well… it's real." Nina said quietly. "You'll see for yourself tomorrow."

"Tomorrow!?" Anna repeated in surprise.

"Yes." Nina said as she walked towards the door to get the duffle bags. "Jin is growing impatient." She dropped the bags on the bed. "He wants me to find the both of you within 24 hours or else… or else…" Nina said hesitantly.

Bryan walked over and rested a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry, that's not gonna happen." He said sternly

Anna let out a short gasp as she clasped her hands together. "T-This is too much. We all should try and leave while we still can!"

"That's impossible!" Nina spat. "There is no planes flying in or out of this country and the cargo boats that do operate are heavily guarded and watched by the Zaibatsu."

"And I need to get that fuckin' robot if I want my perpetual generator repaired." Bryan added. "But… you two should really try to get out of here… I think it's too dangerous."

"No way!" Nina said angrily. "I never abandon my missions and besides, we all have to set things right." She said with renewed determination. "The world may not know it, but we are the only ones that can stop this impending war from happening."

Bryan was impressed. "Those are some strong words Nina." He said and smile. "So are you finally going to explain this kick-ass plan of yours?"

Nina softly smiled back. Bryan's positive demeanor elevated her confidence somehow. "Yeah." She unzipped the duffle bags and opened them for Bryan and Anna to see.

"What's this?" Anna asked curiously as she picked up a fingerless glove.

"They are armored uniforms." Nina said simply. "All the Mishima soldiers wear them. They even come with helmets so nobody will see your faces." She explained.

Bryan chuckled. "So we are going to sneak into the Zaiabtsu?"

"Correct." Nina said bluntly. "I'll even drive you there myself."

"A simple yet effective plan." Bryan shrugged as he examined one of the helmets.

"I also spent the last couple of days rigging the Zaibatsu with explosives." She said confidently

"Huh!?" Bryan and Anna said in unison. They were utterly surprised.

"Planning and preparation." Nina said smugly when she noticed their shocked expressions. "That is what I have been doing for the past couple of days. If we are going to take down the Zaibatsu, we have to do it right. No mistakes."

"You did all of this by yourself?" Bryan asked skeptically.

"Dragunov helped of course." Nina clarified.

"That's amazing." Anna said; impressed by her sister's work. "You've done so much in such little time."

"Thanks." Nina grumbled under her breath. Even though she hated to admit it, she needed her sister's help. For the time being, she had decided to be a bit more approachable and 'friendly' towards her.

Nina's small and almost inaudible utterance made Bryan perked an eyebrow and Anna grinned from ear to ear. She was happy her sister was finally being nice to her and could barely contain her excitement.

"Anyway!" Nina said trying to overlook her sister's overjoyed expression. "You two will go into the Zaibatsu, get that Alisa robot and then we will detonate the bombs." Nina explained.

"That sounds good and all but, how the hell are we going to escape the Zaibatsu once we're in? I don't think Jin will just let us walk through the front doors." Bryan joked.

Nina sighed resignedly. "I … I haven't figured that out yet." She said glumly. "I needed more time to plan, but time is something I don't have anymore."

Nina sighed warily as she sat down on the bed. She couldn't help but feel a little… apprehensive. She always liked to be well prepared so it bothered her that she didn't finalize her plans yet. She wasn't sure how they will escape the Zaibatsu safely before detonating the explosives. Not to mention Jin. He worried her greatly. What if they had to fight him? She wondered if they will be able to defeat him.

Nina's phone suddenly began to ring. She removed it from her pocket and sigh tiredly when she saw it was Jin. She hesitated for a moment before pressing the 'ignore' button and placing the phone back into her pocket.

"Who was that?" Anna asked timidly as she looked at her sister.

"…It's Jin." Nina said softly. "…I will have to leave soon."

Bryan looked at Nina concernedly. He felt sorry for the woman. It was obvious to him that she was under a lot of stress. He couldn't believe it, but she seemed frightened… or scared. He knew Nina was basically doing all the work and he felt bad that he couldn't do more to help her or at least be there for her.

"…I'm sure we'll figure something out." Bryan sat down next to Nina and rested a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

Anna stood and watched them for a moment. She noticed the sudden change of mood and couldn't help but feel a little sullen. She instantly knew the two needed to be alone. She deeply enjoyed spending time with Bryan, but she had to accept the fact that he will never see her in that way.

"Don't worry Nina, we'll get through this together." Anna said confidently in order cheer up her sister but she didn't respond. She simply sat and grimly stared at the floor. Anna quickly wondered if her words were the right ones to say considering that their current situation was the result of her actions.

"Well, I'll just take my uniform and try it on in my room." Anna said awkwardly as she grabbed her bag. She quickly exited the room and shut the door behind her; Leaving the two alone. Bryan was the only one that can help brighten Nina's mood… For some reason, that bothered her.

Bryan studied Nina's sad expression as he sat next to her. "So… I can model this for you if you want." He pointed to the uniform in the duffel bag. "But I have to warn you…I'm a terrible pole dancer." He said jokingly. He wanted to change Nina's somber appearance.

Nina looked at him and softly smiled. "You're always the comedian, huh?" She said quietly.

"Well someone has to lighten the mood." He said matter-of-factly.

Nina quietly chuckled as she looked at him. Her mind suddenly began to wander on what almost happened a few nights ago. She didn't know why, but the silly memory returned to her as she looked at him in his eyes.

That intimate moment that they seemed to share was quickly broken when Nina's phone began to ring again. She stood up, quickly pulled out her phone and ignored the call once more.

"Jin, huh?" Bryan said feeling slightly disappointed.


She knew it was time for her to go, but she really didn't want to leave. She didn't want to go back to that building. She didn't' want to see that thing that was residing in Jin's office. She felt nervous and on edge whenever she is there. But right now… right now she felt safe, she felt calm and at ease. She wished she could stay in that small hotel room forever.

Nina's phone rang again. This time she did not bother to take it out.

"I-I should go." She said hesitantly.

"One more day, Nina... Just remember that." Bryan said; trying to boost the woman's morale. "Tomorrow we are gonna kick that rich kid's ass and save the day." He said and smiled.

Nina gently smiled and nodded in agreement. Bryan quietly watched her as she exited his room.

Dragunov slowed to a stop and parked the SUV in front of Bryan and Anna's hotel. Nina got out of the passenger side and entered the building. Dragunov stayed behind and waited for her to return.

She felt anxious and extremely uneasy. It was hard for her to concentrate during that day. They were about to take down the Zaibatsu. Or at least attempt to. It was something that nobody ever dreamed of accomplishing. Most people would have labeled them crazy for even trying.

Nina wanted to feel confident; to feel sure that her plan will work, but she couldn't shake the feeling that this could be her last night alive. It bothered her deeply to carry such emotions. She prided herself in being a strong self-assured woman. She never allowed negative thoughts to cloud her mind but it was hard for her to do so in this dire situation.

Nina pressed the button and quietly waited for one of the elevators to arrive.

Bryan slowly put on his Mishima uniform as he stood in the bathroom. Tonight was the night that they take down the Zaibatsu. He should be excited even exhilarated for the battle that is about to come but for some reason… he was not. He felt… uncertain; hesitant. It bothered him to harbor such emotions.

He was never afraid of death. No matter how dangerous things may be he was always excited to run head-first into a battle. However… this time he was uneasy. It seemed like all the odds were against him. What worried him most was Jin. If he truly possessed the devil gene, he definitely couldn't envision himself getting out of the situation alive. And even if by chance he did manage to defeat him, there was no guarantee that Boskonivitch will keep his word. On top of that, he knew Lee will most likely go after him wanting vengeance for his betrayal.

No matter how many ways he looked at it, he thought his life, or what was left of it, was screwed. But one question kept nagging him as he prepared for what could be his final battle… Why? Why is he putting on this ridiculous uniform? Why should he risk what's left of his life to stop the Zaibatsu? More importantly… Why did he care?

His internal questioning made him stop to look at his reflection in the mirror. It made him feel uneasy. It reminded him of the dream that haunts him from time to time. He suddenly stopped dressing and exited the bathroom. He walked towards bed and lazily plopped himself down. His mind was riddled with conflicting thoughts.

He should have left; disappeared right after Lee had sent him to Japan. He should have been laughing and quietly watching the world being thrown into chaos. However, a small part of him, a part that he thought was forgotten and buried, wanted to stay and fight.

"It's impossible for a person to completely change…"

Bryan grunted irritably as Anna's words ran through his mind as if to mock him. She was always reminding him of his past. Always… Ever since their little journey began. She made it a point to say that he was cop whenever the moment presented itself. Her observations never bothered him before, but they angered him now. It angered him because… she is right.

No matter how much he wanted to forget his past and forget who he was, bits and pieces of it still remained. If he had truly changed he would have never agreed to help Anna in the first place. He would have never protected her or… her sister.

Bryan's thoughts were quickly interrupted when he heard someone knocking on the door. He slowly got up to see who it was. He softly smiled when he saw Nina. She was the other reason why he wanted to stay and fight. He wanted to make sure that she will be safe.

He watched her as she silently entered his room and sat down at the edge of his bed. She looked troubled as if her mind was racing with negativity as well. He decided to act indifferent even though he was mentally going through the same thing. He thought it would be best to pretend their predicament didn't bother him.

Bryan chuckled. "I know, I know… We are running fuckin' late." He said dismissively as he buckled his belt. "This shitty uniform is kinda hard to put on." He said jokingly.

Nina glumly looked at him from where she sat. Bryan wasn't dressed yet. He only had on the pants and boots. Even though she should have been angered by this she was actually somewhat relieved. She was happy to spend more time with him even though their time was very limited.

"I'll try and hurry up." Bryan said as he disappeared into the bathroom.

Nina couldn't help but feel disheartened when she heard the door shut behind him. After months of waiting, this could very well be the last time that they are alone together. She didn't want to spend it this way. She didn't want to have any regrets.

She stood up and walked towards the bathroom door. She rested her hand on the doorknob. She felt a little hesitant to enter but she quickly summoned up the courage to open the door.

Bryan quickly turned to face her as he fixed his shirt. She looked very apprehensive. It worried him.

"… Are you alright?" He said softly. He looked at her skeptically as he approached her.

Nina remained silent as she stared into his piercing blue eyes. This is the last time we will be together, she thought to herself. The last time… Her eyes slowly roamed over his body. His neck, chiseled shoulders, arms, chest, torso and… other places. Her body ached. She desperately wanted him to touch her. She wanted to feel his body against her own.

Her eyes quickly darted towards his lips. They seem to move, as if to form words, but she was too much in a daze to hear them. Her heart raced in her chest as she saw them move again. She was tempted by them.

"Nina?" Bryan repeated more concernedly as he stepped closer to her. He rested a hand on her shoulder to try to bring the despondent woman back from whatever stupor she was in.

His touch sent a shockwave of pleasurable emotions throughout her. She couldn't bear it any longer. Without saying a word, Nina quickly wrapped her arms around his shoulders and swiftly pressed her lips against his.

Bryan was surprised by the woman's sudden and unexpected kiss, but he immediately accepted it. He kissed and tasted her soft, warm, strawberry flavored lips. He knew how she felt. He felt the same way as well. He quickly wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him. He kissed her deeply; lustfully.

His hands explored the soft contours of her body. A cry escaped her lips as Bryan gently squeezed one of her breasts. She bit his bottom lip in want causing him Bryan groaned with a mixture of pain and pleasure.

Nina enjoyed feeling his hands explore and touch her body. It is what she wanted. It was what she needed. Her body ached for more. She felt like this will be her last night alive. And if she really was to die tonight, she wanted to at least feel comforted before her end comes.

Bryan's pants suddenly tightened as he kissed her. He couldn't take it any longer. He suddenly picked her up and carried her to bed. Nina quickly wrapped her legs around his waist to keep from falling. Her body tensed in excitement for what was about to come.

He carelessly dropped Nina on the bed and immediately began to unbuckle his pants. Nina quickly began to undo the straps to her uniform. She didn't want to repeat what happened a few days ago. She had barely finished removing all the straps when Bryan climbed and positioned himself on top of her.

She could tell that Bryan was very impatient even a little aggressive with her. He was eager to get things started and gave her no chance to get comfortable or adjust to their intimate situation.

He eagerly pulled her top off and over her head exposing her breasts to him. Nina moaned loudly when she felt his hard lips suckled and explored her sensitive skin.

Bryan then returned his attention on her lips. He kissed her hungrily as he began to tug at her tights. Nina slid her leggings and boots off her body as she continued to kiss him. Bryan immediately pushed her legs apart and positioned himself between them.

Without warning, he swiftly thrust and buried himself inside her. Nina let out a moan that was mixture of pleasure and pain by his sudden intrusion. Nina sensually passed her hands through his short hair as he continued they continued their intimate exchange. They both panted and groaned as tension build up inside them.

Nina let out a cry as she reached her climax. Bryan followed shortly after. She felt his body stiffen as he reached his own.

Bryan groaned loudly before collapsing on top of her. Nina blinked in disbelief. Even though she enjoyed it, she was surprised it was over already.

Bryan slowly rolled off of her and lay besides her. They both lay quietly next to each other for a long time. They both silently contemplated their future. What will happen after tonight? Will they even survive to see the sun rise again? Neither of them knew but they were simply happy to share this moment together.

"We should get ready." Nina murmured softly. She sat up and solemnly began to dress. Bryan worryingly watched her as she did. He didn't want her to feel this way. She didn't want her to feel hopeless.

"You're not going to die tonight." Bryan said reassuringly. "I'll make sure of it."

Nina stopped what she was doing and sighed glumly. "…And what about you?"

"Don't worry about me… I'm a dead man anyway…" He said half-jokingly.

"Please..." Nina said feeling troubled by his words. "Please don't say that… If this is your way of cheering me up, then you have failed."

Bryan looked down quietly. He wished that she wasn't feeling this way but, it was understandable. Just as he wanted her to survive the night, Nina was probably hoping the same for him.

Even though his situation was more ominous, Bryan wanted to try and remained optimistic for her sake. That was all that mattered to him.

Bryan reached out and grabbed the woman's hand. "Don't worry Nina, we all are gonna get through this shit alive." He said confidently and with conviction even though he didn't believe his own words. He looked at her and smiled; trying to reinforce the lie.

Nina looked back, nodded and smiled. She continued to dress feeling slightly empowered by his words.

Bryan did the same. As much as he wanted to forget his past, it kept creeping up behind him. He considered it a weakness; a hindrance that only led to disappointment and despair. But as much as he wanted to deny it, the old Bryan, the one that wanted to do some good and make his mark in the world, still existed within him.

He wanted to protect Nina, to make sure that she is safe. He wanted to do what he believed was right. No matter what the cost.

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