Cruel Punishment

Silently Taken

Anna quickly exited Bryan's apartment building and hailed a taxi. A taxi eventually slowed and stopped in front of her. She entered the car and instructed the driver to take her to Violet Systems.

Anna sat back in her seat and sighed. She felt relaxed and at ease. She was pleased that her conversation with Bryan went well. It was very intense at first, but she was happy that they finally came to an agreement.

However, it seemed like Bryan is risking too much by keeping his silence. She thought it was unusual of him to do such a thing. But he agreed to help her for the simple chance of seeing Nina again. Anna was somewhat baffled by this. She thought it was impossible for Bryan to care about anyone other than himself. He always seemed more of a 'Lone Wolf.' His rude and crass behavior always shunned and kept people away from him. He hated the company of others and always preferred to be left alone.

Anna questioned how he could have developed such feelings for Nina. She admits that they have very similar personalities, but Nina seemed much colder, silent and reserved than Bryan. Her sister was not the type to open up to anyone but somehow Bryan had gotten through to her.

Anna's mind wandered to what happened six months ago at G Corporation. A meeting between the company and Violet Systems had just ended. Both she and Lee left the conference room not realizing that Bryan had stayed behind. Anna volunteered to go and get the man only to discover that he and her sister was sharing an intimate moment together.

She remembered how shocked she was when she saw them. The moment was unbelievable to her. It was unreal. It made her… envious. She had caught them kissing. She couldn't stop staring at them. She watched them silently as they slowly embraced and caressed each other. The moment they shared together looked so meaningful… so passionate. It was something she wasn't accustomed to. It was something she never experienced throughout her countless endeavors into loveless, relationships. She was jealous that her sister cared and respected such an arrogant and vulgar man like Bryan and has so much hate towards her - Her own flesh and blood.

Why Bryan? Anna thought to herself. If her sister was to actually develop feelings towards someone why him of all people? What did she see in him? Then again… what did he see in her? They both despised and hated being around people, but somehow they enjoyed each other's company. Anna thought it was strange how two cold, detached, loners could harbor such feelings for each other. Were they even capable of caring about anyone? Anna pondered. She was careful not to think of the word 'love.' She thought it was a strange word to describe the complex and odd relationship her sister and Bryan shared. She wasn't even sure if it was the right word to use since she never experience love herself.

She wanted to know. Anna wanted to know what it was her sister saw in Bryan that caused her to lower her guard. How did he earn her respect? What attracted her to Bryan? Anna's mind returned to the event she saw at G Corp. It reminded her of the moment she shared with Bryan in the bathroom stall. She remembered how she felt when Bryan kissed her that night. Anna lifted her hand and caressed her lips at the memory. She wondered if her sister felt the same way.

Anna suddenly blushed and pulled her hand away from her lips. She couldn't believe what she was thinking. She refused to believe it. She shook her head defiantly.

Anna quickly moved her thoughts to another subject. She needed to figure out what to say to Lee when she arrives. Surely he must be very concerned and angry when he came home and discovered that she wasn't there last night. His mind must be swirling with thoughts. Lee had already accused her of infidelity so of course her absence must have raised some suspicion. She pondered how she can escape this situation gracefully. Anna nervously sat at the backseat of the cab and tried her best to create a believable explanation.

Lee sat at his desk. His head lazily rested in the palm of his hand as he tried to read an email on his laptop. He was exhausted, tired and stressed. He didn't go home last night. He hadn't eaten, showered or even changed his clothes.

He still felt very horrible over what happened between him and Bryan yesterday. He wasn't able to think up a solution to his problem and it bothered him immensely. He tried to bury himself in work until he came up with an idea, but so far it hasn't worked.

He had a strong feeling that Anna was going to come to the office today. She is probably mad at him for his absence last night. Worst of all, he didn't bother to call to let her know where he was and that he is alright. It was bad of him not to call. Especially since their relationship was already not on the best of terms. Lee sighed heavily at the thought. He wondered what he should say to her when she comes in.

Suddenly the door to his office opened. It jarred Lee from his thoughts. He watched as Anna slowly approached him. She hesitated for a moment before taking a seat just in front his desk.

They sat in awkward silence for a moment. Lee cautiously lifted his head and examined her face; expecting her to look angry and upset, but he was surprised to see how worried she looked.

Lee cleared his throat to speak. "I'm sorry Anna." He said quietly. He kept his head down; feeling too ashamed to look her in the eye.

Anna was surprised. She felt confused by his apology and wondered what he was apologizing for. She looked at him astoundingly with her mouth agape.

Lee slowly looked at her. His expression was filled with remorse. "I'm sorry I didn't come home last night. I'm sorry I didn't call."

Anna was shocked. She thought that she would be the one making the apology. However, she couldn't help but feel a little angry by his confession. Even though their relationship was very rocky, he still chose work over her. Anna refused to believe his apology was real. She was convinced he was only doing it because he had to, not because he meant it.

However, she was glad that Lee spoke first since she really didn't know how to explain her own disappearance. She decided to use this to her advantage by doing what she knows how to do best, manipulate… as Bryan so put it.

Anna looked at him and gave a loving smile. "No, no Lee I understand…" She said adoringly. "I know your work is very important to you. I am just happy to stand by your side and support you."

"Anna, you don't understand." Lee said tiredly as he passed a hand through his hair. "I didn't stay because of work. I stayed because… because…" Lee's voice trailed off solemnly as he remembered what happened yesterday.

Anna observed him for a moment. She took note on how worried he looked. "…Because of Bryan?" She said calmly; trying to finish his sentence.

Lee looked at her; feeling a little surprised. "Yes… H-how did you know that?"

"He called me yesterday. He sounded angry. He said that you've 'punished' him for something?" Anna said coolly; directing the conversation exactly where she wanted it to go.

"Yes…" Lee said as he shamefully looked down at his desk. "I wanted to reprimand him for what he'd done to you at the party."

He slowly lifted his head to look at her. "I did it because… I love you… Anna." His expression looked so sincere, honest and direct. It made Anna shift uncomfortably in her chair.

Anna's mouth hung agape by his final words. He said them with such conviction that she questioned whether he meant it or not. She desperately wanted to believe it. It is what she wanted all this time. However, she had been hurt repeatedly by his words and empty promises and she'd be damned if she allowed him to hurt her again.

Anna inwardly collected herself. She refused to allow this man fool her any further. However, she didn't know how to respond to his final remark.

Lee waited for her to respond but received none. He noticed she looked quiet and a little surprised. He sighed resignedly as he leaned back in his chair. He figured the woman needed more time to think over what he had just said. He hoped that she will ultimately believe his words.

"I told him that I will allow more vigorous experiments to be conducted on his body." Lee explained; wanting to move the conversation along. "Needless to say… he didn't take it too well."

"Don't you think that it's a little too… harsh?" Anna said slowly as she looked at him.

"That's what's troubling me all night." Lee clarified. "I love you Anna, I really do! So when Bryan offended you, I wanted to do something about it… To show you I cared... But Bryan… I like to think of him as a friend." He said anxiously.

"I don't know what he'd done to you, but somehow I am caught in the middle. I feel like I am forced to pick a side and I really do not want to…" Lee said softly. "All I want is for all of us to get along." His voice was quiet.

Anna almost laughed out loud at how ridiculously easy this was. She thought it was going to be a lot harder to persuade Lee to recant his punishment without him becoming suspicious of her. But he was already second guessing his own decision. He just needed an extra push and she was happy to provide it. Hopefully by doing this, Bryan will begin to trust her.

Anna got up from her seat and quickly walked behind Lee's chair. She bent over and gently wrapped her arms around his neck. Lee was surprised but he enjoyed her warm embrace. He really missed her.

"Oh, Lee… you don't have to go through with this if you don't want to." She said sympathetically.

"Don't you want me to? I thought you hated the man." He felt a bit puzzled.

"Oh, yes… Yes I do. But I cannot stand to see you torn like this." She tried to sound concerned. "Besides, Bryan and I only had a little argument. It's not much different from the ones we've had in the past." Anna said lovingly as she gave him a squeeze.

Lee suddenly noticed that there was something strange about her. There was a smell emanating off her body. A man's cologne. He was unfamiliar with the scent and quickly grew apprehensive. As much as he wanted to, he quickly remembered that she could not be trusted.

"What's that scent… on your body?" Lee said calmly as he pulled away from her. He turned around in his chair to look at the woman. Anna backed away a few steps. Her faced looked concerned.

"It smells like… cologne." He said, getting straight to the point.

Anna grew nervous. She remembered sleeping in Bryan's comforter which reeked of his scent. Her eyes fluttered anxiously as she tried to think up an excuse.

"It was the cab!" She said quickly. "I took a cab here. It reeked of some man's cologne. It was probably a previous passenger… It must've gotten on my clothing."

Lee gave her a scrutinizing look as he thought of her answer. Anna waited for him to respond trying her best to hide her nervous demeanor. Lee wasn't sure if she was telling the truth, but it did bother him that she stunk of another man. He silently wondered if their relationship was salvageable. However, no matter how difficult it may be he was willing to try to make things work.

Lee sighed dismissively and smiled. He was willing to put this troubling discovery behind him. He wanted to look past it. He needed to if he desired a future with her.

"Very well Anna, I will heed your advice and retract Bryan's punishment." He said a little cheerfully.

Anna felt a little relieved by his change of attitude. She smiled gently. "That's good to hear. Now your conscience should be cleared." She said simply.

Lee smiled back. "You know what will be a great idea?" He said as he leaned back in his chair and steeple his fingers.

"What?" Anna asked curiously.

"We should go out and have lunch together." He looked at her adoringly.

Anna's heart almost skipped a beat. She wanted to feel excited, but she knew better than to believe his words. "That sounds great!" She said uneasily.

"Excellent." He said happily. "I'll finish typing up a few emails and return some important calls then we'll go."

"Okay." Anna said quietly. She felt a little strange by his request. She momentarily wondered if he really wanted to change and work things out with her.

Anna quickly wiped the thoughts from her mind. It was too late for that and she refused to be tricked again. She needed to focus on her goal. Her goal was to find Nina. It was all that mattered to her at this point. She had succeeded in postponing Bryan's punishment now she had some reconnaissance to do.

"So I will leave you to do your work." Anna said happily. "I'm going to get a cup of coffee."

"Okay, I'll let you know when I'm ready my dear." He said; feeling a bit more energized.

A sly grin slowly curled on Anna's lips as she turned and exited Lee's office. Everything was going as planned.

Bryan was lifting weights in his apartment when his cellphone began to ring. He carefully rested the weights on the floor and walked over to his couch to retrieve his phone. He looked at the number and realized that it was Lee. Bryan grunted angry and nearly crushed the phone in his hand with his cybernetic grip. He quickly calmed himself – only a little – and reluctantly answered the phone.

"The fuck you want, Lee?" He said gruffly.

Bryan's rude greeting surprised Lee. "U-um… Hello, Bryan?"… Is this a good time to talk?" He said uneasily.

"What is it?" Bryan muttered.

"Well… I assume you are at home right now, correct?"


"Heh… I sort of figured as much." Lee said slightly amused. "I can't imagine that you would come in today after what transpired yesterday." He nervously laughed.

Bryan grumbled under his breath. He was quickly growing impatient. He couldn't stand talking to this man for long - Especially after he had threatened his life and well-being. However, Bryan was a bit curious. He wondered if Anna had fulfilled her promise.

"Anyway." Lee quickly said. He remembered Bryan's tolerance was very low when he had to speak with him. "I wanted to inform you that I have postponed your punishment."

Bryan's attitude quickly changed. He smirked deviously. He was elated to hear this bit of news. "Oh really? …Why the change of heart?" He spoke with sarcasm.

"Well, as you know… I was hesitant about it to begin with. I've actually lost sleep over it. But I had my reasons that I'm sure you're well aware of, right?"

"Yeah, you did it for Anna."

"Correct." Lee said simply. "You know… she is the one who advised me to cancel your sentence."

Bryan grinned from ear to ear upon hearing this. It seemed like Anna was a woman of her word.

"I still don't understand what happened between the two of you, but I think you should come in and talk with her. Perhaps try to work things out." Lee reasoned coolly. "I really want the three of us to get along." He pleaded.

Bryan scoffed at his last remark. "That sounds touching and all, but I'm still gonna take some time off." He said cunningly. "You understand right? I can't quite trust a man who is known for breaking promises." Bryan spat. "…Especially one who had threatened my life."

Lee sighed resignedly. "I understand Bryan… Take all the time you need."

Bryan quickly ended the call without uttering another word to the man. He threw back his head and laughed loudly. He was happy that his ordeal was over. He no longer had to worry about being dissected and picked apart by men in white lab coats. The best part about it is that he didn't have to return to Violet Systems for a long while. He had enough stimulants to last him a few weeks. He decided to take an extended leave until his medical supplies run dry. No way will he return sooner than that.

Surprisingly, he had Anna to thank for that. She had promised to help him and she did. Unlike Lee, she kept her word.

Bryan sighed as he slouched in his couch. He was beginning to believe the woman was a lot more different than he originally thought. At first she seemed like an arrogant, loose woman with a bitchy attitude, but in reality, she was sad and very lonely. She probably has 'daddy' issues. He thought and laughed, but the idea resonated with him for a moment.

Bryan didn't know why, perhaps it is his old detective skills kicking in, but he believed that her behavior explained a lot. It was possible that Anna exuded a slutty, loose, demeanor in order to gain attention from men as a means to remedy her loneliness – among other things. But she failed to realize that the attention she was getting was the wrong kind. She would never find a man who will love, respect, and treat her the way she wanted to be by behaving the way she does. Bryan knows this all too well. He would never respect a woman that acted in such a fashion. That kind of behavior will work as an assassin but not if she is looking for love.

Bryan let out a dismissive sigh as he stood up from the couch. He thought he was analyzing Anna's behavior a bit too much. Before he knows it, he would start caring for, and pitying the woman. Bryan scoffed at the thought. He definitely did not want that to happen. He reminded himself that Anna is a master of manipulation. She is good at selling tricks to unaware victims and Bryan was determined to not be one of her statistics.

Bryan decided to return to his weights and continued his exercise. He felt more energized than before.

Jin Kazama was being escorted in a black limo that was driving through the busy streets of Tokyo, Japan. He was on his way to the Mishima Zaibatsu. It had been days since he first discovered that his estranged uncle at Violet Systems have been trying to hack into the Zaibatsu. It angered him immensely, but he had a plan to deal with the situation. He had hired a mercenary and deployed him to America. The merc is currently awaiting Jin's command.

Jin's phone began to ring, he answered it.

"Sir!? Sir!?" The man on the other line said nervously. "We are being hacked again… by Violet Systems!"

Jin smirked upon hearing this. He wanted to wait for them to attempt hacking into the Zaibatsu again before giving his uncle a response. He thought it would be appropriate.

"Good." He said evilly. "Can you pinpoint the exact location of the hacker? As to what floor or room they are in?"

"Um… Y-yes sir, but it will take some time." The man said feeling a bit unsure.

"Do it as quickly as possible." He ordered.

Jin hung up the phone and turned to his assistant that sat beside him.

"Cancel all my meetings..." Jin grinned deviously. "…And tell the merc to attack now!"

Anna was using a computer in one of the labs at Violet Systems. She had successfully hacked into the Mishima Zaibatsu, just as she was instructed to. She wasn't sure what she was looking for, she simply downloaded and copied every file and folder she could onto a small flash drive.

Her phone suddenly vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out and looked at it. She had received a text from Lee informing her that he is ready to go out for lunch. Anna was in disbelief. She thought she misread the message. She read it again to be certain. She was surprised that Lee seemed to be keeping his word, but she was careful not to get too excited. She refused to believe it until they were physically sitting in a restaurant somewhere.

Anna quickly returned her attention on to the computer. She needed to finish her task quickly before heading off to lunch.

A tall man wearing a long, brown, winter trench coat slowly walked around the exterior of Violet Systems. He meticulously examined the building and rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he walked. He made note of its structure, its entrances and exits, the security, and people that worked there.

He eventually walked towards the entrance to the underground parking lot, where he knew security was the weakest. He managed to slip through the guards undetected, without much effort. Once inside, he reached underneath his trench coat and pulled out some explosives. He placed them methodically around the parking lot.

When he was satisfied, he slowly headed towards the stairwell. He didn't need to look for it; he already knew where it was. He had the blueprints and the floor plans of the building memorized. He knew where to walk and what turns to make to get anywhere within the building. He came prepared.

He took the stairs to the second floor, where he knew cafeteria was located. He exited the stairwell and casually walked towards the elevators and pressed the button to summon one of them.

He unzipped his coat and discarded it in a nearby trash bin. His coat hid the various weapons and ammunition that was strapped to his body.

He removed a few grenades that were clipped onto his military pants and slowly walked towards the entrance of the cafeteria and peeked inside.

There were a few dozen people chatting and eating lunch together inside the huge hall. The man waited. He waited until he heard the sound signifying that his elevator has arrived. He quickly pulled the pins and systematically rolled them into the room.

He silently entered the elevator. He pressed the button for the fifth floor where all the conference and meeting rooms should be. The doors closed and he felt the elevator shook violently as it took him to his next destination.

Lee was waiting in his office for Anna to arrive. He was getting concerned. They were supposed to have lunch together, but it seemed like Anna was running late. He wondered what she was doing that was taking her so long.

Suddenly, Lee's secretary, Samantha came running into his office. She slammed the door open upon her entry; causing Lee to jump in his seat.

"LEE! LEE!" She screamed at the top of her lungs. She ran towards his desk and leaned on it as she tried to catch her breath.

Lee looked utterly concerned. He stood up rested a worried hand on her shoulder. "W-what's going on? Is everything alright?"

"We're under attack!" Samantha blurted out. "Somebody bombed the cafeteria and now they are on the fifth floor shooting up the place!" She said hysterically as she collapsed on the floor and cried.

"WHAT!?" Lee said disbelievingly. His mouth hung open in shock. "Are you sure!?" said as he knelt down beside her.

"Yes… yes." She sobbed.

Lee ran towards the doors to his office and hesitated. He wanted to lock them however, Anna was still out there. He nervously wondered if she was alright. She said she was going to get a cup of coffee. Lee's eyes widened. His hand shook nervously as it rested on the door lock. She probably went to the cafeteria and the cafeteria was bombed. The thought frightened him. He didn't want the think about it. He didn't want his mind to wander on such morbid thoughts.

He reluctantly turned the lock and ran back to his desk. He picked up his office phone and called security. He ordered them to find the man and kill him.

The man reloaded his machine gun and fired onto a crowd of people who were trying to escape. They screamed and begged for their lives but the man fired anyway. His face was devoid of emotion as he did it.

He continued to shoot until the room fell silent. There was bodies, blood and glassed strewed everywhere. The stench of death was in the air.

He strapped the gun around his shoulder and turned to exit the room. Suddenly, his phone began to vibrate, causing him to stop. The man methodically pulled out his cellphone and pressed the button to answer the call. He didn't utter a word; he simply lifted the phone to his ear and silently waited.

"…43rd floor… room 405." A voice on the other line said flatly.

The man ended the call and returned the phone to his pocket. He quietly headed towards his target.

Anna had just finished copying all the data she could. Her flash drive was full with information. She smiled. "This should keep my client happy and busy for a few days." She thought as she stuck the tiny device into her jeans pocket.

Anna stood up and began to put on her fur coat. Suddenly, the emergency alarm began to ring. It blared loudly in the hallways, warning people to evacuate the building. Anna ran towards the front of the lab. She stopped a few feet away from the glass doors and windows and looked out of them attentively. She wondered what was going on.

She heard a gun firing; the noise echoed throughout the hallway. She suddenly felt frightened and confused. She didn't know what was going on.

She heard people running. She saw them quietly run past the lab and into nearby rooms, slamming and locking the doors behind them.

Anna felt unnerved upon witnessing that. She slowly backed away from the windows. She turned and hurriedly walked deeper into the huge lab. She hid under an experiment table.

She abruptly heard a huge explosion. Various equipment rattled and shook in the lab from the reverberation. Anna's body trembled nervously as she cowered under the table.

Anna began to breathe nervously. She didn't know what to do. She nervously pulled her phone from her coat pocket. She wanted to call Lee for help.

She suddenly heard another explosion. This time it was a lot closer. The detonation caused the windows and glass doors of the lab to shatter. Some of the lab equipment fell onto the floor around her.

Anna began to cry and panic. She softly whimpered under the table. She quickly silenced herself when she heard someone enter the lab. Their footsteps crunched the broken glass. The footsteps eventually grew quiet as they ventured deeper in the lab; past the broken glass.

Anna gripped her phone tightly, as if it was her lifeline. She was tempted to call Lee, but now was not the time. She wasn't sure if the person who entered the lab was friend or foe and she didn't want to risk being heard. She couldn't do anything but wait. Wait for this person to exit the lab.

Anna shivered in fear as she waited. The lab was completely silent but she knew someone was in there with her. She sensed it. Suddenly, something came into view. She almost screamed, but she quickly covered her mouth to prevent it from escaping.

It was a man. She couldn't see his face since the table blocked her view of it. Anna believed he was definitely the enemy. The man was dressed for war. He was wearing a pair of green army pants with boots and knee pads. He had on a black, turtleneck shirt and wore a pair of leather gloves. He also had on a green flak jacket with pockets all around filled to the brim with spare ammunition and weaponry. There was a machine gun strapped to his back and a hand gun at his hip. His belt was loaded with grenades.

Anna swallowed hard at the sight. It bothered her that she couldn't see his face. Anna watched frightfully as the man turned slowly and began to walk towards where she hid.

Anna shook nervously. The man stood a few feet away from the table. She stared at his boots from underneath her hiding spot and heard him rummage through things on a nearby desk.

Suddenly… without warning… Anna's phone began to ring. Her eyes widened in absolute horror. She was positively certain the man had heard it. Her cover was blown. She looked down at the phone that was tightly gripped in her hand, it was Lee calling her. Anna quickly answered her phone.

"Lee! Please help me! PLEASE!" Anna screamed at the top of her lungs.

She watched as the man quickly approached the table. Anna hastily pocketed her phone and cowered in fear; preparing for the worst.

The man swiftly kicked the table over sending it crashing on its side; exposing the woman completely.

Anna looked up in fear and was shocked at what she saw. She recognized this man. He is 'The White Angel of Death.'

"D-Dragunov?" She muttered quietly. The silent man looked down at her with his cold, blue eyes. His expression was unreadable; emotionless.

Anna quickly scampered off the floor and tried to run, but the man firmly grabbed her by her coat; stopping her. Anna desperately wanted to get away from him. She knew the only way to do it was to fight back. She had nothing left to lose but her life.

Anna swiftly turned around bringing her elbow with her and slammed it right into his chest. Dragunov grunted in pain as he staggered backwards by her unexpected attack. He released his grip of her.

Anna tried to run and escape again. She almost did. Almost. However, she slipped and fell on the broken glass by the door. She tried to use her hands to break her fall, but it was a terrible mistake. Shards of glass embedded deeply into her hand upon impact. Anna screamed loudly in pain.

She heard the man running towards her. Anna tried to ignore the pain as she tried to get on her feet, but it was too late. Dragunov slowed his pace and calmly walked towards her. He pulled the crying woman up on her feet by her coat. He noticed that her hands were cut and bloody, but it didn't bother him in the least. He balled his fist and punched her hard in the stomach; knocking all the wind from out her lungs.

He watched as her eyes fluttered closed and her body went limp. He hoisted the woman on his shoulder then he nonchalantly plucked a grenade from his belt and pulled the pin with his teeth. He carelessly chucked the explosive over his shoulder as he left the lab. He heard it detonate. He was unfazed by the noise; it did not break his stoic demeanor. He continued to carelessly toss explosives into rooms as he walked by them. He wanted to cause as much damage as possible. It was one of the things he was hired to do. Dragunov eventually reached the elevators. He pressed the button and the doors quickly opened. He took it to the parking lot.

Dragunov exited the elevator. The parking lot was desolate, empty and quiet. His footsteps echoed as he walked out of it and into the streets where the atmosphere was totally different. There was total pandemonium and chaos outside as people screamed and ran towards safety. Dragunov calmly walked towards his car with Anna slung over his shoulder.

He opened the car door and gently place Anna inside. He took out some thin rope and bounded her bloody hands together. He quietly entered the vehicle and pulled out his phone. He punched in a code to detonate the bombs he had planted in the parking lot earlier. They would serve as a diversion for his escape. He heard the loud 'booms' as the bombs went off as he quietly returned the phone to his pocket. He silently started the car and pulled off. His work was done for the day.

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