Zero
Chapter 7
Day 7 
Airport 

“Hey Ryu. Are you okay?” Ken asked 
“Yeah.” Ryu sighed, wiping the perspiration from his face, the crowd made him feel stuffy. 
“We could always go back to the dojo if you’re feeling unwell.” ChunLi squatted down beside him. A hand upon his forehead while the other hand on her forehead to check if he had a fever . 

“No fever. Possibly just feeling ‘heaty’, considering the things you ate. I think you just need some cooling herbal tea.” She mumbled. 
“Hmm. Then We’ll go collect our luggage. You wait here.” Ken patted Ryu on the back. 
“Thanks.” 
“Don’t wander off. I’ll be back.” ChunLi sprang up and winked at him. She received a smile in reply. 

Ryu watched them until they were out of sight, he then headed to the nearby vending machine to buy a warm drink to ease his queasy stomach. He wonders what was wrong with himself. This strange hunger even though he had eaten a little while back. A feeling that worsen since he left the dojo. 

No! He shook away the thought that he might lose control over Burning red eyes right here in this crowded airport. Could he? He grabbed the back of a chair for support. He wasn’t sure of anything anymore. 

<<    Come    >>  A familiar voice called him, Ryu sneezed and when he opened his eyes the airport was empty! Where did everybody go?! Where’s ChunLi? What about Ken? Was his eyes playing tricks on him? 

<<   This way, my dear sweet boy   >> Unable to resist, Ryu follow the voice. There was something about the voice, he felt he heard it before but the place and face eludes him. 
<<   That’s a good boy. Come to me and let me help you.    >> 
Ryu remembered his friends and tried to turn the other way. 
<<   No! Forget them. You would only bring harm to them. This way I need you elsewhere.   >> A sharp reprimand and Ryu continued to follow. 

A little tug upon his t-shirt and Ryu stopped, the voice cajoled him once more to take a few more steps but the urgency in those tugs came on stronger until it overwhelms the lure of the voice. 

He shook his head and blinked once more. The airport was once again crowded. The tugging came once more and Ryu look down by his side. A little girl about five years of age, A bob of black hair with a stray lock by the side framed her curious face. Wearing a sleeveless red and white checkered dress and dragging a stuffed toy cat in one hand, The bluish-grey metallic pendant that she wore caught his eye. So she was the one who tugging his t-shirt. 

Ryu squatted and their eyes locked for a moment, there was a hint of familiarity. He was reminded of another little girl he once knew . A little girl who is now a young lady, the same young lady who’s running his life for the last few days. 

Ryu almost panicked when he felt Burning red eyes stirring, he felt ‘his’ anger directed at the child. A sense of jealousy? Distrust? Contempt? Challenge?! Just what is wrong with Burning red eyes to be taking it out on a mere child ?! 

“Ah Wai ah!!! Tong lei gong duo gei duo bai!! Mo luen zhao ah! (Ah Wai ah! How many times must I tell you to stop running about?)” A voice broke the girl’s glance when she heard it. A dark hair woman came running towards them. 
“Lei sat zhong ge wah. Lei ah ma da sei ngo the yao fen!! (If you get lost. Your mom will kill me for sure)” 

And then she saw that the girl was holding on to Ryu’s shirt. 
“Aiyah. Dui mn qi ah sin sang. Hoi dong lei hei hoi ge ah gor. Ah Wai ah. Lei ying goi gao fu ngan geng ah. Yi wai sing sang mn hai lei ah gor ah. Dui mn qi ah. (Aiyah. Sorry about that sir. She thought you were her brother. Ah Wai ah. You should get a pair of glasses made. This gentleman is not your brother. Sorry ah) ” And with that they had hurried off to another gate leaving behind a very puzzled Ryu. 
  

“Aww... she's so cute. Too bad we can’t keep her.” ChunL sighed when she reached Ryu’s side. 
“You’ll get your chance. But our Ryu is such a handful by himself.” Ken punched him playfully on the arm. 
“Didn’t I tell you not to wander off?” She grabbed Ryu’s arm and usher him away. 
“What? You intend to head off to Rome to be a gladiator, a monk or something?” Ken frowned, checking the monitor to see where that gate would lead to. 
“Let’s go before Ryu gets whisk away.” Ken shook his head. 
“Stay close to me and you won’t get lost.” ChunLi smiled. 

“Where’s my bag?” Ryu asked. 
“In Rome. It was routed to Rome . Is there a store in here?” Ken shrugged. 
“Sure there is. Its has almost everything. ” She dragged the duo off at once. 
  

It was a unique little department store, which carries a range of clothing from formal to causal. The moment they dumped Ryu on a seat the duo went on to pick out clothes they think would suit him. Somehow Ryu got the feeling they both see him as some sort of human doll. 

Ken had return first and dumped a pile of clothes on him and shoved him into one of the changing rooms. Before heading off to pick another set. 

“Do I really have to wear this?” Ryu asked on coming out, feeling a little uncomfortable as Ken tie on the red tie. White shirt underneath a pale yellow jacket and crisp pale yellow pants. Shiny black shoes. Once again Ken made him wear the long chrome yellow coat and top it off with a fedora hat of the same yellow. He felt a little embarrassed when a few female shoppers were checking him out. 

“How very Dick Tracy….” ChunLi commented as she studied Ryu 
“Humour me okay. If my father can’t make it for some important function here in Hong Kong next week. I have to stand in.” 
“Can I go?” ChunLi asked 
“I’m sure you have the right cheongsam to match up with this. What do you think Chunny?” 
“Looks a little mature for Ryu. But nice. Here get out of those.” ChunLi dumped another pile of clothes in his arms. 

When he reappeared, Ryu had changed into something more casual. This time he was wearing a black sleeveless shirt with the word ‘fight’ upon it. A beige hooded jacket, its sleeves rolled up to the elbows and a pair of dark blue jeans. 

“Hmm… Why do I have the feeling that you have a shirt under a cute vest and denim jeans with a little hat that has a blue ribbon upon it to go with his assemble? What planning on a picnic? Where are we going elder missy?” Ken looked at her pleadingly. 
“Shut up Ken.” 
“Ho Ho. More sleeveless shirts. Hmmm… I can imagine you in a blouse and pinafore ” Ken teased after checking out the few more shirts that ChunLi had already chosen. 

“Beats having him tear out the sleeves,” She hands Ryu a black leather jacket and smiled at him pleadingly when he looks at her questioningly. Ryu sighed and tried on the jacket. Was it just him or were the number of female shoppers increasing? 

“What about my gi?” Ryu tried to get a word in. 
“There’s a karate club in my school. I’m sure I can get you a few sets to tide you over. Failing which you could always wear my dojo’s uniforms.” 
“Those skimpy vests and leotards? Chunny! Ryu could never fit into those skimpy things! Whoa…you could imagine it of course but I don’t need the image.” Ken teased as he added a black bodysuit and a pair of sunglasses to list. 

“My dojo’s uniform Ken. Not my uniform. Just go and pay up Ken!” ChunLi shoves him towards the cashier. It didn’t take Ken long before they were headed for the Taxi queue and out the airport. 
  

Author's note - I cannot resist doing an ode to HK Ryu. With the exception of the black jacket and blouse and pinafore (Jap Capcom gals manga anthology titled - 'From Chun Li') the others are found in the pages of various HK SF comics. Of course the trenchcoat and bodysuit came from Chao Ba. I told you I cannot resist. 
As for that little girl. No prizes for guessing who she is. Since she's already missing from this series as timeline wise she was not officially in the fic. But at least I could throw her in a cameo. 
That dress was indeed my school uniform when I was in kindergarten. 
 
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