Fatal Fury Fan Fiction ❯ Moving Forward ❯ Chapter 1 ( Chapter 1 )

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This is a short fluff fic inspired by a larger, multipart fic I've written called “Fatal Fury: The Vengeful Spirits,” which continues the anime storyline after the events of “Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture.” If you're interested, you can find it on both fanfiction.net and also archiveofourown. It's finished as of September 5th, 2017. I just won't be posting it here because it would be too much work to convert all 21 chapters into a format that Mediaminer understands, and then upload them all.

But I wanted to post this here, to sort of promote awareness for my bigger fic project. In “The Vengeful Spirits,” I make mention of how Andy and Mai make promises to each other while flying back to Japan shortly after the end of The Motion Picture. The scene came into my head while I was working on outlines for the last half of “Vengeful Spirits,” but I realized that I couldn't really fit this scene coherently into that story. And I thought it was a really cute moment between Andy and Mai, so I didn't want to just abandon it. So I turned it into this fluff piece. I hope you enjoy. And as always, feedback is welcome.

All characters are the property of SNK/Playmore. I don't own them, the video games or the anime.

Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean

“Anything else for you, hon?” The flight attendant asked cheerfully as she took the empty water bottle from Andy Bogard.

The blond man shook his head. “No, thanks,” he said softly. “We're fine.”

“All righty,” the attendant said with a nod, and moved off to the next group of passengers.

As she walked away, Andy cast a quick look around the cabin of the plane. The plane was only half-full, and Andy noticed that no one else was occupying the row that he and his girlfriend sat in. Most of the other passengers were sitting towards the front, anyway. Andy was thankful for this, since he had some things he needed to get off his chest, and would rather not have an audience for it.

Now, I just have to hope she wakes up before we land. He looked down to his left, at the beautiful, red-haired ninja girl who was asleep at his side, head resting against his shoulder, her hat pulled down over her eyes.

Andy found himself remembering the first time he had ever seen Mai Shiranui sleep. Well, really seen it, anyway. Technically, he had first seen it back when he was ten, during his first year at her grandfather's dojo, when he and Mai had needed to share a bedroom for a few weeks that summer. But that was back when Andy had still been at the age where girls were bizarre alien lifeforms who probably had cooties and should be avoided at all costs. No, Andy was remembering the time over ten years after that, in the early morning hours at South Town General Hospital, shortly after his friend Joe Higashi had been severely beaten by Wolfgang Krauser, shortly after Andy himself had also been beaten (though not as severely) by his brother Terry Bogard.

Andy had seen Mai curled up on the chair next to his hospital bed, and for a moment he thought he had been looking at an angel. He was well aware of how tenacious Mai could be when she was awake, but seeing her asleep, so peaceful and calm... Andy felt like he could watch her for hours.

Which was what he had been doing now ever since their connecting flight had taken off from Seattle. Andy hadn't even paid attention to the in-flight movie, he'd been too caught up in watching Mai sleep.

Andy was honestly a little surprised that he hadn't gotten any shut-eye on this flight himself. Since departing from South Town International in Florida, Andy and his girlfriend had needed to catch connecting flights in Raleigh, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and then finally Seattle. It had been a long trip, but at last, they were on their way across the Pacific towards Tokyo International.

Andy supposed that the main reason he hadn't slept was because he had a lot on his mind. His and Mai's visit to South Town had sadly not been a pleasant one. They had traveled there from Israel, after a long and fruitless search for the Armor of Mars, a search that had ended with a showdown in the Dead Sea, in which their friend and Terry's love, Sulia Gaudeamus, had met a tragic demise along with her twin brother.

Andy knew that Sulia was not the first love that Terry had lost. Mai knew it as well, even though the kunoichi had not been present almost two years ago when Geese Howard had murdered Lily McGuire. So Mai had suggested to Andy that before they return to Japan, they spend a little time in South Town, just being there for Terry in case he needed it.

Joe had also been with them for the first week, but then he had some exhibition matches that he was contractually obligated to attend, and his manager had already stalled long enough. So Andy and Mai had spent two more weeks with Terry in his apartment, helping him through the acute phase of his grief. Mai wished they could have stayed longer, but she knew that she and Andy had lives to get back to in Japan. Andy remembered saying goodbye to Terry at the airport in South Town, how Mai had written down the phone numbers for both her home and the Yamada dojo on a slip of paper and given it to Terry.

“You should always be able to catch either me or Andy at one of those numbers,” she'd told Terry as she hugged him. “And don't even worry about the time zone difference. If you need to talk to us, don't hesitate to call. I don't care if you wake us up.”

She has such a big heart, though sometimes she hides it well, Andy thought to himself now, as he watched Mai asleep at his side. I really don't deserve her. In fact, I'm amazed she even wants to be with someone like me at all. Even when they had been growing up, when Mai had a small army of admirers at their high school who would gladly have drank poison just to be with her, Mai had only ever wanted to be with Andy. And it was only recently that Andy had realized how foolish he'd been for not seeing how precious that was. Well, he hoped that he could change that soon.

I just need her to wake up so I can talk to her. He had spent this whole trip working up the courage, and he knew that after they landed the two of them would be going their separate ways, Andy to the Yamada dojo and Mai to her family's dojo, which was why Andy needed to speak his mind while they were still in the air.

As if the Gods had been reading his thoughts, Andy Bogard suddenly felt movement at his side as Mai Shiranui was roused from her slumber. She moaned softly, sat up a little, and stretched out as best she could in the cramped confines of her coach seat. “Joe was flying first class to his fight,” Mai grumbled as she cleared the sleep out of her throat. “You'd think he could have used his influence to get us some better tickets.” She raised her hat, revealing her striking brown eyes, and turned to look at her boyfriend. “Do you know where we are, Andy?” She asked.

Andy shrugged. “Somewhere over the Pacific, I think.”

Mai giggled softly at him. “Well, obviously. There's nothing butthe Pacific between Seattle and Tokyo. I was asking if you knew how far we were from the airport.”

“Sorry,” said Andy. “I haven't really been paying attention to the announcements.”

Mai was about to say something about how Andy was being his typical absent-minded self, when the blond gaijin pulled a small bag of potato chips from the pocket of his jacket and held them out to her. Spicy mesquite, her favorite flavor.

“You were still asleep the last time the stewardess came by,” he said. “So I got these for you.”

Mai's brow crinkled in confusion. For a moment, she was wondering if she should ask the blond man sitting next to her who he was and what he had done with Andy Bogard. Then she smiled and accepted the snack. “Thanks, Andy. I am a little hungry.” She then shook the bag in his direction. “Do you want any?”

“No, thanks,” said Andy. “I ate something a little while ago.”

Mai was halfway through the bag of chips when Andy saw her give a small shiver. “Andy, do you think it's cold in here?” She asked.

Andy shook his head. “No. I don't feel cold.” Then he looked over at his girlfriend. Mai was wearing a pink cotton sundress, and her shoulders were bare, save for the spaghetti straps looped over them, which held the dress in place. Andy noticed that she had goosebumps all over her smooth, alabaster skin. Without another word, Andy took off his jacket and draped it over Mai's shoulders.

Mai tugged at the jacket's collar, pulling the garment closer around her body. Then she turned towards Andy, once more regarding him like she was looking at a stranger. “Um... thanks,” she said, and then resumed eating her snack.

Andy almost never got the hints that she dropped. For as long as they had been dating, every time Mai asked him if he thought it was cold, Andy answered in the negative, and that was that. Several minutes would go by, and than Mai would have to ask Andy point-blank for his jacket. And it would usually be accompanied by him saying: “Why didn't you just say you wanted it in the first place?”

But then, I feel like he's been acting differently since the Dead Sea, Mai thought as she continued to munch on her chips. I haven't had a chance to ask him about it these last few weeks, since I've wanted us to be ready in case Terry needed any support. But, I have still been thinking about what might be going on in Andy's mind, and as always, it's a mystery to me.

For the third time, her boyfriend surprised her by seeming to sense that Mai had unspoken questions on the tip of her tongue. As soon as she had finished her bag of chips, Andy said: “Mai, there's something I need to tell you.”

“Sure, Andy,” she replied. “You can tell me anything.”

Andy took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Okay. I've wanted to say this ever since we left Israel, but it... didn't seem appropriate while Terry was around. Mai, I really like you. You're... you're a very special person. Probably the most special person in my life right now. And I'm sorry that I haven't really been showing it, in all the time we've been together.”

Mai was again taken aback. Andy had never said anything like this to her, unless Mai twisted his arm first. She turned in her seat to face him. “That's okay, Andy,” she said.

Andy turned to face her then, his hands gripping her shoulders. “No, Mai,” he said firmly, in a tone that surprised her. “It's not okay. I don't think that's okay. I'm your boyfriend. And I should be acting like it. I want to start acting like it. A woman like you could easily be with any man she wants, but you chose me. And all I've done is take you for granted.”

Mai's mouth and eyes were opened wide in amazement. Out of everything that could have been bothering Andy, she never imagined it was this. But then again, she had noticed that while they were in South Town, Andy seemed to feel more comfortable around her, not giving her any of the awkward looks he normally gave when Mai touched or hugged him. And then a few nights ago, they'd been sitting on the couch in the living room after Terry had gone to bed. Mai had curled up next to Andy, expecting him to cringe away as he always did. Instead, he had actually put his arm around her, then leaned over and kissed her hair.

“I've been thinking a lot lately about the Dead Sea,” Andy went on, bringing Mai out of her thoughts. “What happened to Sulia... it's not the first time I've watched the woman Terry loved die in his arms. It made me realize just how special you really are. And I want to make more of an effort to show that. I mean... you've always been special to me, Mai. I just... never thought that I could balance the responsibilities of my training with the responsibilities of being your boyfriend. But... after what we've been through... what we saw in Israel... I've decided that I want to try and balance them. I don't want to take you for granted anymore, Mai, because... we really don't know just how long we've got. Things are going to change between us, I promise. I'm still going to keep training, but I'm also going to start treating you like you're special to me... like you're my girlfriend... the way you deserve to be treated.”

Mai continued to stare at him, a part of her still not believing what she was hearing. She started to wonder if maybe she was still asleep. Andy had never talked about Lily's death, but apparently, it had affected him deeply if Sulia's death had gotten this realization from him. “Andy,” she finally managed to whisper. “Do... do you really mean that?”

Andy did not speak. Instead, he answered Mai's question by slipping his arms around her back and pulling her close, pressing his lips to hers in a deep, tender kiss. Mai's heart began racing, and for a moment she found herself unable to breathe, as if Andy's mouth had sucked the breath from her. He kissed her with all of the passion, with all of the intensity that she had felt when he kissed her that night in Jerusalem.

Oh my God, she thought. This really isn't a dream.

When Andy finally broke the kiss, Mai found herself able to breathe again. “Andy...” She said. “You do mean it.” She reached across her seat's armrest, put her arms around Andy, and hugged him tightly. Andy sighed and stroked her long, auburn hair.

For a moment, Mai felt a brief pang of regret. She was sorry that it had taken Sulia's death for Andy to have this realization. Mai then found herself remembering her girl talk with Sulia in Israel, which made the kunoichi feel more regret as she recalled one of the things that they had discussed.

Reluctantly, she pulled herself away from Andy and sat up straighter in the seat. “Andy, if our relationship is going to be moving forward like this, then I don't want there to be any secrets between us. I... I have a confession to make.”

Andy raised one eyebrow curiously. “What is it, Mai?”

Mai took a deep breath, blew it out slowly. “Well, you remember what happened in China, right?”

Andy nodded, the expression on his face instantly growing darker. Though Andy felt that he had redeemed himself afterwards when he'd dealt just retribution to Hauer in Jerusalem, his blood still boiled at the memory of what that masked villain had done to Mai.

Though Andy did not speak, it was obvious from the look on his face that he remembered. So Mai went on: “Well... I wanted to tell you that... the only reason Hauer kissed me... was... because I let him.”

Andy's expression instantly changed again, blue eyes blinking rapidly in disbelief. “Mai, you... can't be serious?”

The ninja girl blew out a heavy sigh. “Sorry, Andy, but I am.”

“No, you... wouldn't have.”

“Andy, we've known each other since grade school. In all that time, have I ever let anyone touch me without my permission? You've seen me deck Master Jubei in the face with my fan more times than I can count.”

Andy shook his head, still trying to process the news. “What happened in China was different. You were... being held against your will.”

“That doesn't mean I was defenseless, Andy. I could easily have bitten Hauer, if I wanted to. When he was moving in, there was a split second where I... thought about biting him. But instead, I... decided to just play along with what he was doing.”

The expression on Andy's face turned to one of hurt. Mai forced herself to look him in the eyes, determined to face the consequences of her actions. Finally, Andy asked: “But... why would you do that?”

“I guess... because I was frustrated,” Mai explained. “We had been dating for a while, but you were still acting so stuffy around me all the time. And then we had to go to Iraq, and it was the first time since Germany that we went somewhere together and it was just the two of us, alone without anyone else. And then I found out that the only available room at our hotel had a single bed, and it was like the perfect opportunity had just been handed to me on a silver platter. I had gotten so worked up during my shower, just thinking about you, about sleeping next to you, and then when I got out of the bathroom, you... looked so handsome standing there in that black tank top, and in that moment I just... wanted so badly for you to make love to me, and... then you started doing push-ups instead of getting into bed with me.”

Mai Shiranui's eyes were beginning to water, but she took a breath and forced herself to go on. “I'd been trying so hard to respect your desire to move slowly, but lately it's been getting more difficult. It felt like we should have made more progress, given how long we've been together, but still, you never touched me. And then I guess... what happened that night in Baghdad... was the final straw. I wanted more physical contact from you, had reached the point where I needed it. I decided that I had to find some way to make you appreciate me more, so I thought that maybe if... if I let someone else kiss me, that would finally get you to show me that you really do feel something for me... but it doesn't matter how desperate I was, that's still no excuse for what I did. I didn't mean for Hauer to hurt you that much, and I'm... Oh, Andy, I am so... so sorry. I promise you that I will never do anything to deliberately try and make you jealous again. I love you.”

She turned away from him, then, no longer able to face him. For several minutes, she sat there with her hands in her lap, gazing at the back of the seat in front of her, while tears ran silently down her cheeks.

Finally, she felt one of Andy's arms slip around her waist. He placed his other hand on Mai's cheek and turned her to face him. Andy smiled warmly as he wiped away the tears on her face. Then he said: “It's okay, Mai. I forgive you.” He leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips. Then he gave a sad sigh. “Honestly, I feel like I'm partly to blame for what happened.”

“No, Andy,” said Mai. “You didn't do anything wrong.”

He shook his head. “Maybe on some level, I did. I know that I haven't been good with showing affection, but I didn't realize just how much you needed it. I don't ever want you to get that desperate again, Mai, that you think you have to do... something like that to get me to appreciate you.” He placed both hands on her shoulders, then, looked her firmly in the eyes. “Now, I have to tell you that I'm still not ready to have sex. And I still don't know when I might be. But you are going to get more affection from me. I will start treating you better, Mai, I swear.”

“I know you will, Andy,” said Mai. “When you set your mind to something, I've never seen you give less than two-hundred percent. I believe you can do this.”

For a long while, they sat in silence, with Mai curled up on her seat next to Andy, head resting against her boyfriend's chest. Mai found herself feeling better than she had in a long time, since before the Dead Sea. Andy's eyes had been so full of resolve when he'd spoken to her, the same resolve Mai would see in them during the ten years Andy trained under her grandfather. She was confident that Andy would keep his promise.

But still, why not give him a little trial by fire? She thought. Honestly, this would be more for his sake than for mine.

Mai waited until she heard the captain announce that they would be starting their descent into Tokyo soon, waited until after the attendant had come by to make sure their feet were on the floor and their seat-belts were fastened. Then she turned to Andy, and asked: “Andy... I was wondering if you could do me a favor.”

Andy turned his head. “What is it, Mai?”

“After we've landed, will... will you please escort me home to grandfather's dojo?”

“Do I have to?” Andy asked her. “You know that Master Jubei is expecting me.”

“We can call him when we're on the ground,” said Mai. “After you've explained the situation to him, I'm sure he won't mind if you're a few days late. He's a tough old soldier. He can survive by himself.” Mai reached over, took both of Andy's hands in her own. “Andy, you've put this off for too long. I'd really like you to see grandfather, while you still have the chance. You know how frail he's gotten recently.”

Andy sat there in silence for a long time, thinking. After his training journey had ended, Andy had continued to live in Japan, but he still had not been back to Hanzo Shiranui's dojo since the night he had left it two years ago, to reunite with Terry and Master Tung in America. Andy had been keeping to the Yamada dojo, much to Mai's dismay. Ever since the two of them had become a couple, Mai had been asking him to see her grandfather, and Andy had kept making excuses to avoid it.

Finally, he gave a heavy sigh. “Mai, I... I wouldn't know what to say to him.”

“Tell him the truth, Andy. That you're glad to see him, and that you're very sorry for what you did. And from there, just play it by ear.”

“But, what I did to him was really insulting,” said Andy. “I didn't realize it until that day you confronted me on the raft, and I saw how angry you were. I mean... for ten years, Master Hanzo brought me into his home, trained me, kept a roof over my head. Heck, he and Master Jubei practically finished raising me after I lost my dad. And then I just disappeared in the middle of the night without saying 'goodbye' or 'thank you.' I spit on his hospitality...” Andy reached over with one hand, gently caressed Mai's cheek. “...And I broke his granddaughter's heart. What if he doesn't want to talk to me?”

Mai shook her head. “You'll never know unless you try, Andy. And you should try, while you still can. I don't like to think about this, but in the back of my mind I do understand that grandfather won't be here forever. If you wait until it's too late to try to talk to him, you'll regret it for the rest of your life.” She then flashed Andy a warm smile. “But I think you're worrying too much, Andy. Ten years is a long time. You know that Ojisama was a stern sensei, so he would never have said this out loud, but he grew attached to you while you were there. I can see it in his eyes whenever your name comes up in my conversations with him. I think he wants to see you, Andy, and I know you want to see him, too.”

Andy smiled back, but it was a faint one. Mai could tell that he was still on the fence. “Okay, Andy, look at it this way,” she said. “If you're serious about keeping your promise, then we'll need to start seeing each other more often. Which means you can't spend all your time at the Yamada dojo anymore. You need to start splitting your time between there and the Shiranui dojo. And if you're going to be back under grandfather's roof, you can't ignore him forever. So why not just yank that band-aid off now, Andy? Talk to him sooner, rather than later. I think you'll find you're being afraid of nothing.”

Well, she does have a point, thought Andy. He was serious about wanting to act more like a boyfriend to Mai. And it wouldn't be fair if she was the one always traveling up from Mino to see him. Mai had responsibilities, both with helping to run her family's dojo, and taking care of Hanzo. So it would be doubly unfair to make Mai do all the traveling.

With that, Andy's mind was made up. “Okay, Mai. I'll take you home.”

Her large brown eyes opened wide with delight. “You will?”

“Yes,” he said. “As soon as we've landed and we're off the plane, I'll find the nearest courtesy phone and call Master Jubei to let him know.”

Mai giggled and laid her head against Andy's shoulder. “Oh, Andy! Thank you!” As the plane continued to descend, Mai gently nuzzled her boyfriend. “I think I'm gonna like this new arrangement, Andy.”

Andy Bogard smiled and put his arm around Mai. “I think I will, too.” Then, remembering his impending talk with Hanzo, he added: “If I live to see tomorrow...”

And now it's shameless self-promotion time. Want more? Then read my ongoing fanfic “Fatal Fury: The Vengeful Spirits,” on either fanfiction.net or AO3.