DISCLAIMER:

The characters from Dead or Alive are copyright Tecmo Ltd and Team Ninja. This story is an unauthorised work done purely for my personal enjoyment, and is not intended to infringe on any of their rights in or their profits from these characters. But this story is copy write to me.

Comments, especially (constructive) criticism, always welcomed. Please e-mail me at

Notes

See part 1 for detailed notes.

Sunlight and Shadow - part 4

Leifang looked at Kasumi, mouth wide. "I-I never knew .... "

The rest of the women were in an equal state of shock. Even Christie looked stunned at what they'd heard. And Kasumi .....

You mean Raidou ... he ... you, you .... evil .... bastard! The flame-haired kunoichi was shaking with rage, filled with an anger she had never felt before, not even when she'd heard that Ayane's father had nearly killed Hayate. At least her brother had been an adult, but Ayane had been a child. Then something struck her.

"Oh God! That explains it!"

"What? What is it, Kasumi?" Helena stepped close and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Is it something to do with what happened to votre pauvre soeur?"(1)

That in itself was highly unusual. Helena hated Ayane, thinking her the assassin of Helena's mother. For her to show any compassion for the girl was totally unexpected. Presumably the nature of the disclosure had temporarily lessened her antipathy. But Kasumi had no time to follow that line of thought.

"It's just .... when I found out we were to share a room, I started remembering the good times, when we were young and still close. And I also remembered how her behaviour changed when she was about five and a half - she went from being a pleasant, if somewhat shy little girl, to being sullen and morose. It was that, wasn't it? It was what Raidou did to her that caused her to change!"

God, it all adds up now! Why did none of us see what was under our noses?! Were we really so blind?

"It must have been." Lisa climbed slowly to her feet, an expression of mingled compassion and anger evident. "I've read about how abuse as a child can cause behavioral problems. If she had no-one to turn to ...."

"She did not." The flame-haired Japanese girl shook her head. "My brother and I were under strict instructions to stay away from her, Ayame, our mother, didn't love her, and Father hated her for not being his. She had no-one until Genra took her in. I'd ... I'd better go after her." She walked to the door and opened it, then stopped as Helena's hand gently held her wrist. She looked questioningly into the aquamarine eyes of the French singer.

"You might want to wait before going after her. Though you should know her better than I do, from what I have seen of her at the tournaments, I expect she will be kicking herself for telling us."

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She was partially right - it was the wall that Ayane was kicking.

Repeatedly.

You stupid bitch! Why the hell did you tell them that?! You just showed weakness! They'll find a way to use it against you sometime in the future, just like everyone else always did! You can't trust anyone, you know that, you stupid idiot!

She spun round to lean back against the wall, and banged the back of her head against it, eyes closed, fists clenched.

Trust no-one! That's the motto you have to live by! You're an assassin, and a ninja, and an outcast! No-one is going to stand up for you, no-one apart from Genra ever stood up for you!

But I thought you were trying to be friends with your half-sister, you were trying to patch things up between you? a small voice whispered in her head.

A truce, no more. And that didn't include the rest of them! Christie's an assassin too, you fool! What will she do with the information? Or Helena, who hates you because she thinks you killed her mother? What about her?!

She heard soft footsteps coming down the hallway towards her, and knew instinctively who it was.She kept her eyes firmly closed.

"Ayane?"

"What do you want?"

"Are ... are you all right?"

"Why shouldn't I be?"

She felt her sister move closer. "Why didn't you tell anyone what was happening?"

"Why bother?"

Kasumi stared at her in disbelief. "Why bother?! Because someone would have stopped him, that's why!"

Ayane's eyes flew open, and she stared at the older girl. "Who would have?! Whoever gave a damn about me?! The rest of the clan've hated me since the day I was born, remember? And they wouldn't've believed me! The one time I told anyone about .... something that had been done to me, the teacher I told called me a liar, an evil slut trying to undermine the good name of the clan with my wicked lies, then beat me bloody! I never told anyone anything ever again! And it would've been the same if I said anything about Raidou!"

She turned away - her sister's soft, naive gaze was something she couldn't face, not with memories of everything that had been done to her welling to the surface.

Kasumi, for her part, was stunned. There was something else, some other event that had happened in her sister's past which she hadn't known about?!

"What ... what happened?"

Crimson eyes glared into brown. "You really want to know? Fine! Some girls said they wanted to be friends with me. I believed them, like a naive idiot - I wanted to have some friends, no-one had ever been my friend before. So I put on my one kimono, went to meet them at the home where they'd arranged to meet. As soon as I walked in, one girl slapped her own face then started screaming."

Her face screwed up in disgust at her own naiveté. "I didn't understand what was happening until the grown-ups ran up, and the rest of the girls all pointed at me, saying 'she started it, we didn't invite her, she just came in and attacked one of us for no reason.' The adults dragged me away and beat me till my back was raw. Next day, when I tried telling the teacher what had really happened - well, I already told you. No-one ever believed me, so the other children used to enjoy getting me into trouble, just because they knew they could.

"And that's why I don't believe in friendship."

With that, the purple-haired kunoichi pushed herself off the wall and walked back to her room, leaving her sister staring after her in disbelief.

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What sort of life has she led? Is that why she never smiles, why she's always so abrupt and defensive around people? Because she's learnt to distrust everyone? Have we all treated her that badly?

Oh Genra, why did you have to be captured by DOATEC? I can see that you were the only person she ever allowed herself to get close to. Once I had allowed a distance had come between us, we were never as close again.

Someone has to crack the shell she's built around herself, someone has to get her to open up. Everything's bottled up right now. She has to let go of some of that anger, before it consumes her.

Perhaps some sparring might help her calm down .....

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"You're kidding, right? It's nearly midnight, the air's still warm even now, and you want to spar??" The incredulity was evident on the face of the lavender-haired girl, as she stared at her sister.

"Well .... I thought it might help us unwind ..."

A sardonic snort met that statement. "In other words, you think I might want to work off some anger by hitting something."

"Um, I - "

"Fine. Outside."

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She's caught up with me, skill-wise. But let's see if she's worked out how to counter -

"Oof!"

The back kick struck her just as she reappeared behind her younger sister, catching her off guard and knocking her backwards.

Apparently, yes is the answer. She climbed quickly to her feet, Sakura blossoms falling to the sand around her.

"You've tried that too many times to take me by surprise now, Kas. Better luck next time." Ayane smirked as she spun round to see the older girl getting to her feet.

They had been sparring for nearly half an hour so far, and both were giving it their all. They had both landed punishing blows, both thrown and been thrown, both suffered and inflicted bruises, both been knocked down and swept off their feet. Both were breathing heavily, their sparring costumes soaked in sweat. Neither had much more to give.

They set their feet once more, eyes locked on one another, brown eyes meeting red.

One last throw of the die.

The orange-haired ninja feinted high, then swept her leg out to take down her sister. But as Ayane fell, Kasumi felt her sister's foot come up behind her knee. The momentum of the lavender-haired girl's fall caught Kasumi, and she fell too. For a moment, they both lay on the sand staring up at the stars above.

Then Kasumi heard something she hadn't heard for far too long.

Ayane laughing.

She turned her head. No, she wasn't dreaming. Her little sister was laughing out loud.

The last time I heard that sound was when Genra was around to spend time with her. I'd forgotten what a lovely laugh she has, I hadn't heard it for so long. She should laugh more, and cry more, let her emotions out. It'd do her good.

"How cliché can you get? Lying on the sandy beach of a desert island, staring up at the stars! All we need now is some cheesy Hawaiian-style musak, or maybe the theme tune from 'Jaws'." With that, she started mimicking the famous John Williams score whilst trying to stifle her mirth - unsuccessfully.

After a few seconds spent staring at her, Kasumi joined in. They simply lay on the sand, and laughed.

It took several minutes for them both to calm down. Kasumi finally got her feet, brushing white sand from her red gi, and held out her hand to her sister. Ayane stared at it for several seconds, then tentatively reached up to grasp it. Kasumi pulled her to her feet, and the two girls stared at each other for a while, hands linked, neither of them willing to break the tentative bond which they both sensed now existed between them.

"We'd .... we'd better get back to our room, if we want to get any sleep tonight. Otherwise we'll lose our games tomorrow." The elder sister finally decided that one of them had to make a move.

The crimson-eyed girl shrugged. "Guess so. C'mon, let's move." She ran her hand over her red tee-shirt and camouflage shorts, brushing off the loose sand, and they both headed for their room - via the shower.

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"Is ... is what happened why you hated your father - "

"Raidou wasn't my father, Genra was." The words were said with great emphasis, and the older sister felt that she was treading on dangerous ground. Still she pressed on.

"But Raidou - "

"There's more to being a father than just contributing DNA. Genra was my father, in every way that counted. Yes, I hated Raidou for what he did. I'm glad you killed the sick fuck. Pity he didn't take longer to die, but ..... "

Kasumi looked at her, seeing the closed look so familiar over the last few years settling back into place. The expression that said "keep your distance, you won't like what'll happen if you don't."

At the last tournament, she nearly killed Brad Wong when he started hitting on her one evening whilst drunk; it took both Hayate and Ryu to drag her off him. Did what happened all those years ago make her afraid of being touched that way, especially by a man? I wouldn't be surprised if it had. An assault like that ... or did it happen more than once? Oh God! I never thought of that!

I can't ask her now. I've already brought enough into the open for one night. Further answers can wait until she's happier opening up to me ... however long that might take.

She switched off the light and silently padded back to her bed. "Goodnight, Ayane."

"Yeah. Same to you."

I hope your dreams are pleasant. Sister. You deserve them.

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(1) your poor sister