Author's Notes: After weeks of revisions, I've FINALLY pieced together my debut Dead or Alive fanfic! I've lost count the number of drafts this story's undergone, and I've read and reread to the point where I've lost all sense as to the purpose of the plot. But rest assured, it's there, hidden between lines and lines of obnoxious prose. P
The story focuses on Jann Lee, the Bruce Lee pastiche of the series. The audience here at seem partial to ninja-esque storylines, so I hope, assuming you're one of those readers, you'll give this a chance. I think you'll find it attention-grabbing, if nothing else.
I was torn between a "T" and "M" rating for the fic. There's a fair level of language throughout, but more than anything, the content is consistently racy and rife with sexual innuendo. …But nothing is really "explicitly" detailed, although the subject matter is decidedly "mature." I opted for an "M" rating to be safe, but the story's suited to anyone, I feel, 16 and up.
Feel free to e-mail me with any comments or concerns. Reviews are welcomed and appreciated.
Disclaimer: Dead or Alive © Tomonobu Itagaki and Tecmo.
"Quit fucking around. Let's go already."
The burlesque figure rallied his companions, accentuating his impatience with a "humph." He swung his coat, inserting thick, bulging arms into the sleeves, while tossing a cigarette to the side, snuffing the fumes with his heel.
He was joined by two equally intimidating bodies—tall, muscled, and offensive. They too threw cigarettes to the ground, exchanging crude jokes. One had smuggled a bottle of liquor from the club, swirling it around, inebriated. They drew deep breaths, sniggering from the effects of the alcohol.
A third emerged, fumbling, the obvious "fifth wheel" of the four and a recent hire at the club. He was young and innocent, desperate to "fit in," and as with most impressionable young men, of good character, but weak will. It was likely he carried three times the intelligent thought of his companions, but stupidity wasn't easily reasoned with.
The guy carrying the bottle staggered through, mumbling. His voice was slow and slurred. "Man, is anyone else hungry?"
His comrade gave a look of contempt. "What, you payin'?"
"Hell no! I ain't got no cash."
The second snorted. "And this is my problem how?"
"You can't show a little love for a brother?"
"Hey, we all work around here. Pay for your own damn self."
Money and bouncing went hand-in-hand, mostly because, as a bouncer, there wasn't much money to be made. Your run-of-the-mill nightclub could never sustain the necessary business to provide full-time employment, forcing bouncers and bartenders into rotating shifts at multiple establishments. Only your privately-employed—and specially trained—security professionals made "the big money."
This particular club was V.I.P. only. People who considered themselves "above the law;" people with far too much money, far too much time, and a lifestyle rooted in decadent fantasy. That was the bouncer's job—dishing out reality checks to the perceived "invincibles," your so-called "untouchables" of society.
Because a bouncer simply didn't care. He wasn't paid to care; he was paid to bounce.
But there existed a genuine camaraderie amongst bouncers, an unexplained covenant of trust and brotherhood. Aside from "upholding the peace," a bouncer's sole responsibility was loyalty to the team. For as cruel and "superhuman" as many seemed, bouncers relied on one another for support, for back-up, for managing otherwise unmanageable situations. And in it, they formed a sound, albeit estranged, "family unit." In keeping with "family tradition," the men were headed to the strip joint for a little R and R.
Because nothing screamed "quality time" quite like a crotch in the face.
Well on their way, as they muttered amongst themselves, the youngest, glancing behind him, turned in time to see the fifth and final bouncer descend the stairs leading into the streets. He watched as the man paused, surveying, briefly, the surrounding avenues, before turning heel in the direction of—he assumed—the bouncer's home.
Reacting quickly, he called to him.
The bouncer stalled, shifting his shoulders in the direction of his name. He tugged at his sleeve—an unconscious habit—his co-workers approaching from across the building.
"Hey." The younger man's greeting was pleasant. "It's Friday night. You comin'?"
Jann Lee cocked his head at the invite.
"I mean," he quickly began, "it doesn't seem right just the four of us…," his voice trailing off.
Jann Lee stared in silence. For whatever reason, the new recruit felt inclined to invite Jann Lee, every Friday, to the Bouncer's "little get-togethers." He likely felt guilty for leaving one of the "brothers" behind. It was endearing, though Jann Lee knew he was more or less wasting his breath.
"Ah, don't bother," one of the others replied, leaning in. "He won't go, no matter how many times you ask." He emphasized his point with a wave. "Never has, never will."
"Yeah," a second cut in. "Jann Lee's got his own girl to admire." His tone was teasing.
Jann Lee mentally cringed, regretting having ever taken a personal call on the job.
"He's got a woman to plow," the third surmised. "Who the hell's ashamed of that?"
"Damn straight," the others agreed. "We all need a little 'woman's ministrations' every now and again." They all laughed.
Jann Lee looked away—a nervous habit. He knew where the conversation was headed; any conversation that had in any way anything to do with women, was always in any way and every way a reference to one thing. And though there existed dozens of "things" Jann Lee refused to discuss, that "one thing" was, more than any other singular thing, a thing which he never discussed.
"Speaking of which…"
And there it was.
The third wrapped an arm around his buddy, his smile wide. "How's the action on the home front?"
But before anyone could say otherwise, the oldest stepped in.
"Piss off," he snarled. "Who he or anybody else bangs is his own damn business. Now let's get going. We've farted around long enough."
The huddle immediately dispersed.
They knew better than to provoke their elder, or Jann Lee for that matter, and thus, the "interrogation" ceased. Jann Lee, relieved, gave their superior an appreciative "look," which was returned with a "look" of mutual appreciation. Their "looks" exchanged, either group parted ways—Jann Lee to the, as the men would say, "pleasures" of his girl, and the bouncers to the "nudie" bar on Ninth.
Turning left, Jann Lee treaded home, contemplating his superior. He was the eldest not only in age, but in employment at the bar. He kept to himself, was an excellent bouncer, and had spoken to Jann Lee on few occasions. But he couldn't shake the feeling that his superior was watchful, perhaps protective, of the other bouncers, Jann Lee included. It made him wonder if his elder had sensed his earlier discomfort, and intervened on his behalf.
...But it wasn't his place to question, so he switched gears, wondering if she had settled in for the night.
Following the fourth Dead or Alive tournament, his relationship with Lei Fang had… evolved. They'd entered the competition as rivals—or rather, a "fabricated" rivalry by Lei Fang—but had emerged as an undefined relationship of unexplored possibilities. She was, in simplest terms, a "friend." But in it existed an underlying curiosity and acceptance that put them somewhere between conventional "friendship," and scandalous whispers in the dark.
He didn't deny her obvious physical appeal. Hell, he wasn't stupid. It was in stores, on the streets, in parking lots. Men absorbed her with looks, with glances, with gestures of the eyes, and his blood boiled, filled with enmity and disgust at the sheer notion of their unspoken desires. And it was in these moments that friendship transcended simple "friendship"—the moment when man "stakes his claim," tearing through whatever obstacle, whatever trespasser obstructs his path.
It was a source of confliction for Jann Lee, distinguishing who she was from how she looked, complicated more so by what she had potential to become. She was innocent; it showed in the baby doll features of her face. But her body—her manicured, untainted body—was the object of every carnal connotation a man could fathom. He'd found himself, in more instances than he cared to count, trailing the contours of a leg, peeking out through the slit of her signature red qipao—toned, tempting, and his for the taking.
And the worst thing? She was oblivious to it all, oblivious to the charms she unwittingly unleashed. In his apartment, in the twilight hours, her lithe form reflected in the windows overlooking the city. Her finger trailing, teasingly, along the glass. A coy smile and downcast eyes. The hem of her skirt raised suggestively, intentionally—and when it had happened, God knows—her hair smooth, dark, perfectly layered against the softness of her skin. A sign, a signal, all for that single decisive moment…
…But nothing ever became of it. Whether it was his conscience, propriety, or interpersonal ignorance, he'd never pursued intimacy beyond soft kisses or a calming embrace—most at the initiative of Lei Fang. There was something inherently child-like in her mannerisms, her spirit, something he'd never lived or experienced for himself. And to destroy it, to remove the very essence of what separated their two worlds, and ultimately, what captivated him so, was to silence the only righteousness he'd ever known. And yet, without her, the whole of her, the vulnerability of her, he felt… incomplete.
Brushing his musings aside, he climbed the steps leading to his apartment—sore limbs, muscles taut, but grateful nonetheless for the familiarity of home. Stepping inside, the place was still and drab, his miscellaneous training equipment strewn about. He suppressed a shiver, a wintry chill wafting through the air, before relinquishing his coat at the door.
Further in, he caught the outline of a delicate shape, nestled against one of the room's many support beams. It was Lei Fang, petite and thinly dressed, the grays of his apartment sharp and unforgiving against the silken fabrics of her nightgown. He noted, with increasing interest, the lopsided strap slipping to the right, her shoulders bare, the material stretched from the fullness of her chest. Her legs, also bare, overlapped, tantalizing and perfectly proportioned, the shortness of the gown serving only to emphasize the curvature of her shape. Never before had he been so aware of a woman's body.
The heat rose in his face, but he didn't start.
"You're up," came his curt remark.
She turned, startled, severity in her eyes, but they softened quickly at the realization of his voice. She seemed, for the moment, at a loss for words, an unnamed emotion swirling within the silence of her stare. She stood, her small frame inches from his own, and he swore, in that instance, he felt the emanating coldness of her skin.
"It was too quiet to sleep," she finally replied.
Jann Lee understood what she meant.
He and Lei Fang lived on the opposing ends of town—she was high-class, he was low-class. When she visited him, as she often did, it was always overnight. There was no sense in commuting back and forth; his apartment was more than spacious enough to accommodate two people. But Jann Lee, a bouncer, worked nights, with odd hours and an ever-fluctuating schedule. By the end of his shift, she would have long since settled in for the night, and he, adrenaline pumped, would wind down with a training session before hitting the shower.
Lei Fang, he'd noticed, would fall asleep to the sounds of his work-out. It might have brought her peace, or it might have soothed the air of loneliness that saturated his lifestyle. Whatever the reason, Lei Fang stood restless without it.
…Though as late as it was, he sensed something else was troubling her. But it was her business; she'd deal with it in her own way.
"Can I get you something?" she asked, breaking the silence. "A drink, maybe?"
Jann Lee contemplated the offer. "No, thanks."
"Off to shower?" she inquired innocently.
"Yeah," he nodded.
She tugged at his sleeve. "Give me your top."
He undid his shirt, tossing it to Lei Fang. She walked to the hamper, hand at her hip, and plopped it in. He watched, bemused by her feeble attempts at housekeeping, knowing she had not once, in her privileged upbringing, been responsible for her own laundry.
Leaving her to ponder the mysteries of housecleaning, Jann Lee entered the bathroom, closing the door behind him. His nose caught whiff of a foreign scent—something fruity and feminine. The bath had seen recent use, evidenced by dampness on the shower curtain. Her favored body wash lie forgotten on the sink, though the towels and toiletries were in perfect order.
There was something surprisingly "homey" in it all.
Discarding his pants, Jann Lee flipped the faucet and stepped inside. The water was warm, relaxing. He steadied himself with an outstretched arm, head bowed—liquid heat trickling over and around his neck and torso. He ran a hand through his hair feeling, quite suddenly, exhausted and weak, with a longing for silence and sleep, and the sweet scent of her hair as she slept soundly beside him.
…He opened his eyes, not realizing they'd shut, and finished his business, quickly. She'd infected every inch of his sanity, every ounce of his resolve, and he spat at the control of his baser instincts. If he carried on the evening like this, he'd never last till morning. Better to simply end the day and be done with it, before something transpired he could never reverse.
As he exited the bath, he noticed Lei Fang, still awake, lying in bed, sheets to her chin and eyes fixated on the ceiling above her. It seemed her earlier reservations had returned, her brow furrowed in seriousness.
He approached the bed, clad only in pants, and looked at her. She reciprocated his stare, something wistful in her gaze, lowering her line of vision to his chest, arms, and lower still, before jolting her head upright at the realization of her descent.
And in it he came to a realization of his own—the infatuation was mutual.
Jann Lee stood, naivety at the forefront, debating whether to enter the bed and fuck temptation, or retire to the couch and spare them both the agony.
"The other bouncers… They go… 'out' on Friday nights, right?"
Jann Lee jumped at the question. It had come unexpected, and he doubted he possessed the presence of mind to answer.
"Yeah," he managed to choke. His voice sounded small and distant.
"You never go with them."
…Was she baiting him? "No, I don't."
"They're pretty girls, I bet. 'No strings attached.'" Her pretty lip was quivering. "That's what men want, right?"
The evening replayed in Jann Lee's mind—every thought, every wish, every bubbling desire. He'd hardly given thought to such things before Lei Fang; they simply weren't a necessity for survival. But she was built and beautiful, challenging but comforting, with unparalleled passion for perfection—a persistence and stubbornness that matched his own. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't interested.
What did men want? …No, what did he want.
He climbed into bed, motioning her close with his arm, snaking it around her waist to the base of her neck. She was cold, the blustery air having saturated the very fibers of her skin. He felt the ends of her eyelashes brush against his chest, the athletic arch of her back at his fingertips. Her breathing steadied, her hands grazing his abdomen and forearm…
"Sleep, Lei Fang. Just sleep."
And in that moment, there was peace.