A/N: I made this after reading the manga Tramps like Us. It's a good read and I had this idea to put Kasumi in it. Of course this isn't a re-do with our favorite kunoichi, but it has a similar plot formula. Anyway, enjoy!
Disclaimer: Dead or Alive owned by Team Ninja, Tecmo, and Itagaki. Tramps Like Us owned by Ogawa and Tokyopop.
Kunoichis Like Us
"Move!" Kasumi told herself. "Keep moving!"
With effortless grace, the blue-clad kunoichi bounded over the rooftops, dancing across the sky. Behind her, a squad of Mugen Tenshin ninjas hot on her trail.
"Got to get to downtown." She planned. "Lose them in the crowd, like last time."
A shuriken grazed her arm. She did not even stumble, instead willed the pain away.
She had become careless after the last Dead or Alive Tournament. She had relaxed her guard, thinking that Hayate and the others of her clan had given up their hunt for her since they had focused their attention on DOATEC and Donovan. But now that the corporation and its scientist were no more, her former comrades could now continue their crusade against her.
She landed on the roof of an apartment building, sprinted across it, and prepared to make her next jump.
She coiled her legs.
Another shuriken sliced through the air and struck the back of her thigh just as she released the stored energy in her legs.
She gasped in pain.
Her jumped had been fouled up. Now she found herself tumbling down the building, the concrete racing toward her.
"Night, Alex. Make sure you actually get some sleep tonight. You looked like hell this morning."
"Yeah, yeah." Alex waved his friends off and turned the corner.
As he trotted his way to his apartment, he briefly wondered when his insomnia became as severe as it did. It started when he moved into his new apartment almost three months ago. His parents as well as his sisters dropped him a line from time to time, but he spent most of his day either in school or alone. Only once in a while did he meet with his friends.
It was a miracle he had any friends at all. His life had revolved around being cold and distant, a defense mechanism that he got from defending himself against bullies who thought he was some foreign kid. No one believed he was born and raised in Japan.
Living alone was what he wanted, but now the isolation was beginning to creep up on him, affecting him even deeper.
His older sister wanted him to have a girlfriend. Easier said than done, considering how most girls treated him, like someone to avoid.
He shook his head. He did not want to think about these things. Instead he made his plan for the rest of the night, dinner, homework, and bed.
"If I can fall asleep." He snorted.
"Where'd she go?"
"We saw her fall from this building, and she's definitely injured. She shouldn't have gotten far."
"Don't underestimate her. She's still a shinobi."
The two ninjas bowed respectfully to Ayane as she strolled to the hunter team.
"Did you lose her?" She asked harshly.
The two ninja's hesitated as the others continued their search, checking neighboring alleyways and garbage piles.
"We found a blood trail that leads here from where she fell." One of the ninjas offered.
"It ends here, so either she patched herself up and moved on or she's hiding." The other insisted.
Ayane scrunched her face together in annoyance. Every time she though they had her, she managed to pull off another escape.
"If she was still here, we would have found her by now, we've torn the place apart." One of the searching ninja's muttered.
"If that's true, we'd better get moving ourselves, see if we can catch up. She was heading downtown, correct?"
The one of the ninjas nodded.
"Better leave now!" A ninja guarding the entrance to the alleyway hissed. "Someone's coming!"
"Alright everyone, let's go." Ayane ordered.
The ninjas with the purple headed kunoichi disappeared into the darkness, unaware of a hand that pulled closed the edges of a cardboard box.
"Still lucky." Kasumi told herself. "Missed this pile when they searched. Lucky."
Blackness began to creep into her peripheral vision, threatening to swallow her sight whole.
"No. Can't black out now. Fell six stories on a bad leg, might not wake up again. Gotta keep awake. Gotta…keep…"
The blackness conquered her sight.
"Ah, Damn it!"
Alex began cursing up a storm when he saw the alleyway. Trash cans were overturned and garbage covered the ground.
"My landlady's gonna blow a blood vessel when she sees this! And who's she gonna ask to clean it up? ME!"
"Oh, Alex, could you be a dear and clean that awful mess behind the building?" Alex imitated her voice. "You have such a young, strong back, I hope you don't mind!"
He let out a snort. "My back's gonna stop being young and strong if you keep asking me to do this type of shit. I take out the trash, I clean the hallways, I might as well say I'm runnin' this place!"
He sighed in defeat and mentally prepared himself for the inevitable that would happen tomorrow when his landlady cornered him. He walked to the door, but gave a large cardboard box a swift kick in frustration.
He froze as the lid popped open. Inside was a young girl, bruised with a bloody makeshift cloth around her right leg. He eyes were closed and her form was limp.
"Holy shit!" He thought in a panic. "A girl! A dead girl!"
"Ok, not dead." Alex thought. "Just beaten and hungry."
The teenaged boy rested his head in his hand and watched the girl across his table scarf down the contents of her plate like her very life depended on it. Bandages and band-aids littered her face, arms, and legs.
"Thank you, again!" The girl said between mouthfuls. "I'm very sorry for intruding, but I haven't eaten all day!"
"No problem." He arched an eyebrow when he studied her attire. "What's with the get-up? You a cosplayer or something?"
The girl paused for a moment. "Uh…kind of."
"What happened to you?" Alex pressed. "And don't tell me you fell or anything stupid like that."
Her mind raced, trying to come up with a plausible story. "Um…I was coming from…a cosplay club event…and…these thugs came and harassed me…and stuff…I tried to fight them off, but they hit me a few times…and then…they must have heard you and left! So you saved me!"
Alex could practically smell the lies, but her story did make some sense. He weird clothes, her wounds, and the trashed alleyway might have been from a fight. But still, she was definitely hiding something
"By the way," The girl held up her spoon filled with curry. "Did you make this yourself?"
The dark-haired teen nodded.
"I'm impressed." She shoveled the spoon in her mouth. "This is very good! I didn't know that some boys could cook!"
He shrugged. "I can't get takeout or go to a convenience store all the time. My older sister would have a fit. So I learned"
The red-head took a drink from her glass. "Do you live with your sister?"
He shook his head. "No, she's living with her husband and my younger sister is living in the dorms of her school."
"Then do you live with your parents?"
He chuckled. "Technically yes, but they've been out of the country for almost half a year now and aren't supposed to be back for awhile."
The girl looked around the apartment. "So you live in this place by yourself?"
The girl stared at her half-empty plate. "It must be lonely."
"I got used to it."
An uncomfortable pause filled the room.
"I need to get my homework done." Alex got up from his seat.
"Aren't you going to eat something?" She asked.
The boy made a surprised face. "I ate with you! I was just done before you started on your third plate!"
"Oh." The girl looked away sheepishly.
"Look. You can stay here for the night, if you want. There's an extra blanket in the closet."
Kasumi thought it over. She did not like the idea of staying with the boy incase her hunter's came back. He might get caught in the crossfire. But it was a long way to where she lived and no doubt, they were still searching.
"Thank you again." She stood and bowed. "I don't deserve your kindness."
"Forget it." Alex trotted to his room and shut the door.
"Let me see if I have this straight. You let some girl, beaten and dressed in some…outfit, stay the night at your house and you didn't even ask her name?!"
"I forgot." Alex said in a nonchalant tone.
"Are you out of your friggen' mind?!"
Alex held the cellphone away as his friend's loud voice reverberated.
"What if she were a con-woman? Ever thought about that? Or what if she were some hooker? Imagine people talking about that behind your back if they ever found out!"
"You know, Seiji, I thought my best friend would be happy that I had a girl spend the night at my house."
A sigh came from the other line. "Look, normally I would be, and if you called me that night, I would have told you how to put the moves on her, but the story she told you sounds like shit."
"Hey, I thought so too, but there were some signs. The bruises and cuts, the busted up alleyway-"
"Did you see the fight?" Seiji asked flatly. "Did you even see the so-called thugs?"
"Well…no." Alex replied in hesitation. "But she said they ran off when they heard me."
"What a coincidence that a gang of punks ran off after hearing one guy coming. I'm telling ya man, she just got knocked around by her pimp or somethin' and is playing you like the damn idiot you are."
"Look I'll be careful, alright? I left her a note with her breakfast when I left asking her to leave, ok? I doubt I'll see her again."
"Oh, a note by her breakfast that you made, how lovely. I'm sure she would be happy to leave after she takes half your shit."
"Sarcasm duly noted, Seiji." Alex groaned.
"Look man, just watch yourself when you're around her, ok? She sounds like trouble and I didn't teach ya how to fight just so you could be screwed over by some cute girl with a nice ass."
"My dad taught me how to fight. You just showed me some dirty moves." Alex smiled. "Kinda hard to believe you're not going to school anymore."
"Hey, I told you already. My old man's not doing so good anymore so I gotta step up and take over the family business."
"A noodle house? Come on, you're dropping out to run a cheap restaurant?"
"Hey! This noodle house has been in my family for five generations and survived every economic and political crisis this country has faced!"
Alex shook his head. "You sound like your dad."
"I know. Scary, huh?"
Alex heard the school bell chime. "Well, I gotta go. I'll talk to ya later."
"Watch yourself, man, I mean it. The second there's trouble, give me a ring, promise?"
"Yeah, yeah, I promise. See ya later."
Alex hung up, stuffed his cell phone in his pocket, and walked to his next class.
"Man was our substitute teacher boring! I mean how many times are we gonna go over the Edo period? This was, what, our fifth time?!"
"I know, and he barely said anything that was in our textbooks, just what the hell was he reading out of anyway?"
Alex tuned his friends out as they walked together down the hall. Since his conversation with Seiji, he was beginning to worry about what he would come home to. He never thought about the girl being a thief, but his friend had planted the seed of doubt.
"Hey, Alex." Tatsuya, a thin glasses-wearing boy, asked. "We're gonna swing by the game shop, they got the new 'Final Fantasy'. You in?"
"I'll pass." Alex spoke. "Promised my landlady I'd help her with cleaning up the alley, someone messed it up."
"There you go again, making up excuses." Kenichi, a somewhat chubby kid, nudged Alex. "Come on, you've ditched us for three days straight now, you're gonna crack if you don't have some fun."
Akito, a boy with dyed blonde hair nodded. "Way too true, man. You're wound tighter than a watch."
"I'm fine." Alex brushed off his friends.
"Too bad Seiji isn't here." Tatsuya mentioned. "He's the one that always dragged you along with us."
"I know." Kenichi snickered. "Remember the time we-"
The four friends stopped in their tracks, but Alex did not turn around to the voice behind him.
"I'm talkin' to you, foreigner!"
Alex stole a quick glance behind him and groaned. Tetsu, the self-proclaimed gang-leader of class 3-B, stood behind him with his arms folded as he tried to look intimidating. Five of his followers flanked him, clogging the hallways. Already, a small crowd began to form around the two groups.
"What's wrong, foreigner? Don't understand Japanese?" The large teenager sneered. "Wouldn't surprise me since you hardly talk. Maybe that's why you hang out with those losers!"
The five goons laughed with their leader. Murmurs began to circulate around the crowd.
Kenichi looked around nervously and whispered to his friends. "This won't end well."
"Better bow out." Akito muttered. "Not like people will look down on us any more than they already do."
"Yeah." Tatsuya tugged on Alex's sleeve. "Let's beat it before…"
His friends looked at him with utter disbelief. He shrugged off Tatsuya's grasp and turned to face the class bully.
"Go fuck yourself, Tetsu." Alex growled.
A hush fell over the crowd. Even Tetsu and his crew were taken aback.
"W…what did you say?"
"Go-fuck-your-self" Alex said more slowly. "And you accuse me of not knowing Japanese."
"You little shit!" Tetsu venomously spat. "You think you can talk to me like that, you fucker?!"
"Why don't you try to shut me up? Or do you need your pals help for that?"
"No, cause your ass is mine!"
Tetsu marched forward. His cronies stayed where they were.
"Good." Alex thought. "Just me and him. Worked like a charm, dad. Now let's see if the other stuff you taught me still works too."
Tetsu reached out and grabbed Alex by his shirt collar. He reared back a fist.
Alex lashed out with his elbow and smashed it into the side of Tetsu's face. His grip waned and allowed Alex to break free and follow up with a right hook that he threw all his weight into. Tetsu fell to the ground.
"When you're in a fight," His father had told him, "keep fighting until your opponent either gives up or until they have to tear you off of him."
Alex leapt on top of the floored teen and began raining blows upon him.
He remembered very little of what happened once the adrenaline took full control over him. He did not know how long he had been hitting Tetsu, but he remembered being pushed off, probably by one of goons. He tried to scramble back into the fray, but hands grabbed him from behind. He lashed out and connected with…something. He was then dragged away as the sounds of teacher's yells finally caught his ears.
When his adrenaline high finally wore off, he realized that he was no longer in school, but behind a convenience store that was a few blocks away.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?!" Akito braced himself on his knees as he tried to regain his breath. "You can't just attack Tetsu like that!"
"No shit." Keinchi was slumped on a wall with his chest heaving. "You fuckin' scared me when you jumped on him. I mean you just lost it! What the fuck were you thinking?"
Alex could only mumble a sorry. He had scared himself a little too. And Tetsu was not someone who gave up, he would meet him again. And when it happened, he doubted that his followers would stay out of it like last time.
"Shit…" Alex supported himself on the wall. His stomach ached with dread over what would most likely happen tomorrow.
He heard footsteps approaching. For a brief moment, Alex froze up as he thought that Tetsu had recovered and found him somehow. Instead he found Tatsuya with soda cans in his arms and a nasty welt under his left eye.
"Oh, fuck." Alex paled as he remembered how he had lashed out when his friend's pulled him away. "I'm sorry Tatsuya. I-"
A nervous laugh came from the small teen. "Forget it, man, it hardly hurts anymore. Besides, kinda makes me look tough."
Alex took one of the cold cans and held it to his friend's stinging cheek. Tatsuya brought up his own hand to hold it there.
"Doesn't look too bad." Alex said. "Keep this on it for a bit."
"I'm lucky you missed my glasses." The teen forced a laugh. "My parents would've flayed me alive."
"And he's lucky his parents aren't here." Akito grabbed one of the cans. "You're mom would have a fit. Just make sure your older sister doesn't find out about this."
"Yeah." Alex answered faintly and popped the top of his drink.
"Perfect, just fuckin' perfect. I'm as good as dead tomorrow."
Alex cursed his stupidity over the fight. His father told him that the only way to win a fight and make sure to avoid any fights afterwards was to put the hurt on his opponent, big time. But Tetsu was not just some bully, he had a small gang backing him and he only managed to win by stunning him with his elbow and taking advantage of the situation.
His father called it using an advantage. No doubt Tetsu would call it a sucker punch and seek vengeance.
With a sigh, he wondered if he should just skip school, but decided against it. That would make him look like a coward and that would just invite continued bullying. But if he did have another confrontation with Tetsu, he was sure it would not be a one-on-one fight. He knew how to defend himself, but he was no martial artist.
"…and then he just jumped on him and started to really beat the crap outta him!"
Alex stopped when he heard voices. He looked around and saw a group of girls smoking behind an alleyway. He quickly hid when he realized that they were talking about him.
"I can't believe it, I mean Alex, our Alex?"
"Like there's any others we could confuse him with?"
He recognized some of the voices, they were girls from his class.
"It's weird. I mean he's quiet and all. It was like he wouldn't hurt a fly."
"Now ya know better. And he wasn't quiet, he just never talked to us."
"Tetsu had it comin' and don't get me wrong there, but when Alex gets his ass kicked, I won't feel sorry for him."
"Yeah, I mean he basically started the fight."
"Ever since he's been in our class, he's hardly said two words to anyone besides his loser friends."
"One of them already dropped out. I heard because of family problems."
"Well one down, four to go."
Giggles filled the alleyway for a brief moment.
"Well maybe getting a poundin' will straighten him out, ya know. Make him humble. The way he acts, all distant and shit, he's just askin' to be put down."
Alex began to walk away, not wanting to hear the rest of the conversation.
Alex blinked at the red head that greeted him. She was still in her ninja outfit, but most of her bandages were gone.
"You're…you're still here?"
"Well, I thought to pay you back for the meal and a place to stay last night, I'd help out around the house." She took the school bag from Alex's grasp. "But you've taken such good care of the place. There wasn't much I could do."
"Thanks." The teen said with uncertainty. "Uh…you didn't get my note, did you?"
"I did." She answered. "But like I said, I felt that I had to pay you back and-"
She suddenly seized his hand and brought it up to inspect.
"What happened to your hands?"
Alex finally realized that Tetsu's blood was still on his knuckles. His stomach began to ache again.
"Nothing." He muttered and tugged his hand free.
He trotted into the kitchen to wash up. "Look, you can stay for dinner, but you have to leave after that."
Kasumi fidgeted. She was sure that she would run into trouble with her clan again if she left. Ayane would have search parties out tonight and every night until she was found. At first she did not want to stay since her clan would most likely start their search at the last place they saw her, namely outside the apartment. But, as much as she hated to admit it, as long as she was with the teen that took her in, her clan would not dare attack. Not as long as her brother was clan leader, it was forbidden exposing the clan to outsiders. And as long as Hayate said so, Ayane would obey.
But her staying was entirely up to her rescuer.
"Excuse me, but I was wondering if I could stay the night again."
Kasumi cursed herself for using the teen as a shield, but she had felt safe today, a feeling she almost forgot.
"No way." Alex said firmly. "First you'll wanna stay tonight, then the next, and the next. Don't you have your own home to go to?"
"I did." She wanted to say.
"But I'm worried about those thugs." She lied. "They might still be looking for me."
"Not my problem." An idea hit Alex. "Unless…"
The kunoichi became intrigued.
"Since you're so into ninjas, how 'bout you become my ninja?"
Alex smiled to himself. "This'll get rid of her for sure. I mean, she's just a cosplayer, not a real ninja."
He turned to the startled red head and pressed on. "I'll let you stay here as long as you want. Plus I'll even feed you. But in exchange, you have to protect me and do exactly what I say. Deal?"
"Oh, yeah, this'll definitely work." He thought. "I mean no way she'll agree. She might think I'm sort of pervert or something, but as long as she leaves, I can live with it."
Alex's plans fell apart by just one word.
"I'll do it." The girl stood straighter. "I'll be your ninja."
"You…you will?" His mind raced for an explanation.
"She agreed." He thought. "Alright, no problem. I'll let her stay for a few days and she'll be gone before I know it. She can't pull off this act forever, right?"
"Well, ok then." Alex faked enthusiasm. "You can stay in the loft."
Kasumi nodded. She felt terrible for placing the teen in potential trouble, but she needed a place to rest and recuperate. She would not stay long.
"Thank you…um." Embarrassment over came her as she realized that she had not asked for his name.
"Alex." The teen started the rice steamer. "Alex Kane. I suppose I should ask your name too."
He nodded. There was a sort of déjà vu attached to her name. He knew of some other girls with the name Kasumi, perhaps it was that.
"Anyways, you should take a bath. I mean you've been in that get up since last night." He stated. "I'll see if my sisters left any clothes behind for you to use."
"I will, and thank you again." Kasumi entered the bathroom.
As soon as she was out of sight, Alex frowned. It would appear that this Kasumi character was determined to stick with her lame story. She was hiding something. That much he could tell.
"It doesn't matter." He sighed. "As long as she leaves without incident, I don't care what's going on."
He briefly wondered if he actually believed himself.
Alex set the timer and continued making dinner.