Right, so chapter four then. Well, hopefully, I've redeemed myself about after killing Ayane off. Sorry I've left this update so late, but i've discovered how to use photoshop properly, and I think I've grown an unhealthy addiction for it. …...I should just get started.
The Fallen Phoenix
CHPTR 4: The Opening ceremony
Whilst the opening ceremony was going through final preparations, a few figures watch on from an extravagant VIP booth overlooking the arena.
A european woman, dressed in tight fitting blue pants, and a neatly groomed whit flannel top, looks down blankly at the elaborate setup in the centre of the stadium. The ring itself was casted in a perfect square, at least twice a big as a regular boxing ring. The only difference being the absence of ropes or turn buckles. The ring was connected to an illuminated ramp leading to a large stage with smaller ramps leaving each side of the arena. The entrance gate was large enough to fit an suv through, and was lit with with plain white spot lights. An enormous titantron loomed behind the entrance gate, on of four placed at opposite side of each other at the highest points of the arena. The seats in the stands were now packed, as fighter jets whooshed over the arena, signaling the official start of the opening ceremony.
Turning away from the window, she went back to take a seat infront her laptop. She brushed her fingers through her long blonde pony tail, as her sparkling sapphire eyes scanned through some documents regarding the fighters participating in the tournament. She had done this several times over the course of the day. Everything seemed to check out, save for one factor that seemed out of place. For all she knew, it could've been a typing error, yet she felt compelled to look it over again, and again.
"Helena." A female voice called out, breaking her concentration.
Helena looked up at the woman next to her. With short snow white hair, she was of the same curvey, yet slender build as Helena. She was dressed in a black business outfit, complete with a black tie. Normally, dressing like that would be considered cross-dressing for a lady, yet she somehow made it look feminine and almost sexy in a way. Her most distinguishing feature were her steely eyes, which could shred one's soul into ribbons without even trying.
Christie. The woman who filled the roles of Helena's servant, bodyguard, assassin, rival, nemesis, and now best friend in the space of merely a few years. It was Christie, who murdered Helena's mother, at the request of Victor Donovan, another of Helena's enemies. Helena vowed revenge against her mother's murderer, and when Christie revealed herself at the Tri-Tower, the two of them fought a close fought, and bloody battle. The hatred the two of them felt for each other made the fight last a lifetime, until Christie was forced to withdraw, giving Helena time to self-destruct the Tri-Tower.
The next time they met, was at Zack Island, where they came to a mutual understanding. Despite the animosity and resentment Helena felt for her, Christie was at the same time, the one of only three people she trusted intimately. Helena came to the conclusion that even if she were to kill Christie, it would not put her mother's soul to rest, and certainly not hers. And with Donovan now perminately imprisoned, both Helena and Christie had no reason to fight. They reconciled and agreed to start again with a clean slate. From that point, Christie had been working with Helena as DOATEC's right hand.
"Oh, sorry. I was just going over the fighters stats that Heihachi sent me again." She said sheepishly.
"Seriously, you've been reading into that too much. You know that the tournament is merely a background venue for the two of you to talk mergers with." She lectured.
She was right, Heihachi had simply intended the tournament as entertainment whilst they discussed a possible financial merger between the DOATEC and the Mishima Zaibatsu, in order to save her company from bankruptcy. The aura Helena picked up from his personality suggested that he'd betray her the first chance he got. However, since Heihachi came to her with a business proposal in a time when other companies were quick to cut their ties with her, it left her with little choice. Her mind should be focused on the merger, yet a nagging piece of it clung to dear life on the anomoly in those stats.
"OK, you wanna talk tournament? Fine, but you really need to focus on what's important here." Christie sighed, vacating her seat to peer over Helena's shoulder at her laptop.
"So, who's the strongest according to the figures then?" Christie asked.
"You mean out of their usual competitors, or overall?" Helena responded, still fixated to her laptop.
"Uhhh... Sorry, I don't follow The King of Iron Fist Tournament."
"OK, would it interest you to know that three fighters from our tournament are competing here?" Helena quized as she glanced over her shoulder.
"What?!" came the response from Christie, whose interest had suddenly been perked.
"Damn. Now I wish I was competing, so who are they?" She asked, now with a hint of geniune interest in her voice.
"Leifang, Kasumi and Hitomi."
"That's odd. I'd expect that Hayabusa to be competing for sure. Or even Hayate."
"Those two have the luxury of choosing not to get involved with the Zaibatsu." Helena sighed.
Christie immediately picked up on Helena's discomfort of dealing with Heihachi, and placed a friendly hand on her shoulder.
"Helena......I know this Heihachi looks like a two-faced Donovan wannabe, but you know that there's no other way to save the company. And if he crosses that line, then he will feel the bite of this viper's fangs." Christie spoke in a dark, yet reassuring tone in Helena's ear.
"Thank you. I fear that it may come to that." Helena replied, placing her hand over Christie's.
"Well, anyhow. As far as the tournament is concerned, Kasumi's got it in the bag. No question." Christie said, changing the subject.
"I thought you knew better than to judge a fighter by physical attributes. Besides, if these readings are correct....." Helena trailed off as she turned back towards her laptop.
"Hitomi has somehow become a lot more powerful than Kasumi." She finished, tilting her head to the side to give Christie a better look.
In response, Christie sighed and shook her head. She knew that Helena was prone to over analysing small details. A trait that in Christie's view, prevents her from seeing the bigger picture. But even she couldn't hide her dissapointment over Helena falling to smaller details, when the stakes required her to see that bigger picture more than ever.
"So, you've been set off by......a typing error?" Christie asked in a lecturing tone.
"I know how this looks, but I know something's not right here."
"OK then, enlighten me." Christie remarked with an eyeroll.
"A few days ago, when we went to see Heihachi. Kasumi was there, as his bodyguard."
"So?! Does that fact alone not strike you as being odd, knowing Kasumi as the type of person she is?" Helena raised her voice slightly to look at Christie.
"Not really. I figured it's a smart move by Kasumi, since she's still being pursued by her own clan. And assuming they're still recovering from their attack on the tri-tower, then they'd think twice about hitting the Zaibatsu just to fulfill some decree of honour." Christie replied, covertly mocking the Hajin-mon's principals.
"And I'd expect you to say something like that. The Kasumi I know would scoff at the idea of working with someone like Heihachi. And there's something else. The way she looks at you now.... There's so much malevolence in her eyes. Something I didn't think she was capable of." Helena spoke sadly.
"True, she does look a little more.....hardened. But what's that got to do with Hitomi's stats?" Christie asked.
"Who knows......maybe nothing......but still-"
"That's right! It's completely unrelated! And this isn't even important! What is important, is you keeping focus on the bigger picture, and making sure you don't get fucked over in this merger." Christie lectured.
Helena gave a half-hearted nod in response.
"Even more important than that, is what to do with her." Christie said, directing her thumb over to a young girl over at the snack bar.
She was a cream skinned, lithe figure with long flowing ebony hair. Her facial features were innocent, almost doll-like, all the way up to her chestnut eyes. She wore a cute outfit consisting of a denim miniskirt, pearl white high heel boots, and a strapless black top striped pattern of silk fabric wrapped around her shoulders. It was held in place by a saphirre blue heart. On the bar infront of her, stood dozens of empty wine glasses.
"Kokoro, how many glasses of wine have you drank?" Helena asked.
"Ummm.....twenty, but honestly, this shit is soft compared to saki." The girl replied in contrast to her innocent appearance.
"?!? Kokoro! That's no way for a lady to speak!" Helena gasped.
"Sounds like someone's in for a good bedtime story." Christie smiled, as she strolled back to her chair.
"Uhh.....Christie?!" Helena scrambled as her cheeks turned bright red.
Helena met Kokoro during the 4th DOA tournament. At the time, Kokoro's goal was simply to test her skills in combat-against her mother's wish, since she wanted her to pursue the path of a geisha. The time they fought was infact the second time they met. Helena remembered Kokoro from a time when their mothers were friends. Though Helena easily defeated Kokoro, she explained that she knew her mother from when they were children. Out of curiosity, Kokoro decided to take the invitation to Zack Island without her mother's knowledge to find out more about Helena. Over the course of the two week holiday, Helena and Kokoro grew intimately close to each other, and eventually fell in love. Not long after the vacation, Helena decided to raise Kokoro to be a potential heir to the DOATEC, should something ever happen to her. Her mother, out of knowing the type of character Helena's mother was, reluctantly agreed. Kokoro had been at Helena's side ever since, being the second person that Helena trusted fully.
Upon hearing the words 'bedtime story' Kokoro gleefully jumped up, and bounced over to Helena's lap where she rested the side of her head on Helena's shoulder.
"You gonna tell me a bedtime story tonight? I can't wait!" Kokoro spoke loudly into Helena's ear.
"Coz, as it happens, I've got one I wanna tell you..." She dropped her tone to gently brush her lips against Helena's neck.
Helena gasped as Kokoro's warm breath brought forth goosebumps on her neck. Her nerves screamed out in excitement, her decision to arrange a separate booth for the board of directors showed its advantage. Helena risked a glance at Christie, who seemed to be holding back her laughter for dear life. Kokoro, not wishing to be forgotten, pressed her lips harder against Helena's neck, and now added her tounge to the mix. Helena needed to get control of the situation. With her free hand, she clenched Kokoro's chin to force her eyes up at Helena's.
"Behave yourself, please!" She gritted through her teeth quietly.
Helena hated using harsh words against Kokoro, and whenever those times came, she was always lost for words. Luckily enough, such things would pass through Kokoro whilst she was under the infuence. She still hoped they found some mark though. As much as Helena was happy for her to continue, here and now, and especially infront of Christie, just felt wrong. In response to her scalding, Kokoro simply gave a dopey grin.
"OK, I'll behave. For now." Kokoro said quietly, as she rested her head on Helena's shoulder once more.
Christie, unable to hold back her laughter, let loose a mishievious giggle. Helena, without any clever retorts, simply starred helpless while her friend was being consumed with laughter.
"Oh god, Seriously! If her mother knew of half the things you two got up too..." She said, as she regained her composure.
"Which is why we say nothing...." Helena responded angrily.
Christie's laughter stopped completely when she noticed Kokoro shooting her a mysterious look.
"You know.... you should join us tonight. The more the merrier."
Helena flushed bright red at her statement. Though Helena and Christie's relationship was not romantic or physical in any way, images of the three of them struck her head. She couldn't help but secretly get excited.
"Ha! You know I don't swing that way!" Christie responded arrogantly.
"Besides, the spurs on my Ferrari must be let loose. Tonight, I think I'll find some punk japanese kids with their cereal box racers, and show them how a real car takes to the streets."
"Oh well, your loss then." Kokoro smiled as her head found Helena's shoulder once more.
The scene was inturrupted by fireworks of every colour of the rainbow lighting a now night sky. The signalled the closing point of the ceremony, as several black Alfa-Romeo convertables did a lap of the arena. Each convertible housed a single fighter. Some waving to the crowd and soaking in the fanfare, others simply sat in their seats, deep in their own thoughts. Helena caught a quick glance at Hitomi's car-to notice that she fell in the later category. She remembered Hitomi's persona in the 4th DOA tournament. She remembered her always being the first to take in the atmosphere of the crowd with a smile on her face. But here, she looked blank and lost. Almost as if she were someone else entirely. The image brought back Helena's anxieties over the tournament in general. First finding Kasumi as Heihachi's bodyguard, then the 'incorrect data' in Hitomi's profile, and now seeing Hitomi looking like a shadow of her former self. Helena's was certain her instinct was on the mark. There was something wrong with this tournament.
About some time later in the night, the fighters were being led off to their rooms by staff assistants. They entered the guest quarters section a single group, but dissolved and scattered as they each fighter found their respective rooms. Eventually, it was just Hitomi and Leifang as they walked down a large hallway with one of the assistants. The doors on the hallway felt miles apart from each other. Since the official ceremony, Hitomi had not spoken a word. She had retreated to the depths of her mind, to contemplate the situation she was in. This had not gone unnoticed by Leifang, and Hitomi knew this. She began weaving lies in her head, preparing for the inevitable. Her train of thought was distracted when the assistant stopped at a fancy white door.
"Here you are, Ms. Kaufmann. Room 35. Your bags are already inside. Enjoy your stay, and good luck at the tournament." He spoke, as he handed a keycard to her.
"Excuse me, but do you mind if you just told me where my room was? I'm gonna help my friend unpack." Leifang asked.
"Umm, OK. You are room 40. down the end of the hallway." He said, handing another keycard to Leifang.
"Enjoy your stay, and go-" The assistant was cut off by a slamming door.
Hitomi and Leifang gawked at the room they were in, and understood why the doors were so far apart. The room itself was the size of most apartments-stacked on top of each other. The lighting reflected brightly off of the varnished mohogany floorboards. Neatly chisled dark grey slates lined the walls or the room. All the furniture sported a futuristic design. The leather couches and coffee table in the sitting area, the chairs and large table in the dining area, all shared the colour black. The kitchen area, on the other hand, contrasted with white, matching the ceiling. One feature that particully stood out, was a massive LCD built into the wall infront of the couches. The other feature was the bed, whose size could compare with those found in a Gemstone Suite room at Zack island.
"Woah.....this place is.....huge!" Hitomi gasped.
"Agreed. Whoever put this place together, must make Zack look broke." Leifang added.
Hitomi seated herself in one of the couches, and gazed at Leifang. Her eyes burning right into her.
"So, uh..... I'll help you with those suitcases." Leifang nervously stated.
"We both know you're not here to help me unpack." Hitomi responded, her eyes still gazing at Leifang.
Hitomi felt guilty for trying to pry open Leifang's personal life, yet the only way she could quell the unrest in her mind, was to dive into someone elses problems. Leifang let out a deep sigh, and took a seat next to Hitomi.
"The night I started that fight.....I was supposed to meet up with Jann-Lee for a date that night." Leifang started.
Hitomi bowed her head slightly. She knew that name. Jann-Lee was a young man from Hong-Kong to which fighting was all that mattered to him, and the object of Leifang's affection. Though it wasn't normally in Hitomi's nature to hate anyone, she couldn't help but feel resentment towards him. During the 4th DOA tournament, at a time when she was questioning herself, she got a chance to face him. Although Jann-Lee bragged constantly about his self taught style and training, when they fought, Hitomi was clearly more powerful. And she hurt him. Really hurt him. Whenever Leifang talked about Jann-Lee, it was all about proving herself to him. Yet her infatuation was as obvious as the colour of the sky. The truth was that Leifang had already surpassed Jann-Lee, as Hitomi's battle with her clearly proved. Behind the looks and enigma, Jann-Lee was simply arrogant and selfish with his one tracked mind. Too see Leifang discard her affections for someone else would please her greatly. Though Hitomi knew she could never be the object of those affections, if she found someone other than him. It would be enough to know that Leifang was happy with someone she deserved.
"He promised to meet me outside that particular bar at 6:30. We were supposed to have dinner together, then see a movie. Two hours later, and still no sign of him, and it becomes clear that he's stood me up. Again." She explained, surprisingly without any anger in her voice.
"...Which is what I thought at the time. I was upset. Angry. I honestly thought that this time, he would put aside his training for just one night for me. So, I thought, fuck it. Since I was already there, I'll make the most of it. Or at least drown my sorrows in alchohol."
"You know, I've never seen you drunk before. How much does it take to get the 'Genious of Tai-Chi' hammered?' Hitomi jokingly asked.
"About 25 straight bundies and 5 jagerbombs. Anyhow, in my drunken haze, some old sleazebag tried to hit on me, and the rest.....you already know." Leifang finished.
"God knows how you've bothered with him for so long." Hitomi said gently to Leifang.
"Looking back on that night, I'm not even sure if I can answer that. I found him a week later to drill him on ditching me. Turns out he was at a local fighting tournament that night. He acted as though he'd done nothing wrong. He said to me, unapologetically 'My training must always come before leisure. That is my way, and you should respect that.'." Leifang began to explain.
"Did ya kick his ass?"
"No. I walked away. That night taught me something. I don't care about Jann-Lee. I never should have. Besides, I think a have feelings for someone much better." Leifang finished, her cheeks turning red on the last sentence.
Hitomi's heart skipped a few beats on Leifang's last sentence. At least one wish came true, and the second was on its way there. The long lost school girl side of her surfaced once more.
"Wow! So, C'mon,who is he? Someone I know" Hitomi asked impatiently, leaning in towards Leifang.
"Yes, someone you know very well. But that's all I'm saying!" Leifang struggled to reply with a straight face.
"Oh, so he thought in the tournament then. Is it Ryu? Elliot?! Bayman perhaps. Oh C'mon, tell me!" Hitomi nagged, letting her excitement get the better over her train of thought.
"We're supposed to be best friends. And best friends also tell each other everything." Hitomi added.
"Best friends also respect each other's privacy." Leifang returned with a witty retort.
"Fine.... You win for now, but I'm gonna find out. One way or the other."
"Don't worry. If something happens from my little crush, you'll be the first to know about it." Leifang said, with a gentle smile.
Hitomi nodded back, before heading towards the bed, where her suitcases waited. It was getting time to pop another rejuvenator. She opened a small black leather case, the one she packed her toiletries in. She systematically rumaged through each pocket for the canister.
"So, why are you here, and not with your family?" Leifang asked, her tone of voice changed slightly.
"What do you mean?" She answered complacently, unaware of where Leifang was going with her question.
"I know what happened to your dad."
Those words practically echoed in her ear. Though she didn't have much time to think about it, Hitomi practically cooked her mind through brainstorming on what to say if Leifang started asking intrusive questions into her situation. A chill ran up Hitomi's spine. Being faced with the real senario brought with it a completely different feeling, one that Hitomi was not mentally prepared for.
"What did you hear?" Hitomi snapped back, turning her head towards Leifang in a split second.
"Uhhh...that he died in an explosion. It was on the news." Was her reply, as she practically jumped back in her seat at Hitomi's sudden movement.
Her heartbeat slowed down slightly. Hitomi didn't recall any explosions when fighting Jin in the dojo, nor did she really care. What mattered is that Leifang believed it, and was still oblivious to the truth.
"But you should be at home, with your friends and family. Not here, fighting in a tournament." Leifang added, regaining her composure.
"family..... the people that abandoned us after mother died." Hitomi uttered sadly, as she turned her head back towards her briefcase.
"And the people I once called friends?..... They're either too full on teenage crap or drugs to care about what happens to me."
"No, the only way I can honour my father's memory, is by displaying his trade to the world." Hitomi finished her speech.
She rumaged through her suitcase some more when she found what she was looking for. She removed the canister of tablets from the pocket.
"That's something Jann-Lee would say. I'm sorry, but sometimes your attitude over your priorities reminds me of him, but with boobs." Leifang blatantly stated.
Hitomi froze at the end of those words. Leifang had an uncanny ability to be direct and hard-hitting with her words. And sometimes, she was unaware of exactly how hurtful she could be with her words. Hitomi despised Jann-Lee for the type of person he was, and the thought of being compared to him by personality, made her blood boil.
"That......hurt" She replied quietly, though the anger was clear in her voice.
"I.....ummm.....look, I'm sorry." Leifang stuttered.
Still dwelling in her private rage, Hitomi simply ignored her. Instead walking over to the kitchen area to get a glass. As she was filling it with water from the tap, Leifang noticed the canister of tablets Hitomi was holding.
"What are those for?" Leifang asked, wary of Hitomi's responses.
Hitomi sighed deeply, her previous rage left her body with her exhale. She knew at this point, Leifang wouldn't buy a text book 'stomach ulcer' excuse. Hitomi looked back at Leifang, to find a concerned look on her soft features. She starred back for a moment, and in Leifang's worried eye's Hitomi found the right words.
"I have another reason for being here. The thing is that....... I'm sick. And not with something regular doctors can cure either. A ninja named Yoshimitsu told me that I might find a cure here, but the only way to find it is to take his place in the tournament."
"It sounds silly I know, but-"
"I-I jumped to conclusions too early. I am so sorry." Leifang interrupted, tears began to well up in her hazelnut eyes.
"I should be sorry too. This month hasn't exactly been great for my mood, so please forgive me if I haven't seemed like my self." Hitomi responded with an apology of her own.
"No. Please don't apologize. This disease.....is it fatal?" Leifang nervously asked.
"You could say that." Hitomi replied, the memories of the Hajin-mon clan were still fresh in her mind.
Hitomi quickly swallowed the green tablet, which left an awful, bitter after taste in her mouth. She then gazed deeply into the sink, losing herself once more in thought. Lies are easier to spin, when they're mixed with the truth. And there was a lot of it in her lie. She WAS in fact sick, and her disease was fatal. The difference was that it was fatal to anyone around her. A part of her regretted Leifang being at the tournament. Her secret would've been much easier to keep that way. Yet, on the other hand, she couldn't help but feel a small part of her burden was lefted when she confided part of it to Leifang. Her train of thought was broken whe Leifang pulled her away from the sink and into a tight hug. Hitomi froze for a short moment, but the feeling of Leifang's warm body against hers loosened her up, causing her to return the hug.
"Hitomi...." Leifang said gently in her ear.
"You have no idea how strong you are....losing your father, and dealing with a fatal illness at the same time. I know I couldn't do that."
"I....I just want you to know that, you can rely on me for anything. I'm gonna help you get through this. You're my best friend, so for the sake of our friendship, we are gonna beat this. Together."
As Leifang spoke, Hitomi heard her whimper through her words. It was one of many reasons why Hitomi felt so strongly for her, As hurtful as she could be sometimes, Leifang's compassion was tenfold.
"Thank you." Was all Hitomi could say before burrying her face in Leifang's shoulder.
The feeling of being in Leifang's arms made the walls guarding Hitomi's emotions non-existent. It was like being in another world, where there was no stress, sadness, anger, or anything unpleasant. The rhythm of Leifang's heartbeat could almost put Hitomi to sleep, if it weren't for the rejuvenator. Suddenly, Leifang held Hitomi by the shoulders at an arms length, and starred deeply into Hitomi's sky blue eyes.
"I want you to do something for me." Leifang asked directly.
"I bought a holiday ranch in Minnesota with the money we bribed off of Zack. Once we get through this, I want you to stay with me there for a few weeks."
"...I might actually do that."
" That wasn't a request. Besides, going on what you told me about your family, then you won't be in a rush to get back home. It'll be just like old times at Zack Island. Except it'll be just us". Leifang encouraged.
"In that case, it's a promise." Hitomi smiled, gently placing her left hand ove Leifang's.
Leifang eventually let go of Hitomi.
"But for now, I want you to get some rest. You'll need all your energy for your first fight."
"Thanks. I'll see you tomorrow." Hitomi said.
Leifang nodded, before walking towards the door.
"And Hitomi, it really is nice to see you again." She said, before letting herself out.
Now that she was all alone, Hitomi allowed herself to flop onto her bed. Whilst she had the Devil Gene, sleep was a denied commodity. But with Leifang's offer to stay at her holiday ranch with her, Hitomi now had the motivation to see this through to the end. She now had renewed confidence in herself. She would find her cure for the Devil Gene, no matter what. Though the road was still long, the chance to tell Leifang how she really felt could be seen off in the distance...
Writer's Notes: And about friggin time. First let me apologise again for being so late with my update, however, lack of motivation took its toll on me, and I got distracted by some shiny objects. But then I suppose the temptation to procrastinate comes to all of us.
OK, the main thing to comment on her, is the inclusion of Helena, Christie and Kokoro. I felt that if my crossover is gonna be based around the next King of Iron Fist tournament, then it just seems right to throw the DOATEC in as an extra unknown element. And since this story occurs after DOAX2, then DOATEC means Helena. As you've read by now, that Helena's trying to save the DOATEC from bankruptcy, and it seems like Heihachi is nice enough to put his hand up to help out. Sounds pretty legit, right? RIGHT?! Also, Helena knows there's something not right about the tournament. Later in the story, she'll have an important part to play, but for now, she's simply an observer.
Also, I decided to pair up Helena with Kokoro, instead of Christie, simply because pairing up with Christie is too obvious. If you've played DOA 4, then you'll know that Helena makes a reference to Kokoro's mother, so the pairing isn't completely random. I may make more of it in the next chapter, but for now, just take the fluff for what it is....Fluff.
NEXT CHAPTER: The first round of the tournament begins, as Hitomi discovers there are people who cared about Jin Kazama after revenge.
Final Disclaimer Notice: Dead or Alive and all characters are owned by Tecmo(or Team Ninja). Tekken and all characters are owned by Namco.(copy and paste....)