Blue Hair, Glitter and Ninjas, Oh My!
Request fic by General Zargon, one-shot, silliness. I think I veered a bit from her initial intent, but I think I got the essential bits in there. Enjoy!
Many thanks to WillWrite4Fics for brainstorming with me.
Just to locate all of you, this would be set at a time where both Kamakura and Billy are full-time residents of the Pit, along with Jinx, Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. In strict comics canon, I do think that's right around… never, so I'll go right ahead and label this AU. In fact, considering I didn't change my characterization and worked from my usual timeline for the various characters, we can say it's set in my usual AU.
Final note: technically, Japanese words don't have a plural, so it's one ninja, two ninja, one Sensei, two Sensei, etc. When I use them in English, I tend to put a plural when needed for clarity… basically, I'm anglicizing them. I hope it doesn't bother anyone too much.
"Well, I'm sure not going for the ninjas," Clutch said, leaning on his cue stick.
Breaker, from the other side of the pool table, looked up from lining up his shot and popped his current bubble.
"You yellow bellied grease monkey," he said. "They're a 10 points multiplier!"
Clutch snorted. "You go ahead and try 'em, then."
"I have a better idea," Breaker said. "You up to sharing the prize? I don't think I can pull it off on my own."
Clutch looked around and walked around the table to stand by the communications specialist.
"Pull what off?" he asked in a whisper.
"Well," Breaker whispered back, giving up on his shot and straightening up, "I figure nobody's going to get the ninjas. I'll bet you anything Storm already knows about this anyway, so nobody's getting the ten points. I don't think anyone's going to get the 7 points either because Beach won't want to go to a costume party, Flint won't fall for it and Duke is going off base tomorrow."
"I'm going for Billy and Kamakura," Breaker said. "They're cool, they won't kill us afterwards. Both of them are as good as one of the ninjas."
"Don't you think Storm's going to tell them?"
"See, I don't know that he will. I could see him trying to find out if they'd fall for it."
Clutch shrugged. "Well, it's worth a try. You better move fast, though, before someone else gets them."
"I got the costumes defined; it doesn't matter if anybody else tries to get them as long as they show up like I told Ace I was going to tell them to."
"So what do you need me for?"
"You got that comic book artist pal, don't you?"
"Bob? Yeah. Why?"
"I need him to doctor up some comic books… he's going to draw the two most popular heroes in the World. Think he'll like that?"
Clutch's eyes widened in understanding.
"Ninja training doesn't leave much time for pop culture, does it?" he breathed with a chuckle. "Please tell me one of them heroes has body paint for a costume."
Breaker grinned. "For twenty points? You bet. They both would, except I figured even ninja trainees would get suspicious of that… I figured the paint needed to be special, you know? I'm going to stick to funky clothes, hair and makeup on the other one. Still worth fifteen points."
"Times five because they're the apprentices…" Clutch grinned and rubbed his chin. "Fifty fifty for Bob's services."
"Fair enough," Breaker agreed. Fifty percent of the betting pool would still be a nice bit of pocket money – Ace's latest prediction was that the winner would pocket about $400 – and the fact of the matter was that the sheer fun of making people dress up for a non-existent costume party would have been worth it even without the prospect of monetary reward.
In just four days, every rec room in the Pit found some old Superman, Spiderman, Justice League or X-Men posters replaced by new faces and the magazine racks were stocked with issues 147 of Space Man and 96 of The Blue Corsair.
Breaker and Clutch happily made fun of anyone who did not know who the popular heroes were, going as far as giving a crash course and explaining that the creator of both was very strict about copyrighted content not being found online.
Four days after they had agreed to work together, the two accomplices settled in the rec room closest to the dojo just as a scheduled private session between the ninjas and their apprentices was about to finish. They grabbed one fake comic book each and started a loose conversation veering from costumes to favourite foods to super heroes, for the sole intent of being overheard by their intended victims as said victims approached the rec room.
Kamakura and Billy showed up a few minutes later, alone. Clutch stopped in the middle of a sentence praising Angus Steaks and looked up, smirking.
"Shook off the bosses?" he asked.
"They're still in there," Billy replied, crashing in a chair with a groan.
"Extra training," Kamakura confirmed, falling sprawled on the couch. His eyes fell on the Space Man poster positioned right across from him. "Who's that guy?" he asked.
Billy eyed the poster too. "No clue," he said. "Must be new… that other one HAS to be, anyway. I'd remember a super hero with an eye patch," he added after spotting the poster of The Blue Corsair.
Breaker blinked at them. "You… you're kidding, right?" he asked, by all appearances shocked and outraged.
Kamakura titled his head. "I don't keep up with that stuff. I remember the ones I used to read as a kid."
Billy snickered. "Snake Man?" he asked. "Defender of the free businessman?"
Kamakura chuckled. "I'd be curious to get my hands on a comic book from Springfield again. Just to remind myself how bad they were."
"At least he had clothes on. That Space Man guy looks like he's just covered in sparkly black paint."
"He is," Breaker said, rolling his eyes at the ignorance of the two apprentices. "Except for a speedo."
Billy snorted. "What's his power? Picking up girls?"
"Ah! Only you would want a power like that," Kamakura said.
"He's some kind of knight, so the girls do like him," Clutch said. "But he's got it really bad for his neighbour, so he doesn't even notice the others. It's a running gag."
"I can't believe you two don't know these guys," Breaker said. "I mean, literally, I don't believe you. Billy, there's no WAY you never noticed The Blue Corsair; he's all over the place!"
"And he's got an eye patch just like yours! You're cool, thanks to that guy!" Clutch added.
Billy shrugged. "I'm a ninja apprentice with a cloudy past and a titanium leg," he said with a theatrical air. "I'm effortlessly way cooler than some comic book character with half his hair dyed blue."
"So much for my guess," Breaker said, looking disappointed. "I thought for sure you'd dress up as him, but if you don't even know him…"
"You mean for that costume party? I wasn't going to dress up at all, there's no point."
"What costume party?" Kamakura asked.
Clutch's eyes went wide. Breaker popped a bubble.
"No point?" Clutch asked. "How can YOU, of all people, say that? Don't you miss real food? Everyone knows Storm won't let you eat anything HE won't. So basically, anything tasty!"
"There's a costume party next week," Billy explained for Kamakura's benefit. "People keep telling me I should go and try to win for the best costume because Roadblock w2ill cook a private dinner for the winner and a few guests."
"Key word PRIVATE," Breaker piped in. "Don't you get it? You can get him to make you anything, and eat it without Storm Shadow around! I can't believe you're not interested! Does your teacher have you converted or something?"
"Anything?" Kamakura asked. "How do you win? Just best costume? Who decides?"
Billy rolled his eyes at Breaker, ignoring Kamakura. "Right, because there's no way Sensei would find out about it if I won a contest and Roadblock cooked me a special dinner made to order."
Breaker chewed on his gum, thinking quickly: he'd have to convince Billy to go for it or Storm to let him have the non-existent prize later; in the meantime, he had better secure the hook on Kamakura.
"You have to actually look like who or what you go as, for one thing," he said, answering Kamakura's question. "Quality gets points too, and complexity. Throwing a sheet over yourself won't win anything because it's too easy, you're better off choosing something impressive. In your case, I think you should pick a costume that shows off that you're built like a superhero or something. It'd be a waste to dress up like a vampire, anyone can do that."
"You'd look very dashing as him," Billy laughed, pointing at Space Man. "He looks pretty smooth, though, you'd have to shave or wax."
"I COULD pull it off, couldn't I? He wears a speedo, right?"
Billy looked at him curiously.
"You actually really want to win, don't you? Why? You always get to eat whatever you want anyway."
"I get to eat whatever I want among what is available," Kamakura corrected. "I'd kill for a nice big T-Bone. Closest we ever get is those pathetic lean little steaks."
He got up to take a closer look at the comic book Clutch was still holding. Clutch pretended to try and hide it but surrendered it, getting up.
"I wouldn't let you look at it, I want to win too, but if you say you'd kill for that T-Bone, I think I'm just going to forfeit."
Billy chuckled and out of sheer curiosity, coupled with a lack of anything better to do, he picked up the issue of The Blue Corsair to leaf through while Kamakura was examining every angle of Space Man.
Breaker's eyes drifted from one monitor to another, focusing on one point for a tenth of a second and then another, not so much reading as scanning, looking for the all popular 'something off' that may be a sign that something was wrong or would soon be. It was a special kind of concentration where he took everything in, ignored most of it and allowed bits and pieces to connect in his mind in a process that was more subconscious than conscious. Breaker found it almost meditative and enjoyed it quite a bit. He'd been known to be in so deep as to stop chewing his gum for several minutes at a time.
He was in such a state now, in fact. Storm Shadow glanced at the monitor, wondering how the man even stayed awake. He would have been tempted to think Breaker was in fact asleep with his eyes opened, but his eye movements suggested he was awake, his pulse and breathing weren't quite slowed down to sleeping levels, and Storm Shadow knew from experience that the communications specialist could spot the slightest disturbance in his 'kingdom' and react instantly, even – particularly – when he appeared as far gone as he did now.
The ninja also knew Breaker was oblivious to everything else at the moment and had no idea he was no longer alone in the computer slash surveillance room. Storm Shadow thought for a second and decided that though it may at first seem like the nice thing to do, doing his best not to startle his fellow soldier and announcing his presence with a soft noise such as a little cough or clearing of the throat was in fact short-sighted: Breaker needed to develop the capacity not to be surprised by someone coming in the room, especially someone who had made no particular effort to be quiet. Granted, he didn't HAVE to make any effort to be quieter than most people were when they were trying to be stealthy, but the point still stood. The fact that making people jump out of their skin just never got old was but a bonus.
Satisfied with his reasoning, Storm Shadow positioned himself right behind Breaker's chair and spoke at normal volume, his voice not loud by any standard but not soft, either.
"Would you be willing to cover a guard shift for me?"
Breaker jumped what felt to him like ten feet in the air, accidentally swallowed his gum and was reduced to the ineffective technique of putting his hand over it to try and stop his heart from hammering madly in his chest. He cursed and turned around, glaring at the smirking ninja.
"STOP DOING THAT!" he demanded. "I swear, you're going to give me a heart attack one of these days!"
Storm Shadow's smirk widened.
"If your heart ever becomes so fragile as to fail just because someone talks, wouldn't you rather it happen here, with someone to administer CPR and call Doc?" he asked. "Back on subject," he continued without waiting for an answer, "I'm covering for someone on a guard shift tonight and I'd rather do something else."
"And why would I want to do that for you?" Breaker asked.
"It would put me in such a good mood that Billy just might benefit from it. I might even promise him that if he were to win a special meal, I would make no objection at all to his enjoying it. Why, I might even decide to let him enjoy the prospect as long as possible and refrain from telling him the costume contest is a sham."
Breaker's eyebrows lifted right into his helmet.
"How long of a shift are we talking about?" he asked.
"You're not going to tell the others, either?"
Storm Shadow snorted. "Nuh-uh. I've seen what Sean's dressing up as."
"What about Snake Eyes?"
"I can't guarantee anything, but at the moment, he feels our apprentices should either figure it out on their own or suffer the ridicule."
Breaker took out a new piece of gum, unwrapped it, plopped it in and chewed as he pondered the offer: he stood to win $200 or so for catching Billy and Kamakura, and he didn't actually have anything better to do tonight, so what was a four hour guard shift?
"Deal," he said, extending his hand.
"Front gate, 1900 to 2300," Storm Shadow said, smiling as he shook the offered hand. "I'm sure you'll find Billy looking for pictures of that Blue Corsair character very soon."
Kamakura stopped upon entering the rec room and for several seconds, contented himself with glaring at his brother. Billy, for his part, was oblivious to the death stare directed his way, absorbed as he was in making notes on the detailing of the Blue Corsair's costume and in jotting down ideas on how to reproduce it with clothing available at the Pit or likely to be found at a thrift store.
Kamakura moved to stand in front of him and snatched away the comic book Billy was using as reference. "What are you doing?" he growled.
"Sensei told me that if I won Roadblock's meal, he wouldn't stop me from requesting whatever I want or from eating it, and he wouldn't even make me regret it afterward. I'm still reeling from the shock, to be honest," Billy answered, grinning.
"So you're entering the contest," Kamakura said, his eyes narrowed and his upper lip curled up in a snarl.
"What will you ask Roadblock to cook?"
"Double Cheeseburger with bacon, fries on the side, and Coke for the drink."
Kamakura's frown deepened.
"That's not a special dinner, it's a fast food order! You could just go out for that! All you have to do is go eat it, brush your teeth, shower, change your clothes and…"
"Have Sensei guess anyway," Billy interrupted him, his face clouding. "I tried."
"You did? When?"
"Back in the Water Tower."
Billy shuddered slightly. "Let's just say I'm not trying again. I don't have any guest in mind… if you're really nice to me, I just might let you come along. You'd have to promise not to bother us if I also bring a date, though."
Kamakura barked a laugh. "Forget it. I'm winning this, and I'm NOT taking you to a steak dinner. You'll have to make do with the mess hall."
"Nah," Billy chuckled. "I'm a dead ringer for the guy, and I got his costume figured out to the smallest details. Don't bother with your costume idea, I'd feel bad if you went through so much trouble for nothing."
Kamakura crossed his arms and puffed out his chest, looking very much like he was issuing a challenge for a duel to the death as he stared down Billy. "I'm winning this, Kessler. Not only do I want that T-Bone, but I refuse to let you waste Roadblock's talent on a cheeseburger!"
"It's going to be the best cheeseburger ever," Billy replied, gazing dreamily into the distance.
Kamakura grunted and stalked away, throwing the comic book back at Billy in a show of good sportsmanship.
Clutch, who had witnessed the exchange from in front of the rec room's television set, sucked his cheeks in to stop himself from grinning. Both birds were in; the prize was theirs.
There was of course no actual party scheduled: anybody who got caught and who was on duty for the evening would have to run off to their post wearing their costumes rather than spend the night partying like they had expected. It was a bit cruel to the relatively few who would be in that situation, but still harmless; it was considered by the group of Joes in on the prank as the cherry on top of the hilarity of seeing all the silly costumes.
The week was spent with the pranksters scrambling to get more people to fall for the trick and a growing number of people trying to put costumes together. Roadblock, being on leave away from base, was not available to deny his intentions to cook a private meal for the winner of the fake costume contest: the party had been scheduled to start a few hours before his expected return, to make sure he didn't ruin the prank while at the same time being expected by the victims to eventually show up and see the costumes that may earn his services.
Clutch, Breaker, Ace and the fifteen or so more Joes that were in on the 'fishing' contest were careful not to arrive first at the mess-hall, where the costume party was to begin with dinner; they showed up a few minutes late instead, and were greeted by a sight worth all the planning and trouble.
There were costumes everywhere: as a guess, Ace would have ventured to say at least 90% of the Joes and greenshirts present had dressed up and thanks to the contest, most of the costumes were genuinely good: there were a few very convincing super heroes, ranging from Wolverine to Superman; a few people had dressed up as various animals; there was a lone princess, several witches, a few zombies, a couple of mummies, a werewolf and various other monsters, a few Elvis impersonators, some other musicians, among which Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper, and a wide variety of all kinds of other disguises.
Breaker and Clutch grinned as they scanned the crowd, spotting a few greenshirts they had caught and eagerly searching for the two ninja apprentices. They just barely refrained from squealing in glee when they spotted them in the middle of a group of mostly female admirers.
Breaker, though he wouldn't have admitted it, felt a pang of guilt: the two had done a very good job. Billy had reproduced the costume in the doctored comic book to perfection, from the white and blue striped pants and the brown leather boots with the floppy overhang to the dirty and slightly torn baggy white shirt, the black vest with the silver buttons and the belt buckle with the exact same design Clutch's friend had drawn, to the long scar across his cheeks and his nose, to the piece the resistance: the right half of his hair was dyed the perfect shade of bright blue. Kamakura had not been outdone, either: he was covered in black body paint from his toes to his scalp, and he had indeed shaved most of his body hair, his head being an exception because Space Man did have a full head of black, slicked back hair; just like Kamakura's normally red mane now appeared. The sparkling effect on Space Man had been reproduced with glitter all over the young man's body, to magnificent effect.
If Space Man and the Blue Corsair had been real heroes, the two apprentices' costumes would have been awe-inspiring. As it was, they looked ridiculous, although nobody seemed to be making fun of them.
Breaker frowned: that was odd. Here you had a glittery mostly naked man and another one dressed in a ridiculous pirate outfit and with half his hair dyed bright blue, and not a single person seemed to be so much as politely trying not to laugh: quite the opposite, Billy and Kamakura both seemed to be getting a lot of positive attention.
"Why is the food not out yet?" Clutch suddenly asked.
"Who got Lady Jaye and Flint?" Ace asked, pointing at the warrant officer and the intelligence specialist, both dressed in medieval masquerade garbs.
"Well, look at that!" Beach Head's voice boomed from further in the hall. "We got some more night duty volunteers! Well, come in boys, you can still eat your dinner!"
It took a few seconds for the stunned silence to be broken.
"What?" asked Shipwreck.
Roadblock's voice came in from the kitchen then, cutting off any answer Beach Head may have offered. "I got some burgers and steaks ready!"
The crowd moved to start lining up as Ace and his group of gamblers just looked at each others, eyes wide.
"You don't have costumes, that means you're volunteering to cover the night shifts," Beach Head explained from the front of the line. "Just like me," he added.
"It's not like you're going to stay for the party without costumes," Billy added from a few spots further.
"Thank you for the tip on the costumes, by the way," Kamakura said, addressing Clutch and Breaker. "We both got to pick the menu, thanks to you."
"But…" Clutch was so confused that he trailed off for a moment, wondering how to even form his question in the face of the incomprehensible.
"What party?" Bazooka asked from next to him, cutting him off. "There's no party!"
Flint cleared his throat and turned straight towards them.
"Well of course there's a party! What did you think? That there was some kind of gambling pool on the go that involved pranking as many people as possible into wasting time and energy making costumes that would only end up getting in the way as they had to go perform their duties without having time to change out of them? Honestly, Bazooka, you know nobody would have the nerve to do something like that, don't you?" He let out a laugh. "Next you're going to tell me that all the donations Ace collected to help pay for the extra cost of this meal were actually wagers!"
There was a moment's silence as the members of the betting pool digested these various clues into the revelation that their fake party had somehow become real, that the money they had put into the betting pool was going to pay for it, and that because they were not in costume, they were going to be stuck covering some of the night shifts of the partiers.
"Better get in line, guys," Shipwreck grumbled. "We can't hang around long, we better eat fast."
Breaker and Clutch went to sit with the ninjas, scowling at Storm Shadow. After a brief consultation, they had agreed this was more than likely his fault, despite the fact neither he nor Snake Eyes were wearing disguises. The fact that he turned around with a smirk when they approached did nothing to change that impression.
"We had a deal!" Breaked said as he sat down, glaring at the ninja.
"I swear on my blood and my name, I held up my end perfectly. I told Billy that if Roadblock cooked anything for him as a result of his winning a costume contest tonight, he could eat it and I would not stop him or do anything to make him regret it."
"He did," Billy confirmed. "That's what made me suspicious. I started to think and to ask around, and honestly? It only took about an hour to figure out you guys were pulling our legs. Between Roadblock being conveniently away and the fact a relatively small group of Joes were really keen on getting a lot of people to come to this party, while evading questions on how they were going to dress up themselves, I finally decided to just ask Beach Head directly whether people on night shift were being given leave to attend."
"The Sergeant Major turned purple," Kamakura supplied. "It was a striking contrast with his mask."
"Okay, okay, so you figured it out!" Clutch said. "That would explain if you guys dropped out and didn't come, but not THIS!" he spread his arms to include the whole room as he said the last word.
Billy smirked. "There was simply no talking Kamakura out of showing off his muscles by parading around mostly naked," he said.
Kamakura glared at him. "I would request that you refrain from spreading lies about me, Brother," he growled.
Billy snickered and cleared his throat. "All right, it was my idea. My dear brother did accept very readily, however."
"I didn't want to disappoint you," Kamakura said.
"He's getting better at lying," Storm Shadow remarked to Snake Eyes offhandedly. "I bet it won't be long before he finally manages to keep his pulse steady when he does it."
Snake Eyes silently chuckled. Kamakura's eyes widened a bit and he felt his cheeks flush under the concealing black paint and glitter.
"That still doesn't explain how THIS happened!" Clutch exploded.
"Well, Beach Head wasn't too happy when he found out why so many of his greenshirts had been distracted lately," Billy said. "So, he helped me convince Flint to turn the joke around on you guys. Once they were both on board…"
"Hold on," Breaker interrupted. "No way. Beach Head and Flint NEVER agree."
"There's a first time for everything," Billy said philosophically. "The fact is, gambling pools are not technically allowed and this one caused a lot of distraction for many of your victims. Plus, Lady Jaye happened to be there and she sold Flint on the idea that the troops deserved a party and that a costume party could be a lot of fun."
"From there, it was all very easy," Kamakura picked up. "Flint contacted Roadblock to explain the situation and asked if he'd be interested in coming back a couple of hours early. Roadblock was all for it as long as he was allowed to go over budget on the food, so Flint thought of using the money in the betting pool to help cover the expense. I think he's going to take the rest from the social events budget and from donations if the gambling money is not enough."
"With Roadblock's services secured, all that was left to do was to make sure people with night shifts didn't show up in costume only to find out they weren't excused from their usual duties after all. Flint indicated that anybody not in costume would be a volunteer for filling in a shift. Since there aren't that many night shifts to cover, he figured it would work out and if the number of volunteers – actual volunteers like our dear Senseis here and unsuspecting ones like you guys - did fall a bit short, they'd just do a game to determine who else would have to go."
Breaker sighed. There was no arguing that all in all, undoing them had been pretty easy. He still had one question, however.
"Why did you still dress up as The Blue Corsair and Space Man?" he asked.
"Wait a minute," Clutch said, scowling at Billy. "I heard you two arguing the other day, when Kamakura found out you were going to try and win!"
Both apprentices buffed their nails on their chest.
"Deception is an important tool for ninjas," Kamakura said. "We staged the whole thing to convince you we were both hooked, but also as a training exercise."
Breaker and Clutch sagged a bit more and glared at both. "That still doesn't explain why you're wearing paint and a speedo," Breaker pointed out to Kamakura.
"I dressed up as the Blue Corsair because I thought the costume would give me a good chance of winning the costume contest that was really going to take place," Billy cut in. "I was right, too. Kamakura's costume was almost ready by the time this all happened, and he didn't want me to waste Roadblock's talent on cheeseburgers, so he came like this to try and win as well. We tied."
"To be honest, I think the judges were a bit biased because we were responsible for everyone, including them, getting a special meal," Kamakura said.
Breaker and Clutch groaned, disgusted.
"Serves you right," Billy said, chuckling. "Trying to trick ninja students, honestly! What's your next plan, going up against the snipers in a precision shooting contest?"
Breaker and Clutch gave them one last glare as the small group laughed and got up to go eat at another table.
"At least we got steak out of it," Clutch sighed.
"Enjoy it," Breaker grumbled. "That's 200 bucks worth of steak you got there."