Quickie bit of weirdness, in honor of International Ninja Day.
This is a crossover between my usual AU (which includes Ninja Spirit) and WillWriteForFics' Ghost Soldier's AAU (Alternate AU. Alternate from her usual AU).
This AU crossover was made possible thanks to the generosity of Lady Jaye1's Silence!DeadPool, who loaned me the reality switching device he got from DrMcNinja, who presumably got it from the clone of Ben Franklin.
Thanks to Lady Jaye1 for helping in the negotiations with her Deadpool, and to WillWriteForFics for letting me torment Ghost Beach Head.
Disclaimer: I don't own most characters mentioned here or appearing in this story. I do own the Fearless Master and co-own Ayame, but that's it.
This is rated T, but for once it's not mostly due to violence; Beach Head just has a potty mouth.
Beach Head had had a great day. Had he still been alive, he would have called it the best day of his life. As it was, he had settled on thinking of it as the best day ever.
Morning PT had been fun; a few greenshirts had been goofing off, so he'd appeared right in front of them, scowling and growling. They had literally yelped and jumped back, falling on their backsides. They had started on push ups, whimpering apologies, before he had even been done telling them off.
The afternoon had been even better: they had engaged Cobra, and not only had they won the battle with minimal injuries, Beach Head had been able to make himself particularly useful both by actually fighting and by being a major distraction to the more impressionable troopers. It felt good to still be able to serve his country, especially when he could make a real difference in the heat of the action.
The evening had been spent with Courtney. He had just left her, in fact. He didn't need as much rest as the living needed sleep, even after a workout such as the one they'd had, so he had silently slipped away after leaving her a note so she wouldn't think he was gone for good. She got nervous real easily nowadays when he disappeared without warning. Not that he could blame her, he had no idea how long he'd be around either, or what, if anything, would ever cause him to move on.
He was now walking through the corridors on his nightly watch, grinning and softly humming a happy tune off an on.
"Well," a smug voice suddenly said from above him. "Someone's obviously been laid."
Beach Head's mood dropped like a rock. He jumped back, looking up, and narrowed his eyes at the white-clad head poking out of a ceiling vent.
"How the hell did you get in here, you damn Cobra spook?" he growled, not taking his eyes off Storm Shadow as the Cobra ninja dropped to the floor, casual as can be. The man looked like he was dropping in for a courtesy visit and like doing so by coming through the air duct was the most natural thing in the World.
"Through your ventilation system, obviously," the ninja replied, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms in a relaxed pose. "You should really be asking why I'm here, rather than how. Rest assured the answer to any further question on the logistics of my presence here is 'ninja'."
Beach Head snarled at the Cobra. Come to think of it, why the spook was here was a good question. More precisely, why had he let himself be caught? Was the ninja going to try and gain control of him again? Hiding any apprehension, he rolled his eyes and snorted. "Well since you obviously can't wait to have an excuse to yak at me some more, knock yourself out and tell me," he said.
Storm Shadow sniggered. "Nice game face," he commented. He leaned against the nearest wall, looking more relaxed and nonchalant than ever. "By the way, if you get the urge, do feel free to sound the alarm."
"What am I, stupid?" Beach Head growled, choosing to ignore the rest of what the spook had said. "The vents are wired. If the alarm was working, it'd already be going off. Rest of the team will pick up your snake buddies, don't you worry. And I'm not letting you go anywhere."
Storm Shadow raised an eyebrow. His mouth was under his mask, but from the way his eyes crinkled, it was clear to Beach Head that the ninja was smirking. Sure enough, when he talked, it was with an unmistakably amused tone. "Aren't we confident. Well, you're half right: your team will no doubt take care of all the other cobras here since there are none."
"Came all by your lonesome, did you? And just to see me? I'm touched."
"I certainly hope so." Storm Shadow cleared his throat. "The fact is, the Commander has decreed, following today's battle, that your continued presence was intolerable. He has charged me with getting rid of you."
Beach Head barked a laugh. "I'd like to see you try, but I really got better things to do. Like materializing my hand through your chest." He dove for the ninja.
The Cobra's eyes widened and he dodged the ghost, simultaneously taking a small piece of paper marked with a few kanji symbols from under his belt.
"I think not," he said. "SPIRIT, BE GONE!"
Before Beach Head could even begin to think of dodging, the spook had slapped the piece of paper on his forehead. He closed his eyes automatically and stumbled backwards, falling against the wall. He felt a cold wave wash briefly over him, than comforting warmth.
He forced himself to open his eyes, terrified of what he'd see and yet, furious enough to want to face it and move on to reacting to it. It was just like the damn ninja spook to manage to kill him when he was already dead.
What he saw was the hallway and a ninja very quickly running away. He grinned and got up, casually picking the paper off his face and flicking it aside.
"Best you've got, is it?" he said.
For one fleeting moment, he saw fear in Storm Shadow's movements; a stiffening of his stride, a slight tremor… It wasn't much, but he had seen it and would treasure the memory forever. He dashed for the ninja again, who dodged again and kept running at break neck speed. Beach Head followed at a fast glide, ignoring his legs in favour of just moving around as he pleased. He accelerated until he was right behind the spook again.
"Boo," he breathed.
Storm Shadow's breath audibly caught and he lost his footing. He recovered nicely, turning the fall into a tumble and barely slowing down, but Beach Head just kept up with him effortlessly.
The Sergeant Major braced himself; it was downright disappointing that it would end this way. He knew better than to think the ninja was suddenly not a threat anymore just because he seemed to be retreating at the moment; he couldn't even be sure the Cobra wouldn't decide to kill a few Joes on his way out. Just the same, he would have much preferred killing the murdering spook in an actual fight rather than by catching up to him while he was running away.
"Tell you what," he snarled in Storm Shadow's ear. The spook actually cried out this time and threw himself the other way, falling to the floor with a complete lack of ninja grace. "You give yourself up right now," Beach Head continued, "surrender and I let you live until you're stupid enough to try and escape."
The Cobra narrowed his eyes, shook his head firmly, rolled sideways and was running again in less than a second.
Beach Head grinned; he'd offered surrender and mercy, the ninja was now fair game as far as he was concerned. He sped towards him again, caught up and reached through his back.
Storm Shadow shuddered violently and started dropping into a roll. Beach Head focused on making his arm solid, knowing he could do it faster than the ninja could get away and vaguely wondering what it'd feel like for either of them.
The kick to his face that threw him backward and caused a million of little stars to dance in front of his eyes was a complete surprise.
Beach Head snarled and got up to face whoever it was that had come to the Cobra spook's help. His eyes widened and he was literally stunned for a second when he saw his new opponents: he was facing not one but three semi transparent ninjas. That would have been bad enough in itself, but the middle one was just the icing on the cake; the man was not only just as badly scarred as Snake Eyes, he was looking utterly insane with rage.
Storm Shadow did not waste time wondering what had just happened to make Beach Head suddenly fall back and consequently save his life; he ran off, straight through one of the ninjas that he was clearly not seeing.
"You got to be kidding me!" Beach Head snarled. "Ninja spooks for real? What the…"
A kick to his stomach cut him off and made him double over. He felt a sudden pain on his right cheek and snapped back up and back a step, raising a hand to his cheek to feel what felt uncomfortably like blood.
The heavily scarred ninja shoved a sword in his face, the tip of it still sporting a drop of ghostly blood and touching his nose.
"We're not going to let you kill my son," the ninja snarled. "If you EVER try again, we're coming back and I swear you're going to spend the rest of eternity regretting it. And don't go thinking we can't hurt you."
"It should be quite obvious by now that we can," the other male added.
"We can make things very unpleasant for you," the female ninja piped in, "and if you threaten my son again, I personally swear to you that none of your ties to the living will matter to you anymore; you will beg for oblivion."
"Are you bunch of pogues threatening me?" Beach Head bellowed, clenching his fists. "You want your damn kid safe, you get him to leave Cobra and stop killing my guys!"
"Don't you think we would if we could?" the female asked. "In case you haven't noticed, he can't see us! And before you ask, he can't hear us either!"
"Well I sure ain't going to just let him kill a bunch of my men just because you're having communication issues, now am I?"
"You don't have those issues," the unscarred men suddenly said, eyes wide. "You can talk to him for us. If we can get him to stop this nonsense and leave Cobra, he'd no longer be a threat to you or your team and you'd have no reason to…"
"I'm not your damn messenger!" Beach Head bellowed, getting angrier by the second. "That man may be your kid, but you raised a murderer and I'm going to put a stop to him whether you like it or not! I'm not going to waste my time trying to reform him for you!"
"Then we'll just stop you again," the heavily scarred ninja said in a snarl, "and again and again."
"And may whatever deity your worship help you if we ever fail!" the woman added thunderously. "You'll pay for his life for all eternity!"
Beach Head rolled his eyes. "Ninja spooks drama queens," he said with a sigh. "I get all the worse luck. Listen here, you damn spooks; I'm giving you fair warning. I ain't never been afraid to be injured for my country, I ain't going to start now! He's a public menace, and if I get half a chance, he's going to be a spook for real too! You guys can have a family reunion and curse me for having to put up with the little pain in the ass yourself."
He turned on his heels and resolutely walked away, pointedly turning his back on the ninja spirits. They reappeared in front of him.
"We're not done here," the scarred male growled.
"We can't let you kill him," the female said firmly. "In his current state of mind, there's no way he'll be able to move on! He'll…"
"He'll be a ghost like you," the other man suddenly interrupted, sounding inexplicably amused. "And his entire focus at the time of death will be that you are the one preventing him from doing what he set out to do. Did you know most ghosts get tied to whatever they're focusing on or, barring that, something that is generally of high importance to them? Like you with your dog tags."
Beach Head felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He didn't like anything that made any of these spooks happy.
"Yeah?" he said. "So he'll be tied to one of his weapons or something." He knew even as he said it that it was wrong, but the alternative was too unpleasant to acknowledge.
"Don't be foolish," the non scarred ninja admonished. "He'll be tied to YOU. Or more precisely, to your physical presence in this realm."
Beach Head swallowed. Oh, hell no.
"I don't have one," he said in a last ditch attempt.
"Of course you do," the female ninja said, smiling nastily. "You're even tied to it yourself."
"HELL NO! I ain't sharing my dog tags with no damn Cobra!"
"Oh, don't be like that," the scarred male said, grinning atrociously. "You two can keep each other company."
"Forever," the other male said, nodding. "He's very sociable, you know? You won't get bored with him around, he can even carry the conversation himself if you don't feel like talking."
Dread washed over Beach Head like a cold wave. He could take injuries, even lethal ones, but an eternity spent putting up with Storm Shadow? No. That was well past beyond the call of duty, that was just unthinkable. Beach Head prided himself on having given everything he had to the army and then some, but even he wasn't capable of that much self sacrifice. This was ETERNITY they were talking about. Eternity with the damn snarky Cobra spook yakking at him day and night!
"Fine," he grumbled. "It'll be more fun to scare him out of his wits every time he shows his ugly mug anyway."
The three ninja spirits looked at each other.
"If this one's always stopping him, he'll have less on his conscience when he finally gets some sense back into him," the woman said.
The two men nodded and all three spirits vanished without sparing Beach Head another glance.
Beach Head glared at the empty hallway for half a second and then took off to go warn the rest of the team that Storm Shadow may still be loose on the base.