I don't own anything by my own ideas. Please don't sue me. I don't want any money for this, just to burn some creative energy.

I'm somewhat red faced to be writing a romance one, but what the heck, I'll go for it. First attempt at romance and this particular cartoon (only 2nd attempt at any kind of fanfic) so please review, even if it is just to say I suck or that you are reading.

Timeline is post-disbanding of the Joe team. D/S fic.

Shana O'Hara woke up slowly with a groan. She had retired from the military when the Joe team was disbanded, but she wasn't able to sleep any later as a civilian. She had classes to teach and helping everyone else get ready for the day. Plus, she needed to excercise and stretch. Although she considered it a retirement, Duke had insisted upon calling it a leave of absence. But really, she couldn't rule out that she would never go back, she just needed a break.

A break, yeah, and to get away from Duke. There had always been tension between them, of a good kind. But he was her CO and that meant nothing more than flirting. With time, they became the best of friends, but she always wanted more secretly. She thought he did too, but never found the right time to ask him, until that night.

Scarlett cried softly as she watched them take the body of Snake Eyes away. She couldn't believe he was dead, he was one of her closest friends and they had an on and off relationship. 'Damn Cobra,' she thought. 'Damn them to hell for what they've done.' The Joes had won the day, but not without a heavy price. Duke was seriously injured and it was unclear whether he would survive, Snake Eyes was already dead, many more injuries reported. She had some herself but paid little mind to them. She mentally said a final goodbye to Snake eyes and then went to check on Duke.

But what good did it do her to drag up those memories? Her eyes filled with tears despite herself. That day was one of the worst in her life. The victory over Cobra was definitely bittersweet. Heavy losses and the disbanding of the Joe team. The end of her life as she had known it for so long.

She shook her head, changing into her workout clothes and going down to the basement mats and starting her yoga exercises to warm up and stretch out her tired muscles. Of course, her mind wandered while she tried to relax. Despite her attempts to forget that night, her mind wandered to her last night on base, with Duke.

"1 - 2 - 3 Shoot!"

She laughed as she downed another shot of tequila. She and the guys were in the common room, living it up for their last night. Sharing memories and plans for the future.

"So, you really gonna go back to being a normal person Scarlett?" Shipwreck smirked as he questioned her. "Do you remember how to do that?" Laughter came from the rest of the crew.

"Normal no, but a civilian yeah. Hell, I did it before, I can do it again." Her words were slurring a bit with all the alcohol imbibed.

"And you can always come back, you know that Scarlett," Duke looked at her as he downed another shot. The rest of the men nodded agreement. "We'll miss you Red." Duke smiled, knowing she wasn't thrilled with that nickname.

She paused, looking around at her comrades, people who had saved her life more times than she could count and vice versa, and remembered the people who weren't there, Flint and Lady Jaye, who had already been transferred, and of course Snake Eyes, who had been buried the week before. She looked over to Duke finally. "I'll miss you guys too. We'll see each other again. Flint and Lady Jaye are going to get married sometime. They'll make sure we're all there."

There were noises of agreement, then she stood up. "But, I am going to head back to my quarters." Boos and hisses from the others made her smile, "I've already had way too much to drink and I have some last minute packing to do." She went to each Joe and hugged them tightly and told them how important they were to her. Her hug with Duke lingered a little longer, then she smiled and whispered softly to him, "I'll miss you Conrad. I'll always be here for you." Then she pulled away from him and with one last wave, returned to her quarters.

The memories hurt more than the stretching did. She yawned, still feeling exhausted despite a full night's sleep. She finished her yoga exercises, standing up and shaking her arms. It was just about time for breakfast and she was craving waffles. That meant she better get moving if she wanted to make them in time to eat before her first class of the morning.