A new story. Yay! Aren't I just brimming with ideas (or something ;)) I will let you know this story was inspired by the movie Memento (and *coughcoughfindingnemocoughcough*), so forgive me if my medical details aren't perfect. I tried to get them as close to accurate as possible, but this is fiction so I will be taking liberties. Please do not whine because your uncle is a dr. and you know that this is unlikely and blah blah blah *L* I'm having fun with the idea, and if you aren't, please skip it *chuckle*

That said, I'm going to give my little disclaimer, I own none of these characters, I'm just having a bit of fun. Please don't sue the poor lady in the corner writing fanfics. Please don't substitute this fanfic for medical care in the case of head injury, and please, give those you love a hug, you never know when they can be suddenly gone.

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Scarlett was walking along the hallway carrying a bunch of papers, when suddenly she felt hands on her shoulders. She stiffened and then spun around, grinning when she saw who it was, looking around quickly to see if there were observers, then kissing her 'attacker'. "I hate it when you sneak up on me." She smirked and elbowed him.

"What can I say? I like to see the fire you get in your eyes when you are angry." Duke's smile was playful as he ran his hands up her body.

"Stop! Someone could see us." She didn't sound very convincing though, giggling as he kissed her neck.

Duke pulled away with a small frown. "Fine. But I expect you to make it up to me later, ok?" He smiled at her, brushing her hair away from her face.

She grinned, "I think I can handle that. We need to talk anyway."

Duke's eyebrow went up, "Anything wrong?"

"Nope, just some plans I have cooking for the holidays coming up. You still up for coming home with me?"

"I think I can handle that." He smiled slyly as he echoed her previous comment. He gave her one last long kiss, then they separated to return to work.

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Later that night, in Duke's quarters, she snuggled up to him comfortably. "You know, I can't keep Jaye in the dark too much longer; she is my roommate. Only reason I've been able to get away with it for this long is because she's been too busy with Flint to notice if I am home or not!"

Conrad traced lines up and down her arm gently, "We'll have to tell people at some point. We need to figure out what we'll do about that. You are my subordinate." A playful smile grew on his face, "And I could really take advantage of a poor helpless woman under my command."

She snorted, "You call me poor and helpless again, the evening in is off and I'll take you to the gym to show you poor and helpless!" She laughed as she nudged him and he held his arms up in surrender, "You're right of course. I just don't want to do it any time soon I guess. I'm afraid what it will do to the team dynamic. And, I'll come out and admit I'm worried about my career. And yours." Her tone was definitely more serious now.

He nodded in agreement, knowing that while a few members would be happy for them, others wouldn't, most likely in misplaced jealousy. He couldn't help that the prettiest soldier out of the 3 women on the Joe team was his. "We don't have to deal with it now. See if you can still put up with me in a few months and we'll start working it out. Alright?"

"Sounds like a plan. Hmmm. Maybe I could just get promoted and once were on the same footing, no conflicts." Duke rolled his eyes at her idea and she protested, "What? You don't think Top would do for a nickname for me too?"

He growled playfully, "I'd much rather see you 'top' in another way," she gave out a little squeal as he picked her up and took her to bed.

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In the middle of the night alarms sounded, Duke and Scarlett awakening immediately. The PA voice called into the quarters: "Scramble the Sky Strikers, incoming Cobra attack." It repeated the dire warning a few more times, but once was all either of them needed. Within moments, they were dressed and headed out to the runway to claim their aircraft.

As per their usual, Scarlett and Duke shared a Striker and were quickly airborne. The Rattlers were coming hard and fast, but the Joes were better. Scarlett spotted a plane though, hanging back it seemed, heavier and bulkier than the battle ready Rattlers. She pointed towards the plane, figuring it to be some sort of command ship and they immediately went after it.

The back of the black cargo plane was opening and through it, Scarlett could see a gleam of polished metal. Suddenly, she got a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach, and called to Duke to fall back. Something about what she could see in the ship's hold made her uneasy.

As they banked around, her control panel lit up suddenly, sparks and crackles running across the electronics. "Duke! My controls have gone out up here!"

Duke yelled back, "I've got some function, but we're barely staying in the air. We need to bail Scarlett."

She hit the eject button, and then tried the manual release, coming up with nothing. "My section is totally fried! Bail, I'll figure something out!"

"NO! I'm not going to leave you in here!" Duke's voice was verging on panicked now as the plane began to lose altitude and fall to the earth.

"Damnit Duke, get the hell out! If nothing else, you can lead people to my position. I've got a little control coming back. I'm going to try and guide her down as much as possible and hope my eject decides to work. But you've got to get out of here! You've got bigger responsibilities than just me." She reached her hand over her head to touch Duke's fingertips. "I love you. I'll be ok. I promise. Just don't leave me stranded in the woods. I hate camping. Now GO!"

"I love you too, be safe." He couldn't say anything else, he just did what he had to do, which was bail out of the crashing plane. As he drifted down in his parachute, he watched as she desperately tried to regain control of the aircraft. He breathed a sigh of relief, noting that it would be a rough landing but shouldn't be too bad.

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Scarlett kept her wits about her as she brought the Striker in for a crash landing. As soon as the plane stopped moving, she undid her harness and got out to inspect the damage. She felt a bullet whiz by her face and land in the side of the plane, and she swore to herself. Cobra foot soldiers who were all vying for the distinction of having killed a Joe. She had a sidearm with her, but not enough ammo as she would have wanted in this situation. Her only real hope was to hold them off for as long as possible until Duke could bring the reinforcements in.

She dove for cover behind a tree and activated her wrist com as she tried to hold them off, "Boys, you think you could come give a lady a hand?"

"Scarlett!" Duke's relieved voice came over the com, "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, the Striker's seen better days, and I'm being shot at, but otherwise I'm fine. So get some reinforcements here. I don't have a lot of ammo left!"

"Roger that, we're en route. Duke out."

She concentrated on the small group of soldiers across the clearing who were firing at her, trying to keep them boxed in until help came. She heard cries of "Yo Joe!" coming closer and knew that soon it would be over. She saw Duke and Beachhead break into the clearing and she stepped out for a moment to signal her position. Just then, she heard a twig snap behind her and before she could turn around, she heard a voice saying, "Bye bye Joe."

And then she felt no more.

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Duke's relief at knowing she came through the crash alright was shortlived as he and Beach came to the clearing where Scarlett was pinned. She waved to show her position and then from seemingly out of nowhere, a Cobra soldier was behind her. Duke felt as if the world was moving in slow motion as he saw the man bring his gun up, place it on Scarlett's head and pull the trigger. He was aware that he was yelling and Beach finally took a shot at the killer and gave him his just reward.

The rest of the Joe team arrived to finish the cleanup but Duke didn't care about that, he was inspecting Scarlett's wounds and calling for Lifeline. She was breathing still and there was only a small entry wound. He hoped that was a good sign. He held her in his arms until the med crew arrived and took over her care and rushed her back to the Pit.

He stood there watching them rush off with her, covered in her blood, when Flint came up to him and put a hand on his shoulder, "You ok man?"

He shook his head mutely. He was not ok. He wouldn't be ok until he was sure she was going to be alright.

"She's a trooper, Duke. She'll make it through this. Don't worry. Come on, let me take you back, alright?" Flint was a little concerned. Duke seemed about to fall apart for a few moments over this. He knew that Duke had a crush on the beautiful soldier, but had no idea they'd been conducting an affair for months now. He put a hand on Duke's shoulder, "Come on. Let's get back so we can talk to the docs."

Duke said nothing, just followed him back to the Pit, the image of Scarlett being shot playing over and over again in his mind.