O's disclaimer: General disclaimers apply here. I don't own GI Joe.
O's A/N: This was actually my first fic that I wrote, which was around Valentine's Day. I know it's way past that now, but it was still just a thought, and basically, I hadn't gotten around to posting it until now. It is kind of loosely based on the comic. It is open-ended for the possibility of a continuation. I heard the song one day and thought the lyrics were a fitting story of inner thoughts, torments, and decisions that we all can sometimes feel. It doesn't matter if we are strong and feisty or quiet and shy. I hope you like it.
Special thanks to DesertFox for beta-reading this for me and her insight.
A very perplexed Scarlett sat in her office, replaying the news from this morning's meeting with Hawk and Duke. What was she thinking? In fact, what were they thinking? Her mind was going crazy; she was actually starting to believe the rumors that her teammates had spread since the first few days that she and Duke had been on the team. They had not hit it off immediately. They had been at odds and at each other's throats from the word 'go'. A smart-assed, hot-tempered, redhead under the command of an equally hot-tempered, hard-assed, blond haired first sergeant had the team on the edge of their seat. The more they tried to retain their individuality and hardcore facade, the more they seemed to falter against one another. A strange realization occurred between the two of them, which seemed to point to their matching hot tempers canceling each other out.
For once in her life, Scarlett couldn't come up with the smart witticisms that were her signature calling card. Eventually, they both stopped trying to outdo each other and accepted the plain fact that the strong outspokenness that they each possessed also allowed them to be the 'lion tamer' of each other's tempers. The rest of the team was ecstatic and thoroughly enjoyed the taming of their tempers. Scarlett had been to multiple Army and Marine bases in her career to assist in hand-to-hand training techniques and had crossed paths with some of her Joe teammates, and Duke had been around the Army bases too, training each potential new Army soldier to be the best possible soldier that they could be. But through all of their travels, neither one of them had met up with the other until the formation of GI Joe.
Scarlett had been realizing her growing attraction to Duke over the past several months. Her roommate and best friend, Lady Jaye, had even pointed out the undeniable attraction between the two of them. This morning, Hawk had called them both to his office to inform them that a special mission was to be spearheaded by the two of them. Because of the special circumstances, he had paired Scarlett with Duke as her partner instead of her normal partner, Snake Eyes.
A smile had formed on Duke's lips at the mention of a mission with just the two of them. And why not? They were great friends and confidants. They were partners in every other aspect of their Joe life, except for special missions, and spent an incredible amount of time bouncing ideas and theories off each other.
Scarlett's reaction was a bit more subdued. She was relieved to be going on a mission without Snake Eyes for once, but she would almost rather have the anxiety between her and Snakes then the forbidden thoughts of her and Duke. Everyone knew that her and Snakes had been together and grown apart, but the two of them were nevertheless matched repetitively together to sniff out sneaky snakes, undermining Dreadnoks, and the crooked Crimson Twins.
Lately, she had been paying more attention to the little things that Duke did towards her. His moments of simply staring at her, or his offhanded glances while they were in meetings or briefings. They seemed to have more conversations that revolved around their personal lives, and they spent more of their free time together. She had become more and more aware that her feelings for him were not just feelings between good friends but quite possibly something more.
Scarlett continuously quoted the frat regs argument when Lady Jaye would mention the rumors between the fiery redhead and the first sergeant. After all, regs were instituted for a reason, but Flint and Lady Jaye seemed to be doing just fine keeping a very professional attitude...most of the time. The times that they were less than professional, Scarlett had intervened. General Hawk might look the other way on frat regs, but certainly some of the other generals and colonels would have something to say.
She thought for certain that Duke must feel for her in more than just a friends-only way. He didn't spend an exorbitant amount of time with any of the other female Joes, except her. Lady Jaye was constantly telling her that Flint had overheard Duke mention her name at lunch or in PT or in this meeting or that briefing.
Scarlett's head whirled. If this mission went smoothly, a completely new world would be opening up to her. But what if all he expected was her friendship and nothing more?
A knock at Scarlett's door brought her back to reality. She looked up to find the one and only, First Sergeant Hauser, staring back at her.
"Red, are you going to help me plan this mission, or do I have to wing it on my own?" Duke teasingly huffed at her seeming lack of motivation.
"Uh..." She struggled to respond to him and silently berated herself for the complete loss of words. "I'll be right there, Duke. I need to finish up this report," she tried to cover for her apparent mind lapse.
"Anything I can help you with?" He asked with a wistful look in his eyes.
She shook her head and told him to get out so she could finish this report before Hawk was all over her. He chuckled and left her office. She finished her report and stuffed it into an envelope. On her way to Hawk's office, she wondered if Duke's suggestive actions had any real meaning to them. If she would actually act upon her feelings, would he respond positively or would she just have broken the cardinal rule? This mission was going to be more difficult than the first mission that she went on with Snakes as her partner after their breakup. In fact, the mission at hand was not going to be the difficult part, the unsettled emotions torturing her inner soul would make this a very complex situation. Maybe she would just see what matured between them on their own. After all, Cupid had some strange arrows in his quiver.