Disclaimer: The "Metal Gear" series does not belong to me. It, along with all associated materials, belongs to Hideo Kojima and Konami. The song "Come On Closer" belongs to Jem.

Come On Closer
By: Nanaki BH

It was evening, the sun was just beginning to set, and fog was beginning to set in. It was nothing too heavy, just a light mist. The atmosphere was perfect for hunting. I wasn't the only one who had the idea it seemed though. Not that I minded… he was my prey, after all. It's just too ironic that ocelots love to hunt snakes.

I found myself identifying with the ocelot more and more with each step I took toward my target. Their hunting techniques had helped me improve my own; helped me to understand his techniques as well. The more Snake avoids me now, the harder it will be to lose me in the long run. The ocelot is best known for its tenacious pursuit of its prey. I hope he knows damn well that even if he wins the big race in the end, I'll still be running to catch up.

So there I was; in a tree. I've taken a few hints from The Fear. I sat myself down along the path he would take. I knew where he was going. There were two possible ways he could go but I decided he would take the path closest to the river. It was more convenient to him (with all the variables considered, of course) but I doubted he would sleep out there. He would have to continue through the night, no doubt about it. But when night closed in I would make my move.

I heard something… some ways down the river I saw him, struggling in the water near the banks. I wondered what he was doing so I crawled quietly down from my hiding spot to hide behind a closer tree. He didn't notice me at all. It was too perfect. That way, I could really watch him in action. He had proven himself to be very skillful but I had no way to watch him hunt before.

I fixed myself comfortably (or at least as comfortably as I possibly could) in the tree and peered down at him. There he was, wrestling a snake. Not just any snake; a rather large reticulated python. He was pretty wrapped up in it too… It didn't look like it was trying to hurt him though. Then I saw what a foolish mistake he made. He went at it with a knife. He was probably looking around in the water for it. The knife though, was no where to be seen. He either lost it in the water or dropped it on the ground. Either way, that snake wouldn't let him go.

The poor guy… He'd managed to beach himself but the python was wrapped around his waist and his legs. I wondered how he could even get so wrapped up with it in the first place. Fatigue, I guessed. When I listened in carefully I could hear the thing hissing. I doubted that the snake knew how big its prey was. At the rate it was going, it would have taken the snake a week to crush him. Oh come on, Snake, I thought angrily, you can do better than that!

In a few more seconds I looked on in horrified realization that Snake was losing… to an animal. I looked closer. He reached up weakly, trying desperately to grab its head. He gave up quickly though, his head pressing into the muddy ground in pain. The python's head was close to his. Its hisses almost sounded bored. I couldn't blame it. He wasn't putting up much of a fight. Snake turned his face away from it. His eyes were shut tight and his mouth was agape, letting out shallow pants. At that point, I figured out what was wrong. His forehead was bleeding. Common field smarts told me he had a concussion. He must have hit his head on a rock when he was dragging the snake up to the side of the river.

That's what was wrong. My poor rival was drifting in and out of consciousness. Should I aid him, I asked myself. He was the enemy, after all… Well, I decided, he had given it such a good try. I slid down from the tree. The python heard me and looked up at me to hiss menacingly. It must have thought I had come to steal its prey. In a sense, I guess. Has he really not heard me? He will now.

Don't move, Snake…

Keeping a fair distance, I aimed my gun and blasted the python's head clean off. That should get his attention.

Sure enough, he instinctively jumped at the sound and moved away as much as he could. I knelt down beside him and nudged his cheek with the barrel of my gun. He let out a much unexpected whimper.

"Snake, are you okay?" I asked him, putting my gun away. I removed one of my gloves and touched his forehead. Luckily, he wasn't feverish. I shoved the glove in my back pocket, still keeping a critical eye trained to him. He didn't seem to be getting any better. If it really was a concussion, then the best thing for him would be sleep. No way was I about to let him waste that much time before sunset though. "Snake," I said, this time more insistent. "Don't tell me you've lost to your lunch!"

He seemed to have made a move to sit up, but stopped when he felt the snake still wrapped tightly around him. I sighed loudly so he could hear. I wanted him to know I was annoyed with him… Was I? Yeah, I was… somewhat. I knew for sure that I wanted to meet him someday under better conditions. From the moment I first saw his face, I never thought of him as being an enemy. He had become more a… "respected adversary", I guess you could say.

Gently, I lifted the dead snake from him; carefully unwrapping it from around his waist. I dropped it unceremoniously next to us. You have to wonder if he would still want to eat that…

I opened up the pouch at my side, taking out a small bottle of acetylsalicylate – aspirin to the common person. Smirking to myself, I smacked him hard across the face. He made a small pained noise at the back of his throat, rolled on his stomach, and proceeded to violently cough up water.

"Had a nice swim?" I asked once he looked a bit more relaxed.

The most amusing look of surprise crossed his face. He sat up quickly, going for one of his guns. It was a bit too fast though and he found himself falling back into the mud around him. "Dammit," I heard him mutter. This just wasn't his night. He dug his fingers into the ground behind him and sat up in a more dignified manner. "Ocelot," he growled.

"What?" I asked innocently, tossing the bottle up and down.

What a way to talk to the guy who just saved your life, right? I liked him that way though; all nervous and flustered. It made me feel like I had an advantage over him. Really, I did. I had a gun… okay, he did too, but he looked so out of it; he probably didn't even know where the trigger was at. "Aspirin?" I offered, shaking the bottle between my fingers, making the pills rattle.

He snorted, leering. "I don't take candy from strangers."

"Oh, Snake," I laughed. "I'm not a stranger." Then, by pure instinct, I knelt in front of him to wipe some mud from his face with my ungloved hand. I thought he was going to pull away again, when in fact he placed his own hand over mine. My chest tightened uncomfortably and I briefly wondered why. My mouth felt dry. This time, it was I who pulled away my hand.

I swallowed hard, feeling strangely nervous. He was just sitting there with such a look on his face… with something in his eyes. I wanted badly to steal that light from his eyes…

Then he fell unconscious. How anticlimactic of him.

Afraid that something may happen to him if I left, I pulled him away from the river side and laid him down against the base of a tree. Carefully I opened one of his clenched fists to close his fingers around the medicine bottle. What an odd guy, I thought, sitting down in the grass before him. I pulled my legs up and rested my chin on my knees. He looked so calm, so peaceful in sleep. But this man, I knew, was my enemy. A part of me screamed "not true!"

Perhaps I should trust my better judgment. That time, when I looked at him, I saw a man who did only what he'd been told to do; not an enemy.

But maybe a rival.

I stood, disappointed that our meeting had been so short. I looked around, wondering if I should let him sleep or not. The moon was steadily rising; the night coming to life. The softly chirping crickets told me to rest at ease. It's fine, I decided.

I picked a flower from the tree above his head and tossed it gently to his chest. I would be back to wake him.

Author's Notes: I wrote this a while back and I decided to type it out now and finish it. I had to fix it up a lot. It was a simple, pleasant story if I say so myself. Tell me what you think. It's not often that I wrote for Metal Gear, after all.