Author's Notes: This is my first attempt to write a fic. Also, note that English is not my mother tongue, so please, be understanding. The story takes place during the Big Shell incident. It's written from Otacon's (italics) and Snake's (normal) point of view. Any feedback will be appreciated.

- Disclaimer: "Metal Gear" and all characters related to it belong to Konami Computer Entertainment Japan -

Chapter 1

I was sitting in the cramped helicopter and listening to them talk. They were saying things that I found hard to understand, partly because of the heavy noise and partly because I was no Navy Seal. I've never been good at that kind of stuff, even though Snake tried to explain some of the terms to me. It surprises me how patient he can be sometimes. And gentle. And…

"You're to get to your work once we've landed. It's going to be a mess down there, so try not to panic. We're here to back you up. Understand?" A guy who seemed like he's in charge was looking at me, presumably wondering whether it was really such a good idea to take me with them after all.

"I... I understand." I replied with a slight stumble. I sounded more scared and nervous than I really felt, but actually, fooling them into thinking that I'm just a weak and nerdy scientist was part of the mission.

Our mission.

We planned it so carefully that even Snake's changing outfits from his sneaking suit into the Navy Seal's uniform was included on the dot. I hugged the bag that I was holding with uncanny care on the very thought of the latter analyzing if I took everything that Snake asked me to. The mission required this. Our lives were riding on it and we both knew that without one another's support we had little chance of making it back alive. He was counting on me… just as I was counting on him.

I carefully looked around the interior of the chopper and noticed the black, middle-aged man with a walking stick by his side staring attentively at me. I felt his eyes pierce through my glasses, trying to read my mind and my intentions. He was one of them, but his outfit was different from others' and he showed no desire to join the overall conversation about the recent events on Big Shell. He was just sitting there and watching. Just like me. I decided not to react in any way to his suspicious gaze, although I started to feel a little uneasy about it. But I knew I couldn't do anything that would give away our plan in ANY way. This was for Snake's sake…and Emma's…

Emma… my little step-sister engaged in a nuclear weapon development… I couldn't even imagine how did she end up on Big Shell. What I was absolute certain of was that I had to see her…

"Ok. We're almost there. Get ready." the commandant ordered. Those words meant that soon everything will start… I indulged the last, brief moment of peace, closed my eyes and took a long, deep breath.

I'm ready, Snake…

The oil fence wire was a bitch to go through but I expected no less. I was prepared for this, so no surprises so far.

Once I officially entered the Big Shell underwater territory I suddenly had this nostalgic feeling that reminded me of Shadow Moses four years ago. I rarely brought up those events, even in my mind, but when I did, I always came to the same conclusion. Meeting Otacon was the only good thing that came out of it all.

Hal… Wonder if he's already landed… Wonder if he's safe…

I started to have second thoughts about bringing him right into this mess. But he wanted it. Once he learned that his sister was involved in this one, there was nothing I could do to change his mind. And he has his own ways of convincing me too… That devious, stubborn bastard. But cute. Totally irresistible sometimes.

"Snake, I'm in." speaking of which… "Everything goes according to plan. Let me know when you're ready." Otacon's hasty whisper echoed in my inner ear and then faded away before I even had a chance to respond to his call. Anyway, it was a good sign. He should already be in the arranged place, waiting for me to infiltrate the Shell 1. I couldn't keep him waiting this time. He could be in danger and I'm pretty sure that even if he had a gun pointed in a spot right between his eyes, he wouldn't even bother reaching for the M9 that I've equipped him with. Although he's changed in many respects for the last four years, he was still the same docile man with some ridiculous pacifist ideals.

One of the many reasons why I had to hurry up to meet up with him.

Whew. It was hell but somehow I managed to stay in one piece.

As soon as we landed on the heliport on the roof of Strut H, the Bravo Team assisted us to the dining hall in Strut C. I honestly didn't expect so many enemy guards coming our way to welcome us. The sentries patrolling Big Shell attacked us somewhere halfway through the DE connecting bridge. This was the best time for me to slip away from them unnoticed. It was rather easy, considering the chaos that surrounded us. I hid in of the lockers when two nearby Navy Seals were engaged in a gunfight with the Russian army soldiers. Soon after that, both of them were shot dead and the enemy sentries apparently didn't even notice my existence and moved on.

I was left alone sitting in a dark locker, waiting for the noise of guns and whistling bullets to cease. I could hear my own raging heartbeat and adrenaline rushing through my veins. I felt like this before, but this time, I didn't wet my pants.

Snake would be proud of me, I thought and chuckled to myself.

The only thing that I could do now was to stay put and wait for Snake to call me. He was supposed to let me know when it would be safe to come out.

After something that felt like an hour, I couldn't stay patient anymore. He should have contacted me already and it seemed like the whole mess finally quieted down so I decided to look around a little. Silently, I opened the door a crack and peeked out. There was no one around, apart from the corpses of the dead fellow soldiers. I listened for some footsteps or other noises indicating the presence of somebody around, but could hear nothing.

Ok, Otacon. Now or never.

I grabbed the bag that was laying beside me and got out of the locker. The silence that floated in the air of the long, darkened corridor was almost hurting my ears. "It's too quiet" Snake would say. Well, I'd say that too, but already made up my mind and didn't plan on pulling back out of it now. I wanted to actually DO something instead of just sitting and waiting for Snake to come and rescue me. I knew he wouldn't be too happy about that, but that's just Snake - overprotective and sometimes too careful. I liked the way he was always worried about me, but this time I wanted to show him that I'm not that clumsy and laid-back geek he sometimes considered me to be. Or maybe I just wanted to impress him…

"Freeze." I heard a firm voice with a strong Russian accent behind my back. I froze, indeed. I was so deeply lost in my thoughts about Snake, that for a moment I forgot where I was and what I was supposed to do. Without waiting for the next command, I slowly put my hands over my head, never letting go of the bag.

"Who are you? What are you doing here?" asked soldier demandingly. I heard the noise of a gun pointed at my back.

"I…I'm…" but before I was able to come up with any plausible excuse I heard an almost noiseless sound of a single, quick shot and the soldier's muffled scream as he collapsed to the floor. I turned around.

Snake was standing a few feet away with his Socom pointed in my direction. I could see the ray of a laser sight in the air. He smiled bitterly at me and lowered his pistol.

"Otacon." He said while approaching me. His voice was rather fierce and I knew what it meant. Now he would probably start bitching about how reckless and irresponsible I was, that I should have stayed in this goddamn locker and wait for him to arrive instead of trying to play a hero. But as soon as the distance between us reached zero, he suddenly spread his muscular arms and gave me a hug.

"Snake…" I put my hands around his waist and rested my head on his shoulder enjoying the warm feeling of content and safety that suddenly grew inside me. I could forget about everything now, it was just me and him.

He patted me on the back, placed his strong palm on my collarbone and looked me in the eye.

"Are you all right? You're not hurt?" his face was like a stone but his look was always giving him away. He was worried again.

"Yeah, just barely." I smiled shyly, my face still close to his. "What took you so long?"

"Oh, I had a few unexpected encounters." He said taking a quick, watchful look around. He made the words sound like it was something not really worth mentioning. "Never mind about that. The important thing is that we're both fine and ready to start the mission. The worst is already behind us." He put his second hand on my shoulder fixing his eyes on me again.

"Yeah…" I murmured under my breath. I looked down at the dead Russian soldier laying on the floor in a pool of his own blood. "You didn't have to kill him, you know. You could have just tranquilized him or something…"

"He was pointing his goddamn gun at you. I couldn't just let him get away with it, could I?" his lips spread into a possessive smirk, the one that I could never resist. I smiled back at him. For a moment, there was a silence between us, we were just standing there and staring at each other. I wanted him to kiss me so badly but he remained idle so…

"Oh, here's your gear. It's all in here. Hope I didn't forget anything." I decided to finally break the silence. I handed him the bag. He took it without hesitation and started unpacking it.

"Well, it's seems like we've got everything we need. Good job, Otacon." He nodded at me with approval. I adjusted my glasses, growing fond inside. He started to change his outfit. He put on the Navy Seal uniform but left his sneaking suit underneath. I knew he just couldn't part with it. "It's like my second skin." He always said..

"So, what's our next move?" I asked be reassured, rather than to be informed.

"I'm going to look for Stillman. He should be around here somewhere and we need him to help us defuse those C4s. The Bravo Team is of no use now that they're all stone cold."


"You saw him, didn't you? Is he still alive?"

"There's a great chance that he is. I parted with him right before he entered the dining hall. He should be safe in there."

"That's good news. You still have the M9 that I gave you?" it sounded more like a statement than a question.

"Yeah, I do. Didn't even have a chance to use it" Well, as a matter of fact, I did but didn't take it.

"Hope you won't have to." said Snake putting the black balaclava on his head. I must admit that wearing this uniform he was almost indistinguishable from the real Seal soldier. Almost. I would recognize him even if he was wearing a priest's cassock.

"Looking good, Snake" I said, checking him out.

"You can call me Pliskin." He said with a mock seriousness and I could make out a small smile from underneath the balaclava. "Do you really like it?" he asked with a more flirtatious voice.

"Yeah, mainly because you won't be able to smoke with that mask on your face." I decided that a little tease won't hurt.

"You little…" he took a swing at me with his AK rifle and I couldn't help but to just laugh out loud while making a poor attempt to dodge the "blow".

Then I heard some loud screams and the noise of a gunfight from far away. So did Snake, as he immediately shifted into a full alert position with his gun ready to fire. His instinct of a killer was beyond his control. Then the radio attached to his back rang out: "Alpha Zero! Come in! All Alpha, respond!"

"It's started. Otacon, it's time." His voice was serious and firm again. "I'm going in. You stay here, and wait 'till I come back. Ok?"

"Sure Snake. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine." I answered obediently.

He looked at me like he wanted to say something about not trying to act on my own like few minutes ago but saw the gravity on my face and apparently changed his mind.

"Ok. I'll be in touch." He gave me an encouraging pat on the shoulder, then turned his back and noiselessly disappeared in the dark, long corridor.

"Good luck, Dave…" I whispered but I knew he couldn't have heard me.

To be continued…