By Scarlett Slipper
Don't own them, never have, never will. Hasbro owns G.I.Joe.
Comments are very welcome! Please enjoy. This is a one shot.
The light mist in the air moved slowly around the dark garden. The rustle of the leaves, mixed with the gentle breeze, created an eerie effect. A muffled sound from an old alley cat hidden behind a bush, probably munching on its evening meal, replaced the silence. The moon's rays gently touched the rocks aroun the small artificial pond while the deep vocal sound of frogs creating a symphony echoed throughout the air. The garden itself stood serene, though the fallen leaves and the broken branches gave it a mysterious aura.
He stood at the edge of the pond, listening to the resonance that surrounded him, absorbing everything from sight, to sound and smell. The waters glistened against the moon's touch, showing his reflection, which displayed his eagerness, his nervousness and his impatience. He gazed downwards, finding his brown eyes filled with anticipation and his lips, trying to curve into a smidgen of a smile. His heart pounded in his chest matching the frogs' vocal cries, merging together as one.
He knelt down, picking up a small pebble and throwing it into the water, creating small ripples. He watched the ripples widening, becoming larger circles until they disappeared from his eyes forever. He closed his eyes for a mere moment before the sound of a branch breaking came from his left and instantly he glanced towards that end of the garden, finding no person or animal in sight.
A sigh escaped from his throat as he once again looked to the pond and the orange moon in the far distance that began to vanish behind several dark fearsome clouds. The breeze began teasing him with its cold bite and he tugged tighter on his thick dark brown jacket. But the breeze was not through with its playfulness for it ripped off his beret, sending it to the ground in a pile of dead scarlet leaves.
He knelt to pick up his beret when the soft sound of a shoe pressing against the cold grass caught his immediate attention.
"Is the world coming to an end because your hat is off your head?" asked a female's warm gentle voice close to where he was.
His eyes widened with surprise and his breath became stolen by the cold bite of the breeze against his handsome features. He slowly rose to his feet and turned towards the voice, watching her emerge from the light fog that had dominated the garden. His eyes blinked, seeing her figure come very close to right where he stood, her face inches from his and her breath connecting with his own. His foot took a step backwards, fighting the urge to step forwards instead and wrapping his arms around her slender body, molding it against his and his hands cupping her face. But he didn't. He stood inches from her vision, enthralled by her dark brown eyes, glowing from the soft touch of the moon's rays, and her chestnut locks curled around her heart shaped face.
"I-It's a beret," his stolen voice finally became found, its sound mimicking to a frog's croak. He felt his heart pulse quicker within his chest. He glanced downwards, finding she wore, as always, her favorite trench coat.
Her giggle flew to his ears and he almost melted from the sound right there and then.
"Do you want to go inside?" he gently asked, nodding towards the gray stone building that stood further away from the artificial pond.
She shook her head slowly, declining his gentlemanly manner. Turning, she stepped towards an old oak tree. "The bench is fine," she said, indicating the stone bench placed right underneath the long branches of the tree.
He followed her lead, walking right beside her, their bodies only inches apart. Nearing the bench, he wiped off the fallen leaves, letting them fall once again towards the cold ground. He looked up, finding her eyes staring at him and the curve of his lips turned into a smile. He let her sit first before he sat on the cold stone to her left.
"It's been a while, Dash," she said, the gentleness in her tone sent shivers down his spine.
"A year to this day," he replied, his gaze shifting towards to the ground.
"It's good to see you, Dash," her tone turned warmer, happier, yet still contained an inkling of detachment.
He closed his eyes, the prang of guilt filled in his chest. He felt something soft and cold from the chilling air against his hand and in seconds knew it was her touch. Another tremor shot throughout his body, feeling the familiar hold on his hand, her fingers linking with his own. His hand left her hold and slowly rose before it covered hers, wanting to warm her touch, wanting her to feel without any spoken words.
"It's good to see you, Allie," he replied, his own tone warming the air around them both. He glanced at her features, absorbing them, showing that they still remained the same from their last encounter.
She smiled at him, her brown eyes never leaving his. Her gaze went to the beret sitting in between them and with her free hand she grasped it, placing it where it belonged. "There," she said. "I can't imagine you without your beret, Dash."
He softly chuckled. "Like how I can't imagine you without your javelin?"
Her smile faded from her face, almost instantly vanishing from existence. She looked out to the waters, the moon casting a glow to her features.
"I'm sorry," he apologized. "I didn't mean to upset you with my remarks." He looked closely at her face, trying to decipher her emotions but couldn't, finding it blank, empty of any.
She turned to him, her eyes showing their kind demeanor. "It's alright Dash, you keep forgetting to use that egotistical head of yours." A curve to her lips showed her teasing.
"You never change," he shook his head, his eyes locking to hers.
"Unlike you?" she countered watching his brows arch up in realization.
"I'll visit more often, that is a promise," he vowed, his hand remaining above hers, trying to keep it warm from the breeze that kept attacking them from both sides.
"You better, or I'll come after you with my javelin for the rest of your life!" A giggle escaped her throat and he matched it with his laughter.
Her eyes turned bright. "Shana and Conrad came the other day," she informed him.
He looked at her in surprise, not knowing their friends had come for a visit. "Did they stay long?"
She nodded. "Yes, I lost count how long though for Shana kept babbling." Her eyes turned darker, almost lifeless. "She was crying again. Conrad kept holding her. But she kept talking about Allison."
"She's sick, Allie," he slowly let the information escape his breath.
She quickly turned her head away from him. "Don't I know that?" she snapped, anger emerging in her tone. "Do you think I know nothing what's going on with our friends?"
"That's not what I meant and you know it!" he retorted, trying to control the anger within his blood.
A long sigh escaped her throat. "Shana updated me on Allison's illness. She told me about the hospital visits, the long hours of painkiller running through her daughter's veins and the chemotherapy. I hated to see Shana so upset and afraid."
"Shana is strong, so is Allison. They will fight the leukemia and they will conquer it," he said with determination in his voice.
"I told her that Allison will be fine, that someone is looking after her eight year old," she informed him, looking again to his face. "But Shana was too upset to listen. I don't know if she really heard anything that I said from her sobbing."
He felt her gentle hold on his hand grow stronger, squeezing it.
"Conrad heard me through Shana's cries and he nodded," she continued, "He looked pale, and I yelled at him to get his skinny rear back to its old self. He barely spoke during the visit."
"He's lost," he told her gently. "I keep in touch when I can, but–" He stopped talking for a second, took a deep breath and let it out slowly, the air turning into a small white puff. "Who am I kidding Allie, its been a while since I've seen or even talked to any of them."
"I know," she gently told him. "Conrad needs you right now. You should visit him."
"I promise," he vowed, glancing down to their clasped hands. "Ever since the team disbanded, I rarely see anyone." He looked up at her beautiful features. "Even you."
"I know that too," she replied. "I still can't believe G. I. Joe no longer exists. It feels like an end of a dream."
"Well, technically a nightmare since Cobra was in it," he stated, his lips turning once again upwards into a grin.
"No, it was a dream, as you males kept drooling over that tight spandex outfit that the Baroness wore, or lustfully gawked at Zarana's half naked body," she pointed out to him.
His eyebrows arched up. "Oh really? Unlike you ladies who could not get enough of Dr. Mindbenders broad shirtless chest? Or Zartan's rippling pectorals?"
"Touché!" She let out an angelic laughter from the depths of her throat.
"Or how about how when you, Shana and Courtney kept coming to the exercise room when you clearly knew several members, who I will not name, were at that moment working out? And most of those nameless members rarely wore shirts and some wore shorts because their sweatpants had mysteriously disappeared?"
"I have no idea what you are referring to," she replied, her eyes traveling anywhere but on his own. "But…" She now turned to face him, her eyes sparking with mischief, "how about when you, Conrad, and Wayne raced into the exercising room when you heard that Shana, Court and I were on the treadmills in our Victoria Secret workout clothes?"
"No comment," he replied, the teasing in his voice clearly heard. He covered her hand with his left and immediately he knew that was a mistake from the sharp inhaled breath that floated straight into his ears and right to his heart. He stiffened slightly and his gaze went to their hands, watching hers slip from his hold and rest on her lap.
He glanced up to her features, pale and yet mystical. Her eyes clouded from the shock, tinted with hurt and pain but vanquished within seconds, leaving them empty. His heart raced inside his chest and he silently kicked himself for what he had just done.
"So this is why you haven't come to see me," she remarked. Her voice turned almost distant, almost disappearing. The hand, which rested on her lap, rose slowly before grasping his hand. Her thin fingers trailed up and down his fourth finger, discovering the golden ring that it held.
He sensed the turmoil of emotions from her hold. The sound of leaves waving from the breeze caught his attention followed by a sound of a branch breaking, landing on his head. He moaned from the pain. "Ow."
"Serves you right!" Her eyes turned ice cold but then once again transformed back to the dark warm ones he knew so well.
"Forgive me, Allie," he solemnly said, his head slowly lowering, unable to look to her face. "I wanted to tell you. I didn't want to hurt you."
Her free hand reached upwards touching his cheek, gently caressing it. "What's to forgive, Dash?" she said, her tone strong, filled with truth. "Our paths once crossed, but they no longer do. Your path went a different way than mine."
He glanced up, trying to determine whether she was still trying to hold on to the pain that he had sprung on her, but found her features caring and warm. He slowly nodded, wanting more than anything for her to understand, to forgive him.
"Remember, Dash, it's my fault, not yours," she murmured, her tone soft, gentle, like a mother's warm touch.
"I should have come after you," he said, trying to keep in mind that this was the woman he once loved in front of him. He could never hurt her and yet in someway, he had.
"No, Dash, it was my decision to leave and not yours. Don't blame yourself." Her tone slightly cracked and she covered her mouth but the sniffle, he heard it loud and clear like the thunder, which roared above their heads.
He slowly nodded, slowly taking away his hand from hers. He brought it to his jacket's front pocket and took out a wallet. Opening it, he glanced towards her, finding her eyes gazing at the wallet with intrigue. He lifted a picture, allowing her to see and react. "I want you to meet someone. This is Abigail," he said, showing a woman's picture.
"I didn't know you for the blond type," came her comment, with a hint of mockery.
He let out a chuckle. "Yes, Abby has long blond hair and blue eyes."
She swatted his arm. "Hello! I can see, I'm not blind you know."
"I know," he replied. He glanced down at the picture of his wife.
She grinned at him. Her hand rested on his arm. "Tell me about her, Dash, and don't leave anything out."
"Anything?" He smirked, his grin widening from her scowl.
"You scoundrel!" She stuck her tongue at him.
He laughed heartily, his head tilting backwards, then he looked at her again. "Abby and I met at the Pentagon. My new position for the department of defense had me running over there all the time."
"How did you meet?" she inquired, curiosity in her voice.
"I ran into her during lunch," he answered, his cheeks turning reddish.
"Define ran," she demanded, her brown eyes sparking again.
"Okay, I collided with her and both our trays flew in the air and the food fell on both of us. Happy?" The blush on his cheek deepened as he cleared his throat.
"Sounds like you," she stated with a giggle.
"Anyway, we started talking, mostly about the EAGLES— that's the new team. I'm first in command," he informed.
Another swat came from her side to his arm. "Yes, I know. You told me with that egotistical mouth of yours." She rolled her eyes.
"Anyway," he continued, ignoring her comment, " one thing went to another and we got married. She a wonderful person Allie, caring, loving, smart, and gentle." He continued to stare at her and added gently, "Our anniversary is coming up."
She slowly nodded. Her face showing no emotion to what she felt inside. Just like her covert operative position, she now used it to hide her feelings. But he knew exactly how she felt, what she thought and what she would say. He knew her, not the cover from the outside, but the real person within.
He reached in the wallet once again, bringing out a second picture. "Allie, I want you to meet another lady in my life," he announced.
She gave off a look of shock. "You turned into a polygamist!" she nearly gaped.
He chuckled at her humor but only showed her the picture.
"Oh, Dash, she's beautiful," she cooed at the picture. "Hmm, glad she didn't receive any of your features."
"Funny, Allie," he mused, rolling his eyes.
"All right, maybe the nose, and the forehead. Happy?" she commented while continuing to stare at the picture of his newborn.
"Very happy," he said, his smile broadening. "This is Melody. She has my temper."
At this, her head swung forward, letting out the laughter from inside.
"Abby wants to meet you," he told her, watching her expression.
She turned to him. "I want to meet Abby as well!" she said, watching the relief enter his features. "And Melody too. When can you bring them?"
"Soon, I promise," he murmured, feeling the wind grow stronger, now banging against them with its strength.
"Hector came last month," she told him with a gleam to her eyes. "He told me all about the incident in the White House."
He closed his eyes, trying to erase that incident but couldn't. "Don't remind me," he muttered.
"Oh come on, Shipwreck running naked in the White House being chased by the President who was being chased by the first lady in a robe is pretty funny."
He let out a low growl, but smiled at her amused features.
The sound of thunder and the first touch of raindrops falling from the dark sky caught both their attentions.
"You should go," she said, standing up. The wind caressed her chestnut hair, moving it wildly around her face.
He placed the pictures back in their places and the wallet back into his pocket before he rose from the stone bench. Taking both of her hands in his, he stood once again inches from her face, almost touching and yet both of them controlled the separation, even though their bodies indicated the opposite.
"I'll visit soon, I promise," he vowed, his eyes showing the truth. "I won't have my work control my life again, Allie."
She nodded while slowly rising to the balls of her feet and her lips touched his cheek. "You better, or I'll come after you with my javelin," she threatened playfully.
He chuckled, feeling her hands slip away from his hold. He watched her slowly walked away, the fog starting to devour her and then with a blink of an eye, she had vanished. "Goodbye, Dash," her voice floated to his heart.
"Goodbye, Allie," he whispered. He began to head back towards the artificial pond, stopping to look at the waters for short time and left the little garden. He started walking on a gravel path towards his car, passing several graves, memorials and small buildings.
The clasp of thunder rocked the sky as he opened the driver's door and climbed in the vehicle. Turning the key, the engine roared to life. He pressed down hard on the gas petal and within a short distance the car passed two large metal gates. The drive home was silent and long from Massachusetts to Delaware. It was nearly dawn when he drove into a circular driveway and parked in front of a three-car garage. Stepping out of the car, he glanced at the two story white colonial which had been his home for the past three years.
He looked up at the clear starry night sky before he entered his house and found his wife waiting for him in the kitchen, holding their daughter in her arms. A smile crept on his lips and his eyes changed into a warm brown, filled with love and happiness. In two strides, he wrapped his wife in an embrace and his lips met hers in a tender kiss.
"How did the visit go?" Abigail asked, handing him their daughter, who had fallen asleep.
"Good," Dash answered, his eyes never leaving her blue ones. "She wants to meet you and Melody."
Abigail kissed him on the cheek, then leaned against him. "I would love to meet her too."
"I promised her soon," he added, "otherwise…."
"I know, she's going to get angry and start chasing us with her javelin," she finished for him.
"Trust me, you don't want that," he stated, heading for the living room. He stopped by the bookcase that held many pictures of him with members of the G. I. Joe team members—his family, his friends. He rocked Melody in his arms while picking up a picture of a woman with chestnut hair and brown eyes.
"Melody, I want you to meet, Alison. She was a good friend of Papa's. The Joes called her Lady Jaye. But my little girl, you can only see Allie when we go visit her. She's gone from this world now three years since…" A lump rose in his throat and he stopped talking.
"Dash," Abigail compassionate voice came close to his ears and he turned to his wife. She kissed him tenderly once again, then looked down at her daughter. "You'll tell her when the time comes."
He slowly nodded, feeling her arm wrap around his waist, pulling him close.
"Shana called this evening, a little while before you came home," she informed him.
He could feel the blood rushing out of his face. "Allison…" Again the lump rose and this time he choked it out.
"Allison's leukemia is in complete remission," she let him know, tears rushing down her cheeks.
His own tears trailed downwards and he leaned his head on his wife's. He let out the cry of relief that escaped his body and he felt Abigail's strong hold. Glancing down at Lady Jaye's picture, which held no tears but only happiness, he said, "Thank you, Allie."