Fandom: GI Joe
: Please don't sue. I don't own *insert fandom name from above*... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: Storm Shadow/Snake Eyes implied slash. Post-Arashikage Showdown. Snake Eyes tracks Storm Shadow to question him about his actions.
Warning(s): slash
: Storm Shadow/Snake Eyes
Word Count: 1,743

A/N: Day 12 of "22 new fandoms in 22 days." Calendar link up in my profile.
Story note: Arashikage Showdown's a, I guess, graphic novel (it's not in comic book form. It almost reminds me of manga). It's this one arc plot about a powerful medallion, Amaterasu, that harnesses chi and gives like incredible power.

For this fic, you basically need to know that Storm Shadow still has ties to Cobra, Snake Eyes had reconstructive surgery on his face but still cannot speak, they are still at odds, and Storm Shadow ends up saving them from certain death by using the medallion and healing all their wounds in the process. He also basically buries the medallion afterwards so that no one else would be able to use it since it's too much power.


Bound by Silence
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt


Snake Eyes followed the trail down through the secluded forest until a small wooden cabin came into view. He hadn't had any difficulty finding this place, didn't think his sword brother had been trying to hide from him at all. So, he didn't hide his own approach, simply drew his sword, dropping the sheath onto the floor.

He wasn't wearing his tactical gear. It would be pointless. He wasn't here to kill Storm Shadow, but he did not assume that this meeting would occur without some violence. He needed some answers and Storm Shadow was never forthcoming with answers unless coerced.

After what had happened with the Nichira clan, he'd returned to the cabin with Scarlett and the others in the civilian clothes he was now wearing. He'd stayed long enough to ensure that everyone was indeed safe before grabbing his sword and heading towards the door. Being in the cabin had only served to remind him that Storm Shadow had in fact helped them. Well, he amended that thought. He'd helped the Arashikage clan, which was the only important thing to his sword brother – Snake Eyes couldn't think that without feeling bitter.

Honor and the clan. Snake Eyes knew that meant that he was, in a distant way, still important to someone he considered closer than brother, closer than an oath and the training they'd gone through together, someone he'd once considered more important than even himself. That distant concern meant nothing though; it paled in comparison with his memories.

Storm Shadow's sudden appearance had disrupted the calm and peace Snake Eyes had found with Scarlett. Even the appearance of those ninja in Jinx's condo had only mildly irritated him. He'd been intrigued by the turn of events, but it was simply another piece of the mystery that had come with the message they'd received. It was simply another mission, maybe not for the Joes, but a mission nonetheless.

He'd been rather content with the fact that Storm Shadow hadn't appeared to help them. Then again, he'd also felt a bit annoyed at the thought that maybe Storm Shadow might have been the traitor they were looking for. At one time, that uncertainty would have been absurd, but so much had changed through the years between them, he could barely think of him without anger and distrust. When he'd first seen his face, he didn't even realize he'd moved until their swords clashed. His body had reacted even before he'd consciously known how to.

He had downright refused to let the others go with him. They had all been eager to face Storm Shadow, everyone except for Scarlett. She had looked at him, not understanding, but knowing it was something that had to be done. He hadn't been able to look her in the eyes as she told the others that this was something he had to do by himself.

Scarlett and he shared a connection, one where she understood him better than anyone else did. She knew his moods, knew his thoughts at times, but she didn't truly understand his past. She didn't understand just how much worse it was for him when the subject of Tommy came up, and he always hated it whenever she called him so familiarly. She actually believed Jinx had a harder time with his betrayal because she was his cousin. At one point, he and Tommy had been closer than family, but that was all in the past, one he never let her into because she wouldn't understand. It was unnecessary to reveal something of that sort when it was apparent that it would forever remain in the past. Storm Shadow had made that painfully clear. Right now, all that mattered was that he needed her, needed to know she was safe and happy. He could finally let her look at his face without fear of frightening her unnecessarily.

But he couldn't ignore the past forever. He couldn't ignore the fact that he had another connection that hadn't been broken after all their trials and confrontations. Storm Shadow called him sword brother to mock him, but he knew the betrayal could only affect him this much because what they'd once had had been that strong. Their past was one Snake Eyes couldn't look upon without regret, without wondering what they could have done differently that would have led them a different path, a path that didn't have them thrown repeatedly against each other as enemies.

This was new though. They'd worked together and Storm Shadow had healed them, fully healed him.

Snake Eyes had no choice but to find him, to question him. He needed to know what he'd done with the medallion and what he was planning. He needed to know why.

Before he even reached the cabin, the door swung open slowly.

Storm Shadow leaned against the door frame, sword in hand. He watched Snakes Eyes continue down the path towards him. He looked at his sword brother's face, marveling at technology nowadays because he couldn't help but think of when they'd been younger, when things had been so much simpler.

"Where're Scarlett and the others?" Storm Shadow asked, keeping his voice level not letting it betray his displeasure at the mere thought of that woman.

Snake Eyes answered with an almost unnoticeable shake of his head. He kept his sword pointed down because Storm Shadow didn't look like he was going to attack. He stopped, letting just a few feet stand between them.

"You came by yourself? That's rather overconfident, even for you," Storm Shadow continued. They'd lost so much time with this battle between them, but this was one rift that would never be bridged. They'd betrayed each other; it would have been ironic if it weren't so wretched. There was too much bad blood between them, and now, his sword brother, the one person Storm Shadow might have once trusted unconditionally, the only person he'd ever liked hearing his nickname spoken by would never bother. There was no Tommy in their relationship now. It was Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. Names and titles had always been important, had kept them close and torn them apart.

Looking down at his sword, Snake Eyes, against his better judgment, let it drop to the floor.

Storm Shadow watched it fall in surprise. Covering his reaction, he said, "You want to know what I did with the medallion." He didn't bother waiting for a reaction, just maintained eye contact as he answered, "It's no longer a problem."

He dared Snake Eyes to look at him disbelievingly. They would never be able to trust each other the same way again or at all, he didn't know for certain. He did know that he was growing tired of Snake Eyes's continued presence. He was growing tired of that unwavering gaze, expectant, too familiar. It physically hurt to see him, enough so that Storm Shadow wanted to kill him for making him feel such pain.

"Leave," he ordered and turned to go back inside. This had been a bad idea, this confrontation he'd known would have to occur. He'd expected Snake Eyes to rush him; he'd expected a fight, not this.

Snake Eyes frowned. He had to know. So, he opened his mouth and said the first word he'd been able to say in years since his accident. "Tommy." His voice hadn't wavered or croaked as he'd feared. Years unused, he'd realized rather slowly that his arm hadn't been the only thing that Tommy had healed. His vocal cords had been healed as well. He hadn't been able to say anything to the others, unwilling to test his belief. It hadn't felt as though the time was right even when a part of his mind told him that he should be rejoicing with Scarlett, that he should share this moment with her. If he were honest with himself, he hadn't wanted to.

But here, with the man who'd saved his life as many times as he'd tried to take it, he hadn't feared that when he formed the words in his head that they wouldn't come out. Even though this was no celebration, he didn't regret that his first word had been his sword brother's name. It was only fair.

He knew that he'd had to speak otherwise he'd always wonder why his sword brother had restored his voice. It was going beyond keeping the clan alive. This one act had turned everything Snake Eyes had thought about him on its head. He believed for a moment that Storm Shadow had wanted to… Snake Eyes didn't know. Maybe forget about their past, move beyond it, forget about the betrayals. He wasn't sure, but he was going to find out.

Storm Shadow squeezed his eyes shut and froze, his back still turned towards his sword brother. The rancor was there, waiting to burst free. He gripped the handle of his sword tighter, but controlled himself. He wouldn't attack. At least not yet. Of all the things to say, he just couldn't believe that Snake Eyes had decided to exploit his name. He had no right to call him that any longer, not when he was going to get married. It was a low blow.

He moved forward again, turning around just so that he could see Snake Eyes's face when he closed the door on it. Before he could close the door, Snake Eyes was there stopping it, in front of him, closer than they'd ever been without having swords clashing in a long while. Storm Shadow allowed that distance between them to close a little more as he gripped the door tighter.

They stared at each other, frozen in place. Storm Shadow was able to appreciate his new face up close. He could see the discrepancies from this one and the Snake Eyes he'd known.

Snake Eyes's voice was low, afraid to ruin the moment but unable to do anything but ask, "Why?"

Startled out of his trance nevertheless, Storm Shadow jerked backwards with a grimace. He allowed himself one last perusal of Snake Eyes's face. Of course that had been why he'd come. Why. It was a good question, one that he hadn't allowed himself to really think on. He stepped forward and his sword brother took a corresponding step backwards because suddenly, distance was necessary.

Looking at him in disgust, Storm Shadow sneered, answering brusquely, "So you can say 'I do'," before slamming the door shut.


End ficlet

A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Story Note: Yeah, so Devil's Due gave him back his face and I gave him back his voice. W/e.