The Return of Serpentor

Disclaimer: Same as before. I do own Crimson Guard Ferguson, though.

A/N: Here it is. The final chapter. I hope you enjoy and please review!

Chapter 27: Calming Down

The first thing Serpentor became aware of when he woke was a weight on his chest. Glancing down, he smiled when he saw Scarlett sound asleep with her head on his chest. The second thing he became aware of was his headache. It wasn't hurting as much as before but it was still there.

Then, realizing that his mouth was bone-dry, he looked around to see there was anything to drink handy. Spotting a glass of water on the table by his bed, he reached over carefully and grabbed it. He brought it to his mouth and drank greedily. After downing almost the whole glass, he set it back down. "Ah, much better," he whispered and lay back down.

Just then, Scarlett stirred. He looked down and saw that she had just woken up. "Hey, sleepyhead," he murmured.

She raised her head and looked at him. "How are you feeling?" She asked him.

He smiled. "Better. But my head still hurts," he replied. They kissed tenderly.

She nodded. "You have a pretty bad concussion," she told him, stroking his hair. "It's going to hurt for a few days. But the good news is the doctors say that there should be no permanent or lasting effects."

"That's good, but what about everyone else? How are they?" His tone was anxious.

"Well, Major Bludd broke his arm when his HISS flipped after being hit with debris, Stormshadow sprained his ankle dodging debris, Mindbender has three bruised ribs. Everyone else just had scrapes, bumps, and bruises except for Zartan and Zandar, who were captured, making it impossible for us to know if their injured or not," she replied. "Also, there has been no sign of Zarana."

"That's weird," Serpentor said. "I wonder where she is. We need to find her immediately."

Scarlett shook her head and gulped. Serpentor wasn't going like this next part. "Wild Weasel saw her being carried by Mainframe to a Joe Tomahawk. He carried her inside it before it left. He couldn't tell if she was injured or not."

"So she was captured too," he remarked.

She shook her head again. "I'm not so sure. A Crimson Guardsman overheard Mainframe tell General Hawk that she needed to go back to the Flagg with the Joes. And her brothers were taken away in a different Tomahawk that headed off in a different direction," she replied. She paused a moment, and then spoke again. "But why? This doesn't make any sense? Why would Mainframe insist that she go back to the Flagg with the other Joes?"

"I know exactly why," Serpentor answered her. "It's because she's the traitor."

"What! Are you serious?" She replied in astonishment. Then, after thinking about it for a few moments realized that it made sense. It would explain why Zarana wasn't around during the battle and why she'd been distant and keeping to herself lately.

"Yes, I am. I've long suspected her of having feelings for Mainframe, ever since that battle over the antimatter in which she went undercover at Joe headquarters," he said.

Scarlett snapped her fingers. "Of course!" She exclaimed. "Mainframe told us that Weedler was really Zarana and after that battle he has been found daydreaming every so often."

Serpentor opened his mouth to reply, but before he would, Tomax rushed into the room followed by Xamot. "Sire, we have bad news! Zarana's the traitor who cost us that battle and the base!" He exclaimed breathlessly.

Xamot nodded. "Yeah, Mainframe took her back with Joes and even defended her to General Hawk!" he added.

"Not only that, but Crimson Guard Ferguson spotted her planting explosives in the base during the battle. But before he could sound the alarm, The Joes started blasting the base and he was injured. But he's been treated and is recovering and he told us everything he saw!"

"Yes, we know. Scarlett already told me everything except that last part," Serpentor replied.

"Because I didn't know that part," she told him. All I knew was what the guard that overheard Mainframe told me."

"But what are we going to do, sire?" Tomax asked.

"And what will her brothers do when they find out?" Xamot added.

"They'll be pissed," Serpentor answered. "And rightly so. As for what we're going to do, she's our enemy now and we'll treat her that way." He fell silent and let the implications of his words sink in. No longer would she be welcome on Cobra Island or any other Cobra base, territory, outpost, etc. If she appeared at one, she would be imprisoned. And furthermore, no Cobra would trust her anymore.

Tomax nodded. "She dug her own graveā€¦"

"And now she has to lie in it," Xamot finished.

"Quite right," Serpentor agreed. "We all have to live with the choices we make, good or bad." He stopped speaking and winced slightly as his head started to hurt a little more.

"Are you okay, sire?" Tomax asked him worriedly.

"Yes, I've just got a headache from my concussion," he replied. He laid back and realized that was slightly dizzy as well.

Scarlett gazed at him a moment and then made a decision. Going to the intercom, she turned it on and asked for some painkillers to be brought in.

"I don't need painkillers, Scarlett," Serpentor protested, trying not to show that he was in pain.

"Yes, you do. And then you need to rest. You have a concussion and it needs to heal," she replied firmly as the door opened and a doctor came in carrying the pills and a glass of water.

Scarlett took them from him, thanked him, and gave them to Serpentor. He took them and settled back in the bed.

A few minutes later, the twins had left the room and Scarlett had snuggled up to Serpentor. "What's going to happen to Cobra, now?" she asked him softly.

"We recover from our injuries, rebuild and buy new vehicles and planes from Destro's MARS Industries and keep on doing what we do. It may take a little while before we're ready to start attacking again, but we will. We're down right now, but we are and never will be, out," he answered, stroking her hair.

She smiled. "And I'll be right here by your side through all of it; all the way to victory," she told him.

Serpentor was so happy, he felt as if he might burst. "Together forever?" He asked softly.

"Together forever," she answered. They kissed passionately and then drifted off to sleep in each other's arms.

Cobra wasn't the only ones who had to rebuild and regroup. The Joes had to as well. From their headquarters, to their vehicles and planes, to healing injuries, and new relationships, the Joes had to do it all.

And as was expected, most had trouble accepting Zarana at first, but it didn't take long for them to warm up to her. And it didn't take long for everyone to see how much in love she and Mainframe were, either. The one major drawback was Zartan and Zandar. As she had feared, they were livid when Zarana told them what had happened and that she was with the Joes and Mainframe. They called her a traitor and asked how she could throw away everything they had been through together for a Joe. With tears streaming down her face, she told them that she had to follow her heart.

They didn't seem to care and said she was their enemy before ending the transmission. Zarana had then broken down completely and cried for a long time.

"I've lost them forever!" she wailed.

"You don't know that," Mainframe told her, holding her close and stroking her hair. "They've had a big shock and need some time to digest all this. They may come around after a while."

Zarana raised her head and gazed at him. "I hope you're right," she said. "And one good thing is that their injuries are serious." Just before Zarana had dropped her bombshell, they had told her that Zartan had a mild concussion, and Zandar had several bruised ribs and a black eye. They both had bumps and scrapes as well, but those were very minor.

He nodded. "You're right. And you also have all the Joes too. We're all here for you."

"Even Duke?" She wanted to know. And for good reason. The Joe First Sergeant had a constant haunted look in his eyes and had been keeping to himself since they had gotten back to the Flagg.

"Yes, even Duke," he assured her. "He's going through a very rough time right now with Scarlett joining Cobra and falling for Serpentor and all. Just give him some time."

She nodded and snuggled against him again. "I love you, Mainframe," she murmured softly.

"I love you too, Zarana," he murmured back. They just held each other for a long time, just happy to be with each other. And despite her brothers' reactions, she knew she was right where she belonged.

Mainframe knew there would be more battles and hardships to come, most likely sooner than later knowing Cobra, but for now he was content to just hold the woman he loved with all his heart and soul. He knew that they could get through anything as long as they were together.

The End

A/N: So what did you think? Was the story good? I hoped everyone like it and will review on their way out!

A/N 2: Coming real soon: A story featuring the one and only Gamesmaster! So stay tuned!