GI Joe/Marvel universe crossover.
I don't own Marvel or Hasbro.
Chapter 1: Secrets
Silence is golden. Whoever coined that phrase should be shot.
Beach Head laid flat on the cool ground and listened carefully. Truthfully, now was one of the times that silence was a good thing. Silence kept you from being killed.
Birds chirped softly overhead and some insects hovered around his ears. However, Wayne Sneeden lay perfectly still, camouflaged by the forest's natural greenery. His adversary lurked nearby, ready to pounce on his prey.
As if he'd give Snake Eyes that satisfaction.
It was really supposed to be a training mission. Snake Eyes and Beach Head were each leading their respective teams, but somehow, in the confusion of a battle, the two men had been separated from their squads.
And seeing as Wayne had previously smarted off about how wouldn't be taken unawares by some ninja hocus pocus, a certain silent man seemed to be taking an almost sadistic pleasure in proving otherwise.
Hah! The mute bastard had no idea who was dealing with.
Wayne mused on that for a moment. It was his own little secret, one that he'd kept from his fellow teammates for years.
Wayne R. Sneeden was a mutant.
Hence the silence is golden crap.
The army ranger closed his eyes and concentrated. His telepathy was relatively weak, at least when compared to more powerful mutants like Charles Xavier, but it was enough to get the job done. Beach Head supposed that empathy might really be a more technically accurate term.
He could sense emotions, but reading minds was another matter. If the thoughts were particularly strong, or if he was in close proximity to the person, Wayne was able to pick it up.
Snake Eyes wasn't close though and Beach Head had always found him generally hard to read. Still, he could at least sense the man's general direction. With a little concentration he should be able to pinpoint…
Okay, so he was closer than Wayne had thought. More than he was comfortable with. Damn ninjas.
Beach Head could sense the other man's confidence from his hiding place. Confidence and a little…amusement?
That could only mean one thing. Snake Eyes knew where he was…or at least his general location.
The army ranger smirked underneath his balaclava. Fortunately, he wasn't out of tricks yet. Wayne slowly scanned the forest until his eyes settled on a far off bush. His brown eyes narrowed on a thin branch and concentrated.
There was a faint snap.
A faint sensation of surprise floated into Wayne's mind, followed by a flash of doubt. Snake Eye's attention was now focused over at the location of the small sound.
However, he didn't move a muscle.
Okay, so he's not going to fall for that, the ranger thought. Even so, Beach Head felt another flash of uncertainty in his mind. Snake Eyes's earlier confidence was now tinged with self doubt. Despite that, the ninja apparently wasn't about to risk giving away his position.
After a moment, Wayne idly wondered if the other man realized how lucky he was, in the grand scheme of things.
Snake Eyes probably wouldn't agree. More than once the ranger had felt frustration swell up inside the ninja. Even years after his injuries, not having a physical voice was still maddening for him.
Silence because of a physical injury was one thing. Silence because of society's bigotry was quite another.
No one in GI Joe knew. Wayne Sneeden had considered letting his secret out more than once. First however, there had been the Mutant Control Agency. After that had come the Mutant Registration Act, then sentinels.
And due to his high security clearance and special "abilities," Beach Head had additionally heard whispers of secret forced labor camps and mutant experimentation.
And so he'd kept silent.
Snake Eyes was still waiting for him. Beach Head debated his next move.
Wayne had strongly considered at least telling Hawk. He'd come very close to it since the Legacy virus was sweeping through the mutant population. The ranger was no fool…he'd been damn lucky not to catch it. There was more than a fifty percent probability that vials of it were floating around Cobra.
Dr. Mindbender specifically came to mind.
He was lucky.
Beach Head decided to take a chance. His telekinesis wasn't much stronger than his telepathy, but again it was enough to work to his advantage.
There was another snap as a branch gave way beneath a startled ninja.
He hadn't ended up telling Hawk though. As much as Wayne loathed admitting it, he had lost his nerve. There was an additional reason though.
Beach Head didn't want to place Hawk in an awkward position. The man had enough on his plate in managing GI Joe, fighting Cobra, dealing with government bureaucrats, and the Jugglers. If his secret ever came out, and it was revealed that his commanding officers knew, they would be in a lot of trouble. Wayne wasn't about to put them in that possible position.
Then there was Duke. Beach Head didn't question his patriotism or his service to his country. However, the man had close ties with secret government agencies, which of course made Beach Head cautious. Of all the Joes, the ranger trusted Duke least with his secret.
The ranger was a realist. If his secret came out, Hawk wouldn't be able to protect him. He'd fight tooth and nail for his subordinate, but in the end, it wouldn't be enough. If Beach Head didn't get kicked out of GI Joe, then the government would find a way to "use" him. He probably wouldn't have a choice about any of it.
Snake Eyes was pissed. He could feel the man's irritation from his hiding spot. Wayne wanted to laugh.
He didn't. Not out loud anyway.
One might wonder why he was in the military, especially when he feared the consequences of being discovered. Wayne admittedly hadn't worked it all out yet. Despite society's general hatred of mutants and the American government's lackluster response to preserving their civil rights, he still loved his country and what it represented.
Freedom and equality. These were ideals that Wayne Sneeden clung to. These were ideals that his father, a veteran, had fought for. They once hadn't existed for women or non-whites, but now they did. It gave him hope that one day they would extend to mutants as well.
He'd wanted to prove himself too. He'd wanted to prove that a poor kid could make something of himself. Wayne had wanted to show that mutants could serve their country too.
Of course, there was that little problem of no one knowing he was a mutant. The contradiction wasn't lost on the ranger.
As a poor kid from Auburn, Alabama, Beach Head understood bigotry all too well. His home state had once been the center of some of the South's most extreme racism. In some ways, it still was. White supremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan were enjoying a slight rise in numbers.
Since anti-black, yellow, brown, Jew, and Catholicism were no longer popular, the new Klan was now vocally anti-mutant.
He'd at least been lucky enough not to have any physical manifestations of his mutation.
Yet anyway. Wayne had heard that many mutants were now getting 'secondary mutations.' It could include either physical mutations or new powers…or both. Beach Head wasn't a fool. There was every possibility of it happening to him.
He wasn't sure what would happen to him if it did.
Beach Head silently exited his hiding spot. It was too risky to stay there, so he ventured on through the forest.
The ninja was close by.
Snake Eyes silently ground his teeth. He'd been reasonably sure that he'd known where Beach Head was hiding.
Scratch that, he knew almost exactly where he'd been.
Unfortunately, he seemed to be having a round of bad luck. The puzzled ninja had yet to figure out why his tree branch had broken. It had certainly been sturdy enough for his weight.
Not for the first time, he wondered if the sly, smelly, foul mouthed Ranger had the power of dumb luck on his side. Not, of course, that there was anything wrong with dumb luck. Even ninjas relied upon it.
Thomas Arashikage had once called dumb luck the most secret weapon in a ninja's arsenal.
Snake Eyes sighed. He missed his friend. The ninja wasn't necessarily a religious man, but he made a point to pray for his wayward friend every night.
Sometimes, he just wanted to grab Tommy around the throat and throttle him. The man known as Snake Eyes badly wanted to be able to scream "What the hell are you doing!? You IDIOT!!" into his face.
But he couldn't. Throttle yes, scream bloody murder, no.
Where the hell had Beach Head gone to? The ranger was as slippery as a fox. There was a reason he had such a frightening reputation. Then again, Snake Eyes wasn't exactly one of the green shirts that Beach Head terrified on a daily basis.
By God, but the ninja honestly did pity them. Beach Head wasn't an easy task master. Still, the ranger was good at what he did. He took excellent soldiers and trained them into elite soldiers. Under Beach Head's watch, they became GI Joes.
Ah, there he was.
Snake Eyes sometimes envied the ranger. The man was not averse to loudly venting his frustrations. Even he had to admit that no one could quite lay down an insult like Beach Head, with the possible exception of Tommy. Most people would probably be surprised to learn that the infamous Storm Shadow was more than capable of dishing out the occasional bit of sarcastic snark.
Snake Eyes would pay money to see Beach Head and Storm Shadow verbally go at it. He could probably use it to pay off the bet that he'd lost to Shipwreck. Damnable money grabbing, free loading sailor…
The ninja would give almost anything to even be able to swear violently for one minute. Instead, he was consigned to expressing silent frustration.
How the hell did this end up as him versus Beach Head anyway? There wasn't even any sign of the others.
The ninja pushed aside this question as he leapt silently down to the forest floor. The ranger swiftly moved out of the way, as if somehow having anticipated the ambush. Regardless of the other man's fighting skills however, the ninja was still supreme when it came to close combat.
Still, Beach Head always seemed to have a knack for avoiding a significant number of his blows, even if he was never able to make a strong offense against the more skilled man.
"You can't keep this up," the mute man silently told him. It was a habit he had developed after he'd lost his voice. Even if he couldn't truly speak aloud, Snake Eyes could at least pretend to. It helped to preserve his sanity.
"Like hell I can't," Beach Head snapped.
The two men froze. A shocked Snake Eyes silently noted the sudden wariness in the other man's eyes. After a moment, the ranger swore violently to himself.
"You heard me," Snake Eyes accused silently.
There was no answer.
"You can hear me, can't you?" This time the ninja was a bit uncertain. Eyes alert, he closely scrutinized his fellow soldier.
There it was…a flicker of acknowledgment in a pair of glaring eyes. So he had heard him.
Snake Eyes crossed his arms and glared at the other man. Even with a mask covering his face, the ranger seemed to understand.
"Fine," the other man sighed, unhappiness quite evident in his voice. After a moment, Beach Head straightened his shoulders and sent the ninja a hardened glare.
"I'm a mutant," the ranger drawled. He crossed his arms and continued to glare at the ninja. "You going to tell on me?"
Snake Eyes stared at him. So that was how the man was able to avoid him.
"Telepath?" the ninja questioned, although it was pretty obvious that he was. Beach Head cursed incoherently under his breath before he finally replied. It took Snake Eyes a moment to realize that he was hearing the other man's voice in his head.
"A weak one," Wayne Sneeden finally admitted. "Usually I can only sense emotions or strong thoughts, which is how I heard yours. If it's people that I'm constantly around, or if we're really close together, then I have an easier time with it."
"Do I want to know what goes on in Shipwreck or Clutch's minds?"
"Dear God no!" came the horrified response. Snake Eyes allowed himself an invisible smirk. There was a small pause before the silent conversation continued.
"Although…you and Spirit aren't always the easiest to read," Beach Head admitted. "It probably has something to do with the ninja and shaman hocus pocus crap you two do."
"Which is, of course, inferior to mutant hocus pocus crap?" Snake Eyes asked dryly. Beach Head scowled at him. The ninja suppressed a chuckle.
"What else?" Snake Eyes asked.
"Don't tell me that's your only power."
"It is," Beach Head stated firmly.
"Liar," Snake Eyes replied. The ranger glared at him again.
"You're a real mouthy bastard, aren't you?" he asked. This time Snake Eyes did laugh… a cracked, raspy laugh due to his damaged voice box, but a laugh nonetheless.
"Laugh it up," Beach Head snarled silently. The ninja briefly wondered why the man wasn't speaking out loud. After a moment, however, he realized that the ranger didn't want to chance being overheard.
"Well?" Snake Eyes asked. The ranger glared at him again, but this time it was tinged with resignation.
"Telekinesis," he finally answered reluctantly. After a moment of hesitation, he added, "I can also sense events and emotions in places after they've happened…sort of like a psychic shadow that's been left there."
"Hence the exploding tree branch," the ninja stated. The other man grunted in reply. Snake Eyes silently pondered what to do next, now fully aware that his thoughts were probably being followed.
"Even Hawk doesn't know?" he finally questioned. The other man avoided his eyes.
"You should tell him," Snake Eyes admonished. Beach Head chose not to respond to it, so the ninja let it go for now.
"Where are the others?" he finally asked instead. Irritation flashed through Beach Head's eyes as he fixed his glare towards their right.
"Over there," Beach Head answered, this time speaking out loud. He pointed towards the direction of a muddy creek. "I'd say they're about half a klick that way."
"ALL of them?" Snake Eyes asked. He watched as Beach Head closed his eyes in concentration before nodding.
"Everyone," the ranger repeated. "I don't think they're fighting either. Everyone feels pretty calm, like they're waiting for something."
"Probably," Beach Head agreed.
"What do you want to guess that there's a betting pool on who will win?"
"Bloody bastards…I'll bet that they planned this," the ranger swore. "I'm going to tan whoever's responsible."
"There's other ways of getting them back," Snake Eyes replied. He saw the other man smirk beneath his balaclava.
"What's your idea?" Beach Head asked.
General Clayton Abernathy raised an eyebrow from his vantage point near the parade grounds. Intrigued by a curious sight, the esteemed leader of GI Joe made his way over to it. He "reluctantly" allowed himself an excuse to delay doing paperwork for the bureaucratic Nazis at the Pentagon.
Ahead of him, perched conspicuously next to one of the main military roads leading to the PIT, were two men. Upon further inspection, he discovered that they were two of his most disciplined Joes.
They were stretched out on beach towels and clad only in swimming trunks. Sunglasses protected the men's faces as they each sipped from a can of cold Dr. Pepper. A bottle of sunscreen and a red cooler lay between them.
Upon spotting the general, the two men immediately stood up and saluted him smartly
The puzzled general eyed his two subordinates, who were supposed to be leading a training exercise several klicks west of the PIT. Hawk wavered between curiosity and irritation, before he finally gave in to curiosity.
"Gentlemen….do I dare ask for an explanation?"
"This is revenge Sir," Beach Head replied. Snake Eyes nodded once in agreement.
"Revenge," Hawk repeated dryly.
"Our squads purposely separated themselves from us, in order to place bets on who would win in single combat," the army ranger replied seriously. Snake Eyes confirmed this with another nod.
Hawk felt a headache coming on.
"You're certain of this?" Hawk sighed. Snake Eyes motioned that they were.
"Where are they?" the general asked wearily. Both men pointed down the road, where Hawk could just make out eight individuals marching back. Clayton Abernathy mused on the situation at hand.
He came to the conclusion that his job description more than often entailed being the parental leader of a pack of unruly children, rather than the general of America's most elite military force.
The general sighed, but he was unable to hide the twinkle of amusement in his eyes.
"Everyone has extra PT for a week," Hawk ordered. He glared pointedly at his two, usually responsible Joes. "Everyone."
"Yes sir," Beach Head replied.
"As the two leaders of this training mission, I'm holding you both responsible," Hawk added. Both men nodded. Their eight team mates were quickly drawing closer. The general looked them over again before he prepared to leave.
"Carry on with your revenge, gentlemen," Hawk added. "After it is completed, report to the board room for a debriefing of our next mission."
"Thank you Sir," Beach Head stated, replying for both men. He and his fellow conspirator returned to their former positions on the beach towels. As Hawk walked back towards his original destination, angry shouts could be heard from the incoming soldiers.
The general chuckled to himself.
It was 00:21 that morning when Beach Head knocked on General Hawk's door. He was answered less than a minute later by his tired looking superior. The ranger regretted imposing on the man at such a late hour.
However, because of his guilty conscience-spurred on by Snake Eye's persistent "advice", the ranger had been unable to sleep.
"Has something happened?" Hawk asked, immediately alert. Beach Head hesitated.
"I need to talk to you about something, sir," Wayne said quietly. "Something that I should have told you a long time ago. I apologize for the hour." He didn't need telepathy to feel the general's scrutinizing stare. After a moment, however, the older man waved him inside.
Hawk, for his own part, held his tongue. Beach Head, of all people, wouldn't be knocking on his door for a late night private discussion…unless it was very important. Besides, the astute man could see that something was troubling the ranger.
Beach Head hesitated again as he wondered how to go about this. In the end, he settled on his characteristic bluntness.
"I'm a mutant."
Hawk stared. He watched as the younger man's face tightened noticeably, as if bracing himself for the general's response. Still processing the new information, Clayton motioned towards his couch.
"Have a seat son," Hawk told him. The other man nodded and took a seat. The general noted that Beach Head hadn't yet relaxed his guard. Clayton Abernathy was determined to change that.
After pouring them each a small glass of brandy, the two men talked long into the night.
The two teams were:
Beach Head, Gung Ho, Cover Girl, Road Block, Dusty
Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Stalker, Leatherneck, Wild Bill
Author's note: This was originally intended as a one-shot. However, I may possibly continue it. I currently have some Justice League Unlimited stories in progress, so I'm hesitant to start a new one. However, my final paper of the semester will be turned in soon, so I will be able to start doing frequent updates for the summer.
I posted this as a crossover, even though this is mostly GI Joe related. However, if continued, it could involve the X-Men at a later date. I also have a discontinued X-Men/GI Joe story that's lain dormant for the last several years, called The X-Factor. I may pick it back up again at a later date.