Disclaimer: If GI Joe were mine, I wouldn't be writing fanfiction. 'Nuff said.

Bazooka shivered as he passed through the shadows of the Skystrikers. It wasn't that he regretted going to that ghost story thing last night…well, perhaps he did regret going. It had been fun until Stalker and Snake Eyes had told that story about the Ghost Ninja.

Although the story was not terribly frightening, it had stuck with Bazooka like the half-forgotten melody of a song, replayed so many times that parts of it were warped and twisted into something different and more sinister.

Now, Bazooka could almost feel the chill breath of the grave on the back of his neck, could almost see the ghostly forms of undead ninja as they flitted through the blue-black shadows of the night. He felt the cold hand of irrational fear clench his stomach. Then, suddenly in the distance, a flash of white caught his eye and imagination. There was something out there. Unquestionably, undeniably, he was not alone in the night.

Bazooka felt the cold hand of irrational fear finger the back of his neck, ever so gently. Then, slowly, the grip became harder, harder, harder…

Bazooka was paralyzed. He stood there, watching the interplay of the light and shadow without appreciation for its beauty. The moment passed like the dying breath of a sigh, and he continued on his way.

But the looming shadows would not release their hold on him. As he continued on his way through the shadows of the planes, another hand caught hold of him. A hard hand, warm and dry, yet frighteningly strong, and oh-so-insistent…

Bazooka froze. White-wrapped arm leading to a hand, a hand too strong for any human, bleached pale by the fluorescent lights and keeping a death grip on his arm. He fell, struck down without a mark on him…

Externally, that is.

Storm Shadow looked quizzically at the fallen body of the Joe. Yes, he knew he was intimidating, but this was certainly the first man that he had ever scared to death. He nudged the man gently with the toe of his boot. Still dead. Yes, this was definitely a first.

A dark figure ghosted up next to him. "Go away, Snake Eyes," Storm Shadow said. "I'm not interested in fighting."

"I'm not Snake Eyes," the figure replied. "I'm Death. Nice going, by the way."

"I didn't mean to kill him," Storm Shadow said. "I just wanted to get him to take something to Snake Eyes-"

"What is it?" Death asked.

"A note," Storm Shadow said.

"Just stick it in his mouth and be done with it," Death said.

Storm Shadow obliged, figuring it might not be a good idea to toy with Death. When he was done, Storm Shadow turned back to Death, who was watching him in a distinctly predatory manner. "Um, why are you staring at me?" Storm Shadow asked.

"Because you're going to die soon," Death said.

"Me?" Storm Shadow asked.

"Yes. You," Death said. "I was thinking how much I like killing young men, especially prime physical specimens like yourself…it's a great way to remind Life that no matter how hard he tries, he can never win."

"Why am I going to die?" Storm Shadow asked, slightly perturbed that his last hours were upon him.

"My dear Tommy, it's the precise same reason that Bazooka died," Death said, patronizing and cold. "It's because the Great Author doesn't fully understand your character, and therefore is going to kill you off to make GI Joe more edgy."

"But why?" Storm Shadow asked. "Why can't we kill off someone that everyone loves to hate, like Destro?"

Death sighed. "Look, I'm a lot like you. I just do my job and don't ask questions. Now, drag that body somewhere else."

Storm Shadow took up Bazooka, and dragged him to a little-used corner of the hangar deck. When he looked up, Death was gone. After tentatively chalking up his vision to sleep deprivation, Storm Shadow checked the time. There was a transport waiting for him. He smiled. Never before had he been more glad to leave a place.