Scarlett's outfit and the inspiration for this story are featured prominently in the Cabal storyline of ARAH, #16-19. I couldn't help but think, "Huh, Snake and Scarlett are awfully demonstrative this time around!" One possible thought as to why. ^_~ I'd recommend taking a look at the comics, if you can: she, Paige, and Daina look absolutely stunning in their eveningwear, and this is one of those cases where a picture is worth much more than my three thousand-plus words. ^_~.


Comme des Garçons

Summary: Because there are days when dress just has to be your strongest suit...


Scarlett had to admit, she liked looking good just as much as any other girl—more, in fact, that some. Though this was probably one of her better-kept secrets, considering that the only time her hair was anything but ponytailed was in the shower, and the last time she'd worn any makeup, it'd been camo grease paint.

There was an incredible irony that today, she was wearing an outfit that cost more than she made in a month—she knew that because the dress had come with the tags still on it. She'd glanced at them… and then had to sit down. With the jewelry that had arrived in the little shopping bag beside it, she imagined the entire getup—talon-heeled shoes, fur-trimmed black coat, tiny leather purse, and all—probably averaged her entire salary for a decade.

Which, considering her hazard pay… wasn't inconsiderable.

The dress was salmon-pink—a color she'd avoided since she'd gotten old enough to pick out her own clothing. Truthfully, she'd always imagined that it would make her hair look unpleasantly carrotty, but maybe it was just this particular shade of salmon-pink—her hair looked burnished, instead, to a deep, warm auburn fire, hardly red at all, and her skin had a soft, innocent pink flush to it. Maybe she'd misjudged the color. The neckline swept up high to a choker around her throat, and it kept her breasts both fully supported and fully covered—a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, Scarlett was all-too-sure that the full coverage was more to be tantalizing than it was for modesty's sake.

Really, the only thing that was innocent about the dress at all was the way it made her skin look.

The neckline had deep, cutout shoulders, and the slit up one thigh was high enough to bare the tops of her barely-there skin-toned stockings and the little lacy ribbon of the garters that kept them up. (This was, she guessed, the kind of job at which good old plain pantyhose was frowned upon… well, not that she actually owned any.) She was somewhat glad for the slit: if things went wrong, at least the dress wouldn't keep her from being able to kick someone's leg out from under them. She'd flash the world while doing it, but whatever.

The problem, though… Scarlett turned, a little bit, and twisted, trying to find out how the dress was going to move with her. Not too bad. The satiny cloth seemed sturdy enough, but it worried her that with the cutouts at her sides, the only things covering her belly and back were two midline hourglasses of pink cloth, each not much wider than the palm of one of her hands.

Scarlett propped her hands on her hips and studied herself in the full-length glass. She had to admit that with her physique, the bare span of her sides and much of her belly was definitely… a bit unusual. She was fairly sure that whatever model or designer or whoever had come up with the outfit hadn't been built like she was.

Her stomach wasn't a soft plane—the hourglass sat primly framed by hard-earned, subtle lines of strength that shifted softly under her skin when she moved. When the dress slid over just a little, it bared the faintest hint of the delicate prominence of her hipbones at the bottom of the cutout, and a hint of the muscles lining her bottom ribs at the top.

It was… kind of an interesting effect. Truthfully, she liked it—after all, she'd worked hard for those muscles, hadn't she? But she looked different, that was for sure. Hopefully, the target would be too busy looking at her breasts and her face to realize that she had the abs of an athlete, not an artiste. Well, it'd happened before. And the necklace with the long crystals, the matching earrings, drew attention up, rather than down.

Scarlett leaned close to check her face one last time: it'd been a long time since she'd put on makeup, but apparently she hadn't missed the trick of it. She knew she was a pretty woman, but today, she could tell without vanity that her face was stunning, all cheekbones and soft liquid lines. Her eyes looked huge, and moss-green with just the faintest edge of blue brightness around the edges; her lips were deep red, and glistening as if licked. Then she stepped back, straightened her shoulders, and smiled into the glass.

Moment of truth: hideously expensive dress, fuck-me heels, luscious make-up.

She looked like a gorgeous, sexy, posh…

…prostitute.

"Nothing like going into battle dressed as a high-class hooker, I guess," she sighed.

It certainly wasn't the first time she'd played this role, but it made her roll her eyes every single time. She didn't actually mind wiggling her hips and fluttering her eyelashes in the service of God, country, and the continued liberty of the free world, but… she definitely hadn't seen this in her future when she'd showed up on day one of boot camp.

Scarlett wasn't sure which disturbed her more: the fact that her dress was sleek, skintight, and showed more skin than any of the Joes but Snake-Eyes had ever seen… or the fact that Tomax and Xamot had been the ones responsible for acquiring her outfit, and it actually fit.

No, it was definitely the latter. The Terror Twins hadn't put a measuring tape anywhere near her—they'd have lost fingers, if they had—but while the fabric was slinky, it had only enough give in it to put her into it. She didn't even want to think about the obviously expensive, lace-edged strapless bra and matching thong.

A thong. Scarlett grimaced and straightened her shoulders uncomfortably, pulling her back straight. Cover Girl was right—it helped—but… not much. It had to be a thong. She really didn't know how Courtney had dealt with the torture device through all those years.

Well, at least she wasn't wearing the thing for giggles: she knew from experience that she could be bleeding from multiple lacs, and the mission would always distract her from her discomfort. A little thong was nothing in comparison to that.

Scarlett gathered up her purse, her fake Czech government ID, and stepped carefully into the shoes before pulling the heavy coat on. It slid softly onto her skin, and she glanced curiously down at it, at the way it lapped at her ankles and slid over her curves. Silk, and… she ran a finger down the coat's nap. Silk and cashmere and… she didn't claim to know her furs, but it was white, so probably ermine.

She'd give the twins that: the taste was questionable, but the expense was undeniable. This was the sort of outfit that she thought probably belonged on a woman who made kings drool for the privilege of sleeping with her—the kind of odalisque that took three hours to get primped, plucked, pampered, pedicured, and… whatever.

Scarlett glanced down at her digital watch, lying across the neatly folded pile of her standard uniform: well, she liked being pretty, but she just didn't have the patience for all that. She'd showered, taken thirty minutes, and she was ready.

If she knew Snake-Eyes, he'd be here in a moment or two to accompany her to the car—their little ritual, she supposed. He always picked her up from her quarters—it didn't matter whether her 'quarters' were a private suite at an expensive hotel or a little corner of whatever little room they were all holed up in—and walked with her to wherever her transpo was. Jaye's favorite comment about it was, "Awww, it's like kids walking together to school!"

Which, well, wasn't exactly inaccurate.

Snake-Eyes arrived precisely three minutes later—he always showed up promptly on time—and even if he didn't offer to carry her books, he did study her carefully, in her long coat, the heels that made her just about his height. Then he unbuckled one of the knives around his bicep, offering it to her. Scarlett had to laugh, reaching out to touch it: she was pretty sure she'd used that particular knife and strap around her leg in the past.

Tempting, but… no, well, she was wearing a coat, he didn't know that the slit on her dress was actually high enough to flash a thigh-sheath. Plus she didn't want to be walking like a duck, and she could manage heels or a knife around her leg, but probably not both. She grinned, murmured, "No thanks," and reached down to take his hand as they walked.

By the time they made it through the compound to the garage, though, he'd pulled his hand from hers, the way he always did.

It was too hot in the garage; Scarlett grimaced and shrugged off the coat before she started to sweat under it. Sergeant Adams hadn't arrived yet, and Snake-Eyes was having a word with the limo driver—one of Tomax and Xamot's associates from the Czech Republic, if she remembered correctly.

She had to chuckle again, and shake her head. Snake-Eyes didn't leave anything to chance, and she knew he seriously misliked the fact that they weren't going to be using one of their own drivers. Her fiancé understood Czech, but obviously couldn't speak a peep of it; the probability of her driver understanding any ASL was virtually nil.

But Snake-Eyes didn't need to raise his voice to terrify the poor driver—or, for that matter, speak at all. And from the look on the driver's face, he didn't need to understand sign language to get the 'If you let anything happen to her, so help me God…' message.

Scarlett understood that there were things Snake was better at; there were things she was. He was, bar none, the best quiet commando that the G.I. Joes had, but there was a reason they were so often paired up together: she could keep up with him and be his backup when no-one else could. She was marginally less martial, but infinitely more versatile. Snake-Eyes knew that as well as she did, and he'd always acknowledged that her strengths were considerable. They both knew that she was perfectly fine without him.

But he still worried, anyway.

Hence him bullying whoever he thought could have the slightest bit of influence on her safety.

Maybe some other women would have found it irritating, or even offensive—after all, they had the same rank and much the same experience, even if they had different skills.

Scarlett thought it was kind of endearing, truthfully.

Besides, it had nothing to do with her gender: she got nervous and started bullying people whenever he had a solo mission without her, too.

Snake turned with his sharp, liquid grace, and started to head back towards her, her poor supposedly Czech-paramilitary-limo driver visibly shaking in his wingtips behind him.

Then, for the first time in all the years she'd known him, she saw Snake-Eyes trip.

He caught himself, of course—it was more a stumble than a trip, and so small that she wasn't sure anyone else would have noticed, much less cared. It was just the slightest jerk to his fluid stride. But this was her colleague, her fiancé, and she was pretty sure the corollary of "A ninja does not step on a land mine" was "A ninja does not trip. Ever."

Scarlett blinked, concerned, and took a step towards him. "Snake? Are you… don't tell me you're getting sick. You never get sick." He'd nursed her through three bouts of the flu and innumerable colds, but she'd never known any of the ninja to so much as get seasonal allergies. Actually if there was anything she'd always wished he could teach her, it'd been that.

He waved a hand 'no,' and continued walking towards her—a little more slowly.

Her brows furrowed. There was definitely something a little bit off about him, but for the life of her, she couldn't figure out what. And when Snake-Eyes got a bad feeling about things, things were going to go south really fast. "Then what's wrong?"

Her fiancé reached her. Then, to her shock, he yanked up the base of his mask with one hard pull, grabbed her—and kissed her.

Not a brief little 'goodbye' peck on the lips. Not the softer, more wistful, 'I won't have your back this time; come home to me safely,' that he sometimes gave her whenever he was sending her off by herself. It wasn't even the slower, lingering, gentle kiss with which he told her, 'I love you, Scarlett.'

His mouth was firm, moving on hers—not teasing, but demanding—he traced the closed seam of her mouth with the tip of his tongue. Scarlett gasped, and suddenly that tongue was in her mouth, tasting, sleeking along hers in suggestive little thrusts; oh, God, with the way her body drew shockingly tight against his touch, it felt like he was licking somewhere that wasn't just her mouth. His lips were hard and possessive and rough when they drew on hers; the coarse catch of his chest-straps abraded gently against the bared skin of her stomach. The dress, the bra, the damned thong… suddenly, they just weren't enough to insulate her from his heat, but at the same time… they were far, far too much, and she wanted them off.

When he finally yanked away, she barely managed to bite back a moan of raw longing.

Somewhere behind her, very distant against the pounding in her ears and the sudden way she was aching, she heard Sergeant Adams mutter, "Oh, brother."

When her fiancé put her back on her feet—oh; she hadn't really realized he'd swept her off her feet—Scarlett had to keep herself from wobbling on her heels.

Yeah, that had been more of a 'if the mission didn't come first, I would take you, against the wall, right now,' sort of kiss.

"What's gotten into you?" she whispered, shocked, trying to clear the last of the heat from between her thighs—er, ears. He was, as always, an intensely private person, even when it came to their relationship. Especially when it came to their relationship. He definitely never kissed her like that in front of witnesses—walking her to her transport notwithstanding, once the commando gear went on, he was always G.I. Joe's Snake-Eyes, not her Snake-Eyes. The brass had been looking the other way regarding their relationship for years, but… what in the ever-lovin' world? This was a man who let go of her hand before they ever got to the transpo zone!

Her fiancé stepped back, tugging his black mask back down, the fingertips of one hand still resting very lightly at her hips—and very, very obviously, his chin moved as Snake-Eyes gave her a long look up. Then down. Then back up again.

Scarlett's eyes widened, and she glanced down at herself. Right. No coat. High heels. Skimpy dress. Very, very skimpy dress.

Oh.

Snake-Eyes hitched one shoulder in a wry, very eloquent shrug that heavily smacked of, 'Sorry. I guess I'm still a guy, after all.'

Then he cocked his head, still studying her.

Scarlett could almost see the wry little smile on his face when he reached out a hand and ran the very tips of his fingers down the span of her side, her abdomen, bared by the cutout panels. She hissed out a soft, soft sound at the incredibly smooth, strangely sensual feel of his worn, black suede gloves on her bare stomach, his thumb tracing the very lines of muscle she'd looked at in the mirror. She tensed—watched the muscle rise. Saw his fingers tickle upwards to run, curiously, along the band of her bottom ribs. Oh—that felt… odd, having him touching her skin, tracing her curves and grooves and lines, knowing, well… knowing perfectly well that they were both fully clothed.

She tried to say his name, as his hands slid around behind her—mapped out the same delicate patterns on her sides, her back. But she couldn't coordinate her lungs enough to make her voice work at more than a wobbly, 'mmm.'

Her breathing was shaky and uncertain—and she could see his chest heaving—by the time he lifted his fingertips from her skin, she could see him trembling in a faint, almost invisible vibrato. His hand rose towards her face, and she almost leaned towards him—but all he did was run his thumb lightly just along her bottom lip.

Scarlett let her tongue flick out against his fingertip, and he jerked away like she'd nipped him. Then he gave her a look that she could feel searing along her skin, right through the visor—bringing a warmer flush to her cheeks, her neck, that definitely wasn't innocent.

But all Snake-Eyes signed, carefully, was, [You look amazing.]

Then he held up the coat that she guessed she'd probably dropped over his arm when he'd swept her into the kiss, and, equally carefully, helped her back into it.

She and Paige pulled out into the crisp, cold Czech Republic night. Scarlett checked her makeup, just briefly, in the small mirror that the twins had helpfully included in her bag; apparently, this lipstick really was kiss-proof. It was very quiet in the luxurious, leather-upholstered back seat of the limousine.

Well, it was very quiet for a grand total of five minutes.

"You're going to have to wipe that smug smirk off your face before we get to the club, Scarlett," Sergeant Adams muttered, adjusting her glasses.

"Oh, shut up, Sergeant," Scarlett muttered, absently.

Maybe she would ask Tomax and Xamot if she could keep the dress—as payment for having to work with them, of course.

~fin~

Start: June 13, 2009
End: June 14, 2009


-smile- Okay, a pointless story, but what can I say? I love playing with outfits. I hope you enjoyed it!

Comme des Garçons is a Japanese fashion label; the only reason this story is called that is because, well, I really couldn't think of another title… -laugh-