(An 'omake' is an 'extra,' or a bonus. Or an outtake. This is not necessarily supposed to actually be part of the story… it's just silliness. I used to write a lot of these for Prince of Tennis, and I've discovered I kind of miss them…)

"Well, you look well-loved," Storm Shadow told Scarlett, the next morning.

Stalker pinched the bridge of his nose. He did not just... yeah. Yeah, he really did. Tommy didn't need a muzzle, he needed a surgically implanted zipper. Hadn't the man learned yet that one of the cardinal rules of G.I. Joe was to never, ever, ever refer to Snake's and Scarlett's sex life?

True, Scarlett had a particularly nice smile on her this morning, but he could not think of a single other person—except maybe Clutch—who would feel the need to comment on it like that. And, actually, Clutch had been the recipient of Scarlett's famously fast kicks often enough that even he sometimes thought twice.

Scarlett, however, just raised both eyebrows and replied, sweetly, "Why? Jealous?"

Stalker shot Scarlett an appalled look. It was almost worth it that notoriously unflappable Storm-Shadow was giving her just about the same look… except more so.

Great. Now both he and Storm-Shadow had a visual they didn't need. Thanks, Shana.

Unfortunately, as Scarlett walked over and poured out a cup of coffee for herself, it didn't seem like Stormy's migraine was going to keep him from talking. When Stalker glanced over, Storm Shadow was leaning back in his chair, spinning the stirrer in his own coffee, and studying her curiously. "So our little plan worked?"

This time, when Scarlett turned around and leaned on the kitchenette, the microwave spinning noisily behind her, her smile had a hint of a glitter to it. Briefly, she glanced in Stalker's direction and gave him a shrug that looked a little apologetic. "Yes, it worked like a dream. Thank you, Tommy."

Storm-Shadow shrugged off the thanks with a quick motion of his shoulder. "My pleasure. I'm surprised, though. Does it not… bother you, when my sword-brother gets all… hmm… macho, like he did yesterday?"

"Hmmm?" Scarlett reached into the microwave and pulled out her oatmeal. She stirred it, and took a thoughtful bite. "No. Why would it?"

"You know how it is. Caveman behavior, derogatory towards women… I could go on." Storm-Shadow waved a flippant hand into the air. "I've heard the way you've talked to Destro, Cobra Commander, when you're in front of them. Or the way you talked to me… didn't you take offense to me calling you a 'pretty thing' the first time we met?"

"Oh… that's right." Scarlett took another mouthful of oatmeal. "I bit you."

Stalker was very, very glad he was finished with his own breakfast… he didn't think the ninja man would have appreciated having a mouthful of coffee sprayed all over his clean white uniform. "Scarlett! You did what?"

"He'd just kidnapped me and was chaining me up in Cobra Commander's castle," she replied, dryly. "As I was handcuffed, I figured it was the least I could do."

"See?" Storm-Shadow shrugged, as Stalker eyed the two of them. Snake-Eyes was one thing, but hadn't realized that they had some kind of weird history, too. "I told you. Bastion of women's lib. I'm surprised you didn't threaten to geld my sword-brother with your crossbow when he threw you over his shoulder.

Yet another image Stalker didn't think he'd ever have needed, and yet would probably never be able to get out of his mind. He was really going to have to stop hanging around with Snakes, if Storm Shadow was going to be right there beside them.

But Scarlett was laughing, her head thrown back, and when she stopped, she was smiling. A very nice smile, actually. Kind of like the one she'd come in with—softer, a bit warm, a little sleepy-eyed. She only ever had it on her face when she was talking about Snake, which had always struck Stalker as kind of sweet. "Oh, please, Tommy. I'm not that insecure. I like it when he does things like that—it's fun. Kind of adorable, actually."

Tommy Arashikage had, they all knew, seen a lot. Been through a lot. Stalker wasn't sure what to make of Tommy's jaw dropping. "Silent commando. Ninja warrior. Boogeyman to Cobra children everywhere," he started, slowly. "And did you just say he was… adorable?"

Scarlett shrugged. "Everyone's got their moments."

Stalker stared at her. Okay, yeah, she and Snakes had five years of being a couple behind them, but… had she seriously just called Snake-Eyes, their Snake-Eyes, cute?

That was about when Tommy started laughing.

He was winding down when Snake-Eyes stepped in, walking over to buss Scarlett gently on the cheek—he always did—and nodding to Stalker. Stalker nodded back. Did Snake know that that friend of his—martial skills aside—really was certifiable? He hoped so, because having a mildly unstable ninja on the team didn't seem like a good idea. One was more than enough, and at least he had a girlfriend to keep him grounded.

But Tommy had just about the widest smirk across his face that Stalker had ever seen on a human face when he sat back straight in his chair again, wiping away the tears of laughter in the corner of his eyes. The fact that it was stretched across the face of one of their ninja commandos only made it more disturbing.

"Ne, 'dachi… omae tte—sugoku kawaee… sou da ze," he announced, with a scary parody of cheer. Then he put his head back down on the table, his shoulders shaking with hilarity.

"What did he say?" Stalker muttered to Scarlett, his eyebrow raised.

"No clue. My Japanese is limited to martial arts terms." She took another bite of oatmeal, but her own eyebrow was conspicuously up. "Tommy? Snake? What's going on?"

Snake-Eyes glanced at Storm-Shadow—who was practically having hysterics on the table—reached out—and calmly, but none-too-gently, whacked his sword-brother across the back of his head.

Oh. Well, that was as clear a 'shut your trap' as Stalker had ever seen Snake-Eyes give anyone.


June 20, 2009

Storm-Shadow's line, roughly translated, is very casual Japanese: "Hey, buddy… so I hear you're… really cute?" Why, yes, I realize that this was an even deeper foray into pure silliness. -laugh- What can I say, Author376 and I were debating macho behavior and possessiveness and how women react to macho behavior... and how ninja react to being called 'cute.' ^^;