DISCLAIMER: I do not own GI JOE, if I did Ripcord would have never been kissed by Scarlett and Baroness wouldn't have played Hard-To-Get with Destro. Also, Storm Shadow wouldn't have been dumped in the ocean. No money is being made from this so don't bother suing me, you won't get anything. I own nothing except the plot of this story and the word processor it was typed on.

SUMMERY: They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Brothers separated by a lie, a lover struggles for her man's freedom and two soldiers search for answers before it's too late.

Scarlett winced with sympathy and held the hand of her boyfriend of five years tightly while Doc carefully stitched the long gash across his back. She glanced up at Snake's face and could tell that he was clenching his teeth against the discomfort. The only real thing that being a mute did for him, was that he couldn't verbally express the pain he may have been in. Doc clicked his tongue thoughtfully as he tied off the long row of stitches. "Alright, you can sit up now Snake." The GI JOE medical officer carefully bandaged the stitches, and peeled off his gloves dropping them onto the silver instrument tray. "Storm Shadow sliced you up good this time, I had to put almost four dozen stitches in your back, and another sixteen across your abdomen wound. You need to be more careful man, either that, or start wearing actual body armor."

"And lose all my maneuverability? No thanks Doc, I'll just work on getting faster." Snake Eyes signed back. He hissed slightly as he sat up and pulled a soft long sleeved ARMY t-shirt over his head. Gloves and a soft black mask followed, completely hiding the injuries.

"Well either way, I'm putting you on medical leave for the next week or so. After that I might consider clearing you for light duty." Doc turned his attention to Scarlett and handed her a stack of dressing kits. "He'll need help with the injury on his back, so make sure it redressed-"

"Twice a day and kept dry. The pool is off-limits until they've been removed." Shana smiled at the large man, "Gotcha Doc, we know the drill." The red haired JOE tucked the kits under one arm, and wrapped the other carefully around her partner's back to help him out of the infirmary. She felt Snake's slight limp as they made their way down the empty hall, and was silently grateful that Rip had seen fit to drag Duke out to get wasted after the North Pole mission. The last thing she wanted was to have the two newbies hovering and getting in the way. They meant well, but she and Snake liked their privacy.

She pressed her hand to the biometric lock on the door to their 'shared' quarters, (It had been intended to be her quarters alone, but over the last two years or so Snake's things had started to sort of migrate into the space.) and helped him into the dark room, to sit carefully on the low couch. "You want to try and get some sleep? Doc gave you some Zolpidem to help you sleep if you'd like. A few painkillers too."

Snake hesitated, torn between not wanting to leave himself fuzzy and vulnerable, and just wanting to be able to rest painlessly, even if only for a little while. Finally he held out one hand and nodded at her. Shana smiled and handed him two small pills which he dry swallowed and lain down on his side, taking care not to jar his stitches too badly. Scarlett tucked a pillow underneath his head and removed his mask and boots leaving him in his shirt and black sweatpants. Setting both items neatly off to one side she said softly, "I'm gonna go grab some water from the canteen alright?" Her boyfriend nodded, eyes slipping shut.

The woman smiled and ran a gentle hand though his short blond hair. "I'll be right back." Snake nodded slowly as the sleeping meds started to pull him under. She closed the door softly behind her and sighed, the whole trip back to base Snake had been upset about something. She wasn't entirely sure what but had a somewhat sinking feeling that it had something to do with Storm Shadow. She pulled her hair up into a snug ponytail and sighed. Well, whatever was bothering him, Snake would at some point tell her what it was, he wasn't all the good at keeping things from her, never had been. Of course, that went both ways. All he to do was giver that look, the one that said 'I know you need to talk, so talk.' it drove her nuts when he did that.

Down in the large cafeteria area, Shana pulled two large bottles of water out of one of the glass fronted refrigerators and hesitated before adding a large box of RitzĀ© crackers to the pile in her arms. Hopefully he wouldn't be sick when he woke up, but if he was, crackers would always help. She turned and nearly crashed headlong into Wallace "Ripcord" Weems, one of the newest GI JOE recruits. One who she'd thought was spending a night in Cairo with Duke drinking themselves into a stupor.

"Hey Scarlett," Rip said with a wide grin, "How ya doing?" The hopeful expression on his face gave the Intel Officer a sinking feeling that he might have been looking for a follow up to the kiss she'd given him on the last mission.

"Hi Ripcord." Shana replied with a barely audible sigh. "I was just getting a few things to bring back to my quarters." she looked him dead in the face, "Snake Eyes isn't feeling well." She hoped that her careful enunciation of her partner's name would give the Army man the hint without making her come straight out and say it.

"Oh yea? How is the ninja master? I heard he got sliced and diced pretty good back at McCullen's base." Rip suddenly reminded her of all the boys at her high school who used to hang all over her, after putting several of them in the hospital that thankfully stopped. As she stared at the tall pilot, she inwardly groaned as she realized that a few broken bones wasn't going to stop him.

"Listen Ripcord," Shana began, "It's late, and I really want to just go back to my quarters. The last mission really wiped me out you know?"

"Yea I get it. Here I'll walk you back there if you don't mind." He fell in step and Shana sighed, there would be no getting rid of him now. Oh well, I'm not going to worry about damaging his sensibilities. If he wants to follow me it's his own business.

Shana entertained herself with images of Rip's reaction when he realized that Snake was asleep on her couch all the way back down three levels of the Pit right up until she pressed her hand to the lock to open the door. That was when she suddenly realized that her partner would probably kill Rip while in his drugged fog. Too late, the door slid open and the pair of dim lights over the door flicked on automatically, bathing the first six feet or so of the space in dim light. Just enough to reveal that Snake Eyes wasn't having an easy night of it.

The couch was empty, but the sounds of dry heaves coming from the bathroom told her that Snake was awake, and probably not happy about it. Shana dumped her armful of water and crackers onto the low table covered with her textbooks before heading to the bathroom. "Rip just, stay here." she said waving a hand at the living area of the quarters before disappearing into the bathroom.

She knelt down next to her partner and rubbed his back gently being mindful of the stitches and frowned at how hot he felt. He hadn't been running a fever when they left the infirmary. "Snake you ok? The meds doing this?"

The ninja shrugged and rested his head against the side of the toilet tiredly. "Think you can get back to the couch?" Shana asked, "Or do you want to just go to bed?" He shrugged again and she sighed, with a small grin. "Bed it is then, you are one stubborn man do you know that?" He grinned shakily back at her, and she slipped a hand under his arm to lift him up. The walk from the bathroom to the bed was a short one and though Scarlett prided herself on her physical fitness, at the moment her partner was pretty much a hundred and sixty-five pounds of dead weight.

Rip was at Snake's other side in an instant and carefully tugged most of the other man's weight off of her shoulders. Shana smiled gratefully at the other JOE and quickly turned down the sheets so Snake could lie down comfortably. "Thanks Rip," Shana said as soon as her boyfriend had fallen asleep again, the Doc knew his stuff because Shana had never seen a couple of little pills wipe Snake out so fast twice in a row.

"Yea, just hope the Zen master won't tear me a new one over this." Rip chuckled, running a hand over his shaved hair.

Shana grinned, "Well you might be surprised. Snake's is a nice guy once you get to know him, he just lets everyone else do the talking instead." She walked Rip to the door and wished him a good night before turning back to her unconscious partner. Pulling a pair of soft short-shorts out of her dresser and an oversized short sleeved shirt with loud red hiragana scrawled across it, I LOVE KYOTO with tiny stenciled hearts. It was a gag t-shirt that he'd picked up overseas and she had happily commandeered it for her own use as a nightshirt.

A large book on astro-physics open on her lap, Shana propped herself up against the headboard, one arm playing idly with Snake's hair, the other turning the pages in her book. The slim booklight clipped to the cover the only source of illumination as she would continue to keep watch over her sleeping partner, until Cover Girl would proceed to bang on the door at 0700hrs, left arm in a sling and a bright smile on her bruised face.