Title: Move On

Rating: FRT
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Just the idea.
Spoilers: The movie, I guess.
Summary: Oneshot. Scarlett's trip to the mirror; what should have happened… SE/S Movieverse. RoC with bits of Comic canon. First attempt at Joe. Be nice.

Inspired by TiamatV. Read her stuff. It's amazing! Shoo!

Again, first attempted a Joe. All I know is from MarvelWiki and Snake Eyes/Scarlett Declassifieds.

I have nothing against Ripcord. I lost my funny bone in a tragic accident and thus, don't really dig comedic characters, in general. Anyway, he's a good character I guess, I just prefer Scarlett with Snake Eyes.

'Not good enough'.

It was her first, and only thought as she stormed her way into the communal bath and locker room of the Pit.

'Utterly pathetic', she fumed, throwing off the jacket of her camouflage suit and bracing herself against the vanity.

It should have been easy; or, if not exactly easy, then not the most difficult thing that she had ever needed to do. She couldn't count how many times she'd fought hand-to-hand (foot-to-head, fist-to-gut, or whatever preferred body parts of choice), there were just too many years, equaling up to too many fights, both in the Forces and Joe, for her to remember each and every one, but she could easily tally up the fights she'd lost on one hand.

And today, when it counted the most (it always counted the most), with international security and the public's lives at stake, she had failed. Failed her county, failed Joe, failed General Hawk, failed the paperboy and the milk man and the guy who puts those 'Thin Ice' signs on said thin ice; all of them!

She never doubted herself, or her limits – 'Get back up on that horse, Shana', her dad would always say - but God damnit, four live Nanomite warheads were on their way to God knows where to do God knows what and there wouldn't have been if she hadn't of lost.

Shana O'Hara doesn't lose. The word 'lose' or any equivalent is not in her vocabulary. But (and that's a big but)…but if by some chance she does, she accepts it gracefully (which she had learned the hard way), not only because her opponent would clearly be the better of the two, but for the reason that an unsuccessful spar in training, or a lost fight in the real world only signals for areas of improvement.

Bullets, explosions, artillery she could handle; punches, swings, roundhouse kicks – no problem, hell, falling a couple stories and smashing into crates and a cement floor she had no qualms about either; then why did she fail?!

Everything had been going smooth, (as smooth as a sudden attack of home base could be), and she had stuck with her opponent – Duke had said her name was Ana - blow-for-blow until Ana wrapped that chain around her neck and squeezed for all she was worth. Yes, she thought quick and activated the cloaking on the camo suit, but not before a strangled gasp and mild flicker of panic.

The oil thrown on her, revealing her position, didn't much help either and in one swift kick to her head, she was dancing between consciousness and not, the weight of this Ana being removed from her and disappearing completely.

Disgusted with herself, she briefly checked on base status – wings, halls and training grounds destroyed, wounded and/or dead on every level, Hawk critical but stable, Courtney dead, case… gone – before finding her own privacy in the lavatory.

Resting her hands on the sink in front of her, her elbows locked with tension, she took deep breaths, calming the anger that wafted off of her like the scent of a 5 day Amazon recon.

'You can do better, Shana', she heard her own voice say, sounding as if it were 9 years old and choked with sobs of a frustrated white belt rookie. 'Stand, suck it up, learn and move on.'

Shaking her head, she turned on the faucet, cupped her hands and splashed her face, the chilly water cooling the sweaty skin and calming the livid soul. Letting the water drip off her chin, she opened her eyes and took a good hard look in the mirror, not preparing herself for what she had, in her rage, momentarily forgotten.

Pulling her hair away from her neck, she examined the damage caused by the heavyweight chain-link coil when it wrapped around her throat. Flushed skin was quickly darkening into little ringlets of 1 and a half inch oblong links along her collar bone and neck, while small red gouges of torn flesh showed where the rough edges of the chain dug and scrapped.

She had experienced worse, much worse, but never had she come that close to… she had enough confidence in herself that she refused to say death, but she wasn't full of herself enough to grasp that she could have suffered some serious damage.

Wincing a little, she dried her face and dabbed the damp cloth along the flawed skin.

Leaning in closer, she was about to examine the damage further, when a dark figure entering the room reflected in the mirror in front of her.

Subtly, she moved her hair back to drape along her shoulder, doing a slap-happy job of covering the bruises, and concentrated on folding the wash cloth. Ducking her head, she smoothed out non-existent wrinkles in the material before quickly glancing at him.

"Hey," she said, attempting to sound normal, but when you're three shuddery breaths away from an emotional response, (frustration or defeat, she didn't know) that's easier said than done.

A soft touch at the small of her back said he saw right through her.

Moving to stand beside her, he cocked his head to the left, [You okay?]

She swiftly glanced at Snake Eyes before turning away, "Yeah, fine."

Feeling his hand run up the length of her spine, she held back what might, could, possibly have been a prelude to a sob as he moved his head in an attempt to be more face on with her.

She refused to look at him.

Could she be anymore transparent? She always looked at him. No matter what the scenario, she always watched, always glanced, always read his thoughts, feelings, and emotions through his body language or his stance. It took some time, but she had quickly figured out what he was saying simply by the way he held himself. Now, that she wasn't looking at him, she was fearful of his reaction. Would he be ashamed? She knew he wouldn't be, but still, the thought was there.

Feeling the hand at her spine lift, she almost sighed with relief. Was he going to let it go? Apparently not. That same hand moved to swipe the hair from her shoulder, exposing the dark bruises along her neck and collarbone.

Of course he would see. If he didn't already know how to read her, he was a Ninja. Ninja's see everything. Underneath the underneath.

Softly, he ran the pads of his gloved fingers against the marred skin, probing the damage for himself. Around her neck, up her throat, across her collar bone, down her scapula, then up again.

Her eyes closed, and her head titled back. It always worked this way. She'd be angry, upset, or just plain despondent and a simple touch from him always calmed and elicited a response no one had ever come close to getting. It was both fortunate and a shame that she was the only one that knew that his serene Ninja persona could also work in everyday life, instead of just spiritual balance and being one with nature.

Snake traveled his hand along the base of her throat before bringing his index and middle fingers to curve along her jaw. Pulling gently towards him, she was brought back to face him.

Damned tears stung the corners of her eyes, "I didn't want anyone to see me like this."

Snake Eyes cocked his head to the right, [I'm not anyone.]

A small grin flickered across her face, "I know, but of all the men we lost, General Hawk wounded, my neck just doesn't seem that important."

He nodded and ran the back of his index finger against her throat. [I understand, but you can be bothered by it.]

She smile minutely, and shook her head, as if ridding the shame from her body. "First fight I lost since I was a kid. My father taught me to win."

He put out a hand in a half-shrug, [I lost my fight, too.]

Her eyes widened as she watched him. Snake Eyes doesn't lose. Not worrying about her bruises or wounded pride, she turned towards him and placed a hand on his chest, running her fingers up the torso plains of his bodysuit. "You ok?"

He shrugged and titled his head, [Let's just say I know what you're feeling right now.]

She smiled sympathetically at him, not bothering to ask the identity of his successful challenger. There was only one person Snake Eyes could lose to.

"You want to talk about it?"

Snake's shoulders shook in a silence chuckle, [Do you?]

Scarlett smiled, "Touche."

She could tell by the way he ran his hands up her arms that he was giving her one of those secret smiles reserved for her. [I'll ask again, are you okay?]

She bore a hole through his chest, "I…I just got thinking about how things began slipping out of my hands. What I did. What I could have done. You know..."

She knew Snake raised an eyebrow, [And?]

"Next time we spar, I want to try the chain, just to see what I could do differently if the situation ever arises again."

He nodded, [Whatever helps.]

"Anything I can do to help you?" she asked, looking up at him.

He shook his head, [Just keep doing what you're doing. We can't predict our next battles, but we can prepare.]

Scarlett nodded, and leaned into him to rest her head on his shoulder, "They came for a case; a damn case that just happened to be housing deadly missiles." She laughed dryly. Being in Joe as long as she had, she had come to realize people would do anything to get anything, no matter how small, or what the costs.

She felt Snake nod, and she turned her head to watch his hands, [Nothing we can do about that.]

"I know," she said, pulling away from him and moving to a bench to pick up the discarded jacket of her camouflage suit. "It's just frustrating," she weakly huffed, zipping the jacket up high around her throat and un-tucking her hair from the collar. She briefly contemplated a ponytail before letting the red strands fall along her neck and turned back to Snake Eyes, who cocked his head toward the door. [We should go.]

Scarlett nodded, "Yeah," but instead, made her way over to him. Moving to stand in front of him, she braced her hands on either side of his neck and softly kissed where his lips would be under his mask. She had kissed him with his mask on before, but the feel of heavy cotton against her lips always made her smile. Kissing someone's lips was in some-way-or-other, the same. Kissing his mask was a feeling only you could get with him.

He touched her arm briefly, saying the sentiment was appreciated, before flattening his hand against the small of her back and leading her out the door.

'Stand, suck it up, learn and move on.'

Next time she wouldn't lose.

Author's Note: Again, I know very little about Joe. Just wanted to experiment after seeing the movie. Ugh! They seem waaaay too touchy-feely to me. Alright, fine! I can't write these characters! Happy now? Is it too OOC?

Mask: no idea what it's made out of, and yes, I know the movie has a rubber one. I wanted more of the comic one.