A/N: I want to thank you for all the wonderful support you guys have offered me during this fiction. I'm very glad that you all seem to be enjoying it. I hope to continue writing, but recently I've become a little ill so I had more time at home. I will be returning to work tomorrow, so I thought I would give you guys this before I left.
There are bridges on life's highway
But we never see them there.
Some cross troubled waters
Some don't go nowhere.
Some you wouldn't step on,
If you were trying to save your soul.
One comes with a keeper
When it's time to pay the toll.
Some aren't meant to last forever
Some are made of stone.
Some are meant to cross together,
Some you go alone.
Some the slightest wind can send them,
Crashing to the ground.
I set our bridge on fire,
But I could not burn it down.
Broken Bridges-Toby Keith
Scarlett sighed hanging her head slightly as she pulled the blankets tighter around her body. The covering did nothing to relieve the shiver running down her spine as memories played over in her head much like a never ending movie. Duke lay beside her snoring lightly, hair tangled and so much different than his normal formal appearances. His bare chest rose and fell in a rhythmic manner as he remained blissfully unaware of the battle his girlfriend was facing.
He had given her a choice and like the independent individual she was, Scarlett had made it on her own. He felt no guilt over the situation nor even dwelled on it. Sure, Duke was agitated that he had lost a trusted colleague and solider, but nothing went above that. He was not in the wrong, which left all the blame with Scarlett herself although she was still unsure of why the ninja had left exactly in the first place.
It wasn't as if she hadn't been dancing, flirting with both men for years now. Snake hadn't seemed to mind her teasing which she took to mean he was okay with it. Duke had grinned and played along teasing right back. She had come to love them both. Snake's caring, unselfish devotion and need to please and Duke's bold brave actions that left her feeling weak to the knees.
Now one of the constants in her life had vanished without so much as a trace. Not that she would ever predict that he would. Hell, if he died his body would probably just fade into nothing. What had happened that day? What had taken place in the battle with Storm Shadow? Was he even alive now? What was he doing right now? Was he even thinking about them?
All of these questions plagued her mind as sleep eluded her adding more color to her already eyes. Tomorrow she would request Duke to allow a search just incase there had been foul play in Snake's disappearance. Duke of course would agree to it; he would never turn her down at least not this new into the official relationship.
Scooting down and pulling the blankets above her head, Scarlett closed her eyes planning on tomorrow's events. Tomorrow she would at least try to find out some answers starting with Japan and that island. There had to be something there…something to explain all of this. At least she hoped.
Scarlett's eyes narrowed in concentration as she careful started clipping the brightly colored wiring. Normally this job would be left to someone a little more bomb savvy, but there was no one else at least at this moment. The others were too busy spread out across several countries in the same predicament as she.
'Damn these Cobras' she thought to herself as a bead of sweat dropped from the tip of her nose making an almost unheard thump upon the ground below. This device was designed a little differently than she had first expected and thought she hated him with every fiber of her being, she had to give Mindbender some credit. Some of his inventions and experiments weren't half bad….
Duke paced behind her keeping a careful eye on the steel doors rifle at the ready.
"They know we are here. I don't know why they haven't burst in yet…"
Scarlett grumbled something along the lines of 'like you could do this any better' before clipping one more wire pulling it aside to reach several others.
"Maybe our guys got to them first."
"I highly doubt that. Our guys are good, but we are outnumbered 20 to several hundred here. Who could take on those odds?"
A smirk tugged at the corner of her lips as one imaged flashed across her mind.
"Oh no not him again. Careful, Scarlett, or someone is going to think you have a crush on our ninja."
"Maybe I do?" She rolled her shoulders standing up and dusting off her knees. "I don't see how that is your business."
"Are you…" Duke shook his head in annoyance. "Not the time or the place for this conversation."
"You brought it up, solider boy. I just went with the flow. I can't help it your jealous…"
The blonde's mouth opened to protest but quickly closed when the door began to spark slightly as welders and heat from the other side began to boil and burn through it surface.
"See, I told you they couldn't hold them off forever. I guess your ninja didn't finish them off…"
Scarlett wanted to say something not so nice to her commander, but thought better of it biting her bottom lip as she drew her crossbow from her right side waiting patiently for the door to open.
Just as sudden as the noise and sparks had started, they stopped. Everything went silent after one pain filled groan and thump. It made her curious at best, but she knew that it could all be a trick to draw them out from their ground and better position. One that she would not fall for at least…
"What do you think just happened out there?" questioned Duke as he kept his eyes trained on the door. He obviously thought it was a trick as well as his finger moved slightly towards the trigger.
"I don't know, do I? Wasn't standing out there."
He was interrupted yet again as the broken door slide open a few inches just enough for their ninja to squeeze through. He saluted Duke as he sheathed his sword smiling underneath his mask his visor turning to look at Scarlett only ignoring Duke's presence for the moment.
He brought his hands up talking the only way he was able to now after the accident.
'Are you alright?'
One 'haha' look at her commander before she nodded strolling in a teasing manner and pulling Snake's mask up long enough to grace his lips with a small kiss. It was against regulations, but she had felt a reward was in order. After all it wasn't every day that Duke had to eat his words.
She groaned as a gentle grip shook her shoulders. Another groan as the red head rolled over pulling the blankets tighter around herself.
"Five more minutes…."
"Scarlett this is important. You're the one that asked for this. Don't you even want to know what they found?"
She bolted up almost instantly awake eyes locked onto Duke's own.
"I thought that would wake you up. Scarlett, I'm not going to lie this looks bad, but…"
"Just tell me already. Don't toy with me. I can take it."
Duke sighed running his hand over his head.
"We found a grave…looks like it was meant for Storm Shadow."
She covered her mouth in shock. It wasn't as if she never excepted the ninja's battle to end this way at some point, but…He had killed his brother. His first friend and the only family he had ever known.
"Scarlett, before you go jumping to stuff let me finish."
"Well then finish."
"It was empty…."
"Still…" She could feel the tears well up in her eyes. "He thinks he killed his brother….We have to find him now more than ever."
Duke nodded leaning down to kiss her forehead in a comforting manner hiding the jealously he felt at that moment.
"I'll do everything in my power to find him."