Here's the prize ficcy that Aloneforvalentines won for correctly guessing the name of the movie I referenced in my fic "Brain Bleach." She asked me to post the fic to the public instead of sending it to her in a PM, so here it is.

She woke, slowly, the remnants of a very odd dream involving a cat, a toboggan, and a bag of marshmallows fading as she blinked.

Scarlett could see that it was just barely sunrise; outside of Snake Eyes' cabin, pink and gold light was still gilding the pine trees and mountains. She was used to waking early for PT, and when she was on leave-like now-she always felt rather deliciously guilty when she woke, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

Snake Eyes was curled around her, warm and deliciously solid, his breathing soft and regular. Scarlett shifted under the heavy arm draped over her waist, rolling over to face the sleeping ninja. He shifted in his sleep, accommodating himself to her new position.

She examined him, smiling to herself. She liked to watch him as he slept; the little worry lines at the corners of his eyes smoothed away, and he looked younger, peaceful. Right now he was even smiling slightly, and she wondered briefly what he was dreaming about. He often teased her because she would sometimes talk in her sleep; she had no such insight into his dream world.

Snake Eyes had always been a quiet sleeper-at least for as long as she'd known him well enough to be able to make observations on his sleeping habits. She'd never known him to so much as snore, even before that disaster in the helicopter had taken his voice. She'd asked him about it, once, half-joking that it must be another of his ninja talents.

He'd surprised her when he nodded assent. Snake Eyes had explained that during his training, any apprentice that began to snore would immediately be woken by one of the senior students. She'd simply shaken her head, amused.

She snuggled herself in against his chest and closed her eyes again. She felt him pull her a little closer, and rest his scarred cheek against her hair. She was smiling as she drifted off again.

When she woke again, hours later, he was gone. The quilt had been carefully tucked in around her; she smiled.

Yawning, she sat up and stretched. Smiled again. Timber was sprawled by the fireplace, paws twitching as he chased deer in his dreams.

She stood, retrieved Snake Eyes' shirt from the floor where she'd tossed it the previous night, and pulled it over her head. Yawing again, she pushed open the cabin door and looked outside.

Her lover was down in the lake, fishing. But it was Snake Eyes' version of fishing, which meant no rod, no bait, and no net…nothing but his bare hands and sheer speed.

As she watched, his hand shot out, and he pulled out a silvery trout. The fish flopped vigorously as it tried to free itself. Snake flipped his catch neatly into the bucket on the shore, then sloshed out of the water, pulled a knife out of God knew where, and started cleaning their breakfast.

Scarlett went back inside to add some wood to the fire, then found the soap and a towel.

Snake Eyes looked to be in a good mood when he pushed open the door. He caught the frying pan she chucked in his direction easily, and raised an eyebrow.

*Nice try, but you can't kill a ninja with a frying pan.* His eyebrows rose as he looked her down, then up, then down again. *Nice outfit.*

Judging by his expression, he meant that sincerely. She smiled, put her hands on her hips, and pouted at him, wearing his shirt and absolutely nothing else. "I hear it's the very latest in Paris. I'm going to take a bath while you cook. I'll be back up in a few minutes."

This time his smile had a sly glitter to it. *I could come help you bathe…breakfast can wait.*

Hmm. That was…tempting, actually. Scarlett considered, but then her stomach complained loudly and she shook her head. "Nuh uh. Get cooking; I'm hungry."

He snapped to attention and saluted crisply. *Yes, ma'm. Right away, ma'm.*

She laughed, walked over, and kissed him; a light little brush of her lips on his. Few people knew that the brooding ninja commando known as Snake Eyes could also be a downright snarky smartass on occasion. Scarlett loved the smartass just as much as she loved the frighteningly competent commando soldier and the surprisingly tender lover.

The water was cold. Snake Eyes never seemed to notice the chill of the spring-fed lake, but it definitely woke her up in the mornings. She towel-dried her hair as she walked back up to the cabin, tried to work through it with her fingers, and gave up. Her hair did not cooperate without a sturdy brush.

The cabin smelled fantastic. Timber was awake, and was giving Snake Eyes his best 'sad starving puppy' eyes. The ninja flipped the wolf a tidbit of fish. Timber snapped it out of the air, and waited expectantly for more.

"You didn't even taste that." Scarlett told the wolf. Timber looked at her, panted happily, and turned his attention back to the fish.

She wrestled the tangles out of her hair and then settled herself at the small table. She happily accepted the plate Snake Eyes offered her.

"Ooh." She made an appreciative noise. "What did you put on this?"

*Secret.* He smiled at her over his own plate. *A ninja never reveals his spice recipe.*

"That's one I haven't heard before." She gulped half a mug of coffee. "Ow!...Hot!"

*Your own fault.* Snake Eyes sipped his own coffee much more carefully. *Coffee is supposed to be hot. I shall not feel sorry for you.*

"You're a heartless bastard."

*I am.* He agreed amiably.

She reached under the table with her leg, and ran her toes up his calf. The immediate heated look she got in response was priceless. "Not even a little sympathy?"

*No…* His hands faltered as she ran her foot higher. *Do you want to finish breakfast or not?*

She took another bite and chewed happily, ignoring him. Pushing Snake Eyes' buttons was one of her favorite pastimes; watching the usually tightly controlled and self-conscious ninja master come completely undone just because of a little extra sway with her hips, an innocent comment, and a bat of her eyes…well, it never got old.

Plus, it was great for a girl's ego, to know she could drive her man completely to distraction with very little effort. On leave, she got to be a little more brazen with her teasing, which was always fun.

Of course, when they were alone he had pretty much no problem with backing her against the wall or dragging her into bed pretty much whenever the mood struck, so her teasing more often than not ended up being foreplay. Not that she minded. At all. Snake Eyes' physical skills were not limited to combat, which had been a very pleasant discovery when they'd first started dating years ago.

"I'll get the dishes." She said cheerfully, as they finished. She stood, leaned very low across the table to pick up his empty plate, carefully lining up her cleavage with his eyes. She smirked at the resulting sharp intake of his breath, and then innocently straightened up and headed for the lake.

When she returned, he was running through his morning kata outside the cabin. Timber had vanished into the woods; the wolf came and went of his own volition.

She put the dishes away, then went back outside and sat in the grass, settling her shoulder blades against the rough logs of the cabin and watching her lover as he shifted easily through the elegant, tightly controlled motions of the kata. She admired the play of his muscles, his grace, the tightly controlled edge of lethality in his movements.

She smiled, watching the man she loved train. She couldn't remember the exact moment she'd fallen in love with him, but it hadn't been a sudden thing. They'd been friends before they'd become lovers, and friendship had deepened to more almost incrementally, but perhaps inevitably.

Some people asked her why she loved him; usually greenshirts who didn't know the cardinal rule of G.I. Joe was to never, but never assume that her and Snake's relationship was something that needed to be questioned. They didn't look past his mask and his scars, but then Snake Eyes used both to add to his mystique; she knew he did. There was a part of her lover that liked the awed respect that he received from most of the Joe team. Not even that small a part.

She smiled and shook her head. Snake Eyes finished his final kata, and she stood, walking up to wrap her arms around his waist from behind.

He twisted around to face her and settled his own arms around her, resting his chin on top her head.

He froze as she ran her fingers down his bare back, tracing the lines of muscle and the myriad of small scars he'd picked up over his years in the service. His chest vibrated; she smiled. He was growling, silently, which meant that she had him really close to the edge.

She nipped at his collarbone. That did the job.

Thirty seconds later and they were in bed, and she was savoring every moment as Snake Eyes worked his way with lips and fingers down her bare torso. She sighed, her hands on his shoulders as he ran his tongue over her nipple. Ah, yes.

Ten minutes later, and the last of their clothes was gone, and Snake settled himself over her, and then he was moving inside her, and it was slow and gentle and so very, very good.

Afterwards, she draped herself over him, enjoying the closeness, the pleasant haze that came post-lovemaking, and the body heat.

She felt him stroke a hand over her hair, and then his lips pressed against the top of her head. His hands moved. *I love you, Shana.*

She smiled against his chest. "I love you too, Snake. Always will."