Later, back in the Pit, Kamakura followed his nose towards the kitchen. Melted butter…brown sugar…chocolate….

Sean Collins knew the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies. His mother had often used them as bribes for himself and his sister when they were young.

Roadblock was humming to himself, coated to the elbows in flour. The big heavy machine gunner had kicked the usual kitchen staff out for the evening; there were several loaves of what looked like cinnamon-raisin bread cooling on the counter, and…ooh…several fresh blueberry pies.

Lunch tomorrow was going to be fantastic.

Kamakura edged towards the fridge; you couldn't have fresh chocolate chip cookies without milk.

"Hey, kid." Roadblock said cheerfully. "The ones on the end just came out, so they're still hot…don't burn yourself. Glad to see you up and about; Doc let you out already?"

"He said that I was out of danger." Kamakura balanced a dozen cookies and fished a glass out of one of the cupboards.

"Good…I was going to send some of those up with Jinx for you; I made them with you in mind."

Kamakura grinned happily. "Thanks."

The kitchen door creaked open again; a familiar red-haired head poked in. "I smell chocolate…Kamakura!"

Damn it. Kamakura sighed. "Hello, Scarlett."

"Where have you been? Doc and Lifeline have been looking all over! You're not supposed to be up until tomorrow!" Scarlett scowled. "I'm going to kill Snake…bad enough he slips out when Doc tells him to stay put and recuperate. Now he's got you doing it, and don't give me that look." She frowned. "I know that man…he knows perfectly well what you were up to. He probably recommended an escape plan and met you at a rendezvous point to see how you did."

Kamakura kept his face schooled into a bland non-expression. "Doc said that I am out of danger; he just wanted me to stay for observation. I had other things to do."

Scarlett sighed. "God, he's turning you into a younger version of himself…and don't look so smug about that fact."

Kamakura didn't unstraighten his spine. "Thank you, Scarlett. That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."

Roadblock started laughing. "Scarlett, that ninja of yours selected apprentices just as stubborn and tough as himself. If Doc said he's out of danger, I wouldn't worry."

Kamakura grinned. "Thank you, Roadblock."

Scarlett sighed again, more resignedly this time. "I'm used to worrying about stubborn ninja; it's not out of my way. And I like Kamakura; he's a good kid. Who, by the way," She glanced at the apprentice, "is coming with me, back to the infirmary. Where he's going to stay until Doc says he can leave."

Kamakura sighed. Scarlett raised an eyebrow. "Kiddo, I can wrangle Snake into submission. You don't have a chance."

"She's right, you know." Roadblock pulled a pan out of the oven.

Kamakura swallowed the last of his food and stood. "I know better than to upset Scarlett." He sighed. "I'll be good."

It was true; he wasn't about to talk back to the counterintel agent any more than he was about to talk back to his Sensei. Scarlett tended to treat Snake Eyes' apprentices rather like a broody mother hen when they were hurt, and she got out of sorts when they, in her eyes, put themselves in danger. When Scarlett was irritated, Sensei was usually grumpy too, and a grumpy Snake Eyes wasn't something that any of the apprentices liked to see.

Scarlett smiled. "I know you will. You're not quite as much of a stubborn idiot as Snake yet."

"I shall work on that." Kamakura didn't think Sensei would be angry that he'd been caught; Scarlett had a knack for tracking down errant ninja. Snake Eyes, surely, knew that better than anyone; Scarlett regularly located him when the ninja master was the one dodging medics. Kamakura wasn't nearly at his Sensei's level yet, and he couldn't imagine that Snake Eyes would blame him for being trapped by the counterintel agent.

"I'm sure you will." Scarlett smiled despite herself. "He's quite proud of the progress he's made with you so far…another few years and you'll be just as bad as he is."

Kamakura straightened happily. "I hope so."


Yeah…Scarlett's got ninja-wrangling down to a fine art. "Grins."