Okay, since BeachHead has decided to try to get know CoverGirl better, he's been attempting to 'date' as best as they are able in the confines of the Pit. This means going to eat together in the messhall or hanging out and talking.. very casual things like this.

Just as a note, I've been mostly absent due to my computer getting a virus and dying a horrible death, taking ALL of my written work(some 80K words lost irretrievably it looks like). So most updates will be delayed as I re-write FROM scratch everything that was lost. Please see my profile for a updated plan of action in my writing.

Thanks for being great readers! I hope you enjoy this. I own no rights to GI Joe nor the characters, and I make no money from my writings using the characters only in homage to the greatness that is Hasbro and all affiliated owners of the GI Joe license. Long live Hama.

* * * *

CoverGirl smiled to herself. The messhall was packed, Roadblock's lasagna night wasn't to be missed for anything. If you were on duty you could relax because Roadblock was kind enough to send dinner to you if possible. If you had a dinner break you were in the messhall. Tonight was no exception. But the food wasn't the reason behind her smile.

She glanced up at her table companion as he frowned at Dusty who had crowded up behind him trying to squeeze past.

"Watch it.." His warning tone made the hapless trooper jump.

Dusty gave a slight grin, lifting his tray a bit higher. "Sorry Beach.. trying to get to my seat!" He slid past and turned to his friends already seated and eating. Dusty was one of the most liked members of Joe. If a new member didn't like Dusty well.. when that happened she supposed someone would think of something. So far, it wasn't an issue.

"Are ya not feelin' well?" Beach was peering at her from under lowered brow.

She shook her head quickly. "I'm fine. I was just thinking." She put another bite in her mouth and waited for the quip.

"Thinkin'll give ya headaches Barbiedoll. Try jus' eatin' instead." His eyes crinkled slightly at the corners and she smiled and rolled her eyes at him. "Ya better eat.. someone might decide yer gonna waste that plate of lasagna and take it from ya."

She hunched over her plate and put her elbows out, growling. "Let's see 'em try!" Beach suddenly lifted his head looking past her and she twisted to see what had caught his attention. When she didn't see anything of note she turned back to ask him what he'd seen and noted her missing plate. "Ha ha. Very witty, Mr soon-to-be neutered Ranger."

He almost cracked a smile as he set her plate back. "Ya practically asked fer it."

"I did indeed." Tucking into her meal properly, she still watched the drill instructor as he ate. His balaclava was tucked into the shoulder of his tactical vest safely. Pulling it off had caused his hair to become rumpled up in messy locks still showing traces of mud from his latest obstacle course. "Why didn't you shower before dinner?"

She saw him stiffen defensively. "Didn't wanna be late meetin' ya."

"I'm that important?" She let a hint of teasing show in her voice and saw him relax just a little. "Well.. maybe me and the lasagna too? More lasagna or more me?"

"More you. Kinda.. hmm.." He considered that with mock seriousness. "I'd say about seventy/thirty.. you/lasagna."

"I'm flattered." She wiped the smears of marinara sauce off her plate with a bite of bread.

He got his last bite swallowed. "Yeah? Ya should be. This is good danged lasagna. Plus.. Ah missed lunch." She could see the slightest bit of smiling at the corner of his mouth telling her he was enjoying teasing her. Good mood tonight then.

Getting up, she took his tray and dumped them back into the kitchen bin. "Soo.." He stepped up beside her as she walked slowly out of the messhall, moving towards the Joe living quarters level. "Sooo... I was thinking that perhaps it would be a nice night for a stroll topside later after it gets dark. Supposed to be clear skies."

He nodded absently. "Yeah.. gonna be cold though." He wasn't even looking at her and she took a breath.

"Yes..well. I think it would be nice out.. nice night." She gave him a significant look.

"Take a jacket. Wouldn't want ya to catch a chill or nothin'." He stopped walking when she did, looking calmly down at her where she puffed out an exasperated breath. "What?"

Swallowing the first four retorts about him being totally obliviously to everything, she calmed herself and smiled. "Beach. Would you like to go for a walk topside later tonight with me?"

He frowned and opened his mouth to say no.. then suddenly got a strange look as if something just had occurred to him. "Oh." She was treated to him blushing just a little bit in embarrassment. "Sorry. Umm.. been a long day? Can I use that excuse?" She nodded. "Okay. Yes.. love to go fer a walk. I got time to hit the showers?"

"Of course. I'd like for you to smell a bit better than you do right now. Nothing personal.." She sent a flirty glance his way. "..but.. if I'm planning on being close to you, I'd like to smell something other than the squishy green mud."

"No problem. I was running tripwires in one of the mudpits. Up to my eyebrows in it. I'll clean up." He wandered off and she wondered about how he could be totally embarrassed about missing the hints and clues.. yet totally nonchalant about smelling like a pigpen. She decided that the fact that he felt she was worth rushing to the messhall without showering, and that she was worth showering to go walking with.. was flattering. It was that or fling her hands up in the air and curse loudly. Since she'd already DONE that three times this week, she'd chose to believe it was flattering. After all, it was only wedsday.

* * * *

CoverGirl finally wandered up to the surface when BeachHead didn't reappear. As she somewhat suspected, she found him just outside the motorpool entrance standing patiently in the dark. His casual clothing of teeshirt and fatigue pants with no mask seemed almost like finding him in his pajamas. When she sighed at him, his face turned to watch her coming up.

She saw his head duck slightly as he spoke quietly into the darkness. "Thought maybe you changed yer mind." To her surprise there was hurt in his tone and she moved up to beside him to look up at his face.

"I wouldn't do that. I thought we were meeting downstairs and walking up to here.. so I was waiting for you." She smiled at him. "But I figured out you must be already up top, so here I am."

He relaxed just enough for her to notice. "Oh." He tucked his hands into his pockets and looked aside. "Umm.. so.. here we are. You wanna pick a direction?"

"A direction?" Some times the man was just cryptic.

He gave a light sigh. "Ya wanna go fer a walk.. be easier to know what direction ya wanna head in.. otherwise, it's hard ta follow ya."

Twisting her lips, she stared at him for a second and then turned and pointed. "Let's go that way." He agreeably fell in beside her as she walked. "Some times I really wonder about you, Beach."

He raised one eyebrow at her, walking along easily with hands in pockets. His longer legs meant he didn't have to try to keep up with her stride. "What do you wonder about me? I ain't one to go sharing everything.. but not like ya can't go ahead and ask."

"Really?" She watched him nod. "Well.. don't take this the wrong way but.. have you EVER dated a girl? You have to be the worst guy ever at picking up on cues."

She saw him look uncomfortable. "Well.. I'm sorry."

"It's okay.. I just.. " Suddenly she stopped talking and looked at him. "You didn't answer the question."

Now he looked highly uncomfortable. "No.. I guess I didn't." He gestured slightly for her to go around the heavy wall separating the obstacle course area from the general PT space. "I don't really.. I mean.." He stopped walking and looked at her. "No, I haven't really ever dated no one. There. Now.. you can go fill in all the rest of the guys so they can all nod their danged heads and say 'well, why would any lady want to go datin' him anyway?' and they can have a good danged laugh."

"BeachHead.. I wouldn't.. I wasn't implying.." CoverGirl sighed at him. "Ever??"

"No.. not really." He moved to the side of the wall to lean his back against it. "When the heck was I supposed to go datin' anyone? Growin' up.. no money, no prospects, no girls interested and no time nor money to date 'em. Once I got into the Army.. no time and it was considered inappropriate conduct most of the time.. when I was in country even. What sort of datin' was I supposed to do? I didn't really go for the bars.. don't do well under the influence.. as ya know by now.." He shrugged at her smile. "Yeah yeah.. not one to hold my liquor well.. it's either fight or get into trouble some unique way."

"Yeah, I guess. But most Army guys.. especially the young ones.. they find some willing girl in a nearby town. You know.. have some fun, go out places." She turned to lean against the wall beside him, settling into his faded shadow cast by the half full moon. "Why didn't you ever do that?"

She saw him twitch visibly and wondered at that. His shoulders bunched up and she could almost hear his breathing hitch slightly. "Wasn't.. I mean.." His face turned aside. "I wasn't allowed to.. and then I got assigned to a combat unit and sent over to the jungles."

"What do you mean 'not allowed to', Beach?" CoverGirl tried to watch his face but he suddenly relaxed and she cursed in her head. He'd come up with a suitable way to put her off the subject.

"Just wasn't allowed really.. young guys got in trouble for that.. besides, was only a year a'fore I was overseas with my unit. They only sent me back to go through Ranger school. Sure wasn't no time for nothin' at all during Ranger training." Now he looked down at her with a wicked look. "Wait.. do I get ta count hookers?"

"Beach!!" She punched his arm lightly. "Don't you dare tell me you went around picking up prostitutes!"

"Okay.. I won't tell ya." His amusement made her give him another punch. "Ow! Dang.. I was jus' answerin' yer danged questions!"

"I did not ask you if you picked up hookers."

"Nooo.. but ya did ask about datin' women.. I guess it's related.. vaguely."

"Alright then.." She straightened her expression to a serious mien. "Where did you pick up hookers?"

To her surprise he blushed so hard, she could see it in the moonlight even. "Well.. ya know.."

"No, actually I don't. So tell me." She crossed her arms. "You brought it up."

"I did, didn't I? I am stupid at times. Alright.." He tried very hard to look nonchalant as he fidgeted. "Fine.. one right out of Basic, one of those stupid young men out celebratin' type things. Two overseas when we wasn't out on patrol or on duty. So there. Three." His casual tone was belied by the fact that he wouldn't look anywhere near her direction.

"Three? Wait.. wait.." Suddenly CoverGirl looked appalled. "Wait.. does that mean.. you've only had sex.. three times? In your LIFE?"

"Well.." Now he looked up at the moon. "Nooo.. I guess not."

"Spill it Sneeden. How many times have you had sex?" She waited.

"Five." His quick answer startled her.

"Five? In your WHOLE life? You're kidding! Is that physically possible for a guy?" She clamped down on the laugh that wanted to escape so badly. It would irretrievably damage his ego if she laughed at him right now.

"Five.. and yeah obviously it's possible. How many times have you had sex?" His challenging tone made her wish to laugh die immediately.

"More than five."

"That's not a real answer. I told you. You should tell me." She was relieved to hear the amused tone creeping back into his voice.

"Well.. I didn't offer to answer questions, you did. Soo.. more than five." She scooted over a little closer to him and lowered her voice. "And before you start thinking about it.. no one in Joe.. and no one you've ever met. So.. there you go." He nodded. "It IS a nice night out, isn't it?"

"Yeah. It's clear, just cold." Glancing down at her, Beach seemed to consider something for a moment and she tried not to hold her breath at the thought he would finally DO something. "You should have a jacket on. Yer gonna get cold out here."

She sighed again. "I know. I'm feeling a bit cold already." She straightened up and moved away from the wall. "Where shall we walk to next?"

He followed her across the dry grass. "Well.. if'n yer not freezin'..." She assured him she was fine. "How about we climb instead of walk?"

"Climb what?" She looked up as he gestured towards his obstacle course's climbing tower. The basic open frame with several levels of floors was used mainly in team climbing. It was possible for one person to climb the entire thing.. but difficult. "Climb up the tower? Is this some sort of way to get me to do extra PT?"

"No Barbiedoll.. I just thought you'd like to see the view from up top." She rolled her eyes and he pointed. "Just get up there!" His sudden grab at her waist to boost her up to the first level made her squeak. She grabbed the 'floor' of the next level and pulled herself up. Before she could turn to assist him, he'd already jumped up to lift himself up on his hands, swinging a leg over the edge easily. He held out cupped hands to offer to boost her to the next level, and she sighed at him and reached up to grasp the edge of the floor, putting her knee into his hands to be lifted up easily. "Watch out.." He faced outwards this time, reaching up to hold the floor above his head and kicking out to flip over onto the next level beside her.

"Show off." She couldn't help but grin at him as she accepted the boost up again, clapping her hands lightly as he repeated the flip for her. "You really do like being all vain about your physical abilities, don't you?"

"Ain't bein' vain if it ain't a boast.. " He shot her a almost boyish grin as he swung himself out onto the upright corner log and shimmied up it instead. Leaning over the edge, he reached down towards her. Gimme yer hand." Grasping it, he lifted her slight form up. "Don't be thinkin' I don't expect ya to climb this proper the rest of the time though.."

"Perish the thought." The next few levels went quickly and finally Beach gave her one last lift up onto the 'roof' of the tower. "Geez.. I don't think I've ever been up on the roof. Gives you vertigo to look off with nothing around you or above you.."

He gazed around easily and suddenly sat down, patting the wooden planks. "It's fine.. for gawd's sake don't fall off though. We're an easy sixty feet up." She settled as close to him as she dared and to her surprise he scooted himself slightly closer. When she looked at him, he seemed as if he were waiting for her to move away, and she smiled and shifted just another half inch closer instead. He smiled back. "Look up."

She gave him a look of puzzlement. "What do you mean?" Tilting her head upwards she looked at the clear dark sky filled with stars. "Wow.. it's gorgeous." After a moment, she turned to say something to him and looked around. "Beach?" Suddenly a touch on her amr alerted her to him laying on his back beside her.

He moved his hand away, slipping it behind his head. "Better to lay back if'n yer gonna star-gaze. Otherwise ya get cricks in yer neck."

She forbade herself the sigh of disappointment. "Gotcha." She lay back on the hard planks and tried to pick out the constellations she knew. For a while they pointed out different ones, taking turns naming them until BeachHead starting making up new ones for random stars.

"That's the Yeller Dog cluster.." She laughed at her serious tone. "No really.. see.. there's his tail.. and see? He's poopin' on Orion's belt.."

"Stop!" She wiped at her face, still grinning. "You're just being silly now."

"Yeah.. guess so." He turned his head to look at her. "Thanks."

"What for?" Rolling onto her side, she pillowed her cheek on her hands and watched him.

"Fer.. ya know.. comin' out to walk.. or.. well.. lay around on the roof of the tower." He turned his face back upwards although his eyes were unfocused. "It was nice."

"Your welcome Beach. Thanks for bringing me up here." She could see him thinking for a few minutes.

"You could call me Wayne.. you know. Since.. we're not on duty right now. Not like.. all the time.." He swallowed, betraying nervousness that simply seemed too endearing to her right then.

"Alright Wayne. And you can call me Courtney.. when we're not on duty and all that." She kept a very serious tone. "This WAS nice." Impulsively she reached out and put an arm around his startled neck and hugged him, tucking her face into his shoulder for a few moments. "Best date I've had in months."

"Geez.." Beach's shoulders shifted around as he settled again after the unexpected contact. "Well, best date I've had ever." He paused before adding. "Best date ever, Courtney."

"Thanks." She rolled onto her back again and took a long deep breath. "Do you come here often?"

He suddenly laughed and she rolled back onto her side to look at him in puzzlement. When he finally stopped, he looked at her. "Isn't that the oldest pick-up line in the book, Courtney?"

"Oh good lord!" She whacked across his face with an arm. "Thanks! Way to break the mood Wayne."

"Sorry.. but I'm right.. ain't I?"

"Yes.. you're right. That's not how I meant it."

"Sorry. No, I don't come up here all that often. Just when I want to be alone and think about stuff sometimes. When it ain't rainin'." He looked over at her. "You can come out here too.. but don't do it alone.. I don't want to come out one morning and find ya done gone and broke yer pretty neck fallin' off here."

"What? It's okay for us to come out and find YOU out here with a broken neck?"

"I ain't gonna fall off."

"You could fall off. No one is perfect. Even SnakeEyes has to trip some time or other."

"Yeah well.. Snakes didn't build this tower. I won't fall off it."

"Really? You think so?"

"I know so." His confident expression made her shove him sideways without warning. "WHOA!" To her horror, he rolled over and off the side to disappear.

"BEACH!! Oh my GOD!!" She scrambled to hands and knees to peer over, expecting to see a sprawled body. The soft laugh from the level under her made her grit her teeth. "That wasn't funny!"

"I beg ta differ.. that was funny."