The first part of this story takes place in the context of the DD America's Elite universe after the Red Ninja Clan and the attack of the Phoenix Guard. Snake Eyes is still recovering from the mind control inflicted by the Red Ninja Clan. After reading that storyline, my thoughts were on Scarlett having to deal with all that grief of losing, finding, losing SE with little emotional support. The comic didn't really show SE/S reconciling all that emotion together except one brief encounter that seemed inadequate. So I thought I would write this to satisfy that need! Hope you like first post..comments please. S/SE always! (And Snakes signing is in Italics.)

Obligatory disclaimer here: I don't own G.I. Joe or any of the characters in this story.


Scarlett leaned against the table as General Colton debriefed the group, not really hearing his words.

Since Snake Eye's death and resurrection, she has hardly had time to breathe much less think. Finally, after things calmed down …for now…all the trauma and heart ache have surfaced. Can I really go through that again? Seeing Snake Eye's dead body lying in front of me? Then seeing him alive, only to have him turn his back on me, even if it was under the effects of the Ninja mind control. I don't know which one was worse, she thinks. She barley hears Colton's final words, "You have all earned some rest and relaxation. Take advantage of the time because this fight with Cobra is just beginning."

Just beginning? Sometimes she wonders when it will ever end. She thought she had reached the end seeing Snake lying there presumably dead. Can I keep going on like this? And now, it's almost like I don't even know him anymore. What he went through with the Red Ninja Clan has affected him deeply. How could it not? I can only wonder if it has affected his feelings for me. Did the mind control change them somehow? We've hardly had a moment together since we recovered him and then had to defend the Rock from attack.

Scarlett walked towards the door as everyone milled around, discussing leave plans. "Hey Scarlett! What about you?"

She barely heard Shipwreck as she walked out of the room.

"What's up with her?"

Good question thought Snake Eyes. He had been observing her during Colton's debriefing, as he always does, as he can't help but do. He saw her eyes, they seemed…sad? The bright, beautiful green eyes that he loved so much were less bright. He sighed inwardly. They really needed to talk. They just haven't had real time together since he was brought back by Tommy. There were the few moments together while training, but his mind was/is still so foggy. It was hard to understand why he was here sometimes. He needed to go back to the Sierras and regroup, meditate. Remember things about his life and motivations, things that kept peeking around the corner of his mind, but that he couldn't quite get a grasp on. It was frustrating. He was afraid of giving up on trying to crystallize those thoughts..memories in his mind. That if he stopped trying, they would disappear forever.

But the one thing that was crystal clear, the one thing that pulled his mind from the abyss the Red Ninja Clan put him in, was Scarlett. When Tommy held his sword to Scarlett's throat in an attempt to snap Snake Eyes out of the trance, well, it worked alright. It was as if Tommy opened up a door letting in a burst of blinding light and the only thing he could see was Scarlett. The only thing he thought was of reaching her and getting the sword away. And when the light finally subsided, what remained was his mind, him, Snake Eyes. He owed Tommy big for that one. But that would come later. He realized he had not yet told Scarlett that she saved him. Did she realize?

He broke into a light jog to catch up to her as she was well ahead of him, moving towards the elevator. Where was she going? He did not reach her before she got into the elevator, but watched the elevator move up to, topside? When he reached the outside, he glanced around the moonlit night and finally saw her silhouette, climbing up the mountain that hid their compound. He started after her thinking it wasn't a bad night for a climb.

Scarlett kept climbing, the physical activity felt good, calmed her swirling mind. She needed to be alone. Needed time to think about what she was going to do next. She looked up at the full moon and then surveyed her surroundings. The rocks seemed to glow in the moonlight. She finally made it to the top and the minute she stopped to rest, to breathe, all the emotions she had kept at bay hit her like a tidal wave. She felt the tears coming on.

Snake could hear her crying and increased his pace. When he reached the place where she was standing, his movements made her turn around and he could see the tears falling down her cheeks. He wanted to go to her, wipe the tears away, and pull her in his arms. But something held him back. Something in the way she was standing, slightly askance, and something in the look of her eyes, wary. So he signed instead.

Why are you crying? She didn't respond. Please, talk to me. You are scaring me.

That did it for Scarlett.

"I'm scaring you!" She sputtered then silence again "I'm scaring you." She said again, this time like she was talking to herself. She shook her head.

"I don't know Snake. I don't know if I can do this anymore."

Do what? He signed with trepidation. Not sure he really wanted to know the answer.

"This! GI Joe, you, us!"

Now he was really scared. What are you saying Scarlett?

"I had to try to figure out how to keep going when I thought you were dead. Can you even begin to understand what it was like to see your dead body in front of me? And then to see you alive again, but have you turn your back on me. You were like a phantom. I think that freaked me out more than your death." She ended with a whisper.

"I don't think I could go through that again. I absolutely think I would lose it completely. And now, I barely know what you are thinking anymore. Maybe the mind control changed you in ways no one understands. Maybe it changed the way you feel about me…."

Snake Eyes looked at her, saw the beautiful woman standing in front of him and felt deep sorrow for what she went through. Hell, he was dead and then his mind was a blank while he was under the control of Sei Tin. He felt nothing during that time, until Tommy put the sword to her neck. But Scarlett, poor Scarlett, had to feel. He doesn't know if he could have experienced that and not gone totally batshit crazy. He would rather be tortured by Mindbender.

He walked up to her and took his mask off. He lifted her chin, his eyes blazing at her, into her it seemed. He put his hand down and started signing.

You wonder how I feel about you? He stopped for a moment and rubbed his forehead, as if trying to erase all that had happened in the past few months.

I don't know either the lasting effects of the mind control. Sometimes I feel unsure about things, about my actions and motivations. It will just take time to sort it all out. But you have to understand something Scarlett and I regret not telling you sooner. The one thing that brought me back was you. Did you forget that it was the singular act of Tommy threatening to cut your throat that brought my mind back?

He paused for a moment. He never once took his eyes from hers as he signed. She just stood there, unmoving, barely blinking.

You are what saved me. Without you I don't have a life. Since we've known each other, it has always been you that has connected me to life. When you say you aren't sure about us anymore, well, I'd rather be brainwashed again so I wouldn't have to endure a life without you. I can't begin to imagine what you went through while I was dead, found, and then lost. I don't think I could have gone through that with you. I'm sorry, so sorry.

Scarlett fell to her knees and held her head in her hands. He could not remember ever seeing her like this, his strong Scarlett. He bent down next to her and took her in his arms. Finally, she looked up at him with wet eyes, and stroked his hair, his face with her shaking hands.

"I love you Scarlett," he mouthed. Then he bent his head to hers and kissed her lips. She kissed him back with such emotion that he was taken aback at first. He grabbed her head and kissed her back fiercely as if to say that he would never leave her again. Never make her cry like that again.

"I love you too Snake. Don't ever leave me again." She said firmly.

He backed off for a second and asked her, So does this mean you are no longer unsure about me, about us?

She smiled slyly and those green eyes lit up. Dam it was good to see those eyes blaze. "Well, I think I need more convincing."

He smiled and laughed, which always came out as sort of a snort.

And what would convince you? He asked. His signing steady, serious.

"Ummm," she purred. "The kissing was a good start, but only a start."

He answered by running the hand that was gripping her waist up her side and stroked his thumb along the side of her breast eventually reaching the top of her nipple. Her head tipped back and she sighed. Snake Eyes could not for the life of him understand why he did not have this talk with her before today. He missed touching her, kissing her. All he wanted to do right now was take her, here, right on the top of this mountain. And that, dam it, was just what he was going to do.

If that was a good start, then I am pretty sure I know how I am going to finish.

She looked into his eyes and then kissed him again. They made love on the top of the mountain, slowly, as if rediscovering each other once again.

To Be Continued

Hope you enjoyed it! This was supposed to be a one shot, but I wanted to explore further Snake Eyes' vulnerabilities and how he would handle a similar fate for Scarlett!