As the Joes sat in the chopper somewhere over South America, Scarlett thought back to her exchange with Snake Eyes in the training room the previous day. It took her the rest of that day to compose herself again. Why was it all or nothing with him? All consuming anger, love, hurt, passion? It was always such a rollercoaster. She was on a calm… well…monorail right now. Why couldn't she and Snake be a monorail! She supposed she wouldn't love him so much. Her heart stopped as she realized she had used the word love in the present tense. But it didn't surprise her. She knew she still loved him, with all her heart. But she didn't know if she could be in a relationship with him again.

Snake Eyes looked over at Scarlett in the chopper. After the training room debacle yesterday, they had gone through the motions of working together in a mechanical manner. She was, as always, the consummate professional during the mission preparations. She interacted with him when necessary, and avoided him like the plague otherwise.

They arrived at the location of the supposed Cobra base in the jungles of South America. Upon being dropped into the jungle, they were quickly beset by Cobra troopers. Scarlett was there by Snake Eye's side, dependable, her fighting as strong and sure as it had always been. At one point during the fight, their eyes met, acknowledging the fact that they still instinctively knew the other's movements, backing each other up like no one else on the team could.

Scarlett and Snake Eyes became separated from the team and found themselves surrounded by large robots…with lots of weapons. Snake Eyes purposely drew the brunt of the assault to him, to Scarlett's consternation. Her frustration quickly turned to concern as Snake Eyes was continually battered and fired upon by the seemingly invulnerable robots. Where is the Achilles heel here, she demanded. With Snake Eyes distracting them, she focused her fire on one and got lucky. Sparks flew and the robot began moving erratically then toppled. She quickly surveyed the area and saw a spot of black amongst the forest foliage. She ran to the spot to see Snake's unconscious body, bleeding from gashes on his legs and side. She could see bits of his hair sticking out of rips in his mask. Her insides began to tremble, but she focused on securing his wounds.

"Snake Eyes!" Scarlett implored. "Can you hear me? Open your eyes. Dam it, Snake, open your eyes!" Then movement, he lifted his hands and signed to her.

Why do you care?

Scarlett groaned inwardly. At least he was responding. He was going to be ok, she sighed, relieved. But I won't play this game with him.

"Snake Eyes what is this about? Yes, I care about you, ok? We may not be together anymore, but I care about you. I will always care about you."

Great, Snake Eyes thought with sarcasm, she cares about me. That's just not enough. It's all or nothing. He gingerly pulled himself up against a tree and removed his mask. Scarlett was shocked as she realized this was the first time she had seen his face since they returned to GI Joe. She almost wept at the sight of his eyes. Others were taken aback by his scarred visage, but she loved his face. She looked away at his intense gaze.

Shana, I love you…not loved. I was a total dumb ass and there is nothing I can say to justify what I did. I only ask for your forgiveness. Look, I am fucked up. But I am not so fucked up that I don't know how lucky I was to have you in my life. I still want you so bad it makes my insides hurt. The thought of you with that other guy…

He clenched his hands, then resumed signing.

I'd really like to wipe the mat with him, but I get it. I hope he made you happy. He tried to stress the past tense of made, with the set of his hand, the glint to his eyes.

You deserve to be happy.

Scarlett rolled her eyes.

What?

"Nothing," she replied. He gave her a confused look then continued.

But I want to be the one who makes you happy and I know I can do that. No more doubts, no more drama. I will be completely committed to us…if you will give us another chance.

His hands stopped. He was exhausted, not so much from the fighting, but from baring his feelings to her.

She didn't say anything and they sat there together in the forest waiting for the rescue chopper. Scarlett carefully tended his wounds. She never really believed he would ask for her forgiveness. She wasn't prepared for that. They were eventually found and taken back to the Joe compound.

Scarlett visited him once in the infirmary, but he had not seen her since. He felt like he was walking on hot coals, but had resigned himself to his fate. He had done what he could. It was up to her now, he thought, lying in his room. He then heard the all too familiar knock at his door and Scarlett entered his room. Her vibrancy filled his small room, as always. His heart skipped a beat and he stood up. She walked towards him and kissed him. The kiss was demanding. He knew her answer…her demand. He put his arms around her pulling her closer to deepen the kiss, putting all the longing and passion he held for her during the years apart into the kiss.

After some very long moments, Scarlett pulled away. "Snake Eyes, you made me so angry, but ultimately, I still love you and I don't think anything will change that. If what you said in South America about being committed to us and no more drama is true, then let's do this. But I have to go back to Atlanta and talk to Ryan. He deserves more than a phone call."

And then you will come back…to me?

The vulnerability in his question made her heart melt. "Yes, I will come back…to you."

In the plane to Atlanta, Scarlett wondered at her relationship with Snake Eyes and how she felt it had evolved into something stronger and yes…more dependable. Sure, there would be more rollercoaster rides and, despite what he said, more drama, but that was the nature of their relationship. She realized she wouldn't want to change that, to do that would lessen the passion that drove them together.

She knew only Snake Eyes could truly make her happy…and she deserved it.