Fandom: G.I. Joe (Sigma Six)
Characters: Snake Eyes / Storm Shadow (Thomas S. Arashikage)
Table: Episilon
Rating: T? PG13? There's no sex and no gore, my apologies.
Disclaimer: I don't own G.I. Joe, because that would make me Hasbro. Between G.I. Joe and Transformers, I think it's safe to say that Hasbro owns me. Damn you, Hasbro!
Warnings: None, unless you're deathly afraid of angst, some slash, and A/U. The A/U isn't much, excepting for the slash... But since Sigma Six got itself canceled, there's a little (a lot?) artistic license. I'm fixing it, dammit! ORZ
Notes: It's fifty separate-but-related sentences, as opposed to one continuous narrative. This is a repost from 1sentence and my otherwise-empty LJ, with the sentences in chronological (rather than prompt-listing) order.

And for those who don't know, Tommy = Storm Shadow, Mark = Snake Eyes. Okay, so the latter doesn't seem to have a 'real name' in canon, but this is a decent fanon-type guess.


#01 - Motion
When Mark first arrived, a shy boy taller than Tommy and with none of the self-confidence of the Arashikage heir, his actions were the hesitant, jerky movements of a skittish deer; by the time the boys were young men, Mark moved like the wind, and Tommy was running to keep up.

#02 - Sing
It was taking Mark a long time to learn the intricacies of his new family's native tongue, so the first words he learned (not of the basic, every-day type, or of the kind you used while training) were lullabies; Tommy's parents were dead too, and although the other boy usually acted like a grown-up Mark would fall asleep to a quiet, childish voice murmuring "Kowai okami, hebi na do; kosasenai kara ne ne shi na..." [1]

#03 - Wrong
"The power's in the stone, right?" and Tommy grins behind his mask and says "You weren't listening to me at all, were you?" [2]

#04 - Gentle
There was an audible crack as Tommy felt his leg splinter from the fall, and as he cursed under his breath and bit his lip 'til he tasted blood Thomas shied instinctively from the approaching shadow in his pain-blurred eyes; however, the hands that eased Tommy's from the broken skin were light enough and gentle enough that Tommy forced himself not to push the other away.

#05 - Young
Before they'd left on their first mission, their teacher would watch them and make peace with his own regrets, knowing that his punishment would be to watch their childhood fall away.

#06 - Cool
Every training-session left them spent and panting, salt dripping from bared skin into the grass below, and half the time one or the other would find the strength to shove his brother into the river, expecting and anticipating the moment they'd be dragged in after.

#07 - Stop
Tommy abruptly pushed Mark back to arms' length, and the blond considered looking as hurt as he felt before Tommy nodded pointedly towards the door; accepting (if grudgingly) that business came before pleasure, Mark pulled his mask back over his face and took up his post on the far side of the room.

#08 - Book [3]
A cry of alarm goes up from the Inishigawa complex, and two young nin exchange silent glances and take off into the night.

#09 - One
The words of their sensei echoed above the water's rush, and the shinobi exchanged looks across the white foam; they did not return to the complex for nine days, and when they finally did returned was with a sense of triumph, their hearts and bodies each a mirror of the other.

#10 - Thousand
For a while, their matches were more-or-less even, until the day when Tommy's strikes became more and more serious, more and more willing to injure or even kill; Mark, confused and aware that something was wrong but unwilling to meet his brother's unprecedented ferocity, let Tommy win, and after the thousandth such match that ended in Tommy's victory, the Arashikage heir left and did not look back.

#11 - Believe
Some of the elders thought that Tommy had been made impulsive by his youth, accepting an assignment that would lead him so close to the darkness; Storm Shadow knew exactly what he was doing, which was taking on a mission that - upon completion - would finally make him worthy of his brother-in-all-but-blood.

#12 - Goodbye
All Mark knows is that Tommy is going on a mission, and he's stopped talking to Mark about his missions long ago; this is why Mark has no words when in the darkness familiar lips find his own, and he hears Tommy's voice whisper "Sayonara." [4]

#13 - Last
The first thing to vanish was the physical intimacy, until it seemed as though their only contact was through the violence of their sparring; the next to disappear was the link between them, the intangible connection that bound each to the other; at last Tommy himself was gone, melting through Mark's hands like mist in the sunlight, and when Storm Shadow appeared across the battlefield Snake Eyes understood that the final blow is always, always the worst.

#14 - Hide
The 'concealment' part of their stealth was always considered part of their training, and one day they got so lost that no-one could find them again.

#15 - King
Storm Shadow wore a Cobra crest, but he had no intention of serving the high-pitched madman; he intended to be an Emperor, not a slave, and to one day force his wayward sword-brother [5] to kneel at his feet.

#16 - Change
Snake Eyes started out committed to his melee training, but he adapted easily to firearms as soon as he realized that he'd never meet Storm Shadow again if he didn't find a more efficient way to stay alive.

#17 - Hold
He should have killed Snake Eyes while he was dazed from their fall, but Storm Shadow found himself unable to draw a weapon against the man despite his every memory telling him that Snake Eyes deserved to die.

#18 - Command
"You WILL return to me!" screeched Cobra Commander, his voice abrasive and piercingly loud through the wrist-worn comm; for a moment Storm Shadow met the eyes of his brother, and then without a word he turned on his heel and leaped easily over the ruined highway's damaged side.

#19 - Soul
Technically Storm Shadow was clanless, but every time he obeyed an order he felt a candle somewhere within him being extinguished by a black wind.

#20 - Learn
Hi-Tech had been reviewing the tapes to study more about his ill-fated ninja-bikes, and yeah, he'd winced at the brutal mistreatment of his poor, sweet babies (although he had to admit, that Cobra ninja had seriously pimped out the stolen 'cycle) [6] ; about halfway through the true-to-life action-movie, Hi-Tech had found himself staring wide-eyed at the ninja, and finding out just a little more about the nature of their connection.

#21 - Attention
Storm Shadow's manner telegraphed the sneer beneath his cowl, and Snake Eyes inwardly winced as Storm Shadow bit out "Go and pull your minions out of the fire, brother, and find me again when your head is less of a mess." [7]

#22 - Blur
To the apprentice ninja, still deep in their training, the Cobra shinobi is little more than a red-and-white flash; to Snake Eyes, who behind his visor sees each tiny movement in crystal-clear clarity, Storm Shadow is painfully, obviously still the man he...

#23 - Wait
Snake Eyes still believes that someday his sword-brother will remember what they were to each other, what in some ways they still are, and until then Snake Eyes will accept the barbed words and the sword-blows and he will hold his peace.

#24 - Wash
Although the rest of his uniform was far from pristine, Storm Shadow was beset by some strange, mixed emotion at the slender slash in the material, then vowed to have it repaired as soon as possible.

#25 - Power
'More power,' is Storm Shadow's mantra, 'to protect myself from the world'; 'More power,' thinks Snake Eyes, 'to protect the one I love from himself.'

#26 - Never
When the conditioning wears thin and Mindbender rounds up Zartan and the Dreadnoks to wrestle Storm Shadow back into the trusty old brainwasher, Cobra Commander usually finds time to gloat at the restrained ninja, secure in the knowledge that after the conditioning is reinforced, Storm Shadow will be his loyal bodyguard once more... even if the look in the Arashikage's now-lucid eyes state flatly that Storm Shadow will never truly belong to Cobra or its leader. [8]

#27 - Harm
Mark's heart was too soft, too kind still, and when push came to shove he would (very convincingly, although the Master probably wasn't fooled) throw the match and let Tommy win; years later and he was doing the same thing, letting Storm Shadow escape despite it all, nearly killing himself to keep an enemy alive, and beneath his hood Thomas wondered bitterly if Mark-slash-Snake Eyes ever figured out how much this 'help' hurt.

#28 - Mad
Sometimes Storm Shadow remembers what he knows is reality, the desertion and betrayal and the terrible pain that followed; sometimes he hallucinates another life, all the more horrific because in this new reality it was he himself who lost their paradise; sometimes Storm Shadow can't remember the man behind his own mask, and in those moments he thinks that he's really lost his mind.

29 - Need
Hi-Tech, and most of the Joes' Psych division, had assured Snake Eyes that Cobra brainwashing was impossible to break through; Snake Eyes has to tell himself that there were still some things that science can't account for, because if what the scientists said was true than Snake Eyes isn't sure what he's doing on the battlefield anymore.

#30 - Picture
Worn and creased within the black folds of his uniform was a tattered, bittersweet memento of a time when two were one. [9]

#31 - Vision
Sometimes Storm Shadow thought that he could see their ki again, red and blue in burning light, streamers of fire that reached towards each other like the hands of drowning men.

#32 - Shadow
Tommy is why Snake Eyes still waits expectantly for the darkness that heralds a storm; Mark is why Storm Shadow glances at every flickering shadow with a longing fierce and only half-denied.

#33 - Hunger
Like modern-day versions of Tantalus, they endured the bitter desert and the gnawing pain of the starving man, because one could not find a way to ford the river and the other didn't know that the fruit just out of reach was already his.

#34 - Ghost
Storm Shadow in white is the moon in a black sky, a phantom of deception and light, the specter of happier days that tenderly beleaguers his sword-brother's mind.

#35 - Fool
"You are a fool if you think that I could ever forgive you."

#36 - Now
When their blades lock in combat, the tempered steel ringing out like the sound of bells, it is as if their past together never happened; when Storm Shadow falters, his surety thrown by the sheer amount of feeling writ plain across his counterpart's unmasked face, Snake Eyes seizes the opportunity to crush the Arashikage's uncovered mouth against his, and suddenly it seems as though Time is standing still.

#37 - Safe
"There is nowhere that will keep us," is Storm Shadow's fatalistic truth; We will keep each other, says Snake Eyes without words, and that will be enough.

#38 - Bother
"I-If you let me take you in, then they'll count it as a surrender, and you won't get the same trial as the others, and, well, what with the brainwashing and all, I'm sure you'll get some kind of lighter sentence, and honestly I think you're kinda scary (really scary) and maybe sorta evil, but if Sensei says it's not your fault then, well, we trust him, not that he says anything but you know, so if you wouldn't mind putting these cuffs on I promise it won't be that bad, uh, please." [10]

#39 - Sudden
The Baroness seemed silent with rage, but the cowering Vipers (each looking somewhere else) missed the odd smile playing about her lips; deciphering Storm Shadow's resignation meant reading what was basically an elopement letter, and while a part of her was furious the Baroness couldn't help but wonder when the brainwashing had finally been undone.

#40 - Wall
Storm Shadow had, after a brief and somewhat sarcastic interrogation (well, there was sarcasm on both sides) had been standing against the wall of his cell for approximately thirty-six hours, spending most of that time in the half-sleeping awareness that ninja found so useful, until a hesitant, familiar hand gripped his shoulder and gently shook him "awake."

#41 - Fortune
Storm Shadow retires from the Cobra game, and although the Joes woo him like mad he turns down their offers of employ; he has enough money to last him forever, so the only reason he does sign on is because Snake Eyes actually asks him, "Please" and all.

#42 - Eye
For the most part, most of the Joes didn't care, and those who might've cared subscribed to the ages-old policy of "Don't ask, don't tell"; of course that didn't stop some people (which is to say, Heavy Duty and Tunnel Rat) from eying the ninja duo out of the corners of their vision, wondering how in the Hell THAT had managed to happen.

#43 - Torn
Staunchly, uncomfortably, looking awkward to extremes at even thinking about that, Kamakura nonetheless insisted loyally "It's gotta be Sensei, you know... ?"; expression mischievous, Jinx gave a little shrug and mused "Well, I don't know; I can kind of see Storm Shadow being the top."

#44 - Time
Everyone's watches said 5:52, which meant that their ninja masters were almost an hour late from the end of their due vacation, but given that they were the Joe ninja, no-one was planning to kick up too much dust when they finally arrived.

#45 - Drive
When asked, the ninja apprentices had shrugged and said that their teachers had "gone out on a drive"; images of (for better or worse) some romantic trundle through the countryside were shattered by a close-up on a high-speed chase being broadcast live on the five-o'-clock news.

#46 - God
"Sweet Jesus!" came the explosion from down the corridor, courtesy of Beach Head and his tendency to ignore the writing on the wall (or in this case, the "Please Knock" sign politely lettered on the newest recruit's door); throwing-stars and kunai followed him out the hallway, and passers-by made a mental note to never, ever barge in on Ninja Downtime... even by accident.

#47- Naked
Mark still thought that Tommy didn't play fair, and he supposed that time with a terrorist organization wouldn't change that, but how was he supposed to focus if their newly-revived connection kept pushing such intriguing-but-oh-so-distracting images into his head? [11]

#48 - Precious
A light in the darkness, a source of warmth in the cold, what they had was fragile and vulnerable and had all the life-expectancy of a hot-house orchid planted in the front yard, which made them both take special care of such a fragile, beautiful thing.

#49 - History
Decades from now, a century later and more, people will remember their lives as an epic adventure, as a tale of espionage and betrayal, as a study in human nature, as one of the greatest love stories of all.

#50 - Child
The boy has Tommy's eyes (so dark a blue they were nearly black), Tommy's manner (how he'd been, and not the way life made him); Mark meets the eyes of the woman from the Kyoto complex (she'd always hated that Mark, not herself, stood at the side of her betrothed) and nods (this must hurt her as well), agreeing without words to train the son of the man he loved (and loves, and probably always will). [12]


Annotations

[1] Mori no Fukuro, one of several lullabies my grandmother used to sing to me. The song (along with lyrics) can be googled; note I changed "kitsune" (fox) to "hebi" (snake) for fairly obvious reasons. Hint: It's 'cuz of Cobra.
[2] Ref. to the Power Stone of EP. 6, "Race." Sentences 3, 17, and 18 are also from that episode.
[3] This prompt was interpreted as the phrase "Book it!" or "We booked it outta there." Apparently this isn't common lingo everywhere, so there you go.
[4] More than just "Goodbye," Sayonara is what you say when you're not sure you'll see the other person again. Say, when you're going off to war, or if someone's terminally ill, or if you've just accepted a life-or-death mission that will probably end in your demise. That kind of thing.
[5] Read 'sword-brother' as something like 'blood-brother,' from the usage in the comics.
[6] In one scene, Storm Shadow steals a 'ninja'-bike that's black and all; the next scene it's white and red, which are his colors. 2 Fast 2 Furious ensues, except with ninja on motorcycles. That sometimes fly.
[7] 21, 22, and 24 are from EP 10, "Honor," the one where they fight in a forest, then in front of Mt. Fuji, then on top of Tokyo Tower. There are random cherry-blossoms involved. And flashback-y cuteness and synchronized violence. Seriously, my Slash-O-Meter went off like fireworks at the sword-sheathing scene (that's not an euphemism, alas).
[8] Yeah, so Cobra has this brainwashing machine, kind of the way they used the nanomites in the Rise of Cobra flick (for those of you more familiar with the movie). Anyway, Word of God states that Sigma 6 Storm Shadow is brainwashed after a mission to infiltrate Cobra went bad, so that's what I'm using.
[9] Technically, this is comics-verse, but you can't have a Snake Eyes + Storm Shadow moment without someone whipping out a meaningful photo.
[10] This is Kamakura speaking, btw. Because Storm Shadow didn't seem to have too high an opinion of Snake Eyes' apprentices, and I refuse to believe that KAMAKURA managed to defeat Storm Shadow in the series finale.
[11] Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow have some kind of ninja!bond, where they can sort of... sense things about the other person? Maybe having something to do with all that "Kagami Triangle" training. So why not person-to-person limited telepathy?
[12] This is an A/U of the A/U... I think. The woman is Junko, from the Devil's Due Master And Apprentice II miniseries: Storm Shadow trained her, they fell in love, then Cobra brainwashed her and she tried to kill Storm Shadow before committing suicide. Obviously that's not what happened here.