This is a request fic requested by NineCrows. I hope that it's satisfying!

SnakeEyes was a ninja, a formidable ninja capable of defeating twenty opponents at a time. The mere rumor of his presence was known to make ordinary Cobra troops desert in terror. Cobra Commander had abandoned bases upon hearing he had been spotted in the area.

So he shouldn't be coughing so hard he had to spit out mucus and wheeze with every breath he took in. At the currant moment in time, he couldn't have snuck up on a victim simply because he wheezed as loudly as dragging a bag of CoverGirl's tools along a gravel road. His cloth mask was making things even worse as it became sodden from him trying to cough through it.

The ninja had sucked it up and made his way to morning PT. He was carefully hiding any sign of being sick, only to have BeachHead narrow his gaze and home in on him as if he had some sort of secret illness radar. SnakeEyes had tried to breath slowly and quietly as the drill instructor circled him while he did jumping jacks. Finally the Ranger stopped in front of him and crossed his arms.

"Stop." SnakeEyes obeyed, his lungs burning with the need to cough. Beach waited patiently, standing motionlessly for nearly three full long minutes before a soft wet cough made it free from the ninja. "Yer sick, go see Doc."

SnakeEyes stopped him from turning away with a flurry of sign. *I'm fine. I don't need to go to the infirmary. I'm fit and ready to continue, Sergeant major.*

Beach's eyebrows lowered slightly and he circled around the ninja once and hummed softly. In the meantime, SnakeEyes forbid himself to let out even the slightest wheeze. "Really?" When SnakeEyes nodded firmly, Beach tilted his head and held up both hands to him in query. "Then take a really deep breath and let it out... three times."

Cursing inside his head, SnakeEyes swallowed hard, and sucked in one deep breath, determined to hold back the heavy wet feeling in his chest. Ninja did not get sick, did not cough and wheeze like asthmatics, and most certainly did not get sent to the infirmary to miss PT.

The second deep breath ended in heavy wet coughing as he bent over and wheezed several times, coughing out and turning to lift the mask and spit. Once he brought himself under control, he tugged his mask and turned to glare balefully at the PT instructor. *I'm fine.*

"Yeah.. go see Doc. And..." Beach got that evil glint that said he was one step ahead of the soldier he was confronting. "..and I mean go directly to the infirmary, tell Doc I said you are sick, and let Doc examine you, then do exactly what Doc orders... without hiding, without ignoring any bits of these orders you might find inconvenient. Am I understood?"

Thinking it over, he couldn't find many useful loopholes and he was rapidly feeling lightheaded anyway. Rather than wait and argue with the Sergeant major, he'd go downstairs and argue with the team doctor instead. His quick salute seemed to startle Beach as he turned and trotted away, determined to at least look like he was fit and hale. He still overheard Beach's amused comment.

"Danged stubborn spooks.."

Doc hummed softly as he looked at the chest Xray he'd ordered. "You have pneumonia in both lungs. Worse in the right lung." He turned to the hovering medic. "Get him the regular spread of antibiotics."

Lifeline nodded and gave the ninja a warning look before he left the room. Either Doc or Lifeline had followed him into every room, keeping a close watch so he couldn't disappear. SnakeEyes found it amusing, even though he had no intention of sneaking away, at least until he was done. But the diligence of both medical people made it quite the temptation, just to perturb them. He coughed again and signed to ask for something to quiet the cough.

Doc shook his head. "Sorry, I'll be giving you some expectorant syrup with guaifenesin to help you cough up all the junk in your lungs. I want you drinking a lot of fluid.. water, juice, milk, tea. Your lungs have a lot of nasty wet junk in them and you need to cough that out. Lots of fluids, stay warm and if you're not improved a lot by morning we'll find a humidifier to put in your room. Is your chest hurting a lot?" At the negative headshake, Doc gave him a pat. "You're going to rest a few days and I mean rest, in bed, without doing exercise, without scrambling through air ducts, in fact.." He tilted his head towards the ceiling. "No leaving your room, unless it's to take a shower or get food or drink. In the event you do leave your room for either of those reasons, you are to do that, then go right back. The only exception will be to come HERE, in case you get worse. Rest, drink fluids, cough. That's what you need to do for the next couple days. I'm sure you'll be better really quickly."

SnakeEyes wheezed out a sigh at him. *I don't need to rest a few days, I'm fine.* He spoiled the declaration by coughing a full two minutes before he could quit.

"Yes, you sound 'fine'. Here's Lifeline to give you your antibiotic shot. He'll come by on regular intervals to give you the pills and also to check that you're behaving and not getting worse." Doc smiled at the disgusted look he got. "I know.. it just ruins your image to have the scary ninja lying in bed with a cold. It'll do a lot worse damage to your reputation if you fall over in the middle of a room when you pass out from lack of oxygen when your lungs fill up with fluid. So let's do things my way, and I won't have to involve Hawk in this set of orders, right?"

He was dismissed with a flip of SnakeEyes' hand and Lifeline held up a large needle. The ninja eyed it and tugged his sleeve up to pat his arm, indicating the shot could go there.

Lifeline smiled and shook his head. "Not that you'll need it anyway, because you're just going to be resting.. but you wouldn't be able to move your arm if I give it there.. so turn around and drop the pants."

Huffing with indignation, SnakeEyes complied, although he certainly didn't give either medical personnel the satisfaction of jumping when the needle hit. The cold antibiotic mix stung and he gritted his teeth slightly in annoyance. Tugging his pants back up, he made a universal sign to show what he thought of them and pulled his mask back on. Before Doc could say anything, he signed to him. *I won't wear the mask in my room but I'm not parading down the halls bare-faced.* Without waiting for any reply, he walked out, heading down to the messhall first to get some food, maybe soup and crackers...

Scarlett caught up with him in short order, insisting on carrying the cup of hot soup and two bottles of water as she escorted him to his room. "Lifeline clued me in, but I already suspected you were coming down with something. Don't worry, I already told Jinx to take your hand-to-hand classes and I'll take over a few so that's all covered. You just need to lie down and rest and get well."

He sighed at her, rolling his eyes elaborately to make his point. *I'm fine.*

She gazed at him with that knowing look. His redheaded girlfriend was more stubborn than BeachHead and Doc rolled together so he knew better than to really try to argue with her with any hope of winning. He opened his door up and let her in behind him. Beginning to strip off his clothing, he finally gave in to cough repeatedly. After all, Doc said to cough, so he might as well indulge and cough up a lung to please him.

"Jeez Snakes... you sound terrible. Here... water." Scarlett settled the soup on the set of drawers out of the way while he sat on the edge of his bed and slumped tiredly. In the privacy of his own room with no one around but Scarlett, he could give up the pretense. Sipping the water brought on a second round of coughing and he bent over wheezing. "Are you okay? Poor baby.. you're really sick."

*Sick* He finally looked up at her, his scarred face reddened in spots from the prolonged coughing fit. *I'm not supposed to get sick*

"Everyone gets sick." She tugged his blankets loose and shooed him to lie down. He sighed at her but gave in to scoot over into the bed and curl up. Scarlett tucked his covers in around him and he smiled at the feeling he got from her caring actions. "Even Beach gets sick, I get sick... everyone does. Even big bad scary ninja who frighten all the bad guys in the universe get sick." She bent over to kiss his forehead. "You feel a little feverish."

*Doc gave me medicine, I don't need anything else.* She looked doubtful and he tugged his blanket higher up on his shoulder and frowned at her. *Lifeline will come to bother me about medicines, you don't need to also.*

"Okay okay... do you have your water? What about the soup?" At the mention of the soup, SnakeEyes twisted around to sit up and she handed the large cup to him. As he sipped carefully at the hot liquid, she made sure the water was next to his bed, along with the usual sickroom items. She brought a towel to set a dampened wash cloth on, next to the box of tissues and few packets of crackers. "Okay, anything else? Was that enough soup?"

He nodded, slipping back down under his covers again. He coughed a few times and then sighed. He despised being sick, but if he had to be sick, he could at least get pampered by his girlfriend while he recovered. After all, there was rarely a chance for him to simply rest and relax. Perhaps he'd get out some of the books he never got a chance to read.

"Alright, you rest, I'll be back later with something for you to eat. Just message me if you need anything." Scarlett kissed him on the cheek while he smiled smugly and settled in to relax in his warm bed. She retucked the covers around him and made certain his tissues and water were where he wanted them and placed the damp cloth on his forehead gently. "There.. I love you, feel better. Get some rest."

He watched her flick the room light off and leave, then he sighed and closed his eyes to try to rest. The coughing fits kept him from doing more than just dozing. He was almost out of water when his door chimed softly. Looking at the doorway, he thought about getting up and answering the door but he was so tired. Fumbling beside the bed, he found small stones in a decorative dish and plucked one out. Aiming carefully at the control panel next to the door, he pitched the rock to hit the 'unlock' button. As the door slid open, Lifeline opened his mouth to greet him and blinked at the empty doorway. SnakeEyes coughed several times, directing the medic's attention to the bed instead.

"SnakeEyes? Can I turn on a light?" The ninja coughed again and pulled the blanket over his head. The room light flicked on low and Lifeline came in to shut the door behind him. The ninja poked his head out just enough to see, hiding his face behind the sheet. "I brought you water, juice and your meds. Your antibiotics and also something to help you sleep, although I doubt you'll take the sleep aids."

SnakeEyes shook his head, sitting up with a hand over the worst side of his face, signing with his free hand. *Mask.. no sleeping pills*

Lifeline handed over the cloth mask and turned aside to set the drinks aside politely while his patient tugged the mask on. "You know that your scars don't bother me." There was a snort and he sighed in reply. "It's up to you. How's the fever and coughing?" The medic handed over a thermometer which SnakeEyes dutifully tucked into his mouth.

*Coughing a lot, my chest hurts but Doc said I was supposed to cough a lot.* The ninja frowned when Lifeline chuckled softly.

"Sorry, I was just thinking that you're my only patient that speaks perfectly clearly while holding a thermometer in your mouth." The medic shrugged when SnakeEyes rolled his eyes at the quip. "Sorry, I have to find my amusement somehow, there's three greenshirts in the infirmary with massive hives from some sort of industrial glue. I didn't bother asking what they were doing handling that stuff. I'm certain we'll all find out soon enough."

*Pranks that will cause mayhem, BeachHead will be pleased he gets to threaten murder to them* Handing over the thermometer, he watched Lifeline check the reading. *Am I dying?*

The medic laughed softly. "No, you're not dying. Your temperature is a little high, but not too bad. Let me listen to your chest again." A moment of coughing and breathing and he stepped back. "You sound awful. Did you drink plenty?"

SnakeEyes pointed at the empty water bottles and Lifeline gathered them up. *Scarlett is bringing me more soup later.*

"That would be good. If you need anything, just call on the comm unit and I'll come right away." The medic flicked the lights off again and left.

Sighing, SnakeEyes drank some of the juice, tugged his covers around again and tried to get comfortable. He coughed several times and hissed in anger. Lying on his back, he could feel the heaviness in his chest and he coughed more and more until he sat up again.

The door chimed just as he felt he might try lying flat again. He repeated the pebble to unlock the door, already picking up the mask to tug on. He relaxed when Kamakura opened the door, stepping in quietly and shutting it behind him quickly.

"Master? I brought you hot herbal tea with honey and lemon." His apprentice set down a tray with his teapot and a small cup. "I thought you might want to know how today went.." As SnakeEyes sat on the edge of his bed, he rolled the lower part of his mask up so he could sip the hot aromatic tea. Kamakura began to rattle off how each aspect of his day had gone, including PT, which SnakeEyes had missed. The description of breakfast served to make the ninja Master slightly queasy. Kamakura stopped just shy of tattling on his apprentice sister but managed to insinuate that she'd done something Sensei would disapprove of, obviously hoping that said Sensei would ask for details, which he did not.

Just when his eyes were growing heavy, the door chimed again and he sighed. Kamakura frowned at the door. "Shall I tell whoever it is to go away, Sensei?"

SnakeEyes frowned and signed quietly. *No, what if it's someone who needs me?*

His apprentice ducked his head. "Yes Sensei." Getting up, he tapped the door lock and admitted Lifeline who frowned at them both. "Medic Lifeline, I was just bringing Sensei some tea."

"Yes well, I heard talking in here. My patient is supposed to be resting." The medic dutifully looked at the pot of tea as Kamakura explained the tea was an herbal blend to sooth coughing. "He's SUPPOSED to cough. In fact, the medicines we gave him loosen the mucus in order to make him cough more."

Now SnakeEyes sighed at them both. *Kamakura meant well.*

Lifeline turned to him, raising his hands up. "You know we wanted you to cough up all the stuff in your lungs, you were told by Doc that you couldn't have cough syrup to quiet the coughing. Why would you get Kamakura to bring you herbal tea to make you not cough?"

Before he could object, Kamakura spoke up angrily. "Sensei didn't request the tea! I brought it myself, and I didn't know he wasn't supposed to stop coughing, most medics would want their patients to feel better!" He stood angrily, trying to cover up the fact that he was embarrassed that he'd done the wrong thing in front of his master.

Lifeline bristled right back, the medic always ready to take on anyone in regards to his patients. "I'd rather my patients get BETTER rather than them 'feeling' better! And who gave you a medical training patch? I wasn't aware it was DOCTOR Kamakura!"

SnakeEyes put a hand to his head. It wasn't enough for him to be ill, he had to have arguing people in his room. All he needed now was for..

"Whut the hell is goin' on in here!" Beach's distinctive bellow cut through the argument. "Ah thought Snakes was sick, not havin' parties in his room." He smirked at the ninja who sighed and shook his head. "What's wrong? Don't like admittin' that the big bad ninja was taken down by a little ole flu bug?"

SnakeEyes stiffened and signed angrily. *You were sick last month and you were laid up for three days*

Beach snorted and crossed his arms. "Ah don't remember it like that."

Lifeline pointed at him. "You were laid up nearly four full days and you moaned like a dying elephant seal the whole time. Doc laced your antibiotics with sedative just to shut you up."

Kamakura was nearly as angry. "Sensei is a Ninja Master! He's ten times as capable as any Ranger!" The disparaging tone made BeachHead's face go red with anger, his teasing mood evaporating instantly.

"Don't you act like Rangers is inferior to no spooks in front a me, ya little punk!" He stepped up in the apprentice's face, and SnakeEyes came to his feet smoothly to push the drill instructor back away. "Don't you get into this, Snakes! Yer danged apprentice is about to learn some serious lessons.."

SnakeEyes snatched Kamakura around to sign furiously at him. *Did you forget that I am a Ranger also?* He waved the apprentice silent and continued. *Did you forget your manners and your military training to talk back to your Sergeant major as if you were some spoiled child?* He wanted to continue but started coughing uncontrollably. Lifeline offered some water, which he pushed away.

"What is GOING ON!" Scarlett stepped in and SnakeEyes waved weakly at her as he sat onto the side of his bed. "Snakes! Are you okay?" He gave her a thumbs up. "Who wants to explain why the big party of the night is happening in SnakeEyes' sick room?"

"Well, I just brought tea.."

"There was talking in here and he's not to have cough suppressants.."

"Ah just heard arguing.."

"If you hadn't.."

"If *I* hadn't? It was you that.."

"All ya'll oughta shut the hell up!"

"ENOUGH!" Scarlett cut through all the fussing and pointed at the door. "Anyone that is not a Ninja Master that's in this room in ten seconds will have my foot up their ass. Understood?"

"But.." Kamakura stuttered slightly even as Lifeline opened the door to leave.

Scarlett narrowed her eyes. "Seven seconds..." Kamakura scurried out after the departing medic. She turned her hard gaze on BeachHead who stood impassively for a few seconds before turning to walk out calmly. "Two... one.." He jumped the last step out of the door before she could take a step towards him and she hit the lock on the door. "I swear.. you get into more trouble than anyone else ever."

*Not my fault..* He coughed again and motioned for the cup of tea.

"No, you're not supposed to have the tea, I gathered that much from the ranting and arguing." She handed him some juice instead. "Hopefully they'll get the hint to leave you to rest now."

He nodded and let her tuck him into bed, lying his head into her lap for a few indulgent moments so she could pet his head. "Poor SnakeEyes.. I'm sorry you're sick. I'm sure you'll be better quickly." He nodded and coughed anyway. "I have to go teach the afternoon hand-to-hand greenshirt class. Sorry honey."

Sighing heavily, he rolled over and tugged his blankets higher. *Go, I'll just die here alone.*

"Oh... have you hit the overly dramatic whiny phase of being sick?" He made a face and she kissed him anyway. "Love you hon... gotta go to work now."

He snorted and she left. Scooting to the edge of his bed, he got the last of the tea that had been left behind, recklessly drinking down the medicinal tea without regard to his doctor's orders. Doc wasn't the one trying to rest after all.

Lying in bed, SnakeEyes sighed and coughed softly. After a day of sleeping and wheezing, he felt well enough to be up, but Doc disagreed and had confined him to quarters for another day. Other than Lifeline bringing him his meds, and Scarlett bringing him his meals, he was thoroughly bored.

Picking up his comm unit he listened to the chatter for several minutes. Scooting under his blankets, he began typing out a message to Stalker.

*Load all fruits for secondary runs in northwest quarter.*

He waited and after a moment Stalker's voice reply came over the line. "Repeat message."

He grinned and retyped the message. Another minute passed by and Stalker's annoyed voice came over the lines again. "Snakes, if this is you again, cut it out."

Sighing, SnakeEyes set the comm unit aside. Apparently after he'd confused them all twice earlier today, they weren't falling for any more fake secret coded messages. The first one sent out to Beach had had him struggling to remember what 'the koala' was and what 'putting it into an avocado' meant, in context of the days codes.

After another bored few minutes he reached under the edge of the mattress to pull out a stack of shurikin. Idly flipping them across the room, he stuck each one expertly into the flat edge of his bookcase shelf in a precise line, spaced just half an inch from each other. When he ran out of throwing stars, he sighed again and reached to grab up his comm unit again. Thinking for a few minutes, he finally coded in BeachHead's ID.

*Sgt major, Request fruit and juice delivery?* He waited for a response. Most of the day today had been spent sending various requests to the limited number of people he'd let in his room. Scarlett and Lifeline had begun to ignore him, while he stopped trying with his two apprentices. Jinx was too sharp tongued when she brought him anything, and Kamakura was simply too easy and without any challenge, there was no reason to bother. He was finally reduced to Stalker and BeachHead.

Just about when he had decided to give up on BeachHead as well, there was a click from the comm unit. "SnakeEyes, I can bring you some in twenty minutes."

Smiling to himself, SnakeEyes upped the ante slightly. *Sgt major, add hot cocoa to order please?* He was pretty sure that'd be over the top, but since he had nothing else to do but try to annoy the rest of the Joes, he figured it couldn't hurt to give it a shot.

"Don't push yer luck spook." His voice sounded annoyed this time.

Sighing, SnakeEyes crawled out of the bed to pluck his shurikin from the bookcase shelf. Setting the weapons aside, he began running through his warm up katas slowly. He stopped often to cough, annoying himself with the interruptions. The stretching exercises made his body feel less achey. A chime from the door made him jump and he scrabbled back to the bed, tugging the covers up over him before throwing a pebble to open the lock. He was in the midst of a severe hacking fit as he tried to express a lung through his throat.

BeachHead frowned at him under his covers, a tray of fruit and handful of bottles of juice in hand. He bumped the door sensor to close it. "Ya sound like crap, spook."

SnakeEyes stopped coughing and peeped out from under the sheet. Sighing, he tugged the sheet up over his head and tugged the mask on underneath. Tossing the sheet off, he swung his legs out of the bed and held a hand out for the tray. *Thank you. I was starving but not much appetite."

The Sergeant major's eyes narrow suspiciously. "Yeah... yer welcome. Ya know... yer not coughing like when I came in. Yer not puttin' on with all this bein' sick, are ya?"

Glaring up at his fellow instructor, the ninja wheezed a few times to demonstrate how sodden his lungs were. Beach didn't look entirely convinced and he slumped slightly and signed at him. *Scarlett is being really nice because I'm sick.*

Thinking that over, Beach took the tray and empty containers from earlier in the day. When he turned around to look at the ninja poking at the fruit he'd brought him, he looked contemplative. "I guess... seems like a sneaky thing to do.. pretendin' to be sick. A'course, yer really sick so..." He was obviously giving it a lot of thought, probably wondering if he could use the information on his own efforts with CoverGirl at some future point. "As long as yer really sick it's not really lyin' but just bein' sneaky."

SnakeEyes coughed a few times and nodded. *I AM still coughing all the time. I'm also bored.*

Snorting at that, Beach tapped his comm unit. "I noticed that.. keep offa the comm units with the fake messages or I'll go have a chat with Scarlett fer ya. Deal?"

Annoyed at the maneuver Beach was using very effectively against him, SnakeEyes nodded anyway. He'd pretty much used up all the comm unit fun anyway now that everyone was onto his tricks. He'd just have to amuse himself in his room for a while until the medics released him. Thinking about that, he looked at BeachHead. *Does everyone in the Pit know I'm in bed with a cold?*

There was a loud snort. "Sort of. Half the folks think yer in here sick... the other half believe a dozen different things, includin' yer meditatin', yer actually off-base and it's a ruse in case Cobra has inside intel on the Pit, yer practicin' new ninja moves so deadly ya can't do them outside of private quarters without endangerin' the entire Joe force and mah personal favorite.. yer locked up in here while ya use some secret ninja formula to become a super-ninja." He chuckled slightly. "We got some Joes what need hobbies, doncha think?"

SnakeEyes was huffing softly in laughter and trying not to cough too much during it. *Foolish*

"Yeah well.. bored grunts will invent things to amuse themselves. At least this one ain't involvin' nothin' I gotta control. Rumors ain't my department." He shook his head. "Ya better get better quick spook, ain't like I'm gonna be goin' easy on ya once yer declared fit by them danged medics." Stepping to the door, he gave one last parting shot to the laid up ninja. "If'n yer shirkin' to get outa PT at some point, Ah'll come stomp yer ninja butt myself. Got it?" He triggered the door open and stepped out before the shurikin embedded into the wall beside him.

SnakeEyes snorted and quickly sent the rest of the dozen throwing stars into the door trim in a neat row under the first one. Thunk, thunk thunk sounded through the room and he sighed and got up to go retrieve them again. Pulling off his mask, he ate a couple of the pieces of fruit then pulled out one of his Uzi rifles to start disassembling it and cleaning it thoroughly.

Scarlett hummed softly, stroking his hair and scooting a bit closer so he could rest his head on her thigh. "Poor Snakes.. you're never sick." He nodded and sighed softly, enjoying her touch. "Is there anything I can bring you?" She bent and kissed his head.

*Maybe a little more soup? Roadblock makes this very good chicken and dumpling type soup.. but I don't want to be a bother.* He sighed lightly and then coughed in just the right manner to make her coo in sympathy. *You are so good to me*

"Oh my poor ninja." She smiled and nudged him to move over a bit so she could get up. "I'll go see what sort of soup the kitchen has. Oh.." She turned back as she got close to the door. "Lifeline told me you're a lot better and will be able to be up and about tomorrow. So.. you know.. don't think that I'm REALLY falling for the 'poor me I'm so sick' act." She came back to pat his face as he lay there blinking. "I love you though, so you'll get the rest of today to be all pampered and fussed over. But tomorrow morning it's all over. Okay?" A last peck on his cheek and she left.

He grunted irritably, rather stunned to discover she'd been playing along with his act instead of being fooled by it. Taking his stack of shurikin, he flipped them idly at the bookcase shelf again, thunk thunk thunk thunk one after the other. Finally he sighed softly and grinned. He couldn't help it if he had a very very smart and perceptive girlfriend. At least he had one that was willing to pamper him when he wanted it.

Glancing over at the comm unit, he smiled to himself. Since Scarlett already knew, his deal with BeachHead not to annoy anyone using the comm unit was pretty much null and void. Plucking it up he thought for a moment about which Joe he should send the first message to. Maybe Breaker.. he tended to panic easily...

Bored ninja aren't much fun to the rest of the troops.