I don't know why, but this wouldn't leave my head. It's pretty much pure fluff. I hope to return to the other, irregularly scheduled fics soon. My personal life has gotten slightly less crazy, so I've actually got time to write again now.


Shana O' Hara (it was, she supposed, somewhat unusual for a woman to not have taken her husband's last name purely because she didn't know his last name, but whatever) had to admit that life was going pretty well. She'd always worried that retirement from the armed forces would be boring, but the opposite had proved to be true. It turned out that a ninja compound was almost as full of borderline mental cases as the Joe team had been. She still got to shoot bad guys. She still got to beat enemy ninja to a pulp. She got to terrorize the students in the name of training. She got to enjoy the mixture of joy, frustration, and wondering how the hell she'd ever gotten herself into this that was parenting.

Right now, however, she was mentally preparing herself for one of the most terrifying things she'd ever faced. She took a deep breath, let out half of it, and then flicked on the flashlight and looked under Sean's bed.

Most of the cleaning in the compound was done by the students. Some things, however, were too great a task to ask a mere trainee to undertake. Excavating under a seven year old boy's bed was right up at the top of that list. Her son apparently had some sort of selective vision; she'd told him twice to clean now, and both times he'd just looked at her blankly and said "I did, mom." Which, apparently, meant that he'd retrieved one toy car and put it away.

She started depositing items on his bed. If he didn't notice them underneath the bed, he'd sure as hell see it now.

She was halfway into the mess when someone knocked on the bedroom door. Shana straightened up to find one of the trainees standing in the doorway.

"Mistress Scarlett?" The girl said brightly. "I've a message from "Mistress Junko."

"Yes?" Shana tossed a copy of Halo onto Sean's pillow. He'd been complaining for a week that he couldn't find that game, and she'd said three times to check under the bed. All three times she'd been confidently informed that "It's not there mom, I checked."

"She says to tell you that there's shirtless beefcake sparring in the small training yard. I quote her there."

Shana raised an eyebrow. "Indeed."

"Yes, ma'm."

"Thank you." Shana pointed at the bed. "Whatever you find under there, put it on the bed. Sean can deal with it after Kamakura's done with him."

The girl's face fell. "But…"

"You wanted to go back and ogle Snake and Tommy?" Shana grinned. "I believe that between the two of us Junko and I can manage to deal with the situation."

"Right away, ma'm." The girl sighed, dropped to her belly, and wriggled under the bed.

Japan enjoyed both scorching hot summers and freezingly cold winters. Today was a shining example of the former; when Shana walked outside it was to Tommy and Snake, both with bokken, circling each other warily. Both were sweating, and both had removed their shirts. Shana looked her husband over slowly, and decided that she liked hot summers.

Junko waved cheerfully. She'd set up two lawn chairs in the shade of the wall; Shana sauntered over and settled down as Snake barely avoided getting his head taken off.

"Iced tea?" Junko handed her a glass.

"Thanks." Shana accepted it and sipped as Tommy backpedaled, ducked a backhanded slash, rolled, kicked Snake's legs out from underneath him, stomped on his wrist, and kicked the sword away.

They watched in silence for a few seconds. Snake shot back to his feet, tackling Tommy backwards. The second sword went flying, there was a second of ground fighting, and then Snake was trying to get Tommy in a sleeper hold. Tommy slammed an elbow into Snake's ribs, ducked back, broke the hold, and flipped Snake neatly over his back. Then he turned and grinned at Junko, snapping his attention back to the fight just in time to block a side kick.

"You know, they're both just showing off for us now." Shana observed.

"Yes." Junko smiled. "But they've put a lot of work into those bodies and those skills, so we might as well appreciate them. Besides, we're allowed, and it's a helluva show."

"Amen to that, sister." Shana grinned and clinked her glass against Junko's. "Beats excavating under Sean's bed…I don't know where he gets it. Snake's always tidy, and so am I."

"I take it you put the student I sent you to good use?"

"Good training." Shana said solemnly. "If she can survive the horrors that live under that boy's bed, she'll have no reason to fear anything she'll find on missions."

"Good point." Junko sounded thoughtful. "Never had that problem…Taro inherited his father's borderline OCD."

"I HEARD that." Tommy's voice sounded over the renewed clack of wooden training sword against wooden training sword.

"I knew you would, dear." Junko said serenely. "It doesn't keep it from being true."

"My attention to…mmph…" Snake's fist briefly interrupted his sword brother's sentence. "Ow…nice one…my attention to detail usually makes you pretty happy, love."

Junko sighed. "He's got me there." She patted her belly. "If that man wasn't so damn charming, this one would never have happened."

"Yeah. Done with that." Shana grimaced. "I spent half the time throwing up…I hate your guts for not having morning sickness. I just want you to know that."

"Duly noted."

They watched in companiable silence for a few more minutes. Junko suddenly narrowed her eyes and glanced upwards. "You! Off the roof. All three of you. Don't you have training exercises to run?"

Three rather sheepish young women landed lightly on their toes beside Shana. "We were, Mistress Junko…Sensei Billy had us running stealth drills. We were just…"

"…Seeing how close we could get before you caught us." Another girl helpfully supplied. The other two nodded hopefully.

"Uh huh." Shana snorted. "Ten laps of the compound."

There were sighs, but all three jogged obediently off.

The fight ended shortly after that, with Snake catching Tommy squarely on the back of the neck with his bokken. Snake, looking rather smug, retrieved his shirt and sauntered over to Shana. She handed him her half-empty iced tea; it vanished in seconds.

"You can leave the shirt off." She said as he began to pull it back on. "I was kinda enjoying the view."

He smiled. *Thank you.*

They were interrupted at that point by a shriek of indignation from Junko. Shana glanced over; Tommy was assaulting Junko's midsection mercilessly with all ten fingers.

"TOMISABURO!" Junko planted a foot in his chest and shoved him out of arm's reach. She glared. "You ass…you know I hate being tickled."

"I." Tommy folded his arms. "Was playing with my child. Are you going to yell at me for trying to be a good father?"

Junko pinched the bridge of her nose. "You. Are. A. Smart. Ass."

"But a cute one." Tommy grinned.

"Dammit…Stop smiling." Junko sighed. "Stop that. You know I can't stay mad at you when you're smiling at me like that. It's cheating." She grimaced. "Sooner or later, Tomisaburo, I am going to figure out how to resist that grin, and then you will be in trouble."

"Never happen." Tommy sounded smug.

"Get a room." Shana said dryly.

"Technically, Red, all of this compound is my property. Can't a man annoy his wife on his own property in peace?"

*I vote we leave them so Junko can strangle Tommy in peace.*

"Agreed." Shana took Snake's hand and let him pull her to her feet. "I can go get some practicing done, and you can finish digging out the junk from under your son's bed."

Snake eyed Tommy. *I have things to be doing, right?*

"Nope." Tommy smirked. "I've got the rest of the day covered. Have fun."

*Thanks.* Snake shook his head. *Isn't this what we have students for? I thought I did my share of sweeping floors when I was training.*

"If you can find the floor under there, it'll be an accomplishment." Shana snorted. "Think of it as a mission. A possibly dangerous one laced with unknown obstacles."

As she and Snake walked back inside, Scarlett distinctly heard low voices and a playful female giggle. She smiled, shook her head, and took Snake's arm.

"You know." She grinned more widely. "I'm betting that student is just about done excavating under Sean's bed…we could kick her out, and if Tommy says he's got the rest of the afternoon we've got three good hours before the kids are done with their drills and homework."

Snake perked up. *True.*

Back in their rooms, after taking full, co-ed advantage of their shower, Shana eyed Snake appreciatively as he dug through the dresser, still buck naked.

Yes, life was pretty good.