Disclaimer: Oops. This was lost in the previous part. I just wanted to say that despite the technology and great advances in Spelling & Grammar features, there might still be some typos left. Also, for the grammar thing, well, just know that I am not native English-speaking and that in that, I only write fanfic when I feel uncommonly masochist at the moment.

Thank you for pointing out the matter of continuity. I am taking some liberties.

Also, I never turned down a very patient beta-proof-reader *hint hint*

Ah well. And of course, I own nothing G.I. Joe.

Past Present: Chapter Two

"You should have seen Kamakura doing his kata," Storm Shadow was now telling Jinx, "Observing him would help you improve your own skills."

Jinx clenched her fists, closed her eyes and groaned. But she didn't say a word.

Scarlett sighed again, hearing yet another of Storm Shadow's tirade about how great he was. The red-head looked at the back of the helicopter: Jinx had a frown as deep as the grin on her cousin's face was wide. But she remained silent, her eyes closed. He obviously liked – no, loved – to push the apprentice to her limits. Maybe it was part of the training… or a new form of torture!

Turning to her companion, Scarlett sighed. Her annoyance at having unwanted company was now replaced by pity for the female apprentice. "You should let her speak now," she said, "It's becoming a torture session back there. Not to mention, for me as well. I'm about to strangle him."

*It is good training*, Snake-Eyes signed at her. *She is doing well.*

"If you consider being ready to burst an artery is doing well, then she's doing very well."

Their conversation was then interrupted.

"San Antonio in ten minutes, guys," Wild Bill announced. "I'm clear for the helipad."

Soon enough they landed without problem and all of the passengers were retrieving their bags. Jinx was first at the door, overly eager to get away from Storm Shadow and maybe – once far enough from her sensei – speak some words to her cousin. After all, Snake Eyes had said he would not hear a word from her… so she would make sure he would not.

Scarlett turned to Jinx and Storm Shadow, "Snake and I have our own lodging arranged for," she told them. "I can't care less about where you two will stay." The look on her face spoke even more clearly about her mind – that kind of murderous look.

Storm Shadow grinning, "I have booked us some place," he glanced at Jinx, "Please, do not worry about us."

Snake-Eyes noticed the sudden look on Jinx's face, she was clearly showing signs of emergency. Sensei and apprentice had that special connection, and they could recognize in the other when something was wrong. The black ninja quickly released Jinx from her orders not to talk.

"Tell me, cousin," Jinx started in a low voice that she succeeded in keeping calm, "Did you book that place before or after you met with Hawk, and before or after he then ordered me to come along?"

Not waiting for an answer – she didn't need one – she swiftly exited the helicopter, a devilish grin on her face. She stood nearby, enjoying the verbal lashing that then ensued. The only few seconds of silence, when Scarlet would not be cussing at Storm Shadow, were probably when Snake Eyes signed his mind to Storm Shadow.

It did not last long. Soon enough, a frowning white ninja joined her on the tarmac. For a moment he stared at her. A stare that had many Joes and Cobra step back, if not run screaming. But Jinx wasn't impressed. After a moment, Storm Shadow tilted his head, the frown now gone as a smirk slowly appeared on his face.

"I must admit that you did well," he finally uttered in a low voice.

Jinx reflected the smirk. "You failed to make me the talk," she said, "And you had a piece of Scarlett's mind as a bonus."

"Yes, that was the part I was praising you for," Storm Shadow replied, then turning around, ready to head for their place, "By the way… Snake Eyes put you under my care for the time being. I promised him that your training would not be ignored during this mission. It is going to be a memorable time for you."

In the meantime, Scarlett and Snake Eyes went their way, ignoring the sadistically happy white ninja walking away, followed by a desperate looking Jinx.

As they neared the entrance to the medical complex, the commando stopped walking. Looking at him with a concerned look, Scarlett asked, "Do you want to get back? We can hop on the chopper and forget about it, you know."

Her companion shook his head, *No. I am fine. It is just that I hate hospitals.*

"I can't blame you," she replied in a comforting voice, "So let's find a happy thought. What about… hrm." She thought for a moment, and Snake Eyes observed the wicked smile slowly appearing on her face as she added after a moment. He knew that smile on his lover's face. It usually was followed by something quite exciting. "We get outta here as soon as possible, ditch the others two, and find a quiet place to be alone for a few days?"

The red-head kept grinning as Snake Eyes replied in signs, *Best offer of the day. I'm in.*

And on that, both resumed their way into the medical complex, eager to see the skin specialist as soon as possible. After registering in, they were lead to the doctor's office and were quickly invited in.

The man inside the office greeted them with a broad smile. In his early sixties from the look of it, he was wearing the usual white outfit of doctors. Both Joes instinctively looked around quickly, assessing exits and potential threats. In doing so, they noticed the numerous diplomas framed on the walls.

"Please, have a seat," the doctor welcomed them. Standing from his chair behind a large desk, he walked around it to shake their hands, "I'm Major Lovering, I'll take good care of you," he said, looking at the masked man sitting in front of him. "You must be… hrm, Snake Eyes," he continued, "And this lovely young woman must be Scarlett. Yes, codenames, obviously."

Unimpressed by the display of weaponry on the black clad ninja, the Major continued, "Let me guess," he smiled, "You want to get out of here as soon as possible, right?"

Snake Eyes nodded his head, no translation needed.

"Right. So what about we start then?" Still smiling, he turned to the far side of the office, where a comfortable looking chair was situated. He waved his hand, indicating to Snake Eyes to move to the chair. "The young lady will wait for us."

"No," Scarlett spoke as she stood, "I'll be right there."

The Major raised an eyebrow, studying his patient and his companion for a moment, evaluating the situation. "Oh. I see." He shrugged, "Well then."

Snake Eyes sat on the chair, while the Major adjusted a projector, directing it at his patient's face. That done, he paused, hands on his hips as he stared at the ninja.

"I know you hate to do it," the old Major said in a fatherly voice, "But you have to, son. Even if I had received the medical file I asked for… I'd have to look at your face. I promise it won't last longer than strictly necessary."

Snake Eyes pointed at the bright light from the projector. Removing his mask was one thing, but really, did it have to be brightly lit?

Used to such reaction, the Major had a reply ready, "Without the light, twice the time for the exam."

That did it! Reluctantly, slowly, Snake Eyes removed his mask. Scarlett smiled at him reassuringly. She could never have enough of his eyes, so particular with their silvery color.

Any romantic thoughts that could fill her mind were not shared by the ninja at the moment, as the doctor reached for his face. Automatically, a gloved hand reached for the doctor's arm, stopping its movements.

The doctor straightened, now frowning. He had seen many patients in his career, but this one was overly skittish. He turned to face Scarlett, "Dear, would you do something for me? Rather, for us all?"

Scarlett raised an eyebrow, "What would that be, Major?"

The doctor pointed at Snake Eyes' gun holster. "Please, would you mind taking the gun and point it at me, close range?" Both Scarlett and her companion looked surprised. But the Major continued, his voice commanding, "That way, Snake Eyes can let go of my arm," his voice came a bit louder as he spoke, reminding them both that he was an officer after all, "Then I can do my job. You will both be dismissed soon… because in case you wouldn't know, I have guys coming in daily who also require my expertise. I have no more time to waste than you two have. Is that clear?"

"That won't be necessary, sir," Scarlett replied, "And it's quite clear."

Snake Eyes nodded. The speech had its expected result, as the ninja let go of the arm, allowing the doctor to poke at his skin, move his head from side to side.

"Good…" The doctor would make some comments during the exam, and taking notes. To file in what file, he had no clue. "See, that wasn't long, son." He turned off the light, and the ninja quickly put his mask on. "I see that you had skin grafting already. Come over here," he walked back to his desk, "Let's see what I can do for you…"

Storm Shadow and Jinx didn't go far from the medical complex. They had to stay around and be able to cover the Joes inside. Just out of the complex' large gates, they found a motel where they signed in.

"There's only one single bed," she noted as they stepped in the small room with a single window facing the hospital main gates.

"Quite observant of you," Storm Shadow replied, placing his bag on the bed. "You are not sleeping here. Actually…" He pointed at the window, "You are not going to sleep. There you will find a recycling bin. It was emptied today, so it is yours for the whole week."

Jinx cussed under her breath. "You must be kidding."

"The art of standing in a crowd without being noticed." He turned to Jinx, still that smirk on his face, "But I am not a torturer. You will be allowed access to this room twice a day, for fifteen minutes. Now, you can go to your post."