Lady Jaye stood there in shock for a moment before reaching into the dresser's drawer and pulling out her service fire arm and pointing it at him. "Who are you and what are you doing here?!" she demanded, her aim not faulting, never wavering. She would shoot this impostor if she had too. The nerve of this man, acting like her dead husband. That thought angered her more. "You picked the wrong man to impersonate you Cobra slime!"
"Co—cobra slime!" Flint stuttered, moving one leg slowly off the bed and placing his foot to the floor, getting ready to stand up. "Allie, it's me! Put that weapon down!"
"Don't lie to me!" Jaye growled with intense anger.
"I'm not lying to you!" Flint claimed, slowly standing up from the bed and taking hold of the cane that was placed right next to it. He shifted his weight toward the left and used the cane, moving a step forward. "Alison, it's me! Dash!"
She shot just to the left of him, the bullet lodging into the wall. "LIAR! DASH...MY DASH IS DEAD!"
Flint froze still. "Allie, they told you we were dead! We're not! Doc and Spades are both fine! Though Doc may need to retire." His memory drifted back to the Pentagon and at the meeting. Everything was going smoothly, everything on Cobra was on target and once and for all, the high command would give every ounce of strength to back up G. I. Joe and destroy Cobra—permanently.
During the meeting, Doc complained about minor chest pain and then on his turn at the podium, he clutched his chest and fell to his knees. Both Flint and Spades rushed up to help their teammate. It looked like Doc was suffering from a heart attack. Flint called for help and a Greenshirt came, ready to assist. Spades and Flint both carried Doc out of the meeting room, toward the medical area in the Pentagon—when Doc fully lost consciousness.
The Greenshirt raced toward them with the medical team and they carried the G. I. Joe medic away. Flint turned to head back toward the meeting room when the explosion came from nowhere, the ceiling falling down both under him and Spades and the last thing he recalled was the world turning black, only to wake days later at a Hospital in Washington with a massive headache and his knee wrapped. He had injured his kneecap and the doctors had diagnosed that he'd need surgery—a knee replacement. Spades on the other hand, had also awoken, with two broken ribs, and a broken arm. But Doc was still under intensive care, suffering from a massive heart attack.
Hours after he'd waken, the first thing in his mind was to call the base. He had called Jaye first and foremost, but the phone was not answered! He panicked and called the main control room, only to find out Beach Head was there and not Duke. Beach Head immediately dispatched a Tomahawk for him and Spades. Sammy flew it herself, wanting to fly into her husband's arms and that's what she had done as he recalled the blond Joe jumping out of the pilot's seat and into Spades, kissing him like there was no tomorrow. Glancing at the Tomahawk, he felt crestfallen that his wife had not come too, and he'd felt fear rise in his chest, knowing something was wrong. But on the ride back to base, Sammy explained that Sky Dancer had gone to labor and she was in surgery, the baby and the pilot in danger. He wanted more than anything to go to the Infirmary and see them all there, but he knew that his presence would create chaos. So, he rushed to the suite, hoping to see his wife and then they'd go together! However, entering the suite, he found it empty. So, he waited for his wife to return and he'd surprise her!
Considering she thought that he was a Cobra agent, she was surprised!
"Allie..." he tried again, more gentle.
"Don't Allie me!" It was obvious that since the incident happened she had shut down. She started to shake now and the tears that started to flow down her cheeks.
Flint looked at her, his mind reeling. "Allie, it's me!" He took another step forward toward his wife.
"I'll shoot, stay where you are!" she screamed, reaching for her cell phone.
He stopped, his eyes widened. "Listen to me! It's me! Not a synthoid!"
"Oh yeah! Prove it!"
Bravely, he took a small step forward, shifting his weight to his cane. He cringed from the pain in his knee, but shoved it aside—for now. "Brutus, I know who gave him to you."
"Every Joe knows that Duke gave him to me."
He shook his head, closing his eyes for a mere moment, then opened them his gaze on hers. "No. That was the replacement, it was—" Before he could finish his words, he watched her bolt out of the bedroom, her cell dropping to the floor with an "Allie? Allie?" coming from it. Scarlett. He took several slow steps to the doorway, leading to the living room. "Allie!"
The front door of their suite was wide open. She had bolted out of the suite.
"Damnation!" Flint cried out, limping toward the doorway. He walked outside to the hallway, glancing right and left, then spotting her racing toward the corner. "Alison Faireborn! You get back here!"
"NO WAY, SNAKE!" Jaye yelled at him.
He growled under his breath, starting to follow her. "You know this is ridiculous! For Pete's sake, it's me!"
Once he rounded the corner, she threw a small table that was outside someone's door at him. "Imposter!"
"Allie!" he cried out, maneuvering away from the table, letting it crash right next to him.
She made it into the commons area and picked up a vase and hurled it at him.
He ducked in time and the vase passed him, hitting Gung Ho on the head. "What the—" he growled, glaring at his wife. "Lady Jaye! Have you flipped?"
"This is an impostor!" Jaye yelled at Gung Ho. She picked up a remote control for the television and flung it at Flint.
"G. H.!" Flint cried out, twisting around but the remote hit him on the back and he groaned out.
Gung Ho stood agape. "He is not! That there Jaye, is your husband you are flinging stuff at!"
"My husband is dead!" Jaye screamed out almost hysterically. She grabbed another remote and threw it.
"Incoming!" Gung Ho cried out, ducking from the second remote. He looked from Flint to Jaye.
"Allie! I'm not dead, Sto Dialo!" Flint shouted, now getting angry with his wife. "Would I curse in Greek if I was?"
"If you're acting like him, you would!" she said and cursed colorfully in several different languages and headed for the barrack's door.
"Get back here, Allie!" Flint called out, starting to follow her, using his cane, he called over his shoulder. "G.H. get Duke and Cayden!"
"Right-o!" Gung Ho wasted no time, but rushed out of the room, his own cane in a fast pace.
Running outside the barracks, Jaye headed for her car.
"Allie! Don't you dare!" Flint shouted, starting to follow her as quickly as he could. He spotted Cover Girl near by. "Court! Stop Allie!"
"You're not my husband!" Jaye said fumbling with the door handle.
Cover Girl looked in shock, heading toward the covert operative. "Allie, calm down, it's Flint!"
Jaye climbed into her car and shut and locked the door. She started the engine and put it in drive.
"Jaye!" Cover Girl started pulling on the door. "What's wrong with you! Can't you see it's Flint?" she pointed to the warrant officer who was limping toward them.
From the corner of his eye, Flint caught sight of Gung Ho with Duke and Scarlett coming out of the Infirmary.
"Look for yourselves!" Gung Ho kept pointing toward the second in command.
Scarlett turned, her eyes growing wide, then began to sway and fell to the ground, limp.
"Sh—ooo—t!" Gung Ho grumbled.
"Flint, stop where you are!" Duke ordered. "Gung Ho take care of Scarlett." He then ran over to the car. "Courtney go get Dr. Caveman and then security." He watched Cover Girl leave, before he knocked on the window of the car. "Allie, come out. I'll get this sorted out."
Jaye opened the door and Duke slowly helped her out, not taking his eyes off Flint.
Gung Ho and Cover Girl both nodded toward their commanding officer with a salute then Gung Ho reached down, picking up a still unconscious Scarlett while Cover Girl raced into the Infirmary.
Flint looked toward Duke, taking a step forward. "We are not dead," he stated with a serious expression.
"Just stay where you are," Duke ordered.
Jaye stayed behind the general.
Flint had no other choice but to obey his superior. He stole a glance at his wife, then he looked toward the redhead who was starting to stir awake in the marine's arms. He then spotted Cover Girl racing out of the Infirmary, heading toward the main building, knowing who she was retrieving. Letting out a growl, his teeth clinched together, he found this whole scenario utterly ridiculous!
"Hey Scarlett, wakie wakie," Gung Ho tried to wake the sleeping beauty. "You know Duke, she keeps doing this since the day you married her." He let out a chuckle. "You broke her!"
Even Flint had to laugh at the marine, though Duke's features were nothing but stone cold at that moment toward him.
Cayden came out of the Infirmary and stopped dead in his tracks. "No way..."
Several MP's came up behind Flint.
"Dr. Caveman. I want DNA testing done on this man and if he fights he'll be thrown in the brig," Duke ordered.
"Are you all mad?" Flint exclaimed. "It's me! Flint! You know the one who married this Scot? The one who has two kids, two grandkids and those two damn dogs!"
"That's Flint all right," Gung Ho claimed. "No one else would dare say that about Jaye's precious pouches!"
Scarlett's eyes fluttered opened and she let out a gasp, still in Gung Ho's strong arms.
Jaye came around Duke and started to slowly walk to Flint.
"Jaye, get back here," Duke ordered but she didn't stop.
"What the hell is going on?" Beach Head grumbled, striding toward him, with his wife dragging him.
Flint held his ground, "You can poke me if you like, but it's me! And here is proof! One—Only I would know that my sister Nancy sold her evil plastic things and her horse to save Ace! Two—Only I would know that Brutus was given by your mother, who is a ghost at Burnett Manor and only comes out when someone is very ill or in danger! Three—Only I would know about Duke's Sex panel radar thing on his head which Scarlett's pet tarantula—which is named Nutmeg loves to sleep on!" He took a deep breath, watching her green eyes intensely. "And lastly—I would be the one who knew that when you were sixteen, you went out with a boy, behind your father's back because you had not been 'out' yet!"
Jaye looked at him intensely. She was just a few steps from him now. Unshed tears from the last week had come to surface. She started to become beyond hysterical.
"Hey, Allie," he said soothingly, not taking a step forward, letting her decide.
She fell to her knees.
Scarlett blinked, then her eyes rolled again and she fell limp once again, letting Gung Ho roar with laughter.
"Hey Duke! I think your wife might be pregnant or something!" The marine shook his head, walked over slowly to the first in command and handed him his precious treasure.
Flint shook his head, then took one step and carefully, slowly, went to his knees, inches from his wife.
She went instantly in his arms, crying incoherently.
"See, told you it was me," he murmured, kissing her forehead and hugging her close. "Flints don't lie."
Cover Girl choked up at the scene and started crying too, burying her head in her husband's chest, who rolled his eyes!
Gung Ho continued to shake his head. "Well, at least the women make this base a little bit interesting!" he commented.
Jaye clung to her husband as if she were afraid this was all a dream and he would disappear at anytime.
"Dad…" Cayden said softly, then ran back into the Infirmary and into his office and picked up Eryn and rushed her outside. "Look, Eryn!"
"Daddy!" Eryn screeched, Brutus still in her hands and still wearing Flint's shirt. She fought with Cayden until he put her down and she ran as fast as her little legs could take her toward her favorite man in the world.
"Peanut!" Flint cried out, his mouth wide with the largest smile he'd had ever seen. He let go one of his arms from his wife and scooped up his daughter and kissed her forehead. "Hey, Brutus!"
"I misseded you. Dey told me you not coming back," she cried and hugged him as tight as her little arms could.
Cayden walked over and knelt down beside then and wrapped them all in his arms.
"Naw, I'm not going anywhere," Flint said, gently to his daughter. "Not now anyway." He looked to his son. "Hey Danny, I heard you were doing miracles again."
"I'm trying," Cayden said, tears flowing down his cheeks.
Jaye's face was buried into her husband's chest, not making any noise.
Flint nodded. "That's all I ask of you." He rubbed his wife's shoulders and kissed her temple. "So, what did you write on my tombstone? Handsome charming bulky muscled man?" He chucked at her tear filled face, and those eyes that glared at him. "Or, Thank God I got rid of him! He let out too much gas during the night" He let out a loud guffaw, slowly starting to stand up, sharp pain rushing in his knee. He let out a groan. "Uh,.. Cay, help here... please."
Cayden helped his father up, his gaze on the knee.
"Thanks," Flint said, reaching down to his wife. "Okay, lass, it's time to dance!"
"Great!" Scarlett's voice came from her husband's arms, her eyes now opened. "At least we can celebrate!"
"Ahh, you woke, huh, Fainting Beauty!" Flint chuckled, helping his wife to her feet. He wiggled his eyebrows at her then wrapped his arms around her, looking down at his daughter with a smile.
"Daddy, Reenie's baby is winkley!" Eryn exclaimed.
"Wh—what?" Flint rattled his head, blinking in surprise. He looked to his wife. "Is something wrong with the baby?" His heart skipped a beat.
Jaye shook her head. "No, he's just perfect. Just all wrinkly like a newborn."
"So, it's a boy, huh?" Flint grinned from ear to ear. He looked at his best friend. "Congrats, Grandpa Conrad!"
"Thanks," Duke said. "Come on, let's go introduce you."
Flint's eyes lit up. "I would love to see the newest Hauser."
"Con? Are you going to carry me all the way there?" Scarlett giggled, her arms still around his neck as he held her in his arms. "I promise I won't faint."
"Oh, sorry." He grinned down at his wife as he set her down.
Eryn ran ahead of them, Flint's shirt flowing in the wind.
"Man, she is excited!" Flint commented, starting to walk, locked with his wife's arm toward the Infirmary. "Is that my old shirt she is wearing?"
"Yes," Jaye said, feeling safe in his arms. "She's been wearing it since the bombing."
Flint smiled, pulling her closer and all of them headed toward the Infirmary. "Is Colly there too?" he asked, nearing the building.
"Devon has a slight fever, so Colleen stayed with the twins and Aunt Brody stayed with Colleen," Scarlett answered, then called out, "Eryn! Be careful!" She watched the little girl race faster than she ever had before, her feet flying on the ground. "Well, she's got someone's speed."
"She's never been happier than she is right now to have her Daddy back," Jaye said with a smile.
"I remember her being like this one other time, when she got her Mommy back," Cayden reminded.
Scarlett reached out and patted her godson's arm sending him a warm smile. Entering the building, they all headed toward Sky Dancer's room. She signaled for the others to stop, allowing Flint to enter first the room.
The warrant officer smiled, nodded and then peeked inside the room, spotting his godson, holding a small bundle in a blue blanket and watched Kastor's eyes turn huge enough to explode from their surprise. He placed a finger to his lips, signaling the younger man to be quiet. Walking closer to the bed, he noticed Sky Dancer had drifted asleep. Her pale features made his heart skip a beat. Slowly, he reached with his hand, touching the pilot's face, recalling everything the both of them had been through the years together. "Reena?" he whispered.
Sky Dancer's eyes slowly drifted open and widened to their fullest, her gaze locking on his own. Her mouth dropped and nothing came out, not even a gasp. She looked from her husband to the others by the doorway and back to Flint. Her lips began to tremble and her eyes narrowed. "This is a joke!"
"Nope, Reenie," Eryn said excitedly, jumping up and down at the side of the bed.
Sky Dancer turned to look at Duke and Jaye for evidence, she arched a brow, awaiting a signal.
"Trust me, it's me," Flint said softly, brushing a lock of her hair away from her face. "And here's proof. It was you and Jeffrey who left the stuffed Cobra snake that sang, 'Cold Slither' in Duke's office four years ago and he never knew who it was."
Kastor still holding the baby, smacked his forehead with one hand, recalling that particular practical joke which had sent his father in a rampage on who the 'brave little Joe' was! He sent his father a crooked grin, hoping bygones would be bygones.
Sky Dancer remained impassive when her shoulders started shaking and a sob escaped, starting to slowly rise toward the thought to be dead friend.
"Hey, it's all right," Flint soothed, carefully wrapping his arms around her and holding her, letting her sobbing land on his chest. Shaking his head. "Why do I always make you cry?" he muttered, looking to his godson for some help.
Kastor whispered to his wife. "Honey, care to introduce Flint to the new family member?"
"Of course!" Sky Dancer looked up, wiping her tears away. She took Flint's hand in hers, then turned toward Kastor, with a smile and her eyes went to the little bundle, sleeping peacefully in his father's arms. "Dash, we want you to meet someone very special. This is Conrad John."
Flint kissed her cheek and slowly let go of her hand, taking the newborn carefully in his arms, starting rocking the baby. "Now, you better not do a Caveman on me," he joked, giving an amused expression to his son. His eyes looked down at the little red face and closed eyes. "Well, Conrad John, welcome to this Joe world, though I will warn you that by the time you grow up, you'll be pulling your hair out from this gang, but I will tell you this. All of them, including that nutty bear are the best things that happened to me." Lowering his head, he placed his lips on the newborn's forehead.
A hand wrapped around Jaye's shoulder's and she turned to see her best friend, with a few tears in her eyes.
Jaye looked at her best friend and hugged her, tears flowing.
"Daddy, I no want you holding the baby!" Eryn exclaimed.
They all turned to the little girl in pure shock.
"Why not?" Flint asked gently, looking down at his daughter.
"Cause yer my Daddy and you habn't holded me yet," Eryn said pulling on his pant leg.
Flint chuckled. "Well, in that case, I'll give this little tomato back to his mother." With a wink and a smile, he handed over little Conrad John to Sky Dancer, then he leaned down and picked up his daughter, setting her on his left leg. "Happy now?"
Eryn cuddled in his lap, pulling Brutus to her and sticking her thumb in her mouth. She nodded to him.
He wrapped his arms around her, rocking her gently in his strong embrace.
Scarlett watched the pair and sent Flint a smile of reassurance. Her eyes then widened and her moth fell. Turning, she blinked at her husband. "Con? Where's Rowan?"
"Don't worry, she's in my office writing a letter to Santa," Cayden told them.
Duke let out a sigh of relief.
"Thanks, Cayden," Scarlett replied, looking at her husband.
"Well everyone, Momma and baby need to rest. How about if everyone goes home and you can come back in the morning," Cayden said in doctor mode.
"Can I stay?" Kastor asked.
"Of course. I'll have a cot brought in for you," Cayden told him.
"Come on, everyone," Duke said. "Let's go. I know two little girls that need to get to sleep so Santa can come."
"I'll get Rowan and be right back," Scarlett said, walking over to her daughter-in-law's side, her tone turned softer, "I'm only a phone call away. All right? And we will all be here tomorrow morning to visit." Bending down, she kissed her cheek and patted her hand.
Sky Dancer nodded. "Goodnight," she said, her voice drowsy.
"Goodnight to you too, Conrad John," Scarlett whispered, kissing the newborn's forehead. "Grandma is going to see you tomorrow, bright and early." She walked over to where now Jaye was standing with Flint. "Goodnight you two."
Jaye smiled at Scarlett. "Goodnight."
"Daddy, can I sweep wif you?" Eryn asked, still in her father's arms.
"I'm going to go log off my computer and go home," Cayden said with a happy smile.
Flint smiled at his daughter. "Of course you can." He kissed her cheek. "Brutus too!" He kissed Sky Dancer on the cheek. "I'll see you tomorrow." Wrapping an arm around his wife, he led them out of the room. "Maybe a little late though!" he called over his shoulder making several groans come from the rest of them and he chuckled inside.
Scarlett turned to Duke. "Con! The new bike! You forgot to put it together!" She placed her hand to her head, shaking it. "I'll get Rowan with Cayden and will meet you back at the suite." With a kiss goodbye to her son and Sky Dancer, she headed toward the office, finding her daughter sleeping on the couch with her letter to Santa in her hands.
"Looks like someone needs to send this," she murmured to Cayden who followed her to the office. Taking the letter from the little hands, she slowly opened it, beginning to read. "Cayden, you have to read this." She watched him raise his head up from the computer. "One thing she is asking from Santa is for Eryn to be able to school with her."
"I don't think Mom will go for it. Eryn doesn't seem to want to go either. She's pretty content with the homeschool teacher she has," Cayden said as he grabbed his coat and turned off his computer.
"Are you sure about that?" Scarlett asked, slowly picking up the sleeping child. "Rosey girl, you gained a few." she kissed her daughter's cheek. She looked to Cayden. "Hasn't Eryn been not doing well lately?"
"She has a habit of getting distracted," Cayden answered. "Do you want me to carry her?"
Scarlett shook her head, declining his offer. "In a few months, I will let you carry her but for now, I think I still want to hold her." She waited for him to switch off the lights and together they headed off toward the exit. "A distracted Eryn is what makes her personality shine. But, maybe Allie should allow her to experience more than just four walls and one teacher. Don't you think?"
"I'm afraid at what will happen to her there. Her form of dwarfism is the rarest in the world. There are only about a hundred of them world wide. Children can be really cruel."
"Yes, Cayden, people can be cruel, but isolating her from other children might be cruel too," she countered walking out of the Infirmary. "Don't you think I don't want what's the best for my little Eryn? But seeing her so unhappy, rips my heart in two!"
"She wasn't unhappy with the teacher. She didn't get unhappy until the fights started with Rowan and then when we thought Dad died," Cayden said as they walked. "My mother is not cruel to Eryn."
"I didn't say your mother is cruel to Eryn, she loves her, like we all do. But have you thought what might happen if both of them can't be there for her?" Scarlett released something she had bottled inside. What would have happened if Jaye had left Eryn alone? No mother or no Father. True, they would be there for the little girl. She would even step in if she had too.
"Mom and I have already talked about that. I will take Eryn," Cayden told her. "It's all been taken care of."
Scarlett nodded as they headed toward the barracks. "Colleen would be there for her, just like you will."
"I know," Cayden said softly.
She sent a smile toward her godson. "I'm very proud of you, you know."
"Wish I was," Cayden muttered.
"Cayden, you are doing everything in your power," Scarlett stated.
"Yeah, well, it's not enough. She's not getting any better." He growled at himself.
"No, she's not," Scarlett agreed, feeling sick to her stomach herself. "Colleen tells me that you've been feeling sick too lately."
"It's just stress," Cayden said, waving it off.
"Cayden, I don't want to see you overworking yourself!" They had walked toward the Hauser suite and he knocked on the door for her.
"I won't," Cayden promised.
"Good." She kissed him on the cheek goodnight, while holding onto Rowan. "Merry Christmas, Cayden."
"Merry Christmas to you too, Aunt Shana," Cayden said and returned the kiss before heading off to his quarters.