TITLE:  Hopelessly 1/1

AUTHOR:  Angel Hungerford

EMAIL: anna@zhadum.com

DISCLAIMER:  No, they're not mine.  If they were, oh, the fun I'd have.  The story does belong to me, though.

FEEDBACK:  Is better than chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream.

DISTRIBUTION:  List archives, ff.net.  Otherwise ask.



SUMMARY:  Sequel to "Reconciliation."  After they embrace on the roof, can Scarlett really forgive Snake Eyes?

NOTE:  This is fluff.  No redeeming value whatsoever, and it ignores comic #4.

NOTE 2:  Lyrics are by Train, "Hopeless," from _Drops of Jupiter_

~ I hopelessly, helplessly wonder why

   Everything's got to change around me

   I'd tell it to your face

   But you lost your face along the way

   And I'd say it on the phone

   If I thought you were alone

   Why do things have to change? ~

"I'm doing something stupid," Scarlett admitted from the doorway.

"Jesus!  Make some noise, would you?" Lady Jaye gasped, jerking away from the computer and turning to look at her.  "You know, I didn't even hear you come in?"

"Sorry," the redhead said with a shrug, dropping into the chair across from her.  "I saw your door open, so…"

"Decided it was confession time?"  Jaye gave her friend a smile.  "You want some coffee?  Or tea?"

"No, thanks.  I just need – someone to kick some sense into me."

"So you came looking for me?  I think I'm flattered."

"Clarification:  I need a girl friend to kick me in the head.  And I've never had a plethora of those."

"Jinx not suitable?"

"For this?  No.  She's less confused about him than I am – but in the wrong direction.  Sensei is flawless and worthy of worship."  She sighed.

"Sensei?  Scarlett, you're not – please tell me you're not thinking what I think you're thinking."

"Probably.  I did say I was doing something stupid."

"Yeah, but there's stupid and then there's stupid, and *this*…"

"Is stupid," Scarlett finished with a sigh.  "I know."

"Colossally, abysmally, *indescribably* stupid.  I have not words to encompass the level of stupidity.  Scarlett…"

"I know!  I know.  He's treated me like shit, been selfish and short-sighted, and hopelessly arrogant, and… and…."


"And I love him, Allie." The anguish was plain in her voice.  "I wish to God I didn't.  After everything he's done to me, I *shouldn't.*  But after everything we've been through together… well, I think I'll tackle something easier first.  Like not breathing."

"Oh, Shana," Jaye briefly considered scolding, or actually kicking her in the head. Trying, anyway.  Instead, she sighed, and leaned forward to take her friend's hands.  "Really?"

"Really."  She reclaimed her hands and buried them in her short-cropped hair.  "I tried everything I could think of, you know?  Even cut my hair, to bring the change home.  Shana O'Hara, Single Gal Extraordinaire.  And it kinda worked, for a little while.  But – I missed him, every day.  And being here… god, Allie, being in that dungeon was like the old days over again.  He had C4, I had a detonator cord…."

"Like you knew."

"I knew he'd need it, just like he knew I'd have it.  The Team Supreme, together again.  But dammit, I *can't do this*.  Not like this.  Not after knowing…" she trailed off.  "Not after loving him."

"Shana, you know if you go back to him it could happen all over again.  He could break your heart all over again, leave you again."

"I know."  She looked Jaye in the eye.  "But tell me something.  Way back when you and Dash first got together, when you were either fighting or couldn't keep your hands off each other?  If you'd been told what would happen between then and now, all the pain you'd go through, the messy breakup, the whole deal, but they didn't tell you that you'd get back together  – would you have given him up?"

Jaye thought about it for a few minutes, twisting her wedding band.  "No," she said finally.  "No, I couldn't.  Even knowing.  But – maybe you should talk to him."

She shook her head.  "I think I've talked enough.  Or maybe too much, already."  The redhead rose.  "Thanks, Allie."

"For what?"

Scarlett gave her a pained smile.  "For showing me what I have to do."

~ But you don't need my pictures on your wall

   You say you need no one

   And you don't need my secret midnight call

   I guess you need no one

   Is anybody waiting at home for you?

   'Cause it's time that will tell if it's heaven if it's hell or if it's

   Anybody waiting at home for you?

   'Cause it's time that will tell this tale ~

Snake Eyes was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the workout room they'd converted into a dojo, staring at something.  As she got closer, she realized it was a picture of them, in the woods near his cabin.  Jinx had taken it, not long after the Joes had been disbanded.  She remembered the day in vivid detail  It had been a good one, in a string of good ones, and she thought she'd spend the rest of her life like that.

She slid into lotus position across from him, moving ninja-silent, and waited.

After a while, he came back to himself and realized she was there.  He looked up, and she saw the flash of fear in his eyes.  She caught his gaze, and they sat silently for a timeless space of time, just watching.

Eventually she brought her hands up from her lap.  "Talk to me," she signed.

"Shana," he spelled her name out with gentle precision.

"Michael."  She did the same.  No code names, no masks, no hiding from this moment.

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For being afraid.  For leaving.  I love you."

"I love you, too," and she signed the individual words.

All the words spoken, he reached out a hand.  She took it, and they rose together.

It was, perhaps, enough.

~ You're in and out up and down

   Wonder if you're lost or found

   But I got my hands on you

   Are you strong enough to toe the line

   Are you gonna make me yours

   Or do I make you mine?

   I'm in and out I'm up and down

   Wonder if I'm lost or found

   But I need your hands on me now~

He closed the door, and they moved together as naturally as breathing.  He bent his head to hers, and their first kiss was just as tender and poignant as their last.  One hand came up to caress her cheek, and she rubbed into it like a cat, reacquainting herself with the shape of his hand, the rough-smooth-rough of his calloused touch.

"Beautiful," he murmured, breath making the only sound.  She knew the shape of it in his mouth, brought her own up to taste it there.  His other hand was in her hair, strands catching on the imperfections of his fingers, the not-quite-painful tugging anchoring her to the moment.

"Please," she whispered, not quite knowing what she was asking for.  "Please."

He began to undress her, moving slowly, as if expecting her to stop him.  She held as still as possible, shivering like a skittish horse every time he touched her.  All this was almost too much for her, to be presented with him, fait accompli, after such a long absence.

He pulled away.  "Are you all right?"

This time she knew what she was asking for.  "Please.  Don't stop."  Her voice was shaking like her skin.


She stepped forward, took his hands and claimed his mouth with a kiss.  "I said," she said when she could speak again, "don't stop."

Now he understood, because he pulled her to him, a fierce embrace that stole the air from her lungs, nuzzled her neck, ran his teeth over her pulse point in a way that made her gasp.  "Love, love," his hands said, tracing the words on her skin almost without moving.

Her shirt dropped to the floor unheeded as he explored her body with his mouth and rough-smooth hands. 

Their lovemaking was as much mirrored perfection as their fighting had been; a meshing and mingling beyond her own ability to define.  "I missed you," she sighed, afterwards, leaning into his shoulder.

He pulled her closer, stroking her hair.

It was enough, after all.

~But you don't need my pictures on your wall

You say you need no one

And you don't need my secret midnight call

I guess you need no one

Is anybody waiting at home for you?

Cause it's time that will tell if it's heaven if it's hell or if it's

Anybody waiting at home for you?

Cause it's time that will tell this tale ~

When she woke up, he was gone.  Silence never bothered her, but the apartment seemed painfully empty without him.  She prowled through the space, noticing that half the pictures that had been on the wall were gone – all the ones with the two of them.  The living room was full of boxes.  "I thought I'd already unpacked," she observed into the stillness.

The invitation lay on the dining room table, mocking. 

:Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Hart-Burnett

request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter

Alison Rachel


Dashiell Robert Faireborn

Saturday, the seventeenth of July

Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Nine

at seven o'clock in the evening:

"I need to RSVP," she said, picking it up.  "Maybe I won't go."

The phone rang.  "I understand if you don't want to be a bridesmaid," Lady Jaye said when she answered, "This would be three, right?"

She looked at the invitation, then back at the phone.  "I was a bridesmaid for two of my brothers, yes.  Why are you asking me, though?  We're not really friends, after all."

"Well, otherwise my bridesmaids will all be friends from college.  It'll keep my mother from making snarky comments about her daughter the soldier."

"Then I'd be delighted," she found herself saying.  "I'm not superstitious, Allie.  Besides, I've resigned myself to my fate: I'm never getting married."

"Oh, don't say that.  You're young, yet."

"I'm older than you.  And single.  And perfectly okay with it."


"Maybe.  But if I say it enough times, it'll be true, right?"

"I promise not to put you in a hideous dress.  Weddings are a great place to meet guys, you know.  I'll introduce you to my brother.  The one who's not gay."

"Might as well introduce me to the gay one, too.  It doesn't seem to stop anybody."

Jaye laughed.

The dress was far from hideous, and the brother (the one who wasn't gay) was nice.  Polite.  Pleased to meet a girl who wasn't after his money.  Talkative and charming, a world away from Snake Eyes.  They'd gone out a few times, and they'd decided anything further was impossible at approximately the same time.  "Irreconcilable differences," she'd told a disappointed Jaye.  "At least we figured it out before the marriage."  They both laughed.

She told herself she wasn't jealous of Jaye's happiness.

~ I hopelessly, helplessly, wonder why

Everything's gotta change ~

There was that moment of confusion when she woke up and couldn't figure out where she was.  {Been awhile since that's happened,} she thought.  He was still there, spooned against her.  Still asleep, he pulled her tighter, burrowing into her shoulder.  {It was a dream,} she realized.

Scarlett disentangled herself long enough to go to the bathroom.  He appeared to still be asleep when she came back.  "I know you're awake," she said, perching on the edge of the bed.  "You woke up when I got up – or you're slipping in your old age, and I should tell Hawk."

Snake-Eyes looked up at her and lowered his head in acknowledgement.

"Regrets?" she asked, "Wishing you'd let me go?"

"I did try," he pointed out, watching her with hungry eyes.  "You came back."

"Duke asked me."

His eyes and mouth narrowed, and he gestured to the bed.

"No, he didn't ask me to seduce you.  I wouldn't, even if he did – and he wouldn't, either."

Shrug, palm up.  Point conceded.

She started to say something, stopped.  "Can we start over?  I didn't want to start the morning by fighting with you."


"I'm sorry."

He arched an eyebrow.

"I know, it sounds funny, me apologizing to you, but I'm the one making snarky comments, first thing in the morning – and after last night, to boot."

He patted the bed, and she slipped under the blankets beside him.  He pulled her tight against him, spoon-fashion.

"You never did answer my question about regrets," she observed a few minutes later.  He rolled her over, shifted up on one elbow to look at her.

"I love you," he signed.  "Always.  And if there is regret – it is only that I left."

It was what she needed to hear.

- FIN -