Author's Note: This was a random plotbnny that sat on my head and refused to move. This is set in my AU, where Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow grew up together from when they were little to Hard Master's death. No yaoi, and no slash intended.
"Snake?" Scarlett chewed nervously on her bottom lip as she jogged through the base. "Snake! I need to speak with you!"
She reached up and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear as she forced herself to breathe. The ninja usually showed up soon after she called him. It just wasn't like him to stay away.
"Duke!" She grabbed the passing sergeant by the front of his shirt and dragged him close to her face. "Where's Snake-Eyes?"
The blond looked befuddled. "H-how should I know?" he sputtered. "He's usually in his dojo or next to you."
Scarlett paused before frowning. "Fine. Then where's Storm Shadow?"
"In the Team Alpha rec room. Why?"
His answer came in the form of being shoved to the floor while a very irate Scarlett stood over him. "You let him in?!" she hissed.
"He just walked right in! It isn't locked, you know." Duke scrambled backwards before standing up again. He eyed the redhead warily, ready to bolt for his life should her mood worsen.
Even from a distance, her ferocity was intimidating. "What. Does. He. Want?" Her voice dripped with malice and hatred for the former-Cobra agent. "What is he searching for?"
Duke rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "Well, I'm not sure, but he made a beeline for the rec room after Ripcord accidentally mentioned that Snake has a stash of tea leaves in one of the cabinets..."
Scarlett closed her eyes and exhaled slowly through her teeth. "Of... course." Ninjas apparently had a fondness for tea, so much so that Snake saw fit to squirrel away his stash despite the fact that no one on base wanted much to do with the drink, much less risk a ninja's wrath for it. Paranoia, she had guessed. Who would have thought that it was simply a habit developed over years of hiding tea from fellow ninjas?
"Still nervous around him?"
"How can I not be?" She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. Personally, she would have preferred to shoot the ninja the moment he set foot in the Pit, but Snake's immense trust in his sword brother had prevented her from doing so. She still had yet to see what convinced Snake-Eyes to accept Storm Shadow after years of conflict, but until then, she wasn't eager to see the Arashikage as anything but a potential spy.
"Snake trusts him," Duke pointed out gently.
"Of course he trusts him." Her voice was bitter. "He wants to trust him. He wants to have Storm Shadow back as a brother."
"And you think that he would be willing to sacrifice you and all of G.I. Joe just because of his own desires?" The sergeant made a 'tsk tsk tsk' noise. "Shana. You of all people should know that he isn't the selfish type." As if she needed a reminder, he touched his throat.
She swallowed hard. "Of course." Her fingers toyed with a a bit of her hair. "Do you suppose Snake is also there with him?"
He shrugged. "Most likely, yeah, because Hawk told him to keep a close eye on Storm."
Well, that was a halfway decent excuse for disappearing. But as confident as she was in her lover's skills, Scarlett felt uneasy at the thought of Snake-Eyes constantly within arrow range of the white ninja. As he'd proven countless times before, Storm Shadow was an even match for him.
As soon as she reached the rec room, she was - by all means - ready to kick down the door and thoroughly chew Snake out for worrying her. But as her fingers brushed the doorknob, she paused.
Frowning, she pressed an ear to the door. There it was again. She jerked back in surprise, blinking rapidly.
Did... did she hear a snore?
What the heck. What the heck? Ninjas didn't snore. She knew that for a fact.
Slowly, in order to stay as quiet as she could manage, she opened the door and peeked in.
… Okay. She wasn't expecting that.
A black-clad figure she recognized as Snake-Eyes was reclining on the couch - or at least he looked like he was trying to. He was pinned down by Storm Shadow, who was... fine, maybe pinned was not the correct word. 'Trapped' seemed more appropriate.
Scarlett opened her mouth, then closed it, then opened it again.
Snake, upon hearing her enter, turned his head slowly towards her. His mask creased a little as he smiled. Raising his right hand slowly, he waved at her, then put a finger to his mask over where his lips were hidden. She nodded without a word and quietly entered the room.
She couldn't believe her eyes, and truth be told, she wasn't sure what to make of the scene before her.
Storm Shadow was sound asleep, his head resting on Snake-Eyes' stomach while his arms tightly encircled his brother's left one.
[He fell on me.] Snake signed a little slower than usual, since he could only use one hand. [We had tea, then decided to sit on the couch and exchange stories. Then he fell on me.]
Scarlett tilted her head, staring at the man her lover called 'brother.' Storm's cheek was slightly squished against Snake's upper abdomen, and he was hugging his arm like a child hugs a stuffed animal. She noted the small pile of weapons on the floor and smiled despite herself.
[What?] Snake signed. [He can act like a ten year-old, but that doesn't mean that I have to deal with all the sharp, pointy objects he has on him as a full-fledged ninja.]
"I've been wondering how you and he manage to fall asleep with all your weapons on," she murmured, walking over a nearby table and hoisting herself onto it, facing the ninjas.
[We just do. It was part of our training. Sleeping on other ninjas, however, was not considered.] He paused to lightly poke at Storm's cheek. The slumbering ninja didn't even move. [This is a little nostalgic, really.]
Scarlett tilted her head slightly to the side. "Let me guess - he used to fall asleep like this all the time."
Snake shook his head. [Not all the time. Only after exhausting missions if I was nearby.]
The redhead dimly remembered her ninja saying something about Storm possessing the 'Ear that Sees' or something like that. It gifted its owners with nearly supernatural hearing. She shifted her jaw thoughtfully. "So he... recognizes your heartbeat - even in his sleep - and he subconsciously..."
[Relaxes. Yes, although sometimes too much.] Snake flicked at a tuft of Storm's hair. [Guess he was more tired than he revealed. He's out cold.]
'He trusts Snake that much,' Scarlett considered. She felt a small twinge of guilt. If everything Storm said was true, and that he really was brainwashed by Cobra, then it would make sense that he dearly missed the brother he grew up with. He might even miss him enough... No. This was the ninja who had spent years picking off Joes and wounding Snake nearly fatally on a regular basis. That enemy, curled up like a little boy with a teddy bear. For a moment, she saw the two former enemies as children, tumbling over each other with fits of laughter. Before that train of thought could go any further, she averted her eyes from Storm Shadow's too-innocent face.
"We should move him."
To her surprise, the commando shook his head. He held up a finger. One moment. She watched with interest as he reached up to his visor and removed it with a soft click. A chill ran down her spine. Snake rarely took off his visor even for her when they were alone, much less in a well-lit room. Two blue eyes sparkled with mischief as he showed her the visor, then pointed at his sleeping brother. Was he going to...? No; he wouldn't let anyone touch his precious visor... would he?
Scarlett watched with a mixture of surprise and amusement as Snake slowly eased the visor onto Storm's face. The white ninja didn't even move.
She just barely managed to hold back a giggle. It was weird seeing someone other than Snake wear that visor. By all means it should have been terrifying, seeing another feared ninja with Snake Eyes' signature item.
It wasn't until three plates and five cups later that Storm began to wake up, having felt the pressure on his head. He let out a quiet, sleepy groan as he rubbed at his cheek, which was feeling squished from the weight of the stack of spare table settings. Muscles tensed under him as Snake laughed his silent laughter.
"Ha ha. Very funny." Storm reached up and carefully began removing the dishes and tossing them casually towards Scarlett, who easily caught each one.
Yawning, he sat up and stretched. "That was a nice nap." Snake winced as his weight shifted, perhaps in anticipation of the elbow that soon dug into him just below his rib-cage. With a small shove, he displaced his sword brother from the couch. Storm rolled smoothly to his feet, feigning annoyance. Just to be careful, Scarlett took a few steps back before bursting into laughter.
"What's so funny?" Storm demanded, glaring at her. "And where are you going, brother?"
Snake-Eyes shook his head, his back to the two, but his shoulders were shaking with mirth.
The Arashikage heir crossed his arms across his chest. "Your visor's on my face, isn't it."
"Maybe." Scarlett hid her smile behind her hand.
Sighing, Storm carefully took off the visor and held it out to Snake. "You should know better than to put things on me while I'm asleep." He watched as the ninja took out a piece of cloth and began wiping his visor meticulously. "I could have broken it."
[But you didn't.] Snake-Eyes slid the visor back over his eyes. [By the way, you have something on your face.]
Confused, the white-clad ninja whipped out a small, blindingly polished dagger and studied his reflection for a few seconds. Suddenly, he bolted out of the room, leaving a particular couple roaring with laughter behind him.
"You... you sure he'll... get it off?" Scarlett gasped, her sides already aching.
[He should be able to. Charcoal dust washes off with enough soap.] Snake sank into the couch, rolling his left shoulder. He shook his head slowly as he chuckled. [He's learned his lesson - if your sword brother is a fully-trained ninja, he no longer makes a good pillow.]
"You still make a good pillow for me," she protested, joining him on the couch.
[True.] He pulled her against him, enjoying a moment of peace with her. [But I'm not your sword brother.]
Reviews are appreciated, and flames will be used to light torches. OvO
Special Thanks to Greentigerr for her help.