Author's Note: This is set in my AU, so if the events and characters seem off, that could be the reason why. It's probably obvious from my writing that I have had no military experience whatsoever. This means that some customs and etiquette will be off. Please kindly correct them. I will DEFINITELY appreciate the help. Pointing out grammar errors would also be helpful.

It was loud. Too loud for Snake-Eyes' liking.

With that unpleasant thought in mind, he produced an oiled rag and ran it carefully along his beloved katana. Oh, well. At least all of his weapons were properly sharpened. Personally, he would have liked to stay in his room, away from all this noise and-

A roar of laughter and cursing rose from the rest of Team Alpha. Snake ground his teeth together. Card games. He never really saw what was so entertaining about putting down pieces of plastic, or betting money on outcomes determined by pure chance.

"Hey, Snake!"

Great. He glared at Clutch, who was tilting his chair backwards.

"Ya wanna join us?"

He shook his head.

"C'mon. It's fun!"

He shook his head again.

"Give it up, Clutch," Stalker ran his fingers through his hair, still chuckling. "You can't go against someone with a poker face like his."

Clutch ignored him. "What's the matter, Snake-Eyes? Scared of a little game?"

Snake's hand stopped moving along his sword. An eerie silence filled the room as all eyes focused on Clutch. "Dude." Breaker's voice was barely audible. "You shouldn't have said that."

"Games." The word fell from the commando's mouth in a single syllable. "You shouldn't be playing games. You should be training."

A groan. "You sound like Beach Head, Snake."

"He has a point. More training. Less dying." Snake stood up and tilted his sword at an angle, letting the light from the fluorescent bulbs overhead flash down the blade.

Clutch gulped nervously but still had the audacity to open his mouth again. "It's the greenies, isn't it? You've never liked greeting new recruits." The comment earned him a light smack from Stalker, which was far kinder than the punishment Snake appeared to be threatening with the way he held his sword.

Snake scowled. Greenshirts. Newbies that were supposedly the best of the best from other military branches. Normally, greenies were nothing more than a mere annoyance to him, but this time...

He returned the sword to its sheath, deep in thought. There were three women in this year's batch, which was far more than usual. Hawk was pleased to see that all women showed above-and-beyond scores in their fields of specialty, but still required all of Team Alpha to meet them. Snake didn't see the point to it. Was it a test? To show the women that they'd have to be just as strong, fast, and resilient as the men in front of them?

A faint noise reached his ears. Snake turned to face the door and smoothly strapped his sword to his back. A second later, the door opened. There was a chorus of chairs scraping the floor as everybody scrambled to their feet. "At ease." Hawk regarded each soldier carefully, watching for any sudden changes in facial expression. "As you all know, you'll be greeting the most recent batch of greenshirts. I know some of you may not want to." He briefly glanced at Snake-Eyes, but the man's expression remained neutral. "But you are the first Joes - the senior members. It's your duty to set an example for the recruits." He paused. "Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Sir!" was the unanimous reply.

Hawk allowed himself to smile a little. "Then let's get to it."

A few minutes later, Snake was surveying the group of greenies with a slight air of distaste. They appeared either too proud for their own good or about to wet themselves in fear. Casually, he shifted his right shoulder. A few pairs of eyes darted to him. He noted with some degree of disappointment and smugness that several greenshirts' eyes widened in alarm once they spotted the sword handle. Scaring them was always amusing the first few days. Any longer than that, and it got old and annoying. How was he supposed to possibly trust them with his life in a combat situation if they were afraid of his shadow?

He tuned out the sound of Hawk's voice and turned his attention to the female recruits. His eyebrows rose. A brunette, a blonde, and a redhead. The women all displayed auras of confidence beyond the usual greenie cockiness. Promising, but not enough. Not bad-looking women too, he had to admit. If they were as tough as they looked and didn't wash out, some guys were probably going to get kneed where it hurts the most; 'some guys' specifically including Clutch. What did Hawk say their codenames were? Ah, right... Cover Girl, Lady Jaye, and Scarlett. Pretty easy to tell who's who, Snake mused. The blonde was obviously Cover Girl, and nobody but the redhead could be Scarlett. That left the brunette as Lady Jaye.

"This is Sergeant Snake-Eyes: Covert Mission Specialist and Commando. He will be your hand-to-hand instructor." That was all there was to his introduction. Hawk moved on, but murmurs sprung up. Snake's trained ears caught the words, "name fits him" and "who uses a sword nowadays?"

Hawk briefly glared at the group, successfully shutting them up. "You obviously weren't listening. This is Team Alpha - the best members of this entire operation. They are here as examples of what you need to become to be good enough for G.I. Joe. I will not be held responsible for any injuries you acquire should you challenge any one of them."

Everybody's eyes snapped forward, some a little wider than others, but one pair stared back at Snake's. He tensed. There was a certain spark in those two green eyes that immediately set him on edge.

He frowned. He could already tell that the redhead was going to be a problem. She didn't look like the kind to give up after being defeated. If anything, she was probably going to be like that one crazy kunoichi who kept attacking him even after he defeated her fair and square in a competition.

"That will be all for today. Dismissed."

Snake breathed a soft sigh of relief and promptly headed towards the dojo. Finally, a chance for some peace and quiet. He still felt eyes on him, but ignored them.

After all, nobody was dumb enough to interrupt him without good reason. Not even greenshirts.

But - of course - there is always a first to everything.

"What do you mean you're following him?"

Scarlett smiled at her newfound friends. "Why can't I?"

Cover Girl shrugged, an action Lady Jaye mirrored. "He's a senior member. I doubt he wants newbies like us following him around like lost puppies. What are you planning?"

Scarlett had already begun walking towards where the man disappeared off to. "He's a member of Team Alpha."

"That wasn't the answer to my question." Jaye walked beside her. "I know you want to join Team Alpha - we all do, but I don't think bothering him will help you."

Scarlett shook her head. "That's not all. He's carrying a Japanese sword. He wouldn't be unless he knew how to use it well."

The two women exchanged a look. Of course. On their way to the Pit, Scarlett had mentioned that she has several black belts. "So... you're looking for a sparring partner?" Cover Girl tried.

The redhead nodded as she flashed a smile. "If he truly is the best, I want to spar with him to see where I stand."

"Fifty on him mopping the floor with you." Cover Girl smirked. "I doubt you'll survive more than five minutes."

Scarlett laughed and pointed teasingly at the former model. "You're on, Courtney."

Snake-Eyes was long gone by the time she turned around. Scarlett paused, thinking. She recalled the Pit having a dojo where hand-to-hand was held. Frowning to herself, she stared at her mental map of the Pit. The dojo was near the indoor firing range, which was easy enough to find. She located the dojo with no difficulty and started towards it. However, as she approached it, she sensed that something was... amiss.

The lights weren't on, and the door was slightly open. She chewed on her bottom lip. The absence of light meant that nobody was there, but the door should be closed.

A small bit of her was screaming at her to turn around and walk away, but the more stubborn part wanted to know what was going on. Cautiously, she stepped in. "Sergeant Snake-Eyes?" she whispered. "Are you in here?"

Not a second later, a deep voice hissed from behind her. "You've overstepped your boundaries, Scarlett."

End Note: Okay. Yes, I know I made Snake a little cold and a little mean, but that's how I imagine him before his relationship with Scarlett. After all, I highly doubt that he'll be very friendly after the whole incident with Hard Master's death and Storm's supposed betrayal. And I don't think he likes greenies. That's just how things roll in my AU.