After All This Time

By Romancing the Joes

Epilogue

After All This Time-The fic is finally finished! Thank you to everyone who reviewed and supported us throughout the last FOUR years! We hope you enjoy this as much as we have!

We do not own G.I. Joe. We own nothing but our imaginations.

Shauna listened to the door close behind her friends. They were getting ready to take their places. In a few moments her father would knock on the door and walk her down the aisle, as she would finally become Mrs. Conrad Hauser.

As she looked in the mirror she let her mind wander down the path that had led her to this moment. She thought of the first time she had met Conrad. Stalker had been the one meet her when she reported for duty as the G. I. Joe team was first forming. Duke had been on assignment and hadn't gotten back until a day later. She was eating breakfast with Stalker, Wild Bill, and Gung Ho when he walked in. Stalker introduced them and all she could think was 'Damn! He is so gorgeous, too bad we're going to be working together.' She smiled. The attraction had been mutual and they'd held their handshake for a fraction of a second longer than strictly necessary. They'd become friends, working side by side and eventually becoming partners.

The attraction had only grown since their first meeting and it eventually became so intense that people, namely Ace, had begun taking bets on how long they'd pretend to be 'just friends'. They had laughed about it at first but eventually Duke worked up his nerve to ask her out on a date. She was scared about taking their relationship to that level but she had known they wouldn't be able to remain friends much longer with the chemistry so powerful between them.

It had been cute when he'd fumbled his way through asking her out that first time. The big bad G.I. Joe leader couldn't even ask a girl he liked out on a date with out stuttering and repeating his words! He'd taken a fair amount of flake over that but it had been worth it. He had never seen anything more beautiful in his entire life when she opened the door that night wearing a beautiful blue dress. She'd worn her hair up and when she walked the dress swung around knees. Maybe it hadn't been love at first sight but it had sure been lust! They'd had dinner and had danced a good bit afterwards. The restaurant had had a cozy dance floor and a wonderful band that played slow songs, a perfect excuse to hold each other close. They'd laughed about their kiss coming on their first date but they'd been dancing, and by the end of the night she had been in his arms and they had swayed more than danced because they were so caught up in each other they couldn't even hear the music. It had been a light kiss, at least at first. It could have gotten out of hand, the potential had been there but whatever was going on between the two of them was way too important to rush. So they'd settled for a few light kisses and had one brief but smoldering kiss when he left her at her door.

She brought her fingers to her lips. There had been plenty of kisses since then but few as memorable as that first kiss.

About two and half years later he'd taken her back to that same restaurant. This time he'd proposed. She laughed quietly. She'd been the only one who hadn't seen it coming! There had been bets placed on when they'd get engaged but not a single bet as to whether or not she'd accept his proposal. That, they'd said, had been a given. This time the night had ended a lot differently.

She frowned; they were so good together until they'd gotten engaged. It had taken them both some time to get used to the idea. They knew they wanted to spend the rest of lives together but having it official had made them nervous. There were so many things that could go wrong in a marriage and they loved each other so much. There had been so much to loose. That had been their problem, she thought. They'd concentrated too much on what they could loose and not what they could gain. The fight that had ended them had once again been about a loss. This time, the loss of their team. The news had come down that the Joe team was to be disbanded, having defeated Cobra and other major terrorist groups; the Army felt they had become obsolete. With new administration always came new philosophies. She closed her eyes when she thought about the words they'd hurled at each other. She shook her head; she had thrown more than words at him. She finished off a spectacular temper tantrum by flinging her engagement ring at his head and declaring that she never wanted to see him again-ever. She had really wanted him to come after her and promise that everything would work out all right. When he didn't, she had been beyond hurt.

It had taken a terrorist bent on revenge to bring them back together. She'd known since she saw him in that dusty canyon that her life was about to change yet again. She opened her eyes and smiled at her reflection. This time it had changed for the better. After they'd dealt with the terrorist and her much-worried friends they'd found some time to be alone and had sorted out their future. She had actually proposed to him after he'd shooed their friends out of her hospital room. She grinned when she recalled what she had said to him, "Now, Sgt. Hauser, are you gonna marry me or am I gonna have to make you?"

Later that night they'd committed their lives to each other, just the two of them and God. She had been married since that night; all of this today was just making it legal. And there was no way her father was letting his only daughter get married without a fuss.

And speaking of her father, a knock sounded on the door. "Shauna, darlin' , it's time."

She stood up, grabbed her flowers, and opened the door to her father. He smiled at her with tears gleaming in his eyes. "Ah, my little girl. You are so beautiful it nearly breaks my heart."

"Are you happy for me daddy?"

"Oh, darlin' I think if I were any happier I'd burst!"

"Well, let's not have that."

He offered her his arm, "Let's not leave Conrad waiting any longer."

"I love you daddy." She kissed his cheek and slipped her arm through his as the door swung open and she could see Conrad waiting for her at the end of the aisle.

As she walked towards him she was amused by the sight of all her Joe friends dressed in their finery. A few, Beach Head in particular, were squirming. Believe it or not, Shipwreck had tears in his eyes. She didn't know if it was because he got caught up in the moment, or he finally realized he didn't have a chance with her anymore! Not that he ever had.

Conrad looked up and after that she only saw him. Everyone else disappeared as she walked steadily towards him. She couldn't remember a moment when she'd been so happy, or so scared. But she knew that this was the best thing she could ever do. She went through the ceremony on automatic pilot. When the priest pronounced them man and wife, Conrad kissed her, and the church erupted in cheers. After all this time, their life finally began.