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New Fic: Loud and Clear

Loud and Clear
Fandom: G.I. Joe Retaliation/A Real American Hero (Marvel/IDW)
Rated: PG
Category: Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, being Snake-Eyes and Scarlett. And these seas be calm, but if your ship sails another sea, like, say, Duke’s, this is likely not the fic for you. (Mild implied SE/S ship.)
Setting: Immediately post-Retaliation; fix-it fic for one particular plot point.
Spoilers: Retaliation, one tiny bit of canon knowledge for A Real American Hero (Marvel/IDW).
Summary: The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Word Count: 1056
Disclaimer: My G.I. Joe belongs to Hasbro, Paramount, Sunbow, Marvel, IDW, and Larry Hama. I’m just marching with them for a little while. Yo, Joe!

xxx

 “Miss, you can’t go yet,” called the doctor, laying a hand on his patient’s shoulder.

An arched eyebrow met his statement, and he removed his hand, then took a step back.

“I mean, we have to take you out,” he said. “You can’t walk. It’s against regulations.”

The other eyebrow raised, and the doctor swallowed a little nervously, then stood tall. “I’m sorry, miss, but this is how it has to be.”

His patient sighed, then sat in the wheelchair behind her as she rolled her eyes.

A nurse materialized out of nowhere and began to push the chair toward the door.

“I know it’s silly,” said the nurse, “but rules are rules, right?”

The woman in the chair snorted a small laugh, and the nurse did likewise.

“I know you’re well enough to walk on out of here, but I also know your side still hurts like a bitch, so you take it easy, you hear? And take your medicine!”

Another laugh, this one far more relaxed, met her words, and the nurse chuckled.

“Yeah, I know. Fat chance of that, right?”

Her patient smiled sweetly, and it was the nurse’s turn to roll her eyes just as the pair reached the doors that would let them outside.

The automatic doors slid open and a frigid blast of air blew through them.

The nurse shivered. “Cold out there today! You got a coat, honey?”

A man conveniently appeared and held out a parka. The woman in the chair stood and shrugged into it, then turned to her caretaker and smiled.

“Matilda, I know I haven’t been the easiest of patients…” she said.

“I know that’s right,” interrupted the nurse.

Again, her patient smiled that sweet type of smile that was both placating and terrifying, then continued.

“But I’m grateful for all your help. Thank you.”

The nurse nodded and shooed her patient out the door. “Fine, fine. No big fuss now. Get out of here before they change their minds or you catch your death of cold standing in the doorway like this. You take care of yourself, Maggie.”

“I will,” said the patient. She turned away and started toward a waiting pick-up truck. But before she was out of earshot, she turned back to the nurse and smiled once more.

“But do me a favor, Matilda?”

The nurse nodded. “Sure.”

The smile on her patient’s face changed, and Matilda wasn’t sure how to interpret it until she saw the spark of determination deep within her eyes before she spoke again.

“Call me Scarlett.”

And then she was gone, leaving a confused nurse in her wake. As far as Matilda knew, her patient’s name was Maggie Turner, and there was nothing even vaguely red about her. Her hair was as black as ebony, and her skin a pale cream. But Matilda had worked the ICU and trauma wards for far too long to let much bother her. She shrugged and moved on to her next patient, wishing “Scarlett” well and hoping not to see her in the hospital again.

She turned too quickly to notice the man who’d brought the coat’s reaction to these words, and frankly, even if she’d been watching closely, she probably would have missed it. It was cold, after all, and he was bundled up in all sorts of winter clothes, including a tightly-wound scarf that covered nearly all of his face. Sunglasses blocked the cold wind and bright sun from his eyes, too. He wasn’t exactly an easy man to read. But the slight twitch on one side of where his mouth should be under all that was all the woman with him needed to read him like a book.

She smiled a completely different smile and spoke softly to him as he helped her into the passenger side of the truck.

“Thanks for picking me up, Snake-Eyes.”

The twitch turned into a small fold of fabric over one side of that hidden mouth and he nodded.

Then he left to get in the other side of the truck. Once he was settled, he started to put it in gear. He hesitated for a moment, however, and Scarlett inclined her head at him.

“What is it?”

He reached out and picked up a small piece of her hair and held it up in front of her.

She shrugged. “You know I had to.”

He dropped the hair and nodded, then put the truck in gear with the softest of sighs.

As they drove down the road, Scarlett laid her hand on the bench seat between them. After a moment, he set his hand lightly on top of hers and she curled her fingers ever so gently around his.

And a moment later, she spoke quietly.

“If it’s any consolation, I miss it, too… but not as much as I missed you.”

His hand squeezed hers tightly, and his meaning could not be misunderstood.

Likewise.

Three days later, despite a planned much longer R&R, they were in Borovia, continued questions about her medical status be damned.

It’d be a month before she could visit a hairdresser and feel properly like herself again, but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that there were small pockets of Joes that had survived their decimation turning up all over the world, and that many of them needed help. Most weren’t as lucky as she had been. They didn’t spend the time that Zartan was in power laid up in a hospital bed with a shrapnel wound from a previous mission. They weren’t undercover at the time. They weren’t able to disappear.

Of course, they weren’t nearly so angry, either, not having been forced by injury and circumstance to hide while their friends were fighting for their lives.

So while her hair was still black, when she fired her crossbow into the fray and landed a serious right hook on a prison guard, there was no doubt that she was all Scarlett.

Just before they entered the prison to release the Joes being held there, her eyes met his.

She grinned.

He nodded.

And though no words were used, the message came through just fine. Two people made two statements that day, and they were as loud and clear as any ever heard.

One, blow the door.

And two, I missed this most of all.

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