A few things about this first chapter:
1. It's unabashed crack
2. I wouldn't say there is Duke bashing, but it's not exactly flattering (imo Duke and Scarlett were pretty hostile towards each other through the majority of renegades and I've kept that theme here)
3. This is an entry for C/P's shipping week, day 1 - prompt: Flamingo. Ergo, it was written in one day. Ergo, read at your own risk.
I realize I could have titled the story "Work Spouse" since it's not really about Snake Eyes but about S/SE together, but frankly I think the alliterative flow of Work Wife makes a better title.
The anthology going forward will cross a number of different genres like angst or fluff and probably more humor. The focus is going to be on S/SE post canon and once they are established as a formal GI JOE team, and will (hopefully) end with them getting married? Maybe?
Whisky Tango Flamingo
Scarlett's first expletive of the day came before her first sip of coffee, and was prompted by General Hawk.
That morning, he approached the newly promoted Captain O'Hara with a do-or-die grimace and a set of conflicting objects gripped in each hand:
1. A cup of coffee.
2. A low cut, floor length evening gown whose color could only be described as Flamingo Pink.
Scarlett's pitch black I-Heart-Snipers coffee mug shattered to the floor. "What the f–?"
"Meeting in Conference Room Four, Captain!" Scarlett snapped a salute as Hawk sloshed through the sea of tarry liquid, splinters of ceramic bobbing like dead drift wood. He shoved the new cup of coffee into her free hand. "And trust me, you're going to need this."
In Conference Room Four, which was lovingly referred to as the "bells and whistles" room (due in small part to the solid wall of high-tech monitors, and in large part to General Hawk's collection of antique bells and whistles displayed in a curio cabinet in one corner), General Hawk called the meeting to order.
A large, gleaming white box sat innocuously at his side.
"As many of you know, intelligence has recently alerted us to the activities of a certain pair of telepathic, psychopathic criminals." Twelve screens blinked to life with twelve nearly identical faces. "Tomax and Xamot." The screens flashed through a rotation of photographs and videos depicting the twins in Armani, Gucci, and other overpriced Italian outerwear, schmoozing their way through various high end resorts, charity functions, and even a movie premiere or two.
"Is that Tom Cruise?" Tunnel Rat chimed.
"Yes, Tunnel Rat, that's Tom Cruise. According to reports, the twins have left the world of isolationist cults and have begun a new empire: manipulating the love and devotion of the world's wealthy and elite – and more importantly their pocket books.
"It's theorized that by this point the twins have mentally enslaved over two dozen leading members of society, and this figure is no doubt just the tip of the iceberg. What happens when they begin going after world leaders? What happens when the President, along with all the nuclear codes, are in the palms of their hands?" He pounded a fist on the table. "It stops now. We have solid intel placing the twins at an Arctic Preservation Benefit being held tonight in Rome. One of you," he looked meaningfully at no one in particular, "will go undercover and bring them in."
"But who?" Duke asked.
Hawk allowed a pregnant pause, then issued a room-silencing grunt, then held aloft the shimmering Flamingo dress. "Who do you think?"
Snake Eyes, silent up to that point, snapped his head to Scarlett.
"Would you shut up?" she growled to the ninja at her side, then growled to the room in general, "I don't see why this mission has to fall on me!"
Hawk's one remaining eye narrowed. "You're one of our best agents, Captain. Why shouldn't it be you?"
"The twins know what I look like, for one."
"No offense," said Duke, "but in that thing I doubt anyone's going to be looking at your face."
"Offense taken, noted, and logged for later retribution."
"You were chosen, O'Hara," Hawk continued, "for no other reason than your extreme skill, leadership, and capability. If this were any other mission, I have no doubt you would be demanding a seat on the transport before I gave the first debrief, and I expect the same kind of dedication for this mission, no matter what you'll be wearing." He handed her a manilla envelope. "Hang on to that. It's your ticket into the benefit."
Scarlett peeled open the envelope and examined the contents. Her whole face pursed. "Uh, General?"
"Why are there two invitations?"
Hawk opened the glossy white box, fished inside, and tossed a three piece tuxedo unceremoniously onto Duke's lap. "Because you'll need one for your date, Captain."
Which news naturally prompted Scarlett's second expletive of the day. "What the f–!"
"Suit up, soldiers!" Hawk bellowed, followed by the patriotic sound of two dozen salutes. "We ship out at 0900!"
In the intimacy of Scarlett's quarters, she let it be known her true feelings on the delicate subject of Mission: Flamingo. "I can't believe this. It's humiliating! The absolute worst!" She shimmied the dress over her head, where it got stuck somewhere between her neck and shoulders. She pulled it off, then tried to worm into it feet first, somehow managing to tangle her legs in the intricate lacing along the back. "Look at me! I don't even know how to put it on!" She threw the dress across the room. "I'm completely unequipped for this mission. I mean, I haven't worn a dress since prom. Since prom, Snake Eyes!"
Snake Eyes stared at her incredulously. [What's a prom?]
After several more minutes of finagling, Scarlett was secured into the tight-fitting ensemble and stared morosely at the bathroom mirror. "Moment of truth. Don't hold back any punches." She looked squarely at the ninja and took a deep breath. "Tell me what you think."
Of course, like any man staring at his girlfriend in a skimpy and expensive outfit, he thought she looked fantastic, and was rather impressed that for such an economy of fabric, it did a marvelous job sparkling and lifting and accentuating every curve.
But since he was no fool, he signed, [It clashes horribly with your hair.]
"You really think so?"
[Of course. That shade is all wrong for you. It does nothing for your skin, either.]
"My mother did warn me never to wear pink."
[If you ask me, I prefer you in tactical gear.] Which was the truth, after all, although he declined to mention he preferred just about everyone in tactical gear, for the sheer practical benefits.
She smiled and rubbed his shoulder. "Thanks, Snake. You always know just what to say."
This darling moment was then interrupted by a loud thumping on the door. "Scarlett. Scarlett." Duke's voice. "It's been an hour. Are you done in there?"
Scarlett whipped her head to Snake Eyes. "Don't start."
[It had to be him.]
She rolled her eyes. "So he's conventionally handsome. Get over it."
Snake Eyes crossed his arms. A minute of silence rolled quite comfortably by, Scarlett checking for lipstick on her teeth, and he realized crossing his arms was not quite enough to convey his dangerous levels of annoyance.
He uncrossed his arms and rather petulantly signed, [So you admit you think he's hot.]
Scarlett rolled her eyes. "He's whatever. Besides, who cares how he looks. You know my standards have nothing to do with looks and everything to do with who would win in a cage match." Makeup accomplished, she turned to the door. "Come in, Duke."
Duke waltzed in, his eyes dilating to saucer-like proportions. "Wow." He looked her up and down. "Wow, Scarlett, you look amaz–"
A sharp object whizzed out of Scarlett's hand and embedded into the wall a hairsbreadth away from Duke's left ear. "Say another word, and I destroy you."
"Not that I think you overreacted or anything…" Duke grabbed the still twanging hilt and pulled the dagger out of the drywall. "But was that really necessary? I was just trying to compliment you."
"You don't get it," Scarlett said, hands on her hips, Snake Eyes brandishing his classic Don't-You-See-She-Is-Worried-Her-Colleagues-Will-Prefer-This-Feminized-Version-Of-Herself-Over-Her-Natural-Self-Expression-And-Will-Be-Held-To-New-And-Unfair-Expectations stare.
But Duke, oblivious to the unsaid yet obvious nuance, dug into his pocket and presented Scarlett with a set of pristine white gold rings.
"What are those?" Scarlett asked, threats of violence in her eyes.
"Hawk's orders." Duke's grin was criminal, felony-grade, a smirk so heinous it made Scarlett want to execute him on the spot, and she had an inkling her third expletive of the day was not long in coming. "Congratulations, we are now the new Mr. and Mrs. Alec Dubois."
"What the f–!"
"Now get your jaw off the floor; transport's leaving in thirty minutes." He dragged her out the door with a parting, "See ya, Snake, I'll have her back by midnight."
Just as Scarlett feared, all the cliches one would expect from such a mission came to pass.
Scarlett took a sip of champagne, then promptly spit the mouthful back into her flute. "That was awful. Why would anyone drink this?"
"Waltzes are in three, O'Hara. Three!"
"You don't think I know that?"
"Then why do you keep stepping on my feet?"
"Because I'm wearing stilettos and I hate you."
"No offense, but your manners, or lack thereof, are going to give us away!" Duke hissed through a forced, somewhat maniacal smile.
"What are you talking about? My manners are just fine. If anything's going to give us away, it's your serial killer face!"
From across the room, a man with a tray caught Duke's eye. "That guy looks familiar."
"On your right, eight o'clock."
"Duke, that's a waiter."
"No. No. I've seen him before. He's one of the twins' informers. He's one of their inner circle. Turn around, he's walking this way!"
"Get a grip. He probably just wants to know if I want more champagne."
"We've been made."
"No we haven't."
The man raised his hand.
"He's going to make us! We've got to do something!"
"Excuse me. Signora, excuse me." But before the poor man could ask whether the handbag left in the foyer belonged to the beautiful lady, Duke took matters into his own hands and whisked Scarlett into her arms, Rhett Butler style.
"What the f–!"
But Duke, as ever, frankly didn't give a damn, and Scarlett's fourth expletive of the day was cut off by a wet and most unwelcome kiss.
Furiously, Duke was right in his assumption that the twins wouldn't dwell too long on her face. They greeted Mr. and Mrs. Dubois without a flicker of recognition, which she had to admit made it much easier to lure them into a secluded room on the promise of an extremely generous donation. From then on it was only a matter of subduing the nefarious pair and handing them off to the extraction team waiting outside, and they were on their way home and out of egregious evening wear.
As the transport rumbled into the motor pool, Duke rubbed his face and repined, "You didn't have to punch me!"
"Trust me, that is the least of your worries."
"What do you mean?"
They stepped out of the vehicle and were greeted by the rest of the team: Snake Eyes, Ripcord, General Hawk, Roadblock, and Tunnel Rat saying around a mouthful of jelly donut, "Welcome back."
Snake Eyes came up to Scarlett and touched her arm. [How was the mission?]
"It was fine. You know, kept a low profile, observed the situation, made some critical tactical decisions, and caught the bad guys."
Snake eyes nodded.
"Oh, and Duke kissed me."
First a harrowing silence. Then the tell-tale sound of steel being unsheathed.
Duke raised his hands and began backing away. "Hey man, we were about to be made."
"I had no choice! That's what people do when they're in a bind, right? They create a distraction! It's in all the manuals."
"And besides, she already punched me. Twice! So I really don't think that you need –"
As Duke scampered away, an angry ninja brandishing a katana hot on his heels, Tunnel rat took another bite of his jelly donut and said, "Hey, Scarlett, I didn't quite catch the last word he signed."
For the first time that day, Scarlett grinned instead of cursed. "Pretty sure it was flamingo."
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