Come, all ye faithful...
MBF-06/ZGMF-X12A Arbiter wrote:
*sigh* I suppose it can't be helped. We shall anxiously await your return.
Faith is rewarded!
Midtermâ€™s are over, but classes havenâ€™t stopped giving out work. I got this written up after seeing episode 22â€™s raw, but more will come only after I do my weekend homework. Midterms didn't go as well as I'd hoped, not because I didn't study enough (for the most part), but because I made a few test-taking errors in two of my hardest classes. Note for all future college goers: check back of exams for more questions, read ALL lines on all pages in case they give critical information, and radomly select a few problems to check on scantrons so that you don't accidentally miss half a dozen problems because you skipped question 20 and wrote down 21 in 20, 22 in 21, etc...
But, lo and behold, not only did I NOT write a Graham/Union-centered fic, not only did I NOT write a politicos fic, but I wrote a Neena-centered fic which has rather soft Neena/Setsuna, which one person asked for awhile back. Donâ€™t think I could have written this even an episode ago, but 00â€™s habit of killing off unsympathetic characters in sympathetic ways has gotten to me.
Noted, setsuna has gotten a bit harder to write for, since these last couple episodes have *gasp* developed his character. And Neena is quite likely going to be a bit off character when compared to how she will be shown; I took a â€œdeath moderates youthful immaturityâ€ approach, but I feel that Iâ€™m pretty far from Neenaâ€™s usually bubbly personality, but that didnâ€™t feel called for in this fic. Maybe next episode will give a hint of her new role?
So, read, enjoy, and tell me how my first serious attempt at bonding/soft-romance worked.
Gundam 00 Episode 22
It was a reversal of a scene long ago. One stood in the sky approaching divinity, while the other lay on the ground, broken and dejected. Power and nobility radiated from the savior. Anguish engulfed the fallen.
Tears threatening to flood her eyes, the fallen woman struggled to speak past her recent loss and terror. â€œYouâ€¦ what are
He looked at her with the eyes of a man who had realized his purpose and potential, and said three simple words. â€œI am Gundam.â€
That was when she first truly believed.
Outside of her god of steel and electronics, Neena cried. Cried for her second brother, shot before he had a chance to fight for their family. Cried for her first brother, who fought and died so that she might live. Cried for herself, who was too weak to help either of them. She cried over the only body that was left, scattering sobs as she struggled for composure.
Footsteps approached, and her savior walked into the barren clearing, approaching her. She could not bring herself to look up, but soon saw him kneeling on the other side of her brother. Never seeing his face, she watched as his hand rose and gently closed her brotherâ€™s eyes, a courtesy she had never imagined.
â€œDo youâ€¦â€ she trailed off, not knowing what dynamic stood between the two of them. â€œDo you think theyâ€™re in heaven now?â€
â€œThere is no God.â€ Neena looked up sharply, scanning face for any hint of malice. No expression was on his face, and his eyes held no scorn, instead showing a peculiar mix of pity, regret, and a sense of understanding.
â€œThen where are they now!â€ She cried, grabbing his arm and pulling him near her. â€œThey were good brothers to me! They wanted to end war!â€ His expression did not change. He did not reply.
Neena began to cry again. Crying over her brotherâ€™s corpse, crying into the arm of the man who had once spurned her.
This time, however, he didnâ€™t push her away.
The camp was set, but far too empty. Setsunaâ€™s companion had already gone to sleep, but Neena could not bring herself to sleep. She saw Setsuna sitting on a log, looking into the fire around which dinner had been silently eaten. She could see the graves for her brothers, two markers for one body. She had insisted, and Setsuna had obliged to help her.
She walked to the fire, and sat down beside him. Despite their proximity, they were clearly far apart. They sat, looking into the fire. But Neena did not merely see the flames; she saw flash that had occurred before her brother Michael had fallen. She saw the brilliant explosion that had signaled the end of Johan. And no matter how many times she averted her gaze, as soon as she looked back the images replayed themselves.
â€œHey.â€ She said softly, as if afraid of being heard. â€œDo you ever stop remembering?â€ Whether the battle or the voices and faces of her brothers, she did not say. She did not need to.
He was quiet, and she had begun to think he had not heard when he spoke. â€œNo. Never.â€
â€œDoes it ever hurt less?â€
His silence was an answer as to the complexity of those five simple words.
The new silence was more comfortable than the last one. They sat for untold minutes, perhaps hours. Occasionally Setsuna would get up and wander into the woods, leaving a cold space beside her before returning with more wood for the fire. Sometimes she would poke the fire, stirring the embers. Complex thoughts ran through her mind, fighting for contention. One eventually came above the others.
â€œWhy did you save me?â€
He heard and answered. â€œBecause that is what it means to be in Celestial Being, to be a Gundam.â€
â€œBut, the last time we met, you went straight at me, trying to kill me. Why?â€
â€œBecause that is what a Gundam does. You were a source of conflict, and I intervened.â€
She looked at him with the first hint of anger all night. â€œWe are Gundam Meisters too! We were working to end war, just like you!â€
He looked at her straight in the eyes. Calling it hatred would be too strong. â€œThen why did you attack a group of civilians in Spain? What made you think that piloting a Gundam gave you the right to ignore the tenants of Celestial Being?â€
She opened her mouth, ready to give words of â€œthey donâ€™t matterâ€ or â€œthey werenâ€™t working for a new world,â€ but such phrases died at her lips when met with the unflinching gaze of Gundam. An ember of teenage rebellion burned in her eyes, but died in view of the impartial arbiter of Celestial Being. In a moment of maturity brought by the overthrow of her world, she looked away and could only say â€œthatâ€¦ wasnâ€™t right, was it? Youâ€™re saying I was too caught up in my own beliefs?â€
If she had been looking, she might have seen something approaching approval pass through his eyes at that. â€œBeing a Meister means upholding the values of Celestial Being at all times and with all people, never for our own whims and desires.â€ It was a near-rote lesson that Neena could remember from her own days in training.
Neena looked in the fire, thinking over a lesson she had forgotten long ago, wondering in how many places she could have applied it. Setsuna looked at her much like a teacher seeing a pupil work through an especially difficult problem. Neena sat there, chewing on the inside of her cheek, and Setsuna watched as she absorbed his words.
Eventually, Neena relaxed, and suddenly looked much more tired than she had previously. She looked at Setsuna, a slightly more mature view brought by loss and exhaustion in her tired eyes. At the same time, though, she somehow looked lost, more vulnerable for just this moment. â€œDo you think that if I hadnâ€™t done that, that my brothers would be here right now? If I had controlled myself, you had not intervened, would our groups have stuck together against these new enemy suits?â€
Setsuna considered it. â€œI donâ€™t know. No one can tell you that. But the past is the past, and no power in this world can change it. You can never take back your sins, no matter how grave. You can only work to atone for them.â€
â€œThen I want to be like you.â€ The strength and certainty of her reply was surprising in face of her apparent exhaustion.
â€œYou want to be like Gundam,â€ he corrected.
Neena stood and turned to face him. â€œI want to be like you,â€ she agreed. She began to walk towards her tent, her hair a brilliant crimson in the firelight. At the other side of the fire, she paused and looked back at Setsuna.
â€œJust a warning, but I think Iâ€™ve fallen in love with you, Gundam.â€ There was a faint smile and an even fainter blush as she gave a soft V with her fingers, and then she turned back and went into her tent without a look back.
She never saw Setsunaâ€™s gaze follow her every step of the way, and even further.
I'm sorry this letter is so long, but I did not have time to make it shorter. -Mark Twain
Official Jerid Fanboy