Burn

Burn

Author's Notes: This story is part of The Common People: Gundam Wing project, which is an offshoot of the TCP concept created by Kielle and Phil Foster. TCP stories are exactly what the name implies: stories about the common people, be they

soldiers, civilians, or that little girl standing in the crowd as the Gundams tear up yet another city. If you'd find out more about TCPs, or would like to try your hand at writing one yourself, you can visit the TCP:GW homepage at http://www14.brinkster.com/tcwgw or the original TCP Warehouse at http://www.subreality.com/tcp.htm .

I'd like to extend profuse thanks to Lt. Noin for a wonderful beta job. Feedback, that beautiful, beautiful thing, can be sent to gypsys_curse@yahoo.com . I'd also like to dedicate this to Kielle and Phil Foster, who authors I don't really know but have

admired for years. After four years of lurking I've finally been dragged out into the light. Darn you.:)

Standard Disclaimer: All recognizable characters in this fic belong to Sunrise, TV Tokyo, Bandai, and whoever else Shinkidousenki Gundam Wing and are used without permission and without the intent of making a profit. The TCP concept belongs to Kielle and Phil Foster and is used with permission. The TCP:GW concept is used with permission as well. Everything else belongs to the author; please do not use or archive without permission.

This story is set after Episode 4.

Burn

The telegram's still sitting crumpled up on the floor of my closet. No, I'm not getting rid of it. I don't care how "cathartic" it would be. Screw catharsis. It hasn't even been two weeks.

I sound bitter? Gee, you're astute. Did you go to school for that?

Yeah, I guess that was out of line.

Did you know I was the first person to get the telegram? The little soldier boy who dropped it off---and I do mean boy; he looked younger than my brother is….

Was. Damn it.

Anyway, the little soldier boy who delivered it didn't want to give it to me at first. He kept asking if either of my parents were home, as if I weren't good enough for him. He acted like the big tough guy, but I could see his hands shaking. He wouldn't look at me. Not even once. He just hid under the brim of his cap and shifted from foot to foot like a runner starting some race. When I didn't say anything he shoved a clipboard in my face and told me to sign. Then he told me to "be a good girl and give that to my parents."

Right. Like I was going to bury it or something.

Then he did that military turn-on-his-heel thing and marched off. No goodbye or anything.

Yes, I'm sure this was all very hard for him. Excuse me if my empathy meter's running a little low.

You'd think the least they could do was have His Excellency Treize Khushrenada deliver the news in person. You would think they owed my brother at least that. I guess he had more important things to do.

It's not as if I didn't know what it said. The Victoria Academy was all over the news before anyone got around to informing us. My mom…I guess Mom was still hoping we'd be lucky. That one of the bodies being pulled out of that dorm wouldn't be Keisuke. I knew better. Sometimes being an irredeemable pessimist comes in handy.

I knew it as soon as I saw that first broadcast. It didn't even look like a building, just smoke and fire, with brick and rock sticking out. Like a volcano.

Only with my brother inside.

It's not fair. He never really wanted to be a soldier, you know that? He wanted to go into space. When he was younger he had stars and constellations all over his walls, all these star maps and this huge telescope. I mean huge; I'm surprised he couldn't see God with that thing. All he ever talked about was how he was going into space and how someday we'd all be fighting over the telescope to watch him up there.

He was so excited when he got accepted into the Academy. It was all he could talk about for weeks.

Do you know what happened? It was a bomb. The bastard couldn't even bother to fight face to face, like blowing up my brother wasn't any different from blowing up a bridge. I think I could take it a lot better if he had been killed in an actual fight, you know? At least he was training for that. Nobody wanted to think about it, but me and my mom and dad all knew that once he got into one of those suits, something bad could happen.

We didn't count on some coward sneaking into his dorm and killing him while he slept.

I know what the guy looks like. They showed a clip of him taking off on a motorbike on the news one night. He looked like he was my age. I think that helps Mom; she thinks that since he was so young he couldn't have known what he was doing.

Do I agree? Not really. People my age can kill. I know that if Gundam Boy were standing right here I wouldn't have a hard time killing him.

Why do people keep telling me I don't really mean that? Of course I mean that. He didn't have a problem killing my brother; why should I have a problem killing him? At least I'd make sure he went fast.

Oh yeah, I know what they said. That he went in his sleep and never knew what hit him.

Well, what were they supposed to say? That he choked to death in his bedroom? That he spent the last five minutes of his life trying to pry his window open while his roommates roasted? Do you really think they would have told us if he was scared, or if it hurt? If he had to sit there while his friends died, knowing that he wouldn't be far behind?

I didn't think so. Of course they were going to say he never knew what hit him.

I just want people to stop telling me it'll get better. It won't get better. I…I think Mom's having a nervous breakdown. She hasn't gotten out of bed since we got the news. I don't know how she's going to handle the memorial.

Me? I don't know. I just try not to think about it too much. I don't know what the point was. People talk about war like it's some great, higher-purpose thing. I don't know how this fits into that.

I just know that he won't ever call me Saku-chan again and force me to whap him. Mom won't ever cry again because Keisuke looks so smart in his uniform. He won't tease me and wear one of those goofy hats when I turn sixteen in two weeks. I don't even know what kind of birthday it'll be without him there.

It's not fair that bastard did this to my family and nothing happened. I hope it was worth it. I hope he sees my brother's face every time he closes his eyes, and I hope he feels so much guilt he locks himself in a dark room and stays there for the rest of his life. I hope it gets so bad that he feels pain right down into his bones.

I know he won't, though. He probably never even gave my brother or me or my family a second thought since that night. He probably wasn't even thinking about him when he set the bomb.

I hope he has a family, so that someday someone can do to his what he did to mine.

But mostly, I hope he burns in hell.