Title: Earth in Her Eyes
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing.
Author's Note: It's a very short one-shot, only one-third of the usual I would write, but this is more like introspection than anything. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
The Earth was surely a curiosity. It was a world he was not born in, but he had felt something for it nonetheless. He had felt it from the very beginning, as if he could never betray the mother planet that had given him his place in the universe.
He had resented it, with all its encompassing beauty and vitality, when his own home, Space, was scarred and lifeless because of it. . He would never forget that this was the place that gave birth to Space—and him. Space and Earth were never meant to be together, not when he had to suffer what Earth has done to him. He fought back with all the bitterness that welled up in him from the day he was born and with all the pride of being the soldier of Space.
People were afraid of this intensity—this passion to reach his objective, to the point that they believed he had no emotions at all. And he did have feelings—just that they were not his. They were for and only for the worth that was held in his worthless hands: the single hope and mission of peace. He was not given the name of the deceased pacifist for nothing; he made care not to damage the illustrious name, though bloodstained as it was. And if the deed changed everything and erased him from the minds of people forever, then he could only feel the sense of accomplishment for himself. One day the people would pay tribute to the nameless entity, which brought back the peace to Space from the one who had stolen it, Earth. And that was enough for him back then. His eyes were looking towards no future, but to the end—for to him, at that time, the end justified the means. Always, without doubt of his objective or fear of his consequences.
Alas, if only he had remained the hardened boy of fifteen years he was long ago.
He remembered sitting in his cockpit, speeding towards the blue planet and staring out through the tiny window the ship provided. He had prepared himself for so many years, steeled his strength to the point that was indestructible. Yet for a flickering moment, just as he was about to crash into the Earth's atmosphere, he had felt himself vulnerable. What awaited him there on this imperfect planet, war-ravaged and foolish? It was his first time, an experience not yet treaded upon. It was not a rush of anticipation and excitement that an experienced soldier has running through his veins at the thought of battle. Rather, it was like the childish feeling one gets when he goes to a new school—a strange feeling for a boy with eyes aged beyond his years, who had seen the gun gripped in his hands and the blood that speckled his stony features.
He broke into Earth with enemies waiting for him. He took care of it promptly, but he had not anticipated the extremely talented soldier who was able to bring his nearly-invincible Gundam down into the ocean depths. The soldier sacrificed an expensive mobile suit in attempt to destroy him, trying to stop him from entering. Almost like a loyal sentinel desperately protecting his princess from him…and from the fate that would set this story in motion.
However, he had managed to survive. Fate could not be prevented. In the twisted sort of a fairy-tale, the princess met the knight she had sought for. Of course, he never thought himself to be the depiction of a white-armored majesty on his radiant steed—far from it. Just a bruised boy in an uncomfortable astronaut suit, lying at the brink of the earth unconscious. Who knew how long he was there, but when he heard a girlish voice break through the edges of the blackness, the light of the setting sun suddenly pricked the back of his eyes and the salty air filled his nostrils. He let out a moan, grateful for the person who had lifted off his suffocating helmet. When he blinked at the sun rays, he focused in on the face hovering above him. What he perceived first was those twin orbs that widened in concern for his wellbeing. And his breath got caught in his throat.
He saw in her eyes the lush green lands and bright blue waters of the Earth. Looking at it from afar in space or crash landing into its seas gave him no sense of being in the mother planet like at that moment. For years he had wandered aimlessly, from colony to colony, in the vastness of space, unable to distinguish one from the other. But he felt a difference in here, this unbidden feeling of change.
So, for the first time, he was in Earth, in the beautiful eyes of the forbidden princess he did not think he would meet.
And in that first time, he was frightened. He was the harbinger of destruction to this world—to her. What good would it do to know the princess who would soon watch her world crumble before her eyes? He had no desire to know Earth, to know the goodness that lay within. With intense emotions whirling in his mind like a tempest, he ran away, disoriented.
As he reflected upon it, a side of his mouth curled in a self-depreciating smirk. Disoriented enough to knock out the paramedics sent to help him and steal an ambulance. Of all ways to escape from being exposed, he had to steal an ambulance with blaring sirens. As Duo would put it, how un-cool.
Yet Earth never let him be. She was naïve, bewildered, confused, and wide-eyed. She tried to understand him and his motives, trying peel open the mask that covered his face. All she saw through it was the eyes—brooding and strong as the sapphire. Her hands were coming ever closer to the strings of his façade, and he struggled in vain to evade those prying fingers.
He couldn't understand it all. Where was that bellicose persona he had seen in the expressions of those Earth soldiers, the greed that consumed their minds at the thought of blood and death? The Earth he saw in her was just growing, innocent like the newborn child. With interest, he led her through the way, showing her what he had seen, wondering if she would also fall to the nothingness like so many others. Her eyes hardened and her composure grew strong with resolution. As time passed, little by little, she pulled her fingers back away from him. She no longer needed his knowledge and at last, he silently asked her: what would she do, if she knew Space's sufferings? She had no answer, and he turned away, satisfied and with nothing lost.
So imagine his shock as he ran toward Hope's light, with his trailing shadows, to find that Earth was running along with him. She was no longer following him. She was beside him. Both of them were reaching for it—together.
And it was beyond irony to find that he grew comfortable with her presence, physically and spiritually. Maybe that was why he did not falter when his home betrayed him, because he had Earth beside him. People had deemed him a traitor to the Space cause, but he stood, stoic. He knew that inside of himself, he would never betray Space. But he could not betray the trust of Earth, either, for she had accepted him, with all his masks, with all the emotions bottled up in him. He would fight for them both, with all that he could do.
Then came a revelation that left him unable to breathe for moments, the mask of emotions she had tried incessantly to reveal…slipping off his face.
Indeed, Space and Earth were not meant to be together. They were one from the very beginning, for in the heart of the Space lies the Earth.