HEALING

--

Robotech canon; follows Macross Saga. Non-McKinney.

--

"Rick!" she shouted merrily, tossing a slender hand in the air and waving it energetically to and fro. "Up here; I can't wait forever, silly!" The petite Chinese woman stood on her tiptoes, the better to be seen amongst the generally taller men and women along the overhead walkway.

Milling aimlessly with the cheerily jabbering shoppers below, the raven-haired pilot blinked, then glanced up. "Right," he called, wincing as an elbow struck him in the side. "Coming. If I can get to the stairs alive," he muttered the last bit to himself and, indeed, was able to make to the stairs, and up, without too much harm.

"I'm so glad you could come," she smiled brightly, grabbing his hands and squeezing once, kindly, before dropping them. "I'd thought, maybe, you wouldn't be able to, what with all that excitement about the new ship." Minmei twirled her hand effortlessly; Rick, not knowing quite what to do with his own hands, stuffed them into his civvies' pockets. She paused, slanted blue eyes widening thoughtfully and eyebrows tilting up in concern, asking, "I didn't interrupt anything important, did I?"

"Well, no, not that I can think of," he shrugged, and grinned sheepishly as she gave him a piercing look. "Ah, I can't talk long, though; I have a meeting in a little over an hour, and Lisa'll have my keys if I'm late this time." A small part of his brain winced and he had half a second to realize the possible social misstep, when--

"Actually," Minmei said, with an unusually serious note to her breezy voice, "I wanted to talk about Lisa - and you. Us. All of this too tangled mess!" She gestured with her small hand and smiled helplessly, a peculiar expression on her delicate face. "And you don't have to worry either," she confided, accurately judging the alarmed twist to *his* face and tapping his arm teasingly.

"That's a relief," he managed a weak smile, thinking that hadn't the universe already gotten tired with this yet? Rick forced his hands deeper into the unfortunately shallow pockets of his slacks.

She smiled, brightly. "I thought, maybe, I ought to give my blessing; I know it isn't much coming from me, or just me saying it to you, but," she took a breath, and he nodded, making some attentive noise as encouragement. "While I'm not the smartest person in the world," here she laughed cheerily, at herself, though her eyes shone somberly, "I think I know Lisa wouldn't be quite as willing to listen to me."

The wry twist on the edge of her mouth said what was unspoken: if I were in her place, I wouldn't either.

"Anyway," Minmei dismissed it with a quick shake of her hand, "the point is, you're very dear to me, Rick, and no matter what, I want you always to be happy." There was a sharp, dissonant note of pain, buried beneath the sentiments, and a tender, unforgetting part of his heart stung.

"Minmei," he started, and she tilted her head, "I want you to know that - I did love you." She was quiet, and he waited, for a moment, as the passerby avoided them, kept from jostling the two. "I," he hesitated, then forged on, "I *do* love you. It's just not what I thought it was." He shrugged lopsidedly, looking so helpless she giggled, once; Rick gave her a perturbed look. "If anything," he said carefully, "it's the way I loved my family. I know, lousy consolation--"

She interrupted him, meaning well and smiling slightly. "I said you were like a brother to me once," Minmei recalled, matter-of-factly, "back on the SDF-1." He snorted, remembering and grinning as she shoved him, playfully. "As I was saying - I didn't really know then that I wasn't telling the truth, that you were *more* than a brother to me," she wrinkled her nose at the memory of herself, "but I think now...I think I'd like a brother now. If you wouldn't mind." A thought struck her and her brow wrinkled. "If Lisa wouldn't mind," she corrected.

Rick smiled and pinched her arm gently, in the best brotherly fashion he knew, feeling the ghost of what had been fading like fog in the sun. "She won't," he said decisively, knowing, perhaps, she would for a moment. "And seeing as I don't really have much in the way of family right now, I think I'll need a sister in the future."

Minmei slapped his shoulder scoldingly. "No teasing, big brother," she said severely, poking her finger at him and grinning, bittersweetly.

And the tender, unforgetting part of his heart, though not forgetting now that ghost of things gone, found itself able to bear the absence.

--

Disclaimer: I don't own and I hope *you* don't sue.

Feedback: Encouraged! :D Character bashing, however, is not.