Jen23: Sai and Domon was a very very random idea I had. I bounced around with close to five possible new partners for Domon and none of them held quite as much promise. I figured I'd drive Domon a little insane in this story . . . plus Cecile with Rain was an added bonus. ^_^ Please keep reading.

Shuffle Queen: I love that you continuously check out every one of my stories, thank you! Domon and Rain are my favorite pairing in, like, every anime . . . Their destinies will collide again, believe me. Though I don't know quite what the future holds . . .

Turtle Lover: This is kind of a different story isn't it? I'm sorry it took so long for me to update, I've been quite busy. And given that "Best Years" has seniority, I tried to update that first. ^_^ Thanks for reading, please continue.

GoldAngel2: I was thinking the same thing when I had Domon distance himself from Rain. And Episode 8 is one of my favorites!! The Sai and Cecile thing was kind of obvious as to where I want this to go. And I definitely wouldn't leave the other Shuffles out of this. They're coming in . . . this chapter? Hah! Cool . . . ^_~

zeek: I doubt this is the best story you've read, but that is an excellent comment nonetheless. (Check out some of my other reviewers if you want to read good stories *hinthint*) I agree that Domon and Rain are great together, but a little turmoil in a relationship never hurt anybody. Allenby's going to show up eventually . . . I don't like her too much, so I'm avoiding her as long as possible. *Allenby bashing warning!* Thanks for reading!

Golden-Tuna: As usual, you have made me laugh. I'm sorry I haven't updated recently, I'm never home anymore to do so. I'm going to try to have the next chapter up sometime next week (as I'll be gone for the weekend) Sorry for the inconvenience.

(A/N: I don't own G Gundam . . . wish I did.)

(Another A/N: Ha HA! Nobody noticed I accidentally substituted "clouds" for "skies" in the story. ^-^ The title is supposed to be "Silver Linings in Grey Skies". Man do I feel stupid)

***Silver Linings in Grey Skies***

Episode Two: Lost Loves

~by Rayne Rhiana~

A huge gust of wind swirled through the streets of downtown Neo-America's New York City. Domon's red cape buffeted his slightly shivering form as he headed towards a specific tavern he remembered from the previous gundam fight. He knew if he were to find the man he was searching for, that would be the best place to do it.

He'd left Sai Saici back in one of the destroyed suburbs with the two gundams, confident that if a situation arose, his new mechanic would be able to take care of it. Rain had proved she could handle herself quite well in a gundam, on many occasions and – no. He promised himself that he wouldn't think of her, especially during such a crucial time for him. He needed to focus solely on his goal. When the gundam fight was over, he could finally concentrate all of his energies on his mixed-up lovelife. But until then, he was in this mind, body, and soul.

When he finally found and entered the threshold of the tiny bar, a kid immediately ambushed him when he stepped inside. The boy was about fifteen years old and nearly knocked Domon flat on the ground.

"I know you're here to collect!" the kid yelled furiously, not leaving an inch of space for Domon to get up. "We're not giving you the bar, no matter what you do!"

"No! No, get off of him!" A plump woman with a friendly face dragged the boy off of Domon. "I apologize, sir, he's worried about tax collectors and – oh my good Lord . . ."

The King of Hearts recognized this woman from the last gundam fight. He'd specifically gone to her tavern to gain the information he sought. "Yes, I know you remember me. Look, I need some info on the whereabouts of Chibodee Crockett. It's crucial that I find him."

"Why? So you can publicly humiliate our star again?" The woman puffed out her cheeks arrogantly with her son standing nearby.

Domon shook his head, getting frustrated. "Ma'am, as you probably know it is very important for Shuffle Alliance members to stay in contact with one another. Now, if you don't want to be the cause of the Alliance's downfall, I'd suggest you tell me where Chibodee Crockett, the Queen of Spades, is."

The woman stared at Domon as if he was crazy. "Chibodee? The . . . the Queen of Spades? That's impossible! How did he . . ."

"Look, I really haven't got the time to be doing this with you. If you know where Chibodee is, that's great. If not, I have to find him as soon as possible."

"Hey . . ." The kid standing behind the woman peeked around her. "I know where Chibodee is."

The woman immediately whirled around. "Jeremy, don't you dare tell this man where he is! We promised we wouldn't say anything!" She looked extremely worried and Domon could only wonder about what.

"Ma, this guy is a Shuffle Alliance member. If what he's sayin' 'bout Chibodee is true, maybe he can help."

"Help?" Domon felt his heart stop for a moment. "Help with what? What's wrong with Chibodee?"

~ * ~

Domon followed Jeremy into an abandoned warehouse where they ducked through ruined doorways to the very back of the place. Jeremy, being as young and skinny as he was, slipped nimbly through the cracks in the walls while Domon had to take several seconds more to force himself through. They finally reached a huge open room. The Neo-Japan gundam fighter gasped in wonderment as his eyes fell upon something he didn't want to see.

Gundam Maxter, once the pride of Neo-America, now sat in a shadowy corner. From his position a number of yards away, Domon could see the grime building up on the once-magnificent machine.

Its pilot, Chibodee Crockett, sat hunched underneath it. No less than ten bottles of alcohol, all different kinds, surrounded him. He was currently drinking out of a half-full one and gazing at Domon with glazed eyes like he was a total stranger.

"Chibodee?" Domon called out, starting towards the man. Jeremy grabbed his arm.

"Don't," he whispered. "He . . . he gets real violent, you see, when ya disturb him. He's angry because of something that happened."

Domon glanced at Jeremy. "What happened?"

Before the boy could answer, Chibodee threw the glass bottle at the two. Domon, his finely tuned senses allowing him to react far sooner than normal people, dodged it easy, grabbing Jeremy's arm as he went. The boy tripped backwards just as the bottle smashed on the ground where he'd been moments before.

"Don'tcha dare talk 'bout that . . ." the Neo-American gundam fighter muttered angrily. "That's none of your damn business." While looking up, he squinted at Domon as though he couldn't see him. "Ah, but you're Domon Kasshu, aren't you? The ever-wonderful King of Hearts. What are you doing here, man? Come here to challenge me?"

"I came to see you, Chibodee," Domon replied, cautiously taking a step towards his friend. "What are you doing? What happened to the Neo-American pride? What's wrong with you?"

"Man's got a right to drink when he's lost his girl," Chibodee replied, hiccupping.

Domon froze. "What do you mean? What happened?"

"Ahhh . . . love is such a fickle thing, Domon. One minute she's there in your arms . . . the next . . . she just doesn't really exist anymore, ya know? Women are strange creatures. They have so many conflicting emotions. I thought I was bad. But the only things inside me are fight, drink, have a good time. I don't mind getting smashed and screwing some girl I don't know. Normally that doesn't bother me. But seeing the change in you after the last gundam fight prompted me to change something within myself. I wanted to be the true image of a Neo-American hero. And hell . . . I thought I had the perfect person to do it with. Me an' Shirley . . . we were perfect. The other girls laughed at us when they left to do their own thing, sayin' we were never gonna last because we were better as friends.

"Things were going real good. A few weeks after the end of the fight we were officially together. I took her to a fancy restaurant for our first date. We had the best time. And man . . . Domon, the first time . . . it was great. Better than any other night I've ever had with anyone. I've been living with a complete goddess for the past year and didn't know it. We were perfect together. We had plans . . ."

"What happened?" Domon asked, genuinely concerned. He'd sat down in front of Chibodee, his arm resting on an upraised knee.

"We had a fight one night. She wanted to move to San Diego to try and become an actress. I got mad. I've always lived in New York, I was born here. She told me I wasn't trying hard enough. She gave me the 'I always accommodated you during the gundam fight' line. I had to listen to her. I was actually ready to pick it all up and leave for California. But then I was walking down the road and I saw this diner I've always loved. And I knew there was no way I was going to leave. So I got home and I told Shirley I wouldn't go to California. That's when she sprang the news on me – she was pregnant. She wanted to go to California to make money as an actress to support the baby. I wasn't doing much work of course. Well, then I felt real bad but I'm a stubborn jackass. I told her we could make money here, in New York. She wasn't buying it. Then she told me if I wouldn't move with her, she'd move by herself. And . . . that's what she did." Chibodee laughed. "Guess the Queen of Spades doesn't need another queen huh? Where's your queen anyway, King? I'm surprised she's not with you."

Domon shook his head. Chibodee immediately understood.

"Well, hell. I thought you would go running back to her a week after you'd let her go. Never thought you guys could be apart for that long. Well, guess we're just a coupla losers, huh, man?"

"Losers . . . yeah . . ." Domon shrugged. At that moment, for just a second, he would have been content to sit there and get drunk with Chibodee, both men talking about their lost loves until the gundam fight was good and over with. Domon didn't deserve to be in this without Rain, she was his inspiration.

He actually might have sat there for all it was worth if Jeremy hadn't chosen that moment to heft a stone at the two while yelling "Let's get a move on!". It smacked Chibodee squarely in the knee. Surprisingly enough, it seemed to have a strange, sobering effect on the Neo-American gundam fighter. He yelped and leapt to his feet, chasing Jeremy around the warehouse.

Domon sighed. He even saw memories of Rain in Chibodee. He'd had a crush on her ever since the two had met. For a short while, Domon had been worried that Rain would give in to Chibodee's charm and charisma. The time Rain had spent an entire night over at the Neo-American hangar had been the longest night of Domon's life. He'd been constantly wondering what was going on. But Rain had come back to him, same as she'd ever been. His worries truly had been for nothing. She would always remain true to him.

~ * ~

"So, Neo-Japan . . ." Chibodee squinted as he looked skyward. "Do ya plan on fighting me now that you've gotten me back into the sun?"

Domon shook his head. "I'll only fight you when you're at your absolute best. You know that."

The Neo-American gundam fighter nodded. "I suppose so. Listen . . . I'm gonna head out looking for some fighting. Do you want to meet up in Neo- France two weeks from now? I wouldn't mind seeing pretty boy George again myself."

"Sure," Domon agreed. "Oh, yeah. Sai's with me too. He's my partner now."

"Interesting choice." Chibodee grinned. "Can't say I've made many changes to my roster."

Janet hopped down from Gundam Maxter. She grinned at Domon and then threw her arms around his neck, happy to see that uptight doctor wasn't hanging around him. "Domon Kasshu! What a wonderful surprise!"

Bunny and Cath followed soon afterwards. Bunny attached herself to Domon as well, but Cath strode up to Chibodee and pointed a finger in his chest. "Are you gonna get serious now?" she asked sternly.

Chibodee nodded. "No more mourning over her for me. Her loss, I say. Let's get to work, gals."

"Well, well, Chibodee Crockett. Gonna stop slouching and get a move on it?" a voice asked.

Sai Saici, having gotten impatient on waiting for Domon, had used Burning Gundam to locate Domon on auto-pilot and followed it over with Dragon Gundam. Chibodee grinned up at the gundam.

"Hey, Neo-China! How's it going? Listen to yourself, you're not even participating in the gundam fight, so shaddup!"

"I'm participating!" he retorted. "I'm just not fighting!"

Domon shook his head and sighed. "Well, we'd better get going. See you in two weeks."

Chibodee grinned as he watched his old friend get into Burning Gundam. "Yeah . . . see ya. Thanks, Domon. I owe ya one."

~ * ~

After being away from Earth for so long, Rain had forgotten how nice the conveniences of the colony were. Now that she was forced to sleep inside Rising Gundam until she and Cecile reached Neo-France, their first destination. Given that neither Rain nor Cecile had the stamina to pilot a gundam for very long, their day-to-day trips were spanned over the course of about three hours each with an hour long break between. They figured they'd be arriving in Neo-France three days from now.

Rain hugged her legs to her chest and rested her chin on her knees. Cecile was bathing in a hot spring they'd found somewhere on the Neo-Asian continent (they couldn't be sure exactly where) and insisted that Rain come with her and keep an eye out for people. She sat with her back to the spring, staring out at nothing.

She remembered being here with Domon. The first time they'd encountered a hot spring was in the Guiana Highlands. She'd been bathing in it when a totally unsuspecting Domon had approached, ready for a bath. Never had she been so aggravated. They hadn't spoken for a few hours after that, they were both much too embarrassed.

Fond memories.

"Hey, Rain . . . you okay?"

Cecile had come up behind her friend. Rain turned around and shrugged.

"I guess."

"Thinking about Domon?"


Cecile sighed. "Rain . . . maybe you should talk to him. The two of you have been through too much to just let everything go."

The older woman shook her head. "Things are over, Cecile. Don't worry about it."

The girl shrugged. "Maybe you should try to eliminate all memory of him, you know? Make things less painful . . ."

Rain smiled and turned to Cecile. "I said things were over, Cecile. Not that I was going to stop wishing they weren't."


~La la laaaa! I HAVE FINALLY UPDATED!!!!

I don't have time for anything longer than this! Please review!!!