AN: This takes place sometime during or after "War for Two." That episode is pure joy. I got a half-acquaintance, half-friend to tape it for me and am forever in his debt. You're my hero, Shiira-kun. This monologue is dedicated to you.

Brother

You reminded me of him. I didn't really understand why, at first. You were so unlike him in every way: brash where he was timid, mercurial where he was steadfast, brutally honest where he wouldn't even have opened his mouth. You were like yin and yang, although it's not up to me to say which of you was which. Nonetheless, I still kept comparing you to him.

You refused to show fear. Except for your first scream, and your tears, I wouldn't have known you were frightened at all. You hide your feelings behind a prickly wall of antagonism, lashing out at everyone so that they can't come close and see your vulnerability.

He didn't like showing his gentler side, either. Not when we were young.

He'd romp and run and play hard with all the other kids—and with me, too—but he was always careful never to hurt anyone, even if he got hurt himself. I asked him about it once. He didn't answer me then. I'm not sure he knew why.

He hasn't changed at all.

For nine years, we were best friends, he and I. We were as inseparable as computers and bugs, and at times just as troublesome. We got away with everything, though. No one could stay mad at us, not when he looked at them with his big, teary eyes and I hung my head as if I were sorry. And even after the cute little kid charm wore off, we managed to get out of punishment—mainly by not getting caught.

Then I left. He didn't follow me.

Neither of us believed that the war was going to come between us. How could we? We were young and invincible—war couldn't touch us, because we and it lived in separate planes. We were thirteen. Well, he was. I almost was, give or take half a year.

You reminded me of his—of our—naïveté. Innocence. There you were, threatening to take my gun while I slept, and you had no concept of war. No concept of the pain it inevitably brought. And yet you understood, somehow, perhaps even better than I did.

It makes me wonder about the friends you said had died. How much had they meant to you? Had they meant as much to you as his friends—the friends that he protects with that mobile suit—mean to him?

Did they mean half as much as how he had once meant to me? Still means to me?

You reminded me of him. I know now that you had met him, had known him for a little while. I guess no one can know him, even for a little while, without something of him bonding with that person's personality. Does he even realize what effect he has on people? He changes them, usually for the better. He brings out people's good sides.

He also brings out people's stubborn sides, apparently. Neither of you ever know when to give it up. What really bugs me is that I'm always proven wrong when either of you goes mule on me.

Your honesty is like his, too. Whenever he really believed in something, he would try so hard to find the right words to truly express it. When he could, I couldn't understand why I hadn't seen it that way before. When he couldn't, I learned to hear what he fumbled to say.

Not that you have any trouble with words. Do you even stop to think before you talk? Yours is a different kind of honesty, but it's the same.

Different and the same. That's what life's all about, isn't it? We screw so much up, and we tell ourselves that the circumstances were different, but the errors are still the same. War's just a big mistake that we keep on repeating, no matter how many times we learn from it.

War. It just keeps coming back to that. I hate it! I hate the war! I hate having to face him, having to face the fact that this could be the time one of us kills the other.

I think he feels the same way. You would know. You can talk to him, can listen to him, and I can't. Do you know how that feels? Do you know what it's like to not be able to talk to the one person who knows you better than you know yourself? Do you know what it's like to order yourself not to trust the friend that remembers the last time you wet the bed—and, moreover, has never told a soul?

No. You don't. You can't. And worse—I can't make myself mistrust him. I couldn't even make myself mistrust you, and you made it perfectly clear that I had to. Yet you had my trust, and that is not a gift I give freely. The circle of still-living people I trust is small—Nicol, Lacus, Kira, and now you, however warped the circumstances.

But Kira has known me for more than half my life. I've trusted him with more than I care to recall. He's more than my friend, more than my best friend.

He's my brother.