by Reddo Meijisu
I don't know when it was exactly I took notice of her. Azure eyes were just another part of a sunny day on a non-vindictive star. The Cornerian pilot's uniform was just a dull reminder that she was my rival, come in a not-so friendly game at the gunner's arcade, or us facing off in hand-to-hand combat.
When we first met back in adolescence, I could say that I did not care for her, and not feel any respite. My parents had been killed in separate arwing malfunctions. Not caring for support, I had hid from the helping hands of General Pepper's staff, and turned towards someone else: her.
She had always been there, from the moment she took my hand and helped me up, to subtle suggestions that Corneria was currently looking for enlistments. I was wary about joining, but I would've happily followed my savior into the acid ocean of Zoness itself as I had done multiple times before, I might add so I did.
Nonetheless, for whatever reason, she always had a place in my heart, that mischievous Katt Monroe.
Her name suited her perfectly. Feline-like, her voice had a playful tone to it, which certainly didn't limit the actions that went on inside that elegantly shaped head of hers. I still often look back at our days in the Academy's halls and find myself laughing at an all-but oft suggestion that we draw mustaches on General Pepper's many portraits, or replace the smoking grass in his cornucopia with weeds from outside military grounds.
Those nights gave me something to look forward to, to remind myself I could trust in someone still. They took the edge out of studying for an exam, or listening to my wing-mates bicker endlessly about flight formations. I couldn't wait for the next get-together we'd have, even on various stations in the Lylat System we were sent to just before graduation.
Maybe that's when I started noticing her no, adoring her. I don't think she ever realized that I had something in return for all those nights of loneliness when studying just about had me in a wreck. Perhaps to her, I was just a fellow soldier, but it still didn't explain why she would constantly hover around me when she had other bunkmates, friends, her own wing-mates, to friend around with. Why wouldn't she choose them over me?
Fox McCloud is a good friend I came to admire; despite the responsibility he had in living up to his father. When he had offered the advice that I should approach this mystery girl - as I had introduced her, as - with a proclamation of love, I couldn't count on him to be wrong.
Little did I know that my previous trials with trust sans her would come back again.
The words came back to me a short while ago. Nightfall is fast approaching over the bustling military lot, bringing with it a gentle breeze. The remaining trails of light from numerous arwing take-offs were still visible, streaked across the different patches of blue as though someone were attempting to highlight the timid stars with their own accentuates.
The gala - a gathering of military officials, and the current year's graduating students - is actually behind me in one of the wider halls. The intermixed hum of music and voice are floating out from invisible cracks, and I barely take notice. Fox and my other barrack mates have invited me inside numerous times, each joking that the girl might've gone away already, but I sent them off with a dirty look. I stand with an arm folded behind my green mess uniform, the other idly swishing around a half-empty glass, and gaze towards the heavens.
I take a look at my watch ten minutes before the twenty-third hour. My Katt was never the one to be punctual, like myself. Likewise, I don't think she would've given a damn about the gathering either. We both could've been taking this time to plan out a diversion for tomorrow, or sleeping, but she had been adamant about meeting here, as I remembered by the excited tone in her voice.
Maybe, I tell myself, she feels the same way too.
But even now my heart seems to be doubtful.
Thirty minutes after the twenty-third hour. She is usually late, yes, but not by two hours' worth as it is now. I think there is something wrong, and I finally move from my steel-rooted post to deposit the cup in a nearby receptacle.
I look up, and relief floods through my body. A silhouette is all that can be seen, but I knew with each mezzo-step, combined with the apprehensive downbeat my heart hurriedly sings, that it is but her. Swallowing my pride, I rush forward to help her.
You could thrash the life out of me, but I won't admit it in a thousand years: right now, not even the stars could compare to the beauty she is radiating at the moment. She has traded her tomboyish, militant uniform of green in for a long skirt of black, and a matching-sleeved shirt of light blue. The beret atop her head covers one ear, and I wish to grab it in playful banter, but I won't for fear of messing up this illusion.
"Surprised?" she asks, softly. The smile afterward fits the shimmer in her eyes, as though the sun had managed to sneak into them. "It was issued to me when we first started here. Thought I'd shake everyone up, and wear it, but don't you think for one second that I like it!"
I let out a chuckle, and she laughs. Her face relaxes into a playful grin, and I, for a fleeting moment, allow my eyes to rise, and a smile to overcome them. She might've changed for the evening, but she still seems the same, larkish cadet that I have always known her as.
"Come on." She takes my hand, and my heart starts up that frivolous rhythm of anticipation. From the look she is giving me as she leads me towards the bench just near the hall, I am sure she could hear it. I attempt a macho grin at her, and it plays through perfectly with the expected eye roll.
"You're rather quiet this evening. Usually, you're mouthing off, or we're boasting about who could make the highest score in the shooting range," she remarks as we sit. "Nervous about tomorrow?"
"I don't know where I'm going to go afterward," I respond, automatically. It took me by surprise, but I manage to shrug it off without her knowing. "I was offered a place in both McCloud's and Oinkonny's squadrons, and I noticed Molinski's still looking for someone at the base in Katina. Maybe I could stole you away onto there with me, if you begged," I said, winking at her expectantly.
Two loners come together on a lonelier planet.. What could be more romantic than that? My heart rises, and I begin to dare myself with reaching over to pluck her beret off her head for full measure.
"Oh," she replies, and turns away to look at the sky. My heart starts to level down with that single syllable. The stars are still shining brightly, their pulse gratifying to the dying embers of what is behind. The music has stopped, and the gruff notes that seem to belong to General Pepper's one of many speeches replaced it. A void hung over questioningly the same as I think to myself to the sadness draped on her angular face.
If there was one thing I hated, it was seeing women sad. I knew they'd tie it in on me later, like most of my teammates did.
"Katt, what's wrong?" I ventured, restraining myself. I longed to reach out and touch her face, to force her to my shoulder, to take her in my arms and chase the despondency to the outer edges of the Lylatian System itself. "If this isn't what you wanted, we could "
"Maybe I should've told you first," she begins in a soft tone. The very key of her voice felt as though something had pierced it with a grenade; not hers at all. A long silence passes between us, and she continues: "You.. Remember when I first told you about my old boyfriend, right?"
My heart seems to of stopped, and combusts. I remember him fully, of course. It was him that had sent her to me in the first place. I nod dumbly.
"Well, we've been talking again, and we decided we want to go together. A duo team, like Sergeant Caldwell was mentioning before."
Together. A team.. Not with me..
A team.. Not with me..
The shattered pieces of my heart start to sink at those words, and my realization. I don't even notice that the hall's doors had opened, and militants are beginning to trail out, presumably back to their barracks, until I peered into the distance at those walking away.
This couldn't be happening. No. No, it couldn't.. Didn't you learn from him?
I won't let her see my anger, though in response, I want to shout, to act as though Fortuna might come crashing into Corneria. It felt as though she had been leading me on for months, years on end, when there had been someone else, perhaps all this time.
"Ah.. I know.. them?" I decide to ask, forcing my voice into a terse tone. I have only heard of him without a name. I didn't think that he would've followed her into the military, or had it been vice-versa?
She nods, and stands, those azures off into the distance. "I can't believe he asked me to. We're going to make a wonderful team, again," she replies, almost dreamily.
It seems as though she is looking for him, and I pretend to act interested. I stand up to join her, and she grabs my hand. "There he is," she whispers, and I pretend to look, though I did catch a glimpse of his outline. Our eyes meet again but a split moment later. "I've gotta get going. We're planning a huge dinner after graduation tomorrow."
I want to revolt, to tell her this is a bad idea. He would break her heart, and turn her away from the world; I would bring her the asteroid belt on a silver platter, and mine her the grandest diamond from MacBeth with my bare hands.
But my heart refuses to let me say those words, no matter what.
"I'll see you later on then," I reply, subduing my eyes from explosion, "and keep in touch. Let me know how your assignments go, all right?"
She grabs me into a hug, and I comply.
"I'll see you around then, Bill," she whispers after releasing me, and rushes off. I can see Falco Lombardi in the distance, a feathered arm waving for the loving embrace I would've happily offered, and a smirk for me. Like two magnets they are drawn together, and they let out an inaudible laugh as they slink away into the night.
I turn around, and glance up at the sky, not focusing on anything in particular.
I had lost my parents to the very machinery that was involved in this organization.
I lost my secondary solace to another.
Maybe.. Just maybe, the position offered on Katina's remote base was the best idea after all.
A/N: Did you think it was Falco's point-of-view (or maybe Wolf's)..? I thought about that when I began writing this piece as well. A lot of it is vague, as attesting to Bill having little known about his past, but I'd like to think it worked in the long run.
And yes, I like Katt/Falco, as opposed to her and Bill (as I've seen much of before). A bit of something for both sides, I guess..
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Fox, or any of its characters. That would belong to Nintendo.