I don't own anything except Kevin Walker
Note: this is written from Murrue Ramius' perspective
Kevin Walker... even now, after nearly two years, I still remember quite clearly the day we first met. It was the Orb resource satellite Heliopolis, and from that first day, I knew he was someone not idly crossed or trifled with, someone who was quite capable of killing if the need arose. I soon learned he was capable of killing in other situations, too... and more importantly, I learned that day that he was human, whatever his genes looked like and whatever incredible capabilities had been built into him.
Of course, his humanity wasn't exactly the first thing I noticed about the so-called "Crimson Tiger"...
Morgenroete Factory Floor, Heliopolis. January 25th, C.E. 71
The entire facility is in chaos, with flames and smoke everywhere and explosions going off all around, even as I stand on the dormant GAT-X105 Strike. Most of my people have been killed, and in my haste to avoid suffering the same fate, I just came very close to shooting three teenagers. What are they doing here? I wonder, then turn my attention back to the firefight below.
My attention doesn't stay there long. The third teen, the one wearing black, seems to be holding a gun of some kind. I hear a faint shout over the din, something like "Come reap what you have sown!", and then he leaps. Incredibly, his legs carry him across the entire factory room, while he fires unerring shots from his antique-looking gun, until he lands on the other side.
How on earth did he do that?
Once again, my attention has remained fixated on one thing for too long; I hear a shout of "Behind you!", and realize that a ZAFT soldier has gotten around behind me, on one of the catwalks. I spin, and fire the last few rounds in my assault rifle's magazine, killing him.
I suppose it should make me feel ill; after all, before today I've never killed someone in single combat like this. But right now I'm too busy to feel anything but tension and a distant sort of fear.
I realize the only way out for the brown-haired young man who saved my life is the very mobile suit I'm standing on. Forget secrecy; I don't have a choice, and he's already seen it anyway.
"Come here!" I call to the youth.
He shakes his head. "Thanks, but I'm off to the shelters in the left block; never mind me!"
"There's nothing left behind that door!" I respond; the factory is already going up in smoke, and all access to the shelters is now cut off.
The gun-toting teen concurs with my words. "She's right. Nothing there but rubble and things going bang." His confirmation is punctuated by another "thing going bang"; that seems to decide the youth, and he begins running along the catwalk toward me.
"Over hear!" I call, and to my surprise, he vaults the railing and lands hard on the Strike's body. He's just nearing me when it happens.
It feels like someone just hit me in the shoulder with a hammer, and I realize dimly I've just been shot. I fall back, just barely retaining my hold on my sidearm.
The next few moments are blurry, but I can hear the youth exchanging surprised exclamations with the red-suited man who shot me; and then the next thing I know, the black-clad gunfighter is there, knocking away the ZAFT soldier's knife and kicking him in the chest.
The cobwebs clear from my head, and I raise my pistol with my shaky, wounded arm. The few shots I fire miss, but they're sufficient to drive the attacker away.
Decision time again; but really, the decision is already made. I shove the brown-haired teen into the Strike, and jump in after him. "There isn't room for three," I call up to the gunfighter. "You'd better get out of here!"
Surprisingly, he grins; evidently he doesn't think a ZAFT attack is much to worry about. I wish I had his self-confidence, I think to myself.
"I'll see you outside, whoever you are," he says. Then, as the hatch begins to close, he directs his gaze at my companion. "Don't worry about me; you know I can handle myself."
Now the Strike is sealed, and I begin to activate the mobile suit's systems. As I do so, I feel a little sad. Good as that mysterious teen is, I can't imagine he'll survive the attack.
How little do I know...
That was how I first met Kevin Walker. I never expected to see him again after that moment, though. It looked like Morgenroete was doomed, and probably him with it.
That was about the last time I underestimated him. Of course, at the time all I knew of Project ABADDON was vague rumors, and it certainly never occurred to me that the friend of Kira Yamato, the young man I'd taken aboard, might have something to do with the Project; let alone that he had once been the leader of the so-called Destroyers.
Anyway, the first time I met Kevin Walker, his genetically-enhanced capabilities (I later learned his cybernetics weren't even fully active at that point) saved my life. Since he's done the same thing several times since, it's a debt I doubt I'll ever be able to pay off.
Ironically, the next time we met face-to-face, he came very close to killing me. Had he been even slightly less confident in his abilities, he probably would have; but, being a genetically-engineered, cybernetically-augmented super-soldier, he settled for disarming me.
It was certainly quite a surprise. First being called rookie by someone who looked about ten years younger than me, then having my sidearm blown out of my hand quite casually... and then, finally, having that same young killer convince his friends to follow my instructions.
Kevin Walker was a puzzle, wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by a conundrum. He was, as Mu La Flaga described him not an hour later, a chameleon, capable of changing appearances and personas as easily as most people changed clothes. Yet every persona I met on Heliopolis, and later, turned out to be a facet of the true Kevin.
I was afraid of him, at first. But now, looking back over the past two years, I remember something. There was something about him, even then, that inspired trust. Beneath the cold, ruthless killer exterior, there was a genuinely trustworthy and even likeable human being.
Following Heliopolis, we became... friendly acquaintances, I guess would be the way to put it. I didn't see much of him for quite a while (I later learned that during the journey to Earth, he was tormented by memories and nightmares; most particularly about his troubled past and his future girlfriend, Cagalli Yula Athha), but I liked what I did see; despite the ever-deepening mystery surrounding him.
The surveillance footage from Artemis, I'll grant, caused me some concern; but then, at the time, even I felt like killing Rear Admiral Gerard Garcia, so I suppose it doesn't really count. Aside, of course, from the fact that bullets refused to touch him and he somehow sprouted claws from both hands.
One of the most pleasant surprises I received during those early months of 71 was when Kevin Walker's bizarre GINN-G-weapon hybrid appeared out of nowhere in the Libyan desert to save us all again; something that was quite surprising, considering that he'd left us in orbit, and apparently had no desire to return.
The fact that he did spoke volumes for his personal loyalty. He could easily have gone about his business, without even thinking about the Archangel and her crew, but he came back instead. Some of it, of course, was because his good friend Kira was still aboard, but I think he'd begun to think of the crew as family, as well.
In any case, Kevin did come back, and from that point on he stayed with the ship, even when it forced him to fight his old mentor, Andrew Waltfeld; though I suspect he might not have stayed with us if Cagalli hadn't insisted on coming with us.
It was during our shot journey through the Red Sea that I really got to know him. During an unguarded moment on the Archangel's deck, I managed to pierce the veil hiding his identity as an Orb nobleman; and with that secret out, Kevin actually opened up, something which I think he hadn't done in a very long time, even with Kira. (Cagalli was, of course, a different matter entirely; even then, rumors were floating around about those two.)
From then on, we were friends, without even the issue of the chain of command to interfere; after all, his military rank stemmed solely from Admiral Halberton's desire to help him out, and was not considered even by Natarle to matter much. (She might not have been very happy about it, but she accepted it, and even she fell under Kevin's spell eventually.)
It was a blow to the entire ship when Kevin's mobile suit, the Stormhawk, was caught in the blast from the Aegis' self-destruct system. From the inhuman shriek we all heard, we assumed that he, like Kira and Tolle Koenig, was dead. With the supposed loss of three of our pilots, the morale of the entire crew plummeted.
In many ways, it got even worse after we reached Alaska. That farce of a Board of Inquiry attempted to pin the blame for every calamity that befell the Archangel squarely on Kira Yamato's shoulders; posthumous slander, by any standard. It was so bad that even Natarle Badgiruel (who was at that point still, as Kevin used to call her, "Lieutenant Spit and Polish") refrained from mentioning the existence of another Coordinator who flew off our ship.
Yes, the mood on the ship was pretty miserable after the "deaths" of two of our comrades, our friends. But then came the Battle of Alaska, and the sudden return of two thought dead. First came Kevin Walker, along with half his face bare metal and a profound dislike of the Zero System, then Kira Yamato, with his new ZGMF-X10A Freedom.
Those two cleared us a path out of Alaskan waters, with Kira's incredible disarming attacks and Kevin's brilliant tactics in CIC. Were it not for them, we would not have made it.
Them... and Mu. But that's another story entirely.
Kevin remained in CIC, taking the transferred Natarle's place, all the way from Alaska to his home nation of Orb. And during that time, I saw that he had changed. Even after reuniting with his best friend Cagalli, in Africa, there'd always been a darkness to him, dimly visible in his eyes. Yet something appeared to have changed his mind about whatever it was that had been bothering him. He truly became part of the crew from then on, joking with them, enduring the rumors and teasing from Chief Kojiro Murdoch and his mechanics, and even striking up something of a rapport with Dearka Elsman, pilot of the Buster, whom we'd captured in the Marshall Islands.
I don't think I'd ever seen Kevin happier than when he reunited with Cagalli, in Orb; and he remained cheerful even when it became obvious Orb could not win against the Atlantic Federation attack. And when Athrun Zala, his old friend, joined us, his happiness was complete.
He was understandably depressed after the loss of Orb, but I never again saw him in the low spirits I'd seen on the journey to Earth. Now he was emotionally whole again, and remained so through the journey to the Mendel Colony, the arrival of his "cousin", Lacus Clyne, and her commandeered ship Eternal, and even the early stages of the Dominion's attack on our new base.
I suppose it was sometime during those weeks, before Dominion and Natarle arrived to cause us trouble, that Kevin and I began to grow a little closer; like family, more than friends. We were a lot alike, in some ways; Kevin tended to go a bit farther than I, in terms of battle strategy -he'll be the first to admit he places more emphasis on "final solutions" than most people, and even that his ethics can be a little flexible where people who have hurt him are concerned- but we understood each other, in a way no one else did. We were each to the other like the sibling we never had.
A week after the assault Kevin's clone, John Tyler, conceived, and Kevin himself brilliantly planned and executed, he made it formal. In a small ritual he'd performed exactly twice before, Kevin "adopted" me, swearing an oath to that made us siblings in every way that mattered.
There was, of course, never any thought by anyone that our relationship might go further than that. After a certain incident in Orb, my feelings for Mu were well-known; and Kevin's devotion and fanatical loyalty to Cagalli Yula Athha has never been questioned by anyone.
There's one thing I've seen many a time now, but I still don't quite understand: my brother has an unbelievable facility for inspiring trust and loyalty. From Heliopolis to Earth orbit, and beyond, I think the only people aboard who didn't have total faith in Kevin's trustworthiness were Flay and Kuzzey Buskirk, and even Flay eventually came around... several months later (as for Mr. Buskirk, well... I'm not sure if he ever got over the time Kevin tossed him halfway across the ship and threatened to break his neck).
Then came the capture of the Dominion. It was just unbelievable. Meryl Steiglitz I could understand -having known that particular helmswoman for two years now, I have my suspicions about that- but the way the -surviving- crewmembers took to him... within two months, they'd have done anything Kevin asked them to. They did follow him into hell and back... as anyone who was at Jachin knows.
The Second Battle of Jachin Due... from the outset, when Kevin was talking about how to destroy ZAFT's GENESIS, I could tell he was up to something, knew something. He didn't mention Stormhawk's nuclear self-destruct device for nothing.
Obviously, he had a pretty good idea that he was going to have to use it.
That battle is one I will never forget. We were all beyond ourselves there, fighting as we had never fought before and may never fight again; dealing with nuclear weapons and mobile suits and GENESIS all at once. Were it not for our brave pilots, Kevin hardly the least among them, we would never have made it.
It was Jachin, I think, when my brother finally put his demons to rest. First he led Dominion in a final confrontation with Muruta Azrael, the man who ordered the assassination of those who reared him; then he took his badly-damaged Stormhawk to Jachin itself, along with Athrun and Cagalli, and personally immolated Patrick Zala.
Kevin still won't talk much about that moment, even with me, but Athrun told me what happened. "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for a life... Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..." In a fashion entirely fitting with his past, as a noble fencer and a cold-blooded super-soldier, Kevin turned Zala to ash, ending at last the life of one who so casually gave the orders that forever altered my brother's body and life.
That just left Rau Le Creuset, and even if Kevin didn't kill him personally, he helped.
I will never, ever forget those last five minutes, as GENESIS counted down to fire and "Snake's" nuke counted down to its own doom. Those five minutes as Kira dueled with Le Creuset... and Kevin's voice came from within the weapon, quoting Robert Frost's Fire and Ice even as the fire prepared to consume him. I'll never forget that terrible instant when GENESIS fired, the bomb detonated, and my beloved brother perished from the powerful surge of radiation.
That put us all in a deep slump for hours; for that matter, it gave John the world's worst headache and literally knocked Kira unconscious. None of us could believe it had really happened, that our "immortal" friend and comrade had truly died. I remember Cagalli's utter desolation, knowing that the one who mattered most to her was gone.
Then who should come strolling onto Dominion's Bridge but Kevin Walker himself.
I don't think I've ever been more shocked then at that moment, watching over the com as he stepped onto Dominion's Bridge and told me that it was perhaps a little early for the eulogy. Shocked... and relieved.
And with that, our war was over. We "brothers in arms" had made it through to the very end; even those like Kevin, for whom the war had started much earlier. We took losses along the way, painful, bitter losses, but we survived. Now came the aftermath... and figuring out where to go from there. The member nations of the Earth Alliance were closed to us, and the PLANTs... they just wouldn't have been a good idea.
If only Mu had still been there with us... Another thing that Kevin helped me through.
He, too, survived the war with us. He'd been through two Cyclops attacks and the massive battle at Jachin, but he survived... and then Blue Cosmos, taking advantage of the peace talks, struck when our guard was down.
It wasn't a very bright move on their part. They attacked Mu, Kevin, and me, while we were walking near Kevin's mansion. Being on a high cliff, the place is dangerous enough as it is; attacking a party including Kevin Walker, the man who's killed more Blue Cosmos members than anyone else, was utterly insane.
Even without his augmentation online, Kevin slaughtered them. It was a dozen to one, but he killed them with ease... but not before Mu took a graze from a bullet to his face, and was knocked off the cliff.
We never recovered his body.
If I was never more shocked than when I saw Kevin come back from the dead, I was never more devastated than when Mu died. But Kevin, taking his responsibilities as a "brother" seriously, somehow managed to put everything on hold for two months, while he stayed by my side, helping me through that terrible time.
I know Kevin blames himself for it, even now; even though it wasn't really his fault. After all, they were almost certainly after him, since it's common knowledge now "Baron Onishi" is a Coordinator. He doesn't seem to realize that it could have been much worse... and that he can't take responsibility for every misfortune suffered by his friends.
Still, he never let that affect him when talking to me during that time; and it was at the end of that time that he invited me to live in the Onishi Mansion...
"I couldn't impose on you like that..." I protested, when he first broached the idea.
"Nonsense," Kevin replied, unconsciously tossing his now grown-out sandy hair. "It's no imposition at all, Murrue. Look, Reverend Malchio's already moved the orphanage there, and Kira, Lacus, and Andy have accepted my invitation. Even with all that, I've got more space than I know what to do with... and you need a place to go."
"But..." I began.
He sighed. "Look, Murrue. Whatever our DNA may look like, you're my sister, and I will not just leave you out in the cold. Besides... I've lived too long in the shadows, fighting a hidden war, with naught but a couple of guns for friends. I could use the company, and you shouldn't be alone. Not after all that's happened."
Well, after a pitch like that I could hardly refuse; and he was right, there was plenty of space. Before long, we were also joined by Kevin's helmswoman and former fencing rival, Meryl Steiglitz; and even with her living there, there was plenty of space. It takes practically half an hour to go from one end of the building to another.
And so closed that chapter in our lives. We settled down in Orb (though to this day I'm not sure where Natarle and John ended up; we get the occasional letter, but even Kevin hasn't seen either one since the end of the war), and more or less went about our lives.
But I agree with Kevin: this war is not over. Not by a longshot. One day, we may be required to fight again... and we'll be ready. The Black Asp -as ZAFT dubbed him after the war, when he was safely, officially dead- has entrusted to Lacus, Andy, and me that he's been making plans, mostly involving Artemis and the Dominion. Even I don't know exactly what he's been up to, but unlike Cagalli I've seen the documentation he has under the name "Kevin Ivanovich Walker".
For right now, though, all is at peace, even my brother, despite being forced to use the name Onishi. With Cagalli by his side, Kevin is content... and so, I suppose, am I.
Author's note: First, before anyone lynches me, let me say that I did not really kill off Mu. This is just to account for certain events in Destiny, okay?
Now, I don't really know how this one-shot will be received, but it was something that I felt should be written. After that scene in Chapter 33, between Kevin and Murrue, I thought I should expound upon their brother/sister relationship; it'll play a larger role in the sequel to Brothers in Arms, as well.
So, I hope that was at least somewhat interesting.
Arekuruu-inabikari-no-She, that's an interesting idea, about the Junk Guild; definitely something to consider, though it'll be some time yet before I can do anything with it.
Ominae, I imagine you, at least, approved of this; and, as you can see, there'll be more such interaction between them in Brothers in Arms: A Call to Arms.
The General, I believe I addressed your points in the latest update of Birds of a Feather; nonetheless, thanks for reviewing.
RVD, also thanks for reviewing; I hope you found this at least informative.
Well, I think that's everything that needs to be said. Read, and let me know if it was any good. -Solid Shark