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Disclaimer: If I did own it, I wouldn't be writing fanfiction now, would I?

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Numb

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I didn't even know what I was doing. I was watching the whole fight, frozen in morbid fascination and before I knew it, I was maneuvering my mobile suit directly in the line of fire. It was a very stupid move, but after hearing that desperate cry from him, I knew I had to put a stop to his madness no matter the cost.

I told him to stop.

I thought he would listen.

I was wrong.

I heard another cry from him, another wretched cry bordering on the thin line of insanity. Time seemed to stand still, and I prayed to whatever gods there were in the heavens above us, to hear my prayer and stop this nightmarish battle. I wanted him to stop. Stop fighting. Stop hating. Stop.

Two names. Two very important persons in his life who died. They were the reason behind all his pain and hatred. Sometimes, I wanted to blame them. Why couldn't they leave him alone? Why couldn't they let him go? He shouted for them, as if they were right in front of him. And through the little screen on the upper part of the monitor, I could see his eyes – wide and deranged.

Am I about to lose him? They were dead. I was still alive. Why choose the dead over the living? Would he choose them over me? He was crying for them – calling out to them. Why don't you call out for me? I'm here.

I thought my heart couldn't break any further.

I was wrong.

Time moved again and I was faced with one of his weapons.

He… was going to kill me.

He was prepared to do it.

And I couldn't even move. My mind screamed for me to move out of the way. But before I knew it, I was shoved aside. Out of the line of fire. Saved. Am I saved? But the thought was soon pushed out of my mind, when I saw his severely damaged mobile suit plummeting at high speed towards the rock-hard surface.

I was stunned for a moment, as I watched his suit crash on the surface. And then, I urged my own beat-up mobile suit to follow after his. I landed roughly on the surface, not minding the pain coming from countless bruises as I was jostled inside the cockpit. I tried contacting him, but the impact from his fall must have damaged his communication devices. No visuals, just sound. But he was not responding. All I heard was static.

I was scared. Scared that the damage wasn't just to his comm. links. Scared that I might not see him again. Scared that the last thing I heard from him was not even my name. Scared that the last thing I might remember about him, was the sight of him getting ready to kill me.

The next events were a blur. It was as if my mind was set on autopilot as I descended from my mobile suit. I half-climbed, half-crawled through the burning remains of his mobile suit. I was numb, up until the moment I opened the hatch and saw his unconscious form.

I was panicking inside, and I felt so helpless. His eyes were closed, and his helmet was cracked. Other than that, there didn't seem to be any visible injuries. I took a deep breath, and set to work, assessing his injuries. I worked mechanically, suppressing any emotion that I felt as I applied first-aid. Afterwards, I dragged his body out of the cockpit. I hardly felt his weight, or chose not to. The only thing on my mind was that I needed to get him out of there. I settled his still-unconscious body on my lap and I watched the war play before my eyes.

It was like a scene straight from an epic war movie. I was sitting in the front seat – the best seat in the house. I was witnessing the end of the war. Witnessing our loss.

But it was the farthest thing from my mind. The only thing that I cared about was whether or not he would be okay. I lay an arm across his chest, comforted by its somewhat steady rise and fall.

The war was drawing to a close. And I was somewhat afraid of it. What would happen to him? After everything that has happened, will he finally let go of his demons? After hearing the words that our supposed enemy had said during the fight, I finally realized just how tired I was of everything. It would be nice if, after all that has happened, I could go back to the civilian life that I once hated.

But what about him? What if he chooses to stay with the military?

Then, I will stay with him.

Many people would be boggled by my decisions. He almost killed my sister. And just mere minutes ago, he almost killed me. But I forgave him. And as if it wasn't enough, I remained by his side. Even I am confused by my actions. Shouldn't I hate him?

But I saw how revenge ate his heart.

And…

I didn't want the same to happen to me.

Many people wouldn't understand, but this is the result of unconditional love. Unconditional love, where you don't expect anything in return, where you forgive easily, where choose to look past his mistakes, where you remain by his side no matter what. It was at that moment that I realized just how important he was to me.

I knew that I was living behind shadows of his loved ones.

Mayu…

Stellar…

I knew that whatever feelings he may have for me are backed up by his need to be comforted. I knew I was some sort of rebound. But I did not care in the slightest.

I ignored the feelings of pain, and fought back the tears whenever I saw the desolate look in his eyes. And now, I hear him murmuring her name, and it rips my heart apart but I pay no heed to it. It hurts… but I still choose to stay by his side. I bow my head to look at him, and the tears threaten to fall even more. His eyes slowly open, and I softly call out to him.

He did not love me.

He stayed with me…

Because of guilt.

Because of comfort.

Because of need.

And for now, I will be contented with that fact.

He calls out my name.

My name.

I bend down and hug him; our foreheads would be touching, had not been for our helmets. I feel relieved and thankful. Thankful that he was alive. Thankful that he was awake. Thankful that he was physically fine. Thankful that it was me that he called.

He sees the explosion in the distance and asks what happened, and I tell him. The sobs are soft at first, and then they finally erupt into full blown tears. He clings to me desperately, as if afraid that I might let go.

I close my eyes and feel the tears finally rolling down my cheeks. And I put my arms around him, letting him cry all that he wanted to cry. It would be enough to tell him that I was there for him. And that I would never leave his side. When the time comes that he will no longer feel bound by the hatred brought about by the deaths of his loved ones, would he finally acknowledge my feelings for him? Would he be able to return them?

I am a hypocrite.

I am selfish.

Because, somehow, a part of me still expects something in return. Just for him to love me back. Not out of guilt, or out of need.

There is only one thing that scares me at this point in time. I dread the day when he finally moves on and realized that he doesn't need me anymore. Because if that were to happen, then maybe it would be better for him to stay this way. No matter how much I try for my love to be unconditional, there is still a part of me that yearns to be loved in return. If he is going to leave me eventually…

Because then, the numbness will disappear and I will feel all the hurt that I have suppressed, magnified ten-fold.

I'd rather that we stay this way. With him unable to let go and me still allowed by his side.

I'd rather be numb forever.

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Author's Notes: Another one-shot. One-shots are the quickest cure to writer's block. I think. Well, anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. Comments, suggestions, and, most especially, constructive criticisms are greatly appreciated.

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