Genre: Introspective
Pairing: Shinn x Luna, hints of Shinn x Stellar
Word count: 850



He knew dying.

That day, when he'd seen Stellar, floating like an angel amid a sea of stars, Shinn was certain he'd died. He could feel her smooth, frosty skin beneath his fingertips, smell her sweet breath and the ice in the air, the taste of cold, stony ocean forever etched into his memory. Had her blonde hair grown a little brighter since he'd last seen it? Had her dull eyes gained a little more light? Shinn didn't know, because Shinn couldn't remember. And then Lunamaria woke him up.

It was odd, Shinn thought. That Luna's arm should be so warm when Stellar's was so icy. That her presence could fill him up so completely, and that a single one of her smiles could calm his quaking heart, and subdue his constant, angry headaches. Everything about Luna radiated peace-- her laughter, her worry, even the times when she threw frustrated fits, raging at some injustice.

Had he felt that way with Stellar? Shinn didn't know. He couldn't remember. Maybe there was a residue of the tranquility he experienced with her, sitting by the lapping water and listening to the bitter, wild cry of the waves. She was just like the ocean, he realized, one thing in appearance but completely different underneath. Most of the time, Shinn felt worried, and recalled feeling cheated, to see her one way and yet not know her at all. The secrets made him frustrated, and confused, and he couldn't tell what was truth and what was lie. Maybe they were the same thing.

It didn't make sense. Shinn shook his head in exasperated circles, pressing his fingers blindly to his closed eyes. Stellar was the gentle one. Stellar was the one he had helped-- Stellar was the one that needed help, needed saving. She was the one that needed him. And Shinn needed to feel needed, because without that, what was he left with? Nothing. Nothing. How difficult had it been to understand that one, simple fact? How hard had it been to face that he, for once, didn't have to be the one saving? And even then, the thoughts he fed himself were chaotic, because he killed more than he saved. Was killing saving? Athrun said it wasn't.

Luna was strong. Luna never required much. She wasn't vulnerable like Stellar was. She exuded her own energy, and something defiant and steady and caring in her personality wrapped him in its healing cocoon. Shinn didn't quite get it. What he'd done to Meyrin was…unforgivable. If he had been Lunamaria, he never would have forgiven himself. Had he been able to forgive the Strike? He never forgave those that killed his family, and he hadn't even known them. He couldn't forgive the Athhas, and he couldn't forgive Athrun.

Yet she'd forgiven him.

And that must have been was what drew him to her. Shinn reached towards her, saw how she moved forward instead of looking back, and was envious. He wanted it for himself, badly; Shinn wanted life, craved it. With Luna, he could snatch a little piece of her faith in the future, and scatter his burden, pebble by pebble. He wanted to forget what it was like to die.

Afterwards, Shinn asked her, fully conscious and lying in a hospital bed that measured his heart rate, why she saved him.

"Saved you?" she asked, confused.

"You were there." Shinn glanced sulkily at his sheets, breathing slowly. "I nearly killed you."

She smiled, reassuringly, and squeezed his hand. "Because Shinn, you needed me. And I know you didn't mean it."

Such faith in him. What had he done to deserve it? Shinn, unable to accept her answer, simply looked away.

Now, reaching to embrace Luna as she tumbled into bed, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders, and relished the strength that burned, like a steady red flame, within her. Once he'd dreamed of a cold body, of a form too thin to be held, and of blonde hair so slight it slipped across his skin like a feather. Once he'd sought to protect, and turned back to find only the dead. Once he'd been a killer, one that could not forgive or be forgiven.

But now, Shinn thought, quietly kissing her hair and sliding away to let her sleep, he recognized the final message that parted from Stellar's lips as he lay dying. Tomorrow, she had said. There, he could find solace; there, he could escape his dreams of holding and refusing to let go, of the star splattered sky that echoed his guilt. Shinn finished dreaming of a thin white arm slipping into the lake; stopped imagining splotches of dirt and blood scattered over his sister's leg. The future was what Shinn wanted to follow, where he would create footsteps shaped by his memories. He recalled the wind, warm and gentle, stroking his face as he stood at his family's grave. Luna was here. His hand in hers, they would fight until the day the wounds in their hearts healed. At last, Shinn understood what Stellar was telling him.

Now, he knew living.


A/N: As you can probably see, I took a bit of liberty with Luna's role in Shinn's life. Shinn's interactions with the different characters in Destiny is complicated, and despite how I "simplified" this by having it focus on mainly Shinn's thoughts toward Luna and Stellar, it ended up complex anyway, which is why I didn't try to add in anything with Rey, or Gilbert, or Athrun, who all apply various pressures upon him. That and the fact that this fact would probably end up at least three times longer if I did that, and I would probably have to re-watch all of Destiny in order to refresh my memory. I could go on and on about what the ocean represents, and what Stellar represents, and what Luna represents, and Shinn's weird complex, but I think saying that might just confuse people instead. So after reading this, tell me what you got from it, okay? I'm curious to know how people will interpret the ideas in this.

Giftfic for Thea. Meant to be fluff, but it isn't really.

Crit welcome, as usual! ♥