Author's Note: A new story for those who asked for one!
The early beams of sun shone through the patchy clouds in wavy patterns. The beams cascaded through the small windows of the airplane and into the eyes of the brown-haired woman inside. Murrue squeezed her eyes tightly shut as the light invaded her blissful sleep before slowly opening them to see the sun shining through her window. Mwu was fast asleep, his head resting comfortably on her shoulder, his blonde hair tossed about his face in a disoriented manner. They had spent most of the early morning on the plane, having gotten on the jet at about three in the morning. With their sleep drained, the couple had fallen asleep just barely ten minutes into the flight from Orb's capital city to the smaller city of Waveland, an appropriate name for a seaside city.
Murrue leaned towards the window, being careful not to wake Mwu, and stared out at the vast landscape below. She could see the ocean, white waves lapping against sandy beaches. Lush, green forest lined the inland areas and occasionally a small dot that represented a house would appear. Orb's northern coast was much more rural than the more populated southern and eastern coasts, which made this side of the island a premier spot for people who wanted to get away from everyday life.
Murrue turned her head behind her to get a glimpse of her fellow travelers besides Mwu. She smiled when she saw her older brother Frank and her good friend Natarle still fast asleep in their seats about two rows behind them. Frank was leaned back in the seat, slouching down towards the ground with his artificial right hand laying across his lap. Natarle was leaned against the window, its shutter closed, her left hand acting as a support. But what made Murrue smile the most was the fact that, very well unknowingly, their opposite and free hands were interlocked with one another. Although they had denied it to most people who inquired them about their current romantic situation, Murrue well knew by now that her brother and Natarle were well more than friends.
The other couple on the plane in their group were sitting across the aisle from Murrue. Her fellow technician at the Morgenrate Corporation, Erica Simmons, was fast asleep as well, her head laid gently on her husband John's shoulder. Murrue knew that this trip meant more to Erica and John than anyone else. Tomorrow would be their fifth wedding anniversary, and this trip was going to be a special time for them, but they had invited Murrue and the others along as well to take part in the celebration, and also to get away from their now everyday lives in Orb, after the war was over.
It still felt like yesterday that Erica had first told Murrue about this extravagant adventure.
"This is you and John's fifth anniversary isn't it Erica?" Murrue asked as she fetched her coffee cup from its place beneath the dispenser in one of the break rooms.
Erica was leaning up against the clear windows sipping from her own cup. "Yes. We're going to the Waveland Resort to celebrate."
"Really?" There was agasp of awe in Murrue's voice. "I heard that place was supposed to be really fancy."
"No, not really. It's expensive, but it's not all that fancy." Erica paused as Murrue came beside her and leaned against the window. "But what really made it for us is the fact that it's one of the most romantic places in the entire country."
"It's where we went for our honeymoon in '67," Erica continued. "The beach, the golf course, the restaurants, it all just was so beautiful for us that we decided to go back."
"So this is kind of a second honeymoon for you two?" Murrue asked.
Erica shrugged. "I guess you could call it that." She took another sip from her cup and added, "Whatever it is, we're really looking forward to it."
"Huh..." Murrue murmured. "Just hearing you talk about it makes me already want to go there with you."
"Silly, you are going with us." Murrue nearly spit her coffee back into its cup.
Erica was already walking away from Murrue to throw away her cup by the time Murrue found the words to respond. "What...Erica why...I mean...what...?"
"I'm inviting you and Mwu to come join John and myself at the resort," Erica answered before Murrue could even ask the question.
"Erica I..." Murrue's voice trailed off, still in a state of shock.
"Come on Murrue. You already said that you wanted to go there, so now I'm inviting you." Erica placed her hands on her hips and said, "Don't tell me you don't want to go now."
"No, it's not that. It's just..." Murrue struggled to find the right words. "It's all so...sudden and...I really don't know if Mwu and I can afford to go with you and..."
"Don't worry about money, John and I are paying for it. You two will be our guests. Besides, we're leaving Ryuta with John's parents so it will be a trip just for couples. Come on Mrs. la Flaga... what do you say?" Erica smiled.
Murrue sighed. "I guess I can't turn down that invitation now can I?"
"Yay!" Erica said quietly, taking Murrue into a quick hug. She laughed, "Thank you. It'll be so nice to have someone who can share the joy with John and I."
"I should be the one thanking you," Murrue insisted. "But I still feel kind of bad about joining you two. I mean...it is your anniversary and all...I may be saying this without thinking but...wouldn't we be intruding on your...you know...?"
Erica chuckled. "You won't be intruding on us. If it makes you feel better, why not ask your brother and his girlfriend to come along too? As far as I'm concerned they need a vacation more than we do."
Murrue smiled. "Well you may have a point there. Both Frank and Natarle have been working themselves to death every since we came to Orb. But I doubt that Natarle will want to come, so..."
"Well ask her anyway," Erica chided. "It can't hurt."
"No, I guess it can't," Murrue laughed.
Murrue felt a strong pair of arms encircle her from behind. She smiled. "Good morning," she whispered, turning slowly in her chair.
Mwu's blue eyes were slits as he held his wife. "Good morning, yourself." He kissed her quickly and released her. Stretching his arms over his head and letting out a quiet yawn, he said, "Where are we?"
"See for yourself." Mwu glanced out the window beside him and stared. "Wow...it's beautiful," he murmured.
"That's what I said," Murrue added, turning this way and that a few times to stretch out her back, which was cramping heavily after having spent the better part of the morning on the plane. "We should be landing in about an hour."
"Good." Mwu relaxed back into his chair and added, "I cannot wait."
Within the next few minutes, the entire group slowly awoke from their slumbers. "I hope you slept well," Erica said to Murrue.
Murrue shrugged. "As best I could, given the circumstances."
Behind them, Frank stretched his arms in front of him as far as they'd go in the confines of his seat and yawned softly. He ran his fingers through his brown locks and clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, puckering his lips at the taste of the sourness now inside of it. He glanced to his right and saw Natarle gently arouse herself from her sleep and stretch out her arms.
"Morning," Frank whispered.
Natarle opened eyes. She cocked her head to the right and mumbled out a tired, "Good morning." She too managed to give off a quiet yawn.
"Did you sleep well?" Frank asked politely.
Natarle shrugged slightly. "I guess you could say that. Though...I'm not used to sleeping sitting up..."
"Yeah, I know it's uncomfortable," Frank said.
"That's an understatement," Natarle responded.
Frank grinned and shook his head. "Do you have to be so negative? We're supposed to be on vacation, you know."
Natarle sighed. "I know. It's just...I...I can't get the feeling out of my body that I'm not supposed to be here today..." She yawned again, her voice trailing off.
She heard him chuckle. "You're never gonna let it go are you? Natarle...they can handle the Intelligence Department without you today. Stop worrying about it..."
"I said, I can't Murrue." Natarle's voice was assertive, containing the very same volume and intensity she had displayed as first mate of the Archangel. "They need me too much at work."
"Natarle, stop making excuses," Murrue persisted. She was sitting on the bed in Natarle's room, just a few minutes after the younger woman had returned from her job at the Intelligence Department in Orb. "Orb isn't going to find itself in a dramatic crisis just because you go away for a few days."
"You don't know that." Natarle removed her coat. She flung it around a hanger and stuck it into her closet, which was packed with business suits much like the one she sported now. "If something unforseen happens-"
"They'll be able to handle it," Murrue interrupted. "Come on Natarle...you haven't left your work place other than to come home and sleep for almost three months. You're overworking yourself."
"I am not!" Natarle hissed.
"Yes, you are." Murrue stood up. "You come home every night looking terrible, you're eyes are always bloodshot, you can barely stand, you hardly spend any time with the rest of us, particularly Frank-"
"He's been just as busy as I have," Natarle said. "He probably won't be able to come either."
"Come where?" Frank had suddenly appeared in the doorway, dressed in his Orb military uniform, where he served as Colonel in the Fighter Command.
Natarle opened her mouth to speak, but Murrue cut her off. "To the Waveland Resort and Spa, the fanciest and most beautiful hotel in all of Orb."
Frank's mouth dropped. "Holy...you're going there sis?"
"You two are too," Murrue beamed.
"No I'm not," Natarle said quickly.
"Wait, wait..." Frank stammered. "How...how are you affording this?"
"Erica Simmons and her husband John are paying for all of it. It's their fifth anniversary and they want us to come with them to celebrate. She just asked me this morning!" Murrue was smiling with excitement. "I didn't want to go at first either, but she told me to bring Mwu and you two along with and that sold me entirely."
"That's great! I'd love to go."
"Frank, are you even going to be able to get time off?" Natarle asked as she folded her arms.
"Hell, those idiots down at Fighter Command can handle themselves for a few days. Besides, I'm only a Colonel as it is, they won't miss me." Frank smiled and came beside his sister. "Did you tell Mwu?"
"Yes, he already put in for time off," Murrue laughed. "He was just as enthusiastic as you were."
"Fabulous. Now that just leaves Ms. Badgiruel here and then we're all set."
"I already told you, I can't go," Natarle maintained. "I can't afford to take time off, especially now-"
"Murrue, go call Erica and tell her we're in," Frank interrupted.
"What-?" It was too late. Murrue had already thrown her arms around Frank's neck in a hug and was now bolting out the door. Frank was grinning when his eyes met Natarle's again. They appeared shocked...and maybe a little angry. "Frank," she spat, "what are you doing?"
"Just trying to help you, Natarle," he said, putting his arm around her shoulder. Slowly, he guided her towards the bed and sat her down beside him on the edge. "Come on now...you know you want to go."
"No I don't," Natarle said bitterly, turning her head sharply away from him. "You have no right to make decisions concerning me without my consent, Colonel!"
"Excuse me, ma'am," Frank said. His hand slinked down Natarle's opposite arm and gently pulled her closer to him. His other hand took hold of her chin and brought her face to meet his. "Natarle...stop worrying. The Intelligence Department can handle themselves for a few days. I'm sure they'll be able to function if you're gone."
"You can't be sure of that," Natarle said.
"Yes I can. You know why?" Natarle shook her head. "Because you've already done such a superb job down there that nothing possibly can go wrong. You've whipped those idiots into shape so fast that they'll be that much more careful when you're gone. Because they know that if the place is trashed when you get back...you'll come down even harder on them."
Natarle sighed. She paused. "If anything does happen...I'm blaming you and your sister!" she whispered.
Frank smiled. "Does that mean you're coming?" He kissed her lips softly.
She sighed again. "I don't have much of a choice, now do I?"
Natarle leaned over in her seat, touching her temple to his. "I"m still holding you to that promise, you know."
He responded with a kiss on her cheek. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
The airplane touched down a few minutes later, its wheels screeching against the hot black pavement below them. All around the airfield was plush, green forest, trees reaching high into the sky, absorbing the magnificent sunlight that was pouring down from the heavens. Just a short distance away was the Waveland Resort and Spa. Its two main buildings were each in the shape of a semicircle, though the shapes were vertical instead of horizontal. The eastern building was painted bright red, with two giant sculptures of fish on each end of the building. The western building was taller, with a triangle molded into the middle of the semicircle. It was colored sky blue with a giant rose tattooed across its outer surface. In between the two main buildings was a smaller one, one that housed all of the spa facilities. Each building had two swimming pools and it took just a short walk to the north to find the sandy white beaches that lead to the ocean.
The resort and spa offered almost everything a person on vacation could want. Swimming, scuba diving, golf, tanning, fine dining, an art gallery, and so much more. It even had its own private airfield, where the small plane had just landed. The plane was towed towards the single terminal where guests arrived or departed the hotel grounds. A portable staircase was extended to allow the passengers to disembark into the beautiful sunlit morning.
The six people in the group managed to make their way to the door where one of the flight attendants opened it. "Do we have everything?" John called out behind him in his deep, elegant voice. His black hair was whipped around as the breeze from outside caught it.
"Yes," Erica answered first, followed by Murrue, Mwu, Frank, and Natarle.
"Let's go, then." John extended his arm in a ladies first gesture, which Erica gladly accepted and began to descend the stairs.
Mwu leaned over to whisper in Frank's ear, "You ready?"
"What do you think, buddy?" Frank asked incredulously. He snapped his fingers and said, "I'm ready to start things off with a bang."
Ahead, Erica stopped suddenly and quickly pivoted back towards the plane. "Wait I forgot something...oh!" It was too late to stop herself. As she turned to head back up the stairs, she made contact with her husband behind her, who's forward momentum, not helped at all by the carry-on bag slung over his shoulder, carried him over her extended leg and sent him tumbling down the stairs head first.
John fell down the steps roughly, rolling over about five times, his shoulder smashing into the metal stairs and snapping with an ugly crack. It took several seconds for his wildly descending form to crash into the pavement below, which didn't help his already injured shoulder any more, and crash to a halt. He groaned quietly, his moan coming out of his throat slowly and painfully. Erica was running down the steps shouting his name. Murrue followed her. As they reached his form, Frank, Mwu, and Natarle stood motionless at the top of the steps. Natarle's hand had gone over his mouth and she turned her head away to avoid the sight. Mwu put his arm over his brow and sighed painfully. Frank's mood hurt most of all.
"Not exactly...what I had in mind..." he whispered, John's injured painful groans fully audible all the way at the top of the stairs.
Author's Note: It's not much for a start, but this is pretty much how I needed it. Read, Review, and I'll more than likely continue this fic. And finally, please NO FLAMES!