Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam SEED Destiny and other related articles.
She fought the urge to roll her eyes. He had a habit of doing that – calling her by her whole name. No matter how many times she told her specifically to call her just 'Luna', he never did. Because she wasn't 'just Luna' to him. No, she was Lunamaria, and so much more.
She sighed and put her head on his shoulders. "Yes?"
"You do know that this is all I can give you – nothing more." He sounded so formal, so flat, that it seemed he was talking about the weather rather than their confusing and mutual relationship. But she understood him. She knew better.
She nodded. "I'm not asking for anything else. It's…complicated. But I know that I like you, and – " she looked up at him, searching his eyes for some sort of sign that only she knew of. Then, having found it, she smiled and continued contentedly, " – you like me."
They weren't the conventional girlfriend-boyfriend. Their relationship was based on a mutual understanding that there was something more. There were so many possibilities, but with their current situation, it would have to wait. No one else knew about it – it was just between the two of them. It wasn't because they wanted to keep it secret, but because they weren't sure if other people would understand them.
They were friends…
…and yet, not.
More than friends, but not quite a couple.
Moments like these came once in a blue moon, when he wasn't preoccupied with whatever he was doing. They spent time together, just enjoying each other's company, letting time pass them by.
It was just between the two of them, and they were contented with it.
"Luna, you… you know I love you, right?"
She wasn't the least bit surprised when he presented the solitaire diamond ring embedded in white gold after that particular question. It looked like it cost a lot – which it probably did, considering his current state of finances – and, frankly, she never thought he had any idea about jewelry. She didn't know whether to laugh or to cry or to plain gape at him.
She had an inkling that this was going to happen, mainly because Meyrin had that 'I-know-something-you-don't-know' look on her face. Even so, she couldn't ignore the fact that it still left her speechless.
After all, how was a girl supposed to react when the love of her life proposes to her?
He gave her a sheepish smile. She knew him enough to know that he was having 'ego' issues that made it hard for him to say those four magical words. The restaurant that he had chosen wasn't all that high-class or expensive – both of them preferring the homely selections – but for her, it could've been a dump for all she cared.
He looked shy, unused to such displays of affections, but it was the gesture that mattered, really. And after all that they had been through, she understood him perfectly.
She felt a few tears escape her eyes, but she brushed it off quickly. Tears of joy, as some elders would say. She smiled at him and nodded.
"Of course I do, Shinn." Then, she laughed. "And of course, I will marry you."
"Lunamaria, what would you do if…" he trailed off, and for the first time since they've met, she could see the uncertainty in his eyes.
They were in the hangar, doing some maintenance with their mobile suits. Technically, he was supposed to be doing the same with his mobile suit, but it was a well-known fact that she always needed some sort of help from him. It was one of the things that they took advantage of whenever they wanted to be together without arousing any suspicions.
But then again, they were always seen together and it hardly sprouted any rumors.
He was standing on the platform, while she was sitting inside her mobile suit. She stopped checking stats and gave him a curious look. "'What if' what?" she asked, motioning for him to continue.
He shrugged and gave her a smile. Actually, it was just a quirk in his lips, but she considered it a smile, nonetheless. "It's nothing. Just forget about it."
She pouted. "I know you well enough to know that whatever you say does not mean 'nothing'." She mock-glared at him. "So, spill it already."
He spoke so softly, that she had to strain her ears to hear him. And it was no easy feat, what with all the noise the mechanics were producing. "What would you do if…if I died?"
Her eyes widened at the sudden morbid subject. "Don't say things like that," she chided. "I know we are soldiers, and we risk everything every time we go out into the battlefield, but we've got each other's backs."
"You're evading the question," he said flatly. He wore the usual poker expression on his face, but she could tell from his eyes that it was a very important question for him.
She sighed and opted to go with the truth. "I…" she swallowed hard, "I don't know."
It was enough of an answer for him.
"Luna… after all that I did, why didn't you leave me?"
His question caught her off-guard. They were watching some classic movies on the living room when he suddenly asked her. She was leaning on his chest, and his arm was swung protectively around her. What surprised her more was the uncharacteristic vulnerable tone that he used.
A lot of people would describe him as cocky, but she knew that underneath that façade was a boy afraid of losing the people he loved.
She knew what he was talking about. It happened so many years ago, but he still berated himself for it. Both of them – actually, all of the Minerva crew – thought that he had killed Athrun and Meyrin. She should've hated him. Her sister… He had killed her sister, supposedly. One of his friends, one of the people he spent over two years with. Yes… why didn't she leave him?
For all points and purposes, she should've at least felt a bit of hatred towards him. Blamed him for it. But she didn't. It, ironically enough, brought them closer together. She knew the answer, but she wasn't going to tell him. Some things were better left unsaid.
To make up for her lack of response, she snuggled closer to him.
And his arms tightened around her.
She looked up at him tearfully. She wanted to ask him so many things, but only one came out of her parched throat. "Why?" she whispered.
He looked at her with such indifference that made her blood run cold. She was sitting in a chair, in the middle of the interrogation room when he walked in. He didn't sit in the chair previously vacated by the interrogators but rather, chose to remain standing. To look her down, it would seem.
"We had no choice."
"S-She was my sister!"
"She was a spy. She helped him." He didn't leave any room for questions in his statement; everything sounded so final – as if Meyrin being a spy was a long established fact. Then, surprisingly, his eyes softened, and he knelt before her. "Lunamaria… she might have been brainwashed for all we know. You and her both were so taken by Athrun that – "
"No!" she interrupted him fiercely, her eyes flashing in anger. "This isn't about a silly little schoolgirl crush! Meyrin wouldn't be so stupid to…" she felt the tears coming again. "Why? Why did you have to do it? Why did Shinn have to kill her? There must have been some other way!"
She buried her head in her hands and cried. "Shinn… It's his fault, right? Right? He was the one who killed them, right?"
He stood up again and turned his head away from her. "No."
His voice was quiet as always, but she heard it. She locked him with her questioning stare.
He clenched his fist. "It was my fault. Don't blame Shinn. He doesn't need you blaming him." It was the first time that she had seen so much emotion in his eyes. "No matter what happens, don't blame Shinn." He sighed softly – and there was a hint of defeat in there. "It was my fault. I told him to do it."
Her hands fell limply to her side. "What…what are you saying?"
His gaze hardened. "I told you, Lunamaria, that I had limitations. Some things must come first. I told Shinn to kill them." He started to turn away. "Shinn… needs you now."
Possibly more than he did.
"Luna, it's me. Well, it seems you're not there. Ah, well, I'm just calling to remind you of our dinner date later this evening." A hesitant pause. "I love you."
She couldn't stop a girlish giggle from escaping her lips. She pressed the rewind button on her answering machine, just to hear him say those three words again. God knows how incredibly touchy her fiancé was whenever she teased him about not saying those three words enough.
He wasn't the outspoken kind, who told her how much he loved her each and every time. It didn't hinder their relationship in any way. And, to be entirely truthful, it made their little moments all the more precious.
"…I love you."
Then, a cool, automated voice replaced his awkward one, "You have – zero – new messages."
Sighing, she stood up and pressed the erase button on her answering machine and went to the kitchen to sift through her groceries. After that she still had to prepare for their date. Then tomorrow, they were supposed to meet with their wedding coordinator to finalize the plans.
She was supposed to feel tired but, oddly, she wasn't. Not one bit.
She hummed as she went through the rest of her chores and when her eyes caught the picture by the coffee table near the veranda, she laughed. It was a picture of them both during one of their many vacations. He had his arms around her and he was smiling. He had such a cute smile. So unlike the very angry person she met years ago.
What they had was no longer based on need or comfort.
"I love you."
"No." She cut him off harshly. "Don't say it if you don't mean it."
His grip on his helmet tightened. "What I saw…"
"I like Shinn," she declared boldly. "I'm not using him or anything. I li – no, I love him."
He stared at her, and it frightened her that she couldn't see any emotion in those eyes. "I'm not saying that you don't…" He sighed. "But he's in a really fragile state now. He doesn't need any distractions."
She sneered – more of a defense mechanism than anything else. "If I didn't know better, I'd say that you're the one who…" she trailed off suggestively.
"We're in the middle of the war and Shinn's our ace. He needs to be in top condition," he answered matter-of-factly. Then, he offered his hand in a handshake. "And so do we. There will be times when we will need to work together, and we don't need past differences to hinder us."
She stared at his hand in utter disbelief. "I don't get you. Even after all we've been through, I still don't get you."
He clenched his fist and dropped it slowly to his side. "It's…LOGOS whom you should be angry at. They brainwashed Athrun and Meyrin. And Athrun… he betrayed us, he fooled us all," he hissed.
She felt tears sting her eye at the mention of her sister. "Don't. Don't drag them into this. Meyrin… she…"
He brushed her off. "It doesn't matter anymore. But I hope everything will at least be civil between us."
She wiped away her tears and smiled at him bitterly. "Oh, but of course, that's what matters to you." She gave him a mock salute. "I'd best be off then, Mr. Za Burrel." She turned her back to him and started walking away.
"I'm sorry. That's what I wanted to say."
She stopped in her tracks, but didn't face him. "Like I said, don't say it if you don't mean it."
"Luna… take this ring, as a sign of my love…"
She wanted to cry. Really, she did. She always thought that she was just some sort of a rebound from his failed relationship with that Extended-girl. Perhaps, she was for the first few stages of their relationship. But then again, that time was so rocky and confusing that it really did not count.
They cooled off for a while, became friends again and gradually ascended to couple status.
And then, there they were, in the middle of their wedding ceremony.
The past years had all been so… surreal. Who would have thought that peace such as this was possible?
"You may kiss the bride."
Shinn gently lifted the veil and they stared at each other for a while, a silent understanding passing between them. He smiled. She smiled.
And they kissed.
They really were a pair then, each bouncing back from their respective losses. Shinn, at least, finally got over Stellar. But there were times when she thought of him, as well. Wondering what could've been, should've been, or might've been. After all those years she should've gotten over him already.
Was it a sin then?
To think of him?
She looked at Shinn and their entwined fingers – identical bands glinting in the lights – and she knew.
Shinn Asuka was her life now.
And Rey Za Burrel was but a memory of the past.
Author's Notes: To be quite honest, I was writing this more for myself than for any other reason. The idea has been plaguing me for months and just wouldn't shut up so I wrote it. This is a one-shot...FOR NOW (-ominous background music-).
This is my canonical (is that even a word?) take on the Rey-Luna-Shinn triangle. Opinions, comments, rants, raves, reviews, flames - all of the above are welcome. :D Thanks for reading this.
Addendum: Special thanks to Lia lostsmile, my wonderful beta-reader. And apologies as well. I've been a veeeeeery bad author, that I have, for forgetting to putthis very crucial thing in my notes. Sorry!