Disclaimer: I do not own Macross Frontier.
A/N: I apologize that this isn't long.
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Sheryl Nome dropped her tired body on her bed, completely exhausted from her day's work. Thankfully, the interview had been the last job of the day, so she could finally relax. The last time she had looked at a clock, it had pointed to 11 o'clock. No doubt that it was probably half past twelve. Sheryl let out a tired yawn before closing her eyes. She heard the door open then close. Without opening her eyes, she knew it was Grace.
"My, you look so tired."
Sheryl groaned in reply.
"I'll have to call the best make-up artist. That way no one will detect a hint of fatigue on your face."
Sheryl half-opened her eyes.
"You forgot? You have an interview for a morning show. We have to be at the studio before 5."
"But Grace," Sheryl pushed herself up in protest, "I've been working non-stop today, surely you could"—
Grace held a palm up, halting Sheryl's complaints. A serene smile graced her lips.
"Now, now, Sheryl…is that how a professional acts? Don't worry, tomorrow you'll find lots of time to rest. You'll need it for your concert that's already fast approaching."
Sheryl covered her face with her cold hands as she dropped back down on the mattress, curling up to a fetal position.
"I feel so tired…" Her voice was barely audible.
"Don't worry, Sheryl," Grace assured the girl with concern laced in her voice; she pulled up a blanket over the weary songstress. "You'll find lots of time to rest," she pushed a pillow under Sheryl's head before silently walking to the door. She flicked the light switch off.
Outside the bedroom, Grace leaned back on the door.
"Yes indeed. You'll have plenty of time to rest." She whispered to no one. A sinister smile on her face.
Business was always grim. But of course, business was still business, the man mused, moving papers and photos on the small round table. His station was a small place with only a light bulb to illuminate the darkness. It was cramped with boxes and useless belongings. The place wasn't even fit to be called a rat's home. But strangely, he liked it this way. He was accustomed to the dark.
Perhaps because of all the shady business he was engaged in. He reached for the lighter in his pocket and with one spark, his cigarette was lit. He puffed clouds of smoke, the details of the haze alluring in the dim room.
His newest client had called. Giving him further details on his latest assignment, he also promised enough money to have him set for life. He smiled, inhaling his own fumes. This job was going to be sweet.
Although it was really going to be such a shame…after all, he was very fond of his target's songs.
Michel watched Alto make paper planes from Sheryl Nome's posters from a distance while the rest of the team was working on the plans for their aerial routines. From his point of view, Michel saw Alto taking a step to forgetting the past and moving on. Alto had called him and inquired about the acrobatic stunts gig and asked if he could tag in. Of course, Michel said yes in a heartbeat.
This was the first time Alto voluntarily joined in since about an eternity. Although right now, he wasn't socializing, he was still being part of the team. It had been such a long time, it sort of made him nostalgic.
"Michel-sempai!" Luca called out, who was working on his laptop, "could you have a look at this?"
Michel walked off to where the rest of the team huddled. From a distance, Alto watched them engage in their lively chat of routine improvisations and safety measurements. He envied the natural flow of their conversations and actions. It was something he had never been really good at…much more when things changed for the worst.
He sighed and then focused his attention once more to his poster airplane.
His eyes narrowed at the distorted face of Sheryl Nome on the wings of the plane.
For the past days, Alto had worried over every aspect and detail of his plan. He knew it was crazy. Hell, it might not even work. He felt it was the only way to vanish the nightmares and guilt; to forgive himself for his past mistakes and to hopefully give Ranka some peace... Of course, he knew that things might not work out and that everything could go wrong. But he was willing to risk it.
Alto stood up and turned around to the open views. He positioned the plane.
One thing was certain.
With the mastered skill of his Ex-gear, he sent the plane flying off.
It ascended up in the air.
Alto stared after it.
He had nothing to lose.
Ranka Lee stared at the rectangular piece of paper in her hands. She smiled as she read the name Sheryl Nome over and over. She could not contain her excitement. She looked up to her brother's grin and gushed.
"Thank you, onii-chan! I was bummed because I couldn't get a ticket in time" She placed the ticket to her idol, Sheryl Nome's concert in-between the book she had been reading when Ozma came in. Settling it to the table, she threw her arms around his neck and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
"Thank you! I can't believe you got me one! Just in time too!"
Ozma smirked. "There's nothing your brother wouldn't do for you, Ranka-chan!"
Ranka gave her brother's other cheek a kiss before letting him go. She twirled around in glee, shouting out Deculture! Her hair moved along with her jubilant mood. Ozma chuckled watching her spin around while tossing her green cell phone in the air. His chuckling stopped when he felt his mobile vibrate.
With a click and two, he answered it. "Ozma here."
Ranka began chattering away about what to wear for the concert and what shoes to use.
He listened to the caller's report.
She started to walk around in circles, lower lip pouting, thinking about it.
Ozma's hand clenched tightly around his phone while gritting his teeth…
Should she wear the pink or yellow dress?
"What do you mean his VF is missing?" His tone was low and dangerous.
Ranka decided to wear the yellow dress.
Excitement was going around in Frontier. Today was Sheryl Nome's concert. Backstage, Michel was overlooking the equipment, making sure that nothing was going to upset the performance and safety rules. As he did his inspection, he couldn't help but notice the frowns of his teammates' faces.
"Guys," Michel tried to lighten their dreary moods. "Why the long Alto faces?"
Luca sulked on. "I can't believe they altered our routine."
Michel sighed. "It can't be helped. It's what the client wants. Too bad they had to remove Alto's corkscrew though, it was"—He turned to his side, expecting to see Alto but was absent.
"What the? He was just here a minute ago."
Luca giggled. Yes, he actually giggled. "Alto-sempai left the moment you asked why we were glum."
Michel exhaled in exasperation. "Damn that idiot skipping off. We still have preparations to do."
Sheryl followed Cathy Glass, who was escorting her to her dressing room. As they walked, the only sounds heard were the clicking of their heels and her Iteza song being played from the sound speakers somewhere above.
Sheryl could see that Cathy was still pissed because of the little snide comment she gave about hiring amateur stunts.
It's her problem, Sheryl thought with distaste. She was just being a professional.
They walked on, passing stunned and gawking personnel, who worshiped her with their eyes. It was clear that they wanted to mob her but were obviously given strict orders not to hassle her. Sheryl was used to such treatment. One had to put up with it if they wanted to step up high in the ladder of fame.
Any shy reluctance or hint of discomfort would result to utter plummet and failure. She would have none of that.
She glanced to her side and found someone who wasn't drooling or ogling. In fact, he showed nothing but indifference. His cryptic hazel eyes revealed no keen pleasure at looking at an intergalactic diva such as her.
He looked to be a student by the uniform he was wearing.
He gazed at Sheryl with an intensity that was totally different from all the lewd and perverted stares she had received in her stardom. There was a powerful substance within his eyes that made her gasp slightly. Unwanted spots of color rose on her cheeks. She returned his rude stare with a phony smile and slight nod.
She decided he was just one of those harsh critics who ranted about her music. When she no longer could see the young man, Sheryl Nome could still feel his heated gaze. She placed a hand over her chest.
She found her heart was still beating fast.
The lights faded…
There was nothing but pitch darkness.
Noise hushed down.
Everything was still.
Everything was silent.
So silent, you could scream.
There was a struggle.
Anticipation so strong, it strangled your every thought.
"LISTEN TO MY SONG!" There was a crack of a whip and the stage burned alive with explosive lights and rushing music. The crowd emptied out their lungs with screaming that could not end.
This is it. She thought.
"Up towards the heavens!" Michel yelled out as they made their grand exhibition.
"You're lagging behind, Alto!"
"Just keep flying!"
This is it. Alto thought, as he caught up with the rest.
His vantage point was perfect. He could see everything from where he was. Plus an escape could be made easily. His weapon gleamed under the busy flashy lights.
This is it.
Three people whose intentions couldn't be any more worlds apart had only one common thought in their heads.