I have to admit, this one's been sitting on the back-burner for a while.
When I started to write it, I felt it's presence within the story was kind of weak. It feels to me to be too similair to the first chapter, but I felt I had to add it because episode four was a long time ago, and I needed to bring the story nearer the end of the series.
Anyway, this chapter takes place during episode 17, somewhere between the point where Setsuna is being tended too by Anew and when he walks into the hanger and announces he's going to head out into battle.
It's not great, and it's incredibly short, but hey, I hope you enjoy it.
I'M GLAD YOU'RE ALIVE
Watching him quietly as he gazed into the darkened eyes of the 00 Gundam from the observation deck in the calm before the storm, She suddenly recognised the feeling that had been sitting in the pit of her stomach for the past few weeks.
So much time had passed between the present and that first moment they'd shared. Images still flashed across her dreams. She could still feel his embrace around her, the soft barrage of water from above, and the warmth of his lips against hers. Then she made her discovery; the realisation of her feelings for him…
She kept quiet of course. Setsuna had enough on his mind without worrying about the likely unrequited affections of one Feldt Grace. He was a soldier first of course. It had taken him months warm up to his fellow Meisters enough to even hold a decent conversation. It had only been towards the end of the original interventions, when they had talked over the wreckage of the Dynames, that he'd actually even held a proper conversation with her.
Yes, she very much doubted her feelings for him would ever be returned.
And after what happened a few hours following that first kiss, she doubted if she would be able to look him in the eye ever again.
Even now, embarrassment shot through her veins at the mere memory. She had been purposefully avoiding him ever since. She still felt dirty and deceitful even now for listening in on what was obviously a private conversation. She had still offered him pleasantries in their brief meetings in the hallways; a quick hello a simple nod, and she had continued to provide information and briefings, but the whole experience left her feeling…empty inside.
Then came the attack on Memento Mori…
And for the first time since Celestial Being reunited, she found herself cut off from Setsuna.
At first, the empty feeling had been bearable; just a dull pain in her chest, the equivalent of a small stomach ache, only higher up.
But a few days soon turned into a week, and the pain slowly increased with every turn past midnight.
As the second week reached mid-way, her comrades started to notice the changes. Anew noted she hadn't been eating well, Mileina often pointed out the dark rings under her eyes from the lack of sleep.
By the end of the second week, the feelings she now associated with emptiness were affecting her work skills. She fell asleep feeling cold inside no matter how many blankets she threw over herself, she woke up with tears streaming down her cheeks and her eyes red from crying.
She never considered for a moment the reason behind her pain. Never did she suspect that their one missing pilot was the true motive behind those dark days.
Never did she look back to almost five years ago, and notice a similarity to personal events she had experienced in the first few weeks after the death of Neil Dylandy.
Then…Setsuna came back.
He was wounded, a bullet to the arm and painkillers pulsing through his blood, but he was alive.
And with his return…the pain went away.
But until now, she had kept her distance.
At first, she'd told herself it was for medical reasons. He had been hurt, the last thing Anew needed was to have her hovering nearby. Then the excuse became the need to perform her duties.
Finally however, her yearning to see him overtook all other impulses and excuses.
And now here she stood, Setsuna unaware of her presence, embarrassment be dammed.
He turned to her as his name escaped her lips, his dark brown eyes blinking in surprise to see the pink haired girl standing before him.
A pilot suit hung in his hand, a clear sign that he was preparing to move out again. Even after he had almost been killed, she knew he would insist on heading out into the fray once again.
No one, not even she would be able to stop the stubborn pilot.
His voice sent a shiver a down her spine, a small part of her brain relishing in the ever neutral tone that had been absent from her life for far too long.
She found herself unable to look him in the eye however, her light orbs cast down towards her booted feet as she clasped her hands in front of her.
A thousand different response ran through her mind, from simple hellos to full blown confessions. She opened and closed her mouth several times to reply, but her voice seemed to abandon her before she could speak a single syllable.
His boots came into her line of vision, the pilot suit still held loosely in one hand. He was so very close, only a few centimetres away. Close enough to touch, to feel, to…kiss.
Her cheeks suddenly stained themselves red at that last thought, but her eyes slowly moved her gaze from the floor nonetheless, aquatic green moving up to lock with dark brown.
He still stared down at her, his face ever neutral, his dark messy hair falling across his head, his eyes betraying apparent concern.
He was here.
He was alive, and standing her, with her.
Gazing up at him, she had the sudden urge to cry.
"Feldt?" she blinked in surprise as he raised a gloved hand to her face, his thumb wiping away salty drops of moisture before they could travel down her cheeks, "Are you crying?"
She bit her lip as memories of a similar enquire from what felt like an eternity ago flashed across her mind, her hands flexing uneasily as she felt the warmth of his hand against her cheek.
She took a step forward…and buried her face into his chest.
He didn't freeze as he had done last time, her arms coming round his waist as she let hot tears trickle down her cheeks. He just stood there quietly, one hand slowly moving to her side as the other discarded the pilot suit and wove itself across her back and came to rest against her soft hair.
Yes, he was real. She wasn't dreaming. She could feel his warmth seeping through her clothes, his heart beating strong against his chest, his slight breath against her hair as he rested his chin against it.
He was real; he was holding her against his body, giving her comfort as he had done before.
So why was she crying?
Her brain quickly gave it's answer.
"I'm sorry," her voice was soft and quiet against his chest, "You must think I'm pathetic. But the truth is…I'm glad,"
She held him tighter when he didn't reply, a small smile gracing her lips however as he pulled her a little closer in return.
"I'm glad you're alive, Setsuna,"
More confessions. :D
As I've said before on the previous chapters, Felt has been decidedly absent for most of the season. In addition, Marina hasn't been anywhere near Setsuna for a while either, and the only time she did meet up with him it wasn't on Ptolmey so I couldn't rewrite the scene to put Feldt in her place. I flitted with the idea for a chapter to have Setsuna checking up on Feldt after he killed Anew, and having her console him, but the ideas were just patchy so I don't think I'll write that one up. Anyone else is welcome to the idea though.
In all honesty, the only reason I finished this chapter was because of the first real Feldt/Setsuna scen of season 2, when she gave him the flower. it really got the ideas going again, but it was also a long way aways from episode four, so I finished this chapter first in order to bring this fic closer to the end.
With only three episodes left however, I'm not entirely sure if anyting will develop between Felt and Setsuna. If it did, that would be perfect for me, but not if it's rushed. I have an idea for a chapter from Setsuna's perspective concerning that moment, but I might actually wait for the end of the series to see what I have to work with before I do any more with this fic.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it,