Title: Normality
Warnings: Implied incest, cursing, obvious spoiler for both seasons.
Pairing: Implied Neil/Lyle
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Written for a Gundam 00 fic exchange (doubleexchange) on LJ. I'd also like to thank my beta, mrtrite, for looking this over.


And here he was. This was it.

This was what he'd died for.

Celestial Being.

An organization of peace; an organization that had an ideology of ending global conflict through armed intervention; and an organization that operated under completely hypocritical beliefs. This was Celestial Being, this was the organization that Neil had given his life for.

After completing those tedious training exercises, Sumeragi had allowed the new Lockon Stratos some time to himself. Alone in his room, Lyle pulled a cigarette from the carton and placed it between his lips. He fingered the lighter that was lying on the plain white bed sheets, but he resisted the urge to actually use it. "Smoking on Ptolemaios II is completely prohibited," that was what that frigid ice queen had told him (with a wrinkled nose and a condescending look--that's what it seemed like to Lyle anyway). Sucking in a deep breath, Lyle closed his eyes and laid back on his hard mattress.

Twins were supposed to have a "special bond", so Lyle didn't know what to think about the bond he had with his brother, since he hadn't "felt" anything the day Neil had supposedly died.

He knew they had some sort of connection though. A type of "bond" between them...one that would've been seen as completely unnatural to a whole lot of people. They had a more physical kind of relationship.

...Yeah, that was definitely the best way to put it.

("Had," "been"--it was so fucked up referring to Neil in the past tense)

And their unusual, unconventional relationship all began right after the terrorist attack. Before then, everything had been normal: he had fought with Neil, he had played around with Neil; nothing was wrong. Because nothing was wrong with their family, their lives, the whole world. Everything was normal.

But after Amy had been killed, after their parents had been murdered…it all just went to hell. Nothing was normal anymore, and everything was just messed up. And they had no one else to turn to but themselves, in those first few days…weeks and months. All they wanted was some type of comfort, something that would make everything seem… ordinary again.

Normal…

What did that even mean, anyway?

A perfectly typical family? Working father, stay-at-home mom, an adorable little sister, petty sibling rivalries…

Lyle stared up at the ceiling, cigarette still dangling uselessly from his mouth. It was foolish, and they'd both been naive, but it didn't feel wrong the first time they had done it. Or the second. Or the numerous times afterwards. Cliché as it sounded, it just felt right. The replicated "love" felt right. Lyle narrowed his eyes and gritted his teeth, trying to think back to those times. His mouth slowly turned into a smirk. A derisive and remorseful one.

He turned onto his side, focusing his eyes on his late twin's orange Haro, which was currently "sleeping" on the floor. Yeah, in retrospect, what they'd done with each other had been fucking stupid and just plain wrong (and not "normal" at all). Lyle brought up a hand to his mouth, slipping the cigarette between his pointer and middle finger.

Or maybe it wasn't only in retrospect, because he always had this feeling (and he was sure Neil had it too), after they had done it

He just felt shitty, dirty.

Lyle pulled the cigarette from his mouth, dropped it back in the near-empty carton, and placed it back on the mattress.

He had no explanation for it, but not too long afterward, Neil and him just started to drift away. Lyle really couldn't recall when it had started exactly; maybe it was half a year later, when he finally found himself getting over it all. Yeah, what had happened to his family was fucked up shit, but y'know, no use continually beating yourself up over it. Of course the pain was still there (the pain would always still be there) but it had dulled. It was more in the back of his mind now--like every once in a while, when he had time to stop what he was doing, and think…he'd remember.

Remember roaming around in the city that day.... Everything was normal, even though him and Neil had gotten separated from their family. And then there was an explosion…the ground shaking, the heat, there were those sickening screams, the whole sky turning dark…

But it wasn't in the forefront of his mind any more. There was no use mulling over the past. The best thing to do was to look towards the future.

But the same couldn't be said for his brother, who clearly didn't share the same sentiment. Lyle had noticed that: while he had found himself moving on, Neil still seemed to be stuck on it. And Lyle knew this was the reason why his brother had joined Celestial Being: he just never got over it. He wanted revenge. And it took him over, he gave in to hate, and it destroyed him.

But, for Neil, that apparently didn't matter. As long as he got what he wanted, it was fine.

"I'm going to punish those bastards, Lyle. If I don't, I'm…I don't think I'll ever be able to move on.

Revenge. That single-minded way of thinking was just like him; he'd always been like that. And that was the significant difference between them. Maybe it was that stupid way of thinking that caused them to drift apart.

According to a certain crewmate of his, Neil had wanted to change the world. Although he didn't do it in front of that "certain" person, Lyle had inwardly snorted when he'd heard those words.

Neil "desiring the power to change the world"?

Didn't sound like the Neil Dylandy he knew. Lyle shuffled around, turning so that now he was lying on his back. They all actually believed that his brother was truly selfless. He couldn't keep himself from letting out a scornful chuckle, and he shook his head.

That was funny.

He pointed up at the ceiling, "And then you just disappeared, Neil."

Lyle remembered closing his eyes that night, with his breathing finally returning to normal, his body still covered in sweat and that feeling of ecstasy gradually lessening. And he felt his brother near him, back turned, probably falling to sleep himself.

Then Lyle had opened his eyes that next morning, and Neil was gone.

No letter, no goodbye, no nothing.

"Not gonna lie, it really didn't surprise me." Haro stirred on the floor, slowly coming out of its "sleep-mode" at the sound of his low voice, but Lyle didn't even notice.

Hours passed into days, and days turned into weeks. Lyle just got over it: Neil wasn't going to come back. He was gone for good. Weirdly enough, he didn't feel sad over it either. Unlike his twin, he was capable of moving on.

And if something (bad) ever happened to Neil, Lyle had been pretty sure that he would've known. Somehow, someway.

They were twins after all.

No way Neil was going to end up dead, though. Not until he got his "revenge".

With a groan, Lyle sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He watched Haro as it rolled around quietly on the floor. "You know, Neil," The words tumbled out of his mouth, getting Haro's attention. "I did feel pretty lonely without you around. And that's why I just up and left."

Staying alone in their old house just continually brought back terrible memories: leaving seemed like the best course of action. So he had travelled around Ireland, with only the cash he'd been saving since childhood and a backpack filled with essentials. And for years, he never had a stable place of residence: that simply depended where he was.

If he was currently in the countryside, Lyle asked the local farmer if he could stay in their barn (and even if he said no, he'd sleep there anyway). And if he was in the city? Lyle had enough cash to rent a room in some shady motels. Cash from childhood, from the "odd-jobs" he had taken over the past few years and from…other things he just wanted to erase from memory.

Lyle had just drifted around Ireland, learning new things, picking up new trades: it kept his life from feeling empty and worthless. Unlike his (stupid, retarded, idiotic, bastard) brother, Lyle had no drive; he had nothing to strive for, nothing to aim at.

For the next few years, and he watched as the world around him began to crumble. Destroyed by conflict, disintegrate from famine, deteriorate from illness…everything.

Lyle swept his right leg across the floor, knocking it lightly against Haro. "Ow! Ow!" It let as it tumbled away, and he couldn't stop himself from laughing.

Pushing himself off the bed, the Meister crouched on the ground and grabbed Haro. "You always did have weird tastes, bro." He stared directly into Haro's…eyes. "Which must've gotten worse when you joined up here. You got that pink-haired girl, that ice queen, this orange thing, and the whole crew."

The few years before he had joined up with Katharon, three times a year, he would get phone calls.

From Neil.

Usually when he was staying in a random motel room. Neil never told him where he was, or what he was doing, or even how he had gotten his number in the first place. So Lyle would always have this thought in the back of his mind, whenever he had those short conversations with his brother over the phone: Neil was probably nearby. Neil had probably seen him come into this shady motel, found out which room he was staying in, and had gotten the number.

"Where are you?"

"…Can't tell you that, Lyle. You know that. All you need to know is that I'm in the country."

"Then where did you go?"

"Hehe…you know I can't tell you that either."

"Neil…"

"I'm just happy I can talk to you, Lyle."

"…You're the one who left me, remember?"

"I know. And I'm not sorry about that. Lyle…like I said, I'm going to change this world."

And Lyle had just snorted at that; his hand had clenched the phone receiver harder, and he'd squeezed his eyes shut. "This world is way too far gone. Neil, you can't change it by yourself."

"…Watch me."

"Well looked what happened," Lyle sat on the floor, resting his back against the bed frame. A sorry grin graced his lip as he started to throw Haro up in the air, "You got killed. Told you you couldn't change this world by yourself."

They had also crossed paths, at least four or five years prior.

Once.

He had caught his brother at the gravesite, where their parents and sister had been buried. First time he had seen Neil in years.

He'd just watched him, from his hiding place behind an old, weathered tree a few yards off. But Lyle had just watched Neil. For some reason he couldn't explain, he could not bring himself to confront his brother.

He just didn't know why…

He had been scared. It'd been an irrational fear. And Lyle just didn't want to admit it.

"I'm sorry," and "I love you." Those had been the last things Neil had said to him, the last time they'd talked, the final phone call. Just a year before he'd joined Katharon.

"Too bad I was drunk." Lyle caught Haro and placed it on the floor before searching around his bed for the cigarette carton. …Now where had he put that lighter…

"Lockon feel bad! Lockon feel bad!"

Cigarette carton and lighter in hand, Lyle simply raised an eyebrow, "Huh? What makes you say that?"

"Lockon told me, Lockon told me," Haro started rolling around aimlessly on the floor again. "That when Lockon's brother feels bad, he smokes. He smokes."

Lyle didn't know why, but hearing that hurt him. "So my brother talked to you about me, huh?"

"Sometimes! Sometimes!"

"What else did he say?"

"That he wants you to live in a better world! Better world!"

"Idiot…"

"He called you that too! Called you that too."

Lyle felt like kicking Haro in the face for that, so he did. And he watched with childish amusement as the orange ball hit the wall and recoiled back to him. Slipping the unlit cigarette between his lips, he scooped Haro up into his hands and got to his feet. "My brother was a dumbass, and sometimes I just really hate him."

"Lockon loved you! Lockon loved you!"

"Yeah, I know. That was the last thing he told me," Walking to the entrance of his small room, Lyle punched in a few numbers and the door slid open. "Too bad the last thing I said was that I hated him."

"Sorry to hear! Sorry to hear!"

"Ah shut up."

He stepped into the empty hallway and quickly glanced around. No one was around…well seeing how it was two in the morning, it was possible that they were sleeping.

"Where are we going? Where are we going?"

"Outside for a smoke. Good thing we're back on Earth, cause I need one badly," Lyle used his free hand and rubbed both of his eyes. "You know what my brother said about me smoking?"

"Yes! Yes!"

Lyle let out a cheerless laugh and leaned to the left, resting against the cold wall, "He was telling the truth."

"Haro sorry! Haro sorry!"

"…It's fine." And he just gave a small shake of his head and began walking down the hallway, thinking…

…focusing on just how normal he could make the rest of this mess.