Disclaimer: I do not own Macross Frontier or anything related to it. This oneshot plot-bunny is based on episode 2 (We're Not from Here), Season 3 of "How I Met Your Mother." This story is dedicated to my spoiled chipie, vivitoru. :P
"Looks like the honeymoon phase isn't over yet, huh, Alto-sempai?" Luca sniggered at his blue-haired friend leaning heavily against the back of his chair, who looked extremely exhausted. It had been three months since Alto had married Sheryl and a week since they returned from their honeymoon vacation.
Alto shot him a tired glare, "What are you spouting about?"
"You know what I mean, sempai." Luca continued with his teasing. "Everyone knows how affectionate newly-weds are."
There was a devilish glint in his eye that heavily contrasted with his cherubic face.
At that, Alto immediately felt his temper rise. He was ready to give a good yelling but decided not to push it, as it would require energy— and God knows how much he needed it today, so he opted for a long sigh instead.
"Hate to burst your bubble but Sheryl and I are not having crazy wild monkey sex." Lately, that is.
The shouta's grin sobered at that. "Really, sempai? Then how come you've been so worn-out since you got back?"
"Well," Alto touched his shoulder, giving it long, hard and soothing presses, "Sheryl and I have been writing thank-you notes for the ones who gave us wedding presents. And trust me, there area LOT."
"Oh, I see. Well, I can imagine, all that typing must be really draining…"
"I said writing."
Luca's eyes widened, stunned at the correction, "As in, pen in hand?"
Alto rolled his eyes and repeated Sheryl's words to Luca in a mocking imitation of her voice,
"Typewritten thank-you's are so cold and impersonal! I won't stand for it! We're doing this the old-fashioned way. Humph. It's easy for her to say since I'm the one doing most of the writing. Damn it."
Luca shook his head with a small amused smile as Alto continued ranting.
"Then I'm also the one who has to forward all the official documents, including our death folders."
Luca blinked, "Death folders…?"
Alto was exercising a sore muscle as he enlightened Luca on that matter.
"You know, useful information and such that you want your partner to know in the unlikely chance that you die. Like that's gonna happen."
Luca took a sip from his drink with a thoughtful look.
"Yeah. Let's pray that Sheryl-san will never have to read your sad goodbye letter to her."
"Well, yeah. A personal letter to your partner to help in comforting and giving a sort of closure, I would know because I helped one of my older brothers make one. He was bawling like a baby as he blubbered at the things he wanted me to take down for his wife." He gave a little shake of his head at that memory.
He suddenly noticed that Alto was very silent.
"Alto-sempai, you look pale."
"Alto-sempai…don't tell me you didn't"—
He was interrupted by a distressed groan.
"I didn't know you had to include a personal letter!"
"But sempai…that goes without saying."
Alto clenched his teeth, cursing at his insensitive stupidity.
"I'm such a jerk! If I die, Sheryl will find out I had nothing to say to her but information on what to do with my ashes and the locker-combination to my mother's prized pressed flower collection and poetry. She'll think I didn't care about her!"
Luca's next words did nothing to help.
"You're right…Sheryl-san would be crushed to learn you left nothing for her. And knowing her personality, she probably wrote a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking letter and expected the same from you."
Alto felt as if someone had kneed him in the gut.
"Oh and she was probably weeping as she wrote…"
He felt a stab in the heart at that remark.
"I bet there are tear-stains on the letter too"—
"Will you stop already?"
Luca wisely followed the command, fearing violence if he didn't. He stared at his frantic comrade, wallowing in his dilemma.
"What am I gonna do?"
The shouta mentally counted to twenty before bringing up the obvious solution to the distraught man.
"Why don't you just write her one? You haven't sent it to the lawyer yet, right?"
Alto was seated on Sheryl's work desk. Blank sheets of paper (his supply for paper airplanes) stacked in front of him and a fine-tipped pen in his hand. He stared at the empty article, as if expecting the words to scrawl themselves on the surface. He had the whole morning to compose his letter, as Sheryl was out with Klan and Ranka and would be back later in the afternoon. This was going to be a feat, for Alto was not the kind of man who wrote with feelings.
He squeezed his eyes shut, remembering Luca's words to motivate him.
"Imagine you're going on a deep-space mission…where the chances of survival are zero to none. Now…what do you want to say to Sheryl that you know will not come out easily in raw words?"
With that thought in mind, Alto started on the letter he hoped Sheryl would never have to read.
It was 08.30 am as he did.
My dear Sheryl…
If you are reading this letter, than my worst fears have come true…
…I know I have never been a man who expressed his feelings to you in words as much as he should, I regret that. But regardless, my love for you is real and strong. I promise you that there has never been a moment where my feelings for you lessened, because that's just how it is with you.
Alto stopped and read the paragraph he just wrote. He then read it again. And again. He cursed, thinking how cheesy it was…and how it wasn't cheesy enough. He wished he had his wife's talent with words because he was really not good when it came to literary stuff and writing. Taking a deep breath, he pressed on.
…I will always cherish the moment we met. That was when you fell into my arms. I remembered thinking how amazing you were and I was right…even if I thought you were kind of a bitch afterwards, but hey, we ended up getting married, right?
…To me, you are like my shiny VF. No matter how many cool state-of-the-art fighters get produced, you will always be the classic I would want to ride on (no sexual pun intended).
Hey, he was getting the hand of it now.
…I want you to move on and be happy. Also, should you find someone else, don't let me stop you. I just ask to be cherished in memory, together with the life we shared as you start out on a new love and journey. Your happiness is all I ask and I will give the two of you my blessings…unless it's Brera Sterne.
Alto was starting to get misty-eyed.
…I will never regret having loved and married you, even if we argued on a regular basis. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would change nothing.
He reached out for a tissue.
At this point, he was crying.
…You taught me so much in life and I can only hope you share the same sentiment. Truly, I am lucky to have found you. No… that you found me.
"I…I need a break…" Alto whimpered, wiping away his tears with his nth tissue. He padded to the kitchen, sniffling and choking back a sob.
…Should I die under suspicious circumstances, I request for an unbiased and thorough investigation on that Brera Sterne. Also, Sheryl, I caution you to look out. Trust no one. Not Ranka, Klan or Luca, not even Ozma or my brother, Yasaburo.
He stopped and re-evaluated the names.
--Especially NOT Yasaburo.
…As I said once before, a person cannot fly alone, he mustn't fly. You were there and I could fly. You mean so much to me and I am deeply sad that I cannot be at your side anymore. Let this message be a tiny flicker of hope as you advance through the years. Let it be a reminder of my undying feelings for you. Sheryl, I love you. Truly I do, and I wish I had been given more years to show you that.
With all my love,
After what seemed like an eternity, Alto was finished. He examined the numerous pages of paper. His penmanship had started out neat and proper but as he had written along, the words became bigger and a bit messy and crooked. Still, it was legible and that was important.
He sighed at the blotchy islands of wet ink. He could not help himself from being emotional and the tear-stains were proof of that, as well as his puffy eyes.
He wiped his brow before carefully folding the pages of his letter and then inserting them into a light-blue envelope.
Moments later, he was putting his letter in his folder along with the other official, legal things. And as he did, he could not help but notice Sheryl's folder.
"…And knowing her personality, she probably wrote a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking letter…"
Alto felt an itch in his hand. It was eager to open Sheryl's folder and read whatever she wrote for him. The sweet loving words she would give to him as comfort dangled in front of him like a baited hook, tempting him to see the contents.
Of course Alto knew it was wrong to do so. It was not how it should be. He was going to be strong and resolute in not reading the forbidden letter unless, God forbid, the unimaginable should happen to Sheryl. He was not going to give in. It would be a sign of weakness to do so.
Well, maybe one peek wouldn't hurt.
At that, he carefully unsealed a small pink envelope that was among the legal junk of account numbers and insurance stuff. He took out the crinkled paper with his trembling hands.
He unfolded the letter, smoothed out the wrinkles and then read whatever loving devotion Sheryl had to say.
He read again.
Angrily, this time.
Sheryl's letter was shorter than his. It wasn't as heartfelt either. In fact, it couldn't be called a letter at all!
-Cancel subscription to Elle and Vogue.
-Forward autobiography to publishing company.
-Feed sea monkeys.
Later that afternoon…
"Alto, what do you think of this thank-you note?" Sheryl asked, handing him the small card. He had been in a lousy mood since she got back and he would not tell her why. It must have been something to do with work or something. Instead of pressing him on about it, she decided to take a calm and easy approach, so as not to stress him. She would start with a simple conversation.
Alto took the card from her sullenly.
He scanned it.
"Wow. This is quite a long handwritten thank-you note for someone we barely know."
"Well, he gave us a nice toaster oven."
"Yes. Oh and what's this…? You wrote on the other side too!"
"It was a deluxe version," she chirped.
"Wow…both sides of the card. That is just great. Really thoughtful…both sides. Both sides…Really, c'mon, both sides. Both sides. Two sides of writing. Yes, indeed. Both sides."
To say that Sheryl was disturbed with Alto's creepy fascination with the card was an understatement. She edged a bit away from her husband before voicing out her concern.
"Alto, is there something wrong?"
"No, Sheryl, everything is fine."
Like hell it is.
"Alto, just tell me. It's clearly messing you up."
"Nothing's wrong, Sheryl," he spoke with a fake smile. Then, he blew his fuse, "—except for the fact that when you die, the only words of comfort you'll give to me for eternity is to feed your sea monkeys!"
"You know what I'm talking about!" Alto hissed.
Sheryl gasped in realization, eyes wide as saucers.
"You! You—You read my death letter!" She sputtered out accusingly.
"Yes, I did!"
"Why would you do that?"
"I'm glad I did!" Alto declared, "It let me know how much you actually care for me. Very little, that's how much!"
"Now hold on just a minute"—!
"I can't believe that's all you have to say to me when you die!"
"Alto, I can explain"—
"I mean, c'mon! I know you could do better than that!"
"I mean at the very least, you could have"—
"Alto! I didn't want to write that stupid letter!" She interrupted in a snap.
Alto narrowed his eyes at that.
"Oh so writing a thoughtful and loving farewell letter is stupid now, is it?"
"—because I can't bear the thought of not being with you!"
"It was hell back when I was dying, knowing that I couldn't be with you long. But now that everything is going well like this…married to you and all…I don't even want to think of…" She stopped, hastily trying to wipe away a stray tear. "Are you happy now?"
Alto's anger was immediately forgotten and was replaced with a strange feeling. He was deeply moved by her revelation, as well as feeling a touch of guilt. Scratching his nape, he regarded her with a look of shame and remorse. "Sheryl…I'm sorry…"
"It's okay…I guess I can understand why you were so upset…" She gave him a small smile. "If you want, I could write you a letter…just promise you won't read."
"Sheryl, you don't have to"—
"I want to. Just promise this time you won't peek?" She then cast him a seductive look, "I'll even include some dirty pictures…" She let out suggestively.
Alto gaped, blushing beet red.
"You—you don't have to…"
"Oh really? Okay then!"
"No—I take it back!"
She giggled at his reaction before giving him a hearty poke in the chest and an impish grin.
The poked man gazed at her intently before procuring a smile of his own.
23 years later…
A sad man was sitting on the porch of his home, the sun gently nourishing his pale skin. His eyes looked forlornly at the small envelope he held in his shaky hands. With eyes closed, he pressed the paper to his lips, softly whispering his wife's name as he did. When he opened his eyes, he took in his surroundings with apathy.
He exhaled, his breath visible in the cold air.
The thought of reading what she wrote long-ago for him, clenched his heart, making it hard to breathe.
He didn't know how long he just sat there.
Sitting and just focusing on what he was going to do…
Finally, he tore open the side of the envelope. Then, he carefully extracted the content.
It was folded twice into a small rectangle.
He spread out the page, a gentle smile touching his lips.
He proceeded to read.
My dearest and beloved Alto…
His smile stayed on until…
Busted! I knew you'd read this! You suck, Alto! You suck! You're the biggest idiot in the galaxy for breaking this promise! Loser! Moron! Idiot! Espèce de naze! YOU SUCK! SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!
After reading all that in disbelief and anger, the letter slipped from his hands to the ground.
"That's it? I suck? I SUCK? DAMN IT! –SHERYL"—!
"You suck, Alto!" a very livid and alive Sheryl came out, holding their youngest child, sleeping obliviously in her arms.
"You promised you wouldn't read it but you did!"
"You promised you would write me a real letter!"
"I didn't bother, seeing as how you'd read it prematurely anyway."
"YOU! And where are all the dirty pictures you promised me?"
Sheryl rolled her eyes.
"Fine, fine, I'll take those pictures for you…"
"Well, I don't want them now..."
"WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?"
Alto groaned, slapping his forehead.
Me and my big mouth…
And what ensued was a typical squabble of a happily married couple.