A Friend's Sake

Bearit's Notes: I'm really new to the Nadesico fandom since I only finished watching all twenty-six episodes a couple of nights ago. Anyway, this takes place during episode four when Akito is moping around, and I was just tempted to write this. Here goes for my first Nadesico fanfic!

Disclaimer: Martian Successor Nadesico does not belong to me. If it did, a certain character would never have died. And you all know who THAT is, right?

He's gone.

I still can't believe it.

It was hard going back to our room and seeing all of his things. Everything that he treasured. But somehow, I managed to face the sorrow and turned on that episode of Gekigangar 3, the last one we watched together... the one where Joe died. It was silly of me to bawl, but now that he's gone, Joe's death doesn't affect me as much as it had before.

Why is it that I cried like a baby when an anime character--who doesn't even exist--died but only shed a few tears when my newfound best friend--who did exist--was killed?

Gai Daigoji. I don't think either of us expected to become as close as we had.

I was amused when he was playing around in his Aestivalis for the first time, shouting out attacks from Gekigangar 3 and doing nothing short of attempting to mimic the movements. The amusement left after he broke his leg and asked me to get his treasure, a Gekigangar model.

I saw at that moment that he was way too obsessed with that show for his own good, but it wasn't until after Yurika went to talk to her father about surrendering the Nadesico did I actually appreciate it.

When Gai found out that I loved Gekigangar 3, he was disgusted. He apparently thought that all boys who watched it would want to pursue becoming a pilot immediately. I didn't get a chance to tell him, nor did I want to tell him, that certain circumstances blocked off that desire in life. I did, after all, at one time, desire to become a pilot, though it wasn't entirely Gekigangar that threw me into that path.

What stopped our fighting was simply that the episode was starting. Despite our differences from when I first took his Aestivalis, we found a common interest. I guess that was where our friendship began to grow.

After our first battle with the United Earth Forces, he took the initiative and moved into my room. I wasn't uncomfortable with it. Actually, I was happy that he was. It looked like I had a new friend, and Gai, despite his perhaps unhealthy love for Gekigangar, was a perfect person to have as one. We hadn't known each other for too long, but I knew that he was a nice person inside.

I picked up a Gekigangar picture and managed a half-smile. He styled his hair like Ken's, the main character of the show. I stole a glance at the Gekigangar toy model. His most precious treasure. Ken piloted this mecha; I think I know who his favorite character was from the show.

Behind me, I heard men moving Gai's stuff away from our room. It wasn't until they left did I notice that the room was almost too bare. There was practically nothing on the walls and no furniture. Gai knew that he was to come onboard the Nadesico and came prepared. For me, I never expected to become a part of the crew on this ship; I had nothing and shared everything with Gai.

Life is really going to be different without him and not for the better. I thought I wasn't supposed to become too attached to anybody anymore.

I sighed and fell back on the floor, replaying the Joe episode again and again. For a moment, I could have sworn I saw Gai's face. As I should have expected, it only turned out to be Ken.

'Only turned out to be Ken'. Gai would kill me if he knew that I just considered anything about Gekigangar 'only'.

I wish I had gotten to know him better. What city did he live in on Earth? What was his family like? If he wasn't a pilot, what would he be? Had he ever had a girlfriend?

And yet, there are so many things I could tell him about my life. Why I wanted to become a cook, for instance, and why I had the mark of a pilot on my right hand. My family life before and after they were killed, and my exact relationship with the captain of this ship (he never quite understood it). How I've always been single and why, exactly, and why I was determined to protect Mars.

I wish we had gotten to know each other better. Maybe this is why I cried more for Joe than I did for Gai; I knew Joe better than I had Gai.

The problem is that I like Gai way more than I like Joe.

Maybe I'm not as shallow as I'm censuring myself to be, or maybe I had just already cried too much for two days to find the strength to shed anymore tears.

I saw the episode in which Joe died only hours before Gai had.

The next episode is when a replacement for Joe would be introduced. Come to think of it, we have more pilots on the way, don't we?

It's funny how life on the Nadesico is similar to life in Gekigangar. I wonder how far the parallelism will go before our lives take a dramatic and different turn... or is it just my life that's following closely to the animation show?

I'm pathetic. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic.

Life isn't all about anime, and things will change from Gekigangar quickly. I'm sure it will.

I never knew why Gai wanted to fight. It wasn't to become a hero, for he firmly believed that he was destined to become one anyway. History only needed to take his course. It wasn't to impersonate Ken, since I know he isn't as shallow as that. Or maybe, if it was to be like Ken, there was a deeper reason to it? If so, then what? Or maybe there is a deeper reason than anything I could muster up. Deeper than revenge, deeper than to simply protect the Earth...

But I'll never know.

A hero. He convinced himself that he was one, or at least that he will become one in the near future. He even wanted to die like one... but...

This is insane.

I grabbed a gun from somewhere in the room. As I stared at it, the reminder kept pounding in my head. "This is how he was killed. Not in battle, but helpless and defenseless. He will never become a hero."

I pursed my lips and told my subconscious to shut up. He still has a chance to be a hero. Lots of people in history have never been considered heroes until many years after they've died.

I'm going to give him that chance.

I never had a reason to fight, and I never wanted to fight. I still don't. But Gai wanted to, and I think for all of that, it would be worth it.

The episode ended. I pressed the rewind button. When it stopped, I pressed "Play" and watched the Joe episode all over again.

Where was I?

Oh. Right.

I don't want to fight. I don't want to be a pilot. All I ever wanted to be was a cook. All I ever want to be is a cook. Why is it that I was always drawn to the battles? The first one I threw myself in was a complete accident, but it was enough to get on Gai's bad side at first. The second one gave us an opportunity to become friends, and we did; the problem was that I was determined to save Mars so much that I forgot the fact that I was just a cook. The last battle I wasn't supposed to fight in, but Gai got reckless. But I'm sure that the death he would have gotten had I not been there was one that he would have preferred over getting shot.

I can never promise him giving him back a death he deserves. We only live once. At least, that's what we humans are always convinced of. We only live once. Can't I revive Gai in my own way somehow?

He wanted to fight. While I don't know why, he did.

I can at least give him back that, can't I?

I will fight for him in his place.

That's a noble enough reason to fight, but I still don't want to. I'm still afraid of dying so quickly, so soon in my life, before I could do anything to save my home planet. Maybe I can be careful? Maybe... maybe...

I don't want to fight, but for Gai's sake, if they ever need me to, I will. After all, Gai never rushed into battle without thinking. He only went out when he was needed. That's the exact same thing I will do.

But I'm still a cook.

I can be both, can't I? Cooking to be myself, fighting for the sake, pride, and memory of my late best friend... it's not impossible, is it?

... I wish I had answers to those questions...

But... Gai... I know you do. Please tell me what I should do.