Disclaimer- I don't own Gundam.

I was in the mood for Bright and Kai (not yaoi!) and so I wrote this. It was also an attempt to bring real-world issues into my writing, and i'm not sure it worked. I don't necassarily see Kai as the way I write him, but I'm not saying I don't.

Enjoy! :)

Bright climbed the stairs with growing apprehension, his stomach starting to twist. It normally didn't occur to him to change out of uniform, even off duty, but as he'd walked the streets he'd regretted his unconscious decision. He was stared at by nearly everyone he passed, and he was nearly overcome with the desire to turn his collar up.

With a sigh of relief, he reached the apartment he was looking for, halfway up a tall, narrow complex that had seen better days. He put on his best relaxed face and knocked on the door.

It took a few seconds of frantic shuffling before the door was opened, the man behind it wearing a hastily put on shirt.

There was a mutually shocked moment as they took each other in.

"Bright," said the man finally. "Is something wrong?"

Bright smiled, er, brightly. "Why does something have to be wrong for me to visit you, Kai?"

Bright was amused to note that Kai hadn't broken the habit of slouching against the door frame.

"How long has it been, four, five years?"

Kai shrugged. "So you're just here to visit?"

"Yes. I was in Ireland and I knew you were studying here, so I decided to drop by."

Kai raised a gray eyebrow, running his bony hands through his tousled hair. It looked like he had been sleeping before Bright had arrived. "And you came in uniform, without notice?"

"Maybe I wanted to give you a heart attack," joked Bright, hoping Kai would ease up a little. Kai smiled back, and opened the door to let him in.

The first thing Bright noticed as he stood next to Kai was that he was much shorter than Kai. Kai hadn't finished growing when they'd last been together, and he must've grown another five or six inches at least to be as tall as he was now.

Kai noticed his look and grinned, measuring his hand up to Bright's head. "Look," he cooed. "Little Bright is the commander of the Argama, and he can't even beat a low-life journalist in height."

Bright looked around the small apartment. Clothes and books were scattered around in haphazard piles, and a suit was hung on the windows, whose blinds were pulled down. The TV was on mute in the corner, news images flashing on the screen, one after the other. He looked back at Kai, was was busy shoving papers and shirts off his sofa.

"If i'd known you were coming I'd have met you at a coffee shop," mumbled Kai. "This place is embarrassing."

"It's not bad," lied Bright, crossing his legs as he sat. These stupid military tights were so uncomfortable, and he either had to sit like a woman or suffer unbearable wedgies.

Kai sat on a well-loved armchair across from him, kneading the arms with long fingers. "What's up?" he ventured.

Bright suddenly questioned the validity of coming here. Did they have anything in common anymore?

Bright noticed a picture sitting on top of the TV, the only one not abandoned on the floor or dusty beyond recognition. It was Kai, running into the frame as two little kids laughed at him.

"Who're they? Relatives?"

Kai shook his head. "All my relatives died on Side Seven," he said, not sound particularly upset. "They were good-for-nothings anyway. I've accomplished more without them."

"You can't mean that..."

Kai's mouth tightened, and Bright dropped the subject. Bright had no idea what Kai's home life had been like and therefore shouldn't judge him without the facts.

"Who are the kids?" asked Bright again.

Kai was sheepish. "Sorry, I meant to answer that. Do you remember Miharu?"

"Of course. I don't easily forget the innocents that died on my ship, whether or not I knew of their existence." said Bright, trying not to snap. Whenever he thought of the White Base he thought of all the people who had died for it, of Ryu and Miharu and Matilda and Slegger. It always ended with him feeling like a failure.

"They're her siblings," admitted Kai. "After the war I came back and looked for them. I never stopped thinking about them."

"Did you love Miharu?" asked Bright, surprising himself.

Kai's cheeks colored bright red, and although his looks may have changed (for the better), there were certain things he couldn't do anything about. "That, um, brings me to something I've been meaning to tell you for a while now. Like, ever since the War ended."

Bright leaned forward, curious. "You can tell me. I'm not your commander anymore, and even if I was, I wouldn't judge you."

Kai was more embarrassed than Bright had ever seen him. Even his ears were red, and he looked more and more liked his seventeen year-old self with every passing second. He finally mumbled something, and Bright asked him to repeat.

"I'm gay," Kai finally spat out. "I'm gay, okay!"

Bright sat back in the sofa, shocked, not sure what to say. On the White Base, it was Kai who'd chased Matilda and Sayla. He'd been the one to make sexual references and slink around the girls' shower room (something they'd broken of him real quick) and whisper lewd things in everyone's ear. Had that all been an act?

When Bright didn't reply, Kai continued talking, his words morphing into a train wreck. "It's why I was such a massive prick when we were pilots. I mean, I'm a prick in general, but I was confused and defensive. I'd been expelled from my last high school because I was beaten up and I talked back to the principal and they thought it was my fault, and my family threatened me and constantly belittled me and made me feel like dirt, and my father even beat m-" Kai cut off suddenly. "Forget I said that. I-I wasn't thinking. You shouldn't speak ill of the dead." He sat there with his hands clasped between his legs, staring at the ground.

Bright didn't speak for a minute, deep in thought. "Forgive me. I underestimated you, Kai. In fact, I've underestimated you since the day you stepped onto White Base. I always thought that I had a good understanding off all my pilots, but I was wrong."

"So you don't think I'm...bad? You're not going to cut off contact with me? You're the first person I've told who's not...like me." said Kai, his voice trying to regain its sarcastic tone. Bright understood how he felt. He was a grown man now, with college and a job under his belt, and here he was breaking down. Bright often felt the same way with Mirai, and he tried to remember how she comforted him.

"I'm honored," replied Bright honestly. "Really honored. I wish I'd known sooner."

"So you could make me shower with the girls?" Kai obviously intended it as a joke, but it fell flat, and his large eyes showed his fear.

"Listen to me, Kai. I would never do that. I respect all my officers and my friends, regardless of their sexuality."

Kai was pressing his fingers together so hard they were white. "Did you know that in Zeon, they were persecuting gays? They wouldn't let them evacuate until there was little or no hope of survival. And the Federation isn't much better. It was better when General Revil was in charge, but now the Titans have all but banned it. It scares me, Mr. Bright, and they only thing I can do is subtly mix these stories in with my main ones. My career will be over if my secret is made public."

Kai must've have been distracted, because he'd called Bright something he hadn't heard in years. Mr. Bright. It hit him with such a wave of nostalgia that it took him a moment to get back on track.

"Kai, I can't promise much if anything, but I swear I'll do my best to support you. I don't hold much political clout with the upper ranks, but I'll use what little I have to try and suggest a better policy towards homosexuals."

Kai brushed this off. "You don't have to. Sorry for bitching. How's Mirai?" It was the least subtle subject change Bright had ever seen, but he let Kai off the hook.

Bright beamed. "She's great. She's so wonderful with the kids."

"Kids? Plural? I only knew you had one," admitted Kai. "Forgive me!"

"Don't worry," reassured Bright. "It just gives me more opportunity to talk about them. I had a daughter after Hathaway, her name is Cheimin, and she absolutely the most precious thing on this planet, I know she'll be beautiful and strong-willed like her mother..."

Kai listened politely as Bright ramble on about his children as only a father can. It was in his instincts as a journalist, and besides, he owed it to Bright, even if Bright was too dense to realize it.

If you're going to get mad at me for what I wrote here, take a deep breath, look around your mother's basement, and calm down. Like I said, I wrote it like I think it could have happened. Reviews are love! :)