Jiminy Christmas. I know I said I'd be slow updating during the school year, but two months is a bit much. Sorry about that. VC could always use some more love, so here I am now. I'm currently on my second playthrough of VCII, and I'm loving it just as much as the first. I'd been wanting to write something for it for a while, but couldn't get any ideas until I got to Yuell and wondered, "what was the class doing while Avan was in detention?" Then I looked at how many more Yuell missions were available, wondered who I wanted to write about, and the story wrote itself because I really don't want to work on my 1984 essay right now. I don't think I put enough emphasis on their emotions, but aside from that I think this piece turned out alright. Morris and Coleen forever.

Moonglow

Fire rained down at the camp from all sides, screaming in a deadly shower that lit the dark, smoky sky ablaze. Erik and Nahum were at the front, the screeching, hellish rat-a-tat-tat of their machine guns just barely keeping the advancing rebel hordes at bay, but they were being hit heavily themselves and wouldn't last much longer.

"Ugh… Come on, guys, we've made some miraculous saves before. We can still get out of this…!" Morris yelled in an attempt to rally both the others and himself, but he was well aware of their position. With a mighty strain, he hurled a grenade over the wall and covered his ears, but could still make out the resulting, distant blast, a heartless rumble that cut the terrified scream of a rebel off.

Behind Magari, Raymond, and a badly bleeding Reiner, Morris could see Zeri busy in the corner with the radio, screaming inaudibly into the transmitter, but from the desperation on the Darcsen's face Morris could tell that the other half of the class was having much the same luck in Yuell's outer limits. They were definitely trapped here, and any hope of the cavalry arriving had long gone down the drain.

Interrupting Morris's despondent thoughts, Nichol swung down from his perch on the hill of rubble above, laying down his empty sniper rifle. His older sister walked up to him, taking Nichol by the shoulders. "Anything?" Franca asked, her voice almost hopeful.

Averting her eyes, Nichol shook his head as he looked to the ground. "There's just too many of them," he said. "If we could just take out that tank, we might be able to break through, but without Avan…" he muttered, his voice trailing off. Everyone present stiffened, the would-be silence instead filled with gunfire and distant explosions.

Morris swallowed his nervousness loudly, standing up and facing the class as he fingered the Moonglow pressed in his pocket. "Avan's not here because he risked his life to give us a chance to liberate the city! We've already gotten so far, we've even drove off General Audrey Gassenarl! If we can't get out of this, we'll have let Avan down, and I'm not going to greet him out of solitary from a casket!" His last syllable was punctuated by an exploding artillery shell that sounded much closer than he would have liked.

Likewise standing, Zeri nodded in affirmation as he tossed the radio aside. "Morris is right. We have gotten out of worse situations. All we need is to knuckle under and keep pushing, until any wall that might stand in our way falls to the ground!"

"That's nice and all, but have you forgot about that damn tank?!" Erik roared above the din of his machine gun. The fresh hope in the class's eyes was extinguished just as it had lit.

Reiner made to stand, leaning shakily on his lance, but fell even as the engineers moved to stop him. Magari nearly fainted as the wound Reiner had gotten from Audrey Gassenarl's tank started to bleed anew. "I'm sorry, guys… If only I weren't so weak, I might have been able to do something useful…!"

"Don't worry, darling," Anisette said with a grin, joining Erik and Nahum at the bunker's edge with a fresh round of suppressive fire. "You don't have to take everything yourself. We've got other lancers too. Coleen's been training especially hard for…" Anisette stopped mid-sentence as she scanned the bunker. The slight tinge of worry Morris had felt at Coleen's nomination widened into a sinking panic as he realized the lancer was missing.

Bolting over the sandbags, Morris scanned the raging battlefield for any sign of the familiar, unique, magenta hair. "Over there!" Helmut grunted from the hill, his scope trained on a figure that was leaping over trenches and taking fire from every direction imaginable as she made a beeline for the command tank.

"No! Coleen!" Morris shouted, grabbing his wrench and running past the final fortifications with a speed he didn't know he possessed. Zeri grabbed onto him, but Morris wrestled himself free and tore across the landscape. He could hear the others shouting for him to come back, that he had even left his shield, but he kept running. The purple acid that splashed underfoot, a mix of poison, lead, death and decay, burned through his clothes and tore at his skin, but Morris wasn't about to let the ground be tainted with her blood as well. He kept running, ducking under whizzing bullets and gritting his teeth as hot, angry lead screamed into his body.

Coleen was crouched behind a sandbag wall near the tank; Morris could see her sobbing under the duress of the fire as she scrambled to ready her lance. "Get out of my way!" he cried, seeing a pair of shocktroopers charging at her. Startled, she looked up in amazement as Morris flew over her, leaping into the air and bringing down his wrench with an impact that rent the ground asunder. The rebels fell to the ground together as Morris crashed on top of Coleen, flattening her just as the tank fired an artillery shell that singed the tips of Morris's hair.

"Morris!" she exclaimed between coughs, her face completely red, still streaked with tears. "Why are you-" She looked away, her blush deepening. "I'm so sorry! If I hadn't been so stupid…"

"I'm just glad you're alright," Morris said, mirroring her blush, his stomach doing backflips. "Just focus on your shot. I won't let anything hurt you." He stood up as the cries of anguish from his bullet-ridden body melted away into nothingness. His hand moved unconsciously back to his pocket, to the hidden Moonglow. "I'll be your shield."

Coleen opened her mouth momentarily, then nodded silently and turned back to the tank with a clear mind. Focusing on the small, glowing blue radiator, she took careful aim, perching her weapon on the sandbag with one eye squeezed tightly shut. Even facing the other way, Morris knew before he heard the blast that the lance would find its mark, and a powerful explosion shook the very air.

Shrapnel shrieking in every direction heralded a mighty roar from the base camp, and the pair turned to see every last member of the class pouring out and driving back the enemy like a sweeping ocean wave that crashed down and left nothing standing. Rebel screams were extinguished as Zeri, at the forefront, led the class through the cleared path to free the others. Soon, the only gunfire was barely audible in the distance.

Blinking, Morris felt a light touch at his fingertips, and looked down to see that Coleen had taken his hand. "Thank you, Morris," she said quietly. "You really did save me."

Morris felt his adrenaline floating away to be replaced with massive aching and biting pains, and he nearly collapsed on the spot. "Well, you saved everyone here," said, wincing and grinning simultaneously. Without thinking, he pulled the Moonglow out of his pocket and turned to present it to her. The reflection of the petals' faint glow in her deep chestnut eyes illuminated the surprise in them.

"Er… I, um… Coleen-" he stammered, realizing what he'd just done and glancing about nervously, feeling his cheeks heat up. "Please- Please-"

She squeezed his hand harder, and he looked directly at her ashen face to see that she was smiling broadly, with tears flowing anew, and was holding an identical flower up to him.