No One Is Watching You Now
Title: No One Is Watching You Now
Fandom: Gundam SEED Destiny
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Lunamaria, Shinn
Summary: A decade post-series, Lunamaria heads to Orb to see if she can find Shinn.
Notes: Inspired by 'Til Tuesday's amazing song of the same title.
Stepping from the shuttle and into the nearly-blinding sunlight of Orb, Lunamaria Hawke-Dupre paused for a moment. It wasn't so much the brightness of midday as the sudden realization that she'd finally made her way back to Orb after nearly a decade.
Luna turned to glare at the man behind her - as if he didn't need a moment to adjust, too, she thought. The sun was one thing and the gravity another. But without her white uniform, Luna knew she didn't look terribly imposing at all. Instead she just had a suit skirt and jacket on, with a camisole underneath. She probably just looked like a business traveler - that's what she was hoping for, at least. Finding a suit that still fit had taken a bit of work. Somehow, her clothing had shrunk a bit over the years.
After a quick moment to make sure she had her footing, she kept moving, walking across the tarmac towards well-marked doors indicating Customs and Immigration. With a few messages, she probably could have had herself a diplomatic visa, but that seemed like overkill. Same with traveling on one of the larger shuttles with more amenities. She'd had leg-room and a pillow and drinks every couple hours. It wasn't really a long flight.
As she walked, she caught a glimpse of mobile suits glimmering in the distance and smiled. They were comforting, even if they were Orb's mobile suits. Luna wondered if perhaps Shinn had gone back to being a test pilot. It would be a waste of his skills if he wasn't working somewhere in defense.
Stepping into the building, she hiked one of her bags up onto her shoulder and sighed. Hopefully he was still somewhere in the area. He could be anywhere on the planet, or anywhere in space, but... Lunamaria just didn't think he'd have gone too far. She hoped.
"Citizenship and purpose of your visit."
Blinking, Luna nearly dropped the passport and handful of papers that she'd been clutching since she'd gotten off the shuttle. While daydreaming, she'd arrived at the front of the line. Mindlessly shuffling, she hadn't even noticed the couple in front of her being cleared.
"Oh!" She handed over her information, which included her hotel information and return flight. "PLANT - here for... just a little vacation." She smiled.
"Are you an Orb national?"
"No," Luna replied firmly. The agent kept shuffling through her paperwork, pausing when he noticed her military ID tucked into her passport.
Finally, he handed it back to her. "Have a nice vacation, Commander Dupre."
She resisted the urge to correct him and simply nodded before tucking her papers awkwardly away and heading towards the doors to the outside world. There was a line of taxis waiting, but based on the map she'd printed; her hotel wasn't too far away. And fresh air would be good after hours on the shuttle, not to mention the feel of the Earth under her feet. So she walked.
Quickly, she realized that the PLANTs and Orb had very different ideas of what constituted a 'block'. By the time she arrived at her hotel and checked in, the only thing she wanted to do was get into her room and get her shoes off.
Her bags hit the floor quickly, followed by her shoes coming off and her jacket getting tossed onto the back of a chair. She flopped on the bed and wondered if Vino and Meyrin would mind if she didn't message them just yet. After all, it was pretty late up there and she'd said it might take awhile to get settled. Neither of them had any reason to worry, after all. And she really thought a shower sounded good, and something to eat and...
Lunamaria decided to close her eyes for just a second, first.
When she opened them, it was decidedly darker outside - not quite evening, but the sun had moved enough that the once-bright room was dimmer.
Wincing, Luna stretched and rolled off the bed before reaching to scratch her fingers through her hair. Definitely a shower, then definitely something to eat. She checked her phone once she managed to find it in her purse. Of course, there were messages waiting. Vino, Meyrin, Shiho... Jetlag, really warm, took a little longer to get to the hotel. She sent the same message to all of them.
Earth had the best showers.
If her stomach hadn't rumbled loud enough to startle her from her half-awake warm water reverie, she would have stayed underneath the spray for hours. But her stomach was right - it was time to eat.
Lunamaria went with something decidedly more casual to go out for the afternoon. Jeans, a tank top, and a handful of accessories were more than enough to please her when she looked in the mirror. And walking shoes, definitely. Vino had thought she was packing way too much clothing. Shaking her head, Luna decided she'd have to text him and tell him he was completely wrong.
After sorting through her purse to make sure she had only the basics, including her hotel key, Luna grabbed her phone and stepped over to the infor-tainment console on the wall. It turned on immediately and Luna keyed through the touch-screen to find a phone directory. 'Asuka' pulled up over a hundred phone numbers and addresses. 'S. Asuka' pulled up nothing. Tugging a little cable from underneath the console, Luna plugged it into her phone and downloaded the full list anyway. Just in case. If she really wanted, she could just start making phone calls. But that would be a project for another day.
The concierge offered Luna a list of restaurants almost faster than she could enter them into her phone. She gave him a nice tip and headed back out into the day.
Now. Now things began. Luna looked up and down the street once before starting on her way to a little cafe with 'affordable and perfect local cuisine'. She wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe Shinn would just be walking on the other side of the street, looking just like he had ten years before? It would be impossible.
But she had the leave time, and Vino had wanted her to come. Shinn's absence in her life had eaten at her for years. They hadn't been able to stay lovers, but he'd been her best friend. Losing him was an ache that had dulled but never truly went away. Just knowing he was safe would give her peace.
In the end, the restaurant wasn't bad but Luna was preoccupied with sorting through the list of names she'd downloaded. Of course, Shinn could have changed his name - gone with his mother's maiden name or something. Luna had kept her maiden name just to make herself easier to find, though Meyrin was still single and would be easy enough to track down as well.
She was looking at maps and trying to make sense of some of Orb's winding streets when her waitress leaned over her shoulder. "I didn't think you were from around here."
"Visiting," she replied, glancing up at the young woman. Obviously a Natural and not a very pretty one, all things considered. Not that it mattered. She'd tried, but Luna still always found herself assuming one way or other. And Orb was so... well-integrated. "Looking for an old friend."
"Mmm, good luck. And come again." She dropped the bill on the table and Luna paused before reaching for it. Maybe it would be luck, maybe it would just be skill.
She also definitely decided that she should have tried to visit as a political guest, even if it would have meant dealing with an extra mess of media and security and everything else. It would have possibly flushed out Shinn and it would have given her potential access to Morgenroete and just asking if he was working there.
Back on the street, Luna found herself wandering aimlessly after a couple of blocks, looking in store windows and towards the sea.
And then she remembered the memorial. It was farther from the bustle of the city than she remembered, that or she was getting tired again. But the last time she'd seen it, she'd had Shinn with her, and conversation and a thousand new things to consider. She probably would have been able to walk across the island, then, without noticing.
When it finally came into view, she couldn't help but smile. There were children playing nearby, and a couple, obviously their parents, tending to the flowers around the memorial. And there was an older man in awful checkered pants feeding the birds nearby, and a woman with a bright-colored scarf straightening the many items left behind as private memorials. When Luna grew closer, she could see that the woman was merely plucking out the dead cut flowers to throw away. However before she could get to her feet, the children ran over to help her.
Watching from afar, Lunamaria lingered until the woman and the family had left, each walking in different directions. The man feeding the birds had moved on as well, farther down the shore.
Finally, though, she went down and stood in front of the memorial and looked at both it and the hundreds of tiny items gathered around it, protected from the weather by clear casing that hadn't been visible from farther away. It wasn't locked and Luna was tempted to lift the hinged cover. But she didn't. Even that would disturb the thoughts and prayers left behind. Flanking around, on stones purposely set, were traces of wax from candles. And then there were flowers - cut, in pots, and those growing in the soil. Everywhere, flowers. If it wasn't for the ocean breeze, Luna thought it would be overwhelming.
She swore to bring more the next day. For Shinn's family. For everyone else. For all the deaths at her own hands, even if it was war.
Turning to leave, she skimmed over the preserved trinkets one more time. Dolls, bears, photos, letters, items that probably only meant something to the person who left them, and...
Her heart skipped a beat when she saw a familiar pink cell phone tucked between a stuffed bear and a photo of a grinning group of college aged girls. Shinn was there, somewhere. Luna couldn't imagine him having gone too far. It had to have been a major moment for him to even let go of Mayu's phone -- he had to be on the island. He had to be!
And knowing him, he would visit often.
Luna glanced around a couple of times before picking out a bench a bit further away from the shore. It would be a perfect spot to sit and read and watch for him. She had reading to catch up on, after all. Practically everyone she knew had given her a book for the flight - both digital and paperback.
Really, she couldn't believe her luck.
Pleased and nearly giddy, Luna wandered a bit more through the city, picking out souvenirs and looking for a scarf like the one that woman had been wearing. Her hair was a bit longer now and it had definitely been getting wind-blown rather badly.
Luna also grabbed a bit of carry-out from the last deli she passed. A light dinner would be good, and then maybe she could relax at the hotel's pool for the evening. The ocean was nice to look at, but she really didn't want to actually go in it if she didn't have to. Besides, she also didn't want to be stuck washing sand from places that sand did not belong.
Despite her impatience at it not being the morning already, Luna also had no problems falling asleep. Yet again, she was out almost as soon as her body hit the bed.
Dawn arrived far too quickly. But the shrill ringing of the wake-up call she'd requested couldn't be ignored. Managing to sit up, Luna answered and thanked the desk clerk before flopping back onto the bed. Now she was definitely feeling everything she'd done the day before. Every step, every motion while dragging bags, having leg-room but still sitting for hours on the shuttle.
Somehow, Luna wasn't sure if a shower would help this time. But she dragged herself to the bathroom anyway and gave it a shot. The warm water helped, but not entirely. Perhaps she'd just go back to bed for one day and try again...
No! Not when Shinn was so close. She cursed herself for even thinking of sabotaging her mission-- But it wasn't a mission. This was something she needed to do for herself.
She remembered then that she'd been dreaming about Rey.
Somehow, it was easier to cry in the shower. And when she was done, she felt good enough to get dressed and head down for breakfast.
The day, however, was pretty much a loss, aside from reading through two entire books and starting on a third. She didn't wander far from the memorial, instead buying both lunch and dinner from a hot dog vendor a few blocks away. Neither hot dog was particularly good, but they were filling, at least.
By evening, the breeze had picked up enough that Luna found herself shivering. She'd seen countless people stop by the memorial - all ages - but not Shinn. The old man was there again, wearing pastel striped pants and with a fresh loaf of bread for the birds. And just when Luna gave up and stood to head back to the hotel and its hot tub, the woman with the scarf appeared. That was it - no Shinn. The sun was nearly down and Luna left before the woman did. So much for that plan.
But the hot tub was nice, thankfully, and despite her failure, Luna swore to keep trying. Though she'd try other means, like the phone list and trying to call up Morgenroete. And definitely no more hot dogs.
The next day was a loss as well. The morning, at least. By mid-afternoon, Luna had decided to try other means, again, and decided to just try to be in the most populated areas at the busiest times. Maybe she'd see him.
Still, she had no success. She did see the old man, this time in what looked like polka-dots, buying bread, and she did see the usual desk-clerk literally running to the corner pharmacy. But no sign of Shinn. And she didn't want to deal with Morgenroete's amazing phone loops again in an attempt to reach a human who could help her.
Just as the sun was beginning to sink towards the horizon, the sky clouded over, which surprised Luna. She'd nearly forgotten about unscheduled weather, and until a couple of young boys asked if she was crazy, she just stood out in the rain and marveled.
Wet, and likely looking half-drowned, Lunamaria ducked into a small restaurant and ate dinner free of commentary, aside from the waitress offering her a dishtowel for her hair. Luna accepted and there weren't any more questions. Maybe they were near enough for there to be enough traffic from the spaceport and enough PLANT-born Coordinators who had done the same thing?
The storm was over by the time Luna had finished eating, which surprised her. The pavement was even almost dry, though she still felt pretty damp. At a bit of a loss, she wandered back down to the memorial. It wasn't a surprise to see the old man again, or the woman in the scarf.
But Shinn wasn't there.
Luna went back to the hotel to send messages to Meyrin and Vino.
She didn't hear back from either of them until the morning.
After her third day ended much like the first two, Luna wondered if she was simply trying too hard. She had the concierge round her up a few ideas for local attractions and even a partial tour of the large island. She was going to vacation.
Yet every evening she found herself back at the memorial, holding on to one last bit of hope that Shinn might be there. He never was. Once more she saw the family with the young children straightening flowers. And always the old man and the woman with the scarf.
On her second-to-last night, Luna walked up to the old man after the woman with the scarf had left. She had seemed to be doing her own mourning, whereas the man was just feeding the birds, and Luna didn't want to disturb that.
"Hey!" she cried, running up to him.
He seemed surprised that anyone would talk to him.
"You're here all the time, right?" she asked.
He blinked at her once before answering. "Just feeding the birds."
"Have you ever seen a man about my age with black hair, and red eyes? He'd come here often... His name is Shinn... I've been looking for him..." Luna was almost in tears by the time the words were out of her mouth. She almost didn't want to hear the answer.
The old man shook his head. "Haven't seen him in a long time."
There was a pause as Luna felt her entire insides shatter. Then there were tears.
"But," the old man continued as he tossed more bread to the birds, "you should come tomorrow, if you can."
It was Luna's turn to blink at him through her tears.
"It's going to rain tonight and there'll be plenty to clean up," the old man said. "Feel it in my knees."
Luna sighed and thanked him and turned to go. But she would return and help. It was the least she could do, really. He'd helped, even if it didn't feel like help at all.
Shinn was gone. And Lunamaria wasn't sure if she'd ever want to look for him again.
She was still crying when she fell asleep, wrapped in the hotel's thick expensive comforter and feeling completely lost.
The storm didn't even wake her.
In the morning, the only signs that it had rained were leaves and small branches down on the sidewalks, and all of the blooming flowers looked battered. The concierge asked if she'd heard the storm, but Luna shook her head.
Neither breakfast nor swimming sounded appealing and after a quick internal debate, Luna just headed out to pick up a last few souvenirs and see if anything would draw her attention.
She deleted the list of Asukas from her phone.
A street fair complete with music and food and crafts kept her well-occupied until evening. It took her mind off of everything. By the time Luna got back to the hotel to drop everything off, it was later than she thought and she debated not going down to the memorial. Her flight was early and the hotel room looked like a hurricane had been through it. Or a tsunami? She couldn't remember which the country got, to be honest. Earth science hadn't really ever interested her. She didn't think she'd ever actually set foot on the planet.
Yet she went. And in the fading light, she saw the old man feeding the birds and the woman in the scarf working on the flowers surrounding the monument. Except the woman wasn't wearing her scarf, which surprised Luna. Long black hair whipped in the cool evening breeze. Luna couldn't imagine the woman had forgotten... No, there it was, tied onto one of the nearby benches.
She frowned as she walked closer. Maybe it had gotten dirty?
The old man saw her first and called to the woman.
It was then that Luna's heart stopped and she nearly fell over her own feet.
"Mayu! Hey, Mayu... that lady is here to help you!"
The woman turned and smiled, and without the scarf hiding her face, Luna knew instantly.
Shinn was there. And he'd been there the whole time.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!