Fandom: Gundam 00
Notes: Written belatedly for my femslash fic prompt.
Summary: In a moment of weakness, Lieutenant Soma Peries turns to Warrant Officer Louise Halevy and tries to get a message across.
After the briefing, Lieutenant Soma Peries accompanied Louise back through the corridors. Not a word was spoken; the lieutenant simply fell into place at Louise's side. They walked as if they belonged together, despite the disparity in their rank, despite the fact that they had just met.
Only when they were well away from the other officers did Louise speak up. "Lieutenant," she said, "how did you know?" Soma stopped and turned to look at her, and Louise hurried to clarify. "That I wanted to walk back with--"
Soma lifted a hand. "I told you before," she said. "I can read your quantum brain waves."
"I'm sorry if they trouble you," Louise said. She wasn't used to the people around her thinking of her true feelings. She'd gone to so much effort to hide them. Sometimes it seemed like even she didn't feel them--only a consuming void in her heart. She supposed she should be wary that someone else could sense the conflict inside her, but instead, she was drawn to the lieutenant. That another soldier would smile that gently at her took a weight off of her.
"I never said they trouble me," Soma said. "They feel soft. Warrant Officer Halevy--"
"Louise," she said. "Can you call me Louise?" She felt like she had to explain. "It's been a long time since someone called me that." Someone other than Ribbons--somehow, he didn't count.
"Louise," Soma said, "I hope you find the one you're thinking of. I hope you do not let the fighting turn you into someone who cannot be with him."
"I've chosen my path," Louise said. "I won't be with him, Lieutenant. I'll fight for his future instead."
The gaze Soma turned on her was sad. Louise stopped, wide-eyed, at the sight of it. "You aren't an existence who has to make that choice," she said. "You're a human being."
Louise couldn't think of what to say. Instead she pointed down the hallway. "The lieutenants' quarters are that way," she said.
"You don't want me to go," Soma said.
"No," Louise said. "But we're soldiers. We do what we have to do. Not what we want. Don't we?"
"You're right," Soma said. "Of course. But you're forcing yourself to think that way. The fighting will be over someday...Louise. Don't force yourself so much you forget how to be kind again."
"You haven't," Louise said. "You're still kind."
Soma closed her eyes. Then she took Louise's face in both hands and lifted it gently. Louise remained frozen in place. "Take this," Soma said. "It's my last kindness." She leaned down and kissed Louise on the lips. For a moment, their minds connected.
New emotions flooded from the lieutenant into Louise. Sadness, so much sadness and guilt and desperation. In the face of that, Louise couldn't hold back anymore.
Lieutenant. Soma! I was never kind. I was stupid and selfish. I didn't know what I had.
The image of Soma flickered before her as if it were two people, and when she responded, there was an echo to her voice. I was, too. But you have kindness in you now. I was never meant to have any. Fight if you have to, Louise. But do not be an existence made for war.
Louise wanted to protest, because in that instant their minds connected, she could see a part of Soma that had nothing to do with war and everything to do with peace and gentleness. But then they were separate again, and Soma let go of her.
"Get some rest, Warrant Officer," Soma said as she turned away. "We're soldiers. We have to be ready for battle."
"Yes, Lieutenant," Louise said.
They parted there, and Louise returned to her quarters to sleep, still feeling the ghost of Soma's mouth on hers.
* * *
Ribbons frowned out the window.
"Oh?" Regene smirked at him. "Something didn't go as planned."
"It's a minor inconvenience," he said. "Humans interfering with each other. Communicating."
"They're troublesome when they do that, aren't they?" Regene said.
Ribbons didn't answer. Instead, he reached into Louise Halevy's dreaming brain and erased the memory of what she had done with Soma Peries. He refocused her thoughts on memories of her family and the need to protect Saji Crossroad and his dreams, and he made a note to make sure that the supersoldier was separated from her in the future.
"Yes," he said. "But they're very easy to handle when they're hurting. When they have something to remember and something to protect."
"I wonder if Aeolia Schoenberg thought of that, when he planned for Celestial Being...?" Regene mused.
"What are you talking about?" Ribbons said. "The humans in Celestial Being are irrelevant now. Their time is over."
"I wonder," Regene repeated.