Fandom: Macross Frontier
Notes: Written for the 31_days theme "an angel in distress."
Summary: Ranka catches Alto and Sheryl kissing, but the result isn't what she expected.
The first time she saw them kiss, standing on the shore of that island and wondering if she could take on a role that wasn't her, Ranka thought that Alto and Sheryl looked like angels. They were beautiful and untouchable. Alto flew high above her with real wings, and Sheryl flew on wings of confidence and talent that Ranka would never have.
It was much later when she saw them kiss for a second time. A great deal had happened. Ranka had acquired wings of her own, and she had found that maintaining them took work. It wasn't just a matter of handling the press and performing tirelessly. There was also the issue of convincing herself, every day, that she deserved to fly. Even then, she couldn't imagine herself quite on the same level as Alto and Sheryl. She smiled at Sheryl and said she wouldn't give up, but the little voices inside her that said it wasn't even a competition did not go completely silent.
So when she came running up the path on the Vajra homeworld and saw Alto and Sheryl in each other's arms, she still grew hot in the face. A burst of despair still flooded her. She still felt like she'd been destined to lose, no matter how successful she became in any other field.
Then, through the burning of her cheeks and the sudden rise of tears in her eyes, she began to see other things. She saw that Sheryl was holding Alto only awkwardly, as if she didn't know how to embrace someone. Ranka knew how to embrace someone. It was a natural talent of hers. She saw that their mouths weren't quite meeting--Alto's lips touched the corner of Sheryl's. Ranka thought she could teach him how to kiss someone properly.
They were still angels, but now she could see the places where their halos dipped and hung crooked, the spots where their feathers had been ruffled and misaligned. She loved them more for it, because she could help fill those gaps. They weren't that far above her. She could touch them, and she could make them better for it.
"I still won't give up!" she said, and she didn't realize how loudly she'd spoken until Alto and Sheryl started out of each other's arms and turned to stare at her. She blushed some more, but there was no going back now. "Sheryl! You held me better than that. Alto, I know you can kiss with more heart! I've felt it!"
"Ranka--" Alto was wide-eyed, and his high cheekbones boasted a shadow of the red on Ranka's. In that moment, he looked more like a fairy-tale princess just awoken from slumber than an angel. Sheryl said nothing, and her expression was less readable than Alto's. She had her eyes lowered, one hand raised so that the tips of her fingers touched her lips.
Ranka ran to the two of them, her courage all plucked up, determined not to shy back when they tried to push her away. She would be brave now. She'd learned how, even if it still scared her sometimes.
But they never did. Instead, Sheryl let out a startled laugh, reached out with both arms, and, before Alto could protest, dragged Ranka into the embrace. It was very sudden, and for all her courage, Ranka didn't know what to do when she found her chin resting between Sheryl's breasts and her ear right up against the hammering of Alto's heartbeat.
"We fit now," Sheryl said. "Don't we, Alto?"
Squished between the two of them, he couldn't answer.