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Title: Lockon Stratos: The Tallest Man In The World
Author: Aravis Tarkheena
Pairing: Lockon/Setsuna
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: slash, angst, AU
Disclaimer: Not mine, everyone's legal
Spoilers: All of season 1. Seriously.
Word Count: 2,500ish
Author's Notes: Written for galerian_ash's request on fic_on_demand. I hope this works for you.
Summary: 'Lockon had always seemed huge to Setsuna. When they first met, Setsuna was half convinced that Lockon was the tallest person in the world...'




Lockon Stratos: The Tallest Man In The World


Lockon had always seemed huge to Setsuna. When they first met, Setsuna was half convinced that Lockon was the tallest person in the world. Setuna’s starvation stunted growth combined with Lockon’s tall, slender stature and energetic presence seemed to cement the notion in Setsuna’s mind. Even as he grew taller and Lockon grew more solemn, Setsuna still always thought of him as the tallest man in the world.

So when he arrived at the scene of Lockon’s destroyed Gundam and took Lockon’s unconscious, floating form into Exia’s hand, he was shocked to realize how small Lockon looked, lying there in the huge metal palm. Tiny, fragile and eminently still.

That sense of smallness didn’t dissipate when Setsuna saw Lockon in his hospital bed for the first time after the surgery. He still looked small surrounded by all the white sheets and life support machinery. The many casts dwarfed his limbs and even his face seemed to be drowning amidst the large bandages that covered half his head.

He lay so still, so very still. The doctors said he was in a coma, that he would wake when the injuries in his brain healed a bit. Allelujah explained to him that a coma was a little like being unconscious, only the sleep was a bit deeper.

Lockon didn’t look unconscious to Setsuna. He looked dead.

Only the dead lay that still.

Only the dead feel that lifeless.

Tieria sat with Lockon every day, never saying a word or taking his eyes off of Lockon’s seemingly small form. He trained and ate and slept only when he had to. The rest of the time he just sat with Lockon and looked at him.

Allelujah said that Tieria was thinking and trying to get his mind around Lockon being that badly injured. Setsuna could understand that, he was having trouble accepting that the small, lifeless form lying in the bed was Lockon, himself. It was a hard fact to process, Setsuna had found.

Allelujah didn’t seem to have the same problem Tieria and he had. Allelujah visited Lockon once a day, in the evening when Tieria was bathing and getting ready to sleep. While Tieria always chased Setsuna out of the room with glares and harsh words, Allelujah merely smiled at him and let him sit on the window sill near Lockon’s bed.

Allelujah did not act at all like Tieria. He did not sit silently and still. He touched Lockon, combed his hair and held his hand. He spoke to him, telling him about his day or the improvements he had made to Kyrios. He also took an hour each night to read to Lockon.

The books varied and the chapters varied and Setsuna was almost sure they never really finished a single book Allelujah had started. Allelujah just read certain chapters or excerpts. Setsuna thought it all very non-linear and it would probably have annoyed a person who was conscious, but Lockon wasn’t and therefore probably didn’t mind. Setsuna enjoyed listening to Allelujah read; his voice was soothing and gentle. Setsuna figured Lockon must feel the same about the whole thing.

The next few weeks went on much the same way, with Tieria moping-- Allelujah said to call it ‘coping’, but Setsuna was pretty sure it was moping—and Allelujah reading. Setsuna did neither of those things, he just loitered and ate a few meals with him. Always remembering to drink a glass of milk with each. Allelujah said that Lockon could hear the things they said to him, he didn’t say anything about seeing and Lockon’s eyes were closed, but Setsuna didn’t want to take any chances. So he drank his three glasses of milk a day in front of Lockon. The last thing any of them needed was for Lockon to scold him for not drinking his milk the minute he woke up.

It turned out that Setsuna needn’t have worried about that eventuality because when Lockon did wake up, seventeen days after the battle, he didn’t seem to remember a thing that had happened when he was unconscious. Setsuna made sure to ask.

Lockon had smiled at him tiredly and said he had been asleep and didn’t notice the reading, moping—coping-- or milk consumption taking place around him.

Part of Setsuna was relieved. He was happy that Lockon was awake and alive. He and Allelujah made a point to visit more often now, because Lockon got bored without the company. Tieria, on the other hand, stopped visiting at all. Setsuna thought it was strange. When Allelujah brought it up, trying to assure Lockon that Tieria had visited him when he was ill and did not, in fact, resent or dislike him, Lockon just smiled sadly and said that they all needed time to come to terms with things and that he wasn’t offended. He understood.

Now that Lockon was awake, everyone else seemed livelier. Tieria shouted more, Allelujah smiled more, Sumeragi was loud when she got drunk again. It was like a curtain of gloom had been lifted, one Setsuna had not realized had descended until it had gone. It made living around everyone a bit easier.

However, unfortunately, that curtain did not seem to have lifted from Lockon. He did not seem livelier. He seemed considerably more sedate, sad even. He talked less and his smiles were almost as sad as Allelujah’s. When Setsuna mentioned this to Allelujah, Allelujah merely smiled at him, sadly of course, and told him that Lockon was still healing and to give him time.

Setsuna did not want to give him time. He was tired of the small Lockon. He was tired of looking down at the man he always had to look up to. He was tired of only seeing him in the harsh florescent light of the hospital room and not the pure natural sunlight that seemed to suit him better and make him seem as alive as the trees and grass around him.

Setsuna was impatient to have the old Lockon back, but he understood about needing time. When he first came to Celestial Being he had nightmares. He would wake up screaming in the middle of the night, or he’d come awake fleeing down the halls from some unnamed danger. After the third time it happened Lockon took him in his arms and hugged him close, it was the first time anyone had hugged him since he’d killed his mother and while the sensation was unfamiliar it was also warm and comforting. Lockon told him not to worry, that being scared was normal and that soon he would feel safe again, given time.

In time, with the help of Lockon’s hugs and gentle reassurances and several nights of shared beds, the nightmares had lessened and he didn’t feel scared any more.

Setsuna figured that if it worked for him, then it must work for Lockon, so he waited.

Another six weeks passed and Lockon’s bones healed. He could get up out of bed and eat more solid foods. He moved around the ship and observed training simulations. He watched over repairs and made suggestions at meetings. He sat out on the observation deck and watched the stars go by as they traveled through space.

When it became clear to Setsuna that Lockon was making some progress, Setsuna began to follow him about the ship. He would eat his meals with Lockon, and sit in on his training simulations. He would sit next to him in meetings and talk to him about repairs.

When Lockon would sit out on the observation deck, Setsuna would sit with him. Silently at first, at the other end of the room, because Allelujah told him that Lockon needed time to think and process. Eventually, when Setsuna realized that the thinking and processing didn’t seem to be doing any good, Setsuna started to sit closer to Lockon.

He would sit beside him or lean against him, remembering how much better he felt when Lockon held him when he was sad or scared. One evening, when Lockon looked so sad and so small Setsuna was afraid he would shrink away to nothing, Setsuna choked out a few clumsy reassurances of his own.

He told Lockon that things weren’t as bad as everyone seemed to think, that even losers sometimes win. He told Lockon that his wounds would heal and he would be out watching Setsuna’s back in no time. He told Lockon that one day they would win this war, and then they would be able to stop fighting. Forever.

After that night, Lockon started to smile more often, he laughed and told jokes and had conversations with people. As a result of the change in Lockon’s attitude- or so Allelujah said-- Tieria seemed to relax more and visited Lockon occasionally. Allelujah said that Lockon was healing just fine and that he was almost back to his old self. Sumeragi joked that he would be back in his Gundam in no time.

But to Setsuna, Lockon still seemed small.

His clothes hung off of him and his smile seemed forced. His jokes were even less funny than they used to be. His conversations seemed frenetic and his mind seemed to wander rather often.

Even though the casts were off and the gauze had transitioned into band aids and bruises, it seemed to Setsuna like the casts and bandages had made Lockon shrink somewhere along the way.

So Setsuna took up cooking.

When Setsuna first came to Celestial Being, Lockon took him gently aside and asked him how old he was. It took almost twenty minutes and six whole sentences to convince Lockon that he wasn’t lying and that he was, indeed, fourteen.

When Lockon realized that Setsuna was telling the truth, he got this determined look on his face. He was late to the introductory meeting that day, he showed up five minutes after it started and amidst a flurry of chastisements from Sumeragi and glares from Tieria, Lockon smiled reassuringly at Setsuna and handed him a glass of milk and a sandwich as he took the seat next to him.

Lockon spent the next few months bullying Setsuna into eating more and drinking his milk. Setsuna only really embraced the program when Lockon promised him one night after a nightmare that the milk and food would make him taller and stronger.

They had. Six months after Lockon started taking interest in his eating habits, Setsuna grew three inches. Though Lockon still seemed just as tall, he noticed that he was catching up quickly to Tieria, a fact which seemed to annoy the other man a bit, especially when Lockon pointed it out.

Setsuna figured that if food made him taller, it would almost certainly work for Lockon. So he borrowed a few books from Allelujah and persuaded him, after several messes and one fire, to help him out in the kitchen.

They learned to bake cakes and cookies, they learned to sauté chicken and braze beef. They learned to kneed dough and steam vegetables. They learned how to follow recipes exactly and how to improvise on the ones they couldn’t. Setsuna was almost sure that Allelujah was enjoying helping him learn to cook and Setsuna was enjoying it as well. Tieria complained about the messes, but never about the food and Lockon’s smiles seemed to less sad and more happy and it looked to Setsuna like he had grown, if just a bit.

Lockon continued to get better and better, bit by bit. He healed and he smiled and worked and he fought. He went back into battle, learning to compensate for his missing eye and the tightness in his shoulder from scarring.

Every once in a while, as the years went on and Celestial Being fought for what it believed in, Setsuna caught glimpses of the taller Lockon, the Lockon that towered over everyone. Though that Lockon was scarce and Setsuna had to make himself grow accustomed to the sedate Lockon with a sad smile.

However, Setsuna subconscious never really seemed to accept this adjustment, because when he dreamed of Lockon, he dreamed of the tall Lockon. The Lockon that towered over everyone else.

Years passed, battles past and Setsuna kept growing. He knew he would never be very tall, but he caught up to and eventually surpassed Tieria and Sumeragi. By the time he hit eighteen he was giving Allelujah a run for his money. Though it never failed to unsettled him when he stood nearly eye to eye with Lockon Stratos.

The last battle Celestial Being ever fought took place three days before Setsuna’s twentieth birthday. They celebrated it the night before they left. Allelujah baked him a cake, Tieria bought him a new cook book, Sumeragi gave him his first taste of alcohol—he preferred milk—and Lockon smiled at him all night.

But it was the sad smile and when the three of them boarded their Gundams the next morning, Setsuna couldn’t help but think that Lockon looked smaller than he ever had before.

The battle that day was furious and harsh. Setsuna had determined to stick close to Lockon to make sure nothing happened to him. He didn’t like it when Lockon went into battle looking so small. It made him worried and nervous.

So the two of them stuck close together, he saved Lockon and Lockon saved him and when they docked, after it was all over, Lockon burst from the cockpit of Dynames and onto the floor of the hanger. Setsuna followed suit and the minute his feet touched the ground he was pulled off of them again as Lockon lifted him into a hug.

For the first time in almost four years Lockon felt alive in to Setsuna. He seemed to grow in Setsuna’s arms, and Setsuna wondered, as he wrapped his arms around Lockon’s broad shoulders, if his hands would meet behind Lockon’s huge back.

Lockon’s laughter sounded wild and purely happy, his smile had not a hint of sadness. Something hot and liquid churned in Setsuna’s stomach that felt a lot like happiness when Lockon set him on the floor and ran to hug Allelujah and Tieria, then Sumeragi.

When he rushed back to Setsuna the smile on his face was wide and fulled with unadulterated joy. Setsuna felt like he had to look up at Lockon to be able to see it properly, like he had grown another foot in a last few moments.

They stood, toe to toe, with Setsuna staring up at Lockon. The joy in Lockon’s smile melted into an expression of love and affection.

“You look taller,” Setsuna said and the words felt strange coming from his mouth because he was smiling too, albeit not as widely as Lockon.

Lockon shook his head and leaned down to press a soft kiss to Setsuna’s upturned mouth.

“Thank you,” he whispered against Setsuna’s lips, ostensibly for the compliment, but Setsuna knew Lockon was thanking him for more than that.

Setsuna didn’t reply, he just reached up and wrapped his arms as far around Lockon as he could reach before rocking up on his tip toes and kissing Lockon Stratos, the tallest man in the world.

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
pikacheeka
Jun. 6th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
OH SHIT.







YOU JUST EXPLODED MY BRAIN.



That was fucking gorgeous. I love your style. And I love the story and all the themes and subtleties and everything about it. Your characterization was perfect, even if it was an AU-esque situation. Much love, and now I go see if you ever wrote anything else.
aravistarkheena
Jun. 7th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
I'm glad that you liked it. :D

I'm so used to writing in the comics fandom where the concept of AU pretty much doesn't exist since canon is so fluid and changing. I should probably label it as AU, huh?
pikacheeka
Jun. 8th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
It was gorgeous. Eagerly awaiting more fic from ya. =D

And I know what you mean about the comics fandom. I used to write Batman fic and with such a vague canon, you can kind of do whatever you want. XD
ad_exia
Jun. 7th, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
OMG.

THAT WAS MADE OF SWEET. <3


No, really. That was beautiful. So nicely done~!
aravistarkheena
Jun. 7th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :DD
red_remmy
Jun. 7th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC)
I'm crying because I know he's dead.


Aaaahh!
aravistarkheena
Jun. 7th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I was going for the opposite effect! I'm sorry. :(
pigtail78
Jun. 7th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
This is so beautifully written. I love how you've written Setsuna and the way he cares for Lockon.

Sigh, how I wish your version of events happened in the anime instead. T_T
aravistarkheena
Jun. 7th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
Me too. I'm going to miss Lockon. :(
pigtail78
Aug. 15th, 2008 08:25 am (UTC)
Hihi! ^^

Can we add your fic to the Mechaphiles archive, please? :D We really liked reading it!

You already have an account on the Mechaphiles archive, right? ^_^ Hope to see your fic uploaded there soon. ♥
rubyofkukundu
Jun. 7th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
This was absolutely lovely.
aravistarkheena
Jun. 7th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it.
wystii
Jun. 7th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
I found this a very gentle Setsuna PoV and the Lockon didn't die AUness of it all was wonderful! I also liked the friendship you had developing between Alle and Sets - very believable. Well done.
aravistarkheena
Jun. 7th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you liked it. :D
animegoil
Jun. 8th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Oh my God. Just... this was SO CUTE. Okay, I don't care if it screwed cannon over or anything, but it was AMAZING. It was so cute. It was like little kid Setsuna was telling us how he felt about it and what he was doing about it. ANd it was just adorable how he was trying to return what Lockon had earlier done for him by doing it back to.. you know, to help Lockon. It was adorable,. ion't get over it! And Tiereia was great, it would be just like him to sit immobile throughout the coma, but then leave as soon as Lockon was awake. And Alle was a big brother! So cute. I loved his explanations to Setsuna. Oh, this was so awesome. <3
aravistarkheena
Jun. 8th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you liked it! I enjoy ignoring canon far too much. I don't want Lockon to be dead. :(
hmanfire
Jun. 9th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
I only find one suiting word for this:
Beautiful!
It was very nicely written and you caught the characters' personalities so well! I'm also so happy Lockon didn't die ;_; wished it could be like this in the anime...
Very good, that's all I can say! :D
aravistarkheena
Jun. 11th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad that you enjoyed it. :D
arence_heart
Jun. 10th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
I have this huge smile on my face and I'm crying and I don't even like Setsuna and Thank You!!!
aravistarkheena
Jun. 11th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
Aw, Setsuna's my favorite. I'm glad I could make you like him, even if just a little. :D
devoid_memory
Jun. 11th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
I'm speechless. The flows very naturally and it was to intersting for me to stop reading. At the first time, I thought it was too long to read, but when I started to read it, I finished it in no time.... OMG It's so good~
aravistarkheena
Jun. 11th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it. I've never thought of 2,500 words as terrible long, but I'm happy I could keep you interested through the whole thing. :DD
dark_malignity
Jun. 12th, 2008 08:12 am (UTC)
GAH! love this fic! now why couldnt it have turned out like this...... XP

but you do write beautifully. lockon and setsuna arent the only characters here, i can practically feel the life continue around them.

i love your allelujah btw, ur fic is making me fall in love with him all over again... *twirls*
aravistarkheena
Jun. 12th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I wish Lockon had lived too. :((

I really like writing Alle as this really mellow guy with a wicked sense of humor who stands in the middle of chaos and snickers. >:D
dark_malignity
Jun. 13th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
wuh? i didnt get the snickering vibe from alle.... O_o only the mellow, accepting part of him. *goes back to reread fic*
piyomon
Jan. 7th, 2009 09:30 am (UTC)
I'm a budding Lockon/Setsuna fan, and I'm so happy to have read your fic. Thinking of growing Setsuna and how he looked after Neil just made me feel all warm inside. ♥ It's just so beautiful!
meyham_m2
Oct. 9th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
This was so adorable♥. I feel like,watching the series all over again.... and pretending it ends like this.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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