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A Chance Meeting in Spain

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Disclaimer: I don't own the Gundam franchise or it's related concepts and characters, but Sunrise does.

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A Chance Meeting in Spain

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Universal Century 0071, Andalusian Branch of the Earth Federation High Commissioner for Refugees, Spain, Earth

The last few years hadn't been easy for Amuro Ray since his parents' divorce. Being an eight-year-old, he didn't exactly understand all the signs that would've spelled his parents' marriage's eventual breakoff, but for some time, he had actually wondered if he had been the source for their arguments. His parents, housewife Kamaria and Anaheim Electronics scientist Tem, however, explained as best they could to him that their squabbles weren't around him, but with Tem's obligations to Anaheim, Kamaria wasn't as confident as she was when she first fell in love with Tem to take part in the constant moving from Earthbound region to Lunar city to space colony that came with his job, and long distance relationships weren't that great either. In 0068, they were thinking of accepting an offer from Tem's engineering mentor to permanently move to Side 3, the then Autonomous Republic of Munzo, but the well-televised political tension and riots at the time, however, cautioned the pair not to risk the whole family's safety, which then lead to Tem and Kamaria divorcing from each other.

Although Tem admitted that he wanted to live with Amuro, he did agree with his ex-wife that working for a massive and perhaps irresponsible conglomerate like Anaheim kept him from spending too much time with his son, so he allowed Kamaria to take custody of him. Nonetheless, it wasn't too hard for Amuro and his dad to call each other when they were able to and Tem even indirectly gave Amuro the materials and advice to be a mechanical adept in his own way through the recent invention of a small robot companion that he named Haro. It was a proud achievement for Amuro and while he did plan to mass produce it and make a fortune to support himself and his parents, the original Haro was the closest thing to a real friend Amuro had at the time. While Kamaria worked numerous jobs to support her son, Amuro's social skills never really took him far enough to make friends with those around his age and he did feel a speck of loneliness more times than he would like to admit.

Regardless of the social troubles, Kamaria had saved enough money to take Amuro on a summer vacation from their home in America to Spain where they would see the sights, enjoy some good food, and Kamaria was also hoping of getting a more permanent job with a retired Anaheim executive who Tem was on more than good terms with, which led them to a sight in Andalusia that filled Kamaria with sympathy and confusion in Amuro's eyes.

"Why are all these people camping out here, Mom?" Asked Amuro while Kamaria drove their rental car to the castle-like estate belonging to Don Teabolo Mass.

Keeping her eyes on the road, Kamaria replied as best she could to someone of Amuro's age. "Because all these people are refugees, Amuro. They lost their homes in North Africa due to bad climate. The Earth Federation right now has been trying to support them, but these people still don't have anywhere to go."

"What about the space colonies? I thought they were made so that people could find new homes off Earth."

"Well, yes, but building new colonies costs money and the economy that money goes into on Earth isn't in good shape. With every refugee moving from place to place trying to find a home and make money, it's making the business topsy-turvy, so to speak."

Looking back at the refugee camp with newfound sympathy, Amuro commented. "I don't think I'd be pretty happy, if I had no home to go back to, Mom."

Despite herself, Kamaria made a small smile at Amuro's concern for the nomads around them. "I know, son, but you don't need to get involved with helping anyone yet. You still have a long life ahead of you to go."

"Yeah." Amuro replied before showing a more determined look. "But when I'm ready, I'll use the money from selling Haros to build more colonies and help get these guys to Space. I think they'll find new homes there."

Kamaria's smile became more genuine. "I like the sound of that."

In the backseat, the selfsame robot was quick to say. "Like sound! Like sound! Haro! Haro!"

Both Amuro and Kamaria couldn't help but laugh at Haro's childish excitement.

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Outdoor Swimming Pool Area of the Mass Family Estate

"I trust that you showered after coming back from the camp, Sayla?" Regina Mass, Don Teabolo's wife of three years and the mother of his stepchildren, Édouard and Sayla, said to her daughter when she, her son, and Sayla's beloved cat, Lucifer, caught up to the youngest member of their family just before she went swimming in the pool. While she was proud of Sayla for volunteering at the refugee camp and learning medicine at ten no less, Regina wasn't blind to the health hazards that came with such relief aid and "strongly encouraged" her to disinfect herself before doing anything else.

"I did, Mother." Sayla was quick to respond before nosediving straight into the water. Coming right up, she called out to her older brother. "Come on, Édouard! The water's great!"

"I'm coming, Sayla." Édouard said with a chuckle just before he cannonballed into the pool, the upsurge of water scaring Lucifer away to where Regina planned to sit on a lounge chair. The poor cat was quick to hiss at the pool when Édouard came out for air, just as the fourteen-year-old boy couldn't help but be slightly sheepish at the sight. "Sorry, Lucifer!"

While her children swam and played in the pool, Regina called for Lucifer to sit in her lap and she smiled at the sight in front of her. At first, it wasn't easy for the three Spacenoids and their cat to move from Munzo to start living on Earth, or even for them to pick up different names through an arrangement that looked like a marriage on paper, but in time, the former Deikuns had learned to accept the ever kind Teabolo as a member of their family and Earth as their new home. Thinking of the Earth, however, made Regina, formerly Astraia Tor Deikun, sad of how the Federation and it's contracted corporations misused their home planet and gave her a new appreciation for what her first love tried his hardest to do to preserve Earth's environmental health, even though she still missed Zeon after three years since his unforeseen death as well as the friends she left behind at Munzo, which was becoming more anti-Earthnoid under the Chairmanship of Degwin Zabi as the days go by. Thinking about the Republic actually made Regina feel concern for the possibility of a war between Earth and Space.

When she thought it over, it was an ultimately good thing that she compromised with the Zabis to stay in power in exchange for allowing her and her children to leave unscathed. Regina shuddered at the thought of not only her children's lives being at risk, but Zeon's memory, maybe even his very name, being perverted into a tool for propaganda and war. Although, Regina still had her doubts about whether or not the Zabi family really did assassinate her first husband, she would truly be blind to not see that Degwin and his children had become ambitious, even amoral at best, over the years. Regardless, she had made her choice, and it wasn't likely that she would be returning to Space anytime soon.

"Pretty lady!" A high-pitched mechanical voice called out, which spook Lucifer from Regina's lap and attracted her and the children's attention to a hovering, robotic, green-colored ball followed by a young, brown-haired boy in swim trunks. "Pretty lady!" The robot ball commented around Regina followed by exclaiming. "Haro! Haro!"

Stunned for a moment, Regina eventually forced a reply. "Um, thank you."

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Mass!" The young boy said as he took the toy back into his arms. "I guess I programmed him to be too excitable." Turning back to the family of blondes, he shyly added. "Um, my mom's in a meeting with Mr. Mass about getting a housekeeping job here and he said that I could go swimming here while they talked. I didn't mean to cause any trouble."

Regina chuckled at the young boy and gestured for him to relax. "It's all right. I'm sure Édouard and Sayla won't mind sharing the pool." Turning to her son and daughter, she asked. "Is that right?"

"Uh, okay, I don't see the harm." Édouard relented with a shrug.

"Come on in!" Sayla waved with excitement.

Seeing the boy having the beginnings of a confident smile on his face, Regina smiled as the brunette slowly joined Édouard and Sayla into the pool, leaving the robot with her.

"That's a nice toy you got there." Édouard complimented. "Where did you get it at?"

Unfortunately for her brother, Sayla wasn't without teasing him about his interest. "Aw, it's about time you got a hobby, big brother, and it's a cute one, too."

"I wasn't interested in collecting toys, Sayla. I just wanted to know what kind of toy it was."

"Actually, I made Haro myself." The boy admitted. "He's kind of like a self-aware robot pet."

"Really?" Sayla asked in surprise. "You made him yourself?" Seeing him nod, she then patted his head with a wide smile. "You're pretty smart!"

Blushing, the boy replied. "Thanks." He then had a look of remembering something. "Oh, yeah. My name's Amuro Ray, by the way."

Giggling, Sayla said. "Nice to meet you, Amuro."

Smiling wider, Amuro returned the greeting. "Nice to meet you, too."

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Don Teabolo's office

After Don Teabolo concluded his meeting with the High Commissioner of Refugees and directed Amuro to the swimming pool, he led Kamaria to his office for a private talk. Out of respect to Tem and a desire for Sayla to make a friend around her age in Amuro, Teabolo was more than willing to let Kamaria and her son move in. However, before anything official could begin, he felt the need to let Kamaria in on a potential danger. Naturally, she was both surprised and concerned.

"Your wife is Zeon Deikun's widow?" She let out. "How did that happen?"

Sighing audibly, Teabolo eventually explained in detail. "When I was in Anaheim, I did some business with Zeon's government through his chief of staff, Jimba Ral. One mutually beneficial deal led to a friendly drink and we became friends. I actually met and supported Zeon directly myself, but when the double dealing on the Moon became too much for me, I ended my business career and made my apologies, both lip-serviced and sincere, before moving back here to rest quietly. But all that changed when Zeon just went onto his podium and died for the whole Earth Sphere to see."

"And then Munzo went under new management, despite Ral pointing fingers at the new Chairman." Kamaria surmised with forlorn eyes, remembering on the news that there was an actual car bombing during Deikun's funeral procession followed by a series of riots towards both Jimba Ral and the Federation.

Teabolo frowned heavily. "It was a damn mess, Kamaria. Both my old friend and the Zabis were so caught up playing both politics and the justice system at each other that Zeon's wife and children barely had the chance to properly grieve. And that's not counting Zeon's self-proclaimed biggest "disciple" calling Regina, or Astraia as she was known then, names and even threatening her just because Zeon had a family with her and not that embittered madwoman. Eventually, enough was enough for the Deikuns, so Astraia and Jimba's son Ramba made a deal with Degwin Zabi."

"Support the Zabis' new run of the Side and be allowed to peacefully go under." Kamaria guessed.

Teabolo shrugged with an affirmative, yet not happy, smile. "Pretty much. Jimba wasn't exactly happy about the lack of a "proper investigation" into Zeon's death and even more about losing his job in the Assembly, but from what I heard from Ramba, he's learning to accept the status quo, so to speak."

"Well, it's better than being marked as a seditionist and executed, right?" Kamaria offered.

Teabolo forced a bitter laugh. "Yeah, it's ironic. The Federation were upset with Deikun when he started lecturing people about Humanity's mass migration into Space followed by evolving to fit the new environment as it were, and now his one-time closest friend is slowly becoming the Spacenoid oppressor both he and the media seemed to have shared a fear of. Anyway, once the Deikuns "officially faded into obscurity", Jimba instructed them to meet with me, so that I could protect them in case Degwin or his more ambitious heirs got any ideas. I wasn't exactly keen on getting involved in such a faraway conflict, but I felt bad for the three, and admittedly, I wanted a family of my own, so I accepted them."

Kamaria was silent for a moment before eventually asking. "I don't mean to pry, but wasn't it hard for anyone involved? You becoming a husband and father for the first time to people who already lost their husband and father?"

Teabolo sighed. "Not necessarily. I honestly felt like a bastard for agreeing to Regina's idea of easily registering her and the children as members of the Mass family by doing it all so soon and the children themselves weren't all that happy either, but I've learned to gain their trust and I love Édouard and Sayla all the same."

"And Regina?"

Teabolo showed sadness in his eyes. "Please don't misunderstand, we have become close together, but whatever I feel for her can't take a candle to what she felt for and still does feel for Zeon. It would be shameful of me to take advantage of that friendship and trust just because I've never had much popularity with women, even when I wasn't overweight."

Kamaria smiled kindly at him. "You don't need to be a handsome prince to be charming at heart, Don Teabolo. Either way, I'll keep your secret safe and I'll tell Amuro to do the same as well."

Smiling more genuinely, Teabolo nodded and said. "Thank you, Kamaria. You're hired."

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I guess this can be considered my first one-shot without an actual pairing as a topic, considering Amuro and Sayla are too young for that right now, but I hope you all like it. Earlier in the year, I thought about using an Amuro who stayed with his Mom on Earth to become a future Titan, or at least have a slight prejudice for Spacenoids after Operation British like how Jim Kirk from Star Trek was prejudiced against the Klingons in The Undiscovered Country for not only their original series conflicts, but the death of his son in The Search for Spock. I'm not sure if I still want to get back to that train of thought, or even explore a scenario where Jimba Ral gets the Mass/Deikun children onboard for his "planned counteroffensive" against the Zabis with the help of Anaheim which would mean that they could meet Amuro early as well, considering I'd like to write longer stories about Gundam and not just one-shots and challenges anymore, but I hope you find these thoughts interesting all the same. As for all the details I added about Teabolo's connection to Anaheim and the Rays' would've been plans of moving Side 3, I just wanted to explain how Teabolo was business rivals with Executive Vice President Chelsea without making an original company and I figured the last one would go in hand with Tem Ray's connection to Dr. Minovsky, which I'll be exploring in a one shot soon.

Take care, everyone.