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Because Build Fighters has been referred to as Gundam Valhalla more times than I can count, and if these two never get a happy ending in canon (because that would defeat the entire purpose of 0080) then I'll take whatever bones I get thrown.

This is the story of two certain people.

Their story ends with a battle to the death that means nothing to the universe but everything to them.

Their story ends in a colony named Libot, the climax of the fateful encounter witnessed only by a boy that loves and reveres them both beyond measure.

Their story ends with the swing of a heat hawk and the thrust of a beam saber, leaving nothing behind but a wreck of twisted alloy and innocence that's been shattered beyond any hope of repair.

That is how their story ends.

"Man, five in a row. Al wasn't kidding when he said that he'd been practicing, huh?"

"It's pretty impressive," Chris agrees, smiling in approval as she watches her little brother in all but blood skillfully take his Benkei through a series of precise dodges before returning fire. "It wouldn't kill him to use a pure Gundam build once in a while, though. That monoeye screams cannon fodder."

"Hey, no complaints on my end. As far as I'm concerned, Sieg Zeon all day, every day."

She rolls her eyes at that, shaking her head before flicking a glance at the emblem on his leather jacket. "Why do you root so hard for the space fascists again?"

"Cooler MS. Their uniforms are pretty slick, too."

"… Good reasons, both."

He snickers a little at her exasperation, though he's pretty sure she's trying really hard not to smile. "So, what do you think his record's gonna be by the time someone manages to knock him off his throne?"

"At this rate? It's hard to tell, honestly. We could be here for a while," she notes, looking more than a little satisfied that Al's on his way to another win.

"Again, no complaints on my end. Beats the hell out of the mountain of work waiting for me back at my place."

Her eyes widen in surprise at the casual admission. "Wait, you said you were totally free when we invited you!"

"And you believed me?"

"Bernie – " she begins with a frown, before being cut off by an upraised hand.

"Would you relax?" he interrupts, looking amused at her obvious indignation. "Yeah, I'm a little behind on assignments, but it's all stuff I know cold. I'll be able to finish everything before things get too crazy."

Chris being Chris (and he wouldn't have her any other way) isn't quite content to leave it at that. "If you know everything cold, then why are you leaving it until the last second?" she challenges, her attention diverted from Gunpla Battle for the moment.

"We can't all be honor students," he deadpans, because he's simply never liked school, not the way the redhead does. "Besides… there are bigger things to worry about."

Her confusion melts away almost as quickly as it appears, replaced by dawning comprehension and a tired smile. "Ah. Al told you about his parents leaving again, huh?"

"He might have mentioned a thing or two, yeah," Bernie tonelessly answers with a shrug that's far too affected to be truly careless, and he's careful not to say anything else because he remembers that Chris has known them for far longer than he has; he's not about to start badmouthing her family friends, no matter how warranted it might be.

"… I know it looks bad," she begins, looking resigned, "but his parents really do have important jobs. Being away all the time is hard on them too, and – you're not buying a word of this, are you."

"Nope. Not even a little."

She smiles again, and he's pretty sure it's supposed to be playful; maybe it would have been if it had managed to reach her eyes. "Well, I tried. They're good people Bernie, they really are, it's just…"

"I get it," he says when he sees her struggling, even though he doesn't, not really.

Well intentioned parents or not, his friend deserves better, and he can tell from the look on Chris that she thinks so too.

"Still, slacking aside – " she shakes her head at the face he makes, "– it was nice of you to come. It made Al and – w-well, it made Al happy."

He doesn't miss the stutter, slight as it is, and he turns his head back toward the battling area because he can feel the heat starting to form under his collar and the last thing he needs is for her to wonder why his face is the color of her hair.

It's not that it's uncomfortable around her, because he's truly not. If anything, it's the opposite – he's scarily comfortable around this woman, to the point where it feels like he's known her for his entire life (if not longer, somehow) and there's something about that should unsettle him at least a little.

And yet it doesn't. Maybe it's because he feels the same way around Al; when you're around it enough, abnormal becomes the new normal.

"It was my pleasure," Bernie finally says, the heat in his cheeks finally dying down. "Win win, right? I get to skip out on cracking the books – "

"Ugh, I can't believe how proud you sound of that – "

"– and I get to hang out with Al, who's a pretty cool kid all around. Plus," he adds as nonchalantly as he can, pretending he doesn't feel his heart starting to pound, "there are… fringe benefits."

This gets her attention.

"Oh?" she challenges, turning away from the viewing screen to sidle up to him, her green eyes sparking with mischief. "And what might those be?"

(He sees the faintest scattering of freckles on her fair skin, a gift from her Gaelic heritage. This is the first time he's noticed them. It's the first time she's been this close).

"Oh, y'know," he replies evasively, flashing her a grin as he moves back a step. "Wall to wall Gundam stuff, the giant Zaku II, fantastic ice cream…"

Chris can't hold back her laugh as she follows. "I'll give you the first two, but ice cream? You can walk into any convenience store in Japan and just buy ice cream there!"

"Not Gundam themed ice cream."

She rolls her eyes again and mutters something he's pretty sure is 'whatever', but he can't bring himself to muster a response, not when she's borderline slumping against him, her eyes fluttering closed.

"… Tired?"

"A little," she admits with a sheepish shrug. "Classes have been ramping up for me too, so…"

"Don't overwork yourself," he cautions, all levity going out of his voice. "Al's told me how you do that."

She sniffs. "The little tattletale. But don't worry, I've got everything under control. Besides, today was a good break for me. I got to see Al, and like you said… there are fringe benefits."

The last part is quiet, and if someone didn't know Chris they might have called it shy.

He knows better. Somehow, he knows better.

"Care to share?" he asks, willingly stepping into the trap.

"Do your homework first," she snickers, opening her eyes and fixing him with an appraising look. "Then we'll talk."

He pantomimes being stabbed through the heart, much to the redhead's amusement, but she doesn't protest when he slips an arm around her waist to draw her towards him, her head coming to rest on his shoulder.

They stand like that for a few minutes, silently watching.

"… I really am glad you came, you know."

He blinks and looks down because he's never heard her sound like that before.


"I-I mean, it would have been fun either way, but Al really likes seeing you, and I…"

Her halting words fade away into nothing, and his breaths are getting shallower by the second.

"What about you?"

Her cheeks burn red, but her gaze remains locked firmly on his, her core of steel on full display.

"I-I like seeing you too. A lot more than I should, considering we didn't meet all that long ago," she confesses, and for a heartbeat or two he's no longer there because he's being overwhelmed by the acrid scent of smoke and the sound of shattering glass –

But then she smiles at him, and the sight alone is radiant enough to banish the encroaching dark.

"I'm so glad you came today," she whispers. "I'm so glad that Al met you, and I… I'm so glad that I met you."

Her eyes are glistening like emeralds in the midday sun and god, was it always this hard to breathe?

"Sorry," she half laughs and half cries, shaking her head furiously before she swipes at her eyes. "I-I don't know – I'm not normally like – "


She looks at him again when his hands settle on her shoulders, and in that instant he wants to tell her so, so much; that he's glad he met her too, that he's happy beyond words she and Al are part of his life, that he had awoken the morning after they had first met with tears running down his face and he hadn't the faintest idea why

But then his gaze drops to her parted lips, and after a moment of deliberation he thinks that he'd really rather kiss her instead.

So he does.

"Sorry!" Al apologizes as the piloting interface vanishes around him for the final time, breaking into a run toward a smiling Christina and a pleased Bernie. "They were logging in so fast after each win that I didn't get a chance to – "

"Don't sweat it," Bernie tells him, waving a hand at him in dismissal. "We're have to have fun, right? Besides, it was worth it seeing a monoeye suit kick so much ass."

"First time for everything," Chris deadpans, pointedly ignoring Bernie's mock glare. "Good work out there, Al!"

He beams, the sadness at his parents leaving again having been successfully held at bay.

"Thanks a lot for taking me," he tells them both, still riding high from his performance. "It was a blast! I think I'm all battled out for now, though... is there anything you guys wanted to do?"

Chris crosses her arms, thinking. "Hmm… I suppose we could just go around and relax for a little while –

"Ice cream!"

"Or that," she mutters, shrugging her shoulders in resignation at Bernie's proclamation when Al's eyes light up. "Remind me; who's the eleven year old supposed to be?"

"Hey, if it helps – I'm sure they have a bar shaped like an Alex head somewhere," Bernie tells her solemnly, though the corners of his mouth turning upward give him away.

"That'd be a pleasant surprise," she grouses, an old grudge resurfacing. "It'd be just like Bandai to give it a frozen novelty instead of a better MG…"

"C'mon, ice cream's ice cream, Chris!" Al chirps, extending his hand out towards her, and she can only giggle and curl her fingers around his wrist.

"That is true," she concedes, before turning back to Bernie with a playful grin, reaching out with her other arm. "You too, slowpoke."

"Yeah, yeah," he mutters, but Al's sharp eyes don't miss how Chris' hand easily slips into Bernie's like it belonged there the whole time, nor do they miss the quiet, tender smile that the two share; a smile that fills his heart with contentment and peace, a smile that makes him want to shout for joy, a smile that tells him everything is (finally?) going to be all right.

The trio pull each other along just like that, laughing the whole time, and is great as today's been, Al can't help but look forward to what tomorrow will bring.


It sounds so wonderful.

This is the story of two certain people.

Their story doesn't end with a battle to the death that means nothing to the universe but everything to them.

Their story doesn't end in a colony named Libot, the climax of the fateful encounter witnessed only by a boy that loves and reveres them both beyond measure.

Their story doesn't end with the swing of a heat hawk and the thrust of a beam saber, leaving nothing behind but a wreck of twisted alloy and innocence that's been shattered beyond any hope of repair.

This isn't how their story ends.