Eventually, Mwu has to face up to the ramifications of his decision at Alaska, and the question becomes unavoidable: now what?
Timeline: After the first half of GS phase 36
Summary: Eventually, Mwu has to face up to the ramifications of his decision at Alaska, and the question becomes unavoidable: now what?
When the hue and cry had been more or less settled, the Archangel - for lack of any other possible destination - set sail for Orb. Mwu took enough time to see to the Skygrasper, and to give Kira a clap on the shoulder, but then he headed straight for his own quarters to get some rest - "before anything else happens," he joked to Murdoch, who acknowledged it with a half-laugh and a grimace. Everyone's ears are still ringing from the Cyclops.
But in the dim not-quite-silence of his cabin, surrounded by the familiar and barely-audible hum of the ship's engines, he found rest frustratingly slow in coming.
He lay on his back on his bunk with his hands folded behind his head and stared up at the ceiling, feeling drained and wide awake at the same time, and lacking, for the first time since he'd made the decision to go back to the Archangel, anything to buffer him from the sense of being set suddenly adrift.
Stupid, pointless, unavoidable question. Now they would make for Orb, and rely again on Morgenroete's good graces for repairs and supplies, and most likely throw in their lot with Kira and Kira's impressive new mobile suit and whatever notions Kira had about trying to keep ZAFT and OMNI from killing each other in droves. Now he'd defend the Archangel and the Archangel's captain and crew for as long as they needed defending, which had after all been the whole point of throwing away a sterling career as an Earth Alliance pilot. And when the war was over - if the war was ever over--
--no good. "After the war" was an impenetrable fog. Mwu had never been much for trying to predict where his own life was headed; a soldier didn't have to, when there would always be orders and assignments and deployments. "Home" wasn't a place, it was the structure of the military itself... which had worked just fine for more than a decade, but now the military had betrayed him and he'd burned those bridges with a vengeance, left the ashes scattered over the dusty crater that was JOSH-A.
And he couldn't quite regret it... but he couldn't sleep, either.
He had the unreasonable urge to go see if the captain was still on duty or if maybe she, with her talent for navigating by intuition in spite of orders and regulations, had some clear sense of direction to offer. But even if she wasn't still on the bridge - and she was bound to still be on the bridge, taking up the slack in the absence of a proper first officer - now wasn't the time. He'd thrown away his own career willingly and with eyes wide open; Murrue had taken full responsibility for the entire ship's desertion onto her own shoulders. She had better things to worry about.
Well, he thought, Orb's military could probably use another pilot... assuming there's anything left of Orb when it's all over with.
A hesitant tapping at the door of his cabin derailed that cynical train of thought. Mwu pried himself up out of his bunk to answer it, and when he slid the door open he found himself both vaguely surprised and strangely disappointed to see one of the kids from Heliopolis - the nervous one - Buskirk - standing there with an armload of folded laundry.
The kid held the stack of uniforms out to him. "The captain told me to bring these to you," he said. "She said you'd probably need them since you left your bag in Alaska."
Mwu blinked at him.
A beat passed before he grinned and took the stack of clothing out of Buskirk's hands. "Thanks, kid."
He only half heard the reply; when the kid retreated down the hallway, he slid his door closed again and stood contemplating the neatly folded uniforms for a while.
Worrying about silly things isn't like me at all, he decided, and moved to put the things away.
This time when he stretched back out on his bunk, he drifted off easily, lulled by the faint whisper of the ocean against the ship's hull and a comfortable feeling he didn't quite have a name for.