A/N: This is my very first fic. It takes place after the Gatchaman Bitter bird Missle Episode.
Special thanks to Blue Jay Angel for her guidance, input and support.
The silence was deafening on the way back from the mission. She had just killed someone close to her heart. I just killed Koji... the words rang true over and over again in her mind...all of those beautiful memories... The impact of the last seconds of his life, suddenly shattered like fine glass over and over again before Jun. Each time it was the same. She saw him, she could've saved him. All she had to do was reach out and catch him. But again and again she was reminded she was the very one that shoved his fragileness to the edge.
She stared blankly at her computer screen as they flew home in the GodPhoenix. She kept picturing Koji smiling back at her as he rode by her on his motorcycle. They had shared so much, their love of motorcycles, walks on the beach, picnics at the park, a first kiss...
Jinpei whispered to Ken, "I'm worried about Sis." Ken nodded in agreement and walked toward the idle swan. "You alright, Jun?" He rubbed his chin as he regarded her. Her slumping posture and swollen red eyes told him that things wouldn't be normal for her, or for the rest of the team for a long time. She was the glue that held the team together. He had realized this when she had been taken by the Jigokillers. She needed his support right now, just as she had given him unconditional love and support many times before. Her eyes remained downcast as she choked out, "I'll be fine."
After returning home, things didn't improve. Jun and the others strode silently back to Dr. Nambu's place to file a report on the mission. As they walked, Ken placed a hand protectively on Jun's shoulder. "You want me to fill Dr. Nambu in on the details? Why don't you go and get some rest. You look tired."
"Okay," she whispered quietly, eyes still brimming with tears.
She knew she wouldn't be able to sleep at a time like this. Instead, she slipped out to the poppy-covered hill behind Nambu's house to have some time alone. Lost in her thoughts, she was unaware many hours had passed.
Ken knew she needed someone to talk to...and that he needed to be that someone. However, he was unsure about how to approach her. He didn't feel comfortable discussing feelings...especially where Jun was concerned. Washio, this is ridiculous, you can kill Gallactor goons and blow up Katse's mechas...but you can't talk to Jun? He finally plucked up the nerve to approach her.
"Ahem..."She heard someone clearing their throat behind her, it was Ken. "Hakase made dinner, if you're interested..."
"Thanks, but no thanks, Ken , I don't seem to have an appetite." Jun looked up and tried to give a reassuring smile, but it didn't work.
"Y' know, sitting up here all alone will probably make it worse, would you like some company?" Ken repeated the words he had heard from Jun not too long ago when his father had died.
Her eyes remained downcast. She didn't reply, only glancing up for a moment and motioning for him to sit down.
"Sometimes this job turns out to be a drag, huh?" Ken sat down next to her and gazed out at the sunset over the sparkling water.
"How...how exactly did you know Koji so well?' Ken stammered, he wasn't sure if she was ready or willing to talk. He picked up a pebble and tossed it into the water.
"I met him in the orphanage, he taught me, and later Jinpei, some of martial arts moves to protect ourselves...which is how we ended up on the team...eventually..." She fidgeted as she spoke, unsure of how much she should reveal.
"So, you didn't see him again until...recently?" Continuing to scan the horizon, Ken avoided looking her directly in her eyes. He didn't want to seem too interested in knowing about Koji and Jun' s relationship.
"Well, a couple of years ago, Koji came into the Snack, and we caught up on old times...I kept it a secret, because, well... just because..." Jun blushed , she realized that she had kept it a secret because she didn't want Ken to think she had a boyfriend. She wanted him to believe that she was saving herself for him, only, if the opportunity arose. It didn't.
She decided that since Koji was gone, there wasn't a secret anymore. It would be ok to confide in Ken a bit more, just to see his reaction.
"Koji was a stunt rider, and we spent a lot of time together on our bikes..." She glanced sidelong at Ken.
"He was my...boyfriend...for a while..."
"What happened? Did he disappear?" Ken was curious.
"Well, you know how it is, with the team and everything, we just couldn't continue...I explained to him that I couldn't pursue a serious relationship, at the time."
"What did he say?"
"Then, he disappeared...until..." Her eyes glistened with tears again, and Ken took her by the hand.
"Listen, Jun, I'm always here for you no matter what..."He kissed her sweetly on the forehead.
"Hey, how about joining me for a late dinner? I know you're not hungry, but will you keep me company?" He knew she couldn't refuse if she thought she was helping him out.
She smiled. "You know, to work so closely together, we really don't know each other as well as we should..."
They held hands as the walked into the house.