Discovery/Recovery/Reconciliation by TransmuteJun
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Joe stood on the grass, in the darkness, his mind preparing for what was to come. He glanced at his teammates from the corner of his eye. Ryu shifted impatiently from one foot to the other, while Jinpei squirmed with nervousness, and tugged at his collar. Ken stared stoically into the distance.

Joe’s skin itched. The tux he wore was uncomfortable, but on this day it didn’t matter. What mattered, was what was about to happen.

His mind drifted back to that day… was it only a month ago? The day that Leader Z had been destroyed. It had been a close call for all of them. He and Ken had barely made it through, and they had all returned home in silence, contemplating their own mortality.

As they approached what was left of the Gatchaman Base, the spur-of the moment proposal had burst forth. Right there, on the bridge of the Gatchaspartan, on bended knee… from the heart… and Jun had been overwhelmed. She had readily accepted, and the somber mood had been lifted.

And now the day had arrived. Jinpei kept constantly checking the rings. As best man, he was responsible for their safety, and Ryu had already threatened him with bodily harm, if they should get lost.

The first edges of pink and silver began to show across the horizon, and then the light of dawn broke.

Jun appeared at the edge of the lawn. She had timed it perfectly. The rays of the sunrise set her eyes and skin aglow with color. Her hair floated behind her, like a gossamer cloud,he creamy satin and cloth of gold that comprised her gown flowed elegantly across the grass. Her bare toes peeping out from under her dress gave her the look of an ethereal faerie, made flesh for this magical moment.

She wore no veil, so Joe could see her in her full glory, coming toward him. He gulped nervously, stunned by her ingenuous beauty. It was obvious that she had never been happier in her entire life, and her joy overflowed to those around her.

She was perfect.

As she came closer, Joe looked into her eyes, and saw the radiance and peace reflected there. He was amazed by the intensity of her love. A lump began to form in his throat.

Jun stepped up to the ceremonial platform, fingers outstretched. Her groom took her hand, gently leading her to the Justice of the Peace.

Joe stood quietly, as Jun and Ken said their vows, against the backdrop of the brilliant morning sky.

His change of heart had come too late.

‘Jun’s happiness is all that matters. Jun’s happiness is all that matters.’ He repeated the mantra in his mind. In the end, all he had ever been trying to do was assure her happiness.

Mission accomplished.

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