11 years before present day
"Well, great. Sun, desert, and everything..."
Shiro sat on a bench looking out towards the setting sun.
Valerie sat next to her.
"Mojave is so beautiful, huh?"
The duo stared out at the sunset.
10 years to present day
Shiro had moved (or more exactly, her FBI dad moved his family)
"So, how's things goin'?"
"Okay, same here."
"You know, you're the only girl I know that can hold, load, and shoot a rifle, pistol, or just about everything in the army."
Shiro blushed at that.
"Yep, I did fire a T34/85 once"
"You was the gunner on a T34?"
"I'm on my school's tankery team. Hey, I get to, right? I'm the commander, though?"
"You are now the commander of a Soviet medium tank."
"Then, how come was you the gunner?"
"We did jack of all trades. I did loading, aiming, driving..."
"And how well did you?"
"Sniper kill at 4000+ meters, loading 75mm rounds in 1.5 seconds, drifting off roaded, and to top thaf all off made my cree sick."
"Really. They should add like 'tanksick' to those who get sick on a tank,"
"Anyways, you've got strong arms. 75mm shells are heavy motherfuckers, I tell you."
5 years to present
The wind blowed past the ships in the river as the setting sun illuminated the Chicago skyline.
Shiro sat on a pier facing the river that the Windy City was so well known for.
Joseph sat next to her, his gaze fixed on the ships.
Shiro kept a dreamy gaze fixed to him the whole time, as his hand held her's.
"Nice evening, huh?" he said with his cowboy tongue.
"Sure, especially with you around."
Shiro snuggled up into Joe's body and the two remained there, arm in arm.
A/N: This begins the rough part. No less.
Play really sad music at this part.
And I'm fucking serious.
Where our American friend's life changes forever.
Shiro's father entered the car, and reversed out.
"I'll be home soon, my girl!"
As he reversed out, Shiro suddenly felt something. Something bad. Really bad. Turning about, she was suddenly interrupted.
The explosion rocked the entire neighborhood, throwing everyone to the ground.
The place where the car used to be was now nothing but a flaming wreck.
The rain fell on the area as the family members assembled for the funeral. Shiro stood there, her face without a shred of emotion as she just stood there in the rain without neither raincoat nor umbrella.
That day, her life changed forever.
Her father had died, died to a bomb planted underneath his car. A black Carmy. She remembered it all, every single detail of it. Her two younger sisters stood red-eyed as opposed to Shiro being completely like someone eyeing a wall. Emotionless.
Cold. Without a shred of emotion at all. She had completely run out of emotions to portray her feelings. She had completely broken down on that day, all the way to the night, and since then, she was gone. Gone. Gone forever, replaced by a cold, emotionless, stoic outer shell which offered no view inside.
Cold, emotionless. That was her.
Shiro didn't respond.
"Shiro?" Joseph called again putting his hand on her shoulder.
"Joe?" she said at last.
"How's it feeling?"
Shiro kept her back turned.
Joseph said nothing for a while.
"You're taking it too hard, Shiro. Your father is dead, and he's dead, and he isn't gonna come back anytime soon."
Shiro trained an eye on him.
"Your father is waiting," continued Joseph,
"Up yonder. Move on. He moved on, and now your job, is to keep his legacy," he continued.
"People don't die when they die. They die when they're forgotten."
Turning around for the first time, Shiro saw something different. The ghostly form... of her father. Her deceased father.
A tear dropped from her eye. Then another. And another.
Joe simply held her in, and she simply buried herself into his chest, tears wetting his navy uniform.
The sound of a 7,62mm rattling off a wall echoed across the warehouse.
Shiro lifted her head over from her cover, before letting a three-round burst from her MA37. Good thing she knew how to shoot a rifle.
Joseph was also pinned down, popping up every once in a while letting off a burst of 5,56 from his own AR-15.
After they had taken down the last enemy, Shiro slung her rifle on her back, and then froze.
Joseph was lying on the floor, blood pulsing from his wounds.
She immediately fell to his side.
Joseph then raised his hand towards Shiro's. Taking her hand, he nodded.
"Shiro... I've always loved you. I have."
Shiro held his hand tighter.
Just don't die, Joe. For God's sake, don't!
"I promised myself... that I'll make you happy," he continued.
"But all journeys come to an end. And I know that my end has purpose. I'm sorry for leaving so soon," his voice trailed off,
"But to know life, one must know death. Simple as that."
No, no, no, no way!
"So goodbye my darling. And if there's a life after death I'll be waiting for you there."
Joe's hand then slowly loosened, and fell limp to the ground, and his eyes closed.
The ticking clocks.
Fate had a nasty and unpredictable way if repeating history for its own enjoyment. After all, only a few months ago, Shiro had been in this same bench, this same hospital. This same corridor in front of the ICU.
After some time, the doctor came out.
"I'm afraid... that I'm the bearer of bad news," he said.
Shiro didn't flinch.
She didn't blink.
Nor did she move.
But, she felt like she was slammed full in the gut by the full force of the MACs commonly seen on UNSC ships, yes, the nasty 600 ton slugs at 40% lightspeed.
"Excuse me?" she demanded.
"Fate is sometimes cruel to us," the doctor said.
"I'm sorry, Miss Tsubasa. We could've done better, but fate often decides otherwise."
Wait. Wait. What. What the fuck is this?
"I'm sorry, Miss Tsubasa. Terribly. You have my condolences."
He was speaking in the tone that Shiro would infer as one having built it up after a few years of giving people bad news. Warm, caring, and apologetic, while simultaneously carried cold, detached, and disinterested.
The sheer weight that suddenly hit her was like a brick to the gut.
No. Fuck that up, fuck that organization, fuck everything!
Brushing past the doctor, she made her way through into the ICU. Brushing past doctors, machinery, equipment, and junk, she made her way to Joe's bed.
Except that Joe wasn't alive.
And right then and there, reality hit home.
Realization dawned on her, and as continued denial had become an impossibility, she has no choice but to accept the truth.
Which hit her like a MAC salvo to the gut.
Anger, depression, and acceptance all slammed into her like a full-on MAC barrage, and she collapsed to her knees, tears flowing freely with the only person she can depend on ever, gone.
I should've written more, but a series of events kept me to. so, yeah, sorry for that.
On second note, we have a cameo from Valerie Woodlin, from "Dust Devils: A Girls und Panzer Story", by AAHW.
I highly reccommend that you check it out. Kinda yeah.
Next chapter continues Shiro's story, and likely Miho. Two weeks later.
IMPORTANT NOTICE:"Dust Devils: A Girls und Panzer Story", by AAHW, is already at 500K+ words. Good luck.