Moments: Jack and Rei
This is a piece of amateur fiction and not intended to infringe on the copyrights of Bandai or any other copyright holders. No profit is being made.
Rei Fukai, Jack thought as he read Captain Foss’ latest complaint, probably was the Japanese word for trouble. Or maybe for mystery. It certainly was no term one would ever use to describe a calm and uneventful life.
Cooley had made it plain that all pilots who flew the AI-enhanced planes were expected to undergo regular psychological check-ups with Captain Foss from now on to ensure that the interaction with the AI had no adverse effects on them.
And Rei had made it equally plain that he was not going to endure Foss under and circumstances and that the mere idea that Yukikaze could be bad for him was complete and utter nonsense.
Which once again left Jack caught in the middle between his commanding officer and his pilot and lover, having to run interference an try to find a solution to the problem. So far he had managed to assign Rei important tasks whenever Foss had scheduled a meeting, and he was working on making Rei see that maybe, just maybe, Foss was just remotely correct in thinking that Yukikaze had some kind of influence on her pilot.
So far his efforts had been met with limited success. It was only a matter of time until Foss recognized a pattern – if she had not already done so – and simply snatched Rei for her tests without announcing it beforehand. And Rei so far seemed thoroughly unimpressed by Jack’s request to at least consider the tests.
The whole situation made Jack wonder whether this was going to result in the first case of insubordination since Rei’s transfer to the SAF. He fervently hoped that it would not – it would mean that Rei did not trust Jack’s judgment any more than that of his previous commanding officers, people Jack considered to be narrow-minded and inflexible. But in this case he could not help agreeing with Cooley to at least some extent. Yukikaze was having an effect on Rei, that was undeniable in his eyes. What Jack wanted was a reassurance that whatever influence the plane had on his lover, it was not harmful to him. It troubled Jack that Rei deemed contact with Yukikaze and his relationship with Jack to be enough social interaction.
Sighing softly, Jack glanced at his watch, then reached for another mission report. He had asked Rei to see him in a few minutes, and he knew that his lover was going to be punctual. Rei always was when it was Jack who asked, which had come as a surprise at first. Later Jack recognized it for what it was: a sign of respect which hardly anyone received. Foss was forever complaining that Rei was late, if he bothered to show up at all.
Exactly ten minutes later there was a knock at the door, and after a second Rei peeked inside, stepping into the office when he saw that Jack was alone.
Jack gave his lover a smile, forcing the troublesome thoughts into a distant corner of his mind for now.
Rei came to sit on one of the chairs in front of Jack’s desk, a somewhat wary look on his face. OF course he knew why he was here; there were no impending missions since Yukikaze was being equipped with a new engine, so the only issue that warranted an official talk in Jack’s office were the tests.
"Captain Foss has reminded me that there are still some… medical concerns about you," he said, skipping any small talk since he knew that right now he would have to supply both sides of the conversation. Usually he did not mind, but he knew that if he did it now it would only add to Rei’s impatience.
"No, Jack." Rei gave him a stubborn look. "There is nothing wrong with me, and there is nothing wrong with Yukikaze.
Jack thought of the results of the psychological tests Foss had performed on Yukikaze and how the plane had appeared to be frightened, and later determined. This was definitely something that needed further attention.
"I know. But if you let her do those tests, then she is going to stop bugging all of us about it."
The look Rei gave him plainly said that his lover had trouble believing this.
Jack sighed. "What do you expect me to do?" he asked.
Rei remained silent.
"Rei, could you not just…"
"Jack." Grey eyes met blue. "Yukikaze is not bad for me." Rei sounded almost offended that someone might think badly of his plane.
Jack looked at him, saw the seriousness in his eyes, his belief that nothing harmful could ever come from Yukikaze. He wished he could be as certain about it himself. None of the other pilots had shown any irregularities, and AI coding used was the same in all planes. So if anything showed on Rei’s tests, it would be an exception, and anomaly. Jack had more than once caught himself wishing that it would be so, since it might mean that Rei would not be able to spend as much time with Yukikaze and would spend more time with him. It was a treacherous thought, but its presence was as undeniable as the jealousy he felt towards Yukikaze sometimes, when Rei once again devoted more time to the plane than to him.
Jack sighed again. Jealous of a plane. If Foss ever found out about this, he’d never hear the end of it.
"Jack." Rei sounded insistent now. "Trust me."
"It’s not that. I simply would like to be certain…"
Rei frowned. "You do not trust my judgment," he said quietly.
"It’s hard sometimes to judge whether something you do is going to be harmful or not," Jack countered, ruefully glancing at his still bandaged hand. "As I had pointed out to me a few times lately."
Rei’s eyes followed the direction of his glance, and an almost-smile hushed across his face.
"Fly with me," he said.
"What?" Jack stared at him for a moment, not quite certain what Rei intended with that suggestion. He had ridden in the backseat with Rei before, back when the younger man had been assigned to Boomerang Squadron and he had needed to know how good his new pilot was. But never since.
"Fly with me," Rei repeated. "And watch. I don’t trust Foss’ judgment. But I trust yours."