-Unnamed Island, Earth, Three Weeks Later...
The sun was a giant orb of golden yellow that did not sting the eyes as it sank lower and lower towards the horizon. The light reflected brilliantly upon the waves of the blue ocean, lapping gently upon the sea. Waves formed, died out, and then reformed as they pushed across the ocean's surface. Some waves ran out of room and smashed into the rocky cliffs that stood between them and the nearest shoreline, spraying salt water onto the rock that dripped back down into the ocean and reformed as part of new waves. This never ending cycle only ceased when the gentle waves reached the sandy beaches of the small island. It was an ordinary island, situated in the middle of the Pacific. It had no name and nobody really wished to give it one because it would give it an identity. The people who called this island home had no wish to give the island an identity because that would spoil the life they had just begun to live.
There was only one building on the island. A moderately sized home that looked as peaceful as it was. It rested just on the shoreline, staring out at the beautiful sea just beyond its doorstep. On that shoreline rapped the tiny feet of children as they scampered across the sand, playing whatever gleeful game that their young and innocent minds could come up with. Their cries of happiness and pure glee could be heard all over the beach and inside their peaceful home as well. Inside, children scavenged the house for anything that would grasp their attention and make them fill up with happiness. The sounds of their tiny feet chiming against the hard wood floors was amplified to the sole individual sitting quietly in the chair beside the small radio in a small room at the rear of the house. The Reverend Malchio, blind ever since birth, smiled to himself as he listened to the children's happy cries of glee as they played on this lovely evening. He also paid close attention to the radio that was blaring next to him. His enhanced senses, due to his eye condition, allowed him to listen to both sets of sounds at the same time.
He heard the children calling out to one another. "Let's play! Let's play!"
"You can't catch me!"
"I've got you this time!"
"Come on! Come on!"
He heard the radio announcer's calm voice as it read out the day's news. "Good evening. Our top story this evening, the peace talks between the nations of the Earth Alliance and the PLANTs have officially begun this afternoon. A cease fire had been declared by the commander's of both sides after the devastating losses suffered during the battle in space three weeks ago, now being officially referred to as the Second Battle of Jachin Due, but formal peace talks had not begun until this afternoon. The Earth Alliance delegation is led by General Woodrow Bradford of the Eurasian Federation and one of the senior commanders during the battle. His counterpart from ZAFT is interim Supreme Council Chairman Eileen Canaver, who is being treated as the leader of the PLANT nations until a formal election can take place sometime in the coming months. Chairman Canaver took over as leader of the PLANTs after the former Chairman, Patrick Zala, was killed during the horrid battle three weeks ago..."
Malchio's enhanced sense of sound picked up the pitter patter of feet slowly walking towards him. He smiled. The little girl was holding a cup in her tiny hands and extended it up towards him, completely unaware that he knew she was there. "You know you didn't have to get it for me," Malchio said kindly to the girl.
"I wanted to," the tiny voice replied.
Malchio accepted the cup of warm tea in his firm hands and smiled down at the girl. "Did Miss Lacus make it?" he asked.
"Yes, Reverend Malchio," the girl answered. "She's in the kitchen with the little ones, right now."
With a splattering, mushy sound, the spoonful of food was tossed down to the floor, splatting on the hard wood at the feet of the person standing by the sink, gazing at the sun as it dipped lower and lower on the horizon. Lacus smiled to herself as she heard more splattering as food was tossed about the kitchen. "Now, now Cassandra," Lacus' cheerful voice said to the young girl. "You're not supposed to play with your food, you know. The little ones follow your lead."
The little girl called Cassandra immediately had a pouting expression on her face and she folded her arms angrily. Lacus turned away from the window and walked over to the small table where three children, Cassandra included were snacking on post-dinner leftovers from earlier that evening. The other two were also girls, not older than three. Lacus scooped one of them up in her nimble arms and smiled down at the food stained face. "What am I going to do with you three?" she asked the little one as she wiped the child's mouth with a wash rag, revealing the child's innocent face to the pink haired princess. The child's smile made Lacus' heart warm up inside of her. As she watched the young girl's smiling face, Lacus could not help but feel a profound sadness in her soul. Sadness over the young children who would never be able to smile again...never be able to play again...never be able to feel anything again. The war had taken so many lives, including countless children just like the three before her right now. They would never truly comprehend what had happened during their short time here in the universe and that was saddening. They never had the chance to live life past their innocence. Such a waste...
A stamping sound turned Lacus' gaze towards the hallway just to her left and she saw Reverend Malchio slowly hobble in with his cane acting as a support for him, along with the little one hanging on his arm. "Good evening, Reverend Malchio," Lacus said quietly.
"How are you feeling, Miss Lacus?" Malchio asked kindly. "The little ones aren't giving you and the young man too much trouble are they?"
Lacus sighed happily. "Not a single one," Lacus said, a blatant lie. "They're little angels, Reverend. It only makes me feel more out of place here. You were so kind to take us both in...but I wonder if we really should be here..."
"You and the young man are more than welcome here, Miss Lacus," Malchio reassured her kindly. "The more help I have here, the better. The children love having you two around here as well. Am I wrong?" he asked the little ones.
"We love you, Miss Lacus!" one of the young girls cried out. Lacus smiled down at the little one. Her short words had made her feel better now.
"Where is the young man at this time, anyway?" Malchio asked. "I haven't heard him all evening ever since dinner."
"He's outside, Reverend Malchio," Lacus informed him. She turned back towards the window that overlooked the porch and sea beyond. "He told me...he just wants to think for now..."
Malchio nodded his head in understanding. "Why don't you go and see if he's okay," he suggested. "Your chauffeurs will be here any minute, I suspect."
Outside, the breeze blew gently onto the front porch of the house, overlooking the beach and ocean. It tousled the trees surrounding the rear of the house, blowing their leaves about. The leaves had regrown since the spring was now in full bloom on the island, situated in the southern hemisphere, by the way. The sunlight reflected directly into the violet eyes of the man sitting in the small swing on the porch, staring out into nothing in particular. Kira's brown hair was picked up gently by the breeze and blown about, but he didn't seem to notice. His mind was elsewhere. It couldn't even be found on this peaceful island in the middle of nowhere...so different from the life he'd lived for so long already. This was paradise for him...but his mind wasn't here at the moment. It was somewhere else...the battlefield.
"I just want to help out somehow..." Kira saw Tolle's Skygrasper exploding in front of his eyes again...taking his friend's life in the blink of an eye...
He saw Flay's shuttle...him saving it with the Freedom's shield. He saw the funnel blow the craft apart and take her life... "So please...don't cry anymore..."
Kira felt his own pain...the pain he'd felt in the final moments of battle...just before he'd... "You even helped bring this about, Kira! And yet you still fight by their side...!" Rau's voice echoed in his mind...his last words to Kira...before Kira had stabbed him with his beam saber...
"It's beautiful isn't it?" Kira slowly turned his head to his left to see Lacus slowly coming towards him, her beautiful face a sign of the peace that had finally been brought to the world. Kira said nothing to her as she sat down gently next to him on the swing. Kira turned his face back towards the sea. Lacus noticed his pained expression. "Kira...?" He didn't answer. It was then that Lacus knew. Knew what had happened to Kira yet again. "You had another dream, didn't you?"
Kira paused. He heard the voices...the voices of his friends...his enemies... "Yes..." he said quietly. Lacus could hear the pain in his voice as he spoke to her. Kira held his head up high, gazing out at the sun getting ready to set. "I see them in my dreams...the people...who have died...and who I've killed. I hear their voices...their cries as they...died."
His voice trailed off. Lacus gently laid a soft hand on his shoulder, which she could feel trembling beneath her touch. No tears came from Kira's eyes however. "There wasn't anything you could have done, Kira," Lacus said kindly to him. "You did your best...that's all that matters."
Kira let his head drop just an inch. "I broke my promise to you Lacus..." he whispered gently to her. "I told you I wouldn't kill in hate again...but I didn't keep my word." Lacus squeezed his shoulder gently in a gesture of compassion that reminded him that she was there for him. "I killed him Lacus...I killed le Creuset. I knew what I was going to do...but I couldn't stop. I was...hurt...by what he'd done...to me...to all of us..."
"I know, Kira," Lacus said softly. "It's okay...really it is." Kira turned his face to stare into her blue eyes as she continued. "As far as my mind is concerned...you kept your promise to me." Kira was confused. "You said you'd do your best to end the war...and you did. You ended it the best way possible...both sides are still there to see it at the end. Yes you killed again...but there's nothing you can do about it now. Besides...would any of your friends want to see you mourning them all the time when you should be happy that you've survived to carry on their legacies...?"
Kira didn't say anything at first. He just stared into Lacus' deep blue eyes full of compassion and peace. Her face began to change form...becoming that of Tolle...and then Flay. They were smiling back at him, telling him that it was okay. That they were okay. Kira felt his heart start to pull itself back together for the first time in weeks. And for the first time in weeks...he smiled. "No," he said quietly. Lacus' face reemerged and smiled back at him.
At that moment, a faint buzzing sound caught both sets of ears. The wind began to pick up as the buzzing grew louder. Both Kira and Lacus looked up to see the shadow slowly descending down towards the house and beach. The blades above the craft were slowing down as it came lower and lower still. Lacus stood up off the swing and pulled Kira slowly up with her. The craft touched down on the sand gently, kicking up a dust storm as its blades slowly came to a halt. The transparent hatch swung open at the front of the craft and a figure stood up inside of it. His blue hair blew about in the breeze and his green eyes reflected in the sunlight. Another figure was sitting beside him, her blonde hair matching the sun's beauty in every way. Athrun called out to them, "You two ready?" Lacus nodded her head in response as she and Kira began to make their way towards the waiting craft, arm in arm, hand in hand.
"The peace summit between nations of the Earth Alliance and the PLANTs officially began late this morning in orbit above the Earth on the ZAFT warship Andromeda where the delegates from both sides are meeting at this very moment in time. The Earth Alliance head representative in the peace talks, Eurasian General Woodrow Bradford, has been joined by representatives from both the Atlantic Federation and the Republic of the Far East. Media coverage of the historic talks has been barred for security matters but our cameras were allowed into the meeting room for a short period of a few seconds to sample the atmosphere inside being shared by representatives from both nations."
The announcer's voice on the television set was startlingly calm as he spoke his words to the viewing public watching the magic box from home. The screen altered from an image of a mighty ZAFT Nazca warship to a large meeting room where about ten individuals were situated. Five from ZAFT, five from the Earth Alliance. The screen zoomed in on the ZAFT side first, the easily recognizable faces of Eileen Canaver, Yuri Amalfi, and Tad Elsman coming onto the screen. On the other side, the camera zoomed in on the faces of Woodrow Bradford and Johannah Pharris. Each face and pair of eyes depicted the same emotion. Utter seriousness and hostility that was still shared by both sides even as the negotiations for peace opened. The friction was still there as the naked eye could plainly see and it would likely still be there throughout the negotiations.
One individual was personally transfixed by the image playing out before her. She sipped gently at the drink in her hands and put the cup back down on its saucer so that she could watch the news report further. "As you can see both sides are still displaying imminent hostilities towards one another, but both sides have assured the other that the cease fire that was declared at the end of tragic battle at Jachin Due three weeks ago would not be broken while the peace negotiations were underway. Any hostilities towards either side would be interpreted as a work by forces not under the control of the opposing side. Despite fears among the people of the PLANTs that Blue Cosmos was still operating under the Earth Alliance's control, head representative General Bradford issued a statement saying that any Blue Cosmos member or supporter who is found to be operating in restricted areas around the world or in space would be detained or killed immediately. Jan I don't know about you but in my opinion with someone outside of the Atlantic Federation in charge of the peace negotiations, though it still will take quite a while, we stand a better chance of hammering out an agreement between both sides that will finally end this war once and for all."
"That we can all be thankful for, Horace, thank you for the report." The image on the television transferred back to the head news anchor, a young woman of about thirty years old. "Continuing on with our coverage of the peace talks in space, this was the scene earlier today when the delegates of the Atlantic Federation, the final delegates to arrive for the negotiations, arrived on board the Andromeda." The screen showed a group of four, well dressed, stately individuals with sour looks on their faces stepping off of a shuttle and onto the ZAFT warship's deck. "The Atlantic Federation had been at first hesitant to attend the peace negotiations out of suspicion that ZAFT had not declared the cease fire it said it had." The individual watching the television huffed through her nose at those words. Everyone including her knew what to expect from the Atlantic Federation given their actions during the war. "But enormous political pressure applied by both Eurasia and the Far East finally brought them to the peace tables," the announcer continued. "General Bradford, shown here with his son, Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Junior Grade Cooper Bradford, was asked for his opinion on the Atlantic Federation's response to the peace talks. In a statement released today, the General said quote, 'We brought them here kicking and screaming...but the important thing is that we brought them here.'"
Those words were uplifting and relieving to Murrue's ears as she watched the news report. She sat on the sofa in the small house she had been able to secure when the Archangel had returned to Orb a few weeks earlier. She was still searching for a location where she would be able to live permanently, but until that time came, Cagalli had assured her that this house would be for her living needs. To tell you the truth, Murrue couldn't remember a time when she felt any better than she did right now. The war was over...it no longer beckoned for her to fight it. She had no worries about what would happen the next day should another battle break out, that was all over for her. She'd been able to wear civilian clothes again for the first time in ages. Simple clothes, a pale red, long-sleeved blouse and black skirt, so much more easy on the eyes than the severe white of the military uniform she'd been wearing ever since she could remember. They felt so much better on her than her uniform did, a sign that peace had finally come about in the universe. The drink in her hands was warm to her touch and its sweet taste tickled her lips when she tasted it. How wonderful peace was indeed.
The announcer's calm voice continued to speak on the television. "Our other top story tonight, the return to Orb of the crew of the Orb warship Kusanagi after their long ordeal in space."
"They made it back, finally?" a voice called out to Murrue. She turned her face behind her to take in Mwu's casual face and innocent smile as he looked down on her from behind the sofa. She smiled back up at him. He too had taken to peace life in an easy going way. The t-shirt and jeans he sported were a welcome change in her mind, but she still loved him with the same passion she had when they'd first kissed on the Archangel, so long ago.
"So it appears," she said in a tired voice as he came bounding over the back of the sofa to sit beside her, bouncing the springs of the sofa as he landed, causing Murrue to bounce up in the air on her own. She smiled at him. "Do you always have to do that?"
"I like the feel of being able to sit on a sofa again," he admitted. "Makes this peace thing seem a whole lot better."
The television screen had changed to show an image of the shipyards on the country's eastern coast, where the main hull of the Kusanagi was shown docked. A figure came bounding down the steps of the exit ramp and into the embrace of a strong individual who held her for dear life. "The first off of the warship was Morgenrate Chief Engineer Erica Simmons, shown here reuniting with her husband and son after a long absence. The crew of this ship has survived some of the most traumatizing events in the entire war. During the Battle at Jachin Due three weeks ago, a mobile armor crashed into the bridge of the warship and took the life of the Orb Fleet Commander, Admiral Fernando Cantarii, along with half of the bridge crew. Out of 750 men and women aboard, 98 were killed during the course of Orb's war in space. None of the crew displays the scars of what the war put them through than the ship's Captain, Robert Jackson, who lost his right eye when the mobile armor smashed into the bridge." The massive figure of Captain Jackson emerged from the open hatch of the ship, a black eye patch in place of the socket where his right eye should be.
Murrue felt Mwu's arm slip around her shoulder and she snuggled closer to his form on the sofa. "As for the other warships in the Orb Fleet their whereabouts remain a mystery. Both surviving vessels of the original Orb Fleet have returned to Orb, but as for the two others, whose identities are as of yet unknown, nothing remains to be found. It's as if they just disappeared."
Mwu couldn't help but chuckle. Disappeared they had alright...hopefully that is. "If they only knew, huh?" he asked Murrue in a whisper.
"Yeah," she said quickly. "Hopefully we won't have to worry about anything like this again..." She gently laid her autumn colored locks onto his shoulder, pressing against his form. "Never again."
Mwu tilted his head to his left so their heads were touching gently as they held onto one another, as the news broadcast played out in front of them. "So when to we tell everyone?"
"About what?" she asked him innocently.
"You know what," he said casually.
Murrue couldn't help but smile. Yes, she did know what. Her gaze slowly moved to her left hand. More importantly, the diamond on her left ring finger that he had placed there. Mwu had taken it upon himself to get her a ring as quickly as he could when they returned to Earth and he had kept his word. He had placed it on her finger just three days previous and it still felt a bit strange to Murrue, but all of that evaporated when the diamond winked brightly at her. She brought it up to her face and gazed at it in wonder. "It can wait," she said at last. "We'll tell them soon. We're meeting everyone tonight anyway, so..."
"Do you know why Cagalli asked us all to be there?" Mwu asked.
"Not a chance," Murrue answered. "If she went through all the trouble though...it must be something important." Murrue set her cup down and smoothed the fabric of her skirt with her hands. "She called together everyone that went here after we landed so..."
"So everybody's gonna be there..." Mwu said casually. His blue eyes met her brown ones and he smirked. "Do we really have to be there? I mean...we're only two people...there's probably going to be a lot of us there..."
"Mwu," Murrue said tensely. She smiled back up at him and soon their lips were locked together, kissing each other intensely.
Between kisses, when the need for air arrived, they would each offer a suggestion to the other. "Could say we just forgot," Mwu said.
"Something came up," Murrue put in.
"Old friend came in from out of town," Mwu suggested.
"That's not going to work," Murrue reminded him plainly.
"Yeah, I know," he answered, leaning in for another kiss.
The seconds dragged on and finally the kiss ended, both of them starved for breath. They stared into each other's eyes, lost in the fullness of the opposite pair. Finally Mwu shut his eyes and sighed heavily. "We'd better go," he conceded.
"Yes," Murrue said. "They'll be waiting." He helped her up off of the sofa and onto her feet. "I'll admit, even I'm still finding it strange to be living in a nation like Orb."
"Same here. I'm still not used to just wearing a t-shirt outside in the middle of November," Mwu said casually.
Murrue giggled at his humor, which still sucked by the way, but she didn't let him know. She opened the door to the outside and turned back to face him as she stepped out. She touched his chest gently with her index finger and whispered, "We can get back to business tonight, love." She smiled up at him and spun on her heels, leaving him in her dust. Mwu stood staring at her retreating form and then shook his head in dismay. He let out a long, slow whistle and thought, And I thought my adventures were over. Quickly, he followed her outside.
-Later that evening...
Cagalli's mind began to race. The time was getting closer and closer. Her friends had begun to convene on the spot she had indicated for them all to meet. She had arrived with Athrun, Kira, and Lacus just about twenty minutes earlier. Now she could also see Andy, Sai, Miriallia, Commander Barkhesh, and Lieutenant Badgiruel had arrived as well. She glanced at her watch once again and saw the minute hand had crept ever closer to its final destination. The location was on the shore of a small lake just a few miles from Orb's eastern coast, a good distance away from any of the nation's major cities, who also would be included in this display of celebration. Cagalli had wanted all of Orb to witness the spectacle tonight so she had ordered letters be printed in the local newspapers and bulletins on the local newscasts, but she left out any indication as to what was being planned. She wanted it to be a complete surprise. So far, nobody had said anything to make her believe that it had been blown.
She saw Andy sitting on the small grassy knoll on the edge of the lake and asked him yet again if things would be ready. Andy glanced casually at her strained face and chuckled. "Stop worrying, Miss Cagalli," he told her lightly. "He'll be ready. Have you ever known Stevy to be late for anything, especially this?" That didn't stop Cagalli from letting out a long sigh of anxiety.
Near the back edge of the grassy knoll, Frank leaned against the side of the bench that Natarle sat squarely on. They made no attempt to even seem as if they cared that the other was there, which was what they'd decided on doing until the day came when they would have to tell everyone about them. They could see the younger kids talking amongst themselves a good distance away, which was good, because they were not in any mood to want to have to deal with the younger ones right now. They had no clue what was in store for them tonight. They'd just have to wait it out, no matter how much they raised the question to one another why they had even bothered coming.
"It hasn't started yet, has it?" came a soft voice from behind them.
Frank shook his head in response and answered, "Nope sis, it hasn't." Natarle stood up off of the bench as Frank turned around to welcome Murrue and Mwu who had also just arrived it seemed. He and his sister shared a warm hug and then Frank and Mwu shook hands. Murrue also wrapped Natarle up in a friendly hug that the younger woman returned. The quartet hadn't been able to see one another very much since they had arrived in Orb, so they were glad to be able to see one another now. "You have any clue what's going on, Mwu?" Frank asked his friend.
"Pfft. Not a chance," Mwu answered frankly.
"What I can't figure out is why Cagalli brought us all the way out here?" Natarle put in. "We're practically in the middle of nowhere."
"We'll find out soon enough," Murrue reminded them all calmly. "I'm sure it will all be worth it...somehow," she added lightly.
Meanwhile, Athrun stared out at the single road that led up to the lake. He was waiting for someone. Someone who he had asked to be there tonight, just so they could see each other one last time before they had to leave. So far, there was no sight of them. "Is he coming?" Kira asked his friend from behind.
"Can't see him," Athrun answered. "If he's coming I know I'd recognize him."
"You sure you told him the right place and time," Miriallia asked. "Because if you didn't it's likely that he won't show up, even if he was going to in the first place."
"He'll be here," Athrun said blankly. "I know he will."
"How's he getting here anyway?" Sai asked.
Just then the rumbling sound came from a short distance down the road. Athrun recognized it. He was here. "That way," he said plainly. A single, bright headlight led the way as the roaring increased to a crescendo and then ceased as the motorcycle stopped on the edge of the road behind the grassy knoll. Sai, Athrun, and Kira wandered down towards it just as the rider dismounted and pulled off his helmet and ear plugs. "Thanks for coming, Dearka. Didn't cause you any trouble did I?"
Dearka snorted. "Not a chance, like you could ever give me trouble."
Dearka set his helmet and ear plugs onto the seat of the motorcycle and popped the kick stand down to stabilize the bike. Sai glanced at the silver chrome logo on the front of the bike. "A Harley?" he asked inquisitively.
Dearka shrugged. "Hey, I took what they gave me."
"You gettin' rid of it?" Athrun asked.
"Hell no, I'm taking this baby back up to the PLANTs tomorrow," Dearka said. "No way in hell I'm givin' this up."
At the top of the knoll, Lacus watched with a smile as the boys chatted all around the motorcycle. "What is it with guys and shiny things that go fast?" Cagalli wondered out loud as she came beside Lacus' form.
Lacus turned her head and smiled at the other girl. "Some people would compare it to a flock of insects being drawn to a bright light," she said lightly. "They're fascinated by its beauty and can't help but be drawn to it. The only difference is that in this case they're less likely to end up dead."
"You never know with guys like them," Cagalli pointed out.
A few more minutes passed and still nothing happened. The individuals gathered on the grassy knoll had come together all across the parts of the knoll and stood watching the skies above them. Kira and Athrun had moved beside Cagalli and Lacus sitting on the edge of the lake. "There's a lot of stars out tonight," Kira observed. "It's so clear."
Athrun agreed. "You never really notice how beautiful they all are until you see them like this."
As the stars winked above them all, Andy checked with Stevy to make sure that everything was ready. "About another minute everybody!" he told them.
"You went to England?" Miriallia's voice was calm as she and Dearka walked together on another part of the grassy knoll. "How was it? Was it as beautiful as the magazines say?"
Dearka looked at her with a strange look on his face. "You think I spent my entire time there on the Thames and hanging with the Queen up on top of Big Ben? Give me a break, I only went there to give the sword back to Mrs. Swanson."
"Geez, sorry," Miriallia retorted. "I was only asking, you know."
He sighed uneasily. "Yeah, I know, I'm sorry." He shrugged his shoulders and added, "What gets to me is that she told me to keep it."
"Mrs. Swanson. She told me to keep the sword as my own...she didn't need it," Dearka told her. "Don't understand why...I thought she told me to return it when the war ended..."
"She did, Dearka. And she also told you to bring it back once you brought peace to the world," Miriallia reminded him. "Maybe she was trying to tell you something else...something that mattered more to her than a piece of metal."
Dearka paused. Then a smile crept across his face. "Yeah, you're right. She was pulling my strings the entire time, trying to get me to push for peace harder than I ever could have."
Miriallia smiled up at him. "So are you heading back to the PLANTs?"
"Yeah, that's where I belong," Dearka said. "I mean...this country's beautiful and everything...I would love to be able to make my living here...but...that's not me. My home is in the PLANTs...with my family. I still owe it to them to do my best and keep them safe. Plus, let them know that I'm alive really."
"You're right..." Miriallia told him quietly. She turned to face him and said, "But do you have to leave so soon? I mean...you couldn't stay at least another day...just so you could say goodbye to everyone properly...?"
Dearka looked into her deep blue eyes and sighed. Then he smiled. "I've got all the time in the world really. So I suppose I could hang around here for a little while."
Miriallia smiled back up at him, but then a whistle rang out. "Andy get it going!" Cagalli ordered him.
"Stevy, we're ready!" Andy shouted into his phone.
"With pleasure," Stevy's voice boomed on the other end of the receiver.
"So what's the big surprise?" Athrun asked her.
"Isn't it obvious?" Cagalli smirked. "Stevy set it up, after all." Athrun paused and then it hit him straight in the head.
A few miles away, on the bridge of the Archangel, secluded in an abandoned area, Stevy typed in the commands to the ship's weapons console. "I've been waiting to do this my entire life," he told himself. With the war over, Stevy had found another perfect use for the Archangel's Gottfried cannons. "Let there be light!" he shouted and he pressed a button.
A loud, booming roar cascaded across the nation as the ship's Gottfried guns unleashed their fury. As their shots soared into the sky, they exploded in bright streams of blue, red, white, and green. Fireworks exploded in the sky above Orb in a brilliant display of color and light, a celebration of the peace that had finally been brought to the land. All across the nation, citizens stopped in their tracks and gazed in wonder at the show playing out in the night sky.
But nowhere was the sight more beautiful than on the grassy knoll where the individuals who had been through the worst parts of the war were gathered. Nearest to the lake were Kira, Lacus, Athrun, and Cagalli, sitting on the grass. Lacus leaned next to Kira with his arm loosely draped around her. Cagalli laid her head on Athrun's shoulder and held it there. At the top of the knoll, Andy, Sai, Dearka, and Miriallia watched in wonder. Mwu and Murrue stood side by side, watching the colors explode above them in the sky. Slowly, Mwu draped his arm around her waist and held her close to him. She snuggled her head against his shoulder and returned it.
At the back of the knoll, Frank sat back down on the bench next to Natarle and watched with a wide eyed gaze at the fireworks exploded before his eyes. Nothing was said for a long time. Then, Frank felt her lay her beautiful head against his left shoulder and sigh in happiness. Frank smiled and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, holding her close to him. They stayed like that for a while before Frank finally said, "So when do we tell 'em? About us?"
He could feel Natarle smile beside him. "Who cares? We'll tell them someday," she said casually. "By the way...did you see what your sister had on her finger?"
Frank nodded. "Yep, I saw it. Kinda hard to miss," he admitted, referring to the diamond ring that was on his sister's left ring finger. He smiled. "I'm happy for her really...for them. They deserve one another really...perfect match."
"Yeah..." Natarle whispered. "What do you think will happen now, though...now that we've come this far in time?"
Frank shrugged. "Who knows? We'll cross those bridges when we come to them...may end up getting you one of those diamond's in time too." Natarle turned her face to his and smiled. Her violet eyes met his brown ones and gleamed in the fireworks that continued to light up the sky above them. They kissed shortly and sweetly before she laid her head back onto his shoulder and they watched the show play out in the sky above them, the stars winking down upon the world.
That was the highlight for the people of Orb during that terrible year of Cosmic Era 71. The people there had endured so much...attacked out of cold blood...the loss of many of their citizens in two cowardly attacks. But they persevered...the nation did. It was a prime example of how determined and strong those people were. The people of Orb were well represented by the individuals who fought for the nation...and the universe. All those brave souls aboard the small force of six ships that had beaten the odds and brought peace to two sides that had come so close to annihilating one another. The survivors returned home to Earth...the legacies of those who payed the ultimate price for peace remaining with them. John Namora...Fernando Cantarii...Uzumi Nara Athha...Niada Barrington...Hugh Swanson...Jay Haas...Asagi Caldwell...Juri Wu Nien...Mayura Labatt...Wayne Lapina...and all the others who had sacrificed themselves to preserve the peace that the world so desperately needed. Their sacrifices were not in vain...the people who were saved by their selfless sacrifice...would never forget them...and would go on to make their own legacies in life...
Although the Earth Alliance and ZAFT had begun peace negotiations...a treaty written in stone would not end the war until the following summer...signed by both members from the nations of Earth and the PLANTs...ending the long and bloody war. Millions had payed with their own blood...but now the war was done...complete...finished.
General Woodrow Bradford became the leader of the Eurasian Federation after the war. His people had suffered badly from brutal attacks, not to mention food and energy shortages. With Bradford at the head, Eurasia pushed onward and her people survived. He was joined in Eurasia by his son Cooper Bradford, one of the freedom fighters who had helped to bring peace back to the world.
Eileen Canaver served as chief representative for the PLANTs during the peace negotiations and served as Supreme Council Chairman until the next elections were held in Cosmic Era 72. In her brief time in command, Chairman Canaver issued pardons to the three individuals who had assisted the Orb Forces and Clyne Faction during the Second Battle at Jachin Due...Yzak Joule...Dearka Elsman...and Athrun Zala. Yzak and Dearka returned to the PLANTs and ZAFT. They both reentered the forces in order to protect their homelands in Cosmic Era 72. That year the voters elected a new Chairman...Gilbert Dullindal. Although she had been defeated, Canaver stayed on the Supreme Council, voted in by the people...as were General Yuri Amalfi and Representative Tad Elsman.
Three months after the battle at Jachin Due, Mwu la Flaga and Murrue Ramius were married in a private ceremony on Orb's western coast...attended by only a few scattered individuals from the Orb Forces. They remained in Orb in secret, hiding from the Atlantic Federation that still sought to find them. Stevy Barrington returned to his home in Australia, where he lived under an alias and took up a new career away from the fighting...a year later he released his first single to the popular culture, White Wedding. Like the others, he hid from the Atlantic Federation and remained in Australia for as long as was necessary. The same could be said for Frank Barkhesh, Natarle Badgiruel, Sai Argyle, Miriallia Haw, and Andrew Waltfeld, who also remained in Orb after the fighting had ended. They stayed there...and made their living there...
Cagalli Yula Athha took over as the heir of Orb in December of Cosmic Era 71, taking her late father's place in command. With her face as a beacon of light, the country pushed on into the new year with a new dedication to keep the peace that had been brought to it. Cagalli also enlisted the help of her bodyguard...Athrun Zala...to assist in the re-mending of ties between Orb and the other nations in the universe.
Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne made a home with the Reverend Malchio, taking care of the orphans who inhabited the island with the good Reverend. Nothing indicates that Kira ever disclosed the information about his past...where he had come from...who had made him...but that is only what appears. It is likely that Kira told Lacus and the others who he fought beside the truth...but that remains to be seen. That doesn't matter though. What does matter is that because of these individuals...these few individuals...the object that is most sought out by every human spirit and soul on the planet and space...peace...had finally been achieved. Their long and tiring journey was over. From Heliopolis to Alaska. From Cuba to Argentina. From Gyndana to Jachin Due. The journey had taken them on tedious paths...dangerous fights...and unforgettable memories. It was a story of courage...a story of dedication...a story of brotherhood...a story of strength...a story of mankind. Truly...undeniably...this was...a story of heroes...
AN: Well, that's it. It's finished...one year...one complete year it's taken...but it's finally finished. Sorry if the epilogue's a bit disappointing, but that's how I wanted it to end.
To answer a question that many of you have been asking, this story of heroes was something that came to me last summer...I had the basic outline of what would happen in my mind ever since that time. I've added little things along the way...but this was the basic story outline I had in my mind when I started writing last August. It's been a long journey, but I'm glad I did it.
To all of you, IMBSA, REDKC, DEATHZEALOT, RED AND GOLD PHOENIX, SHINJI IKARI, PCHU, SEIGI-SAN, LITHIUMFLOWER56, JAZDIA-SAN, ANGEL OF DREAMS, ANGEL BLOSSOM, and anyone else I've forgotten, I say thank you. Thank you for your support and suggestions all these long months. Once again thank you.
Oh and by the way! To end on a positive note...for those of you that asked about a possible sequel...A SEQUEL IS UPCOMING! But...I want to wait to see how DESTINY ends, so the sequel will have to wait. In the meantime, I should be coming out with a new story soon...featuring the main characters from SEED. Just to warn you, this new story will be almost a direct opposite to this one, just fair warning. Yet again, THANK YOU!