Okay, screw me for coming up with a story involving an Athrun x Lacus pairing, but I couldn't help it, ayt! All cannon pairings are good ('cept for Athrun x Cagalli... Sorry, but I don't really like 'em together!), but I must say Athrun x Lacus is still the top of my list. I don't care what you think, guys, but I don't want to see anyone complaining about this. You can grumble, and be mad, and TOTALLY want me dead (especially now that I've said I HATE the AxC pairing, though I know it's the most demanded one), but PLEASE KEEP IT TO YOURSELVES! I don't flame anyone who likes the canon pairings, and I don't get all frenzied whenever I'd see an AxC fanfic, so please be fair enough to me and DEAL WITH MY ODD PREFERENCES! I can take constructive criticisms, of course, but flaming me just because they don't like what they're reading is just out of the question.
To make it shorter, if you don't want it, then don't read it.
…Thank you very much.
Disclaimer: Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED is a certified property of © 2002-2004 SOTSU AGENCY · SUNRISE · MBS… Happy now?
Song 01: Alone
Silky pink locks, slightly ruffled and tangled, were combed with trembling fingers as Lacus Clyne sat up from her bed. Dried tears stained her pretty face, yet she made no motion to remove them. Instead, she repositioned herself on the divan and hugged her knees close to her chest.
Outside the Eternal, another battle seemed to be taking place. A surprise attack from ZAFT, maybe? But Lacus didn't care. She didn't want to have anything to do with it right now. Someone could fill in for her as captain, but she wouldn't be bothered about who it would be. All she wanted for now was to be left alone. She needed it, and she was sure everyone could understand why.
The room she was in was surprisingly dim and quiet. Haro wanted to play and had left the room earlier, but she didn't take the trouble to follow it. She just couldn't, because she wasn't in the right condition.
Her whole mind was swarming with so many thoughts that were all too painful to forget. It made her head throb sorely and her body hurt badly that it was just like being trodden by something heavy. Yet her face held no traces of discomfort or whatsoever at all. It was as if she had immunities, but that would obviously be impossible.
Her crystal-blue eyes, once full of life but now devoid of any emotion, stared into nothingness, and her lips, which used to emit the angelic singing voice that was dearly loved by all Coordinators back in PLANT's, were pursed into a thin line. She paid absolutely no heed to the way her long, pink hair clung messily around her small body, and as a few minutes passed by, she still didn't make any efforts to move from her spot.
True, it was very unlikely for the usually lively songstress to act as inertly as this, but it was inevitable. Despite being a high-class Coordinator and greatly demanded pop idol in her nation, she was still human after all. She could act dubiously at some point, especially after helping out an enemy, being branded as a traitor by her own planet and learning that your father was killed by ZAFT soldiers.
Truthfully, she didn't expect herself to react like this either. She had always believed that she was a strong girl, but she was proven wrong not too long ago.
When she helped Kira escape with the Freedom Gundam, she was already aware of the consequences that would befall upon her soon after. But she wanted to help him, and she wanted to do the right thing for once. She just never expected that the outcome for her would be this hard. Of course, she did her best to endure them all, yet her endeavor still didn't seem enough, for when she got reunited with Kira and the Earth Forces, she suddenly felt like she couldn't take it any longer.
"Papa… Why did you have to go…?"
The barriers in her heart that she had tried so hard to build had crumbled down in a split second as soon as her eyes met his, and all of a sudden, Lacus found herself crying in his arms for as long as she could remember. It was sincerely kind of him to stay there and comfort her, but it seemed that she still hadn't finished weeping all her grieves out, and as tears began cascading down her smooth cheeks once again, she leaned her forehead on her raised legs and resumed sobbing quietly.
"Please… Take me with you…"
In her sixteen years of living, Lacus Clyne had never imagined having her heart to be scarred as painfully as this. She felt like a weak and fragile girl who wasn't capable of doing anything at all. But more importantly, for the very first time, she felt empty and miserable.
"Don't leave me here all alone…"
"Is everything all right, Athrun?"
Blinking, Athrun Zala came back to his senses with a jerk as he felt a firm hand suddenly settling itself on his left shoulder. He raised his head to look at the caller, and found himself staring back at Kira Yamato's amethyst-purple eyes.
"K-Kira," he acknowledged, his voice almost a whisper.
"Hey, you okay?"
He nodded his head absentmindedly, partly wondering how the Freedom pilot had gotten inside the Justice with him, yet soon dismissed the thought as he realized that the cockpit was actually open.
"Of course, stupid… How else would he be able to enter?"
Shaking his head, he removed his seatbelt and proceeded to get out of the Mobile Suit with Kira following him. There was evidently no gravity in the area, so he had to glide his way outside the vessel hangar, and as he finally landed on the metal floor of the entry, he took off his helmet, revealing his sleek, midnight-blue hair.
Even with his eyes closed, he could still sense his friend walking to him from behind, and as the sound of his footsteps stopped, Athrun took this as a gesture to turn around and face him once again.
"You were pretty spaced out back there. Is there a problem, Athrun?" Kira's voice sounded quite tentative, and the anxiety and concern that he felt for the former ZAFT soldier was etched on his young face. He had never seen Athrun this troubled before, and he couldn't help but question the reason behind his currently disturbed state.
"It's nothing," he shrugged, yet Kira didn't seem convinced by his answer. He was looking at him intently that it was already making his eyebrow twitch, but he refrained himself from telling him. He didn't want to burden him with any more problems.
"We're friends, you know," Kira suddenly said, leaning his back against the wall as he folded his arms to his chest. "Despite everything, we still remain friends. And friends tell, because they trust each other, right?"
If it wasn't for his good control of impulse, Athrun's confused reaction would have been apparent on his face by now. He hadn't really expected a reply such as that coming from the young man standing before him, and from the way his emerald-green eyes cringed at what he said, it evidently caught him off-guard.
Kira was right though. Despite all that had happened, they were still friends, but he couldn't bring himself to smile on that one. The phrase was just too sappy and cheesy for him that it already sounded like it held another meaning to it.
He raised one eyebrow in suspicion. "What are you trying to pull, Kira?"
"Nothing," was the lad's instant counter. He kept his gaze locked on his bemused companion as he put a hand on his head, flattening his brown hair. "I'm just telling you, my friend, that you have to loosen up a bit sometimes. Having things bottled up inside of you tends to make you look older, you know,"
Athrun didn't say anything and merely mimicked Kira's earlier action, resting casually against the wall opposite him. There was a long moment of silence between the two, as they did nothing but to keep eye contact with each other, before the blue-haired pilot finally decided to take the initiative to speak first.
"Fine," he surrendered, sighing. There was just no way that he could win against this guy.
Walking toward the changing room, he took a seat on one of the chairs inside, and after making sure that no one else besides them was around, he inhaled deeply and continued.
"It's about Lacus," he revealed as he bowed his head down, midnight-blue bangs covering the uneasiness shimmering in his emerald orbs.
For a moment, a saddened expression came across Kira's features at hearing the young songstress' name. It made him remember how hard she cried in his arms a few hours ago when the Eternal docked at Mendel, and he had never imagined it to be very heart-breaking to the point that it would also affect him greatly. When he escorted her to her room, she seemed to be back to her old, cheery self, yet he was certain that her smile was merely a façade to hide the pain that must still be in her heart. He couldn't help but worry about her, but he didn't expect that Athrun would as well.
"But of course! They have one of those strong bonds, after all…"
Dismissing himself from his thoughts, Kira returned his attention back to the chap sitting beside him, and was just in time to hear the next of his words.
"When I was operating the Justice a while ago, I thought I heard her voice," he told him thoughtfully. "It's really weird, but I heard her inside my head…"
"W-well, what did she say?"
Instead of answering, Athrun made a face and rubbed his forehead. "I seriously can't remember. But don't you think it's stupid?"
"That I'm worrying over such things,"
"Worrying over your wife-to-be is not stupid, Athrun," Kira's voice retorted almost immediately, the firmness of his tone causing the other lad to turn to him in bewilderment, only to perceive the grim and distressed look on his face. The whole area seemed to tense at the brown-haired youngster's sudden outbreak, yet Athrun wasn't affected by it at all.
"She isn't my fiancée anymore," he corrected calmly. "My father broke off our engagement as soon as he found out about her doing concerning you and the Freedom,"
Another uncomfortable silence ensued.
"…She wanted to end the war," Kira whispered, his amethyst-purple eyes looking thoughtfully at the floor below him.
"We all do," Athrun stood up and headed towards the exit, stopping a few inches from the door.
"No. Athrun, she wanted me to end the war,"
"By letting you take the Freedom?" A frown worked its way on his usually composed image, fists tightly clenched as he faced Kira. "That's a whole lot of bullshit,"
"What's that supposed to mean? Ending a war is not all that easy!"
"But it doesn't always have to be this way, Kira!" he snapped, glaring at his brown-haired companion. There was a brief pause before he continued. "There are other ways to end a battle, yet she chose this one," He stared uneasily at the floor, his emerald-green eyes dancing with an unexplainable emotion. "And now, she's completely broken by it,"
Kira remained silent and merely stayed still on his seat.
"I've known Lacus to be a confusing girl who seems to always act according to her own will without thinking," He faced the door yet again. "She got way overboard this time,"
No other words were left spoken after that final sentence, and Athrun took this chance to leave the place, without even bothering to change from his space suit. He walked silently in the Eternal's hallway and made his way toward his room, while Kira was still inside the changing quarter, left alone to ponder the last words he told him.
Lacus tucked a single strand of her pink hair as she walked around the deserted corridors of her captained supply ship. It had been approximately seven hours since the last surprise attack from the opposing alliance, and she was pretty certain that the Eternal was on its way back to Mendel by this time.
Stopping in her tracks, she turned to look at her own reflection on the glass porthole before her, only to find a pair of puffy, red eyes staring back at her. She didn't even realize how long she had been crying until she felt her eyes already hurting, and it had already been a good while since then. She couldn't help but let out another sigh.
"Is this what it really feels like to be alone…?"
Everyone was gone, or so she claimed. Everywhere she went, there was no one in sight, but that was probably because they were all resting by now. It had been quite a tiresome event after all.
Yet, that wasn't the notion that she had been worrying about.
In her room, Lacus had contemplated about many things. She thought about her parents, her career, her fans, her diplomatic lifestyle, and even her engagement to Athrun Zala. She was a lucky girl, being able to live as grand as a princess, and she had always believed that it would stay like that forever. Sadly, it didn't. It all happened much faster than she'd ever expected.
From a famous and wealthy pop idol, she had turned into a loathed traitor in just a quick flash.
And now, she was all alone.
Nowhere to go to.
No one to turn to.
"I wish… I wish Papa just took me along with him…"
Staring thoughtfully into space, tears had started forming at the corner of her eyes once again, yet she merely wiped them off with the back of her hand.
She had had enough.
She didn't want to suffer anymore.
She didn't want to be alone.
She couldn't live like this, and so, she had decided.
"Papa… Mama… I want to join the two of you… Please wait for me…"
Lacus knew it was selfish of her to even think of such a thing, and probably many people would consider her as shallow and hate her, but she herself wanted to do this. She didn't want any more pains and torments; she wanted peace, and if this was the only way for her to achieve it, then she would go for it.
"Forgive me, everyone…"
For the past few hours, Athrun had been doing nothing but to lie down on his bed and stare wistfully at the ceiling suspended above him. He couldn't sleep, given that his earlier talk with Kira had left him greatly upset and partly because he was still bothered about Lacus. Sighing heavily, he shifted his position, folding his arms behind his head as a pillow. The restlessness he was feeling now was much harder to deal with compared to his confrontation with the ZAFT Forces earlier, and as he closed his eyes, he tried to rid himself of those troublesome thoughts, but was apparently unsuccessful.
Don't leave me here all alone…
Hearing those words made him open his eyes again in an instant, and he felt himself scowling as he remembered Lacus saying them inside his head. Even now, he still hadn't figure out how that happened, which vexed him even more, but he knew that it sounded adequately unpleasant to make him assume that something seemed to be wrong with his former fiancée.
With this, Athrun felt fear and tension surge through his entire body, and it made him have a sudden urge to visit the pink-haired girl in her room. Lacus Clyne had always been a strong and amiable character to him, but that didn't mean he didn't find himself worrying over her at times. He wanted to see her and make sure that she was still safe; that way, he could at least ease his mind from some things. Looking after her had been his silent obligation ever since they first met, and even without the betrothal, he wasn't about to drop his sole duty to her. He couldn't, especially in her current state.
Another soft sigh escaped from Athrun's lips. He was about to get up from his bed when the door to his room suddenly opened, and out of surprise, his first impulse was to lie back down. He thought it was stupid, yet before he could even realize it, his body had already moved on its own. He eventually decided to play along with it, since it was already too late for him to make another action.
"I'm not in the mood to have a chat with anyone anyway," he thought, closing his eyes. "If they think I'm asleep, maybe they'll just go away and leave me alone,"
There was a moment of silence before his midnight visitor finally decided to speak.
"So you're already asleep too, huh? Just like Kira,"
Upon hearing his guest's voice, Athrun's eyes almost flew open. "La-Lacus?" He felt her weight on his bed and her hand reaching his, yet he tried to act indifferently about it. He didn't want her to know that he was actually faking his slumber.
"You and Kira did well in the fight earlier, you know? I didn't actually see it, but I know it. I have faith in the two of you," Lacus' voice was on its usual cheerful and pleasant tone, yet the young pilot wasn't the type to be easily fooled. He couldn't fully grasp it, but there was indeed something different with the girl.
"Hey, Athrun? I want to ask you something," She caressed his hand, playing with it with both of hers. "Please don't get mad at Kira,"
"What? What are you talking about?" Athrun mentally questioned, as if she would be able to hear it and answer him.
"I know that you're still angry because I let him have the Freedom, but please don't take it out on him. He didn't do anything. It was my entire fault,"
He heard her exhale deeply. "Maybe it was out of compassion that I helped him out or I'm just really fond of him, but I know that deep inside my heart, I wanted to end the war, and I wanted him to do it for me," She squeezed his hand. "Using that Mobile Suit,"
"I know that there are other options. You're constantly telling me that,"
"Yeah, I always did, huh?"
"I was foolish to think that I could put an end to it like this. I'm very sorry, Athrun," She placed his hand on her smooth cheek, and the young man tensed as his calloused skin contacted with hers. He felt his pulse raising as he realized that this was actually his first time to lay a hand on her face like this, yet he refrained himself from reacting any further. "I know that I've disappointed you greatly, but please don't get angry. You have already forsaken me, much like the others, and I believe that is already more than enough punishment to me,"
Noticing the slight twinge of sadness in her voice, Athrun partially opened his eyes to look at her. He could see her still smiling as she removed his hand from her face, an indescribable emotion dancing in the depths of her crystal-blue orbs.
"Being alone is very hard to contend with. It makes you feel so lonesome and empty; I couldn't get used to it at all," she sighed, completely oblivious to the pair of confused emerald-green eyes silently watching her as she stared at the hand she was holding. "You know, you were always protecting me with these strong hands, and I'm very thankful for it. I'd never felt so safe and secured in my whole life,"
"What are you trying to say, Lacus?" He furrowed his brows.
Lacus entwined her fingers with his. "Athrun, if Mr. Zala hadn't cancelled our engagement, would you still stay by my side and continue watching over me, despite everything I've done?" she asked, her voice starting to quiver. "If so, I wouldn't be feeling alone like this, because I would still have you, right?"
From the way his eyes widened in shock, heeding her words obviously caught the blue-haired youngster off-guard. He didn't see that one coming, and for once, he was thankful that he followed his first instinct of pretending to sleep. He didn't know what he would answer to her otherwise.
"But that would be asking too much now, wouldn't it? I don't deserve such a thing; I don't deserve you, Athrun," She squeezed his hand for the last time before placing it back on his chest. "But I'm glad. I'm glad because I was able to meet someone like you. Getting betrothed to you was an honor, and I will never ever forget it,"
"Why are you saying all of this?"
"Please take good care of yourself, okay, Athrun? I wouldn't want you to get hurt," She leaned closer, and it took Athrun almost his whole strength to maintain a straight expression as he felt her breath brush lightly against his face.
"Thank you for being one of the most important people in my life," she whispered, and pecked him gently on the cheek.
Nothing but complete silence followed after that, and as he sensed Lacus exiting the room, he breathed a sigh of relief and opened his eyes, revealing a pair of emerald-green orbs shimmering with so much worry and confusion. His heart was still beating intensely at the brief kiss she gave him, and he sat up, feeling weak and uneasy all of a sudden.
"Wha-What was that all about…?"
Athrun put a tired hand on his creased forehead, feeling his brain about to burst because of too much thinking. He heaved out a tired sigh, slumping his shoulders lazily, and that was when it hit him.
Mouth agape, he stood up, eyes dancing with mixed emotions. He felt as if a huge lump had formed itself inside his throat, making him unable to speak, and he was too taken aback by his sudden realization to even know when to stop keeping his breath and start breathing again.
Don't leave me here all alone…
Being alone is very hard to contend with…
I'm glad I was able to meet someone like you…
Please take good care of yourself, okay, Athrun?
Thank you for being one of the most important people in my life…
"N-No…" he choked out, feeling the air finally come back to his lungs. "Hell no…"
It was all clear to him now, the way she was acting strangely and why he had been hearing her voice inside his head lately. It didn't make any sense to him at first, but now he knew. At last, the final piece of the jigsaw had been found, and the whole puzzle was irrefutably complete.
Scrambling to his feet, a combined feeling of what seemed like irritation and anxiety flared up in his veins as Athrun went for the door. He didn't know where she was currently, but he wanted to believe that he would find her. There was simply no other option for him but to do so, if he wanted to save her in time, that is.
"I won't let you make a fool of yourself, Lacus… I can't let you have your way this time…"
January 10, 2005
Yo! Before you press that purple thingy down there and sue me for making everyone quite OOC, lemme tell y'all that I intend to do that. This ficcie is a darker take to Lacus' persona, after all, which means that such instances can't be avoided. I mean, we all know that Lacus is a naturally cheerful girl who is always seen with a smile on her face, but anyone who had just experienced what happened to her would surely be put into the same situation… right? And Athrun? I think he's still the same guy. He'd known Lacus for a long time now and even got betrothed to her, so it's quite believable that they've made a bond with each other. It's also not questionable that he's pretty concerned with her… though not romantically, of course.
BUT! This fic is about the two of them. This is my take on what'll happen PRECISELY after the 42nd episode, and since I wrote MY, it obviously means that I intend to get the ex-fiancées together again! XD
Okay, a little explanation about the plot. To avoid further confusions and yada-yada's…
From what happened to her in the original series, Lacus was EVIDENTLY deeply hurt. Of course, she does! We all know it, I mean, with the way she cried in Kira's arms while telling him about her father's death, right? There, she moved on. But here in my fic, she'll dwell on those events more before moving on. She'll have lots of contemplations and second thoughts about life; she'll start to doubt herself and everyone… Eventually, she'll start to lose the will to live any longer, and THIS is where Athrun comes in. It'll be just like Kira x Lacus, only Lacus is Kira (the wounded) and Athrun is Lacus (the healer)… getz? O.o
I want to explain my point further, but that'll be spoiling the whole story, so I'll just shut up now. X.x If anyone is reading this and has any comments, suggestions or questions, don't hesitate to drop me a review, aytz? I'll definitely be answering your every query in the next chappie… if you want to have one, that is. Whehe… Yoroshiku onegaishimasu, minna-san! XD
If there are some things written here, which are wrong and completely out of place, please bear with me, peepz! TT I'm not a Gundam freak to know everything there is to know and I also haven't finished watching the complete SEED series yet. I'm only relying on Cartoon Network… err…
-- Lots of hugs and kisses to my beloved beta reader, BEAVER! Thanks a bunch for helping me pull this off! XD --