Title: Oddity (Interlude)
Rating: PG or K+ (pretty tame)
Fandom: Gundam Seed
Summary: Kira takes a much needed break and confusion and tension begin to mount.
Warnings: AU, confusion…er…lack of updates…yeah…
Disclaimer: Gundam Seed and related characters, words, etc. don't belong to me. The story does. Don't steal.
Author's Notes: I'm not dead! I promise!
I'm so sorry it has taken so long to get something up; my anime inspiration has pretty much dried up. If no one is still watching this story, I totally understand.
Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be updating seriously any time soon either. I WILL finish this story. It won't be as long as I originally thought, nor will the ending be quite so massive, but I won't permanently discontinue it so long as I am still able to write. I posted this as sort of a status update for any readers. I'm also putting up a Halloween story that's about three years old (yeah, I know it's pathetic but I wrote it in November and I've forgotten about it at Halloween every year after), and an interlude in Nicol's New Fate, both with about the same message. I might get one up for Experiment but I don't have it now so, if I do, it won't be this weekend.
I hope you enjoy this little interlude; it doesn't have much of an effect on the story but it's what my midterm-fogged brain came up with.
A gentle breeze rustles through the canopy of the evergreen forest, transporting the sharp, heady scent of conifer leaves into the open air. Situated on a graduating slope at the foot of a mountain, the trees are of remarkable width, nearly as old as the hills themselves and a tribute to the life they house.
The soil is kept fertile by insects and small invertebrates living in the loose topsoil, preyed upon by small mammals scurrying through tracks in the loose loam and leaf litter. Larger animals roam nearby, serene and almost calm during this season of plenty. Meters above the bustle of mammals, the first limbs stretch out, some nearly as wide in circumference as saplings. This is the next level of habitation, with feathered creatures darting in and out of knotholes and small nests of twigs and down nestled in the forks of branches. On occasion, the slumbering form of a feathered, nocturnal predator can be spotted among the deep shadows. Even rarer would be a glimpse of the smooth scales and flickering tongue of an egg-stealing reptile, feasting off the bounty of the nests.
One particular tree is of interest. It is a monster even among its brethren and situated at the very center of the forest. In its youth it probably contributed to the growth of the forest; who knows how many of the now-elderly trees were once its sapling offspring?
But that is not its most interesting feature.
On a limb nearly at the top of the tree, one that extends above the canopy of the younger trees and provides a view of the entire valley beneath the mountain, stands a young man.
His violet eyes are half lidded as he scents the breeze rising from the forest, absorbing the clean smell of spices and evergreen with a dash of fresh water from a spring nearby.
As there is no one else nearby, he has allowed himself to fully relax. His hind claws are half extended into the bark of the limb while his lion's tail swings gently behind him, keeping him balanced and steady. His chest is bare and wings as long as he is tall stretch out from his shoulder blades, flexing in a way they rarely get a chance to. It is a pity that they are so often hidden; the dark brown feathers are beautiful. They shine where the sun hits them head on, reflecting deep violet.
The sight is mesmerizing, as if a fairytale creature has stepped out a storybook and into real life.
But, as beautiful moments are wont to do, this one does not last long. The young man snaps to attention when some shrubs rustle in the distance, pricking his ears in the direction of the sound. It is a familiar person; not a threat but not someone he wishes to reveal his secret to. He aims a final longing glance at the open air so close at hand but resists the urge to spread his wings and soar away; in this close proximity, he would definitely be seen.
Instead, he folds the limbs close to his back and dons the shirt he had formerly been clutching to his chest. Then he fully extends both fore and hind claws and begins the long climb to the forest floor.
He can't help but consider how much easier it would be just to soar down on the thermals, to feel the wind ruffling his feathers…
That thought is cut off as soon as it appears. Trying to fly among trees is dangerous for any avian, more so for one with such a large wingspan. If he tries to fly among these trees, he will be lucky to break only a wing and he knows it.
When he is halfway down the trunk, he pauses to give his fingers and toes time to rest. His claws might be strong but they were evolved to be of use in low trees or in hunting on the ground, not in climbing two hundred meters straight down.
"Kira? Kira! Where are you?"
His ears snap to attention, startled at the voice. Not because it's unfamiliar but because the setting is so far displaced from where he expects to find its owner.
The human finally manages to spot Kira, hidden high in the shadows, and approaches the big tree to lean against it, panting to regain the breath lost in running up the mountain.
"Athrun?" Kira descends a few branches but his natural caution towards humans outweighs the anxiety he feels at his friend's appearance. "What's wrong? Has something happened?"
"I…there was this dream." He sounds uncharacteristically embarrassed and Kira's trepidation grows.
"Yeah…there was…I hurt you, Kira." His eyes are wide and mournful as he looks up and Kira feels a bit comforted. That's Athrun, alright.
"It's alright, Athrun." Kira descends a few more meters but no further. Something is wrong...this situation doesn't feel right.
"Yeah, I know." He looks even more embarrassed, now that he has gotten over his fear. "Sorry to bother you. I just…"
"Had to make sure you were okay."
"I'm fine." Kira gives Athrun his best approximation of a smile, despite the sinking feeling in his chest. Athrun is human, he shouldn't be here. Something is very, very wrong.
"How did you get here?"
Athrun's puzzled look makes Kira's tail twitch in embarrassment. It isn't a very good question.
"No, I mean…well, you're human."
"Humans don't come here, Athrun. They never have. That's why it's safe."
"Humans aren't safe?"
As Kira opens his mouth to respond, Athrun steps backwards behind a nearby tree and vanishes completely from sight, hearing, and scent.
The surge of shock snaps him violently awake.
Kira sits up with a gasp, feeling the mental and physical scars from the past few days settle, and looks wildly for the human that played a pivotal role in his dream. Athrun is standing about five meters away, on the other side of a plastic barrier and facing the opposite direction.
Too shaken to stay still, Kira slips away into the faux forest environment he was placed in mere hours earlier and goes searching for water.
The tree dream is nothing special but this is the first time anyone else, of any species, has appeared in it.
As he bends over the concrete lined pool and splashes his face with the slightly metallic tasting water, he wonders what it means. It might be his subconscious trying to tell him something but Kira has never been much of a dream weaver so he decides to ignore that possibility.
In any case, he'll have a much harder time staying wary of the human if his dream-self considers him a friend.
Thanks to everyone who reviewed!
I'll send out summaries for the next real chapter (since this one is just a place holder and update, there isn't really any point to sending one out for it)