062806 – EDITED. Loopholes covered and tenses fixed. Thanks to MapleRose for pointing it out!
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam SEED.
"Nothing stays firm forever; as the seasons turn, everything vanishes like morning dew."
- He Qifang
Chapter One: Spring
"I'll see you again,
Whenever spring breaks through again."
- Noel Coward
Athrun and I met in the spring, when the flowers were just beginning to bloom, the rivers just beginning to flow, and the world just beginning to wake up from its long, winter slumber.
But the truth was the weather was always like this in the PLANTs. We never got to experience autumn or winter. It was always spring or summer. Even so, for someone as idealistic and optimistic as me, it personified our relationship as well. That what we were to have was just beginning, was just beginning to bloom.
Contrary to what most people would think, ours was not just a political marriage. There was a rule, here in the PLANTs, which states that the marriage of second generation Coordinators must be regulated or controlled, to ensure that the parents -will- reproduce. Our genes were carefully analyzed and given the perfect match.
Athrun was my match.
Researchers were working day in and day out to decipher this particular glitch in our reproductive system. For some Coordinators, it was a minor problem that will be solved in the very near future. But for those who were forced to marry someone they did not love, it was a dilemma, an obstacle that they themselves could not overcome. Children, after all, were the product of their love. And wouldn't their love be unfruitful if it was always the two of them? Never having sons and daughters to pass on their legacies, to love and care for, to give the whole world to.
But I wasn't one of those people.
I had accepted Athrun into my life the moment I met him. I had accepted my future with him. And I was sure that he felt the same. Perhaps that was what spring truly was – for flowers to bloom, for rivers to flow, for the world to wake up, and for love to grow.
We first met when we were only five years old, but I wasn't sure if he still remembered that. My father introduced us to each other and while our parents talked about politics and other important things, we played under the sun and talked about the things that really mattered to little children like us… Like why the sky was blue (not knowing that it was artificial), or if the skies on earth were as blue. We were both unaware that the very person we were playing with was the one that we were going to marry someday.
But, I knew then, that if I could spend the rest of my life with just one person, that person would be him.
We played with each other for two 'spring seasons'. It was a routine that we had all grown accustomed to. His parents would bring him over; it was always like that. Athrun was always the one to come to my house. We were like the best of friends. Even if we did go to different schools – I at an all-girls, and Athrun at an all-boys grammar school. He would tell me all about his friends, and in turn, I would tell him about mine. He told me that his friends sometimes made fun of him, for playing with a girl. And when I would frown, he would quickly say that he didn't mind playing with me, because I was fun to be with.
One day, my friends came over and caught me playing with Athrun. They teased us and giggled a lot. They kept saying that I had a boyfriend and that he was very cute. Then, they burst into uncontrollable giggles again and Athrun blushed and mumbled something about having to go home early. And I, in turn, just gave my friends a small smile and told them to stop teasing us.
Only a month of being friends, and the world was already laughing at us.
The next day, Athrun didn't come over to play. I waited for him at our garden. It was always like that. I would be waiting for him at our garden and at exactly two o'clock in the afternoon he would come, smiling and half-running, half-walking to greet me. I was beginning to get anxious; I feared that maybe he didn't want to come anymore because of what my friends had said the day before.
Almost an hour went by and I was getting tired of waiting. Patience wasn't a virtue for my six-year old self then. I could almost see myself, slumped in my chair, the cookies on the table were all but crumbles and the ice on our orange juice had already melted, diluting the sweetness of the drink. The maid came to fetch me, saying that Athrun was not coming, and I recall my father approaching me soon after, kneeling before me and telling me that Athrun was in the hospital. I didn't know how he managed to tell a six-year old that her friend had just survived an anti-Coordinator terror attack, but he did.
I could still feel the horror and the dread. I was afraid that something bad might have happened to him and that I was never going to see him ever again. But father reassured me, that Athrun would be alright, that he was not very hurt.
But he was.
I could see it in his eyes when I visited him. He looked wary and his eyes were flitting back and forth in fear. And it was only after seven years that I realized, how shocked he must have been, of having been attacked only because of the fact that he was a Coordinator. Our little minds could not understand then, why Naturals hated us so much, it was enough that they -did-. And, I had to admit that, even now, I still could not grasp why Naturals hated us.
He was, unconsciously, beginning to change. He was beginning to see the harshness of the world. He was responding in the exact same way that people being antagonized reacted. He was also planting hatred in his heart. I understand that one of his friends was killed in the attack. With only minor burns, scratches, and head injuries, he was one of the lucky ones.
He was growing up.
And I could not do anything to stop it, or to comfort him.
His parents decided to send him to the moon to study. And for him to be safe as he did so. I was sad. My best friend was moving away, due to circumstances beyond our control. In my young mind, it was like he was going away for good.
He came over for the last time and I could see how much he had changed during his stay in the hospital. His eyes were no longer shy, but were wary and always alert, as if looking out for attacks. He smiled less and he refused to play with me. But one thing that I will always commit to memory was the sadness behind all the vigilance in his eyes.
His eyes told me that, despite everything that's happened, he didn't really want to go.
Before he left, he looked back and said in his most sincere voice that he was sorry that he wouldn't be able to come over anymore. He was near tears. It was all it took for me to run up to my dearest friend, and give him the biggest hug that I could muster. I smiled through my tears and told him that I would miss him. And I recall him saying the same thing. He promised that he would come back and that when he did, he would come here directly and tell me all the things that he did at the moon.
And then we said goodbye.
And now, several years later, I was sitting here in the same garden and marveling at the beauty of spring, waiting for him to hold true to his promise. I heard from my father that Athrun was coming back. I only wished that he remembered his promise to see me.
Many things had happened during the seven years that we were apart. I was establishing my career as a singer here in the PLANTs. It had always been my dream to perform in front of a large number of people. The citizens were only just beginning to recognize me, after months of television, radio and public appearances. My first album was released several weeks ago and I had heard that it has been doing well in the charts.
As for Athrun, the only time that I heard about him was when his father and mother came to visit. His mother would tell me that he was doing well in the lunar city of Copernicus. But the unspoken question in my mouth was, did he ask about me? But I refrained from asking, for it was not proper for a lady to do so – or so I've been told by my tutor.
Just this morning, I learned the truth behind those after school playtimes all those years ago. We were to be married. Not just because our fathers were friends, but because we were 'biologically matched.' The first thing that I asked was if Athrun knew it, too. My father answered that he did. The next question was, "And how does he feel about this?"
My father just had given me a small smile, not unlike the ones I gave when I was hiding something. And so, another thing to add to my list of awaited events. I looked at the sun and gently sipped my tea. I was already thirteen years old, but I felt giddy and excited inside as if I were a little child again. Was it because of the fact that I was seeing a friend again? Or was it because of the prospect of meeting my first love?
I stopped sipping my tea and gazed at the murky depths. Was it even possible for a five-year old or a six-year old girl to fall in love? Was there an age wherein one could start loving someone? Wasn't I too young then to truly comprehend the concept of love?
It would be quite possible for someone at that age to love. We were all born with the ability to love, weren't we? And I couldn't quite remember a definite age in which love fully reveals itself to someone. Maybe I was too young then to understand it. But my current self, seven years later, would know what it was that I was feeling back then.
And it was the instigation of the paradox called love.
Content with the answers that I had formulated for my own questions, I resumed sipping my tea when doubt soon clouded my mind. What about Athrun, then? That simple question held all the uncertainties that I was feeling. Just moments ago, I just realized the possibility that perhaps I was in love with a friend (and, consequently and ironically, my fiancé), and now I had a new set of inquiries.
I was saved from my further thinking when a maid arrived and told me that Athrun was here. I felt my eyes grow wide and I quickly slammed down the cup which held the tea that I was drinking. All thoughts flying out, I walked briskly into the front door and opened it without haste.
Athrun was here!
I saw a black car pull up in the driveway and I quickly went down the steps. He got out of the car, dressed in a black suit, holding a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a blush unmistakably drawn on his face. That was enough to tell me how he felt. That was enough for all the doubts to vanish in my mind.
And he smiled back as he thrust the flowers in my direction, still blushing. I took a deep breath and felt a certain happiness of the fact that it smelled just like spring. And I said the words that I had been waiting to say for seven years, "Welcome home, Athrun."
After he gave me the flowers, we went inside and I led him to the gardens. Years back, we would just run on the grass and laughed and played and talked about nonsensical things. But now, we stared at everything but each other and silence filled the gap that used to be endless conversation. Was this what they called awkwardness?
From what I had seen earlier, he seemed to be back to the shy, little boy that was my playmate for almost two springs. His eyes were still green and his hair still blue. But now, he was older, leaner, and more handsome than he was seven years ago.
But there was something that I could not decipher. Something changed, but I couldn't put my finger on it. But then again, I was sure that I had changed as well. I was no longer the chatterbox that I used to be. Or maybe I still was, either way he had to find out, right?
After not seeing each other for almost seven years, it would be idealistic to say that nothing had changed. Maybe we were two, totally different persons, different from what we used to be. We no longer knew each other. What we liked or disliked, or what we believed in. Perhaps what we needed for us to start a conversation was to get to know each other all over again.
"I'm Lacus Clyne."
His eyes riveted to my face and turned puzzled. "Wha -?"
I giggled. "Since we don't know each other anymore, I think it would be proper to re-introduce ourselves. I'm Lacus Clyne, and you are?"
He seemed quite confused at first, and then shook his head. "You always think of the weirdest things." He looked directly into my eyes and gave me a smile. "I'm Athrun Zala."
And so, Athrun and I met, once again, in the spring, when the flowers were just beginning to bloom, the rivers just beginning to flow, and the world just beginning to wake up from its long, winter slumber.