AL One-shot, AU

I was teetering precariously on a cliff, it wasn't clear which way I would go; forward and live, or backwards and die, or worse. Should I fall backwards, I would enter the black void and be forever lost, but there seemed to be nothing going for me if I chose forwards. Slowly, deliberately, I made my choice. Shifting not even an inch, I could feel the edge of the cliff start to crumble.

I wasn't sad, I had made my choice. I closed my eyes and breathed in, smiling as I fell further and further backwards. But then I heard a voice, one that I thought to never hear again. "Athrun!" it was Lacus, and I could see her hand reaching from in front of me, to rescue me. Suddenly my choice seemed foolish. How could I forget about her? Arranged marriage or not, I still loved her. I thrust my arm forward to grab hold of hers, but as I did, I heard more voices.

Voices of evil, crying out in jubilation over their victories, voices of the dead, crying out for vengeance. My hand paused, and mysteriously a pistol appeared in it. I brought my hand closer to inspect the gun. It was familiar, and instilled a fiery passion within me, a passion for revenge. I once again heard Lacus calling out my name, hoping to rescue me, to bring me back. The voices behind me amplified in strength.

I knew what I had to do. I pivoted and pushed off the cliff, leaving the light, leaving the good, leaving Lacus behind. I plunged into the darkness, into war, revenge and sorrow. Targets appeared before me, wearing Earth Alliance uniforms. I took aim and fired, taking out a soldier with every shot. As I passed their bodies, I could make out their features, their faces.

I paid them no heed; they were dead at my hands, unable to kill again. Unable to take someone else's mother away in a wash of fire. Until I neared one body. His face was young, innocent, and familiar. It was Kira Yamato, my best friend from Copernicus. I had killed him.

"Athrun ... why did you kill me?" his corpse asked. "You used to tell me you hated the whole idea of war." It was true, I hated fighting, I hated wars, but here I was, fighting and killing for my country. For my mother. "Why are you with the Earth forces?" I demanded. I had to know. "Why are you fighting other Coordinators?"

"To protect my friends." He said right before his body slammed against the ground. I suddenly stopped falling. I didn't land, I crashed. Painfully too. I think I broke my arm. Crawling over to Kira, I could see that he wasn't moving, wasn't breathing. "Kira, why? Why couldn't you have joined with me?" I asked numbly.

Slowly, his hand reached up, but as it made contact with my cheek, the hand transformed, it was smaller, softer and more feminine. Looking down, I saw that Kira wasn't there, it was Lacus. "Lacus?" I was shocked, what the hell had just happened?

"If you serve your father, then I shall be your enemy." She said sadly. I clutched her hand on my face, not wanting to let go. But the harder I tried, the quicker she disappeared. Before I knew it, she was gone, along with the other dead, Kira included. My arm still hurt, so I wept. What had I done?

"Kira's alive." I heard voices above my head. It was Lacus! But how? Then I heard myself speak. "Impossible! I killed him!" my voice was full of emotions, regret, sorrow, disbelief.

Then more voices. "I swear, for a Coordinator, he's really dense, my brother." And again I heard myself reply "yeah, he's always been like that." It was a reply in good jest, but deep down I had felt something else. "Is that so?" Cagalli mused.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't squash that little feeling inside my heart every time I saw Kira and Lacus together, I was happy for both of them, they had gone through much loss but managed to find each other, just as I had with Cagalli, but a small part of me was angry that the smile she used to reserve for just me, was now for him, and only him.

Many times I would stare in the mirror, staring hard at my reflection and utter the words "I chose this, I want this." It was true, I enlisted in ZAFT of my own volition, and my father had nothing to do with it. He certainly didn't try to talk me out of it, he was probably pleased inside that I had taken a decisive step in my life on my own, but he couldn't display that to the outside world, or even to his own son. Not after Mother died.

I woke with a start, managing to stop myself from screaming or sitting up quickly. Instead I felt the sweat drip down, and forced my hands to let the sheets go. Cagalli lay next to me as always, sleeping soundly and seemingly not plagued by nightmares. I've had this particular nightmare since Lacus left the PLANTs with the Eternal.

As always, I slid out of bed silently and closed the door the bathroom. Staring at myself in the mirror, I would wash the sweat with cold water; it helped to slow my fast-beating heart For once it didn't help. I knew there was no way I'd be able to get back to sleep without first calming myself, so I quietly threw on a pair of sweatpants and an old sleeveless shirt.

As I walked, I wondered just when my life had become so complicated, being forced to fight and nearly kill my old friend, being shot at by my own father, rescued by a group of people under the command of Lacus, it felt all so unreal. But the truth to the matter was I was here, a ZAFT deserter, onboard a stole ZAFT ship, piloting a stolen ZAFT suit.

I stopped walking. How do such things come to pass? Despite wielding so much power, why is mankind virtually powerless over their own fates? I looked up, as if perhaps I could gaze through the deck ceiling and out to the stars for the answer. 'Where is the love?' I questioned silently.

A pair of gentle arms enfolded me, and I felt a head lean into me chest. I looked down to see long flowing pink hair with the trademark gold hairpin. Maybe it was reflex, habit, or maybe it was because I had so desperately wanted to, but I hugged her back. Thinking about it more, I knew that it was because I had so desperately wanted to hold her, to be held by her, if only once more.

Many nights later I had the same dream. Many nights later, I walked the corridors of the Eternal, hoping to chance upon her again. My travels took me across the hangar bay, where I saw Kira staring at his Freedom. I could tell that his mind glimpsed of another, even if for just a fleeting second. So many 'what-ifs' life presented us with, it would be grand to explore them all, but we must all make our choices and accept the outcome. That is life.

But seeing Kira gave my mind another 'what-if'. What if I went to see Lacus? Before I knew it, my feet had taken me to her room, my hands had opened the door, and my body entered her room. "Kira, you're late." I heard, and my heart sank.

"Athrun? What are you doing here?" I heard not a second later. "I .. I needed …" my mouth refused to cooperate, my words refused to form, but somehow she knew what I needed. She always knew. "You can always talk to me Athrun." She finished for me, and patted a space on the bed beside her.

I sat down beside her and sighed. She pulled me in to another hug, cradling me as if I were a child. I felt the peace once again, and my heart slowed. I didn't know that I would fall asleep on her, but I did. I think she found it cute. From that moment I knew that peace was attainable, both for me and all of humanity. All we had to was find it. I had found a part of mine, now it was humanity's turn.

Senseless one-shot that came to my mind in a flash. Short, but see what you think of it. Later,