A/N: Hey people! Its been half a year since I touched this story. WOW! Well, main reason was that I was holed up in boarding school for 3 months…and no, not because I had poor grades. It was just a learning experience thing…Anyways, I accomplished quite a lot in this ½ year, say…who has climbed Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah before? Its amazing…well, on to the story which I had to read again to absorb…

Special Dedication: The Winggoddess – Thanks!

Chapter 22: Love

Lacus picked up the collar pin. The cold metal piece gleamed brightly under the strong white light.

It was indeed Kira's collar pin. There was no doubt about it.

"Kira…" Lacus whispered under her breath. Memories of their past encounters floated vividly in her mind.

Why? Why was she so in love with Kira? Lacus questioned herself. They had merely a few encounters before, yet, there was this strange but strong attraction for him.

Was this love? She did not know. All she knew was that she had to protect him. To prevent him from meeting harm.

She knew she had to dispose of the collar pin.

Stepping into a cubicle, she tossed the collar pin into the bowl and flushed it hard.

She gazed fixedly at the swirling waters. In her mind she knew, Kira was safe.

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The iciness of the marble floor gradually reached and activated her nerves as Cagalli stirred.

"Where am I?" She sat in a daze, "What happened?"

Pulling herself to her feet, the images started to flash at the back of her mind.

She had come to look for clues…she had found a collar pin…kira's collar pin…

"Collar pin," Cagalli muttered as she searched frantically around her in hope of discovering the only clue that she had found.

"Where is it?" Cagalli bit her lip anxiously as her eyes darted from corner to corner, "Why can't I find it?"

Falling to her fours, she searched every corner but all was in vain. However, she knew that it had been Kira's collar pin.

"Kira…" Cagalli breathed as she stood up. She knew that he was the only person who could help Athrun.

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Dearka glanced at his watch. He was half an hour early for his lunch appointment with Miriallia.

He licked his lips as he took the menu from the table, running his fingers through the list of items as he tried to decide which dish Miriallia would like.

Just then, through the corner of his eyes, he saw someone familiar.

"Jasmine!" Dearka called out as he walked over to Jasmine's table, "You're here alone?"

"Dearka…its you," Jasmine whispered frailly as she turned her head.

"Hey, you don't look too good, what's wrong?" Dearka said as he pulled out a chair and settled himself down.

"Nothing…" she said hurriedly as she scrambled to clear the packets on her table.

"What's this?" Dearka questioned as he held up packet of tablets. Reading off the label, he saw that it was medicine for cancer.

"Its none of your business!" Jasmine replied as she snatched the packet out of Dearka's hands.

"Jasmine….is it true? What the label stated…" Dearka's voice trailed off as he leaned forward and grasped her by the shoulder, looking straight into her eyes.

"Is it true Jasmine?" Dearka spoke more firmly when he received no reply.

Jasmine took a deep breath. Why? Why did Dearka have to know about it? She thought.

Looking up, she saw those unmoving eyes. Those were the eyes that she had not once forgotten in the past three years.

Slowly, she nodded.

Dearka sank back into his chair. He could not believe this. How could god be so cruel to her? Why did he have to do this? Why?

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Cagalli paced up the steps as she rushed to find Kira. Much as she hated him, she knew that she had to try to persuade him.

To persuade him to tell the truth.

Walking along, she saw Kira emerging in the opposite direction.

"Kira!" Cagalli called out to Kira as he stopped in his tracks.

Looking up, Kira saw that it was the girl whom had once been in love with him.

"Kira, we need to talk," Cagalli started as she looked deeply into Kira's eyes.

Settling on a bench, Cagalli turned and looked hard at Kira.

"Kira, I need you to tell me the truth. Were you the one who caused Mia to be in her current state?" Cagalli asked gravely.

"What?" Kira jolted up as he turned towards Cagalli. How did she know?

"Kira, you have to tell me the truth," Cagalli repeated, "Don't make me hate you more than I already do."

The words pierced right through Kira's heart. He knew that he had done something very serious, something that was against his conscience.

"I…I…" Kira stuttered as he turned away, biting his lip.

"Kira! I found your collar pin by the bathroom where Athrun lost his jacket. Were you the one who framed him?" Cagalli questioned.

"It…it wasn't me," Kira denied as he closed his eyes.

Should he tell the truth? Would Cagalli forgive him?

"If it wasn't you, who could it be then?" Cagalli paused as she looked at Kira with disgust.

"Do you know that Athrun has been accused of assaulting the girl?" Cagalli started, "Do you know that what you did could put Athrun in prison and ruin his future?"

"Athrun! Its Athrun again? Why is it always him? Do you know why I have become like this? Its all because of him!" Kira exclaimed as he pounded his fists.

"So, you were the culprit! You were the one who framed Athrun! I never knew you could be so evil! Where has your humanity gone to?" Cagalli cried out as she stood up, glaring at Kira.

"Cagalli…" Kira started as clenched his fists.

"I had hoped that you would turn for the better, looks like you're hopeless!" Cagalli shook her head, "You're so disappointing…"

"Well, if it wasn't for Athrun, I would not have turned into this!" Kira retorted, "I will never forgive him…Never!" he cried out as he stormed off.

Cagalli opened her mouth to curse, but knew that it would be of no use. Kira would not help Athrun.

Sighing, she buried her face in her palms as she thought.

There was only one person who could help Athrun now…

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"What…What is it?" Dearka questioned as he held Jasmine's hands. He could feel the warmth of her hand, slipping away slowly, like sand grains falling slowly.

"Its cancer of the brain," Jasmine spoke as she took a deep breath, "The doctor discovered it two months ago."

"Why didn't you tell me before?" Dearka's voice trembled as he spoke.

"I…I…" Jasmine started, "I didn't want to see you suffer. After all, it would be better to suffer alone than let both of us suffer together."

She had not wanted to see Dearka like this. The very sight of him like this drew pain in her heart.

"Don't be silly," Dearka spoke warmly, "How could I let you suffer alone?"

Jasmine looked up at Dearka. He was still as gentle and caring as before.

"Is it curable?" Dearka squeezed her hands as he spoke.

"The doctor says I'll have to remove the tumor before it can be cured," Jasmine tried to smile.

"So, are you going for the operation?" Dearka questioned.

"Actually, I have already decided to go for it. I just wanted to see you one last time in case…"

"There will be no 'in case'," Dearka spoke reassuringly, "you'll get well in no time."

Jasmine gazed at Dearka. The corners of her mouth rose as she smiled. She felt secure in his prescence.

"Dearka…" Jasmine spoke, "Would you come and spend the weekend with me? I'm flying back on Monday for the operation…"

Dearka embraced Jasmine as he whispered by her ear,

"Sure"

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Kira trod slowly across the courtyard. The conversation with Cagalli still rang in his ears.

"You're so disappointing…"

Kira sat on the grass as he grasped his hands tightly. Those words were like sharp daggers, piercing right through his heart.

His heart ached. It ached with the deepest pain he had ever felt.

He thought of the things he had done. Where was his humanity? He questioned himself as he inhaled deeply.

Slowly, a clear drop of tear formed at the corner of his eye.

A gust of wind blew past his cheek as the tears came rolling down.

The emotions escaped from his heart as he poured out his anguish and sorrows.

Just then, a voice spoke softly from his back.

"Kira," Lacus sat down beside him, "Are you alright?"

"Lacus…." Kira turned as he saw the familiar face, "Its you…"

Without warning, Kira embraced Lacus and started crying. He started emptying his sorrows to Lacus.

Lacus patted Kira lightly on the back of his head. Her heart seemed to cry together with him.

As she lifted his head slowly, he could see that his eyes were sore. Slowly, she put a finger to his eye as she comforted him.

The love she felt towards him was so strong. She just knew that she had to protect him, to love him.

She loved him.

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A/N: Lets end off with a quote which I find very meaningful and comforting:

You may just be one person in the world; But to one person, you may be the world…