A Meer Loss

I do not own Gundam.

Dedicated to DarkRoxy/Lethal Dose

The Akatsuki held all of them, transporting the group back to the Archangel, still docked in the hangar just outside Copernicus city. Moments before, Athrun had explained to Kira, Meyrin and Lacus about the existence of Mia Campbell, the Lacus Clyne impersonator. The real Lacus took it in good stride, not blaming Mia for wanting to be popular, but rather herself for somehow wielding so much control over the citizens in the PLANTs. As Athrun had predicted, the warning note from Mia turned out to be a trap, and while the four of them escaped without injury, the same could not be said about the ZAFT assassination team.

Or about Mia. Her bodyguard and personal attendant, Sarah, had somehow miraculously survived the exploding fragmentation grenade and had taken aim at Lacus, vying to complete her mission. Mia had noticed and in a blur of motion had pushed Lacus out of the way and took the bullet. In one last graceful twirl, Mia had collapsed to the stadium floor as Athrun jumped over her and killed Sarah. The poor girl was cradled by Lacus as she died; managing to pull out a picture of what she looked like before.

It was too much for Athrun to take; this war was killing people left and right, innocent or guilty, just like the previous war two years ago. He had only cried that hard once in his life, when Junius 7 was nuked and his mother killed. It didn't make any sense, he had no personal feelings for the girl who lay dead in front of him, and at most, he cared for Lacus as friend now, instead of living in an arranged marriage. Yet his heart screamed otherwise, about both girls.

Mu landed the golden mobile suit smoothly inside the Archangel, lowering the hands to allow the occupants to disembark. The entire crew lined the corridors, watching in silence as Athrun carried Mia away. There was funeral for her held on the observation deck of the Archangel, most of the crew were in attendance.

It was silent, Kira had nothing to say, and surprisingly neither did Athrun or Lacus. Mia was in a casket of lilies, wearing a beautiful pink dress, her fingers laced together as she slept the eternal sleep. Lacus put the final handful of flowers on Mia before the casket was closed and sealed. An old naval prayer sounded in Athrun's head.

We commit her to space and Lord, we ask you to watch over her both now and forever as she sleeps. Amen. Athrun bowed his head as the casket floated in space, fighting back the tears.

They had already found and played the data disk that was in her purse, it detailed just how Mia had become Lacus, and just how innocent Mia was. A talented singer to begin with, many people believed Mia sounded a lot like Lacus, and Dullindal used that, taking advantage of the girl's naïve nature and warping her to his schemes. If only you had taken my hand when I left ZAFT again, none of this would have had to happen. You could've met Lacus peacefully.

Athrun clenched his fists in anger as the casket floated in the empty void of space. None of this would've had to happen. He repeated to himself. Lacus was off being comforted by Kira, and it seemed that there was no one to comfort Athrun. After all, Cagalli was in Orb, trying to keep everything together, Meyrin was busy learning about the systems on the Archangel and the Eternal. He preferred it this way, at least for now, to be alone, to mope around and try to sort out his feelings himself.

Justice beckoned to him, and minutes later Athrun found himself working inside the cockpit of his reborn Mobile Suit, the nuclear powered Justice Gundam. His subconscious had taken over, leaving his consciousness to ponder such things as his past relationships and the war. So many chances, so many girls, and yet he had let it all fall away, let them float away as gently as leaves in the autumn wind.

Lacus, Cagalli, Lunamaria, Meyrin, Mia. One by one he reviewed his relationships with each girl. Lacus, his fiancé at one point by an arranged marriage through their fathers. He was too young to understand the word love, but he tried his best in an attempt to please his father and over time, he grew to care for Lacus, just as she grew to care for him. Kira entered the picture again and without ever meaning to, he stole Lacus' heart.

But then Athrun had met Cagalli, and there seemed to be hope. The twin sister of Kira had fire and spunk, never taking anything without dishing it right back. Despite her tomboyish nature, Cagalli had a soft and feminine side, a side that few people knew existed, and even fewer had seen. But as tensions mounted, his relationship with Cagalli became strained and rocky, and then he joined ZAFT as a part of FAITH.

While serving again for ZAFT, he had gotten to know the Hawke sisters better. Lunamaria, the older of the two and a pilot of a Gunner ZAKU Warrior, had taken to him almost immediately, despite aiming a gun at him when he was under the alias of Alex Dino. Athrun knew that she had been sent to spy on him and perhaps that was the reason she tried to get so close to him. He chose not to act as she recorded his conversation with Kira and Cagalli about Lacus and Mia, not knowing that Rey would somehow get the pictures and show them to Dullindal.

Meyrin was the younger and gentler of the two, working in the CIC as the Mobile Suit controller for the Minerva. She was a timid girl, but still managed to express a few feelings towards Athrun, and then going so far as to help him escape from ZAFT when Rey had turned in the photos. It was unexpected, but welcome, when she had created the distraction on the other side of the ZAFT base and had sent the soldiers away from her room.

Mia was the first to warn him about Rey turning him in, showing him a photo of that sunset evening. He wasn't sure if she was warning him because she truly like him or whether it was because she thought that was what Lacus would have done. Athrun had offered her a chance to escape, figuring that if Dullindal had ordered his arrest so easily and quickly, then surely when Mia's usefulness came to an end, she would suffer the same fate.

Unfortunately the Chairman's claws had sunk deeper than Athrun had previously believed, and Mia chose to stay, not believing that the Chairman would kill her, or even him. Now she was dead, having chosen to save Lacus, her idol, from another assassination attempt.

When Athrun looked up, the hangar bay had grown dark, the mechanics having shut off most of the lights for the night to conserve power. Figuring it was time to get some food and then perhaps try to sleep; Athrun saved his progress and floated down from the cockpit. When his feet touched the deck, he noticed another person in the dimly lit bay, staring at the Strike Freedom. It was Lacus.

"Lacus, what are you doing here?" he asked. She jumped at the sound of his voice. "My, Athrun, I thought I was the only one here at this hour. I was just thinking about the war, and why it's so vital we bring an end to the fighting."

"I've been doing that all day." He mused, standing beside her. "Where's Kira?" he asked, wondering how all of this was affecting Kira. "He's dealing with all of this in his own way, but last time I checked, he and Major La Flaga were talking."

Athrun smiled faintly. Mu had been a mentor to Kira aboard the Archangel, being the only other person able to fight for most of their harried journey to Alaska. As much as Kira trusted Athrun, it was age and experience he needed, and so, falling back to his old habits, Kira sought out Mu.

Lacus turned to face him and looked him straight in the eye. "Athrun, are you falling in love with me again?" she asked out of the blue. As shocking as the question was, Athrun didn't pause in surprise, rather he started to laugh. His laughter echoed throughout the bay and left Lacus feeling quite down.

He held one of her hands in his. "I never stopped loving you."

Tiny little one-shot, the title sprang from the GameFAQs boards; I believe either RedXIV, Hobbesinator or AmuroNT1 coined it. Maybe it was someone else. Oh well. Credit to the person who did.