Welcome to Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Renaissance, an epic fanfiction I have written as my own original continuation of the Gundam SEED saga. This will be story that I will try to base on official canon as best as I can, starting during the turbulent time after the Battle of Messiah between Gilbert Dullindal's ZAFT forces and Terminal. The major characters of the Gundam SEED saga, as well as some original characters I created, will play important roles in Renaissance, but this will be a Shinn-centric tale, to fill the gaps to and finish his story and the trials he encountered in Destiny.
Since originally Destiny was supposed to be told from Athrun's POV, as shown in the manga and the new Special Edition DVDs, the anime ran into problems when Shinn became relegated to the status of anti-hero, thus leaving his characterization incomplete. While Fukuda attempted to correct this by giving him closure via Final Plus, the ending was still weak and left Shinn with a lot of holes in his character. Therefore, Renaissance will continue the story where Destiny left off, but will start with Final Plus not coming to mind: that Phase never happened here, so the scenes where Shinn met Kira at the memorial at the end of the war never came to be. I will use the original Phase 50 story, which ended at the moon. I felt the shaking of hands between the two major protagonists was lacking in strength, with all the conflict between them. Otherwise, all other aspects of Renaissance follows canon, with a few other exceptions.
So relax, sit back, and enjoy my tale.
SEED Mode On!
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is owned and copyrighted by Mitsuo Fukuda, the Sotsu Agency, Sunrise and BANDAI.
Prologue: Gravestones In Winter
Lake Havelburg, Northeast of Berlin,
December 13, CE 74
The sun was slowly rising above the mountaintops, bringing its warming grace to the snow covered landscape of the Brandenburg countryside. Small birds were waking up to the rays of the immortal disc, chirping as they began their search for food for their young ones. The wolves in forest too were stirring, as the packs started their own hunts for the day.
The cool, soft, morning wind was breezing from the west, clashing with the sun's warmth in the battle to hold the tempo of the day's march across time. As dark clouds passed over to cover the sun from the earth, the gripping chill seems to hold sway, tempting to dampen the moods of people waking from slumber, hoping for the warmth that would help ease their day's burden.
But winter rules the day, as the cold continues its grasp on the country air. Not that it mattered to the quiet, young man driving down the country road, because the winter in his heart had slowly killed the fire that once burned brightly in his green eyes.
The chill breeze was billowing through his long, dark blue hair, and the cold was biting into his cheeks. It made him feel alive, even though he felt he died many times before - it seemed it was destiny's choice that kept him alive, all but torn inside by the burden put upon by a dead father's madness, made heavier by nightmares of a war he survived. Alive - but dying all the same.
I don't want to be held back by destiny. I make and made my own choices. What I am now is of my own making. Anger flashed in the depths of his eyes, followed by the creeping sadness that seemed to control what he sees through the window of his soul. But I am still my father's son.
Athrun Zala drove on, searching for one who lost the same fire that he had, but one who has a chance to rekindle it once again. A chance Athrun knew he could probably never have again.
He could see the lake now, as Athrun turned around the corner of the road on the side of the hill. The blue water of the lake was peeking over the birch trees of the forest along the banks of the shore. Athrun didn't see any sign of human habitation yet, but the left turn at a fork in the road led to the interior of the forest showed the traces of some shelter nearby He took the left, the rough road a sign that this was not a path regularly used by vehicles. The road gradually fell, and soon a small clearing came into view.
A small log cabin sat in a corner of the clearing, a motorcycle parked near its front door. Piles of firewood were neatly stacked near the opposite corner of the clearing by a small tool shack and a well that looked to be still well-used. An axe was pierced into a stump of tree indicated where the firewood was cut for the cabin's inhabitants.
Athrun parked his four-by-four alongside the shack, and stepped down unto the snow-patched soil. He looked around for signs of anyone nearby, first at the cabin then the shack, but found no one was clearly around at the moment. Not that the place was uninhabited, the subtle traces of garbage and cut wood chips belied that fact. But the person or persons living here was nowhere to be found.
Just when he thought he would not find who he was looking for, Athrun located a path from the cabin leading deeper into the forest, in the direction of the lake. He started to head towards the path, and soon was navigating his way thru the woods. The smell of the lake was permeating with the scent of birch, and Athrun knew he was nearing the shoreline.
As he emerged from the forest, Athrun found himself looking upon the water, small waves of which were slowly encroaching onto the narrow strip of sand and soil he was walking along. Athrun stopped and looked over one end of the shore and saw someone kneeling, seemingly working on something on the ground on a small rise facing the lake. Slowly, he recognized the person, a young man, and felt a sudden reluctance to continue towards him. Athrun started off a little slower this time, lest he disturb him and draw his ire, a temper Athrun knew well and feared.
As he walked ever closer Athrun noticed that the person did not turn nor acknowledge his presence. Athrun looked the young man over. He couldn't see from the man's jacket, but can sense that the young man had grown stronger and leaner, developing well in his late teens. The black hair was still as ragged as ever and growing longer. Athrun found the young man looking much more mature than when he last saw him, but knew that the real evidence of the man's true strength lies deep inside his eyes.
Athrun stopped and stood in silence a few feet away from him. He still couldn't see what the man was doing, but saw a clump of dirt and gardening tools off to one side. Athrun thought of a way to greet the person, without startling him and being rude. But before he could say anything the man suddenly stood up, holding a small shovel, and without facing him, spoke.
"So at last you found me, huh? That shouldn't been hard for you, right, Zala?" the man said in a neutral, but strained tone. He still did not face Athrun, and seemingly keep his gaze at the blue waters of the lake.
"Iie," Athrun replied reluctantly. He could now see what was the young man was working with. It was a patch of soil, with a simple, granite gravestone lying on it. He felt uncomfortable talking to the man, after all that happened between them in the recent past. "It isn't easy to find someone who doesn't want to be found."
The man snorted. "But you still did. So who did you convince to talk into telling you where I am?"
Athrun looked over his surrounding, to cover his uneasiness. He wanted to phrase his answer carefully to avoid more sensitive topics. "I tracked down your friends from the Minerva, and asked them about you." He paused and licked his lips. "It wasn't easy. They really didn't want to tell me, much less talk to me. But eventually I got around to them. Petty Officer Kent gave me an idea, although he never really said anything much. Don't blame him, though. I just pieced everything together," Athrun stopped, and gazed at the man's back.
The man shrugged. "Good 'ole Youlan. Trust him not to keep his mouth shut. What did he say?"
"Just that you wanted to get away from it all - to somewhere far where no one could find you. He didn't hint much, but it was a start."
Athrun hoped that his answer was enough, but the young man didn't seem interested by it. He tilted his head to his right a little as he spoke again. "So what did Luna tell you?"
Athrun let out an inaudible sigh, hoping that the man did not catch it. This was what he was avoiding - Athrun didn't want to get into a conversation about her. Luna was Lunamaria Hawke, Meyrin's sister. For Meyrin's sake he didn't want to involve Luna in his search, but both of them knew that the magenta haired mobile suit pilot was the best source of information about this man and his whereabouts – they were in a relationship together, until he left her some months ago. So Athrun sought her out, and got the answers he needed from a still hurting Luna – answers that she told never to speak to her about again. "She said that I'd find you where you brought her," Athrun answered.
The man stiffened and turned to face him. "That's right - I took her here. She liked the water – the sea, the blue lakes. It's the least I could do when after I failed to protect her." The stared into Athrun's and projected the guilt and sorrow he feeling underneath the mask of anger. Athrun felt he could take his own eyes away from the stare – the man's red eyes held him paralyzed at the fury they were emanating.
Angry, red eyes.
Athrun broke the gaze first, berating himself for again showing weakness in front of the young man. "Luna wasn't happy to speak to me about you."
The anger in the red eyes seemed to magnify. "You're a real bastard, aren't you Zala. You even had the gall to bother her for this," the young man said with shrug. "First you got Meyrin involved, and now Luna."
Athrun took in the thinly veiled blow like a man. "Meyrin was different. And don't worry. Luna wasn't happy to see me too."
"It makes no difference."
Athrun didn't hold back anymore. "There's a difference," he snapped back. "Meyrin had a choice. You're right in saying she shouldn't have gotten involved. But she chose too and I'm grateful for that. I'm doing all that I can to see that she's well. Luna, on the other hand, wanted to be with you. I can see from her that she was ready to give up everything for you. So why'd you'd just run off and leave her like - ", Athrun stopped, and stared back again at the red eyes.
"Damn you, Zala!" Athrun could see the hatred smolder in man's eyes.
Athrun stood his ground. "Luna never wanted anything than to be happy with you. She cared for you and stayed by your side even though she could see that you were being manipulated by both Rey and Dullindal. She stayed by you after war's end, but what did you do?" Athrun swept his hands to encompass the surroundings. "You left her for this? Is this what's right for you and Luna?" Athrun said in a growing voice. He paused, keeping his anger in check once more and hands falling, sighed. "Is this the future you chose and want?"
The young man clenched his fists. But like Athrun he held his anger at bay with great effort, and turned away from him once more. "What the hell do you want from me, Zala?"
"I came here looking for you," Athrun replied in a civil voice, "to see if I can't persuade you to come back with me - back to Orb." The young man seemed taken aback by this, and said nothing in return.
Both men kept silent for a few minutes, and the snow was falling stronger, before Athrun spoke again. "You know that some of us are working to make the peace work and that none of that madness happens again." Athrun shrugged. "I know that sounds like wishful thinking, but we have to try to make it work. For everyone's sake, Naturals and Coordinators," Athrun paused, breathing heavily. "We can't have world fall into darkness again."
The young man pointed at the gravestone at his feet. "But what about her? What does peace do for her? It won't bring her back."
It won't bring her back.
Athrun took some steps forward, standing by the young man's side. "No, she wouldn't come back," he said softly. "But I'll help make sure that those like her, those who should only live in a world far from war, can live that life. But I'll need your help."
He took out a white envelope from the inner pocket of his jacket. "Please take this. Inside's an Orb Union passport in your name and two airline tickets for you. They can be used from any airport in the world, one flight to Orb and one out to anywhere you want to go, if you don't like what you see and find there."
The young man made no move to take the envelope. "Why should I go and help Orb? Why should I help Athha and her brother? Help those who killed my family? Help him who killed Stellar? Those who took my life away?" he snickered and shrugged. "I think you better leave, Zala."
Athrun gazed into the lake. "Alright, I'll go. But first hear me out. Take it and keep it for a while. Think of what you could do to make this world better. You have the talent, but you are wasting it here feeling sorry for yourself." The man flinched and stiffened, but Athrun didn't stop. "I know you're angry with me. I've done so much to make you hurt. And I wasn't able to stop my friends from hurting you more."
Athrun's gaze fell to the gravestone. "But you can do something about it. You don't need to get along with us, but only help us. You can tell us if we're doing wrong, and I'll make sure we'll listen. We owe it to you. We don't want to be caught not doing anything anymore, when we have the power to do what's right, but lack the courage to do so. You could be our conscience."
"I am giving you a choice. You'll have a free hand with what to do, whatever path you take. You can pursue the future you know you want and worked for. Destiny won't hold you back anymore," Athrun paused, and finished whispering. "I made my choice, and I don't regret it. 'Cause I know I was right."
The young man flipped his head backed and laughed harshly. "We'll never escape destiny, Zala," he retorted, sarcasm dripping like blood. He tugged his jacket and turned to Athrun again. He took the envelope and started walking away towards the path back to the cabin. He stopped as he entered the tree-lined path. "We'll always be held back by who you are, or what you did - whatever choices we make." He looked at the envelope in his hand, and flicked it away, landing in the sandy beach. And then the man disappeared into the path, leaving Athrun standing alone by the gravestone now being covered by snow again.
"Shinn-" Athrun called out to the retreating figure, but there was no reply. Feeling defeated, Athrun started his slow walk back from the lake.
Shinn Asuka watched from the cabin's window as Athrun left in his pickup. He didn't speak to Athrun anymore after he left him at the gravesite. He was still angry at Athrun's nerve to look for him, and his nerve to accuse him of leaving Luna. What the hell does he know?
He wasn't there when he had those dreams - dreams of Stellar visiting him again, always saying to him that she'll visit him tomorrow. Shinn always dreamt of chasing her, asking her to stay. The dreams always ended with the Messiah's explosion swallowing up Stellar, and the shockwave pushing Shinn away. Shinn always woke up screaming, drenched in a cold sweat.
The dreams terrified him, and he knew it scared and saddened Lunamaria more during the time they were together recuperating in Armory One, as the Minerva was being repaired after being severely damaged in the last battle of the Second Bloody Valentine War.
At first Luna didn't say anything, she knew of Shinn's history with the late Extended pilot. But as the nights of constant fear and sleeplessness grew more frequent, she couldn't take it anymore. She had to ask him. Shinn was afraid of the questions. He tried to avoid it but he knew he couldn't do that forever. Angry and frustrated, Luna asked the questions Shinn feared the most.
How long must we go on like this? I don't want to live under her shadow forever! Why can't you just let her go? I'm ALIVE, Shinn! Don't put me in the same place as the dead!"
With those honest but hurtful words Shinn's anger almost took the better of him that day, and almost struck the woman who stayed with him after all the confusion of the war. Her words gave voice to the reality Shinn wanted to deny, and was angry at her for it. He realized at the last moment that he would have sinned against his own soul for destroying the love she gave to him, but he could not reciprocate – could not; would not. Again Luna's love for him saved him, and he was so ashamed of his actions that he felt the need to go away.
And so he broke up with her. Shinn told her that he was stupid and not worthy of her. He told her that all he could give her was pain and suffering, and that his heart was forever torn as much as his soul was. She never spoke to him again, nor allowed himself to see the tears that flowed from her eyes as she lay in bed alone at night.
Three days later Shinn left the PLANTs, without as much as saying goodbye to her. After a week in Gibraltar he resigned his commission, and disappeared. He ended up here, always knowing he had to be here. The place where he could see Stellar again, by the water, which he knew she loved. The place she promised to see him tomorrow.
A tomorrow Shinn was afraid would never come.
Copernicus Memorial Park
December 13, CE 74
On the day we were born, we were embraced
And now we search for those gentle arms again
The melody of pray; one vanishes
And all begins again; a powerless painful continuation
Lacus Clyne was singing. Her soft somber melody filled the quiet air of the park. Tears were flowing from her eyes, falling on the bouquet of white roses she held in her arms. The song was filled with love and grief for the one resting at this part of the park, the one who mirrors Lacus' soul, but so different as she was as similar.
One day; to that green morning
We'll cross through these nights
Because that is a place each one of us searches for
She stood by the white tomb. A cherry tree stood above, giving some shade to the tomb from the artificial sun of the moon city. Its branches are bare, as the season for cherry blossoms were still months away. A bird's nest rested on one the branches, with its inhabitants quiet, seemingly listening to the heartfelt melody emanating from below
I saw a dream about you
You were laughing like a child
The promise of the future nostalgic; yet distant
Believing that I'll eventually reach
That verdant morning
Because I am believing in the shaking heavens
The fields of hope
As her song ended, the pink-haired songstress laid the bouquet on the gravestone, and clasped her hands together. She said a silent prayer for the one who lay there, whom Lacus considered to be her prodigal sister, even though a stranger. Lacus wiped away stray leaves on the gravestone, and ran her fingers on the engraving on its smooth face.
July 2, CE 56 – June 3, CE 74
Her Song Is Her Life
Her Song Will Live Forever
Lacus blamed herself for Meer's death. Had Lacus the courage in the years in between the wars, had she not hid herself and Kira away in Reverend Malchio's orphanage, she could have been there to help prevent the second war.
If I hadn't been so scared.
But Meer's appearance on the stage of madness Dullindal had orchestrated gave Lacus the realization that she had to act. She had seen in Meer what could have been if she had accepted the former PLANT Chairman's early request to assist him in post-war efforts to mobilize the people in his "peace", a utopia controlled not by the will of the people but by what they were suited for by their genes. Lacus would never have accepted that, and she now realized that Dullindal's attempts to kill her and Kira would have been inevitable. As inevitable as Meer's ascension as Lacus' fake double.
So Lacus was grateful to Meer. Meer showed Lacus her mirror side, with all her faults and fallacies looking back at her. Lacus learned from the mistakes, even those committed before she even made them. And Meer saved her life, even though Meer wanted it as her own. Meer wanted the name Lacus had and Lacus was willing to give it, even though she would not give the humanity that made her Lacus Clyne away. Lacus remembered the words she said to Meer in that fateful day.
If you want the name, then I will give it to you. But even after that, you and I are two different people. That will never change. We cannot be anything but ourselves. But that's why you and I exist here, right?
Now only one exists. An existence scarred by the lost of the other.
A hand lay gently on Lacus' shoulder. She turned to see who it was, but the tears blurred her vision and she failed to recognize him. His voice took awhile to register with her, but the kindness and sincerity in the words told her who he was, and she covered her face on his chest.
Kira Yamato held her close, his strength giving her warmth. Lacus was a strong person, probably the strongest-willed person Kira ever knew. But their love and trust for each has given Lacus the strength to show Kira her fear of showing her true feelings, that behind the strong wall she was a woman both happy and sad.
Lacus never shows the tears to anyone, not even when her father died late in the last war. She felt she needed to be strong for everyone. Only Kira sees the tears. Only Kira understood how she felt.
"Lacus, let's go."
Lacus allowed Kira to lead her away. They slowly walked away, quietly taking in the peace of the surroundings. As they reach their parked car, Lacus turns back to look one last time at the tomb, and said her parting.
"Goodbye, my sister. I will see you when the cherry blossoms bloom again."
ZAFT War Memorial Cemetery
December 13, CE 74
The little boy too was standing in front of a gravestone. Not one, but two. The boy stood still, unmoving, as if waiting for the chill breeze to take him away, flying to the heavens or some better place. As long it takes him away, away from this place of sadness and pain.
The boy stood silent, guarding those who rest in this place. Two persons - both dear to him but never again with him. In spirit, maybe, but little boys needs the comfort of having someone hold him, to guide him, grow with him thru life.
But for this little boy someone else must take the place of two loved ones lost. For in death the body cannot return, to tell the little boy that everything was all right. That war was just a silly game were people will not die.
In silence the little boy sings his song of sadness, with only tears manifesting as melody. Only two words fill the lyric of his song - words of love and heartache.
Murrue Ramius watched in silence as the little boy knelt before the gravestones and started crying. Her heart was pierced with sorrow for the child, for children has always had a special place for her.
An elementary teacher before enlisting in the military as a reserve officer, the captain of the Archangel always considered nurturing young children thru education and affection her main calling in life, but the war sidetracked that. Murrue put all her efforts now to lead responsibly and guide her crew, as with her young students, safely thru the madness of conflict, and prepare them for their work for peace
But the sight of a child so young grieving over the loss of his mother and sibling in the last war, when he had lost his father in the first one, was too hard to bear. She gripped a little harder on her companion's arm, seeking the support she needs to bear thru this scene. Her companion, a tall, long blond-haired man whose handsome but scarred face gazed at the little boy in confused silence, placed his hand over Murrue, a tender touch of strength and stability.
A middle-aged woman bent down picked up the child, now sobbing on her shoulders. The woman tried to soothe the child's heartache thru some whispered words and gently rocked the little boy like the baby he once was.
A man, who was the woman's companion, stroked the child's hair, hoping his affection could add to his comfort. The man turned and faced Murrue, a sad smile playing in his face. He strode over to Murrue and held out his hand. "Thank you again for coming. It's so nice of you to come and see Johnny. My grandson has been a having a very hard time with everything. My wife and I are so worried for him. He loved his mother and brother so much. And now…" the man stopped, hanging his head.
Another shot of sadness raked Murrue's heart. "It was a request of your daughter that I visit her son for her. It was a request I wouldn't refuse. It is an obligation of honor, sir." Murrue bowed to the man. "Though I've only met your daughter a few times, most of them on opposite sides of the battlefield, I have utmost respect and admiration for her. To have been asked to see to her son's well being is a honor I am not worthy of."
"My daughter would be honored that you granted her request," the man bowed back, a bit lower. "You also honor my family by seeing my grandson." The man stood straight and looked Murrue in the eye. "I ask for two more things, Ramius-Kanchou, that you could please indulge."
Murrue matched the man's stance. "Anything you ask, sir." Her companion blinked, seemingly coming out of a dream. He was looking at the boy, never taking his eyes from him till now.
The man smiled sadly again. "I only ask that you continue your good work. Work for the peace we all desire. All men, be it Naturals or Coordinators like my family should not be driven by hatred for each other." The man looked at Murrue's companion, and back at her. "Those of you who have the courage and honor to see the path of peace must stay vigilant. You're young enough to live the life that's ahead of you. But you must see to it that your life will not be in vain. That it wont be a life held by destiny and this mad cycle of war and sadness we've seen in recent days. Ever guard for those who would destroy this rebirth of peace and harmony upon us."
Again the man bowed. "I also ask that you honor this man and his family again by accepting my next request. Since little Johnny has been left with no one but for my wife and myself, I humbly ask you if you could be his godmother. "
The shock in Murrue's eyes was evident. I am being given an honor more than any medal or rank can give – the responsibility for the little boy's well-being. "I don't know what to say, sir," Murrue answered reluctantly.
The man smiled again. "Please here me out. You remind me of my daughter. You are an honorable person, who I see is responsible and caring for those you guide and command. And from your eyes I see someone who holds the care for children dearly. You are someone my wife and I can depend on for the welfare and growth of my grandson when we are already gone."
Murrue was touched by the sentiment, and tears were dropping as she bowed again. "I accept this honor with all humility sir. I will work for the peace you seek for your grandson, and he will live knowing I will be there if he needs me."
The woman was now walking towards them, little Johnny at her side holding her hand. Her husband took Johnny and led him to Murrue. "Johnny, I would like you to meet someone."
Murrue knelt and hugged the child. "Hello Johnny. It's so nice to finally meet you. I'm your godmother, Murrue." She looked into the boy's eyes, a genuine smile on her face for the first time in the day. "I'm your mother's friend."
They were some distance away from the ZAFT War Cemetery now, driving in their car along the main highway, heading for the main city area of Januarius Five. Murrue was thinking of her conversation with Johnny, getting to know his new godson a little, talking about his toys and favorite games, and promising to see him again the next time she was in the PLANTs. Little Johnny was still sad with passing of his mother and brother, but like most children his age the signs of normalcy thru the talking about little things like toys and playthings show the great capacity of healing for them.
These thoughts were going thru Murrue's mind when she noticed her companion's abnormal quiet through their visit to Captain Talia Glady's and Rey Za Burrel's resting places. Even now he was silent, seemingly concentrated in driving, but the eyes betraying troubled thoughts. I guess he's affected by Za Burrel's death. Rey was another one of his dad's clones like Rau La Crueset before him. Murrue put her hand into his. And he has this strange mind-link with them. "I know you're bothered by going there, but it's all for the best, my love."
"It's not that, Murrue," her companion replied, still keeping his eyes on the road.
That wasn't the answer she expected. "What is it then?" Murrue asked.
Mu La Flaga/Neo Lorrnoke stared into her eyes briefly before turning back to the road. "It's the boy." The confusion in his face grew. "It's like I've known him for a long, long time."