A/N: Okay... so I watched the 'Final Plus' episode, things didn't exactly go how I wanted them but... I'm sort of resigned to the fate of these two. We'll see I guess. Anyway... this was written before I saw that so please PLEASE excuse that when you read it.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN GUNDAM SEED, OR GUNDAM SEED DESTINY.

His Precious Rose

by Orchid

It had been one week since the Requiem had been destroyed, and along with it, Captain Gladys, Rey, and Chairman Dullindal. Everything had escalated so quickly and after a series of intense battles it had been abruptly put to an end. Athrun could still feel his head spinning from everything that had happened to him, and to mankind. He was glad to hear that Shinn had made it out alive, he was hot-headed, rude, and unpredictable but he had been through so much in his life, he deserved a chance to live in a peaceful world too. It's not that Athrun thought he had the right to say who deserved a chance at life or not, but he was glad this second war had not swallowed the world entirely. The Eternal had found Shinn and Lunamaria extravehicular on an asteroid close to where the Requiem had exploded. He bet that Meyrin was happy to see her elder sister alive and relatively unscathed. Athrun hadn't gone back to the Eternal so he never saw it played out. He had decided to go with the Archangel and head back to ORB. He had avoided going to the Attha mansion for the whole week, and he hadn't really been sure when would be the best time. It took an annoyed Kira kicking him out of his house and not letting him back in until he went and talked with Cagalli to get him where he was, in a car and on his way. But a man needed courage for this sort of thing, and while Athrun had no problems piloting a mobile suit in outer space combat, he wasn't so sure that he would have enough courage to go and see her. Hell sometimes she could be scarier than an enemy.

He wasn't so sure what to expect from Cagalli, the last time he had seen her, she had taken off the promise ring that he had given her, and Meyrin had told him about her and Cagalli's short conversation.

He hoped that Cagalli wasn't reading into anything between himself and Meyrin. He knew that she had a crush on him but he viewed her more as a little sister, and she understood that, he only hoped that Cagalli did as well.

Athrun gripped tighter on the wheel of his car, he was getting very close to Attha mansion and he could feel his nerves getting tense. 'What's wrong?' he asked himself, 'You have no reason to be so tense, it's only Cagalli.' He almost laughed, only Cagalli indeed. He remembered what he had said to Kira and Lacus that day he saw her without the ring. He had said that it was fine for now, that everything would be okay because in the end their dreams remained the same. Of course he felt anything but fine but, there was always something within him, telling him that he can't show weakness, so he pretended that it was alright. He wanted things to be alright between them again, but he wasn't so sure how she felt, she did take off the ring, and as much as he tried to hide it, that hurt him a lot.

Athrun drove up to the gates that separated the Attha mansion from the rest of Orb.

"Good day, welcome to the Attha residence," said the cheerful voice of a secretary. "What can I do for you?"

"I'd like a to arrange a meeting with Representative Attha, " said Athrun, "Please tell her that Alex Dino is here to see her."

The voice disappeared for two or three minutes, strangely long, but then suddenly said, "Please come through, the Representative will see you." The gates began to open and he drove his car through, "It's time to fix this." he said to himself, determined.

Cagalli Yula Attha sat at her desk. There were piles upon piles of paperwork sitting in front of her, staring back untouched. She knew that she should be more responsible right now and get on top of things, but when you really looked at it, she was still only eighteen and everything was beginning to overwhelm her. She was only doing this for her country, and for her father, Uzumi-sama.

She looked over at the stacks of paper again. Every time she started shuffling through them her mind would get distracted, so for now she had given up on them. Staring out the window so many things were constantly swimming around and around in her brain. A week ago the major threat to Orb's national security had been silenced, Requiem had been demolished.

Everyone was starting to go find joy in their lives again, and the ability to be happy. Everyone in Orb, but her. She felt so empty and alone for the first time in her life. There had always been someone there for her before. At first it had been her father, and then she had Kira, and then... her mind broke off and she felt her spirits sink even further. It was Athrun. Athrun had been with her for the last two years, but now he was gone. She let her head sink down onto the desk in front of her, her thumb rubbed the finger where Athrun's ring used to lay. It wasn't there anymore either, she had taken it off her finger. With it she had tried to let go of her hope of a future with him, but the kind of person she was, she never gave anything up easy. All she wanted was to see him again. But every time she thought about their relationship his words echoed in her head and made it feel like anything that she tried would be futile, "There are some things a person cannot accept even if he understands them. Even me." Those words he spoke to her as he walked away that day. She wondered if he knew how much they had haunted her. Sure she had made mistakes, and sure they had both forgiven each other in the infirmary aboard the Archangel, but he had said nothing since then. That's when she had started to doubt that he may never truly come back to her, and it was wishful thinking to keep wearing the ring around her finger.

She had tried to console herself, that they were both at least still alive after all the tragedies they had lived through, and that no matter what the future held, they would always have the memories of each other, and would always be connected in a special way. But that wasn't enough, at least not for her.

She raised her head again to look out the large windows behind her desk. All she really wanted in life were two things. One, for Orb to remain safe, and two, to be able to be with Athrun forever. But it would seem that life did not want to make that easy.

She looked back at her desk once again and sighed, she used to have so much energy, where did it all go? He thoughts were interrupted by a buzzer on her desk.

"Cagalli-sama?" the voice asked almost nervously, "There's someone here to see you."

Cagalli rolled her eyes, she was not in the mood to deal with politicians or whoever was here to see her. "I'm busy right now, " she said, the frustration very apparent in her voice, "Tell them to come back later!"

"But Cagalli-sama," the voice said even more nervous now that they knew the representative's mood, "It's... it's Alex Dino, Princess."

Cagalli's mouth dropped open and she felt her throat run dry. Athrun was here? Was this some kind of joke? She tried to disbelieve it, but it was in vain. Athrun was here. And to see her! She was so flustered, she was glad no one else was in the room to see her go red. It wasn't until the voice spoke again that she remembered she had to first let him in, before she could see him.

"Cagalli-sama?"

"Oh, um, yes, let him in please." she said turning off the speaker. She could feel her heart racing inside her body. She stood up and straightened around her white and purple emir's uniform, and waited. It felt like Athrun was taking forever to get there, 'Shouldn't he be faster,' she thought unreasonably, 'he IS a coordinator after all.'

Finally the knob turned and the door opened, and Athrun walked in. She felt her heart jump up into her throat and it took her a minute or two to make it go down again, though not all together successful. Through this time of course she was just staring at him, and now that she noticed it he looked a little uncomfortable, but as always very handsome. He was wearing his favourite civilian outfit. The black and white jacket, green shirt, and black pants that suited him so well. It made her a little self conscious about how she looked right now.

"Hi... Athrun." she managed to spit out.

His face softened ever so slightly, something that most people couldn't notice but, Cagalli could. "Hi Cagalli." he said to her.

She pointed to two chairs at the side of her office. "Have a seat," she said almost formally, not quite sure how to treat him.

"Uhh, okay." he said and sat down in the chair that she had gestured to. Something wasn't right, she was acting strange. 'No wonder she's acting strange Zala,' a voice inside his head said. 'She doesn't know what to do because you've been such an idiot.' He sighed inwardly. He knew that the voice, although harsh, was right. He could tell that he had been pushed beyond her barrier. He wished that things could be like they used to. He'd do something stupid, she'd punch him in the face and tell him he was an idiot, or clueless, and then later they would laugh and everything would be fine. But now she was trying to protect herself, and holding back what it is that she would like to say. He didn't like it; but wasn't sure what to do about it.

He watched her walk around and sit in the chair opposite of him. She was wearing her representative uniform, a necklace which was mostly hidden under her outfit, and her blonde hair seemed to fall in her face a little. She brushed it back and bit her lip. He knew she usually did this to avoid saying something, he knew all her mannerisms.

"How long have you been in Orb?" she asked him.

"About five days, I was staying with Kira," he said.

"Oh, how is Kira doing, I haven't had much of a chance to talk with him."

"Kira? He's fine, waiting for Lacus to come back from the PLANTS though."

"Oh? She's still there?"

"Yes, she was dropping off Shinn, Lunamaria, and Meyrin, and then coming back."

"Oh." Cagalli said, "That's nice."

Silence.

Cagalli cursed inwardly, why were they talking about other people? They had things that they needed to talk about, but she didn't want to be the one to start. And if she was waiting on Athrun, who knew how long it would take until she knew where they stood. She could feel tears behind her eyes but she was not going to let them come through.

Athrun stared at her through the silence, he could see she was thinking, and then noticed that she was really trying to hold herself back from crying. 'Wow Zala,' he thought, 'You really have been an idiot.'

"Cagalli what's wr..." he was cut off.

"Why don't we take a walk," she said, "I've been locked up in this room all day."

"Oh," he said, a little confused from being interrupted, but then he smiled, "Alright."

Cagalli just nodded and stood up, "I'll go get changed, I'd rather not go out dressed as the Representative."

Athrun nodded and stood up as well.

"Meet me in front of the gate, I won't be long." she said and then exited the room.

"Damnit," he muttered, and left the room

Cagalli hurried to the Representative Chambers, which upon her appointment to office, had become her bedroom. She missed her old one though.

After entering the room she shut the door behind her and leaned against it. She knew that Athrun had being trying to ask her what was wrong, and that's why she had to interrupt him. She knew that she was too emotional to even try and get into it with him being so aloof. She couldn't show him her weakness if he had disposed of his. Cagalli Yula Attha would not yield. She bumped the door with her forehead, "Damnit." she whispered.

Athrun was pacing nervously outside the gate. He had been pacing since he started waiting, and it was beginning to irritate even him. He walked over to a pillar of the gate and leaned his back on it. He looked up at the sky. It was around five or so, just light enough that they'd only have about two or three hours of sunlight left before night fall. There was a reason behind his nervousness. It was going to be the first time, in a long while that it was just himself and Cagalli alone. Thinking about the confrontation that he knew was coming, and that had to come he almost started to pace again when he heard a voice saying his name.

"Hello Zala," said a large and very tanned man standing in front of him. "What brings you back to Orb?"

Athrun was about to answer Cagalli's former bodyguard when he was interrupted.

"Athrun came to say hello, we're going for a walk." said Cagalli who was walking up to them. She was wearing a light green tank top and beige kaki pants. It was very casual, which is really what suited her personality the best.

"Are you sure that is such a good idea?" Asked Kisaka, "Considering..."

"We'll be fine!" Interrupted Cagalli again.

"What..." started Athrun when he was grabbed abruptly by the sleeve by Cagalli and led away from the gate. "We're leaving. Now!"

Kisaka shook his head, 'At least I know he's capable of protecting her.'

They walked along the coast, near the highway leading into the city of Onogoro. Athrun was a little uneasy because of Kisaka's comment. There was something going on that he didn't know. No, it was more like there was something going on that Cagalli didn't want him to know. That bothered him more. He decided to try asking her about it.

"What did Kisaka mean?" he asked.

Cagalli looked over at him, "Huh? Oh that, it was nothing."

"It didn't sound like nothing..."

He saw her shoulders tense up, "It was nothing."

He decided to concede for now he wasn't going to get anything out of her with the wall she had built around herself. He promised himself not to give up though, and try again later.

Cagalli was glad when Athrun dropped the subject, and she hoped that she had heard the last of it, though, knowing him like she did, that wasn't very likely. They had been walking for at least ten minutes with hardly any words spoken between them. Cagalli decided to say something, anything if to just get the ball of conversation rolling. She spotted a mother and her children playing along the shore of the beach.

She smiled and said to Athrun, "It's nice to seeā€¦ these people who are able to be happy again, don't you think?"

He nodded.

"People are pretty amazing. Even through adversity they survive and continue on living." she said, still looking at the family on the beach. She couldn't see that Athrun was staring at her.

"Why don't we go down to the beach for a little while?" he asked.

She nodded, and they headed off of the road and down onto the sand. Cagalli sat down and took off her shoes, mumbling something about always getting sand in them. After she was done she sat her shoes beside a rock promising herself that she'd remember and come get them before they returned to the mansion. Cagalli looked up to where Athrun was standing. He was looking out at the water, an orange glow emanating from the sun reflected off of him. He was beautiful, she was breathless. She stood up and walked over to him.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" he asked casually about the water that stretched as far as the eye could see.

"Mm, yeah." she said quietly.

They stood there in silence staring out at the sun which was setting. They stared until he had had just about enough of it. "Just tell me Cagalli."

She was shook out of her thoughts, "Huh? Tell you what?"

He sighed getting slightly exasperated, "You know what I'm talking about."

"Ugh can we just drop it please." she asked visibly tensing up.

"It is obviously important, your not even acting like yourself. We have barely had a decent conversation since I got here." he said.

"I said drop it." she said again.

"No." he said firmly, standing in front of her blocking her path in case she tried to leave.

She clenched her fists and all but yelled, "Drop it!"

"I said no."

"Goddamn it Athrun I said to drop it!" she said, anger reflecting in her eyes as she glared at him, "Your not my bodyguard anymore, I can handle my own problems!"

"Cagalli tell me now! What happened!" he demanded while desperately trying to keep his cool.

She threw her hands up in frustration, "There was an incident a few days ago with a person who didn't exactly agree with some of my decisions during the last conflict alright. He fired a shot but i'm fine, my leg has fully healed, that's it. End of story"

Athrun stared at her in shock. Someone had shot Cagalli? The government must have hidden the incident, he had had no idea. He felt partially responsible for this, because he hadn't been there. He had been in Orb this whole time... but he had let her get hurt. He clenched his fist tightly, "Cagalli... I..."

She averted her eyes looking down at the sand beneath their feet. When she finally spoke, there was sadness in her voice. "Don't worry. I am fine. As I said, it's not your job to look after me now," she turned away from him and started to walk away, "It's not your problem anymore."

Suddenly his hand shot out and grabbed her arm forcefully and swung her around to face him. He had lost every bit of self control, he was angry now. "Is that what you honestly think of me?" He demanded, "That I protect you because it was my job, and when it isn't anymore, that it suddenly isn't my problem, and I just stop caring about what happens to you?"

Cagalli just stared at him, her eyes wide and brimming with tears. To Athrun, her silence spoke volumes for itself.

He stared at her in disbelief. He shook his head, "I can't believe that's what you really think..." he trailed off until finally bursting out, many emotions filling his voice, "Damnit Cagalli! Don't you even know me at all? Does that sound like me to you?"

It was Cagalli's turn to yell now, wrenching her arm out of his grasp, "How am I supposed to know huh? You don't exactly make yourself very clear Athrun!"

"Don't give me that. You know exactly how I feel about you! When have I ever said otherwise?"

Cagalli could no longer hold the tears inside of her and they came spilling out, "Damnit I can't read your mind Athrun! Especially when you're so far away from me." She fell to her knees in the sand and began to sob violently. As she had fell the chain around her neck fell free from beneath her shirt. Attatched to the chain was a silver ring with an amethyst stone. His ring.

For several minutes Athrun was standing there in front of her, at a loss for words. He reached out with his hand to touch her shoulder, "Cagalli..."

She whipped his hand away from her and stared up at him quite obviously in pain. "I can't guess your feelings from things you won't say. Even I need more than that Athrun Zala!" she said.

His eyes widened as he stared into her golden orbs, the fading sunlight making their shadows grow beside them on the sand. He said her name again, "Cagalli..."

"What?" she demanded and then for the first time today, really looked into his eyes. What she saw made her heart break. His emerald eyes were filling up with tears, and some were already streaming down his face.

"I... I'm sorry..." he whispered falling to his knees in front of her, burying his fists into the now cool sand. "I'm so sorry."

In this single instant Cagalli regretted all the horrible things, and the doubts that she had just fired at this man. This man who was now weeping opening on his knees in front of her, and because of her. She didn't know what to say or do, so many things had happened between them. Some their own mistakes but some things neither of them had been able to control. She knew now staring at him, that he had been as broken inside as she had, and she felt like an idiot for doubting that. She reached out and brushed away some of his navy hair that tears had stuck to his face. He looked up at her, and she knew her own face must have been equally tear stained and flushed.

Athrun had not been able to control his feelings any longer. He felt as though his body and mind had been through hell and back without her there. He hadn't realised just how incomplete he had been. When she brushed away strands of his hair he felt her hand linger, the familiar warmth of her fingers comforting to him. Her eyes were looking at him, but they no longer held the hurt or the anger that had burned in them before.

"No..." she said suddenly, and removed her hand, causing him to break out of the trance of her gaze. "No," she said then looked down, "I'm the one who should be sorry."

He let out a sigh, shifting off of his knees to sit on the sand. They were sitting very close to one another. "I guess we're both sorry." he said after a moment.

She nodded but didn't look back at him. He could tell her mind was racing.

"I remember someone once told me," he said, "That it's no good to just let your mind run around in circles. That to change things, you needed to talk them out. To understand them."

"Everything has just been so hard," she whispered barely audible.

He reached out and lightly touched her chin, bringing her face up to level with his. "Cagalli, what is it that you want?" he asked her.

She stared into his eyes the question he asked spinning around inside of her, taking different paths but all lines eventually pointed to one answer. "I want..." she started but then hesitated.

"What is it Cagalli?" he asked, not moving his hand.

She paused a moment and gathered all the courage that she could find. "I want... to be with you."

She didn't know what to expect from him but what she got as an answer was more than anything she could have ever hoped for.

"Then be with me." He said simply, closing the gap between their faces and planting his lips firmly on top of hers.

She was taken aback by his sudden move but the feeling of his soft warm lips on her own made all of her doubts and questions simply melt away. Instinctively she wrapped her arms around his neck and deepened their kiss. After the kiss broke they stared at each other for a moment.

Athrun was the first to break the silence. "Cagalli there is something that I need to tell you."

"What is it?" she asked, her voice sounding somewhat worried.

He just smiled at her and ran a hand through her golden hair. "I'm sorry If I haven't always been clear with my feelings. Sometimes, I just can't find the words, but now I have them so..." he took her hands into his, "Cagalli Yula Attha, you are my princess, you are my world, and you are my most precious rose. I love you."

She knew that her cheeks were burning red with a mixture of joy and embarrassment, but she didn't care. She took back her hands and launched herself forward landing on top of him and sending him backwards into the sand. She buried her face into his chest and he heard her say a little muffled, "Don't leave me again... please."

He encircled her in her arms and laid there in the sand with her. "Don't worry," he said soothingly to her, "I'm not going anywhere anymore."

They both laid there in each others arms and watched the sun finally set on the water. After everything that they had been through together, and apart. Athrun finally felt that his life could finally, and truly stand for something. For something real, for something that no one could prove false. His life would be for her.

"Athrun?" she stirred in his arms.

"Yes?" he asked.

"I... I love you too."

He smiled and pulled her closer to his body. They would live for each other, and no one could take away what they have built, and what they would build together in the future. Their future.

THE END.


Please leave me some comments, this is my first Gundam Seed fic so I would greatly appriciate any feedback you can give me!

- Orchid -

- akatsuki no hime -

"Long Live AsuCaga!"