Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam SEED or Gundam SEED Destiny or any of the franchise.
The aftermath of such events is always heartbreaking to endure:
The arising nausea because of the smell of singed and mutilated corpses, the transformation of humans of high cognitive abilities to animals of basic instinct, the everlasting fear nestled in every mind.
It was the only way to make them remember, the only way to remember the plight of the 'lesser' districts. If such extremities were not done, then they would suffer for generations more.
The grenades were nothing, for the time to strike the beast's core had finally arrived.
"Sir, this attire…"
"We take our leave. Let them fall into the illusion of salvation."
"And the civilians of District 1?"
For a brief moment, the smog cleared and there was clarity of the wreckage below.
They observed the panic – Zala's son was as good as dead and had a young girl screaming for his sake. Another attempted to calm her while that infuriating Captain shouted orders and instruction to the troops. Another man ran towards the two women, trying to comfort.
From where he ran, the rest were. Yes, he knew all of them well. The Clynes, a family that needed to be uprooted along with the rest and today was a success for Yzak Joule was elimin – no…
There he was, rising from the rubble of the collapsed stall, pulling his redheaded harlot towards him, under the misconception he could protect her.
The final grenade was released and the remnants of the past smog were joined by a new layer, blinding him from the scene below.
From the corner of his eye, he could see the eldest Clyne looking at him. Oh yes, he remembered her from a time long ago, he remembered the tramp tendencies which appeared at the young age.
The smoke could not hide his brilliant blonde hair for it knew he was invincible. Lacus Clyne, yes she knew now. He was God's gift to the world, the hope of the enslaved people.
The cleansing had begun for a purer world, a world free of filth.
The dust, the rubble, the ringing - the constant ringing in her ears, all of it created panic within her. The feeling was overwhelming but for the sake of Stellar's safety, Cagalli held on, ignoring the stinging sensation in her eyes and the lack of oxygen in the air.
Stellar struggled to free herself from Cagalli's arms as Shinn lay near death on the ground, his arm severed from his body and dark red blood absolutely everywhere.
"Stellar! Stop!" Cagalli's heartbeats were strong and quick, possibly doing 150 per minute at the sight of Shinn. Her stomach churned, wanting to release the contents. But she held firm.
Upon the initial blast, she worried for Stellar and searched for her. She found Shinn covering Stellar from the blast and for his courage, she would be ever grateful.
"The first aid unit must be in the centre of the market in less than five minutes! Clear as many hospital beds as necessary and free every doctor in the area! Request medical resources we don't have from the neighbouring districts! We have Shinn Zala in need of urgent medical attention!"
Heine threw instruction after instruction to his units. He could hear the agony of Stellar Clyne too clearly, hear the cries of the injured people, smell the burning corpses and could only imagine the pain Shinn felt. This was a high priority case and he completely blocked the multiple scenarios of the consequences from his mind.
There was too much mayhem.
He looked over his shoulder at the dying Shinn then shifted his gaze towards the blonde Clynes. Cagalli was close to breaking, he could feel it. Then, his inner debate was solved when Kira Hibiki suddenly emerged from the smoke, gasping.
His eyes widened once he saw Shinn and before anything could be said, Heine gave an order.
"Kira! Take these two away from here, quickly! I'll watch over Shinn until a unit comes!"
The other hesitated then nodded. He ran towards the two and pulled them to their feet with great difficulty, attempting to explain why it was necessary to leave the area.
"NO! SHINN! I can't leave him!" Stellar screamed and managed to push Cagalli away, who instantly grabbed her once again.
"We need to leave, Stellar! Heine will take care of him!" She shouted and slapped Stellar across the face. It silenced her.
Kira took the opportunity. He and Cagalli were on either side of Stellar, almost carrying her away. The silent delusion of safety, which had crept into Cagalli's heart, was shattered when another grenade was released, very near Heine and Shinn.
Her auburn eyes widened and caught the cover of a nearby stall giving away to the pressure, aiming to crush the young Shinn Zala. She ran and with every muscle in her body, leveraged the large block of wood.
She could faintly hear her name being called but she wasn't sure; what mattered was this heavy covering that could potentially end Shinn completely. She glanced to the side at his fallen figure then returned her attention to the wood.
With an amount of strength never used before, she redirected it away and it fell to the side, collapsing upon impact with the ground.
She huffed and cringed when embers from the blast touched her bare shoulders.
Was that Heine? There was too much smoke, she couldn't see, she couldn't breathe.
"Cagalli!" Yes, it was Heine. He grabbed her shoulders and she winced as the dulled pain ran through her body.
"What are you doing?! Leave!" Those green eyes held such rage…and concern. She gave into him.
She rested her head on his shoulder and came as close to him as possible. Was he surprised? Who knew. What she would remember from this moment was his arms engulfing her in a hug, his hand pressing her head closer to him.
And she would forever remember pulling away and reaching for him, kissing his lips as they drew near. It wasn't returned.
"Please…please live…" She whispered.
"…Go." He said and nudged her away gently.
And she did. She ran to her sister and to Kira, whose eyes were full of worry, concern and slight anger.
"Cagalli! Don't put yourself into danger like that!"
"I'm sorry, Kira…" Her tears had to wait for another day and she didn't dare look back.
When the first blast went off, Lacus was rudely reminded that they were not in the village anymore. Her second thought went to her younger siblings and before she could form any coherent thought, Kira had run in the direction the others had left towards.
She covered her ears and from the corner of her eyes, saw Dearka caring for Miriallia. The force of the blasts separated her from the two and she was thrown onto the dirt ground. When the ground shook, Lacus was confused then understood the natural reaction of humans.
Of the crowds which formed, running away from the danger, Lacus was reminded of a marathon she heard so much about; people heading in the same direction, for the same goal. She'd always imagined the athletes to have smiles on their faces.
Smiles, not fear embedded into their very beings; not resembling a heard of frightened wildebeests. Their fear threatened to ruin her composure for this was a situation she had never been in before.
The people ran past, some tripping and being trampled, some panicking, some crying. They pushed past her as she rose and she endured the aggressive thrusts and pushes, not realizing how far she was being parted from Dearka and Miriallia.
Miriallia called from afar. Lacus frantically searched for her in the crowd and finally found her on top of a table.
"Miri-!" She was cut off when a particularly large person pushed past, disturbing her balance. Had Dearka not caught her at that moment, could she have lost her life under the feet of these people?
Lacus shuddered. What was happening?
"Hold on tight!" Dearka said and pulled her to him, making his way through the stampede and finally reaching the table. Miriallia reached for her hand and pulled Lacus up. Dearka followed soon after.
Both of them panted as Miriallia scouted the area, hoping to see her siblings and their companions.
"I can't see a thing!" She cried, tears of anxiety welling in her eyes. The instinct to become the reassuring sister took over but before Lacus could say a word, Dearka pulled Miriallia into an embrace.
"It'll be fine…" He said, stroking her hair as she cried. Lacus simply watched.
The shine was what distracted her from unfamiliar emotions – there was a pathway leading upwards from the market and towards the town centre. It was used infrequently since it was a steep slope.
Near the top, behind the thick, black smoke stood two men. One had reddish hair and another looked like a homeless man. The former had an aura of satisfaction surrounding him and Lacus frowned.
How could one be so calm…? Before she had a chance to say anything, he noticed her gaze.
It was the start of something but of what, Lacus couldn't really say at the moment. It was at this moment that she understood her being was in existence for a reason.
She was Lacus Clyne, the daughter of Siegel and Via Clyne, the eldest of five daughters. She was a woman who was meant for bigger things in life.
There were moans and groans of incredibly injured people. Lacus and the finally calmed Miriallia exchanged glances and nodded – they had to do their part.
Lacus returned her gaze to the place above and saw the two had disappeared. Whether or not she would see those two again, she was not sure but it was information she would give to the military.
For now, both Clyne women utilized their first aid knowledge learned from their mother, with Dearka to assist.
When Via became aware her daughters may have joined Siegel in the afterlife, she almost fainted. Her body became weak, her mind was empty and the fear of being completely alone in this world overtook her.
She grasped the tea cup tightly, hung up on Elsman and ordered Todaka to switch on the television. With a heavy heart, she watched as the reporter tried to get nearer to the scene by disregarding the army's orders.
'Yes, go further, let me see if I am the only Clyne in existence…'
She wished. Her heartbeats slowed every second.
"Is this an act of terrorism? We cannot know at this time. But KTV will be the first to report on the developments."
Said the reporter as people pushed by her, some trying to push her aside to make contact with the outside world through the video camera.
"I will find them, Madam." Todaka said and left the room.
Via truly was alone.
A/N: Thank you, everyone, for the well wishes.