A/N: I do not own Gundam Seed. This is my first GS story and I'm still in the midst of studying, observing, etc, the characters, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. So, I hope they are not too OOC. Let me know in a mature manner if they are OOC. This takes place some time after GS, but still before Destiny. '…thoughts…' Thanks goes out to my beta reader, Caorann fridh Bronach. This is a oneshot. As some know, I'm sucker for a little fluff now and then, so be warned, especially since I am an avid fan of Athrun and Cagalli.
The beautiful Lacus Clyne, of soft-pink hair and sky-blue eyes, hummed a tune of her own as she carefully brushed her hair. Tonight promised to be a memorable night. She was meeting her friends and potential lover to have dinner at one of the best restaurants around: The Chef's Hat. She anticipated relaxing and not worrying about being killed by the next person you met and engaged in battle.
War was really annoying. Pitiful, even.
Lacus sighed as she slipped into her dress shoes. "Someday this dreadful conflict between coordinators and naturals will come to an end," she murmured. "I do hope it is soon."
A quick glance at the clock told her that she had to hurry.. Time would not wait for her. She headed for her personal bathroom to do a last-minute check on her overall appearance.
"Everything seems to be all right." Lacus then leaned forward, brow knitting as she did so. "Oh." She grimaced, feeling none too pleased with what her eyes beheld. "I thought I covered you up." The teenage girl reached for some concealing makeup matching her skin color situated on a nearby shelf. That considerably large zit needed to be veiled immediately for the minutes ticked by rapidly. However, she gasped! There was none left! She had used the last of it only moments ago.
Lacus took a deep breath. No need to worry, right? After all, it happened to lots of people and she was still a teenager. Being a coordinator didn't excuse her from the facts of life, either. The young musician tended to take such things in a calm manner. The world wasn't ending!
But now she would have to take it seriously. Kira promised to be there! While the two knew they had feelings for one another, their relationship hadn't had time to develop into something deeper. That pitiful, annoying war was to blame. Kira was, without a doubt, going to see that huge, monstrous, atrocious zit on her cheekbone and think her to be a hideous creature from the depths of the sea or the outer rim of the universe!
Well, maybe not exactly that, but Lacus wanted to look nice for him and a red blemish on her face wouldn't be helping at all.
"I don't have enough time to get more make-up! If I try to, I'll be very late for dinner!"
Lacus would have to concede defeat, as no other options rested at hand to resolve this little beast. The girl let her hair loose and it curled around her face in waves. Maybe that would shield it from view…
A quiet Athrun Zala waited for the signal to cross the street. The beautiful night prompted him to walk instead of driving to The Chef's Hat. The restaurant wasn't too far from where he currently resided so…why not? Never hurt anyone to have a bit of exercise. Not that he really needed it. This was Athrun Zala, after all - the once ace pilot of ZAFT. Of course, this isn't to say he was not an ace pilot anymore…not that it mattered for tonight. He would be dining with his best friend, his former fiancée, and…her: Cagalli.
The dark-haired coordinator smiled, quite anxious to see her. Both he and the Princess of Orb were extremely busy these days, so they, too, had no real time to be together. Athrun wanted that to change, though.
Lost in thought, the young man didn't notice the boy with a big dog…a dog attempting to nab the boy's chocolate ice-cream cone…
"Ack!" shouted the boy. He ended up falling in his effort to avoid the dog's jump and one arm swung out and the ice-cream cone crashed into the older male, instantly marking its territory…
"No!" Athrun moaned as he felt the great glob of cold chocolate land on his brand new white dress shirt,
"Whoops, sorry!" the boy said, jumping to his feet and running off with his dog to who knew where.
An apology wasn't nearly enough. "No…" the coordinator echoed his earlier word, throwing the scoop of ice cream onto the ground. "Blast it, what am I supposed to do now?" Athrun muttered out loud, his green eyes darting back to the direction in which the boy had run.
There was no time to change. The Chef's Hat sat across the street, silently beckoning him. His friends would be arriving any moment. He blew a frustrated sigh. "Just go, Zala. Get in there and deal with it like a man," he said to himself mutely. But wait, how exactly did a man deal with something like this?
His dinner jacket was not enough to cover up the spot so he would have to make do with another solution, one he knew would be quite suspicious, but no other solution presented itself. Athrun ran a hand through his shoulder-length hair and crossed the street.
The tomboyish goddess of victory, Cagalli Yula Athha, thanked the doorman and stepped inside the restaurant. Shining lights overhead cascaded around her body and the area surrounding her. She wondered if she was the first to arrive, as she scanned the crowd with her brown eyes, seeking out her twin brother Kira, Athrun and Lacus. No sign of them. The deal was whoever came first was to inform the waiter of the reservations. "Hmm. I guess I better find a waiter," Cagalli said, smoothing out the wrinkles in her black dress pants. "They're better than a skirt or a dress." She frowned at a woman in a dress and then looked down at her pants with a smile.
Athrun wouldn't mind…would he? A light blush spread across her face as she thought of him. 'Athrun…' Cagalli remembered the kiss aboard the Archangel. "Good gosh, my hands are shaking!" she said out loud, surprised and irked. "Come on, now, get it together!" A few people looked up at this. Thankfully, they couldn't see Cagalli for a small garden and waterfall near the entrance hid her. Actually, good thing nobody could see her because Cagalli then caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. The natural had been pushing her blonde hair out of her eyes when she saw it!
No, no, no, no…
There was a noticeable hole in her blouse! Right in front!
"This can't be happening…" Cagalli squeezed her eyes shut and then opened them, peering at the mirror wall again. "It is! Oh, what am I going to do?" Her wristwatch verified that the rest of the group would be here any time now. She couldn't let Athrun see this! Let alone Kira and Lacus. An unkempt head representative of a neutral nation…
Maybe she could sneak out and say she was sick…
No! Stupid idea! Cagalli pursed her lips, thinking. She would not go down without a fight!
Hurriedly snapping a purple flower off of its root, Cagalli stuffed it in the hole. Her blouse suddenly had a new accessory. This, she would say, came with the shirt.
The ultimate coordinator, Kira Yamato, could not believe his predicament.
Let's start at the beginning.
After showering, Kira had rushed to put on his formal wear, knowing he was already a few minutes behind. This alone affirmed the fact that he would be late so no point in trying to be on time.
But he was sure going to try.
Kira reached for his deodorant and: "Ow!" He pulled it back from you know where and realized its emptiness. "Oh, great, just great!" Throwing it to the ground in an uncommonly angry manner, Kira proceeded to comb his brown hair neatly. Then, purple eyes narrowed as he struggled to do up his tie. As he continued dressing, he cast a glare at the fallen deodorant. All that he had was cologne. That would have to do. Not that he normally…smelled…but those rich-type restaurants could get awfully warm…
Yep. Just like Lacus, he was not clear of any natural occurrences on his teenage body.
His shoulders sank. Lacus. Would she notice something different? Gah, he sincerely hoped not. Kira wanted to impress her tonight.
"All right," Kira mumbled, pulling on his shoes. "Don't panic. Just sit as far away as possible from everyone and it'll be fine." He could get more deodorant from the drugstore afterwards, but he'd have to leave a little early.
Two girls and one guy sat awkwardly at the table, waiting for the fourth member to come along and relieve them of that awkwardness, which consisted of avoiding each other's eyes and trying to keep away as far as possible from one another.
Athrun sat with his arms crossed tightly against his mid-upper body. 'Here's hoping they don't notice.'
Lacus stared at the silverware, desperately trying to think of some subject matter. 'How's the weather? No, it would be too short of a conversation.' Lacus dipped her head slightly, allowing her long hair to cover her face even more.
Cagalli looked everywhere else except at the Pink Princess diagonally across from her and the former ZAFT Prince at her right, who just had to look overwhelmingly handsome tonight. To her, anyway. 'Argh, I feel like such a little girl!' she wailed inwardly, not enjoying the fact that one, single guy could turn her legs into jelly.
All in their own little world, the four teenagers were not aware of the elegant candles, classical music, the delicious aroma of food, and the sophistication of the restaurant in general around them.
"Er, so!" Cagalli brought her attention back to their table. "Where are our menus?" she asked, not caring who answered.
Lacus lifted her head a bit, smiling. "They probably won't bring them out until Kira arrives."
"True," Athrun said quickly, ignoring the stares thrown his way.
Cagalli then noticed that Athrun was being pretty closed in about himself. Sitting there with proper posture, arms crossed…he looked like he was at a dull, dreary business meeting. He wasn't looking at her or Lacus; he just stared straight ahead, above Lacus's head. 'He won't talk or even look at me,' Cagalli thought, disappointed. Then it struck her like lighting: 'Maybe he knows!"
Athrun also realized something. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Cagalli looking at him strangely – did she see the brown stain? Did he not hide it well? And Lacus wasn't looking at him – was she trying not to laugh? 'I bet they know!' But he couldn't say for sure.
The coordinator musician swallowed hard. Athrun and Cagalli hadn't been looking her way for quite some time, as if she weren't there. 'Are they disgusted by it?' Lacus bit her lip. 'Is it really that bad? I cannot remember if it was…'
Finally, Kira arrived. The young man walked slowly to their table, hands jammed in his pockets, slouching a little. "Hi, everyone," he said. Kira took the empty seat and sat down, careful to keep his distance from Lacus. Already the heat of the lights was taking their toll on him. 'Please don't anything happen,' he silently prayed. 'Please don't let them notice!'
The waiter gave them their menus at last. Athrun leaned all the way towards the table, flipping the menu open with one hand, still keeping his arms against his body. 'Well, there's a good chance Cagalli won't see the stain since I'm beside her, but what about those two? This is driving me insane, waiting for someone to make a remark on it!'
Cagalli lifted the menu off the table, covering the area where the flower was hiding the hole. 'This is certainly turning out to be a horrible evening. Athrun doesn't know I exist, Lacus is acting strange, and my brother is acting even stranger! …I bet they're all laughing inside! Grr, it's probably so obvious this flower doesn't belong with the blouse…'
And Kira opened the menu near him, scooting his chair even further away in the process. 'Everyone is acting weird tonight. And…it's so warm in here. That's it! They must know. Lacus knows. This is embarrassing! I think I had better leave early. But how early?'
Lacus simply opened the menu, still keeping her head down. 'Oh, dear. Kira is moving away from me. He sees it. He thinks it's awful! I wonder, do Athrun and Cagalli see it, too?'
Once the orders were taken, silence descended and the pleasant atmosphere around the group went on, unnoticed.
Kira sighed inwardly and decided to speak. "Um, Lacus, you look nice tonight." It was true. Kira had never seen her look any lovelier.
Lacus did not look at him, but gave a reply: "Thank you, Kira."
Cagalli cleared her throat. Kira ought to compliment her so Athrun could take a hint!
"Oh, um, Cagalli, you look nice, too…is that a corsage?"
Cagalli glared daggers at her long lost twin. "It's not a corsage!" she snapped. "I-It's a part of my shirt!"
Kira winced. "Er, sorry. Didn't know." He paused. "I thought maybe if it was a corsage, then…Athrun might've given it to you?" Kira looked to his best friend for confirmation.
Cagalli turned red and Athrun shook his head ever so slightly, arms still not leaving his chest. "I didn't see her till now," Athrun admitted feebly.
'You jerk, you haven't even looked at me!' Cagalli yelled inside her head.
'Boy, did I start everything off wrong,' Kira thought sadly.
And quietness plunged again like a knife.
Athrun decided at that moment that he had better say something to calm down Cagalli, lest he risk her anger releasing again. He faced her. "Cagalli…you look very…pretty tonight." No, she was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful in his eyes. Athrun wished he could brush her hair back, touch her cheek…relive that moment in the Archangel. 'I never knew I could get this sappy.'
"T-Thanks," Cagalli stammered, turning abruptly back to the beige tablecloth decorated with watercolor roses. For a moment, she forgot about the hole.
"You, too, Lacus." Athrun nodded at the Pink Princess.
Lacus smiled again. "Thank you, Athrun."
And still, silence reigned.
'This is terrible,' Lacus thought.
'I should bail out about now…' Kira checked his own wristwatch. 'Hmm, what time does the drugstore close?'
Their meals came. Cagalli was so hungry, she forgot about the hole again and reached for some napkins in the middle of the table. "Excuse me."
The flower fell out.
Onto her lasagna!
'Oh my gosh!' The Princess of Orb looked up quickly and to her relief, everyone was focusing on their own meals.
Stuffing the flower back into her shirt would be too prominent. Thinking fast, Cagalli grabbed her fork and covered the flower with some sauce, cheese, and noodles. Then she brought her free hand over her shoulder, her wrist covering the hole. 'I'll just eat like this.'
Meanwhile, Kira's mouth watered at the sight of that thick, juicy steak beside his mashed potatoes and gravy and the customary lettuce and tomato. Only one problem: how was he to cut the steak without lifting his arms?
Lacus picked at her own meal, wishing the night would end soon. Time had slowed down, it seemed.
And Athrun broke that silence. With an amused smile, he said, "Lacus, I don't meant to bother you, but some of your hair is in your soup."
Lacus' eyes widened, almost horrified. Giving a laugh, she lifted her head again, though not too much to unveil that zit. "I hadn't realized," she said in her defense. "How silly of me not to."
'I can't stand this!' Athrun thought, immediately forgetting about Lacus' mistake. 'I've got to do something.' He blurted out:
"I'm feeling a little sick."
He hadn't expected the other three to say the exact same thing at the exact same time!
They all stopped, froze, and stared at each other.
"Uh, it must be the food!" Cagalli grinned nervously. She clicked her tongue. "Yep. Guess we'd all better-"
"Are you all really ill?" Lacus asked, curious eyes searching Kira's face.
Guilt Party. A Pity Party's best friend.
Kira lowered his gaze. "I'm sorry. I'm not really sick."
"Neither am I," Athrun added.
"So you guys lied?" Cagalli asked them.
"Hey," Athrun began, frowning. "Are you sick?"
Cagalli went quiet. "Well, no, not really…it's just that…" She didn't want to tell them about the hole! Who in their right mind would wear a shirt full of holes to a fancy dinner, right? They'd think her an idiot!
"That what?" Lacus prompted gently, peering at the girl she was slowly getting to know better.
Kira raised an eyebrow. 'Something's up.' Now he was instantly concerned for his sister. Athrun, too, felt worried.
Feeling all eyes upon her, Cagalli threw her hands up. "Fine! Get a good look, everyone – I have a hole in my shirt! See!" She pointed to it and suddenly realized something else could be seen. "Wait, don't look!" Cagalli covered the medium-sized hole, hoping the boys hadn't seen the strap.
Athrun looked away, reddening, catching the accusing stare of Kira, who was definitely the protective brother type.
Lacus giggled. She giggled and giggled until she finally started to laugh. The remaining three threw her quizzical glances and Lacus knew she had better explain herself. "I'm sorry, but this is all so funny! You see, I have an embarrassment, too." She pulled back her hair, showing the zit. "See?" Now she wasn't feeling so self-conscious anymore.
"Well, if this is the going thing…look." Athrun pulled his arms away from his body, revealing the brown stain. "Some kid spilled his ice cream on me before I came in. I didn't have time to change."
Kira chuckled until they all looked at him and stopped short. "Um…what?"
"Do you have something to tell us?" Cagalli demanded, frowning at him. "Tell the truth!"
Oh, sure, it was easy for them to say things like that. Theirs wasn't nearly as humiliating as his was. Still, he could not ignore their penetrating expressions. "Okay…I…I…" Kira gritted his teeth. Blast it! "I, uh…rn ow a dodrant…" he mumbled, barely audible.
"I didn't catch that. Say it again?" Athrun smirked. Payback time.
Kira narrowed his eyes. "I said, 'I ran owa dordrant…'"
"I still can't hear you," Cagalli said, smiling sweetly.
"I ran out of deodorant!"
Those near their table looked up at this loud statement.
Kira's cheeks flushed crimson and he stood up, prepared to run away and hide his face.
"Where are you going, Kira?" Lacus called as he dashed away from the table.
"Come on!" Athrun took after him, as did Cagalli, and Lacus only hung back to inform the waiter to charge it to her account.
Outside in the clear, crisp night air, Kira sat down on a bench, mortified and wishing he hadn't come at all. "Darn it, Yamato, why did you have to do that?" 'Now Lacus won't want to be seen with me, feh, I wouldn't want to be seen with me!' Of course, he was making a mountain out of a molehill.
The sound of footsteps reached his ears and Kira looked up to see his friends come into view.
"Kira, why did you run off like that?" Lacus asked, sitting down next to him.
"Because I was embarrassed!" Kira answered, as if it were obvious. He regretted it, knowing he sounded a little harsh. "I'm sorry, but-"
"Kira," Athrun started, "we're all embarrassed, but not of you – of ourselves."
"Athrun's right," Cagalli said. "Lacus, who cares about a zit? It happens to all of us! And Athrun, that stain is hardly noticeable and Kira, you don't smell."
"Thanks, I think," Kira muttered with a half-smile.
Lacus turned to Cagalli. "That hole in your shirt isn't that big, Cagalli. Don't worry about it." She then turned to Kira. "And you look very handsome tonight, Kira."
Kira smiled, glad to hear her say that. "Thanks."
Sensing a moment, Athrun stepped back and took Cagalli's hand, pulling her away with him. "Uh, we'll see you two later."
"What the – hey!"
"I can't believe you were so self-conscious about a small stain!" Cagalli laughed as she and Athrun walked through the park.
The ace coordinator pilot only smirked. "And I can't believe you were worried about that hole in your shirt."
Cagalli stopped laughing and peered at the hole in her shirt. "I guess it isn't too bad…hey, stop looking!"
Athrun appeared to be flustered. "I-I wasn't looking! Honest!"
The blonde teenager gave her own smirk. "I was only kidding, Zala, gee!"
"I was looking at you."
Cagalli blushed and realized he hadn't let go of her hand since they had left Kira and Lacus. "Oh, shut up," she murmured. She heard a chuckle and sighed, relieved. The evening had turned out to be all right. Thank goodness!
They walked a bit more until Athrun broke yet another silence, a comfortable silence. "Where is that flower, by the way?"