Word count: 975

Ponderings

"It's romantic."

"Huh?" Athrun squinted at Cagalli. She was standing half-dressed by the closet, a pile of clothing at her feet and a thin cotton nightgown slung over her arm.

"It's romantic," she said. "The way we met." Turning to glance at him, she paused, expression inscrutable, eyes gleaming in the darkness.

"Don't you think?"

"Well, yes, but…" How random, Athrun thought.

With a little flick of her wrist, and a bob of her head, Cagalli pulled on her nightdress, its long, pale blue edges brushing her toes.

"Like it should have been in a book, or a movie, or something," she said. Gathering the clothes on the ground into her arms, she threw them sloppily into the closet and shut the door with shove. Then, tugging at her gown, Cagalli walked to their bed, raising the blanket in one swift movement and slipping underneath.

She watched Athrun thoughtfully, taking in the sharp contours of his face in the steady glow of their bedside lamp.

"And it happened to us," she finished. She looked so confused for a moment that Athrun set down his book, and laughed.

"Are you disappointed, then?"

The reaction was instant. Eyes widening, she gasped, mouth opening into an O shape.

"No!" she cried, "of course not!" Her hair threw tousled shadows across her cheeks as she moved.

He blinked. Bemused, Athrun raised an eyebrow, and waited.

"It's just that…I don't know, I never thought about it before," she said, flailing her hands in an attempt to explain. She dropped them as her words trailed off. "It just seems odd, you know? Wait, maybe you don't." She frowned, then turned her face to his, emotions displayed starkly on her face. "That our lives seem like a giant soap opera." A sombre note crept into her voice.

Athrun slipped an arm around her shoulders, suppressing a smile and sighing as she melted into his embrace. He stared at her for a moment, eyes lingering on the ring glimmering on her finger, then asked,

"What brought this on?"

Silence. Then--

"I'm being watched." She threw him an odd look, a wry glint in her amber eyes.

"Haven't you noticed?"

"Um, actually…"

"No."

"Well, I have," she said, settling into his arms with a scowl. "They talk about us, and just about everyone knows that you were Alex." She glanced pointedly at his hair. "Even though we took care to hide your eyes, hair like that isn't found just anywhere, you know."

Athrun frowned. "But Luna wouldn't--"

"Oh no, I'm not talking about your ZAFT friends," Cagalli broke in. "Just people in general; in Orb, that is." She sighed. "People saw us together when you were Alex and -- I don't know how people know this, but they do -- somehow it's become common knowledge that we were involved in the first war together. It's absolutely terrible!"

She sighed again.

Athrun nudged her body with his, amused. A sudden image of politician Cagalli entered his mind, her eyes furious and presence overpowering. How different she was when under the public eye. Cagalli would certainly die of shame if anyone ever found out how positively gushy she could be, or that this feminine aspect of her personality even existed. He allowed himself a secret smile.

"Go on," he urged, looking at the present version of Cagalli, the one he liked. "You're not done."

She laughed, shooting him a shrewd look. "So, naturally," she said, face brightening, "all this ends up causing rumours. What if the representative was secretly in love with her bodyguard the whole time, who was really Athrun Zala? The coordinator Athrun Zala. And when the world was still in turmoil!" A mock expression of horror appeared on her face. "Why did she disappear on the day of her wedding, and was Jona's death," she winced, "really an accident? Blah blah blah."

Cagalli made a face, then grinned. "If only they knew how close they were to the truth."

"Indeed," Athrun agreed.

"I think, if they had the chance, the people would send cameras after me and broadcast my life on international television." She dropped a hand casually over his, and gave it a playful squeeze. "Too bad they love me so much."

Athrun snorted.

"Hey!" Cagalli raised an arm to whack him on the head, but Athrun dodged the attack instantly, leaving her briefly disoriented. Cagalli blinked. Then she chuckled, the sound turning into a guffaw, that rang recklessly through the room. Her lips twisted mischievously, and a split second later, the representative had tackled him, pinning him onto the bed.

"Wha-- Hey!"

"You deserved it."

In response, he rolled his eyes, laughing as her eyebrows shot up and out of sight.

"Why, you--"

"You know," Athrun said, struggling to fight back peals of laughter as Cagalli climbed on top of him, elbows wrestling his, "I think you would make a wonderful television star!"

But then she did something that utterly surprised him. Suddenly straightening, Cagalli met his eyes, clearly in thought. Looking but not really seeing, she rocked backwards, finally settling down into a cross-legged position.

"You're right," she said slowly.

Still wondering at her reaction, Athrun watched her, perplexed.

"I would." Her eyes were dreamy, and her expression thoughtful. Pausing, Cagalli added, "Though I would need a co-star." There was a hint of something Athrun couldn't identify in her voice. Belatedly, he realized how true his words were. She would make a good actress, and probably a very sneaky leader, were she not so brutally honest all the time.

Athrun quirked an eyebrow. "You would?"

She smirked. "Well, it depends on the actor's skills, of course…but yes, I think I would."

And before Athrun had time to react, Cagalli leaned forwards, pressing her lips against his.

"'Cause our lives would make one hell of a show," she mumbled.

---

A/N: Inspired by a late night plot bunny.

In terms of timeline, this story takes place quite a while after Destiny, enough so that a relationshiop between a Natural and Coordinator wouldn't turn too many heads. I don't know what it is that would happen before that, but this is definitely a view into what would happen if everyone's lives settled down, and Cagalli and Athrun finally had time to develop a proper relationship. (And Cagalli's a little slow on the uptake, isn't she? Quite amazing that it took her so long to figure out that their lives are, quite literally, like a soap opera. XD)

As always, crit and suggestions welcome. Apologies for the sucky title.