In This Day
Summary: AU. Valentine's Day as seen through one couple.
Author's Notes: Valentine's Day fic in an AU high school setting. It was meant to be longer with the dancing party in this as well but with it being incomplete, today being tied up in a combination of classes and going out I won't have the time to finish it up in time for V-Day so I'm posting the bulk per say right now. I'll probably post another part as a behind-the-scenes aka the dance itself.
Disclaimer: The characters used in this fic aren't mine. They belong to Bandai and whatever other company has a say in their fate.
Days flew by like leaves, all the same, yet every new one discovered was so inherently different and beautiful. Never identical, no repetition, but following the same setting and the same characters.
Time slowed sometimes, time that was hard to see, like a river that slowed around the bends so you could admire little secret spots and appreciate how far you've come. That's what Valentine's Day was like for Athrun and Cagalli.
Nothing new of course, except for the increased activity all over school, some dance going on that night that seemed to have slipped the couple's minds, and all those guys massing what little courage they had to squeeze their heart out in front of some crush or other which either resulted in a shot down faster than a deer during hunting season. It was like a game of hit and miss. When you already have someone, it almost makes you laugh when you step back and watch the attempts being made.
First period, second period, third period, teachers trying to grab the attention of students, creative assignments to fill another one of those days students aren't able to pay attention, hearts and cards going out faster than a special at Shop 'n Sweets, and parents wondering when their children grew up so fast.
Cagalli got Athrun to ask other guys for her friends, to find out who likes who. Normal males might feel as though this is traitorous behavior, letting 'the enemy' knows the devastating emotional weight they're carrying, and that was how Cagalli played matchmaker for some fun. Athrun himself was sort of surprised in this display of feminism from her but even he wasn't stupid enough to refuse her.
Athrun once innocently asked if she was going to set him up with anyone and even after a week he could still feel the little bump on his head from the book she threw at him. Damn English books. Why did they have to be so big? And when did she have such a strong arm? The softball team could use an arm like that.
"A dance?" Athrun was walking in front of Cagalli walking backwards.
"What, afraid you'll embarrass yourself?" She knew that wasn't the case, but it was fun to tease. Whether they were going to playfully banter or this was going to be one-sided was yet to be seen.
"It's such short notice...and why don't we just-"
"Athrun, I wanna go to the dance!" Normally she wouldn't do this but Cagalli tested out her cutest pout.
Athrun himself was slightly befuddled to say the least.
"But-" Cagalli noticed that Athrun looked a little stressed out over this little thing.
"What's the problem? It'll be so fun!"
"Oh, nothing." He turned to walk beside her and kicked a rock. "My stomach feels funny."
Cagalli felt something new from him: resignation. The word itself was hard to pin on him, but it spread like a cascading waterfall. He had said that last bit about his stomach in such a way as Cagalli almost didn't notice, but she asked, "What's wrong with your stomach?"
He looked a little surprised. "Nothing, really. Just a little... swishy? I dunno. No big deal."
"Hmph," Cagalli breathed, laying her head on his shoulder. This felt a little... awkward. He didn't want to go to the dance, but he was still going, and she was acting intimate for no reason other than that she could.
Why was this making her feel so...
It was Athrun.
Some unconscious emotion was tumbling down on her and making her feel like she had done something wrong.
What had she done?
"Athrun?" she asked sweetly.
"What?" One could hear the quite resignation in his voice as he said it.
She kissed his jaw where it met the ear and whispered, "Stop."
It was a command. It took him a second to realize that and he was already a step ahead of her. She had slid her head smoothly off his shoulder and grabbed both of his arms, turning his body to face her.
Staring into his eyes she asked, "Are you still my friend?"
This caught Athrun off-guard. What a strange question. Humph. Oh course, in his confusion he stared blankly at her like a fish.
"I mean, we have fun and we are in love and all that, but sometimes I feel like there are problems we don't talk about. Stupid things, feelings I get from you that last less than minutes, but if I never bring them to the front you'll never get them out. Why don't you want to go to the dance? Is that even the problem? I..." She stopped. Athrun looked like he had something to say.
He took a shallow breath, then another, and then said, "To tell you the truth...I wish you hadn't cornered me." He was staring into her brown eyes and that was hard for him, always. Because it felt like she could look into his soul, and without knowing it, she did.
"Since...well, whenever something happens that I don't like, it only makes sense to me to change what I wanted to fit whatever is possible. I had..." he paused to grin, "other plans for tonight."
Cagalli pressed her lips together and looked wistful, all the fiery spirit of caring leaking out of her. "Oh. Ooooops." She looked up. "Sorry."
Athrun put an arm around her shoulders and restarted their homeward walk. "I figured we could just leave the dance early and I could go through with my plan. You would probably be way too tired if we danced until two in the morning. Well, maybe. 'The limits of human endurance...'"
"I happen to be above average, you know," she said a little defensively though amusement was shinning in her eyes.
"But when you haven't been completely geared toward 'the fight' and your body isn't pumping adrenaline, or at least isn't focused completely on the task at hand, how is it going to keep you any more energized than the next person? And personally, dancing for more than five hours? I-"
"We wouldn't dance the whole time!" Cagalli bopped him in the back of the head.
Athrun grinned. "I knew that! But wouldn't you rather be moving in a perfect rhythm with someone so that the rest of the world isn't there for the entire thing than pausing to rest your weary feet and talk? I do believe that we talk far more than any other couple we happen to have the great privilege of knowing."
"Humph." She smirked. "What if we get thirsty?"
"Well..." Athrun laughed this tiny laugh that didn't leave his throat and it sounded melodic.
"Oh, you!" Cagalli tried to be even a little bit miffed at his mind of taking breaks and drinks were definitely not on his mind considering the wicked gleam in his eyes.
"I didn't mean to think of it, I swear!" He continued in an undertone, "Although, I'm sure you wouldn't mind," he said in an impious tone.
A blush was his only answer.
Five hours and some fancy dress clothes later, the couple departed for the Valentine's Day dance with the others. When they returned three hours after that, it was with weary feet and a happy feeling. The floor had gotten too crowded, and they figured it was already late enough. They said their goodbyes to the remaining couples and returned home.
"Athrun? I'm tired..."
"One minute, one minute." He slid through the door of the bedroom and grabbed something off of the bookshelf. "I was going to do other stuff, but that dance was to fun to stop any earlier."
Cagalli smiled, then yawned. "I don't know how everyone else was still going so strong..."
"They arrived later. A secret of dances, I guess." Athrun thought it was amusing especially considering how Kira, Shinn, and Yzak were facing off for title of 'Best Dancer.' He was pretty sure Lacus, Stellar, and Dearka were getting a kick out of their dates. A Valentine's Day to remember for sure.
Cagalli shot him a dreamy smile. "I liked how it went."
Athrun smiled softly and whispered as he came back to her, "So did I."
"So what is that?" She tried to look at the box he'd hidden behind his back, getting up from the couch to peer around him, but he switched to the other hand and twirled around.
"Nope. Let me put it on you and then look. You can open it, though..."
"How am I-"
"Just keep your eyes closed and I'll move your hands. Promise."
Athrun sat on the floor in front of the couch, using it to lean against. They did this so often that it never bothered them when they did. Everything came so natural to them now it didn't provoke embarrassment as it did early on in their relationship but more of a comfort that some things would never change.
Cagalli sat in front of him and Athrun gently trailed his hands down her arms and when he put his palms on the back of her hands their fingers entwined softly but like unbreakable thread. About then Athrun noticed what a comfortable position they were in, with Cagalli pressed against him, and he took the opportunity to kiss her neck while guiding her hands in opening the black case. It was about six inches long and one and a half inches wide, with something flexible and metallic laid out on the tiny cushion inside.
"Is it a necklace?" Cagalli asked.
"Shh," Athrun answered.
He took it out and put it around Cagalli's neck, letting her hold her waist-length hair aside for him. When he was finished, she looked down at the thing.
Its chain was sized so that it hung down three inches from her throat, that chain of links so fine they might have been woven like silk. And what hung from the necklace, the important part. Cagalli knew Athrun, and that he had a particular belief about jewelry sort of like her in a way – to him, it meant something. And whatever meaning it has to you is generally so important that you don't take off that thing. Wherever that thought had sprung up, even he had no idea, but that meant he'd put a lot into this gift. And that meant a lot to her.
At first it seemed like a glass or crystal cylinder, maybe one inch long and a little less than a centimeter wide. Cagalli felt a moment of frustration like a spike from Athrun, but suddenly the cylinder filled with two spiraling strands, like DNA.
One could have been fire, yellows and whites and reds and oranges sharply visible to Cagalli's keen eye. The other was a tiny blue line, almost invisible, but when you caught it and stared at it, its light grew in your eyes until it was the brightest thing in your vision.
She wanted to gasp, be amazed, love it forever, but her first reaction was to blink. A moment caught out of time. She wanted to say so many things: thank you, it's beautiful, where did you get it, every one of those phrases inadequate to describe what she was feeling. This was…well, it drove her speechless. The meaning was so simple, yet so incredibly expressed.
"I'll take it you like it?" he teased gently. She nodded wordlessly. Athrun laughed quietly and she loved the way it reverberated through his chest, make her feel his laugh and for a moment she felt like she laughed just liked him.
Cagalli sighed. Athrun smiled. She was overwhelmed, and that was pleasing to him.
"I," Athrun sang like a lullaby into her ear, "love, you..." and sealed it with a kiss.