Pairing: Kira x Athrun
Feedback: Much appreciated as always, either here or email me at punkakauntan(at)gmail(dot)com
Disclaimer: Gundam SEED / Gundam SEED DESTINY belongs to Sunrise, Bandai and Sotsu. No trademark infringement intended and no money made from this fanfic.

Author's Notes: I'm doing a series of vignettes set during Kira & Athrun's lifespan to get my writing back into the groove. Had been terribly bogged down with factual (and boring) report writing for work, it's bad for my grammar & syntax. This one is based on Endless Future prompt #4: can't sleep. May take some liberties from the seen anime timeline. Mild spoiler for ep.42.

Sleeplessness, by PunkAkauntan

It was well past 1:00 A.M. and the luminous digits on the bedside clock continued to tick away the minutes.

Kira was lying flat on his bed, unable to sleep despite the bone deep weariness that weighed him down. The afternoon's incident kept repeating in his mind and made him restless.

He remembered pulling Athrun's limp form from Justice's cockpit, and the panic that gripped him when he saw the blood streaming down Athrun's face. He distinctly remembered how that panic had rapidly solidified into fear.

Kira had spent the evening in the infirmary, shoulders hunched, trying without much success to remain calm. Kira, of course, had received a good telling off from Lacus for not getting enough rest of his own, and as she had correctly pointed out, he would be useless to everyone if he had to sortie in his current exhausted state. Kira couldn't even be bothered to defend himself. He just sat there, gazing at his best friend, feeling wretched. It was only after the Captain intervened that he had finally relented, and on her orders trudged to his sleeping quarters albeit very reluctantly.

His thoughts were interrupted by a soft robotic chirp; he turned to his side, and reached out to stroke Torii. The robotic bird cocked its head and stared through its beady eyes at its master. Then, with a whirl of mechanical wings it flew the short distance to the chair where Kira's jacket lay and chirped once more.

Sitting up, Kira puzzled at the bird. Torii hopped back and forth, and then flew in a circle around the room, before finally landing on the desk, its head cocked towards the door's control panel. It chirped again. Kira swung his feet off the bed, slipped on his shoes and left the room quietly with Torii perched on his shoulder.

The ship was silent; most of its crew had retired for the night. Without warning, Torii took flight, swooping down the deserted corridor that led away from the general sleeping quarters. Kira followed it at a run and soon found himself standing before the entrance to the infirmary.

Torii rapped impatiently at the control panel with its beak. Kira looked mildly startled, but his expression quickly changed into one of comprehension. He stretched out his arm and Torii settled itself on the back of his hand, chirping softly, its head swivelling from the door to its master and back to the door.

Looking around and finding the corridor deserted, Kira quickly punched in the code and let himself in.

The room was dark but for a small nightlight set high on the far wall. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the semi darkness within. He padded softly towards the room's lone occupant and knelt by the bedside. For long moments he studied Athrun's sleeping form, listened to the rhythm of his breathing before finding the courage to take hold of his hand.

Torii settled itself at the foot of the bed and went silent.

Kira leaned closer, and studied Athrun's restless features as though it was the first time he was really seeing him. What are you dreaming of? Kira wondered. When Athrun's brows furrowed and he stirred lightly in his sleep, Kira's grip on his hand tightened reflexively. Athrun looked so vulnerable just then, like a little boy lost, belying the fact he was one of the most self-assured person Kira had ever know in his lifetime. A selfless friend and protector -- someone who wouldn't think twice about putting his safety and happiness above his own.

Suddenly, it dawned upon him that he had lost count of the number of times Athrun had risked his life to protect him.

The fear that had been gnawing at the back of Kira's mind slammed full force into him. The stark prospect of losing his life-long friend chilled him to the marrow, and it almost paralysed him.

What would I do without you?

Kira laid his head on the pillow, close to Athrun's. A hot prickling sensation started at the back of his eyes and he blinked rapidly to banish the tears that threatened to fall. Athrun sighed softly in his sleep, which sounded vaguely like 'Kira'. Kira's heart skipped a few beats, and he held his breath, forgetting to exhale.

"... Kira ..."

This time the word was clearer, undoubtedly so; Kira shifted closer until their foreheads almost touched. He felt rather than saw Athrun shift onto his side, facing towards him. Athrun's hold on his hand tightened, and his hair tickled Kira's nose.

Kira wasn't even aware of what he was doing; he responded by unexpectedly moving onto the bed. In his sleep, Athrun shifted to make room for him. In the half light, Kira's vision was a blur of pale skin, bandages and dark hair, unfocused because Athrun was up so close. Kira curled his free hand around Athrun, clasping him to his body.

The minutes passed slowly. A low murmur escaped Athrun as he snuggled against Kira's warmth. Kira stroked his back gently and closed his eyes, feeling exceedingly comfortable. When Athrun snuggled closer, he ghosted a kiss on the other boy's forehead.

Kira knew he should be getting back to his quarters; it would be highly embarrassing if someone was to walk in to find him in the patient's bed.

Just a minute more, he promised himself. It's so warm here ...

He didn't quite finish the thought as sleep ambushed him.

Zeddy © March 2006
Published: 9 March 2006