Pairing: Kira x Athrun
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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: Continuation of MOTHER. The theme of this vignette is centred around the affliction known as Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA). GSA is sexual attraction between close relatives, such as a brother and sister, who first meet as adults. Endless Future prompt #3: Envy & #22: Genetics. WARNING: a rather dark potrayal of Kira.
◊ Beneath An Artificial Sun ◊
On the surface, it was a simple enough plan: confront the girls and return the unwanted gifts with the least drama as possible. In reality, it was like walking through a minefield with one's eyes blindfolded.
Kira rubbed his cheek thoughtfully as he waited in the darkened living room. The memory of the slap, delivered in a fit of uncharacteristic anger lingered. At least, he got his message through with that one. The moment the back of her hand, fingers adorned with fancy baubles connected with his face, he knew that she realised too late that she had erred. He doubted she would be able to look at him in the eye the next time they meet -- and meet they will, undoubtedly so. After all, they both worked at the same facility, and striking a superior officer was a bad career move.
His mouth curled up in a sardonic smile.
Kira glanced at the luminous hands on his watch. It was late. He was just wondering how much longer he had to lurk in the shadows when the door suddenly slammed open. Someone crossed the threshold, kicked the door shut, and without bothering to switch on the lights made straight for the kitchen.
A moment later, the light from the inside of the refrigerator spilled onto the floor as the door was swung open. The sound of a drink can being popped open followed suit.
Kira sidled closer and peered through the archway that connected the living room to the kitchen. Quick as lightning he stepped into the kitchen and grabbed hold of the other's arm right above the elbow.
Cagalli jerked backwards with a startled gasp. The can slipped out of her hand, and clattered on the floor, spilling sticky green liquid on the reasonably clean tiles. She swung her other fist reflexively. Kira grabbed her wrist easily and spun her around.
"Security sure is lax around here." Kira said matter-of-factly, letting her wrist go.
"That wasn't funny." Cagalli cursed under her breath.
"I could be anyone." He flicked the lights on.
Cagalli kept her eyes on him as he leaned against the wall, arms folded across his chest. She was weary from yet another day of mind-numbing paperwork, and wasn't in the mood for games.
"What are you doing here?" She asked curtly. She wondered where he got the gash across his cheek from.
Kira studied her from under his fringe. "Is that the way to greet your brother?"
"What do you expect? A hug and a kiss?"
Kira didn't miss the sarcasm. "That would be nice."
Cagalli's nostrils flared. "You sneaked in here like some ..."
"You gave me your keys, remember?" Kira cut her off.
Something about his attitude discomfited her. "That doesn't give you the right --"
He pushed himself off the wall abruptly and gripped her shoulders. Cagalli staggered backwards as Kira used his height and weight advantage to pin her against the refrigerator. Cagalli gave a small cry of pain as her head made contact with the smooth metal surface.
"Who else did you give your keys to?" Kira demanded harshly.
Cagalli became still.
"What are you talking about?"
"Answer me." Kira's voice held a tone of menace.
"What the hell is the matter with you, Kira!" Cagalli's hands flew up as she struggled to push him away.
He shook her brusquely. "Who else?"
Suddenly she felt scared. Kira was staring daggers at her, his hands planted on both sides of her head, his body pressed flush against hers, boxing her in. She couldn't even knee him in the groin if she wanted to. Sweat beaded her forehead.
Cagalli turned her face away.
"Did you give your keys to Athrun?" Kira gripped her jaw, forcing her to look at him.
Cagalli's eyes widened.
"Don't lie to me!" His hold on her tightened.
Cagalli tried to twist out of his grip, but he was far too strong. She could sense his anger rolling off him in palpable waves. She decided to switch tactics.
"You're hurting me."
Kira's eyes bore into hers. His fingers relaxed their grip, moved away for a moment, only to return and twist in her hair.
"You're wrong, Cagalli. It's you who are hurting me," Kira hissed in her ear.
Cagalli trembled despite heat. "What do you mean? What are you accusing me of?"
"Don't try to act stupid."
Cagalli turned her face a little to look at him. She was acutely aware of how awkward their position was. To the casual observer they might have looked like a couple in the midst of a bizarre foreplay; their bodies pressed together, his knee rammed between her slightly splayed legs, their faces almost touching. Cagalli knew she should feel righteously violated, but instead she felt disgustingly excited by their proximity.
Perhaps old crushes died hard.
Kira reached into his coat's pocket, and the movement caused accidental friction. Cagalli bit her lower lip to stop a gasp from escaping.
Kira, seemingly unconcerned, shoved something towards her. Cagalli stared at the gift-wrapped box thrust at her breasts, then her eyes darted towards his. She felt a sinking feeling of trepidation, and stared at him, unsure of what to do.
"What the hell is this?"
"You tell me." Kira sounded cold. "Yours, I believe?"
He released his hold on her, and took a few steps back.
The box clattered to the floor. It lay between them like an unexploded shell.
Cagalli eyes darted between him and the box. She gingerly touched the box with the tips of her toes, almost half expecting it to blow up in their faces. Perhaps it isn't such a bad idea, she mused.
"So," she said after a while, breaking the uncomfortable silence, "this was the reason why you asked about the key."
Kira gazed at her impassively.
"The answer is still no." Cagalli stooped to pick the box up. She turned it around in her hands and set it atop the refrigerator. "No one else have the keys to this place."
"What is it to you anyway?" She stopped in her tracks, brushed a stray strand of hair away from her face.
"How well do you know Athrun?" Kira's voice was dangerously soft.
Cagalli stared at him for long moments, her brows furrowed.
"Do you know what day is today?" Kira continued.
Cagalli bit her lip, and her voice quavered slightly as she answered simply, "Sure. February 14."
"And you see fit to send him that gift?"
Cagalli's eyes shone with defiance. "Why do you care if I send him or anyone else a Valentine's gift? Why are you suddenly acting like a jealous boyfriend?"
"Bloody Valentine. Ring a bell yet?" Cagalli remained mum, and her silence answered for her. Kira snorted derisively. "I thought not."
Something in Cagalli snapped. "Don't you dare use that tone with me, Kira!"
"You will stop this immediately." Kira's tone was harsh and cutting.
Cagalli's face flushed with indignation, her hands curled into fists. "And who are you to decide that? You don't own me!"
Kira's head snapped up, his eyes hard. Then he strode forwards, drew his right hand back and slapped her sharply across her face.
With a cry, Cagalli's hand flew to cover her flaming cheek, and she stared at him in utter disbelief. Words failed her.
"You will keep away from him."
"You don't own me!" Cagalli repeated, her voice choking in her throat, her eyes glistening with angry tears. "You have no right --"
"Is that so?" There was a manic gleam in Kira's eyes. His voice dropped to a whisper. "Be honest, Cagalli. You did it to spite me, not out of love for him."
Something oddly akin to fear clouded Cagalli's pale features. Kira's eyes penetrated right through her. In that instant, Cagalli knew her darkest secret was out.
That she still harboured more than pure sisterly love for him. Genetics and social morals be damned.
"How long have you known?" she asked in a broken whisper.
Kira studied her in silence. "Long enough." He inhaled deeply and five seconds later exhaled noisily through his mouth. "If the only reason you did this was to make me jealous, then let me tell you, the only one you succeed in hurting is Athrun. I want you to keep him out of this."
"You really do love him, don't you?"
"He's not the issue." Kira crossed the kitchen and gazed moodily out of the casement window. His reflection stared back at him from the glass. "We are."
Cagalli shivered, but it wasn't from the cold. The warped logic seemed simple enough; pretend to have a special liking for his best friend, and make him suffer the same jealousy that she felt, knowing that every night it was Athrun whom he returned to instead of her.
"Ever considered the repercussion, Cagalli?" Kira asked gravely. "Athrun's miserable now. He felt that you're being intentionally insensitive by sending him the gift on his mother's death anniversary. I won't allow that, no matter how much I love you, Cagalli. Why can't you understand that? "
Cagalli's eyes widened in surprise at the unexpected words. A lump formed in her throat. Kira would probably hate her now. She slumped against the wall and sank to her knees.
"Why do you ever doubt that I love you? Why do you have to resort to these futile games?" Kira asked, pitching his voice to carry just so far and no further.
Cagalli lowered her eyes. At that moment everything felt so bleak. She couldn't bear the thought of losing Kira to anyone else. Two warm tears spilled down her cheeks, and splashed wetly on the floor.
Kira crossed the space that separated them, and knelt before her.
"I'm sorry," Cagalli stammered, her voice breaking. "I'm sorry."
Kira stroked her hair, and pulled her into a fierce embrace. Cagalli hesitated for a moment, then she clutched at him hard, and buried her face in his chest.
"Did I hurt you?" Kira asked gently. Cagalli nodded hesitantly but did not look up. "I'm sorry."
Cagalli pulled back, her eyes searching his face. His eyes mirrored her anguish, and she reached out to brush his cheek. Her hand shook.
"No, Kira. I should have never doubted you. I should not let my own jealousy and insecurity blind me," she bit her lower lip and continued in a hushed whisper, "Forgive me."
Then he bent his head and kissed her.
Cagalli's eyes widened in shock, before fluttering shut, and she kissed him back, gradually losing herself in the guilty pleasure, even though a part of her knew that what they were doing was forbidden. If Kira felt the same guilt, he didn't express it. Her apprehension finally melted away as he hugged her protectively.
"Will you be all right?" Kira said when they finally broke apart.
Cagalli nodded and slid off his lap. Kira stood up and helped her to her feet. He gazed at her for a moment longer, then placed a chaste kiss on her cheek.
"I've got to go." Kira said apologetically.
Alone in the kitchen, Cagalli hugged herself, damning the twist of fate that befell them both.
Kira stood at the foot of the bed, mulling over his encounter with Cagalli. He had long suspected that for Cagalli, the line of demarcation between sibling love and something more had grown indistinct over the years. As time passed, the feeling had strengthened instead of waning, and he came to accept it, albeit grudgingly. He knew he was partially to blame for doing nothing to discourage it. Perhaps, the lure of something morally and socially forbidden was too strong.
Some secrets are best kept within the family, he thought grimly. At least, his affection for Athrun was real, though no less morally or socially acceptable. And he knew Athrun loved him unconditionally in turn.
He let out a weary sigh as he undressed mechanically.
Athrun rolled onto his side, a pillow clutched in his arms. His features were indistinct in the half-light.
"Did I wake you up?" Kira said as he slid under the sheets.
"I heard you come in."
"Sorry." Kira switched off the bedside light. He could feel Athrun's eyes on him but he didn't move.
They lay quietly in the dark, the pillow between them.
"What happened to your face?" Athrun asked, unable to contain his curiosity much longer.
Kira turned his head slightly to look at him.
"You can blame me if you never get anymore Valentine's Day gifts from them, that's for sure."
"You got hit?" Athrun's voice said softly next to him, out of the darkness.
"Yeah." Kira lapsed into silence.
And Athrun understood. He squeezed Kira's hand. Then he drew the pillow close to his chest and shifted towards the edge of the bed, distancing himself. Kira puzzled at him.
Silence was his only answer.
Kira took hold of the pillow and removed it from his hands. He grasped Athrun around the torso and pulled him into the curve of his body. Athrun was strangely pliable. Kira kissed him gently, almost reverentially. He knew without needing to ask that Athrun was very, very tired of the whole thing.
As was he.
Kira closed his eyes, falling into a restless sleep with Athrun wrapped in his protective embrace.
Zeddy © March 2006
Published: 2 April 2006