Gundam SEED: Post Genesis

Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam SEED, any characters, and all items associated with it.

Summary: What happened between Genesis and At the Star's Valley. Just an explanation for certain actions by Kira.

Lacus was standing before the window of the Eternal, desperately looking for any sign of the Freedom. Around the same time as when Genesis exploded the signal of Justice and Freedom disappeared. They got confirmation that the signal of Strike Rouge was still active, but they couldn't establish a communication line to find out what happened. So all they could do for the moment was keep looking, scanning and hoping they could find something between all the debris.

"Commander Waltfeld, Strike Rouge's signal is moving towards us." A person suddenly said, breaking the heavy silence on the bridge.

"Can you open communication yet?" Waltfeld replied.

"No, we only receive static. It is likely that the Strike Rouge's com was damaged, sir." The com-officer remarked.

Waltfeld looked pensive for a moment, "You're right, she would have taken same at least some damage with all that fighting. Lets…"

The first person suddenly spoke up, "Wait a minute, I got feedback on the scanner. It…looks like…more than one MS. I have a positive! Strike Rouge is bringing back another MS…heavily damaged…can't get a ID-lock."

"Open up the hangar," Waltfeld picked up his phone, "People, we got two MS's approaching, both heavily damaged, one unidentified. Be ready!"

As the two MS's came closer, everybody could see a severely beaten up Strike Rouge dragging an almost unrecognizable Freedom. As the screen zoomed in people saw three pilots in the SR-cockpit. Before everyone on the bridge could establish that fact, Lacus was already on her way out.

She was just in time to see the two MS's land in the hangar or more precise she saw Strike Rouge laying down a dismembered Freedom. The next thing she saw was that two pilots were manoeuvring a third pilot onto a mobile sickbed. She rushed towards them, meeting them halfway, as they were moving towards the sickbay.

"Kira, Kira, are you alright?" She asked distressed.

He looked up with pain clearly written over his face, but as soon as he saw her he smiled, "Hey Angel, don't worry. I'll be okay," and immediately went into a coughing fit. Which didn't exactly relieved her worry; she looked at the other two, Athrun and Cagalli for answers.

Athrun answered, "I think that he was too close to Genesis when it fired and is suffering from radiation-poisoning."

When the two women looked on with pure shock a doctor quickly told them that Kira is a Coordinator and that they have several good cures.

"So he'll be all right?"

Kira grabbed Lacus' hand, "I promised you I would come back, don't worry."

And with that they reached the sickbay and had to wait outside. As Lacus looked at what Kira left in her hand, she looked at the ring she gave him before he left.

While Kira was in the sickbay, the Three-Ship-Alliance had to figure out what to do in the nearby future. There was a cease-fire with the prospect of peace talks in the very nearby future. If it didn't work out, they would have to get all sorts of supplies and MS's somehow. If it all worked out, they would have to dock somewhere to reintegrate with normal life. And the future still had many uncertainties even if it did; the resulting peace would be fragile at best. With all these factors and variables in mind they came up with a strategy to cover all three outcomes.

It was agreed that the Kusanagi would be the representative of the three ships and return to ORB with all the personnel who wanted to return to their normal lives. Cagalli and Kisaka would claim back ORB from the Earth Alliance and help the people to get back their normal lives. Athrun would help them with the talks with ZAFT and hopefully get their help to remove the charges against him, Lacus, Waltfeld and the rest of the defected soldiers.

Eternal would hide somewhere in the Earth Asteroid Belt, trying to repair Freedom and begin on a base. This would all be in deep secret and only the truly motivated scientists and soldiers (both Natural and Coordinator) would remain there, all intelligence and developments would be sent there. The Clyne Faction would be the biggest contributor of course, as soon as it was possible they would sent many back to the Plants to keep an eye on things. Waltfeld would, at least temporary, lead this project.

Archangel would go stealth and return to ORB in secret with the remains of Strike Rouge and the original Strike. Once there they would repair what was salvageable and wait out the peace talks. Kira, Lacus, Murrue and many of the original crew would for the time being disappear, people would ask them too many questions and demand too much from these persons. Even if they would be spotted, there wouldn't be any problems as they were still a subject of ORB, but they wanted an ace up the sleeve for now.

Lacus waited at the Kira's bedside, waiting for him to wake up so she could tell him the news and plans. He wouldn't have any side effects from the radiation; he was very lucky, since the Freedom has a nuclear power core it was protected against that sort of thing. To a certain extend of course; they didn't exactly factor in the possibility that it would be caught up in the powering up of a huge gamma ray laser.

He was clearly dreaming, he showed signs of REM and he kept mumbling. All Lacus could hear was something about that he apologized to Fllay. She knew who she was and what happened to her, being told in the debriefing of the latest atrocities of Rau Le Creuset. While she waited for he man she loved to wake up, her heart was being crushed by every mumble about this Fllay. He didn't respond to her when she gave him the ring and he clearly cares about this other girl, you don't exactly have to be a genius to put one and one together.

Her thoughts were violently interrupted when Kira suddenly shot up and screamed, "NOOOOOOO!" with his arm outstretched. He looked around with panic and anguish written in his violet eyes, trying to assess his whereabouts. His eyes fell on Lacus and he calmed considerably, with a couple of deep breaths he lay back and stared at the ceiling.

"Are you all right, Kira? I'm sorry I didn't wake you up from your nightmare, but I was a million miles away for the moment." She said with her usual cheery voice, no reason to make Kira worried because her feelings were hurt.

"Yeah, sorry to make you worry. Another reason against war, the nightmares." He said with a hollow chuckle, still staring at the ceiling.

"Did we succeed?" He asked.

"Yes, we stopped all the nuclear warheads from destroying the Plants and Genesis is destroyed. Shortly after the destruction of Genesis ZAFT asked for a cease-fire and they already scheduled peace talks."

Kira closed his eyes and breathed in relieve, "Good, at least it wasn't all for nothing."

She didn't respond to that and so they sat in silence for a couple of minutes, before Lacus blurted out, "Did you love her? The girl in your nightmare, Fllay, do you love her?" She didn't know why, but she really wanted to know, even if the answer would hurt her more then anything. Maybe unconsciously she knew that she needed the rejection to move on.

Kira frowned and he looked deep in thought. After a couple of seconds, he still stared at the ceiling; he answered quite resolutely, "No"

Lacus' head went up at that answer; after all she didn't expect that. She almost couldn't believe it, only the fact that Kira never lied to her was the reason she accepted the answer. "No?" She said in a small voice, the confusion almost tangible.

"No. I thought I did at the time, but now I know better." He looked as he remembered something unpleasant, which was most likely exactly just the case.

"What do you mean?"

"The longest time I had a crush on her, you know, but she was Sai's girlfriend. So I never did anything, but admire her from a distance. And then that whole mess with Heliopolis happened," he finally stopped staring at the ceiling and looked at Lacus to see if she knew what he was talking about, when she nodded he continued, "I had to fight, fight to protect my friends and everybody on that ship that had nothing to do with the war. Everybody was expecting that I kept them save and meanwhile they questioned why I betrayed my own people, Coordinators. I was crumbling under all the pressure and innuendos. You were there for some of it, remember?"

She was worried about his monotone manner of speaking, but at least he was talking, so all that she said was, "I remember, Kira."

"And after a while I was cursing fate and questioning why my parents decided that I should be a Coordinator. And even worse I was really good at fighting. Was the whole reason of my existence to fight…to kill? To protect my friends by fighting my other friend? I felt lonely! And I simply shut off my feelings so I could do what I was supposed to do, and it worked. My fighting skills were improving. But the doubt afterwards didn't go away it only became stronger. I began to feel like a monster…a weapon without emotion." He began to ramble and his monotone had changed into a passionate explanation. Like he wanted to convey the emotion to her.

"And suddenly Fllay pays attention to me…to ME. The girl I had a crush on for almost a year. I thought she knew how I felt, because she lost her father, she was alone too. I thought she was a kindred spirit, does that make sense?"

"Of course it does, Kira. You sought comfort and warmth, didn't you? To prove you were still human, that you could still feel." She said delicately, seeing where this was going.

"Exactly! But that isn't love, is it? I was using a pretty girl to make myself feel better and she was using me to rebel or something." He looked at Lacus questionably. "Always egging me on, make innocent comments, how I should do everything I can to keep her save. At some point I just couldn't take it anymore, she made me feel again all right, but it was anger and it was draining me. So I broke up with her the day I had that fight with Athrun and that was the last time I saw her." He finished deadpanned.

"You wanted to save her, to relief your guilt. But like you said she did it too, you weren't pressuring her into things she didn't want to. You used each other to seek comfort. But Kira you were…you are still young, you made mistakes. You didn't know better at the time!" She finished with utmost clarity.

"I can never apologize to her for my mistakes now…"

Lacus interrupted, "She knows, Kira, wherever she is now…she knows."

"Everytime I sortie I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing. Every time it feels like a little part of my soul disappears and if I'm not careful I'll become the thing I despise. When you look into the abyss... the abyss looks back into you. That is why I wanted to save Fllay, I think, to prove my humanity." He sighed and continued, "I'm scared and I'm tired, Lacus, I don't want to fight anymore. I want some peace in my life." Kira's voice sounded old and fragile, underlining his statement.

"You don't have to fight anymore, Kira, you can finally rest now." Lacus said quietly and caringly.

He looked at her with hope in his eyes, "Promise? We can do what we want, we can live without worry?"

"There will always be worries, but you can do live like you always wanted to"

They fell into a silence again, Kira clearly ordering his thoughts and processing what Lacus just said. Lacus was gathering up her courage to ask Kira the question she wanted answered. What did he mean 'we'? Did he really meant that he wanted to be with her or was it just like we in as friends? Was this the time to ask such a question?

She looked up to see that Kira was staring at her and just as she was going to ask her question he said in an emotional voice, "I love you, Lacus."

Lacus was momentarily stunned into silence and could only blink, "Huh?"

"I love you! For along time now. I'm sorry it took me so long to say it, but I wanted to make sure we survived first. I know that it was selfish of me, but I couldn't say it before. I'm sorry!" To his credit he looked truly apologetic.

For only the second time in his life did he see Lacus cry, but at least she smiled through her tears this time, "I love you too, Kira! But I guess that was a little obvious when I gave you this ring."

"Just a little, yeah," He said shyly, he sat up and ran his thumb over her face to remove some of the tears. The look he gave her was one of intense longing, "May I kiss you, Lacus?"

Lacus chuckled a little, after all the emotional talking they did and confessing each others love, he was still a mix of a little shy boy and a gentleman. Some things luckily never changed. She decided to tease him a little and said with an innocent poker face, "Well I don't know, Kira, the doctor said you needed plenty of rest and no demanding activities what…so…ever."

He leaned a little closer, "Well, I'll take my changes. Not kissing you is too demanding anyway, Angel."

"Well…can't have that, can we?"