They each needed a vacation – some time off to breathe. She knew this.

It would have been best if they took this vacation separately, away from each other. She knew this too.

That's exactly why she set them up.

Part I

Athrun shifted in the uncomfortable seat at the airport. He'd arrived too early and had finished with the customary checkups plane passengers were forced through. Now, he was in a spacey waiting room alone, trying to focus on the book open in his hands instead of how the seat lumped awkwardly beneath him. Since he was alone, he shifted uneasily every few seconds. This way, no one was around to witness his fidgeting.

He noticed he was holding his book upside down, which indicated how interested in it he was. At least it would be only 10 minutes before the other person showed up. Kira told him nothing but for that he would be traveling their home with this person via a private jet. Sometimes, the connections Lacus had amazed him.

She sought out a castle in ruins in the middle of no where and had enough power to pull strings so they – her and Kira – could own it. She had connections with airlines and cruiselines and rental companies. Owners of luxury hotels fell at her feet. He didn't know how she did it.

This castle she'd found was in the process of being renovated so it was habitable. They were planning their wedding at this location too. It was typical of them to hold a quiet friends and family (Did they even have anymore family?) ceremony on a rock that couldn't be placed on a map, and had only one rocky dirt road about a 100 miles long leading up to it. Luckily Lacus had ordered this private jet.

Still, he was looking forward to it. Kira and Lacus were the siblings he'd never had. He was thrilled that they were finally marrying. And he was looking forward to the month's vacation. He needed the time off desperately to regroup his mind. Stress had gotten the better half of him lately, and it was only more stressful that he wasn't allowed to show it.

9:22 am read the digital clock on the wall. He'd just have to survive the 8 minute wait to 9:30.



9:30! She sprang up in her bed, her eyes wide open. Oh shit, she was supposed to be at the airport by now. It was already time for her to be at the airport. Oh shit, shit, shit.

She threw off her blanket and grabbed her brush before diving into the shower. She barely managed to make it out of the shower alive after she almost shampooed her teeth. She threw on khakis and a long, loose neck tee before she began her frantic hunt for her luggage. Where had she put it? Where, where, where?

It took her a good five minutes to realize that she had sent her luggage to the airport early just because she could. That and loading her luggage on a bus in the morning all by herself would have been a fun thing she wouldn't want to do. Public transit was awesome, but not meant for a month's worth of clothes and wedding gifts for her brother and sister-in-law-to-be.

9:50. Again – shit. Grabbing her bag, she dashed out her door, diving for the bus. It would take 20 minutes to get to the airport – 10:10 – and then there was the time to get through customs. She wouldn't usually care, since it was a private flight, and from her experience with private flights, it didn't matter really if the plane was free. And as far as what Kira had told her, no one was really showing up a month before the date. She was going to help with renovations. But, she'd been told she was traveling with someone.

Hopefully they wouldn't be pissy about the wait; she idly leaned her head against the tinted window of the bus, willing the bus to speed furiously.


Athrun had his eyes closed, the book - still upside down – resting on his stomach. One of his ankles rested on his opposite knees, and he slouched in his seat. The big black shades made it impossible to see that he was sleeping.

So it was no surprise when a steward came up to him and started speaking to his sleeping form. It took a while for him to wake up to the steward's voice, but when he did all he heard was "…the plane left…" Although the boy kept on talking, Athrun was deaf to hear. His eyes shot up to the digital clock. 10:23 am, it read. He looked around only to see an empty waiting room beyond the steward.

"Wait, wait," he politely cut the boy off. "Why has the plane left though? I thought it was to wait for the late one. That's what the lady at the boarding counter had told me."

"Well, it was supposed to, but it was called back by Miss Lacus to run errands for her renovating." He explained meekly, bowing apologetically.

"Why didn't you tell me? I'd have boarded the plane when it left." He asked, quite appalled by the news. He noticed the luggage was here. The security stickers had yesterday's date on them. So, they'd sent their luggage in early. What kind of person made sure that the luggage was on time, but showed up late themselves?

"You were asleep sir," was the courteous response.

"I really wouldn't have minded if you'd woken me up. I -" Athrun was now shifty. Had he waited for no reason? He wasn't one who liked to be kept waiting.

"I did consider that sir, but when I was on the telephone with Miss Lacus, she said that she wanted you to travel with Miss Cagalli. I assumed it was as protection. So, she suggested you drive down." He bowed again. Athrun would feel colossal guilt if he lashed out at this nervous, polite, young boy.

"Protection?" He asked.

"Well, you are Kira Sir's best friend, and Miss Cagalli is his -" He was cut off by a loud whip of the metal doors.

And there she stood, hands on her knees and breath short and quick. "I'm," she paused to breathe some more, "here. Sorry."

"Ah, that is Miss Cagalli, sir. Did you have a means of transport, or should I contact the car rental?" He inquired.

"Ah, no, I drove here." Athrun eyes didn't leave the blonde girl in the doorway.

"Right, I shall send your luggage down then." He bowed, "Excuse me." Athrun nodded and he left without greeting Cagalli. She was too far, and yelling was not proper etiquette.

"Ah, are you the guy I'm traveling with?" She asked, making her way down to the seats where he sat. "Nice posture."

He immediately put his feet down firmly and stood. "Cagalli? I assume." Well, technically he was told.

She held her hand out. "Yeah, Cagalli Yula Attha. You?"

"Athrun Zala." He took her hand. "And at least I'm not an hour and a half late for my plane."

"Ah, sorry about that, I overslept." She scratched the back of her head, grinning.

"It's nothing to be cheerful about. I've been here for two hours," Athrun crossed his arms and sighed.

"Don't be bitter about it. I apologized." Her eyebrow twitched at his hostility. "It's not like you withered."

"No, not me, but our plane did tire of the wait." His eyes narrowed at her. She was audacious to talk to him like that after making him wait for almost 2 hours.

"What? You let the plane leave?" Her eyes widened in surprise – a kind of you fucking idiot. He got that.

"Well, I didn't let it leave. It just left because not everyone and everything waits for Princess Cagalli!" Athrun was becoming increasingly irritated.

"Then why the hell didn't you stop it?" She asked, clenching her fist by her side to keep from grabbing Athrun's collar.

"Because I was tired from waking up on time at 6:30 and being here in time to wait an hour and a half for your royal ass to show up and I dosed off." Athrun's was low and rising.

"Then you should have gotten on the plane instead of waiting for me and being an old, grouchy hag." She spat, shoving him lightly as she released his collar.

"Trust me, I tried." Athrun would've violently done something if she wasn't female. "Aparently though, you're too frail to travel alone so I need to baby-sit you every step of the way."

"What?" Cagalli's eyes narrowed defiantly challenging the green ones that snarled back at her through the dark shades. "Where did you dream that?"

"It's not a personal opinion." Athrun shrugged, pleased with the reaction. "Everyone here thinks so."

"Who told you so?" She demanded, her tone threatening bodily harm.

"It doesn't matter, does it?" He dismissed casually, angering her further. "We've lost days because of you so the least you can do is apologize and quietly make your way down to the parking lot."

"I'm sorry your grouchy personality couldn't get on the plane." She faked sincerity. "And while I thank you for charitably offering to drive, I think I can manage, just like I would've if you weren't here."

"You're insane if you think I'm going to let you drive." Athrun looked amused at the idea.

"What authority lets you decide?" She shrugged. "It's not your car?"

"Yes, it is." He concluded, making his way to the door, turning back to see if she was following only to find her dumbfounded. "What're you waiting for, a lunar eclipse?"

She shook her head slightly and jogged to catch up to him. "What was Lacus thinking?" She mumbled, utterly dissatisfied with this sticky situation.

"What indeed." He responded, startling her. The dislike was mutual it seemed.

"It's rude to eavesdrop." She glared.

"Who else could you be talking to?" He asked. He was the only one within hearing distance.

"Myself." She replied curtly.

"Must be interesting." He mocked. She didn't like the way he was so – amused by her.

"More interesting than you are." She rolled her eyes.

"Where's your car?" she asked, looking around the parking lot,

"In front of you." He answered simply, pushing a button to unlock the doors.

She tried not to stare in wide eyed wonder. A shiny black convertible that looked like it would be a few years till it hit markets. It looked comfortable and cozy, emanating a very inviting kind of warmth. The car contradicted its owner in every way possible. She loved it, and so far detested Mr. Athrun Zala. "How long will this take?" She asked, noting that the luggage had been neatly loaded.

"I don't know, it took you two extra hours to get down to the airport. It could take you days to get into the car." Cagalli's hands fisted by her side at the smirk on Athrun's face as he spoke. She stomped her way around the car and slammed the door after she sat in the passenger seat and snapped her seatbelt into its lock.

"How long will I be so fortunately blessed with your oh so cheerful, pleasant presence before the company of Kira and Lacus dilutes your sheer charm?" She punctuated her sentence with a smile as sarcastic as her words.

Athrun's eyes rolled as the car's engine hummed to a start. "A week at least. I'll try to prolong it as much as possible if you like me so much."

"I think Kira and Lacus need our help at the quickest possible." Cagalli hastily added, "We shouldn't disappoint."

"Oh, so you do have some sense of responsibility." While Athrun was teasing, his tone was too condescending to be friendly.

"Were you born with that icicle up your ass, or did something traumatic in your childhood fix it there?" She asked, her sugary voice oozing through her gritted teeth.

In response, Athrun stepped on the gas and drove. There was no point in continuing a conversation that led nowhere and had side-effects of minor headaches and growing feelings of dislike. Cagalli seemed pleased with the silence, or so he assumed from her leaning away onto the window frame and enjoying the wild wind in her hair.

This was the first and perhaps only thing they would agree on for the drive down to Lacus' castle which stood on its remote rock. This was the beginning of a very long road trip.


They have so much UST. It begs to be written. & so it was.