SUMMARY: Cagalli was convicted for a crime she didn't commit, when truth and false cannot be distinguished. Full of guilt and frustration, her prison life was filled with fights, dark twists and mysteries waiting to be uncovered...by a certain green-eyed officer
MAIN PAIRINGs: Athrun x Cagalli (obviously), Shinn x Stellar, Kira x Lacus, Dearka x Miriallia, Yzak x Shiho, and other various pairings.
DISCLAIMER: This is a story based on characters and situations from Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed and Seed Destiny which, sadly, was directed by Fukuda and his slap-deserving wife, resulting the need for us fans to write even more Asucaga fics.
WARNING: Text and all related materials are rated PG13/T and there is rather strong and coarse language and mild adult themes. So don't complain about offensive languages! XD Also, there are/might be some grammatical errors and typos, spelling mistakes, even after rereading it many times.
NOTE: 'this an AU story, meaning no reference to the Cosmic Era or Mobile Suits whatsoever'
Muwahahaha, seems that no one guessed the right answer. But still, thanks for the responses!
Epilogue - Sunset
"What are you doing here, Kira? I thought you went away with Lacus for the weekend."
"We were going to, but then we remembered it's Fllay's birthday so we rescheduled," Kira shrugged, "Where are you going?"
Both men's attitudes became somber at that dreadful word. After a while, Kira spoke up, "Well, say hi to Meer for me...if you can."
"Of course," Athrun paused, and Kira knew right away what he was thinking.
"She's at the orphanage right now. Go visit her afterwards, she'd love that."
Athrun frowned in reluctance, "Perhaps."
Kira stared at his friend worriedly. "She's happy, and you're fine with that, or at least that's what you told us. I know you are not okay, Athrun. Enough is enough. At least, you can..."
"Become her friend? No, it's too hard. I can't look at Cagalli without remembering what could've happened...what we could be. I can't bear to hear her calling me 'Athrun-san',"Athrun clenched his fists.
"If you could just-"
"No, I've already told you I won't force her to remember anything," Athrun said firmly, "She is different now. Maybe it's better for her this way, you know? Without the memories of her past, she can live on peacefully. You saw how happy she is."
Kira asked softly, "Are you tired of waiting, Athrun?"
"Are you?" The blunette shot back.
Smiling sadly, the psychiatrist patted his back, "she's my twin. I'll always be there for her whether she actually remembers me or not. Isn't this what her fiance should do?"
"We're not engaged," Athrun muttered bitterly.
"You still love her," Kira stated simply. The blunette didn't answer, but they both knew.
Glancing at him one more time sympathetically, Kira decided to leave him alone.
"Well, Stellar asked us if we want to go watch her brothers' game tonight. Do you want to come?"
Athrun shook his head. Kira nodded in understanding and left.
Once again, alone with his thoughts, the blunette closed his eyes, trying hard not to recall that night. How ironic; he had told Kira that it would be a birthday they would never forget and it was true - not in a good way.
He stared at his hands; yes, he will never forget that day -
Time seemed to stay still as both Meer and Cagalli fell. Kira tackled Dullindal onto the ground and wrestled the gun away. Athrun had shot Dullindal in the leg to prevent him from escaping.
Gulping nervously, almost not daring to breath, Athrun approached the two fallen figures with dread. The air felt unearthly cold when he saw blood staining their clothes.
"No...," Meer moaned weakly, gripping her hair with trembling hands, "Noooooo..."
She sat up slowly, desperately trying to wipe away the crimson material with her sleeves. Her eyes dilated with terror, staring blankly at Cagalli's motionless form.
"Too late...too late..."
Athrun bent down carefully, and gently eased Meer's hands from Cagall. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. There was no point in panicking. He must stop the blood flow now. His stomach quenched as his hands were smudged with blood. Her blood.
Cagalli's lips moved weakly, forming his name. He swallowed a lump in his throat and covered her hand with his. Her clenched fist relaxed upon contact, and their engagement ring rolled out - still shiny and sparkling with glamour, protected from the blood.
"It's going to be fine, Cagalli, it's going to be fine," he was trying to reassure himself more than her. Police or not, he had never seen his loved ones shot. He felt faint with overwhelming fear. How he wished that her eyes were open, so he could see fire burning in her amber orbs - so that he would know she was okay.
Behind him, Kira let out a strangled gasp at seeing his sister. His face was white but he was more level-headed than Athrun; he quickly called for ambulance.
After that, Kira slid down against the wall tiredly. Dullindal made no attempts to escape; he just lied on the ground, his injured leg spasming occasionally and he seemed to be staring at Cagalli.
His eyes never left her even when she was transported onto the ambulance...
"Mr.Zala? We're here," the nurse's kind voice snapped him out the horrible memory. He thanked her and sat down on the chair.
Two security guards led a grey-haired woman onto the chair opposite of him, seperated by a transparent panel.
"You know the drill. Just press the button if anything happens," the guards said gruffly, and left.
Athrun rubbed his temple, bracing himself for the usual routine. "How are you Meer?"
"Just peachy, Athrun," Meer replied giddily, giving him a cheerful smile.
Athrun raised an eyebrow. Well, that's different than usual. Does that mean she's 'normal' today?
"How do you feel about this place?" Athrun asked carefully. He didn't want to say anything that might set her off.
"Oh, it's quite alright. The people here are very nice. Yes, very nice. Those psycho-whatever-ists always have interesting games for me," she giggled, "Oh yes, I remember, they have the same job as Kira!"
"I see. Kira wants me to say hello to you."
"How nice of him. Say hi to him for me! How about you, Athrun? How are you these days?"
"I'm okay," he said dully. He was tired of people asking him this every damn time they saw him, "I don't work at the Youth Center anymore. I'm currently stationed at a police station."
"Neat! How's Cagalli? She never came to see me, "Meer pouted. Athrun winced. So she doesn't remember anything?
"She's doing well. She's just really busy that's all," he lied, "Sorry, Meer, but I have to go. I'll see you next week."
"Okie-dokie!" She waved dramatically, and Athrun felt a small smile tugging on his lips.
When he opened the door, he was greeted by another visitor. His heart warmed up when he realized it was Orga Sabnak. The man had been visiting Meer almost everday. Athrun was happy for Meer; she had someone who cared about her.
Go visit Cagalli. I'm sure she'd like that.
Kira's voice bugged him at the back of his mind and he sighed. It's harder for me than it is for you, Kira.
"Careful, baka Athha!" Shinn scowled, concern filled his eyes as he steadied his friend.
"I'm fine, Shinn, we're just playing," the blonde stuck out her tongue and chased after the children. Several Haros bounced merrily with them, and Shinn sighed in annoyance.
"I still can't believe it," he muttered softly, staring after her. A soft hand clasped his gently and he smiled at Stellar.
"Cagalli is happy, we don't want to ruin that do we?" Lacus walked up to them, holding a basket of laundry. Despite being the head of a huge company, she still had time to stay at the orphanage, since Andrew selflessly volunteered to take care of the business.
"I understand what you mean, Miss Lacus, but this isn't right," Stellar whispered, "She would want us to tell her about Athrun-san."
"Yea, but remember what he told us? He wants Cagalli to regain her memories without us prompting anything," Shinn folded his arms, his warm red eys focused on the yelling figure, surrounded by children. Smirking, he shook his head, "Strange, even without her memories, her personality is still the same."
Both Stellar and Lacus chuckled as several children jumped on Cagalli, who mock-growled and gave them headlocks playfully.
"Yup, that's Cagalli," Lacus smiled sadly.
The doctors, even now, still couldn't determine the loss of Cagalli's memories. She had recovered successfully from the bullet wound but when she woke up, she couldn't recall any events of her life. Devastated, Kira had informed her about their family bonds and friendships, giving his twin the basic information. Kira, Lacus, Stellar and Shinn got along with her pretty well, since she felt most comfortable with them, especially Kira (Even before he told her they were twins).
But none of them told her about the trials, Meer, the life in Youth Center etc. They just couldn't. Cagalli still had her old persona, but it was so much lighter and brighter. There was no shadow behind her eyes - she no longer had a past to haunt her. She laughed a lot these days, which was rare before.
Therefore, Cagalli had been living peacefully at the orphanage, working a simple life as waitress (with Fllay's recommendation) and a coach to a soccer team.
As for Athrun...
"Hey, don't tug at my necklace!" Cagalli warned Devon, who backed away guiltily.
"Sorry, but we're all very curious why you wear your ring like that," Devon asked and several other children nodded in agreement.
This caught Lacus's attention and she stared at the ring with interest. That was the engagement ring, wasn't it?
Cagalli blushed slightly and averted her gaze. "Um, well, it's a precious item from someone important, but," her amber eyes dimmed sadly, "I couldn't remember who."
Lacus opened her mouth to say something, Athrun's words stopped her.
I want her to truly love me, Lacus, not just because we told her. I want her to remember.
Lacus frowned; she could still see his anguished expression. I understand your reasoning, Athrun, but I can't stand by and watch you both suffer anymore. Cagalli wants to remember! But there's nothing she can do - it takes a long time to recover from memory loss or perhaps even never!
She was glad the phone rang; she quickly picked it up, glancing at Cagalli.
"Lacus-san, Yzak and I are stuck in traffic, could you drop off Azaria-chan at our house? Dearka and Miriallia are over there right now."
"Of course, no problem Shiho."
Like Athrun, Yzak and Dearka were transferred to the police station (courtesy of Mwu and Murrue), and Shiho decided to quit her job to spend more time with her daughter.
The songstress scanned the yard, hoping to spot the red-head. Shinn rolled his eyes, "No, Meyrin's not here. She went to the courthouse today, remember? I bet she's waiting for Nicol again."
"Do you want us to take Azaria-chan back home, Miss Lacus? Shinn and I are about to go pick up Mayu-chan from her school anyways," Stellar offered, walking towards her. Her limp wasn't prominent anymore, since her therapies were making a great progress.
"Hey, wait, let me do it!" Cagalli scrambled up from the ground and carefully pushed the baby troller.
"Alright," Lacus agreed. Perhaps Cagalli can remember more. During the past few months, the blonde was able to recall certain events with particular 'triggers': her archery contest in elementary school, constant bickering with Shinn and Yzak back in the Youth Center and so on.
Even though Cagalli had these sense of deja vu, she couldn't completely 'feel' them - it was like watching a slideshow of her memories without any sense of familiarity.
Well, if only Athrun would do something, maybe he could 'trigger' some memories back to Cagalli, Lacus thought.
For some reason, Athrun decided to stop by the Joule residence first instead of the orphanage.
Expecting his grumpy friend to greet him, Athrun was surprised to see Dearka.
"Yo, Athrun," as if reading his mind, Dearka shrugged, "I'm here because we're supposed to have a triple date with the Joules but they're stuck in traffic."
"Triple date, huh," Athrun couldn't help but grin in amusement. Lunamaria was determined to look absorbed in a conversation with Milly. Rey was standing off to the side, as usual. They really don't act like a couple. But then again, it's Rey, Athrun chuckled inwardly.
Noticing the blunette's entrance, the blond detective walked towards him with a serious expression.
"This morning, we found Dullindal's jail to be empty."
"What? Again?" Athrun was alarmed and frankly, quite angry, but Rey was calm.
"Yes, again. But we also found a body in a burned garage. Even though we haven't done an autopsy yet, we think it's Dullindal and he had committed suicide."
"Oh," Athrun's tense shoulders relaxed, but he was still perlexed. Why escape to only kill himself?
As if reading his mind, Rey replied monotonously," We think he might want to atone his crimes. That burned garage was the one where-, you know which one I'm talking about."
Athrun nodded automatically. Of course he knew. "How are you feeling, Rey?"
"Well, he's still your father..."
Rey's expression hardened, his cold blue eyes flickering, "I know."
Wordlessly, he went to the backyard, and Luna quickly went after him worriedly. Athrun sighed.
So, he's dead huh. Athrun was surprised at the lack of emotions he felt. He expected that he would feel satisfied that the cause of all the torment was gone for good, but he wasn't. Shaking his head, the feeble result of revenge was right here - even though Dullindal's dead, it didn't change anything. The past cannot be fixed, so why hate the man anymore?
The doorbell rang and Dearka smirked, "Finally, Yzak's here."
When Athrun opened the door, he was greeted by familiar amber eyes and he looked away quickly. Why was she here? He cringed involuntarily at her next words.
"Hi, Athrun-san. It's nice to see you again. Why are you here?"
"No reason. I was just about to leave anyways," he mumbled and left hastily. He couldn't stand to be in the same room as Cagalli without wanting to hug her or kiss her. She would be shocked by his actions, and he wouldn't want that. It was better to distance himself, so it was less painful, right?
Cagalli stared after the blunette, a sense of longing filled her. He was always so indifferent towards her, so distant. She wanted to get to know him more; whenever she was with him, she felt complete simply having his presence near her. Pieces of memories flashed in her mind without giving her the time to dwell upon it. How she wanted to remember him!
But at the same time she also felt scared to say his name casually. It was as if something would 'open', something she didn't really want to relive again. She was fine with the way things were, right?
Quit lying. Her subconscious scolded her.
"Hey, Cagalli-san, thanks for bringing Azaria-chan over," Milly said, and Dearka nodded his head in greeting, biting back the urge to call her 'tomcat'.
Cagalli smiled at her friends and kissed the toddler's head, "I'll see you tomorrow, Azaria-chan!"
The toddler cooed and waved her tiny arms, "Bi-bi!"
Cagalli's laughed affectionately at those cute words. She didn't really understand, but everytime she took care of Azaria, she always felt nostalgic. It always warmed her heart to see that the toddler was loved by her parents so much. Cagalli knew that if she ever have children in the future, she'd love them with all her heart as well - she will never deprive them of love.
So the same thing won't happen to them as it did to me. She blinked. Whoa, where did they come from?
Something nabbed at the back of her mind and she was confused; she had many of those peculiar feelings lately.
Alright, why don't I just take a chance? What is there to lose anyways? The burdenless peace I have now? Maybe that's just something I have to sacrifice to regain my memories. Cagalli made up her mind; she will ask Athrun-san herself.
Leaving hastily, she spotted the Joule's bike sitting on the lawn. Another sense of deja vu hit her. Did I ride that bike before when I was in a hurry or something? Hmm.
Adding another question on her list mentally, Cagalli quickly took off, not really sure where to look for the blunette. She passed by the Youth Center and stopped abruptly.
She shook her head and left hurriedly, not wanting to linger around at that place.
And then she passed the park. Something propelled her to take a detour through the park. There's no harm in this. The sun's about to set anyways so I guess I should ask Athrun-san tomorrow. I've always liked this place.
It was true; after being released from the hospital, this was the first place she had requested Kira to take her to. She always felt happy here... why?
A familiar figure was standing not too far away and she had a sudden impulse to just run up to him and hug him. Her head ached intensely and she stumbled for a moment, trying to steady herself. The bike fell down with a crash and Athrun whirled around, startled.
"Will you marry me?"
She glanced at the brilliant yet darkening sky, at Athrun, and at the beautiful ring on her necklace.
What was that?
The pain was almost overwhelming. Was he selfish? Cagalli was alive, yet it didn't really feel like it. Perhaps he was being idiotic. Perhaps they may never love each other like before but like Kira said, should he be her friend?
A strange screech caught his attention and he quickly turned around, wary. His shoulders sagged in relief, but they still remained tense. "Cagalli, why are you here?"
His heart thumped with anticipation simply by gazing into her hard, determined eyes. The fire...it seemed familiar.
"I need to ask you something."
Athrun was taken back, but he nodded, "Alright."
Hesitantly she walked towards him, "Well, first, um, why do you always look so sad? Your eyes..."
Her eyes locked onto his. He inhaled sharply at this unexpected question. He opened his mouth, ready to make up some excuses but...
Maybe it had been too long. He felt the need to spill out his heart.
"I love this woman very much, and we were realy happy together. We met by chance, though I think it was fate. I worked at the Youth Center before..."
Once he started, he couldn't stop; he felt weird, telling Cagalli about their story without referring to her name. She didn't interrupt him, not once; she only listened quietly, completely absorbed at his narration.
As the story came near the end, Athrun felt his eyes moistened and he turned away quickly, embarrassed. Why was he crying anyways?
Something green came into his line of vision and he was startled. Was that the handkerchief he had given her the first day they met? She still has that?
"What-?" Their eyes locked again. Her eyes went wide as in surprise and she blinked rapidly.
Instinctively, he put a hand on her shoulder, "Are you alright?"
Breathing hard, she smiled weakly, "Yeah, I think I am." Her eyes were cloudy with suppressed emotions. She looked like she was about to collpase at any moment.
They stood there silently for awhile; Athrun folding his arms and staring into the sky and Cagalli looking down on the ground, playing with her necklace.
There were no words to describe the awkward feeling, and he was even more saddened by that fact.
"I believe I still haven't answered you," she spoke suddenly, looking at him shyly. Athrun glanced at her in confusion.
"Huh?" He asked dumbly, perlexed by her deep blush. She fidgeted uncomfortably, and gave him a quick kiss. It was a mere brush with her lips, but it was more than enough for him.
His face heated up automatically.
She averted her gaze and whispered, "My answer is yes...Athrun."
Blinking slowly, he tried to process the information through his turned-to-mush-brain. His jaw slackened with realization.
Did she just call him-? Did she just say-? His eyes darted at her hand and spotted the ring on her fourth finger.
Nodding, she pulled him into an embrace and he returned it without hesitation. It was ironic that she regained her memories this way - it was like when they first met, that she was the one crying and this time it was the other way around.
"But, how about-" Athrun wasn't sure how to ask it. Cagalli understood and replied sadly, "Yes, everything: my parents, my accused crime, everything...but it didn't matter because," she smiled at him, "I remember you."
"Cagalli," he gazed at her tenderly. I've already cried today, that's enough! He told himself. Blinking his tears away, he swooped her up in his arms, in bridal style.
Laughing heartily at her startled expression, Athrun was amazed at how happiness felt so wonderful.
He leaned down and their lips met in a chaste kiss. How long had he waited for this - her love for him, only him. He held her small hand in his and kissed her fourth finger.
"We're getting married," he couldn't keep the tremor of excitement from his voice.
"Yeah." How he loved her cute blushes.
"Are you nervous? It might be too soon. I mean you just got your memories back and-"
"I don't want you to wait anymore."
Cagalli leaned her head against his chest with absolute trust. "I'll adjust to my daily life as soon as possible. You'll see. I'll visit Meer first, annoy Shinn and tease my brother, and so on," she grinned at him, "You know I don't have much patience. So I don't like to make other people wait either. I made you wait before, so I must return the favor sometime in the future."
"Well, you already did, by," he lifted up her hand, basking the ring under the sunlight, "becoming my fiancee."
She stared at the ring, mesmerized. "You know, I want a sunset wedding."
Athrun laughed, "Anything, you want, Cagalli. I," he whispered into her ear, "I love you."
Cagalli slowly closed her eyes in content, allowing herself to relive this moment over and over again. Yes, this is the missing piece in my life.
"I love you too."
(hyper)A/N: Gasp double gasp ohmygod gasp I actually FINISHED a STORY?! (looks around) My first completed fanfic! (goes around glomping everyone) Thank you all readers!! If it weren't for you guys' supports and encouragements, I would've never make it!! I love you all...(sob)(goes all emotional)XD
(normal)A/N:So um, well, the ending. It's my first ending-attempt, so it's perfectly alright if you say it's crappy or cheesy (grimace), I'll work on it in the future fics. Originally, I'd planned two types of endings, but in the end I decided to go with this one. After all, nobody likes evil endings.
Cagalli may have something similar to amnesia: people can get that because of injuries to the head. But people can also experience memory loss from traumatic events etc, which is the case with Cagalli. Well, I have no idea how one would feel so this chapter is mostly in Athrun's perspective. Since this is an Asucaga fic, that's the maximum amount of other characters I can squeeze in this chapter.
Dullindal, dead or alive? You guys can decide for yourselves. (smile)
Alright, so this story is finished. I might re-edit the chapters...(I just re-read the story and found a crapload of grammar errors, typos etc...O.o you guys are very forgiving readers)
Oh, yes, I have another fic coming out; it's more light hearted than this one. Hope you guys can check it out
Melody - AxC, SxSxAxM (Athrun, Shinn and Auel are the main characters)(AU)
Never forgeting her amber eyes and how she had given him a life, Athrun sets out on a 'mission' to win the blonde woman's heart, ignoring his best friend's warning and unforseen obstacles. Shinn, completely enamored with an exotic dancer, must get past her protective guardian first. Auel has a few problems of his own too - torn between an interesting red-head and his protectee. A popular celebrity, an ordinary car mechanic and a simple gangster soon discover that life isn't as easy as it seems. Join them in a world of deceit, dilemmas and heartbreaks - this is what the real life is all about, right?