Warning: False aftermath of Destiny. And some falsities about ranks and whatnot but I'm sure no one would go ballistic about my blunders, right? Right?
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam SEED Destiny.
Clicking lightly, the young man frowned and his eyes glittered at the stubborn piece of paper. The starry piece of paper seemed to almost sparkle back maliciously - almost being the keyword as there is no shiny pieces of confetti glued on.
Pursing his lips together, he creased the paper again, trying to smooth out the edges to form a perfectly symmetrical triangle, but failed as, once again, the stubborn corner stuck up and out again - again being the keyword as he's tried to refold this triangle three times now.
"Excuse me sir," murmured a voice from the doorway.
The brown-haired coordinator smiled faintly under the haze of light that came through the open window, recognizing the voice immediately. Stopping his fingers for a moment, he called out from where he sat in the room, "Yes?"
He heard a small clatter from opposite the door and the small voice spoke up meekly, "I hope I haven't disturbed you from your rest, but I-"
"Rest. Right." Despite his serene personality, he silently glared at the small pile of paper on the table in front of him. He just didn't understand how folding origami could irk him so when it was supposed to be therapeutic - supposed being another keyword where if one Cagalli Yula Athha proposed a supposed therapeutic activity, there should be some reconsideration first before accepting the endeavour.
He blinked, slightly confused, before answering unintelligibly, "Uhh...What?"
The maid repeated her explanation, sadly very familiar with his sudden lapse in attention, "I have lunch ready. May I come in?"
"Err…Right. Lunch. Go ahead." Violet eyes watched as the door swung open slowly, and a small figure – to go with the gentle voice or so he assumed when he first met her – appeared through the door. Following her, was the lovely aromatic scent of food and his stomach gurgled appreciatively.
The maid, hair tied up into a neat bun, gestured to the table laden with cranes before asking, "May I…?"
"Of course." He grinned kindly as she took the sparkling cranes and paper and placed them carefully near the window. She then placed a tray in front of him before turning around to leave.
Respectfully, she bowed and said, "Please call me if you need anything else, sir."
He nodded painfully slow before turning towards the food and the door clicked shut. A rogue laugh escaped his throat, imagining the amusement he knew she felt when she saw him, a General, tinker with paper cranes like a child.
The silver fork was in his hand; without thinking, he guided the food into his mouth and it made its way down his stomach…
Light cascaded onto the cranes and he gazed at the string of paper origami, contemplating on the expressions he would receive when he gave them away. He was positive that they would be enthusiastic about this gift but he wasn't sure if he was going to be forgiven even if all went well - wasn't sure being a few choice words since these kids tend to hold grudges against him very well.
He chuckled despite himself. The young man knew he shouldn't judge the orphan children that quickly, and perhaps, shouldn't believe that they wouldn't understand how it felt to be trapped in a room that one had no desire in staying. Actually, he was quite sure about this fact, since he used to force them to stay in bed when one of those 'brats' were ill. His lips twitched into a smile. They would definitely understand why 'Kira-nii-chan' couldn't visit them if he explained that 'Cagalli-nee-chan' was-
Violet eyes closed briefly, lines creasing his hidden forehead as pain jabbed sharply through the head wound and seemed to spiral across his skull and seep beneath his skin. The fork dropped from his slackened hold and he gripped the blankets splayed around his legs.
As the pain subsided he opened both eyes blearily and pressed the cool heel of his wrist on top of one of his eyes. He just hoped that stab of pain wasn't caused by his conscience right now from the thoughts he was spewing before and if it was, he would have to seriously consider that Cagalli somehow gained telekinetic powers along with super-human strength.
The super-human strength would explain the concussion he received and the telekinetic powers for the sizzling pain that accompanied with a few, choice, stressful thoughts.
He swung his legs out of the bed and felt the warm carpet under his feet before carefully standing up. The blankets slid off and onto the floor and the tray of unfinished food sat temporarily forgotten.
Ruefully mirthful, he could only imagine the fit Athrun would be in if he saw him standing up 'so soon' and the attempts he would make to get him to lay down. But he wasn't there; no one was there right now to stop him so nobody would be any wiser to this little event.
With each step, slightly staggered by a pain the unfamiliar bandages around his forehead covered, the young man reached the chair beside the window and sat down. Fingers lifted a crane from where it rested and he traced the fine edges of the wings, comparing the craftsmanship of the one in his hand to the others in the pile.
The floral paper was delicate and each fold was deliberately precise to obtain perfection. The origami crane sat with a perfectly tucked head and the wings spanned out elegantly above the palm of his hand, but it was this perfection that did not sit well with him.
It was raining that morning, and the damp air that travelled into the room chilled his bare skin; however the cool caresses were not put to blame for the involuntary shudder than ran down his spine.
The crane sat on his palm, still, and the weary adolescent placed it gently on the desk, unwilling to think what he would do if his flash of anger took over.
Neither a Natural or like the other Coordinators…He was supposed to be perfect. He thought he had fought away his old demons after the whole fiasco when Lacus was targeted, but when he thought he encountered him again…
It was then did he realize that he couldn't simply bury the memory amidst the many others of the past war. At his most vulnerable, injured, and tired state, do they now come back to plague him, but it was definitely more welcome than to lose oneself into the blank dusk – he lost two years succeeding in his empty reminiscent of days before the war. At least, even if the memories plague him now, he had a different clarity in regarding them.
Injuries are a stark reminder of his 'destiny' as a being of perfection.
Perfection…Protector…He sighed and lightly brushed the bandages wrapped around his forehead. At that exact moment, a rogue gust of wind pushed through the open window, carrying in stray golden leaves and took in exchange the handful of origami.
The young General yelped, "The cranes!"
He leapt up on his feet, diving his torso through the narrow space where the glass window was shifted up, and he tried to grab for his perfect cranes that he agonizingly folded for the children.
The cranes flew, hovering just out of his reach, taunting him to come flying after them.
Taking the bait, he strained one of his arms forward, feeling his body slide further and further out of the warm room. His clothes flapped in the warm autumn wind with the loose bandage ends following its lead; the rain clouds strolled carelessly across the sky, oblivious to the mortal precariously balanced on the windowsill, trying to be the angel he was not.
Still, the perfect, colourful cranes continued to dance in the air, synchronized with the rise and fall of the crisp breeze. His vivid violet eyes closed for a moment, the sudden impulse to jump and allow the wind to carry him off overwhelmed his mind. Perhaps then, he could be an angel and the tattered wings on his back would melt into whole when the memories faded away.
Lost in the moment, he obeyed his invoked impulse. The young man consciously let go of the remaining hand on the ledge and the wind, as if understanding his movements, suddenly died down, allowing the cranes to nose-dive into a puddle.
Groaning inwardly, impulse slowly dissipating as fast as it came, he continued to slip closer and closer towards the fallen origami, regardless of the danger he was in. His thighs grazed the ledge of the window…
If he fell right now, there would be regrets, regrets that would not mend over easily. His heart pounded heavily in his chest, reminding him of everything that he would lose in return for the false peace. A peace of nothingness.
A pair of cold arms swiftly embraced his lower body, and his heart stopped beating as the emotions constrained in his chest felt ready to burst out into the open. He managed to grab onto one of the arms before the said appendage pulled him back into the room rather painfully and quickly. Startled by the sudden loss of control, his back arched on instinct and the back of his head crashed painfully into the glass of the window.
Beating the injured young man to it, the voice behind him cussed wonderfully before exclaiming, "Are you alright?"
"Ugh…" He groaned, rubbing the second sore spot on his head, and carefully climbed back into the room with the aid of his 'helpful' friend.
With precise movements, said 'helpful' friend pushed him towards the chair and sat him down before questioning rather threateningly, "Alright, what the hell were you doing? I look up at the mansion and I suddenly see you about to fall out of a window." The lapses in your attention span was worrying enough…Did the concussion make you suicidal as well? – But some words were better left unsaid.
The young man rested a gentle hand on the other's arm as if he just read his mind and frowned, visibly shaken, "I'm fine. It's just that…the cranes I was folding…" He turned his head and looked out the window morosely.
Green eyes followed his gaze, recalling the painstakingly perfect origami he saw this morning, and didn't say anything.
The injured man sighed, "What am I going to say to the children? I did promise them a very special gift."
His friend caught on very quickly when he remembered the topic that several of their conversations were circled on earlier.
"Kira, you're not perfect. You're not invincible." He smiled gently and brushed the bandage covering his friend's forehead. "I'm glad you're not." The hand traced and caressed his cheek before tweaking his nose, "And you can't deny that you'd much rather be imperfect than perfect."
A small semblance of a smile tugged at the corner of his lips. "Perhaps, Athrun. But then again, you always had that strange knack…reading my mind and everything."
"You know me better than I know myself, as well," retorted Athrun.
He nodded, silently fiddling with the hem of his shirt while turning his head towards the open window. There was a sigh.
The calm broke again. "Does it hurt?"
"Only slightly," he responded absently and then he laughed softly – a laugh so clear that the tension vanished and he was able to release some of the pent up emotion positively. "I was just thinking: clipboards should be banned from an office."
Athrun grinned wryly, "You don't say."
"They're a weapon of lethal destruction." He spoke gravely, and if it were anyone else, they probably would have taken him seriously, but Athrun knew better.
He played along. "I agree. If a whole fleet of highly trained soldiers are unable to take down the pilot of Freedom, who would have thought a simple, flying clipboard could knock out the capable pilot. Not only capable of course but strong, as well as passionate, calm, empa-"
A slender hand fell on top of his mouth. "Stop it…" muttered Kira, fairly abashed.
Athrun pried the hand away and continued, "Really though. I still can't believe the velocity it was at after Cagalli threw it."
"Well she was mad."
"Not at you and yet you still were at the receiving end of her anger."
Kira shrugged helplessly, "What has past…has past." He gazed straight into his eyes, quite serious. "We can only learn acceptance. We can only walk forward…Right?"
He smiled. "Of course." He tugged the young man into a half hug before releasing him. "Of course we'll walk forward. It's the only direction we were meant to take."
"I…Thanks, Athrun. I appreciate your words." Kira got up, much to Athrun's chagrin, and closed the window firmly shut. He then picked up the stray pieces of scattered origami paper and quietly asked, eyes glimmering, "Will you help me fold the cranes?"
Athrun's face flushed a pale pink and he whispered, seemingly awkward and embarrassed, "I will but…maybe…"
The young General looked at him as he sat back down, hands folded neatly on his lap as he waited.
Pale hands reached forwards and took a piece of the paper. He looked at Kira expectantly, lips quirked into a nervous smile, and asked, "How about after I fold you hearts instead?"
When Athrun fell into a hesitant silence, Kira reached up and embraced him tightly in a hug.
Sorry for the sudden Japanese but I just couldn't imagine the lil' orphans saying anything but nii-chan! Older brother just sounded vaguely strange. Same goes to nee-chan.
Thank you for your valuable time readers.
Constructive criticism is definitely welcomed.