SUMMARY: 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?
MAIN PAIRINGs: Athrun x Cagalli, Shinn x Stellar x Auel x Meyrin, various minor pairings
DISCLAIMER: This is a story based on characters from Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed and Seed Destiny. I don't own them!
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'
Prologue - Voice
One regained his voice while the other lost hers...
A boy with midnight-blue hair leaned against the bench tiredly. His dull green eyes looked around the park without any emotions. He was sick of this. The park was peaceful, children laughing with their mothers. How could they laugh? How could the park remain the way it was even after his mother's death?
It seemed so long ago that he and his mother had walked down that very path. Everything was wonderful.
But now that his mother was dead, the only connection between him and Father was gone. The boy had become so withdrawn that he had stopped speaking altogether. He still got excellent grades in school, despite his inability to speak. However, bullying was to be expected, and no one wanted to be friends with this 'mute-freak'.
Athrun Zala was lonely and desperate, yet he had no idea how to 'make friends'. There was this one boy and one girl, Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne; they were very kind to him, but he didn't know what to make of it. He wanted to thank them for their efforts, but he couldn't even utter a sound.
He hadn't spoken for so long that he'd forgotten how to do it.
The was why he loved music - it was his way of expressing his feelings. Making sure no one was around, he closed his eyes and was ready to play his small guitar when something stumbled out of the bushes beside him and fell down. Startled, he quickly hid his precious instrument behind him.
The stranger had leaves sticking on him everywhere, mud splattered on his clothing. A messy blonde head rose, and Athrun stared into a pair of wide eyes with an unusual color. The color may be amber, like a cat's; the color might be light orange, like a burning fire's. But his first impression was the color of dawn; he remember seeing the color whenever he walked around the park with his mother.
"You know, it's very rude to stare," the person growled irritably, with a feminine voice, and Athrun blinked. A girl? Well, how could he have figured that out? The girl was wearing cargo pants and an over-sized T-shirt, and was covered in dirt from head to toe. Her hair was not that short but not long either, similiar to his. After inspecting the girl curiously, his eyes trailed to the source of problem.
The girl's legs were caught in the bushes and she wiggled around furiously. Her effort were futile and she sighed in exasperation.
"Well, don't just sit there, help me dammit," she glared, and Athrun observed her in silent fascination. A girl, who seemed about his age, just swore. He never heard any other 11-year-olds swear, least likely a girl. Just try imagining Lacus swear...nope, he couldn't imagine that.
"Oh for the love of-AIIEEeekkk!" In her anger, she attempted to stand up but tripped over and fell flat on her face, again. Alarm took Athrun and he quickly untangle her legs from the bushes, inwardly blaming himself for not helping her earlier.
The girl sat up and groaned. Her face was stained with dirt and she seemed so miffed that it was hilarious. A breathless laughter echoed in the almost-empty park and Athrun was surprised it came from him.
He was laughing! He was actually laughing aloud!
The girl glared at him and pinched his cheeks, and he yelped in pain. Though shocked, he rejoiced at the fact that he made sounds. He grinned at the girl and held out a hand to her, offering to help her stand up.
"What's so good about me pinching you?" The girl asked in bemusement.
Athrun opened his mouth, and closed it. He made sounds alright, but can he speak? "I-I...," he tried clearing his throat, "..you are...um..."
The girl huffed in annoyance and was about to pinch him again when she saw the time on the clock.
"Damn, I have to go."
Before Athrun could say anything, the girl had already left.
Therefore, everyday, he sat there and waited for her, hoping that she would come. And she did. Everyday they would just play - either hide and seek, or games that involved the girl pinching him.
When she grew tired, she would just sit there quietly, listening to him playing his guitar. Athrun was already feeling that maybe the world wasn't so bad after all. School seemed to be a lot more tolerable now. With her encouragement, Athrun even joined the band (she said he was really good - which made him blush deep red).
Yet, he still didn't know her name, and neither did she. She didn't seem to be bothered by the fact he never really spoke.
One day, something fell out of his pocket when they were playing (or, rather, she was playing and he was just mutely following her instructions.) It was a picture of a woman, and it was framed in black.
"Is she...your mother?" Her amber eyes saddened as she picked it up.
Athrun nodded wordlessly; it seemed that the girl understood the meaning of black frame, symbolizing that the person was no longer in this world.
"My mother died when she gave birth to me," the girl said suddenly. Athrun looked at her in surprise.
"I never had a chance to know her," she continued, "it hurts me to think about her sometimes. You were thinking about your mother too, weren't you? That's why you were crying, wasn't it?"
Instinctively Athrun wiped his cheeks; he didn't even realize he was crying at all in the first place. The girl gazed at him, and grinned abruptly, her mood changed so quickly that Athrun was surprised once again.
"Well, that's why I'm so close to Father. I have my father and I'm happy about that. Since he's my only parent, I've bonded with him more than any other kids!! We're basically inseperable, see? I always play hide and seek with him here but he's pretty busy these days."
She returned the photo to him, giving him an understanding smile. He was somewhat touched, and miraculously, words came out of his mouth.
"Thank you." It sounded shaky, but at last, he had spoken! He smiled back, and the girl blushed, looking away.
"You have a nice voice. Maybe you should sing."
Athrun became so flustered by her compliment that he started stuttering again. The girl grinned in amusement, and Athrun decided that she looked really cute.
Looking at the sunset, she gasped, "Oh no, I've got to find Father...he told me to be home before sunset! See ya!" She quickly ran away, her blonde hair sweeping along the wind.
Athrun wanted to call after her, but she was already gone. He didn't even have a chance to ask for her name!! Staring at the sunset, he mused, "sunset and dawn...I can speak again, Mother. Somehow, I can speak again. We will meet again, right? The girl with eyecolor of dawn..."
His voice was still weak and wavering, but it will grow stronger. Nothing seemed impossible now.
Because of her, his life suddenly got brighter. Nodding his head in resolution, he walked back home. He will start bonding with his Father. Wasn't it that what the girl said? Since he no longer had a mother, he should cherish his father even more... Father will be proud of him.
Athrun looked in the direction where the girl had disappeared, and smiled. "Thank you, mystery girl."
"Hmm, where should I go now? Oh yea, I can always crash at Sting's place. He'll let me stay," a teenager with light-blue hair strolled down the dirty street.
He scratched his head, almost bored. He didn't look the least bit concerned that his dad had just kicked him out, disowning him officially. In fact, he loved it; gosh, he was free!! Now he could live whatever way he wanted.
He had been hanging around with Sting and the others for god-knows-how-long. Sting Oakley is the leader of Phantom Pain, a notorious gang around the neighborhood. The gang had been involved in several thefts but they were never caught. Their base was an abandoned warehouse Sting had found. The warehouse was an awesome place with paid electricity (there were only two outlets but still). There weren't any furnitures other than a dirty couch and a rather questionable mattress.
However, it was still a great place to hang out and live. Sting was an orphan and had lived a rough street life, but he was still pretty generous to take in gang members. Sven, Orga, Clotho and Shani lived in that warehouse with Sting. Now Auel could finally be a part of the gang, completely.
Auel could bear sleeping on the floor, no problem. The gang members had stolen some wooden planks and made some basic chairs and tables, and pieces of rag were good enough blankets.
"Heh, I ain't givin' Clotho a chance to take my spot! Gotta hurry," he muttered, quickening his footsteps. The unused mattress was unoccupied for now. To be fair, Sting had decided the mattress should be reserved for someone who deserved it. Questionable or not, it was more comfortable to sleep on it than the floor.
"Tsk, look what I found," a rowdy-looking man sneered at a drunken man, pointing to a girl huddling in a corner. Auel stopped and his eyes narrowed.
"Oi, why don't you talk for god's sake?" Rowdy-man grabbed the girl's shoulder harshly. The drunken man snickered stupidly.
The girl shrugged away the hand angrily, a dagger gleaming under the blinking street lamp. The two men backed away warily. Her eyes were ferocious, like a wild beast's. She brandished the dagger expertly, as if she had done this before.
One of the men lunged forward, deciding that she was no threat. One swift swing was all it took - blood splattered onto the cement and the man stumbled away in shock, holding his injured arm.
"Fuck you, bitch!" He snarled. (see note at bottom)
Something unexpected happened; the girl dropped the bloody dagger, her arms trembling in obvious distress. Unceramoniously, she dropped to the ground, petrified.
The two men exchanged puzzled looks. The unharmed one ventured forward, poking her slightly. She didn't utter a single sound, not even a squeak. She hugged herself close, her eyes staring into the distance.
"Hmm, you're gonna pay for this later," the man grimaced, "Dunno what just happened, but we'll still have our fun."
"Yeah, the less sound she makes, the easier for us to-" He didn't even have a chance to answer when a fist crushed into his jaw, slamming him towards the wall. The injured one screeched and fled. The other man struggled to stand up, but Auel pointed his pocket knife at him with menace.
"Get the hell out of my sight," Auel snarled coldly. The man nodded in fear and stumbled away.
Seeing that, Auel smirked, "V."
He was proud of what he just did. Oh no, it wasn't out of the kindness of his heart. He wasn't a hero; as his dad had said, he will always be a piece of crap disguised in human skin.
But Auel had a conscience. He wasn't about to let atrocity happen before his eyes. The girl stared at him blankly, her eyes blinking curiously.
"That's an unsual eye color you have," words came out of his mouth before he could stop it. Yes, for the first time in his life, Auel was fascinated by something other than the arcade games. The girl was beautiful, with curly blond hair and a pair of striking magenta eyes.
The girl blinked again, cocking her head cutely. She pointed to his eyes and Auel chuckled, understanding what she meant.
"Yeah yeah, my eyes are unusual too. You should see the other guys - we all have weird eye colors...oh no, not our hair. We dyed our hair," Auel explained quickly when the girl pointed to his hair.
The girl grinned up at him innocently, and Auel blushed. Why was he even talking to this idiotic girl? Why was he being so nice and patient towards her? She can't even talk for god's sake! Wait...
"Are you...are you like, mute or something?" Auel asked tentatively. The girl's eyes went wide and teared up immediately. She huddled up into a tighter ball fearfully and started sniffling, but no sobs came out.
Panicking, he quickly bent down and caressed her head awkwardly. Gosh, he hated seeing girls cry. He wasn't really sure what he was doing; he always pat cats to get them to trust him. But this girl's not a friggin' cat, Auel told himself. However, just as he was instinctively fond of cats, he was already feeling pretty affectionate towards this girl. He glanced at the bloody dagger, puzzled. He quickly put that in his pocket, not really sure what to do.
He then discovered she was wearing blood-covered clothing. Was she hurt? Holy- Quickly suppressing his initial panick, he figured it wasn't hers since she didn't look...injured. Maybe something similar happened before? The dagger...huh, it was better not to ask.
After awhile, she calmed down, staring up at him with absolute trust. Auel gulped nervously.
"Geez, what am I supposed to do with you now?" He sighed exasperately, scratching his head. He always did that when he was confused or nervous - it was just a force of habit since his head wasn't itchy at all.
"So, you want to show me where you live? I'll take you back," Auel grinned arrogantly, trying to regain his composure. He had a reputation to live up to, dammit.
The girl shook her head, gazing at Auel with an unreadable expression. Yet once again, he understood.
"You're alone in this world too, huh," he muttered. He thought hard; he didn't want to just abandon this lost girl, but he knew he wasn't a guy to take responsibility. But as a whole, Phantom Pain can...His cobalt blue eyes lit up.
"You can stay with me and the gang. I'm sure you can stay with us. They're pretty awesome guys. Lazy, yeah but still pretty decent even though we steal and stuff. Heh, that doesn't make any sense does it?" Auel scratched his head again.
The girl beamed at him; she seemed excited at his idea. Her eyes shone in gratitude, and Auel knew he did the right thing.
"Well, you can't really answer me but tell me, somehow, what's your name? I've got to call you something, don't I?"
She shrugged, looking depressed. So she doesn't have a name? Auel gazed at her sympathetically. She's really pretty...she should have an equally pretty name. Wait, I remember one of the books that damn nerd Orga was reading...uh, what was it...Stellar-something...
"Stellar. I'll call you Stellar,"Auel smiled, muttering her name in wonder. She nodded happily, and her eyes shone with joy like glitters of stars. She seemed to like that name.
"Okay, from now on you're part of Phantom Pain. You...hmm?" Stellar pointed to her throat, glancing at him worriedly.
Auel shrugged, "Nah, don't worry about it. So what if you can't talk? The guys won't mind," he flashed her his trademark cocky smirk, yet it was a smile of kindness at the same time.
"I'll protect you and, besides, I'll be your voice."
note: This line of swear word is probably one of the only two swear words that will appear in the future. As you can probably figure it out what that line of words is to Stellar.
End of Prologue
A/N: So, what do you guys think? After a pretty successful fanfic(YAY!), As Guilty as Innocent, I decide to actually write out a fic of an idea I had long ago. Voila!
It's only a prologue, that's why it's a tad angsty. The real plot starts next - this chap is like a background info type of thing. Now, this story will mostly be in either Shinn's, Athrun's, or Auel's POV. They are the three main characters in the story. But no Shinn in this chapter?! Well, he's just an ordinary guy with an almost ordinary background XD
In the anime, Auel's hidden affection towards Stellar may be brotherly or romantic. But he seemed to be jealous of Shinn the brief moment they met, and Auel had always been somewhat resentful towards Neo. After Auel and Sting's memories were erased, Auel felt that something was missing from the hangar - Gaia, and Stellar. So, perhaps he really did love her after all but as an Extended, he wouldn't understand the feeling anyways.
Please review and tell me what you guys think!
Athyra (ooo, it's Easter!)