SUMMARY:Never forgetting 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 unforeseen 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'
I apologize for the incredibly late update. (looks at last update date) Wow. Er, sorry. There is absolutely no spare time/inspiration.
Chapter 8 Accidental Discovery
Love can be a medicine, but it can also be a burden…
"This can't be happening."
Lunamaria and Rey stared at their coffee mugs, careful not to say anything. Kira paced around the living room nervously, muttering to himself. Lacus glanced back and forth from her husband and the blaring TV, which was still showing the picture some paparrazzi took.
Mr. and Mrs. Yamato were still sleeping, so were Athrun and Cagalli.
"What should we say, guys? Should we tell Athrun first, or Cagalli? She told us the deal about her fiance. Oh no he probably knew already. How can we help Cagalli..." Kira sent Rey a pleading look, thinking the bassist would get them out of this mess somehow.
Rey sipped his coffee calmly and replied, "Kira, don't panic. We need to think about this situation from our band's perspective."
"Rey is right, Kira," Lacus touched Kira's arm gently, "As much as I want to help Cagalli-san, there's nothing we can do. Unlike our marriage, Kira, this news will raise a lot of questions. Her father used to be an influnential man, not to mention her...fiance's father is the hospital director."
"It is a scandal, in the business world's point of view," Rey agreed, his blue eyes fixating on the spot behind Kira's shoulder. The brunette turned around to find his best friend staring at the ground guiltily.
"Er, morning, Athrun," Kira chuckled forcefully, "So, you head everything, huh."
"What am I going to do? I'm so-"
"There no need to apologize, Athrun," Lacus and Lunamaria said immediately. Kira patted his shoulder reassuringly, "I'm sure Mwu-san can do some... damage control."
As if on cue, the blond manager burst through the door frantically, "Aw man, we need to go back to the hotel ASAP! If fans get wind of where we are... I've been getting calls from them all morning, inquiring about this blonde chick!"
The band members nodded, but Athrun looked unconvinced. "How about Cagalli?"
He couldn't just leave without saying anything. Not after how they just 'found' each other again yesterday. They had so much fun last night, sharing their pasts, just simply chatting. The Yamatos welcomed Cagalli warmly and set up an extra bed in the guest room with Lunamaria.
He also remembered how they had kissed before they told each other good night. Why did something like this happen when he finally felt complete, for once? He was torn away from his musings by a very angry voice.
"How dare you threaten me! It's not like I haven't seen you with other girls before! You think you're clever? If it weren't for...WAIT! Don't tell your father!" Cagalli's furious face turned pale, but the hatred in her eyes was still evident. She gritted her teeth as she listened to the other end of the cellphone.
"Fine, I'll go," she hissed venomously. She then thrust the cellphone into her purse, breathing hard.
For what seemed like an eternity, no one said anything.
"I guess I'll get going then," she said curtly, waving goodbye to the band members. She didn't look at Athrun's direction at all.
He tried not to let the hurt appear on his expression. It was to be expected. She had told him herself, that she would choose her father over everything.
"Take care," Athrun whispered almost painfully, not wanting to look at her either. He knew that if he did, he'll want to stop her from leaving. At the rate things were going, who knew it would be the next time they'll see each other?
She stopped at the door uncertainly, "Gomen, Athrun."
He clenched his fists at her apology. After she left, Kira clapped his hands, trying to lighten the mood, "Come on, let's go back to the hotel and practice our new song. I've already left a note to my parents. They'll essentially know what's going on."
"Before we do that," Athrun breathed deeply,"Let's try to find out which bastard took that picture. Could you do that, Mwu-san?"
Lacus and Kira swallowed nervously at Athrun's word usage. The blunette meant business.
"I'll do everything I can to smooth things out," the manager promised.
"Please stop waving the painbrush, Kenny! You're spreading paints everywhere!! Tina, stop chatting and concentrate!" Auel winced at the high-pitched screech coming fom the art studio.
"Looks like you're having a pretty tough morning," he commented casually, walking towards the redhead.
"A-Auel!" Her face was red, presumably from the anger. A dozen kids stopped whatever they were doing and stared at him, making him extremly uncomfortable.
And when he got uncomfortable, he got mad.
"What hell are you looking at me for, kids? Go back to your work and do what your teacher tells you, you hear me, you sorry bunch?" Auel gave them his best intimidating glare.
All the kids cringed visibly and went back to painting on their canvases, obviously scared of him. Auel let out a satisfied chuckle. Meyrin was staring at him with an unreadable expression.
"Why are you here, Auel?" Meyrin snapped out of her daze, "As you can see, I'm pretty busy here..."
"Busy what? Looks to me those kids are walking all over you-"
"No they AREN'T!" Meyrin glared at him defensively, "It's just that Cagalli-san's absence always seems to be some kind of signal for those kids to behave this way."
"You know I'm right," Auel smirked as she blushed deep red. Sensing an angry retort coming, Auel quickly explained himself, "Er, you see, I was just thinking, do you need someone to help you with your work here? I mean, just temporarily, until that Cagalli person comes back?"
Meyrin squinted at him suspiciously, "Well, it wouldn't be so bad if someone helped... hey, do you know anything about art?"
"Er, Stellar paints, and I buy supplies for her, so I know about art to some extend-"
"Eh?" Auel blinked stupidly. He didn't think she would accept that easily.
"Seeing how easy it was for you to control those kids, you might be pretty helpful after all, " Meyrin twirled her pigtail, appeared to be in deep thought. Auel's eyes followed her finger's motion, finding her habit somewhat endearing. It was like Stellar's when her body swayed unconsciously as she listened to music.
"Er, right. So, is it possible to receive some money in advance? I mean, I kinda need money right now," he averted his eyes sheepishly. "I need money to ride the train."
"Ah, I'm looking for clues to find Stellar. I'm worried sick about her... it's been a few weeks."
Auel was once again surprised at her lack of protest. She smiled encouragingly, "Just find her as soon as possible, okay?"
"I intend to," he gave her his signature roguish smile.
Gaia the puppy wagged his tail excitedly, barking softly. Auel sighed; he thought he left him tied up outside.
Meyrin's eyes lit up at the sight of the puppy, "Aww, who's the little guy?"
Auel watched the scene in shock. Gaia was licking her hand! The puppy never did that to anyone, except himself and Stellar. Even the rest of the gang could only pat Gaia, nothing more.
"That's Stellar's puppy, Gaia. I'll tell you what, I'll leave him with you, as a promise that I'll come back to work. Hopefully with Stellar."
"Really? You don't need to do that though," Meyrin laughed as Gaia snuggled against her, "I know you wouldn't run off with that money, no matter how little it is."
"Oh? Why not? I mean, I could be lying. I am a gangster after all," Auel stared at her quizzically, curious at her certainty.
"It's quite obvious how much you care about Stellar. There's no way you'll lie about something like this."
Auel grinned. This girl really ain't so bad. Not to mention Meyrin really was pretty darn cute.
Cuter than Stellar in a way. Eck, where did that some from? Stellar is the cutest, no matter what!
He told his mind admantly, but he wasn't completely convinced of this strange new feeling.
"Hey Yzak, I'm going home for a couple of days."
Shinn closed his eyes, anticipating an eruption from Mt. Joule. When nothing came, he opened them just in time to get whacked in the face by a very, very heavy book.
"Fine, Asuka. Just get your ass back here by Wednesday, or else," Yzak smiled. There was no need to scream or glare; Yzak's smile was creepy enough to intimidate anyone into submission, even Shinn.
"Thanks," Shinn added, deciding that despite his temper, Yzak was a pretty caring boss. The only reason Shinn would ever take breaks from his work was family matters, and Yzak knew it.
"What's this book anyways?" Shinn frowned, turning the heavy object over and almost choked at the title.
"T-The 51 Rules Must-Knows About Relationships?"
Shinn didn't need to see Yzak's face to know that the vein was twitching. "Just give it back, Asuka."
Watching his boss stomping away, Shinn suddenly wanted to laugh but decided it was best not to. Dearka sauntered up to him. "Oh, that book. Guess who gave it to him?"
"Um, I would say, Shiho?"
"Bingo! Yzak told me Shiho especially bought that for him. Can you imagine?"
"Nope. Can't," Shinn grinned. Shiho was this mysterious woman Yzak was currently dating, and no one was allowed to know anything about her, other than her first name. So every now and then her name would come up and all the mechanics would try to conjure up Shiho's appearance, but she had yet to come to the car shop.
Hours later, when Shinn was riding on the train back home, his mood was back to being foul again. Yzak and Dearka's own ways of cheering him up had faded long ago.
True, the only reason he would return to his hometown, Edo, was family matter. Recently he got a phone call from his relatives that Mayu refused to go to school anymore. Nothing could persuade his little sister, maybe except him.
He glared out the window, watching the scenery half-heartedly. The stupid kids in school just won't stop teasing her about her muteness. It wasn't like Mayu had a choice; she was born this way. With their father abandoning them long ago and their mother now deceased, it was really tough for little Mayu. Shinn wished he didn't have to work in Orb, but Mayu was stubborn just like him; she didn't want her brother to stop persuing his dream because of her.
Strange, that a 10-year-old could be so mature while the rest of her classmates still bullied her simply because she can't talk. What kind of pathetic reason is that?
Speaking of mute people, Shinn's mind went over to a certain blonde again. The lack of police help was frustrating; if it weren't for Auel and his gang, they could've used the police's resources already.
I never asked her, what her story was, Shinn was suddenly embarassed by the absence of knowledge, of Stellar's past. Where she came from, how she ended up in Auel's care, and why she became mute. Yet he already liked her so much without really knowing her. How was that possible?
It's not like I have anyone to ask that question. Athha will tease me endlessly, Dearka will laugh in my face (like he's in any position to laugh), and Athrun...
"Oh shit, I missed my stop," Shinn cursed irritably. No big deal. He'll just have to walk a long distance...ugh.
He had no fondness for his hometown at all. Truthfully speaking, once, he couldn't wait to go to Orb to start a new life and leave his family behind. But then his mother passed away and he woke up from his selfish dream.
I'll get you away once you graduated elementary, Mayu. He had promised her once. But perhaps, it's better that I get her away from this stupid school? What should I do?
He stopped abruptly when he passed a particular house. Frowning in disgust, Shinn recalled when he used to go to the same high school with Azrael Louissier. (note)
Please don't tell me he still lives here with his mother. The males in the Louissier family were known for their childish tantrums and dishonesty. They completely lacked responsibility and were highly hypocritical. Azrael was a worse case; he was a known bully and relied on his gang and mother to support him. Shinn used to fight with the blond psycho a lot, but nothing seemed to change.
He was fond of Mrs. Louissier though. She and Mrs. Asuka were good friends and she was always so nice to Mayu. Which made Shinn even more confused; why would Mrs. Louissier continue to stay here, with a crazy son and a husband who claimed to be working out of town but was actually screwing with his secretary?
Shinn struggled with his feelings, the desire to see Mrs. Louissier and the disgust at seeing Azrael again. In the end, Shinn decided to give his greetings to the motherly figure.
"Shinn! What a pleasant surprise!" He smiled at her affectionately as she hugged him fondly. She seemed more haggard than he remembered, though.
"I was just in the neighborhood so I thought I should see you. How are you?"
Mrs. Louissier sensed Shinn's unasked question and replied sadly, "Unfortunately, dear, Azrael could not find a job to support himself so he had to come back home."
Home huh. I doubt he sees it that way. Damn bastard, not appreciating such a forgiving mother.
He tried to ignore Azrael's typical yelling in the background but failed. He was very tempted to just go and beat him up, but he wouldn't do that in front of Mrs. Louissier.
"Yea, serves you right, bitch, for almost killing me years ago eh. Where's your precious knife now eh?" Typical. Azrael always shouted weird things to the wall.
"I see Azrael is still as … verbal as ever," Shinn muttered darkly. Mrs. Louissier blanched slightly, but she sighed, "Well, Shinn, I don't know what to do. Bad or not, he's still my son and well…"
"There's only one flaw in your personality, Mrs. Louissier – you're too nice. He doesn't deserve such a nice mother like you."
"Aw, can't talk back now can you, you friggin' mute? Ha! You will pay for all the freedom you've enjoyed…"
"Mute? What the… how dare he?" Shinn felt angry beyond all reason. Usually he never involved himself in their complex family relationships and Azrael's problems. But hollering to a wall or not, mute people shouldn't be treated this way. Mayu's tear-streaked face flashed in his mind and he ran past Mrs. Louissier, much to her weak protest.
"Hey, Azrael, you-" Shinn blinked.
A familiar girl was sitting on the ground, shaking not in fear, but in fury. Her magenta eyes were not wide and innocent like Shinn remembered, but jaded and deadly.
At his sudden intrusion, everyone froze. Azrael's wild eyes slowly moved onto Shinn's form, face white. Stellar, however, didn't seem to notice Shinn's arrival; her eyes were solely fixated on Azrael, so full of hatred.
"Oh..." Shinn spun around to see Mrs. Louissier fainting. As soon as she hit the ground, Stellar immediately snapped out of her trance, her wild eyes quickly changed into fearful ones. Her gaze caught Shinn's form when he kneeled down besides Mrs. Louissier worriedly.
He glared at Azrael, "What the HELL is going on?"
Note: Azrael is his last name but Murata is too dull a name and quite girlish-sounding so his name is Azrael Louissier.
End of Chapter 8
A/N: So Stellar's back. And now we're moving towards her side of the story and of course, Steshin. While Asucaga is one of the main pairings, so are the others, as this is a story about Athrun, Shinn and Auel.
Oh, and Shinn's hometown Edo, is another name Tokyo. I was trying to think of a name and somehow that random name came up...
Grade 12 is vicious. Calculus is brutal. I have too much stress and way too little time. The next update is probably sometime after the provincial exams and all the university crap.
Happy New Year! It's the Year of Rat, I believe.