A/N: Hello everyone! Sorry for the late posting; I had been out for the whole day... so tired! But hey, it's still the 15th over here, so I guess I made my deadline haha. Since I felt bad for the short chapter last time, I made this one a bit longer (which is my usual length for chapters). This chapter introduces a new character, which everyone had been wondering about. First part of the chapter is in Cagalli's POV and the second part is in a third-person point of view. Anyway, hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Seed/Destiny
Chapter 13: Annoyances
Dipping my legs into cool clear water, I felt my mind being refreshed. Earlier, Athrun had spoken to the wolves about Nicol and the subject of letting him stay with us. Even without an explanation, it was rather obvious that Nicol was not wanted anywhere near the wolves. Though he had not killed any of the wild wolves, he had severely injured many and they felt anger and uneasiness towards him. However, Athrun had also explained that having Nicol with us could prove to be advantageous for us, since he knew much more about the lab than Athrun did, especially after Athrun's escapade.
Though many were not convinced that someone such as Nicol could help them in any way, they allowed him to stay due to Athrun's request. However, it was stated that Nicol was not part of their pack in anyway nor could he share their food. If he slowed them down, he would be left behind. If he was found attacking one of their members, he would be killed without question. Not that he could attack anyone, considering the fact that his injuries were just as severe as some he had given. Athrun suspected that he had several fractures and broken bones, preventing Nicol from walking, not to mention standing up.
I swung my legs in the water, pushing the water to move back and forth with the movement of my legs. Truthfully, I was also rather wary of Nicol. Not so long ago, he had tricked me and led me into a trap before kidnapping me. Not only had he hurt me on several occasions, but he had also given orders for Athrun to be nearly-killed. But despite that, Athrun had asked me to look after his well-being while he was off sparring against the wolves. I had wanted to tell him that I felt rather uncomfortable with Nicol, but seeing that Athrun already had so much to do, and I so little, reluctantly, I agreed to his request.
At the moment, I was supposed to be gathering what bits of food I could find for myself and Nicol, but for now, let's just say that I wasn't all that eager to be going back so soon. Last time I left him, he muttered something about getting some shut-eye while I went out. His wounds were caused by my brother. As much as I wanted to think that Nicol deserved it, I couldn't. Even if he did evil things to Athrun, I and the wolves, it was all because he was ordered to, resulting in twisting his personality.
Athrun had told me the consequences they face if an order is disobeyed. They wouldn't be so merciful as to give you a quick and painless death, but instead they would cause more and more harm to you, mentally and physically until you felt as though death was a welcoming door. Every creature at the lab had faced this torture at least once and for the majority, it was all they needed to understand what was in store for them.
But another fact that my mind kept thinking about; Kira, my enemy. He didn't recognize who I was. In that fraction of a second, if I had not moved out of the way, I could have been very well dead. Though I knew he changed, against his will, I did not think that he would attack me. I had hoped for something inside of him that snap him out of it and return him back to the way he used to be. But things weren't as simple as I wished. Everyone was out for revenge, they all wanted his death. As for Athrun and I, we both simply want to stop him and return him to normal. But was it possible to do that without killing him?
I knew from Athrun that the supernatural wolves were originally human, whose cells and DNA were modified and added with that of a wolf. Could it be undone? Was it even possible? I sighed as I scooped the water with my cupped hands and splashed it against my face. The coldness of the water temporarily brought me to my senses. I had to remain strong; I definitely cannot break down at a time like this. As for Kira, we will decide on our actions when the time calls for it. Pulling my legs in, I pushed myself up with the help of my uninjured arm. That was enough moping for today; I had an objective to complete before I headed back. Hiking along the trail that I had taken for the past few days, a satisfied expression filled my face as I was soon greeted by the smell of wild black berries whose bushes were common to see.
They weren't a hundred percent ripe, but they would have to do. Making my way deeper into the bushes, I winced as the thorns pricked my arms, but shook the pain off. I picked numerous blackberries, enough for a snack and carried them in the pouch I made from my t-shirt. My shirt was originally red but had gotten smeared with dirt and what-not, so getting berry juice onto it won't really matter. I started thinking back to my previous life before all of this had happened. School duties, shopping and eating with friends... it seemed like a distant dream. Life was so peaceful; you didn't have to jump at every crack and sound.
The only dangers that could possibly take place at home were falling down the stairs or burning myself with a hot kettle. But that wasn't life-endangering at all. Out here, I had to be careful and be cautious. I had to strengthen my senses and keep my guard up.
By the time I had gotten back to the site, the sun was already quite high in the sky, signaling that it was perhaps mid-day or even past it. Sounds of snarling and growling could be heard down below as the wolves sparred each other. Pausing for just a moment to watch them, I couldn't help but notice that they've become smarter and faster. Instead of just attacking Athrun head-on, they would think of strategies that could possibly help.
My stomach suddenly moaned, reminding me that it was time for me to eat. Making my way through the cave, I paused and lowered myself to the ground, while gently tipping the berries over onto the cave floor. They toppled gently over each other before staying in place. "Took you long enough," a voice grumbled.
I looked up at the direction of the sound. Nicol opened his bright eyes so they looked at me. Pushing himself up with his good side, Nicol sat up and leaned against the wall, facing me. Then his eyes lowered as he noticed the berries that I had picked. Noticing his gaze, I split the berries into two groups and brushed them towards him. "Here, yours," I nodded towards the pile.
Nicol looked at the group of berries distastefully. "That's all I get to eat? I wasn't expecting you to catch a fat juicy deer, but at least something with meat on it," he complained.
I scowled at him. He really sounded like a whiny spoiled brat. Here I was, getting pricked and scraped to get something for us to eat by my own hands and here he was complaining. If he wanted something better to eat, he should go himself. "I would go, if only I wasn't injured," Nicol retorted. "But as you can see-" he nodded towards his gravely wounded arm. "-that's not the case,"
I had forgotten that he could read minds... another annoying fact about this guy. I really cannot believe that I had once thought of him as 'angelic' with really nice eyes and cute features. But hey, appearances can be misleading and this one definitely fits the case. "Look here," I said, highly-exasperated. "Either you eat them or don't eat them. Your choice. But I'm not going back out there because for now, this is enough for me,"
We stared at each other intensely, waiting for the other to make the first move. When he said nothing, I sighed and started to bring his pile of berries to add them to mine when suddenly his hand slapped down on mine, like slapping a mosquito. I scowled at him as my hand stung. "What is it now?" I demanded. "You don't like berries, so I'm taking your share,"
Nicol shifted uncomfortably as he brought back his hand. "I don't like berries, but seeing that there's nothing else to eat at the moment... I'll take them," he mumbled, just loud enough for me to hear.
Looking at him in surprise, I watched as he brought the berries to his mouth one by one with an unhappy expression on his face. He stopped eating when he realized that I had been studying him. "What?" he snapped. "Never seen someone eat, stupid girl?"
I ignored him as I turned to my own pile and ate silently. Oh boy, the next few days will be so much fun...
Elsewhere... Heavy breathing could be heard echoing in the large room filled with nothing. Blood was splattered everywhere, coming from the figure who was leaning against the white cell wall. He had been punished. Punished for disobeying orders.
"Hades, do you hear me?" a cold voice called through the speaker.
Hades said nothing as he struggled to breathe. They had sent many electric jolts throughout his body, enough to kill an ordinary human. He was exhausted to the point of passing out, but he struggled to stay conscious. He couldn't be weak. "This is my last warning. I had clearly given out orders for you to capture another subject and return quickly, but instead, you ignored my orders and stayed out longer than necessary,"
"Not only that, but you caused me to lose a precious noble when you deserted him. Though he can be replaced, we had spent a great deal of time and money to create him into what he was. And where is he now? Most likely his body is lying somewhere while his remains are being devoured by others," Patrick continued. "We do not need of those who disobey. No matter whether you are the highest priority in our experiments or not, if you cannot obey, we will also dispose of you as we had done with the others,"
And with that, the man left the room, closing him into a blanket of whiteness.
Hades gritted his teeth. Being caged and having experiments being tested on him, he hated them all. All he wanted to do was fight that dark coated wolf again. He was not satisfied with leaving him with minor injuries. He wanted him to be dead. In this world, only the winners remain. If the other is still alive, then the battle is not considered to be complete. Now, while he was trapped in this place, he could not heal nor could he fight the dark coated wolf. The room he stayed in blocked off any moonlight from coming through and it was now unlikely that he would be sent out for the next little while.
As Hades' breathing slowly returned to normal, a shadow passed over him. Glancing in that direction, he saw a human girl entering the room that he was in. She turned to nod at the guardian who stood outside the door and soon, the door closed behind her. Hades scowled darkly at the girl, wanting her to go away. He had never seen her before, but he wanted her to know the feeling that she was not welcome anywhere near him. But the girl did not leave, instead, she stepped closer until her face was merely inches away from the transparent wall.
Feeling alarmed, Hades got onto his feet and bared his teeth at the girl as he studied her features. She had long flowing pink hair that fell down to her waist line. Large baby blue eyes watched him curiously as she studied him in return. The girl did not wear the uniform that humans who worked at the lab wore, meaning that she was merely a guest. Hades snapped his jaws at her as he felt as though he was an animal at a zoo, being watched, humiliated and trapped.
The girl blinked a few times as her head tilted back as though she was taken back by his ferocity. Then she recovered as an idea lit her face. Scrambling over to the other side of the room that Hades shared his cell with, but fenced off, sat the speaker that allowed the humans to talk to him and him in return. Hades watched the girl as she planted herself onto the chair and fumbled with the controls, testing each function. Finally, she managed to press the TALK button because with his excellent senses, he could hear her faint breathing very clearly.
"Hello," the girl spoke. "How do you do?"
The girl had a pleasant melodic voice. It was free of anger, resentment or any other negative emotion. Hades glared daggers at the girl as she watched for his reply. After a moment of silence, the girl seemed to realize something. "Oh right, sorry... I guess you can't really speak in your wolf form, can you?" she spoke again. "Why don't you change into your human self? That way, it'd be much easier to communicate,"
A snarl of warning came through Hades' throat. A stupid girl was wasting his time. She should just leave him alone. Unless ordered to, the humans who worked here generally avoided going near his room. This girl should not be an exception. The girl shrugged off his warning. "Well, if you don't want to talk to me, that's alright. You can listen to me instead," she said. "Let me introduce myself; I'm Lacus,"
"I don't work here, but my father's friend is the director here, so I'm able to come. You don't seem to get many visitors here... it must be really lonely. Is that the reason why you don't like to talk?"
Hades rolled his eyes as he slumped back onto the floor. So what if she was the daughter of the Director's friend? Like that was special. The girl was rather talkative... more than the other humans who only spoke in murmurs and whispers. She talked about a lot of pointless things that took place in her life and by the time ten minutes had passed since her arrival, Hades could summarize up her lifestory.
Lacus was a sixteen year old human female whose illness explains the reason why her skin is so pale. She is allergic to sunlight and thus can only be active during the night. Lacus doesn't go to school like the other humans, but instead was home-schooled for as long as she could remember. Because of that reason, she didn't have any close friends. Her mother died when she was just a child and thus she was very close to her father. The list went on and on...
Groaning, Hades had given up on making her leave and hoped that the girl would lose interest and simply go away, because whatever he did wasn't helping. The girl had no friends and thus she was rather lonely, resulting in talking to him non-stop. As he began to block out her voice, suddenly, something caught his ears. "...Truthfully, my father and I are against this experimentation on living beings, but unfortunately, there's nothing we can do. Our family owes a lot to the director, so we couldn't refuse when father was asked to work here," Lacus explained sadly.
When Hades raised his head, Lacus took this as a sign that he wanted her to continue. "My father, you've probably seen him; Siegel Clyne. He is middle-aged with blond hair and an accompanying moustache that goes along with it. He is one of the scientists here,"
Indeed Hades knew the man. Unlike the rest of the humans, Hades couldn't help but notice the look of discomfort and pain that crosses the man's face whenever he was sent down to experiment on the subjects. It was as though he was unwilling to take part in the director's schemes. Hades had sometimes wondered about it, but now he knew why the man looked so troubled. But even though he felt guilty for his actions, Siegel still conducted the experiments that was asked of him. In the end, it was simple; all humans were lowly-beings.
As he was lost in thought, he realized that the girl was no longer there speaking to him. She had left without a word. Hades was surprised that she left so suddenly, it seemed as though she would be here forever. But it was better off this way; he could finally rest in peace without having a brainless human talk his ear off. Laying down on his side, Hades avoided resting on his back because that was where most of his injuries laid. As he closed his eyes against the bright light that shown down on him, he could hear faint murmuring outside the room between two people. One was a male and the other was a female.
Though he couldn't make of their conversation, by their tones, one sounded rather concerned and worried, while the other seemed rather relax and easy-going. Finally after a few short moments, the conversation ended and the door to his room clanged open. Hades paid the human no attention until the door to his cell sounded as the card slashed through the card slot, causing the door to open. Alerted, Hades sprung to his feet, ignoring any pain that went to his back. He watched as the girl from before, Lacus entered his lair. Growling, Hades' hackles raised as he stood his ground, warning her not to come any closer.
Instead of retreating like any normal human would, Lacus only paused for a moment before advancing once more. Eyes widening, Hades backed a few steps away as he kept his guard. Stupid girl! Do you want to die by my hands so eagerly? He thought as he bared his fangs at her. He could kill her easily and painlessly, and yet she kept on advancing. As Hades braced himself for a leap, Lacus' sudden movement surprised him as she bent down. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a long roll of white fabric.
Scrunching his nose, Hades stared at her, while keeping his guard up. He snapped his jaws at her as she reached her hand out towards him. Lacus quickly drew her hand back. "You're injured," she said quietly. "Let me do the bandaging for you,"
Hades let out a fierce growl as he glared at the human girl in front of him. How dare she corner him? Was she not afraid of him? Her life could be taken away by him so easily but she contained no traces of fear in her eyes. Was it because she knew that even if he killed her, he would be caught shortly? Hades hated the idea of losing to the human girl. If he just gave her a scare, perhaps he would be lucky enough that the girl would just leave him alone.
Lunging forward, Hades snapped his jaws at her as he passed by, giving her more than just a graze. Hades watched as the girl winced at the pain and held her side. When she brought her hands up, they were coated with red liquid. Hades breathed heavily as he waited for her reaction towards him. Thinking it out logically, the girl would most likely run towards the exit screaming for help. But as he waited, he saw that she wasn't turning her back towards him, much less running towards the exit.
Her eyes moistened from the pain, but they were determined. Breathing heavily, Lacus spoke again, "Please, if you don't bandage your wounds, you won't get better,"
While one hand was holding her side where Hades had gotten her, the other was holding onto the roll of white fabric. "Even if you hate me, I still have to fix you up," she continued. "I told you earlier that my mother died when I was younger, but that's not the whole story,"
"Mommy, thank you for bringing me out," a young Lacus had said.
Her mother smiled kindly at her daughter whose small hand was wrapped around her own. "I'm always happy to. Since you can't go out during the day, it just means that we go during the night instead. Besides, the playground is emptier at night; you can play on whatever you want to without waiting for it," she told her. "Usually, I would get your father to drive us back, but truthfully, I enjoy walking in the night; it's very peaceful,"
Lacus smiled at her mother as they walked alongside the road. "You're right, it is very peaceful. There aren't very many cars now, does that mean that everyone is asleep?" she asked.
"They may not be asleep, but most likely, they're at home. But there is the occasional stray car, so we have to be careful not to wander into the middle of the road, alright?" Her mother answered.
Lacus had happily agreed as she swung hers and her mother's arm in the night as they walked home. Everything was extremely peaceful, but it did not last. Like her mother had said, there were occasional stray cars and that night, there was a pair who decided to car race down the deserted road without a thought that perhaps there would be people out this late. It was all too sudden and as a bright light shone into her bright eyes, Lacus could hear her mother scream her name.
End of flashback.
"Mother had pushed me out of the way, causing me to roll down the grassy hill that was down below. As I rushed back up the hill, due to my fragility, I fell and slipped down several times before I reached the top. When I had gotten back to her, I saw that there was a pool of red blood beneath my mother's body. She was gravely wounded and was barely grasping onto her life,"
"That night, I ran, running faster than I ever did. Forgetting the fact that my body was weak, I reached home within a few minutes. My father was waiting for me at the doorstep. He smiled as he saw me return, but that smile faded slowly as he realized that I was crying. I quickly told him all that has happened and we called an ambulance immediately. However, by the time they got down there, mother had lost too much blood.."
Hades kept quiet as he listened to her talk. Unlike the previous conversation they had, well, one-way conversation, this one seemed to be more emotionally-based as Lacus poured her feelings into her voice. As he watched her, he noticed several droplets of liquid flow down her face, though her eyes were hidden beneath her hair. Staring at the droplets of water, Hades forgot about making the human girl go away. The droplets were as clear as water, but yet at the same time, Hades knew that they weren't water.
Realizing what was happening, Lacus quickly brushed them away as her eyes met his. Looking at the human girl, Hades did not know what to feel or to think. Unlike before, he didn't feel angry or any other emotion he usually felt. "S-so, please, let me bandage your injuries before you get wounded even further," Lacus pleaded as she held up the roll of white fabric.
This time, Hades did not protest and seeing that he was more obeying now, Lacus slowly brought up her hand towards him. She paused when her hand was just inches away from his head, as though hesitant, before placing it down onto his furry head. Gently, she stroked his head, his soft fur slipping beneath her fingers.
Though he had been surprised at first, Hades grew accustomed to the strange feeling he felt as the human girl stroked him. Strangely, he felt something unusual that he had never felt before. He felt as though he had nothing to worry about and maybe even felt calm at her touch. Before he knew it, Hades switched into his other form and his arms and legs collapsed beneath him. His head fell onto something soft and warm and closed his eyes and blurry colors danced in his mind.
A/N: Okay, I found it rather difficult to keep Hades' (Kira's) personality in check, but hopefully, it wasn't too bad. Though he is rather wild at times, he does think and feel. Due to a request, I tried to make Lacus slightly different than the character in the series. But nevertheless, she is still a kind and caring person. The reason why I split the chapter into two parts is that while the readers know what is going on with Cagalli and Athrun (not so much Athrun here... but you get my point) but know what is happening to Kira at the same time they're going through that. Anyway, I hope this chapter wasn't too bad, since a lot of things came to my mind last minute and didn't really get the time to carefully process it all. If something needs to be changed, please let me know. But other than that, thanks for reading and look forward to the next update.