Chapter 6 - Enjoying the Fruits
There were no reporters allowed at the formal gala that evening, but few of them had seemed to mind. Many were out gathering a few last "man-on-the-street" interviews from Orb citizens, while others were finishing up blog posts or packing for a return to their home nation. Many would be riding out on the same space shuttle out of the Uzumi Nara Attha Spaceport.
Kira and Lacus were greeted by Cagalli on the lawn. The two then found a seat by Murrue and Mu. Meanwhile, next in a greeting line was someone Cagalli was very excited to see.
"Miriallia!" Cagalli exclaimed, rushing over to her. "It's been too long." She threw her arms around Miriallia.
"It has been awhile. Thank you for inviting me," Miriallia replied, returning the embrace.
In such manner the lawn filled with people new and old, some distant, but for the most part close. There were members of the Three Ships Alliance and members of official armies, Naturals and Coordinators, nobles of Orb and commoners of the Earth Alliance, soldiers and the Reverend Malchio, all joined together for this one evening. They were enjoying the fruits of the peace they had sown.
Athrun and Cagalli had ended up completing the table at which Mu, Murrue, Kira, and Lacus were sitting at. When, later that evening, Cagalli stepped away for a bit to talk some of the other guests, Mu leaned towards Athrun and said, "I haven't been able to get through to Kira, but I've got to get this through your head. Take it from me, don't make her wait any longer."
"I'll keep that in mind," Athrun said seriously.
"Good," returned Mu in the same vein, leaning back and fingering the scar under his eye.
Lunamaria smiled at Shinn.
"What?" he said, turning to look at her.
Even just now, asking that, he was proving what she'd noticed. That was his curious tone, not his annoyed one.
"I was just thinking that you were calmer, these past few days," she explained.
"Haven't always felt that way," Shinn disagreed, but then reflected that he had at least been sleeping better.
"Hey, over there! It's Athrun and Kira!" Luna noticed.
"Athrun?" Shinn slewed his head around. "I haven't seen him in forever. Where has he been?"
"Do you want to go talk to them?" Luna asked eagerly, already leaning out of her seat.
Shinn frowned. It looked like that Roanoke fellow was at their table, as well as Cagalli. But he didn't feel the same hatred on seeing them, and what anger remained could be controlled. It wouldn't hurt him to ignore them for a few minutes, and he wasn't going to let them interfere with greeting friends he hadn't seen in a long time.
"Sure, let's go," he said, standing up.
Much later, when Cagalli judged the time was right, she went to the stage set up in the middle of the tables on the lawn. Taking up a microphone, Cagalli said to everyone, "Everyone, I thank you for your attendance this evening. I hope that this won't be the last time that we meet in peace."
"Hear, hear," said Waltfeld and others, raising their glasses in a toast.
"I've already given one speech today, and that was one speech too many," Cagalli continued. "So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce someone who needs no introduction. I thought I'd have to beg her to do this, but she quickly and graciously assented. She's the elected Chairman of the PLANT Supreme Council, and she's still the premier pop star in the Earth Sphere - Lacus Clyne."
The crowd cheered as Lacus topped the stage and took the microphone. Cagalli returned to her seat at the table and watched the stage.
"Hello my friends," Lacus said into the microphone, "and thank you for this magnificent welcome. I'd like to ask us all to take just a moment to silently remember all of those souls who have perished in the recent conflicts."
Once again, as at the luncheon for the Archangel crew, the audience members doffed hats, bowed heads, and sat quietly.
"I thank you again," Lacus said after the moment's conclusion. "I feel that this song has special relevance for this time; such is my hope." She then began to sing "Token of Water."
At its conclusion, there was loud cheering and much applause. One audience member, possibly someone from the Archangel's crew, suggested to a friend over the noise, "Hey, wonder what a duet between Lacus and Kira would be like?"
The friend listened with a surprised expression, then said, "That's a great idea!" He began to shout, "Kira and Lacus!" The one who originally had the idea quickly joined in, and the rest of their table soon followed. Infectiously the idea spread, and soon the crowd was chanting "Kira and Lacus!" and clapping their hands and stomping their feet in a cadence.
Kira blinked, discomfited, and looked around the table. Cagalli and Murrue were surprised, and Athrun was surprised and bemused. Kira looked at Mu, who shrugged, looked expectantly at Kira, and said, "Why are you looking at me?"
Kira hadn't loved Lacus this long without knowing most, if not all, of her songs. There was a great divide, however, between knowing her songs and being able to sing them.
Kira looked around at the crowd, which showed no signs of relenting, and at Lacus. Lacus' face was radiant as the sun at the thought of the idea, although she veiled it with a cloud out of respect for Kira's discomfiture.
Mu, seeing Murrue lean forward, murmured to her, "You know they might want us to sing next, right?"
Murrue stopped short, embarrassed, but then insisted, "But it'll be better this way."
"I'm not going to stop either of you," Mu said, taking a drink and feeling slightly apprehensive at the thought of having to face the crowd in the near future.
Murrue bowed in her seat to Kira and said to him, "Kira, please excuse our behavior, but, would you please?" She herself was slightly too embarrassed by the situation to ask him explicitly, part of her embarrassment stemming from the fact that she was interested in seeing the duet.
Kira swallowed and said bravely, "Yes, I will. Don't worry about it, Murrue." He stood up and started walking towards the stage. The crowd whooped and whistled, then resumed their chant, increasing the frequency as he neared the stage. As he walked, his face began at a soft pink, and, like an exquisite sunset, bloomed into deep, steady reds.
He stepped up, onto the stage, and took refuge in Lacus' smile as the crowd's chant exploded into further clapping and cheers. "I'll do my best," he said with a sheepish grin.
Lacus subtly switched off the microphone and said warmly, "Thank you, Kira."
The microphone remained off, and Kira's blush remained on, for several seconds more as they quietly talked. Then, the microphone came on, and they began to sing "In This Quiet Night."
Though Kira was sure he'd begun a beat too late, and his blush was as furious as ever, no one seemed to notice. In fact, it could be argued that no one actually heard the two singing at all, though they did. They mostly saw the two staring deeply into each others' eyes, and took solace in it.
Lacus' voice was as good as ever. Kira acquitted himself in the song as well as could be expected, and the result was good. When one factored in the evening's good cheer, and perhaps some of the alcohol some audience members were indulging in, the duet sounded marvelous. Considering how many of the people hearing those two had known them both throughout the perils of two wars, the result was an unforgettable evening.
The moment the last notes faded away, the entire audience leapt to their feet and clapped enthusiastically, cheering and whistling. Cagalli, Athrun, Murrue and Mu clinked their glasses together as they stood and toasted Kira and Lacus. Others copied them, and some from the Eurasian Federation and elsewhere performed their toasts by linking arms at the elbows as they drank.
The applause lasted for nearly five minutes, and before it was even partly over, the illumination of waved cellphones called for an encore. The clapping and cheering probably only ceased because the audience saw Lacus and Kira were talking again. Once the crowd had taken their seats again, Kira and Lacus began to sing "Token of Water." Kira's blush finally was extinguished during this song, and his performance improved slightly as his nervousness decreased. Together with Lacus, their voices harmonized and gave birth to hope.
Again the crowd exploded into applause and enthusiastic cheers, leaping to their feet as their acclaim bubbled up and out of them. Kira bowed and said, "Thank you," to the audience, then went back to his seat as the cheering continued.
"You did very well," Athrun commented as Kira returned to the table.
"Nothing less from my brother," Cagalli smiled at him.
"Thank you," Kira returned. "It was a very enjoyable experience."
He settled into his seat and smiled fondly at Lacus as she began to sing "Fields of Hope." Really, Kira thought to himself, Mu and Waltfeld didn't give him nearly enough credit. This night would be the last he and Lacus would see each other for some time, as tomorrow she would return to the PLANTs and he would remain in anonymity in Orb. But things would not be that way forever, and he was in the present laying the foundations for their future. As soon was possible, if ever they were allowed, for however long it would last, he and Lacus would be together forever.
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Gundam SEED - Mizu no Akashi ("Token of Water"), Shizukana Yoru ni ("In This Quiet Night")
Gundam SEED Destiny - Fields of Hope
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Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Auel Neider, Sting Oakley, Yuna Roma Seiran, Cagalli Yula Athha, List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Characters, List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Locations, List of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED mobile weapons, List of Cosmic Era Factions, Lunamaria Hawke, Meyrin Hawke, Martin DaCosta, Sai Argyle, Miriallia Haw, Andrew Waltfeld, Murrue Ramius, Mu La Flaga, Athrun Zala, Lacus Clyne, Kira Yamato
Though Chihiro inspired this story, the result is my own invention, which I largely kept secret from her until it was nearly done, so I hope that you will be charitably inclined to blame me for its failings and ascribe to her credit the seed of a good idea.
I made up the whole maze garden set piece - aren't fanfictions wonderful? I'm assuming that the building we generally see Uzumi Nara Attha and Cagalli in when they're in their official capacity is a palace, since Cagalli is a princess according to that Orb fleet commander in the "Gundam SEED" episode where Cagalli finally reveals her identity and helps the Archangel escape the Le Creuset team. Additionally, Uzumi Nara Attha Spaceport is something I made up - I presumed that Cagalli would've gotten another Mass Driver, and that would be what they'd name a spaceport associated with it.
I also made up all of the reporters in this story, so don't go looking for them in the actual series.
In addition, I promoted Kisaka further, so far as I know, from Colonel to General.
Also, rather awhile after I had been writing this, I looked at Wikipedia articles that said that the Archangel was made part of Orb's official fleet towards the end of "Destiny". I then somewhat recalled this, and realized I had forgotten it for awhile. I suppose then that in this story, they left the fleet again. It was politically expedient for them to have joined, but then, they are still a controversial ship, I should imagine, still technically renegades from the Earth Alliance's point of view, and so it might well have been politically expedient for them to go unofficial and largely undercover once more. Besides which, after Orb's politics in "Destiny," I should imagine Murrue and Cagalli would have some desire for the Archangel to be more independent. So apparently I made up the Archangel not being part of Orb's fleet at this time, although I thought I was following canon. Realizing this, I added in Mu's dialogue at the beginning.
Speaking of things I made up, I totally made up the story of whatever did happen to Sai, Kuzzey, Kira, and Miriallia's professor, the one Cagalli was going to visit. That question was never answered in the anime that I know of, and it always bothered me, so I decided to answer it with something I made up here.
I also never named Sai's fiancee or Kuzzey's wife or the Eurasian Premier because I didn't want people feverishly scouring their Gundam Seed DVDs or Wikipedia looking for whatever names I made up. I usually like naming even such minor characters, and it would've been especially appropriate in a Gundam Seed story, which generally makes good use of naming even minor characters, but I felt that it would be better to emphasize their personalities rather than confuse potential readers. In addition, I never could find the title of the executive head of Eurasia, so I made up the title Premier.
Also among made up things were the various things that I had ZAFT doing after the second war, especially Lunamaria and Shinn's roles in ZAFT activities. I felt that it'd be interesting and necessary to lay out a plausible backstory to take us from the end of "Destiny" to here.
Also among the things made up, possibly, is the whole idea that Lacus is the new Chairman of the PLANTS - it was an idea I took away from the ending of Destiny "Final Plus", and so naturally used that for the story. However many entries on Wikipedia seem to consider it simply a meeting between her and the Council. The entry on Lacus states that it is unclear whether she is Chairman (or Chairwoman), or a Supreme Council member, or a mediator of or to the PLANTs. Along with the idea that she was Chairwoman, I made up Kira making himself scarce, for a time, to prevent negative publicity or assassination attempts.
I assumed I was giving people more political power and sway than they might have, but apparently I accidentally took it from Athrun - Wikipedia informed me that he became an admiral of Orb after "Destiny". So I hurriedly revised my story so he resigned his commission. It seems logical to me - I think it'd be very awkward reporting to Cagalli, and vice versa, after their history.
Similarly, Lacus' article on Wikipedia states that Kira is in a ZAFT Commander's uniform at the end of "Gundam SEED Destiny: Special Edition". I thought I watched that, but upon reflection, I suppose it was "Gundam SEED Destiny: Final Plus" that I watched. Come to think of it, I suppose I did see that in the last scene, but I didn't particularly notice what Kira was wearing. So whatever was supposed to occur to get him in that outfit, in this story simply did not occur, or perhaps he simply left ZAFT after a time in my story.
At this point, you may be telling me I should do my research before writing the story, and you'd be right. But at the time, I was sure I remembered the sort of major events and implications from the epilogues that I've been discussing, even though it had been months since I'd seen the end of "Destiny", and besides which, I was changing things anyway, so I could finesse these gaps in my knowledge. Why am I revealing these gaps to you? Mostly because I want to be clear on what is and is not canon. Why do I want to make that absolutely clear? It's the way I am, I guess, because I sure can't find any reason.