Hello! I'm back with Chapter 2! I'm a bit keen on writing this story perfectly and I've lost count as to how many times I've reread, changed and added to this chapter. I would like to thank you for those who reviewed and everyone else that has added this to your favourites/alerts! You are awesome!
In these early chapters, I'm just introducing the current situation and the new characters (I'll understand if it's dull). Just letting you know, I hold an infinite adoration to this OTP (one true pairing) and kindly ask for your patience as AsuCaga won't be the focus until later chapters.
Disclaimer: I don't own the anime or the characters. If I did, I wouldn't be writing this story, Athrun and Cagalli would have more scenes together and a happy ending (don't understand why Kira and Lacus get all the love!), Stellar, Rusty and Miguel (the two cuties!) would still be alive, Yuna would never exist (well, maybe to tempt Athrun's jealous side…) and Shinn wouldn't hate the Athhas. Haha!
Also, I decided to maybe add a blooper section at the end of every chapter, just for the sheer fun of typing it out (and since I love watching bloopers after a movie lol).
And I decided to redo my story summary...okay that's all.
Two people were standing at the balcony of a mansion, peering at the breath-taking view of the beach and the sunrise. It gave a sense of peacefulness and tranquility in the air as if time stood still.
"Kira?" a voice called out. The brunette turned to Lacus Clyne, whom was standing beside him. She had a soft expression on her face, curious to know what was on his mind.
"Sorry, I was just thinking about things," Kira replied, flashing a reassuring smile. He darted his eyes back to the view, drowning in his own thoughts. Kira could never forget the war; he could never forget the friends he lost, the pain and the bloodshed. Whatever human beings have begun, other human beings can stop, Lacus once said. He was glad that he didn't have to fight anymore; he was sick of it.
Sometimes he would still question himself why he was still able to breathe, why he was still standing here, why he was still able to eat and feel. The thought that he was still alive after all these years still plagued his mind, as though the blood on his hands were long forgiven and forgotten. Whether he forgave himself was a different story altogether, but he knew he wasn't alone and that he would do everything in his power to protect those who were close to him.
"She's here," the pink princess said, placing her hand on his shoulder. Kira diverted his gaze back to her before smiling. She reminded him that he had a reason to live, to protect.
"Let's go," he said.
After Cagalli exchanged greetings with Lacus, the three sat on a table outside on the balcony with Earl Grey tea being served. During the Chairwoman's visit to Orb, she would spend most of her free time with Kira at their Orb mansion. It was an ideal place to distract herself from the demands of politics and just relax.
"How's Orb?" Lacus Clyne asked.
"Everything's going well, but there is still a lot to be done," Cagalli replied.
"It seems that way, you're working so hard," the pink princess responded, flashing an appeased smile.
"What about you? I'm sure you're doing a great job with the PLANTS."
"I'm just doing what I can, that's all. The council expects a lot from me so I have no reason to fail them."
"I believe we're in the same position."
Nothing but the sound of seagulls and crashing waves were heard. The sun was slowly rising from its horizon, painting the sky with a mixture of orange and blue colours. The streets of Orb were beginning to stir as the citizens wake up to embrace the new day.
"Birdy!" the mechanical bird yelled as it landed swiftly on Cagalli's shoulder.
"What's the situation with PLANTS and the South African Union? I heard there were some tensions during the peace talk," the blonde asked.
"It couldn't be helped; I offered to give them aid since they didn't perform so well during the wars. But some people were unsettled on the matter, which is understandable considering they still hold some hostility against the African Community," Lacus replied.
 The South African Union during the wars were allied with the Earth Alliance; however there was a divided community with the citizens from the African Community whom supported the PLANTS. There were ongoing hostilities between both sides even after the war and the situation remained unresolved. The PLANTS Supreme Council requested a meeting with the South African Union officials to settle and perhaps diffuse the tensions, though the outcome didn't seem so pleasing.
"I see, I hope things don't get out of hand," Cagalli responded.
"I'm sure it'll be fine, their leader is a very good man. He understands his people and is willing to do anything he can to ensure they live in harmony with one another," the pink princess said. With that, the blonde nodded in relief before sipping her cup of tea. Knowing Lacus, Cagalli was confident that she was capable in handling the situation fittingly.
Noone ever said getting along was easy. But you know what they say; every cloud has a silver lining.
"When will you be going back to the PLANTS?" Cagalli asked curiously.
"Unfortunately, I don't have long at all. The council advised that I don't spend too much time outside the PLANTS. But we'll see each other during the PLANTS and Orb Union economic cooperation meeting, right?"
"Ofcourse, I wouldn't miss it," the princess replied, flashing a warm smile. It was hard not being able to see her close friends as often as she would've liked. She couldn't even remember the last time they had a proper day together without sudden phone calls or duties interfering.
"Birdy!" the bird yelled, interrupting Cagalli's train of thought.
"You've done an impressive job rebuilding Orb after the war," Kira told her.
War; the word itself would always send shivers down Cagalli's spine. As much as she was uncomfortable in admitting that her actions were honourable, she saw some truth to what Kira said. Perhaps it was because she felt her past mistakes breathing down her neck constantly that she couldn't feel at ease.
"Cagalli, the past is the past. You've redeemed yourself," Kira said, seeing right through her. She cursed mentally at him, must be twin telepathy or something.
"Kira's right, you shouldn't punish yourself because of your mistakes, everyone makes them. Relax a bit, smile more knowing Orb is in safe hands, in your hands," Lacus added.
The pink princess's soothing voice comforted Cagalli. She returned a smile and gazed back at the beach. She tried to focus on the quietude of their surroundings to push back any doubts she had to the back of her mind. But suddenly Cagalli was reminded about something she saw on the news last night which made the hairs at the back of her neck stand.
"I heard about what happened…the riots and everything…" the blonde said sadly, remembering vividly of the violent images she saw that were etched in her memory.
"Yes, as much as I'm horrified, it cannot be ignored. The council and I are doing everything before it gets worse," Lacus responded, setting her cup down.
With the peace treaty signed to end the last war, Naturals freely travelled to and from PLANTS, some for recreational purposes, others wished to live there with their Coordinator counterparts. The Chairwoman welcomed Naturals to the PLANTS and believed that communities with Naturals and Coordinators should be encouraged in not just their homeland but everywhere else. It was all fine and dandy until recently Coordinators began to protest that Naturals had 'special' treatment from the government which led to riots, resulting in feelings of resentment. Ofcourse even with the Chairwoman's pleas, it didn't do much to ease the situation.
"I guess people still prefer the PLANTS to be exclusive to just Coordinators," Lacus said.
"These things take time. And as much as we want it to stop, it won't," Cagalli told her. Again, she looked back at the ocean and glanced at her watch. Crap, I'm going to be late, she thought.
"I'd best be off before the emirs give me a lecture again," the Representative informed gloomily, standing up.
"I'll see you soon Cagalli, do take care," Lacus said as she embraced her friend. "Thank you for visiting, it was great seeing you again."
"Don't push yourself too much or else I won't have a sister left," Kira said jokingly as he hugged his sister, which earned an angry 'humph' from her.
"Please, it'll take more than that to get rid of me Kira," she said.
It wasn't very befitting for Cagalli to be unfocused during meetings, especially when they were particularly important and emirs were at each other's throats. But this was different, the meeting operated as usual with the addition of a new member in the Orb Union. Her attention was deterred from the meeting to the fresh faces in the room.
Vincent Chadmin, the new emir, looked younger than she anticipated at the age of 23. His red, dishevelled locks, youthful face, grey eyes and pleasant grin encapsulated her impression of him as a bright and optimistic adult. If it weren't for Kisaka's brief report on Vincent's background, Cagalli would've easily mistaken him as an adolescent.  Impressions aside, she did not overlook his notable social status. His father was a former Prime Minister of Orb many years ago until he retired due to his deteriorating health which led to his unexpected death. Cagalli still recalled vividly the day when she sat in front of the television as a child when it was reported on the news, though ofcourse she was too young to really comprehend anything. Standing next to him was a young girl named Elise Kamura with short, choppy green hair and butter-coloured eyes behind her round spectacles. The blonde deduced that she was the emir's advisor or assistant with the light pile of papers in one hand and a black briefcase in the other.
"…and with the progress of Heliopolis running smoothly, it is expected that it will welcome citizens in approximately three months. With ORB and PLANTS jointly cooperating, I believe it will alleviate any doubts the other nations have on us," Vincent informed.
Cagalli had almost forgotten that Heliopolis was in the process of rebuilding. She approved to restore it as a means to utilize it again as an arsenal for the military and military equipment. Reports had already confirmed the completion of security and were in its final stages of installing electricity and water systems. The proposal beforehand proved to be quite vexing amongst the PLANTS Supreme Council and the Earth Alliance as it sparked harsh responses from both sides. If it weren't for Lacus, hell would've ensued and all the solid effort in materializing peace would've gone straight down the drain.
"…must be aware that although these matters aren't always grasped in the same spectacle, it should be inherent that other nations have their own interests to uphold."
"…economy will increase more or so due to these significant outcomes…"
The clock read 4:45PM and the meeting was soon about to end. Feeling slightly fatigued from the overload of reports discussed, Cagalli stood up from her chair while shuffling her piles of paper together.
"Thank you for the Heliopolis update, I'm happy that things are looking good so far. Are there any questions?" she probed, looking around the table. "If there isn't, then this meeting is over."
Cagalli was the first to exit the room with Kisaka following closely behind her. He handed her a thick folder and she sighed. It felt like overwhelming amounts of paper were slowly dominating her life. She wouldn't be surprised if she drowned in the pile one day.
"These need to be approved and signed by you," he told her, ignoring her dissatisfied expression.
"I hope I'm making a difference in all this," Cagalli revealed, an indication of her troubled thoughts on whether as a leader she had done her people proud.
Kisaka could only frown at her lack of self-admiration. "Do not doubt yourself so easily, Cagalli. Remember that there are countless people who are grateful to you. But do not forget that there are still people who disapprove your position as leader no matter how noble your actions may seem. They won't hesitate to exploit your weaknesses."
"I know, I just wish I knew that I'm doing the right thing."
"You always have Cagalli; don't let anyone tell you otherwise," Kisaka responded, placing a hand on her shoulder in reassurance. The blonde could only nod to mask her qualms and decided to divert the subject before he pressed further.
"Is there anything else before I retreat to my office?" Cagalli asked.
"You have a call waiting, it's Asuka."
"Got it," Cagalli responded and headed to her office. She was still surprised at the fact that Shinn was calling her, let alone talking to her. Just months ago, he was determined to kill her and burn Orb to the ground. The blonde reminisced back to the fateful day when he was at the Orb mansion's door step after the war.
"I'm not good with words…but..." Shinn said, looking down. His hatred for the Athha's vanished when he realized the error of his ways. She wasn't to blame, and he regretted the cruel words that he said to her.
"It's okay Shinn-"Cagalli said, extending her hand, but he cut her off.
"NO! It's not! I don't deserve this!" he yelled. He expected her to show aggression and animosity towards him, but Cagalli's calm expression remained unaffected which confused him even more. Heck, he wouldn't forgive himself. There was nothing Shinn could do to make up for the unforgiveable things he committed.
"I chose to forgive you Shinn. In fact, I feel as though I should be the one to ask for your forgiveness. It is my fault you were angry-"
"Don't say things like that! I let my emotions cloud my thoughts and…"
"Shinn, I don't blame you for being angry. You lost your family. And like I said, I forgive you. So please, don't be so hard on yourself."
"I apologize, Representative."
"Drop the formalities, it's Cagalli."
These days Shinn worked at Armory One and was still a part of the ZAFT military. He was also promoted to Commander, a position that he wasn't too comfortable with but was privileged to hold. Though, having the responsibility of commanding vessels and people referring to him as Commander rather than just Shinn was something he struggled adjusting to. When Shinn was off duty, he would occasionally travel down to Orb for an undisturbed vacation.
"I need help," Shinn responded almost too quickly and distraughtly.
Cagalli heaved a deep sigh, she anticipated he would say that, but hoped he wouldn't. She rubbed her temples in distress and spun her chair to face the window. She looked out at the view of the sunset to resist the urge to scream at him.
"What did you do this time?"
"Well, there was this random guy and he-"
"What…did…you…do?" she asked, losing her patience.
"The guy was a bastard! I was just walking and he decided to cause trouble."
"Okay fine, he called me a sissy and I decided to teach him a lesson. Happy?" he replied. Cagalli experienced a wave of emotions, from anger and frustration to annoyance and exhaustion. He was lucky she just finished a meeting and had no energy to scream her lungs out.
"I'll send Kisaka over right away."
"Thankyou Cagalli, I'm sorry if I interrupted anything important," Shinn replied, sounding sincere.
"No problem, have fun in Orb and stay safe," Cagalli told him before hanging up.
She had no idea how troublesome Shinn was, he had gotten himself in trouble with the police a few times already and it was up to her to pull some strings and allow Shinn to walk out without getting thrown in jail. The blonde recollected her thoughts before pressing some numbers to her phone. Kisaka picked up on the first dial.
"I need you to get Shinn," she said.
"I'm already on it," he said. She heard a car engine start up in the background, indicating that Kisaka was already in the car. Cagalli sensed the displeasure in his voice which was why she thought it'd be wise to not utter anything else and hang up. It looks like Shinn's going to get another earful from Kisaka again, she smirked.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. She yelled out to the unknown guest and the door opened. It was Vincent and his assistant Elise.
"Vincent, what brings you here?" she said, flashing a smile to the emir.
"I've come to see how the Princess is doing, I noticed you weren't quite attentive at the meeting," he replied, sounding quite amused.
"I've told you already, please stop calling me Princess," Cagalli responded sternly, earning her a polite bow from the man. But she softened her expression before continuing on. "I just had a lot on my mind then."
"That's predictable; you have the whole nation resting on your shoulders. It must be so demanding," the red-head said, expressing sympathy through his rueful tone.
"It's nothing I can't handle."
It had been a several days after Vincent's debut in the Orb Union and everything was running smoothly. She had expected that a new emir would bring new ideas and mindsets to the table and hopefully maintain the stable position Orb was currently in. So far, Vincent has proven to be quite impressive during meetings with his opinions that proved to be rather convincing and logical which surprisingly shut some of the emirs up for once. Cagalli was assertive that one day he'll make quite a leader.
"You have a board meeting soon, Vincent," Elise informed him before clearing her throat and adjusting her spectacles.
"Already?" the red-haired exclaimed.
"You do remember that it was postponed right? The environmental officials will be expecting your presence," his assistant replied. Realization dawned on Vincent's face as he nodded sadly.
"And here I thought I could finally relax a little," he said jokingly, which made Cagalli laugh.
"Trust me, I tell myself that everyday," the blonde said, cleaning her desk before she could focus on her work. She picked up her coffee mug which was still dirty and stained from last night. Note to self, call Myrna to make a new cup of coffee. It's going to be a loooong day, Cagalli thought.
Shinn Asuka admitted he had a problem. Not aloud ofcourse. In the past, people have typically described him as stubborn, hot-headed and reckless. He never liked being told what to do, even by his superiors. However due to his recent promotion as commander, that had been fixed. Also after the death of his family, Shinn transitioned from a joyful teenager to someone who was conflicted with his own emotions. He thought he could never be his happy self again. But that changed when the war ended with his heart no longer fuelled by hatred of Orb. He thought all was well, yet there was just one more thing that Shinn hasn't quite been able to mend, and Kisaka was well aware of that.
"You really need to learn to control that temper of yours," the tanned man said whilst driving Shinn back to the Orb mansion.
Shinn remained silent, deliberating his words. Much to his dismay, Kisaka was right. So he had some temper issues, big deal. Was it really his fault? Did everyone think it was that easy? It can't be helped that his anger gets out of control. If anyone should take the blame, it'd be that inconsiderate man who insulted him in the first place!
"Easier said than done," Shinn responded through gritted teeth. He felt his anger levels dangerously rising again. Crap, I better relax. Think happy thoughts Shinn, the brunette thought, taking a deep breath.
"If this keeps up, you really will end up in jail. And Cagalli won't be able to help you, there's a limit to everything."
Well, I don't regret punching the bastard. That black eye should last about a week or two, Shinn thought. He fought back a smirk as he looked out the car window, observing the outside world.
"I know," Shinn muttered.
Whether it was a sarcastic reply or not, Kisaka couldn't tell. But knowing Shinn, the boy probably didn't regret his rash actions and was giving himself a mental round of applause. Such a shame, Kisaka thought. He didn't know how Cagalli could handle the troublesome teenager. If it were up to Kisaka, he wouldn't hesitate to demote him on the spot and authorise the superiors to boss him around.
"Next time, try to be more civilised. Or is it too much for you?"
That was another thing that easily irritated Shinn, people doubting his capabilities. And he knew very well that Kisaka was intentionally trying to get on his bad side. He's testing whether I'll lose my temper! Firmly clenching his fists and jaw, he willed his anger to stop and closed his eyes until he felt composed again.
"That wasn't so hard was it?" Kisaka said, grinning. He was half-expecting Shinn to lash out again though he did have a little bit of faith in the boy.
Shinn muttered in coherently under his breath before the car reached the Orb mansion. He desperately wanted to get out of the car and away from Kisaka before he lectured him again. Stepping into the house, he decided he'd go see Cagalli briefly and apologize since his guilty conscious (he didn't know he had one, no thanks to Kisaka) compelled him to do so.
Heading upstairs, he took out a pink cell phone  from his pocket to check the time. He didn't want to return to the hotel he was staying at too late, Shinn was hungry and 24/7 room service awaited him. Without looking up, he turned the corner only to painfully bump into someone. He stumbled until his hand found the wall to support him.
"WHAT THE HELL!" Shinn yelled. He had enough for one day. His expression soon fell when he realized who he bumped into.
"Why don't you watch where you're going?" Cagalli yelled. She was on the ground with an empty cup in her right hand. Shinn slowly dragged his eyes to her Orb uniform and reports now stained with coffee liquid.
Oops, mess up the Representative's day twice why don't you?
 Info from Gundam Official.
 Vincent Chadmin's appearance was somewhat inspired by Rusty Mackenzie, who appeared in Gundam Seed Episode 1.
 The pink cell phone ofcourse belonged to Shinn's deceased sister, Mayu Asuka. You see him carry it around throughout Gundam Seed Destiny.
FINALLY! Yes yes, not a lot of interesting things happening here. But like I said, I'm just introducing things here and there, trying to establish for you readers a clearer setting of what's happening after the war. No flames please (I'm a sensitive person) and reviews are welcome!
For some, you may question why I added Shinn (yes I hated him too) to the story, but aside from that fact that he irks me, I do like his character so please forgive me :
I shall end this chapter with the promised bloopers :) Until next chapter, see you!
JD: And action!
Cagalli: What's the situation with PLANTS and the South African Union?
Lacus: It couldn't be helped; I offered to give them aid since they didn't perform so well during the wars. But…
(Cagalli and Kira waiting)
Lacus: I'm sorry, what's the line again?
Kisaka: Next time, try to be more civilised. Or is it too much for you?
(Shinn's mobile rings)
Shinn: Hello? Yes, I'm still filming. Yes, I'll be done soon. Okay, love you too.
Shinn: Sorry that was my Mom.
(Kisaka bursts out laughing)
(Cagalli is at the corner ready to 'bump' into Shinn, she drinks her coffee)
JD: You're not meant to drink the coffee, it's supposed to spill!
Cagalli: I was thirsty...
(JD heaves a sigh and orders another cup of coffee)