category: Gundam SEED

disclaimer: I don't own it.


FIFTY.

They had come far, but they had still farther to travel.

At some time each of them had fallen apart. The thin cracks that ran through them (cracks in their beliefs, in their understanding of the world around them, cracks in their strength and will and their very character) had at once joined together and brought everything down to ruins.

But they went in with spades and mortar and laid the broken bricks into semblances of entirety. There were sections that remained missing, or parts that were damaged beyond usage, but everyone made do. A layer of ashes over the pieced-together debris to seal the smallest gaps, and the haphazard construction could pass as complete. Or from a distance, at least.

Dearka teased. Yzak snapped. Miriallia soothed even as she smiled at the jab. "Cut it out, Dearka."

Murrue glowed contentedly. Mu threw his arm around their friend's shoulders. Andy scoffed triumphantly. "I told you I would make you the best cup of coffee someday. You two are just a little more particular than most."

Lunamaria laughed with her head tossed back. Shinn sulked. "I didn't realize he was a lieutenant general, or I wouldn't have made him apologize for bumping into me." Yzak interrupted the conversation abruptly. "Funnily enough, even I have heard about that. Have some sense and look at his badge the next time, Asuka."

"And then he got me a dog to try and make up for forgetting my birthday, but Kisaka was allergic!" Cagalli said indignantly. Athrun embarrassedly studied his shoes. Kira chuckled. Lacus beamed from behind her tea cup. Cagalli continued to glare at Athrun.

The moments passed, and everyone found themselves back in reality. The all-pervading shadows returned: the ceaseless specters – of incompetency, loss, responsibility – that weighed on their shoulders and their spirits. The shadow of failure, which meant death. Smiles dissipated. They'd been broken before and there wasn't anything to stop them from breaking again. So they worked constantly, tirelessly to keep themselves together, if only for another week or day.

It was all right. They could still sit together in peace, and smile and eat and talk and laugh in twelve-part harmony. Time passed even if the seconds were slow to tick. They were jigsaw puzzles of pieces that didn't fit anymore, and their cracks weren't filled easily with chalky ashes, but there was something to be said about the warmth of friendship as they attempted to do so all the same.

x

It was a silent Sunday evening, rain pattering lightly on the rooftop and the dark sidewalks outside. Cagalli turned her head away from dreams of faraway seas and golden suns and faced everyone at the table, gaze unfocused and voice distant.

"We're lost, aren't we? Then let's travel. Let's go wonder at things. At the height of mountains, at the compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars. Why are we settling halfway to happiness?"

No one answered anything. She'd done it, said out loud what no one else had even thought to do. Cagalli's sober introspectiveness melded into the gray mood seamlessly, and suddenly everyone was imagining winding rivers and lofty trees.

Athrun grasped her hand. "Cagalli?"

She shrugged. "Maybe, somewhere along the way, we'll run into ourselves without realizing it."


notes: THE END.

My last request as we close this final chapter is for all readers to leave a review. It doesn't matter if you've reviewed diligently for the past few months or if you've lurked invisibly. Writing is by no means a thankless task, but it has certainly felt like a long haul from the first update until now. Please, please, take a moment and tell me something or anything.

One of my concluding statements is an expression of the sincerest gratitude to those of you who have indeed reviewed through SPTW's history. Your thumbprints cover this story as much as mine do. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your support has been greatly valued. I wish I could return the favor one hundred times over.

As for future projects, I do have the loose threads of a much longer story lingering around. I would very much like to write it, but owing to current time constraints, it might be up to eight months until I am able to post regularly as any WIP deserves. To those interested, it would be a full-blown Athrun/Cagalli, in a medieval-esque setting, with the full cast as supporting characters.

I hope STILL POINTS IN TURNING WORLDS brought some happiness into readers' lives. Thank you.