Epilogue: How the Years Go By

Nearly six years have passed since Merla was killed and peace was restored. No other major threats have appeared and life has continued for everyone. Fala and Keith rule Altea together and are enjoying their two children, their son, Akira age 4, and their daughter, Elena age 2. Altea has thrived in the years of peace, and the monarchs are well loved by their people. Shorty and Tammy have three children, two sons, Daniel, age 5 and Andrew, age 2, and daughter, Anna age 4, and Tammy will soon add one more to their family. Hothead married Sara and they have a daughter, Samantha who is 2 years old. Lance and Noriko have been married for a couple of years. All of them are living on Altea near or in the castle. Colt and Robin have two children, their son Richard, who is 6 years old, and a daughter, Megan, who is 4 years old. They are living on Saber's colony on some land that Saber gave them to have their own farm. Fireball and April are living at Calvary Command, where April still works as as scientist. They have a daughter Shizuka, who is 4 years old. Lacus and Kira live on Orb and help out where they are needed. They have two children, a daughter, Flay who is 4 years old, and a son Jyou, who is 2 years old. Athrun still works closely with Orb on peacekeeping projects. He is not currently married to anyone. Saber and Amanda are living on their estate and as is their yearly custom, the GoLion team, the team from Orb, and the crew of the Bismarck, and their families, are all gathering to mark the yearly anniversary of the end of the war and celebrate the lives of their growing families. This year they have gathered at the Rider's estate for the first time since the one year anniversary. They are also marking the opening of a new Calvary Command cadet academy not far from Saber's home, named in honor of his father.

There is a group of children playing in the yard. The adults have gathered in the backyard, sitting around talking as they watch the children playing.

"So Athrun, are you ever going to get married?" Lance asks getting a look from Athrun.

"Perhaps eventually. There is a girl that I've seen more on than off lately. Her name is Meyrin Hawke. Meyrin and I have seemed to find mutual ground, so who knows what will happen in the next year or so?"Athrun replies.

Noriko comes out and joins the group, plopping down into an empty seat, "I don't know how anyone could have more than one child," she says out of breath as she tries to find a comfortable position to sit in.

Tammy laughs, "You still have a few months yet, I'm sure you'll be fine. You tend to forget the actual discomfort of being pregnant once you hold your child for the first time."

"You would know, wouldn't you?" Lance says with a smirk.

Tammy glares at him and throws a cushion at him, he ducks and the pillow hits Hothead instead. He starts to get up when Tammy starts laughing, "You wouldn't hit a pregnant woman, would you?" she asks giving him her best 'puppy dog look'.

He walks over and smiles, taking the pillow and says "After three, you're exempt." as he drops it on her head, and then walks off as if nothing is amiss. Several of the others are laughing when Saber and Amanda come out followed by Keith and Fala. Saber is holding his son Dylan, and their twin girls Eryn and Mackenzie come running up to them when they come out.

"Can we eat now, daddy?" Mackenzie asks hopefully.

"The food will be out shortly, Kenzie," Saber says smiling down at her. They sit down with the group and the girls run back out to play.

"It's good that we can find the time to get together like this," Lacus says as she watches the children playing happily.

"Yes, it does seem rather hard to believe that we've had five years of peace," Fala says thoughtfully. "But that is why we get together, to remember the price of peace." Several heads nod quietly agreement. "So many were lost needlessly, that is why we must always be ready, just in case. As much as I hate to say it, one day it will be up to the children to protect our way of life."

The adults all fall silent until the food arrives, watching the children play without a care in the world. As the food is set out and everyone is gathered to eat, they have a moment of silence and then scattered conversations as the meal progresses.

Later that evening, Saber and Amanda enter their room after making sure the children are settled into bed, they are changing and unusually quiet.

"Are you all right, Saber?" Amanda asks, eying him with concern.

He looks over to her and nods, "I'm fine, Love," he replies walking over to her and hugging her from behind.

"You've just been unusually quiet tonight," she replies, placing her hands on top of his.

"I've just been thinking about things," he replies quietly.

"Oh?" she asks, turning around to face him.

He nods slightly, "I've been thinking about how differently my life has turned out than how I thought it would have say, six years ago."

"Good or bad?" she asks curiously.

He shrugs, "Perhaps a little of both, honestly. Bad in that I lost my parents and Sincia," Amanda involuntarily flinches at his words and he brushes a hand across her face and then pulls her close, "but good in that I met you, Amanda. I wouldn't trade this life we have together for anything." He feels her relax a bit and continues, "My life is different than I thought it would be before the fight with Merla. But, if it hadn't happened, I wouldn't have what I have now. I wouldn't have grown as a person. I would have married for duty and I would have loved her, I did love her. But it's not the same way that I am in love with you." He sighs trying to compose his thoughts as they go and sit down on the edge of the bed and he takes her hands in his and he meets her gaze, "I'm not even sure if this makes any sense. I guess this dedication has brought up these memories. My love for you is deeper that I thought love could be. I can say anything to you, I can talk freely with you and you'll listen, even if it isn't interesting to you. I don't have to worry about what you're thinking, I can usually tell by looking at you, something I had heard others say was true, but until I met you, I never believed. So I can honestly say that war has transformed my outlook on life and my idea of what love is. I know it has changed my priorities. I understand that there is a time for duty, but that it's okay to allow your feelings to show; and that showing emotion doesn't necessarily equate to weakness. Something I wouldn't have allowed myself to admit to six years ago. Back then it never would have occurred to me that I could meet someone by chance and end up falling in love. I am glad that it happened, I just wish that it hadn't come at such a heavy price."

Amanda nods and kisses him briefly, "I know what you're trying to say, Saber. So many have lost loved ones and so many lives were forever changed. I know that my life has turned out nothing like I expected either. I never planned on getting married, let alone having children. I never planned on falling in love, I always thought it was meant for other people, not for me. So when I met you, I never imagined that we'd actually end up like this. If someone had told me six years ago that I'd be married to a legendary member of the Bismarck team and living in a castle with three kids, I would have laughed until I was unable to breathe." Saber smiles at the statement and she adds, "So I suppose we have all undergone our own transformations."