Fated Pair

BY : LezBlowShitUp
Category: Gundam (all others) > General
Dragon prints: 1573
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: I own absolutely no rights to Mobile Suit Gundam Seed or any of its characters. I also make no money on any of my writing for this story.

Chapter 1: Meeting Again

Pairing: AthrunxKira (Asukira).

Warning: This fic features a male x male/yaoi/homosexual relationship, violent battle scenes, and explicit language. Please note that it is rated M before proceeding.

Disclaimer: I own absolutely no rights to Mobile Suit Gundam Seed or any of its characters nor do I make any money off of this fanfiction.

A/N: Minor edits made 2/20/18. Pending further edits.

Chapter One: Meeting Again

C.E. 71: April 5th, Archangel, Soldier Quarters, 06:00

The silence in the room woke Kira up. He laid in his bunk on the Archangel listening to the absence of engine sounds, waves, and alarms. The battle was over for a moment, gaining him a handful of days where he would not have to fight. For that small concession, Kira was grateful.

They made it into ORB by the skin of their teeth. He nearly failed the crew, but Cagalli saved their lives, obtaining entry into ORB for them. The goddess of victory shocked them all with her true identity. And, now, they were finally able to take refuge.

The room was dark with only a soft glowing light coming in through a small window high on the wall. It blanketed the space in blueish early morning hue. Curled up on his side memories blinked past the backs of his eyelids.

Kira's mind slid over their small dormitory room. The adjoining walls, showing sections of their separate living spaces, their beds, dressers, and a desk for each of them. There was a Persian rug gifted by Athrun's mother, a pre-loved lounge chair from Kira's family where he dozed off at least once a week; the sliding windows which showed a slice of the academy's courtyard when the sun was out. Despite the sparse furniture, the boys managed to personalize the area. Athrun had several blueprints plastered for 'in progress' micro-units over his desk, and Kira had the posters to a monster combat game he played next to his bed.

For both of them, the room felt like home.

Kira could pretend like he had done countless times over the years, that the feeling of his own arms encircling his torso, was more. If he focused closely enough, he could feel the ghost of someone else's touch around him.

"It's okay Kira; I've got you. You're not alone," a soft voice had cooed soothingly while wiping the tears away from his baby-fat cheeks.

"Athrun?" the little boy had whispered, surprised to have been found.

Athrun had smiled at him, leaning closer and nestling his nose into Kira's chocolate locks. He had pulled Kira into his arms, puzzle-piecing their bodies as close as they could get.

"Yes, Kira?" he had breathed into his ear.

Kira had felt heat travel up the back of his neck. He didn't know what to do when his insides felt too shivery to keep quiet. He had wanted Athrun to stay close and keep his arms around him but didn't think he was supposed to be having these kinds of feelings about his best friend.

"I'm sorry, Athrun. I know I shouldn't have been crying again."

Athrun reached past him for a moment, turning on the bedside lamp and flooding the room with light. Kira felt hopelessly exposed, especially with the intense way Athrun sometimes looked at him. His friend moved so that he could see into Kira's eyes. The brunette couldn't help but bite his lip, filled with shame.

The bluenette's gaze softened at the vulnerable expression. Not unhappy. Not angry. "It's okay, Kira. No one is here now. You can cry." Athrun lifted his hand to Kira's face. His fingers automatically went to touch Kira's bottom lip drawing it away from his teeth.

Kira gasped at the new contact. His lips parted and tingled under Athrun's cool fingers as they traced the rest of his mouth.

Athrun stared at them. His eyes fixed Kira into place. The little boy was afraid to move, afraid to even breath, in case Athrun might come out of his daze and pull away. He wanted so badly to lean into his friend's touch and let his lips find something even better than Athrun's fingers, but he couldn't move. Not if it meant losing this blissful contact.

Then, Athrun was pulling his fingers away tracing his own mouth as he continued to stare at Kira's. The small boy looked back at him, Athrun's pale face lit by the glow of lamplight. There were no clues which Kira could read in his expression, just blankness.

There were too many questions Kira didn't know how to ask; he didn't know what was going on in Athrun's brain.

The bluenette leaned forward, bringing their faces closer together. Kira flushed, eyes widening.

Athrun had seen the shift in his violet eyes and stopped abruptly.

In a frozen moment, Kira had heard his heartbeat pounding against his eardrums.

"S-Sorry," he had muttered before scrambling off the bed and rushing into the bathroom.

The loud automated swish of the door sounded throughout the room.

Kira jerked out of the daydream, hand flying out beside him to search his bed. He was met only with cool sheets and an absence, something missing. There was something missing. He shuddered and wrapped his arms a little tighter around himself.

"Kira?" Flay called. "Why are you laying down in here?"

He made no move to respond, Flay's voice felt like it was coming through some kind of barrier causing the sound to be muffled. Kira's mind was far away trying to recall every detail of Athrun's face. He could almost conjure up the bluenette's exact scent, and the slightly disheveled way his hair he would look after laying around for awhile.

"Why didn't you go?" she tried again.

"What?" Kira answered coming out of his reverie and feeling unsure of what she was referring to.

"Don't you have family here as well? Why aren't you going to see them?"

Oh, he thought. That's all she means. "I didn't want to." He hoped that would suffice. Kira had no interest in seeing his family. With everything that had happened, he felt strangely detached from them, as if they were from another life. He was a soldier now, nothing else really mattered.

"Liar!" Flay shouted and rushed towards him. Her face changed, now it almost looked vulturine. Somehow he had infuriated her. "You're lying! What is it, you feel bad for me?" Kira sat up on the bed leaning back against the headboard defensively. She looked as if she was going to throw herself at him.

"Wha.." What is she talking about? He wondered. Kira couldn't understand how she had become so angry at him from what he had said. It always seemed to be like this with Flay, there was constantly a risk for confrontation, even when it made no sense at all. If he was honest, Kira was exhausted by it.

"Is that it? You pity me," she accused, crouching menacingly over him.

How could she think that? he thought. Kira didn't understand what was happening. "No… I–" he tried to correct her, but she interrupted him.

"Because no one has come to see me, and now you're feeling sorry for me, is that it?" Flay shouted the words, voice scratchy, and eyes pooling with tears.

Kira knew he needed to calm her down. Flay had riled herself up so quickly, and she was scaring him now. Sometimes it sounded like Flay hated him. Why was she talking to him like this? Kira knew she must be hurting a great deal from the loss of her father, but he had tried to be there for her. Things like this kept happening; she would blow up at him over nothing.

"No Flay," he whispered in a reassuring voice trying to soothe her, that's not it," he couldn't understand what she was thinking.

"Oh, give me a break." She pulled away from her crouching position over him. "You're putting on this big sympathy act for me, but I just wish you'd stop it."

Kira sat up, reaching for her, trying to stop her from pulling away from him. Why was Flay so offensive? Didn't she know that he was just there to help her? Kira had held Flay while she cried over her father's death, more nights than he could track now. He had taken care of her when she had been most vulnerable. Flay's behavior now reminded him of how she used to act back when she had first come aboard the Archangel. Had she changed so little? Still trying to calm her down he tried again, "Well, c'mon Flay." She swatted his hand away.

"You're the one who's actually suffering, aren't you?" Flay yelled accusingly.

Kira jerked back at her question. "What?" He was suffering. Of course, he was suffering. To protect the people on the Archangel, he had been forced to become a murderer. What kind of monster would he be if he wasn't suffering, and why was she attacking him with this?

"You're the one people should be feeling sorry for, poor little Kira. Kira's all alone," she taunted. "You feel terrible because you're fighting, and when you can't protect people you feel even worse, so then you start crying." She spat the words out as tears ran down her cheeks in thick streams, giving her a messy, wild look. Kira watched her in astonishment. Who was this person?

Flay let out a sob. Having exhausted herself, she tossed her body into Kira's arms. He sat there immobile as she pounded her fists against his chest.

"So how! How can you feel any sympathy for someone like me?"

Kira grimaced. He had tried so hard to help her. But she–did she even care about him?

"Flay look…" He needed to get away from her. Yeah, that was the only option she was giving him. Get away from her, Kira's mind blared. This wasn't right; he had used her to fill the hole eating away at his heart. The loneliness had been so powerful it felt like it was consuming him. Kira realized now how wrong that had been, but she had used him too. He had provided her with someone to direct all of her hatefulness at. This couldn't go on. Kira couldn't keep allowing her to abuse him like this.

"Let's stop this."

Flay paused, her mouth open, and breathing heavily. At his words, her lips pressed into a snarl, fists grabbing his top as she glared up at him.

"What did you say?" Flay challenged him. "What does that mean?" she gave a feral growl, eyes wild.

Kira knew she wasn't going to like what he had to say, but he needed to tell her. It was wrong he had allowed things to go on this long. "Let's put an end to it. This was a mistake." Her body unfurled as if getting ready to lash out at him again.

"A mistake? How dare you!" Flay went to smack him, arm lurching back in the air, but Kira caught her wrist. She never had any hope of trying to fight him physically.

"Flay!" Kira reprimanded her. He thought she could do better than this.

"If I was a mistake, why did you kiss me? Is this why you wouldn't have sex with me? Do I disgust you?" she sobbed out, some of the initial rage having faded into obvious despair.

Kira ignored her hysterical questions. He knew it was pointless to try and explain why he hadn't wanted to sleep with her. Kira had never felt entirely safe with her; he was never really able to let his guard down all the way. Flay hadn't understood he wasn't ready the last time they had spoken about it, so there was no way she would hear him now when she was so emotional. Now that he was seeing her more clearly, Kira was thankful that he had trusted himself rather than trying to please her.

"Listen, Flay," he started softly, "Do you love me?" he asked her. She looked away at the question, avoiding his gaze, distinctly uncomfortable with Kira's directness.

"I…" she started uncertainly.

"It's ok. You don't, do you?" Again he kept his tone calm, trying not to incite another panic.

"No…" she admitted quietly, eyes still looking away from him.

Kira let out a breath. "I know, I think we haven't been fair to each other. I also, should not have acted as I did." Flay looked at him now, her expression completely forlorn.

"You don't love me?" she asked in a tone so innocent it nearly tugged at his heart. The venom had melted away from her expression and Kira was left with the Flay he had initially developed feelings for. The person he had believed represented all sides of the red-headed girl. He had been so wrong.

"I'm sorry, I don't think I could." Kira apologized, being completely honest with her for the first time. He wasn't sure he had room left in his heart for another person, not in the way that Flay had expected anyway. He should not have led Flay to believe he could love her for so long.

"Oh," is all she managed, eyes watching her fingers wring together.

Kira wasn't sure what else to say, evidently he had hurt her, but he had done it with the truth. There was nothing he could change or take back to make it better.

Flay gathered herself together, straightening her skirt unsteadily, and wrapped her arms around herself. She turned to the door to retreat.

"Wait, where are you going?" Kira called after her.

She was shaking when she turned back to glance at him. "You're right, Kira. Let's end this," she stated with dead eyes as she walked out his door. It swished with an automated sound behind her. Kira leaned against the headboard of his bed. It was over.

C.E. 71: April 7th, ORB Military Port, 14:00

"Wow, I can't believe how fast you were typing."

Kira looked up in surprise to find that he had company. Cagalli had wandered into the Gundam hanger and was leaning over his cockpit on the railing of a lift. Her blond hair was falling around her face and framing her golden eyes in a spiky mess, like a ray of sun peeking in on Kira's cockpit.

It was early afternoon already, and it was hot. Sitting in the Strike, Kira's orange jumpsuit stuck to his back. His forehead was slick with sweat. The weather outside was pleasant, but the facility where his Gundam was being housed was not so much.

Kira had been working almost non-stop so that he could finish everything that he needed to before the Archangel left ORB. He was nearly finished compiling the data that Erica Simmons had requested. Upon docking in ORB, she had approached him with several projects. Kira had felt obligated to help as a thank you for the aid the Archangel had received, but also because he personally believed in everything ORB stood for.

Whatever Kira could do to help ORB defend its ideals, was a task worthy of attention. Most of his time had been spent on developing a mobile suit OS suitable for a natural pilot, but now that he had finished it, Miss Simmons was hoping for the Strike's battle data. She had said that it would help to inform the future production of mobile suits. Understanding how his machine was being used, and what complications he faced would be crucial for any further progress.

"Oh, I was just wondering who was in the Strike, but I suppose I should have known it would be you, Kira," Cagalli's voice sang out.

Kira couldn't help but smile. Something about Cagalli always put him at ease.

Moving about in his mobile suit cockpit Kira continued with his work while talking. "Yeah...they said it would be wise not to wear a military uniform while working here." He cocked his head at her now realizing something. "Listen, isn't it unusual for a real princess to hang out in a place like this?" He still couldn't believe that this rebellious girl before him was royalty. The thought just seemed so ridiculous. Cagalli was fierce, how could she ever carry a title as whimsical and sedentary as a princess?

Cagalli scoffed and tilted her chin up, looking especially regal. "Excuuuuuse me! And don't call me a princess, or even think of me as one, okay? You don't know how much I hate being called a princess."

Apparently, they both agreed the fate didn't suit her. Kira just smiled at her again. Same old Cagalli. Though, maybe it was her status that had made her so stubborn. He doubted princesses got challenged enough as children. "But now, everything makes sense! That's why you were at the Morgenroete facility on Heliopolis." For so long he had wondered who she really was, why she had been there that day, though he never expected an answer like this.

Cagalli cringed a bit at the painful memory. "Now you know...I'd heard rumors that Morgenroete was helping the Earth forces manufacture mobile suits at Heliopolis. I approached my father about it, but he kept changing the subject. That's when I knew; I had to go see for myself." Offering her side of the events to him, she hoped Kira would understand her perspective. So many others had scorned her for her opinions. Everyone still worshiped her father regardless of the mess involving Heliopolis, but Cagalli just wasn't ready to let it go. She had too many unanswered questions.

"Hm...and you found out," Kira said solemnly. "But your father, uh, Chief Representative Athha didn't know anything about that, did he?" Maybe she was too hard on her father.

"That's what a lot of people on the inside say, but my father has never actually denied knowing about it," she admitted. Personally, she wished her father had denied it. That would have been so much easier for her. With the way he had left things, Cagalli couldn't help but feel that he did bear some guilt he wasn't admitting to outright.

Kira looked back up at her surprised again, "What?" Could it be that she was right, and Uzumi had played a hand in the creation of the Earth forces Gundams?

Cagalli continued in a sullen tone. "He said it didn't matter because everything that happened in the nation was his responsibility and that was that...I...I used to believe him."

Kira could see this was torturing her. If it had been his father, he probably would have felt similarly. Kira wanted to comfort her. He wanted to do something. "Cagalli, I…" He was interrupted when two mechanics walked under the Strike speaking loudly.

"It's the same with the rest of the drive system. It's been pushed to its limits. It's like the machine is crying for help!"

Kira looked away from the blonde ashamed. Why now?

"Did you hear what those guys said?" Cagalli asked with a surprised, somewhat accusatory tone. Still, Kira would not make eye contact with her, only staring at the Strike's monitor pensively.

"Maybe so, but there were a lot of people I wasn't able to protect." Kira tried to make Cagalli understand; he felt like he had failed so many people. He should have been able to do better, and yet people still died when he promised he would keep them safe.

Kira's voice sounded so defeated to her. Cagalli knew he had tried his hardest to protect everyone, and yet… Oh, Kira, she thought. She could see the heartache he was enduring by taking responsibility for the deaths of the civilians from the Archangel and Andrew Waltfeld. Cagalli knew that in neither situation Kira should be held culpable. Those civilians were killed in an accident on the battlefield, and Waltfeld was an enemy, only Kira would expect himself to have been able to save everyone.

They were taking a break near a few vending machines in a nearly empty recreation hall. Cagalli had stuck around to talk with him some more rather than returning to her official duties, or that's what she had said anyway. Kira was just appreciative of the company. They had been meandering through conversations for hours, but somehow they had found their way to something serious once again.

"So, is that why you joined the resistance? You ran away because you were fed up?" he asked her, genuinely interested in how out of all people the princess of ORB had wound up in the desert.

Cagalli bristled, feeling like he might be implying she had been throwing some sort of hissy fit. "Father used to tell me that I had no idea what goes on in the world, so I went to see for myself," she explained.

"What, that's it?" Kira exclaimed disbelievingly.

Cagalli sighed, she knew there was more to it, but it wasn't easy to explain. Besides, none of her original reasons mattered anymore. After meeting all those people, and seeing what their lives were like, Cagalli had changed so much. What was the point in talking about her original motives?

"In the desert, everyone I met fought desperately." She glanced at Kira to find that he was watching her intently. "I mean...their land is just a pile of sand. And yet, they still fought tooth and nail for it."

Kira's lips pressed together. He knew from experience how little choice those people had in needing to fight.

Cagalli tucked a blonde lock behind her ear. "Then, I think of ORB. See? With all this power and the things that we can do, we still want to be pals with both the PLANTs and the Earth forces. Doesn't that seem kinda sleazy? Is that the right thing to do?" she demanded of him.

The lioness wasn't so sure it was. So many people had suffered because ORB had refused to take a side in the war. Sometimes she would get this nagging feeling that the war might not have stretched out so long if ORB had declared loyalties early on. The idea terrified her.

Kira could see that Cagalli had given these issues a lot of thought, but he wasn't so sure he agreed with her line of thinking. After all, why did there only have to be two sides? Wasn't the world more complicated than just enemies and allies? Being in ORB now was the first time he had felt remotely safe in months, and that was because this country had certain ideals. If ORB suddenly decided they would only protect Naturals or they would just protect Coordinators, he would no longer feel that way.

Kira's brows furrowed. "Would you rather fight, Cagalli?"

Her hands clenched. "All I want is to bring the war to an end!" she snapped.

"We all do..." Cagalli was like him, she didn't want to fight, not really, but somehow they both had ended up doing just that in the protection of the things they believed in. Kira could understand where she was coming from, but it seemed flawed to him.

His voice rose again "But, it's...just fighting won't end the war...I kinda doubt it. It's too easy." What he did was born out of necessity, but it wasn't going to bring peace. That is why policies like ORB's were so critical.

The words sounded familiar to the lioness, hadn't her father said something similar? "You think so?" she trembled, feeling foolish, and unsure of herself.

He smiled at her. "Yeah, I mean otherwise...won't one side have to wipe out the other?"

Golden eyes widened.

Kira brushed his fingers across his chin. "Do you remember what the Andrew Waltfeld said?" He could tell by the misery on her face that she could recall exactly what the desert tiger had said to them. The man had pointed that gun at their faces and explained that for the war to end one side would have to exterminate the other completely.

Cagalli wrapped her arms around herself. "What do we do, Kira?" She looked hopelessly at him, that was not a future she could live with.

Kira felt the same way. "I don't know, but I think we have to trust your father."

Uzumi Nara Athha might not be perfect, and he very well may have been involved in the creation of those mobile suits, but he was fighting for peace harder than anyone else at the moment. Kira truly believed he could be trusted. He watched Cagalli consider his idea before she nodded in agreement.

"Okay, Kira. I'll try."

Kira smiled at her. There was still time before they would need to return to their respective duties. For now, they could hide away together.

C.E. 71: April 9th, ORB Consulate Building, 16:00

Uzumi Nara Athha walked into a private staff office of the ORB Consulate.

"You would be the Yamato's, I presume?" The couple sitting on a couch in the unlit room nodded at him. They stood up to greet him with a respectful bow.

"Lord Uzumi. I believe you promised us that we would never have to meet with you again," Caridad spoke with a coldly removed voice.

"Call it a twist of fate. I'm sorry to say that the children have met each other, so it couldn't be helped," Uzumi explained offhandedly.

Caridad exhaled in frustration and worry. That had not been the response she was looking for. Her husband Haruma put his hand on her shoulder to support her.

Caridad tried again, attempting to confirm Uzumi's intentions. "No matter what happened it would only make things worse if Kira were to discover the truth about the matter."

Uzumi watched her carefully. "Hm, even the truth about his...sister?"

This response concerned Caridad. He stated the question as if he was surprised by her, even though they had all agreed to concrete terms so many years ago. Why has he changed his opinion so drastically? She questioned.

Haruma spoke for her, "I do feel sorry for him, but it's in Kira's best interest."

Caridad nodded at her husband, silently thanking him for his interjection. She pressed further, "I'll remind you of the promise you made at the beginning. The one where you said that this is the very last time that we would be meeting with you, Lord Uzumi."

Uzumi sighed, "I understand, but not knowing anything can be a terrible mistake as well. However, it happened. The children have already met, even without knowing each other." At this point, he felt it would be cruel to continue withholding the information from the children.

Haruma spoke up, clearly annoyed with the other man. "Please sir, don't try to blame all of this on fate. The children will surely sense something if we let ourselves be disturbed by this."

Uzumi nodded in agreement. "Perhaps," he conceded. "By the way, where is Kira today?"

The couple tensed at the question. Just what was he getting at?

"I guess...he doesn't want to see us now," Caridad answered sadly.

Her heart ached for her son, knowing he must have suffered terribly with everything he had been through. His life had already been far too tragic. She had tried to protect him from the terrible truth of his birth for so long. Caridad just hoped she was doing the right thing now that he had somehow found his sister and become so involved with the war.

C.E. 71: April 9th, Orb Military Port, 18:00

"Hey, Kira," Mwu's voice echoed through the compound.

"Uh, what is it, sir?" Kira asked distractedly by a drinking fountain. He had been leaning down to take a sip when the Commander had stopped in front of him.

Mwu settled his hands on his hips, getting straight to the point. "You've got this look on your face that says something's bothering you."

Kira tried to play it off, attempting to walk past Mwu back towards the Strike. "Uh, I don't have any look."

Mwu didn't seem satisfied. He trailed behind Kira as he walked out the hangar door. Birdy was looping through the air by Kira's side.

"Oh yes, you do. And I hear that you've turned down the chance to meet with your parents. Why is that?"

No response came.

This question again? Kira thought. He wished everyone would just back down; he would tell them the things he was comfortable sharing. Wasn't that enough?

"Kira," Mwu pushed.

Kira's shoulder tensed and voice darkened as he spoke to Mwu, "If I did meet with them all they would see is a soldier." Trying to move on, he climbed into the Strike intending to run some further checks on the momentum control parameters. He wanted to make sure the Strike was completely ready to go back into battle once the Archangel had to leave ORB.

It wouldn't be much longer now.

Mwu wasn't ready to give up. He followed him up to the maintenance lift where Cagalli had accompanied Kira earlier that week so that he could still see Kira as he got nestled into the Strike's cockpit below. Birdy perched on Mwu's shoulder as if to watch over his owner.

"You may be a soldier, but you're still the same, Kira. I'm sure your parents were hoping they would get a chance to see you." Mwu tried to make Kira see himself the way he saw him, just some kind kid who was thrown into a chaotic situation and had dealt with it to the best of his abilities.

The boy didn't seem so sure though. He refused to look up at Mwu as he continued typing. "Day in and day out, this is all I do. I fight battles in mobile suits and then help out with their development and maintenance. Why? Because I can."

"Kira," Mwu warned. He hated to hear the kid talk about himself as if he was a machine rather than a person. Had he failed Kira by not helping him deal well enough with the psychological burden of war?

The brunette's nose pinched. "As soon as we leave ORB, I'll be going into battle against ZAFT again," Kira reminded.

"Well yeah, but that's..." What is he trying to say? Mwu wondered.

"I'm afraid that if I met them now, I'd end up asking them why." Kira's answers only brought out more questions for Mwu.

He looked down at him in confusion voicing his thoughts, "Why what?"

Kira stopped working. His expression was vague as he stared off at something not visible to Mwu.

"Why the hell did they make me a coordinator?"

The question hung heavily in the air.

Mwu could only gape at Kira's sudden seriousness, but before he had the chance to try responding, Birdy took off from his shoulder.

"Birdy," it sang out as it fled.

Kira looked up just in time to see it soar away.

"Hey! Birdy?" he called after his friend. The mechanical bird didn't listen to him as it jolted directly out of the facility.

Kira darted after it, ignoring Mwu as he called his name.

An icy panic had set into his bones. He couldn't lose Birdy; it was all he had left of Athrun. He just couldn't.

Dashing out the doors to the hanger, cool air hitting his heated skin, Kira looked around having lost sight of the bird.

"Oh for...where can it be," he mumbled to himself while tugging anxiously at his hair.

His eyes scanned the area before coming to rest on a familiar figure in the distance. That stunning midnight blue hair, those eyes, each feature identical to the boy always rooted in his mind's eye.

His heart stopped as his brain started checking to see if he imagined things. It wouldn't have been the first time he had wished that emerald-eyed boy into existence. He had seen him on the faces of countless random strangers.

But, no...as the figure grew closer he could see that same controlled expression which always graced his friend's face. It is him! He was sure of it.

Kira gasped, his whole body was suddenly alert. What should I do? Athrun was right across the compound, and he was walking towards him.

He's holding something…is that Birdy? Oh, Athrun, he thought, his fingers tingling to reach out and feel the other boy.

Before he could stop himself, his feet were moving towards Athrun, his body instinctively trying to close the distance between them. He's so close now. I could almost...

Athrun stopped when he reached the fence.

They stared at each other, neither knowing what to say. What words could describe what he had been through, or how he felt now? Kira found himself blinking back tears, and Athrun had noticed. His expression softened at the sight.

Holding Birdy out for Kira, Athrun asked, "Is this... yours?"

Kira gazed at him, So that's how he's going to be? As if he doesn't even know me? Is that what you want, Athrun? Kira swallowed before responding.

"Thank you...yes."

Birdy flew across the fence back into Kira's outstretched hand. He clutched the robot, bringing his other arm protectively around the tiny bird, refusing to let it go again. Athrun stood there watching him. Unable to pull himself away.

From far off, someone yelled, "C'mon! Let's go!"

Athrun turned to look at Yzak already loaded into a vehicle with his other teammates, and he started moving away, but Kira panicked. His heart raced knowing that he couldn't let him leave, not when they had just found each other again.

He said the first thing that came to mind, "Ah-an old friend...gave it to me."

Athrun stilled abruptly, turning back to look at Kira again. His eyes were searching.

Kira continued, "It's a valuable gift, from a valuable friend." The brunette tried to pour everything he felt for the other into his eyes. He wanted so badly to make Athrun stay, if just a little longer. He needed to tell him that he loved him and he wouldn't fight him anymore. To run into those arms and never let go.

"I see…" Athrun uttered, turning again and getting ready to walk away.

Kira's chest pounded not knowing what to do.

"Kira!" It was Cagalli. She had come out of nowhere and was running towards him.

He stood paralyzed.

Athrun turned back in surprise at the appearance of the blonde. Cagalli had made it to Kira's side, but he stood gaze fixed on Athrun's retreating form.

"Is that...Athrun?" She called to him across the fence.

Now Kira turned to her, shock written all over his face.

Athrun too turned back at the sound of his name. That girl, it's the one from the island. But, wasn't she...

The bluenette tilted his head. "Cagalli?"

"It is you! What are you doing here in ORB? Aren't you with ZAFT?"

His eyes widened not knowing what to say. Was this it? Would he be discovered as a spy now? "I…" He started not sure how to respond without incriminating himself.

"Wait!" Kira interrupted. "How do you know him?" he demanded.

"This guy, he...well we met on the island my Skygrasper crashed on."

Kira's stood back, body lurching with his shock. "You, what! But, that's crazy!"

Cagalli looked offended. "Oh, yeah?" She scoffed, moving her hands to her hips, and jutting her chest out. "Well, if you hadn't taken so long to find me, maybe we wouldn't have met?" she bit back at him.

Athrun found himself chuckling at their antics. When was the last time he has seen Kira so animated? His heart warmed at the nostalgic scene. I've missed this, he realized. The arguing pair looked back over at him, Cagalli in annoyance, and Kira in something close to awe.

Athrun sighed, feeling the tension leaving his body. "A princess, Kira?"

Kira's face turned red, mouth falling open at the teasing tone. Athrun, is he... joking with me?

"Hey! What are you implying with that? And don't call me a princess!" Cagalli flailed her arms defensively at him before her brain processed his words fully. She slowed her movements as confusion filled her. "Wait, do you...do you know each other?"

Her question was met by a renewed and somber mood. Neither one was willing to explain anything to her.

Kira took a breath "Yes, I know him."

His words did nothing to alleviate the confusion on Cagalli's face. "B-but, how?" she stammered.

It was Athrun that answered this time, "Kira and I... we've been friends a long time." he spoke while looking at the ground, his tone even, but the way he had said it...Kira's heart filled with hope hearing Athrun speak in the present tense. Does that mean it isn't over? Could Athrun not despise me for everything I've done?

"Athrun and I, we are the best of friends," Kira confirmed. Now, gazing back into the larger boy's eyes each of them soundlessly trying to remind the other of their devotion.

"Kira," Athrun breathed out in a tender voice his eyes now filling with tears as well.

Cagalli watched the two as their faces moved through emotions. She could see there was a lot that she was missing. These two– it's like they're having a conversation without speaking. She suddenly felt she was interrupting something very private.

The lioness bit her lip. "But, he pilots the Aegis...Haven't you two been fighting all this time?"

Both boys grimaced at the reminder.

"Yes," Kira croaked.

"W-What that's insane!" Cagalli couldn't understand how this could happen. If they were friends, how could they fight each other? Kira turned to her, tears now streaming down his cheeks. His fists were clenched in anger.

"It's not as if I want to fight Athrun!"

Cagalli shrunk, she had hardly ever seen him lose his calm demeanor. What's really going on here, she wondered.

"I know, but…"

"Should I have just left everyone to die?" Kira barked. "Should I have just let Tolle, Mir, Sai, and Kuzzy be destroyed at Heliopolis?" His voice was raised, and he was stepping towards her now. Cagalli moved back in fear. Something had broken in Kira's expression. His eyes were lit up in anguish and fury; he seemed to be ready to launch himself at her.

"So...instead you fought me, is that it? Because it's okay for me to die?" Athrun's question seemed to pierce through Kira. He stopped his advance on Cagalli, taking a sharp intake of breath, and all that wild fury flooded out of his body in waves, as his eyes filled with tears again.

"No, Athrun. I-" he stammered, but his words were slightly garbled by the tears he was choking back.

"Don't lie to me, Kira!" Athrun shouted at him.

"I'm not!" Kira cried back. "It's just that, well, they're Naturals. They can't…" he trailed off.

"They can't defend themselves? Is that it?"

Kira nodded sadly.

"I've been trying to protect them," he whispered. Looking up into those stunning green eyes still peering at him, as if asking how he could have betrayed him. Kira clenched his fists again. "I just, I don't want anyone else to die!" His voice had turned raspy, scratching with the fear of losing someone else.

Athrun stood transfixed at the sight of Kira's declaration. He couldn't deny that he was angry. When had Kira become so stubborn? This dogged refusal to ignore reason was maddening for the bluenette. He had tried everything. How many times had he begged the other to lay down his arms and surrender himself?

But no...he had refused to let himself be taken. It was all for those friends he kept mentioning, some pathetic Naturals who couldn't even protect themselves. Relying on Kira to shield them from the consequences of their own barbaric decisions. How could Kira so easily eschew himself of their friendship for the sake of some Earth Forces soldiers? Did he mean so little to the other? Those amethyst eyes said differently. They held every ounce of warmth that they used to. So what had changed?

He jolted only when the blaring of a loud horn interrupted his wonderment.

"Move it Zala! How long are you gonna make us wait?" It was Yzak again, shouting furiously at having been ignored for so long.

Athrun started moving away without any conscious thought; his mind shifted back into that of a soldier.

"No!" Kira's panicked voice called after him.

The smaller boy threw himself up against the fence trying to slow their distancing.

Athrun ignored the sound of distress, not allowing himself to be confused anymore.

"Wait! Athrun don't go!" Kira's voice broke in desperation, but Athrun refused to turn back. Steeling himself to continue moving towards his teammates was possible only through sheer force of will.

This is wrong. Things didn't work this way.

When Kira called for him, he answered. That was how the world was supposed to work. A lifetime of carefully practiced self-discipline could not block out these thoughts. If he had allowed himself to unguard his heart and remember what he had lost when he already knew there was no solution for them, well, the pain would have suffocated him.

Kira had made his choice. Staying any longer would just destroy what little was left of him.

So Athrun kept moving, numbing himself to the hysterical sounds he was leaving in his wake.

A/N: There you have it! That's chapter one. Right now I'm guessing this story will stretch to approximately fifteen chapters. I am determined to finish this fic, so stay tuned for more.

There is a lot of groundwork which I wanted to lay here to give you a sense for which parts of the cannon I will be taking on. The story will diverge into a parallel plot to the cannon rather soon. There will be some development between Athrun and Kira's relationship in the next chapter, though not huge ones yet.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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