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Title: Home
Fandom: Gundam SEED Astray
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Elijah, Veia
Rating: C10
Summary: Elijah is caught in an ambush -- and runs into an old friend.
Notes: Mentions of death.

CE 77

Pirates. Pirates with Mirage Colloid technology. Elijah Kiel didn't like the mission, but he had no say in it - a job was a job, after all. And a job from PLANT would pay well and grant Serpent Tail at least temporary access for a bit. Not that Elijah thought of it as home. Home was wherever his Zaku was - wherever Gai was, wherever Serpent Tail was.

These weren't normal pirates, either. These were the nasty sort - men who'd lost everything but still liked to fight. They had no place in the regular military nor in civilian life. They'd turned to space and made stronger, more powerful weapons from otherwise illegal technology. Former aces with little else to do than make life a misery for others. Elijah wondered what PLANT - what ZAFT had been doing to end up with such a mess.

Elijah watched all of his monitors carefully, anticipating a surprise attack at any moment. But there was nothing. He began to wonder if their intel was faulty when he caught the slightest bit of movement on his radar - behind him...

The last thing he heard was Gai's voice crying out his name, but it was too late. He couldn't quite figure out exactly what was happening, but it seemed almost infinitely slow, as if he had all the time in the universe to think it over but no time to act. All he managed to do was bring his left arm up to shield him from the first explosion, as though it would help. Everything was bright...


Elijah blinked a couple of times, wondering why everything was white. Somehow, the explosion - the ambush - felt a thousand years in the past. He finally thought to swear.

"You shouldn't do that here."

Elijah wheeled around, stunned to find himself staring at - staring down at - his best friend, Goud Veia.

"Veia," he gasped, reaching out. "You... got short..."

Veia laughed, shaking his head. "You grew up, Elijah - into a good man, too."

"Huh? How do you...?" Elijah wasn't at all sure how Veia knew anything, because Veia was... Wait, Veia was... dead.

Oh. That explosion.

Elijah looked around once, at all the white, which wasn't white at all any more but instead a nice, green park that immediately made Elijah think of childhood.

"I told him."

Almost from thin air, in a way Elijah knew he'd never be able to properly explain or even find words for, from Veia's shadow stepped another blue-haired man. The years had given Elijah enough time to learn to tell the Socius clones apart, but he still just tended to call them all by one name.

"Socius," Elijah said. He winced - it was Three, who he knew from years before. "I... I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Three replied, shaking his head. Elijah blinked and suddenly there were more, unfamiliar but exceptionally familiar Socius clones flanking Veia on each side. Elijah had heard stories of a few who had died, of course, but the actual number...

"Imagine my surprise," Veia said with a soft chuckle. "Well, not entirely 'surprise' as much as..." He trailed off and Elijah understood almost immediately when he saw the same blank, dependant face he knew so well from the three clones who lived with Rondo Mina Sahaku.

Elijah nodded. "So I'm dead," he surmised. "And you..."

"I'm not sure," Veia admitted, stepping closer and reaching to touch Elijah. Veia's touch felt strange, somewhat unreal. The entire group moved forward, including Three. Their hands were all on him a moment later, touching him, pulling at him. Elijah tried to count them all - were there really close to a dozen? He reached for Veia as well, for Veia's hands that he knew so well. One of Veia's palms was flat against his chest and Elijah wrapped his hands over it. Their eyes met and Veia shook his head.

"Not yet," he said softly, looking almost like he was going to cry.

"What?" Elijah asked, panicked, unable to move against the crush of clones, some of whom had ceased to concentrate solely on him and were instead beginning to cluster together.

"Not yet," Veia repeated. He shook his head again and moved to pull his hand away but Elijah wouldn't let go.

"No," Elijah said. "Don't let go..."

"Not forever," Veia replied quickly, sliding his hand free of Elijah's and motioning for the Socius clones to move back. Three was smiling.


Veia leaned up and softly kissed Elijah's cheek just before he began to cry.

"Your heart is still beating," Veia whispered before he turned quickly and began to herd his clones back into what seemed to be a slow fade to white.

"My heart..." Elijah glance down and brought his own hands to his chest. He closed his eyes and tried to feel, but...

He couldn't open his eyes again, no matter how hard he tried. There was just darkness and heaviness and then... slowly, he realized his eyes were open but everything else was dark. He could see the LED lights on machines that he assumed were hooked up to him and... He blinked a couple of times, listening, trying to filter out the white noise of the hospital he assumed he was in.

Yes, he could hear his own heart beating.

His left arm was too bandaged to move - he couldn't even flex his fingers though he was fairly sure he still could. Slowly, he began to realize that he was in pain. Tears formed in his eyes - he wanted to be with Veia, and with that crush of clones who knew of little else but wanting, who had probably heard Veia talk of little else.

He flexed his right hand, which thankfully did work, and was at first confused and surprised to brush against something soft and unfamiliar, something... He reached again, and shifted, trying to see. Tears began to run down his cheeks, blurring his focus, but he knew - Gai was there, had fallen asleep with his head against the bed... Beyond him, Kazahana and Loretta looked to have stolen some cushions from the lobby and were curled against the wall. And Reed was in a chair in the corner, mouth open but not snoring too loudly.

Elijah almost felt bad when he reached to tug at Gai's hair, to let Gai know he was there too. But even in the dim light, the expression on Gai's face was worth it.

"Elijah," he whispered, reaching to take Elijah's hand.

Veia would have to wait, Elijah decided. He wasn't ready yet and besides, he was home.


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