People Like Us
Title: People Like Us
Fandom: Gundam SEED
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Kira/Cagalli, others mentioned
Rating: MA Overall
Summary: post-Destiny, Kira is in Orb helping with a global clean-up effort while Cagalli is still trying to settle into her role as leader. However, when a sibling moment is captured on film completely out of context, things quickly get complicated for both of them.
Notes: Beta'd by: the wonderful guety, thanks! Contains eventual graphic twin m/f sibling incest.
"Can I get to work?" Cagalli asked after yet another round of photographs. Further down the beach, she saw familiar faces amongst both Orb's military and ZAFT and wanted to at least thank them for coming while they were doing actual work.
And Kira was there and she hadn't gotten a chance to even say hello, which was frustrating at best.
"You're actually going to go help?" Iolana Loe, Cagalli's new press secretary, questioned. Slowly, Cagalli had been combing through the ranks and freshening up any part of Orb's extended government that she could. And Iolana was both young enough to be relevant and smart enough to not make a mess of things. However, she just wasn't quite used to Cagalli's personality yet.
"Of course," Cagalli replied firmly. "And so are you, since we're done with photographs and soundbites, unless you want to convince the media to come help as well."
"Well..." Iolana looked a bit lost for a moment before recovering. "It'll look great to have some pictures of you with your pants rolled up a bit, helping. Stay close to some of the soldiers, too - both Orb and ZAFT."
Cagalli frowned. "I'm not doing this for the photo opportunity," she said flatly. "I'm doing this because it needs to be done."
And with that, she headed down towards the water, Iolana trailing behind.
Months had passed since the end of the war, and while the country was steadily rebuilding what was lost, other, smaller-yet-important issues had surfaced. Literally. Debris from battles was washing ashore and there was growing concern about the safety of just leaving wreckage in the water around the world.
So far, there had been several joint operations between ZAFT, the remains of OMNI, Orb, other neutral areas that could send personnel, and anyone else available to clean up the worst areas. Now it was Orb's turn.
And yes, after being unable to personally assist anywhere else due to other duties and commitments, Cagalli was definitely going to get a little dirty and help clean up her own nation.
A distance off-shore, a row of ZAFT, Orb and a lone formerly-OMNI ship were anchored, supporting the aquatic mobile suits that were fishing up debris from below. And on the beach, a group was sifting through the sand with various tools, picking out metal and other debris. There had been a strong storm the morning before, which had left the beach in far worse shape than normal - perfect, really.
"Kira!" Cagalli called as she got closer, raising a hand to wave.
Kira looked up immediately. He still had part of his white uniform on, but had shed his jacket in the heat of the afternoon.
"Cagalli!" In seconds, he'd raced over to her. "I didn't know if you'd make it down."
"Neither did I," she admitted with a tiny smile. His hair was getting long. "I had to get through a wall of reporters first."
Nodding, Kira couldn't help but smile. "Yeah, that's been happening to Lacus, too. I guess it just goes with the job, huh?"
"Yeah," Cagalli replied softly. "So how's it going down here?"
"Good," Kira replied before offering her the debris bucket he was still holding. "We can work together?"
"I can get--" As tempting as it was to go get her own set of sifter and bucket, and to challenge Kira to find more debris, she hesitated. Working together would at least mean they could talk a bit. "Well, okay. Just this once."
Kira chuckled. "C'mon. Lunamaria and Shinn are here too..." He gestured further down the beach. "Last I know, Shinn was telling Luna about when he used to come here as a child."
Unable to help a smile, Cagalli wished she'd been able to come to the beach more often while growing up. But it simply hadn't happened. And likely wouldn't, given her situation.
Cagalli glanced back to see Iolana slogging through the sand, carrying her own bucket and shovel.
"This is...?" Kira questioned.
"My new press secretary," Cagalli replied. "Iolana Loe."
"You already have..." Iolana gestured to the bucket that Cagalli was holding.
"Yeah," Cagalli said quickly. "I'm going to help Kira -- Commander Yamato."
She managed not to let a little giggle slip. It felt weird calling him that. She'd never referred to him by his title when he'd been in Orb, after all, aside from when she'd first given it to him. And even then, she'd laughed.
"Oh," Iolana said quickly. And then she looked Kira over for a long moment. "You look familiar."
"I'm from Orb," Kira admitted, and while for a moment, Cagalli wanted to smack him, there was no way a simple background search wouldn't bring up that much information. Cagalli also took a careful step away. In certain lighting, she knew she and Kira could look quite a bit alike.
"And so is Shinn," Kira continued quickly, gesturing on down the beach. "The one with the dark hair. If you want someone more interesting to talk to, I mean."
Iolana shook her head. "No, I just..."
Cagalli shot her a little look. Not worth pursuing - let it drop. Iolana read her perfectly.
"I guess I'll get to work," Iolana said after a moment.
"Us too," Cagalli stated, marching off towards the water.
By the time the sun was sinking below the horizon, all of the ships had been brought in to port and a line of mobile suits, mostly aquatic and some belonging to the Junk Guild and other groups stood in rows nearby. Everyone was given rooms on shore, because another storm was blowing in fast. It would be clear again by morning, but it cut the day's activities.
However, it did make for a good excuse for filling as many unused diplomat quarters with ZAFT and former-OMNI personnel as possible. And, as Iolana said with a smile, it looked really good.
Cagalli couldn't care less about how it looked - she was more concerned with taking proper care of the people entrusted to her. And she wanted to go out, if possible, in one of the mid-depth mobile suits the next day and scavenge on her own -- apparently Erica Simmons had attached equipment onto a handful of Astrays and Murasames so that they could better locate wreckage in twenty-to-fifty feet of water.
She'd been heading towards her own suite of rooms, lost in thought, when she heard Kira's voice.
"Kira?" she turned, surprised.
"I still have clearance," he admitted with a little smile.
She laughed. "I'm not surprised."
"Have you eaten?" he questioned. "I know you've been busy."
Shaking her head, she realized that indeed, she was actually rather hungry. She just hadn't had time to be hungry yet.
"I'll get something," Kira said quickly. "You're alone?"
"Yeah," Cagalli said. "Thanks. You do all this stuff for Lacus, too?"
"No," Kira replied with a bit of a frown. "It's... we... I'll explain later, I guess."
Cagalli nodded. They'd not been able to talk about anything too private on the beach. Not with Iolana and everyone else flitting around. It hadn't been a bad thing - just frustrating. She'd wanted to ask about people, and she knew he had too. But they'd kept quiet and only allowed the most stilted and shallow of conversations.
Mostly they'd worked.
"I'll..." Her stomach rumbled before she could finish.
"Go sit." And Kira headed off, not even bothering to ask what she wanted. Typical. But after changing into something that didn't smell like salt and burned metal and making sure she didn't smell as bad as her clothing, she settled into the sitting room of her quarters to wait.
She didn't have to wait long.
The storm started outside just seconds before Kira arrived with a tray of thick sandwiches and fruit.
"It's going to be another bad one," she said with a little headshake as Kira set the tray down. "Did you have any trouble?"
Kira shook his head. "No, luckily." He sat and waited for her to return from gazing out the window at the black sky.
"Good. And that looks pretty good - not too heavy." She smiled as she settled beside him on a sofa. "You wouldn't believe what they think I should be eating sometimes. I know when I was younger..."
"You probably only ate the same three things, right?" Kira asked with a knowing smile. Cagalli frowned at him for a moment.
"How did you...?" And then she laughed. "Really? You too?"
"Until I met Athrun," Kira said as he reached for to stab his fork into a few pieces of fruit. "He gave me a nice little lecture about my preferences."
"You ever hear from him?" Cagalli asked after a little pause. She reached for her sandwich, which looked to be mostly vegetables with cheese and fish. Not bad.
"No," Kira admitted. "But it's only been a few months. He'll turn up. He headed to western Europe, didn't he?"
"It's not your fault, Cagalli," Kira interrupted. "That's just how Athrun is."
"I know that," Cagalli replied quickly. "I didn't say it was my fault."
They ate in silence for a moment, alternately looking at their food and towards the window at the darkness where the storm was raging.
"Hey, you changed clothing..."
"You just noticed?" Cagalli set her half-eaten sandwich back on the tray and reached for a piece of pineapple.
"Not really," Kira admitted. "I did when I got back but..."
"Well, I was a bit dirty," Cagalli said. And then she blinked a few times. "You always pay attention to what I'm wearing?"
"Yeah," Kira admitted. "Of course."
Cagalli ate the pineapple.
"You're right, though." Kira leaned back a moment as lightning flashed outside. "I could use a shower before bed."
"You're staying here, right?" Cagalli asked. "Well..."
Nodding, Kira chuckled. "I managed to get my duffel off the ship, yes. I'm not sure Lunamaria was so lucky, though. She may be borrowing something in the morning."
"Storms..." Cagalli shook her head. "When I was a kid, I'd build a fort out of pillows and blankets and hide."
Kira was quiet a moment. "You know," he said softly, "there aren't thunderstorms or anything like them in the PLANTs. There are probably soldiers hiding under their covers right now."
Cagalli chuckled and went back to her sandwich, ignoring a clap of thunder that made the windows rattle.
"I've missed you," Cagalli said once she'd finished eating. And she turned to eye Kira. "And so has your mother. You are going to go visit her, right?"
"Of course," Kira replied. Cagalli could tell that he hadn't even really thought about it. Typical. For everything that Kira was supposed to be, he was a real idiot sometimes.
"I'll go with you?" Cagalli said. She stacked the few plates on the tray and set it aside.
Kira shook his head. "Better not to? I'm not sure how, but I think your little shadow from earlier would try to get a headline out of it."
"Iolana," Cagalli noted with a little nod. "Yeah. She's good, but she's... a little much, too. I'm trying to make everything good here - a veteran's program accepting soldiers from any army, all sorts of funding for mental health and festivals and arts and anything good... And she's making it into something other than a list of stuff."
"You're probably right though. With all the current fuss, there'd probably an extra question or two about why I was accompanying a ZAFT commander to visit his mother," Cagalli said. "Safer not to."
They looked at each other for a long moment.
"Thanks for getting dinner." Cagalli offered a little smile. "It'd probably still be hours before I remembered, to be honest. Unless someone else tracked me down. But I think everyone's fussing about the extra company. What we were supposed to do was have a beach picnic... thing... with lanterns and a ceremony honoring the dead."
"But the storm..." Kira trailed off as thunder rumbled louder than his voice.
"We'll do it another night," Cagalli replied. "You'll be here for a week, right?"
Kira nodded. "A week here and then off around Australia again."
"Lacus doesn't miss you?"
"She does," Kira said with a bit of a wistful smile. "But she's been as busy as you've been and I think I was getting a little stir crazy up there in space. Besides, even if I'm doing other things too, it gives me a chance to see you."
"And your mother," Cagalli added quickly, giving Kira a poke in the shoulder.
"And Mwu and Murrue and Captain Waltfeld and Erica, too," Kira added as he poked Cagalli back before tugging her into a hug. Lightning flashed and the lights dimmed for just a second.
Surprised, Cagalli clung to Kira for a long moment.
"Scared?" Kira questioned. "I thought you outgrew that."
"I don't like when the power goes out," Cagalli said flatly. She wrinkled her nose. "And yes, you do need to shower."
"You haven't let go," Kira noted. Thunder rumbled again.
"Neither have you." She leaned up and kissed his cheek just as another round of lightning flickered outside the window.
"What was that for?"
"Not laughing," Cagalli replied as she let go.
"I told you, you're going to have a lot of Coordinators telling epic stories about it in the morning," Kira replied. He stood and smoothed his uniform. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
Nodding, Cagalli headed towards the door. She winked. "Don't get caught on your way back."
"I have clearance," Kira reminded her with a grin. "But don't worry. I won't get caught."
Cagalli simply shook her head.
"Night," she said as Kira headed out into the hallway.
"Night," Kira replied before starting on his way.
Lightning lit up the room again as Cagalli closed the door. A shower would have to wait til morning, which was fine. Even though it was early, she at least wasn't hungry and there wasn't much else to do anyway. She could look over some proposals that were waiting for her if she really wanted to bore herself to sleep early.
Which was exactly what she did, aside from them not being too terribly boring once she started reading. At least the power didn't go out.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!