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. In this chapter, many small gestures begin to build into a greater energy...
Notes: Contains eventual graphic twin m/f sibling incest.
That evening there was no sign of rain. There, was, however, a huge festival-memorial with food and lanterns and dancing and everything else. Honestly, after the storms the night before, Cagalli hadn't thought it could be pulled off.
Mentally, she kicked herself for doubting the resilience of the people of Orb.
And while all Cagalli wanted to do was get a few minutes alone with Kira, the harder she tried, the more obstacles she faced.
At least she had one of her more reliable escorts for the evening - Commander Waltfeld. She'd been seen on his arm enough times that no one ever blinked. Possibly because he was already in an Orb uniform, possibly because she'd never kissed him. There were other reasons, of course, but Cagalli preferred not to think of the press as being so short-sighted. Andy was a good man, but also very involved with his own relationship anyway.
"How are you holding up?" he asked her midway through the evening. They'd managed to borrow, or possibly rent, Cagalli wasn't entirely sure since she hadn't been doing the negotiations, a large beach blanket and gone to sit on a relatively empty section of the beach away from the water and the bonfires and other excitement.
He'd carried the blanket, she'd carried the food and drinks without effort, despite his protests that he was perfectly capable.
She picked at a piece of barbequed pineapple.
"Tired," she admitted. "Worried - I want to talk to Kira."
"The official message from the PLANTs was one of peace and hope," Andy said. He grinned and ate a bit of his meat. "But I'm sure you'll have a more personal version waiting for you later."
Cagalli sighed. It wasn't that she wasn't hungry, but she just wasn't quite ready to relax and eat. Lacus wouldn't say anything mean-spirited, and besides, she knew that this would be a sham-relationship and there's no way she and Kira could ever actually date. But beyond that... Cagalli just didn't know.
"I'm sure I will," she said. She picked at the pineapple more before finally just setting it aside for a long moment. "I also need to spend a little more time talking to Kira just so we have our story straight. I spent half the day trying to be as vague as possible to Lunamaria Hawke while she asked me about three hundred questions."
And knowing what she knew about Lunamaria from things Athrun had said...
"Luna's far from stupid. She was fishing in the name of girl talk," Cagalli continued. "I think I was good, though."
"She apparently didn't do her research if she thought she'd get 'girl talk' from you," Andy said with a little chuckle. "What did you finally drive her off with?"
"Hey!" Cagalli couldn't help laughing. His evaluation was perfect. "I just sort of told her about some of Orb's new social programs, and told her if Shinn ever wanted to stay for a bit, they were both welcome."
She smiled. "And then I think she forgot she was supposed to be getting information from me and just wanted to talk about Shinn."
"Girl talk," Andy surmised.
"Whatever," Cagalli replied. "I was busy attempting to haul up part of a Murasame. Still had the pilot inside, dammit..."
She was glad she'd decided there was no point to eating just yet.
When he reached to rest his hand on her shoulder, she didn't shrug him away. The work she was doing was some of her hardest yet, and for her, that was saying a lot. It was easier to fight then deal with the consequences of fighting.
"Looks like someone knew you were talking about him."
Cagalli looked up to see Kira approaching and couldn't help but smile. Andy drew his hand away and gestured that there was plenty of room. But Cagalli got the impression that he wouldn't be leaving them. And that was quite fine, she thought. Better to have him on hand in case anyone else decided to try to get close.
"Hey..." Kira waved and scrambled over to them. Cagalli saved her food before it got a layer of sand on it, though she wasn't sure she'd be eating any of it anyway.
"She was just talking about you," Andy said with a slight chuckle.
"I was talking about today's work," Cagalli corrected. "And Lunamaria deciding to be my new best friend. And before that, you."
"Trust me," Kira said as he sat, "I had plenty of new friends today, too."
"Oh?" Cagalli thought she probably didn't want details, but...
"Mostly your soldiers," Kira replied. Only after he looked down at the blanket did Cagalli realize he was blushing. "They... think some interesting things about you."
Andy started chuckling, as if he already knew this, and that made Cagalli angry.
"Not funny!" she exclaimed, frowning. "I don't want to have to go for troop inspections and know they're thinking..."
"About what they'd do if you were in their cockpit," Kira supplied. He looked at Andrew and both men started another round of half-muffled laughter.
There were some things Cagalli did not need to be reminded of, and that was one of them. But more so, she just wished she felt a little better and had a good comeback.
"Hey..." Kira said after a minute. "You're not eating..."
"Not hungry," Cagalli replied softly.
"She's had a long day," Andy supplied, and Cagalli just nodded.
"Here..." Kira offered her something barbequed and stuck on a wood pick. "It's good."
"I don't know..." But Cagalli knew he was just trying to take care of her. She opened her mouth and he popped it in. Not bad, actually, except for the flash bulb in the distance that reeked of paparazzi.
They needed to get used to it. And...
"Thanks," she said once she'd swallowed. "I guess I should try to eat. I just..."
"Yeah," Kira trailed off for a moment... "Luna told me about some of what you two were working on. She was kinda green too."
Cagalli nodded. She didn't refuse the piece of pineapple that Kira offered her, though. Or another piece of meat.
"Are Murrue and Mwu coming down?" Kira asked after a couple moments of watching the water and other revelers.
"They're probably around somewhere," Andy replied. He smiled. "Good to let them have time together..."
"And I couldn't ask for a more proper escort," Cagalli added. She rather hoped he'd never considered anything involving her and a cockpit that wasn't piloting related.
"I guess if there's anything else, I'll need to..." Kira started, before looking at her for confirmation.
"I don't know," Cagalli admitted. "Probably. Since it's public and all."
"And people will be expecting it," Kira added, nodding.
"Iolana said she'll handle the itinerary for our first date," Cagalli commented a moment later. "I'll just send it to you, I guess."
"You're letting her pick?" Andy asked with a chuckle. "That's trusting."
"We agreed that it'll be something fun and simple," Cagalli explained. "That way... Kira and I can enjoy ourselves and then, y'know, be modest about anything else."
"Things we never got to do together growing up," Kira added. He offered Cagalli another piece of pineapple and she took it without question.
"And fake the other stuff," Andy said with a strange little smile.
Cagalli nodded. And Kira seemingly realized what he was doing. But didn't stop.
"Mini-golf?" Cagalli questioned. Oh sure, she'd played before, but it had never ended well. And...
"You wanted something playful and simple," Iolana replied, keeping her smile even though Cagalli was frowning.
"And a light dinner before, with dessert after." Iolana was firm. She'd followed Cagalli's wishes, after all.
Nodding, Cagalli resigned herself. She'd have to manage somehow. But she was not a golfer. And she doubted Kira was either. Of course, any roving photographers wouldn't be keeping score... Hopefully.
Maybe it would be fun.
"When?" Cagalli questioned.
"Two days from now," Iolana replied. "The night before the last day of ZAFT's commitment to Orb. That way if you two want to spend more time together after dessert..."
She winked. Cagalli... had to play along. Sure, she and Kira would probably talk halfway through the night, given the chance, but... That was not what Iolana - and the rest of the world - thought.
"Er... well, that's a..." Cagalli couldn't even quite finish.
"You don't sound excited." Iolana frowned and gestured to her computer, which was displaying a lovely background of Kira hand-feeding her a piece of pineapple the night before. Commander Waltfeld had been neatly cropped out of the photo, Cagalli noticed, even though he'd only been inches away from her.
And she still hadn't gotten a more personal message from Lacus, which bothered her. Surely there had to be something - but it hadn't come up again while sitting with the Commander and she didn't want to push the subject. Not yet, at least. All things in time.
Kira had promised to make time for her in the evening, but Cagalli wasn't holding her breath. They both had a string of commitments for the day and Cagalli knew that Kira was going to be visiting his parents in the afternoon.
Hopefully they were going to be understanding - it would make everything far easier. Everyone else who knew was playing along so far...
"It's just awkward..." Cagalli hadn't quite meant to say that out loud.
"Awkward?" Iolana gave her a funny look.
"All this being, y'know, so public." Cagalli hoped that sounded good.
"You'll be okay," Iolana said with a wide smile. "This will be very different than your previous courtship and wedding."
Cagalli had to look away - she couldn't hold her combined blush and wince.
"I'm not going to marry Kira." Really, that had to be said. Iolana should not even start thinking about that. Because that was a slippery slope and far beyond anything she wanted to get into.
"Well not any time soon," Iolana said cheerfully. "And you're right, you shouldn't be thinking about that possibility just yet. It's bad luck. Unless there's something else I should be aware of..."
She gestured at Cagalli's stomach and Cagalli's eyes went wide.
"N--no! Absolutely not," Cagalli managed. "Nothing like that. We haven't..."
And then she wished she hadn't said that, either. But the last thing she needed was pregnancy rumors.
"I didn't think so," Iolana said. "But keep me up to date if..."
Cagalli tried not to sigh. But a small one escaped and she quickly tried to cough to cover it up.
Iolana leaned over and put a hand on her shoulder.
"It's okay to be nervous," Iolana said softly. "I'm here for you - and I'm sure Kira is just as nervous as you are."
Cagalli doubted that, but she didn't say anything.
"Just don't get ahead of anything," Cagalli managed after a long moment. "We're... a little worried about the distance and... well, you know... We just don't want to rush."
Iolana opened her mouth to say something, but was interrupted by her phone. A moment later, Cagalli's rang. She looked at the time.
Saved, all around.
She hoped, midway through the longest meeting ever, that Kira was having a better afternoon than she was.
The time after dinner, however, was all hers.
Kira did manage to get to her, though it was long after dark by the time he came apologetically sneaking in to her suite.
For the first few moments, they just clung to one another in silence.
"Mom understands, but she isn't thrilled," Kira finally said with a sigh. He drew away and took off his jacket.
"I think Iolana is planning our wedding already," Cagalli countered, circling around to sit on her sofa. Kira settled beside her a moment later, and without really thinking, she leaned against him instantly.
"That's a little premature," Kira noted after a long moment. "But I can understand why she'd be hopeful."
"Yeah... and then Athrun would show up to steal one of us away..." Cagalli sighed. "Might be easier to just break up now."
"Before our first date?" Kira questioned.
"It'd be easier-"
"Hey," Kira interrupted, "Iolana was supposed to tell you what we're doing, right?"
"Dinner, mini-golf and dessert," Cagalli replied.
"Mini-golf? Really?" Kira frowned.
"Yeah, it's... well, I guess it's what we asked for - playful and something we never got to do together as kids," Cagalli explained.
"Athrun's mother would take us to the course on the moon," Kira said with a little smile. "It was low-gravity, though, so that was really different than what this'll be."
"I've played here, but it's been years. Maybe we'll both be bad?" Cagalli suggested. She giggled. It'd be nice to see him be awkward at something.
Kira slipped an arm around her and pulled her closer. She relaxed against him.
"I could never beat Athrun," he said. "He took forever to hit the ball, but he always beat me."
"Sounds like him," Cagalli commented. She closed her eyes. Kira was warm and it just felt good to be held like that. "So... your parents...?"
"They're doing well," Kira said softly. "They would rather I come home."
"And leave ZAFT?"
"That's some of it. I told them that I'd think about it once we'd finished all the clean-up efforts." Kira reached to run his fingers through Cagalli's hair. "You've really been getting some sun the last few days..."
His last comment barely registered to her. Having Kira in Orb meant they could spend time together again. Except... that would only fuel the fire beneath Iolana and the entirety of the world's media.
"Your skin's darker than even the other night," Kira explained.
"Oh..." she hesitated on what she wanted to say next. Because she didnít want to talk about her skin. She wanted to ask about the subject that was clawing at the back of her mind. "I... haven't heard from Lacus. Not personally, at least. You don't want to stay with her, even as..."
"I don't know," Kira admitted. "It's part of why I came down here - to think about everything. I kinda admire Athrun in that he just knew he had to go think and is off thinking about what he wants to do."
"He's just off avoiding everyone," Cagalli corrected. "He'll come back when he's ready."
"I guess that's what I'll do too."
"Do you want to talk about it at all?" Cagalli asked softly. "If you don't..."
"Not yet." He kept stroking her hair. "But it wasn't anyone's fault. Don't worry..."
Cagalli had nearly nodded off when Kira propped her back up and gave her a soft goodnight kiss on the forehead. She nearly asked him to stay--
But she knew she wasn't quite ready for that.
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