hey everyone! wow. sorry it took so long to post this...i've been overwhelmed with school and dance...then my computer decided not to work. so...here it is!

depending on whether people like the story or not, i think i'll continue with it...

the pairing is AthrunXcagalli...not until later on though...

disclaimer: i do not own Gundam seed, Gundam seed destiny...or anything along those lines...

Cagalli Yula Athha. That was the name embroidered onto a small piece of white paper, folded neatly, so that it stood upright and perfectly inline with about twelve others lining the table. It was that paper which the young girl in the neatly pressed maroon suit and blond loose hair, fiddled with. It wasn't as though she was confirming her name, or that her seat was indeed accurate, but out of habit, was weaving the paper in and around her fingers trying to calm her nerves. This however failed. Calming down was obviously not what her nerves had in mind.

Inhaling deeply, Cagalli placed the name tag back in front of where she was to sit. Glancing hastily at her watch, she came to the conclusion that she still had thirteen and a half minutes until the ORB council was to meet. It was this that she had been dreading. Sitting and talking to about twelve incredibly stubborn men, with the same opinion, lecture her on how a country should be run, was enough to completely stress the princess out.

Letting her bangs cascade lightly over her forehead, Cagalli closed her eyes and felt the slight rush of wind that was wafting from the fan that circled above the table. Cagalli was now officially the representative of the neutral nation ORB ever since her father had passed away. The responsibility of such a task lay heavily on her shoulders and the council members seemed to be making things worse. Her life, at this particular moment, was chaotic. Her twin brother was with the former songstress Lacus Clyne at the orphanage doing who knows what, while Athrun Zala was…well…ever since he had rejoined Zaft, Cagalli had absolutely no idea where he was, or what he was doing.

Rubbing at her temples, Cagalli went through the meeting's schedule in her mind. Not one of the members of the senate seemed to want to cooperate or listen to her since they had first learned of Uzumi Nara Athha's death, and had put very little effort in considering her opinions. In fact, they all seemed incredibly reluctant to even acknowledge her at the meetings unless she burst something out, which ended up giving them even more leverage, because they thought of her as being naïveté and too young to represent ORB.

Concentrating her efforts into burning a hole through the table, by glaring at it, Cagalli was all too aware of the seconds that rapidly passed by. It wasn't as though she'd necessarily have to get up though. She used to stand every time a member entered the room, in order to greet them. Now, she didn't bother.

Minutes later, the door was opened, and senate members began to appear. Removing a folder from her bag, Cagalli reluctantly lifted her head in order to look at the men she would be speaking too. This was going to be a long meeting.

Cagalli's prediction had been right. The two hour meeting was drowning on to be, or feel, like it would never end. Unfortunately, the senate seemed to have come to an agreement even before they met. Yep, not including Cagalli, they decided it would be in ORB's best intentions to sign a treaty with the ZAFT council. This was a decision Cagalli would not allow. If ORB still remained the country her father had created, the neutral country would stay neutral.

After the two full hours of getting absolutely nothing accomplished, Cagalli was fed up.

"ORB is a neutral country, because that is how we pictured its ideals. Have you all gone back on your decision to follow my father?" Standing, Cagalli glanced heatedly at the people encircling the table.

"ORB still has the ideals Uzumi Athha put into place." One of the older members replied slowly, as if speaking to a small child.

"It is not your father we distrust. He was a good leader." Another member made brief eye contact with Cagalli for the first time since the meeting had begun. Cagalli felt her cheeks begin to burn. He was inferring that they distrusted her.

"ORB is a neutral nation, and it is of course your job to keep it that way. We understand that. Though, as being a neutral nation, you have to look at both sides. I feel as though you are neglecting ours." He paused briefly. "I believe that the best solution would be to seek out the ZAFT council representative and come to terms with him. It wouldn't be as though you'd have to make some sort of deal or arrangement with her per say, just speak to him about our countries boundaries."

Remaining silent for a moment, Cagalli's eyes swept across the faces of all the people in the room. What exactly were they inferring? "How would discussing issues with the council representative help improve the situation? What about the Earth Alliance?"

"Naturally, you speak to the EA representative after you return. We are merely trying to get on good terms with them. They have massive amounts of weaponry and incredible technology that it would benefit us."

Cagalli understood. Power. That was all it had been about. If the council members thought her to be that stupid, they had another thing coming. It would probably be in her best interest to go to PLANT, but she would not discuss anything the council told her to.

Every set of eyes were now on her. The low murmur of the ceiling fan hummed above them, and the faint smell of cologne continued to be drifted around the room, no doubt from Yuuna's horrible taste in hygiene products.

Considering the facts for a minute, Cagalli said nothing. They wanted her to go to PLANT to discuss the current situation with the ZAFT representative. Why wouldn't they want her to go to the EA leader first? It wasn't that difficult to figure out that a couple if not more of the ORB council belonged to the Blue Cosmos. If they did in fact want the ideals Uzumi put into action, then maybe they really do want the situation to be resolved. Or maybe they wanted to play with the upper hand and turn their backs on ZAFT after everything was agreed.

Either way, it would probably be best to speak to Chairman Dullindal and get everything cleared.

"I will go to PLANT, maybe this discussion will prove valuable." Cagalli said reluctantly, plus, she wanted these guys off her back.

"A wise decision. You will leave in tomorrow. We have prepared documents that state where we all stand on this matter that everyone will received. You will read through them on your flight there." One of the men said as they all began to stand.

It took very little time for them all to shuffle out of the room. Shrugging her bag over her shoulder, Cagalli left the room after everyone had gone. Meandering down the long, empty hallways was something Cagalli didn't really want to spend the entire day doing. Though, it allowed her to rethink everything.

Truthfully, it was knid of a strange meeting. Everything seemed to have worked out so strangely. A small throbbing pain began near Cagalli's temples. Why did the council want her to go speak to the ZAFT representative so badly?

Hearing the light sound of footsteps behind her, Cagalli turned to see an older man rounding the nearest corner. Unato Ema Seylan entered Cagalli's sight. Striding up to where she stood, Unato handed Cagalli two pieces of paper.

"This," he began pointing to one of the papers, "is your shuttle ticket for tomorrow. While the other I was handed coming down this hallway, so I am unaware of its purpose."

As quickly as he had come, he left. Though he was a member of Blue Cosmos, he also agreed that it would be best to send Cagalli to the ZAFT representative. Everything was beginning to look peculiar.

Glancing down at her ticket and written instructions, Cagalli groaned and began to walk to her quarters. The shuttle was going to be leaving at ten thirty the next night, and fly all night and through into the morning.

Stuffing the ticket and paper in her pocket, Cagalli peered down at the other note. Its delicate folds were crisp and very carefully, Cagalli opened the envelope and turned over the paper. Clean, legible handwriting illustrated the letter. No doubt the hand writing of Athrun Zala.

Rushing to the room at the end of the hallway, Cagalli closed and locked the door. Athrun better tell her where he is. The note was again unfolded so that Cagalli could read it with privacy. Although, its writing appeared to make no suggestion that such action was needed. Reading the letter, Cagalli confirmed that Athrun had given her no information that was to her benefit. In fact, he barely gave her three sentences.

Dear Representative Athha,

I have been informed of your business trip to PLANT and wish you a great success. Your shuttle is in preparations and you will be escorted by a chosen member of Zaft.

Sincerely, Athrun Zala

204 is the contact number if you need any other information.

A slightly irritated look was plastered over Cagalli's face. Not only did Athrun not even bother to say a proper hello, but he of all people had made a mistake. What kind of contact number was 204? Yep she'll just go dial that now, and make sure that even the operator thinks she's a twit.

Slouching on the soft sheets of her bed, Cagalli was not reassured. Nothing was seemingly turning out her way. She was going to be shipped off to PLANT and truthfully, she didn't think it would accomplish anything.

The entire next day went by with nothing exciting happening. Packing was proving to be the biggest challenge. How long would she be staying there? They had estimated about three days, but what if she stayed longer? What was she supposed to wear? Did it really matter?

Folding a dark green suit with cuffs and a long collar, which she had purchased a couple weeks before, Cagalli went through her list. She had her maroon suit, her new green suit, her ORB uniform, her pajamas, her toothbrush, her hair brush, some travel shampoo and conditioner…what else did she need?

With her head cocked to one side, Cagalli placed her hands on her hips and thought through the list again. The papers the council prepared! Each one of the council members got a set. They listed the opinions and preparations the individual thought was necessary to take.

Leaping over her suitcase, Cagalli opened the door and sprang down the hall. Her office was conveniently close, so she could retrieve the files quickly.

Once in her office, Cagalli peered around. Having absolutely no idea who brought her the files, or what they were supposed to look like did not help her situation. Walking around her desk, Cagalli felt her eyebrows contract, and her lips purse. They were surely mocking her. Who in their right mind would give her a stack of about nine hundred pages! Kneeling down, Cagalli skimmed through the first couple pages. It seemed that each member of the council had taken it upon himself to write just under a hundred pages on their opinion and standing in the ORB ideals. Great. The flight was to take eight hours, and she'd have to spend them all reading through the bloody files. Perfect.

With many sarcastic mutterings, Cagalli made her way back to her room with the files in hand. She'd have to get everything ready within the next couple of hours, so that she could meet with the ZAFT member who was to escort her on the shuttle to PLANT.

Placing the large pile of papers into her small, black carryon, Cagalli brushed her bangs off of her face. Hazel eyes raced over the assortment of items discarded on the floor. Scooping as many items as she could, Cagalli began to reorganize things into their appropriate and designated locations in her somewhat cluttered room.

Knowing her luck, the ZAFT escort won't even talk to her. How boring would that get?

Glancing down at her watch, Cagalli supposed that she should leave in about half an hour. That way, she could be there slightly early. Retreating to the one room that Cagalli dreaded even more than the meeting room to quite a bit of effort. Taking a deep breath in, Cagallli walked into the bathroom. Automatically, the light flickered on and white walls illuminated. Squinting at her reflection, Cagalli sighed and retrieved her hair brush.

This was of course the last and most painful step to endure. She had to get her self ready. Faint lines etched their way under the deep hazel eyes, and it gave her somewhat of a sunken look. In truth, Cagalli had been fairly stressed recently. She never bothered to put on makeup. One, because there really wasn't any point, she'd just rub it off anyway, plus, Athrun wasn't there.

Scrunching her nose, Cagalli looked down at her hand. A delicate silver ring with a small ruby lay on her fourth finger. Lifting her hand, she allowed the light to catch the gem's contours and glow deeply. Where was Athrun?

Almost thirty five minutes later, Cagalli was being driven to where she was to rendezvous with the ZAFT escort. Expertly maneuvering through the traffic, the sleek black car pulled up to the airport, or for Cagalli's case, the shuttle launch site.

Pulling a small, wheeling bag and a black carryon, Cagalli made her way towards the main lobby. Whoever was going to be accompanying her, better be wearing a ZAFT uniform, or she'd have one hell of a time finding him. Stopping briefly, Cagalli rewound. Wait, maybe it's a girl. Maybe her escort would be a girl and they'd chat the entire eight hours and watch some chick flick while eating peanuts and drinking expensive wine in tiny bottles. Normally, Cagalli was a tomboy. But on occasions where she was with a girl and a movie and wine were involved, that would be an entirely different matter.

Feeling slightly more hopeful, Cagalli bounded to the closest seat in the lobby. Drawing in a large breath, she waited. It makes things so much easier to let the other person find you, rather than spend hours searching for each other.

Any feeling of hope that the trip might not be a complete loss soon vanished. In fact, it seemed to disappear entirely when Cagalli heard a slightly irritated snort and opened her eyes.

Standing no less than two feet away was Yzak Jule. How could she not recognize him? Leader of the Jule Team. Yep, the arrogant-silver-haired-high-and-mighty-wonder was gracing her with his presence.

Blinking hesitantly, Cagalli looked up into the ice blue eyes and shocking straight bangs of the coordinator. "A hello would have been nice." Cagalli muttered. Obviously things had gotten off to a fairly bad start.

"I'm supposed to make pleasantries with the Representative of ORB who seemed to have fallen asleep? Well do forgive me. Would 'get up princess were leaving, be better'? Yzak seemed to suppress the urge to roll his eyes and grasped the strap of Cagalli's bag. Slinging it over one shoulder, he began to walk away.

Immediately, Cagalli didn't like him. This was the first time she had met him, and already, it was plaintive to see that he was a jerk. Standing up, Cagalli began to trudge after the person who would be accompanying her for the next eight hours.

A low drone of engines roared as Cagalli and Yzak boarded the shuttle. A short, brown haired man stood slightly slumped at the passenger door. Just as Cagalli passed, the man cleared his throat and spoke softly.

"Good Evening Ma'am. You're boarding flight 359. May I see your boarding pass?"

Stretching out her ticket, Cagalli waited patiently. The small man smiled and pointed to one of the seats on the right. "You're in seat A32. Have a nice flight."

Humid air drifted around the shuttle's interior. The seats smelled thickly of sanitizer and much of the confined area looked as though it had been recently cleaned. Letting her back adjust to the chairs curves, Cagalli peered around. It was strange, the number of passengers. As a regular bi-passenger shuttle craft, it holds a capacity of about fifty people, though at the particular moment, it looked as though there were only, a most, twenty.

Placing himself beside Cagalli, Yzak shifted until he was comfortable. Not looking up as the captain began giving instructions; Yzak began shuffling through his carryon.

Pushing a large tray, a small stewardess walked passed where Cagalli sat. The shuttle was in its preparations to launch. It was strange it would launch with so little passengers, though, Cagalli supposed it would merely be timing. Truthfully, who in their right mind would take a shuttle at ten thirty and fly for eight hours!

Feeling her shoulders curve, Cagalli rested her arm on the armrest and closed her eyes. A sharp, abrupt feeling that reminded Cagalli of something jabbing her, caused her to jump slightly.

"You're on my armrest." Spoke a voice from just above Cagalli's head.

Blinking for a moment, Cagalli looked to her left at the annoyed ZAFT pilot. "What?"

"I said," Yzak began to sound agitated. "You, as in the person sitting next to me…is resting her arm on the post that, for the remainder of the eight hours on this damn shuttle, is mine."

Straightening her spine, Cagalli narrowed her eyes. There was absolutely no way she was just going to sit there with him making stupid comments. "Maybe you're on my flight." Retorted Cagalli turning her head so that she was looking in the opposite direction.

"You're flight? How exactly did you come to that conclusion? What if I threw you off? Would you still consider it you're flight?" Yzak shoved his bag under the seat and slid his seatbelt on.

"You wouldn't throw me off the flight, because you'd be thrown in jail and loose your job. And yes, it would still be my flight."

What a stupid argument. Though it seemed to last until the shuttle was well into the air and making its way towards the earth's atmosphere.

By the time both Yzak and Cagalli were silent, the shuttle had reached the first layer of the earth's atmosphere and began to further accelerate. A vibrating feeling began at the very pit of Cagalli's stomach and began rolling up. Slinking her arms around her waist, Cagalli groaned slightly. She did not want to be sick.

Looking horrified, Yzak told Cagalli the only thing he could think of at a time like this. "Don't throw up."

Great. A comedian.

Three and a half minutes later, the shuttle broke through the Earth's atmosphere and gravitational pull, leaving Cagalli stalk white and bent over.

"It's over." An irritated voice spoke from beside Cagalli.

If she had the energy to speak, she would have put him in his place. Better yet, if she had the energy, she would have hit him so hard….but for now, her stomach hurt, and sitting there, doubled over, seemed to be slowly helping.

It seemed that Yzak had decided to let the princess recover slightly, before reopening his mouth.

Concentrating on evening out her breathing, Cagalli didn't notice when she was tapped on the shoulder. Not until the third tap, which would more likely be considered something along the lines of a jab, alerted her. Turning her head in the direction of the assault, Cagalli was face with an irritated looking Yzak. Damn. Was he still here?

"Yeah?" Cagalli mumbled, her stomach seemed to be recuperating.

Reaching down, Yzak stretched his arm under Cagalli's seat, retrieving the black carryon. Immediately, Cagalli froze. Her bag. Her bag, with her things in it. She would be damned if anyone went through her bag. No, he would be damned it he went through her bag.

Pasting a very sarcastic smile on her face, Cagalli went to take the bag. "Thanks. Now that we know you'll be able to recognize it if it's ever stolen, we can put it back."

Regrettably, it seemed as though the coordinator had other intensions. Giving a slightly impatient snort, Cagalli reached across her opponent and straight for her target. The bag.

…damn coordinators and their quick motor functions….

Reacting instantly to Cagalli's attempt in grasping the bag, Yzak held it far into the isle, making Cagalli fumble across his lap. "Miss Athha, do you really think this is appropriate behavior?"

Cagalli went ridged. Pushing herself off of Yzak, she felt her cheeks heat up. Great. Yep, just what she had pictured the flight would turn out to be.

"I-I-If….Y-…You are an arrogant jerk!" So maybe it wasn't the greatest retort. In fact, there was probably a million things she could have said to really piss Yzak off….now just wasn't the time her head seemed to want to come up with one.

Cagalli sighed. "Is there anything in particular you're looking for? Athrun never told me to bring anything you might need. So give me back my bag and I'll think about reconsidering tearing your…" Cagalli never finished her sentence, because a thick, wad of paper was shoved in her face.

Slightly dazed, Cagalli glanced down at what had landed on her lap.

"My intensions were not to patronize, I assure you." Yzak told Cagalli, though she doubted everything he said, because a huge smirk and raised eyebrows adorned his features.

"You have work to do." With that, he took out a magazine and began flipping through it.

Sitting absolutely motionless, Cagalli let her eyes follow the papers lines on the first page. The documents the council had given her. How could she forget?

Hours past since Cagalli had begun reading the papers. It had to be at least one in the morning and fatigue was slowly washing over her. Next to her, Yzak continued to read magazines, though whether or not he was actually reading them, it was too hard to tell.

Silence lingered amongst the chairs and passengers throughout the shuttle. The majority of the passengers were watching the flight movie, asleep, or found some balance between the two. This of course did not include Cagalli or Yzak. Yzak seemed to be able to keep up without feeling restless, while Cagalli continued to read the files.

Each page seemed to drone on, and the more she read it, the more it all sounded the same. Every so often, she'd turn the paper, hoping to find something different. It never happened.

It was time to give in.

Just as a stewardess walked by, Cagalli stopped her. "Excuse me, do you think I could get a coffee? Black?"

Yzak gave her a look that clearly showed his disapproval.

"Coffee stunts your growth. It's mal-nutritious, is full of caffeine, will stain your teeth, pollute your organs, and screw up your motor functions." Yzak stated as though drinking coffee was like committing some unfathomable crime.

"Good point." Cagalli rolled her eyes. Looking back towards the stewardess, Cagalli corrected herself. "I'll have a coffee, and he'll have eight sleeping pills please." She inclined her head towards Yzak. She was tired, and in one hell of a mood. She wanted her coffee.

"She'll have water." Yzak spoke as though the subject was closed.

Twenty two minutes later, Cagalli sat annoyed with her arms crossed and glaring at the papers laying on her pull out table. Damn everything.

A half empty water sat beside her. She wanted a coffee.

Yzak seemed to have, yet again, preoccupied himself with a magazine.

Grasping the lukewarm glass of water, Cagalli sighed. The clear liquid slid around in its confinements, magnifying Cagalli's ring. Things had become so complicated.

Drinking the remains of the water, Cagalli closed the files. Who cared if she had only read half? It wasn't as though any of them were different.

Placing the empty glass on top of the papers, Cagalli reached her arms above her head. She could feel her spine elongate and try to correct the posture Cagalli had managed to attain while bent over reading.

Gazing down, Cagalli stared hazily at the glass. Then, for a moment, blinked.

Under the glass, words clearly were printed on the front paper on the bottom left hand side. Lifting the glass gently up, the words shrunk so that they were barely visible.

Placing the cup back on the corner of the pages, Cagalli saw the words magnified. Leaning her head closer, she tried to make out what the miniscule writing held. It was slightly difficult, because, though magnified, it was tiny and blurry. Cagalli pressed her face to the top of the glass and squinted. After a moment, she flipped the glass over and tried again.

Yzak sat and watched the representative of ORB lean over her glass. Maybe he should have let her drink the coffee…..

Squinting her eyes further, Cagalli could make out the writing.

This is a message to the ORB council, disregarding Cagalli Yula Athha. This transcript's purpose it to create an awareness of our plans. It seems the government has gone astray and appropriate action must be taken.

On flight 359, at 2:17 a.m. a chain reaction will take place and an explosive will be activated. All members aboard the flight, including the detached and swayed government, along with its corrupted ideals, will be destroyed. Unato Ema Seylan will take the place of Representative.

Cagalli remained stoic. They were going to explode the shuttle. They were going to try to kill her.

Very slowly and methodically, Cagalli bent her head and looked at her watch. The numbers flashed. 2:00.