Disclaimer: I make no claim to the series, ideas, or characters of Gundam SEED. All quotes used have been given proper credit to their original speakers.

Author's Notes: Here I am: a struggling writer who thinks he can write stories. Heh, honestly, this is my first time writing a Gundam SEED fic, so please have mercy if it ends up being terrible. This story may contain spoilers all the way through the end of Gundam SEED Destiny. The story is set very shortly after the end of SEED Destiny. I wrote this, being unsatisfied with the end of the series since there is really no insight into how things are dealt with after the big battle is over and the war has ended. Anyway, I'm always thankful when people read my story, and I'm even more appreciative when someone lets me know how I'm doing well. Complaints, compliments, and especially constructive criticism are always appreciated since I'm always looking to better improve my writing. As I said, this is my first time writing for Gundam SEED, so please hold the guns if I do not measure up to par. Thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy.

When the Clouds Roll In

By Adam Lakewood

Consult the past, and it will show you the future. Consult the present and you will see all.

-Bruce Lee

She woke one night to the sound of thunder.

The gunshot clap followed the flash of white lightning across the dark sky past the window sent her into momentary panic as she sat up with a brief scream and a flail of her arms. After the acknowledgment set in that she was back home, that what sounded like a gunshot really wasn't, and that nightmares can't hurt you, she rested her hands in the palms of her hands and kneeled over in the bed.

Looking up after a few collective moments, she spared a quick glimpse to the room around her in order to reorient herself. She took note of the covers on and not on the bed, strewn about the place due ultimately to the fact of her dreams not allowing her to sleep restfully. Growing up, she would always get upset with her father for making her go to bed early. She never would have thought that one day it would be his memory which wouldn't allow her to sleep.

She reached for the pillow that should have been on the bed behind her, but realized it wasn't there. Another quick glance to the floor revealed that she had thrown it during her sudden waking. However, she saw another pillow beside her that wasn't hers. Instead of there being the person who was supposed to be occupying the spot at three o' clock in the morning, there was only an empty imprint and a folded back sheet.

Taking in a deep breath and letting it out in a long sigh, she took the other pillow to hold in order to get some sort of warmth and comfort after the disturbing dreams of having her father's final words replayed to her again. Shameful it was a pillow, but she knew that the other person in her house certainly couldn't be of any comfort despite the fact that he tried. In his current condition, he really couldn't… she actually had to do that for him.

Another crack of roaring thunder derailed her from her train of thought and made her jump in surprise. She instinctively held the pillow tighter, one hand finding the corner and gripping it tightly.

In utter frustration, she threw it across the room with all the strength she could muster, pulled her knees up to her chest, and rested her chin on her knees as she hugged her legs.

Sitting there for a moment and listening to the hiss of the rain beat out a sporadic rhythm against the roof of her house, she began to realize how pathetic she really was. She really had no reason to be feeling as down as she had lately. There was no more war. Everyone was safe. And, for once, family could actually be family and friends could be friends. Maybe it was because things weren't so chaotic anymore being the reason that she could finally take the chance on letting everything sink in. Besides, that's what everyone else seemed to be doing.

In a moment of agitation, she pulled at the collar of her green and white night-shirt and ran a hand through her bed-scrageled, blonde hair.

Unfortunately, Cagalli Yula Athha couldn't be like everyone else. If she did, then everyone would surely fall apart. After the war was over once again, everything that had happened started catching up to everyone.

But she would be strong for everyone. Once more, she would make everyone strong again even if it was only one person at a time.

Throwing the covers back further out of her way, she got out of bed and made her way toward the side stairs that led to the living room.

The living room was cold, perhaps accented by how cold one knew it was outside and how much more cold the rain had brought with it. Rain slid down the large-pane windows like walls of water that caused the lights which tried to penetrate from the darkness outside through the darkness inside to dance across the room in faint, hazy shades of silver from the pale moonlight.

The only other light in the room came from the perfect, blue screen of a television which's program had apparently ended long ago.

Alex Dino, ill-dressed against the chill of the room in only a simple pair of boxers, sat on the large couch, enveloped in the radial blue light of the television that seemed to merge with the color of his own hair. He was posed in a sitting position, back hunched over slightly with his elbows resting on his knees, and hands folded in front of his face with his chin resting on them. At one point, it seemed, he may have been caught up in thought, but now his green eyes showed that he was completely lost in it.

The television presented no picture, but he could see the anguished faces of the dead. The television presented no sound, but that didn't stop him from hearing the screams that he was unable to pay any mind to mere months ago. The only perception that was shared was the boom of the thunder outside and the roar of the explosions that replayed in his mind with each crash of thunder.

Friends, family… especially family… had all been lost in the past few years of war. Different ideas and wants of change were fire to these battles. Misplaced allegiances had led to multiple grievances in which mistakes were made and friends fought each other. Bonds were shattered; hearts were broken. Fathers were forgotten; children were lost. Truth was abandoned; the surreal became reality. And in the end, much had seemed for nothing. The name he had abandoned, though abandoned, still held too much to evidence of these grievances.

Feeling a feather-light touch against his bare knee, he was brought back to reality. He saw the blue television screen before him and heard the rain around him. As always, he knew where he was… he just had a hard time accepting it. In everything that had happened which seemed so unreal, he now found himself in contradiction by living in a time that couldn't possibly be any more real that he still perceived as being surreal.

Cagalli moved closer to him on the couch and patted him on the leg. Upon seeing her sympathetic expression, he smiled at her, a fake smile, as he always did in order to give her the false image that he was really alright. However, in the depths of those green eyes, she could have sworn that she had glimpsed his pain while at the same time seeing the covered relief that lay buried. She brought a hand up and brushed a strand of long, blue hair that had fallen into his face. His eyes noticeably fell when he felt her touch and he looked directly at her. She was somewhat surprised since she could have sworn that she had seen a spark of realization streak across his eyes. … Then again, it could have just been a reflection of the lightning.

But that wasn't it, for in the next moment, she found herself in his tight embrace with his face buried into her shoulder. She felt the breath of his shaky sigh against her neck. Letting his hold on her loosen in the process, he practically slid down until he was lying with his head in her lap where he lay for several long minutes in complete silence.

After a while, he felt the relaxing touch of her fingers in his hair. Her fingers brushed through his hair a few times until one found interest in a bit that was continuously twirled around before being released to spring back to its original position. This caused him to close his eyes and smile and adjust his head until he found comfort in her lap. At least the fingers had found amusement.

So he lay there. He knew it would take some getting used to, but the present was here and now, the past was gone, and all that lay ahead was the future, shining as true as a star in the night sky. Of course, no one could say what the future would bring, but it could be dealt with when it arrived. In the meantime, the present, he had finally learned, was what mattered most. He recalled a quote, but he was too tired to remember it.

Yes, the present was what mattered. But that didn't have to stop the hopes for the future. When the clouds roll in, the storm will rage, but tomorrow the clouds will be gone and it will be a new day. Along the way in life, things are almost guaranteed to go wrong, but the good must be taken with the bad. The good will be accepted gratefully, and the bad will be dealt with aptly.

But as he drifted off to sleep in the care of one he knew he could trust, he somehow knew that things would work out in the end.

It's too late


To drag the past out

Into the light.

We're one

But we're not the same.