The Red Uniform

- short one shot story. Just how did Lacus get that Zaft uniform for Kira?

"Are you sure this is a good idea Lacus?" Kira asked from the back of the Clyne family car as he cautiously peeked out the window. Even though there was zero chance of his being recognized as an enemy pilot, Kira still could not shake that nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach.

"Yes, yes. There are no worries," she said with a smile, waving off Kira's concern. Her robotic pet, Haro, bounced around inside the car, shouting 'no problem!'

The drive was short. As the car pulled into the drive of a gated apartment complex, Lacus rolled down her window to talk to the gate's guard, an elderly man, whom easily recognized Lacus.

"Well, greetings Miss Clyne," he said with a smile. "What brings you all the way here? Young Zala hasn't been in."

"Oh, no worries. I had left something here and needed to pick it up," she replied cheerfully. Kira had no idea how she could lie so sweetly. "My friend and I will only be a minute."

"Of course Miss Clyne," the guard grinned as he flipped the switch that opened the gate.

"Thank you," Lacus said as the car pulled through.

"Athrun lives here?" Kira asked after she had rolled her window back up.

"Yes. Since Chairman Zala spends most of his time either on base or in his office, there was no sense in getting an actual house," she explains. "So the Chairman rented an apartment here. He only visits from time to time, and allows Athrun to rest here when he's off duty."

Kira could only nod his head in agreement as he stared out the window to look at the rows of apartments, a simple layout of tall house-like buildings, about three stories high. They were whitewashed with a dark roof. Kira could also see solid steps that rose to each story.

All at once, the idea struck Kira that perhaps it was something else that was making him feel uneasy at the moment.

"This should only take a minute anyways," Lacus said, interrupting Kira's thoughts. After the car parked she opened her door. "Would you like to come inside?"

"Oh, yes," he said as he climbed out of the car to join her.

They only had to climb one set of stairs to reach the Zala's apartment on the second story. The red door looked scuffed and beat up at the bottom, as if someone had kicked it open many times.

"Athrun usually has his hands full when he gets home, but I wonder if he's aware of how mistreated his door is," Lacus scoffed, unlocking the door with a simple key.

The door opened up into a white walled foray that led into a living room with adjoining kitchen. Kira was surprised at how much bigger it seemed on the inside. Glancing around the living room, Kira couldn't help but notice the thick array of dust that settled on the counters and tables. Obviously it had been a while since either Zala had called this place home.

"This way," Lacus called as she moved across the living room to another hall, leading to three different doors. One door, which was wide opened, showed a clean bathroom.

"This one is Athrun's room, come on," she urged again to the last door in the hall. Kira assumed that the second door next to the bathroom must be Patrick Zala's.

Athrun's room was bright, the curtains having been left open. From what Kira could tell, Athrun maintained a neatness through out the living space. Two simple desks in the corner comprised a small workspace. He couldn't help but smile at the site of another unfinished Haro on one of the tables, its parts lined up neatly next to it.

Muttering to herself, Lacus went to the room's closet. Sliding the door open and turning on a light, she began to push some of the hanging clothes inside.

Turning away from the desks, something caught Kira's eye.

Hanging on the wall by the door was a pencil board, pictures were pinned all across it. Moving closer, Kira noticed that a few of the pictures were of when he and Athrun were younger. Fond memories of childhood on Copernicus flooded Kira, making his heart clench.

If he were ever to face Athrun again...Kira didn't know what would happen. He sincerely hoped that they could patch up their friendship. Yet even as he had that thought, his eyes settled on photos of Athrun with other Zaft pilots, and a sense of guilt washed over him.

Where any of those smiling faces gone because of him?

He felt a soft touch on his shoulder.

Kira turned to see Lacus standing there, a soft yet sad smile on her face. Without having to hear her thoughts, Kira smiled back.

"Did you at least find what you came here looking for?" he asked.

"Yes, we can leave now," she said, holding her prize tightly. "Here, hurry and get ready. You have a flight to catch."

"Do you think Athrun is going to wonder where it went?"

"Don't worry," she said sweetly. "I left a note saying that he can always get it back later."


Some time later...

Athrun tiredly trudged up the stairs to his apartment. Numbness filled his head, helping to quiet the confusing thoughts. After just returning back to the Plants he was shipping out again, straightaway. To retrieve the stolen mobile suit Freedom.

After unlocking the door, he kicked it open in irritation.

And for Lacus of all people to be the traitor that let the mobile suit be taken? Athrun just couldn't fathom his fiancé's intent or even the reasoning behind it. His ex-fiancé, as his father put it.

He tossed the keys on to the kitchen's counter and shrugged his boots off. As he traveled down the hall he pulled off his jacket, wincing when he stained his injured arm.

Taking a moment, he sniffed the coat, crinkling his nose slightly. He'll have to send his uniform off to be cleaned before he goes. However, he didn't have the pleasure of waiting around for his uniform to be cleaned. Luckily, he kept a spare here for just those reasons.

Tossing the dirty jacket on to his bed, he let out a sigh of exhaustion as he opened his small traveling case. If he repacked quickly enough he may have time for a small nap before his departure.

It took him a minute to realize that his closet was open. The light shinning brightly into the dim room.

Dumbfounded, Athrun wondered if it was possible that he left it like that.

"Well, I need to get into the closet anyways," he said to himself as he walked over. Pushing his civilian clothes aside, he looked for his spare uniform.

"Huh," he muttered curiously as he noticed his uniform wasn't in its usual spot. "Did I misplace it?" He began to slide each hanger to one side, hoping to spot the hiding uniform.

"The hell..." he muttered more loudly, as he began to pull the clothes out of the closet. Irritated and confused, Athrun stared dumbfounded at the piles of clothes and the empty closet.

"Lacus..." he grumbled as he noticed the pink envelope on the bare floor of the closet.


Helen's notes –

Just a short one. But it was fun. I love to tease Athrun. :3