It's alive! I finally got this chapter up. This would have been up a lot sooner but I had issues with beta readers. My old one for this went AWOL but I kinda knew it was going to happen. Normally I would have defaulted to my sister NamiNavigator but she isn't really into this sort of thing. She gave it a go but yeah not her thing. Anyway I eventually realized (Earlier today) that I could have my brother (Drachir626) do it. so here it is people. Chapter 11.
As usual I do not own Gundam Seed (Or very much else either)
Matthias let out a sigh of relief as he watched the arrowhead shape of the Menelaus as they pulled along side it. The rest of the bridge crew shared the same sentiments. After all their trails up to this point they were now in a place of relative safety amidst the Eighth fleet.
He couldn't help but smile as everyone on the bridge congratulated each other, Though he himself stayed quiet. Something told him that this was just a brief respite on a journey that was far from over.
Instead he thought about the voice he heard from the ship. He had a good idea what it was he just needed to confirm it. He reached out with his mind trying to hear the voice again but found nothing except for a flash of satisfaction, but that vanished as soon as he found it.
Letting out a sigh he stopped his sweep. 'Another time maybe.' He thought before leaving the bridge.
Kira exited the Strike to find Lacus waiting for him again.
"Kira." Said the pinkette softly clearly concerned. "Are you ok?"
The brunette smiled wearily. "Yeah. Just tired."
Suddenly another voice interjected. "Lacus, relax. You don't have to restrain yourself and I doubt Kira will mind." Yelled a grease covered Riyu as she emerged from the open torso of the Defender.
Kira looked confused if only for the moment before Lacus took her friends advice and threw her arms around him in a tight embrace.
The brunette took a moment to overcome his shock and arrest their momentum against the Strike before returning the embrace.
"I'm glad you're ok." Said Lacus quietly her head pressed tightly against Kira's chest.
"I'm glad I could keep you safe." Replied the brunette as she stroked Lacus's bubblegum pink hair.
As that was happening Matthias entered the hanger. Seeing the pair he smiled before pushing off towards the Defender. Where he was met by a very messy, but grinning, Riyu.
"So. How's it going?" Asked the blond smirking slightly at his girlfriend's appearance.
Riyu smirked back. "Aww not even a hello hug or kiss for me." She teased.
Matthias chuckled. "Maybe once you've had a shower." He replied.
His brunette girlfriend raised an eyebrow with a slightly suggestive smirk.
"Or I could just get my hug and kiss now and you could join me in the shower."
Matthias shuddered to a halt as his brain processed what she had just implied. Fortunately he managed to get back into gear before he lost to himself.
"Tempting but we'll be busy soon." Riyu pouted at him. "Anyway back to where we were. How is it going?"
Riyu rolled her eyes she'd have to get him to let loose a bit more. "Nearly done, no thanks to Arnolds driving, but he should be ready in about an hour." She replied placing her hand against the Defenders torso.
"Good to know. The Gottfreids are cool and all but they're a bit limited."
Ha looked over to where Kira and Lacus were still embracing and assuring each other that they were ok.
"They're progressing well." Matthias commented offhandedly.
Riyu turned to look down as well. "Yeah." She said with a warm smile. "When do you think they'll kiss?" She asked.
"Not long after the Archangel arrives on earth." Answered the blond teen.
Riyu turned to him with a curious look.
"You say that as if they are going to stay on the Archangel."
Matthias pushed back leaning against the Defender with his arms crossed.
"Something tells me they will." He said looking back at them. "That said we'll just have to wait and see."
"What about you?" Asked Riyu after a moment of silence.
Matthias jerked his attention back to his girlfriend. "Huh? Me? I'm staying with the Archangel. As long as I stay with it I feel I can help end the war."
The brunette girl leant back and smiled. "I guess I know where I'm going then."
Matthias turned serious. "Yeah back to…" He was cut off by an angry Riyu pining him to the armour of his Gundam.
"Don't even suggest leaving me behind or I'll kick you into next week." She growled.
"It's only going to get more dangerous from here. You could get hurt even killed!" Matthias snapped back.
"So could you!"
"I can't lose anyone else!"
That one Riyu didn't have a counter for.
"I've had so many people die around me. Too many friends. If you died I… I wouldn't have any reason to live anymore." Muttered the suddenly vulnerable looking young man.
Riyu took a deep breath and pulled him into a hug.
"I understand. You need me. Like I need you. That's why my place is by your side so we can be there for each other."
She felt her boyfriend relax against her and smiled. Underneath it all he was the most vulnerable of everyone on the ship.
Glancing around she made sure no one had seen his breakdown, or at least had ignored it, and noticed that everyone from Heliopolis plus Mr Allstar had entered the hanger.
Feeling Matthias shift brought her attention back to him as he leaned back to look her in the eye.
"I haven't said it properly yet but I love you." He said before leaning into a kiss that was quickly reciprocated.
"And I love you." Replied the brunette once they had separated.
Matthias looked down at his now greasy clothes. "Well so much for avoiding that shower." He muttered
Riyu giggled at her boyfriends state.
"Well lets get cleaned up then. Well after seeing what's going on." She said indicating the group that had entered which Kira, Lacus Mu and the Captain had now joined.
"Sounds like a plan." Said Matthias wrapping an arm round Riyu waist and pushing off towards everyone else.
Kira and Lacus were in the middle of being bombarded by questions about Kira's performance when the official couple joined them.
Thankfully that halted the questions as everyone greeted the pair.
"Ok guys let Kira have a little space. We won't get any answers if we swarm him." Said Riyu once the greetings were done.
Everyone backed off a little and Kira shot his fellow brunette a thankful look.
"Wait doesn't Matthias have any idea what happened?" Asked Tolle causing everyone to turn to the visibly drained blond.
"Only theories nothing particularly concrete." Replied the coordinator genius. He then looked at Kira. "All I can say is it was some kind of berserker state. And it seemed to be brought on by a direct threat to the Archangel. Particularly a desire to protect those onboard." He glanced over at Kira's friends from Heliopolis then at Lacus. "Possibly one above the others." He added with a tired smile getting the desired blush from both Kira and Lacus.
"Does that sound right to you Kira?" He finished.
"Yeah. Everything seemed to slow down around me and my head became clear. It was weird as it sort of felt like I wasn't in complete control."
Matthias nodded as everyone processes what had been said.
"No comment on the trigger then?" Teased Riyu getting another blush from the younger teen.
Matthias chuckled. "Enough now Riyu. Anyway, on another note. You all need to ask yourself a question? What are you going to do now. Me and Riyu already know what we're going to do. Now it's up to you to decide. Stay on this ship or go home." He said Seriously. Before pushing away with his girlfriend.
"He has a point. Said Sai pushing up his glasses.
Tolle nodded. "Yeah but why didn't they tell us what they decided?" He asked.
"Because they do not wish to influence you decisions." Answered Lacus calmly Mr pink chatting away in her hands.
There was a noticeable pause.
"I think we all need some time to come to a decision. And were not going to do that here." Said Mir acting as the voice of reason.
There was nods all round before everyone went their separate ways.
A short while later, Canteen.
The Heliopolis volunteers minus kira and plus flay sat in silence as they thought about their next moves.
"So has anyone come to a decision yet?" Asked Tolle to break the silence.
Flay raised her hand. "Me and my father have. He needs to get to Alaska and I wish to go with him so we will be remaining aboard."
Everyone else nodded.
"I understand." Said Sai.
Silence descended for a moment before Tolle spoke. "I don't know for certain but I think Matthias and Riyu are staying."
There were several exclamations of surprise from the others.
"I agreed." Said Sai. "Matthias said he wants to end this war. Staying on this ship puts him in a lot better position than going to Orb."
The others nodded.
"And Riyu will go with him." Added Flay.
"Yeah." Murmured Miriallia. "What about Kira though?" She asked suddenly.
A series of shrugs went round the table.
"I think he might stay. Or he wants to." Said Kuzzey finally adding his own thoughts.
Everyone looked at the black haired teen.
"Explain?" Asked Sai.
Kuzzey shifted uncomfortably not liking being the center of attention.
"I-I think he wants to stay and help Matthias but there's Lacus." He said.
"And he wants to get her home and he can't really do that on the ship." Surmised Tolle.
"So it depends on Lacus then." Mused Sai. Holding his chin.
Miriallia and Flay shared a glance at that.
"He'll probably be staying then." Said Flay.
Everyone now looked at the redhead. "What makes you say that?" Asked Tolle.
"Womans intuition." Said Mir with a smirk.
Realizing they weren't going to get a straight answer from the girls the others decided to drop it.
Any further discussion was cut off as Natarles voice came over the intercom calling everyone to the hanger to greet Admiral Halburton.
In the hanger.
Everyone was lined up together. Though Matthias and Riyu stood slightly to one side with Flay, her father and Lacus as they were not part of the official crew.
Marrue stepped forward from the officers as the shuttle door opened and everyone saluted.
Out of the shuttle stepped la large mustached man in full EA uniform complete with cap. His rank bars showed him to be an admiral.
Once here cleared the door. A few other officers, presumably his staff, followed him out.
Upon seeing Marrue the admiral smiled and returned her salute. "When I heard about Heliopolis I feared the worst. I'm glad you could make it Lieutenant Ramius."
"Likewise Sir." Murrue turned to the volunteers.
"These are the students from Heliopolis who volunteered to help with the running of the ship. We wouldn't have made it this far without them."
The admiral nodded and walked up to the teens. "We've done some checking on your families and everyone safe." Happy murmurs ran through the group of teens. "I'd like to talk to you later."
The large man began to move away only to pause. "Ah yes before I forget is there a Riyu Takama amongst you."
Everyone turned to the girl in question who ducked behind Matthias slightly when she suddenly became the center of attention.
Admiral Halburton chuckled slightly at her reaction. "I must say I'm rather surprised your sister said you would probably be assisting with work on the ship."
Assured by the Admirals warm tone the brunette girl stepped out from behind her boyfriend. "I am assisting Sir. But as Matthias's mechanic rather than as part of the actual crew. Was there anything else Nizumi wanted you to tell me?"
Halburton smiled noting the closeness between Riyu and Matthias.
"Just that she's worried about you and to come home with the rest of the Refugees."
Riyu frowned. "I'm afraid that's not going to happen." She said with a hard edge to her voice as she intertwined her fingers with Matthias's.
"I see." The mustached man then turned to Matthias.
"Matthias Rynar. Your reputation precedes you. Though I must say I never expected something like this." He said nodding at the couples interlocked hands.
"To be honest Sir. Neither did I it just sort of happened."
Lewis Halburton nodded in understanding.
"That is usually the case with matters of the heart. I would really appreciate it if we could talk later." He finished moving to head off.
"Admiral Halburton Sir." Matthias called out before he could go. Causing the mustached officer to look back.
"I'd like to make a request for some communication and encryption equipment." The young man looked at Riyu then over to Lacus. "There are some people who have calls to make."
Halburton looked over at Lacus and his eyes widened slightly in recognition but he didn't comment.
"I'll see what I can do." He said, sharing a nod with Mr Allstar before heading off for a meeting with the Archangels officers.
Once the officers were gone Flay decided to tease the pair a little using what she had heard after the last battle as ammunition.
"I see your both nice and clean did you two enjoy your shower together?" She asked. Expecting some reaction from the pair. However she did not expect the sudden nuclear blushes the pair now sported. It was almost as if…
"Wait you guys actually showered together I thought it was playful banter?"
Matthias scratched the back of his head smiling awkwardly. "It sort of was but…" He trailed off.
"I kind of dragged him in. Though I don't think he minded." Finished Riyu smiling broadly at her boyfriend.
Matthias just smiled back. "Why would I mind being anywhere with you." He flirted back.
Flay couldn't help but blush at the mental image of the couple naked in the shower.
Then he brain got into gear and she realized that with a hormonal teenage couple in a shower there was no way that they kept to 'just' having a shower.
Looking at the couple more closely she realized that despite their embarrassment and having just talked to an Admiral. Matthias was noticeably more relaxed than normal and Riyu had a slight satisfied glow to her face.
She also noticed that Riyu was moving rather stiffly around her hips.
Flays conclusion made her go even redder.
"You two actually did it." She muttered quietly in surprise.
The couples awkward silence said everything.
"Erm wow… This is… a lot more awkward than I intended it to be." Flay said quietly.
"I'll. Erm… I'll just be going now." Said the red head moving away from the pair.
Flay nearly made a clean escape but was headed off by a curious looking Mir who had clearly seen the exchange.
The red-haired girl let out a slight groan. She really didn't want to deal with this.
The Archangels officers and Admiral Halburton, and his aide, sat in a small meeting room.
Halburton opened proceedings.
"Well first things first I'd like to congratulate you on getting this far. There were many who thought you wouldn't make it. I must admit for a time I wasn't sure you would either."
The admiral leant his elbows on the table and interlocked his fingers. "However the loss of the escort fleet means we have no replacement pilots for you. Though we do have supplies. With that said there will be no extra additions to your crew. Though we will be including a third Skygrasper on top of the two we originally planned."
"We understand Sir." Said Lt. Ramius.
"Ok what's the next order of business?" Asked the Admiral.
"The Heliopolis volunteers Sir." Offered Natarle. "Plus Mr Rynar."
Halburtons aide stepped forward. "We've already thought about that. It is actually illegal for civilians to take part in combat. To circumvent that we decided to treat them as official military volunteers. I have brought discharge papers should they choose to leave."
Ensign Badjirule added her thoughts. "Sir if I might make an observation. Kira Yamato, though a Civilian and a Coordinator, was a major asset to us when piloting the strike. I recommend."
"Ensign!" Both Marrue and Halbuton admonished.
The Admiral gazed levelly at Natarle. "While you have a point you seem to have forgotten that we are fighting so civilians don't have to. If Kira Yamato decides to stay on this Archangel it will be his decision and his alone. Understood?"
Officers quarters – Kira nd Lacus's room.
As the officers were meeting Kira lay sidwards on his bed thinking. To be honest he wanted to stay on the Archangel helping Matthias to end the war and keeping the crew safe. However Lacus needed to get home and he wanted to help her do that as well.
There was a hiss from the door as the pink haired girl walked in.
"Hey Lacus." He greeted.
"Hello Kira." She replied. However she then noticed his troubled and thoughtful expression.
"Kira are you ok?" She asked softly.
The brunette rolled on to his back. "Yeah. Just thinking!" He replied.
Lacus was many things but she was far from stupid. She had an idea of what he was thinking about.
"You want to stay on the Archangel don't you?" It was more a statement than a question.
Kira tried to deny it. "No I have to take you home."
Lacus frowned. "Don't lie to me." She said sounding hurt. "You want to stay and help Matthias don't you?"
Kira realized that it would be pointless lying to her anymore. She knew him too well already. He allowed himself an inner smile at that thought. Sitting up he looked at the pinkette.
"I do… Bur you need to get home to your father," He said.
Lacus smiled, stepped forwards and placed her hands on either side of his face.
"Going home can wait. Staying on this ship can't. I don't want you to help me if you will regret not staying on this ship for the rest of your life."
Kira would have made a response if Lacus hadn't placed her finger on his lips to stop him.
"I know what you're going to say and I'm fine with it. Matthias is setting up a long range radio in the hangar for me and Riyu to use." She allowed herself to smile. "At least he's supposed to be when I left he was complaining about how bad the encryption software was."
That made Kira smile as well. A moment passed and the smiles became giggles and then full-blown laughs dispelling the tension between the two.
Once they calmed down they faced each other blushing at how close they were to each other they now were. However neither moved away.
Carefully but deliberately Kira reached forward and slowly pulled Lacus into and embrace.
"I'm really glad to have met you." Said the brunette holding her close both as a thanks and comfort.
"I'm glad to have met you too." Lacus replied moving closer into the embrace.
Eventually they moved apart and move to sit on their appropriate beds.
"You're staying on the Archangel then?" Asked the pinkette. It wasn't really necessary but she had to make sure.
"Yes. I'm staying. To help Matthias end this war."
Lacus's smile grew wider. "I'm glad."
Later back in the hangar.
Matthias had finished moaning about the poor quality of the encryption software on the device that he'd been provided and was now actually working on getting the long-range communications gear to work. He'd briefly thought about notifying the Captain about this little project of his but decided that wouldn't be necessary till it came to hooking it up to the ship.
The Hangar was mostly empty maintenance was finished so he was left alone with Cyrus to work as Riyu had gone off to see the others.
The sound of the door opening made him look up to see Kira enter the hangar and kick off towards the Strike. The sudden noise and motion made Cyrus take off from his perch on his creators shoulder
The blonde coordinator noticed an air of assurance and determination that surrounded his friend and smiled.
He turned back to his work only to be interrupted by the door opening again less than a minute later.
This time it was Admiral Halburton that entered followed by an aide. Realizing that the large man as there to talk to him he placed down the pliers and collection of wires that were in his hand. While Cyrus chose that moment to land again this time with the various parts and seemed to begin organizing them.
"You don't waste time I see." Said The Admiral looking at the various parts with wires sticking out of them that sat on a magnetic plate to prevent them floating around in the micro gravity.
"I never do when it comes to those close to me." Mathias Replied as he stood up.
Halburton frowned slightly.
"I apologize if this offends you but I can't imagine there being many people you consider close to you."
The psychic fixed the Admiral with an intense look. "5." He said before looking over at the Defender.
"There are 5 people I consider close to me, and one of them may or may not be dead."
"Your sister I assume."
Matthias's head snapped to the Admiral again and Cyrus paused for a moment. "You've done your research I see."
Matthias turned back to the Defender and Cyrus returned to his fiddling with the parts. "Riyu, Kira and Lacus. The last one I'll keep to myself.' He half muttered then almost reluctantly turned to face the Admiral once again.
That aside what are you here to tell me or ask. I can't imagine you being here for a talk… Actually I can but I don't think that's why you are here."
Halburton allowed himself a small smile at the young mans rapid change in tone.
"Perceptive of you. Well I will be direct. I want you to be the Archangel's CAG."
Matthias nearly choked on air. "What? You serious?" His exclamation had Cyrus take to the air again.
Halburtons expression remained passive.
"Damn you are serious. Wouldn't La Flaga be a better choice though? He is more experienced."
The Admiral shook his head. "With Mobile Armors and Fighters, yes. With Mobile Suits, no. Which is why I chose you."
"I still not sure you have the right person. I mean I haven't used team based tactics since I went through Mobile Suit training, besides I'm a mercenary not a soldier."
Halburton wasn't sure if the young man didn't think he was good enough to take the position or just didn't want to. Hoping it was the former he pressed on.
"We both know the first one isn't true. I read the report on your first tangle with both the Le Creuset and Green Teams. It may have been a modification of Lt. La Flaga's strategy but you showed considerable grasp of team based combat. As for being a mercenary. That is the reason why I'm asking you rather than ordering you to take this position. And in my opinion being a mercenary counts for little in what I think of you. I believe you are trustworthy. "
Matthias looked the admiral in the eye the glow within his own eyes dancing reflecting his uncertainty.
Carefully he reached out and brushed the admirals consciousness. He found no deceit only belief and trust.
"You believe in me. So I will believe in you who believes in me. I'll take the position."
The mustached man smiled. "Glad to hear it. I'll have it organized shortly. Now do you know where I can find Kira Yamato. I'd like to talk to him next."
Matthias pointed up by the head of the strike as Cyrus decided stopped wheeling around about them coming to land back on the blonds shoulder.
Spotting the teen Halburton nodded his thanks and left Matthias to his work.
Kira was looking at the face of the Machine that had become his partner when Halburton floated up by him.
"Suddenly feeling nostalgic now things are almost over?" Asked the Admiral.
Kira looked over at the large man and shook his head with a smile.
"More like properly introducing myself and asking for his help in the future." Replied the violet-eyed teen.
Haburtons eyes widened. "I see. I did not expect you to be willing to continue fighting. Are you sure you have the will to do it."
Kira looked back at the Strike.
"I'm sure. Matthias wants to end this war. I want to give him all the help I can in achieving that."
"Interesting. Any other reasons?"
"There will be people on this ship I want to protect. I have a feeling my friends will stay to help as well."
The Admiral smiled. It seemed his concern was completely unwarranted.
"I'm glad to hear that I'll have someone reliable to my command." Said Matthias floating up to the two. Cyrus apparently had stayed with the parts of the transmitter array.
"Command?" Asked Kira
"I'm to be the Archangel's Commander Air Group. So all pilots will be under my command. His doing." He replied jerking his had in the Admirals direction.
Kira could only stare at his friend in surprise.
"One thing I forgot to ask. I assume I'll be given a rank to go with the position?" Halburton nodded. "Yes. I'm glad you remembered. You will have the rank of Commander. Lieutenants Ramius and La Flaga as well as Ensign Badgiruel will all be promoted as well. "Ramius to Captain, La Flaga to Commander and Badgiruel to Lieutenant. On ship you and La Flaga will be equal in rank off ship you have seniority. That included ground deployment. Seeing as you have more experience in that area than some of our special forces operatives. Any other questions?"
Matthias manage to bite back the comment he had about why he had more experience the EA Special Forces. He'd encountered their supposed best unit while on the run once. He didn't like to remember the incident but the casualty rate was very one-sided. Last he heard the survivors were all undergoing treatment for various severe post traumatic psychological disorders.
Instead he had a question that would ensure Riyu's place by his side. Though he couldn't say he was too happy about it.
"I'd like to register Riyu as part of my Mercenary unit as a mechanic. That is all."
Halburton nodded. "I'll have the paperwork sorted."
A moment later Halburtons aide glided up to call him away.
"It seems my time talking to you is over. May you both live to see the dawn of a better era."
As the Admiral moved away Matthias called after him. "Of course I will see it for I intend to create it."
As he continued towards the exit Halburton turned around and saluted the teens.
Kira immediately returned it Matthias did not. He new it wasn't necessary not after his declaration.
Once Halburton vanished out the door Kira turned to his friend.
"So CAG and a Commander huh." Said the brunette.
Matthias let out a sigh. "Yeah. To be honest I didn't really want the position. However the truth is I'm the best person for the job. Also holding rank has its advantages particularly considering I'll outrank Ms. Badgirule"
Kira came to attention. "If that is the case then I look forward to working with you Commander."
A bemused smile formed on the blonds face.
"It isn't official yet, but same to you Ensign." He replied returning the salute.
The sound of the door opening again brought their attention back down to the hangar. This time it was the group of Kira's friends that had become known as the Heliopolis volunteers that entered.
"Up here guys!" Yelled Matthias when it became clear that the group was having trouble seeing them.
Almost as one the group kicked up to glide up to them.
"Hey Kira we've been looking all over for you." Said Tolle.
Mir looked between Kira and Matthias. "I hope we didn't interrupt anything."
The two shook their heads. "Not really." Assured the blond psychic.
Tolle moved forward to hand Kira a sheet of paper.
"Discharge papers?" Questioned the violet-eyed teen on reading the sheet.
"Yeah you'll need it in order to leave the ship. It's something about civilians not being allowed to participate in combat by law."
Kira glanced at Matthias who just smiled slightly and nodded.
Without any ceremony the brunette tore the piece of paper in half. Much to the shock of the Heliopolis volunteers. Minus Mir.
"I assume Lacus had a talk with you." Said the aqua eyed girl in question.
Kira blushed slightly. "Yeah. She did. Said I should do what I want now as she can go home later."
Now the others understood why he was staying.
Then the Captains voice came over the radio ordering everyone to standby positions.
There it's done. ETA on the next chapter is completely up in the air. I'll try but I keep getting ideas for my other stories (Or new ones) and none for this so it will be slow going but I will not give up.
On a side now I now have Xbox Live so if you see Mathias OSX on halo 4 or Armoured Core V that's me.
Please leave a review.