Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Seed
”There you are.” Shinn looked up to find the others all waiting for him. Sending him to deliver that message had taken far longer than expected, as Cagalli’s outburst had made sure to point out. “Took you long enough,” she complained.
“Yeah, well, they weren’t there, so I had to wait around for them.”
“They weren’t there?” Cagalli was quite surprised by this. Surprised… and suspicious.
“Well, Lacus was, but I had to wait around for Kira. I guess he went to get the tickets alone, and sent her up to wait for him.”
“I guess… that sounds like something he would do.”
“So, did you tell him?” Athrun asked in an effort to get things moving.
“Uh, yeah, they know.”
“How’d they take the news?” Cagalli quizzically enquired. She knew how Kira didn’t exactly approve of her choice in friends.
“Well, Kira was acting kind of strangely, actually.”
“Is there a problem?” Athrun asked, getting strait to the point once more. He was apparently in the midst of a serious moment. He was known to have them from time to time, most commonly whilst in the absence of Kira and Cagalli.
“It’ll be fine,” Cagalli predicted. “Kira just doesn’t like the guys joining us very much, that’s all, nothing to worry about. He’ll get over it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, come on, we don’t want to waste any more time, do we?” With all said and done, Cagalli broke out of the line their positions had assembled and walked into the theatre, surprisingly full. She hadn’t expected so many people.
She found a seat in the first third of the cinema with one empty seat adjacent, where Stella joined her. Athrun and Shinn however, were forced to sit further toward the back. It didn’t cross their minds how odd it was for empty seats to be located in the back, as opposed to the front.
“There are a lot of people here,” Shinn commented to the bluenette beside him. “I really didn’t think a low budget movie like this would attract so much attention.”
“It’s the director,” Athrun replied. “He has a devoted cult following, and then there’s what Rensque said.”
“You know, about this movie being pulled soon. Maybe it’s not common knowledge, but if people were to find out, they would want to hurry and see it while they still can, wouldn’t they? It makes sense, in a way.”
“Maybe.” They weren’t able to continue their conversation further, for at that moment, the lights dimmed and the trailers began to roll.
Up ahead, Cagalli and Stella sat side by side, waiting for the movie to actually start. While some people liked to watch all the previews and trailers for the other movies, Cagalli was not one of those people.
That didn’t go to say that trailers were utterly pointless, however. They did have their merits, particularly when they directed one to a further interesting or intriguing film choice. Thankfully, a little thought was put into them. Certain trailers were chosen to preview in certain types of films. After all, there was little point showing an adult trailer in a children’s movie or vice versa. There would be little marketing value in such tactless action, save for the parents that might be in the audience, for whom the trailer might just have made a slight impact, though whether this impact would be positive or negative would depend entirely on circumstance, as well as the tastes and acceptability threshold of the individual parent.
As the trailers came to an end and the opening credits began to roll, Cagalli sat patiently and waited for the customary bloody opening sequence of the film to unfurl. The downside to these movies was that they all followed the same formulae, well, most of them did. There were maybe one or two writers and directors who saw a reason to be original. These movies were akin to action, in that after the first act so to speak, they always took so long to get into the main story; unlike the movie Kira and Lacus were subjecting themselves to at this very moment. Those movies were so boring they were usually over before anything even happened.
Cagalli’s lip turned upward at the thought. That girl couldn’t pick good movies at all, not like Cagalli could.
Then again, not everyone shared Cagalli’s particular taste in movies. Kira, for instance, tended to prefer… well, everything that Cagalli didn’t. It was like he had something against adventure. He never wanted to see action, or thrillers, or horror. It didn’t matter. Sometimes they were so different it was hard to believe they were siblings at all, let alone twins… not that twins were usually completely identical. Not even clones were that similar, or so the girl had been told.
In another darkened cinema, a silver haired youth made his way down to his seat, his arms laden with various sugar-filled delicacies. He traversed the central isle that parted the seats all the way down to the front of the room where resided the large screen.
Yzak found his row and pushed past a few disgruntled movie-goers, streams of unsung curse-words dancing on the tip of his tongue all the while. Not only did they not bother to move their legs from his path, they even managed to find the indignant nerve to complain about his very presence. God damned hypocrisy, that’s what it was. Damn them and their two-faced double-standards. Damn this cinema and its snack-bar. Damn Lacus for being here. Damn Fllay for caring. Damn himself for allowing his new suddenly-bossy girlfriend to talk him into seeing this movie at this time. They should have come earlier, or later.
One thing he did notice however, Lacus and that brown haired guy she had recently attached herself to were nowhere to be seen. He hoped they hadn’t been too offended by Fllay. Yzak knew she could be a little bitter when bringing up old relationships, and it wasn’t that other guy’s fault… at least, not entirely. He and Fllay would have played equal parts in it. A break-up was never entirely one person’s fault.
He felt a little bad for Lacus, however. Just by being with Fllay’s ex-boyfriend, she’d become a scapegoat, a target. And Yzak knew from experience that the pink haired girl was a delicate fruit, and one that, to say it nicely, was without the thickest of skins.
It was honestly none of his business. There was once a time when Athrun, Lacus, and Yzak were all part of the same clique, but that was seemingly long ago. Now she and Athrun barely spoke with him. These days, Yzak was only privileged to the company of Fllay, her closest friend – a brunette going by the name of Miriallia, and Dearka, the fourth member of the old group.
Curious, it was as though Athrun and Lacus had been effectively replaced by Fllay and Miriallia; but even more curious, was that Miriallia and Dearka had seemingly gotten together. Yzak certainly hadn’t seen it coming. Then again, there was no denying that Dearka was the ‘funny guy’ of the group. Yzak had always been slightly envious of that fact, not that he’d ever admit it aloud, of course. Many girls tended to drift toward that kind of guy, didn’t they?
So what, Athrun and Dearka may have been given charm and humor, but Yzak prided himself on being leader of the pack, so to speak. He decided where they went and what they did. The only problem was, with the other two constantly sneaking off, Yzak was left with only Fllay to keep him company. While that in itself was hardly a bad thing, it was a symptom of the true problem.
Yzak’s group was falling apart, threatening to disband on a semi-daily basis.
Pushing his worldly concerns about group dynamics, or their lack thereof, to the back of his mind, Yzak bit back several more curse words at the hissed complaints he was receiving from both his row and the one behind, and closed the gap back to his place beside his girlfriend with the red hair.
She watched him with amusement, his distress seemingly more entertaining than the movie they were supposed to be watching right now. The redhead smiled when Yzak had finally managed to make his awkward way over to join her.
“I didn’t know what you wanted,” Yzak explained as the girl ran a curious eye over his purchases, “so I got a few things. I don’t want to have to go back for more.”
“It looks like you got everything they had,” Fllay commented.
“Not quite,” Yzak replied.
Fllay smiled amusedly, while their ears were suddenly penetrated with a loud, sharp, seemingly thoroughly exhaustive “sshhh!” Yzak refrained from doing anything that would get him kicked out of the cinema as he passed several bagged treats in Fllay’s direction and settled himself back into his seat, trying to make himself comfortable to watch the movie. He had already missed the start, but he hadn’t been gone too long, so he can’t have missed much, all things considered.
“Yzak, you didn’t have to do all this,” Fllay whispered, to which the silvery haired youth gave an exasperated sigh.
“I don’t like being used, Fllay.”
“What do you mean,” the redhead innocently asked.
“Admit it. You were just trying to compete with Lacus, weren’t you? That’s why you sent me out there. You didn’t care what I brought you, you just wanted to show me off like a big house or a flash car.”
“No… Actually, I wanted to have a private conversation with that girl. If she’d have played along, I could have.”
“That amounts to the same thing, Fllay. She’s an old friend of mine. I don’t care what grudge you have against that other guy, but leave them be. Lacus isn’t nearly as strong as you, physically or emotionally. She’s the kind of girl who takes offense easily and is depressed and terrorized by cyber-bullying… and no, that’s not a suggestion.”
“So, in other words, she’s one of those insecure, needy, clingy types whom need constant reassurance?”
“Just leave her alone, okay? As a favor to me?”
“I think you should be more concerned with keeping me happy, Yzak, I think I’m jealous of this other girl.” Yzak sighed once more and looked to the movie screen, if not to watch the movie, then at least for the distraction, for something to look at. “But… I’ll do it. I’ll leave them alone from now on.”
“Both of them?”
“Yes,” the redhead quietly huffed, “…for you,” she added in a much more feminine and affectionate manner.”
“Don’t mention it, but I want you to do something for me in return.”
“That’s fine,” Yzak replied, glad that she was being reasonable on the matter. A returned favor was the least she could ask for. “What do you want me to do?”
“How about you shut the hell up,” someone from behind suggested, in that same exhaustive, hushed whisper-type voice. Fllay smirked in amusement at the indignant suggestion, while Yzak narrowed his eyes and grit his teeth in blind fury at the maddening arrogance and annoyance of the people behind them.
“I don’t know yet,” Fllay said, thoughtfully pondering her boyfriend’s question. “I’ll come up with something later on.”
“Alright,” Yzak quietly whispered. “I guess I’ll owe you one then.”
“I guess you will,” Fllay smiled, passing back one of the plastic bags containing confectionaries, offering him the sour gummy-worms, her eyes transfixed upon the movie screen all the while as she did so.
“Oh god.” Shinn cringed as a head dropped to the floor, blood spraying from the new cadaver’s severed neckline as it fell.
“You scared?” Athrun whispered in teasing fashion.
“No, but… this is pretty sick.”
“Maybe,” Athrun considered. “I’m actually used to this kind of thing.”
“You would be, hanging around with Cagalli as much as you do.” The two were sitting in a relatively vacant portion of cinema, so as long as they made sure to keep their voices down, they didn’t have to worry too much about disturbing other people with their talking. “So, what does she see in this kind of thing, anyway?” Athrun shrugged.
“Some people like violence. It’s just their taste. Just like some people are put off by offensive language and graphic content.”
“Don’t tell me you’re giving the blonde degenerate over there the moral high ground.”
“No, and I’m not taking sides. I’m just saying. You shouldn’t push your personal tastes on her, or anyone else.”
“Maybe you should tell her that.”
“Yes… it’s a lesson that she also needs to learn. I think she was a little too hard on Lacus.”
“I usually try to stay out of it when Cagalli gets into an argument. I don’t want to get involved. I think Kira’s the same, although he probably feels somewhat of an attachment to her, being her sister and all.”
“I guess… but what about with Lacus?”
“I dunno… those two fighting all the time can’t be easy on him. He’s probably torn apart, trying to decide whom to side with. I’m sure he’d be happy if those two just learned to get along like they used to.”
“That’s not going to happen. Cagalli probably feels like she’s protecting Kira.”
“But from Lacus? Those two used to be the best of friends.”
“I know. Cagalli’s jealous. It’s not too surprising, considering how close she and Kira used to be. Now that Kira’s spending all his time with someone else, let alone Cagalli’s best friend, it’s like Lacus is stealing her brother away from her, and it’s not like she has Lacus to confide in now. Cagalli feels like she’s losing the both of them, so of course she’s going to fight back.”
“So I guess that’s it in a nutshell. I’m not sure Kira will be able to take much more of this crap.”
“He can’t,” Shinn agreed. “I overheard them talking about it.” Athrun smirked.
“Oh, you overheard, did you?”
“I needed to deliver Cagalli’s message, so I had to wait for them to stop talking. It’s not my fault they didn’t notice me.”
A small squeal emanated throughout the cinema as an abrupt and unexpected flash of light and boom of sound presented itself to movie-goers.
Cagalli tore her eyes from the screen to focus of the source of the disturbance. Her amber eyes found twin pools of magenta. She tried to pull her arm from Stella’s claw-like grasp, but to no avail. Her grip was too tight, far too tight. It was a tautness of the highest pressure. So taut, it was painful, to them both. Stella dependently held on to her friends arm so tightly that it hurt.
“Stella…” Their eyes locked. The room was dark, but the flickering hue of the movie offered just enough light to see. Time passed and the film faded from Cagalli’s mind, her ears deafened by that which her eyes perceived. The blonde’s magenta eyes returned to the movie screen. “Are you… scared?” The magenta eyed girl smiled and relaxed her grip, although her hand remained in place, in direct contact with the one belonging to Cagalli.
“Stella…” the magenta-eyed girl whispered, “isn’t afraid of clowns.”
Kira bent down and took the straw of his drink between his thumb and forefinger, directing it to his mouth and drawing the sweet liquid to him. He felt the cool, carbonated drink enter his waiting mouth and slide down his throat to pool in his stomach below. Of course he was not drinking nearly enough to feel it go all the way down. He lost track of its progress somewhere in his esophagus.
Kira’s stomach was not nearly heavy enough for him to feel gulps of liquid dropping like stones in a wet pit. Lacus, on the other hand, was a different story.
While drinking, Kira took this opportunity; using the excuse it presented to steal a glance at the pink haired girl beside him. She seemed so calm and content right at that moment. Nothing at all similar to the way she had been before the film had started.
Simply observing her appearance, even in this low light, was enough to bring a smile to Kira’s lips. Although merely superficial, the girl’s outer beauty was exquisite. At least, Kira thought so. Thin pink lips, Flawless pale skin, blue-grey eyes. Long tresses of thick, pink hair that trailed down her back. Her frame was ideal, and while that alone may have been more than enough to satisfy some, Lacus had so much more to offer.
Lacus was not just a doll to be gazed at. She was intelligent, but at the same time, never conceited. Snobbery: artistic, intellectual, or otherwise, was not one of her virtues. Despite everything, she remained utterly modest, perhaps a little too much so. She was always sure to share the glory, so to speak. She gave credit where it was due, and even where it was not.
Suddenly, as though sensing someone’s eyes and thoughts on her, Lacus shifted her focus to Kira.
“Wha… what is it?” she quietly asked, blushing slightly, noticing how close their faces were.”
“Nothing… I was just thinking,” Kira whispered his response.
Lacus furrowed her brow, “about what?” she asked.
“It’s nothing really. I’m just… Lucky.”
“Yeah, I’m really happy to be here with you.”
“Oh,” Lacus replied, seemingly caught off-guard by what appeared to be an incredibly awkwardly phrased compliment. It was a compliment, wasn’t it? “Um… me too,” she honestly replied.
Lacus comfortably settled back into her seat to continue watching the move after that slight distraction, not that she minded, not by any means. It was a totally pleasant and wholly welcome disturbance.
She leaned over for a taste of the shared drink that sat in the cup holder between their seats, and once more drew the sweet liquid into her, swallowing easily and silently in the darkened room.
With her thirst quenched, she finally settled with her head resting comfortably against Kira’s shoulder.
The brunet looked to her as she gazed at the movie screen, seemingly unaware that she was now the object of his attention once more. She seemed so content and tranquil. He smiled and reached around her, holding her in a loose one-armed embrace, thankful for the way things had turned out.
The audience all cringed as a deafening shriek made itself known to the entire cinema, and two blonde patrons in particular stared wide-eyed. Spellbound, awestruck, incapable of moving. Had they any popcorn, it would likely have found its way to the floor by now, another joy for the employees to clean up, or possibly consume.
All colour and emotion had drained from Cagalli’s face. Her body was frozen stiff, as if the movie were a cure to amend the horrific plague of slouching. Red stained the otherwise grey backdrop as a horde of malicious clowns proceeded to gang up on their victim, but in retrospect, most of the horde was simply holding the poor soul down, while one, evidently the leader, began carving him up, with a chainsaw no less.
The wretched creature was dressed in clichéd clown attire, except for the make-up. Whereas most clowns wore painted smiles, this one’s ornamental grin looked a little off, and the red face paint had been applied thick with runs, as if to resemble blood, or perhaps it truly was blood. His face was mostly white, save for the black irregular circles around his sunken eyes, and the red outlining those. There was also a complexity of lines about his face that Cagalli couldn’t memorize.
As the clown’s poor victim futilely thrashed and screamed from the agony of his grotesque execution, the horrid abomination of a clown let out a wretched, despicable, freakishly manic laugh as he set to work.
The chainsaw roared into life once more, buzzing mechanically, yet also hungrily as it bit into the flesh of the tragically-live man, its starved teeth tearing through skin and flesh alike.
Blood pooled upon the floor as the man was impaled and operated on by that vile piece of machinery; that horrid, mechanical saw. And as he worked, as the man screamed and kicked and begged, as his life inevitably drained from him in liquid form, that vicious clown expelled once more a vile, malicious, mechanical laugh that chilled to the bones.
That face, that sound, that horrific display of barbarism. Unbeknownst to any within the theatre at the time, they would all merge together. Unbeknownst to all within the theatre at that moment in time; for a select few, that tactless work of fiction would leave a lasting impression on them.
A bizarre mixture of horrified entertainment and blissful ignorance decorated their expressions and psyches as they watched the remainder of the movie, blissfully unaware, tranquilly ignorant of the fact.
For every ignorant blonde who utters the ultimate blasphemy, that “I’m not afraid of those scary clowns…” For every ignorant display of such arrogance, there is a clown waiting, eager to show her just how wrong she is, to show her just what real fear truly is.
With haunted desire rising within him, the excitement seeming almost sexual, he would wait for her. He would patiently wait for her, the desire no-doubt building within his heart, within his mind, within his body.
He would wait… until the time was right.
He would wait, and then he would strike.
And when he did, the impression he left…
It would be…
Mwa ha ha ha ha, I can imagine someone smirking after that line. Anyway, this chapter was a little longer that the last one, but maybe not by much… but nine pages isn’t too bad, right? Oh well, too bad. After this, I may do another chapter for ‘Cheating’ but I’m not sure. I haven’t quite made up my mind just yet.
The next chapter will be After the Movie.
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