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Pair: SuzaluLelouch

7/3/2011 10:51 PM

Warning: Nothing too horrible. It's rated T so yeah, make your own conclusions.

Disclaimer: Me no own this—well no me own this story just not the bigger story! Basically me just own me and Winston, the laptop.

Part I

It wasn't crowded, nor was it sparse. Around half the tables were taken and of that only a maximum of two to three people sat at those tables. It was perfect for the setting really. No one would notice them here. They were in fact one of the tables so easily overlooked as just a couple of friends having lunch. C.c. sat straight across from Lelouch. Tea for both though Lelouch took his black white C.c. often experimented with the amount of milk vs. sugar. Lelouch had never actually known exactly how C.c. liked her tea, but she seemed to change around a lot to it didn't matter much either.

Lelouch fit the cigarette neatly between his lips before taking a drag before pulling away holding it between his long fingers. He imagined the gesture looked quite poised, though when he imagined himself it was always with elegant lines and smooth movements.

"You've taken up some rather interesting habits." C.c. commented as she looked up from her menu.

"Suzaku hates it." Lelouch supplied before setting down his own menu and took a sip of tea with his free hand. "But it's not like I'll get lung cancer so I persevere."

C.c. tilted her head to the side. "You don't actually enjoy it?"

Lelouch looked up and for the first time in years the light was just perfect. C.c. had aged perfectly, her skin still as flawless and face just as breathtaking, but now with the shadows caste just right Lelouch could make it out, the crows feet starting at her eyes and a few other slight wrinkles starting to show around her eyes. He smiled. It was about time she must be nearing nigh forty by now. Or had forty years just been how long Lelouch hand known her? It had been quite a while before Lelouch had looked at the year printed on calendars or in date books or even on newspapers. What was the point when time had utterly become meaningless to him?

"I do it mostly because it annoys Suzaku." Lelouch confessed. "But I like the idea really, it makes me seem so much more—human."

C.c. smiled, she still knew how to look all knowing and beautiful and mocking all at the same time it seemed. "How is Suzaku?"

"Great." Lelouch commented.

"I saw a picture of him and you the other day."

Lelouch looked up prideful. "He's stunning isn't he? That's why we're dating."

C.c. didn't seem amused as she leaned forward on the table. "He sent me the picture. He's rather proud of that house I think."

With an eye roll, Lelouch took another sip. "He's become obsessed with everything old these days. That house is becoming his guilty pleasure."

With another tilt of the head and her delicate pale fingers going to the spoon in her tea C.c. pressed on. "He still looks under thirty."

Lelouch's eyes narrowed, of all the people to bring it up he hadn't expected C.c. to be the first. It was obvious now. A few decades or so ago it wasn't like that, they could blend more easily and Lelouch could slide it off on the excuse Suzaku was just aging gracefully.

"I haven't passed a thing on to him." Lelouch made clear.

"I wasn't suggesting you had."

It was Lelouch's turn to lean forward. "Then pray tell, what were you suggesting?"

C.c. pulled back from the table, her expression a bit more clipped. "You two are very comfortable with each other like this."

"Of course, we are," was Lelouch's clipped response. "We've been together for some time now. Don't you think we would become comfortable with each other after everything?"

It was a moment before C.c. answered. "Lelouch," she breathed. "I don't want you to get hurt."

Lelouch turned his head away. He was ready for the waiter to interrupt about now. But it seemed he was doomed to address the situation head on or as head on as Lelouch had ever taken things, So he turned back to C.c., taking in her expression. It wasn't worrisome so much as investigative, her hand had come up, elbow resting at the high arms of the chair knuckles to her lips.

"The Geass has proven itself over and over again. Suzaku is healthy as a horse and just as alive as I am."

That delicate hand moves just slightly away so C.c. could speak. "How old is he?"

Lelouch looked down. It was a hard question to fathom really. How old was his body or his mind or the years since his birth certificate had been printed? Technically a death certificate had been issued as well so by all accounts Suzaku Kururugi was long dead. "As far as we can figure his body peaked around twenty-five." Lelouch took a breath. "But he turns sixty this summer."

A nod was C.c.'s only response for a long moment. "No problems what so ever?"

Lelouch shook his head. "Suzaku can't even remember the last time he had a cold. He still has boundless energy and well you've seen him."

"I have," she answered, "and he indeed looks nowhere near sixty."

Lelouch looked down and away from her. It was hard to look into those eyes after knowing what Lelouch knew. He'd seen C.c.'s life displayed more than once and it was a very lonely life. Lelouch, on the other hand, had somehow gotten lucky. Not only his best friend, but lover had somehow managed to find mortality along with him. Lelouch would never be alone and C.c. had lived over five hundred years alone.

Lost in his thoughts it took him a moment to realize C.c. had her fingers pressed to the back of his hand resting on the table.

"Lelouch," It was more of a coo instead of her just speaking his name. "Don't rest your hope on this."

Lelouch gave an indignant snort. "The Geass has already proven itself, " Lelouch said again, this time a bit more harsh. "Suzaku will be around just as long as I am and maybe even longer."

"Suzaku is the holder of a Geass, not a Code." C.c. went on. "He hasn't been changed to be able to withstand this burden."

A glare, of the magnitude he hadn't used on her far before he'd taken her code, was shot straight to her, establishing contact for just a fleeting moment. "Suzaku is fine. And as I realize he doesn't have a Code he has a form of it, or as close as someone could get."

C.c. tilted her head. "I'm not going to argue this with you Lelouch. I'm just warning you, he is neither a Geass nor Code holder, he is simply under the influences Geass, which has been proved not to always come through the way you always think it will." She'd completely covered his hand at this point. "Just be prepared if something does happen."

He glanced up, not a glare this time, hooking her cat like stare for just a moment before he looked away, making a 'tsk,' sound in his throat tossing the absurd idea aside, and pulling his hand out from under C.c.'s in a discarding gesture to accompany.

But even so, he glanced down at the cigarette still between his fingers for a moment before reaching forward and grinding it out in the ashtray at the center of the table. He left the butt there as he turned back to the menu.

Basically, the goal of this fic is to see how short I can make a complete story. I'm quite long winded so, this is kind of my own experiment along those lines. Anyway, hope you like it and hope you keep reading. This is kind of more vignette style, of short insight moments, that could kind of stand alone, but they make a much better story all put together—which isn't really a vignette, but just keep that kind of style in mind, but not too in mind. Peace out and see you next chapter!

~Reviews are always appreciated, like group hugs, where you're in the middle and can't help but feel loved.~

Chapter Text

7/9/2011 11:23 PM

Part II

"How was your visit with C.c.?" Suzaku asked.

Lelouch looked up, setting the mail in his hand on the kitchen counter. His eyes moved over Suzaku who was leaning against the counter, towel in one hand and a plate in the other. The same quiet and natural smile he wore almost all the time these days was present.

"It was fine." Lelouch answered turning back to look at the mail. He could hear Suzaku opening the cupboard and putting the plate away, but Lelouch didn't look up.

"What did you guys talk about?' Suzaku asked still cheery, reaching for another dish from the drainer to dry off.

You. "Nothing too interesting," Lelouch murmured low as he sifted through the ad's and the bank statements, not really caring about any of it. Lelouch wasn't even sure why they got mail anymore, with the internet so much more convenient and no real need. He glanced up watching as Suzaku, still smiling, and happy as ever reached up to place a tall glass at the top shelf of the cupboard.

Lelouch knew why they still got mail. It was the same reason Suzaku still did the dishes by hand and why they lived in this house and why Lelouch still hoarded books at the flea market. Lelouch paid all the bills on line anyway.

"It's C.c.," Suzaku went on as he picked up the last of the dishes, running the towel over the smooth metal of the pots, outside first then going to the inside. "You and she always have something to talk about."

Lelouch continued to watch Suzaku for a moment, watching the way he bent with ease to place the pot in the cabinet under the stovetop before bouncing back up to eagerly await Lelouch's answer. Lelouch's eye still trained on Suzaku's movements as he strode closer while Lelouch answered, "It was just a chat between old friends."

Suzaku looked puzzled a this, taking another step closer he let his hip rest against the counter, arms loosely folding in front of him. "You drove two hours for a friendly chat between old friends?" He looked amused for a moment tilting his head to the side and cracking a bright smile.

Not answering, Lelouch turned back to the mail, going through it for the fourth time.

Probably sensing that it was time for a subject change, Suzaku redirected. "How does she look?"

Lelouch chuckled. "She has wrinkles."

"Really?"

Looking back up, Lelouch couldn't help but smile at the way Suzaku's face had lit up. "Yeah."

Scoffing for a moment, Suzaku's gaze fleeted to the window for just a second before returning to focus on Lelouch again. "So, she's okay, you know, with everything that happened and you just taking the Code and not her life?"

"If she isn't fine with it she hasn't said anything to me about it." Lelouch said as he turned, leaning his back against the counter to better be able to see Suzaku.

Suzaku nodded. "It seems so long since then."

A smile slid into place on to Lelouch face as he watched Suzaku. He was so incredibly—domestic, standing there in an old T-shirt and worn jeans. He'd probably spent the day outside. As much as the boy tried to hide it Lelouch knew that's how Suzaku preferred to spend his day's and judging from how that tan hadn't faded at all in the last forty years Lelouch knew that Suzaku spent every sunny minute he could spare outside.

"It has been a long time since then." Lelouch commented, his eyes still roving over Suzaku. "It's been a very long time." It was more to himself than anything else, but he still felt it needed voiced.

Suzaku didn't seem to get it though, and Lelouch knew there was no reason for him to, it had been Lelouch's own commentary after all.

"How did you fare here?" Lelouch asked, fully knowing that if there was a problem Suzaku wouldn't tell him.

"Alright," Suzaku shrugged. "It wasn't the most exciting day of my life, but you know, you came back to me," A hand slid over Lelouch's side, resting over the slight jut of his hip.

Another smile this time a bit more of Lelouch's usual brand of devious spread as Lelouch leaned into the contact. "You missed me." He concluded. "It's only been a day though."

"Verses, the hundreds we've spent in this house together, most of the time in the same room." Suzaku clarified, with his own smile. "Yeah, after spending every waking moment with you, I miss you when you leave."

Those green eyes gleamed in the dimming light of the kitchen and Lelouch couldn't help himself from taking a step forward, hooking a finger in one of the belt loops at Suzaku's jeans to pull him closer. "I'm tired," Lelouch cooed, loving the way Suzaku instinctively wound his arms around Lelouch's narrow hips. "I think we should go to bed."

A smile spread over Suzaku's face as in answer he leaned in, one of his hands moving up so his fingers could twine and spread through the hair at the back of Lelouch's head. Lelouch let him, eyes slipping closed as he tilted his head and completely handed himself over to the contact of soft lips. It was too easy to do so. It was too easy to remember that this boy Lelouch had in his arms was the only one he'd ever let do this and ever would. It was too easy to let all the thoughts of age and Codes, and Geass, and their former chaotic life just drift away as Suzaku started to press Lelouch against the counter, his fingers fumbling as he tried to pull Lelouch's shirt up.

That's it for this time! All of these are going to be just like this. Ultra short and straight to the point… if that's possible for a convoluted writer like myself. And in other news, I should have the Minor vs. Major third chapter up either this Friday or the next, depending on how much I get done and how refined I want it to be. Oh and Splash should have a new addition as well. Just for any of you who were curious about my other stories. If you weren't than please go read them *Cheesyselfpromotionsmile*

~Reviews are just awesome, so send one my way!~

Chapter Text

7/22/2011 10:27 PM

Part III

Hours later, they lay bare and wasted under the sheets. The same sheets had ended up twined and twisted around them both, holding them together in a rough embrace. Suzaku didn't seem to mind, both arms wrapped around Lelouch's torso, nose buried in Lelouch's hair. The soft coos of sleep emitting from Suzaku were the only sound in the room. Lelouch's back was pressed against Suzaku's chest, but as relaxed as his counterpart was Lelouch was wide eyed, focused on the small clock at the side of the bed.

His mouth pressed into a line as he watched the face, analyzing each second that ticked by. It was unnerving to him. His hand slid up to grasp at Suzaku's arm. Suzaku's grip around Lelouch was loose, slack with the relaxation of sleep, Lelouch's own grip was far from relaxed in any way.

The clock still kept moving still kept up its course.

Lelouch's eye still watched it, still kept it with in his sights. His mind was aflame with words and implications and 'what-if's.' Lelouch didn't want to believe C.c.. He simply didn't want to—but she had a point. Suzaku had only a Geass keeping him alive, a Geass that could be broken, a Geass that was subject to change and to interpretation. It was only a spell and Lelouch clutched even more fervent at Suzaku's arms around him.

He couldn't lose this boy. He just couldn't. No matter how much the other annoyed him some days or the fights they inevitably got into still from time to time, Lelouch just couldn't loose him. C.c.'s life had been horrid—awful, and lonely, and so lifeless—Lelouch couldn't live like that, he just couldn't. There was no way he could survive like that, especially now after the others—they were all passing on, like they needed too. They were human after all, but that was them, the one's he'd distanced himself from, the ones he'd had to distance form, not Suzaku. Not the boy he'd only grown closer too, the boy he'd pulled closer to him every night for the past forty years. This boy was his! Lelouch's—

"Ow!"

Startled out of his own terrifying thoughts, Lelouch snapped his head back to see a very awake Suzaku.

"You need a nail trim, Lelouch, damn!" The other said as he pried Lelouch's biting nails from his wounded arm.

Lelouch looked down, instantly retreating his hands, the red marks already starting to show across Suzaku's arm and wrist. "Oh, sorry." Lelouch mumbled pulling his hands away.

"It's fine it's just—Lelouch?"

Turning his head, Lelouch was met with the worried gaze of those brilliant bright green eyes.

"You okay, love?" Suzaku inquired shifting up to lean on his elbow.

"I—" He was always caught off guard with that perception Suzaku seemed to possess around him. It had always been that way, even when Suzaku didn't want to believe that perception… "Yeah, I'm fine."

Suzaku rested his head on Lelouch's shoulder. "Okay, you sure?"

Lelouch stared back ahead, back to the clock still ticking away. "I'm fine."

Lelouch could feel Suzaku shifting behind him, could feel the press of lips to the crest of his shoulder.

"I love you."

It was only a whisper but it still made Lelouch smile. "You say that as if you don't believe me."

"I don't," Suzaku admitted freely. "But time and love heals all right?"

Raising an eyebrow, Lelouch turned back, "Isn't it time heals all wounds?" He was still smiling.

Suzaku was smiling as well now. "Well yeah, but that kind of sucks in all honesty, who wants to be alone and unloved?" He gave a shrug. "My versions better. It worked for us didn't it?"

Lelouch shifted onto his back an arm snaking around Suzaku's neck. "Indeed it did."

A smile this time a bit hungrier spread across Suzaku's face as he leaned in taking advantage of the situation and the clear invitation to move in as he started at Lelouch's neck this time.

Lelouch pulling both arms around Suzaku's neck now glanced over at the clock again. It was still moving, still ticking away, more seconds lost with ever kiss.

As Suzaku moved farther up Lelouch gave a shudder, closing his eyes for a split second as Suzaku raised his arm just a touch so it was easier to rest his weight on. When Lelouch opened his eye again, that same arm obstructed his view causing him to gasp in surprise, but soon enough Suzaku had that swallowed as well, leaning into capture those lips. Lelouch was forced to alter his gaze, instead letting his eyes slip closed as he fully invested himself back into reciprocating the affection.

Time did pass and when Suzaku finally drifted into sleep again Lelouch lay across his chest, his eyes no longer focused on the clock but on Suzaku, long elegant fingers twining through the curls, brushing through them as best he could and hoping that that would somehow tame the mess. It didn't and Lelouch knew it wouldn't, but he just kept at it, laying his head against Suzaku's shoulder and watching that tanned sun kissed face.

Tada! And this is the end our program for tonight boys and girls, please tune in next week for part five! Have a great weekend and say no to drugs!

~Reviews, unlike drugs, are something you should say yes to~

Chapter Text

8/5/2011 10:31 AM

Part IV

 

For all the old house wasn't good for, Lelouch had to admit the view was indeed very nice to look out over. When Suzaku had first told him it was at the edge of the lake he hadn't thought it was quite literally at the edge of the lake. Actually he hadn't liked much about the idea from the start. Lelouch had thought that the small apartment they lived in was fine. It had a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and an extra room Lelouch had managed to turn into an office, and just big enough for the two of them.

Suzaku hadn't let up though and three weeks later Lelouch found himself helping pack boxes into the house, and all the while Suzaku had hummed and whistled as happy as ever, and in spite of Lelouch's downer mood managed to finish almost all of the unpacking by himself.

Lelouch did have to admit, Suzaku had tried his best to get Lelouch to love that house. He looked down at the book in his lap, pages open, but Lelouch honestly couldn't remember where he'd last been reading. The curly haired boy had smiled so wide when he'd presented the back porch. It had been the first thing he'd finished on the house. The second unsurprising had been the bedroom, but they both knew the reasons behind that.

A smile crept its way on to Lelouch's face. The nice wicker chair he sat in had also been from Suzaku. Its counterpart sat a few inches away, a wooden side table off to the side, though the other was hardly ever filled. It didn't sadden Lelouch, he knew why the other was hardly filled and to him that just made it all the better the few chance moments it was filled.

Lelouch sighed as he looked up, closing the book, having decided that endeavor was useless. Instead he let his eyes rover over the landscape. The house had been Suzaku's dream. With all the effort he put into it had turned out too. About ten years or so ago someone had tried to feature the old house in the newspaper even, but Lelouch, adamant, had declined to let the reporter even ask about the house. Suzaku had been proud though, beaming as the man had started to talk about how nice the house looked, and how so much effort on it had indeed paid off.

If it hadn't of been such a hazard to their 'ageless' situation Lelouch probably would have said yes, letting the man take whatever picture he wanted just to see watch Suzaku light up at the chance to get as close to boasting as Suzaku had ever come. But Lelouch couldn't let it happen. The town closest was big, but not big enough to let something like that slide; the story would be remembered all too easily.

"Research going well?" A crisp voice asked from the bottom of the steps.

Lelouch's eyes shifted, his smile still pleasant as he looked down at the handsome boy at his steps. "Quite. How's playing farmer?"

Suzaku laughed, cheery and as full as ever.. "I have achieved the honorary award of growing a tomato!" To prove this Suzaku reached back behind him and out of his pack pocket produced said produce.

"It is ripe and perfect and I would consider treasuring it if not for the fact I'm pretty sure it would turn rancid after a few weeks."

Suzaku did indeed look proud, Lelouch had to admit as he closed the book in his lap and leaned forward over the armrest, resting his chin on his palm. "Four years of gardening and that is the first thing you can come up with?" He said rather bland. Not to crush Suzaku's spirits but—"It's kind of small." And it really didn't look as amazing as Suzaku probably thought it did. Not that it mattered to Lelouch. If he wanted tomatoes he'd get some from the store like every other ordinary citizen, and the ones from the store didn't have that funny shape the one Suzaku had grown had, though he had to remind himself that his life partner had proved himself to be in no way ordinary.

"It's the first of the season," Suzaku made the excuse. "They'll get bigger."

"You picked it, Suzaku. It's not going to get bigger." Lelouch said a smile creeping on to his face as he watched Suzaku admiring his handy work.

"First of the season," Suzaku reminded, before he shot a glare behind him. "I know this one won't but the others will."

"It's July," Lelouch decided to remind his adorable little farmer. "The last of July. Suzaku, may I remind you that summer doesn't last as long as you think it will, the leaves will start changing soon."

Suzaku didn't look at him, far too occupied with his tomatoes. It sat against his work glove, still small and still kind of weird shaped. He mumbled something along the lines of "how would he know, he couldn't even step off the porch if I hadn't made a walkway," but Lelouch was pretty sure Suzaku was speaking to the tomato and not him.

Rolling his eyes, Lelouch decide he would speak instead. Though the thought did cross his mind that Suzaku really was right, Lelouch had probably ventured into their back yard a total of ten times. "Why do you even bother trying to garden?"

Suzaku looked up and over to Lelouch at that. "Well," he seemed to think on it for a moment. "The house is pretty much done, I mean I guess I could try conquering the attic, but I could do that in the winter, and well—I'm old. Old people garden."

Lelouch said nothing. His eyes moved over his counterpart for a moment, trying to process what had just been said, licking at his lips, and eventually averting his gaze. "You're not that old."

Suzaku laughed.

Lelouch started to feel his hands shaking and to quiet that he busied them with opening the book at his lap, trying to find where he last left off, despite the presence of a bookmark.

Still beaming Suzaku took the opportunity to sit at the porch steps. "I'm getting old," he mused.

The smile that was still present on his face made Lelouch look away, back down to the book again. "You're fine, Suzaku."

"Hmmm," Suzaku hummed looking up as he leaned back on to his elbows.

Going on, Lelouch still didn't look down at his companion. "I mean really, you're fine. You don't even look thirty let alone how old you really are, and I mean you're with me and I won't ever get old…" Lelouch trailed off realizing that Suzaku was looking up at him. Smiling, in a way so akin to C.c. Lelouch would have sworn if it wasn't for that mess of curly hair it would have been her. Lelouch stopped, with his fidgeting and his aversion, and decided to look up at Suzaku.

Suzaku's smile broadened, changing into the effortlessly happy smile that seemed Suzaku's natural expression. "Lelouch, we're old. Just because we don't look it doesn't really mean anything."

Lelouch watched his partner for a moment. But abruptly he stopped looking out to the horizon. "Will you sit with me?" He hadn't meant it to come out as low as it had. "I know, the sun isn't exactly setting right now. It'll probably be a couple of hours but—I don't know, it's been a while since we've just sat together."

Rising, Suzaku gave his answer as still with a smile he walked up the steps, setting his tomato on the little side table by the chairs and took the wicker seat next to Lelouch. All with Lelouch watching his every move, eyes locking for just a moment before Suzaku leaned closer.

Placing a very chaste kiss at Lelouch's cheek, causing a blush Lelouch hadn't thought possible since he was in high school, Suzaku gave his final answer. "Yes, of course I will."

~Review's are welcome and loved~

Chapter Text

Part V

White Apple

8/13/2011 11:58 AM

Money, though never a worry before, had quickly become one. With them supposed to be dead, it had been a challenge at first to figure out a way to make just enough, too much or too little would draw attention. Suzaku had been the most help in this department, at least to start out with. Odd jobs, mostly minimum wage paying, no questions asked, manual labor, and it was easy to over look the two of them that way. No one even second guessed that the driver's licenses Lelouch had forged along with the rest of the paper work were ever fake, especially after a while when Suzaku was asked about job history and it became clear that he hadn't stayed in the same place for more than a few months.

That had been Lelouch's doing more than anything. Even if they were moneyless and sometimes bordering on homeless, his mind had constantly been on their situation, constantly been on somehow trying to make Suzaku and he look like anyone but who they really were. But time had taken care of that problem, and by the time ten years had rolled around Suzaku had convinced Lelouch that no one would even recognize them now.

They had gotten their first real apartment then (before it was always the cheapest, and most easily left places that they would try to find), back when Lelouch had been convinced big cities was the only place they could go, the only places that they would just have been seen as ordinary citizens with ordinary jobs and ordinary lives. Lelouch had taken a mundane office job, sporting black-rim glasses and wearing his hair just a tad longer. Suzaku hadn't changed a thing, but hadn't needed to. He worked at the time as a welder and usually left for work in a baseball cap (upon Lelouch's command) and oversized work cloths. He would come back usually so black and grimy Lelouch wasn't sure if he recognized Suzaku some days when he'd walk through the apartment door.

It didn't last long, because Suzaku had been wrong.


"Lelouch, come on!" Suzaku pulled his partner through the crowded street.

The night air bit at Lelouch's face as he stumbled to keep up. His free hand clutched at the parka he wore, still shivering despite it and the extra layer of cloths, and gloves, and boots. Suzaku on the other hand, wore tennis shoes, his work coat, and a baseball cap. Lelouch shivered again just looking at him.

But Suzaku seemed unaffected as he made his way closer to the platform at the end of the street. "It's about to start."

Lelouch had been about to shoot back some snarky comment, but the moment Lelouch opened his mouth his breath froze and he snapped it shut again, intent on not wasting precious warm air on Suzaku's impatience.

When Suzaku finally stopped they were probably a good fifteen feet away from the stage. People were all crowded around them, most wearing ridiculous party hats and having loud boisterous (if not clearly intoxicated) conversations. There was the occasional loud blow of a party horn and even a few confetti poppers going off prematurely. With Suzaku stopped Lelouch took a step closer, only feeling marginally safer as Suzaku drew an arm around his shoulders.

The still boyish man was marveling at his surroundings, eyes roving over the gaudily decorated stage and the news casters and city officials milling there, the lights strewn all around, and ever the huge, red lettered, timer at the center of the stage, counting down.

"It's really cold." Lelouch felt the need to point out to his obviously oblivious companion.

Suzaku looked down at him, a lopsided smile on his face.

Lelouch's expression didn't change, he even raised a hand from his crossed arms to push the glasses higher on his nose.

"..are you asking for pity?" Suzaku challenged.

Lelouch thought on it for a moment, and as always found he had no standards on the matter as a smile cracked. "Will that get you to let us leave?"

With a big smile, Suzaku shook his head. "No."

"I command you to let us go home." Lelouch tried. He did have to admit it wasn't completely a whole hearted command, but he did manage to keep his face straight and eyes somewhat narrow and trained on Suzaku.

But Suzaku was no longer paying attention. "What do you think they do with that timer for the rest of the year?" He chuckled. "If I was the mayor I would kind of want it in my office."

Lelouch smiled at that. "That would be a bit impractical, don't you think?"

Suzaku chuckled again. "It would be a bit impractical to elect me as mayor."

Lelouch laughed at that, though trying to hide it as he lifted a gloved hand up and to his mouth. "I would vote for you."

"Like hell you would," Suzaku shot back, looking down at Lelouch. "You would be running against me."

Meeting those pleasantly warm and playful green eyes for a moment before, Lelouch let that same sly smile slide into place. "Competition never hurt anyone." Lelouch folded his arms tight again, trying to still the shivers.

"Oh yeah, until you lose at something."

Lelouch's eyes narrowed. "I don't lose," he pointed out, adjusting the glasses again, "at anything."

"You mean you won't play if you think you'll lose." Suzaku made his own argument. He pulled Lelouch closer hooking his other arm around Lelouch's waist and pulling him against Suzaku's side, probably hoping to share some body heat to get Lelouch to stop shivering.

Lelouch made a show of rolling his eyes. "Stupid card games don't count." He leaned into the welcoming heat of Suzaku's side, even through the parka it was warm and it was from Suzaku.

Chuckling, Suzaku leaned in skimming the cold tip of his nose over the tip of Lelouch's equally as cold nose. "You're such a sore loser."

Lelouch said nothing, and tried not to let the creeping smile show in response to the comment and the little Eskimo kiss. The thought came to mind that in the end it really was the little things that ended up holding them together. Through all the war and the death and the bad times –it had been the little things, the small comments, other wise worthless presents, the most mundane of compromises, the little acts of compassion that had held them together to start. Little tiny strings that when added all together had created a bond strong enough they'd somehow still fit comfortably in each other's arms at the end of it all.

Still smiling, now despite the cold Lelouch finally turned to observe the stage himself, Suzaku attention someplace else. The oversized snowflake cutouts, spackling lights, and tinsel all screamed that the city must be trying to bid for the next big thing. Lelouch wondered where the city had even gotten any of the money to put this all on. One of the only reasons Lelouch had agreed to letting Suzaku drag him out there was because it was free.

Though the news coverage might have had something to do with it, the cameras were all pointed up at the stage, several different stations present and all focused on the mayor. Several news caster and reporters buzzed around, some standing off in the distance shooting a general report, others in the crowd taking opinions, one ever looked to be with the mayor—

Lelouch froze, and with the cold he almost thought literally for a second as the hair at the back of his neck stood straight on end.

"Suzaku, we have to leave." The playful tone with smiles hidden behind was long gone. The smile once on Lelouch's face pressed into a hard line fast, his eyes narrow, but not like before. These were the eyes he had looked out through a Knightmare with, eyes that had been trained on Schnizels ever move of the chess pieces, eyes that had become so accustomed to analyzation and reanalyzation, he couldn't stop the stream anymore.

"Oh come on," Suzaku sighed. "It's less than a minutes now!"

Lelouch didn't look up at Suzaku. "No, Suzaku, we have to go now." His had was at Suzaku's arm, gripping tight at Suzaku's coat as he tried to make the impression that they needed to leave, though as unnoticeable as possible.

"I know," Suzaku said again, sounding a bit frustrated this time. "You're cold, but there is one minute, just hold on until the countdown. If it helps we get to kiss at the end."

"Suzaku," Lelouch hissed, this time giving no guise to the urgency he felt he needed to compel to the other.

It did the job as Suzaku's head snapped down to look at him. Lelouch didn't tear his eyes away though and Suzaku quickly took the hint as he followed Lelouch's gaze.

"Oh," He breathed, for s split second—

But it was long enough and before the two could look away, she already had locked on to them in her own split second glance.

"Ten!" The crowd erupted, people around them bursting into excitement.

Suzaku pivoted, plowing his way through the crowd and taking Lelouch with him. This time Lelouch made sure to keep up, his hand tightening around Suzaku's fingers.

"Nine!"

Lelouch glanced back, but she was after them, her blonde curls bobbing as she tried keeping up in her designer high-heel boots. Lelouch couldn't help the smile. She'd done alright for herself that was for sure.

"Eight!"

Struggling to keep up with Suzaku's charge to get out of the crowd, Lelouch stumbled.

"Seven!"

Suzaku had Lelouch up and going again, this time taking it half a pace slower but still trying to get as far away as possible as fast as he could push Lelouch to go.

"Six!"

It had been just enough of a stall though, as Lelouch realized he could hear the fast pace click of heels sharp behind them.

"Five!"

Suzaku had realized it too, and he had Lelouch practically jogging as he finally broke free of the general mass of people, now able to move even faster. The crowd started to sound a bit distant, though close, the problem was the click of heels was almost feeling closer.

"Four!"

"Wait!"

Lelouch closed his eyes forcing himself to ignore that familiar voice.

"Three!"

Suzaku switched tactics, ducking into an alleyway and immediately breaking into a run. Lelouch was a bit startled but managed to keep up.

"Two!"

Lelouch was out of breath fast, but he could hear the heels still hot and now running as well.

"One!" the crowd erupted into cheers and whooping so loud it echoed through the alleyway, breaking up the sound of heels for just a moment.

"Whoa!" Lelouch let out as the air was knocked out of him, Suzaku having jerked him into a small enclave just past the intersection of two alleyways. Ducking into the enclave himself, Suzaku clamped his hand over Lelouch's mouth, leaning over him as the two of them listened.

The click of heels was back a moment later, slowing as she approached the middle of the intersecting directions. "Hey!" she gave a shout.

Suzaku ducked his head, pressing close to Lelouch, but not lifting his hand from over his mouth. Lelouch let his eyes close, the shivering starting up again.

"I know you two are here!" she persisted.

Lifting his hand up from Lelouch's mouth, Suzaku soundlessly snaked it around Lelouch's waist, holding him close again, sharing the warmth, sharing the burden. Lelouch couldn't help it though, he chanced a small peak. Suzaku immediately pulled him back against the wall, but when their gazes met Lelouch gave a soft, genuine smile.

She looked good, older for sure, a few crow's feet finally showing and if possible her figure even more womanly than before. That blonde hair had faded a bit with age, now a dirtier blonde, but still warm and artfully pulled up into a very sophisticated bun, a few cheerful bouncing upturned curls allowed to go free in the front. Her blue eyes had been just as sharp as ever and just as deep. Lelouch decided he liked that shade of red lipstick as well—it gave her just a touch of class to go with the overall feel of success.

"I know it's you two!" She tried again. "Please answer me." this time a bit quieter.

Exchanging glances Lelouch saw the frown on Suzaku's face, and knowing the feeling, Lelouch wrapped his arms around those broad shoulders, though not as soundless as Suzaku had managed to be, but quiet enough.

"I miss you guys." She wasn't yelling anymore, only talking now, her voice changed. "Oh gosh, even Nina admitted she misses you guys."

Lelouch let his head rest at Suzaku's shoulder, noticing the other had closed his eyes.

"Rivalz stayed there, in Japan. He's a teacher even." He voice cracked. "He still calls me from time to time." She gave a halfhearted laugh. "I always told him he was kind of silly for believing you two were still out there somewhere," It wasn't just a crack this time.

Lelouch could hear the tears, though his attention was elsewhere. As soothing as he could manage he ran his fingers through Suzaku's hair. The other boys breathing was a bit scarce and shallow, his eyes squeezed tight and arms instinctively tightened around Lelouch.

"I have to go," She continued, now very quiet. "My husband's here, he'll be worried already most likely." She was riffling through her coat, the fabric rustling with her actions.

There was the sound of scribbling before the click of heels again.

"I'm leaving my number, just in case." It was silent for a moment. "Please, I would love to talk to you guys."

Letting his eyes close as well, Lelouch leaned just as heavily on Suzaku as Suzaku was leaning on him, how the two of them were still standing was a miracle.

Then it was over and with the distancing sound of heels she was gone. It took a few more moments for the two of them though. Separating completely was impossible and with hands held very tightly together they immerged. Approaching the small piece of paper on the ground Suzaku bent, retrieving it and offering it to Lelouch. Already knowing neither of them would call he took it, folding it, before dispensing it in his pocket.

It took less than a couple of hours to clear out the apartment, and deposit the last month's rent. Couples were still celebrating in the streets, dancing, drinking and some still locked at the lips as Suzaku and Lelouch passed. Suzaku was behind the wheel, eyes trained on the road. Lelouch already had the map open in his lap, the only words exchanged were concerning directions and which roads to take to be the fasted way out. On the seat between them, their hands were still together, holding onto each other with interlaced fingers.

Lelouch as always already knew where they were going as he gave Suzaku specific instructions on how to get to the freeway heading west. Once within the city limits, Lelouch's overpowering demeanor and silver tongue had them a furnished apartment, and a two days later Suzaku had a job.

Chapter Text

Part VI

White Apple

8/23/2011 9:20 PM

Lelouch hadn't thought much about the where about of his companion-well that was until Suzaku sat on the couch. Then lay down on the couch. Then somehow managed to get his head in Lelouch's lap and was now—

"Suzaku, stop it." Lelouch murmured as he tried turning the page and had to bat away Suzaku, trying to just slip the book completely out of Lelouch's hands.

Suzaku gave a sigh. "Will you do something with me if I do?" Suzaku continued to whine.

Lelouch looked down from his book at his life partner and lover. Suzaku gave a wide grin, his brow lowering. He then propped his hand up under his head and gave an ostentatious wink.

Turning back to his book, Lelouch shook his head. "No." He successfully turned the page and continued on reading.

"Oh come on!" Suzaku whined. "It's been so long!"

Not looking down, Lelouch did have to admit that Suzaku did make it sound like it was a rather harrowing and hard to go with out and that it had been so looonnnngggg, but in the end Lelouch knew the truth. "We did it last night."

"Yeah, but that was like twenty four hours ago."

Giving a long sigh, Lelouch let his arm down resting it on the arm of the chair to peer through his reading glasses to the man (acting rather boyish) that had his head on Lelouch's lap.

"And that's been a long time." Suzaku continued as if it was scientific fact.

Lelouch let his book close, setting it on the side table next to the couch and pulled off the reading glasses to set them on top of the book as well. When he looked back down he rested his hand against his hand, leaning his elbow on to the arm rest. "You can't just wait till we go to bed?" Lelouch frowned, though still bringing his fingers up to try and calm the tangle of Suzaku's hair.

Suzaku looked around for a moment before finding the clock near the rarely used entertainment center.

Surprising there was a nice flat screen just under the afore mentioned clock. Suzaku had wanted it, and Lelouch had grumbled but let him have it. Suzaku liked football, and hockey, and soccer, and basketball, and baseball, and Lelouch had accidentally unplugged all of it during a vigorous cleaning day. Unfortunately, Suzaku was handy enough to get it all hooked back up, and also commented that for being cleaned it was really kind of still dusty back behind there. The next morning when Suzaku had come home from the hardware store, he found their satellite dish beat to hell on the lawn. Lelouch only spouted off something about a 'freak bird accident' and pulled Suzaku by the hand back into the house.

They only watched movies now, where in Lelouch and Suzaku would cuddle together for the evening on the same couch they were on now, and Lelouch didn't have to mess with well—sports. Lucky that 'freak bird accident' had been really.

But looking to the clock at the top of the entertainment center Suzaku turned back to Lelouch. "It's six o' clock, that's close enough." He gave a shrug of his shoulders. "I mean why waste time? If we could just go to bed now than why wait till later?"

Lelouch finally let his face crack into a smile. "I have got to find something for you to do on the weekends it rains."

"I've gotten a few things done." Suzaku gave his own sigh.

"Mmmhh, yes, I'm very proud that you finally took care of that completely obsolete leak in the faucet." Lelouch said, still playing with the curls and waves of that perfectly cinnamon shade hair.

"You told me it was kind of annoying." Suzaku went on, looking down at his hands.

"I told you that I could hear it dripping every hour or so, the other morning after you left for work." Lelouch corrected voice toneless.

A shrug of Suzaku's broad shoulders was the only thing that Lelouch got in return for an answer.

For a moment Lelouch thought of actually taking Suzaku up on his offer. If nothing else, it wasn't like they couldn't enjoy the rain lying in bed together—well after they had gotten to know each other a bit more for the night. Lelouch did have to say that the idea was quite tempting.

But Suzaku had beat him too it. "Hey Lelouch?"

Looking down again, Lelouch smiled and gave Suzaku his full attention. His fingers moving again as he brushed a few stray cinnamon curls form Suzaku's forehead.

Suzaku assured he had the other to himself, hooked eye contact in a second before he continued. "Can I ask a question?"

"Depends on the question." Lelouch teased. A wide grin as his finger started to playfully stroke down the side of Suzaku's face.

"Uhm well—" Suzaku stared, looking back down at his hands.

Lelouch noticed that Suzaku had found the remote to fiddle with at his chest.

"You're probably going to get mad, but I was just thinking and well—" Suzaku paused before green eyes shifted and Lelouch was caught in that blaring green gaze. "Have you ever thought about what it would have been like if we had had kids?"

As it turned out Suzaku had been right Lelouch probably was going to get mad if this subject continued. Making that apparent, Lelouch looked away moodily before answering in a haughty tone. "Suzaku, we have already talked about this. We cannot have children."

"I know!" Suzaku shot back as well, his own tone harsh, and his brow dropping just a fraction. Then he looked down to his hand. "I was just thinking about it. About how much would have changed if we had decided we wanted kids."

"This is not about 'want.'" Lelouch hissed. "Do you have any idea just how much they would have gone through every detail of our lives if we had tried to adopt a child, do you? We would be caught and we'd just have to run again." He had about been to point out something else but abruptly the weight on his lap lifted.

Sitting up, Suzaku was already at the other end of the couch. "Never mind, I don't even know why I asked." In half a second more he had stood and was starting for the kitchen.

Lelouch was in a bit in a daze from such a short cut off of the subject, but snapping out of it quickly, he realized Suzaku was walking away from him. A bit red in the face now Lelouch stood as well. "What do you want me to say, Suzaku? That yeah kids are great, just not for us? They are a responsibility and not just getting one, actually raising one. Going to a high school parent teacher conference would be tons of fun, we'd fit right in!"

That had hit a nerve it seemed as Suzaku spun on his heels. "I just was asking if you thought about what it would be like. I said nothing about actually going through with it."

"Alright," Lelouch hissed. "I've thought about it and I've thought about what a pain in the ass it would be!"

"You're such an dick at times." Suzaku snarled before turning back away to go to the kitchen.

At that Lelouch let it drop. They would just settle into throwing insults at that point and little headway would have been made. Lelouch gave a snort as he fluidly moved back to sit at the couch, lifting the book and opening it to read again as he slid the reading glasses back into place. It wasn't like there was any headway to be made anyway. Lelouch was right and he already knew that. Suzaku was just bringing up meaningless subjects for—Lelouch looked up for a moment.

It only took half a moment for his eyes to wonder to the doorway leading to the kitchen. Lelouch knew he was right, but Suzaku was—he was as always pulling at tender strings. Shaking his head, Lelouch turned back to his book. A sigh accompanying a frown pulled at Lelouch's lips. Shutting the book, Lelouch set it back down on the side table, replacing the glasses back on top.

Leaning his elbow on the armrest, Lelouch turned to the wide window's Suzaku had installed in their living room just a year or so before. The rain was still pouring outside, and the sound of it hitting the roof just as loud as it had been for a good part of the day.

The only thought Lelouch could really pin down was that, really, a lot had changed since they had first started their should-be-impossible relationship.

Chapter Text

Part VII

White Apple

9/1/2011 9:24 PM

It had stopped raining by the time Lelouch had decided to slip into their bedroom. The room was already dark, and Suzaku, already in bed, was curled on his side, pointedly away from the door. Lelouch stepped into the room a bit hesitant, first going to the bed, considering just crawling in, jeans, socks, and all, but he didn't. Suzaku had hunched his shoulders, probably not asleep at all, but probably not in the mood for anything further than sleep. Suzaku's skin was tinted with the dark room an indigo, almost olive, and frigidly uninviting from the tensed almost strained muscles around his neck and shoulders tense as Lelouch's eyes traced down his partners spine.

Lelouch let his reaching hand drop, instead deciding that he might as well just dress for bed. Doing just that he went to the dresser the two of them shared just opposite to the bed, the dresser they'd always shared. Eye's fleeting over the top counter, he noticed all of Suzaku's things—nothing astounding really. A watch, Suzaku still found military issue if he could and was one of the few people that Lelouch knew could still convert the number difference without a second thought. The base ball cap, hung off the edge of the mirror, Lelouch had mounted on the wall just above the dresser. Suzaku's pocket knife, wallet—tattered because he only seemed to think he needed a new one when the old one became completely useless.

When Lelouch had first organized the dresser Suzaku's stuff had always been on the left, Suzaku's cloths on the left, everything of his on the left, and respectively Lelouch's things had been on the right. That system had faded quickly though, and now—well Lelouch reached over opening the left drawer, second from the top to retrieve a night shirt. The shirts had all been Suzaku's at one point in time, but Lelouch had somehow ended up wearing them more, even to the point now, they were all he ever slept in. In the bottom drawer, under a couple pairs of Suzaku's sweats Lelouch fished out the much narrower pajama pants.

Lelouch couldn't help but glance back behind his shoulder as he removed his own shirt. Suzaku's eyes were open, not a hint of tiredness even pulled at the edges, as he stared off to the side of the room and again not at all in the direction of Lelouch. Lelouch turned back, slipping the oversized shirt on before pulling off his jeans and on the pajamas. His eyes on the floor he noticed that Suzaku had tossed his cloths to the hamper. It was an improvement from the fights they would have when they had first started to live together. It had never made sense to Lelouch why Suzaku couldn't just fold his cloths neatly and place them in the hamper. It made doing laundry so much faster. Lelouch sighed. At least they weren't on the floor like Suzaku would normally do just in spite of Lelouch.

Finally approaching the bed again, Lelouch was unsurprised to see that Suzaku hadn't moved a muscle. Lelouch pulls himself onto the bed, arranging the sheets and duvet over his legs before settling in. His eyes on the ceiling he knows he's not sleeping any time soon.

And yet Suzaku doesn't turn to talk to him and Lelouch doesn't turn on his side.

Giving a loud, audible, and exasperated sigh Lelouch couldn't take the silence. "Why do you push this?"

It's silent for a moment, no trace of Suzaku even hearing.

But Lelouch knows he heard, knows that Suzaku isn't a sleep and that he's probably still staring off to their closet door.

"I have work in the morning, Lelouch." Suzaku gruffed, his tone in that sort that normally would have ended any further attempts at conversation.

But this wasn't normally, this was a fight and Lelouch shifted up on his elbows. "And I have things to do, but neither of us will function well until we get this out of the way."

"Go to sleep," Suzaku grumbled pulling the covers up over his shoulder.

"Why?" Lelouch wasn't listening let alone actually acknowledging Suzaku stupid remark. "Why? Is this not enough for you? Am I not enough for you? What about children would make this so much better that you have to press the issue?"

He could hear Suzaku u give that sigh, the one that always let Lelouch know that arguing wasn't Suzaku's favorite pass time and that unfortunately Suzaku knew how to argue with Lelouch: he simply didn't. Lelouch was too good at games and Suzaku was experienced enough to know that the only way to beat Lelouch's games was to not play at all.

Persist as always though, Lelouch wasn't letting this drop. "Really just tell me what is so unhappy about what we have now that we need to add to it, that little muddy feet and messy handprints and broken things and sticky destructive little human beings would make so much more tolerable for you?"

There was silence on the other end. Lelouch had expected that, knowing Suzaku might not even speak about the subject for the next few months even.

With a huffed out sigh Lelouch flopped back on the bed, rolling his eyes the utter lack of response he had gotten, and Suzaku was still silent on the other end of the bed even. There seemed to be no getting anything out of him. So still unsatisfied, but at least knowing he had tried Lelouch pulled the sheets up over his mid section and tried to consecrate on getting tired enough for sleep.

"You know,"

Surprised to hear Suzaku speak now, Lelouch turned his head to look in his direction.

Suzaku hadn't turned, but his head had lifted just off the pillow, and was turned just a bit, just enough that Suzaku would know that Lelouch could hear him. "I think you want muddy footprints and broken things and sticky little destructive children, just as much as I do."

It was Lelouch's turn to be silent as he considered the question. He looked away from the expanses of tan skin to turn on his own side, away from Suzaku. "The issue isn't about 'want.'" He bit out.

There was rustling from the other side of the bed and as much as Lelouch wanted to he didn't stop Suzaku as he felt the other press against his back. He didn't look up from the sheets and he didn't acknowledge the arm that wound around his waist.

"Alright, Lelouchk" Suzaku cooed at his ear before nuzzling in at the back of his neck.

He didn't look up, didn't acknowledge the facts, and didn't want to acknowledge it. He did glance up. That dammed clock was still staring at him. He reached up, flipping the switch for the backlight to go off.

"Lu?" Suzaku questioned, raising his head.

"It was annoying me." Was the only answer Lelouch gave before sliding a hand over the much broader one of his lovers.

Chapter Text

Part VIII

White Apple

8/13/2011 10:29 AM

"No" Lelouch said firm, his arms crossed over his chest, eyes narrow, mouth just a thin line of pressed lips.

"Please," Suzaku begged, his hands held out at his sides.

It was absolutely pouring this time, and the lateness of hour made it all the worse. Normally they two of them would be sitting down to dinner at this point. Suzaku would tell Lelouch that it was great, as usual,. Lelouch would smile already knowing that Suzaku would always say that and has always said that, even if it wasn't wonderful, which it was because Lelouch made it. They would continue talking as they ate, as they always did (talking was the only real glue—besides sex—that held them together) and would end up doing the dishes and then lounging on the couch, still talking. They possibly might have even watched a movie or, Suzaku would ask Lelouch to read or if Suzaku was lucky he might get Lelouch to play a card game with him—but only if he was really really lucky. And all of this would be done exactly according to plan because that is what they did when it rained, and it was raining so that was what they were supposed to be doing.

"No," Lelouch repeated, stronger this time, widening his stance from his place on the front porch.

Suzaku was soaked to the bone at this point, having stood in the same place for the last ten minutes of the argument. The work coat even looked soaked through along with the heavy denim jeans and steel toe boots.

"Lelouch, please!" Suzaku went on, offering a hand out now, open palmed, like he was trying to get his point across physically if need be.

"No," Lelouch reaffirmed. "I am not having that thing in my house."

"It's a dog." Suzaku snapped.

Lelouch looked down at the mutt standing parallel with Suzaku. The thing looked utterly doused and yet still happy as can be—stupid animal. With a bit of distain showing on his face, Lelouch also noticed the collar fastened around the animal's neck and the leash that Suzaku had looped over his arm—the price tag was still attached.

"It is not coming into my house." Lelouch hissed.

Suzaku gave an impatient, annoying noise in his throat. "I'm not just going to let him sleep out on the porch."

"Of course not," Lelouch said, with a tilt of his head. "You're going to take it back where ever you picked it up and put it back."

Suzaku looked almost confused for a moment before he spoke. "It's not like I just picked him up from Wal-Mart. He's a living thing and I can't just take him back with a receipt and hope they'll give me my money back."

"You're right," Lelouch chided. "You don't need a receipt. You can just drop it off anywhere you choose."

"Arggh!" Suzaku let out in frustration. "Come on, Lelouch, at least act like you have a heart.

Lelouch turned. "Get rid of it Suzaku, I have dinner on the stove already."

"Great," Suzaku said.

At the sound of Suzaku's voice so close, Lelouch turned back to see that him and the—mutt were ascending the stairs to the porch. Sharp, violet eyes instantly narrowed as those filthy paws made contact with his pristine white steps, and Lelouch pivoted. "I thought I made it clear that little house guest wasn't invited."

"I'm not leaving him out here." Suzaku said firm, taking the last step up onto the porch.

Lelouch almost took a step back towards the door, but instead opened his mouth to counter—

"It's pouring out, for God's sake Lelouch," Suzaku beat him to it. "Just let him in for the night even,"

Again, Lelouch's eyes returned to the ragged mutt. His eyes skirted around that nice blue collar around its neck and the leash attached, now clenched in Suzaku's fist. Lelouch wouldn't be surprised if Suzaku had already picked out a name. His eyes went back to that matted fur. The animal dearly needed a bath and grooming and probably a flea collar. A deep sigh escaped his throat. Suzaku had to work all the next week and it would probably be raining just as long.

"Fine," Lelouch bit out. He turned on his heel, more of storming into the house than anything else. "One night," he proclaims as he crosses the threshold of the doorway and tries not to think of the muddy prints that would be trailing behind him.

Chapter Text

Part IX

White Apple

9/15/2011 9:03 PM

Two weeks, a night had turned into two fully fledged weeks, and the space of that time Suzaku had managed to sneak in a set of dishes, a dog pillow in the living room, and the most annoying squeaky toy Lelouch had ever heard in his life.

Lelouch huddled in his wicker chair, a warm cup of coffee in his hands. He was hiding from the dog. The dumb thing was too gosh darn smart for its own good, and had figured out that when Suzaku left for work Lelouch was still at home, and that as a human being, a possible playmate. Since neither of them seemed to speak the same language (unlike Suzaku, who seemed to always know how to make the dog happy) Lelouch hadn't found a way to get the message across that he had no desire to play, especially not if it was the rough and tumble wrestling match Lelouch had observed Suzaku and the dog engaging in.

"He's not here." Lelouch said to the mutt as she prodded on to the porch, her tongue hanging in a far too happy manner. "and—" Lelouch stopped himself. Talking to dogs after all wasn't very princely.

That was another thing they had discovered, the mutt Suzaku had picked up was indeed a girl. Suzaku had shrugged at the notion, saying that it wasn't like he'd tipped her over to check her gender exactly. It was Lelouch's discovery, after dinner the dog had been found at his feet tail thumping against the tile as she'd rolled over on her back, paws up and exposed her belly, looking up hopefully. She had promptly been ignored after Lelouch had informed his companion the 'he' was indeed a she and that she was soiling the floor with mud, for which Suzaku would be cleaning. And Suzaku did clean it—after giving the mutt her wanted attention.

The dog didn't respond, but she did turn and start down the stairs.

Giving a snort, Lelouch turned to the side table, picking up the morning paper and flipping it open. "Good riddance to bad rubbish," Lelouch murmured to himself.

The morning news was nothing interesting, as it never was in the paper that Lelouch got. He used to order a nationwide paper, but that was quickly cut off by Suzaku as he tossed it back out the door and told Lelouch the country was not their problem anymore. So it was the local paper now that he received. Lelouch was still a little surprised at how easily he'd complied with that demand of his life partner. There hadn't even been a fight over the matter. Though as Lelouch looked in retrospect he kind of agreed with Suzaku, and it had simply been Suzaku that had pointed it out to him with his actions.

The sound of padded feet back on the porch brought Lelouch's attention back just in time to have a slimy, muddy, and salivated tennis ball, dropped into his lap. The mutt stepped away a moment latter and sat down waiting patient, eyes going between the ball and Lelouch, as if to try and give him a clue as to what to do.

Lelouch looked down at the ball, very hesitant, before using the paper to roll the ball off his lap. The ball thudded on to the porch bouncing and continuing off down the porch steps. Lelouch sighed and almost turned back to his paper before watching the dog. Suzaku wouldn't have…would he?

And surely it seemed he had. The dog, tail in the air, scrambled after the ball, jumping from the porch to land in the grass, catching the ball in its mouth and, tail still wiggling with joy, trotted back up the stairs and up to Lelouch. Before Lelouch had quite figured out what to do about this situation the ball was again placed at his lap, just as saturated with the dogs saliva and now branding a new coat of brown.

"I'm going to slaughter that boy." Lelouch said darkly, his fingers curling in the paper with a loud, crisp crinkle.

The dog perked, ears twitching to attention as it stepped back and waited for the ball to be in action again.

"There is no change in plan this time!" Lelouch said, a bit horrified that he was talking to the mutt, but Suzaku wasn't home yet so there wasn't much of another option. "I've sworn to do it before but never quite gone through with it, but this time—ohh, this time I will kill him." He was still talking to himself, and not to the dog, of course.

Obviously, the dog had no idea what was being said. Instead her tail thumped against the white boards of the porch as she looked up at Lelouch hopeful.

Knowing that if he just slid the ball off his lap again it would just be a repeat of the same thing again, and unlike the dog Lelouch was not enjoying this game very much, Lelouch instead just nudged it off of his lap to sit at the very edge of the chair. Lelouch slid away from it a moment later, crossing his legs and turning back to the paper.

He flipped the paper back up and started to read again, completely ignoring the dog in front of him as he turned the page to the nest section. It was better this way. Once the dog got attached it would just be harder when Suzaku got around to actually seeing Lelouch's demands through and finally taking the dog back to where ever he found her.

"Lelouch?"

Not sure how much time had passed, Lelouch looked up through his reading glasses a bit curious, "Hmmm?" And Lelouch looked up just in time to see his life partner greet the dog, before ever going to Lelouch.

"Hey puppy," Suzaku said, and of course the dog was up and already to him, tail wagging at such a rapid speed Lelouch wasn't even sure if it was still attached, while Suzaku stroked at the dogs head and scratched around her ears.

"Puppy?" Lelouch repeated. Lelouch had thought he was Suzaku's 'puppy.' Okay, so they had never had pet names like that, but the point was that if there were pet names between them, Lelouch was supposed to be the doted on puppy, especially by Suzaku.

Straightening, Suzaku smiled as he spotted the ball off to Lelouch's side, before scooping it up, no care about the filth of the thing and chucked it across the yard. Immediately, the dog set off, circumventing the porch steps again as she jumped from the porch and was out into the grass at a full run after the ball.

"She's really smart," Suzaku said with a wide smile as he sat in the only other wicker chair on the porch. "It's only been like a day since I started to teach her fetch and she's already got it down."

Unpleased at the prospects of this topic of conversation, Lelouch looked over at his companion with a cold stare.

Suzaku just continued to smile back. "I think she's kind of cute too."

If Lelouch hadn't been glaring before he was certainly glaring at this point of the mention at that filthy, flea ridden mutt being, "cute." "She's disgusting." Lelouch voiced bit toneless.

And she was back at this point happily presenting the ball to Suzaku, and with a fling of his arm the ball was soaring out through the yard again.

"So I thought of a name," Suzaku went on completely disregarding the harsh comment.

The paper in Lelouch's hands, this time, dropped to his lap, crumpled a little as Lelouch fisted them to turn to his companion. There was no way they were naming that thing and there was no way they were keeping it. "How do you know it doesn't belong to someone?" Lelouch shot out. If the tactic of distain didn't work than he'd try guilt-tripping Suzaku into giving the dog away.

"I went down to the pound, there was no report filed on her and she had no collar till us." Going on Suzaku brushed over the explanation seamlessly, "So anyway about a name…"

And that bastard was smiling as well. Lelouch narrowed his eyes. 'till us,' that was implying that a. Lelouch had been willing in this, which he hasn't, and b. that they were somehow now a family, which they were but Lelouch wasn't exactly counting the mutt in that sphere.

"Take her back." Lelouch flat toned as he stared over at Suzaku as he chucked the ball back out over the yard and the mutt raced off the porch and after it again.

"Hey! You've moved on from the 'it' stage." Unfortunately, Suzaku looked ecstatic.

Lelouch sighed, lifting one hand up from his lap he rested his elbow on the arm of the chair, turning his head away from Suzaku he pinched at the bridge of his nose. Suzaku wasn't even admitting now that they had had an agreement for the dog to leave. It was as if whatever Lelouch said was being filtered down into whatever Suzaku wanted it to mean, proving that in all this time the curly haired boy had indeed not changed a bit. The dog had weaseled her way into Suzaku's love and now was even getting compliments from him, like cute! There was no getting around it anymore…

"Fine, what did you name the mutt?" Lelouch asked, not lookingu p, not daring to look up at that smug face he knew he'd have to confront at some point.

"You're going to love the name. I picked it with you especially in mind, seeing as you love the dog so much." Oh was that boy smug. It oozed through the syllables in his voice, soaking up sentences and tainting his entire speech pattern.

Opening his eyes, Lelouch refused to look over at his partner. "What did you name her?"

There was a chuckle, a very smug chuckle. before the boy answered, "Charles."

Lelouch did look up at this, and over, his mouth forming a disgusted little o-shape. "You have got to be kidding me!"

He wasn't Lelouch quickly found as Suzaku stood and called from the porch steps. "Charles!" the dog perked, ball in her mouth as she started to run back in the direction of the porch. "I was thinking we should put in a fence, you know we wouldn't want to lose Charles at all."

Shaking his head, Lelouch just turned back to his paper. He thought of pointing out that the mutt was a girl and Charles was not the name for a girl, but it would have just gone through one ear and out the other. He thought of pointing out that they already had a fence around the front yard and that the back would be a bit over kill. It was Suzaku and the boy always seemed to need a project. He thought of pointing out that there was no way in heaven and earth that they were keeping a dog named Charles, but just like the last three arguments they had had over the dog, Suzaku would have just won anyway.

So in the end, Lelouch just sat in his chair and read his paper, trying to ignore the smug smile directed at him from the boy standing on his porch, slimy saliva soaked ball in hand and a fleabag of a mutt at his side.

Chapter Text

Part X

White Apple

10/14/2011 1:54 PM

"No!" Lelouch scolded, pulling the covers up and closer to his chin.

"It's cold outside," Suzaku whined. "Come on, Charley," he beckoned the dog closer between them.

"It's not cold in the living room!" Lelouch hissed, inching away from the ever present dog now burrowing under the sheets. "There are limits and out bed is one of those limits!"

"What if she gets lonely though?" Suzuki pouted, pulling the dog closer to him, stroking at her back. She thumped her tail against the sheets and leaned up to give a long slobbery kiss up the side of Suzaku's face.

"Suzaku I said no." Lelouch growled. "She is not welcome in our bed."

"Just for tonight," Suzaku trailed.

The dog had already settled in between them, curling into Suzaku's side, and enjoying all the attention Suzaku poured out to her.

Lelouch looked down at her, his expression growing far graver. It was true that life tended to dish out far more metaphors than one truly realized, but this one—it was eerie how true it rang. And just as he had done then Lelouch felt the need to do it now.

"Suzaku, she is leaving this bedroom." His lip didn't curl in distain this time as he looked to his companion. Eyes piercing right though him this time, as violet and violent as they had ever been in the past. "She doesn't belong between us and you know it."

This got Suzaku's attention, and the curly haired boy looked up, "What are you…?" as realization hit him his expression turned sour fast. Crossing his arms over his chest he gave his own tight-lipped response. "It's not like that, Lelouch. I'm not putting her before you."

"I can't believe something like that when it comes from you." Lelouch responded easily. He would have moved, would have quickly ended the subject and simply left the room and left the conversation they always seemed to avoid. True, the years had healed the wound but that didn't mean that they talked about what happened. Lelouch had forgiven Suzaku and Suzaku had forgiven Lelouch, but as always it seemed that neither had forgotten anything.

"You're paranoid," Suzaku rolled his eyes and shook his head as he looked back down to the mutt snuggling into the Ralph Lauren sheets Lelouch had picked for him and Suzaku, and just for him and Suzaku.

If there was one thing that Lelouch hated, it was being blown off. He didn't care if he was looked at as obnoxious (which of course he never was) just so long as he was never ignored. "I want her out." Lelouch made it simple for his companion to interpret. "Her place is not here and the sooner she leaves the better."

"Or what?" Suzaku sneered as his head snapped up. "Are you going to shoot her too?"

Lelouch's mouth shut without a sound. It took him a moment to clear away the impulse of reopened scars and tear across the bed to his companion, aiming for his throat. They were past that, or at least that was what Lelouch was going to keep telling himself, and the best way to do that was to shoot back his own comment. "Now who is the paranoid one? Don't you think you're being a little over the top."

"You're the one getting worked up over a dog." Suzaku snarled.

It was true, but like a doused cat all Lelouch could do is hiss back. "And you're convinced I'm going to kill her over such trivial matters as sitting on our bed."

"And the first time it happened wasn't trivial at all!" Suzaku snarled, this time his voice elevated enough that Lelouch felt it. He was standing as well within a moment, "Come on, Charley." He ushered the dog off of the bed.

Lelouch watched, knowing all good things came to those who waited.

Suzaku let the covers crumple and hang off the side of the bed as he walked around the bed, the Dog, oblivious, following close behind him, tail still in the air and that sloppy, slobbery grin still on her face.

"Running again?" Lelouch said, just loud enough that he knew would reach his lover poised at the door. "I guess that's all I can expect after all. You turn your back on me all the time; I should be used to it by now. You seem to prefer to make things as hard as they can be, now don't you. You deny it until you can't fight it anymore than you can't seem to face your own actions." He's struck a nerve, just like he knew he would, and a sly smile, that frightening side of Lelouch's that reveled in watching Suzaku in pain had reared its ugly head.

"I never ran from anything." Suzaku hissed.

"Right, you just ran from you inheritance, your country, your loyalty," Lelouch said off handedly. "You only run from the important things. Our bedroom on the other hand…"

"I'm not having this argument with you tonight." Suzaku growled before tromping back to the bed he snatched a pillow. He then continued to the closet.

"You're good at abandonment as well." Lelouch said, a smile striking again.

Suzaku didn't acknowledge him, instead pulling a blanket out from the top shelf and folding it under his arm.

"Are you finally feeling guilty for leaving her at the very end?" Lelouch sneered. "Do you really think the dog will make up for that?"

They were just questions. but Lelouch knew enough to know they were the worst type of punishment for his lover. Suzaku asked himself too many questions, so when Lelouch started to ask them as well—teeth was added.

Suzaku stopped half way through the room. "You haven't changed, you know that." He spat out.

"And neither have you." Lelouch growled with perfect articulation.

"You're such an ass."

"At least I don't skip sides depending on who is winning the game."

"You're really ugly sometimes."

"I'm crushed." Lelouch didn't look away. "Now get out."

Suzaku didn't look surprised, didn't eve tilt his head. His brow lowered and eyes became that cold distant kind of impregnable ice as he continued to the door, bowing on the way out. "Yes, your majesty."

Chapter Text

Part XI

White Apple

12/1/2011 6:47 PM

The next morning was—awkward. Most unusual for the mornings was Lelouch. On a regular weekday morning he would have still been in bed, letting Suzaku get himself fed, cleaned, and off to work. He would have leaned up and kissed Suzaku tender as he said good bye and would have slid back under the covers and let himself drift back to sleep. But that morning he'd been up just as the light of morning had peak up over the mountains.

"Coffee?" Lelouch asked his voice toneless while offering out the pot he'd just brewed.

Suzaku didn't say anything, didn't even make eye contact, as he gave a brisk nod. His hair was still wet from his morning shower and he hadn't even bothered to find a shirt. In his work jeans and Carhart wool socks he wondered over to the fridge, rummaging a moment to find the egg carton.

Lelouch didn't look much better. A dark hoody and sweat pants, He still wore reading glasses and didn't even bother to ask Suzaku if he wanted help with his breakfast. He left Suzaku's coffee on the counter for him as Lelouch took his own steaming mug with him to the table. Adjusting the glasses, he opened his book, starting to read.

And yet he didn't. His eyes darted to Suzaku.

Broad, tanned and hunched shoulders were all that his gaze was met with as Suzaku worked on frying his egg. With a snort, Lelouch looked back down to his book, trying to pick up on the line he'd left off.

At the sound of a low whine, Lelouch and Suzaku both looked up to find Charley in the doorway of the kitchen. The room froze for a few seconds and Lelouch inhaled deep, his nose rising into the air, and brow dropping.

But before anything could be said Suzaku marched around the table to the dog. "Come on, Charley," he murmured in a quiet voice as he guided the dog out the side door in the kitchen. Lelouch was stiff looked down at his book as he could hear Suzaku rummaging for the dog dish and to the large bag of dog food in the pantry. A few seconds later, Lelouch glanced up as Suzaku came back into the house. His eyes averted Lelouch's as he returned to the stove and flipped over his egg.

It had been easy for so long to slide into a comfortable groove. It had been easy to just remember the good things about each other and the nice little comments and mundane problems. It was easy to forget why the life they had had been a result of. It was easy to forget the events that pushed them together then tore them apart. It was easy to forget what it was like to have to fight to stay together.

Mornings like the one they were currently in didn't come often in their new lives. And when they did, it reminded them just how easy the civility between them could be broken. When it was shoved in their face of just how fragile the little peace they'd created really was in the end.

Suzaku slid the fried egg onto a plate and pulled out his toast before carrying it and his coffee to the table.

The silence seeped in as Suzaku sat down and without pause started to eat. Lelouch glanced up from his book a few times before rolling his eyes and turning the page. The clock on the wall ticked down to eight, when Suzaku had to be at work, but neither showed any need to hurry.

The scrape of Suzaku's fork against the plate slowed and Lelouch looked up to find Suzaku was looking up as well. Suzaku finished chewing what was in his mouth before swallowing, knowing etiquette was something important to Lelouch even after all the years together. "I was thinking Charley could sleep in the living room tonight."

'Instead of you?' Lelouch had to bite his lip to stop the curt comment from coming out. Clearing his throat, he spoke in a hushed tone to respond. "As long as it's not on the couch,"

A dutiful nod was Lelouch only real answer as Suzaku turned back to his plate. Lelouch nodded as well, looking back down at his book as Suzaku got up to rinse his plate in the sink and continue back to the bedroom to change.

It wasn't until Suzaku had left the room that Lelouch let the book in his hands drop to the table. . He looked at it for a long moment, a frown deepening on his face as he pulled in a shaky breath. Their life wasn't perfect—but it was as close as it was ever going to get. He blinked behind those dark trimmed reading glasses several times before he let the book close and his hands dropped to his lap.

"Hey, I'm leaving," Suzaku hollered as he didn't even bother going through the kitchen as he continued straight from their bedroom to the entryway.

Turning his head, Lelouch almost let the moment pass. Almost let their tense engagement continue. But—Suzaku had tried to reach out that morning with his little comment at the table and Lelouch couldn't ignore that as he closed his eyes and took a huge gulp of his own pride. "Wait."

He didn't run, but strode with bare feet back through the house and to meet Suzaku at the door. Work boots laced and zipping up his jacket, he looked prepared for another verbal blow.

Eager to be unpredictable, Lelouch instead reached up, pulling Suzaku closer to grace a soft kiss to the other cheek. "Thank you," he cooed. "You're very good to me."

Maybe out of shock, or bewilderment, Suzaku let Lelouch tip his head so Lelouch could press a kiss into the curly tangle of hair.

"I-I'll see you tonight then." Suzaku said as Lelouch disengaged and stepped back.

"Of course," with a nod, Lelouch affirmed.

"Alright," Suzaku said his eye barely coming up from the floor and shuffled to try and figure out how to get the door open so he could leave.

Lelouch gave a wry smile, admiring just how easy it was to turn his lover into a blushing boy again. It was usually the reversal for the sentimentality and affection, so it seemed only natural for Suzaku to get all flustered and not know what to say. It was a pleasant role reversal, Lelouch ventured as he continued out the door watching as his counterpart left for the day. A small smile and reading glassed still clinging to his nose he leaned against the door frame.

Chapter Text

Part XII

White Apple

12/5/2011 12:10 PM

It was a cycle with the two of them. They fought—usually viciously and clawed and tore at any weakness or raw flesh they could get a hold of, smearing blood, tears, and all kinds of emotion across the walls. Then they made up—usually reluctant, in quiet tense apologizes with an awkward silence and uneasy trust hanging over their heads. After that came, well—

"Damn it!" Suzaku cursed against Lelouch's lips, his hand practically clawing at the door knob.

The other man just laughed as his fingers scrambled behind him trying to help Suzaku figure out how to open the door they were pressing against. He would have given a snarky, terse comment back but as his fingers managed to detangle from Suzaku's skin, and cloths, and toned muscle to follow his hand down to the knob and—

"Whoa!"

Suzaku caught him before they hit the floor, his hand slamming to the door frame and his other arm had shot around Lelouch's back. That left Lelouch a little surprised from his upside down view of their bedroom. It was one of those moments that Lelouch was relieved that his partner had such fast reflexes.

"Sorry," Suzaku mumbled and before Lelouch could bring his head back up, from its position hanging back, his jutting Adams apple was covered with Suzaku's mouth.

And with Suzaku's next fluid move he had Lelouch back up standing straight so they could stagger onward to the bed.

"The dog's outside, right?" Lelouch hissed as his hand moved to Suzaku's shirt, working on getting it off. They had already had a very frightening metaphor applied to the dog and the last thing Lelouch wanted was the bouncy, tail wagging, sloppy grinned fuzz ball to come jogging into the room.

"Uh-huh," Suzaku breathed, his mouth making its way around to any sensitive spot he could get to on Lelouch's neck.

Lelouch couldn't help the growl that ripped from his throat as his fingers refused to cooperate and get Suzaku's shirt off! He would have ripped it but they would then have to pay for a new work shirt for Suzaku and those were expensive so he simply started to tug the shirt out of those oh so tight, amazing fitting jeans.

"Someone's eager," teasingly Suzaku mumbled as his mouth latched on to the Lelouch's ear lobe.

"Shut up," Lelouch hissed. As he worked his fingers under the shirt, enjoying a moment to spread those fingers over toned, tan flesh before hooking back on to the shirt and pulling it up. "Take it off." He ordered.

"Yes," Suzaku breathed, as he pulled the shirt up over his head and off, returning almost immediately to Lelouch's lips.

Finding the bed behind them, Lelouch was about to sit, when he found himself tackled into the covers scattered over mattress, Suzaku baring down on him as he dragged Lelouch's body up to the pillows. Lelouch was surprisingly fine with that as he dug his fingers in at Suzaku now bare shoulders, his other arm about to go around Suzaku waist. The sloppy mess of kissing moved from Lelouch's mouth down ward, Suzaku smeared his love for the other boy over any free skin available.

His head lulling back into a pillow, Lelouch let a low growl of a moan escape and his eyes slatted before—

It caught his eye from the bedside table. Those stark red numbers rolling on as another minute passed. It was that exact moment, the clock striking and rolling from nine fifty nine PM to ten o' clock.

It struck a nerve, and Lelouch reached out to it. He wanted to break the thing up against the wall for all it had worried him the past couple of months. Just barely his finger tips brushed against the clocks surface—it just wasn't enough though as he tried to grasp the clock. "One second, Suzaku," Lelouch gasped out as his partner was quickly moving down his chest.

"No," Suzaku said sounding just as unseductive as Lelouch just had. He didn't even look up from unbuttoning Lelouch's shirt and enjoying ever new piece of skin with his mouth. Suzaku did pause for just a moment to inform Lelouch, "Whatever you're being anal about, just stop it. Because frankly I don't care if the sheets need washed or the lamp need to be dusted or it there is some tiny insignificant thing in the room that will in no way hinder me and you. I don't care about any of it."

Well, he was right on that for once, Lelouch couldn't help but think as he glanced down at the sheets. They did need washed. "It's not the sheets." Lelouch growled, trying to shift under the weight of his lover to be able to just reach that damned it all clock!

Giving a sigh Suzaku looked up, his line of sight followed Lelouch's arm and looked back at Lelouch. "Are you serious right now?" Suzaku looked back at the clock then back to Lelouch. "It's a clock. In fact," Suzaku looked at the wrist watch on his hand. "It's right on time too."

"Just let me up for a second," Lelouch growled a little lower this time as he gave another good effort to reach the clock.

Rolling his eyes, Suzaku lunged to the side of the bed and snatched up the digital alarm clock. "What do you want me to do with it?" He asked in all seriousness.

A little startled, Lelouch gapped for a second. It had been quite a while since they had done anything in bed—but he hadn't of thought Suzaku wanted or even missed it that much. "Uh—the floor, just put it on the floor."

Hocking it to the floor Suzaku descended in the same action, sliding his body against Lelouch's in one smooth movement. Almost instantaneous, Lelouch managed to capture those lips again with a smile this time and he wound one arm around Suzaku's waist. Lelouch always liked to feel wanted after all, even if they probably would have to buy a new alarm clock now.

Chapter Text

Time

Part XIII

1/10/2012 9:34 PM

There was rain that morning. It hit against the roof over their bedroom and ran down the window that over looked their bed. There was only a distilled, grayed light that was let in though the sheets of water droplets and the cold surface of the glass window. So they stayed in bed, tangled in each other without knowledge of where one ended and the other began. Eyes were closed, but they were both awake, hands gripping on to naked skin and fingers tangling against flesh or in strands of hair. The sheets were twisted around them like a cocoon holding them in and together, their hearts beating in sync, pulse to pulse and beat to beat.

Then as always the silence and perfect moment had to break.

"Come on, 'louch," Suzaku said. A comfortable kind of easiness had settled into his quiet voice. "We have to get up."

Lelouch rolled his eyes. "It's Saturday. You don't work, I don't work—the dog knows where to get the food, let's just stay." Earlier that week Lelouch had found the oh so investigative dog in the pantry—chowing down on dog food, the bag torn asunder around her. After going red in the face Suzaku had toted Lelouch off to the other room, and then he had gone back to send the dog outside with a scolding and had cleaned up the mess. Now they always made sure to shut the pantry door, firmly.

Suzaku was looking up though, his neck craning to look at the window. "It's really coming down now. I have to go out and cover the garden. If it hails it'll tear it all to shreds."

"Don't go." Lelouch said, his hand lazily ran along his arm curing up over his shoulder blade. It was more of a wistful breath than anything else. He laid his head against Suzaku's shoulder. "Let's just stay in bed." It was warm and Suzaku's arms were wrapped so tight around him it felt like they could never be separated.

Lelouch could feel the rumble of a chuckle, even snuggling up as flush against that broad chest as he could.

"It's almost noon, Lelouch." Suzaku whispered like it was some sort of secret.

Long lashes parted as a smile spread and Lelouch looked up at his once loyal knight. "Well, that's a record." Not for Lelouch—noon wasn't even in the running for Lelouch's record—but it was certainly an accomplishment for Suzaku.

"Come on," Suzaku repeated.

This time Lelouch didn't have a chance to debate as Suzaku slid him to the mattress, even lovingly pulling the sheet up over his shoulder before he moved to the edge of the bed, sitting there for just a moment. A smile was all Lelouch could give. It was a typical Suzaku to get up long before Lelouch and even now Suzaku was fully prepared to let Lelouch stay in bed as long as he wished. But that morning there was what wasn't typical.

Suzaku had his hand at his shoulder, massaging in a hard motion and a sigh reached Lelouch's ears.

Lelouch was sitting up in a second. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Suzaku lied to him.

When Suzaku looked back though Lelouch was sure the glare he wore conveyed his meaning that he didn't appreciate the lie. It was the same kind of lies Suzaku still told. It was the sort of lies that Suzaku never stopped telling. Everything had to be so god damned peachy! There was always a brighter side. There was never something wrong with him.

"It's okay. I'm just sore." Suzaku said before he stood, "And tired." His movements were slow and lumbering as he went to the dresser. In the dark room Suzaku moved as an old oak move across a field, if an old oak could do so, creaking, towering, but not threatening, and not brittle, but very conscious of the danger of each movement.

In that moment Lelouch could feel it in his chest, a hollow ache as he watched his partner. His hand, shaky, lifted to his mouth as his eyes widened and his mind reeled through ever possible option. "But you've slept all morning."

"Well, that is probably half the reason I'm so tired. I don't need that much sleep." Suzaku said. He pulled on a pair of sweat pants before trailing into the bathroom.

Lelouch shifted, tucking his legs up under his body as he tried to think, tried to play this the situation off just like Suzaku was doing. Then he heard it—

Suzaku came out of the bathroom with an aspirin bottle in his hand as he shook out to get a hold of two pills, and the sound of it perked Lelouch's ears—mostly because it was a sound rarely if even heard throughout the house. The clank of the white tablets echoed in the small bottle as Suzaku got two of them out and tipped the bottle back up to replace the lid.

"What are you doing?" Lelouch asked. It came out a bit more accusatory than he meant, but there was no stopping it afterwards.

The accusation seemed to be noticed by Suzaku as well as he looked up with confused knit brow. "…I'm sore. I was going to take a pain reliever," he held the two pills up for Lelouch's examination. "So I could go outside and take care of the garden and the yard and bring in the dog."

"It's raining outside." Lelouch shot back.

"It hasn't stopped me before." Suzaku shrugged his shoulder and kicked back the aspirin in the palm of his hand a second later. No water needed, he swallowed and started to the dresser again.

Lelouch scrambled to the foot of the bed. "Come back to bed with me." he wasn't asking.

Suzaku pulled a grey shirt up and over his head as he gave a chuckle. "We've spent enough time in bed this morning."

"It's not like we have anywhere to be today." Lelouch said, still trying to remain reasonable.

"We can spend all day together, and we don't have to be in bed while we do." Suzaku joked as he walked out of the bedroom, pulling on his socks as he went.

Almost falling off the bed, Lelouch pulled a button up on as he scrambled through the room, grabbing Suzaku's boxers on the way out. He walked as fast as he'd managed since his name had been Zero as he followed Suzaku to the living room.

"Suzaku, just come back to bed," Lelouch hissed as he entered the room.

Lelouch's words stopped his companion, standing at the door to the back porch, the latch in hand even. Suzaku let the door click back shut, stepping towards Lelouch. Lelouch almost thought he'd won, that Suzaku was going to follow him back to their bed and they could fall back among the sheets. At least he'd thought he'd won until Suzaku slid his hand against Lelouch's cheek, his hand feeling more than caressing. He was checking if Lelouch was warm.

Of course he was fine, he was an immortal. The red mark spread-eagle under his navel was even visible through the un-buttoned shirt.

"We can spend all day together." Suzaku said again. He wasn't kidding around this time as he said it.

The mess of black bed head swung as Lelouch shook his head. "No," It wasn't the same. It wasn't the same as it was when they laid together under the covers. "I want you to come to bed with me." Lelouch wouldn't admit it was desperation that was starting to leak through his voice.

Suzaku didn't say anything. His eyes flecked from left to right as he scanned Lelouch's face, looking for what was wrong, looking for a way to fix it. "Lelouch—"

"Just come back to bed with me!" Lelouch hissed. His face was hot now; it burned as he felt the streak of tears. "Please."

Suzaku's mouth hung open for a moment. His eyes still searched. Then he closed his mouth, nodding as he spoke, "alright." And then turned away. "Just let me take care of this, and I'll come straight back to bed with you—"

"No," Lelouch turned away, his face still hot as he hid it, tipping his head in hope that his lover didn't see.

"I'll be right back, I promise." Suzaku said, he returned to him, kissing at his cheek, his lips wiping away a tear before he turned again.

Lelouch's head didn't raise, the sound of the door was the only marker that Lelouch had to go by to know that Suzaku was leaving him. He stepped towards the door, looking out of the window pane as Suzaku went down the steps. As he had said the rain didn't seem to bother him as he jogged out to the shed. Lelouch stayed there, he watched Suzaku until he saw that he was ready to come back in, and return to Lelouch again.

Lelouch returned to the bedroom. He stripped the shirt off, letting the boxers drop to the floor at the same moment. As he cloths fell, Lelouch stepped away from them and crawled into the bed, burrowing under the covers again. When Suzaku came in, Lelouch looked up, even sat up, beckoning his companion forward. His hands out stretched, Lelouch immediately started to strip Suzaku as well. When they were both back under the covers they didn't speak. Lelouch only pulled himself as close to Suzaku as he could and hide his face against his neck.

Chapter Text

Time

Part XIV

1/18/2012 10:56 AM

It took a while before Lelouch stopped clenching his arms around Suzaku's neck as they would sleep at night. It took longer for him to not follow in Suzaku's footsteps throughout the house, trailing behind right along with the dog—though Lelouch tried to be a bit more discrete about it. He was still watched at the windows though. Lelouch still stood at the wide French doors leading onto the back porch watching Suzaku as he went about taking care of their yard and the garden. The hairs on the back of his neck stood straight on end the night Suzaku mentioned that it was probably a good time to re-shingle the roof. Suzaku had hastily corrected and told Lelouch that it could probably just wait till summer.

Lelouch couldn't stop watching though. He stood at the front porch as Suzaku stepped off the steps in his steel-toed boots ready for the day. The sun hadn't even risen. Lelouch was never awake at that time in the morning. The days were getting shorter. The cool breeze reminding them both that winter was on the way whether they liked it or not. Even when Lelouch was emperor he'd slept till at the least eight thirty—most of the time nine. So with an ample amount of coffee in his hand he watched Suzaku go through the gate before climbing into the work truck he'd had for the past few years and leave for the day.

Positively domestic, Lelouch went back into the house to start on his own work. A small newspaper paid him a bit for a five hundred word article once a week. The topics were usually opinion based and in such a small community tended to be on the farmers market or the rising prices of copper. It was things that concerned people that lived on crops they grew and on material they used for production. It was small town America. Lelouch started his laptop up and sat down at the couch. It kept his mind running as he typed away.

Occupying himself became priority as he went about his days without Suzaku.

Monday: He finished his article for that week. Proofread, proofread again, and sent it out.

Tuesday: The house was cleaned, top to bottom, even organized his and Suzaku's dresser.

Wednesday: The deep cleaning took place. Lelouch cleaned the windows. He even managed to push the fridge out, cleaning behind it. He even washed the filthy pillow the dog used.

Thursday: Organization. And Lelouch was thrown to a screeching halt.

The attic had been ignored by Suzaku and Lelouch for a reason. It wasn't the creaking old boards of the floor and it wasn't the collecting cobwebs or even the mounds of things that had been left in the house. It was what they had stashed up there. What the two of them had thrown up there in hopes of forgetting.

Even in Lelouch's need to think of nothing but the task at hand he avoided it like the plague. It wasn't much, just a small box, a bit bigger than an average shoe box. The box had been in the same spot that it had taken up the day they had moved in and since then only activity it has gotten was the layering of dust over its top.

The prior house owners had left in an awful hurry, and left most of their old rotting things behind in the old rotting house. It had been a hasty run from an eviction notice and the house was back on the market before the night was over, dirt cheap and all inclusive. Suzaku had of course fallen in love with the tall gabled house, and dragged Lelouch right along as he'd plunged head first into the idea of rebuilding. It hadn't been just a fixer upper—it had been a complete reconstruction. Lelouch had wondered if it had been an heirloom of sorts for the former family. There had been things dating all the way back to the 1800 hundreds within the house. It even seemed that the family in possession of the house had been nobles within the empire at one time or at least one of the men had been a knight judging from a photo they had found.

Most to the things were beyond repair and had been tossed from the house, given away to neighbors or taken to the Salvation Army. But it was the things like the old faded photo of the young knight or a set of pearls, a hope chest more than a hundred years old that they didn't have the heart to toss out. They were remnants of an entire line that had just been left, trashed and forgotten about and Suzaku especially hadn't had the heart to do anything but leave the things in the house. So instead of getting rid of it all, they had crammed it in the attic, where nothing but time could touch it—age it just a little more.

But now with nothing left in the house that needed to be attended too Lelouch was left with the attic. He stood at the edge of the hatch he'd come up from to look over all the things that hadn't been touched in years. A broom was in on hand and a box for putting things in was in the other. One box was what he told himself. One cardboard box was all he'd collect this time and take to a neighbor or the Salvation Army. It wasn't even their things, and it needed to be parted with if they ever planned to actually turn the attic into a comfortable loft like they had always talked about.

Unfortunately, Lelouch didn't make it very far into the room, as he stepped away from the hatch door a whirl of dust and dirt, undisturbed for years had sprung up in a whirling fog, Lelouch sneezed, trying to shake off the need to do so a second time and stepped to the side. His hip hit a small table, and on that table a box had been knocked to the ground.

Heavy with all the things it held, it spilt open at the lid, photos, a yearbook, and several other trinkets knocking as they all splayed across the ground, like the scattering of sand if one were to break open an hourglass.

Lelouch hadn't meant to look down but he found himself doing so, faced with memories and a life he and Suzaku had long since forsaken. But his breath hitched as he saw them. Both were together, the broken face of the pocket watch gleamed in what little light there was left in the room and under that watch was—Shirley.

The photo had been taken just before Lelouch had lost his memory. Shirley in all her cute beauty was smiling up at him. Long tresses of ginger hair in a swirl around her as she stood tall in her school uniform.

And the photo was horrid to Lelouch, an awful reminder. Not of what awful thing he had caused, but of what had happened, what had gone wrong, of the one moment in his life when—his Geass had failed. Shirley had died, and no matter how many commands Lelouch had given for her to live, she had still died.

His eyes widened as he looked down at it for a moment, his body almost feeling as if he would drop—and then he ran. Careening through the attic he left the mess and dropped the box and the broom back down the hatch and quickly followed, firmly pulling the trap door shut as he went. The rumble as the door slammed shut disturbed nothing in the room, kicking up a more dust, but nothing changed. Shirley's smile, long dead, still looked up under the still, damaged, and broken pocket watch.

Chapter Text

Time

Part XV

1/28/2012 5:56 PM

"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Suzaku, Happy birthday to you!"

Their friends and neighbors had all collected around their dining room table clapped and jeered as Suzaku leaned forward and with one breath snuffed out the ring of candles on his cake. Laughter and more cheers followed, all of the people in their house surging forward to Suzaku.

"How old are you now?" one asked.

Suzaku laughed. "Too old,"

There was an echo of laughter from all around before a woman spoke up. "Oh come on, Suzaku, how old are you?"

Lelouch could see it as he watched him, that look that crossed his face every time Suzaku was forced to lie, especially when he really didn't want to.

"Thirty two," Suzaku said, a closed lips smile crossing his face as he said it and his eyes flicked to connect with Lelouch's. The lie wasn't even half of his actual age.

A glass of wine swirled as Lelouch rocked his hand slowly. He leaned against the door frame into the kitchen. The party had been put off for almost three weeks until Suzaku could get everyone invited and over to their house for a decent night of hopeful fun. Lelouch took a swig. There was a few of his own colleagues there as well in the mob of people occupying their house, but Lelouch knew the friends they had weren't for his sake at all.

Suzaku made friends where ever he went. It was his personality, even when he could barely smiled he'd been awarded with the undying trust and loyalty of the knights of the round. Lelouch was the opposite. His colleagues were better friends with Suzaku than they were ever going to be with Lelouch. It put a sour taste in his mouth to think of having so many ties here, but they'd been there for nearly four years at that point, and he couldn't deprive Suzaku of all outside human contact. Suzaku thrived off of others. He wasn't like Lelouch. He couldn't just go off of one person for decades at a time. When they needed to run from the place, Lelouch wasn't sure how he was going to get Suzaku to unlatch his fingers from his ties there let alone his death grip on the house.

All that wasn't the reason that Lelouch was already on his second glass of wine though—and in need of a refill. On Suzaku's actual birthday they'd spent it—they hadn't worn a lot of cloths that day. It was easier to swallow the facts then, especially with Suzaku's mouth traveling down his chest. Now that their house was filled with people Lelouch didn't know or care to know, he had decided to drown out his own depressing thoughts like any other responsible adult—with plenty alcohol. He would have broken out the vodka but there were people in the house and wine was more discrete.

"How long have you two been together now?"

Lelouch turned, realizing the question was directed at him. The girl—Lelouch couldn't remember her name but he was pretty sure it was the receptionist from Suzaku's work (or maybe his own, but did it really matter?) stood a foot or two away, curious eyes up at him.

"Twelve years," not even close to the actual number, but it served the purpose.

"Wow." The girl breathed, her eye turned to Suzaku, still lost in the crowd of charmingly mundane conversations and still on his first drink. It was obvious that the woman, probably in her mid twenties wasn't asking to know how long they had been tog ether—she was asking if there was a chance they would split up.

"If you'll excuse me," Lelouch said as he turned.

The people had all filtered though the dining room doors and dispersed throughout the kitchen and the living room. Thankfully no one noticed or at least said anything as Lelouch slid through the doors to the back porch.

Charley, not allowed into the house with all the guests present, looked up from her spot near the steps. Her tail thudded against the floor boards as she gave an open mouthed drool dripping grin.

"Hey Charley," Lelouch said, using the nick name that had become common.

With the wine glass poised in his hand, he easily slid down to sit on the porch step next to her. The dog sniffed at the glass, even standing for a better inspection. Lelouch held it away from her, pretty sure Suzaku wouldn't be too happy if the dog ended up drunk. Reaching around, Lelouch carefully balanced the glass on the railing about two feet above Charley's head. At least ten the dog would have to actually work at getting drunk.

"You know, at most parties it's common for the host to stay inside."

Lelouch craned his head back to see two curious eyes peering down at him.

With a quirk of a smile, Lelouch answered. "Happy birthday."

Suzaku knew. Immediately he knew Lelouch was well on his way to getting wasted. It was probably the smile, Lelouch concluded or maybe the cheerful tone in his voice that tipped Suzaku off. But unlike Lelouch predicted Suzaku lifted the wine glass off the porch railing, where it had been perched, and downed the remains.

"You owe me a drink now." Lelouch told him.

"Well we do have plenty of it in the house. The Morrison's brought enough liquor to drown us all." Suzaku said with a chuckle. He placed a hand on the wooden support beam for the roof and leaned against it.

In turn, Lelouch pressed back against Suzaku's legs. "I think they're a happy couple, the Morrison's. They always seem to have such an easiness about them."

There was a pause above him for a moment before he heard Suzaku speak up. "I think we're a happy couple." His fingers slid down, lacing through inky strands of midnight at the side of Lelouch's head.

Saying nothing was his best option Lelouch figured as he tipped his head down. Drowning out his fears of death and time and loss probably hadn't been the best idea he thought as he looked away.

Charley, though Lelouch wasn't sure when she'd left came prodding back up the stairs, and dropped her saliva slick tennis ball right into Lelouch's lap and waited expectantly. Suzaku gave a chuckle and Lelouch cringed, his hands sliding uncomfortably away to the floor boards and away from the ball. Suzaku slid down to sit next to Lelouch, retrieved the ball, and hocked it off into the yard. And Charley was off, happy again to have her favorite game started.

Behind them, the house was still lit up, the sounds of people laughing and talking and generally enjoying themselves filled their ears. It all intensified as the sound of music was heard, turned on loud enough that Lelouch and Suzaku could both hear every lyric.

Lelouch looked up from the steps making brief eye contact with the green-eyed boy next to him. Of course, Suzaku met his gaze evenly and a bubbling chuckle made it out for the brief moment. Looking away was all Lelouch could do as that wide smile spread wider and laughter sparked in emerald eyes. It almost felt like high school again, when just a small look at each other had them both looking away in nervous laughter and blushes. A callused hand slide around Lelouch's arm and down to interlace their fingers. With his head kept down, Lelouch felt the quirk of a smile and his own moment of laughter was forcing its way out.

"You think our friends just come here to party in our house?" Suzaku asked in a hushed tone as he leaned into Lelouch's neck.

The words tickled over Lelouch's skin and this time produced a blush. It wasn't the words, it was the closeness and the cheerfulness and definitely the wine and Suzaku was so happy and—of course the dog and the old house and their life and—everything.

Lelouch worked up the gall to look up and face Suzaku's gaze. "I think they come for the dog. She is cute after all."

This time Lelouch was rewarded with a wide, and perfectly happy grin. Lelouch looked away though as he noticed Suzaku's eyes. They roamed over him, watching more than anything, but it was the way Suzaku watched Lelouch's when they were alone, and in close quarters, and about to—

"Since it's my birthday party, can I ask for something?" Suzaku leaned in again, whispering the words into Lelouch's ear.

Lelouch laughed. "I would take it into consideration."

Not skipping a beat, Suzaku pressed a kiss to Lelouch's neck before giving his request. "Would you dance with me?"

Eyes flicked to the bustling house behind them and back to the open yard. The entire back of the house was lined with windows; there was no way they wouldn't be seen. It was so silly, to ask to dance with Lelouch outside and where they could be seen and then there were all the people inside, and the music wasn't even that great and—Lelouch broke into another smile. "Yes."

With an easy movement, Suzaku was up from the stairs, Lelouch's hand still in his own as he stood.

Lelouch couldn't take his eyes off of his partner, couldn't stop watching that smile as Suzaku pulled him to his feet and wrapped on arm around his waist and held the other one out poised perfectly, and waiting for Lelouch to step close enough for them to begin. And Lelouch did, meeting him and even letting Suzaku take the lead. It was his night after all.

"I'm impressed. You're pretty good at this." Lelouch said in a hushed tone.

"Of course I am." Suzaku gave a wink and a self-satisfied smile this time. "I was a knight after all. Yours if I do recall."

It was slow and sincere, they were closer than traditional and they moved as one with timed practice. The house behind them cast a warm and rich golden light on one side and on the other the moon shone down and sealed the scene with its silver refracting sheen. Charley watched from the porch (tennis ball still in her mouth) and no one came out or called to them. It was blissful was all that Lelouch could think as Suzaku whisked him away and through the grass of their backyard. It wasn't the palace gardens or the courtyards of Ashford, but Lelouch couldn't think of anything more that he would ever want besides the mundane and simple life they had transitioned into.

"I love you." Lelouch said.

"I know." Suzaku said before leaning in, and pulling both arms around Lelouch's frame. "And you know I will never love anyone but you." With that he sealed the promise with a kiss.

Chapter Text

Time

Part XVI

1/31/2012 10:52 PM

"I got this!" Suzaku assured, demonstrating as he gestured to the table. On the table, a recipe book sat open and waiting to relay instructions. Around the book were the various ingredients Suzaku had collected from the pantry and the garden outside, all while refusing Lelouch's help. All in all, it couldn't be denied that so far Suzaku was doing a pretty okay job at getting dinner well on its way to getting done. "Now just go back to your little article and let me handle this. I make breakfast every morning, don't I?"

"Barely," Lelouch said with a quick smile. "I make the coffee."

"I—built the house." Suzaku was so close to bursting with chuckles as he uttered the weak comeback.

Lelouch tried not to smile as well and looked back down at his laptop screen. As much as Suzaku wanted to pretend he was the only bread winner of the house, they both knew that without the commission work Lelouch brought in more and more as of late that they wouldn't be able to afford much. It was all about that thin line of discretion, never making too much and never making too little for the household to remain in mundane obscurity.

"A teaching job has opened up at the community college." Lelouch commented as his fingers started to click across the keyboard again.

"Yeah?" Suzaku said as he washed off the homegrown produce at his side.

"It's only for an associate professor though. Sadly when I compared, I still would make more at the newspaper than if I taught at the college." Lelouch adjusted the reading glasses on his nose before clicking away again.

Suzaku didn't answer for a moment. The only sound was of that of the running water in the sink and the gentle sound of Suzaku setting the tomato in hand on the counter to move on to the next. "You know, if you really wanted to take the job, I'm sure we could make it work. I turned down quite a bit of overtime last month."

Lelouch snorted, as if he would trade time with Suzaku for time with a bunch of screaming brats in his face. But it was a sweet offer so Lelouch acknowledged it with a cool reply. "Yes, but if I'm not home all day who will keep the dog company?"

With a chuckle, Suzaku knew well enough to know that was all the answer he was going to get as he turned back to preparations.

It took several moments before Lelouch looked up at the harsh sound of the knife making contact with the wooden cutting board. "Suzaku, it's a soup." he stated with a flat tone.

Suzaku looked up from what he was doing. "Yes, you picked it out, remember?"

In one fluid motion Lelouch had set his laptop on the table and was up from his chair, even mid-stride to Suzaku's side with an eye roll to the smart ass comment. "So cut them in chunks, not slices. You're cutting them too thin."

Pale, thin hands covered Suzaku's and guided him with the knife and tomato, cutting with him.

"Like this," Lelouch cooed in Suzaku's ear. He could feel the heat of a blush starting in Suzaku's cheeks. It was too charming for Lelouch to resist a nip at the others ear lobe.

"Lelouch, stop!" Suzaku laughed and tried to shake Lelouch off, though it was half hearted effort since they both knew if Suzaku really wanted things to stop he could have easily gotten Lelouch to back off. "We barely get out of bed lately as it is, we don't need to be going back to bed at five in the afternoon."

"Who says we have to do it in the bedroom?" Lelouch countered. "Get a little adventurous Suzaku."

Suzaku turned around, backed against the counters and caged on either side by Lelouch's long arms. He leaned forward and Lelouch leaned in for the kiss he wanted as well. It was only to be disappointed as with a wide grin Suzaku swiped his nose against Lelouch's in an Eskimo kiss instead.

Lelouch took a step back from the playful contact, crossing his arms with a grunt (an articulate grunt of course).

"I love you." Suzaku chided as he turned back to the cutting board, this time doing as Lelouch had instructed.

With an eye roll worthy of only the former emperor, Lelouch turned back to the table and slumped into his seat. Being refused by his lover, it looked like his only option was to actually do his work. He'd picked up a position as a bi-weekly columnist and since the owner of the newspaper knew Lelouch (mostly the man knew Suzaku), he let Lelouch come in and out of the actual office as he pleased. It was easier for them both that way. Lelouch had grown very accustom to being an emperor in the year or so that he'd had that privilege. Waking up early and spending hours a day in the aggravating lack of stimuli that was an office building wasn't something Lelouch was up for.

Suzaku hummed to himself across the kitchen and Lelouch went back to clicking away on his laptop. Charley padded into the room, tail held erect as she sniffed through kitchen and approached Lelouch first, always Lelouch first, then jogged off to beg at Suzaku's feet.

Lelouch's eyes flicked up to see Suzaku very tempted to hand over a bit of food. Green eyes looked up and Lelouch smiled at him before Suzaku smiled back. It amazed Lelouch just how happy they could be together, even with everything going on in his head it was hard not to acknowledge that things were blissful in their life.

"Woe, Charley," Suzaku said surprised as the dog jumped up, her front paws pressed against the cabinets so she could peer over the counter. It surprised Suzaku though and the slick tomato in his hand slipped. Red, orange juice made his hand slick enough for the tomato to slip right out of his grasp and in its place— "Nuuhh!" Suzaku let out as the razor-blade knife sliced into his palm. The dog gave a whine just as the knife slipped out of Suzaku's hand, clattering to the cutting board.

Lelouch's eyes widened and his focus blurred just a little at the sight of deep, dark red dripping from Suzaku's open palm to stain the cutting board and with stark contrast shined again the metallic of the knife's blade.

As Lelouch was up to his feet the dog was back on all fours, pushed to the side in Suzaku's haste to get to the kitchen sink.

"Suzaku!" Lelouch said and in one long stride he was next to his partner.

"It's fine." Suzaku said in a solid tone, his other hand immediately stopping Lelouch from coming closer, stopping him from seeing anything.

Lelouch jerked his shoulder away from Suzaku's hand and moved closer. His gag reflex kicked up as he saw the run of blood in the sink. Lelouch hated it but he had to look away just a moment, a moment too long and Suzaku grabbed his arm to direct him away.

"Lelouch, it will be fine. Just go get me something to wrap it in." Suzaku reaffirmed.

His head craned back over his shoulder to see the damage. Suzaku had flipped on the water. The clear liquid splashed onto Suzaku's hand, running over the skin and streaming red once it hit the dark metal bottom of the sink.

"Lelouch—" Suzaku was about to scold again before Lelouch interrupted and turned, a completely different demeanor this time, eyes focused and narrow and lips pressed together in a hard determined line—it was the Lelouch that was never told what to do.

He whipped a dish towel out of the handle of the oven and Lelouch stepped forward to turn off the water. Lelouch wrapped Suzaku's hand before tugging him along with him. "Come on, it will be easier to treat it in the bathroom."

Suzaku as much as he wanted to put up his brand of a fight again, was silenced as Lelouch took control of the situation, like he usually did, and guided him back to their master bathroom. Lelouch hands shook a little too much as he wrapped the wound and sealed it up. He kept his eyes level and down, already knowing that the occasional flash of a red rim was happening in Suzaku's emerald eyes. It felt like comfort knowing that the Geass had kicked in enough to stop the bleeding and at the same time Lelouch wanted to corner the power and ask it why it insisted upon tormenting him! Would it really come through when it was needed? Would he really have his Suzaku forever? He just wanted answers and unfortunately all he was getting was a mass of questions.

Chapter Text

t was late. Suzaku was out like the flick of a light switch the second he'd hit the bed after their silent and tense dinner. His body was spread across the bed, his bare chest and stomach a soft texture in contrast to the smooth sheets wrapped around his lower half. In the space that Lelouch normally occupied, Suzaku's hand lay against the white sheets, wrapped in gauze and medical tape.

Lelouch had to close his eyes, looking away. Suzaku had been so tired that night, abnormally tired and it had weighted against Lelouch's conscious for hours at that point. By the time he'd slipped out from Suzaku's grasp unnoticed and around the room to lean against the door leading into their bathroom, it was well into the morning hours of the night. He watched his lover as long as he could before stepping onto the cold tile floors and into the bathroom. He clicked the door shut behind him, making as little sound as he could, before he flipped the light on. The room felt artificial the second the man-made light sprang up in the bulbs over the mirror, refracting from the white porcelain of the sink and marble countertop with the same artificial tinge.

Lelouch met his reflection in the mirror, with sharp, narrow, eye to eye contact. Violet eyes flicked down and over his body. He looked eighteen still. It hadn't mattered how long he would go without a shave or how smart he tried to dress, he still looked eighteen. Lelouch had always been able to lie his way around it easy enough. He had a young body was a large part of the problem, but a very different face. Lelouch had made himself look older, mostly by the way he acted, because that was what he had to do. Suzaku looked twenty five, and as far as they knew that was where he would hopefully stay.

Lelouch's fingers hooked on to the hem of Suzaku's grey shirt and he pulled it up over his head. The shirt dropped to the tile flooring with a muffled sound before Lelouch's eyes returned to the mirror again.

His shallow chest and slender shoulders moved down in a stream of pale skin until it reached the hem of the pajama pants. Between there and his navel was placed the red mark of his immortality, of his curse.

Fingers spread wide, Lelouch ran the tips of his long digits across the mark of that bloody bird. His eyes traced right along with his fingers and his mouth felt dry. Without that mark Lelouch wouldn't have been there that very day, wouldn't have built the little semi pseudo family that had somehow been created out of the ashes of two former lives in ruins. And yet, the signs of the times were coming, and it hurt more and more to realize what might happen to him if—

Lelouch looked away, his eyes moving towards the sink, towards the kitchen knife that sat on the counter. Suzaku's blood had been washed off earlier that night, but Lelouch had left it in the bathroom.

It weighted down his hand as he picked it up. But with ease he pressed the blade to his palm and with a quick motion set in a slit as long and as deep as Suzaku's had been. His hand poised over the sink Lelouch watched as the dark liquids ran down his skin, clinging to skin as long as possible until it dripped, hitting the white porcelain of the sink in horrible and stark contrast. From there the stream slowly ran down the basin and into the drain.

But by the time Lelouch looked back up at his open palm—the wound was already healing. The long slit in his palm was sealing, the blood was getting its last few streaming drops out before the wound sealed up in a fresh, fleshy red line. From there it was only a matter of seconds before the line itself started to move into his skin as well.

When he lifted his hand to examine it close, it was perfectly fine, as if it had been completely untouched. With a hard pressed swallow Lelouch looked down to the rumpled pile that was Suzaku's shirt. Lelouch reached down and pulled the shirt up and back on. He turned on the water to wash down the remaining blood and clean off the knife.

He flipped off the light before trailing into their bedroom again. He set the knife at the dresser, to take into the kitchen once Lelouch had the chance. Perched at his side of the bed, Lelouch reached out to Suzaku's hand. Soft and gently he lifted the hand up.

"Wuh?"

The grunt of a question perked Lelouch's ears and he turned to his partner.

Suzaku had his head raised off the pillows. Eyes cracked open, he had a lazy still sleepy expression of confusion as he searched Lelouch's' face. "'louch? Wuh are you-?"

"Shhh sh sh…" Lelouch whispered, his fingers petting through the tangle and wave of Suzaku's hair. He leaned forward, even pressing a kiss to Suzaku's tender temple. "I'm just checking your hand. Go back to sleep, baby."

"Oh," Suzaku breathed, accepting Lelouch's answer as good enough, and let his head fall back to the pillow. He turned on his side letting his hand still stay in the grasp of Lelouch's fingers, but his body folded, curling around Lelouch. Suzaku's other hand even rested at the small of Lelouch's back, rubbing a few times before Suzaku let his hand rest there as he drifted back to sleep.

Lelouch shifted to sit back up and lifted Suzaku's hand to press his lips over the wound wrappings in another tender kiss. "I love you." Lelouch said into the wrappings before he sat back, and started to unwind the cloth from Suzaku's hand.

Once all of the cloth and gauze and tape were all stripped away Lelouch stared down at the brutal slit through Suzaku's sun-kissed skin. The dried blood was a distasteful and vile black color, crusting along the wound. As hard as they had tried to get the trickle of bleeding to stop they had finally had to let it clot and dry on its own. Lelouch just hoped that the knife hadn't gone deep enough to slice through a nerve or a tendon. His faith in Suzaku's Geass was already waning, and only time would tell if it had come through fully this time.

Lelouch rose from the bed, setting Suzaku's hand down before going back into the bathroom. When he came out with a small basin of water and several other supplies to rewrap the hand, he carefully tried to stay quiet. When he sank back down onto the bed, and into the comfortable little cove created by the curved shape his partner had fallen to sleep in, Lelouch reached for the basin of water. He wrung out a wash cloth in the warm water before using it to start cleaning off the disdainful black crusting along Suzaku's palm.

Chapter Text

Part XVIII

2/1/2012 10:41 PM

"Surprise, surprise, the last person I thought I'd hear from was you."

C.c.'s sultry voice hadn't lost its appetite for shredding into Lelouch's nerves, Lelouch observed as he adjusted his reading glasses and fought back the hiss of an order he knew C.c. wouldn't follow.

"Did you miss me? To be honest I didn't think I'd hear from you for another decade or so. Time becomes rather ambiguous after about the first fifty years." C.c. rambled on. "Soon you won't even care about it. After that comes the real pain though. Every change of the seasons starts to chip away at you."

Lelouch moved the phone against his ear as he glanced at the clock. He'd put this phone call off all day and right down to the wire, until he knew if he didn't do it then Suzaku would come home and he'd lose his chance all together.

"C.c. I have to—there's the matter that we spoke of a while ago and well…" Lelouch trailed off. He'd forgotten how to communicate to the woman it seemed, at least when it came to asking for help. Then again he'd never admitted he ever needed C.c.'s help, never wanted it, and especially never wanted to have to ask for it.

It was silent on the other end of the line for a long moment, just long enough Lelouch could see the spread of that knowing smile in his mind's eye, the kind C.c. gave when she knew she was right.

"He's changing hasn't he?"

It should have surprised Lelouch that she knew. It should have startled him enough to widen his eyes or make him stumble a few steps back. But it didn't. He just gave a sigh as he sank down to sit on the edge of the couch.

"I thought it was slow at first, but now—He's aging. His appearance is the same but he's so tired." Lelouch shook his head.

"My my, well that is interesting," C.c. said. "You've proven yourself over again as a fascinating contract."

Anger was his first response, but he reminded himself that C.c. didn't think of things like the rest of the world. It also reminded him that one day he wouldn't think of things like the rest of the world. Lelouch hated that he had yet another unwilling bond with the woman, but it was like looking into a mirror now. Lelouch would be her in just a matter of time.

"He's still himself. I mean he still is Suzaku, it's just he's so much more—he's yielding to this." There as a bit of anger that burrowed itself in his tone this time.

"Of course he is." C.c. spoke up quickly and without a speck of hesitation. "He knows that age is starting to settle in. He is human as much as the Geass may want to change that, he's still a functioning human with the acute sense of one."

Lelouch furrowed his brow. "What do you mean? I'm still human, you're still human."

"It's a different story with us." C.c. sighed over the line. "Having a code is like—being captured in a painting. There is no functioning left to the body. You would never starve, or die from exhaustion, because you're literally frozen in time."

"And Suzaku is?" Annoyed at this point he snapped back at her.

"A clock." C.c. said in a bland tone. "The difference is the Geass has polished him up, kept his gears in good repair. But even without the rust of time to clog his life stream—parts break. Geass cannot fix everything. He is still human."

Lelouch stood from the couch, his feet restless as the anger rose in his chest. "You witch, you knew this was coming."

"And I told you as much." In her old age C.c. hadn't lost her ability to snarl back at the pompous boy she'd made a contract with. "I told you that you should let your hope lie in this spell he's under. Any warning I gave you as usual went on deaf ears."

Approaching the French doors to the back porch Lelouch saw Charley lying out across the floor boards. She looked comfortable in the afternoon sun, her front paws hanging over the steps, ear resting back against her head, her eyes cracked just enough to stare up at Lelouch through the glass pane.

"You can't find a way around it this time, boy." C.c. snarled at him even more.

"No." Lelouch affirmed. "I'm not just going to lie down for this."

The whole world must have gone mad around him. It seemed everyone was convinced that Suzaku was just taking the natural course of time and that it would all be alright. Well it wouldn't be. Lelouch was left alone in the end. Suzaku died in the end. Had everyone forgotten that this was the final outcome? Lelouch wouldn't accept that.

There was a pause on the other end. It was a moment long enough for Lelouch to take a deep breath almost thinking he'd won this round, almost forgot that this wasn't a game he was playing with her any longer.

"Whatever answers you are seeking, Lelouch, I don't have them."

Violet eyes stilled, for a moment. C.c. was the witch, she was the trickster that knew how to turn things around, she'd always flipped the chess board, turned the tables, enabled Lelouch to win how every possible.

"You gave this to me." he hissed. "You gave me Geass you know there's a way around this."

"Short of giving that boy a code, there is nothing that will save him." C.c. sighed. "He's human; let him have a human death. Immortality isn't something to be wished upon people. It is cruel and vile and if you do not realize that yet you soon will."

"Are you saying you won't help me?" Lelouch went straight to his point.

"No." She sounded for one of the few moments, entirely sincere. "I'm saying I can't help you, Lelouch. I don't know how I even would."

Lelouch didn't bother with a goodbye. He just hung up. His eye went back outside to their dog. She had rolled on her side, still basking in every last piece of the sunlight she had left, enjoying every last bits of the warm air of fall.

Chapter Text

Time

Part XIX

3/14/2012 9:26 PM

They were all in the dining room and living area, or at least that's where Lelouch hoped everyone was at. It had been Suzaku's idea to have such a party for Lelouch. He'd blabbed on about how Lelouch had always made sure that Suzaku had fun on his own birthday and that this time he wanted to give Lelouch a good time. Lelouch rolled his eyes at the thought, what had ever made Suzaku think that thirty people they told absolutely nothing about their lives in their house would make such a good time for Lelouch?

Lelouch trailed around the kitchen table, surveying the table and all the variety of alcohol that had either been donated from the same people they told nothing to or from Lelouch's and Suzaku's own meager stock. The sounds of the party going on just fine without him coming from the living room made it easier to continue. If no one was worried about him no one would come looking.

He unscrewed the rum first. He sniffed it, getting the overwhelming scent of cocoanut. He shrugged and poured it in his glass. Lelouch had never been one for mixed drinks, but it was his birthday and if possible he didn't really want to remember his age. Next was the Vodka. It was raspberry so maybe cocoanut would go well with it. Then he poured in a healthy amount of Jack Daniels, lifted and downed. When he slammed the glass back on to the table top he looked at it with disdain. His experiment had tasted awful and burned every inch of the way down.

"Lelouch?"

With one last glare at the glass, Lelouch looked up to find that he'd been caught red-handed.

"What are you doing in here?" Suzaku asked. He was careful to shut the sliding double doors into their living room.

"It's our kitchen; I'm not allowed to be in my own kitchen?" Lelouch growled back and looked back down to start experimenting again.

There was always that look in Suzaku's eye when he was worried. Lelouch hated to see it because most of the time it would lead to something like disappointment or worse anger. But it was harder not to look at Suzaku when he came up next to Lelouch. Suzaku was probably trying to be comforting but he was hovering and it just grated on Lelouch's nerves. He skipped the experimentation and went for the Jack Daniels.

"What are you doing?" it almost sounded like a demand.

But Lelouch wasn't listening. Instead he poured himself a drink and downed another glass of 'please let me forget what is happening.' Unfortunately he was jerked out of his bliss when Suzaku grabbed his arm.

"I asked you what the hell you were doing." Suzaku snarled at him this time.

Lelouch let a charming smile grace his lips—right before he spit venom. "Are you going to stab me again if I don't answer your questions?"

It worked, Suzaku dropped his arm like it was red hot and even took a step back. To celebrate Lelouch took another drink. The silence made Lelouch look up, made him catch that disappointed darkening in Suzaku's eyes. As quickly as he could, Lelouch looked away.

"What…? I don't understand you lately." This time his voice almost sounded desperate. "I mean two weeks ago you couldn't get enough of me. You even tolerated the dog. And the past two weeks—this isn't you." Suzaku was shaking his head. The look on his face this time was almost—fear.

"Right. Just like that mask wasn't me either, or the man who murdered thousands wasn't me. Or how about this one, that man who was supposed to be dead." Of course, those were all Lelouch, but a drink made it just a little bit better, so letting the glass drop and break across the floor Lelouch took a swig straight from the bottle this time.

"Where is this even coming from?" Suzaku asked.

Lelouch didn't answer as he set the bottle on the table. He pulled the packet of cigarettes from his back pocket and with one threaded between his two fingers he raised it to his lips, lit his lighter and sucked in. The light took immediately and he rested back against the counter as he breathed out slow.

" 'louch, we have a lot of people in the house right now."

Not caring, Lelouch just watched the irritation spread on Suzaku's face. He swiped the bottle back off the table to make sure to keep it close. He was done with his drink mixing; right now he just wanted the high alcohol content that whiskey provided.

Suzaku was grinding his teeth so hard it was almost audible. "Look Lelouch. I know this party isn't exactly your idea of fun. But please, there is probably someone that is allergic. Now can you please just come out there with me? One hour then I'll send everybody home and we can do whatever you want to do for the rest of the night. I'm sorry. I thought you would enjoy this party for your birthday."

One finely eyebrow raised. Was that really the best attempt at diplomacy Suzaku had? Lelouch reminded himself that half a century ago he'd used this boy to murder anyone Lelouch wanted dead. Suzaku didn't have an ounce of diplomacy in his entire body.

"Fuck off, boy scout." Lelouch said with an eye roll. He raised the alcohol to his lips at the same moment he let the hand with the cigarette fall to the counter, He tipped the bottle up once it reached his lips and drank.

It was interrupted halfway through the first swallow as Suzaku jerked him again, latching onto the collar of the dark plum shirt Lelouch wore and hauling him closer.

"What the—" Lelouch hissed. Whiskey went everywhere the bottle dropped to the floor. The bottle sustained the fall but amber liquid poured out over the tile and around their shoes. He stated to snarl back when he looked up into those very calm and collected olive green eyes. Lelouch swallowed down again as he was faced with the person who hadn't always been his lover.

"Whatever the hell is wrong with you, cut it out, sober up, and get over it. This is not the appropriate time for you to be acting like this." Suzaku let Lelouch back down on the balls of his feet slow. He retrieved the bottle from the floor and slammed it into the sink.

Lelouch flinched as the glass cracked and scattered in the sink. Suzaku had already moved on though, taking the cigarette he dropped it to the tile flooring and ground it out.

This time when Suzaku touched him it was his hand that latched onto Lelouch's jaw, forcing Lelouch to look at him. "I'm going to go out there and make sure no one knows anything is wrong. And you are going to sober up and come out within five minutes." Lelouch noticed that he didn't tell him what would happen otherwise. But Lelouch was familiar enough with a Suzaku that had served him as the Knight of Zero and what he'd done to Lelouch then—to know he wouldn't like the outcome. Lelouch wasn't the only one that could be cruel.

"We'll tell everyone goodbye and thank you for coming and then you are going to tell me what this was all about. And don't worry about the mess, I'll make sure no one sees and we can clean it up later." Suzaku let go of him and left the room. He walked right through the puddle of alcohol and to the sliding doors. Pasting on a smile he slid the door shut right behind him.

Lelouch looked to the pieces of the whiskey bottle in the sink for a minute before he looked back to the door. There was a moment for Lelouch to collect his thoughts before he went to the sink and turned on the water, moving the faucet to stream into the adjacent sink. He washed his face, even took a drink of the water, and looked himself over to make sure he was proper and then Lelouch did exactly as Suzaku said and slid out the doors to his own party.

"Well?" Suzaku said. All the guests had left within the hour just as he had promised and now with the last one gone Suzaku had Lelouch in the living room, staring straight at him and looking for answers.

Lelouch didn't look up from the floor. It hadn't set in that his behavior had been so outrageous until he'd made it past the doors. The people that called themselves their friends had looked at him. They all gave him smiles—and then asked if he was okay.

"I—" Lelouch wasn't sure what to say. "That wasn't—"

"Just tell me what is going on with you." Suzaku said in a quiet tone. "You've been angry with me all week. You snap and growl and forget about any intimacy—all I get from you is ice and venom lately." Suzaku uncrossed his arms from over his chest, throwing them up in a gesture to show that he was done.

Lelouch lurched forward. It was probably a surprise as Lelouch wrapped his arms around Suzaku and pulled them flush against each other. "I love you." He spoke as he hid his face in Suzaku's shoulder. "Don't leave me."

Lelouch could feel Suzaku calm. He could feel as Suzaku's muscles relaxed and his arms finally went around Lelouch's shoulders. The sigh was audible as Suzaku yielded to everything that Lelouch was and he pressed a kiss to Lelouch's shoulder.

"I won't."

"Promise me." it was a hiss. "You won't ever leave me alone. I want a promise."

"Lelouch, I—" Suzaku faltered and tightened his arms around Lelouch's shoulders. "I can't promise that. I swear, I don't want this. I –I can't promise you something you already know can't be true."

They didn't speak for a long time. Lelouch knew Suzaku was already aware of the tears—so neither of them spoke of it. It was easier to just hold on to each other.

Chapter Text

Part XX

3/15/2012 5:53 PM

Lelouch had never really wanted to know what it was like to feel his neck snap, but opening his eyes again he not only felt what it was like to have it snap but what it felt like when it healed. Unfortunately, it wasn't the first time he'd died since—

The kick to his ribs sent Lelouch cringing on his side.

"You told me you would die." Suzaku hissed over him. He dropped the mask in the dirt next to Lelouch. "You promised me that you would die."

"I didn't—" Lelouch gasped. "I didn't know—"

This time Suzaku kicked him back to his back and one finely heeled boot pressed over his sternum. "Don't lie to me." Suzaku snarled and applied pressure.

"Nahh!" Lelouch let out. He could feel the cracking of his ribs. It was awful and he knew it was exactly what he deserved. His hand clutched at Suzaku's pants leg. The uniform of Zero still hung on the Knight's shoulders.

"You swore to me that you would be dead." Suzaku twisted his foot effectively breaking Lelouch's sternum and clavicle at the same time.

"AHHHH!" Lelouch screamed and through panted breaths tried to look up at his former Knight. "Suzaku I—"

Suzaku wasn't listening as he picked his foot up and this time slammed it down, square on Lelouch's forehead. There was an audible crack as Lelouch's skull fractured and split. Blood pooled under Suzaku's feet and all around Lelouch's body. Almost instantly Lelouch was dead.

When he woke it was to see Suzaku was waiting for him.

"Please Suzaku, I didn't know—" Lelouch immediately started.

"Stop lying to me!" Suzaku shouted at him. The gun he pulled from under his cloak was almost on pure reaction at that point in their fight. He snapping the new clip in, cocked the semi-automatic pistol, aimed and shot his best friend right between the eyes.

For good measure Suzaku stood walked over to Lelouch and the first second Lelouch opened his eyes again Suzaku shot him again. He repeated again and again until the clip was empty and from there bashed his friends head in once before tossing the blood stained gun away and waiting for Lelouch to wake up again.

"I knew it was a possibility." Lelouch said this time as he watched his friend sitting on the rocks across from him. He was glad Suzaku at least let him speak this time before turning another weapon on him. "I didn't think it would happen. I swear Suzaku!" Lelouch shuffled closer on his knees. His cloths were soaked with his own blood, hair in matted dreads held together with dried clots. "I knew my father had a code, but I didn't think that I'd technically killed him. I didn't think that it would be passed on to me."

Suzaku kept his face in his hands. He'd washed up to some extent at least. He had even taken the cap off, folded it, and set it aside.

Lelouch wasn't sure where they were but judging from the desolate landscape they weren't far from the capital. Of all places to builds a city, and choose it as a capital Lelouch had no idea why his ancestors had chosen the middle of the desert.

"Please believe me." Lelouch crawled forward, trying to edge closer in hopes that Suzaku wouldn't decide to give him another prolonged death. Maybe if Lelouch kept coming back, kept crawling up to Suzaku, begging for forgiveness—just maybe Suzaku might start running out of creative ways to kill Lelouch.

"You're right, I was supposed to die. That's what we planned. I know. I'm so sorry." Lelouch tentively laid a hand at Suzaku's knee then his other hand on Suzaku's other knee.

Suzaku didn't look up, didn't react.

"Just listen. Please just listen." Lelouch begged. "This wasn't supposed to happen." Lelouch let his body slump against that of his knights. He let himself drape over Suzaku, running his sticky, red stained hand run through Suzaku's hair. He was shaking. His hand had trouble making it through the tangled locks.

The first few rounds had been the most brutal and slowly it had turned to the quickest and the most convenient. That didn't mean Lelouch wasn't still wide-eyed and in shock. He'd used Suzaku as a weapon against whomever Lelouch could point him towards in the last few months. Suzaku had never seriously hurt him in that time. They had fought a lot and there had been emotional and some physical bruising on both ends but never anything –never had it been like what Lelouch had just seen. When Suzaku murdered other people it seemed so satisfying, but now that the monster he'd created had turned on him, Lelcouh wasn't sure how to handle it.

"Please, Suzaku." Lelouch whispered. "I love you." He wrapped his arms around Suzaku a little tighter.

Suzaku stirred. He lifted his face looking at Lelouch. Lelouch's hands whipped at the tears and the general mess of Suzaku's face, trying to be as comforting as possible.

"Alright." Suzaku said. His eyes flicked up, for the first time giving Lelouch full eye contact. "I believe you."

Chapter Text

Part XXI

3/20/2012 8:04 PM

Lelouch wasn't sure what to do. His eyes were wide, he watched out the window as the small balls of white fluff fell in crooked patterns to the ground. It was all starting to collect in mounds, blanketing their back yard. Visibility through the snow was only about a mile or so. Lelouch couldn't even make out the porch of their neighbors down the road.

Through it all Charley had on her sloppy grin as she trudged through the snow.

The storm wasn't supposed to be there quite yet. All the news forecasters had estimated tomorrow night. Not then, not the middle of the day and not like this. Lelouch stepped forward, one hand shaking as he reached out to the window. His thin fingers made contact on the frigid glass in a slow action. The glass pane might as well have been ice itself against Lelouch's fingertips. He pressed his fingers there harder on the glass. But nothing changed. The glass was still cold, lifeless.

"I went ahead and made a fire for tonight." Suzaku triumphantly proclaimed as he entered the room. One thing they had never changed about the house was the heating system—the wood burning stove in the living room, almost exactly at the center of the house. Its function had been to keep the house warm since the house had been built, so Suzaku had figured it might as well keep functioning on like that.

Lelouch's head jerked up as he looked over at Suzaku coming in from the kitchen. As rough and tumble as the boy could be it hit Lelouch how much they had compromised for each other. Suzaku had the steaming hot tea on a wooden tray, carrying it carefully to the coffee table. Lelouch even noticed that the cups matched the tea pot. Suzaku had certainly tried over last few years to make Lelouch happy and to accommodate to Lelouch's finicky tastes. In the process somehow Lelouch had managed to turn Suzaku into some form of a domestic.

Suzaku picked up the two cups with their saucers and again continued towards Lelouch.

His hand was going numb Lelouch noticed as he peeled it away from the window pane to take the offered steaming cup.

"Suzaku—" Lelouch said as his lover came next to him, taking a drink from his own tea. "The snow, I'm sorry."

With his own wide eyed expression and eye brows raised, Suzaku looked over at Lelouch. "What? Why are you sorry? We both knew this was coming. We watched the news together last night."

They were definitely getting to the lazy point it their relationship when they both sat down to watch the news together as a regular event. They used to actually have exciting lives, once upon a time, in a land—not so far away actually. They used to call each other Emperor and Knight, they used to lay in beds big enough for several and wear silks and jewels and all the finery of the world. Lelouch quirked a smile as he thought, at least they still called each other best friends. And at least now is a house half the size of even the throne room—they were happy. They no longer avoided each other and they no longer tried to hurt each other at every turn.

Lelouch looked down into the dark liquid for a moment. "What about the garden?" Lelouch had heard Suzaku even say that he'd have to take care of the garden before the storm. They had had a long fall, and the garden hadn't exactly thrived, but it had still been alive—at least until all the snow.

At the sound of laughter Lelouch's head jerked up.

"Since when do you care about my projects?" Suzaku chuckled. He watched Lelouch for a moment before leaning in to give a little kiss to Lelouch's cheek. "It's just a garden, Lelouch. I'm not too concerned."

If anyone else had been in the room Lelouch would have denied all the way to his grave that a blush darkened as Suzaku's lips had pressed to his cheek.

"But—but what about, I thought you said there could possibly be another tomato?" Lelouch pressed on.

Suzaku still just looked amused. "It's just one, and I'm sure you're not terribly hurt." Suzaku turned to set his empty cup back onto the tray. "You always inform me that we can buy produce whenever we want, that's why the grocery store was invented."

Lelouch didn't say anything, just looked back at the window. His thoughts were still on the same thing. Somewhere under that blanket of white fluff and ice was a garden—and it was dying. No one cared about it but him. No one noticed it but him.

"Hey." Suzaku's tone had finally changed. His hand outstretched he slid it into a perfect fit at the small of Lelouch's back. "This is supposed to happen. It's the way things work."

As Lelouch looked over at his partner nothing but distain creeped at the thought of how Suzaku just looked so—fine with everything. There was even a crook of a smile at one side of Suzaku's mouth.

"Neglect isn't 'how things work.'" Lelouch hissed.

Suzaku didn't relinquish though, instead he stepped closer, pulling Lelouch back a step to press his chest against Lelouch's back. His arms wound around Lelouch's shoulders, and he rested his chin on Lelouch bony shoulder.

"It is the way it works." Suzaku chuckled. "It's how nature all works. Gardens can't live forever."

Refusing to answer was his only defense against the onslaught of pure affection. That grin at Suzaku's lips, told Lelouch that there was no way that he was going to convince the boy of anything.

"Do we need to watch the Lion King?" Suzaku asked, as he nudged his nose at Lelouch's neck. "Or you know what, let's find your laptop, \we could watch one of those nature shows about seasons!" Suzaku chuckled, his chest vibrating.

Lelouch shivered as he felt the press of kisses down his neck and Suzaku holding him so close he could feel not only the laugh but when he spoke. Lelouch couldn't help the smile though. "I think I get the message."

"Are you sure?" Suzaku probed farther, his lips moving northward this time. "I could start singing—the circle of life! And it –"

Lelouch pivoted to press a kiss to open lips. When Lelouch pulled back he was smiling. "I think there's a better use for you out there." He raised his hand to run his finger tips over the side of Suzaku's face. Unlike the cold window pane had been, Suzaku's skin was warm and soft. There was no ice or cold or snow to him. It was just warm and human. So awfully, incredibly, beautifully human.

Suzaku looked shocked. "What? I'm a wonderful singer. My singing is what got me you after all!" he leaned in closer. As always the ever present grin was across his face.

"Eh." Lelouch sighed. "Not how I remember it, but memory is all relative at this point."

They both knew exactly what Suzaku was getting at, but Lelouch wasn't going to let him get anything for free as he raised the cup to his lips, tacking his first drink. It wasn't perfect, but Suzaku had done a better job than usual. Lelouch gave his own grin. It was a Saturday night, Suzaku had made him tea, Suzaku had built a warm, cozy fire, Suzaku was being quite affectionate—Suzaku was hoping to get lucky.

Suzaku looked down at the teacup between them. He even lifted his hand ready to take the tea cup. "You know it's always kind of nice to lay in bed while it snows," Suzaku trailed off with his suggestion. As always his lack of subtlety was glaring through.

And Lelouch stepped out of Suzaku's arms, taking his tea with him as he took another drink. "Or we could watch the Lion King." As sly smirk spread on his lips. He set the cup down on the table as he went on. "Or we could watch the news."

That smile only spread even more as Lelouch felt Suzaku loop his fingers in Lelouch's jeans, dragging him back a step. His lips immediately were on Lelouch's skin. "I don't want to watch the damn news." Suzaku growled as one arm went around Lelouch's waist.

Lelouch just smiled, he caste a look over his shoulder. Suzaku was almost to the point of pleading. So asserting his own dominance he reached his hand back behind him, found the hem of Suzaku's own jeans, and thrust his hand down into them.

"Ohhh." Suzaku gave a groan as his body went slack, slumping against Lelouch's back. His hand fisted in Lelouch's shirt, his other arm tightening around Lelouch's waist.

"There you go," Lelouch hummed, satisfied. "Just remember I'm the only one you sing like this for."

Chapter Text

Part XXII

3/21/2012 11:12 AM

The moment was fleeting but painful. Suzaku felt as his knees gave at the sharp pain. The kitchen counter was his only support before he gave way and tumbled to the floor, hand clutched at his chest. He'd never felt anything so horrendous and so—different. The coffee mug in his hand made a deafening crack as Suzaku knocked it to the floor desperately reaching for the counter to try and stand. A second wave hit and there was no hope of that as the pain embedded itself in his

Lelouch was in from the living room in half a second. He had been alerted from the pained cry and was now directly at Suzaku's side.

"What's wrong?" He demanded instantly. Going to his knees, Lelouch quickly tried to support Suzaku up against himself. If nothing else the comfort of just having his hands on him for Lelouch was enough. He was no real help when it came to physical things, but he could at least comfort his partner, and besides that it hid the fear…

Suzaku eyes screwed shut for that split moment before looking up at Lelouch.

Lelouch gasped. The bright rim of Geass screaming up at him, Lelouch found himself unable to move. His breath caught in his throat and his mind raced as he tried to figure a way out from this situation. He could change it somehow, alter the circumstances, turn things around and make them favor him.

But in the end—there was no way to stop someone else's pain.

"Suzaku!" He screamed, lunging to wrap the other as deep into his arms as he could.

Suzaku gave a groan, letting Lelouch hold him as much as he liked. Suzaku's hand fisted in the T-shirt he was wearing as the pain intensified. It was pointedly sharper for just as moment, and in consequence Suzaku let out a hissed cry.

Lelouch, the tears streaming at this point, held his lifelong partner tighter, clutching Suzaku to his chest as much as he could. What could they do? Calling a doctor wouldn't help. They would take blood samples and ask approximate age. They would want medical history and would ask questions Lelouch couldn't answer.

Suzaku now writhing gave a groan, turning his face into Lelouch shoulder.

"Live," Lelouch whispered, closing his own eyes as the tears started to fall. "Please, I command you to live!"

Suzaku groaned one last time, the pain finally subsiding. With it he let his body settle against Lelouch smaller frame. His energy completely drained, so with limbs like jelly he leaned fully onto Lelouch, Letting his head rest at the others shoulder. Suzaku looked up, his hand—through a great amount of effort—coming up, cupping the side of Lelouch's face to brush away a tear with his thumb. Lelouch reacted immediately, his own hand coming up to hold Suzaku's in place, his nails digging just slightly into Suzaku's skin.

"Please," Lelouch whispered through gritted sob clenched teeth. "You can't leave me."


Lelouch couldn't get Suzaku to the bedroom without Suzaku standing. If things had been the other way around Lelouch would have been carried there no doubt. But they weren't like that. Instead the weaker of the two was left to deal with the repercussions. He held Suzaku to his chest for close to an hour letting his life partner to just rest there. When enough time had passed, Lelouch stirred Suzaku from his semi-sleep and together they stumbled their way to the bedroom.

Suzaku had fallen into a much deeper sleep within minutes of reaching the bed. Lelouch removed Suzaku's shirt and jeans, tucking the covers around him. The blinds were flipped closed and a small tender kiss was given to Suzaku's dry lips before Lelouch left the bedroom.

He first made calls to Suzaku's work, telling them that Suzaku wouldn't be there for a few days then to his own employment.


Lelouch ran his long, thin fingers through the loose waving curls of Suzaku's hair. The room was kept dark and quiet. There was no way that Lelouch was going to let Suzaku out of that bed for at least a couple of days. Not that he had to worry for the last several hours, but his mind was regardless made up about the matter.

Suzaku slept like he possibly could have died. Just to make sure Lelouch would still every few minutes. He remained as quiet as he could until he would hear the steady rhythm of Suzaku's breath. Satisfied, Lelouch would return to his reading, or attempting his own nap, or just sitting there—like he was now. His mind ran faster than he could stop. All the possibilities of where they went from this slimmed more and more the farther Lelouch thought things through. Off to the side of the bed was his laptop. He'd spent hours sifting through the muck of the internet in hope that there would be something –he only found myth, half stories about encounters with others like C.c. Of course, there was nothing to grab onto, nothing to even give Lelouch a course of action to take next.

"Lelouch?" Suzaku's breath sounded distant and hard-pressed, rasping through the word.

"Shhh," Lelouch leaned down to kiss the crown of Suzaku's head. "What do you need?"

Suzaku waited a moment, his eyes were only half open and his body slack against Lelouch. "…Are you okay?"

His eyebrows shot up as Lelouch leaned to the side, this time to see Suzaku's face. "What…?" If Lelouch was correct Suzaku had been the one that had been threatened with—well, they didn't even know yet but it was something horrible.

Of course, Suzaku was smiling as he looked up at Lelouch. "You freaked more than I did." Suzaku gave a rough chuckle.

"Suzaku, you were in pain, your Geass—I thought you were going to…" Lelouch cut himself off. "We need to focus on you. I don't know what we can do about this yet. But it's glaringly obvious that neither of us know enough medical procedure to help. We'll have to find a doctor, one who can remain discreet—"

Suzaku had laid his hand on Lelouch's pale face. He moved his hand to shush the scheming coming through Lelouch's mouth. "No. We're not going to call anyone."

"Suzaku!" Lelouch growled. "We can't just leave this; we can't just let you waste away like this!"

He was still smiling, but this time he gave a smooth sigh. "I'm okay with this." Suzaku looked his lover in the eye as he said it. Suzaku wanted Lelouch to know he meant ever last syllable of what he said. "I'm okay that this is happening."

"How can you—" the expression on Lelouch face changed quickly from shocked to furious. "So you're just going to give up! You're just fine with dying! How can you eve-? Suzaku, how dare you! You promised me you would stay with me, you swore to me—"

As before, Suzaku wasn't arguing, only silencing his partner as he pressed a kiss to the side of Lelouch's face. He then pressed another kiss and another, trailing his way down Lelouch's jaw to his neck. When he was finished, Suzaku used his fingers to slide inky hair away from Lelouch's face as he spoke. "I love you and you know I love you. But this can't last forever."

Lelouch knew exactly what he was talking about. They'd long reached the maximum years they could stay in one place. "We can move, we can start over again. I'll find you another stupid house to rebuild. Just let me try and get us past this."

"No." Suzaku still sounded so calm about this. He even gave another, stronger, chuckle. "No, we'll stay here. I want to live here for the rest of my life." He pressed another kiss to the high cheek bone at the side of Lelouch's face.

It was all rushing too fast for Lelouch. "No," he whined. "You can't—why aren't you fighting this?" His rage was accompanied by tears this time.

"There's nothing to fight." Suzaku sighed. "I've lived twice as long as any other human and I've spent every second of that life with you. I'm satisfied with what I've been given, Lelouch." Suzaku wound an arm around Lelouch's shoulder, around his front, so that Suzaku could pull Lelouch closer and still lean against his shoulder.

"But… " Lelouch didn't look up, he could feel the tears as they drizzled down his white skin, dripping from his jaw line or even off the tip of his nose as his head bowed. "But if you're gone—what do I do?" Lelouch's hands went up. He curled his fingers around Suzaku's arms, holding onto him to keep himself from falling apart.

There wasn't an answer for a few moments. Suzaku supported himself this time as he pulled away to lock eyes with Lelouch. "I—I love you. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry this has to … I don't know, Lelouch. I'm so sorry. I love you."

The repetitive babble of words that came from Suzaku's mouth was like living water to Lelouch. He clung to ever thing that Suzaku said. It was the only thing he could do. "I don't want to be alone." Lelouch confessed. "If you're gone—please, I can't do this alone."

Suzaku was crying too. He lips trembled as he opened them to speak again. "I know, but you'll—"

Lelouch didn't let him finish. There was no answer that Suzaku could give. They both knew there was nothing that could fix this. So Lelouch lunged forward, crawling again into Suzaku's lap and into his arms. It was where Lelouch would always go when things were too hard, or too much to handle all at once.

And Suzaku accepted him, falling back into the covers and holding his lover as closer as skin would allow. They both were crying, but tears mixed as limbs tangled. If nothing else, they took comfort in the fact that for now they still had each other to share the tears with.

Chapter Text

Part XXIII

4/1/2012 8:26 PM

"Is this Mr. Lelouch Lamprouge?"

Lelouch blinked. He didn't recognize the voice on the other end of his cell phone at all. "Yes," He said a bit cautious. If it hadn't sounded so—formal, Lelouch would have guessed a telemarketer. It just didn't—there was something different about the way this man spoke. It was too practiced at being bored but trying to sound like he was properly engaged in the conversation.

"I'm Doctor Kennedy. I'm afraid that I have some bad news."

Eyes wide, Lelouch immediately had to brace himself against the kitchen chair. "Where is he? What's wrong?" When Lelouch had sent Suzaku off to work that morning he had looked healthy enough. Slowly his strength was regaining and as much as Lelouch had pleaded Suzaku had still insisted he keep working until it became impossible.

"Oh uh, no sir, I'm calling on behalf of a Mss. C.c." The man explained a little startled.

After blinking several times to clear his head, Lelouch formulated a reply. "I'm sorry, what?"

The doctor gave an exasperated sigh. "Sir, your name was on a list of people to be contacted. She specifically gave your name and this number."

"Oh," Lelouch was surprised, but all the same he nod. "Alright, well is there anything that I could help you with?" Lelouch hadn't heard from C.c. since—well since he'd called her last. That conversation hadn't gone smashingly well either.

"Well, I regret to inform you but the old woman—well, she passed away this morning." The doctor sounded very much like he'd given his sentiments in the same manner quite a few times in his life. "I'm sorry for your loss, sir."

Again, Lelouch eyes shot wide open. He hadn't realized—was C.c. really that old? She couldn't have been! Lelouch had spoken to her! They had conversed and taunted each other just as they always did. C.c. couldn't be—

"She left a message for you." the doctor went on as if nothing new had really happened in the world. "She said to tell you that, 'clocks can't tick forever?'" the doctor sounded doubtful as he gave C.c.'s last biting comment, even from the grave.

Lelouch stumbled his way into the chair he'd been using to keep him standing moments ago. His hands shook and his eyes stared blank and vacant at the room around him.

"Mr. Lamprouge?" the doctor asked. "Sir, are you still there?"

His head spun. His senses felt—off. The dog stood in the doorway. Her ears down and tail still, she gave a whine at Lelouch. Charley gave another low whining howl at him as she took a few carful steps into the kitchen.

"Mr. Lamprouge?" The doctor sounded annoyed this time. "What is that sound? I don't know—he's not answering me. It sounds like a dog or something—No, I don't know." The words weren't directed at Lelouch this time, but still equally annoyed.

Charley let out the whining howl again as she approached Lelouch, her soft dark eyes up at him. Her tail stayed still, tucking just slightly between her legs. Lelouch couldn't look at her. He felt his body sway, his vision spotty and distorted. The cell phone clattered to the table. Lelouch jerked, gagging first, before his body heaved and he vomited over the side of the table and onto the floor.


"What the—"

Lelouch had expected as much as Suzaku walked through the door, a few groceries in one hand and his keys in another. The confused look on his face didn't stop Lelouch though and Lelouch gave one last heave against the crowbar he was using for leverage.

The expensive and antique grandfather clock swayed, stilling in the air for just a moment before it crashed to the floor with a deafening crack. Lelouch didn't even give it time to rest before swinging the crowbar over his head, he took in a breath and slammed it down onto the clocks face, effectively cleaving the masterpiece into pieces.

Suzaku just stood there wide eyed and in shock. From the kitchen the low whine of Charley echoed as she padded her way to Suzaku. Her ears were still down and tail tucked, she looked from Lelouch then to Suzaku, easing her way closer.

"Come here, girl." Suzaku said his voice distant. He didn't take his eyes off of Lelouch as Charley came to him, rubbing up against him and still whining.

Lelouch didn't pause, swinging the crowbar like a mallet against, crushing every last piece of the clock, determined to grind it all to dust if he had to. He'd already taken care of the clock over the entertainment center—its scattered pieces were across the other end of their living room. Lelouch swung again, this time with more success as cogs and wires and different pieces of the clock spilled out as a well aimed hit split the clock face completely.

He raised the crowbar again only this time to find Suzaku, standing in his way. He looked—scared.

"Lelouch what…?" There weren't even words to fathom what Suzaku was seeing it seemed.

Charley peered out around Suzaku's legs, watching Lelouch with those same moist and lovingly dark eyes. She gave a low howl up at him.

Suzaku reached out for his partner, setting down the groceries and keys on a nearby, unharmed side table. "Are you—I don't know what's wrong." His hands were held out to him, palms up and that same terrifying honesty shone in those olive viridian eyes.

Lelouch took a step back from him. He couldn't let Suzaku stop him. This had to be done. All of it. None of them understood! None of them! Lelouch would do something about this! Lelouch would find a way around this. Because he always did! He was eh boy that had brought down an empire. He was cunning enough to find his way around and out of anything. He was Lelouch, the master trickster, Zero, the Demon Emperor, a traitor to whoever stood in his way and so much worse. This wouldn't stop him from getting what he wanted.

"C.c.'s dead." Lelouch hissed. His brow a hard line and lips held solemn Lelouch still kept his hold on the crowbar.

It was clear Suzaku still didn't understand. But he nodded, taking another step this time over the destroyed clock. His hands were still out. "I'm so sorry, love. Please, just—"

Pivoting, Lelouch swung the crowbar like a baseball bat this time. The crystal clock he knew was on the side table behind him shatter before it ever hit the floor, along with everything else that had been on the table.

He moved fast this time as well, barely skidding out of the reach of his lover. Lelouch wasn't sure when it had started, but he was panting, his chest heaving and he held his weapon up again, ready to find something else, other damn it all ticking monstrosity within the house.

"She was wrong," Lelouch hissed. "I can fight this. I can make this stop!"

Unfortunately, Lelouch was never faster than Suzaku and he quickly found himself disarmed. Lelcouh did manage to skip again away from Suzaku's possible hold on him and he picked up what was left of the crystal clock. The face looked unharmed, still even functioning. Lelouch heaved it up and threw it to the floor. It shattered at his feet, causing Suzaku to take a step back.

"I've got it." Lelouch suddenly looked up at Suzaku. He gave a bit of a laugh, the same kind he used to give when he wore a mask and sat behind the controls of a Knightmare. "I have a Code. I can give you a Code! Hahaha! See, I knew it! I knew I could outsmart that witch!"

"Lelouch," Suzaku sighed. "Please, we—please, baby!"

Lelouch didn't care, and he could barely see it as he lover practically begged for him to stop, so consumed with his grief. Lelouch bent to retrieve the broken crystal pieces from the floor. He closed his hand around it, fisting the sharp glass in his hand so hard his fist started to shake. Bright, red blood oozed from the cracks between his fingers and ran down his arm. Lelouch released them all at once, letting the bloody shards clatter back to the floor and he strode forward.

Suzaku didn't step back, but he leaned away as Lelouch presented his red hand to him.

"See," those same giggles were overtaking Lelouch's speech. "It's healed already! That means a Code could heal you! It's perfect. I just have to give you a Code."

Those green eyes were no longer scared. Suzaku took a solid step back this time. "No, Lelouch." He shook his head slow. In his eyes and his face, that slight frown, and the worry line on his forehead—it was remorse this time. "We can't—"

"Don't tell me what I can't do!" Lelouch snarled. He lunged forward then, his hands latching onto either side of Suzaku head, smearing blood across Suzaku's face. "You just have to accept the contract." Lelouch whispered before he hauled himself into Suzaku arms and mashed their lips together.

Nothing happened, at least nothing that Lelouch wanted to occur happened. He heard Suzaku sigh into the kiss, felt it as Suzaku chest filled and then heaved out in an exhale. Lelouch also felt Suzaku's arms go around him, petting soothingly along his back.

Lelouch jerked back, caught in Suzaku's hold and frantically he searched his lovers face. "Just accept it," He whispered before kissing Suzaku again, and again, and again. His nails dug into Suzaku's skin as he finished the last kiss. The frustration with it all was coming to a peak. "Why?" He hissed. He gave one last attempt, smearing the sloppy kiss over Suzaku's lips. It was emotionless, gutless, heartless just as all those kisses C.c. had pressed to his lips so long ago.

That's when Lelouch felt it. Suzaku ran his hand over Lelouch's head, smoothing his hair back, careful, gentle. Lelouch broke the kiss, panting again. It should have been the other way around. It was Suzaku that was—Lelouch should have been the comforter, not the comforted.

"It's alright, baby." Suzaku whispered.

"Please," Lelouch whined this time. "Just accept it." He wrapped his arms around Suzaku neck, hugging him closer to him. "I can do this, just let me give this to you!"

Suzaku's pulled his head back this time, sliding Lelouch's hair from his eyes. "And in fifty years, maybe a hundred, where would I be? What would I do without you, huh? This won't stop it, only stay the hurt."

Lelouch turned his face again. His eyes were swollen and his cheeks red. He didn't acknowledge that his body shook from the sobs as he hid himself in Suzaku's neck. And just as Lelouch expected, Suzaku fully accepted him, cooing him into submission and letting Lelouch mourn.

"She's dead." Lelouch finally articulated. "She's dead. What do I do?" He knew no one could answer those questions so he only drew his arms closer around his lover, holding on as tight as he could to his last hope, his last lover. "I don't want to be alone."

"I don't want o be alone." Lelouch whimpered again and let the tears flow freely this time as he pressed his face against Suzaku's neck. His fingers clutched at him, so desperate for everything to just stop, to just slow down, give him more time with this beautiful boy holding him.

His lover was quiet. His solemn expression unchanging, he ran his hand through Lelouch's hair, combing through the tangled locks. Charley sat at their feet leaning heavily against them, still watching up at Lelouch as he continued to sob onto Suzaku's shirt.

Chapter Text

Part XXIV

4/1/2012 8:27 PM

It had hit him again, less than an hour ago as Lelouch glanced at one of the few remaining clocks in the house. It had been dug out of the attic by Suzaku after Lelouch's rampage. Few of the ticking machines had survived Lelouch's outburst. The clock over the oven in the kitchen, one in Lelouch's study, the few embedded into their electronic and the antique on their nightstand were all that was left. Anything else had been carried out to the trash bins in silence.

It was the fifth occurrence of an "attack," as they had termed it between them. They were discovering a pattern to them as well. It was usually early morning if not mid morning, that Suzaku would feel the most awful part of it all, the sharp pain searing through his chest. It usually hurt so bad he would cry out, a couple of times tears were even be brought to his eyes. The sharp pain would usually subside after a couple of minutes. An ache was becoming apparent though, through Suzaku's chest and body he would ache with every breath, and that unfortunately stayed longer each time. When it all ebbed away Suzaku would finally be able to sleep.

And sleep, and sleep, and sleep some more. It was the first time in Lelouch life he'd ever witnessed something that hurt Suzaku so much that he couldn't just bounce back up from it.

Lelouch lay on the covers across their bed, pressing his chest to Suzaku's back. The Japanese boy was under the covers, soft breathing accompanied the rhythm of sleep in his chest. As he always did, Suzaku couldn't manage to sleep with a shirt on. Which was fine with Lelouch as he snuggled in closer, he pressed his cheek up against the bare skin at the base of Suzaku's neck. He wound his hand around, cupping Suzaku's shoulder to pull himself closer.

It didn't matter what Lelouch had said or what he'd done. There was nothing to do to help this. Lelouch was just left to deal with the after math. Suzaku had made it clear Lelouch was to do nothing. So there was nothing left to do but lay there and wait. A frown tugged at his lips as he closed his eyes. His ears pricked with the sound of Suzaku's slow, slightly rasping breath. It wasn't enough to startle him. Breathing had become harder and harder every time after this would happen. Suzaku would describe it to him as something pressing against him, something stopping him from pulling in a deep breath.

Lelouch shifted, pressing a kiss to the tan skin at the peak of Suzaku's spine. "I love you." He whispered.

Leaning up on his elbow, it was easier to twist to reach his lovers face. He pressed another tender kiss against Suzaku's still flushed cheek. "I'm afraid to lose you." He had to close his eyes, repressing the urge to break again. Lelouch wound his arm all around his lover and pressed his forehead to the side of Suzaku's neck.

Lelouch stirred as he felt and heard the disruption in the rhythm of Suzaku's breathing. He looked up to see a sliver of one green eye staring at him. He must have been so tired, Lelouch thought as he noticed that no smile, fake or otherwise, tugged at Suzaku's lips. That face hadn't changed. If nothing else the Geass had kept Suzaku looking young. If Lelouch could have guessed at an age just on appearance it would have been 25, maybe 26. He looked older with the dark bags under his eyes and the lines of a frown tugging at his lips. But worry had always made him looked older. Even when Suzaku was angry he looked so much older. Lelouch just sighed leaning heavily against Suzaku's shoulders.

One of Suzaku's hands came up, brushing lazily against Lelouch's face.

This time Lelouch gave his own sad smile and let his head rest again. Suzaku's fingers brushed through his hair for a moment before the hand dropped back to the covers. A few minutes later Lelouch knew that Suzaku was back to sleep.

Reluctant and still sullen, Lelouch moved from the bed. He tucked the covers up over Suzaku's shoulder before leaving the room.

Charley met him in the hall and followed him through to the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, Lelouch found everything that Suzaku had gotten from the attic. Set aside on, alone from the pile was one thing that Lelouch hadn't wanted to see.

His fingers curled around the pocket watch as he brought it up for better inspection. The shattered face of the watch was evidence for saving his lover all those years ago. Lelouch fisted the pocket watch in his hand and sunk to the kitchen chair. The world must have been mocking him. Shoving the watch back in his face at every chance it seemed. On one hand it had saved Suzaku, it had given them the chance to be together, for them both to find each other as lovers. And yet—it had been at the root of this, it had awarded Suzaku the Lancelot and set them on this long path.

Lelouch leaned forward, slumping across the table top and stared off towards the bedroom door.

Chapter Text

Part XXV

4/10/2012 8:58 PM

No matter how Lelouch had pleaded Suzaku left for work at the same time he usually did. Tired and sluggish he'd dragged himself through the front door as behind him Lelouch watched ready to pick his lover up and take him back to the house at any moment.

As it became more real of what was looming over them they had started to make preparations. Lelouch would have to leave the house once Suzaku was—gone. Any medical examination of Suzaku would be possibly devastating, so there was no way that Lelouch could be around if that ever came around, be it the next day or the next century. That required money. All spending had been cut to the minimum, and everything else had been placed in a safe place, in cash. Lelouch had arranged for a passport—not exactly for one Lelouch Lamprouge—as well as other critical items that were fraud in ID.

When Lelouch was sure that there was no chance that Suzaku would drive back up their road and back to him Lelouch finally turned back to the house and let his feet drag him back inside. The house was so—haunting.

To keep him busy, keep his mind from thinking at all. Lelouch started on the house, cleaning everything, meticulously organizing their things. He started in the kitchen and worked his way through the house. Charley had followed him from room to room, watching. She never rubbed up against him or approached whining for attention. She just trailed behind his footsteps.

It was when he entered their private bathroom connected to their bedroom that Lelouch was finally faced with his own reflection. His hair was unkempt for once, his cloths hastily chosen and pulled on. Lelouch wasn't sure the last time he'd shaved—four days? Five? The prickly stumble darkened along his jaw. He didn't want to see the dark marks under his eyes from lack of sleep or the sullen look his face had taken on from stress.

So instead of dwelling on it he moved to the sink. Almost immediately memory flashed, reminding Lelouch how he had tended to Suzaku over that very sink. He could remember the stain of blood in the white porcelain bowl. He could remember how Suzaku had looked pained as Lelouch had tried so hard to stop the bleeding. Lelouch swallowed and quickly bent to retrieve the cleaning supplies under the sink. He'd dealt with memories all over the house, he could do it again here.

As he straightened, placing the cleaner and a rag on the counter top, Lelouch's eyes caught a glimpse of the other side the sink. It was his side of the sink to be particular. Suzaku and his stuff never managed to stay separate any more but certain mannerisms had developed. One of those things had been that Lelouch took the left side of the sick while Suzaku took the right. It was easier for them to both stand at the counter then. It was the same for their dresser or their bed or even the couch.

And there on the left side of the counter was a small box. It was a jeweler's box, no bow, or meaningless frill. Just a pale blue box with a logo printed over the top.

Lelouch watched it for a moment. Then his hand struck out and he snatched the box to flip off the lid.

Sitting there was the pocket watch—polished, repaired and staring right up at him.

Lelouch stumbled a step back staring at the watch. His eyes widened and his hands struggled to find something to hold onto. His limbs became worthless as he found himself sinking to the floor. The watch still in the box landed on the floor as well. The box falling haphazard, the watch tumbled out unfortunately still within eye shot of Lelouch.

It hit harder this time as he curled around himself. The tears came easily and he hid his face with his hands. The sound of his sobs echoed through the room as he fell to pieces there across the bathroom floor. He shook and began to lean heavily against the wall, not daring to open his eyes again. He shook his head and his hands fisted in his hair. As if saying no to this would make it all stop or just go away. Nothing would make any of it stop. Nothing could make it all go away.

Lelouch was living through his worst fears.

Charley stepped over the watch as she padded into the bathroom. She didn't whine this time, only sat down next to the sobbing boy and leaned her weight against him.

Immediately, Lelouch clung to her, he pulled his fingers through her fur and buried his face at her neck. Still shaking and sobbing he stayed like that, taking little comfort, but letting for just once, letting himself fall to pieces, it was a moment that could be had in the dusk of the day.


When he heard Suzaku approach Lelouch didn't look up. He could hear the soft thudding of Suzaku's work boots against the tile , he could feel as his shadow was caste over his, but Lelouch didn't move. If anything he turned away, turning into the fur at Charley's neck.

When Suzaku sat down next to him on the bathroom floor Lelouch didn't look up either. It wasn't until he felt strong arms around him, tugging him up from his resting place alongside the dog that Lelouch gave a reluctant glance up. He looked back down as Suzaku directed him back against the wall to lean on his shoulder. The dog gave a whine from the floor, getting up as Lelouch was pulled away from her.

"Come here, girl." Suzaku murmured in a low voice, giving a light pat to on his leg

Of course, Charley immediately obeyed, going around their legs to take up Suzaku's other side.

It was silent in the small bathroom. Suzaku ran his hand over Charley's head and held tight around Lelouch's shoulders. Lelouch has latched on to his shirt, hiding his face in the crook of Suzaku's neck.

Unfortunately, Lelouch couldn't just let the matter lay. "Why did you give me a watch?" He hadn't meant for it to come out through gritted teeth, but nevertheless, it had.

A loud sigh was his initial answer and Lelouch shot back, rocking back on his heels, opening his mouth to hiss, when he noticed that Suzaku had the watch with him. It sat on the floor next to the dog. Lelouch hurling it to the ground hadn't hurt it, or at least it didn't look to have hurt it.

Following Lelouch's line of sight, Suzaku looked down at the watch as well. He stopped the calming movement of his fingers through Charley's fur to pick up the watch. He held it close to him, even taking his hand from Lelouch's shoulder to flip it over in his hand.

"This was my father's watch." Suzaku stated.

Lelouch pursed his lips. He already knew that. He'd heard the entire story behind the watch. There was a reason that out of everything they chucked out that was theirs—the watch hadn't been one of them.

"I didn't get to keep much when my father—when he died." Suzaku pursed, seeming to find the right words to say. "I didn't even get to keep many of my own things." Green eyes flicked up, catching Lelouch's gaze. "When I'm gone you won't get to keep much Lelouch."

It had already been decided what would have to be done once Suzaku was gone.

Suzaku looked back down this time, his hands moving across the silver back of the watch, and with a twist—he had the silver back off and resting it in his lap. "When I had the watch fixed I looked into a battery that I could get for it." He gave a chuckle glancing up for half a second. "It also has bullet proof glass now. Just in case, you know it may come in handy." He removed something, small and gold, with no logo printed on it just a serial number.

Suzaku shuffled closer to Lelouch, holding the watch out between them and taking Lelouch's hand. Startled Lelouch didn't pull away as Suzaku pressed the gold object in his hand. When Suzaku looked up, Lelouch was caught again, him mouth slightly ajar as his lover spoke.

"This is the battery." His voice cracked for just a moment and Suzaku was forced to look down, forced to blink to clear the tears. "To slide it into the watch is really simple, as well as sliding it out. The watch will start the second you want it to and it will stop the second you want it to."

The room was silent again as Suzaku looked back down, clearing his throat before he went on. "This battery will last exactly eighteen years." Suzaku closed Lelouch's hand around the battery. "I figured if it took C.c. that long to find you and to get her immortality taken away—than it was possible it would only take you that long as well."

Suzaku leaned forward, and Lelouch closed his eyes turning into his lover as Suzaku pressed a kiss to his cheek.

"In eighteen years, I am going to be there right where you will come through. I am going to be waiting. And you and I both know there is something after this so don't you dare spout some logical sarcastic crap anything off to me." Suzaku gave a chuckle. "At the eighteen year mark I will be there. I won't leave until I see you again. No matter how long you want to put it off, even if that means centuries."

Lelouch hated that all they seemed to do anymore is cry. He hated to cry any way. It was supposed to be Suzaku that was the cry baby and here he was—crying all the time. Rubbing his sleeve over his cheeks till they were red, Lelouch finally found he could speak. "So are you asking me to accept?"

A crinkly eyed, yet sad smile crossed Suzaku's face. "No, Your Highness, I'm telling you what I plan to do, whether or not you accept will be your decision."

Chapter Text

Part XXVI

4/14/2012 4:06 PM

Lelouch watched the kettle out of the corner of his eye as he pulled the cups from the top cupboard. Normally, he wouldn't have cared and just waited until the thing started to whistle at him to get his attention. Now was different though. Any part of their lives that had become routine had faded right along with the color of Suzaku's skin.

That thought sent a shiver down Lelouch's spine. Suzaku had never looked sick before this. Even the few time that Lelouch had seen him sick—he'd still never looked sick. He'd looked like the cheerful sun-kissed boy that was stuck in bed—usually with a frown because he was stuck in bed. Then again that had been the boy that had wrestled Rivalz in the schoolyard, or tried to help Milly make a giant pizza, or even held Lelouch down on his bed, whispering his name and moving—a small smile creeped at that. If nothing else they had had fun as kids.

He didn't let the kettle get to the point of whistling, taking it from the stove burner and over to the table. He slowly filled the two cups before setting the kettle back down and dropping in a tea bag in each cup. It wasn't exactly home-style Japanese, but it was better than nothing. Lelouch picked up the small tray after placing both cups onto it and flipping off the stove.

The kitchen was light with the afternoon sun streaming through the window but progressively as Lelouch entered the hall it darkened. He had to squint once he came through the bedroom doors. He stood there for a moment, letting his eyes adjust for just a second before he continued in. It was easier for Suzaku to sleep if they kept the blinds down and drapes drawn. Thankfully as Lelouch entered the room that looked to be the case.

As Suzaku's heath had been dropping faster so was the amount of sleep. Their hours had become erratic and unstable quickly. Lelouch was never sure how much to believe from his partner. Comments like, "I'm not that tired anyway," or "It's alright, I'm fine," were thrown around from Suzaku at every turn. Not that they were believable, but Suzaku thought he was fooling someone so Lelouch wouldn't challenge him. Besides it was just easier to try and coax Suzaku to sleep past the pain or to eat something before he started to hurl everything up again.

Second new addendum to their lives past the erratic sleep patterns—

Suzaku sat up, and Lelouch could tell with the way he glanced at him for half a second. Lelouch set the tea tray down already too late as Suzaku stumbled his way into the bathroom. The bright bloody rims of the Geass shown as Suzaku barely made it to the toilet before his body started to heave. It was heart wrenching—and nauseating to watch—but Lelouch was past the point of squeamish in their relationship. He grabbed Suzaku's shoulders keeping him from collapsing to the floor. A second wave hit and with a wrenching sound in his throat Suzaku leaned over the bowl again.

Finally when it ended, Suzaku's breathing was hard and short, he let his body lean back, knowing Lelouch's arms would be there right before they wound around his shoulders and held him close.

"It's okay," Lelouch whispered. But even as he did, his eyes moved to the toilet bowl.

Suzaku hadn't thrown up food for the last two days. He hadn't been able to stomach much, if any, in the last day or so. No, it didn't look to be anything that was from his stomach. Blood didn't normally come up when people vomited.

"Why?" Suzaku asked.

Lelouch looked down to see that Suzaku was staring at the bright red water as well, eyes focused on the—fleshy chunks slowly sinking. It was suddenly very stark how unsurprised they both were at the idea of Suzaku throwing up his insides.

"It's the Geass." Lelouch said looking away and down to the boy he still had alive—if only barely—within his arms. "I think that it is trying to get rid of the disease." Lurching forward, Lelouch couldn't stand it any longer as he flipped the knob and the toilet flushed.

"Disease?" Suzaku said in confusion for a moment. "You mean age?"

"In the terms of Geass, age would be a disease. Clearly Geass has been fighting it for some time, otherwise we'd see gray hair or wrinkles or arthritis." Lelouch tried to explain as detached as possible. It took on another meaning when his calculations directly applied to his lover. "But it doesn't matter how much you polish a clock—parts will still break after time."


After managing to get Suzaku back into the bed Lelouch scrambled around the dog and the mounds of blankets to slide into the space next to his lover. Picking up the tea, Lelouch handed one of the cups to Suzaku and took a sip from his own before he set the cup back on the side table again and pulled Suzaku into his arms.

The tea was a good idea, Lelouch concluded as he watched Suzaku sipping at the hot tea every now and then. He leaned back, letting his head rest against Lelouch's shoulder. Lelouch tilted his head down to press a kiss to the crest of Suzaku's shoulder. He'd lost weight but he was still probably twice the size of Lelouch, though he was approaching his gaunt and sallow look very quickly. Muscle mass had deteriorate at the same rate that any fat that was on his body had worn off, leaving a shell of the powerful man Lelouch had once known.

Lelouch gave a huff as he realized that one of his first clues was that now days he was the one to hold Suzaku, not the other way around. Lelouch was the one taking care of Suzaku. Lelouch was the one pulling Suzaku up and to the bed after sickness. Lelouch was the one that was pampering his lover, seeing to every need. Lelouch kissed at Suzaku curls. If nothing else that warm cinnamon color hadn't been diminished as Suzaku grew worse.

"Hey," Suzaku said. His hand came up, reaching for Lelouch's face.

He missed so Lelouch nudged his cheek into Suzaku's palm. Lelouch turned his face to kiss at the inside of Suzaku's palm. From his vantage point, Lelouch could see the slight smile Suzaku gave at the affection, Needed affection, Lelouch concluded.

Green eyes opened as Suzaku shifted on Lelouch's shoulder to look up at him. "You know, I—" He stopped looking away for just a second before he looked back up. "When we were kids—I used to think about being your knight."

Lelouch cocked his head. "Oh?" He raised an eyebrow along with one side of his mouth in a very Lelouch kind of smile. "I'd image your father wasn't very happy about that."

"I never told him."

"Really?" As far as Lelouch had understood, Suzaku had told everything he could to his father. Lelouch was sure there were very rare times that Genbu actually listened, but Suzaku would never shut up at that age—and punching things, he would never stop punching whatever or whoever was closest. The idea of the holy terror that had been Suzaku at ten years old brought another smile. He was a boy with a short temper and a constant need to proclaim declarative statements. "I'm sure that wasn't very Japanese of you."

Suzaku gave a sheepish smile. "You were really pretty."

Lelouch smiled at the comment and leaned down for another kiss to Suzaku temple. The boy would always have some sweet comment up his sleeve. Suzaku hand moved from his cheek, fingers curling at Lelouch's neck.

"When I was Euphie's Knight—"

His eyes snapped wide, before Suzaku noticed his entire body string with tension. Neither of them spoke again for several second as Lelouch straightened and let his head rest back on the headboard. Suzaku tightened his grip at the side of Lelouch's neck. Lelouch wasn't surprised. He couldn't deny that he was thinking about getting up, leaving the room, and leaving Suzaku alone. It was how they dealt with—this subject. They'd skip around it until they'd blow up at each other and end up sleeping at opposite ends of the house.

"I—" Suzaku wasn't looking at him, but clearly wanted something said. "I thought about you a lot."

Lelouch looked away to their floor. He gave himself credit for not running thusfar.

"I missed you, Lelouch." Suzaku went on. He must have felt Lelouch shift under him because Suzaku turned into Lelouch's neck, his lips moving against his skin as he spoke. "Now I know where you were but at the time—you seemed like all you wanted was distance from me."

Swallowing, Lelouch finally spoke. "I don't want to talk about this."

"I loved you." Suzaku interrupted. "I wanted you to be my prince. But you practically ran from me every time I'd approach."

"You were trying to kill my—"

"Rebellion?" Suzaku finished for him again. "I wouldn't have cared, if you hadn't killed her."

"Because you loved her." Lelouch bit back for the first time.

"She loved me from day one, It was easy to ignore it when I had a partner to take to bed with me every night, but you know once you started to ignore every test message I sent I—" Suzaku bit his lip.

He didn't turn his head, but Lelouch looked to see Suzaku was—struggling with whatever it was he wanted to say. "You used her."

"I.." He didn't deny it.

"If you loved me, than tell me how you loved her as well?" Lelouch asked.

"I just thought that things could be how I always imagined. I could be that for her." Baleful green eyes flicked up locking Lelouch in his gaze, "because you weren't letting me be yours after all." He shook his head than though, and one arm slammed up against the headboard to drag himself up.

At eye level with Suzaku was a completely different game than looking down at him.

"My point is that while I was with her though, I always thought about if it would be possible, if you would ever pay attention to me again, if I could still ask you something…"

There was no way that Lelouch could turn from those saturated, beautiful green eyes, not when they looked straight at him like that, meeting him on his same level, and especially not when Lelouch was terrified Suzaku would go to sleep and never wake up, or that he'd hurl up chunks of his lungs or heart or something so vital that he would only have gasping, brutal moments left.

"I just wanted to know—because I never found out," Suzaku looked down, this time almost bashful. "…I mean, can a Knight –can they marry? Even as a personal knight?"

Lelouch placed his hand at Suzaku's cheek, leaning up for a brief kiss. "No, Suzaku. A personal Knight was never allowed to marry."

Kissing his lips, again, Lelouch hugged him close before taking the cooling tea and pulled him back down to lay among the bed sheets.

Chapter Text

Part XXVII

5/13/2012 10:21 PM

Waking with a start, Lelouch went ram rod straight. It took several minutes to realize that Suzaku's hand was on his shoulder and that, well it was some form of morning. Lelouch glanced at the clock. It was 5:30—that was depressing. Suzaku had been sleeping around the clock, but Lelouch had been trying to get some semblance of a schedule up. It was simple, sleep when it was dark outside. Not that he was sticking to that schedule very well. The past week Suzaku had gotten—much, much worse.

" 'Louch?"

Lelouch turned over, looking at the diminishing appearance of his lifelong partner. "Yeah?" He said, trying not to sound like he'd just woken up, and was still very tired.

Suzaku gave a half smile, clearly happy Lelouch was awake. It hurt just a bit to realize that Suzaku had probably been awake for quite awhile. But the game was played like that between them. Lelouch's job had quickly become discerning when Suzaku needed something or was in pain but wasn't saying anything.

He sat up as he stretched, turning to the huddled boy under the covers. "What is it?"

"Well," Suzaku looked down sheepish for movement. When his eyes moved back to look at Lelouch, he gave a sheepish grin. "I'm really kind of—hungry."

That was improvement. Lelouch was a little surprised in all honesty. Suzaku had been throwing up whatever they could manage to shove down his throat for the past four days. The dry heaving was the worst, when he would look up at Lelouch and his eyes would just—beg for something to give. Because of the constant nausea it had come harder and harder to get Suzaku to even look at food. If it wasn't tea or saltine crackers Lelouch had to force Suzaku to eat.

Lelouch broke into his own smile before he leaned down, one hand going to pet those cinnamon curls. "What would you like to eat?"

It was comforting feel Suzaku reach up and to feel his companion nuzzle into Lelouch's embrace. An arm even went up to tug Lelouch to lay back with him. A chuckle vibrated though the embrace and mass of covers. "Breakfast?"

Lelouch couldn't stop the smile. "Alright."

From the bottom of the bed Charley rustled awake, raising her head to peer at both of them before giving a wide mouthed yawn, complete with stretched out tongue. She gazed at them for a few moments clearly unimpressed by the huddled bundle of intimacy before she threw herself back down to the covers, rolling off to the side and shifting to get comfortable.

Clearly unhappy to do so Suzaku let his grip on Lelouch slip so that the other could slide out of bed. It had become about the only place they spent any amount of time in quite a while. The kitchen had been visited every few hours but unfortunately the whole second story of the house, the living room and even Lelouch's office hadn't been breached for several days. Lelouch hated to think the state that those neglected rooms were in. When Lelouch did chance to pass through the living room it was usually to discard the mail into a growing pile on the coffee table and to try to find a shirt in one of the multiple laundry baskets he'd left in there.

He wasn't planning to clean any of it up either for—well until he had endless amounts of time to kill.

When he stood, Lelouch lifted his arms in another stretch. It felt like some sort of special occasion to have Suzaku smiling, awake and upbeat enough to want breakfast—even if it was 5:30 in the morning.

"Any requests?" Lelouch said as he moved to see if there were any clean clothes left in their closet. At least he did the laundry, Lelouch felt that needed credit. He never really got around to folding, but it was all usually cleaned and then dispensed in the other baskets of laundry sitting in their living room.

Suzaku slid the covers away from his shoulder so he could more easily lay back, folding his arms under his head. It was only a glimpse, but Lelouch could see that old, stronger boy in the action. Nest there was a flash of green eyes and a quick of smile.

"Waffles, and strawberries?"

Anything, Lelouch would do anything to see that bright smile again instead of the wince of pain or deep groan as Suzaku would lean back from another nauseating bout with the Geass killing him.

"I'll get started." Lelouch smiled.


It must have been a blessing straight from God, because they had fresh strawberries and waffle mix. They had milk and syrup and butter and everything that was needed for Lelouch to make the perfect breakfast. All thoughts of how early in the morning it was, or that his lover was slowly wilting before his eyes seemed to brush away out of his mind as he quickly got going.

But as Lelouch turned when he heard the creak of floor boards he almost dropped the spoon in his hand. "…Suzaku…" He almost jolted forward.

Suzaku stopped him, holding up his hand. His other hand was on the wall, not holding him up, but there just in case. He'd pulled on a shirt, probably for the first time in two days. The pajama pants looked lank on his fast diminishing form as he moved forward towards the table.

"Are you—sure you should…"

"I want to be in here." Suzaku explained. He hadn't cut Lelouch off he was just making sure that Lelouch understood. "I've missed the rest of the house."

Lelouch was treating Suzaku like a child. But the boy meant the world to him and preserving whatever they had left was all that Lelouch could help but do. He looked down before he could pull on a smile. He set the kitchen utensil back into the mixing bowl before moving to the kitchen table. Just as Suzaku slid into a chair, Lelouch wrapped his arms around him from behind. He let his cheek rest at the crown of Suzaku's head and settled into a sigh. It was a comfort when Suzaku reached up to clasp his hand.

"Just tell me, if you want to go back into the bedroom."

Out of the hall the dog came padding into the kitchen. Lelouch chuckled at her grumpy display of discontent at how early they had all decided to start their day. She slumped onto the floor next to Suzaku's chair and made herself comfortable before shutting her eyes again.

"I will." Suzaku assured.


"Come on," Suzaku tugged at Lelouch's arm.

Confused, Lelouch held back, the plate of waffles in his hands. He'd just finished with the waffle iron and had unplugged it, trying to take the plate to the table. That was until Suzaku had stopped him, pulling on a hoodie jacket and trying to hand Lelouch his own jacket.

"What are you-?" There was no way that Suzaku was doing what Lelouch thought he was trying to do.

"Let's eat outside." Suzaku was smiling while he spoke, and odd kind of spark in those deep green eyes.

With cock of his head, Lelouch wasn't sure he was hearing correctly. He looked at the window, just to make sure. It was still winter outside. There was a reason that they had twice the number of covers on their bed. Suzaku was spending most of his time in bed so Lelouch hadn't held back on piling on more blankets.

It was out of the question! Good day or not, it was still out of the question. Suzaku had been hurling up blood for the past four to five days. He was dying from the inside out! There was no way that Lelouch was letting him go outside in the freezing cold just because he wanted to. It was a ridiculous notion to even think that they could have breakfast on the back porch.

"Come on," Suzaku cooed. His smile was back, for the first time in days that smile Lelouch had taken for granted was back and it was beaming at him, as he pulled Lelouch closer. Those green eyes had a spark and for once there wasn't even a mile high pile of covers between them.

And he was melting. Lelouch realized the second he was taking a step forward. Just because Suzaku was hiding this depleting body under a jacket and sweat pants didn't mean that Lelouch had forgotten.

"No." He shook his head. "It's winter, Suzaku; there is no way you're going outside."

"Lelouch," Suzaku cooed again, he took a step closer, brushing to his hand across Lelouch's cheek as he slid a few black strands of hair behind Lelouch's ear. "Please, let's eat outside."

Lelouch set the plate of waffles down on the table. "No, Suzaku." He turned away from him to go to the cupboard.

"Lelouch," Suzaku caught the slender boys arm. Gentle but pulled him around to see him. "Please,"

With wide green eyes staring straight at him Lelouch didn't know what to do.

"I want to see the sunrise." Suzaku explained.

It was a hard swallow that followed the statement, followed by silence. Lelouch's own eyes went wide as he took in the words of his lover. It took him a moment to be able to even—"Alright." And then he surged forward, straight into Suzaku's arms.

After several minutes of the embrace Lelouch finally backed away, brushing at his face with his sleeve before picking up the plate of waffles. Suzaku smiled at him before taking the two extra plates and the small bowl of strawberries, he held his hand out for Lelouch to take at the doorway of the kitchen.

Without hesitation Lelouch took it and took the lead out to the back porch.


The room was dark, again. Lelouch was still even smiling from the pleasant day they had had. Suzaku had made them watch the sunrise and the sunset. He'd made Lelouch make him every kind of food he could think of and he had indulged in affection towards his prince at almost every minute. They had spent every moment talking about each other and their lives and just enjoyed each other's company. Lelouch just had one more thing—if this was to be the last hooray, there was one last thing he wanted…

He stepped out of the bathroom. About half an hour before Suzaku had gone to bed and Lelouch off to shower. Suzaku had gave him a tender kiss, probably knowing that he'd be asleep before Lelouch got out of the shower.

That wasn't going to last though. Another smile quirked as Lelouch crawled onto the bed. His hair was still somewhat damp, but it was clean and soft and he knew his body would never change, lithe smooth lines of pale skin and dazzling purple eyes. He slide the covers down , not bothering to slip under them only revealing Suzaku's hunched sleeping form. Lelouch took care as he slide closer to not rouse his partner. He leaned in, nuzzling at Suzaku neck first before he ran a hand down Suzaku side. At the hem of his t-shirt, Lelouch slid his hand up under the fabric, making skin on skin contact.

With a sharp breath Suzaku woke. "What? …Lu?" He rolled over onto his back, blinking to focus onto Lelouch's face.

Perfect, the word resounded in Lelouch's mind as he moved over the other man. He stayed up on his knees as he leaned into kiss at Suzaku's lips. "Hello, baby," His voice he kept soft, his tone even and caring.

When he didn't get a response Lelouch moved back up on his elbows. Suzaku was just blinking at him—laying there, hands still on the sheets, mouth closed and just—blinking. He swallowed (sending a shiver down Lelouch's spine to watch his Adam's apple bob up and back down) before finally opening his mouth. "What are you doing?"

Wasn't it obvious? Lelouch just smiled before he leaned back up on his knees. He gave a chuckle before his hand reached down to the knot in the towel at his waist. In an instance, he watched Suzaku's eyes drop right along with the towel.

This time when Lelouch went down to his elbows, he was very pleased to know that he had Suzaku's full attention.

"Lelouch," His voice sounded deliciously like it was trembling.

Lelouch moved down from his knees, straddling Suzaku's hips. He moved his hands up to Suzaku's neck, sliding one arm around before—

Suzaku was pushing him back. "Lelouch," He managed up onto his elbows to look at Lelouch. His hand came up to cup the side of Lelouch's face. "I'm sorry –I just… I can't." He shook his head slow.

Cocking en eyebrow he considered for a moment letting this go, before he rocked his hips against Suzaku's groin.

As expected, Suzaku swallowed again, raising his fist to his mouth, and just the barest flash of teeth as he bit down on his skin. It was absolutely exciting for the first time in a long while to see Suzaku strung out with pleasure.

"Seems alright to me," Lelouch went on with a cheeky smile.

It didn't take long though and Suzaku was composed again. "Just because I can still function—there's no way right now. I barely made it through the day and all we did was be lazy around the house."

Lelouch slid down from his elbows, sliding his nude skin across Suzaku's torso. "I know." He said. His hands moved back down to Suzaku's shirt, dipping under the fabric again to feel the smooth expanses up Suzaku's body. "But I want something to hold onto." He slid up even more, pressing his knees alongside Suzaku's thighs. "I'll do all the work for once." A chuckle escaped.

It hurt just a little when Suzaku didn't look at him, even turning his face to the covers. "It won't be anything like you remember."

Lelouch had quite possibly never seen Suzaku self conscious about his body (that damn flight suit was evidence enough) but now that it was—less that the Adonis that Lelouch had fallen in love with.. It was understandable, but still heart breaking. Suzaku no longer had the perfectly tan skin or the wonderful curve of muscle over every inch of him. He certainly wasn't the old man they both knew his insides had become. But his partner was Lelouch, the nineteen year old body of Lelouch. And Suzaku –was suffering through the process of death. That glow, that spark, that extra something that had always made him so attractive, had diminished, snuffed out in the fight to stay alive just a little longer (the fight to give Lelouch one last, perfect day).

Pulling one hand out from under the t-shirt Lelouch cupped Suzaku's face, holding him there so Lelouch could press a kiss to his cheek and start moving down. "I will have years to remember everything I want, but right now, I still have you."

It was comforting to see that Suzaku was at least flushed. Lelouch could feel the arousal but to actually see it darken along Suzaku's cheeks and down his neck. There was a certain satisfaction that always accompanied knowing Suzaku so well that even like this he could convince him to do anything for Lelouch.

The second Suzaku's arm came up to wind around Lelouch's shoulders, Lelouch quirked a smile. He'd almost forgotten the thrill of winning.

"Alright, Lelouch."

Lelouch started to press kisses along the other's throat. 'Then just lay back, love." Lelouch cooed. "Let me adore you."

Chapter Text

Part XXVIII

8/7/2012 11:59 PM

The few groceries in hand, Lelouch continued straight back to the bedroom. Once inside, he quietly set the groceries on the floor, removing his wet shoes and slowly setting his coat on the dresser before he crawled over the covers. Buried under the mounds of blankets, with a sweat shirt and fleece pants as well was Suzaku. Lelouch could just barely make out the top of Suzaku's head, those wild curled in a bed head frenzy that Suzaku hadn't bothered to change for the past week. As Lelouch crawled closer, careful not to disturb, he could see a peak of Suzaku's shoulder. The old navy blue sweat shirt that had always been a little small, now was bagging around Suzaku's neck and shoulders.

Lelouch glanced up at the clock just a few feet away before he leaned in, placing a gentle hand on Suzaku's shoulder he let Suzaku stir awake. Those wide, tired eyes blinked twice before Lelouch moved his hand again brushing back a lock of tangled curls as he leaned in farther, pressing his lips to Suzaku's cheek.

A smile quirked Lelouch noticed as he pulled back, happy that the one visible green eye was now looking up at him. Through everything that was going wrong—those eyes were still just as fresh, still just as green as the ten year old boy that had punched Lelouch in the gut the first time they'd met. A bit deeper with the progression of time and dulled with pain at other times, but every now and then Lelouch caught a glimpse of the boy he'd grown up with.

"Hey," Suzaku's voice was quiet, either from the grogginess or something else, Lelouch didn't know.

Lelouch smiled down at his partner, giving his own smile. "Hey,"

"You're back, I thought you'd be gone longer." Suzaku said in his still quiet tone.

That hair was really out of control. It had been a while since Lelouch had bothered to give Suzaku a haircut and then he'd gotten sick and all of a sudden, it didn't matter. Lelouch leaned forward to press another kiss, this time to Suzaku's temple.

"I just went to the grocery store." Lelouch murmured against Suzaku's skin.

"Mhhhmmmmm," Suzaku had already closed his eyes again.

Lelouch stayed there, laying next to his partner and idly combing his fingers through Suzaku's hair. It was a tangled mess. Too long, too curly, too messy, it had been so since had Suzaku been lying in bed for a good part of the day. But as Lelouch looked down at Suzaku's' tired expression, fighting to keep his eyes open, Lelouch had been gone at the very least three to four hours and he was certain that Suzaku had slept the entire time. Suzaku had probably opened his eyes and kissed Lelouch good bye, before closing them again, it must have only felt like seconds that he opened them again to find Lelouch back.

It was when Suzaku's mouth fell just slightly open that Lelouch realized that he was asleep.

Lelouch chuckled to himself, "that was fast," he commentated before pressing just one last kiss to Suzaku's cheek. He brushed one last lock of curls behind Suzaku's ear before climbing off the bed.

He put the groceries away first. Luckily Lelouch had convinced Suzaku to pull the meager retirement the company had provided before too many questions were asked. And Lelouch had received a couple of—sizeable donations, not legally, but they had enough to get through and for Lelouch to –start over again once it was all over. Without Suzaku's constant jiminy cricket of a conscious keeping Lelouch in line it had been rather easy to fall back on what Lelouch knew how to do well, well enough he could still count cards faster and with more accuracy than was natural, he knew how to read faces and he knew how to lose just enough to keep anyone from being alerted to him—and the return was a nice little nest egg.

He dropped the rolled up wad of a nest egg into the Mason jar on the window sill near the kitchen sink and returned to putting away the rest of the groceries. It was the padding of feet that alerted him first and he tilted his head back to see around the fridge door to find—ah yes.

"You're filthy." Lelouch sneered in disgust.

Charley just gave a low whine, thumping her dirty tail against the kitchen floor. She was covered head to paw in mud. Winter was still fully in swing and her favorite pass time was playing in the old garden, getting as dirty as possibly before returning into the house.

Lelouch let the door to the fridge swing shut before leaning against it. He crossed his arms over his chest as he watched the mutt. "What do you want?" he asked with a sigh.

She gave a shake, and Lelouch lifted his arm in defense before he was serenaded with the starting on a low howl, which progressively got louder.

"Okay! Okay!" Lelouch stammered as he stepped forward. "Shhh! shhh, be quiet you'll wake him up!" Lelouch hissed.

As always the tone in his voice shut the mutt up and she quieted, still looking up at Lelouch though with big dark eyes. She started in on another whine only seconds later. This time as Lelouch stepped forward Charley was one step ahead pivoting befor trotting off again down the hall.

"NO!" Lelouch yelled before clamping a hand over his mouth and staggering after her.

Of course, she was where she always ran too. Her muddy trail down the hall and to the bedroom door led straight to her new mess. Her claws scratched against the door and she whined loud but still in that low deep tone. She got down as she started to try and dig through the carpet, anyway to get on the other side of the door.

Lelouch slowed a bit as she noticed him. She looked back at him before her whining became a little more—pleading. And as uncomfortable as Lelouch was about touching the mud caked animal he sank to the floor next to her, patting her back.

"He's sick." Lelouch explained. "You can't go in there like this." Lelouch looked over all the mud and wet soppiness that was Charley. "He can't play with you like that anymore." He patted at her head. "It's changed. You have to be gentle with him, he's breakable now."

She started to howl again and Lelouch fumbled as he tried calming her, petting her head and back.

"I'm sorry," he said frantic. "It's just he's so sick—I don't think that you're a good idea for him. You might hurt him, just on accident." Lelouch felt like he was trying to explain the Pythagoras theorem to a very anxious and distressed child.

Charley howled again, starting to dig at the bottom of the door again. It had been days since Lelouch had let Charley in to see Suzaku. The last time she had bounded onto the bed to attack Suzaku with more affection than ever. And Lelouch was just—he doubted Suzaku could handle that anymore. He'd barely handled it the last time.

But at the same time—Lelouch watched as Charley started to try and jam her nose under the door. He let her body drop getting as low to the ground as possibly before jamming her nose forward again, as if hoping he could just squeeze through narrow crack between the door and carpet.

Forcing her to say goodbye before Suzaku was even gone would be worse in the long run. She always looked for Suzaku first when she came into the house. She followed him around outside, she was—Lelouch could feel as emotion was rising again in him. She was family. And Lelouch knew there was no way he could have bore the loss he was trying to force on her premature.

"Oh alright!" Lelouch grumbled. "But come on!" Lelouch said as he took ahold of her collar and started to tow her unwillingly towards the other end of the house. "You are not going to get mud all over those bed covers! Under no circumstances are you filthing up our bedroom."

He wasn't sure how he did it but he was lucky enough to tow her all the way across the house to the bathroom. After some coaxing and finally a fumbling attempt to get her in the tub, Lelouch simply grabbed the shower head, very happy they'd invested in a removable one with a long cord and sprayed.


The bathroom was a disaster. Having a very unwilling bath time and then blow dry for that mangy dog before Lelouch had managed to sneak out and clean up her other muddy messes he finally trudged back to the bedroom, after cleaning the carpet mud trails and the door very thoroughly.

He crawled back onto the bed, placing his hand back on Suzaku's shoulder.

"Hey baby," Lelouch whispered at Suzaku's side.

Cracking an eye open Suzaku smiles again as he woke. "Hey, is it dinner?"

Well, yes. It was around that time but Lelouch hadn't even started on that yet. "Not exactly." Lelouch smiled—until her heard it.

She was howling again. This time loud and annoying and crystal clear all the way from the opposite end of the house. Lelouch could just see her now, clean as a whistle but probably bored out of her mind so she was referring to the only thing she had left in that tiny little bathroom, volume.

Suzaku brow furrowed."What is that?" It managed to stir him enough that he rolled onto his back, listening as he pushed himself to sit up against the pillows.

That was good, at least he'd be prepared when Lelouch let the monster go.

"That is—" the finish to that sentence was along the lines of, spawn of hell, but instead Lelouch switched directions. "You know what, just sit here, don't go back to sleep and I will be right back." He took the time to press another hasty kiss, this time to Suzaku's lips before Lelouch briskly walked back across the house—all to the chorus of Charley's loud and annoying howls for release.

The second the bathroom door opened she was out in a flash, her paws still a little wet as she skidded across the kitchen tiles before regaining balance and was off to the bedroom again. In a panic Lelouch had charged right after her, and much to his chagrin was significantly slower.

But coming into the bedroom—Suzaku was smiling, wide and toothy, and full, as Charley sat next to him on the bed, getting in as many licks to Suzaku's face as possible. The experience in Lelouch's opinion looked disgusting—but Suzaku was smiling, his hands running through Charley's fur.

Lelouch pushed off the door frame and left them alone, going to actually make dinner.


When he returned with three bowls of vegetable soup on a tray it was to find Charley curled up as close to Suzaku as possible, her big doe eyes looking to Lelouch as he entered.

"Here you go," Lelouch said as he set the first bowl from the tray on the hardwood chest at the foot of the bed.

Charley raised her head first before carefully shuffling forward to the bowl of soup. Lelouch wasn't sure she liked it at first—at least until she started devouring it like it was mania straight from heaven.

He took the other two bowls and woke Suzaku up before handing him a bowl and crawling up next to him, snuggling in close as he ate his own food. It was cozy and warm, Lelouch thought he might even be the first one to fall asleep in a long time with how nice it all felt.

"I thought you don't like feeding the dog table scraps." Suzaku asked after the bowls had been gathered and set in a neat stack on the night stand.

"It wasn't scraps I made her a bowl." Lelouch explained.

Giving a tired chuckle. "Right, so if you feed her table scraps it's a meal. If I feed her food it'd table scraps and therefor unhealthy for her. I see how it is."

Lelouch gave a content sigh, snuggling closer to Suzaku, and feeling Charley curled up between their legs at the foot of the bed. "I'm not making it a habit." Lelouch yawned. "I just forgot dog food at the store."

Chapter Text

Part XXIX

8/13/2012 10:26 PM

The bath was cooling just enough that Lelouch was finally comfortable. Suzaku drowsy and demanding had been the one to pull Lelouch into the practically scolding hot water. Well, that was an exaggeration since Lelouch had helped Suzaku into the water. Suzaku had mostly just asked nicely and looked up at Lelouch with those tired green eyes.

And Lelouch had complied. Of course, he had climbed in after his lover. He'd stripped to the satisfied smile on Suzaku's face and slid into the water after him.

Suzaku had needed the bath. Expecting death on a daily basis had left him—lax. It was easier to curl up in bed than to attend to anything else. He barely ate, and what he did eat usually came straight back up in a bloody mess. As his strength started to fade faster instead of trying to stagger to the bathroom in time, Suzaku had opted for eating very little at all.

He hadn't out and out told Lelouch, but Lelouch suspected that consuming food was actually starting to hurt. It was distressing because it was one more step towards the end.

The most awful part about it all was that it was taking so long, and yet Lelouch felt like that was his final gift. He hugged his arms around Suzaku a little tighter, locking his jaw at the cloying feeling in his throat. Suzaku lay over him, his head rested on Lelouch's shoulder, his fore head pressed against the side of Lelouch's neck. His eyes were closed, probably caught in the limbo between sleep and awareness again. Lelouch adjusted his hold around Suzaku's shoulders. If Suzaku trusted Lelouch enough to fall asleep in the water with him, Lelouch certainly wasn't going to let him slip.

It certainly was the hardest part about it all, watching Suzaku waste away in front of him. But then again—

"I love you," Suzaku murmured against Lelouch's neck.

Lelouch looked down just in time for Suzaku's eyes to fold open. The one thing that had never diminished was Suzaku's bright brilliant eyes. They'd become more lackluster, less shine, but now—they were so much deeper. At first Lelouch had been resentful of the change, but now—it wasn't bad, Lelouch was learning it was just different. He could handle different.

It was cheesy and a little too sappy, but Lelouch still smiled. Suzaku hadn't lost his personality after all. He looked back to the water just as he felt Suzaku press a kiss to his neck.

As much as it would have pleased Lelouch to be on the receiving end of Suzaku's seduction attempts, he knew it was just simple affection. Simply, lovely affection. They shared a lot of that as of late.

It was painful to have to watch Suzaku's life dragged out in the horrid bloody and broken mess of his body, but—but with every affirmation of the small little moments, Lelouch knew he was being give a gift.


Clean and yawning on the bed, Lelouch was amused in the way Suzaku contentedly curled up next to him in the bed again.

"You're warm," Suzaku explained. He'd closed his eyes even, clearly intent on falling asleep for real this time. All huddled under the covers Suzaku found a way to hook his limbs around Lelouch's torso and legs. It was a loose enough hold that Lelouch still felt comfortable and yet there wouldn't be any getting away unless Suzaku let him.

Just then Charley leaped onto the bed, aiding in Suzaku's search for warmth as she curled up against his legs. She had shut her own eyes as a content exhale form her nose.

Stuck in the middle between the two of them Lelouch was left with no choice but to let his body sink into the covers and admit he was staying for a while. With little options left, Lelouch moved his arm back around Suzaku's shoulder.

"I uh,"

Lelouch looked down. He was startled by the fact that Suzaku was even still awake, He was even more surprised Suzaku's eyes were still wide, looking straight up at Lelouch.

"There's, I mean there's always been something I've wanted to ask you," He sounded nervous, he tightened his grip on Lelouch's arm just a bit more, tugging enough to give Lelouch the hint to turn towards him.

Rolling on his back, Lelouch sat up a bit more to listen, leaning his back against the head board to face Suzaku completely.

"I just," Suzaku stopped again. He smiled. "You always take everything the wrong way and I just wanted to ask, or at least get the chance to ask." His eyes were still very focus up at Lelouch. "Just promise, you'll hear me out be for you freak out this time?"

Ruffled a bit of the brash accusation, Lelouch crossed his arms over his torso, opening his mouth for a rebuttal. Then he saw at the look on Suzaku's face. That incredulous raise of an eyebrow made Lelouch shut his mouth. He could be civil after all. He was a civil and proper human being after all. "Alright, fine, I won't say a word until you're done." Because he doesn't freak out. He doesn't and that's that.

"Can I get a promise?" Suzaku affirmed.

Shooting his own look, Lelouch rolled his eyes, "Would you like it in writing?"

Suzaku was sure thinking about it. "Maybe…" that incredulous look was back on his face only this time it was spiked with a nice narrowing of his brow in suspicion.

"I promise," Lelouch growled out in protest.

"Okay." Suzaku said as he smiled. "I'll take that."

This time with another haughty eye roll Lelouch crossed his legs as well, casually sliding an inch or two farther from Suzaku "Well get on then,"

Suzaku pusheded himself up to slide up along Lelouch's side again, comfortably resting his head on Lelouch's shoulder. What Lelouch really wanted to do was to do was turn away from the snuggling, but he didn't quite have the heart for it. Instead, he let Suzaku snuggle up to him and in return Lelouch decided he'd do nothing.

"I have always loved you," Suzaku cooed into Lelouch's ear. He placed a sweet kiss before leaning his head back down and going on, "Even when you think I hated you, you know I never really could. I'd always think about you, and how I wanted things to be different."

"Right because the world you dreamed of—" Lelouch stopped dead in his tracks as he felt Suzaku lean up on his elbow to look at him.

"You promised." Suzaku reminded.

"Fine," Lelouch mumbled. "Never mind, go on."

Suzaku chuckled before he let his head rest again on Lelouch's shoulder. "There is one thing that I never got around to asking you. I thought about it first when I came to be Euhpie's knight, and then after—to be honest I forgot about it," Suzaku stopped. Closing his mouth, he looked away for a moment before going in a quieter voice. "No actually, I never forgot. I was just disgusted that I ever considered it. But once I had to be back in the same room with you again, and I just—god, you have no idea what you do to me. I couldn't stop thinking about it again, and it was just so cliché and stupid I just—I loved you even when I didn't want to love you."

He couldn't even act like he was trying to be mad anymore. So bucking it up and throwing his pride to the wind Lelouch uncrossed his arms. He fund Suzaku's hand and interlaced their fingers. "What are you trying to say, love?" Lelouch hummed, leaning in to nuzzle into Suzaku's curls.

"I just always wondered what you would say—" He stopped again to take in a slight breath, "If I asked, I mean you've already told me it wouldn't be possible but I just wondered…" Suzaku waited for just a moment before he pushed himself all the way up this time. He really locked his gaze onto Lelouch's eyes this time. "If I had ever asked, before this, when I really was a knight and could have given you—anything, everything you would have wanted," he seemed lost for a second before he really just let it out, "Would you have ever married me?"

All Lelouch could do was let out his breath first, then he surged forward to kiss his lover on the forehead. "Of course," He said as both his hands went to Suzaku's hands. "I would have married you. Even when I thought I hated you, I would have had to admit that I still loved you, and I would have married you."

Suzaku smiled, sneaking his own kiss on Lelouch's lips before sinking back to the covers and resting his head comfortably on Lelouch's chest. Lelouch brought his hands up again, one cupping the side of Suzaku's cheek, stroking lightly with his thumb as his other hand played with those cinnamon curls. Suzaku fell asleep almost instantly.

In contrast, Lelouch watched the sunset through their bedroom window. It was sinking slowly but steadily, the bight golden rays slipped behind the horizon and Lelouch was left alone in the room. The dark room around him was a bit too foreboding and just to make sure Lelouch checked every couple of minutes to make sure his lover was still breathing. He continued until finally he fell asleep himself.

Chapter Text

Time XXX

11/9/2012 20:11

It happened just as the stars rose for the night. Lelouch had known because he'd been watching as the sun sank lower and lower in the sky, checking his lover in his arms, making sure he was breathing, every few minutes. He had the farce of reading to keep him occupied as he would look up every few minutes to look at the mirror across the room.

Suzaku was asleep, as he should have been, under the covers. His head rested on a pillow in Lelouch's lap. He'd started to sleep on his back, finding it easier to keep his breath easy and keeping him in some semblance of comfort. Lelouch was just thankful that sleep was still possible at all.

And then it happened. First it was Charley. He should have known then. It was always Charley first. Lelouch was never sure how she knew it but she was always aware of the impossible before it ever happened.

She looked up, startled doey eyes looking straight to Suzaku laying with his head in Lelouch's lap and covers piled over him. She let out a low howl and then started to –growl. And yet it wasn't a growl it was just a rumbled in her throat so deep and low it startled Lelouch for a moment. And then looking to Lelouch with accusing eyes she stood on the bed and started to bark.

He fumbled the book, letting it drop to the bed. His hands clutched at Suzaku in his lap, not sure exactly what had possessed the dog at the edge of the bed. He stared at her with wide eyes not sure he'd ever encountered an aggressive side to her. She'd never exactly been docile—but she at least hadn't ever shown any kinds of aggression in any form.

But she just stared at him. Then she barked again, loud and jolting. It wasn't playful in anyway like the usual way she would bark or howl. Lelouch's fingers tightened in Suzaku's shirt, not sure what she wanted of him, what she was trying to convey or if she was trying to convey anything at all. She was an old dog maybe now just proving too old and there was a possibility—

Lelouch was glad then that in his bewilderment he hadn't uttered a word, because that made the gasp for breath so quiet and so small, crystal clear in the room.

And immediately he understood. "Suzaku!" Lelouch let out his hands shaking as they went to that perfect—that perfect and beautiful and pained face.

It wasn't until Charley surged forward again, letting out another loud and distressed bark that Suzaku's eyes cracked open. They squeezed shut again, and a groan of pain echoed in the room.

Panic felt like it flooded through Lelouch's veins. Suzaku was so—close—so close—so far gone, and another attack could utterly end him. "God, no," Lelouch pleaded, he was bowed over his lover. Knowing that there was nothing he could do. There was never anything that he could do when this happened. "Please dear God, no," Lelouch had never prayed in his life, not when everything had gone wrong, not when his own plans had turned on him, not ever—and yet—this was the closest he'd ever come. On his knees and pleading to anyone who would listen, any divine power, anything that might help—"Oh please dear God, don't do this,"

The body under him jerked upwards, another awful sounding search for breath. "Le—" Suzaku got out before he coughed, it was wrenching through his throat and he closed his mouth immediately after.

Lelouch looked up, raising his head just enough to look to Suzaku's face and see that Suzaku had his eyes open. Lelouch almost felt relief, almost until from the side of Suzaku's mouth he could see that trail of dark red blood stark against Suzaku's ill complexion.

Gasping, Lelouch sat up. It was just in time as Suzaku's chest jerked again, his own hand shaky and weak clamping over his mouth.

In a stumbling hurry, Lelouch detangled from the bed covers and scrambled to the bathroom. What he was looking for wasn't there and instead he grabbed a small white garbage sack and a towel.

The second he was at Suzaku's side the boy seized onto his arm, jerking the arm holding out the bag closer and—

Lelouch almost shrunk back. That tangy smell of blood hit his nose first as Lelouch processed what he could see. The stark red against the clean white bag was enough to send Lelouch reeling. Suzaku looked up, his eyes tired and clouded before he started to cough again. The effort of it seemed to rip through his body. His entire body was shaking, visibly trembling.

Suzaku wouldn't let go of Lelouch's arm, pulling him forward and bowing his head over the garbage bag again.

Starting to shake, Lelouch didn't know what else to do. He placed his hand on Suzaku's head, petting back his curls with soft, smooth strokes.

This time when Suzaku leaned back, his eyes looked straight up at Lelouch—and they both knew. Another stark drop of blood trailed down Suzaku's chin.

Lelouch took the towel, wiping away the two streaks of blood from Suzaku's chin as he sat at the edge of the bed. Charley whined from the bottom of the bed. Still on her feet she was looking straight at Suzaku.

He started to cough again, the blood bubbling over his lips this time, giving him just barely enough time to pull the garbage bag closer.

This time when he was done, he leaned back, letting his head rest on Lelouch's shoulder. They just sat there for a minute, the two of them listening as Suzaku struggled for just one more breath after another.

And just like Lelouch had always wanted, time stood still. For just a moment as he wrapped his arms around Suzaku's shoulders and turned to kiss the top of his forehead. It stood still for just a moment as Suzaku leaned into him. They both closed their eyes letting themselves just be—for one more moment let themselves just be in each other's embrace.

Then Lelouch opened his eyes. As he did, he could see the alarm clock next to their bed roll over to midnight.

"I told you, Lelouch," Suzaku whispered against his neck. "You can't stop time." And with a comforting nuzzle, Suzaku left a small kiss at the curve of Lelouch's neck.

Or maybe—maybe Lelouch just heard it in his minds ear, Maybe it was all just him that thought up that kiss, thought up his lovers farewell because as he looked down, he was met with closed eyes. There was no warm breath against his neck any longer, only the slow rolling of another drop of blood leaking from the corner of lifeless lips.

And as mere seconds passed Lelouch held the body closer to him. Clinging to remnants of his lover was all he had left. He ran his fingers through those curls, he let his fingertips ghosted against Suzaku's cold face. He gave his own goodbye to motionless lips. It wasn't until after he'd pressed his lips to his lovers—and there was nothing. It was cold and it was lifeless. His arms tightened around the body and he fisted his hand in Suzaku's blood stained shirt. His head pressed to Suzaku's silent chest and-he wept.

Come daylight, Lelouch finally rose, letting the body of his lover slump back against the bed. Charley, as quiet as she had ever been, lay next to the stiffening corpse as Lelouch pulled himself out of the bed to meet the morning sun.

He crossed to the dresser, his eyes still red and his cheeks wet. The pocket watch was waiting for him it seemed, easily found and Lelouch pulled off the back to slide in the battery.

And then he set the watch down. He stayed where he was, watching the second's hand move across the white watch face. The silence in the room was marked with the ticking, every second a tick, every second another tick.

After a few minutes or so Charley moved off the bed, and down to Lelouch. She sat next to him, leaning against his leg. With a sigh, knowing exactly how she felt, Lelouch let himself sink to the floor. He could hear the ticking of that pocket watch in his ear. Charley laid her head in his lap. It wasn't long before Lelouch doubled over weeping against Charley's fur.

Chapter Text

Epilogue I

4/14/2012 4:08 PM

Lelouch reached up and closed the hatchback on the little rental car. His stuff in the back, he wasn't sure how he was going to get it all to his new apartment in London, but there had to be some way. The rest of his stuff was—staying.

"Are you sure all this stuff is for us?" The woman asked from the porch as she came out of the house. She had a bright smile on her face as she came down the worn wooden steps. "It's really nice of you to pretty much let us have the house almost completely furnished."

A polite smile was hard coming to his lips, but Lelouch gave himself credit because it came after a hard moment of forcing. "I won't need any of those things."

"It really is such a nice house." The man coming around the house said.

Charlie, tongue out and her head held high trotted around him, and through the gate to Lelouch. She plopped down on her butt next to Lelouch's shoes, leaning against his legs and looking up for attention.

He reached down and scratched down her neck, starting right between her ears and going down. "Thank you," Lelouch said and he watched the dog lean into the affection. It was easier now that she wasn't whining. The first few days after—after he was gone had been the worst. She would run back to the bedroom almost on instinct it seems and then—of course, she wouldn't find him. Lelouch couldn't blame her, he wished that he could forget long enough to come through the bedroom door and expect anything but an empty bed.

It had been the whining though. The low long whining that would cloy at Lelouch's throat, tighten his chest to the point of pain. Her crying just made it harder to not start crying himself. It wasn't exactly easy to hold himself together but it was easier when he didn'' have someone else next to him missing –him—just as much as Lelouch was.

Going down to one knee, Lelouch took the leash out of his coat pocket and hooked the latch onto Charley's collar.

"She's a good dog," the man said as he came to his wife, hooking an arm around her shoulder.

Lelouch looked away as the painful thought of the way that he used to possessively curl an arm around Lelouch's shoulder or at his waist. Fights had broken out because of it, especially when it would happen in front of others and even worse in some sort of public place. Now, Lelouch would have begged for all that embarrassing couple stuff he'd tried to hide before.

Instead he started to run his hand through Charley's fur again. "Yeah, she'd a really good dog."

"How old is she?" The man asked.

Lelouch stood, having to think for a moment to come up with the answer. "Almost ten."

"Wow, she's doing pretty well for that old of a dog."

Lelouch said as he pulled on another conservative, polite smile. "I hope she stays this young for quite a while longer." If she didn't it would all be gone then, everything that was ever his would be gone and Lelouch would for once in his life be truly alone.

"Well, I have to be going," Lelouch said as he turned to the car, opening the back door. Reluctant, it took a bit of coaxing to get Charley into the kennel in back seat. Granted there wasn't much room for her to sit, but it was better than nothing.

"Thank you so much," the woman said as Lelouch started around the car. "This house is so beautiful, we love it, and I promise we'll take care of it."

Lelouch stopped as he opened the door, "Thank you," He said in a quiet tone. "My husband put a lot of work into this house."

The woman whispered to her own husband, "He has a husband?"

"You're married?" The man asked out loud.

"I was," Lelouch smiled a bit sad. "He died about two weeks ago." The same time the house had gone up on the market.

Not willing to divulge any more information Lelouch stepped into the car, and started the engine. The coupled waved at him from the front gate. Lelouch gave a single wave of his own hand before pulling out onto the highway.

Once he had pulled on to the interstate, Lelouch took out his cell phone. Upon dialing the airport information number, Lelouch moved the phone to his ear. A recording chimed in and Lelouch listened to his options before speaking,

"Speak to a representative, please."

"Hello, my name is Marie. How may I help you?" a woman's sweet voice came through.

"This is Lelouch Lamprouge and I need to check on a shipment that will be traveling with me this afternoon." He said into the phone as he pulled out a pair of sunglasses, holding the phone with his shoulder he slid the glasses on.

"Alright, do you mean your flight to Tokyo, Japan at five thirty, this afternoon?" The woman asked, Lelouch could faintly hear the click of the keyboard in the background.

"Yes."

"Alright, well it looks like the shipment has just arrived this morning. Give me just a moment and I can call down to the shipment center to have someone go and check on the condition if you would like."

"Please," Lelouch said as he heard Charley rustling around in her kennel in the back.

"One moment please,"

It was a moment again before the woman came on again. "Alright, I have gotten a hold of someone and they are on their way right now to check on you shipment." The woman paused for a moment. "There is no damage reported-on the—oh, I mean on the casket. It looks like some of the crate shipping has been scuffed, but the transfer to the flight will be coming in just about three hours. They do believe that it will get all the way to Tokyo without damage to the casket.

Lelouch thought about it for another moment before answering. "Is there any way to have the crate shipping replaced before transfer?"

"Let me see," there was a pause on the line. "If I ask it to be done now it can be replaced for an additional fee—"

"Then have it replaced." Lelouch didn't mean to interrupt, but he still had a few more hours of driving and he didn't want to get to the airport and find out there was damage.

"Alright, sir, I will have them get started right away."

"Thank you," Lelouch said.

"And sir," the woman almost sound a bit nervous. "I'm—I'm sorry for your loss. I'll make sure your shipment is well taken care of"

Lelouch had to shove the emotions rising again away as he answered in a quiet tone, "Thank you," He closed the phone and looked straight ahead before anything else could beat away at his heart even further.


He didn't speak Japanese. He'd had lived with someone who had on many times used that fact against him. Muttering off something that Lelouch caught, but he had no idea what was said. When he was small he'd tried to learn, but instead it had been Suzaku that had learned Britannian.

Now was when it was starting to come back to haunt him. He'd somehow managed his way to the burial sight at the old Kururugi Shrine. The place had become a relic of the past and Lelouch was grateful that they had believed his feigned documentation of it being the last descendant of the Kururugi family that he was buried on the grounds. It was true, but Lelouch was mostly glad that Suzaku had bothered to keep the title and ownership of the shrine he had inherited from his father.

It wasn't until he'd gotten back to the airport that Lelouch was running into real problems.

"This flight isn't for three hours!" Lelouch said again.

"Yes," the smiley woman in front of him said, giving a slight bow as she did.

"No," Lelouch said. "You see I had a flight that was boarding in an hour, not three."

The woman looked confused before that big smile was right back on her face. "Would you like to upgrade your flight to first class?" She looked hopeful, a very thick accent to accompany.

"No," said Lelouch, his face sinking into his hands. His palms slapped on to the counter top, over his ticket and he took hold of it "Never mind, I'll just wait around since I've already gone through customs and everything."

He pushed the cart over to the nearest row of waiting chairs before he sat down. He leaned down and unlatched Charley's kennel. She came out immediately, licking Lelouch's hands and tail wagging before she sat down next to Lelouch's feet as he fitted the collar and leash back onto her neck.

"Nice mutt,"

Lelouch looked up to see a youth, probably in his late teens sitting across from him.

He looked back down at his dog, "She's a husky mix." Not a mutt.

"Whatever." The youth said, before leaning forward. "I heard you over there; you got kicked to the next flight to London just like I did." The teen had a kind of snide smirk on his face.

Looking up Lelouch caught an image of a boy he knew very well, a boy who had worn that same kind of smirk for most of his life, at least until his friends started to die… "Right," Lelouch said.

He reached into his coat pocket, bringing out that silver pocket watch. When he clicked the top the time was display on a vintage and pristine white analogue clock face. Then he clicked the top again and the analogue clock rolled back behind so that Lelouch could see the only time that really mattered to him. 17 years 346 days and 6 hours displayed on the screen. A race for how long Suzaku had given him to come back to him.

Lelouch glanced back up at the arrogant boy sitting across from him. The sigil branded across Lelouch's forehead and hidden under his bangs burned at even the idea. There was no rule saying he couldn't see Suzaku before his time was up. Flicking the clock closed Lelouch shoved it back into his pocket.

Leaning forward he gave his own characteristic smirk. "How would you like the power to change lives?" he asked.

The teen sat up a little straight, thinking about it, before answering. "Go on."

Lelouch held out his hand, "May I interest you in a contract?"

The boy looked skeptical. "For what in exchange?"

"Power," Lelouch gave a shrug. "At the end you grant me one wish."

"One wish and in exchange you'll give me power…?" The boy said a bit skeptic. "What kind of power?"

Without blinking, Lelouch went on. "I don't know, it all depends on you."

The boy still looked skeptic but he was eyeing that hand that Lelouch still held out to him. Lelouch just looked back with that smile, locking his eyes onto the boy.

"Al—alright," That boy said and took hold of Lelouch's hand.

Chapter Text

Time Epilogue II

4/14/2012 6:00 PM

It was refreshing. Lelouch had never even tried to keep count of how many times he had died throughout his immortal life. It had always been the same anyway, never really dying. The moment he'd been flung into the darkness he was opening his eyes again and waking up to life as it had been just moments before.

But this was different. Splayed out across the steps of the church, Lelouch had never imagined it would be so ironic of an end. His breath caught, eyes still wide open, and he was amazed at how much pain he didn't feel. The feeling of being yanked back into existence had been pain enough over the years, but now it was so—like floating. He was there but for once in his life he could feel himself drifting.

He had been right. He was meeting his end with a smile—and it was perfect.

Violet eyes relaxed, Lelouch blinked a few times. He could feel the deep red liquid sticking to his fingertips and pooling around his body. That soft smile on his face, he let his body just settle.

Clutched in his hand, Lelouch looked down at that pocket watch. The seconds now were ticking down.

12 , 11 , 10…

Lelouch could hear the crowd around him, someone screamed nearby. There was total chaos. And yet he felt so relieved as he watched that pocket watch.

9, 8…
He almost laughed; for once he wouldn't get up and walk away. He tried to laugh and blood filled his mouth. A cough came out first, the dark liquid leaking out at the side of this mouth, staining his cheek.

7…

Lelouch turned his gaze away, looking straight up at the sky. He could feel the heat of fire close by. He could hear the roar of another Molotov cocktail hitting the ground. Someone was yelling out, calling for someone. Lelouch closed his eyes for just half a second. He knew exactly what that was like. He'd woken up so many times calling for the one person he hoped and prayed would meet him just shortly.

6, 5…

The man was still calling out, his voice hoarse this time. Another gas bomb went off, and the man called again. Lelouch blinked again, feeling blood leaking into his eye.

"Suzaku," Lelouch echoed as the man called out again.

4…

"Suzaku," Lelouch said a bit louder. The man was getting closer to him, his voice more frantic as he called out the same name over and over again. Lelouch refused to look to see who it was, or hear who he was looking for. Lelouch could relate for the simple fact that he knew how that felt to be alone, to find yourself so alone and no hope of finding the one person that mattered.

3..

Lelouch jerked as he felt something shudder in his chest. There was real pain this time. It was sharp and real and flashing through his chest. It was deep. It felt so familiar. Like heartache that he'd felt so much over so long. It was almost like all that hurt and ache and loneliness built up into one sharp dagger and had been plunged in his chest, lodged in deep and now twisted as the end was coming. Immortalities one last memorable lashing out at Lelouch

"Suzaku!" Lelouch said, just as desperate as the man out around him calling for his own loved one.

2…

It was suddenly so hard. Dying was suddenly the worst thing he'd ever gone through. It was the lingering. The expansion of time into eons between every millisecond was like dragging it out, like picking up his broken body and leaving a long bloody trail across the expanse of time in pursuit of the end. It was like Lelouch could feel it. He could feel it just like he could feel that watch he had fisted his hand around.

"Suzaku!" Lelouch mustered up the strength to yell this time. He could feel tears trailing down his face. His teeth gritted as he hoped that just maybe his pleading could reach across that impossible divide before him.

His chest was getting tighter as the pain was expanding. His body felt taught and stretched thin. He wasn't sure how much more he could take. And yet he didn't know how to stop it even if he wanted to.

1…

And release... The same feeling rushed over him that refreshing water like feeling as his body relaxed again, even that death grip on the silver pocket watch.

"Suzaku…" this time it was whispered. The last utterance carried on the final breath of living, and almost immediately washed away, lost under the depths. Lelouch didn't want to close his eyes. He didn't want to chance getting caught under the current and yet—he exhaled… and let go…

He'd never closed his eyes—and suddenly was lying in a field of sunflowers. Above him weren't the clouds of bleak overcast London. Instead it was clear, it was so clear that abruptly the sun was blaring down at him with the light of a new day. Lelouch raised his hand to shield his eyes.

And instantly he realized it, there was no pocket watch in either of his hands. With a burst of startling anxiety, Lelouch threw himself up into a sitting position. The sunflowers around him rustled. A light breeze rippled around him followed by that same sound of rustling, like a giggle of each flower to Lelouch. He looked down, finding himself in new cloths, different clean, crisp cloths he hadn't even remembered purchasing. At his sides he spread his fingers in the soft foliage that he had just been nestled in. It was all green and healthy, the perfection that one imagined but hardly ever was real.

There was another rustling of the sunflowers around him and Lelouch looked roundabout. Head whipping from side to side to try and find the source, Lelouch couldn't help the apprehension as he drew his legs in closer to himself, moving his hands to his thighs, ready to stand instantly.

Then she wiggled her way through the stalks in front of Lelouch. Mouth open, she raised her head just as she stepped to Lelouch's feet.

"Charley," Lelouch breathed, and opened his arms out to her.

And as joyful and as energetic as she had ever been in life, she bound into Lelouch, knocking him back as she pummeled into him. He was laughing he realized as he was bathed in her long slobbering and loving kisses. Her tail was wagging as fast as it ever had as she sat down on his lap. When Lelouch sat back up, She nuzzled in and let her chin rest on Lelouch's shoulder.

It was a habit that had developed so long ago. When they had both wanted the one person that wasn't there anymore, the cuddling kind of position had developed. And as Lelouch fell into that pattern just like he had years before, his hand came up to brush through her long fur.

As he did, He shook his head. He could still remember the awful day he lost her. He could remember the time had been harder than it ever had in his life. He'd buried her in the middle of nowhere. His fingers had been raw and ached from the cold as he'd scooped up another pile of dirt. He'd never buried something with his bare hands before—it had hurt, not just his hands, and his aching head, and his freezing toes and his raw skin, he'd cried the entire time. It had been harder to leave her there than it ever had to leave him. No one would even know about her, and that hurt so bad.

Lelouch was startled out of his own thoughts as he heard Charley's low bark at him. He smiled and looked down at her. It was ignored though as Charley jumped out of his lap and started back through the long stalks of Sunflowers. She peaked her head back through a moment later giving another, this time louder bark.

Standing was surprisingly easy and Lelouch set off after her. For once she moved at a pace fit for him, waiting for him at times even to stumble his way behind her. The stalks were tall enough and thick enough that Lelouch couldn't see more than a few feet in front of him. The real downside of it all though was that they started up hill, and Lelouch could feel it as the ground steeped just enough to make him want to complain.

Charley's ears abruptly went from relaxed to standing straight up in full attention. As she stopped, Lelouch stopped as well,í leaning down to her. It was just in time to feel her burst forward right out of his hands. She leapt through the next stalks of Sunflowers and out of sight.

"Hey girl, I thought I lost you,"

Lelouch froze, he felt his head spin and his heart stop. He knew that voice—he knew—

Taking a cautious step forward, Lelouch felt his hands shaking as he reached forward to pull the stalks to part. As his fingers moved he took another step forward through the parting curtain of sunflowers.

He was on one knee, rubbing and scratching Charley's belly to her elation. When he looked up, Lelouch breath caught as beautiful green eyes locked on him. A breathtaking and infectious smile spread on his face and Lelouch had to force himself not to take a step back. It felt like a dream. The kind of dreams of Lelouch had ran from, they'd hurt too much.

And then he was standing, and he was everything Lelouch had remembered. Broad shoulders, and tall, proud stance. He looked healthy and so—beautiful. Lelouch noticed that sun kissed tan as he took a step forward and out stretched that broad, big hand out to Lelouch.

"I'm sorry," He said before giving his characteristic chuckle. "I never actually thought you'd be on time."

Lelouch flung himself forward, hitting a strong and stead chest and buried his face into equally strong shoulders and firm arms wrapped around him. "Suzaku," he gasped.

"I know," Lelouch could hear that smile on Suzaku's face. "I missed you to,"