Their chests were both heaving as they barricaded the door behind themselves, scuttling into the safety of the surveillance room, though the fallen prince was undoubtedly the more composed of the two. She found this was often the case whenever they fell into such perilous situations – they were the Black Knights, after all – and this infuriated her to no end.

But now was not the time to dwell on her frustrations, which, interestingly enough, revolved around this enigma of a figure; even more interesting, however, and perhaps a little nerve-wracking, was the prospect of spending an undisclosed amount of time with said figure, stuck in a cramped, dusty space, while awaiting safe passage out of the mall, which would no doubt be swarming with authorities momentarily if it wasn't already. They wound up in opposite chairs facing away from each other. A stoic expression dominated Lelouch's face, his delicate hand propped up on the arm of the chair, resting against his cheek. Kallen was chewing on her lip, feisty blue eyes now hesitant instead, darting around the room, shining in the dark. Her hands rested on her lap, folding and unfolding in a nervous sort of rhythm.

There were a few moments of stiff silence. Kallen shifted from position to position on her chair, making a small noise somewhere between a squeak and a whimper. Fleeing for one's life – and in a bunny suit, no less – was enough to make even the iron-willed Japanese rebel squirm, even though she had faced death multiple times before. There was something about the danger that excited, yet terrified her – an excitement she always failed to hide.

Lelouch must have picked up on her fidgeting as well, as a sardonic chuckle could be heard from the other side of Kallen's chair. She flinched, a chill running up and down her spine. Lelouch laughed a second time, louder, at her reaction, a grin creeping across his lips.

"Anxious, aren't we?" he jeered at her. Kallen scowled, the familiar redness of embarrassment flooding her cheeks.

Kallen crossed her arms, whipping her head towards the wall and spouting indignantly, "I… just don't like waiting, is all! I've done more than enough of that in my life, and I'm sick of it!"

Kallen couldn't see Lelouch, but somehow he knew he was nodding in understanding. She chanced a glance around the side of the chair, craning her neck slightly to bring him into view. He was decked out in a ridiculous outfit that was intended to make him seem inconspicuous, but only accomplished the exact opposite. It was quite a change from his usual academy uniform, or even the over-the-top costume and mask he sported as Zero.

He's drop-dead gorgeous regardless, Kallen allowed herself the private observation. Truly, she had been infatuated with Lelouch's haughty (haughtier?) alter ego ever since they had first met, however hard-pressed she would be to admit it or express it. All be damned if THE Kallen Kōzuki started acting like some drooling fan girl, after all! There was no chance of that happening, nope, none, nadir, zilch, zero –

"Dammit," Kallen swore under her breath, resisting the urge to bonk herself on the forehead. Lelouch, perceptive as ever, clucked his tongue, his unusually sharp eyes focused on the screens ahead of him.

"Tsk, tsk. Really, Kallen," she flinched again at her name being uttered, "I didn't know I was that much of a bother to be around. To think, after all these months and you can barely stand being in the same room with me… I must say, I'm absolutely heartbroken."

Flustered, Kallen whirled around in her chair, grabbing the arm of Lelouch's chair and swinging him around, too. Lelouch grunted a little, but showed no other signs of surprise, staring Kallen squarely in the eyes. For once, Kallen didn't wilt under their captivating gaze.

"That's not it at all, you bastard!" she exclaimed, forming a fist and gritting her teeth. "You've just drawn attention to yourself for the umpteenth time, and now it's up to me to get you out of this mess!"

"Oho, is that all?" Lelouch sneered back at her. The tint in her cheeks turned a little deeper. How was it that one person could infuriate her so much? "But isn't that who I'm supposed to be? The daring, emboldened leader who will lead Japan into a glorious new age? Come now… don't tell me you've forgotten Zero already."

"How could I?" Kallen blurted out before she could think through her words properly. Lelouch's sneer grew wider. "That's… err… what I really meant to say was…"

A slender finger was placed against her mouth, and Lelouch shook his head slowly back and forth. "You shouldn't be so shy, Kallen…"

Kallen, despite herself, mewled pathetically, unaccustomed to pressure of this particular kind. Her heart fluttered, her stomach queasy. Lelouch settled on one of his infamous tempting smiles, his eyes half-lidded and suggestive – or maybe they always bore a lingering suggestive quality to them.

"Why's my brave little lieutenant in such a hurry, anyway? Help should be arriving shortly. It's just like you said. I have faith in you enough that you'll find Zero a way out of this mess."

Kallen wasn't sure if she was disturbed or intrigued by his use of third person. It did bring an interesting question to mind. Were Lelouch and Zero really one in the same, or were they two different entities entirely? Kallen mulled it over. The handsome, if not a bit absent-minded, student of the privileged Academy, and the overpowering, audacious, fearless, inspiring, irresistible…

"Zero," Kallen said breathlessly, unconsciously.

"Lelouch," he corrected her, "But that suits me too, I suppose."

Lelouch leaned back in his chair and regarded her politely, as one would an equal. A normal boy's eyes would be drawn to her scantily clad cleavage, but Lelouch was no normal boy. Lelouch wasn't normal at all. Extraordinary was a better word for him, in every imaginable way.

"So… I take it you're bored?"

"Maybe a little," she admitted grudgingly. She raised a single eyebrow, as if to question his intentions with the very action. "Why? What are you planning in that scheming head of yours?"

Lelouch shrugged, feigning innocence and dodging her inquiry with a convenient change of subject. "Do you like games, Kallen?"

"What do games have to do with anything?" Her quick-tempered side was showing again. Lelouch chuckled.

"Just answer me."

Rarely, if ever, did the two have time for idle chatter. Their lives were hectic; capture, torture, imprisonment, and worse at every turn dictated such. They were two focused individuals, one of many things they shared in common.

Playing along, Kallen matched his trademark smirk point for point and replied boldly, "I like games that I can win."

This piqued Lelouch's interest. "Really, now… so do I. We're very similar, you and I. We could be long lost relatives."

"Somehow I doubt it," Kallen mumbled, focusing her attention away from him and on a random peeling poster on the wall. 50 off all merchandise, one day only? Maybe she would stop by later -

"Nowadays, I wouldn't doubt anything," Lelouch said sagely. "Would you like to play a game of mine, then?"

Kallen's eyes snapped back to Lelouch and she shifted uneasily in her chair, but unknowingly fell into the trap. "What kind of game?"

"The kind you can win, of course," he smiled. "But also one I can win…"

"A game we can both win?" Kallen asked incredulously. Her curiosity encouraged Lelouch, and he went on.

"In a way, yes. It's very simple, too. Not many rules… not altogether too difficult to execute…"

He was thinking in Zero mode again. Kallen sighed and cut him off before he could get too absorbed in himself. "Alright, alright. How do you play?"

"Like this," he stated as a matter-of-factly, and before Kallen could even form the words to reply, Lelouch had caught both of her arms, tugging her forward and sealing her lips with a kiss. Too shocked to utter a sound, she remained frozen in his grip. He withdrew, but only enough to catch a glimpse of her large eyes, filled with uncertainty, and perhaps a shred of fear.

"You want me," he purred. "Don't lie. In every word, every motion, every minutia of your expression… I've been watching you for a very long time, Kallen. You're an open book to me."

Kallen did feel about as vulnerable as an open book at the moment. Struggling for composure, a lump was already beginning to form in her throat. "You… you didn't answer my question, Zero."

Lelouch frowned, and she managed a shaky, albeit victorious, smile. He was no fundamentally different from any other human being – just a few carefully selected words could be enough to throw him off. She continued, "How do I play?"

"How do we play," Lelouch amended her. He hovered over her like a predator readied to strike the killing blow, his eyes wandering over her exposed form. "I told you. It's easy. The first one to beg for the other…"

Kallen snorted, her pride temporarily replacing her discomfort with the entire situation. "You would play games like that. Who do you think you are? God's gift to woman? It's not like I'm begging to bang you everyday."

"God is a crutch," his answer was starkly serious given the circumstances. "What's the matter? Intimidated? Scared? Don't tell me Kallen Stadtfeld is backing down from a challenge?"

Lelouch's appeal to her ego got the best of her. "No way in hell! This is just another battle, and we both know who the victor is there!"

"Do we now?" He cradled her chin in his hand, the tips of his thumb and forefinger smoothing over her skin. She stiffened, but reminded herself that even the slightest hesitation would cost her the match, and relaxed again.

"Are we playing ladies first? I'll wait."

This earned Kallen a sour look, and she mentally patted herself on the back. Totally worth it. Smug little bastard…

"Whom do you think you're dealing with?" he hissed, the back of his hand falling down her neck. Kallen shivered at the combination of the provocative tone and touch. If nothing else, Lelouch did have a masterful way with words. If his hands were just as good…

"Game set," he interrupted her fantasies in his cold, calculating voice, swooping in for the opening move. Kallen was ready for him.

"Match start," she barely whispered to him, and met his questing lips.

This is one game I cannot… will not lose! You're on, Zero!

To be continued...?