A/N: I wonder how many more random, straight-from-no-where oneshots I will be compelled to write before R2's end. This story contains no spoilers for neither S1 nor R2 and is one hundred percent canon-compliant.

Anything But a Love Letter

He had beautiful handwriting.

The words flowed very smoothly across the page while somehow retaining a neat and meticulous feel. Every letter was fully formed and connected. All of his 'a's looked the same. All of his j's and k's and d's and f's. It was almost like a font face, except that now and again there would be very slight irregularities. The loops on his l's would vary now and again, as would the flourishes on his capital letters. The lines would also vary slightly in thickness as he pressed harder or lighter on the paper. Those little details were what separated the handwritten note from a typed one, and that made it all the more endearing to look at.

Unfortunately, Shirley had absolutely no idea what had been written on the sheet of paper. They were definitely Latin letters, but they didn't form any English words that she knew. And while she wasn't all that familiar with any of the other languages that used a similar alphabet, she still felt confident in guessing that the words weren't French, Italian, or Spanish either. The beautiful letters looked strung together randomly with vowels and consonants bunched together in ways that were utterly unreasonable. It seemed so strange that writing that looked so perfect made no sense whatsoever.

Perhaps it was some kind of code. She supposed that that would make the most sense -- she knew Lulu was incredibly intelligent, even if he didn't always show it. He was awfully fond of chess, so why shouldn't that extend to other intellectual games like puzzles? Ciphers? She continued to study the neatly written paragraphs, hoping to find some clue to decoding it. The words seemed uncharacteristically long, so it couldn't be just a simple letter-replacement code. That was probably far too childish and simple for the likes of Lelouch Lamperouge anyhow. She turned the page around and squinted; the letters blurred, but did not yield any new information.

Several minutes later, she resigned herself to the fact that breaking codes just wasn't her thing, and thus whatever Lelouch had written on the paper was safe from her prying eyes. But then, that only made her wonder more what exactly he'd written. Was it just a puzzle for his own amusement? Or was it actually something he didn't want other people to read? Was there anything he really needed to hide? She cocked her head and stared at the note again, still half-hoping that the letters would miraculously re-arrange themselves in a way that she could understand. They didn't. Was it a secret journal entry perhaps? Something that detailed his apathetic judgments on everyone around him? A note to himself about past or future gambling ventures? ...A love letter?

Shirley blushed at the thought and immediately tried to think about something else. Lulu wasn't the kind of person to write something as silly as that. Of course it wasn't a lover letter. It could be anything but a love letter! And yet, the more she thought about it (she couldn't help it), the more possible it seemed. If he were to write anything like that, then of course he would hide it behind cryptic text! If he had anything worth hiding at all, a love letter would be amongst them! Yes, yes, it was at least a possibility, but... Her eyes kept going over the smooth cursive lettering; even enough the length of all the words were particularly long, she found herself counting the letters of what seemed to be capitalized proper nouns, hoping they came out to seven letters. She blushed harder when she caught herself doing it.

Oh, how stupid was this? Sitting there and fretting over something she would likely never be sure of? She should just leave the note where she'd found it and get on with the afternoon. There was plenty of work to be done, though right at that moment she was at a complete loss as to what that work was. Sighing, she looked at the note once more. It was still as beautiful and unreadable as before, and it was then that the door opened. Her cheeks heated up automatically when she saw him at the door, even though she knew she had nothing to be embarrassed about.

"Shirley?" Lelouch seemed a little surprised, but otherwise his face betrayed no emotion. Was he happy that she was there in the room? Was he upset? Could he tell that she was flushed red for seemingly no reason at all?

"Y-Yeah?" she was trying to calm her blush, but it didn't seem to be working.

"I think I left a--" he stopped when he saw it in her hands and smiled. "Oh, there it is."

He walked over and took it from her; she didn't protest. Lelouch tucked the paper in his pocket and proceeded to leave without another word.

"Ah... Lulu?" she couldn't help herself.

Lelouch paused at the door and looked back at her. "Hm?"

"What's on that paper?"

He looked thoughtful a moment, as if considering several answers. She fidgeted while she waited, unable to help but feel nervous about his reply. Of course it wasn't a love letter. Don't be stupid. And even if it was, why should he ever admit to it? He could make up any answer he wanted, and she wouldn't really be able to contest his answer. Or he could just not answer at all. Whole minutes seemed to pass, but finally, Lelouch smiled again.

"Strategy," he said mysteriously, and then left, leaving Shirley rather mystified.

Strategy. What in the world did that mean? Though she wasn't very good at the game herself, she was sure that chess notes didn't need to be so verbose -- there was a shorthand for that kind of stuff, even if it was coded into something unreadable. Naturally, there were other games that required strategy, but she still wasn't sure that they needed to be quite so wordy. Maybe he had been lying after all. Or perhaps... Well, a love letter could be a kind of strategy right...? No, no, she really just needed to get over herself. She was being exceedingly silly.

Still fighting the redness on her cheeks, she got up and also left the room.