the rain will be gone in the morning.
Everywhere he looked, he saw red.
Red. Blood. Pain.
He didn't know what to say of this. He was Zero now, mask on his face, confidence and daringness as his façade. Being Zero gave no room for weakness, because Zero stood for and with strength and that was all.
The castle was dark, the water in the fountain glinting under the dim moonlight. He walked slowly through the marble staircase, gun readied in his hands.
All of a sudden there was this painful wrench and suddenly he found himself sitting down on the grass, the horizon spread out before his very eyes, and he could see two young girls running, laughing, having fun not very far away from him. The older one looked slightly like Cornelia, and the younger one… Eu—
Another wrench, and this time, he was in his Knightmare, monitoring a war, his head hurting. There was too much noise in the background; he could barely hear himself think.
There was screaming, incoherent yells, more screaming…
And then it was suddenly black.
Lelouch Lamperouge woke up with a start as he forcefully opened his eyes, pain shooting through his stomach, his head throbbing. It wasn't cold, his blankets were tossed aside, but he was shivering. As he tried to sit down, his stomach gurgled and he felt immediately sick, as if something were caught up in his throat and he just couldn't spit it out. He wanted to throw up. Brushing his bangs away with his hand, he closed his eyes as he straightened up.
Breathe, he told himself, and that was what he tried to do. Exhale, inhale. Those things seemed to come so naturally any other night when he was sleeping his dreamless sleep, but not during the nights when nightmares haunted him; nightmares in which Euphemia came, white as a ghost, and cried on his shoulders, 'why did you do this to me, Lelouch, why?', nightmares of his mother, blood, gunshots and death, nightmares of The Order of the Black Knight, the blood of the people he killed, nightmares of Suzaku, Lancelot, and their broken friendship… nightmares.
He shuddered as he pressed his eyelids even harder, blocking out the images.
"Lelouch?" A soft murmur.
He gasped, eyes opening. He didn't even notice—didn't even remember—that she was there all along. C.C. was sitting on the floor, knees curled up to her chest, Cheese-kun tucked safely on her left arm. Her amber eyes were wide open, and he knew just by looking at her that she hadn't slept an inch tonight. It was almost as if she had been waiting for him to wake up, just like he did any other night like tonight.
C.C. leaned forward, reaching out a hand to touch his arm. She didn't speak as she ran her hand back and forth his arm, slowly, gently, as if to assure him that she was there, that she was with him.
He didn't move away, didn't jerk out of her touch, even as she crawled up unto the bed and now held him with two hands, Cheese-kun forgotten at the end of the bed. He glanced around the dark room, only to see that someone had put a cloth to cover Zero's mask on his table. He didn't need to ask to know it was C.C. She was the one who had done it from the start. She was the only one, in fact, who knew that sometimes—only sometimes—the mask gave him nightmares.
Zero had killed. Zero's hands were bloodstained. Zero was a murderer, and he was Zero.
"Lelouch," she murmured, holding his hands, noticing that he was slightly shaking. Her voice was gentle, soothing, comforting. "It's okay. It's just a bad dream."
Her way of comforting him came so naturally to her; she was used to this. They had gone through this several times before, she and he. He had crumbled before, disgusted at himself and in realization that he was one hell of a murderer, and she had been the one building him up again. As for her, she had always been broken, and even now he wasn't sure if he had the power to mend her—wasn't sure if she wanted it, herself, wasn't sure if she needed it. But she never asked for it, and knowing her, she'd ask if she wanted it.
He took a deep breath, clearing his mind.
One might think that killing was easy if he was trained to be a murderer from the moment he breathed. But Lelouch wasn't like that. He was an ordinary boy before C.C. came and bestowed him with the gift of geass. Even after, one might think that he would become used to taking lives after countless lives he had taken, but it wasn't that easy.
Maybe it was because he still had a heart; and no matter what he did, it stayed with him.
Another deep breath, and his breathing slowed down. The painful throb in his temple had subsided, although not quite gone, and the tight knot in his stomach had loosened a little.
"Hmm?" her voice was a gentle whisper as she raised her head, eyes meeting his.
It was amazing how different she could be each time he looked at her. In the morning, she would be ruthless, selfishly stealing his bed and his blankets. During the afternoon, she would be cold and sarcastic, demanding him to buy things for her and he would always, always have to give in. And during the night, when the moon was high in the sky… she'd be gentle.
It was different and odd, but it was C.C. all right.
"I'm okay now," Lelouch managed, and it was true. He was okay; at least for now.
She didn't let go of him, not yet. She gave him one long calculating look, and then released him before standing up and reaching for a cup of tea. She offered it to him, and watched him as he drank, finishing it in one go. He handed the cup to her and she returned it to the bedside table, sitting down on the bed once more as she reached for Cheese-kun.
The Britannian Prince lay down on the bed once more, only to have her snuggle beside him this time. Her eyes were closed, and she looked so tired this time. He held a hand and brushed her cheek slowly, causing her to open her eyes again, a questioning look in those amber orbs.
"Thank you," he breathed, the two words barely audible and so quick one had to listen in very, very closely to hear.
C.C. heard it, closed her eyes, and smiled.
It wasn't strange to Lelouch at all. He had seen her smile a few times before, so it was nothing surprising. Still, it was beautiful. He would like to nail it into his memory for as long as he could, but just like the gray witch herself, her smile was fleeting, mysterious, dark. It could mean something or nothing at all. It was impossible to remember what it was like.
It was quiet for a while, and they were silent. He stared at the ceiling as he listened in to her very, very gentle breathing. In and out, in and out, before then falling into her pace.
And then she broke the silence. "You can sleep with Cheese-kun tonight," she said, dropping the yellow plushie to his chest. Her amber eyes watched at him curiously.
Suddenly, he wanted to laugh. This was another side of her, this childlike innocence that was almost impossible to find nowadays. She was immortal, and he wondered whether this had something to do with that innocence of hers, "Really?"
"Yes," she closed her eyes again.
Lelouch ran his hand over her hair, gently tugging a few strands. This was his way of saying thanks, because he could never really form the word with his mouth perfectly.
Still, she understood, and it was enough.
Under the blanket, her hand closed over his and she held him close to her. There was a message unspoken lingering between them, and as he held her hand, he listened in very, very closely.
… I'll be the one beside you—the only one.
It was the only thing holding them—both of them—complete.
notes: Thank you for reading :)