Yay. I finally decided to make a one-shot out of the Snippets of Three series. Here's one with a great deal of Suzaku. And C.C.

Oh, it's set during the month-long gaps between Schneizel's defeat and the R2 ending.


Conversations Past Midnight


The Gray Witch woke up with an odd feeling in her throat. It was as if something pushed her out of her slumber. It was not a nightmare. She didn't dream, either. She just suddenly woke up out of the blue. Opening her eyes she moved to get up, but became aware of the thick sheets and warm arms that wrapped around her.

Lelouch's steady breathing tickled her neck as he slept. He squirmed and grunted at the sudden unexpected movement from his companion, but after a few seconds he relaxed again and continued his peaceful sleep. C.C. turned to the clock in their desk and saw the time. It was past midnight.

The woman closed her eyes for a moment, but opened them again, sighing. For some reason, she couldn't bring herself to go back to sleep. The blows of wind from the window chilled her to her disdain, even though she knew that she was supposed to be warm under the lush blankets and in Lelouch's arms. Slowly she sat up, gently prying her companion's hands away, stuffing him with her pillows instead. He grumbled something she did not decipher, but she simply stood up and headed for the door.

Pulling on a silk black robe over her white undergarments to avoid the cold, she exited their quarters.


Suzaku was sitting alone in the royal dining table, silent with a tall glass of milk in his hands. He was staring out the nearby window so seriously that one wouldn't doubt it if he said he was counting the stars. She walked past him without a word and fetched herself a glass of cold water.

"It's late, Knight." she stated monotonously, sitting on the nearby couch, holding her glass in her hands. "Somebody might see you and Zero Requiem is busted."

"I can't sleep." was all Suzaku replied, not turning to look at her. There was an unbearable silence that followed after, and as he is the one who started it, he ended it as well. "What are you doing here, though?"

"Same." she answered after a gulp of her water. It didn't help her feeling.

When he looked at her, his eyes were torn.

"Stop him." he said, his voice finally bearing some emotion. It was a throaty statement - he didn't seem to find his ability to talk until seconds later when he went on. "I told you - you are his shield. Protect him from himself."

"I am his accomplice." the witch muttered, looking directly at him. "I will help him do as he pleases. I do not take orders from you, because I follow only one person and that is Lelouch - and this is only if I even want to do what he says."

Suzaku knew that she was a stubborn, strong-headed woman. That she won't be dragged down so easily. That she was strong in her own elegent way and is capable of matching the 99th Emperor's wits if necessary. For the short time he observed her and for the few chances he had talked to her, he knew this much. The Gray Witch is wise, cunning and devoted to what she believes in and what she chooses to follow.

Suzaku has observed that she was by far the person to know Lelouch best - that she had proven worthy of her current position not as the Emperor's advisor or his assistance, but his partner. He had always seen the degree of power she holds. The Knight of Zero always knew that Lelouch and C.C. treat each other as equals no matter how they mask it.

Lelouch wouldn't stick by her if this was not the case. Lelouch needs someone who can match him in her own way.

"Do you want this to happen?" the Knight of Zero's brows furrowed. "I am sure that there are so many ways to change this situation. I respect Lelouch's wishes because I can see his perfect point in doing this, but I don't want to lose a friend. I am certain he could come up with another decision that is better for all of us if only he loses that stubborn idea of his to sacrifice his life."

C.C. did not say a word to him. She was looking down at the half-empty glass of water she held and was observing her hazy reflection on the glass illuminated by the moonlight. "It is not my choice to make. It is his."

"Has he robbed you of your free will?"

The witch looked up and sharply said, "No. And I have not robbed him of his either."

"Change his mind. I know you don't want him dying."

"It is my freedom to choose who to follow. And it is my free will that allows me to aid him in his plans because I choose to."

Seeing no retort for this, Suzaku continued his stargazing once more, only this time with face full of pain and despair.

"What are you to him?" he breathed out, raising a hand to run through his hair.

He knew he had to follow Lelouch and the plans for Zero Requiem. But what he just couldn't believe is that at the same time, he was bringing death to his best friend's face. It was wrong and there must some other way. There should be another method to make their dreams of a peaceful world come true.

Yet C.C., the only other person he thought would understand him in this situation - save Jeremiah but the man was too fiercely loyal to his master - had proven to be nothing more than a stubborn mule who didn't have any intention to cooperate with him.

"He says you gave him power." Suzaku started. "He says you're his accomplice. He says you are a precious companion that he would never leave or let go of. He says that he wants to see you smile every time. You changed his life. You know this. You keep it in place because you're the one who was constantly with him. With you to voice out what you feel about this, he is sure to change his mind. He'll make it through this alive if you support him. I know it."

"I gave him my support, Knight. Stop talking about him being alive when all is through because what we planned is his dea-"

Suzaku looked at her again, this time with an intense expression she's never seen him direct at her before.

"He loves you and you know this."

C.C. did not speak. She simply looked back.

"Do you love him too? Why do you wish him death?"

The witch's next words drew him out. "You do whatever you can do to make the person you love happy. I thought you would know that much."

"You are willing to lose him?" the Knight had disbelief in his eyes.

"I am not willing - I am not ready, I guess." she stated. "But I will be when he is."

"And what do you ask for in return?"

"He's given it to me."

She finished up her water before leaving the empty glass at the table, not minding the brown-haired youth's pained glare. She only flipped her hair over her shoulder and hugged her robe to herself before starting to walk out.

"C.C."

She decided to stop at that one agonized call of her fake name and look over her shoulders. "What is it?"

"Does it not pain you to watch and help him plan his own death?" he asked again and his hands were surely trembling this time.

"He requested for my absence during the fulfillment of the plan itself." was her reply, looking away from him. "So do not expect me in the audience during your grand performance."

Suzaku seemed taken aback by her sudden avoidance of the topic. "You didn't answer my question." But despite his insistence on the former subject, he was utterly moved by her words. So Lelouch had doubts on himself for that day, too. He asked C.C. not to come. Did this somehow mean that Lelouch would have hesitated in dying if he saw C.C.'s face watching him? This brought up new ideas in the knight's mind, but somehow he couldn't seem dishonor the witch's and the emperor's choices.

"I am not obliged to." he heard from her.

He wached her walk away. He decided to say one last thing. "The necklace fits you."

The green-haired witch stopped for a moment before proceeding with her pace. "I will take that as a strange compliment from someone who is supposed to not care."


C.C. came back to the room only to see Lelouch embracing Cheese-kun, his eyelids half-closed, his breathing ragged. She eased herself beside him on the bed and as soon as she took Cheese-kun from him, he grabbed her and pulled her close to his chest.

Her hands made their way to touch his cheeks. "Hush. It's just a dream."

"Where did you go?" he whispered.

"I just got myself a drink."

He was asleep halfway that short answer he demanded of her. He was asleep just to the knowledge that she was back in his arms again.

The witch ran a hand through his raven locks and pulled him close. He unconsciously buried his head on her green locks and drifted off to a more peaceful sleep.

These nightmares of his had been tormenting him more and more often recently - if not becoming regular.

But she would have expected more from a man who has planned his own death with utmost care - and with said plan occuring five days from tonight. She ran a lone finger through the violet teardrop-shaped diamond pendant in her neck and felt the pang of loss in her throat.

They were just counting down up to the moment he will leave in the name of his dreams and for the sake of his people. They were just counting down up to the moment of the final execution of Zero Requiem.

Five days until the last breath of Lelouch vi Brittania - the demon emperor of the Empire that took over country after country.

Five days until the creation of a new world.

C.C. could actually say that Suzaku had a right and a reason to act like he did in their talk. All things change before the ending, after all. But as the hero - as Zero - C.C. thought that Suzaku had no privilege to show his weakness at this rate, because Lelouch never did.

But the Gray Witch can keep what happened in that certain conversation to herself, simply because she knew how the Knight of Zero feels. She feels the same way, after all.


.FIN.


A/N: I had a hard time writing this. Why? Because it's so friggin' hard to write an interaction like this ABOUT Suzaku and C.C.! Heeeck. And this was made in a rush. Wee. Wee. Wee. Kill me for all the out-of-character-ness, typos, and bash me if you don't like this.

It's depressing. I know. And really - I don't know how to write Suzaku.