A/N: A belated Happy Birthday to Lelouch. This is the sixth in the 'Snippets of Three' series.
Oh, and I wrote this straight out. No revising, no betas, just plain fast-writing. In NotePad. So that will explain any errors you'll find. I'm apologizing beforehand.. I'm kinda in a hurry!
The Best Gift
It is a tradition.
Nobody breaks it.
But apparently, the Order of the Black Knights did.
C.C. combed her long green hair as she sat in front of the dresser. She looked into the mirror to glance at the frustrated teen behind her. Lelouch was packing his Zero outfit in his favorite briefcase with more than enough force than usual. For Japan's sake, the bed was actually creaking.
The woman finally decided to speak. "I pity that costume."
"Shut up." was the boy's disgruntled reply.
"But I really do pity that costume. You're stuffing it too hard that I can almost hear its moans of pain."
"It's hating you now, Lelouch." C.C. stood up from her perch on the chair, straightening out her miniskirt, then moving her arms to fix her blouse's sleeve. "It won't be nice to know that your costume hates you." She strode over to him and sat on the other end of the bed.
"C.C., just shut up about the costume. It's not your problem anyway." he finally slammed the poor briefcase shut and got something from his pocket. He handed it to his partner.
The witch's eyes twinkled in delight as she eyed the black wallet now in her hand.
"That's everything you need. Cash, card.. and bring my cellphone." the Black Prince lifted the costume case and headed for the door. "You should be okay. Let's go."
The woman picked up the cellphone on the desk, flipped her green hair over her shoulder and followed suit.
It really is a tradition.
It was broken today.
And Lelouch didn't like it.
Nunnally was frowning a bit when she heard a pair of footsteps approaching.
"I'm really sorry, Nunnally.." Lelouch walked over to her and squeezed her hand. "This is really urgent. Please understand."
"How long will you be gone?" the girl asked with worry on her face.
"I'll be back by dinner time. I promised that the three of us will have dinner cooked by me, right?" the prince said in his most soothing voice. "This project really needs attending to right now. You'll be alright with C.C., right?"
"Yes, I'm very happy to be going out with C.C.-san!" Nunnally's face lit up as she reached out a hand for C.C. The woman seized her flailing hand and squeezed it, too. "We'll have a girl's day-out!"
"Well, then - I'll see you at dinner time. I swear. " Lelouch kissed his sister on the forehead. "Have fun then." He then stepped close to C.C. and whispered on her ear. "Take care, or else..."
"I know." the woman said nonchalantly, glancing at Nunnally. "She won't be hurt. Okay - now you get going."
"Bye, brother - Happy Birthday." Nunnally said, smiling up at Lelouch.
"Bye, Nunnally. See you later." Lelouch smiled, withdrawing his hand from the girl's, and finally heading out the door.
When she heard the door slide shut, Nunnally then looked up at C.C. "Let's go?"
"Sure thing." and the witch wheeled her outside.
The park was filled with families, couples, kids playing and jumping around. C.C. and Nunnally were found by the fountain, enjoying cotton candy.
"C.C.-san," Nunnally looked up at her companion. "Do you know what's wrong with onii-sama?"
The witch looked down at the girl. "You think something's wrong with him?"
"He... always arrives home late. Sometimes his hands are trembling hard. He often seems really troubled and wasted." the girl frowned. "And now, in his own birthday, he has to do some business outside. I am worried about onii-sama. You are, too, right?"
C.C. knew she shouldn't say 'no'. "Of course I am, Nunnally."
"Then do you know what's bothering onii-sama?"
There was hope in the girl's face. C.C. almost rolled her eyes in realization of their situation. She should answer all the girl's questions. But she shouldn't blow up Lelouch's cover, too. It was a touchy subject, but she's stuck in it. C.C. didn't want to disappoint Nunnally. Lelouch entrusted his sister to her care today, so that isn't an option.
"I guess so." she mumbled silently, watching as a family just passed by in front of them.
"What is it, C.C.-san? Can you tell me? I want to understand onii-sama!" Nunnally was intent on knowing.
"Nunnally, it's that... your brother's businesses outside is a private mattter." C.C. explained ever-so calmly, careful not to spill the beans. She got another whiff of cotton candy and chewed on the sweet. "He shouldn't discuss it to anybody since it's very private-"
"But you know about it, right?"
The witch inwardly flinched. There - a loophole in her statements. If she says 'yes', will Nunnally be sad? Lelouch wouldn't like that.
C.C. considered her answer carefully. "I... I know enough."
"Enough to understand him?"
C.C. didn't expect the next words that came out of the princess' lips.
"Oh, thank you!" the girl was smiling brightly, to the woman's surprise. "I'm so glad he has you!"
The witch looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
"He needs someone to share that burden! If it's private and it's troubling him, I'll be really worried if he's all alone. Thanks for being with him..." Nunnally squeezed her companion's hand and smiled sweetly. "Knowing that he has you is enough to calm me down, C.C.-san."
The woman chuckled lightly at the girl's enthusiasm. "Now, then - why don't we give your brother the only birthday gift that he will like?"
"You know? The birthday gift he likes?" Nunnally looked, confused. "Did he tell you?"
"There's no need for him to do so." C.C. shrugged. "Everybody knows that the only thing that can make him happy is seeing you happy."
"Not just me, you too." Nunnally insisted. "You're special for onii-sama. He loves you very much, too!"
The witch's lips curved into a little smirk. "Okay, then - so let's both be happy today. It's our girl's day-out, after all."
Nunnally decided that her favorite shopping partner is C.C. Unlike Lelouch who ooh's and aah's at every dress she wore - and needed Shirley or Milly or Sayoko's company on shopping trips with her, C.C. complimented honestly and bluntly - making her an efficient partner.
C.C. picks a dress and lets Nunnally touch it herself, only stating the colors, unlike Lelouch or Sayoko or any other person who describes it or just simply says 'I think this would fit you perfectly..'.
C.C. would even say "Those frills in the sleeve would likely hinder your movement." or "That ribbon is too big.", or even "It has too many strings - you'll have a hard time.". At the same time, the woman would say at other choices: "It fits your hair very well. I think the ribbons at home will match this choice well." and "It's cute - Do you want to find matching shoes?"
Nunnally liked the way that C.C. wheels her through the dresses aisle and lets her touch and choose dresses herself - only making suggestions when she really thinks that a certain pick is pretty. She also liked the way C.C. asks for her comment on the woman's chosen outfit - as if she's not visually impaired - as if she's normal.
The thing she liked most about the trip was that her companion is someone who treated her as an equal - a normal best girl friend. Nunnally can laugh freely and can talk to C.C. about things like hairstyles, dresses, ribbons, classmates, shoes, flowers - things she can't openly discuss with her brother.
C.C. asks her if she thinks the skirt or the blouse will fit her. The woman sometimes even asks if Nunnally wanted something like it, too.
The salon was not in the list of destinations whenever Lelouch was Nunnally's shopping partner. Now it was second on the list - after the department store.
Nunnally was overjoyed - it was her first time going to the hair salon to get her hair a makeover. She requested to keep the curls, however. When C.C. said she was going for straight hair with curls on end, Nunnally had squealed in delight.
"Is that green hair natural? It's really beautiful." the female hairstylist asked as she fixed Nunnally's hair.
"It really is - it fits her, right? It makes her prettier." Nunnally said with glee.
"Not as pretty as those long brown ones, Nunnally." C.C. chimed in, not taking her eyes off the magazine she was reading. "Maybe Lelouch prefers long hair. He likes playing with mine."
Nunnally laughed. "Sure he does! That's sweet of him."
"So you two are best friends?" the hairstylist butted in again. "Or are you sisters?"
"Yes, you can say that." C.C. mused, flipping another page.
"Soon enough we'll be." Nunnally said, giggling. "'Cause my onii-sama loves her very much."
C.C. only glanced at the girl and shrugged. "Where's our next stop, then, Nunnally?"
Both girls grinned as they decided to get some hair accessories after this.
"So, what business is this that needed my exclusive supervision?" Zero asked as Ohgi and Tamaki escorted him to the hangar of the Black Knights base. "I have confirmed yesterday that I won't be available because of important business today and you called me this morning saying that you 'need me for something of high significance as soon as possible'. Now, who worded that phrase? I bet it's Diethard."
Ohgi bowed his head slightly. Zero is in a bad mood. Tamaki simply whistled and looked away.
"I was about to send C.C. in - you were still insisting on me to handle it personally. What could cause such a big ruckus so suddenly that you deemed she wouldn't be able to attend to in place of me?" Zero glanced at Ohgi. "Answer."
"Uh, you should see it for yourself, Zero." Ohgi said in a low voice.
When they entered the hangar Lelouch flinched when he saw the Guren standing tall - around it were Kallen, Diethard, Rakshata, Kaguya and Toudo - arguing. He stood there and coughed to demand attention. As soon as they became aware of his presence, they lined up accordingly.
"What is this concern?" Zero crossed his arms across his chest.
"Zero, the Guren! MY Guren!" Kallen flailed her arms all over. "They want it to have a new paint job!"
Zero winced, looking up at the Guren. From the last fight, something caused scrapes across its external appearance, therefore... "Well, it really needs a new paint job."
"See? Zero says it needs one!" Tamaki brawled at the ace pilot.
"I KNOW it needs one!" Kallen shot back. "But it needs to be the OLD color! The... m-maroon, the dark red! Not... not-"
"Zero," Rakshata chimed, twirling her pipe. "I want it to be a light, bright, pink color."
Zero shrugged. "Do what you want. As long as you paint it. And it looks decent."
All the others gaped, then a commotion started.
"I personally think it should be FUSCHIA!" Tamaki shouted. "It fits Kallen-baby's personality!"
"I am the mother and I am the only one with the right to color it!" - Rakshata is now angry.
"Won't you think... blue is fine? I mean.. for a change. All of you want it in pink." - Ohgi mumbling.
"GOLD for the symbol of victory. For the color of my hair..." - Diethard nodded to himself for an excellent suggestion.
Everyone glared. Including Zero.
"Black." - Toudo. "We are the Black Knights, after all. And it will be like the Yin and Yang if it fights the Lancelot. The good and the evil, the darkness and the light-"
"Red for the head!" Kaguya's hand shot up and pointed at the Guren's head. "Then orange for the left arm, yellow for the right, green for the right foot, blue for the left-"
"Wait!" Zero raised a hand. Everyone looked at him. "You called me in because of this?"
"Well," Diethard shuffled. "The Guren is our symbol - it's the Knightmare Frame of our ace pilot and to change its color means to tell the people why we changed it. We have to explain something. It might raise morale-"
"So why do you think that C.C. can't handle this?" the leader tapped at impatient foot on the floor.
"Because she might decorate it with Cheese-kun?" Everyone looked at Ohgi as if he came up with the ace plan to defeat Brittania at that moment.
Zero slapped his palm across his mask. "Why do you want to change its color in the first place?"
The arguments started again. Lelouch simply looked down when he felt Kaguya tug at his sleeve. "The linings should be lime green, yes?"
They broke his sacred tradition because of a petty argument on colors.
And when he exited the base, it rained.
And Lelouch wasn't happy at all.
"C.C.-san, what time is it?" Nunnally asked as they both stood under a big tree to avoid the rain.
"It's almost 6." C.C. replied, shifting her weight on one foot. This is why she worried about not having Lelouch - no one carries the shopping bags. "Don't worry. As soon as the rain stops, we'll go home."
The girl nodded. She wanted to go home and tell her onii-sama everything. She wanted to dress up in one of those new dresses that C.C. said Lelouch would like. She wanted to spend at least the NIGHT with her onii-sama because it's his birthday.
C.C.'s hand on her shoulder made her look up. When the woman said nothing, Nunnally knew that it was just the woman's way of reassuring her. The princess then just proceeded to twirl a lock of now even-softer brown hair in her fingers.
Then the phone of C.C.'s pocket rang. "Hello?"
"Where are you? You didn't bring an umbrella, I'm sure. Are you alright?"
"We're okay." the woman shrugged. "Just go pick us up now."
"Alright. Where are you?"
Nunnally then tugged at the woman's sleeve. "I hear onii-sama's voice somewhere..."
C.C. blinked, then looked around. She smirked. "Oi, would you turn around?"
And there, meters across the tree they were standing under, holding his phone in his hand and umbrella on the other, a raven-haired teen turned around and frowned at her.
Lelouch hung up and ran towards them, kneeling immediately in front of his sister. "Nunnally! Are you alright?"
"Onii-sama! I'm okay! We had so much fun!" Nunnally grabbed her brother's hand. "How about you? Is your job done?"
"Yes, it is." he smiled warmly, then noticed his sister's damp clothes. "Wait, you're... soaked."
"C.C.-san and I got caught in the rain." the girl explained. "But she got me out as soon as possible... I think the shopping bags are safe though and-.. ahh... ACHOO!"
C.C., in her entire existence, had never seen someone remove his jacket in the speed of light and drape it over someone else's shoulder in just a millisecond.
"Let's go home." Lelouch handed the umbrella to C.C., took the bags from her, hung them snugly where they would fit in Nunnally's wheelchair, and started wheeling his sister home. The witch simply walked beside him, holding the umbrella above the three of them.
"Onii-sama, you should have come with us!" Nunnally started to tell her story as they walked. "C.C.-san is so fun to be with when shopping!"
"Really? That's good." Lelouch smiled slightly, glancing at the woman beside him. Noticing her wet strands, he frowned.
C.C. looked up at him when he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her tight against him. "What are you doing?"
"Keeping you warm. I have only one jacket and you're worse than Nunnally." he looked away. "I can't have the two of you both sick on my birthday."
"Because onii-sama refuses to cook porridge for dinner!" Nunnally chirped in, and both of them laughed at that.
They kept the peaceful pace home, and finally C.C.'s head gave in as she sniffed and leaned against Lelouch's shoulder.
"My head aches."
Nunnally frowned as she tried to reach out to her brother. "Brother, I think C.C.-san can have the jacket. I'm doing fine. She's soaked all the more..."
"No, it's alright." Lelouch looked at his accomplice and he pulled her closer and rubbed her arm. "We'll just take a cab and-..."
The pause in his words made both females look up at him.
"What did you do to your hair?"
Because for once, he can't keep his eyes off her.
The woman blinked warily, twirling a lock of green hair on her fingers, and shrugging at him. "Oh, this? I had the ends in curls. For a change-"
Nunnally heard a splash of water, a body hitting the ground and a shriek from her brother.
And then the girl heard a groan from C.C., the umbrella dropping - yes, it probably is that, because she felt the rain fall on her again - a stomp of a foot and another splash.
"WHAT WAS THAT FOR, YOU WITCH!"
"My new Cheese-kun blouse had mud." C.C. said bluntly, looking down menacingly at him. "Because of you."
Because, for the love of everything that is holy, why did God give Lelouch the superhuman ability to trip on solid, flat ground?
Or maybe it was just the puddles? And mix a breathtaking green-haired witch with THE wet look?
Yes, it definitely is that.
He groaned and glared up at his partner. "Because I was distracted!"
"Distracted by what?" the woman demanded.
"By... by you because-" thankfully Lelouch realized what he was about to say. "Forget about it!"
Another stomp. Another splash. Lelouch wiped the rainwater from his face and stood up. "Why you witch!"
Then he stomped on the large puddle.
And because both hadn't noticed Nunnally turning her wheelchair around-
Now all three of them were soaked.
Nunnally bowed her head and touched her arms and her skirt and her blouse and-
Lelouch was in panic. "Nunnally, I am so sorry-"
And then the girl giggled.
Before Lelouch could react further, C.C. had kneeled on the ground, slapped her hand against the puddle and splashed the brown-haired princess with water.
Nunnally was laughing. But Lelouch could care less. C.C. was splashing his sister with DIRTY water and they were under the friggin' rain and... and..
"Nunnally would get sick! Stop that!" He kicked the puddle of water and it splashed across C.C.'s face.
The woman just pouted and threw him a handful of water, too.
Nunnally was laughing again, and this time C.C. was chuckling as she saw Lelouch crouch down to the ground and began splashing her with water again and again and again-
And a splash to his face, but this time not from C.C...
The girl just fell off her wheelchair, and not by accident at that. She was sitting down on the wet ground, legs sprawled haphazardly across her, splashing her brother water from the puddles. And she was laughing.
"Nunnally, are you-.. uurgh--.. are you okay--... C.C.!"
The woman was dancing around them, jumping on puddles and delivering Lelouch his deserved amount of water, which according to her, was not that much. Meaning, he was getting a full shower.
Nunnally was laughing again, this time splashing water in C.C.'s direction. The witch moved away fast. "Missed me!" the woman said, giggling.
"Aww, that's unfair! You should sit, too, like onii-sama and-.." splash. Water to her face. "Hahaha!"
"You woman! We're all getting sick!" Nevertheless, Lelouch stood up and kicked the puddle towards C.C. "That's what you get!"
"You're getting good at this, Lelouch." the woman said in mockery, then jumped at another puddle, delivering a sprinkle of water at the Lamperouge siblings.
"Onii-sama, can you lift me up?" both of them looked at the girl extending her arms towards her brother. "Please?"
As soon as Lelouch had lifted Nunnally in piggy-back, another shower met his face. And Nunnally's, too, for that matter. The sweet laugh he head from his sister was enough to get him to chase the witch around and jump puddles with her under the rain.
Soon, they were all laughing heartily, the bags and the wheelchair discarded to one side under a safe shade. Nunnally grabbed C.C.'s hand and pulled her close to them, and the three of them began to run and dance under the rain like little children.
They went like this for minutes, until Lelouch felt his superhuman ability of unbalance return. He felt himself slip because of the wet ground, and because he knew that falling backwards would hurt Nunnally, he twirled himself fast enough so that he'll fall face first instead.
"Onii-sama, are we falling?"
He met gentle but steady arms and he didn't feel the ground on his face at all. When he looked up, he found C.C. lying on her back under him, her hands pressed to his chest.
The witch smirked at him. "You're heavy. There's two of you, you know. I won't hold on for much longer."
With that, Lelouch pushed himself off her and sat of the ground again, lifting Nunnally off his back so that his sister was sitting next to him. He offered a hand to the woman lying across him and pulled her to sit up.
"I thought your head was aching."
"Don't act like that, Lelouch. It's as if you didn't like it." C.C. chuckled. Nunnally giggled as she leaned against her brother.
Lelouch simply shook his head smilingly. "Let's head home now. We're awfully late for dinner."
The dinner had been eventful. Nunnally didn't stop talking about her trip with C.C. and how fun it had been. She talked about the puddle-jumping marathon, too. She talked too much that both C.C. and Lelouch were tempted to spoonfeed her dinner.
The three of them exchanged laughs and simple snippets of their afternoon. Of course, it was C.C. and Nunnally who did the talking. Lelouch couldn't tell them how he almost fired his highest Black Knights crew because they argued about something as silly as the Guren's paint job. But he had found it hard to remove the smiled plastered across his face as he listened to his sister's enthusiastic babbles and his partner's nonchalant comments.
He broke out his trance and blinked at them. "Yes?"
"You became silent, all of a sudden." Nunnally frowned.
"And you're staring." the witch continued.
He shook his head. "No, I'm just... well, I'm just a little too happy. Seeing you two had fun."
The little smiled that flickered across C.C.'s face and the big grin that spread across Nunnally's didn't fall on blind eyes, of course.
Later that night, he did his traditional visit to Nunnally's room before her bedtime.
He found out that he was too late.
Because Nunnally was already asleep, curled in a fetal position in her bed. Her hair was sprawled carelessly around her, slightly curled than usual because of her braids. Her arms were around C.C.'s waist while the green-haired woman was also sleeping, cradling the brown-haired princess against her. Green locks were spread across the bed, now back in their straight form.
Lelouch smiled as he turned the light off, walked up to them and put a blanket over their sleeping forms. He sat on the bed and watched them sleep, observing the sheets - they were all crumpled and pillows were strewn around. The girls must have had a pillow fight.
Running a hand through Nunnally's hair and giving C.C.'s cheek a soft carress, he mumbled "Good night" and stood up to leave.
That voice made him look at them again. Nunnally smiled warmly.
Lelouch smiled back and gave his sister's shoulder a light squeeze before leaving again. "Thank you."
C.C.'s half-lidded golden eyes closed the moment the door slid shut.
She deduced that this is one of the best birthday gifts Lelouch ever got, and will ever get.
It was a tradition.
It was broken today.
But it wasn't so bad.
A/N: That took friggin' long. T-T
Anyways, that was it for the 6th snippet! Hope you likey! Thanks for everyone who reviewed the previous one!
I updated my Graphics Resource site today and guess what? I added 2 PNGs, 10 avatars, 2 Bookmarks, 2 ID Cards - all from Code Geass. For those who will visit, there's a link in my profile. I felt like plugging because most of them are C.C. and Lelouch graphics... :D