A/N: The Snippets of Three series is now back and alive again! Weeee! This is the 7th Snippet and it's all about Lelouch's all-new bedtime story.

I was so glad to have picked up another inspiration. Plus, lullabies really help you write sweet stuff.


A Different Fairy Tale


'Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess in a faraway land...'

Those phrases were familiar to both Lelouch and Nunnally. And God knows how many centuries had C.C. encountered those phrases, for 'Once upon a time' had started, quite ironically, 'Long, long ago'.

Nunnally never really outgrew her love for fairy tales. That Lelouch knew all too well; for even though she had somewhat abandoned her habit of asking for a story before bedtime, she occasionally asked him to read for her.

Nunnally had a high fever that day. Lelouch had insisted for her to go to the hospital for check-ups, but both Sayoko and C.C. had assured him that the girl will be alright if guarded properly.

That night, Lelouch went home from his Zero affairs to find Sayoko staying overnight, watching some late night news, and C.C. curled up beside Nunnally in the princess' room, both of them sleeping peacefully. There was an icebag on Nunnally's forehead as she laid her head on the green-haired witch's shoulder in her sleep. C.C. was drowsing lazily, half her body covered in sheets, half exposed to the cold night air. Lelouch contained a small smile before adjusting the covers for the girls and checking up on Nunnally's temperature. It had dropped, considerably.

"Onii-sama..?"

He found his sister reaching out for him. He took her hand and she smiled softly. "Yes, Nunnally?"

"It's late. Are you tired?"

Lelouch sat himself on Nunnally's bed and ran a hand through his sister's hair. "Not quite. I came to check up on you, by the way. Are you feeling better yet?"

"Mm-hm. Sayoko-san and C.C.-san really took good care of me." The girl said, smiling even wider. "Can you stay for a while? Would you mind?"

"Anything for you, Nunnally." he replied. "What do you want me to do? Do you want me to tell you a fairy tale, like the usual?"

There was a hopeful look in her delicate face, before she asked back. "Will that be alright for you?"

"If it is for you."

"Then.. please."

Lelouch breathed in before leaning his back against the headboard, ready for a re-telling of fairy tales he knew by heart because he had always recited them for her.


"...The witch finally set up her evil plans into action. She was envious of the princess' beauty and her possessions. The castles, the gems, the gardens, the loving happy family and the true love that the princess shared with her prince. The witch wished she could have those, too. And so she went down her lair and went to-"

"Onii-sama?"

Lelouch was a bit surprised that his sister cut him off in his expert re-telling of one of her favorite stories. He paused abruptly and looked down at her. "Yes, Nunnally?"

"I was wondering..." the girl mused innocently. "Are all witches supposed to really be wicked?"

The raven-head stared at his sister with slight confusion.

"I mean... they can't be all that bad, can they? They never get a second chance. Everytime the story ends, they die or they are jinxed or worse, they suffer." Nunnally's tone had a tinge of sorrow in it, and Lelouch, by some stroke of something unknown, flickered a gaze at the sleeping green-haired woman on the other side of the bed. "Are there stories where the witch is a good witch, onii-sama?"

The Black Prince's gaze towards the Gray Witch did not falter. For some reason, looking at C.C. sleeping so serenely gave him chills.

Is there a story where the witch is a good witch?

Witches are supposed to be the enemies of the main characters. They were created evil in the first place. Witches have dark magic - so they are dark creatures. If a woman possessed powers and used them for good, then she's a fairy.

Right?

Lelouch knew that there was a logical fallacy in his conclusion. He didn't have sufficient evidence, and he cut the scenario into black and white.

So is there are story where the witch is a good witch?

Maybe.

"I know of one."

Lelouch did not know why in the world he answered such question with an answer he could not fully support.

"Really? Could you tell me the story, onii-sama?"

And he did not know why there was a lump stuck in his throat. He wouldn't dare tell Nunnally a story that he didn't even consider existing in the first place.

And is C.C. a good witch?

She gives wicked, manipulative power. She abandons her previous contractor when she gets tired. She is shrewd, cunning, scheming... just like any witch. She's not different from any of them. She is the witch that every prince and princess and king and queen absolutely spite and fear. She is the witch that casts spells for her own advantage.

Then Lelouch mentally slapped himself. 'This is not about her.'

But..

Looking at her now, slumbering as if she is the sleeping princess in the tallest tower of the faraway castle...

He realized.

"Alright. I'll tell you."

Maybe, just maybe, there was-... IS a difference.

She's a witch - shrewd, cunning, scheming, envious - and yet... she's real.

"Once there was a prince." he started, looking at the ceiling blankly, holding his sister's hand and breathing deeply. "He was the son of a tyrant. His father ruled ruthlessly over their kingdom, and so the prince decided that one day, he will take the throne from his father and return peace and harmony over his sovereign."

Nunally subconsciously craned her head towards him excitedly. This was a new story. And a very very interesting one at that.

"He wanted to take the throne the good way, but luck is giving him a hard time. His siblings that were almost as wicked as his father were in his way. And the prince knew that it will take more than just good ways to attain his goal. He needed more power in his hands. And this power, he received from a witch.

The witch was not an old woman in ragged clothes with scary features, no. She was as beautiful as a princess and as smart as a queen. She spoke like an angel, yet the prince saw through her mask. She is a wily, devious woman who possessed great dark powers beyond the prince's imagination. She offered to give him the power she needed, in the condition that he grant her one wish - and only one wish. The prince thought it was an advantageous bargain. He accepted her offer.

Now formidable, the prince started to overthrow the king. In the process, he harmed his siblings and he destroyed their family's unity. Now corrupted by power, the prince worked to lie for the truth to prevail. It was a twisted method, but he kept on it. He continued on his cruel ways to get the throne from his father. He gained many followers, but he gained as many enemies."

"What about the witch, onii-sama?"

"Through it all, through everything he has done, she remained with him. Not ahead, not behind - she was always beside him. In each and every adventure, she gave him a helping hand.

The prince realized that the witch is a lonely person and she deserves happiness. She had no choice but to use her powers to defend herself and become wicked because the people would not accept her for who she is. She became lonely and she tried looking for people that can fulfill her wish. That was how she saw the prince's great capacity in the first place.

Before he knew it, the witch became one of the prince's reasons for living. Beyond reasonable doubt, even though he lied and feigned and connived - she knew everything of him, and she stood by him. She listened to him, never judged him. The witch understood him. The prince knew her back - enough to make her smile for a few times that he thought were the best times."

"But..." Nunnally frowned. "They've been doing evil things."

Lelouch nodded. "Yes, they have. But they thought that it was the only way. Although their ways are cruel, the prince started it in honest intentions."

"That is quite a fancy story, Lelouch." a soft, velvety female voice errupted gently in the darkness. And Lelouch was startled to see mischievous golden eyes staring at him. "It is quite dark for a fairy tale."

"Well, it's a different kind of fairy tale, C.C." he retorted, keeping his calm for Nunnally. He was annoyed. C.C. was eavesdropping? Now his guard was off. She'll tease him about this.

He saw the girls shift to both turn towards him. Nunnally then tugged at his hand. "What happened next, onii-sama? How did the story end?"

He knew that he can simply invent some random cheesy fairy tale ending to that. He knew that the story remains like that for now. He did not know why he was so hesitant to invent an ending for the story, though.

Is it because he knew that the story is his story? Or is it because he is afraid of what the real ending might be?

His glance met C.C.'s for a moment.

Maybe it was because he is reluctant to hope for a fairy tale ending for his own story. After all that he has done - it seemed impossible.

"The story doesn't have an ending yet, Nunnally." Lelouch shrugged uneasily. "It's unfinished for the meantime."

"Why?" C.C. asked, pouting. "Did you write that story yourself?"

Lelouch flinched at the question. She knew all too well what the situation was. And she was pushing his buttons. "Kind of, yes."

"Then it's up to you, onii-sama!" Nunnally giddily said, all traces of fever gone. "Only you can make the ending! It's a very beautiful story... Very sad and bitter, but it's really pretty. Does the prince love the witch, onii-sama?"

Silence engulfed the whole room for moments. Lelouch's hand in Nunnally's remained motionless. C.C.'s lazy sprawl on the other side was unmoving. And Nunnally was waiting patiently.

Until Lelouch answered.

"Well, he does. Very much, in fact."

His voice was tensed, but he thought he kept his cool well enough. And damn, C.C. was grinning like a cheshire cat.

Nunnally interrupted some remark he was supposed to throw at the woman. "Then you should think of what'll happen next. Make a happy ending! They deserve one."

C.C.'s curious gaze flickered towards Nunnally and back at him and he averted his stare from her.

"Thanks, Nunnally. I'll keep that in mind."

When the green-haired woman snuggled comfortably in the sheets and stiffled a yawn, Lelouch could not see the witch in her, yet he was so sure that she IS his witch, no matter what. That she is the cunningly beautiful and deviously real woman that pushed him to write his own fairy tale - albeit it was a twisted one. And as Nunnally had said, he made a mental note to make that happy ending.

Only he could do that, anyway. That Lelouch also knew all too well.


FIN.


A/N: Whoa. So much for another snippet. I know it may not have the colorful words that the previous snippets have thrown its audience, but dang... I still thought Lelouch must have been crazy in that storytelling crap!

Thanks for reading!