A/N: This is what we call procrastination from everything else that we've started 8D …ah, basically I was staring at my stories page and the emptiness was painful to look at. I decided I'd sit down and write a short one-shot and hopefully do a few more later to fill it up a bit. Originally I was going to do something SuzaLulu-y, but lately thanks to my good friend I've taken an interest in Rolo as well. This is dedicated to her. She knows who she is XD; this is just drabble, by the way. Don't expect anything interesting.
Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass or any of the characters mentioned, nor do I make any profit for procrastinating on my homework in favor of writing about them.
Yet Another Note: To everyone that hates Weeaboos or the mixture of Japanese and English in general, I would like you to understand that I didn't turn "nii-san" into "brother" because I find it to sound very awkward, and I prefer the meaning behind "nii-san" instead. Sorry if it bothers you.
The raindrops fell erratically and at random intervals that failed to form a pattern, even in his mind. Outside the tall window the sky was dressed in a dark gray, partially due to the thickness of the clouds, but aided by the retreat of the sun. Small puddles had already formed on the cement, and the semi-regular battering kept ripples constantly rolling across their surfaces. The window wasn't open, but he knew what the characteristics of a rainy day. It was a mixed blessing; a natural miracle laced with unpleasant memories.
He wondered to himself whether this rain would be warm or cold, even if he was sure, judging by the season, that it wouldn't be the same muggy rain Japan faced in the summer. He mused to himself over whether or not the tiny drops would be ice cold in temperature, if they might feel like daggers against his disgustingly delicate skin.
Right now he would have liked that. Eventually the sting would subside into numbness.
Lelouch believed that he felt things too strongly for the position he held. For all his boisterous talk, for all his murders, for all his commands, for all his firm resolve, he felt the losses. He felt every mistake. All that had saved him so far was his ability to act, and to cram all these feelings way back into the recesses of his mind to deal with on his own. But the painful truth, the truth that he didn't want to admit even to himself, was that he was afraid to face all the feelings he kept locked away. They were overwhelming and painful. He knew what these sort of things felt like – he'd had to deal with them so many times before, which was the only reason he could box them up now.
When he was alone, he was afraid. The proud teenager couldn't bring himself to tell anyone, including himself, and so he would stubbornly accept solitude when needed. And every time he regretted it something fierce.
Being alone wasn't scary on its own, no matter what the circumstances were. If you were alone in the dark or alone in a dessert, the scary part was being left alone with your mind. Thoughts were some of the most frightening and disturbing things in the world. The human imagination was very powerful and tended to conjure up demons when there were none. It made shadows dance when they were motionless. It turned normal sounds into ghastly wails and claws scraping across various surfaces.
More frightening than his imagination, lately, was his conscience. His imagination just added in gruesome images. Thoughts of Euphie, his brainwashed friends, and his little sister Nunnally plagued him terribly when there wasn't anyone else around. All of them were accompanied by vivid and exaggerated scenes in his mind.
The outside world was forgotten. Lelouch didn't notice the cold seeping in from the glass. He didn't notice the hard and uncomfortable bench attached to the window sill, the one he was sitting on. The dim lighting and the sound of the rain were lost on him.
Screaming and crying filled his ears. Blood colored his vision, and his shivers were more from his thoughts than an actual chill. The most profound image was one of Nunnally in torn, tattered, and blood-stained clothes. There were scratches and bruises across her skin, skin that was even more delicate and pale than his own. Her hair was dirty and a mess and tears streaked her equally dirty face. Although her eyes were closed she was turning her head desperately as if to try and search him out. By the look on her face she was very obviously frightened.
Her voice sounded thin and distant, and he worried that his brain couldn't supply it properly because…because he might be forgetting it. She was calling and crying for him, but he could barely hear it. The sound still managed to make him tremble and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach.
The sound that he had assumed was her voice got louder and louder until he was finally jolted back to reality by a light touch to his shoulder. Lelouch flinched and recoiled from it while hurriedly turning in his seat to see what sort of nightmare had come to life, only to meet the emotionless and unrelenting orchid eyes of Nunnally's replacement. He swallowed tightly, his own deeper amethyst eyes studying Rolo's face, searching for an ounce of some sort of emotion, some sign to help him understand the younger boy and why he had disturbed him.
The only thing he could find was apathy. He shivered again.
Rolo's smaller hand slowly slipped away from the spot Lelouch's shoulder had been moments before, then resettled at his side. That look on his "younger brother's" face drove him mad; he decided to return his gaze to the window. The dim lights outside were made hazy from the sheet-like rain. It had started to come down harder while he was lost in his thoughts.
"Nii-san," Rolo repeated again in that even tone of voice. It took all of Lelouch's willpower to keep from grimacing. "I've been calling you. Are you all right?"
For the life of him he couldn't understand how Rolo could ask him such a question with so little emotion in his voice. It honestly sounded like he didn't care about the answer. The question felt like it was done out of some sort of obligation to some unspoken rule. Even if the game was over and Rolo knew that Lelouch's memories had returned. There was no longer a need to play house, and yet here the brown-haired boy was still calling him his brother, he was still insisting on pretending that they had some sort of meaningful relationship that demanded he act cordial. If you're going to pretend, Lelouch thought bitterly, then at least sound like a brother that actually cares…
"I'm fine," he finally responded and did his best to sound airy. His voice still wavered a little but he hoped to cover it up by getting to his feet and straightening his school uniform. The blazer was unbuttoned, though in front of Rolo like this he had half a mind to re-button it. "I was just lost in thought."
If Rolo noticed the brief unsteadiness in his voice, he didn't let on to it. Thin brown eyebrows did raise momentarily, but soon his expression was back to being blank. Lelouch forced himself to look at him anyway.
"If you sit by the window too long you'll catch a cold. It's starting to get late and you're busy tomorrow, aren't you?" While it was worded like and probably supposed to be a question, it didn't sound much like one at all. There wasn't a change to his voice that suggested he suspected an answer, so Lelouch was left trying to guess. He opted to respond to it anyway and struggled to manage something of a smile. Even if they didn't have to play the family game any longer, he still needed to seem like he cared about Rolo – that was the entire reason the boy hadn't killed him yet.
"I won't. I don't get sick easily. There are things I need to do tomorrow, yes, but I wouldn't say I'm terribly busy." He shrugged his shoulders and began to walk down the hall at a pace that suggested Rolo should walk with him. While he did begin to follow him, he stayed a few steps behind, which Lelouch found to be rather unsettling. "Class and a student council meeting, and then I'm not yet sure of what else I'll need to take care of."
"Regardless, since you don't seem to be too busy now, I think it would be best to go to bed," Rolo's voice remained even as he quickened his pace to place himself in front of Lelouch.
They stood there facing each other for a few moments and neither broke the silence. Their eyes were locked and Lelouch made himself maintain the contact despite the fact that every fiber of his being screamed at him to look away. There was nothing challenging or condescending about Rolo's stare; it might've just been the hollowness, the lack of emotion, or the simple lack of anything to read. Whenever Rolo had brief flare ups and let his guard down, it was simple to discern how to manipulate him. Those were enough to tell him that he should take this route to save himself from being killed, but now…he had no idea how to act. Everything felt as awkward as it actually was, and seeing as he was currently shaken up, it was more difficult than usual to keep that under wraps.
Still, he was a good actor.
Lelouch laughed softly and shook his head in a manner he hoped was affectionate. One slender hand rested on his hip and he gave Rolo a smile. Whether or not it was as warm as he had meant it to look was completely beyond him.
"All right, all right…if you're that worried then I'll go to bed now," his tone seemed to lighten some thanks to plenty of coercing on his part, at least. In reality he was taking a wild guess. Lelouch had no idea if Rolo was actually telling him to go to bed out of worry, or if he simply wanted him to sleep so he wouldn't have to use his Geass to make killing him easier. There was a flicker of something in Rolo's expression but he couldn't identify it, though there could have possibly been a very light brushing of pink across his cheeks.
He prayed that his eyes weren't deceiving him, then decided to take a leap of faith and lightly ruffled the light brown hair atop his fake brother's head. "Sleep well. I'll see you in the morning."
It was impossible to tell what Rolo thought of the action, so he decided to leave before it could properly internalize – just in case he decided that he didn't like it. With a last wave he moved around Rolo and slipped into his room. Lelouch exhaled and brought a hand up to drape across his face as his eyes fell shut. Dealing with that boy was nerve wracking, although he much preferred to have Rolo working for him, rather than against him.
After changing into his pajamas (he had decided that he would retire early, although he feared what kind of dreams he would have) he shut off the light and crawled beneath the covers. His skin had taken on a bit of a chill from sitting at the window, so the warmth that began to gather underneath them was appreciated. The mattress seemed to embrace him, and he decided he should be able to sleep without much of a problem. That is…if he had been left alone long enough to actually fall asleep.
The doors slid open with their mechanical hiss and he blinked rapidly to get used to the flood of light. The figure in his doorway was just a silhouette, though when it moved closer the doors slid shut again and he was able to discern enough features to know who it was.
"Rolo?" He questioned softly as he sat up and rubbed at one eye. Rolo didn't answer as he made it to Lelouch's bedside, where he stood with his eyes downcast. "What's the matter?" The concern he injected into his voice wasn't completely forced, although he was concerned more for himself than for Rolo. Automatically he assumed it was something involving his death and it put him on edge.
Silence dragged on for a minute or two until Lelouch felt thoroughly uncomfortable.
"I didn't get to say goodnight to you, Nii-san," Rolo murmured without looking at him. His voice sounded a little different than the usual drawl and caught Lelouch completely off-guard. There was obviously a touch of emotion there, for once, although not being able to see the boy's face hindered his ability to tell just what sort of emotion it was. If anything, it at least sounded softer and more…human, for lack of a better word. It wasn't the mechanical and unreadable monotone that was helping to slowly nudge him towards his breaking point.
Despite himself he thought that if Rolo could act like a human being more often, it would be a lot easier to deal with him. This tone was acceptable in comparison to what he was used to, and he relaxed into the mattress. Although Rolo couldn't see it he smiled some.
"I'm sorry, it's my fault for rushing off like that. I suppose I've just been a bit out of it lately." One hand moved from its position on the bed to brush over the back of Rolo's, only to decide against it when he gave Lelouch a wide-eyed and startled look. Eventually his expression softened and he tried a tentative smile as well. Even if it wasn't a very large or noticeable upward curve of his thin lips, it seemed to reach his eyes like any genuine smile would. For all he knew it could have been the lack of light tricking him…but he decided that he didn't mind. Right now while he was plagued with guilt and loneliness he could allow himself to pretend.
"It's all right," the smaller boy in front of him said, pulling him out of his thoughts unwittingly. Whether he was responding to the brief touch or the explanation, he wasn't sure, so he decided on giving a vague nod. "As long as you're okay nii-san." Rolo paused and looked hesitant before continuing. "I don't like when you think too hard. It makes you look depressed."
It was his turn to be startled, or at least surprised again. For one, he hadn't expected Rolo to notice something like that…and for another, he didn't think that the boy would care. Lelouch didn't know how to react.
"…I'll be okay," he tried to reassure him. Whether it was true or not, he couldn't be sure…but he wasn't about to say that he was beating himself up inside for all these mistakes and mishaps. There was no way he would tell Rolo how much everything was eating him up inside, or just how broken he knew he had become. "Don't worry about me," he concluded when his "brother" didn't seem convinced. "Go get some sleep Rolo. I'll see you in the morning."
The boy didn't move, however. "Nii-san…" he started, looking a tad unsure in Lelouch's eyes. This time he didn't allow himself to drag out his hesitation. "I want to stay with you tonight, if that's okay. I…don't want to be alone right now."
He sounded so tentative. That coupled with the request itself managed to send him for yet another loop. He was beginning to feel dizzy from all of this and, in his weary state, no longer knew what he was supposed to expect from the light-haired boy. But to turn him away could end up in trouble, and honestly he didn't want to be left to his thoughts. Even if that meant sharing a bed and not getting any sleep, it was probably better overall than his night being wrought with nightmares and guilt.
Nights were always longer than days. And people wondered why he slept in class, or why his hours were so strange.
Lelouch sighed but did his best to make it sound light-hearted. With a bit of reluctance he scooted closer to the other side of his wide bed and pulled the covers back as a silent form of acceptance. "Are you all ready for bed?"
After a brief nod Rolo climbed his way into the bed and made himself comfortable underneath the covers. There was plenty of room for both of them to lie down with a fair amount of space between them, although the new presence in his bed was still enough to make him feel a little awkward and uncomfortable. He shrugged it off for now. He would try and sleep anyway, and hope he didn't have a nightmare with Rolo here.
Gradually he got used to the company, and some of the tenseness crept from his muscles, leaving exhaustion in its wake. Purple eyes fell shut and he settled down in preparation to sleep. In the silence of the room he could clearly hear their breathing. Mentally he found it weird, but physically it was a comfort – one that he would keep to himself.
The silence was broken by Rolo's surprisingly soft voice. "Goodnight nii-san," he whispered, and the close proximity made Lelouch shiver. If he didn't say anything Rolo would probably assume he was asleep…
"Goodnight, Rolo," he murmured in response. It startled him, but when one eye slid part of the way open, the pleased and grateful expression on the usually uncaring face of his fake brother was enough to justify the odd behavior. A smile touched his own face as well and he drifted off to thoughts of being a family. There wasn't a trace of blood, of sorrow or agony…Nunnally had her eyes open and deftly folded a piece of brightly colored paper as she explained the process to Rolo, whom was at her side. The large window on the wall behind them was thrown open to allow in both the bright sunlight and the gentle, sweet-smelling breeze that signified the coming of spring. Lelouch could watch them from the kitchen with a warm smile, and when he came out with the food they agreed to continue after their meal before greeting him in unison. Nii-san and onii-sama. Both were exclaimed cheerfully and both sounded beautiful to him.
They ate and laughed together while discussing an outing with friends scheduled for that afternoon.
For the first time in weeks he was able to sleep pleasantly through the entire night. While it was a mystery to him, Rolo wasn't about to explain why. There was no need for his prideful nii-san to know that he had chosen to spend the night with him for not for his own sake, but for Lelouch's.