"Out here again," Lelouch says, and steps out from the rain and under the gazebo's shelter, lifting one slender hand to push through his rain-dampened hair, and smiles. "You'll catch a cold, Rolo."

Rolo just lifts his head, silently making room for his (brother) mission, legs curling under himself as Lelouch takes his position behind him, leaning back against the wall of the gazebo, and then reaches out to tug Rolo that much closer. For warmth, Rolo knows- but that's stupid. Colds are not caught through staying outside, it's from a bug- a virus, something. Not--

He doesn't object.

"You're out of class early," Rolo observes carefully and closes his eyes, listening to the rain pitter-patter steadily against the roof of the white gazebo, and after a few moments, he reaches his hand out from under the shelter and lets the rain fall onto his bare hand, breathing in and out steadily. "Or did you skip?"

Lelouch laughs, a warm, steady exhale against his ear, and pats a hand over Rolo's chest, just over his heart. The move means nothing, Rolo thinks and cups his hand, allowing the water to pool in his palm, then tilts it so it goes spilling down to the ground and starts all over again. "No. I told them I had business- Student Council." It goes unsaid that he just didn't bother to go to that because Rolo knows his (brother) mission well.

Distantly, Rolo hears a soft ticking that becomes more and more audible the more he listens, and then the more he tries to block it out. Tick tick tick, goes Lelouch's wrist-watch, steady and unwavering, no matter how much it's shaken or disturbed. It just keeps ticking, never fails Lelouch, never fails anyone, and--

Rolo's jaw clenches and it takes only a split second to cast his Geass, pushing Lelouch's suddenly stiff arm up and away, fingers working quickly only this time, he's not disassembling a bomb or reassembling a gun. He's removing that damn watch off of Lelouch's wrist, and tossing it as fast and as far away into the gardens as he can, before rearranging himself back against Lelouch, settling quietly.

The Geass fades, and Lelouch laughs again, chin resting bony and uncomfortable against the top of Rolo's head. "You're quiet," he says off-handedly, tapping his fingers against Rolo's chest rhythmically, and it grates on his nerves, just as the ticking does.

"Mm," Rolo returns, and reaches up to grab Lelouch's hand to stop it, especially there, especially over his heart which never, ever beats right and rhythmic and steady. He doesn't understand why Lelouch lets out a surprised noise, doesn't understand why Lelouch smiles, curves their fingers together, and makes an understanding little noise like he knows why Rolo did that.

Swallowing hard, Rolo refuses to think about it, and casts it again, and refuses to think how some part of him might be doing this so it lasts a bit longer.

Beat beat be-

And again.

-at beat beat-

And again.

-b-b-beat beat-

And stops, because it hurts, his heart struggling to keep up, unsteady and arrhythmic, just like the rain outside.

When it wears off, Lelouch is still, quiet a moment. "Rolo? Why do you like the rain so much?" he questions, and really, he thinks he should know the answer to this, but he's never thought to ask before, the thought never occurring to him.

Rolo doesn't answer until the rain starts to fade, falling even more unevenly against the roof, and his arm never withdraws, just letting the rain fall in the uneven pitter-patter against his small hand. "It's not perfect," Rolo says, and doesn't bother to explain any more than that, blinking when Lelouch's phone buzzes in his pocket, and the older boy digs for it, huffing out a sigh.

"I forgot my watch again," Lelouch frowns, tone exasperated as he skims the message, realizing he's ten minutes late for the Student Council meeting. Honestly. He needs to start remembering where he puts the damn thing. "I'm afraid I have to go. The president will have my head if I miss another meeting, though you're welcome to--"

"I'm fine, brother," Rolo says, tilting his head and letting Lelouch slip away, letting water slip off of his hand and into the grass below. He smiles, quiet, when Lelouch ruffles his hair and can't help but stare when Lelouch removes his uniform top, wrapping it snugly around Rolo's slender shoulders, still warm. "...What-?"

Already heading out from under the cover of the gazebo, Lelouch just waves his now-bare wrist, unaware his clock is ticking away in the middle of the garden, not very far from about four others. "Stay warm, Rolo," Lelouch says, and heads back to the school grounds for that meeting.

Rolo says nothing, just scoots back silently into the warm spot that Lelouch leaves, and curls into the warmth of his coat, trying to puzzle out the act of giving him this jacket. An answer doesn't come, and he just settles on listening to the rain fade away.


Rooooloooo. Fff.