"So which will it be?" Lelouch whispered softly, hands gently brushing a stray lock of deep crimson hair. "The memory of your beloved dead brother, or the chance for happiness- the happiness he would have wanted you to have?"
Her eyes were wide and wavering, lips frozen but open. An errant tear slipped down the side of her face.
"Stop it!" she lashed out, shoving him back, not violently, but desperately, hugging herself, shoulders shaking. "Don't… don't talk about onii-chan like that!"
The conditions have been cleared.
Her arm swung out to push him away, and, nimbly, he caught her wrist with his hand, pulling her until she was looking him in the eyes, determined violet meeting quivering gray. He swallowed- despite his intentions, his throat was somehow tight, beads of sweat running down his face, cheeks flushed.
Her face in that moment seemed even more strikingly beautiful than normal, for some reason.
"No matter what, I… I want to be in your heart!"
At his words, something gave in behind those eyes, and as she shut them, he leaned in and kissed her, slowly, gently, lovingly.
Immediately, black smoke erupted from the body of Kallen Stadtfield (erstwhile known as Kouzuki Kallen), and she slumped against him bonelessly.
The black smoke whirled about, hissing and swirling like a stirred nest of hornets, as though about to strike. Lelouch instinctively took a step back, cursing the fact that the final stage for this battle had to be the school rooftop. Even though it was the middle of the day and there were dozens of students right below them, Lelouch knew if that spirit attacked him nobody would ever find his body.
Just before the obsidian smoke moved to attack, however, without warning, it imploded with a flash of crimson, leaving no trace of its existence in the perfectly blue sky.
"Another spirit exorcised," came an indifferent voice.
"No thanks to you," Lelouch Lamperouge muttered irritably, glaring over at the speaker.
"Oh, how could I interrupt you when it looked like you were having so much… fun?" C.C. responded tartly, smirking, before she glanced over at Kallen and waved her hand.
A bright red light erupted around the redhaired girl, gently embracing her, cocooning her until she couldn't be seen, and then, in a flash, she disappeared, as though she had never been there at all.
"I've sent her down to the classroom. She'll think this all some dream she can't fully recall," C.C. explained, but it went unheard as Lelouch whirled on her, a slightly angry expression on his face.
"Yes, it's great fun, involving myself with these women, intentionally going out of my way to have them fall in love with me," he countered, annoyed, rolling his eyes with a huff as he smoothed out his school uniform, rearranging his tie. "I'm pretty sure that punch I took from Kallen yesterday after I walked in on in her changing going to hurt for the next year. At least."
"Oh don't be such a whiner," the witch mocked, crossing her arms behind her back as she stared out across the campus of Ashford Academy. "Remember what'll happen if you don't keep to the contract."
"Yeah, yeah. If I refuse to continue helping you, C.C. the Gray Witch, exorcise the spirits of evil that are possessing the hearts of young girls, I'll be beheaded by the invisible collar around my neck," he recited entirely memory, rubbing his neck absently. He felt skin, but he knew that, if he chose not to continue exorcising spirits, the collar would suddenly wink into existence and take his head. It nearly had that first time…
"You're the one they said could make anyone submit to you, after all," she continued, interrupting his train of thought before it could reach that rather traumatic memory. "No one could resist you, the people at the Geass institute said."
"It was supposed to be about military tactics, you idiot! Things like chess!" he snapped. "I have no interest in romance!"
"Well, you've done a pretty good job for someone who before never took interest in the opposite sex," C.C. added amusedly, glancing back towards him, "Including Kallen, you also managed to make Shirley and even that idol Kaguya fall in love with you."
"And those were just as fun," Lelouch commented sarcastically. "My first attempt to win over Shirley ended with her pushing me into the pool- where I nearly drowned, I might add- and Kaguya's bodyguards chased me across town when I first tried talking to her. I still have blisters to prove it."
C.C. smirked. "Didn't you say after both those times that they were necessary for your 'plan'?"
At that, he growled irritably, stalking off towards the door. "Just because they were necessary doesn't mean I enjoyed it," he all but snarled.
Behind him, the witch followed, still smiling in obvious amusement.
"And even beyond having to deal with these troublesome girls," Lelouch continued as he stomped down the stairwell, glancing back out of the corner of his eye, "I have to deal with the most troublesome girl of all- you."
"What, you don't enjoy my company?" C.C. questioned, doing her best to sound innocent and hurt.
Lelouch didn't buy it for a second.
"You barged into my home, claimed to my mother that you were my 'destined person', that you couldn't live without me, and that you had nowhere else to go, which made her take you into our house, and somehow even got my sister Nunnally to believe that we are in love," he ranted, voice almost hysterical.
"This way I can keep in constant contact with you," she answered succinctly, tilting her head to the side. "And I really can't live without you Lelouch- remember, my life is riding on this contract too. You're not the only one whose head is on the line here."
"My mother keeps forcing me to submit to your every whim!" he snapped hotly.
"I don't see the problem."
"Both my mother and Nunnally think we're having sex!"
"Isn't that more believable than the truth?"
"When my father found out he called home from his overseas work and congratulated me, telling me he always thought I would end up bottoming for Suzaku and that he was happy to be proved wrong!"
"Isn't that nice that you finally got your father's approval?"
"Last night Nunnally handed me a condom and told me to be 'gentle' with you!" Lelouch screamed hysterically, grabbing his head violently.
C.C. patted him on the back. "It could be worse."
"How could it be worse?" he growled, peeking out from behind his hands as he continued to grip his own skull.
She opened her mouth, but before the witch could answer, there was a shutter click.
Blinking, both Lelouch and C.C. turned to see a pink haired girl dressed in the same school uniform as Lelouch's sister Nunnally, making her a junior high student. In her hands was a large red cellphone whose camera had obviously just taken a snapshot of the two of them.
"You're in the way."
The voice wasn't so much cold as it was totally devoid of emotion, direct and to the point, like naked steel.
Before either of them could respond, the girl brushed past them, nearly knocking Lelouch down another a flight of stairs with her brusque walk.
As they watched her leave, Lelouch muttered, "Another weird girl… at least she's a junior high student, so I probably won't have to see her again…"
C.C. chortled. "I wouldn't be so sure."
A shiver ran down his back.
"Please… don't tell me…"
"I'm afraid so," the witch chuckled loudly at the pained expression on her accomplice's face. "Looks like you'll have to deal with yet another troublesome girl."
Lelouch turned and watched the strange, emotionless, picture-obsessed pink haired girl go with a mixed look of horror and resignation on his face.
C.C. grabbed his wrist and began tugging him down the hallway where the other girl had just went. "Come on boya, let's go get that spirit," she said whimsically, laughing all the while.
Behind her, Lelouch sighed, rubbing the side of his head as he felt the beginnings of an all new headache start to take place.
"Maybe being beheaded won't be so bad…" he muttered to himself.