A/N: I haven't come across a lot of Shirley/Lelouch and I seriously think these two belong together. I totally love this pairing. Clearly, this is a different version of the series, at about episode 13 from the second season. This is going to be quite dark and please heed the rating. It's for a reason.
The first thing she saw in the empty corridor of that empty shopping center after the blinding flash of white cleared from her vision was Lelouch.
Between the maternity clothes shop and video game store, the collage of fleeting moments from a past life besieged her under its crushing weight.
Silky black hair and regal violet eyes. The chiseled angles of that fine face. He had smiled in a way that made her inside turn to mush on their first day of classes at Ashford Academy.
Memories, all of them.
The rest came to her in a rush, leaving her breathless and overwhelmed.
A black mask strewn on the ground, away from its owner in the felled Knightmare. The feel of cold gunmetal in her hands, pointed at him in a failed attempt at revenge. Her lips on his mouth, under the falling rain.
All of it had to do with him.
One hand fisted in her hair as she attempted to steady herself and ended up having the wall support her weight. A weak fist automatically struck the stone wall. The coolness she felt against her forehead calmed her after several long minutes.
Her first instinct, after the wave of dizziness and the repressed something hit her, was to find him. Sometime after pushing herself away, she started toward the nearest doorway only to hear incoming footsteps.
He saw her before she had time to react.
"Shirley," Lelouch said, alarm in his voice.
She smiled weakly at him and stopped touching the wall once and for all.
"I think I got lost," she lied before considering her words.
He didn't miss a beat, offering to take her back to school with the excuse that she looked pale. With her wrist in his hand, she didn't think but followed at his side.
Behind them, the hiss of a train sounded foreboding to her ears.
It takes her a whole 16 hours to digest what just happened and break down emotionally in the process. The buried memories flashed menacingly under her eyelids, viciously reminding her of who he was trying to hide. She'd been right to call him and Suzaku a couple of phonies that time.
Her jaw clenched painfully.
Sorrow choked at her once again, acid building in her mouth. She repeated mourning the loss of her father, one year later. Lost souls on the nightly news replayed once more in her mind, creating a barrage of tears.
The pillow crushed against her chest, she made a crumpled mess of geese feathers and cotton lining in her desperate embrace.
Shirley stumbled out of her room in a shroud of melancholy, disoriented as she wandered aimlessly through deserted halls. She barely caught sight of the darkened shadows under the gray clouds as lonely steps echoed from the walls and led her outdoors.
It should have been a relief that no one was around to see her, but was too drowned in thoughts to be grateful at not having an audience.
The cold rain soothed her heated skin, flushed from several hours of inconsolable crying.
The concrete bench where she sat chilled her, allowing her to breathe a little easier as it calmed the raging boil of her blood. Despite being completely soaked for what seemed like hours, she didn't need to shiver.
He found her inexplicably grieving on the school grounds on a late afternoon.
The thick cloud of numbness cleared slightly in the cool air.
Her face was slowly washed in the precipitation and she didn't need it to disguise her tears. The gentle decay of her insides slowed to a crawl, allowing her to reflect on old wounds and breathe a little easier.
"Shirley," his voice called out, melodic and soft, devoid of the usually smoothness.
She frowned, her chest clenching painfully for that miserable instant. Besotted by images of the past, the renewed sorrows buried her.
Warm fingers traced along her jaw, combing through wet hair to angle her face. He imagined that if she looked at him, her eyes would red-rimmed from whatever troubled her. He found her lips distracting, staring at her full mouth for a long minute.
"Shirley," Lelouch repeated.
Look at me went unsaid, though she clearly heard his plea.
A perverse shiver of enjoyment went down her spine at the sound of his voice. Her hands found his wrists and slid gently along his arms. She gripped his elbows, blindly bringing him closer. A warm forehead rested on hers lightly.
He hadn't quite paid attention to the changes in her face throughout the course of a year in her sunken cheeks, the slight pallor of her complexion and the angles of her face. Even if she couldn't remember the reasons, he suspected she grieved in her select amnesia.
"I," she began. "I'll be fine."
She attempted to smile when her eyes finally brave enough to see him. Her eyes were clear, despite the obvious troubles. He felt the shudders traverse her body in the cold breeze, forcing him to take notice how her drenched clothes were plastered against her skin. Her blood stirred restlessly when she understood where his line of sight traveled.
I'm going to hurt you, she thought.
He looked up to see dark jade staring back insistently, pulling him forward. It didn't require explanation, despite his reliance on logic, though if he had really wanted, he could blame it on gravity or inertia or some other force of nature.
He tasted the falling rain along with her grief and thought it strange that it was so familiar despite how much time had passed.