A/N: Side story to Ambivalence. A sequel of sorts, if you will. Dark themes, mature rating for a reason.

Feedback: Much appreciated.


Despite her insistence that she loves him, there are times when he can tell that she hates him.

It's not that he doesn't believe her, but on certain days, something else seems to take over that gentle demeanor that has nothing to do with stress from classes or extracurricular assignments.

She persists in staying with him, although she deserves someone infinitely better. Someone without blood on his hands, who doesn't make her grieve. He is especially reminded of her father's death persistently hanging on his conscience.

The problem is that he is not capable of dissuading her with his blinding rhetoric and brilliant logical arguments, nor can he bring himself to push her away by ordering her, even if it's the right thing to do.

He does not know how to deny her and doubts he ever will.

Lelouch has come to learn the furious signs Shirley emits on certain days when a shadow is cast over them both. It's the little things that trigger her—an old song, the scent of fresh cut grass, a certain way he looks at her.

Her bright eyes are haunted by pain as he tastes the poison coursing angrily through her veins on those sweet lips. He wonders at times, if the past regrets caused by his sins might be exorcised. But he doesn't place his hopes on it, not as long as they are together.

The clothes come off with much more urgency during those times and she nearly rips though the fabric of his shirts. She seems almost ashamed afterwards as she's watched him sew up the buttons on both of their outfits in more than one occasion.

He does not know how to stop touching her when she becomes insistent with hard pressed kisses and tugs harder at his hair.

Except for the moments when she's sinking teeth or nails into his flesh, her eyes are mostly shut. She gauges his reaction and savors it when he responds with a wince or a grimace. She's managed to draw blood a few times, hearing him groan when she bites down on his lip. It is sweet and addicting on her tongue, reminding her vaguely of revenge.

Sometimes, it seems like she can't believe what she's doing because he is her beloved boyfriend, sociopath or not. Like she'd rather not see that she is capable of hurting him and bringing him to his knees just because she can. A girl in love shouldn't do such things, she reasons, although she does take pleasure in how he trembles just so under her touch.

She doesn't apologize, not that he expects her to, but instead he digs his fingers deeper and holds on tight, enduring her wrath. She drowns in the physicality of how her ire manifests itself and he finds her method of violence strangely attractive. It's sexy and dangerous and he's a willing masochist for her.

Only her.

Because he knows he deserves it.

It humanizes him for her, makes him less inaccessible despite how many times she's been able to have him. That he wants her the same way means she has gotten through those defenses that have kept so many out. And still, sometimes it's not enough, even when he's helpless underneath her and she finds ways to hurt him, bruise him, mark him as her property.

In those moments, hips grinding harder as she pins his shoulders to the mattress and calls his name out like a blessing and a curse.

Lulu.

Not that he minds or anything.

Then there are the times when she's completely different.

He knows when she loves him unconditionally because her arms are welcoming as she draws him in with those lips and that hair and luminous eyes that see him for all he is. She kisses him endlessly instead and memorizes the feel of his body, concerning herself with whatever wound he's received that isn't made by her doing.

She notes the darkness from the heavy weight of his eighteen years and how only she is able to bring out a radiant boy from the hell of war and his burdens.

That green gaze is soft and blissful as she devours him with a hungry, slow slide of lips.

The clothes stay on a little longer, taking the time to map out each other by all five senses. He is quietly fascinated with the length of her body and strong, steady heartbeat under his ear. His thumb runs over the curves of hips and breasts, delighting in feeling her shivers and writhes beneath him. Her eyes focus on him, marveling at the way they fit together so well.

They are a tangle of limbs as they fight to breathe. The angle of her legs invites him in further, deeper, slower.

More.

Always more.

He obliges her and tastes the sweat on overheated flesh as she embraces him, impossibly closer. She cries out happily, arching beneath him and he cannot think of anything but the way she overwhelms him.

A part of him is instinctually pulled to her, like a magnetic force and understands they are meant for each other.

There is lightness and beauty in her wake while he brings about destruction in his quest for vengeance and change. He cannot help but notice her for all the things that he is not.

It's dangerous, he thinks, to be indulging in something he shouldn't have to begin with. If not for him, she wouldn't grieve and worry and be so conflicted about what they are as the world falls apart around them.

While he considers the altruistic portion of his argument to keep her out of his reach, he knows she is probably too damaged to have anything meaningful with someone who deserved her. At least it's what he tells himself when she's in his arms whispering that she loves him with so much conviction it hurts and he only wants to hear it again and again.

Either way her mood shifts, he is reminded of the aftertaste of bittersweet chocolate when they are together. It leaves him thirsty and addicted and always wanting more.