Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass or any of the respective characters.
A/N: I really have developed a soft spot for this couple. And the connotations of 'Tristan and Isolde' for the two of them were too much for me to ignore. The idea is squeal-worthy, and I may just develop it further, into perhaps a two-shot. If you get picky about the specifics of the 'Tristan and Isolde' romantic narrative, note that this is only meant to be loosely based on the idea as a plot device.
"You need to pick a name."
Kallen stared at the former Knight with a blank look, pointing out, "it already has a name. Guren MK-2."
Gino flicked one of those annoying braids behind his ear –oh, how Kallen longed for a pair of scissors– but what irritated her more was how serious he looked.
"You need a name that'll give it some character," he explained, wiggling his fingers earnestly in the direction of her beloved frame. "'Guren MK-2' sounds so… soulless and clinical. Boring." His gaze found hers, and he smiled impishly, adding, "Surely the Japanese have more imagination than that."
She crossed her arms, eyes narrowing. "Well then, Weinberg, since you seem to have the soul of a poet, you come up with a name."
"I thought you would've wanted a Japanese name."
"No, no – you want to be clever, so I want you to tell me." She knew he'd pick something stupid, and yes, she would rub it in his face to prove the idiocy she knew lurked beneath that cheerful, pretty visage.
He grinned, never one to turn down a challenge. "What do I get if I win?"
No fucking chance of that, she thought, smiling sweetly at him. "Name your prize, Weinberg."
Seeing the reckless shine in her expression, his grin only widened as he said smoothly, "I think a kiss from the loveliest rose of the Black Knights would be a sufficient prize."
Opportunistic jerk. But she nodded in agreement anyway, figuring that he was too big an idiot to win anyway. She had more grace than he did – though it never seemed so (Kallen's femininity was purely anatomical as far as most of the men in her life were concerned), and this was one instance where her aristocratic background and education would be useful. He shared that advantage, true, but he was still male and without a shred of subtlety.
"And what prize would my lady desire from me?" He placed a hand on his chest, fingers splayed over his heart. "Knowing," Gino continued dramatically, "that my heart and eternal devotion are the greatest gift you could ever possess–"
"Just get on with it, Gino!"
He snapped to mock attention. "Yes, my lord."
He was so aggravating! But Kallen only rolled her eyes, saying nothing, and watched as Gino strolled toward the Knightmare frame and stood at its base. He tapped his chin thoughtfully, eyeing the tall structure pensively. The Guren gleamed scarlet in the late morning sun, the strong rays of the approaching midday beginning to touch sleek metal. Sharp, cruel lines and angles appeared fluid, hazy in the heat of summer. Kallen found herself moving, standing next to the Guren and laying a hand on the warm metal. It almost seemed to pulse beneath her fingertips.
It was a few moments before he suddenly blurted out, "Isolde."
She could always trust Gino to come up with something silly and unpronounceable. She scoffed, already relishing her victory. "What kind of ridiculous name is that?"
He suddenly scooted a little closer to her and she took an involuntary step back, trapping herself against the Guren. Gino leaned over her, balancing the palm of his hand on the metal body. A braid tickled her cheek, but all her focus was drawn up to his eyes and the mischievous curve of his lips. To her mortification, she felt her cheeks heat up. Why was he looking at her like that?
"It's a Brittanian love story, Kallen. The tale of two lovers caught on opposite sides of a war."
Uncomfortably aware of his warmth on her bare arm, she drew in a sharp breath. "How cliché," she managed to say. "And you say the Japanese have no imagination. Brittanians, no, you, are just as oafish as I expected–"
"A woman named Isolde fell in love with a man she was forbidden to have." His head bent closer and she squeaked as his breath whistled over her ear. "A knight whose name just happened to be… Tristan."
Her eyes widened, straying to the other Knightmare frame standing on the deck of the transport ship near the Guren. His Knightmare. The Tristan. Of all the nerve!
"You have got to be kidding me," she croaked, slinking lower where she stood.
"I'm not," he murmured, fingertips trailing hot over her arm, grazing up her neck. "I think it's rather… appropriate. Don't you?"
She shivered, hands scraping against the slick metal behind her. "No, as a matter of fact, I think it's the stupidest, lamest name I've ever heard–"
"Don't you think it's cute?" he teased, blue eyes looking utterly guileless. "It's worthy of the prize, isn't it?"
"You're an idiot," she protested weakly as he drew even closer, wispy tip of a braid brushing feather-light against her bottom lip. One knee nestled between her thighs, and she shuddered, eyes fixed on his mouth. "Don't you dare presume to–"
Gino smirked, cupping her cheek in one gloved hand and stroking with one thumb. "But I do dare."
"Weinberg, I meant it, don't you dare–"
"You argue too much, Kallen."
He cut off her protests –which were none too spirited in the first place– the most effective way he knew how. For a woman so vehement and belligerent, her mouth was surprisingly pliant and sweet, and her body relaxed into his grip when he slid an arm around her waist. Kallen let out an appreciative murmur into his mouth when she felt his thumbs stroking gently at the middle of her back. Her eyes fluttered shut, and when her fingers crept up to touch his hair, she could feel Gino's mouth curve into a smile against hers.
Kallen was the one who broke away first, though her trembling fingers remained fixed to the lapels of his uniform, and she stared at the ground with flushed cheeks.
"You – you stole that, you cheating bastard."
"For me to steal a kiss, Kallen, you would have been unwilling to part with it in the first place," he countered cheerfully. "I just claimed my rightful prize."
She shoved him away from her, wishing the heat on her face would dissipate. "I never said anything about you winning. You reserved that judgment for yourself!"
He smiled at her, looking so winsome and adorable that she was tempted to kick him on the shin, if only to quell her urge to kiss him again.
"If you haven't decided, does that mean I get another chance at a kiss?" he said archly, eyes trekking pointedly down to her lips.
"No." Kallen turned on her heel, and stomped off across the deck.
"But we had a bet," he wheedled, trailing after her like a kicked puppy.
"A bet that I just decided you lost!"
He followed in abject silence, before −
"...So what did you really think about the name?"
"I hated it."
"Honestly and truly?"
"Yeah, what else did you expect me to think about a name that corny?" she answered, thanking her lucky stars that her back was turned so that he couldn't see the smile on her face.
He could hear the laughter in her voice though, and the effort she was expending keeping it in check. Gino rolled his eyes, hiding his own grin. He walked faster till he was at her side, then casually reached for her hand. Even though he half expected a slap on the head, he found he wasn't surprised when she entwined her fingers with his.