Thanks so much for all your reviews! I can't tell you how happy I was when they passed the 200 mark, gosh. You're all lovely for taking the time to send them in and I appreciate every single one of them, THANK YOU!
I bring a much shorter chapter this time, because there's not much of this story left to tell, for now. You'll soon see why I'd originally hoped to post this around Christmas. But since I couldn't make it on time for that, we'll have to make do with what we have. All the same, I certainly hope it doesn't disappoint! Enjoy!
This was bad. Lelouch leaned against the counter, massaging a temple with one hand and closing his eyes. The migraine had been going on for almost three days in a row now, gradually becoming serious enough that it had even brought on a bout of nausea earlier in the day.
It was also bad timing because Christmas Eve was approaching in another couple of days, and it so happened that they'd arranged for a small gathering to be over for dinner, mostly so that Yuuhi would have the chance to spend some festive time with more people - the doctors, Jeremiah, Sayoko, Anya, Kallen, Gino - and if this headache kept up like this, Lelouch wasn't sure if he'd have enough energy to get the house, food, and everything else ready on time, just the way he wanted.
There was help to be had in the form of Suzaku and Nunnally, of course, but they were and would be busy handling administrative matters in Tokyo until the day itself, and Lelouch had no intention of bothering them more than necessary (even though the dinner had been Suzaku's idea just as much as his).
—After all, a little more rest was probably all he really needed, at this point.
"Mommy!" Yuuhi practically bounced into the hallway. "Can we go out today? Can we? Please?"
Of course, finding the time to get some extra rest was going to be a bit of a problem. Lelouch knew the weather was a little more favorable that day, and he knew how much Yuuhi loved their little countryside outings and hay-cart rides (whenever C.C. managed to borrow one), so he was reluctant to disappoint her - but somehow the thought of having to bundle her up to shield her from the cold and having to make sure he himself was well covered (especially in terms of his face) seemed like too much effort at the moment, and Lelouch gave her a weak, apologetic smile as his head gave yet another unwelcome throb.
"Maybe not today, little one. Mommy's not feeling too good and needs to rest."
"...Oh." She took it well, though her features clearly fell for a moment and Lelouch could only wish he hadn't had to disappoint, even if she hadn't actually been promised anything. She looked up at him then, eyes becoming large and concerned. "Are you okay?"
Lelouch managed to crouch and ruffle her hair, laughing a little. "I'm sure I'll be fine after some more sleep." He smiled gently. "If I take a nap now, do you think you can keep quiet for me until I wake?"
Yuuhi was nodding solemnly in response when C.C.'s voice floated over, half-amused. "Or I could bring her out for the day and you can go get as much sleep as you want."
...Right. Well, Lelouch never assumed that C.C. would always be ready and willing to help - she was, after all, with him first and foremost as a companion, and there out of choice and for her own amusement, not to serve and be imposed upon - but help was always nice when she offered it.
"That would be... lovely." He managed a grateful smile, and Yuuhi ran over to C.C., hugging one of her legs in delight.
"Thank you C.C.! Thank you! Does it mean we get a cart ride too?"
C.C. reached down to pat her head affectionately. "I'll see what I can do."
"While you're at it -" Lelouch got to his feet, deciding to put in one more request with a small quirk to his lips. "I need you to pick up something from the LeBlancs for me."
C.C. grinned. "Of course."
Christmas Eve dawned bright and clear, and Suzaku and Nunnally were at the doorstep by late morning with the remainder of the groceries. Lelouch's headaches, fortunately, had also receded almost completely by then, though Suzaku still paused after kissing him in greeting, frowning a little.
"Everything alright? You look a little... tired. It's not just me, is it?"
"It's just you." Lelouch rolled his eyes and smirked.
"No, he's right -" Nunnally interjected, looking at him in concern after she'd neatly arranged her shoes and stepped in. "You are looking a bit paler, brother, just a little..." She trailed off, head tilting inquiringly to the side as a teasing, suggestive smile then appeared. "Or perhaps, could it be that you're..."
Lelouch knew what was on the tip of her tongue and chuckled. "Sorry to disappoint, but I'm afraid it's just a mere effect of the cold this time." He offered his hand to her as evidence as she slipped her gloves off, letting her feel his fingers. "Here... see?"
"Oh my," she murmured in the affirmative once their skin touched, and Lelouch gave her hand a small squeeze, smiling at Suzaku as well in reassurance.
"Well then," Nunnally smiled back at him, her eyes shining. "We'd better quickly get inside where it's warmer, hadn't we?"
Kallen and Gino arrived soon afterward, as did Jeremiah, Sayoko and Anya. Suzaku and Sayoko were quick to assist with preparations in the kitchen while Kallen and Gino took charge of setting up a simple Christmas tree in the corner and helping Yuuhi decorate it, including carrying her up so she could place the final star at the top. Before long, the doctors had arrived as well and soon a hearty dinner was underway.
According to Kallen, Gino had lost a bet with her sometime earlier in the week, and so the plan was for him to dress up as Santa to give Yuuhi a little surprise after her bedtime (the two of them were staying the night, in any case), but as things turned out, Yuuhi insisted on staying up to play, even long after the rest of their guests had left. Lelouch and Suzaku relented, seeing as how it was, after all, only a yearly occasion, and knowing that she'd grow sleepy sooner or later anyway.
Sure enough, by eleven - after a few more children's carols and moments of shared laughter as the extended family they'd more or less become - Yuuhi's eyelids had already begun to droop. Kallen yawned as she leaned against Gino, and C.C. finished the last slice of pizza. Nunnally had fallen asleep on the sofa with Arthur in her lap, so Lelouch draped a blanket lightly over them. By eleven-thirty Kallen and Gino were dozing, too, as was Suzaku, seated next to Nunnally on the couch. Yuuhi, still in his arms, was already snuggled into his chest and sound asleep.
At midnight Lelouch woke Suzaku quietly with a kiss to his cheek and pressed the results of the home pregnancy test he'd obtained from Julianna earlier that week gently into Suzaku's palm. Suzaku opened his eyes, blinking in blearied confusion at the item for a couple of seconds before realization dawned on him - and Lelouch watched and chuckled softly as the color began draining a little from his face.
"Merry Christmas, Suzaku."
More Author's Notes:
Not sure if people in the Geass universe would actually make such a big deal out of Christmas, but since there's a fair bit of official art with the characters all sitting around in festive costumes, I figured this set-up could be excused.
The new baby that's on the way can... be whatever sex you wish it to be, though of course, if I somehow end up continuing this further, I'd personally choose for it to be a boy (and he'll probably be named after Rolo in some way or another, haha. I might have a bit of a bias toward that poor kid.)
Yes, this is finally the end - or at least, the ending I originally had in mind right back when I first started writing this fic. I miiight pick it up again someday, if I have enough new material about Lelouch and Suzaku's family adventures to write and share with you all, but for now, this is it. This is the official end. Anything else that comes after this (if it ever does) will be considered epilogue material. That said, I do of course hope you enjoyed this story! AND I can't thank you all enough for reading and/or reviewing this all the way. This fic originally half started out as a joke and as something purely for fun, but along the way it has also grown to become a very precious project of mine, and so all your support means a whole lot to me, even right now. THANK YOU!
In the meantime I have two or three new fic ideas I'm working on at the moment, though I estimate that it will be awhile more before those come to fruition (read: at least 3 - 5 months). If you're eager to keep up with my progress on those, or just what I'm doing in Code Geass fandom in general, you can find me as touchreceptors on twitter, wordpress, and of course tumblr. I'll definitely post about artwork for this, if I manage to draw some things.
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH ONCE AGAIN. Do review, too! I always, always do a little happy dance inside whenever one of those shows up in my inbox. Much love to all of you!