Special Thanks: Khandalis, AcidBubblewrap, Blckrsdyng, Atheist1, Fra, Toki, LittleBlackRaven, luckless-is-me, unheardcries, Volkenon, TheRedLamp, Monochromaticsky, athea. Thanks for all the lovely and loved reviews!

Note from Author: So if you haven't noticed I haven't updated this story in—a very long time. I haven't meant to have such a hold up. I've just had a very hard time working this chapter out.

Chapter 10 2.0

What do I mean to you?

2/14/2011 10:46 PM

The cell was cold. It had been cold for the past –well he wasn't sure how long. There was a draft in the room, but he was never positive on where it came from. He knew the cell couldn't be big. As far as he could tell, it was probably just big enough that if he pressed his palm to one wall he could stretch his other arm out and touch the adjacent wall as well. The length of the room seemed just enough to hold the bed, and nothing else. He was taken twice a day to the restroom, which was the only time the blindfold was taken off. Even then, he was crammed into a tinny room with a toilet, a sink, and a mirror, which he knew was a two-way. The hand cuffs would come off then also, but only on the last visit of the day. He was fed twice a day, as well. Not that the food was worth the wait. He usually left most of it untouched, while he choked down only enough to curb the ache in his stomach.

He spent a majority of his time on the bed curled, as much as the wound would allow, asleep. The leg hobbles would start to ache after about an hour, as far as he figured, and he would have to switch sides or change positions somehow. He wasn't allowed awareness of time. It was a luxury that the blindfold made incapable. To top it all off was the prisoners uniform. Build to restrain as much movement as possible, without actually being a straight jacket, it pulled around his shoulders and constricted the slender turns of his hips. His skin itched and dried under the harsh fabric after only the first few days. He'd been allowed to change uniforms about every three days, which was also when he was allowed to bathe.

Lelouch knew he had gotten himself in this situation and there was no getting himself out of it, at least not now. As he had said, he wasn't allowed time, which meant that he didn't know exactly how long he'd been trapped in that infernal cell. He had tried at first to track the meals and the bathroom times, but that turned into folly and as he found himself sleeping more and more the whole concept of time became incomprehensible in his situation. There was a florescent light over head that as far as he could tell never shut off. At first, the light had hindered his sleep. Even with the blindfold it had always blared down at him and irritated him with the constant flickering. He ignored it more effortlessly as time had gone on.

Time going on was the only thing he was aware of. He was never confronted, which he found interesting, about his attempt to get past the doors. The last moments had rolled over and over in his head. He had need to say more but—

What do I mean to you?

"Your Highness," the soft almost purr of Jeremiah's words made Lelouch want to crumble. He had never been one for fear, but he was one that did not take well to surprises. He was good at adaption, always had been, until it sunk in, when the numbers and the theories had all finally been allowed to leave and the severity of his situation could set into his bones and make his eyes wide with the loss of control and fragilely of his thin line of sanity was sent into a vibrating hum. He'd pulled that line ever tighter and tighter since he'd first become Zero. Now it felt as if it was going to snap and of all times Suzaku wouldn't be there.

That was in no way how he'd planned it. He'd made sure, if at all possibly Suzaku could be there, even a murderous Suzaku was more of a comfort than the loneliness of having that space empty.

"Are you alright?" the same smooth voice of his asked at his ear.

No, Lelouch wanted to answer in a childish tone, but he didn't and he knew he wouldn't. Failure was something he never took well, especially from Cornelia. Suzaku was a whole different matter entirely, he'd been force to accept defeat from him on numerous occasions. When it came down to it, Suzaku and him had been at it for two years and eight year before that even. Eight years ago it had involved a lot more shoving and name calling more than anything else but it had been the start of the whole thing…along with that damned kiss! It was ironic but now too it seemed to involve a lot of shoving and name calling and subsequently also kissing—although all of it seemed to amped up a notch or two from that to stabbings, lots and lots of name calling, like murder and dirty rat bastard, and instead of just kissing they were really just border lining on sex all the time.

"I'm not dead." Lelouch whispered as hushed as he could manage while still trying to sound sure of himself. He wasn't certain if Jeremiah would grasp the full meaning of his words, but he hoped so.

The blindfold had been securely in place since the moment of him being thrown to the ground. He wasn't sure where he was walking too but it sounded as if there was people walking both behind and in front of him and Jeremiah. Thank the heavens, that indeed, yes, it was Jeremiah that walked directly behind him, close enough to protect him and from what it appears even communicate, and form that Lelouch could gather that where ever they were going it wasn't Cornelia showing them there, and whomever the men were, Jeremiah had deemed them a minimal threat enough to try and communicate with Lelouch despite their presence.

In any other circumstance he would have scolded Jeremiah for his possibly brash actions. But in this moment things were far too complicated to deem something a wrong or right action. Lelouch knew that Jeremiah was just as lost as to what just happened as Lelouch was, probably even more on account of his absence, and Lelouch hoped (dare he say prayed?) that he knew where Jeremiah had been. He didn't have the sanity left to be able to take another betrayal.

Lelouch let out a rather unconscious groan at the thought of his mental state. Thoughts were-everywhere, they fluttered and tittered between rational thought and implicit, and selfish want, neither of which gaining enough ground to be able to win out and let him finally make a conclusion. But there were the ever constant thoughts though. They were the ones he worked at burying, deeper than any other, and refused to make known to any human being. Not all of them surfaced of course, some far to locked up, but others, the ones that as of late had progressively lost ground would start to creep and crawl out from the shadows.

A whimper rose as he unwittingly thought deeper on the matter (what do you think of when I tell you, don't think of Elephants?), his sub conscious very much floated to his conscious. If Jeremiah hadn't had such firm hold on to Lelouch, the boy may have started to shake. He hadn't had to face these thoughts for so long, he hadn't had to beat them down and when he had he'd been strong enough to do it, but now—there had been so much to weaken that particular wall.

He lifted his head just a fraction. He couldn't believe that the words he wanted to speak. He couldn't believe he was going to speak those words. It had been so long since he'd stooped that low, so much had happened, and even then he'd had his face pressed to the stone. He moved his teeth across the bottom of his lips, to stall the words from pouring out faster than he ever wanted. He felt dry then, his mouth barren, like the top of his mouth was hard gravel. He took a long swallow before he ran his tongue over his lips, it was like sandpaper that had been sanded down to a smooth roughness that caught at random points.

He closed his eyes behind the blindfold. He had to say it, if nothing else to still the terror of the thoughts.

"Where—where is Suzaku?"

There was no hesitation and no sign of mockery, despite that fact he knew that the state of his and Suzaku's relationship had been no secret to Jeremiah. It had been hard to hide all the backbiting with the servants around, it had been night impossibly to hide the threats and arguments with any one Suzaku considered no harm.

"I will make sure he is sent for as soon as I can, Your Highness."

And just like that he could breath again. The feeling of blood congealed over his brain was allowed to drain. He hated that boy. He hated him! …but he was coming…and really that is all that Lelouch really felt at that moment.

"Thank you." Lelouch breathed as low as he could. He caught a glance of Jeremiah's nod of acceptance behind him.

When it finally happened, when he was finally given some glimmer of hope—it was the opposite of what Lelouch had expected. He had expected Suzuki in all honesty. He had expected his knight in all his glory furious at him ad at the treatment, and a bit flushed as Lelouch would be swept back up into those arms… or that Suzaku would just be mad at him, but Lelouch could dream a bit. He had an unending amount of time anyway.

She had entered the cell slow, each step taken consciously and with full bodily movement. There was no mistaking who it was in Lelouch's mind. He'd know almost immediately. Only one person could be so quiet only with the small click of the short heels on her black boots to announce her presence. No one else could hold their breathing at such a low yet still audible decibel. She was also the only person that Lelouch had noticed could command the presence of a room in such a manor. She wasn't a leader, but she had such a way about her so defiant and so raw there was no mistaking her with any other woman.

"It's Kallen." She announced herself as she stepped towards the bed.

Lelouch hadn't needed the announcement but he took it regardless. He would have taken anyone at that moment, even Cornelia. Though with a parting like the one he'd last left her with the last two time he doubted his dearly beloved sister would ever willingly visit him, unless it was an interrogation maybe, but Lelouch really didn't have any secrets left so an interrogation would be pointless.

He hated to be alone as much as he loved his alone time. It was the lack of presence that had ate at him so undaunting over the past few days. Without knowing why he wasn't being interrogated, why he wasn't being smacked up against the wall. Even knowing they probably wouldn't get a thing out of him and him having nothing to give, they still had just left him alone. He could handle possible abuse, torture, neglect. But what he couldn't handle, what he hated was to be ignored, and he could tell that the moment he'd been put in this cell that had been the immediate goal. Despite Suzaku's best efforts no one had accepted his presence and now they just wanted it gone. Lelouch wasn't even hated anymore he was just a nuisance no longer worth the effort.

"How long has it been?" Lelouch voiced, a sharp tone but not to the point of being curt. He knew he should be greeting her properly. But it was him, his mind needed information and information he'd been long starved for.

"Oh, uh a while not since I was at your hospital room." Kallen said quietly. She seemed a bit fidgety, like she wasn't exactly sure herself what she was doing there.

Lelouch gave a sigh. To tell the truth, he wasn't exactly sure what she was doing there either., but every chance for information must be taken advantage of to it's most rewarding extent. "No, how long have I been in here?"

"Oh," Kallen said. She sounded surprised, but as she continued not so much. "It—it's been about a week." There was a pang of disappointment in her voice, but seeing as how she'd pulled a knife on Lelouch the last time, he really didn't care much.

Lelouch nodded at the answer. He had been right about that at least. He had thought possibly even longer but he'd give himself credit—he'd gotten most of it right.

"I…" Kallen trailed off.

Lelouch looked, or at least turned his head up to her. It was a peculiar thing that she was here and hadn't already brandished a knife and threatened to stick it in his gut, as cliché as that prospect was becoming, it was still the most probable given her previous behavior in te same room with him. He really couldn't' blame her either, he had lied to her, and used her and refused her—the point was the list was pretty long and he'd say he regretted it but he really didn't.

"So," Lelouch started. "are you going to kill me?" It wasn't the greatest conversation starter he would admit that, but it was something and she was here apparently for no reason, so the only option left was the one he had voiced.

There was no answer. Lelouch tilted his head hoping to coax her into some kind of reply of any kind, even the 'shink' of that knife coming out would have been a plus at this point in the conversation, or lack of conversation.

"Is there something you would like, Kallen?" Lelouch finally voiced over the roaring silence. This time his tone was a bit more clipped.

"I—" she started again, cutting off sharper this time. Lelouch could just imagine her gritting her teeth and tucking her head down—just the way she always did when she was nervous and trying not to show it. "I just—" She stalled out again.

Lelouch, damn his attention span, was growing impatient, "Well?" Once it was out he had wished he hadn't voice himself so harshly. It was a snap back and Lelouch wanted to scold himself for it. Kallen wasn't threatening him for the first time since he had 'died' and now all he could do was snap at her? That was not very gentleman like.

"Nothing." Kallen answered, her voice back to that all business kind he'd once heard so much as Zero. "I just came to drop by your food."

"Right," Lelouch nodded. "Thank you, Kallen." he made a point to use her name. They –well their relationship wasn't exactly peachy keen—were not friends at this time, but just maybe if he acknowledged her enough he could get a friend back. He had little to nothing to lose at this point, after all, and now that his plan had been put to a short stop he had an ample amount of time as well, so why not work on trying to make friends? If Suzaku was so convinced that he was the only person left in Lelouch's life, maybe it was time to prove him wrong and make some new allies again.

There was a pause, a lull into silence, making Lelouch think that Kallen had already left without even a good bye or dropping off he food. He wouldn't be surprised if he'd made her angry again. He seemed to have that affect on people as of late.

"You're welcome." Her voice was quiet and there was a small sound of metal as she set the tray down at Lelouch's side.

She didn't leave though, Lelouch could tell as there was no further sound of footsteps out of the room. He wasn't sure what to do exactly it wasn't like this was supposed to be a friendly gift from one to another. It was awkward and Lelouch wasn't sure how to handle a Kallen that wasn't trying to kill him out of revenge or whatever she was hoping for.

That had actually been on Lelouch's mind recently. His mind was all he had in the lonely cell so over the past week it had worked furiously to find a way out and after that had been exhausted his thoughts had wandered to several other places, most were pure folly, but one of them had been Kallen. She hated him that had been made clear, but the question as to why wasn't. The fact she'd thought he'd weaseled his way out of death couldn't be the only thing keeping her stuck in this anger. Was there something he hadn't seen in her before that had finally come to the surface?

He quirked his head at the thought. There wasn't much other ways to conclude. She was so secretive to him—though she would never admit it openly—possibly even held more from him than he had held from her. Lelouch had had to learn of her brother from Ohgi, even. It had seemed at most times that they weren't really even friends more of allies, but not like C.c. and him. he and Kallen had a common goal, and C.c. always had an agenda, one she rarely revealed.

"You really do just want to die, don't you?"

Lelouch, startled out of his thought process blinked behind the blindfold. "I'm sorry, what?"

"Jeremiah told me what happened, what you did to try and get out." she went on. Her voice was still quiet, distilled, an octave lower than usual.

There was a click of Kallen's shoes as Lelouch guessed she turned to him.

Lelouch nodded, a bit nervous. "I did." He wasn't sure what else to say.

"Well," Kallen seemed to be fidgeting or something, as far as Lelouch could tell from the slight rustle of clothing. "I just—" She stopped for a moment more before when she spoke next Lelouch could help smile as that harsher voice had returned. "He's pretty angry with you." A topic switch was always better than talking about herself.

"Jeremiah?" Lelouch tried to clarify.

"No." she waited just a moment before continuing. "I mean Suza—Zero."

Lelouch nodded. "Ah, I see." He cleared his throat. "Well, the two of us seem to be constantly immersed in conflict—and he never seems to approve of many of my choices—so I doubt this will be worse than anything I've faced before with him."

There was another lull in the conversation. Lelouch wasn't sure why exactly Kallen was even still here, but he said nothing. He couldn't bring himself to kick out the only visitor he'd had in an entire week. He wouldn't admit aloud that he was starting to crave the company—but he was, and in whatever form he could get it in. Kallen and he were immersed in a bvery awkward conversation, that seemed to be going nowhere, but it was still conversation, something Lelouch hadn't had in a good week.

"I respect him!" Kallen abruptly blurted, her voice still harsh.

"What?" Lelouch considered himself a decently intelligent person and then some, but Kallen wasn't making a whole lot of sense. It could have been the fact he'd had no one to talk to for the past week or so and before he mostly spoke to Suzaku. He'd never been so hot on the social scene any way so that could also be a big part of it.

"I just wanted you to know, I respect him. Zero, that is."

This time it was Lelouch, who found himself without anything to say. It was a rare occurrence, since Lelouch would even admit it to himself he liked the sound of his own voice. There were few times in his life when he'd been struck utterly speechless, and over such a trivial matter. But it wasn't trivial, not to both of them and Lelouch knew it. It was a step at least. Maybe not a bounding leap of aith or anything of that cliché nature, but there was a glimmer of hope in those words.

There was the click of Kallen's boots as she started towards the door.

"Wait!" Lelouch stalled her.

Her footsteps stopped, waiting for Lelouch's response.

"Thank you," he said rather low, but still loud enough for her to hear. "Thank you, Kallen."

Avoidance was something Suzaku had never done well when it came to Lelouch. In high school, or now, it was always the same damn cycle. They fell in and out of each other's good side and yet still revolved around each other. After so long, Suzaku had to admit he wasn't sure there even was another way to live for him to live besides tittering between blissful happiness and the white hot rage that would flare over something Lelouch had had to do or say or just be.

He grasped the mask, his finger finding the back to fit his finger on to the latch, to release the back, and pull it off. The bathroom door was closed firmly and locked. Suzaku had been becoming ever watchful more and more lately. He'd told those he'd felt needed to know his identify to be able to get what he needed for Lelouch—but he felt it, just like Lelouch had felt it. There was a need for Zero's Identity to fade back into the shadows. He couldn't say that he regretted telling those around him exactly who he was. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, what's done was done.

That didn't mean he still didn't feel the drive. It could have been the fact that by all legal accounts and most social he was dead and would stay that way. He looked into the mirror, his bright olive green eyes staring back at him. His appearances hadn't changed much from High School, and somehow it felt odd to look at himself. He almost wanted to put the mask back on. Like his own face had become a reminder that the real Suzaku Kururug, the one that had a headstone at his family's old shrine, like the one that had been a knight, like the one everyone else in the world thought was dead, gone, buried under the rubble and the lies and the mask. It was Nunnally that he hated to think of the most. She was one of the few people he hadn't told and yet—Suzaku knew that she must know, and because of that he felt like he was lying to her again. Eventually he would have to find a way to convince the others that he was dead. Eventually he'd have to find a way to convince everybody he was dead.

A nod was all he could do for that moment, a promise and affirmative to himself. It was decided for him. As soon as he could find a way too, find some way to keep Lelouch under wraps and next to him. He'd work on this problem. The problem that Suzaku was still very much known and that he no longer felt the need to be known. As long as his identity was known, by anyone, Suzaku wouldn't be able to fully do his job. This job, the mask in his hands, was ll he really had left besides Lelouch, and he barely had Lelouch.

"Excuse me?" There was a knock at the tiny bathroom door.

Suzaku quickly retrieved the mask putting it on so that the voice alteration would be present. "Yes?"

"The captain has informed me that we are landing soon, sir." The stewardess beyond the door answered him. A little hesitant, but it was to be expected.

"Alright." Suzaku nodded. "Thank you for informing me."

"Yes sir." The stewardess answered before Suzaku heard her foot steps away.

Suzaku looked back to the mirror. It was the mask that now stared back at him. A mask that had caused all this in the first place, but Suzaku didn't have time to think of the "what ifs" or bemoan the past, there was the now to handle and Suzaku didn't have much of a choice but to face it. He had to be the leader for it. That is what Lelouch had intended Suzaku to be, and with Lelouch under lock and key now, and hopefully in the future, Suzaku could focus on that.

He refastened the cape around his shoulders, the tight fabric clinging to his upper body, and opened the door to the little bathroom.

"Lord Zero," A steward near the door gave a bow of her head.

Suzaku studied her face for a moment, looking at her to determine she was Japanese. She had probably been a supporter of Zero long before the requiem and now appeared to still be a supporter. Suzaku bowed his head in his own answer and continued back to his seat. He'd never been fond of planes he had to admit that, but as he looked out over the ocean, the island of his homeland fast approaching, he had to admit that this was sort of relaxing, or at least far more than thinking what awaited him once he did land back in Japan.

It was a few days before Lelouch received a visit again and this time surprisingly from the same red head.

She at least announced herself this time as she came through the door. "I brought your food."

Lelouch had been startled out of not quite sleep but a form of it. He was in that stage more and more as of late. It wasn't sleep, but it wasn't awake—he was just simply in a limbo state where time would rush and he wouldn't have to run the events of the last few weeks over and over again. He had no visual simulation so the mental pictures had started to become more vivid as time went along. He would sometimes dream—they would be fleeting, loose, peaking his interest instantly, but letting him know they weren't real. It was always of Suzaku, Nunnally, Euphie, Shirley, of all the people he knew he'd lost and now just needed to let go. Suzaku was the foremost present, in his state of half dreams and in the foreground of his mind as someone he needed to let go.

But coming awake he shook his head, clearing away the dreams (memories?) to register that Kallen was back, which was surprising. He must have been a sight for sore eyes, but at this point he would have welcomed any sight, so he didn't dwell on the fact.

"Hello, to you as well." He said still a bit groggy.

"You sleep a lot." She commented, probably with a sneer, or at least that's how it sounded.

"Yeah," Lelouch commented as he pulled himself up to sit. "You tend to do that when there's nothing to do, and you can't see anything." Really, Lelouch wasn't sure what Kallen expected him to occupy his time with doing, besides sleeping.

"I've noticed." Kallen said as Lelouch heard her steps come forward, to set the metal tray down at his side. "Tamaki and I are on watch duty. Tamaki isn't very happy with you by the way, either."

Lelouch nodded. He didn't care much about what Tamaki thought of him, the man was more of a joke than anything else. Lelouch did hope that he managed to grow up a little one day—possibly get a good job, help rebuild Japan even. The man did have a good heart, of that Lelouch was sure.

"You're being rather accommodating, I see." Lelouch commented as he noticed the smell of coffee and well certainly not prison food.

Silence, probably because it was inevitable now between the two, like the conversations the day before. Lelouch bowed his head, hating how hard this was becoming just to have a regular conversation. It wasn't like he hadn't been through hell and back with this girl. He just couldn't' seem to formulate a decent thing to say to her.

"Lelouch?" her voice was a bit hesitant again, like she wasn't sure she should break the silence.

"Yes?" Lelouch, like a dog to a bone replied instantly. He couldn't stand this being as awkward as it was and the only way to change that was attempts at conversation until it became easy for the two of them again.

"Well, er—"_Kallen started, before stopping just short of actually saying anything.

"Yes?" Lelouch commented a little slower this time, trying to draw out the answer from Kallen. It had been the same thing from the day before. Like she was going to say something it was just like she couldn't quite get it out, couldn't let it break the surface.

"I was just—well you've already answered this question once." Kallen went on this time finally divulging some information to Lelouch.

Lelouch gave a snort. "You know, I'm rather curious about a few things myself." If she wasn't going to ask about something, than Lelouch certainly was going to take the opportunity to ask a few of his own.

"Well then you first." Kallen immediately jumped onto the prospect.

Lelouch rolled his eyes. This all felt rather high school. "Fine. Why are you here?" If Kallen was trying to pull something on Lelouch, Lelouch wanted to know about it. He was going through the effort after all to try ad n make them friends again, and if it turned out she wasn't here for that at all or for some ulterior motive Lelouch wanted to know about it.

'To bring your dinner!" Kallen snapped back.

"Any guard within this building can handle that. Why are you doing it?" Lelouch countered his voice dipping into a growl now.

There was a pause again but Lelouch wasn't having it this time. "Kallen you spent the first few weeks after this wanting me dead now you're bringing me dinner? What changed?" It was far blunter than Lelouch usually was, but he was trying to get a point across at this point and the point was that he was sick of tiptoeing around each other.

"Nothing changed!" She venomously hissed back.

"No, I'm quite sure something did, now was it simply your opinion of me or something deeper?" Lelouch pulled his chin back. "Who told you to come here? Was it Cornelia? I warn you, Kallen, don't trust that woman, nor Schniez—"

"I came because I wanted to!" she spat at him.

Lelouch could hear her breathing very hard as she stood now only a few feet from him.

"But if I'm not wanted, that's fine with me!" the now stomp of her boots were the only goodbye Lelouch got right before he heard the cell door slam.

Suddenly, Lelouch found himself wishing she would come back as he ignoring the food drew his knees up to his chin. Even if they were fighting, Lelouch wasn't at least left alone. And because he was alone and because he had no other thing to occupy himself the whole situation became his only solace and in the end—though he hated to admit it—he settled on the conclusion that when dealing with a very volatile girl like Kallen, Lelouch could have gone about things far differently with the hope of a better outcome.

Occupying his time hadn't been particularly hard. In fact without the added schedule of making sure to visit the hospital, Suzaku had gotten far more work done than planned.

Within the next two weeks Nunnally would be coordinated as Empress and Schneizel (under Zero's orders) would accompany her back to the home land to the new Pendragon. With the rest of the family dead, besides Cornelia, and the nobles all but wiped out of funds or just as well dead, they were running into minimal problems.

Things were going so well Suzaku was considering trying to stay in Japan if possible. That was all he'd done though was look into it. Suzaku knew he needed to be by Nunnally until he could pass the cup on to someone else more qualified.

Then there was Lelouch.

Suzaku came through the door and always saw the single sheet report on the coffee table. It was always set there, once a day, every day, so Suzaku could keep tabs but not have to take the initiative and actually go see his beloved. As much as Suzaku hated to admit it, he almost preferred things this way. There were no fights, no breakout attempts, nothing to worry about but the single sheet of paper that every night would let Suzaku know that Lelouch was safe and healthy. Suzaku already knew Lelouch was probably bored out of his mind, but Suzaku just couldn't take him out just yet. It was too soon and the hospital wouldn't take him back. Suzaku had to have a backup plan before then.

He looked around his residence—the backup plan staring him in the face. The locks on all the doors were almost set and the windows almost all installed. They wouldn't be able to open them anymore but at least Suzaku would have Lelouch near him. And just like the reports he would be safe and healthy, all that Suzaku cared about. As easy as it was just to read a paper every night, the absence of Lelouch was starting ot wear on Suzaku. he wanted to have the other boy at his fingertips again—Suzaku just wished that

He padded into the bedroom, greeting Arthur curled on the bed, awake but not exactly responsive to Suzaku as he entered. Suzaku removed the waist coat hanging it up , before going on to the gloves and cravat. The boots were last before he plopped on to the bed, Arthur gave an indignant yowl, as his napping spot was disturbed. Suzaku craned his neck back to look at the little gray and black cat.

The cell must be cold at night, and Lelouch must feel cramped in the small space. Suzaku reached out scratching behind Arthurs ear. He gave a sigh. Suzaku needed to at least go give Lelouch some sort of company. If Suzaku knew the other boy at all he enjoyed the company of other, he didn't always prefer it and if need be he could offer entertainment to himself fine, but he still liked the company of others. After a few weeks alone in a cell who wouldn't get lonely.

Letting his eyes close, Suzaku fell back against the bed. He couldn't leave Lelouch alone like that. No matter what the boy had done before this Suzaku had always forgiven him and gone back, one attempt to kill himself shouldn't be affecting Suzaku like this then. He let his eyes slip closed. Before it had always been something external though, away from the twos immediate relationship—now, did Lelouch want to see Suzaku miserable and alone so badly? What did Suzaku really mean to Lelouch as a person?

What do I mean to you?

It was a few days before Kallen returned. Lelouch didn't actually expect her to return at all so when she did it was a bit of a shock, and he hadn't been sleeping this time so the second those heeled boots entered the claustrophobic cell, Lelouch knew exactly who it was.

"I brought your dinner." Her words were bit out and as emotionless as ever.

Lelouch shook his head, still lost in the blindfold and still just as hobbled, but still with all his princely airs. "I thought we went over that a 'hello' is probably a better greeting when you announce your presence."

There was a loud clatter as she slammed down the metal tray at the side table. 'Well excuse me, I'm sorry to have disturbed you so rudely." It was followed by the sound of her quick retreat.

"Kallen, wait." Lelouch sighed.

The sound of footfalls ceased.

Saying he was sorry was a point Lelouch had never made to do very often and the very few times in his life that he had said it he usually hadn't meant it. the word itself just had a foul taste about it. It was admitting weakness something Lelouch never did well. That also meant he in no way was going to say it now. As awful of way as he had handled last time, this time was going to be different, but it wasn't starting with Lelouch apologizing for something he wasn't ashamed of. He had wanted to know the real reason Kallen was even speaking to him so he'd pressed the point, clearly too early and a little too venomous, but he'd done it anyway and he was still not sorry.

"I realize being in this cell has made a bit of an ass out of me." It was true, he found his thoughts were increasingly restless and not just that but they were also starting to get a little venomous themselves. "But I did mean my questions yesterday, and I understand if you don't feel like answering, just know I want them answered at some point." There was no way to put that with a dose of charm and elegance so Lelouch just said it, hoping it would go over slightly better than it had the day before.

"I already told you." Kallen gave a growl.

"Yes, yes," Lelouch sighed. "I know you're here to bring me my food, wonderful." He rolled his eyes, though not seen he was pretty sure the same attitude showed through the tone of his voice.

Kallen hadn't moved, which was the first thing to set Lelouch off. He'd lost his patience (not like there was much there to lose) and spat back another sarcastic comment, which usually meant Kallen would just storm out and leave him alone again.

"You were right, I have another reason." Kallen finally volunteered, but her tone just as harsh as before.

Lelouch waited, hoping she put that reason out there of her own accord. "What would that reason be…?" Lelouch finally supplied after only about half a minute more of silence.

"I—well I just had a question to ask you." Kallen said, uneasy this time.

On the other hand, Lelouch was getting increasingly tired of trying to fish the information out of her. If she wanted something from him she should have just said so in the first place when he'd made it clear that if she did she should speak then.

"Well?" Lelouch growled this time.

It was quite on the other end.

Lelouch shook his head in frustration. It was like talking to a very obstinate child with a secret. Debating whether this or being left alone was the better option, Lelouch turned away with a sigh. It wasn't like they were exactly getting anywhere new with this conversation. They were pretty much still at everyone's throats and all that they had established was that Kallen had a question and that Lelouch still didn't know what that was so he could answer it, but Kallen wanting an answer it seemed refused to leave.

"You know," Kallen started, meriting the stirring of Lelouch from the wall. "I already know the answer." She seemed to shuffle. "I mean you've answered the question at least twice now and all."

Lelouch sighed. "Then why ask the question yet again?"

Kallen was silent, but Lelouch was willing to wait this time. They were at least getting somewhere in this elaborate game of guess the question. Lelouch almost had a hunch that in his current state charades might be a better option.

It was just another moment before finally Kallen answered. "Because I want the answer to change."

Lelouch found that it was his turn to remain silent. There was no question now to what exactly Kallen was referring too.

"I better go." Kallen said quietly before exciting the room.

Lelouch listened to her leave a bit ashamed for the fact he knew that the answer had indeed not changed at all. It had never changed. After all the efforts she'd gone through, his opinion had never changed.

The next morning when Kallen showed up this time with breakfast Lelouch was not surprised at all. Lelouch at least felt that the day before had gone better—if not only marginally so. Therefore, it was quite natural to see Kallen that morning.

"He's back."

Lelouch heard her set the tray down onto the side table again before turning to him. "Who?" Lelouch was curious and a bit tired of this game of guess what Kallen is talking about.

"Zero is back, and he's not exactly happy with you."

It seemed though Kallen's presence was welcome Lelouch couldn't find it in him to welcome the news she brought with her. As much as he loved to think if he could be with Suzaku again, an angry Suzaku was a completely different matter. Suzaku was renowned for doing things when he was angry that weren't so popular—like selling Lelouch to his father, trying to force refrain on Kallen, stab Lelouch. Even if he didn't have some brash action up his sleeve he still tended to be little less than corrigible.

"Ah," Lelouch breathed. "So he's made his triumphant return?"

"Actually," Kallen started off a bit perturbed. "He's been back for about a week. But the meathead refuses to come see you, probably 'cause he's mad, but I'm getting tired of him hounding me on how you are doing. I'm not some messenger girl!"

Lelouch stopped himself from pointing out that instead she was the delivery girl. "I see."

It changed things. Partly in a good way because this meant Suzaku wouldn't be storming in here with another sword to do Lelouch a favor, only much more slowly, and partly in a bad way since that also meant Suzaku had time to think about what he was going to do with Lelouch. It also was the part a small as it was Lelouch tried to push aside and out of the forefront of his mind because that part it hurt just enough for Lelouch to have to admit he still very much cared about his counterpart.

"Right," Lelouch breathed.

"I don't know when he plans to tell you." Kallen said offish.

Lelouch was still trying to work thought it. It wasn't like Suzaku to hide from him. Not unless he had something already in the works… Lelouch shook his head. He had to focus on Kallen for the time being. "Thank you, Kallen. I'm glad you told me."

He heard the shuffle of feet. "Yeah, well don't thank me, when he does finally get around to talking to you I most certainly won't be around. He's mad enough he might just keep you here."

Lelouch nodded. Suzaku wouldn't do that. It was too hard to have access to Lelouch here and that was what Suzaku always wanted. Even when he was a Knight of the Rounds Suzaku had made sure Lelouch was kept at the academy for a reason, easy access. Lelouch was actually surprised that he'd held himself back for a whole year. Then again he had still been sore about Euphie. Suzaku was always still sore about Euphie actually.

"All the same, I'm glad you informed me."

"Mhmm," Kallen hummed from the door.

With nothing else to really say the room drifted back into silence, this time of the more awkward kind. It wasn't thick it was just quiet. The kind of quiet that involved things that probably needed to be said but more than likely wouldn't me. Questions that needed to asked let alone answered but there was no hope for either.

"You know," Kallen broke the silence, but hesitantly. "If I had known, back then I—" She stopped.

Lelouch's ears perked as he sat up just a bit straighter in hopes of hearing what she had to say.

"I don't think I would have done anything different."

Lelouch cocked his head, unsure of what exactly she was implying. "I'm not sure I follow…" Lelouch trailed off.

He heard a chuckle from Kallen this time. "I know, but I just thought I'd tell you. I wouldn't have done a thing different had I known."

"Known what?" Lelouch wondered out loud. That he was Zero? That he was planning to kill himself? That Suzaku and he had basically been involved since they were ten? What was it that she was impling and what was worse was that she was being so damn vague about it.

"Everything." Kallen answered before the clank of the cell door being opened then shut was all Lelouch was left with.

Lelouch sighed. Maybe C.c. had been right, he really was pretty dense when it came to the social aspects of life sometimes. He would have just blamed it on the fact Kallen was a woman; therefore, an enigma doomed to never be solved, but it was Kallen—she was the most blunt human being Lelouch knew. He sighed a second time leaning back against the wall. There was nothing he could really do about it now.

What do I Mean to you?

The next visitor he got had been one after hours. Or at least that's what it had felt like. Lelouch slept a lot of the time but was trying to somehow curb the urge somehow. He had yet to find a way. So asleep lying o n the bed, he spent the majority of his time on, Lelouch hadn't expected it in the least.

At first it rubbed just against his leg, Lelouch's eyes snapped open behind the blind fold. A second brush against the same leg had Lelouch bolting up in a daze to find the culprit.

"Mrrreow!" came the reply followed by a deep purring as plush fur rubbed up against Lelouch's side with the insistence only a cat could muster.

A smile stretched on Lelouch's face. "Hello, Arthur." He put one knee down for the cat to pad up on to his lap. Lelouch willingly accepted the cat. Though he'd never had much of a taste for cats or Arthur for that matter, he let Arthur puss as he settled on Lelouch's lap. Lelouch even reached up scratching behind his ears.

Besides it wasn't about the fact there was a cat, it was about the fact Lelouch now knew Suzaku was very actively watching, and that he was having troubles staying away. Lelouch smiled that same devious smile he hadn't used for a very long time. He was winning, and it wouldn't be long now until this knight returned to him.

Notes for this Chapter:

One: If you notice the dates I always put at the top (mainly those are there for my own purposes, but if you chance to look) you'll notice that this was started a very long time ago! Anyway so I'm calling this Chapter 10 2.0, because the version I wrote before this was even worse. But the next chapter really is better! And as big of fail as this one is it gets us from point A to point B and I hope you enjoy it.

Two: The second reason for this being so late—well uhm, so I made friends, not shocking really, with LawliPop (Go read her stuff, she's the Bee's Freaking Knees!) and we've been RPing on Live Journal—please don't kill me! I know, I know it's a bit of a lame excuse but that's all I got for ya! But to make up for it me and her are collaborating on a couple of projects that should be upcoming fairly soon.

Three: Question…What would you do if Knightmares were real?

~Reviews, like candy is always horribly hoarded and loved to the fullest extent!~