This came as a random inspiration late at night from reading really good fanfiction by some of my favorite authors, and most likely in part due to being slightly sleep deprived myself. (Thank you, school) It's been edited, added to and revised quite a bit since then. I think the concept might be (oh heck, it is) a bit too similar to the second chapter of my story Bliss, but hey, I wanted to write this, and I think it's better written, I've improved since last year when I wrote that! ^_^ Thank you for reading, and I hope everyone enjoys it!
I don't own Code Geass or its characters!
Long nights on staring dully into glowing laptops were never rare for Lelouch. There's work to be done, and twenty-four hours just isn't enough time to do it. Sighing, he glanced down the word document, at all the times, the places and the plans. His hand rested against his cheek and his head tilted in drowsiness. Perhaps twenty-four hours was enough time, and this was merely an excuse. Sleep and him just hadn't been agreeing. He closed his eyes (once again), yet felt no sleep coming, and promptly gave up. His fingers went back to clicking away at the keyboard until the sound of muffled footsteps behind him made him stop.
Of course, he wasn't the only one suffering from the joys of insomnia. Without looking up or turning around, Lelouch greeted him.
"Decided to join your fellow sleepless?"
Suzaku's reply came in a short sound. "Mm." He placed a cup of tea between Lelouch's arms, and continued over to the nearby couch with his own mug.
"It's green." He said. "You like that, right?"
"…Yeah" He blew on it and took a slow sip. The clank of it hitting the table was very much audible when he set it back down. Lelouch began to turn his attention back to the work, but the second his fingers fell into place at the keyboard; he suddenly found the work intolerable.
"…You haven't stopped." Suzaku finally said.
"There's a lot to be done." Lelouch answered. He wondered if his voice sounded casual or tense and formal but he was too tired to pursue that thought any further. "I'll take what time is convenient."
Suzaku nodded, while avoiding eye contact, and focused on the steaming tea below him as he mulled over questions. When his mouth at last opened to speak the words died on his lips long before they reached the surface and he was left wondering if that alone had already attracted the interest of the young man across from him and there was no turning back.
Lelouch let his gaze fix in on Suzaku. It was always like this now, when they talked. Uneasiness reigned. Was it a perpetual anger, or distrust? Or perhaps guilt? It might have been impossible to tell. Their emotions were all too cluttered together, bleeding freely into each other like watercolors in shades of red and blue. With some idea of what Suzaku's unspoken words may have been, he decided to risk it for himself.
"It's all right, if you still hate me. I'll welcome it. You have every right to."
Suzaku's eyes widened, clearly not expecting the boldness of Lelouch's words. He was speechless. Lelouch inhaled deeply. He had no doubt that Suzaku had almost brought up the same subject, but to this daring of an extent? He had a good reason to doubt that. The entire situation was still, with every right to be so, a raw nerve that neither was fully comfortable with.
"I said it's all right." He repeated.
"No, it's not."
It was Lelouch's turn to be surprised. He blinked, and turned away uncomfortably. Suzaku had every reason to carry some sort of hatred, of whatever degree, even after the reconciliation they had earlier. He still killed her, however accidental it had been.
"At first… I wasn't sure," His eyes remained on the mug. "But all that really matters is that I trust you now. I can't doubt your regret."
Lelouch's fingers, almost with out him realizing it, hovered at his left eye. Until the end, that eye would carry with it the Geass of the massacre princess, and his entire self would carry that burden of causing it.
"Even if connected to something that's not… mistakes are only human." Suzaku said in a soft voice.
"…Then regret must be as well," Lelouch added, leaning on the table with his hand over his eye. "'Mistakes' and 'regret' are intertwined, they are twice the burden." Lowering his arm he took his own mug and absently watched steam rise from it. "I suppose that's why we are to learn from them." The incident had stained both of them with sadness and with guilt, and they were well aware of it.
A brief silence drifted over them.
"Even so, I don't entirely forgive you." Suzaku added hardly. "Even if it wasn't your intention, I can't simply ignore it."
"I don't forgive myself either." His whisper was hard to deny. "If I forgave myself, I doubt I would be sitting here sleepless."
A melancholic and dull curiosity rose in Suzaku, nearly subconscious. "Do you dream about it?" His words were more based on instinct, rather than reason.
Lelouch leaned back against his chair and hesitated briefly. "Yes. I do. And not just about Euphy." He glanced down at his hands, noticing them tremble. Was that from the lack of sleep, sadness, or both? "I dream about… everything." He could almost see the blood dripping down his hands like it so often now did in his dreams. The blood of innocents, the blood of friends, all shed by each accident or disaster that seemed to replay before him each night from the guilt haunting him to his very core.
Half of Suzaku quickly regretted asking that upon seeing Lelouch's expression and hearing the quiet suffering lodged in his voice. The other half felt nothing but empathy as he desperately searched for the right thing to say in some sort of comfort or debt.
"If it's any relief, mine are no better."
Lelouch smiled a bit as their weary eyes met. "Unfortunately, I have no doubt about that."
"But," Suzaku stopped and leaned further forward so his elbows rested on his knees, looking rather thoughtful. "There is one… that's reoccurred a few times. It's not a bad one." He laughed. "It's wonderful, in fact. I'm lying in a field. The sky is brilliant, the grass is brilliant, and the entire scenery is breathtaking. I'm just lying there, and nothing else." Lelouch saw him tighten the grip on his mug considerably, his body going tense. It was going to get better, and therefore it was about to get worse. "And then… I notice people walking by. Euphy… Euphy comes. She twirls over, and she's laughing and smiling. She lies down next to me and it comes to my attention that there are two others lying beside me. I try to look… but I always wake up before I can see who they are." He finished, sounding a bit defeated. "Maybe it sounds ridiculous or childish, but it's so untainted, so… all around pleasant."
Lelouch frowned. "It's far from that." It had been months since he had dreamed in such a way.
"It is? Maybe… But it's just a castle in the sky. Nothing more than a fantasy."
"Perhaps. But if you treasure it, you treasure it. There's nothing wrong with it, and there's no getting around that." Before nightmares began consuming his sleep, he too dreamt of such tranquil scenes.
Suzaku smiled. "If only it would replace my normal ones. Those are nothing but blood and regret."
Lelouch took a drink of tea before sadly answering. "As are mine."
"Do you mind if I ask what your last good one was like?" The barriers unconsciously between them were beginning to crumble, allowing fewer and fewer questions to be off-limits between them.
Lelouch nodded. It had been, ironically enough, right after Shirley died. "It… was of the future. Of a gentler world. You, Nunnally, and I were back at the Kururugi Shrine, the wars were over. We talked about Ashford Academy; about some silly things the council did, about plans for holidays, for the future, about how we didn't have to worry anymore. And it wasn't just us. No one had to worry anymore."
Suzaku stared at the tired figure of his friend and something really sunk in with him right then, something he realized that he had maybe always known. His shoulders relaxed and he searched for eye contact until he found it. "…That really is what you've wanted all this time."
"…It'll never be perfect, but we'll get as close as we can." Lelouch's eyes became pleading. "Please… make sure of that."
Suzaku stared at the floor. "…I will." He promised that he would, even though in those few short months, for him, the world would lose its joy. It would settle his past guilt, and place upon him an unending agony in its stead. Yet this was his decision. No one but his own self had forced him into this. He was going to accept it, and live with it.
Lelouch leaned forward wearily, resting his elbow on the desk and his forehead on his palm. "I'm going to end this guilt… Perhaps that thought will give me some rest."
"Let it." Suzaku answered, setting his tea on the coffee table and abruptly standing up. "You more than deserve it."
"I've made far too many mistakes to deserve it."
"Maybe." Suzaku walked over. "But that doesn't matter. You're heart's been, and is in the right place." He leaned down with his hand touching Lelouch's cheek and tossed hesitation freely into the wind and kissed him softly. Lelouch tensed immediately, but his surprise lasted for only a fleeting moment before he let it pass and relaxed into the kiss, returning the unexpected act as he reached his own hand up to the other boy's face. The tension from earlier melted away to reveal some tenderness left beneath. They remained there for a few seconds, as if not wanting it to end, before Suzaku slowly pulled back, his hand lingering on Lelouch's face, their eyes still lingering on each other's. He silently turned around and went back to retrieve his tea.
Lelouch started to reach his hand and shout out his name, but hesitated. He sighed, shut his laptop down and got up in the darkness created from the absence of the screen's glowing light.
"…I'll try." Lelouch said, sinking onto the richly colored couch without another word.
Suzaku smiled. He sat down and curled up next to Lelouch so that the soon-to-be emperor rested on him lightly with their fingers interlocked, and the warm sense of contact there to soothe them both.
With that very warmth, Suzaku was suddenly too tired to think of anything else to say and let sleep claim him."…Night."
Lelouch closed his eyes. "…Night."
And for once, they slept.