00 - Passion Pizza - 00
A Code Geass multi-part
that was inspired by a kink meme prompt,
and also goes by the name, 'that wretched pizza boy!AU thing.'
Lelouch stopped at his door step to shake some of the rain off his umbrella, shuddering when a few stray drops managed to sneak their way below his coat and run down his back. He fished out his keys, then stepped into the welcoming womb of his home that greeted him with the warmth of the hot breath of a beast, or some slightly less nauseating metaphor, and -
Well, of course, and C.C. shuffling toward him on bare feet, tap-tap-tapping like a cat, and greeting with a deadpan, "Credit card?" As if that was all the information Lelouch needed or was entitled to know.
Which, in her world, it probably was.
Lelouch groaned. "Again?"
C.C. blinked. "There's a new pizza place that just opened down the street." She waited expectantly. "Passion Pizza."
Lelouch searched his memory. "That place?" Now that she mentioned it, he had seen it, sprinting home beneath his sizzling umbrella, rain pouring so hard the drops seemed to rain up and at him like wet missiles from the streets. Just a glance from the side, really; garish paint pulsating headily out from between the bank and the mom-and-pop supermarket to his right.
Passion Pizza, in bright red letters.
He hadn't given it much thought, other than distantly thinking that the name was just the slightest bit kinky - and then promptly forgetting about it, to proceed his trek back home.
Lelouch rolled his eyes, and bent down to remove his shoes. Foregoing the obvious - "I've just come home and that's all you can think of?" - Lelouch muttered, "Pizza is expensive."
C.C. blinked as if the word 'expensive' didn't ring a bell. Apparently, in his cousin's mind, 'expensive' didn't immediately cause a chain reaction in her brain that followed the neurons all the way to the neon-bright, blinking sign of, 'therefore cannot buy.'
"So?" she asked, just to confirm that little theory. "You can easily afford that. You make good money."
"Which is exactly the point," Lelouch said, shaking rain drops off his head. "I make good money. You don't. Remind me again why I should support your gluttony?"
C.C. blinked. Then shrugged.
Any other cousin would probably have said, "Because I'm family?"
C.C. only cocked her head as if this was all a really, really stupid question, and drawled, "Because if you don't I'm going tell daddy dearest you catch for the other team?"
Shame was a hot current pulsing in his cheeks. He stood up straight. "I do not."
"Right," C.C. said, in the a way you usually only reserve that word for humoring eccentrics who claim to have married fictional characters on the astral plane. "Right."
Lelouch rolled his eyes. "I occasionally watch football for the tactics, not the sweaty, athletic men in tight clothing." Which was actually true, mostly.
C.C. sighed. "Less talk," she said. "More pizza."
Well, by gollies. He just couldn't argue with her, could he?
He leveled his best, most honest, most terrifying death glare on her, waiting for her to keel over and yelp.
C.C. just blinked. Somehow, he imagined his death glare to reflect dramatically from her invincible aura, and scatter listlessly into the corners of the room. Possibly while making dramatic whimpering sounds.
Yeah, well. No, he couldn't.
With a sigh of the utterly defeated, he reached for his wallet. And just to save the last shreds of his dignity, he added, "But just this once. You hear me?"
All things considered, things weren't so bad, really. Oh, sure, he had obligatory family dinners to attend to on weekends, no one to come home to but his eccentric cousin, and when he wasn't out meeting friends or reading, nothing to do but either argue with her over semantics or have her tease him over same, but -
But, well, things still weren't so bad, all in all, he reminded himself when he settled into his favorite reading spot, the couch in the living room. He had a respectable, if boring job at an investment firm, made handsome extra money as a chess champion, lived... Okay. Lived with a green-haired, pizza-addicted scowl-ball, but at the very least she wasn't his other immediate family, and then he had his sweet, lovely, all-encompassing si -
- len -
Well. God. Dammit. So much for that.
He got up from the couch he'd just settled into to read C. G. Jung's Traumanalyse (in German, of course. Also, limited edition), craned his neck to look for his cousin, and called, "Get the door."
"Get the -"
"Bathroom," came the reply from the second story. Then, a plaintive, "Your wallet's on the kitchen table."
Since saying 'thanks' to someone telling you where your own wallet is didn't seem very appropriate, he got up with the sigh of the defeated, snatched his wallet from the table with more force than was entirely necessary, and stalked over the still-ringing door.
"I'm coming," he grumbled. Under his breath, "Impatient moron."
Ding dong, ding dong, the bell continued to screech (it was trying to annoy him even more, he was sure of it, the improbability of an inanimate object being out for his neck notwithstanding). He closed his hand around the door handle, and yanked the door open.
He looked at the man standing at his door step. Well, for a moment he didn't see much of anything but two large and very green eyes blinking back at him.
"Did anyone order an extra-large sausage?" said two amazingly green eyes (well, technically, Lelouch supposed, a mouth hanging somewhere below those eyes, but he hadn't gotten there yet). Then those eyes blinked. "Sir?"
"Sausage?" Lelouch repeated. May have stuttered. Just a little. Like, "S-s-s-sausage?"
The man - boy, Lelouch decided internally - was starting to look a little puzzled. "Yes, an extra-large sausage pizza. From Passion Pizza...?" He squinted a little. "Did I come to the wrong address?"
Oh. Pizza. C.C. Pizza.
Lelouch cleared his throat. Worried his voice would come out uncharacteristically high-pitched, he settled on grumbling, "No, you didn't. We ordered pizza."
That's when Lelouch finally managed to tear his gaze away from those eyes, dropping it to take in the guy's appearance.
Hmm. About his height, medium built. His features were... exotic. Eastern Asian, maybe. No, most definitely. He was wet from the rain; brunette hair was matted against his temples, with several rain drops still dangling on the tips. Nice, easy smile. Handsome, but in a quiet, unassuming way, like he'd be easy to overlook in a crowd (except for those eyes).
But - and that's when Lelouch frowned - that uniform. A large red heart stitched into its center (complete with a tacky cupid's arrow piercing it), 'Passion Pizza - Where we make you come back for more!' written in bold letters, and worst of all, a tiny little hat, also adorned by a heart -
Tacky, Lelouch decided with a small raise of his upper lip.
"Um. Well?" the guy asked, cocking his head to the side, and snapping Lelouch out of his appraisal long enough for his eyes to fall onto his face again.
And then, a smile split the pizza boy's face, one that lit up his eyes right along with it.
Lelouch suddenly forgot everything about tacky uniforms and related things. Also, he might have felt the room around him swell like an orchestra hall.
The pizza boy blinked. "Are you going to take the pizza or not?"
Lelouch shook his head, forcibly deflated the atmosphere, and decided what he'd been thinking about all along: whatever they were paying this guy at 'Passion Pizza,' it wasn't nearly enough. Because. That hat.
That's what he'd been thinking about and he was sticking with it.
"Yes, thank you very much," he said, taking the pizza carton. Then fumbled for his wallet, opening it. "You take credit cards, right?"
Lelouch could hear more than see him smile. "Of course we do, sir. High-end equipment here at Passion Pizza." He shifted a little. "And that makes 24.5, sir."
To his credit, Lelouch blanched just a little. To his discredit, he said, "That much?"
A pause. "Then, well it is an extra-large family-size sausa -"
"Sausage. I get it," Lelouch said. Then, in a hurry to bring this conversation to an end, he shoved a bill into the guy's arms, and proceeded to close the door.
He caught the delivery boy's eyes then - wide and a twinkling with surprise - and he said, "But sir, that's -"
Lelouch closed the door shut without another word.
It was only when he heard the moped start up that he realized he'd given the stupid delivery boy a whole fifty dollar bill.
"And what happened to you?" C.C. asked, sauntering over to the extra-large sausage pizza on the kitchen table.
"Me?" He looked up from his book, and knitted his eyebrows together. "What should have happened to me?"
C.C. shrugged. "Nothing, I guess." She opened the pizza box, and let out a small coo of delight at seeing the chessy, fatty (...sausagey, Lelouch mentally added) goo. Taking one slice (she always took the first slice a little daintily, with one finger spread apart - he guessed it was the pizza version of holding a fine cup of tea).
Then, she looked at him over the rim of her pizza, and said, as if that was the most natural thing to say, "You just look like you had an orgasm, is all."
"What?" His voice, just this south of a scandalized yelp. Full-stop. "What? I did not."
"I figured you didn't," she said, starting to chew. "Since you never get laid and all."
He narrowed his eyes. "Since you know about my sex life -"
"Or lack of it," C.C. added, chewing.
He paused. "Or lack of it so well, you should refrain from making absurd accusations."
"It was not an accusation. It was a simile." She pointed to the book in Lelouch's lap. "The kind you find in that pretentious literature you love to read."
He was not having this conversation. He was not having this conversation. He was not -
"Just eat your pizza," he said. "It cost me a fifty."
C.C. frowned. "This pizza costs less than thirty. Trust me. I know."
Oh, he had just about had it with her - seriously. He got up, the book crashing to the floor, him bending awkwardly to pick it up - then he sent her a glare, cradled the book against his chest, and stalked up the stair case to his room. Just before he closed the door, he called, "Just so you know, that pizza really is worth fifty." Why he cared that she knew this, he didn't know. And didn't particularly care to find out.
The next day, it felt like Lelouch had the mother of all headaches gnawing away at his inner skull. He hadn't gotten much sleep last night - just why, he didn't really know - so he had half-dragged himself into Lamperouge Investments this morning, and sunken into his chair without so much as making eye contact with his co-workers. And now, to make matters worse, the letters of the documents he was trying to work on were swimming in front of his eyes.
It was then that Lelouch decided that this day could not possibly get any worse.
That's when Gino exploded into his office in a flurry of gold-yellow, sparkling blue, tightly condensed energy, and Lelouch promptly revised that theory.
"Hello, Lelouch," Gino greeted, eyes winking and dancing. "How are we this fine morning?"
What he really wanted to say was, "About a heart beat away from finding out what would happen if I threw my paper weights at you," but what he did end up saying was, "...Fine."
Gino stopped in his tracks. Studied him. Even cocked his head, in a way that was so like C.C.
Lelouch groaned. "What?"
"Well, well." A grin spread on his face, loose and sweet. "Let's look at that."
"Look at what?" Lelouch asked. Revise another theory: grandmother of all headaches. "Gino, I'm not in the mood. I gave you papers to look over yesterday." A stern look. "Are you done with them?"
"Yes," Gino said. Then with a dangerous grin, he leaned against Lelouch's desk (Lelouch's eyebrow twitched just slightly at watching several pieces of important documents getting crunched beneath his weight) , and Gino said, "So, who is she?"
Lelouch blinked. "Who is who?" He liked Gino all right most of the time - although to be honest he didn't know what a guy like him was doing working at an investment firm of all places - but sometimes he might as well have been speaking Japanese in how incomprehensible he sometimes was.
Then Gino leaned in closer. "Her." Then, when Lelouch gave him another uncomprehending look, he elaborated, "The girl you're thinking about right now."
Lelouch frowned. "There is no girl I'm thinking about. And if there was, I couldn't hear her over the screams of my headache anyway." He reached for his mug of coffee.
"Really?" Gino's face fell almost comically. "Huh. I was sure you'd caught the love bug. Sorry about that. Let's forget about that, then, huh?" Then, he let out a boisterous laugh, and slapped Lelouch on the back. Hard.
So hard, in fact, that Lelouch choked on his coffee, and ended up spitting out half of it all over the documents on his desk.
"Oops." Gino said, smile dropping. "Sooorry."
Lelouch continued to cough, clawing at his neck.
Revision #2, he thought throughout all of this:
The founding mother of all headaches.
When Lelouch fell into his couch that evening, he thought he wouldn't get up until bed time tonight. At the earliest.
And he most likely wouldn't have, if he had been living alone. Since he wasn't -
"Oh, for all. That is. Holy," he breathed, craning his eyes to look for his cousin. "C.C. The door."
Silence. Long, twining, horribly empty silence, which he was just about to tear apart with another yell when the door bell got there first, and another round of 'diiing doong' stabbed right into his temples with the precision of a hunting knife.
Lelouch cursed, jumped to his feet, stalked over to the door, and opened it, all in quick succession.
"Hello." His smile was warm, like lazy sunlight that saturated your pores on a glowing summer afternoon. Then, the dawn of recognition broadened his face. "Heh. It's you again. Thanks for the tip yesterday."
He still looked friendly, which was an accomplishment, since it was still raining, and the boy himself was still drenched. Or again, more accurately. And Lelouch wasn't quite sure why he was thinking about all and any of this.
"More sausage?" Lelouch settled on asking, in lieu of anything better to say.
"No. We got an order for an extra-large Hawaiian today."
Huh. Hawaii. Lelouch wondered if that was where he was from. Hawaii had a large Japanese population - could this boy be Japanese?
Lelouch referenced and cross-referenced everything he knew and had ever heard of or about Japan, and found it came up to little more than the basic facts everyone knew, and the names of a few authors he'd read novels of in high school.
"That'll be another 25, then, sir," the boy said, interrupting his thought process. Though he was still friendly, he looked a bit more subdued than yesterday - the weather had to be getting to him, Lelouch thought - what with his hair all over the place, and a certain tightness around (those amazing) eyes that spoke of both cold and fatigue.
Actually, the word that came to mind was bedraggled.
Then, he realized that there was bed and drag in that word. And glad, if you mixed it up.
Not that this was of any relevance whatsoever.
Lelouch thought for a second. Then, "I apologize for being rude, but do you happen to be related to the Suzukis?"
The pizza boy's features sank a little in a lack of recognition.
Lelouch went on. "Oh, you aren't? They are a Japanese family living in this neighborhood, and I was just wondering if you might be related. You remind me of them."
The boy looked like he was about to say something. Then stopped. Considered.
Suddenly, the sound of the rain drilling against the roof and slapping against the windows became very loud.
Something seemed to come to the pizza boy, and a smile - and Lelouch caught the smugness in it for just a second - spread over his face, before he said, "No, I'm afraid I haven't heard of them." He smiled a bit wider, now less smug. "I'm from the Kururugi family. You probably haven't heard of us. We're not rich."
"Kururugi, huh?" Lelouch said, pretending to be deep in thought.
"Suzaku," the pizza boy supplied. "Suzaku Kururugi."
Ding-dong-dong. Mission accomplished. Name retrieved.
Lelouch smiled (maybe just the teeniest bit haughtily), took the pizza from the boy's (Suzaku's, Lelouch mentally reminded himself) arms, paid him (25 exactly this time), wished him a good rest of the night, and closed the door.
Only to nearly jump at C.C. staring right at him, arms crossed over her breasts, unreadable expression on her face.
"You startled me," Lelouch bit, and shoved the carton into her arms. "Here, your pizza."
C.C. just kept looking. She didn't even swagger over to the table to dig into her pizza. She just looked.
And that's when Lelouch noticed that C.C. looked the most amused he had ever seen her, gold eyes bright and shiny. "Caught red-handed."
His heart pulsing beneath the thin skin of his neck and cheeks, Lelouch forced himself to remain calm, shrugging open-armed. "I have no idea what you are referring to."
C.C. shrugged. "There are no Suzukis in our neighborhood. And I know you weren't mixing up their names with any other family, either."
Though feeling like he was about to choke on his own breath, he shrugged and appeared nonchalant. "Think what you want, C.C."
Some of her hair bobbed and fell when she shook her head. "Don't worry. I'm not interested in your little school boy crush."
Lelouch resisted the urge to point out to her that he very much did not have a school boy crush - or any crush of any kind ever - but, knowing how pointless arguing was with her- "As I said, 'think what you want.'"
A smile stretched over her lips. "Yes. And what I'm thinking right now is that you won't complain about me getting pizza there again." A pause. "Perhaps not even if I switched to party-size with extra toppings -"
Lelouch was prepared today. Or as prepared as he was ever going to get.
He was not so much lounging as balancing on his sofa, one eye scanning the book he was holding open with one hand while the other other eye glanced around, slipping over and then shooing away from the door like a stray kitten from the waiting hand of a stranger.
He wasn't nervous. Or anything like that. Or anticipating anything, mind. He was just, well – he knew for a fact that C.C. had ordered more pizza today (and well, he'd pretty much lost the argument last night, or had had his ass handed to him, if one wanted to put it more accurately yet less politely), and well –
And well, if Lelouch was going to get interrupted reading his book anyway, he better get it over with sooner rather than later, right?
That didn't quite explain why he very nearly fell off the couch (and maybe let out an undignified yelp, too) at the sound of the door bell tearing through the house, but the explanation was close enough.
As soon as Lelouch had composed himself, he licked his lips, called, "I'm getting the door!" to wherever C.C. was lurking right now, then shuffled over to the door, twisted the key, and flung the door open.
"Hello, sir." Suzaku (the name was a bit weird to Lelouch still, but he was getting around to it) was standing there in the swelling darkness of the late evening, smile as nice and easy as always. "I've got a party-size Sicilian with extra pepperoni topping for you today, sir."
Lelouch set his mouth on auto-pilot. "Sicilian, yes." Actually, Lelouch had no clue what the hell was on a Sicilian and didn't know much about Sicily other than what he'd learned from mafia movies, but no matter – "My cousin has always liked Sicilian pizza." My cousin, not my girlfriend or whatever you might have thought, he tried to say telepathically. He shrugged, giving Suzaku a small smile. "I guess it was only a matter of time until she ordered one."
Suzaku (and Lelouch started to really like that name) held his eyes, seemingly enjoying the moment. "Oh, yeah. I heard it was always a girl making orders from this address – which is why I was a bit surprised to see you, sir." A pause, and maybe the telepathic message had just arrived with a bing when he said, "Cousin, huh."
Lelouch was so happy with himself it took all his will power not to congratulate himself on the spot. Which was fortunate, giving how all that happiness was run over, stuffed into a body bag, and dumped into a lake with all of Suzaku's next sentence:
"Well, that makes 34.99 then, sir," he said. His eyes should have flashed red and his voice lowered and warped into an alien drawl, prominently seen in low-quality theatrical productions of which Lelouch had absolutely no knowledge.
As it was, Suzaku just kept smiling. And Lelouch –
Swallowed. Bit it down. Even willed himself to forget about the price, forget even about C.C., forgot about everything. He bit down on his lower lip and opened his wallet, startling to ruffle through it.
Lelouch was very aware of the warm presence of the pizza boy standing right before him, his eyes like physical weights against Lelouch's face.
Suzaku wasn't the type to wear cool colors like blue or purple, Lelouch decided. No, Suzaku – and Lelouch found that he really liked to call him this in his head – partly because he was proud of his Sherlock-fu, and maybe partly because of the fact that the 'ku' in it had made Suzaku's lips purse when he'd told him – and anyway, Suzaku looked much better in warm colors.
Lelouch pretended to squint into his wallet, retrieving two bills. He opened the coin department with a click, the coins clanking and jingling against his searching fingers.
Because Suzaku's coloring was already so warm, see. 90 cents. 95 cents. Four more. The tan of his skin was warm like bread swelling beneath the heat; the green of his eyes shone vivid and alive, strangely lush and liquid, like green leaves glinting after a summer shower, and he didn't know where the hell these similes were coming from. 98 cents, one more.
All his coloring was so warm that he should always wear colors as warm as his own, definitely. Brown, orange – not the loud kind, but a bright tone of orange, orange like the sunset – oh, and red, especially red -
There was a ratching sound and it took Lelouch a moment to realize that it had been Suzaku discreetly clearing his throat.
Lelouch could feel his own eyebrow raise in displeasure.
He fished the last 1 cent piece out of his wallet moodily, said, "Here," and shoved the entire 34.99 (2 bills and something like 20 coins) into the boy's hand, whose eyes widened slightly, trying to balance the coins on his palm without dropping any.
That ridiculous hat on his head jerked, and the palpilating heart pierced by that errant arrow right along with it. It was a pity, Lelouch thought with an internal sigh. Suzaku might actually be kind of attractive without that tacky cupid's heart on his head.
"May I ask you something, sir?" Suzaku asked while balancing the mountain of coins. "Something... private?"
"Yes?" Lelouch muttered.
"How old are you?"
"Twenty-one," he answered monotonously. Something like a tight flame-red shirt that brings out the color of his eyes. Or just red, not necessarily tight. Though tight would be good. For some reason.
Suzaku smiled, and as always, it was just way too disgustingly amiable. "Me too. We're the same age. Kind of cool."
"Huh," Lelouch said, for lack of anything better to say.
He quickly referenced and cross-referenced the statistical likelihood of him looking like an immense jerk if he didn't tip the boy, and, since results came out unfavourably, reached into his pocket again, retrieved a 10 dollar bill, and put it right over the tower of coins quivering in Suzaku's palm like a makeshift blanket.
As with many things, it didn't occur to Lelouch that that had been sort-of-kind-of enormously awkward until well into the next chapter of Victor Hugo's original French edition of Notre Dame de Paris.
The realization that Lelouch had – at best – developed a bit of a crush on the stupid pizza boy, and – at worst – gotten completely infatuated with him hit him sometime between page 78 and 79.
As it often was with realization such as these, inspiration didn't just slowly descend upon like a slowly-drifting veil, but much rather hit him over the head and left him floundering much like one of Cornelia's so very well-timed slaps.
It hadn't even been provoked by anything at all. One minute he'd been reading a long-winded passage in outdated French, and the next, some well-hidden part of his psyche had slipped past the the looming, steel-tinted walls of Denial long enough to announce, point-blank, "You want him, you idiot."
You want him, you idiot. At least Lelouch knew it couldn't have been anyone but his subconsciousness talking to him, since no one else would ever dare to call him an idiot. Lelouch slapped the book shut and leaned forward, elbows resting on fanned-out legs, staring at his hands as if it had been them and not his hormones or whatever that had betrayed him.
The sound of clothes rustling came from behind Lelouch. "Do I even have to ask?" C.C. drawled.
"No." He flexed his hands, watching his slim fingers bend and release and the pale skin stretched over them crease and stretch.
That tic that liked to settle between his eyes when he was irritated swept in, rippling through his forehead.
Well. That complicated matters. Since, he realized with a start, he had absolutely no idea what to do about it. All of his previous methods of 'courtship' had been subconscious – and, gods, now realized that 'courtship' was exactly what he'd been doing, and about as gracefully as a rhinoceros doing a re-interpretation of The Swan Lake, too.
He shuffled to his feet without a word to his cousin and bristled past her into the bathroom. Switching on the lights with a punch of his fist, he stumbled toward the mirror, putting both of his hands on the mirror to either side of his head. And stared. At himself.
Tangled emotions brimming in deep-set violet eyes shone back at him. There was surprise in there, and a bit of amazement, and more expressions he could not place. A blush stood high on his cheeks.
"Lelouch Lamperouge," he told his mirror image. "I never thought I'd say this. But you're the biggest moron I've ever seen."
As aforementioned, the worst thing about having this... crush, or whatever it was, was, of course, that Lelouch had absolutely no experience with any of this stuff. The last time and only other time he'd felt anything like romantic desire for anyone had been when he had been all but eight, and it had been for a girl – and a blood relative. So the whole, "Oh my God, I kind of totally want into the pizza boy's pants for no apparent reason" thing was not only completely insane and moronic, but awkward besides.
He twirled a pen in his fingers, trying - very hard - to ignore the pile of unread documents to his right.
He decided that, if nothing else, he had to get rid of this ridiculous crush as soon as he could. Leave it behind him, so he could go back to his boring, but blissfully easy ROUTINE of going to work, going home, and fighting with his eccentric cousin. He'd never thought he'd pine for the capital letters of that word ever again.
So, he made his decision, got up from his desk, walked out into the buzzing office world and the clirring, ticking, chattering aural mess of it all, and wandered around until he located Gino somewhere hidden behind a huge fax machine and surrounded by the clutter of at least a dozen coffee mugs. Also, not alone.
Gino was straddling a chair backwards, chin resting on the back rest while both of his hands were braiding Kallen's hair, who was clicking away on her computer and mumbling something to Gino every so often. Lelouch froze in his steps for a moment, watching how Gino guffawed his low, throaty trademark laugh while letting the strands of her hair slide through his fingers with an expression on his face that was nothing as much as lovestruck.
The tangle in Lelouch's stomach tightened at the thought whether he'd ever be caught staring at that damn pizza boy like that. And who would live to tell the tale.
Sauntering over to the couple, he cleared his throat.
Gino almost fell out of his chair at the sight of him. Kallen's eyes widened and she whipped herself to her feet, bowing and greeting with a low, "M-Mister Lamperouge."
He eyed the both of them.
Gino gave him a little wink and said, "Good morning, Lelouch."
This was a bad idea. This was a very, very bad idea. But – "Gino, come to my office." And again, that tic between his eyes. "Right now."
"Hey – I'm sorry, man," Gino said the moment the both of them spilled into Lelouch's office. "I swear I was working – and not just on Kallen's braids – but, then, while I was working – so hard, man – that's when she was suddenly complaining about the hair falling into her face, and -"
"I don't care," Lelouch bit, and realized with a start that he really didn't. Any other time, and he'd probably give Gino extra work (a whole stash of it) for philandering with his girlfriend on the job, but today –
He stopped. His mouth felt as if he had dry-swallowed a pill. Licked his lips. "I -" Oh hell, just get it over with. "I need to ask you a favor."
Silence. Lelouch felt the dry heat-gusts of the air conditioned snuggle against his back. And the clock toll a full hour across the town square.
After a few centuries of that, Gino blinked, eyes a little wide, lips a little parted – and then he smiled suddenly, eyelids lowering and mouth twisting up, and he said, "Sorry – Kallen would kill me. Besides," he shook his head as if he regretted it very much. "I don't swing that way."
It took a moment for the neurons in Lelouch's brain to spark to life and figure out what that meant. "Not that kind of favor, you moron."
"Oh." Gino smiled. "Oh. Great, then."
"You know what?" Lelouch hissed. "Forget about it. That was a stupid idea."
"What, no." He straightened himself with pride. "I'm your secretary."
Lelouch eyed him. "Don't remind me."
Gino skipped over the insult. "And as your secretary, I'm responsible for fulfilling all your favors – well, except for those."
The headache-monster in Lelouch's head raised his head, deciding it wanted another tasty brain-snack. He pressed two fingers against the bridge of his nose. "I wanted to ask for advice." He snapped his head up. "And just to be clear, if you tell any living soul, you're so fired you -"
" – will have a body riddled with third-degrees," Gino finished easily. "And I'm still here, right?" A glance down his body. "And not very fired."
Lelouch sighed. Licked his lips. "So, hypothetically speaking," he started. Licked his lips again. "Hypothetically speaking, if I had a crush on someone – and no, it's not you, and no, it's not Kallen or anyone else in this office, either.. " his voice lowered, embarrassed, and he finished with a weak, "What would you suggest I do about it?"
Gino looked at him for a moment. Then, a smug grin split his face, and he announced, "Woot, I was right. You are so totally in love with someone."
"Not in love," Lelouch said. "I don't even know him."
He realized his mistake the second he'd bitten that last word. And blanched.
Gino's face lit up like a glow-bug. "Him?"
Lelouch mumbled obscenities under his breath, feeling the horrible spear of shame skewering through his intestines. Well, he tried to reason, at least that was out of the bag – and he figured having a crush on a guy was preferable to having one on your own sister. If nothing else. So what if he was clinging at straws here?
"...Yes," Lelouch said, and felt not unlike he'd just confessed to the murder of a dozen infants in front of a sour-faced judge. "There is someone like that."
Gino looked like he was about to say a Gino-thing – Lelouch could always tell when he was about to, his chest expanding with an important intake of breath, his eyes shining – but then he decided to forego that and just said, "There is a guy you have a crush on and you don't know what to do about it. That's it?"
How could Gino make it sound so simple? "In quick summary, yes."
"Duuude," Gino said sympathetically.
He knew his eyebrow was twitching, he could just feel it. "Well, can you help me or not, because if not, I'd really prefer you get out right now and never mention this to me ever again. Ever."
"No, no, no," Gino held up his hands defensively. "I can help. Gino Weinberg, the love therapist, at your service!"
Lelouch looked at him.
Gino cocked his head. "That was terribly cheesy, wasn't it?"
"More than the extra cheese topping from Passion Pizza. From what I've seen."
"So who is it?"
"I can't tell you that," Lelouch said. And maybe he'd sounded a bit more irritated than he'd intended.
"Well, how can I help you if you don't tell me that? You know, guy A doesn't equal guy B doesn't equal guy C; it's important to know who we're dealing with."
"Your insightful analysis of arithmetics is astounding," Lelouch said blandly.
"I know I'm awesome," Gino said, "but you haven't answered the question."
It took all of Lelouch's self-control not to moan in frustration. But as much as he'd like to pretend it wasn't so, he had to admit that Gino had a point; if he didn't know who he was dealing with, how could he give advice? And so, Lelouch closed his eyes, and muttered, in the voice of a man admission to the murder of a dozen infants and his entire country in front of a sour-faced judge, "It's the stupid pizza boy."
"No. Way," Gino said.
"Yes way," Lelouch hissed.
"Dude." Gino's eyes widened, looking like he was collecting his thoughts. "That is like the most perfect porno cliché ever. Ever." He sounded like he was in awe.
"It's a what now?"
Gino's face fell. "A porno cliché. You know, 'has anyone ordered a large sausage?'"
Lelouch blanched at the memory of that phrase. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he said caustically.
"And you know what, I believe you. It's astounding."
"And now what does that mean?"
A grin stretched across Gino's lips. "Lelouch," he said conversationally, coming a little closer. "How old are you?"
"Twenty-one," he said. What was it with people and asking him his age lately?
"And you've never seen a pizza boy porno?"
"Well, excuse me for not knowing that that was required viewing." He frowned. "And if you don't have anything more to say, you should -"
"I'm getting out, all right," Gino said, straightening his spine. "With you. Right now. We're doing a little excursion." He smiled. "To the porno store."
Lelouch blanched. "We're going to the where?"
Author's Notes: The prompt on the kink meme was, "Suza/lulu + CC, Lelouch promises he'll no longer be stingy on paying the witch's pizza deliveries and when he met this pizza delivery boy." LMAO.
And much thanks to Gino for pointing out the obvious.
So. This will be a multi-chapter (my first multi for this pairing, though I've written a few one-shots). I just loved the prompt so much, I can't even tell you! (Well, you're probably noticing...). Yay for random Gino/Kallen?