He hates her smile. A bittersweet curve edged in regret, condescension and satire. How she wears it permanently, a personal scar tattooed on a canvas of flawless skin. Bearing a striking resemblance to his own dirtied mask of lies. The mask of Zero.

Perhaps that is the reason he despises her so. The similarities between them are uncanny. Unnatural. Like twin embryos once fused in a mother's womb, he can't deny the invisible thread that draws them together.

"Did I wake you?" she asks, turning fully to face him.

She wears a guarded frown now. Her hair sparkles platinum under the silver moonlight and the silhouette of her body is brought into solid definition, under the flimsy fabric of her borrowed shirt. She has on nothing beneath.

It irks him to no extent that the sheer possibility of an equal exists. For amidst bloodshed and broken bodies, she too prevails; soldiering on against the tides of fate; eluding death like a thief in the blackest of nights.

She never gives up.

Neither does he.

Lelouch hesitates for a moment before getting off the bed, leaving a barren nest of crumpled cotton, newspaper clippings and torn pages behind. Their hideout is a sour contrast from the lavish décor of the Academy. There are holes in the roof and the heat escapes far too easily through the cheap, poorly constructed walls. He looks out of the window, eyeing the dwindling campfire and shadowed group huddled around it. Ohgi and the others must be discussing their next move.

"I thought I told you to only use those in case of emergencies," he comments, glaring at the discarded pile of credit cards on the desk. Light crumbs of pizza crust litters the area. The telltale colors of cardboard boxes peak forth through carelessly stuffed black bin bags.

"It was an emergency," CC replies coolly, brushing her hair with slender fingers. She takes her time finishing off her food, chewing lazily as she watches him watch her.

Lelouch tries not to get angry but something about this girl sets him off.

"If they get a hold of our position because you can't control your cravings…"

"They won't," she interrupts, challenging him with a flash of her amber gaze. A blasé arrogance that rivals his. They stare at each other for a while, each unwilling to relent until she cocks her head to one side, commenting playfully. "Besides, I gave the deliveryman a little something to guarantee his silence."

Lelouch blinks. Confused. So accustomed is he to seeing CC as nothing but a mere means to an end; an acknowledged but indisposed comrade in this bloody battle that having her now, in full feminine flirtation, unnerves him.

The young immortal rolls her eyes. "It's sad; how much you've aged past your years." She makes a pitiful sound in her throat, aggravating the young man further.

"Don't lecture me, witch," he sneers in a low voice, "I've been in that head of yours. For all your talk, you've had little to none experience yourself."

CC shakes her head, pushing herself off her perch at the window; moving with an ethereal grace that he can't help but envy – knowing that she can and will beat him in any physical encounter.

"True," she finally concedes with a low bow, stalking closer till he towers at least a head above, staring down with open hostility. "But even I enjoyed the pleasures of youth once. However tame they may have been, at least I have lived." CC brings a hand up, tracing his chin with the lightest of touches.

Before she can continue further, Lelouch grabs her, purposefully digging his nails into fair skin as he spits out, "I have no time for your mind games CC. While you're here reminiscing, Britannia carries on infecting the world with its foul seed. My father, brothers, sisters… Suzaku, they reign triumphant over the weak. Squashing and forcing their beliefs down those who don't even stand a chance. These trivialities you speak of – they mean nothing! Only power matters and if you intend to stand here and lecture me on something so pointless, I'd rather you just leave and find someone else to bother."

He doesn't mean to get so worked up. It's just the way she's smirking, and the closer she's getting and her mocking words… The smell of her shampoo, the moisture on her parted lips. Her words hit him like an unsuspected ambush, and in his panic he strikes back – twice harder and against better judgment.

"If you've got an itch to scratch, I've heard some of the men down at the Black Knights camp would be more than willing. They've just been longing for a good whore to pass the time."

CC's slap is a harsh distinct sound in the dreary room. He massages the reddening bruise on his cheek, staring daggers. Lelouch narrows his gaze, not expecting the light bubble of laughter echoing throughout the room.

.

"I'm sorry," she says cheerily and at first, he thinks she's referring to her outburst but no, CC, being CC, never apologizes. "I think your dear friend Kallen already has that covered."

The young witch turns to walk away but finds herself pulled back and pushed roughly against a wall. The impact is hard enough to knock the wind out of her, had she been a normal human being. Lelouch grasps her wrists, trapping them at her sides, face mere inches from hers. Perhaps it's from shock or curiosity, the girl doesn't put up a fight – at least, not for now.

"Why are we doing this?"

It's not the question that surprises her but rather the young man's tone, causing something within to stir. He sounds tired, an exhaustion that has no end, clinging pathetically to the syllables of his words. No longer angry or annoyed, just weary of the world.

"What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean," he emphasizes with a jerky tug on her hands, "Why are we fighting?"

CC doesn't reply. For once, there is no catty remark to bait the masked vigilante into yet another banter of wordplay. Just an eerie quiet that ropes him in, deeper into pools of glossy gold.

It's the last thing he expects to see. A blush that stains her cheeks, creeping down the slender muscles of her neck and then, further.

"Lelouch…"

He never thought his name could sound so… innocent. Never thought she could posses such an aura. This is, after all, an immortal being shackled to witness the atrocities of human nature. Centuries of war and murder has sculpted her into a vacuum devoid of emotion but here she is, representing something so pure, so unimaginably true, that he fears to acknowledge it – scared of the implicit consequences.

CC flinches when Lelouch retracts, fighting against everything in her to remain still when thumbs brush the tender flesh of her wrists. This feeling… it overwhelms her. It's unlike anything she's ever experienced; as invigorating as life itself, as freeing as Death's sweet kiss. It beats even the sweet climatic power of Geass.

"I…" she starts, eager to escape. She needs to rethink this through; analyse the situation. Herself. Never before has she felt so out of control. "I… was out of line. Overlook this. I did not meet to offend you with my words."

Lelouch doesn't know what to say. Having her so troubled and unsure makes him cautious. Did she plan this all? Just another ploy to mess with his head. Its such an unexpected move and she plays her part so beautifully; so convincingly.

He hates her even more now, for trumping his expectations yet again; getting one step ahead of the game.

"Wait," he calls after her. "We aren't done."

CC halts, hovering on silent feet. Logic screams for her to leave but her heart, something she has so readily disregarded in the past, roots her to the floor.

"I… don't get you."

She looks up, taking in the expression on Lelouch's face. She's seen it before, during his fights with Suzaku, at Shirley's death... Nunally's disappearance. He has no mask to hide behind now and it's a rare thing to witness. Especially from someone who holds the world in his hands. He is tethering so precariously on the edge of patience. Of sanity.

"At least with my enemies, I understand their motives. What they're fighting for. But with you, it's just… static. You have no purpose in this world and yet you linger, joining a cause that you may or may not even believe in. Does it matter? If Britannia falls and the Japanese prevail? Do you even care about the outcome of it all? Then again, why should you, when whatever happens, you'll still be here. A ghost of the past. CC, why? Why do you do nothing when you, of all people, can make a difference?"

It begins to rain. A thundering downpour that rattles against the tin roof. They hear some shouting outside, orders to pack things up before everything gets drenched.

CC closes her eyes, breathing deeply before she carefully chooses her answer. The cold is getting to her. She can feel goosebumps spreading across any expanse of skin left uncovered by his old t-shirt.

"You ask me, Lelouch Lamperouge, eleventh prince of Britannia, why I do nothing? Why I watch so passively as the world continues to rot in its own sins? It's simple. Because I have already made my choice."

Lelouch snarls, not liking her answer. "What the hell does that mean?"

"Humanity will never change. Be it from burning innocents at the stake to wiping out an entire nation with nuclear weapons. I chose, centuries ago, not to help because they simply do not deserve it. But now-"

"How can you say that?" Lelouch practically shouts, not allowing her to finish, "Then what about people like Nunally, who can't even defend themselves. Are they unworthy of your help?"

"Yes, it would seem so. In the past, I would not have cared for the weak. Nor would have I allied myself with the strong. Such labels are so petty and hypocritical when God made us all to be equals. But once again, human interpretation has spoiled even the most basic definition of what it is to be human. But… ever since meeting you, Lelouch… I can't say that I'm totally detached from things anymore. Ever since that day, when you found me… Having not even spoken a single word to you, I knew that you could change the world. Not the gambling schoolboy nor the abandoned Prince. You. That's why I bestowed Geass upon you."

Lelouch scoffs, "Just because you gave me Geass doesn't mean I'm indebted to you."

"I don't expect anything from you, Lelouch. Nothing other than the promise of our pact. But without Geass, you would be nothing. Just a discarded chess piece in your father's Empire. The war, the Black Knights, Zero… You say I've done nothing but I have done everything."

Lelouch growls. Once again, he fails to anticipate her next move. She has him cornered with all the resources for his demise and yet, she doesn't attack.

"You're wrong," he counters unrelentingly, refusing her victory, "Geass has aided me tremendously, I admit, but with or without it I will crush Britannia and all that it stands for. Defeat knows no stronger adversary than I, and I refuse to succumb. The power of the powerless, they will be my sword and Zero, the symbol that combines hope, strength and total annihilation into one, will be my Geass. CC, I will win this war and eradicate those who have sinned and those who have seen sin yet make nothing of it. Only through such action can the world achieve harmony and balance; only through such means can peace become a reality."

The girl shakes her head. Lelouch stands before her with hands fisted at his sides. She spots a slight tremble in them. The clench of his teeth sets off a tick in his jaw and his lips, red from the relentless bite of tongue, bleeds freely. His hair falls like a curtain of the darkest ebony; a solar midnight stretch that she feels compelled to run her hands through. He truly is a captivating specimen, only made more beautiful by his flaws.

"Don't you see, Lelouch? It's not about winning or losing. It's about doing what you think is right. The heights one can achieve by pursuing a goal that you truly believe in… There are no limits. Your Father triumphs over his enemies because, as wrong and perverted as they are, his beliefs are aligned with his heart. He does not seek to please his audience but only himself. It's the only way to live. And it's the only way to die without regrets." CC takes a step towards him, reaching out once again to trace his face. This time, he doesn't pull away nor try to stop her. "As you fight for what you believe in, so do I. I believe in you, Lelouch. Without even knowing you, I believed in you and all that you stand for. Giving you Geass was a small matter but binding myself to you, entrusting my most sacred desire to be fulfilled by you... Can you now say that I have done nothing?"

They are merely inches apart. She's breathing quickly and yet, so is he. Their proximity does dizzying things to his head, engulfing it in a haze that smothers and suffocates. He's never been so lethargically alert; eyelids droopy, body lax but brain buzzing into overdrive. A quiet kind of desire brews in the pit of his stomach, gaining hunger by the masses with each passing second he spends inhaling the same cold, damp air she does. Till the gap between them closes and both their eyes slide shut.

He can taste innocence. Like streaks of honey on his tongue, it's the last thing he expects out of someone such as herself. He can't remember who made the first move but such petty things don't matter anymore, especially not when his mind is totally enraptured by the keen diligence of her mouth. So sweet and so insistently hot, she brands his very psyche with the memory of this kiss, threatening to overthrow his senses.

Biting his bottom lip, CC moves closer. Pale fabric creates an electric kind of friction between their trembling bodies, mimicking in tandem the dance of their tongues. She shivers when he pushes his hips into her, eyes fluttering at the sensation of his arousal digging into her stomach.

"CC…" he calls, voice already hoarse – Adam's apple bobbing in rapid response to the need for air. He gulps down in greedy gasps, not quite reaching equilibrium because she seizes the opportunity to suckle at the tender spot just below his ear, biting down hard enough to earn a sharp, gratifying buck from him.

There is little coordination as they maneuver towards the bed. Lelouch tugs impatiently at her clothing and CC almost trips over her own feet in her hurry. They land with a soft 'oof', him cushioning her with a barrier of solid muscle and distinct bones. The moonlight outlines the hardened planes of his frame and the young immortal frowns at her lover's unhealthy exterior. A manifestation of an obsession gone too far. She blames herself for his lack of enthusiasm for life. The past year or so, watching him disregard too many simple pleasures in pursuit of matters far beyond his age…

"I'm sorry," she quickly announces, in between clumsy kisses, half-heartedly hoping he doesn't hear it. And at first, she thinks he hasn't but the tension in his body says otherwise. Pulling back, she meets twin irises that sparkle an extraordinary indigo.

Lelouch takes his time observing her. The gravity of his gaze punctuating every inch of naked skin till she shifts uncomfortably in his lap. She is completely and utterly vulnerable. This time, he knows, without a doubt, her apology holds truth. Finally open, defenses down – she is the girl of the past; before Geass, before immortality. The girl who had once possessed dreams and ambitions, laughed and cried.

The cold makes her shiver, and he is drawn to the sway of her body. He feels something pull within, an inferno that flares into a blazing existence, drawing on the life force of her pulsing blood. He travels lower, taking in the tight muscles of her stomach as they compress under the span of his spidery fingers and then, she shakes completely when he pushes them, finally, into her slick heat. A slow sinewy movement that causes them both to release a strangled gasp. She, at the mind blowing sensation of having him touching her so intimately and he, at her insatiable tightness. Her walls clench around the lone digit and Lelouch can't help but indulge in what is to come, body surging through the multitude of possibilities of how he should take her. Many buried fantasies claw to the surface, fuelled by her echoey cries and his harsh breathing.

CC's face scrunches up, mouth open in a permanent grimace, baring vampric incisors that glow an unearthly bone white in the dark. She arches her back, arms locked in an awkward position; at her sides but poised with unrelenting rigidness. Like a work of art, her body curves in the strangest of ways. It's inexplicable, how she can move like that, undulating hips towards his hand whilst bending away as if scorched.

She rides her pleasure shamelessly. Ignoring any sense of decorum as she pursues the fruit he dangles so cruelly before her. Just the look in his eyes is enough to push her further, force her into submission as he releases a torrential storm over her senses. And when he curls his index finger, brushing past the slightly gravelly surface inside of her, she jerks – stopping completely as if frozen in time.

Her moan is concealed through the firm cage of her teeth. Instead, a murmured whimper escapes, one that is dashed with staccato pauses, in time with the violent spasms of her body. The fire is burning so bright. Oh God. Everywhere he touches; her skin, her face, her lips – she explodes like the death of an aging sun. In his exploration he totally conquers her, quelling a long accustomed dominance and self-preservation. CC does not quite manage to deal with it all, finally falling forwards into his hard embrace, knowing that somehow, just like he'll keep his promise, he'll always catch her.

The smell of soap surrounds him. It reminds him of a simpler time, where he, Suzaku and Nunally would share baths after one of their adventures into the grasslands of Osaka. And, perhaps it's the brief pause in his actions or the glossiness in his eyes that CC bends forwards, capturing his mouth in a soft, gentle kiss.

A silent thank you as well as a plea. "Stay with me," she says, voice roughened with satisfaction; keen for an encore.

With a signature smile, she trails a dangerous path down his body and it doesn't take long for him to be rooted back into this reality. However ugly it may be, it suddenly seems less desolate with her shadowing his existence. How blind he has been, to think her a nuisance before. I've been… so wrong. Not only did she grant him the power of the gods but she has amplified the very meaning of life. She has renewed a hollow soul, breathed purpose and clarity into what was once fogged by his own doubts and failures.

"CC..." Lelouch hisses, when she wraps a hand around him. He forces himself to watch; to drink in every second of her wicked enchantment.

Like a succubus, she inflicts as much pleasure as she does pain. Her hand, bringing him to the edge constantly, stops short of the precipice. Once, twice, three times – and he growls, unable to take anymore of her teasing.

Crystal beads flow freely from the tip of him. CC dips her head in a graceful swoop, forcing him to finally make a sound that's dripping in raw abandon. Lelouch rarely swears but he finds himself cursing in a voice that's just too alien to be his. She's driving him insane with her movements; the way her tongue swirls his swollen head and the sheer sight of his length disappearing between bruised lips. She works over him attentively, throat swallowing in firm, stroking movements.

"CC… S-stop, I can't-" Lelouch pushes her away and she allows it albeit with a discontent huff. He lies, exhausted and so very tightly wound that not a minute passes, does he tackle her carelessly, switching their positions.

Her eyes, once again, flash like gold diamonds threaded through blackened rubble. She's breathing heavily, almost as harshly as him and if it isn't for the slow parting of her legs, one would think she would be gearing to attack. A panther prepared to sink its fangs into something weak and unsuspecting.

Lelouch has a hard time concentrating. The honeyed heat that flows freely from her center asphyxiates his senses like a whirlpool; sucking all thought and rationale into a hellish abyss. He tests her with the barest graze of his fingertips, enthralled by the sounds she emits and the extent of her readiness.

"Please," she begs, uncharacteristically awash with desperate need and he concedes, at last, unable to tread the fine line of barely constrained control any longer.

He pushes forth like a brazen bull, entirely possessed by primal instinct. For once, he doesn't rely on intellect or cunning to guide his passage. What leads him on is simply the crushing promise of pleasure.

The breach of her barrier dims her ecstasy somewhat. She makes a guttural noise, nails digging into the tendons bunched just above his tailbone. It hurts, she thinks to herself, the pain taking her back to a time where such basic emotions even mattered.

"Are you… are you OK?" she hears Lelouch whisper. Hot breath cradled in the shell of her ear.

She answers with a resolved look, mouth thinning into a grim line and he nods, brow lines drawing together as a forced stillness overcomes him. It gets tolerable, after a while. Her body adjusts through the excruciating seconds, slowly coming to accept the large length inside of her. And then, like the dying embers of a flame, she insinuates the first movement.

Lelouch is in sensory overload. To have her, his CC, like this, blisteringly open for the taking, completely demolishes any pale comparison of past experience. Shirley, Euphy… Kallen. They are diminutive contrasts that fail to conquer her reign over his mind, body and soul. She is the only one capable of ruling alongside him; the only one worthy. His true equal.

He starts slowly, wanting to prolong this but she suppresses all attempts with her seeking mouth and filthy words. With every thrust, he sears them both closer to release. Bending down, Lelouch latches on to a pert nipple, suckling like a greedy infant whilst his teeth bite playfully into the baby-soft skin.

"Lelou..!"

CC's cries sound sweeter than the defeat of even his greatest enemies. A piercing symphony infused with longing and uninhibited restraint. Lelouch grabs her legs fiercely, hooking them onto his shoulders before pushing inside her once again. The angle allows him to penetrate deeper and suddenly, everything is amplified. She vocalizes her approval through thready whines, hands shimmying up and down the sweaty slopes of his forearms only to clutch blindly at the damp sheets – thankful for the downpour outside muffling her cries.

Lelouch tries to contain his groan but everything is slipping out of control. He drives into her core whilst his eyes dart from her flushed face to bruised lips to the magnificent perfection that is her body, writhing majestically under his. Finally, they settle to where they are joined. He ghosts a hand over the bud of her arousal nestled amidst wet lips; stretched around the point of his entry; shiny with lubrication.

"Lelou, please…I'm going to-" CC is unable to form coherent sentences.

Watching him touch her in such a way sends her up a second peak, one that's higher and closer to a more intense euphoria. The rough texture of his thumb over her clit causes her to buck and when he hits that certain spot inside of her again, she finally plummets.

Three little words that disappear all too easily within the silent room. Her body is taut, like a tightrope – head buried amidst the cotton pillows, back in a perfect curve. Her walls are unforgiving in their purpose, clutching him so tight that he is only spared moments before he shoots his seed into her.

He collapses, elbows nudging into the thin mattress as he attempts to keep at least some of his weight off of her. She's still moving around him, milking the very last drop of the most intense climax he has ever experienced. Sensitive and pulsing, he pulls out, grunting at the sensation of her clinging heat, unwilling to offer him release. About midway, CC stops him with her arms, forcing him to remain within her.

Stay. She doesn't need to say the words and he obliges, energy spent; mind buzzing from satisfaction.

Lelouch's eyes tire but he fights to stay awake, wanting to take in every single moment of their encounter. CC too, struggles to overcome the sly deception of sleep but it is she who falls prey to it first. He smiles a small smile, brushing away the threads of hair that stick to her face. Pulling a blanket over the both of them, he spots out of the corner of his eye, the red insignia emblazoned above her hipbone. A crude reminder of reality. But he refuses to give in. There is no war to be fought tonight – at least, not for the few hours till dawn breaks. Just the soothing afterglow of two lovers basking in the presence of hushed whispers and stolen kisses. Eventually, the fallen Prince slips into a dead slumber, leaving behind an entanglement of bruised skin and slender limbs to join his Queen in a world much happier and simpler than this.