"This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."

-Fight Club


"I heard a rumor today."

He looked up from his meal, examining her face with a raised eyebrow. She stared back at him with a knowing smirk, using an index finger to slowly twirl her spoon around the half-empty bowl of soup. The brief image of a shark circling its helpless victim flashed through his mind. He gently placed his elbows on the table and folded his hands in front of his chin, staring back at her over his knuckles.

"Did you now?" He answered with a slight smirk of his own.

Her eyes fell back to the swirling soup on the table, her smile growing slightly at the edges. "I did. It's about you."

He raised his eyebrows at her in response, though his smirk betrayed the act of surprise. She continued spinning the spoon around the edges of the bowl without looking up at him.

"The very trustworthy girls of Dr. Hammond's nine o'clock Calculus class claim they saw something quite interesting over the weekend." Her finger gently lifted off the spoon, letting it continue to travel in a circle around the bowl without her touch. She briefly glanced up at him before returning her attention back to the utensil in front of her. "They claim they saw you," her finger fell back on the spoon, interrupting it from its mindless revolutions, "at the movie theater. With a girl." Her eyes shot back up at him as she said the last word, gleaming with a kind of satisfaction one might expect to see from Sherlock Holmes after solving one of his famous mysteries.

The boy in front of her smiled outright and quickly tilted his head down, hiding the redness of his cheeks with his raven bangs. "Girls and their gossip..."

Her grin widened more as she leaned down over the table in order to look up at his eyes. "So?" she asked with uncharacteristic enthusiasm, "Who is it? Who managed to warm the cold Demon's heart?"

He gave her an annoyed look. "It was just a date, Witch."

"Just a date? You haven't 'dated' anyone since grade school. And answer my question!" She sat back up and poked him in the chest, earning another annoyed glare from the purple eyes across the table.

"Shirley Fenette."

"Oooooh? The ginger?" The annoyed look on the boy's face increased twofold as his cheeks turned redder.

"Yes, the redhead."

"Hmmm..." She crossed her arms and leaned back, brows furrowed in mock consideration. "She is a cute one, isn't she?"

He continued to glare at her, but didn't deny it.

"Too nice, though. And she has the personality of a wet sack of potatoes."

He scoffed and rolled his eyes in response, copying her stance by crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow at her. "She isn't my type? Then who is, Witch?"


Minutes at a Time


I

"What Beginning?"


The sounds of a garbage truck going through its morning routine thundered up the wet walls of the narrow alley, bouncing between fire escapes, rattling windows and dodging drainpipes before finally making their way through the cracked window of Lelouch Lamperouge's tiny apartment. They searched unceremoniously around the room, rebounding along the walls and ceiling before finding their victim crumpled beneath some sheets in a corner.

The man emitted a pitiful groan as more crashes and bangs poured into the cramped room, echoing over and over between his ears to the beat of his throbbing headache. He tried to take a deep breath in order to create another, louder groan, but discovered his airways were blocked by the layers of sheets over his head. He randomly clawed at the obstructions, peeling away at the folds like a lost stagehand behind a curtain before finally freeing his head and taking in his long-awaited breath. He lay there for several minutes, breathing the moist, slightly polluted air before reluctantly opening his eyes. He regretted it instantly, giving another long groan as the sunlight hit him like a hammer to the eyeballs.

Making more noises and cursing profusely, he began crawling across the cold hardwood floor of his apartment, eyes shut tight. He reached his arm out and felt randomly around on the floor until his fingers grasped the crumpled heap of the pants that he assumed he was wearing the night before. His fingers crawled through the folds of the fabric and entered a pocket, finding a lump of plastic buried in its depths.

He rolled to his side and held the object in front of him, painfully opening his eyes to examine it. The text on the tiny screen lit up to his touch, displaying a message which earned yet another groan from the young man holding it.

4 Missed Calls!

The text dimmed after a few seconds, but he could still read the little message in the light from the window. He stared at it for several seconds, and it stared back. He could almost see its smug, condescending attitude plastered across the backlit screen. 'You're not getting out of this one, idiot!' he heard it whine, its shrill, patronizing voice piercing his eardrums. 'She deserves better, anyway!'

He glared at it and almost told it to shut up, but changed his mind for the sake of his own sanity. Suddenly, it really did make a shrill noise and started vibrating as its irritating ringtone sounded off like a blaring klaxon inside the cramped room. He dropped it in surprise, but quickly composed himself and picked it up, shaking his head to try and clear his mind. He didn't need to check the screen, he already knew who it was. He took a deep breath and cleared his throat, mentally and physically preparing himself for the imminent cellular verbal abuse before flipping it open and putting it timidly to his hear.

"H-hello?" He coughed and mentally cursed himself for being so obvious.

"Lelouch?" A voice he was not expecting to hear came through the other end. His eyes shot open and he sat up quickly in surprise.

"C.C.?" He croaked, which threw him into another coughing fit as his dry throat caught up with him. The room began to spin slightly and, realizing that he sat up far too quickly considering the state he was currently in, he put a hand down to support himself.

There was a pause as nothing but static came through the phone. Then, before he could say anything, she spoke up again. "Have you been crying?"

"Ugh. What? No. Huh?"

The tiny speaker crackled as she chuckled at his words. "You're hung over," she stated matter-of-factly.

He could hear the amused smile on her face, and he couldn't help but give a little smile himself at the thought of it. "Yeah. A bit. And I'm in loads of trouble, C.C."

Another series of crackles and static came from the phone. "How many times have I warned you, Lelouch? You can't keep up with him, so stop trying."

He smiled again, despite his hangover, and scooted to the wall to put his back against it. "You don't understand, he's like some kind of machine, I don't know how he does it! The Kururugi family must have steel livers to take that kind of punishment."

He could tell she moved the phone away from her mouth to laugh at that point, her distant snickers echoing through the phone lines between them. He heard her voice come nearer as she brought it back to her lips. "Well,you don't, so stop acting like you're all macho and just limit yourself next time."

He sighed and let his head fall back, resting on the wall. She was right, of course. He just couldn't stand letting Suzaku beat him at anything, even something as childish and trivial as a drinking game. Before he could think of an excuse, her voice came through again.

"So did I just wake you up?"

He scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Sorta, yeah."

He could hear a sigh come through from other end. "Isn't today-"

"Yeah. Yeah, it is." He looked up at the ceiling, silently praying to a god he didn't believe in. He slowly breathed out his nose and moved his hand to his neck, rubbing it to try to remove the tension it had developed overnight.

"Has she called you?" She asked nervously, her voice coming through quietly.

His gaze moved to the floor, staring through a dark spot on the wood as if there was something extremely interesting to look at sitting just on the other side of it. "Yeah, four times apparently."

The speaker made a strange sound that he recognized as a whistle. "Yikes, Lelouch. You're in pretty deep this time."

"Yep."

There was another moment of silence between them as he kept staring through the floor, eyes red and glazed. He could hear her soft breathing on the other end, a rhythmic pattern he was all too familiar with. He found it surprisingly soothing.

The calm was interrupted, however, by sounds of shuffling from her end, followed by her soft voice. "Get dressed and clean up your place, I'm coming over."

Surprised, he took a second to respond. "But-"

"No 'buts!' I'm coming over! Don't call her, I'll be there soon." Click.

He sighed again and held the phone in front of him, staring at the name she had programmed into the phone herself.

Call from Cheesy Crust ended. Duration 2:19.

He chuckled despite his situation and flipped the phone shut, sliding it into his pocket - no, wait, he still wasn't wearing any pants. He clumsily stood up, using the wall to support himself, and slipped his jeans on, looking around the room to assess the damage. Honestly, it wasn't too messy; it was mostly just littered with discarded clothes and empty bottles.

Sighing for the last time, he grabbed the nearest bottle and set to work getting the apartment presentable for his uninvited guest's arrival.

Though, to be fair, calling her a "guest" is a bit of an understatement, and saying she was "uninvited" is a bit out of context. She did own a copy of his key, after all. She could come and go as she pleased, and she often took advantage of it. He would occasionally come home to find an extra dish in the sink (with a few new drinks or snacks added to his inventory in exchange), or a note written on the miniature dry-erase board (which she bought just for her purposes) berating him on the messy state of his living space. More often, he'd discover her lounging on his bed or sofa, watching TV or using his laptop (she knew all of his passwords, of course). It was odd how she basically considered his little flat her "home away from home," just a short walk from her own building (which, he had to notice, was significantly nicer than his own; why she would choose to spend so much time at his place was a mystery to him).

A sudden, gentle knock on the door plucked him from his thoughts.


Hi, readers! I hope you've enjoyed reading this first chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it, I'm really looking forward to continuing (and maybe actually finishing) this one!

I'm sorry if Lelouch seems pretty out of character (OOC). There's a reason for it, I promise. I actually have some semi-idea of the direction I'm going in with this one. :P

Please do write a review! Criticize, love, hate, ramble, confess. I don't know. Just write something, please? :)

Until next time, Ciao!