"She likes you, you know."

Suzaku flipped the television remote between his fingers periodically, switching between watching the show and glancing at Lelouch.

"I know, that's why we're dating," Lelouch replied, annoyed.

Suzaku smirked. "Not her. The other one."

He could see the expression in Lelouch's face twitch. "What are you talking about?" His eyes remained fixed on the television.

"Who else could I possibly be talking about, Lelouch? I talked to her today, and she likes you."

Lelouch raised his eyebrow at his friend. "And she told you this?"

"No, of course not. But I can tell."

"Yeah, I'm sure you can," Lelouch responded sarcastically.

A few minutes of silenced passed between the friends before Suzaku broke it during a commercial break. "I think you should be dating her instead."

Purple eyes darted to the boy with a hint of anger. "What?"

Suzaku pretended not to notice the piercing gaze. "Shirley isn't your type, you're only dating her because she's stable and practically worships you, not to mention it keeps the other girls off your back."

The gaze intensified. "Those are some pretty strong accusations, Suzaku."

"Yeah, but they're true and you know it. I think you're afraid to date that witch. You know she's smart, she's powerful, she's downright terrifying in a lot of ways. Plus, she's led you to believe that she's not interested in you, or in any guys for that matter. I can see through her bull, though. You should give her a try, see how it goes."

"Shut up, Suzaku, I'm happy with Shirley."

Green eyes examined Lelouch for a moment, as if maybe he would suddenly decide to do something extraordinarily interesting. Nothing happened. They finally returned to the television.

"Do you really think she likes me?" Lelouch suddenly asked.


He raised an eyebrow at the boy skeptically.

"Almost definitely. I'm pretty sure."

"Whatever," Lelouch sighed and snatched the remote out of Suzaku's hand, "She's a good friend, and I like it that way. I'm not going to ruin something that good with a bunch of stupid decisions based on rumors and undefined feelings. Thanks for the advice, but I'm happy the way things are right now."

Suzaku shrugged his shoulders in response. "Hey, it's your life, man."

He watched her green hair sway back and forth as she happily led the way through the nearly empty shopping center with a gleeful smile stuck on her face and hands held behind her back as if she were resisting the temptation to reach out and touch every display that drifted past. One thing that had always been consistently true about the girl was that her happiness was the most contagious thing ever exposed to humanity. Part of the reason he could put up with her constant teasing and abuse was because, no matter how much he outwardly complained, he loved seeing that signature malicious grin of hers.

She pointed at a flower stand to her right and, without warning, abruptly turned into a small store to her left. Lelouch glanced at her before she disappeared, then made his way to the flower stand to buy the first item on C.C.'s list.

He chose a bundle of roses out of the wide variety of flowers organized in the stand and quickly paid the man behind the display. He let the man keep the change and turned to enter the store that C.C. had ducked into earlier. He paused at the entrance of the little shop, noticing it was a jewelry store, and saw C.C. at the opposite end examining herself in a large mirror on the wall. He slowly walked up behind her and looked at her reflection, noting the necklace she was now wearing; a small, simple golden cross with a topaz stone in the center. It matched her eyes perfectly, he noticed.

"A cross?" He asked, still examining her in the mirror. "You've never been much of a believer, as far as I remember."

She stared at her reflection, fiddling with the necklace thoughtfully. "Of course I don't believe in that nonsense, Lelouch."

"Then why a cross?"

She turned slightly, looking at herself from a new angle. "I've always liked the cross. The story behind it. The man who sacrificed himself for the sins of humanity, in order to save us from ourselves." Her eyes raised questioningly to his in the mirror. "Don't you agree?"

"Of course, I just never really thought you'd be the type to wear a cross."

She smiled as her eyes went back to the necklace, fumbling with the chain behind her neck. "There's a lot you don't know about me, Lelouch." She glanced back at him, giving him that signature smirk of hers.

He grinned and reached up to unlock the necklace for her, placing it in her palm. "I guess that's one of the things that makes you special."

She turned to look at him, surprised, but he had already moved to scrutinize one of the display cases nearby. "So what do you think I should get for Shirley?" he asked, leaning over the glass with his hands behind his back.

She blinked at him, taking a moment to respond. "Oh, um... It's hard to go wrong with jewelry, you know. It doesn't have to be anything flashy or expensive, but it needs to be impressionable. Don't get anything too big, but make sure it's not tiny either. It should be heartfelt, but not sappy."

Lelouch stared at her blankly. "That's... not confusing at all..."

She winked at him and moved to the display next to her, examining its contents closely. "Girls are confusing. You know this."

"Not all of them! If it were you, I'd just buy you a Pizza Hut gift card and be done with it."

"Yes, but I'm not like most girls. Plus, if it were me, you'd be in a lot worse shape than a hangover right now for sleeping in on our anniversary."

He chuckled and shook his head. "Point taken."

Suddenly, C.C. stopped and pointed at something behind the glass. "These."

He moved to her side and squinted at the jewelry she was pointing at; two simple emerald earrings. "Why these?" he asked.

"Seriously, Lelouch? It's pretty obvious."

He stared at them for a few seconds, scratching the back of his head.

"Something to do with color?" she prompted.

He looked back at her blankly.

She sighed at him. "Her eyes, Lelouch. They match her eyes."

"Oh! Right! Of course! I... yeah, I knew that." He continued to scratch the back of his head as his face turned pink. "Those will work, then?"

She gave him a look and sighed again. "Yeah, they'll work. Buy them, then let's get the rest of the stuff and head back to her place. We've got a big night to set up."

"I talked to Suzaku earlier." It was late, but it wasn't unusual for him to call her around this time. He lay back against the wall with his legs stretched out on the bed in front of him.

"Heh, me too. He's on another one of his crazy romantic escapades again. I'm guessing he told you that I'm suddenly madly in love with you or something, right?"

Lelouch laughed loudly, lightly tapping his head on the wall behind him. "Yeah, something like that. He sure has things figured out, doesn't he?" He prompted sarcastically.

He could hear C.C. chuckle, and could picture her in that giant bed of hers, completely surrounded by pillows and clutching that ridiculous stuffed pizza animal. "Yeah, he told me something about how we are truly connected, and that somehow we haven't realized that we're meant for each other. Where does he get these ideas?"

"I don't know, I think he watches too much TV. He can't seem to accept that it's possible for a guy and a girl to be just friends. I mean, you and I have known each other pretty much our whole lives, you're my best friend. It's not like I'm going to give that up for some silly romantic endeavor."

"Yeah, but you can't explain that to him, he just doesn't want to hear it." She replied with annoyance in her voice. "It doesn't matter, though. You're my best friend, Lelouch, and I'm really grateful for that. I wouldn't want it any other way."

He couldn't help but smile a little, and was glad she couldn't see him. "Alright, alright, don't get all sappy on me! But I do agree. Best Friends Forever, right?"

She laughed. "Please don't remind me of those stupid rings! I had only recently managed to suppress the embarrassment from my memory. Why did you ever think it was a good idea to buy those!"

"Hey, I was eight! Give little me a break! And mock all you want, I know for a fact you still have yours in the little side pocket of your backpack."

There was a pause on the other end of the line, and he smiled as he imagined the rare blush that was inevitably on her face at the moment. "You sneaky bastard," she replied quietly, a hint of amusement in her tone.

He chuckled and leaned his head against the wall. "Ah, it's nice to win one sometimes."

"Enjoy it while it lasts, boya."

"Oh, I am!"

She chuckled softly, then let out a long sigh. "Well, Lelouch, it's bed time."

He slumped down into his pillow and sighed in response. "Yeah, guess so. I'll see you at lunch tomorrow."

"Yep. Goodnight, Lelouch."

"Goodnight, C.C."