Disclaimer: Don't own Code Geass
AN: This was written for the wonderfully wonderful Echo-Chany who requested a Suzaku/Euphie fic. You should read her Code Geass fic too because it's very cute and funny and involves Milly Ashford! XD
Euphie liked bubble bathes.
She liked how the bubbles came in pretty perfumed bottles and sprang to life when you dunked them in the bathwater. She liked the feeling of the froth and foam against her skin. She liked to pop the suds with her fingers and toes, giving herself complete dominion over the little effervescent world she had manufactured.
But, most of all, she liked the nostalgia of it all.
It reminded her of simpler times, when she was a little girl, ignorant of the hostilities and tribulations that existed outside the confines of the palace. When Cornelia was thirteen, she would aid the nanny in the arduous task of bathing Euphie, who was merely a squirming, wriggling tot at the time. When Euphie was a little older, she would occasionally take baths with Nunnally, and they would play make-believe with rubber ducks and toy sailboats.
Then, she grew up.
Things would never be the same with her older sister and she couldn't bring Lelouch or Nunnally back, but, at the very least, she could still have her baths.
Euphie slunk down deeper in the tub, enjoying the caress of the warm water over her body. She gave a sight of contentment and closed her eyes, clearing her mind of all thoughts.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. On the other side, a soft, hesitant voice said, "Um, Euphie?"
Euphie's eyes snapped open. She had almost forgotten that she had asked the maid to go fetch him. Well, no matter. She put on an amiable smile and called out, "Come on in."
When he entered, she had to stifle a giggle. He looked rather uncomfortable in his knight outfit. She couldn't blame him; it was a little on the ornate side.
She looked up. In front of her stood a quite startled Suzaku Kururugi. His eyes had widened to the size of saucers, and a blush was rising to his cheeks. He looked pretty uneasy, like he didn't know what to do with himself. Should he apologize? Await orders? Flee? No, he couldn't flee. Euphie would not have that.
She raised an arm out of the water, and Suzaku winced at the noise. Water dripped down the tips of her fingers to the bathroom floor as she gave a little wave of the hand, beckoning him.
"Come closer, Suzaku," she said, smile still in place, her voice gentle and sweet.
For a moment, Suzaku just stood there, cemented to where he was, but then he averted his eyes, swallowed, and took a few tentative steps forward.
Before he could stop her, Euphie reached forward and grabbed his hand. It was warm and dry and calloused, a distinct contrast from Euphie's soft, prune-y fingers. Euphie watched with amusement as droplets of water ran down her white skin, paving a new path down Suzaku's tough, brown hand.
When he said it, there was an edge to his voice. Euphie only continued to stare at their entwined fingers.
"I shouldn't see you like this," he said, his tone pleading. "It isn't…proper."
Euphie looked up. His green eyes were filled with many things: guilt, doubt, shame, and other emotions that didn't quite tap into the surface. She tightened her grip on his hand, willing her smile not to tremble.
"I've never been one to care much about propriety," she said.
She brought her other hand out of the water and placed it on the back of his hand. Pale, tan, pale. White, brown, white. In a way, it resembled a sandwich where the buns were too small to cover the insides.
Suzaku bit his lip, but he did not break away from her gaze. He just stood there, his hand becoming more sudsy and wet by the second.
"Suzaku," Euphie said, "when's the last time you've taken a bath?"
He blinked. "Um," he said, "I don't really remember."
Of course he didn't. Bathes were childish things of the past, and she was stuck in a limbo. Showers were quick, efficient, and grown-up. Bathes were dawdling and immature.
Bathes were whims. Showers were reality.
But, right now, Euphie did not want to face reality.
"Then remember," Euphie said, her voice soft yet firm.
"Take a bath with me."
As anticipated, Suzaku's eyes protruded, his expression became one of alarm.
Still, he did not remove his hand from hers.
"Euphie, it's not…I shouldn't—"
"Why not?" she asked, cutting his excuses off.
"No one would dare walk in on a princess while she's bathing."
He swallowed and averted his eyes. She moved a hand to his wrist, dampening the material of his shirt.
"I'm not asking for anything else," Euphie whispered. "Just for a little while we can…"
Play make-believe? Act like kids? Take a break from reality?
Her smile widened. A giggle bubbled in her throat. The edges of the world became a little less pointy.
Euphie clapped her hands to her eyes. "I promise I won't peek!" she said.
For a moment, it was silent, but then she could hear the rustling of fabric and soft thuds as articles of clothing hit the floor.
And she didn't peek. Not really, anyway. She could just see the broad expanse of his back and those lean muscles through the cracks in her fingers, and maybe her eyes wandered down just a teensy bit, so she could see the narrowing of his torso and the little trail of hair that went past his navel, but she didn't look any farther. She was a lady, after all.
The nice thing about the bathtub was that it was the size of a sauna, so water didn't slosh over the sides when Suzaku lowered himself in, and he didn't have to worry about accidentally brushing against Euphie because there was plenty of room for the both of them.
When Euphie opened her eyes, Suzaku was sitting across from her, a couple feet apart. He was blushing, but she didn't understand why. The bubbles covered her indecent parts as well as his own.
Besides, it didn't matter because they were children, and children were unconcerned about the grown-up taboos of human anatomy. She gave Suzaku a reassuring smile, and he forced a smile of his own.
"How are things at Ashford?" she asked. She had to ease him into this.
"They're good." Suddenly, his expression became more adamant. "Really good. I can't thank you enough for letting me attend."
"You're seventeen. You should be in school."
He nodded, and it was quiet for a moment.
"How's Arthur doing?" she asked.
This question tugged at the corners of Suzaku's mouth. "He's the same as before," he said. "He likes the others, but he's not the biggest fan of me."
Euphie giggled. Poor Suzaku and his unrequited love for a cat.
"He likes you," she said.
"If he likes me, then he sure has an interesting way of showing it."
Euphie giggled again. She liked that side of Suzaku. The snarky side. It rarely came out, but it was always amusing when it did.
"That's just his way of showing you affection," Euphie said. "I'm sure he cares about you."
It was silent again, and Euphie took that time to gaze at Suzaku, admiring his strong shoulders and handsome face. His unruly brown also added to his boyish good looks, and it was then that something occurred to her.
"Oh! You should let me wash your hair!" she exclaimed.
Before he could reply, she had turned to the ledge of the tub, picking up shampoo bottles and reading off their labels.
"Let's see…Pretty Peach, Delightful Daisy, Ravishing Rose, Outstanding Orange, Gratifying Grapefruit, Succulent Strawberry, Luscious Lemon, and…Magnificent Mango." She looked up. "Take your pick!"
"Um." Suzaku blinked. "Mango, but you really don't need to wash my—"
"Mango it is!" Euphie squirted a dollop onto her hand and waved Suzaku over. He seemed a little overwhelmed, but he eventually scooted over toward Euphie and turned around, giving her complete access to his full head of hair.
She began by massaging his scalp, kneading her fingers through his hair. Then she lathered his brown locks, scrubbing every inch of his head thoroughly. The scent of mango wafted to her nose, and she inhaled it happily.
When his head was nearly white from shampoo, she scooped up water from the tub, and doused his head (warning him beforehand so he wouldn't burn his eyes, of course) just like Cornelia had done to her when she was younger. After a few scoops, she was done, and his hair lay flattened on his head—completely unlike the curly mass it was before.
"I'm done," she said.
He turned around. "Do you want me to wash your hair?" he asked.
She smiled. "I already did. You're a mango, and I'm a peach."
"A pretty peach," Suzaku said with a grin.
A pretty peach and a magnificent mango. Euphie's smile widened. A perfect match.
"Suzaku," she said, "I have a present I want to give to you."
Suzaku's eyes widened. "Euphie, you don't have to. You've been so kind to me already."
"It's just something small." And, as she said those words, Euphemia li Britannia pulled a rubber duck out from behind two shampoo bottles and presented it to her knight.
"I want you to have a subordinate," she said. "His name is Mr. Ducky."
Suzaku looked like he thought Euphie had gone completely bonkers. Euphie just kept smiling and placed the rubber duck in his hand.
"Squeeze it," she said.
He squeezed it, and it gave a squeak. Suzaku grinned and squeezed it again.
"I used to have one of these when I was younger," he said, "but I don't think I need a subordinate."
And so he tossed Mr. Ducky back to Euphie.
Unfortunately, it hit her in a rather indecent place.
"Euphie, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean—"
Euphie's eyebrows were furrowed, her stare admonishing, a frown in place...
…and it was all directed toward the duck.
"Sir Kururugi, I demand that you punish your subordinate at once," Euphie stated, plucking the rubber duck out of the water and handing it to her knight.
Suzaku blinked at the duck. Once. Twice. Thrice. Then he cleared his throat and said, "Mr. Ducky, you are being arrested for engaging in inappropriate conduct with Princess Euphemia li Britannia. As her knight, I hereby sentence you to the soap dish."
And, without hesitation, Suzaku set Mr. Ducky on a bar of soap.
The princess and her knight both stared at the banished scoundrel. His glossy yellow paint had started to chip away, but the smile etched into his bill was as prominent as ever.
"What is it?" Suzaku asked.
"How long is Mr. Ducky going to be incarcerated for?" she asked, not taking her eyes off the duck.
"Um…" Suzaku looked at the duck and then back at Euphie. "How long do you think?"
For a while, she gazed intently at he duck. Then she whispered, "I feel kind of bad for him." And, with that, she plucked Mr. Ducky from the bar of soap and pressed her lips softly against his bill.
"Mr. Ducky," she said, "I hereby pardon you."
She set him on the surface of the water, and he drifted away.
Her eyes snapped up. Suzaku's cheeks were now colored scarlet, his eyes very wide and very young in appearance. There was something truly charming about that look. Euphie wanted to capture it and never let it go.
"All the bubbles are gone…"
Euphie glanced down. Indeed, nearly all the bubbles had popped, and the water was clear and smooth.
Only one bubble remained.
And Euphie laid a hand on Suzaku's cheek, smiling as his eyes widened even more. She closed her eyes and leaned forward, pressing her lips to his, basking in his warmth and taking in the scent of mangos, nostalgia, and fantasy.
When she pulled back, the last bubble popped.
And she came back to reality.
AN: Reviews/flames/critiques/criticisms/whatever are all welcome and appreciated! :)