AN: I wrote this because L.L. asked really nicely and agreed to one of my requests. It takes place after the last pov of Chapter 49 in Dauntless.

Sidestory 1

"So, is he pissed at me?" Roy asked, waiting in the foyer of the modest house Hector had been given as a residence.

"Pissed, yes. But not at you." Hector answered as he shrugged out of his jacket. "He'd locked himself away with some of Prince Clovis' brandy collection for who knows how long. He was definitely more loose lipped than usual."

Roy quirked his brow. The prince didn't seem like the type to drown his sorrow in the drink. But then, he was still young and Roy was more than aware that most kids his age were drinking themselves to the point of puking every chance they got. For Lelouch to indulge on the eve of his brother's funeral wasn't anything he could judge. After all, he'd done more than his fair share of underaged drinking (and puking) before he'd straightened himself out and joined the military.

"Oh? Did he say anything interesting?" Roy asked, his curiosity piqued.

"A few things."

He frowned. "You're not going to tell me?"

Hector nodded, throwing him one of his characteristic smirks. "I'm not going to tell you." He agreed. "Anyway, it's probably safer for both of us that way."

Now his curiosity really was piqued. Lelouch had been that loose lipped? "So what can you tell me?" Roy asked, following his friend into the kitchen and helping himself to one of the beers in the fridge.

"We don't need to worry about Kururugi." Hector answered, fetching himself his own beer and the ingredients to a ham and cheese sandwich.

Roy's eyes narrowed. It wasn't that he didn't like the little punk, but it was obvious he was only using Lelouch for his own gain. Okay, so he did dislike the kid, but it wasn't just because he was an Eleven. After the way Lelouch had dealt with von Hoffman, they'd all learned pretty quickly that the prince wouldn't put up with discrimination against the Numbers.

"We don't?" He asked.

Hector shook his head. "They're old friends. I guess you could kind of consider Kururugi a foster brother. In any case, the prince trusts him completely. He's not the one we need to be worried about."

"Then who do we need to worry about?" He asked suspiciously, though he could guess. The only other person close to Lelouch that was a cause for concern was . .

"That girl. C.C.." Hector said darkly. "I asked him if she was blackmailing him and he said that it was 'something like that'. He told us to keep an eye on her."

"So she's not some crazy ex-girlfriend from his old school?" He asked.

"Dunno." Hector shrugged. "Maybe. I doubt it. I think she tried to come off that way, but he wouldn't play along with her." His friend hesitated. "I'm pretty sure she touched his wound. Kid looked like he was about to jump out of his skin before he knocked her over. He didn't even ask if she was okay before shooing me out."

"Yeah, well if someone poked me in a gunshot wound, I wouldn't exactly be amiable either." Roy snorted.

"Either way, keep an eye on her. I'll be telling the others the same thing tomorrow." Hector said.

"Sure. Anything else you can tell me?" He asked. Hector had been gone for a while. He wondered how much time they'd spent actually talking about things that could be repeated, rather than the prince's secrets.

Hector snorted. "You know, a month ago you'd have made some kind of rude comment about Lelouch being blinded by a pretty piece of ass. Now you just take it in stride."

"Yeah, well I do kind of owe the kid." He shrugged. He'd been deliberately trying to tone down some of the more aggravating comments that immediately came to mind since Lelouch had saved his life.

Hector frowned, his expression turning dark and serious. "Yeah, you do. Even if he was an idiot -"

"I know, alright." Roy snapped, cutting him off. "We've had this discussion before. He should have let me die."

They glared at each other for a moment. He knew that Hector didn't mean that he wished he'd died. In fact, he knew Hector was glad he was still alive and kicking. But that wasn't what this was about.

If Prince Lelouch had died – hell, even if he'd been badly wounded – in the process of saving him, it would have been unforgivable. He and Hector were friends, they had been for years, but they both knew that either one of them could die at a moment's notice. It was the price of being a soldier.

However, when Hector had sworn himself to Lelouch, he'd made the decision to put Lelouch at the fore of every decision. He doubted now that even Luke was more important to Hector. Though, according to Hector, Lukas was just as fanatic in his loyalty to Lelouch.

If he were ever given a choice, Roy knew that Hector would choose Lelouch over him every time. They were friends and Roy would follow Hector into hell and back (in fact, he'd done just that quite a few times), but Lelouch was their prince and lord.

Really, when he forced himself to think about it, swearing himself to Lelouch had also been a way to keep close tabs on Hector. It hadn't just been about the gratitude or the life debt he owed the young prince. Even though Hector had decided to devote himself to watching Lelouch's back, he'd still need someone watching his.

That someone just so happened to be Roy, as it had always been. Ever since they'd both been deployed as green rookies into the massacre of Area Thirteen and had been scarred in more ways than either of them ever wanted to think about. Ever since Hector had so easily accepted him despite knowing that he was gutter trash that had escaped into the military to avoid following his brother's footsteps straight into an eight by eight cell.

He finished his beer, glaring at Hector as he let the carbonated liquid slide down his throat. He knew damned well that his life wasn't worth nearly as much as a prince's. He didn't need to be reminded every time the kid's stupid stunt came up in conversation. It wasn't like he'd asked the prince to throw himself at a god damned Bamide. Nor had he asked the prince to blow it up, catching them both in the fallout. That was just . . . stupid.

He took Hector's silence as agreement, as he knew he should. He should have died. He'd been trapped on the front of that monstrosity and hadn't been able to push off and get free. It should have been all over for him. In fact, at the time, he'd been prepared to die. He'd known, watching in an almost painful slow motion as the Bamide's mounted guns had swiveled around to target him, that in a few more seconds he'd be gone for good.

Instead, he'd been met with searing heat, flames and the most excruciating pain he'd ever felt emanating from his chest. Oh, and the prince frantically ordering him to report had completed the picture.

"Stupid brat." He grumbled more or less good naturedly as he reached for another beer out of the fridge.

"If you drink that, you'll be crashing on my couch tonight." Hector warned.

"I'll call a cab." He replied as he popped open the tab – mostly just to spite his friend.

"You're not leaving that crap car you bought in my driveway."

Roy quirked an eyebrow, not deigning to point out that whether he stayed or went, the car would remain in the same place. "Fine." He grumbled. "Sir." He added sarcastically. "But in that case, I'm going to drink all your beer and I will be passing out on your couch rather than deliberately staying over. This isn't a sleepover. We're not thirteen year old girls."

Hector laughed and let the serious mood that had fallen over them dissipate. "Yeah, well you could have fooled me with all that hair." He mocked in return before reaching for his own second beer. "And don't think I'm going to let you drink everything. I'm not dealing with you with a hangover tomorrow."

"Well then, you're just going to have to drink enough yourself to limit my intake." He challenged. He could go drink for drink with Hector easily, though he was pretty sure he was the one who always passed out first. Not that he thought it would get to that point. There was only a six-pack in the fridge and they both had to work in the morning.