Gino's exuberant cry took Lelouch off guard and, after the day he'd had (escorting girl after girl since Sayoko had made so many dates for him, and then being confronted by Anya's picture of him as a prince) he was easily shocked.

He fell over, landing gracelessly on his ass.

"May I please go to your chess games with you? The underground ones where you bet money." Gino cheerfully ignored the fact that Lelouch had just made a complete fool of himself.

Rivalz poked his head over the blond giant's shoulder. "Um. When I told him how you gambled on your games he begged me to take him along."

This was so close to the last thing Lelouch needed right now…

The sound of squealing girls calling his name made him change his mind. "If you can get me out of here right now, we'll go."

"Yay!" Gino cheered, grabbing Lelouch's wrist and running off with him. Long legs and an athletic tendency made Gino nearly impossible to keep up with, but fangirls were scary enough that even Lelouch was able to dig deep and find reserves of strength that he hadn't thought possible.

It didn't last long. "Are we… there yet?" He gasped out.

"Almost!" Gino wasn't even breathing hard. "Oh!" He stopped suddenly. "I guess we can't take the Lexus if we're going undercover…"

Lelouch tried to sigh, but was too busy panting. "Don't worry about it. I don't know what Rivalz told you, but the casino isn't some seedy inner city place. In fact, you might recognize some of my opponents. They tend to be nobles like yourself."

Gino grinned. "Really? Like me?"

Lelouch found himself smiling back – Gino had an infectious grin and, frankly, he was relieved to be free of the fangirls. "Well… perhaps not quite like you but. Nobles."

"I bet they're more like you," Gino said casually. "All intellectual and poised and cool…"

Lelouch gaped. He'd just fallen on his butt, fled from a gaggle of girls, turned red and breathless from running a short distance and that was still how Gino saw him? Was he a complete moron?

…not that it mattered. Lelouch was adept enough at dealing with morons. "The Lexus will be fine. They have valet parking."

Gino drove as Lelouch called a few of his contacts. Usually Rivalz arranged this part, but they were willing to work with Lelouch directly. "I've arranged a match for half an hour from now. Do you play?"

"A little," Gino said. "Nothing like you, though, from what Rivalz and Suzaku tell me."

Suzaku… "Does Suzaku know about this excursion?" Lelouch asked casually.

Gino snorted. "No. Why would he? He's too busy brooding over Zero and guarding the Viceroy to come have fun." He turned slightly to Lelouch, keeping his eyes on the road. "Hey, you two were close before, right? Maybe we should do something together, the three of us. Loosen him up a bit."

"We were close." Lelouch looked away, out the window hoping that Gino wasn't the type to try to read relfections. "He's… things are different now. You're probably closer to him than I am."

"Really?" Gino asked. "The way he talked about you…" he trailed off pensively.

Part of Lelouch wished he'd finished that sentence, and part of him was glad that he hadn't. Since Suzaku had returned to Ashford, things had been tense between them (understandably, as Lelouch was Zero and Suzaku was still probably mourning Euphemia) and even Milly had commented on it – although she had the added perspective of seeing how Suzaku acted around Zero as well. Their easy friendship was gone and what was left was an awkward attempt as casualness. Lelouch had always been skilled at lying and faking emotions, but Suzaku hadn't and Lelouch knew that if he acted normally then he would be seen to be reacting oddly to Suzaku's distant watchfulness. So he changed too – into a tentative cautious acquaintance rather than the friend he'd been.

It was easier than examining how he really felt about Suzaku after everything they'd done to each other.

"We're here!" Gino interrupted his thoughts. They got out of the car and Gino handed his keys to the valet. "So. Mr. Lamperouge, escort me through this world of questionable morals and illegal activities."

Lelouch shook off his maudlin mood. "Only if you promise not to arrest me," He joked easily, leading the way confidently into one of Area 11's Dens of Sin.

"That was awesome!" Gino crowed as they finally left the casino four hours later. "Do you usually have them lining up like that?"

"No." Lelouch could barely hide his smug grin. He hadn't been around for months, not since becoming Zero again, and the challengers had been piling up. "I think you're good luck, Sir Weinberg." He hadn't lost a single match.

"Gino," Gino corrected with a long-suffering sigh. "God, do you have any idea how long it took to break Suzaku of that habit?"

Lelouch didn't want to talk about that. "Sorry. Gino." He peered at the Knight of Three. "…are you sure you're okay to drive?"

"Definitely." Gino nodded confidently. "Last drink was more than an hour ago and I've been eating and I've piloted Knightmares with this level of blood alcohol."

Lelouch snickered. "Britannia's best and brightest."

"Hey!" Gino objected before laughing. "Fair enough. But I'm fine to drive. No worries."

He was – never veering far from the speed limit and keeping the ride admirably smooth. Lelouch wasn't sure why he'd worried – Weinbe-Gino had been piloting for years, since before most civilians were allowed to drive. And he was one of the best.

Lelouch, honestly, was just glad that he wasn't driving. Not a big eater at the best of times and unwilling to touch the casino food, he'd tried to politely turn down the alcohol, but after a certain point, people began to eye him suspiciously and he was forced to for the sake of appearances.

Not that he was drunk. Far from it. He was barely even tipsy and had still won every game, but he was definitely starting to feel more comfortable around Gino. And since Gino was a man sworn to fight against him for a man and a country that Lelouch loathed, that comfort could only have come from alcohol. Certainly, Gino's amiable, easygoing nature and cheerful praise wouldn't have been enough on their own.

It was insanely late when they pulled up to Lelouch's door. In a few hours, the sun would rise. Lelouch hesitated – he had no idea where Gino slept (the base probably) and if he was planning on returning to Ashford tomorrow, that would be highly inconvenient. They were both still wearing their uniforms and, while Lelouch doubted he had sleepwear that would fit the much taller boy, an oversized shirt and boxers would do on an emergency basis. "Would you… if you wanted to, you could stay the night."

Gino's eyes widened in shock. "You… but… really?"

"Sure." Lelouch was a little taken aback by Gino's surprise. Maybe, as a noble, the idea of sleeping over at a friend's house was unheard of. Lelouch had only ever stayed with other family members (Euphie…) as a prince. "It's no problem."

To Lelouch's further surprise, Gino actually blushed. "I'd like that." He pursed his lips slightly. "Uh, but what about Suzaku?"

"…I'm pretty sure he's not over," Lelouch said. If this had been last year, he might have been. But with Rolo instead of Nunnally, there was nothing there except Lelouch for Suzaku. And Suzaku couldn't stand being alone with Lelouch for more than a short period of time. "Does he room with you?"

"No." Gino still looked oddly… worried. "But… Lelouch, what's up with you and Suzaku?"

Lelouch was pretty sure that Suzaku wouldn't have told the other Knights (or anyone for that matter) his suspicions. "Nothing. Why?" Keep the answers short and the questions open-ended.

"Really nothing?" Gino leaned closer, peering at Lelouch's face as if trying to read truth or lies there. "Nothing at all?"

Lelouch shook his head. "Gino, there's nothing between me and Suzaku. We're friends. He's changed a little since leaving, but we can adapt to that." The last thing Lelouch needed was another suspicious Knight of Rounds. He smiled warmly. "I'm sure he wouldn't have a problem with this." In fact, Lelouch was pretty sure Suzaku would – especially if he thought that Lelouch had regained his memories. "Don't worry about Suzaku."

"Okay." Gino said and leaned forward and pressed his lips against Lelouch's.

Lelouch had never kissed a boy before. Well, been kissed by a boy before; he wasn't really doing much. It was different than with Shirley's desperate freezing kiss in the rain, or C.C.'s utilitarian kisses as she forced whatever code or geass related thing she needed to down Lelouch's throat. It was demanding and invasive and wet and suction and tongue and…

Gino pulled away slightly to reposition himself and Lelouch could breathe again. "Stop…"

"Yeah, sorry," Gino said, his face lightly flushed and his breathing faster than normal. "I can wait until we're inside."

…clearly there had been a miscommunication. "I'm not sure… what?" Lelouch stammered.

Gino undid his seatbelt and pecked Lelouch lightly on the lips. "C'mon, then."

Lelouch followed him in a daze, unsure as to what had just happened and what was about to happen. He wasn't surprised, exactly, that after he led Gino into his room, Gino pinned him against the door and kissed him again. He wasn't even taken off guard by the way Gino's hands tugged at his shirt until they found skin. And the way Gino pressed a half-hard erection into Lelouch's leg was almost, at this point, expected.

What did surprise Lelouch, was how much he was enjoying it.

C.C. had never kissed him for pleasure, and Shirley's kiss had been tainted with guilt and shame. Everything Gino did was sorely in the pursuit of pleasure and completely untainted by any conflicting emotions. Lelouch barely knew the boy, and what he did know was superficial at best, but the feel of his firm body against Lelouch's and calloused hands sliding up Lelouch's back and the warm wet exuberance with which Gino kissed him…

Lelouch canted his hips, grinding against Gino in return as he opened his mouth and sucked on Gino's tongue. The physical rush was dizzying, just being with another human being like this; so vulnerable, so powerful, so visceral. It wasn't that it didn't matter who it was; the fact that it was Gino – not quite a friend, not quite an enemy – made it better. Gino's friendly attitude, his willingness to please mingled with his demanding nature, the fact that he clearly knew what he was doing… Lelouch hadn't ever thought about doing this with anyone, really, but doing it with Gino made more sense than anyone else right now.

"Clothes off," Gino ordered breathily. Lelouch obediently raised his arms as his shirt was lifted over his head, letting them settle back on Gino's shoulders as they kissed again. Gino's hands found their way to the front of Lelouch's pants and Lelouch groaned.

"You too," He murmured as he felt a hot mouth track down his neck. He fumbled for Gino's buttons as Gino unzipped his pants, releasing a lot of pressure from over Lelouch's cock. "Ah, Gino…"

Gino groaned and Lelouch was gratified to realize that he was turned on as well. "Just keep saying my name like that, Lelouch…" Lelouch finally tore Gino's shirt off, wincing as one of the buttons that he'd missed flew off, and smoothed his hand over the hard muscles of Gino's chest as Gino tugged his pants down. "Bed."

Right. Lelouch nearly tripped over his pants as he stepped out of them, letting hemself be guided down to lay on the bed and wrapping his arms around Gino's back as the taller boy settled on top of him. The feel of Gino's pants through Lelouch's underwear was rough and almost overstimulating and Lelouch arched and cried out into Gino's mouth.

"Oh, god you're so…" Gino trailed off and sat back, undoing his own belt and looking down at Lelouch, clearly and visibly appreciative. "D'you have anything?"

Lelouch had no idea what he was talking about. "Any what?"

"Lube, rubbers, stuff like that." Gino pulled his underwear down with his pants, fully exposing himself and Lelouch was momentarily distracted by the proud cock that jutted out in front of Gino's stomach. "Lelouch? Focus…"

Lelouch flushed. "I… uh… no. I don't have any of that." His eyes were fixed on Gino's erection. "Do we really need it?"

"I guess not." Gino sounded a little disappointed, but not much. "I just figured… since you invited me… ahn…"

Sick of waiting and only looking, Lelouch had reached out and touched Gino's erection, his hand tentatively circling the base and gently pulling. "Can we go back to kissing?" He asked.

Gino nodded eagerly and draped himself over Lelouch's supine body. "You look really hot," He whispered before pressing his groin against Lelouch's and making them both moan. "All spread out and flushed and those little black panties…"

Oh yeah. Lelouch pulled them down, reveling in the feel of flesh on flesh. "You look good too," He managed before Gino covered his mouth again. After that, all Lelouch could manage were grunts and moans as Gino's large hand wrapped around their cocks, keeping them enclosed as they moved against each other.

It felt better than any single thing Lelouch could remember feeling before in his life. Maybe part of it was the alcohol (although that should have worn off long ago and was never that strong) but the feel of another man's body on top of his and against his, of an erection rubbing insistently against his own, of Gino's sloppy and harsh and unsentimental kisses was unbelievably good. "H-harder…"

Gino swore and ducked his head to bite at Lelouch's neck as his hand and hips moved faster, doubling then tripling the friction and heat and as Gino took a small amount of skin and bit lightly and sucked the simultaneous sensations pushed Lelouch over the edge fasted than he'd expected, crying out and thrashing under Gino as Gino continued to thrust against him until he came.

They were both breathing hard and Lelouch could hear his heart racing and feel Gino's going at about the same pace where they were pressed together, chest to chest. "Th-that was…"

"Hmm…" Gino hummed in agreement. "A really nice start."


Gino grinned at him. "School's in three hours. There's no way we're going to be up in that time. Might as well sleep the day away, so there's no reason to stop here."

"But… I mean…" Lelouch stammered as Gino kissed his clavicle and then slightly lower, working towards his nipple. "Gino…"

"Love it when you say my name like that," Gino murmured, taking Lelouch's nipple gently between his teeth. Lelouch hissed and bunched his hands in Gino's hair. "Can I suck you?"

Lelouch's mind blanked. From a distance he heard himself say. "Okay."

He wasn't sure what Gino was expecting. They were both still spent, their cocks soft and slightly sticky. It turned out that, despite being given permission, Gino seemed to be in no hurry. His mouth continued worrying gently at Lelouch's nipple as his fingers started playing with the other one. "I wanted to do this from the first moment I saw you."

"…bite my nipple?" Lelouch asked incredulously.

Gino chuckled and, despite having come only a few minutes before, the sensation and reverberation of that made Lelouch's cock twitch. "Make you writhe under me. You were so pretty and aloof and easily shocked…" Lelouch was getting irritated at those descriptions. "Never would have pegged you for a first-dater."

"That wasn't a date." Lelouch retorted. "And this…" What the hell was this? What was he doing in bed with a Knight of the Rounds? "This is hardly a relationship."

The look Gino shot him was momentarily hurt before turning wistful. "Yeah, I know. I'm only here as long as Zero is and this isn't long term, but…"

"We don't even know each other," Lelouch said, and with every word he was talking himself out of this. "Do you even like me?"

"Sure I do!" Gino objected.


Gino hesitated and Lelouch very nearly threw him off. "You're nice."


Gino smiled softly. "You're nice. You help other people and you're really patient with them. You didn't like those girls chasing you, but you never yelled at them. You can be cold – you were vicious at the casino, but only with people who can take it. You're not a bully. You're funny – even though your wit is dry. You like it when people like you, but you're not fake and you don't force them. You…" Gino grinned. "You're cute when you're flustered and beautiful when you come and the way you're looking at me right now makes me want to kiss you."

Lelouch snapped his gaping jaw shut with an audible click. Gino had no idea who he was. But the person Gino was describing…

"Then kiss me."

Lelouch moaned into the kiss, his eyes closed tightly. It had been so long since someone had made him feel like he could be a good person. Kallen used to, before she'd learned the truth and watched Lelouch with guarded, judging eyes. Suzaku had at one point, but the belief that they could accomplish anything together had died with Euphemia. Nunnally… Lelouch didn't want to think of her, out of his reach. Her replacement, Rolo, trusted him but that meant so little.

Gino's trust should have meant even less. Somehow it didn't.

"Hey, Lelouch," Gino whispered as he nuzzled Lelouch's neck. "D'you like me?"

"Yes," Lelouch admitted. "You're patient and generous and silly and I didn't especially want to, but I do."

Gino chuckled. "See, now I can add that you have good taste onto your list of things I like about you." Lelouch swatted at him, but Gino just grinned wider. "Speaking of taste…"

It was surprisingly cold without Gino pressed on top of him, was Lelouch's first thought. His second was holyhelldeargodwhatisthat as Gino took his half-hard erection and, without any warning, swallowed it down.

If Lelouch had suspected that Gino knew what he was doing before, this proved it beyond a reasonable doubt. The heat and wet and suction and pressure, as well as the judicious use of tongue, made it clear that Gino had done this before and done it well. "Gino!" Lelouch had no idea when he'd grabbed Gino's hair in a death grip, or spread and bent his legs for better access, or curled his toes into the sheets, but he'd certainly done all those things at some point after Gino started sucking him.

It felt incredible.

Gino released him with a loud pop. "You okay?"

There wasn't a word for what Lelouch was. "Fine," Lelouch managed to gasp out, lifting his hips to remind Gino that he'd been in the middle of something. Gino chuckled and Lelouch was beginning to hate that sound and yet love it because it was never cruel and it meant that Gino was going to…

Ohyes. Before Lelouch had the chance to get used to the return of that wonderful suction another sensation, not quite pressing, rather more teasing around his anus, started adding to the heat building up in his pelvis. "G-Gino, what…"

Something thin and firm and slick pressed into him and Lelouch's eyes flew open. He wasn't sure he liked that. He opened his mouth to protest and the finger crooked slightly and suddenly all Lelouch could see were flashes of coloured lights on the back of his eyelids as something completely new and unique shot through him. He wasn't sure how long it took him to return to reality, but when he did, he could feel at least two fingers inside of him and Gino's mouth still latched around his erection.

"I… didn't…" He felt as if he'd had an orgasm.

"Not yet," Gino murmured, thrusting and stretching inside Lelouch as his other hand released the base of Lelouch's cock. "Soon, though. Promise."

Lelouch wasn't sure he could take any more of this. "What are you…"

Gino slipped a third finger in and Lelouch choked off the end of his sentence. "I dunno. I want… I want to be inside you, but…" Gino was just as flushed and breathless and sweaty as Lelouch was. Somehow that made Lelouch feel much better.

"Do it, then," Lelouch said. It seemed simple enough and if it made those fireworks go off again…

"We don't have…" Gino didn't quite make eye contact. Lelouch groaned in exasperation and pulled him down.

"Do. It." He enunciated clearly. As Gino's lips formed the first syllable of a protest, Lelouch kissed him and spread wider beneath him. Gino's fingers froze and slowly slid out.

The feel of the head of Gino's cock at his stretched entrance felt like victory to Lelouch. "Ready?" Gino whispered.

Lelouch nodded.

It was bigger and wider and overall more. But now Lelouch could clutch at Gino's back and Gino could kiss his mouth as he cried out and it was warm again. It seemed to take forever, but eventually Gino was fully in and they just breathed together, mouths open and inches away from each other.

"Can I move?" Gino asked. Lelouch nodded again, not quite trusting his voice.

The first few thrusts were harsh and sharp. But, as Lelouch's body adjusted and Gino found the best angle, it got better and easier and faster and deeper and…

The realization that this was happening, that he was letting another person do this to him, momentarily made Lelouch panic. He was open and vulnerable and Gino could do anything

"Lelouch…" Gino groaned, getting a hand between them to fist Lelouch off. "You feel so damn good…"

Gino did too, Lelouch realized. He felt good inside him and on top of him and around his cock and against his mouth… "More…"

"Okay." Gino picked up the pace and Lelouch closed his eyes to better feel everything. "You close?"

"P-probably," Lelouch groaned, biting back a cry as Gino hit that spot inside him directly on. And again. "Y-yes… Gino, god…"

Gino sped up again, his rhythm starting to falter. "Then c'n we come together? Lelouch…"

Lelouch couldn't have held back if he'd wanted to. He cried out Gino's name as he came again, every muscle tensing and then tensing even more as Gino came inside him. Wave after wave of pleasurable spasms rocked Lelouch's body before he essentially melted into the mattress, grunting only slightly as Gino collapsed on top of him.

At some point, the sun had risen. Lelouch could clearly see every one of Gino's fine blond hairs from where they'd escaped from his braids. Further down, he noticed the occasional red marks (not quite scratches) on Gino's shoulders and the beads of sweat that had collected over his spine. One of the beads was directly in a beam of light and shone multicoloured until Gino shifted and rolled onto his side. "How're you doing?"

"I'm good," Lelouch said faintly. He still wasn't sure how this had happened, but he was almost disappointed that it was over. "You?"

"Yeah, good," Gino agreed. "Um. Sorry I came inside you."

Was that poor etiquette? Lelouch shrugged. "It's fine. It felt good." By the way… "What did you use for lubrication?"

Gino bit his lip. "Uh. Our stuff." He waved his hand vaguely. "From when we… before."

Lelouch managed to hide a grin – it was easy to forget that Gino was actually a year younger than him, but sometimes it showed. "I see. Well if you were using that, even just on your fingers, then there was no reason to hesitate due to lack of condoms, was there?" He shrugged. "It's the same thing, after all."

Gino's eyes widened in horror. "I didn't even think… I'm so sorry, Lelouch!"

Again, Lelouch shrugged it off. "Don't be. Like I said, it felt good. And I asked for it."

"Right…" Gino looked nervous. "Uh, don't take this the wrong way, but… are you carrying anything? I mean, I usually use protection but this time I…" He laughed. "I guess I wasn't expecting this."

"Me neither," Lelouch said dryly, a little amused at what an understatement that was. "No, I'm clean." A small, slightly bitter smile. "I can guarantee it." Although not completely anymore, not after tonight. Did Gino have any idea that he'd just taken Lelouch's virginity?

From Gino's relieved sigh, it looked like he didn't. "Kay. Then. Um. What now?"

Lelouch thought about his options for a moment. Then he leaned forward and kissed Gino lightly on the lips. "Why don't we just get some sleep?"

Gino nodded and wrapped his arms around Lelouch before they snuggled under the blankets, Gino's longer form curled around Lelouch's smaller one.

When Lelouch woke up it was dark and smelled of Gino and sex. This was because his face was tucked securely into the crook of Gino's neck and he was pretty sure he hadn't fallen asleep like that.

He blinked in the bright midday light as he lifted his head. "Gino?"

"Mrph?" Gino answered, pulling Lelouch closer. Lelouch smiled and patted his head.

"We should get up soon." A flashing green light on the floor drew Lelouch's attention. "You have a message on your phone."

"They're not calling right now," Gino pointed out, rolling on top of Lelouch. "They can wait." He smoothed his hands down Lelouch's sides. "You have a nice bed."

Lelouch was about to retort when the phone started vibrating. Gino cursed and kissed Lelouch quickly before reaching for it. "Weinberg." His eyes widened. "Uh… I… s-sorry Suzaku…"

Suzaku? Lelouch reached out his hand for the phone.

"Suzaku?" Lelouch said, cutting off whatever Suzaku had been ranting about. "Is everything okay?"

There was a long pause. "Lelouch? What are you doing with Gino? Is he okay?" The last bit was almost accusatory.

Lelouch smiled and gently traced the side of Gino's face. He looked really quite sweet. "Gino's fine, Suzaku." Gino turned into Lelouch's caress, kissing his palm. "Better than fine. Did you need him for something?" He spread his legs and Gino settled between them, large hands warm against Lelouch's sides and lips soft against the skin of Lelouch's throat. Lelouch scooted closer to him.

"Not immediately," Suzaku answered, oblivious to what was happening on the other end on the phone line. "I was just worried when he didn't come back or answer his phone."

A gentle nip had Lelouch biting back a gasp. "He was with me. Sorry, I corrupted your fellow Knight." He could feel Gino's soft laugh against his skin. "We went gambling and he stayed over after." Gino's mouth dipped down over Lelouch's nipple and Lelouch's breath hitched.


"It's nothing!" Lelouch assured Suzaku quickly, before sighing in lazy pleasure as Gino's tongue started laving the sensitive skin around his nipple. "We just woke up – I forgot to s-set the alarm." Gino's actions were getting firmer and he was getting hard.

"You shouldn't…" Suzaku sounded exasperated. "Listen, have Gino report back to me as soon as possible."

Lelouch couldn't answer back. He'd moved the phone away so that Suzaku wouldn't hear the soft sounds that were escaping from under the hand he held over his mouth. Gino looked up, smiling.

"You're really sensitive, Lelouch," He whispered, taking the phone back and wrapping his hand around Lelouch's cock. "Sorry, Suzaku. Me again." He started jerking Lelouch off, achingly slowly.

"Mhmm… yeah… really? Okay, fine… can I eat first? Yeah, something quick." A laugh. "I'll ask… hey, Lelouch, mind cooking for me?"

Lelouch glared at him. "Hang up and finish me off and I'll make you whatever you want."

"He said 'yes'," Gino told Suzaku, remarkably calm considering he was just as hard as Lelouch was. Lelouch had had about enough and sat up, reaching for Gino's cock. Gino held the phone in the crook of his neck and grabbed Lelouch's wrist and shook his head, listening intently to Suzaku. "I know. Yeah, but it really wasn't planned." The hand jerking Lelouch off twisted and Lelouch bit back a moan. "I will next time. Kay, give Anya my regards." With that oddly casually formal phrase, Gino hung up the phone and tossed it to the side of the bed before pinning Lelouch down and kissing him hard. "Are you trying to get me in trouble?"

Lelouch kissed back and arched against Gino's hard body. "I'm trying to get you laid."

Gino laughed and kissed him again and moved.


They showered together, mostly behaving themselves, before dressing and grabbing something quick to eat. "I'll make you something next time." Lelouch promised. "When you don't have a fellow Knight breathing down your neck."

"Yeah?" Gino looked at him speculatively. "You wouldn't like that?"

"… like what?"

"Suzaku breathing down my neck as I jerked you off."

Lelouch imagined Suzaku's cold green eyes watching him, looking for signs of Zero or the deposed prince Lelouch vi Britannia as Lelouch writhed under Gino's ministrations. He shuddered. "Not really." He shoved Gino out the door. "And I don't think he'd like it either. Now. Get going."

"Yes, Your Highness." Gino bowed and Lelouch felt something in his chest tighten unpleasantly. "Can I see you again?"

Lelouch needed to get back to the Chinese Federation and his Black Knights, but… "Sure. You'll be around for a while, after all, right?"

"Most definitely." Gino grinned. "After all, Suzaku just mentioned that the school president is graduating and there's a party this evening!"

"Really?" Lelouch cast a speculative look at the main school buildings. Perhaps he'd have to look into that.

Gino grinned and kissed his cheek. "You're cute when you're plotting!" He chirped before running off to his car, waving brightly.

Lelouch placed a hand over where Gino had kissed him and tried not to think of the words he'd said.


"C'mon, Suzaku. It's Milly's graduation event!"

Suzaku sighed. "I really want to go. But unlike you and Anya, I'm an aide to the Viceroy, so I just can't. Meetings come first."

Gino shook his head. "Geez, you really need to loosen up." He hesitated before leaving Suzaku to finish preparing for his meeting. "Hey… what do you think about Lelouch?"

Suzaku visibly tensed. "He's an old friend. I don't approve of his gambling, if that's what you're asking…"

"Not really." Gino shifted uncomfortably. "I mean… d'you like him?"

"Of course," Suzaku said mechanically. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish this before the meeting or I'll be late."

Gino bodily blocked his path. "Suzaku. Do you like him?"

"Where is this coming from, Gino?" Suzaku asked. His eyes narrowed. "What happened last night?"

"I slept with him," Gino said bluntly.

From Suzaku's expression, whatever he'd been expecting, it hadn't been that. "What?"

"He invited me over and we had sex," Gino said. "And he doesn't think there's anything between you, but your reaction is telling me something else, and I really don't want to step on anyone's toes here…"

Suzaku held up his hand for silence. He looked shocked and stunned and kind of horrified. "You. Slept. With Lelouch."


"Lelouch. About my height? Black hair, purple eyes, total ice queen? That Lelouch?"

Gino was about to make a quip about melting, but Suzaku still looked genuinely stunned. "Yeah. Suzaku, if you have a problem with this…"

"Of course I…" Suzaku took a deep breath. "Why? Why him?"

"Look, it's nothing serious," Gino assured him. "It's just sex. Say the word and it's over, I promise. I'll even help you two hook up."

Suzaku shook his head. "That's not…" He clenched his fists. "I don't want him," He said clearly. "But he shouldn't be with someone like you."

For the first time, Gino felt somewhat hurt. "I'm not that bad." He did his best to mask the hurt with humour.

"That's not what I meant," Suzaku insisted. "Look, he's just… he's very pretty. But he's not a good choice, Gino. Find someone else." Suzaku looked Gino in the eye for the first time since Gino had admitted to sleeping with Lelouch. "Please, Gino. Trust me."

He looked deadly serious and completely sincere. Gino bit his lower lip. "I like him."

"Did you hear anything I just said?" Suzaku demanded.

"I like him." Gino repeated. "I'm more than willing to step aside if you have prior claim, but if you don't… I like him, Suzaku. And he likes me. What's so bad about that?"

Suzaku opened his mouth before his expression darkened. "Nothing, Gino. There's nothing bad about that." He looked away, once again unable to meet Gino's eyes.


The 'party' was more of an invitation for sexual harassment. The premise of hats and kisses and cupid was really too much. Gino loved it.

He searched the school for Lelouch, running into his little brother a few times, but never finding Lelouch. A few cries of surprise from the courtyard and Lelouch's name caught his attention, but when he arrived Lelouch had already disappeared. Gino followed another commotion and found Anya in her Knightmare. Cheating. He grinned and ran along, checking the library next.

"It's okay. I forgive you. In return, close your eyes for me. Hurry up."

"Ah. Okay."

Gino peaked his head around the corner to see one of the Student Council members pulling Lelouch's cheeks.

"You thought I was gonna give you a smooch."

"Well, you know…" Lelouch stammered "I thought there was a possibility…"

The girl grinned. "Oh, you dirty boy."

"N-no, it's just…"

Gino grinned and backed out. Lelouch had seemed really happy there for a second. Maybe it wasn't Suzaku he had to worry about. Once the competition was over, watching the two of them together, wearing each other's hats and shifting awkwardly was adorable. When Suzaku landed and everyone was together, it was even better for a moment.

The Lelouch's eyes met his and Lelouch smiled. A small, secret, warm smile and Gino knew that their original plans for tonight would still stand.


Lelouch couldn't believe it. A few pounds and a couple of embarrassing purchases later, it was even better the second night around. "Hmm, Gino…"

Gino kissed his cheek, then pulled himself enough to kiss Lelouch properly. "You liked that." It was a little aggravating that he stated it like a fact, but the truth was that Lelouch most certainly had.

"You did too," Lelouch grumbled, moderately pacified by Gino's fond kiss.

The condom looked disgusting when Gino tied it off and disposed of it, but they were a lot cleaner this time around. Lelouch stretched and curled into Gino's arms, ready to fall asleep.

"Lelouch?" Gino asked his hair, almost too quietly to be heard. "Are you sure about this?"

"About what?" Lelouch asked.

Gino wrapped his arms tighter around Lelouch. "I mean… I saw you with Shirley before. And I don't care what you and Suzaku say, there's something there between you. And… well, like you said, we don't really know each other that well…"

Lelouch looked up and kissed Gino lightly. "Stop it. I'm with you. I want to be with you. Suzaku and I are… complicated. But it could never turn into this." Not any more. "And Shirley is sweet, but… I don't deserve someone like her."

That was strikingly similar to what Suzaku had said. "Why not? What's wrong with you?"

Lelouch looked away before pasting an obviously fake smile on his face. "Uncomfortable truths are for the third date, Gino."

"I ran away from home."


Gino bit his lip. "I fell in love with a servant and my parents disapproved. It was too late, she was already gone, but I couldn't live with them, in their false world anymore." He looked at Lelouch, his eyes serious for once. "Your turn."

Lelouch hesitated. "I… I hate Britannia, Gino."

Gino nodded reassuringly. "Go on."

"Suzaku was my first friend. He was proud and strong, and Britannia took that away from him. Britannia took Japan away and made Area 11 – a soulless copy of the worst Britannia had to offer." Lelouch shook his head. "And Suzaku chose that over Japan. Over freedom. Over me." Lelouch swallowed. "If you tell anyone this, even Suzaku, I'll get in so much trouble, Gino. It's why we're complicated now instead of just friends. I… I miss him."

"I'm sorry," Gino said helplessly as he wrapped his arms around Lelouch. "I'm sure he feels the same way."

Lelouch shook his head. "I doubt it. He was the one who made all the choices. I just… refused to sacrifice anything anymore." He cupped Gino's face and kissed him. "Don't tell him, please. I don't want to fight him again over the same things."

"Don't worry, I won't," Gino assured Lelouch. "He's too focused on the Viceroy and searching for Zero anyways. I'm sure he doesn't want to fight you either."

Lelouch nodded and curled back up in his arms, hoping that that would satisfy Gino. It was surprisingly difficult to lie to him.


"What's your goal, sleeping with that Rounds?" Rolo asked as Lelouch came downstairs still smelling faintly of sex. Gino was fast asleep, but Lelouch had to talk to Toudou - the rebellion didn't stop just because Zero was getting laid.

Lelouch looked carefully at his fake brother. "What do you mean?"

"Is it for intelligence?" Rolo demanded. "Because Villetta and I both have the same security access he does."

"It's not that," Lelouch said dismissively, moving towards the console and hoping Rolo got the hint to stop talking about it.

Rolo stepped in his way. "Then why? Why take such a huge risk?"

He was sincere in his question, Lelouch could tell, and deserved a sincere answer. The only problem was, Lelouch wasn't sure what answer to give.

Why did he want Gino with him? Was it the sex? Then why was it so important that Gino smile at him, why did seeing him enjoying himself at school give Lelouch such warm feelings?

Was it the friendship? But Lelouch had a lot of friends. What was special about Gino?

He was a noble who loathed the nobility. He was a soldier of the country Lelouch loathed. He was generous and caring. He was arrogant and nosy. He looked at Lelouch like he genuinely liked him, but he had no idea who Lelouch really was. If Lelouch was smart, he'd kick him out – it would be less suspicious to Suzaku and there would be less of a risk of getting caught communicating with the Black Knights.

So why wasn't he?

Rolo was still waiting patiently for an answer. Lelouch sighed and answered the only way he could.

"I like him."