"Suzaku?"

The morning was cold and utterly dull, a layer of white coated just about anything and everything outdoors. It didn't take much for the brunette to tear his gaze away from the window overlooking the snow covered gardens to face the green haired vixen beside him.

"What do you want, C.C?"

A small quirk of her lips betrayed her amusement at his tone, "What are you doing lazing around? Don't you have some papers to go through?"

Time had finally taken its toll on the woman, though her beauty seemed to be unable to fade. There were faint crinkles beside her eyes now, and her skin had lost a little of its healthy glow. However, these small signs of aging never once seemed to bother her as she had asked for it after all.

"Give me a break already." He muttered, returning his attention back to the view outside. "I've been working on them the whole night."

It wasn't too rare for her to show up every now and then as she saw fit. He could try – could – but he knew he wouldn't be able to shut her out from his life completely. Though how she managed to sneak into his quarters without being spotted simply escaped him.

She wasn't even fazed by his apparent lack of enthusiasm in seemingly anything at all.

"Are you thinking of Lelouch?" She asked, moving to flop carelessly down on the couch in the middle of the room.

The former knight, now Zero, narrowed his eyes at the mention of that name - the same one that had been tormenting his nights in the past eight years. He knew that she was watching him out of her peripheral vision even as she busied herself with picking at the fluffy pillows on the couch.

That ever-present smirk on her lips an indication of just how much she wanted to test his nerves today.

He chose not to give her that satisfaction however, by shrugging off handedly, "Don't you have anything else to do?" he offered, a lame attempt at changing the conversation.

CC merely snorted and brushed his question aside, "Do you know what day it is today?"

Before he knew it, Suzaku was glaring at her accusingly as if she has just asked the most ridiculous question he had ever heard.

"I've never forgotten." He spoke, careful to keep his voice leveled. "Not even after eight years."

CC, finally bored with checking the quality of the pillows, hummed as she twirled a strand of green hair around her index finger, pulling at it idly. "So, you did consider him your friend after all…"

"What?"

She shook her head and offered him a small smile before getting up and heading for the door, obviously intending to excuse herself.

"Farewell, Suzaku."


It was late, and someone was knocking on his door softly.

How odd. Lelouch had personally given the order that no one was to disturb the occupant within this room.

Suzaku numbly shifted his gaze to the grandly crafted piece of wood and proceeded to fixate his gaze on the ceiling again, his mind whirling with the thought of Lelouch dying by his hands tomorrow.

He would not see him ever again.

"Go away."

He had expected the person to abide his order and leave silently, but the next two knocks of fist meeting with wood were louder than before. It sounded almost desperate even.

"Suzaku."

Said person nearly jumped off his bed at the sound of the voice behind his door.

"L-Lelouch?" he muttered in disbelief, walking over to the door and letting the pads of his fingers brush the cold surface of the door knob but not actually grasping it. "What are you doing here?"

It was getting hard for him to breathe properly. Lelouch was just there, right there, and yet he could not bring himself to just twist and pull. Instead, he settled for resting his forehead against the wood, as if that one action could erase all of his problems.

On the other side, the emperor released a soft sigh at not being granted entry. Resting his back against the door, he said in a voice that betrayed none of what he was feeling at the moment.

"I don't know." He admitted.

That in itself was two firsts.

Silence reigned for a short period of time when neither could muster up the will to speak.

"Won't you take care of Nunnally…after tomorrow?" Lelouch surprised him – yet again – by starting.

"I know it's selfish of me, but-"

"I'll watch over her, Lelouch."

The emperor sank further into the door, all elegance abandoned, and nodded to no one in particular. "Thank you."

Suzaku's fingers were practically straining themselves on the knob now, the inner conflict within himself still left unresolved.

It didn't make sense why Lelouch was here, spending what was going to be the last night of his life with him with a door between them both.

It didn't make sense why it was taking so much effort to just open said door and pull the other boy into his arms like he used to when they were kids.

It didn't make sense why the thought had even crossed his mind.

"Why are you doing so much? Is it for Nunnally? For the world? Or…is it for yourself?" he managed to ask.

He heard his friend chuckle on the other side.

"All three. But to be honest, it's mostly for myself."

Atonement.

For all the lives that he had destroyed and for all the hopes and dreams that he had crushed.

"I should've known…you were right, always the selfish one."

"And you were the one who'd always be there to slap me when I got too annoying."

The both of them, emperor and knight, couldn't help but smile fondly at the memory. However, reality quickly brushed those thoughts aside, only to be replaced with mutual discomfort.

"Do you think it'd hurt?"

"…you mean-"

"No, to die. Would death hurt?"

He frowned; Lelouch sounded like he was talking to himself more than to Suzaku. His voice was hushed, resigned, almost as if-

Suzaku opened the door separating them in one swift pull, causing the other teen to let out a soft yelp of surprise as he fell backwards, and into the arms of his knight.

"It would, especially if you have to leave your loved ones behind." The brunette said, voice no louder than a whisper as he held the small figure against him.

It felt so right, somehow.

"Figures…you'd be sentimental enough to say something like that." Lelouch closed his eyes after getting over the initial shock of losing his balance and simply leaned into the embrace.

He no longer wanted to push Suzaku away.

"It would be a pain, having to take care of your mess." He murmured, nuzzling the back of the emperor's head gently. Feeling the other stiffen slightly, he continued. "But I'll-"

And soon he found himself facing those beautiful eyes the shade of amethysts again, they looked confused, and he realized he had left his sentence hanging.

'But I'll miss you.'

How could he say that when this man before him was responsible for so many deaths and ruinations?

His death would not bring Euphy back.

World peace could not bring Euphy back.

"Suzaku?"

And then he was gasping, tangling his nimble fingers into soft brown curls as Suzaku kissed him, his lips temporarily brushing against Lelouch's, uncertain, before flicking his tongue experimentally over the boy's lips. He took advantage of the surprised gasp from Lelouch, nudging his tongue through parted lips.

Lelouch melted against the brunette's kiss, hardly putting up any resistance as Suzaku tasted him. Just this once, he'd allow himself to succumb to this beautiful knight above him and to just indulge in the moment.

"Suzaku- Haaahh…" He managed before his lips were caught between Suzaku's once again.

The brunette's eyes were closed, his face contorting in various emotions that Lelouch was far too occupied to read. He nipped roughly at the soft pink flesh of the emperor's bottom lip, eliciting a half groan of pain, and slowly, but surely, allowed his lips to travel south. He peppered soft kisses past the smaller man's chin, jawbone, and then settled to push away the fabric of his collar to leave his mark upon the milky white skin of his neck.

It was laughable how he was able to turn the other into a writhing mess by simply marking him when all the power in the world could not bring him down.

Lelouch.

His friend.

His prince.

His emperor.

Frail hands pressed against his chest in a half-hearted attempt to push him away.

He ignored them, pressing forwards instead to push the boy onto his bed, never once ceasing his assault; the sounds Lelouch was making were like sweet melody to his ears.

"Why...are you-" Lelouch gasped when Suzaku tugged – ripped – off the many layers of his clothing with what was becoming, or at least, appeared to be, animalistic lust. "-doing this…?'

Darkened green met briefly with clouded purple while Suzaku paused to assess the situation. He frowned once logic hit him; this was almost rape. Almost, if the sheer want in Lelouch's eyes weren't deceiving him.

"I don't know either." Suzaku said, the corners of his lips curling slightly at similarity of his answer to what Lelouch had given him before.

Pushing away the last remaining piece of fabric from Lelouch's torso, he leaned forwards to press his ear against the pale ribcage, listening.

"Tomorrow…this heart would stop beating."

He never caught the look on Lelouch's face at his words; the hand that thread through his hair told him everything he needed to hear, needed to see.

"I'm sorry."

And all of a sudden, he was that little boy who clung to Lelouch when he got into one of "those" moments with his father again, with tears streaming down his face almost pathetically. Though this time, he kept them in.

If he had to cry, he would do it tomorrow.

Tonight…

He blinked when Lelouch shifted a little beneath him, feeling his fingers race their way to the warm flesh of his cheek, stroking it ever so lightly, adoringly almost, coaxing him to lean into the touch as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do.

"I…still hate you, you know?"

"Mmm, that's fine."

"But, if there was some way to not…you could think of somethi-"

Suzaku was cut short by a finger pressing against his lips.

"Shush." Lelouch grabbed a firm handful of Suzaku's collar and with one surprisingly strong pull, he forced their lips together in another searing kiss. It was at that moment that they lost all if any inhibition; the doubt in Suzaku's mind cleared, replaced by pure unadultrated desire.

They were soon a pile of tangled limbs, sweaty and hot from what would be their last night of living. Clothed in nothing and with desire the only fuel that was keeping them alit.

It didn't take long for a saliva-coated finger to nudge its way past his tight ring of muscles, earning Suzaku a whine of discomfort from Lelouch. Suzaku peppered light kisses all over that small, pale torso, trying to distract the other before adding a second digit to the first and scissoring both fingers to help widen his passage.

Gauging that Lelouch was ready, Suzaku pulled his hand away from Lelouch's entrance, eliciting a low moan from the smaller boy. Slicking his shaft with his own precome, Suzaku replaced his fingers with the head of his cock, inching in slowly even as he felt Lelouch tense beneath him.

"Nnngh!" Lelouch jerked violently despite Suzaku's firm hold on his hips when the tanned male entered him. It wasn't exactly rough, but it wasn't gentle either, but on top of it all, it hurt.

Suzaku narrowed his eyes in deep concentration as a prominent bead of sweat made its way down the side of his face. He inched forward, centimeter by centimeter until he was fully sheathed within Lelouch who was quivering from the sheer amount of pain.

A low growl emanated from his chest as he struggled to keep his sanity in tact.

The heat was scorching.

He needed to move.

"Aanngh!" Lelouch cried out as Suzaku's cock left him abruptly before slamming back into him without warning, bruising the emperor's tender walls as it forced its way through his not entirely prepared cavern."W-wait, it hurts- mmgn…!"

His cries however, fell on deaf ears as the brunette continued to thrust in and out of the emperor's body, the slick pre-cum helping to ease the pace a little as he stroked Lelouch's length to help take his mind off the pain.

A certain thrust elicited an especially loud cry from Lelouch, his fingers immediately tightening around the bed sheets within grasp, his legs winding themselves messily around Suzaku's hips, gripping tighter in an effort to keep him there.

Noticing this, Suzaku angled himself to hit that same spot over and over again, his rhythm barely faltering as he continued pounding into the smaller boy "Does it feel good now…Lelouch?" Suzaku panted harshly against Lelouch's ear, his every thrust hitting that one spot that made his emperor cringe each time when struck.

What Lelouch did not say, he made up for with his sounds of utter pleasure.

They weren't sure when it had started, but when Suzaku saw the wetness at the sides of Lelouch's face he wanted nothing more but to just embrace him.

"Hahh- This…" Lelouch said, choking on his words a little as the knight above him faltered. The tears streaming down his face were obscuring his vision. His breathing was strained and his hair a mess, but he still had a somewhat amused-but-not-very smile plastered onto his flushed face. "-is embarrassing."

Suzaku brought a hand up to wipe at the trail of tears, his fingers lingering on Lelouch's face, silently stroking the apples of his cheek as if in apology. Slowly, he started moving again, gaining momentum as he continued thrusting. Overwhelmed by Lelouch's heat enclosing around him coupled with the other's cries of pleasure, Suzaku could feel his orgasm impending.

So close.

"Lelouch." He rolled the name off the tip of his tongue as if savoring the very sound of it.

There were so many things he wanted to tell him.

They were, in the very end, the best of friends.

"Lelouch…"

Suzaku kissed him one last time, tasting the salty liquid on Lelouch's lips as they parted instantaneously for his demanding tongue.

The former prince's slender body arched up to meet his knight's as they both reached their end, fingers threading desperately into both ebony and chocolate-brown locks, their tongues pressing against each other in raw passion.

There was so much to be said.

However, they simply stared at each other breathlessly as Suzaku pulled out but remained on top, the knowledge of this being their first and last time together etched so deeply that it just hurt.

"I hate you…so much."

And Lelouch could only smile.


The wind was bitingly cold, but he hardly paid it any heed; the mask of Zero was tucked neatly against his side with the help of his arm.

"So this is what you've been reduced to."

He spoke with a strange sense of calm, the internal turmoil within him somehow pacified by the very surroundings of this lonely area now covered in dazzlingly white snow.

"You know, everything's different now. We've moved forward into the future like how you've wanted us to." Suzaku's smile didn't quite reach his eyes. "I wonder what you'd say, if you were here right now."

"Would you laugh? Give me an 'Of course.' with that infuriating smirk of yours?"

His breath was coming out in puffs of visible mist.

"They still hate you for everything that you've done to them...for them, but then again, you wouldn't have it any other way, huh?"

"Arthur misses you. Though, he's really old now." He added the last part as a soft afterthought. "He might not make it through this winter."

The Japanese man sighed and traced his gloved fingers over the cold white marble, listlessly brushing away the layer of snow that had coated it. His eyes dulled at the elegant gold words carved into it.

"Lelouch." He whispered the name with such tenderness one wouldn't have thought Zero could possess.

"I've missed you…and I still do."

He soon found himself pulling out a blank piece of paper in the shape of a perfect square. "It's a believe that by folding a thousand of these-" he emphasized his words with several neat, well-chosen folds of the paper in his hands. "-you get to have a wish granted."

Slowly, he held out the completed piece of origami in his palm. The paper crane was simple and identical to the ones Lelouch had used to make with Nunnally.

"But I don't need a wish."

He toyed with the wings of the crane a little as he continued to speak.

"I don't need anything."

I only needed you.

The memorial ground was painfully silent, as if rubbing into his face over and over that Lelouch would never come back.

He placed the crane onto the head of the white marble stone, staring down at it once more before turning away and never looking back.

A part of him felt like he had left his heart behind.

The other part of him didn't want to admit it.

"Happy Birthday, Lelouch."

The white crane stood its ground against the strong wind, as if driven by some unseen force, until it could take no more and was swept off its perch that marked the final resting place of a once-feared emperor, friend, brother, and lover; those golden words read:

99th EMPEROR OF THE HOLY BRITANNIA EMPIRE

LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA

1999 – 2018

Here lies the first emperor who ruled the world.