disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to Lian for talking this ending through with me.
notes: i am going to live in my happy world of happiness where everything is happy and nothing bad ever happens thank you very much.

title: flowers for jun
summary: A different life. — Suzaku/Euphemia.

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Euphemia looked up from underneath the brim of a floppy hat and smiled.

She'd never been allowed to work in the garden before—before everything. Before Lelouch took the throne. Before a war and an invasion and a too-loving but ruthless father.

She'd just… never been allowed to play in the dirt.

Princesses didn't do things like that. It was undignified.

And so now, a revolution and a half later, Euphemia Li Brittania sat on her heels in the garden of a very small house and dug her hands in the dirt just because she could. The sun was warm on her back, spilling along her hair and sparking up her skin; little shots of electric happiness that might have been freedom.

Euphemia liked it. She took a deep breath in, and it was:

earth and sun and wind and freedom.

Oh, freedom.

She held that breath for a second too long—count one, count two—and then stood up, dirt underneath her fingernails.

Being normal (actually normal—not hiding-princess-normal, just… normal-normal. No pressure-normal) was nice. Euphemia couldn't put her finger on why she liked it so much.

Just that she did.

It was sweet and it was simple.

Euphemia thought that this was what she'd wanted all along.

She brushed stray strands of deep fuchsia away from her face, tucking them back behind her ear. It was May, that far sweet time that hovered just between spring and summer, gentle and warm. It had always been Euphemia's favourite time of year, ever since she was a little girl and Cornelia had laughed with her arms wrapped around her stomach when she'd fallen into the pond.

And still, the world turned.

There was a jangling from just beyond the little white fence that was the sound of familiarity and Euphemia stood up with dirt underneath her nails and smiled into the sun. There was a cloud of grime risen, opaque and thick but Euphemia knew—she knew

"M'Lady!"

He would still call her that, wouldn't he?

Out of the dust he walked, and it would have been cliché to have said her heart skipped a beat, but it did. The world swirled and breathed, in and out, and Suzaku stood in front of her in an officer's uniform and an ostentatious hat.

"That hat," Euphemia said, "is completely ridiculous."

His lips twitched, and he almost looked like he was about to sink to one knee in a deep bow, much as he used to.

But Euphemia was having none of that.

She threw herself towards him in a display of unladylike adoration, water-laughter echoing through the air in a tinkle of happiness. Suzaku caught her and swung her up and out, and together they were, happy in the sunshine.

It was a beautiful thing.

And all beautiful things were good and wild and free.