Author's Note: Hey everyone! I still love Mao and C.C.! Thanks for reading even though the updates are spaced so far about-good thing it's not chronological.

Half Empty

"Ach!" Mao coughed as one of those noisy automobiles sped down the road to their right, guzzling thick dark smoke into their air. It smelled like burning asphalt, the boy thought and made him feel a little nauseous.

C.C. quickly raised an apologetic hand and began sweeping it through the air to fend off the pollutant. Once Mao's fit subsided and he stopped coughing, she couldn't help but sigh. She had been in some low places over the years of her existence, but this... Living on the streets, scrounging by to survive while caring for a needy boy who was now bound to her?

He was pulling her away again now, his small hand clutching hers in that curious way he liked to drag her around, its significance forgotten to her.

A family passed by them now on the gray pavement, pushing a stroller inside of which slept an infant. They eyed her and Mao warily, no doubt their ragged vagabond appearance a source of distress for what appeared to be a new couple.

After they had passed, C.C. turned to Mao. "Did you use your Geass on any of them?"

Mao looked up, a slight confusion in his face. "No," he said innocently. "Why? Are they important?"

C.C.'s tawny eyes narrowed. "Mao," she said, her voice hardening to a stern tone. "You have to use it as much as you can. Do it."

Mao shook his head with a sigh and rolled his eyes slightly, looking back over his shoulder and focusing his attention on the receding steps of the man. A burning sigil appeared in his eye as he began to penetrate the man's thoughts. First came the surface, mundane musings about various options to take for an afternoon lunch, but after a bit of work he began to pry into his personal history and memories. It seemed this wasn't his first after all. He had had a baby with a girl years ago but left her because he had been too scared. It still seemed to hurt him when he thought about it. Strange.

All the while he could see C.C. watching him carefully, making sure he was doing it, he guessed. He had no idea why it was so important to start reading the minds of everybody he saw.

"There," he said at last. "It's done. Why'd I have to look at his mind. He's nobody."

C.C. shook her head. "Mao, I've told you before. I gave you that Geass so you would use it. It binds us together. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. And I need you to be strong. For me."

"Yeah but..." Mao hesitated. He really wanted to be strong for her. But sometimes...he wished he could forget the things he learned from Geass. Sometimes they were gross, or sad or just made him so angry at the people. "You tell me all the time about how I could rule the country some day or something with this, but look at us. We're on the street. We're not going to get there by reading random peoples' minds. "

"Well what would you suggest we do then?" C.C. baited, slightly hopeful as a proud smirk came to her face.

To her surprise, however-after all Mao was not the type of kid who didn't speak up-, he shuffled nervously on his feet for a moment. "I...I don't know if I even want that. I mean, having your own country sounds pretty cool and all, also seems like a lot of responsibility. I just want to have fun. With you."

C.C. scowled, holding her tongue as she led him across the double lane road at the crosswalk.

Sometimes she wondered if she really should have picked him. No, he's the one. Where others failed me, he will succeed. This time, I'm going to make sure of it.

"Just keep using it, Mao," she said finally, ready to end the conversation. "On everyone you see."

Suddenly, however, an earsplitting rumble assaulted their senses, wrenching their attention towards a black car which looked for all the world as if its owner had lost control under the weight of a drunken binge. Mao's eyes went wide as he stared at the hood of the dark thing as it sped towards them like an explosion. "C.C.!" he managed, wanting in that moment to just get her to safety.

But there didn't appear to be any avoiding it. The vehicle sped on heedless of all rules governing the roads. The crosswalk wasn't safe after all-

His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden blow to his chest, however, and he reeled. It stole the wind from his lungs and left him gasping for breath. He could feel his body being thrown through the air to the pavement hard. wasn't the car that had hit him. C.C. had stuck both palms outward and struck him so hard it sent him flying. Out of the path of the runaway car. His eyes went wide and he struggled to bolt upright in between his gasps, only to see C.C. get ploughed by the thing, its front end smacking into her frame with a sickening CRACK, the force of the high speed collision tearing the aluminum end clean off-and into the soft flesh of her body. She went flying too, landing several feet away with her arms and legs all twisted and sprawled out like a broken toy.

Mao's world seemed to stop, and he blinked rapidly in shock, rooted to the sight. The car swerved, after hitting the woman, before screeching to a halt as the intoxicated man finally floored the brakes, grinding around to a stop with a screech.

Mao was already on his feet, running so fast towards the spot where C.C. had been flung, he could hardly feel the ground beneath him. He came upon her and sank to his knees in horror. It looked like the part where her stomach and legs met had been torn out or something, ripped wide open under the afternoon sun with a pool of blood collecting behind her back. This wasn't the kind of picture you were supposed to see in the daytime. This was an awful nightmare.

His whole body shook in place. "C.C.!" he cried out. His hands went to her face, his fingers entwining around her verdant hair and shaking her. But the movement just caused more of her insides to ooze out below her chest and Mao couldn't hold it anymore, throwing his face to the pavement as he choked out a wave of vomit. His eyes began to water. "Please... Don't leave me, C.C.," he begged the body.

Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he enclosed his arms around her neck, slumping there in the blood, pleading with it to get better as great sobs fell from his tearstained eyes. "I love you..." he whispered, kissing her bruised face tenderly.

His wails began to attract some attention nearby, however, as people began to approach in shock at the grisly tableau.

Words like 'homeless' and 'hit by a car' along with phrases such as 'somebody call the police' and 'who did it?' began to sound on the dim outskirts of his hearing, but he wasn't listening anymore. His world was in silence.

The driver of the runaway car came up as well, however, pushing his way through before alighting upon C.C.'s corpse. He froze. "Oh god, oh god..." he moaned, shaking his head in fear. " was just an accident. I-oh god." He reeked of alcohol.

Something in Mao snapped and he was suddenly on his feet, staring at the man with wild eyes that burned with hatred.

"Oh! Your alive!" the driver exclaimed as a cascade of relief washed over him. "I didn't kill a kid, I didn't kill a kid!" he repeated relieved. He began to laugh at his own good fortune.

"How dare you!" Mao shouted, and everyone took a step back. "I will kill you. I'll kill you!" he hissed, hefting up the busted piece of aluminum that had been displaced from the man's car in the collision. In one savage motion, he brought the thing into the man's legs. Hard. He howled in pain, doubling backward as he rubbed his leg frantically to soothe the pain.

"Rrraah!" Mao raged still, bringing the piece of metal down again, now across the man's fleeing back. He collapsed to the ground, his shirt torn and stained with blood from the cuts the sharp aluminum had given him. His boot came up on instinct as Mao came closer to deal the final blow, and a vicious kick caught the boy in the chest once more, causing him to blanch in pain as he dropped the aluminum piece instnatly. His body ached, but another assault earned him a blow to chin which broke the skin and drew blood. As the man finally got back on his feet once again, Mao joined him, coming at him despite the pain.

"Get away from me you freak!" the man exclaimed, his face a mixture of fear and disbelief at the boy's murderous actions.

"Gunkai!" Mao cursed as he rushed forward only to be caught squarely in the side of the head by a punch from the man's fist and dropped to the ground. This time he didn't get back up. The man scrambled away, back to the filthy car he had come in and sped off, pursued by the outraged townspeople as the sound of squeeling rubber split their ears.

Some lingered, hoping to help him, calling him with gentle words and supplications.

"Little boy, get away from there."

"Come with us."

"We can help you."

"The police our on their way."

"No! I won't leave her! GET AWAY FROM ME!" Mao screamed, barring his teeth like a ferocious beast as he covered C.C.'s remains like a parent protecting their child. "I mean it-stay away!" Their eyes went wide, some with fear and disgust, others pity and hopelessness, but they did what he said.

And Mao was left alone with naught but a body that was quickly losing all its heat.

Crawling forward towards her, he slumped down beside the girl that had come into his life and changed it forever. Drawing his arms around her shoulders once again, he layed his head beside hers and closed his eyes.

What he failed to notice, however, was what was happening to C.C.'s torso all the while, blood receding, sinews reforming and bones resetting as flesh was sown back together like new. Finally, she was whole again, all evidence of the crash gone except for her ripped clothes. Her tawny eyes fluttered open, and she blinked staring up at the afternoon light. They shifted to the right, and she was surprised to see Mao laying there against her crying.

"Mao, what's wrong?" she asked, lifting her head to look at him better.

Mao's tears stopped as hen tentatively opened his eyes in disbelief.

It can't be...

His mouth fell agape when he saw her sitting upright without a scratch on her, all evidence that she had been hit by a car vanished like magic, save her exposed midriff.

"C.C.!" he exclaimed, barely choking it ut before he threw himself upon her, the tears streaming down his face once again. "You're okay. But how did you..." his voice trailed off in confusion. "Oh C.C. I'm just so glad you're alright. I was so scared. It was horrible!"

A slight smirk came to C.C.'s face at the irony of how precious her life was to him, and how cheap it had become to her. Dying just about every way devised by humanity will do that to you. "Well of course," she replied, drying his tears with the palms of her hands and stroking his hair with her fingers. The poor thing's clothes were soaked in her blood. "I'm sorry, Mao. I should have told you before this. But you..." C.C. bit her lip, momentarily hesitating as she watched those pale blue eyes staring so trustingly into hers.

"I what?" Mao asked, hanging on her every word.

He'll learn soon enough... There's no need to complicate things yet

"-You never have to worry about that. I won't die. No matter what happens to me," she said at last.

A wide grin spread across Mao's face, all thought of tears forgotten at her incredible words. "That's so cool!" he beamed excitedly.

"...Yeah..." C.C. managed, her tone flat. A siren sounded in the distance, and it wasn't difficult for her to surmise why.

Mao had grown to hate the police. They were always waking them up early in the morning and kicking them, or prowling around the markets telling them to 'get lost' or 'move along'.

"Come on," C.C. said, taking his hand in hers. "Ready to move on to another city?"

"I suppose," Mao nodded, following along beside her.

At length they had gathered what few things they had stashed away, stolen whatever else they would need, and finally abandoned that city for another one of the countless others that arose out of the weedy countryside they now found themselves cutting through. As they walked, however, C.C. kept looking down at Mao curiously. He was being unusually quiet, which wasn't like him at all, especially on trips like this.

"Mao, is somethign wrong?" she decided to inquire finally.

"Well! Uh..." he the boy blurted out, hesitating as his cheeks flushed red.

Now C.C. was really perplexed. "What is it?" she nudged him.

"I was just thinking. If you can't be killed, then that means you never die," Mao began.

Confusion flashed across C.C.'s face, wondering at what he could possibly be getting to.

"It...seems like that wuld get really lonely. C.C. were you lonely before you found me?" he finished the thought.

C.C.'s feet stopped as her face fell completely still.

This boy... Even without his Geass...

"Eventually it just doesn't bother you anymore," she answered carefully.

Mao looked up at last, his eyes looking into hers as if they wanted to see her soul. "I wish I could be like you someday. Then I'd be able to stay with you forever, and you'll never have to be lonely again." like me...?

A soft, knowing, smile came to C.C.'s face in earnest in that moment, and it made Mao's heart melt. "You just might," she said with deceptive sparkle in her eye.

Mao grinned. "I can't wait!"