"Suzaku, I want you to meet somebody."

"Meet somebody?" Bright emerald eyes held confusion as the five year old stared at his mother.

"Yes, come on dear."

Hesitantly he took his mother's hand and followed her through their home and outside to the gardens. Sitting beneath his mother's favorite cherry blossom tree was the most gorgeous woman he'd ever seen- next to his mother of course. She had flowing midnight black hair, ivory skin, and the most stunning pair of violet irises… they were like jewels perched upon her face.

An angel…

For young Suzaku Kururugi, it was love at first sight.

"Is this him Keiko?" Even her voice was heavenly.

Keiko nodded as she and Suzaku paused in front of the gorgeous woman. "Suzaku, I want you to meet Marianne Vi Britannia."

"It's my pleasure to finally meet you, Suzaku." She smiled softly before she pulled a small boy from hiding behind her chair. "This is my beloved child Lelouch and you two are about the same age. I do hope that the both of you get along."

Suzaku stared at the child in front of him, his jade eyes wide and shinning. He'd thought Marianne was gorgeous but this person, this tiny angel… He mentally apologized to Marianne, sure that his angel could hear him, because his heart now belonged to another- to Lelouch. Those lavender eyes were brighter than Marianne's as they captured the sun and reflected it in a hue of staggering emotion. The child's skin was fairer and brought out those jet black tresses that looked like fine silk beneath the sun's rays.

Suzaku wanted to keep the pretty little angel standing cutely beside Marianne. "Mommy, can I have her?" His little finger pointed at Lelouch.

The two women exchanged amused glances before giggling softly into their hands.

Lelouch frowned as he realized he'd just been called a her… Lelouch Vi Britannia was not a girl and how dare that rugged boy insinuate such thing. Not only that, the boy had dared to ask if he could have him… the young prince was outraged. "You may not and I am not a girl." He resisted the urge to stomp his foot angrily.

For a moment, Suzaku simply stared before he walked up to Lelouch and pinched the boy's cheek.

"Ow!" Lelouch slapped the hand away from his face and held his bruised cheek. He didn't understand why Suzaku had touched him in such a manner but he didn't like it. He didn't like him. "Why'd you do that?"

Instead of answering, Suzaku frowned and turned to walk back over to his mother. "It's a boy, mommy…"

Keiko nodded. "Yes dear, Lelouch is a boy and I want you to get along with him. He'll be staying with us for some time."

That was the point of the meeting. Lelouch would stay with the Kururugi family and become cultured. It was a peace offering and a show of faith towards the newly formed friendship between Prime Minister Kururugi and Emperor Charles Zi Britannia. Marianne and Keiko had become good friends themselves and this cultural exchange was entirely their idea. It seemed to be going relatively well so far.

Amethyst eyes widened as Lelouch turned to stare at his own mother. "We're staying here?"

He thought Japan was pretty, ten times more gorgeous than where he lived, and the Kururugi home was vast in size, it looked like something out of a painting, but it was neither Britannia nor the Britannian palace. And he was the only one with his mother so Lelouch was going to assume that his brothers and sisters, at least the ones that he liked, would not be in Japan with him. His favorite chef wouldn't be able to make him his favorite dishes. He wouldn't be able to ride his favorite horse, Isabella. He wouldn't be able to dig through his vast wardrobe, not that he would want to wear his nice clothes in the gorgeously dusty countryside.

More than all of those things, he couldn't imagine spending his days with a simpleton like Suzaku Kururugi. He enjoyed Keiko, thought Genbu a formidable opponent in chess, but he could not foresee himself spending a lengthy amount of time with Suzaku and enjoying it.

At least his mother would be with him.

"Not we darling, just you." Marianne smiled deviously. She could see the wheels in her child's mind spinning as he stood there with a frown tugging at his pink lips. She felt him seething beside her but she was sure that he'd be fine.

Once he got used to the idea of Japan, Lelouch would view it as a learning experience and the boy loved to learn new things. It was one of his strong points.

"Alone?" He grasped his mother's leg as he stared at her. Why would she do this to him? Why?

"Yes. Mind your manners towards the Kururugi family who's offered to care for you during your stay. You'll only be here for the summer months and then I will come back to bring you home and perhaps during the winter holiday Suzaku can stay with us." Marianne smiled at the other boy who wore a scowl identical to her son's.

Green eyes met purple before Suzaku stared up at his mother. "I don't want him to stay here mommy. He's 'noying and whines lots." His angel had turned out to be nothing more than a sham and he would much rather the boy go somewhere else.

"I'm sure he's just surprised by the sudden change of events. I want you to be nice to Lelouch, Suzaku, and I'm sure the two of you will be the best of friends."

And it was true, Lelouch Vi Britannia and Suzaku Kururugi would look back on the faithful day that they met, the staggering week that they'd hated one another, and the following three months that gave life to a friendship that would become something bigger than either one of them could imagine.

There were summers spent in Japan, summers spent in Britannia, trips planned between the mothers who shipped their children to various places around the world so that they could bond. Their children grew to know each other. Suzaku knew and even enjoyed the company of some of the other Britannian children.

Through Lelouch, Suzaku was able to perfect his English and he became accustomed to the boy's elevated taste, intellect, and eccentricities. Lelouch was a bit high strung, sarcastic, and far too physically lazy to be ordinary but he held views about the world and about the people in it that Suzaku admired. He had a fire and a passion that drove him to be nothing less than the best and Suzaku had found that he really liked that about the boy. And though Lelouch had a hard exterior that was tough to crack, once it was, it was easy to see that he was nothing more than a ball of mush on the inside.

Through Suzaku, Lelouch became enamored with the finesse of the Japanese culture and their morals. He also came to value Suzaku's simple and generous nature. The boy was arrogant and cocky but he was also self-righteous and held a love for his country that could rival no one else. What Lelouch had learned and could say that he liked the most about Suzaku was that sweet and gentle disposition that guided the boy's every action (even if he didn't notice). He stood up for the less fortunate even if he didn't bother to stand up for himself and such a strength… Suzaku wasn't the brightest bulb but he had a big heart and that was all that truly mattered.

Over the years, their strong friendship hadn't wavered.

Not when they began going to the prestigious Ashford Academy.

Not with the onset of puberty that had encouraged Suzaku to begin dating and advancing sexually at an astronomical rate.

Not when they joined the student council or their separate clubs of interest.

Not when they'd made friends outside of each other.

Not when girls began to maul Lelouch just as eagerly as they pawed over Suzaku.

And certainly nothing would deter a twelve year friendship with the start of their senior year in high school.


Disclaimer: Code Geass belongs to CLAMP, however, this plot belongs to me. I make no profit from this fiction.

Warning: Sex, language, and violence in later chapters. Alternate Universe.

Pairings: It starts of really slow but the overall pairing here will be Suzaku x Lelouch. All others that occur are either not important or short-lived.


Chapter I: Who Know That Family Matter

"Who are you rooming with this year? Do you know yet?" Periwinkle eyes stared at the brunet through the mirrors reflection.

A smile blossomed on a tanned face as Suzaku sat up and slid to rest against the headboard of Lelouch's bed. "I'm stuck with Gino. Which is fine, I mean, it beats sharing a room with Rivalz any day."

Lelouch couldn't help but to laugh at that. He knew of the horrors that his dear friend faced the year prior when he'd been pitted in a room with Rivalz. Suzaku did not like un-cleanliness, which the young prince had always found quite odd considering that the other boy was an athlete and always on the go. Where he found the time and energy to clean, Lelouch wasn't sure.

"You'll be fine. You've shared hotel rooms with him during away meets or games, right? So really, this should be no different." He sighed and turned away from the mirror to stare at Suzaku. "Does this look too small to you?" He really did want to wear the shirt that Euphy had given him, it was going to be his going away present to her of sorts, but he didn't like the way it fit. He also didn't like the ruffle style but this was for his sister… his sister who would be leaving for Pendragon to attend university at the end of the month.

Emerald eyes appraised the smaller man standing in front of the mirror and Suzaku nodded. Lelouch looked fine to him. Tight black jeans, funky white ruffled shirt, and crisscross belts… it was an outfit he was sure that Euphy had picked out for Lelouch herself.

"It's not too small. I think it fits you just fine." He didn't really care because, compared to him, everyone would be overdressed. There wasn't a single Britannian party in which Suzaku had seen otherwise.

Whether it was to celebrate a birthday or someone achieving a good grade, the parties were lavish and extravagant beyond Suzaku's personal taste. The only thing that he could rejoice in was the fact that the food was so good it numbed his taste buds. And now he was hungry.

Suzaku stood from the bed and stretched. "Can we go down there now or are you still prettying yourself up?" Because sometimes Lelouch took as long as his sisters to get ready and it was just ridiculous. Then again, he'd always been somewhat vain.

The eleventh prince glowered in Suzaku's direction. "Maybe if you took a little more time to fix yourself up then people wouldn't mistake you for the royal family's charity case." To his great amusement, it had happened on several occasions.

A slender brown eyebrow rose before Suzaku began to laugh. "I'd much rather be mistaken for the help, or even your charity, than a girl, Lulu."

Lelouch feigned insult as he clutched at his chest. "And even looking as I do, I still manage to attract just as many admirers as you, if not more."

Tan fingers flexed as Suzaku grabbed the doorknob. "That's going a bit far… besides, your five-hundred or so siblings that have a brother-complex don't count." A wicked grin took over his face as he fled from the room before Lelouch had the chance to retaliate.

"Can I talk to you in the gardens?"

Suzaku swallowed thickly as he stared at Euphemia. It was hard not to stare at her with the way that she looked that night. Her hair was a stream of bouncy spiral curls, her lilac eyes popped beneath her bangs, her white dress accentuated her gorgeous curvy figure and cut off mid thigh, and her legs (because Suzaku had discovered long ago that he had a thing for a nice pair of legs) were to die for. Princess Euphemia looked stunning, she always did, and it never went unnoticed to the Japanese boy.

Over the years, Suzaku had put Euphy in a special little place in his heart.

She was not quite like a sister to him and not quite a crush. He enjoyed her company, their conversations, and even their occasional flirting but he couldn't see himself dating her, or any of Lelouch's other sisters, for several reasons. First and foremost was the fact that the entirety of the Royal Family was always at the very least one of two things: insane or intimidating. Even the seemingly docile Clovis had his issues. They all had an odd sibling complex but he supposed it came with the lifestyle. They were some of each other's only friends because trust was a hard thing to come by when you were royalty. Schneizel was the worst and he'd only recently begun to like Suzaku as it was within the last two years or so.

At least, Suzaku had hoped so… it seemed like it.

He prayed that Schneizel liked him to some degree.

Royal family oddities aside, there was another pertinent reason why dating Euphy had never been a goal at the forefront of his mind. She was Lelouch's sister. Sister. It was like an unspoken rule in the Bro Code: never date a fellow Bro's sister no matter the age, shape, or size. If things went wrong, then who was to say that his friendship with Lelouch would survive and that was a risk that Suzaku wasn't willing to take for anyone. They'd been through a lot over the years and the tiny threat of their 1.2 decade friendship ending had only came up once or twice but it'd never happened and he wanted to keep it that way.

"Well?" Cherry blossom colored hair blew in the wind as amethyst irises pinned the boy.

"Sure." Suzaku followed Euphy away from the patio and into the gardens.

Briefly he wondered what she could possibly want to talk about in such a place. Or maybe she simply needed a breather from the party and he was the closest one to her to drag along. Since the event was about her, she'd been flocked and bombarded by people since the moment the palace gates opened. There were thousands of people milling about the Grand Hall: friends, family, faculty, and people that probably didn't even know Euphy but were there anyway. It had to be overwhelming. But she would have a lot of gifts to show for.

It paid to be royalty.

"Hey, it's a full moon." Suzaku smiled as he stared up at the moon illuminating the night sky before he glanced around the gardens. They came to life in an entirely different way beneath the moon's light. The flowers and plants all looked so beautifully ethereal.

Euphy glanced at him from the corner of her eye, a soft smile tugging at her pink lips as she sat near the fountain. "Yes… it's gorgeous out tonight."

He nodded and sat beside her.

A comfortable silence lapsed between them, the wind carrying the music from the party to their ears and blending with the pitter-patter of the water behind them. The princess watched Suzaku carefully as he spread his arms along the back of the bench and allowed his head to lull backwards. A sigh tumbled from parted lips before a grin bloomed on his face and his eyes fluttered shut. A gust of wind swept over them, rustling their hair and causing Suzaku's jacket to flutter. He was so relaxed, so at one with the world around him, and he didn't even care who was or wasn't watching.

It was refreshing to see someone who was so… so real.

Euphy smiled to herself as she marveled over the fact that she'd gotten to know such a person.

"It'll be weird not seeing you around school." Deep olive tinted eyes glanced at Euphy from beneath heavy lids. Suzaku was accustomed to seeing her and sitting amongst she and her friends for lunch every so often.

She was a popular girl who had her hands in everything and everyone adored her. He felt honored that she, as an older sister of sorts, would take the time to speak with him during the school day, let alone have lunch with him. Suzaku supposed that, what he enjoyed more than those moments, were the ones in which he, Lelouch, Euphy, and Nunnally would sneak off to their on-campus villa for lunch. On rare occasions, they would take the time to prepare a lunch for themselves as Sayoko carefully watched over their shoulders to ensure that the house didn't end up burnt down.

Thanks to his skills, they managed just fine.

And on those days, lunch always tasted the best.

Yes… he would miss having Euphy at school.

"Same here." Her gaze met Suzaku's. "I'm actually kind of nervous… Although Clovis and Carine will be there with me, I won't really know anybody else and it will be nothing like being at Ashford." It wasn't that she wouldn't know anyone, it was more that none of her true friends would be at Pendragon University with her… and she would sorely miss Lelouch, Nunnally… Suzaku.

She was only a year his senior and she'd been around him nearly as long as Lelouch had. Suzaku was a part of their family and, with the years, he'd become something more than that in her eyes. He was charming and even though he had a way with women and words, he never treated anyone badly. Not even the bigots who sometimes harassed him at school. He was athletic and had joined student council with she and Lelouch simply because they'd wanted him to. In retrospect, he did a lot for Lelouch, herself, and the rest of their family without ever asking for anything in return…

Suzaku was an extremely loyal friend and he came from a fantastic family.

There was nothing to dislike about him, which was probably why her idea of friendship between them had romantically shifted as she matured.

Suzaku Kururugi was, virtually, the perfect man for her.

And Euphemia Li Britannia wanted him.

"I think you'll be fine. You're outgoing and people always love you once they get to know you." Suzaku's smile was dazzling as he sat up and glanced at the princess. "I know I did." He winked and scarlet flooded her cheeks.

"Ah… Well…" She wrung her hands and stared into her lap. It was now or never. "That's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about."

Russet bangs fell over Suzaku's eyes as he tilted his head curiously. "What is?" Weren't they already talking about her going away to college? He felt confused.

Euphy took a deep breath before she looked up and into bright green eyes with a determination that she hadn't had before. "I like you, Suzaku… a lot." And before he could respond to her words, she leaned forward, her supple lips pressing to his.

His lips were warm but… but he wasn't moving… His lips weren't working against hers, his arms weren't wrapping about her waist, and he wasn't keeling beneath her delicate touch. She chanced it and opened her eyes but she wished she hadn't as soon as she saw the look in his. Jade irises were wide and unblinking as they locked with hers and it was in that moment that she realized he'd broken from his daze. But it wasn't to comply with her heart felt actions in the way she'd saw it in her mind, no, it was to gently push her away. So there they sat, his hands on her shoulders and their eyes locked.

She'd been rejected.

Princess Euphemia Li Britannia had been rejected.

And it hurt.

She'd been so sure that… what with their constant flirting, their impeccable chemistry… how could he… Was there someone else? But even if there was, there was no doubt in her mind that she took precedence over that someone else. And she'd been almost positive that they felt the same way. It didn't make sense.

"I'm sorry." The words flew from Suzaku's mouth before he truly had a chance to think about them but there wasn't much else that he could say.

Nothing could reverse what had happened and, had he not been so shocked, he was sure he would have thoroughly responded to Euphy's advances. But he would've regretted that far more than he regretted seeing the crushed look that cast itself upon her face with the utterance of those two words.

He wanted to return her feelings, honestly he did, but it'd be wrong. She was gorgeous and he felt privileged that she felt any way towards him seeing as she could have anyone her heart so desired but… she was Lelouch's sister. His second favorite sister right after Nunnally.

If Suzaku were to break Euphy's heart while they were dating, even if it were unintentionally, he could kiss his lifelong friendship to Lelouch goodbye and that thought scared him terribly.

People didn't know or even understand his and Lelouch's relationship because, from an outsiders point of view, they were so very different. But it was their differences and personal oddities that had been the foundation of their friendship from the very beginning. Furthermore, they shared a lot of key qualities that were similar and Suzaku couldn't think of anyone replacing Lelouch as his best friend, his partner in crime…

And he just couldn't risk that kind of bond on a fleeting whim to hook-up with Euphemia.

He didn't have the time or patience to work through another 12 years of his life to build a friendship like the one that he had with Lelouch or even to build a bond like the one that he and his parents had with the Royal family.

So no… Princess Euphemia just wasn't worth it, even at the expense of her heart.

But he wouldn't feel any less guilty for causing her such pain.

"I'm sorry Euphy. It's not you, trust me when I say that. I feel so honored right now and if you or I weren't you and I, I would've leapt at the opportunity to return your feelings." He sorely hoped that that had made sense. "What I'm trying to say is, well, you're like family and your Lelouch's sister… if your brothers found out about this I'd be dead. But um… what I mean is… I wouldn't want our relationship to change and possibly ruin the one that I already have with you and your family." He sighed as his gaze drifted skyward. "Call me a coward but I just don't want there to ever be the possibility that you and I can't sit like this or that I can't go visit you while your away at school or even that we can't enjoy a food fight in the dead of morning during the holidays."

Suzaku wanted so badly to reciprocate her feelings and, in some regard, he did feel the same but it just wasn't wise to act on those feelings. So many things had the potential to go wrong and if they did he wouldn't be able to fix them. And nothing would ever be the same again.

He was sure that she wouldn't like that anymore than him.

Euphy bit her bottom lip as she willed herself not to break down in hysterics. She wanted to, god did she want to, but she wouldn't. She was stronger than that and there were still questions that she wanted to ask. "Do you…" A sob nearly worked its way up her throat but she swallowed it. "Do you at least like me a little bit?" It hurt to talk and she wanted to be anywhere but sitting ashamedly in front of Suzaku.

Suzaku's smile was soft and genuine as he stared at her and Euphy vaguely thought that it took away some of her pain- just a smidgen. "You were my second love, the first was Marianne, and I've always held a place just for you right here." He tapped his shirt covered heart. "I guess you could say that I like you more than just a little bit." But not enough to chance losing their friendship and the ones connected to them.

Euphy's lips turned upward, even if it was only a slight movement of her lips. She felt… better. At least he didn't not like her. Maybe… just maybe there was still hope. She couldn't think about that now while she was still upset and reeling from the initial rejection but she would think about it more later. He liked her, she liked him, and all that was needed was the approval of those closest to them.

She could do that.

But later.

For now, she wanted to be alone- she wanted to go to her room and bawl her eyes out because she'd still failed to lay claim to Suzaku's heart before she went abroad for college.

"Thank you… you were very gentle with me and I… thank you." She stood, her legs a little shaky but with Suzaku's help, she stood steadily on her feet. "I'm going now but I'd like my space."

"Euphy, I-"

She shook her head. "Please don't. You don't have to say anything else. I just… I want to be alone." Because she was one word away from breaking down where she stood and that wasn't what she wanted to do.

Suzaku watched her as she walked away, guilt pooled into the pit of his stomach as he did so. He ran a shaky hand through his thick hair and groaned. He couldn't believe he'd just turned down Euphemia Li Britannia, the third princess of the Holy Britannian Empire. There were men who would kill to have the chance to even speak with her and here she'd confessed to him, kissed him even, and he'd turned her down.

He felt like a jackass.

Staring at her anguished face… the image would forever be imprinted in his mind until he made it up to her. Suzaku never wanted to see her looking like that ever again. His heart and head hurt. If only they weren't who they were… but she would thank him later. With time, things would go back to the way they once were and she'd be happy. He knew that Euphy could do better than himself.

There were a lot of people in the world far better than he and she certainly deserved one of them.

"What were the two of you doing way out here?"

Suzaku looked up as Lelouch came into his line of vision. "You knew we were out here?"

Lelouch shrugged and took a seat beside his friend. "I saw Euphy and asked her if she'd seen you and why she'd been missing. She just said that you were out here with her talking before she excused herself." He frowned. "What did you do?"

"What did I do?" Well… he had potentially broken her heart but it wasn't on purpose. "Nothing."

A slender dark eyebrow rose. "Nothing… Why did she look like…" Lelouch paused as the pieces clicked together. "Did she confess to you?" He'd had a suspicion as to how his sister felt about his best friend and vice versa.

He knew them both so very well after all.

Lelouch knew that Euphy turned up the charm and spunk whenever Suzaku was near. Whenever he wasn't, if the name Suzu or Suzaku were even brought up, she would become flustered and airy as if they were talking about her very own knight in shining armor. But the one thing that revealed her feelings more than any of her other actions was the look he'd catch in her gorgeous lilac irises whenever she would glance in Suzaku's direction. Yes… he knew of her feelings for Suzaku.

And despite the Japanese boy's jokes pertaining to the females of the royal family, he'd suspected that Suzaku felt the same. It wasn't hard to tell. He would stare at Euphy as if she were a precious doll that needed to be treated delicately. And he did treat her as though she were something precious, though he treated all women in general as though they were something precious. As if they were something to be cherished and cared for. Lelouch supposed that it was the nature of a Japanese man to view women in such a way. But there was a difference between the way Suzaku treated women and the way Suzaku treated Euphy. He was more open with her or rather, he was completely himself around her.

Though Lelouch hated to admit it, he could do so to himself- he didn't like the relationship that Suzaku had with his elder sister. He'd watched the boy date a plethora of women, they even discussed his sexual exploits, but to lump his sister in with the bunch… it was a different matter entirely. Suzaku never devoted a serious amount of time or passion to any of his previous relationships because there was no rush in his young life to buckle down but Euphy was always different than the others. They seemed very compatible and had gotten along so very well throughout the years but… what if things were to go wrong?

Lelouch would then have to relinquish such a friendship and he did not want to give up the only genuine friendship that he'd ever formed for the sake of his sister. Even if the two were to end up as a couple, Lelouch knew that he'd still be giving up the separate relationships that he held with them both.

Call him selfish, but he didn't like the idea of his sister knowing his best friend nearly as well as he did.

Their friends were supposed to be kept separate and, disregarding the fact that all of his siblings had, relatively, known Suzaku Kururugi as long as he had, Lelouch knew him the best. When they were all children and Suzaku had entered their lives, it'd been a war of sorts over who got to have the new "toy" because it was rare for them to have friends outside of each other. People were deceptive and they always wanted something from them whether it was to drop their names as a means to seem important or even to further themselves in society.

Suzaku hadn't wanted anything more than to genuinely befriend them all, even if he was an arrogant brat as a child.

And Lelouch was the first to meet him, thus, he'd laid claim to Suzaku and the boy would always be primarily his friend.

Suzaku was his best friend but Lelouch knew that, if Euphy and Suzaku were to progress their current relationship beyond that of friends, she would replace him. He would have to watch as his sister became a better friend than he to his best friend and that was simply illogical.

On the other hand, if things were to go wrong, he would have to hate the only friend he'd ever truly considered worthy of his time and that would be a tragedy. Friends like Suzaku were rare and hard to find out in the world. Not only that, they had twelve years worth of history between them and he couldn't simply build another friendship akin to the one that he had with Suzaku.

No… Lelouch didn't approve and he would tell them both so in his own way. He didn't want to come off as self-centered or stingy (but he was just that). He also didn't want to belittle their feelings but he was sure that it would be in their best interest to find other, more compatible, partners.

"I… I turned her down." Suzaku's voice barely rose above the wind but he was sure that Lelouch had heard him. "I feel like shit." And he wanted to go to her and say something, anything to make it better, but he felt that there was nothing that he could do beyond accepting and returning her feelings.

And Suzaku wasn't going to do either of those things.

"Oh…" That had certainly caught the young prince by surprise. He was sure that Suzaku would have leapt at the opportunity considering his own feelings towards Euphemia. "Why?"

Suzaku sighed for the umpteenth time that night as his emerald eyes met beautiful violet. "Don't get me wrong, I like Euphy and I felt really special when she said that she liked me but… there's this unspoken rule about friends and how they don't date each other's sisters, ya know." He smiled lopsidedly as a look crossed Lelouch's face.

It was a look that scarcely crossed those relatively composed features but Suzaku had seen it: Lelouch was surprised.

"I suppose you're right." Lelouch too allowed his lips to quirk upwards. He felt a bit relieved. "Or maybe you're just scared to face Schneizel's wrath?" Their elder brother truly was too overprotective.

Suzaku laughed, his gaze straying towards the direction of the palace. "He'll probably say something to me anyway because I hurt her feelings when I rejected her." He was damned if he did and damned when he didn't. There was no winning with the second prince, not unless you were Kanon or one of his siblings. It didn't keep Suzaku from hoping that he'd earn on a spot on Schneizel's good side one of these days.

Amethyst eyes narrowed. "If you weren't nice then you'll have more than Schneizel to worry about."

Tanned hands shot up in mock surrender. "Whoa now, I was nice, I swear." He'd been a total gentlemen when she confessed and when he had to regretfully turn her down. "She asked me if I liked her and I told her that I did- I still do- but I don't want to mess up anything. I mean, she's an amazing friend, she's beautiful, smart, outgoing, and anyone would be lucky to have her, me included, but what if I fucked it up. What then?" Suzaku ran a shaky hand through his hair. Thinking about such a thing and then saying it aloud… "I like being friends with her and that's something that I know I won't screw up." And he wouldn't have to worry about losing Lelouch either. It was that thought that made him personally feel better about his decision.

"Hmm…" Lelouch permitted silence to settle between them for a moment before he spoke up again. "I think that you did the right thing and I'm sure she'll be fine. Just give her some time." He leaned forward, his violet irises scrutinizing Suzaku's face. "How do you feel?"

"Like shit." The response was instant and truthful as it was voiced. Suzaku really did feel horrible because he'd never imagined that he would hurt someone so close to him but he had. And he couldn't fix it.

"Then let's go eat something. Food always makes you feel better… or you can go find someone to bring back to your bed. Sex has always had a way of perking up your mood." Lelouch could always tell when Suzaku had either just eaten a very well prepared meal or had just finished fucking. The boy's smile would stretch for miles and his face would set into this dazed, euphoric, expression that he would wear for a few long hours.

Suzaku was so very… very masculine when Lelouch thought about it. He was the prime example of a growing young man whose mood could be easily swayed by primal instincts such as the need to feed or procreate.

And dear god, Lelouch couldn't fathom seeing that expression on his friends face were he ever to date Euphemia.

It would scar him for the rest of his life to know that his sister was having… ew… just… no.

"I'm not really in the mood to fool around with some random noble man's daughter. But I could go for some food and a movie." Suzaku stood from the bench and stretched his long limbs. He'd been sitting for far too long and he felt rather stiff. "Let's ditch the rest of the party and go watch a movie in your room." What Lelouch didn't know was that the one thing that made him feel better, more than food or even sex, was being able to cast all of his worries aside as he sat with Lelouch.

He didn't have to conceal anything in front of the eleventh prince, he didn't have to pretend that things were fine when they weren't, he could talk or vent as he saw fit, and Lelouch would listen and respond without judging him or his intentions. Suzaku liked that small piece of freedom.

Lelouch nodded, not minding in the slightest that they were leaving the party fairly early. They'd been there for hours and it was well into the night, plus, he was getting tired. "You go pick a movie then and I'll bring up something to eat."

"You're letting me pick the movie? Man, you must be tired. Or are you taking pity on me?" Because Lelouch never let him pick out movies unless they were at his home or he was upset.

The young prince smirked. "I'm taking pity on you. Now go before I change my mind."

Disregarding his sister's pain, Lelouch couldn't fathom not being friends with someone like Suzaku and he was glad that he wouldn't have to make that choice.


A/N: So, this story is a challenge to myself to drag out the loving for more than three chapters. In other words, I wanted there to be lots and lots of tension. Lets see how I do with that. Hope you all enjoyed and will return for the next chapter.

If you dug it, drop me a line. Thanks for reading.