A/N: I originally intended to provide only one fill for the prompt in the summary, but this was inspired after I read robinrocks' speculative mpreg (I believe it's called 'Complex') and wanted to try something... similar but different. Happy Zero Requiem anniversary! This marks four long years of SuzaLulu and counting for me. Gosh :'D
A Warm Wind
It's just far too ridiculous.
Lelouch is surprised that he's even considering something so illogical in the first place.
It cannot be that the vomiting, the headaches, the dizzy spells and the lethargy are all pointing to only one thing. But they have been coming and going like this for days straight now, even after Suzaku's insistence that he let the doctors examine him, even after they all find nothing wrong, even after Lelouch has put himself through a whole two days of complete rest to see if that would solve the issue.
It cannot be that he is overworking himself. Lelouch sits at the desk in his quarters, fighting exhaustion from the morning's ordeal in the bathroom while looking through a draft of the plans for Pendragon's restructuring, though his mind is listless and elsewhere.
The theory is completely ludicrous, but it is also the only conclusion Lelouch can come to at the moment.
That these are all symptoms of something else entirely. That he is expecting Suzaku's child.
But perhaps there is an explanation - after all, Lelouch has yet to consider the possibility that the Geass... that his Geass —
For one full moment, Lelouch's world goes completely still.
When he comes back to himself, Suzaku is looking at him funny from across the room.
Only then does Lelouch realize that he has snapped the pencil in his hand cleanly in two.
Privately, Lelouch commissions the royal medical team to run one last set of tests. They are told to classify the reports as confidential, and to bring them to him and him alone.
He doesn't actually expect them to find anything, of course. He just wants to be absolutely sure.
Because it's just not possible.
But then - mocks the full diagnosis that the medical staff place in his hands, its print clear as day and staring undeniably at him no matter how many times he tries to convince himself he's hallucinating - for a man who has so many times claimed to make the impossible possible, it might very well be... and is.
Part of him thinks that it isn't just the Geass. That it isn't just an unfortunate accident resulting from what C.C. additionally and unknowingly bestowed upon him two years ago. No, it is an unfortunate accident waiting to be made fortunate - an easy way out, an easy excuse which hardly anyone would fault him for using if they knew - and some irrational part of him thinks that it is also because somewhere deep in his subconscious, he still doesn't want to die. And Lelouch hates himself for it.
But no matter what it is, he could never bring himself to hate the child.
"Are you going to tell him?" C.C. asks, inviting herself to his bed and draping across it like a cat while Lelouch dresses for the day.
Lelouch tries not to let his gaze linger too long on the pale expanse of skin over his stomach before buttoning up his shirt. By estimate, he is five - perhaps six - weeks with child, which means that it will still be a long time before anything even begins to show. Enough time to finish what they have set out to do. Enough time to keep Suzaku's suspicions, if any, from rising further due to the emergence of physical evidence.
Suzaku deserves to know. Lelouch cannot deny this, but not more than how he must also acknowledge that all their plans will fall apart should Suzaku come to learn the truth.
"No." He answers her quietly.
"Not being very fair to him, are you? Given that it's his baby and all." C.C. rolls over on the mattress to stare flatly at the canopy, but says nothing else.
Lelouch hasn't been fair to a lot of people. This isn't fair either, but it is necessary.
There is nowhere to go but forward, and they must carry on as planned. They didn't stop at the knowledge that Nunnally lived. They cannot stop now. And if Suzaku must be the one to kill him and remains the only one who can, then Lelouch cannot - and will not - jeopardize all they have worked for and run the risk of shattering Suzaku's resolve.
Even if it means losing the one small ray of hope Lelouch is now able to give.
Technically, Lelouch knows that it is not quite alive- not yet. That at present, it largely cannot even be considered sentient. But he knows, too, that Suzaku would think otherwise, would not fully agree - and knows that those are also convenient excuses for doing away with what might be the one good thing that he and Suzaku have made together, ever since the World of C.
And Lelouch doesn't want to - but if this must be sacrificed, the same way they have had to sacrifice Nunnally's innocence and trust - then Lelouch will have to see it done.
His sole comfort lies in how he will not have to worry about complicated termination procedures.
Given the time they have left, the Zero Requiem will be all that they will need.
The morning sickness continues.
Suzaku sends him worried glances, his brows furrowed more often than not, and it is just like him to be concerned over Lelouch even when they both know Lelouch is going to be dead little more than a week later - but not once does he pry. Perhaps it is because Suzaku knows by now that when Lelouch keeps something from him, it is not without good reason. Perhaps it is because he thinks Lelouch will lie anyway if Lelouch doesn't want him to know the truth.
Whatever it is, it works to Lelouch's convenience, and Lelouch decides not to attempt putting any more distance between them even though Suzaku's presence and lingering concern remind him constantly of the oncoming loss, of the unborn child within him that Suzaku will never know about. He does this because any effort to push Suzaku away will probably worry Suzaku further and eventually bring the questions Lelouch does not want to deal with - and so Lelouch lets this continue - lets Suzaku kiss him at night, lets him weep into his neck and hair, lets him hold him gently till the sun filters through the curtains in the morning.
Perhaps it is for the best.
It nearly changes, one night after they settle into bed, as sleep is pulling at him and as Suzaku's hand, for some reason, comes to rest tenderly on his belly, his touch gentle and almost... inquisitive, cradling- and Lelouch is flinching involuntarily away before he quite realizes it. "-Don't."
Suzaku pulls away, surprised and taken aback and confused, and Lelouch immediately regrets his reaction.
"I meant - I didn't mean..." Lelouch reaches to touch Suzaku's cheek and pulls him in to kiss, searching for the most reassuring answer he can give. "Sorry," he murmurs with a smile. "I'm just... tired."
He can see Suzaku buying the explanation - outside of bed Lelouch has been burying himself in work - and it feels like a long while, though it is only a few seconds before full sympathy is back on Suzaku's face. "Okay," Suzaku wraps gentle hands around his shoulders and squeezes, smiling weakly. "It's okay, Lelouch."
Later, when Lelouch's back is against his chest and when Suzaku's arms slip around him again, he is careful to avoid Lelouch's lower abdomen.
He doesn't say anything else.
Suzaku does finally ask, two nights later. He has slid a hand so very gingerly over Lelouch's stomach - and though Lelouch isn't taken by surprise this time and doesn't flinch, it is almost as if Suzaku knows there is a delicate matter there now, waiting to be addressed.
"Please tell me?" is all Suzaku whispers, the plea hoarse in Lelouch's ear and earnest and laden with genuine concern, a sense of helplessness and loss.
Lelouch cannot tell him. He knows this, and knows it fully, but giving Suzaku a lie right now would only be just as difficult as giving him the truth. And Lelouch decides he is tired of lying.
I'm pregnant, Suzaku.
Lelouch isn't sure if the words make it past his mouth, but they must have, because Suzaku shrinks back, sitting up fully on the mattress, eyes wide in the moonlight and his reply a feeble, "...What?"
Lelouch brings himself to sit up, slowly. He cannot take back his words now. "I'm carrying our child."
Suzaku has one hand clenched in the sheets. His voice shakes. "This isn't funny, Lelouch."
"In case you haven't noticed, I'm not laughing."
"...Oh, god." Suzaku finally whispers. He doesn't even ask how. Probably doesn't need to. Lelouch watches him quietly and knows that in that moment Suzaku has also understood. It will not change anything. It is too late to turn back. They would never have known or been in time in the first place.
Suzaku will have to kill them both.
"Oh, my god." Suzaku chokes, barely managing to utter the words once more before the tears begin slipping freely down his cheeks.
Lelouch moves forward, gingerly gathers him into his arms - and Suzaku grips him tight, buries his face into his chest and sobs.
Lelouch lets him.
It is the only thing he can do for Suzaku now.
Suzaku avoids him for the next two days after. Which is perfectly understandable, and suits Lelouch just fine. There is still work to be done, and Suzaku can take all the time he needs between now and the Requiem to distance himself and renew his resolve for what he must do.
The problem is that from now, all the time they have left comes up to a grand total of one more day.
And Lelouch has to make sure that Suzaku's sword does not waver on that morning - or else he must provide Suzaku with a way out of this, and provide them all with one more miracle.
Just one more.
Lelouch has always known what that particular miracle will take. And in the end it is not Nunnally, but Suzaku's helpless, sobbing form and the trembling hands that grasp Lelouch - as though he cannot let go, as though he has never wanted to let go - that finally allow him to think of it as a choice that he can make.
(In fact perhaps it has always been the other way around. Perhaps he wants to die and is afraid to live - live and see everything he has worked and spilled so much blood for fail, if it does. Perhaps the child is fate's way of forcing him to see how selfish all of that will be.)
When C.C. smiles at him, it is silent and understanding, motherly and sad.
It is not yet late at night when he finds Suzaku in the study. The door has been left wide open.
"Suzaku." The name falls softly from his lips. Lelouch is very tired.
Suzaku stands, crosses the room, and comes to him.
In the chambers Suzaku breathes Lelouch in like he has never before, worshipping every inch of his body with his lips and sometimes with tears as they fuck, slow and gentle.
Maybe that is where Lelouch finally finds the strength to tell him that if they want this enough, they might still have a choice.
It still ends, that day. The sword still plunges into him, Suzaku still kills him before the world, against the blade his heart and lungs still struggle, stutter, stop.
Lelouch still dies.
But within him there is still the smallest glow, blossoming, and somewhere beyond Nunnally's screams Lelouch sees sunflowers and hears cicadas, the chime of a shrine bell, the uguisu in the trees.
And they are singing.
(1): Uguisu - a Japanese songbird. Its call is viewed as a herald of springtime and it is used in haiku to signify the coming of spring/early spring.
(2): I have another, very different take on this prompt coming up in a day or two. I am not sure if ffn will be a bitch and pull it off the site for too much smut, though. In case that happens, and if you're curious to see it, please look for it on Ao3. You can find me there under the username touchreceptors :D