A/N: I was a little lazy and plucked a few lines and arrangements from Ever After and Then Some for this. The situation, however, is almost entirely new. Enjoy.
From her place in the shadows she watched wordlessly as the procession for the execution moved past her.
Little did everyone know how it was going to end up as the execution for the very Emperor who'd ordered their deaths.
This was it. Everything they'd worked for, all the lives they'd sacrificed - all of it would culminate in this moment Lelouch called the Zero Requiem.
- There. Zero, a lone, single figure cloaked in violet and black, appearing before the procession and bringing the entire thing to a halt.
There were shouts of surprise and disbelief coming from some of the prisoners, but she had eyes only for both men on each end of the road.
Lelouch stood, portraying shock and sudden desperation perfectly from where he was as the bullets fired and Zero shot forth - his consciousness sparking strongly enough that she sensed it, too - not just the anticipation as Suzaku ran forward, dodging every intentionally misfired bullet at lightning speed, but the final leap within himself, steeling mind body and soul for what he knew - what they all knew - was finally to come.
And it was in that moment, through the temporary merging of their consciousnesses so brief Lelouch wouldn't have realized it himself in his current state of mind - that she felt - no, felt and saw-
There was something else.
A tiny glow at his center, its light sparked further by Lelouch's sudden subconscious whirl of emotion - a glow which could be recognized as one thing and one thing only.
And C.C. was moving before she even realized it, breaking into the confusion, leaping on to the platform moments after Suzaku had crossed it, forcing herself up the slope to the throne - faster, faster - as the gun was knocked from Lelouch's hand, pushing her way in between both boys and shoving Lelouch backward in time - just in time for Suzaku to plunge the drawn sword directly into her belly, right where Lelouch himself would have taken the wound.
Suzaku's reflex wasn't fast enough for him to break the momentum of his sword but he did manage to keep the blade from going right through, yanking it out as soon as it'd gone in and stumbling back in shock as C.C. let herself crumple to the ground.
Their audience's exclamations died and gave way to hesitant murmurs of uncertainty and anticipation. The stunned silence from both boys lasted for about two seconds, before C.C. managed to open her eyes and found Lelouch kneeling before her, eyes flashing furiously behind the expression of shock he was maintaining for the crowd.
"C.C." His voice hissed. "What is the meaning of this."
Her wound and the momentary blood loss was making it a little difficult to speak and breathe. "Fall back. It's important. Get us in a private place and I'll explain." She had to pause for breath and a grimace. "You can thank me later."
Lelouch looked like he wanted to curse, but she could see him thinking fast as well, so at least he seemed to be taking her words seriously. Things were in a mess right now and they'd only be getting themselves into an even bigger mess if he didn't act quickly.
"Suzaku." The lines of Zero's body immediately straightened a little, as did the wavering sword in his hands. Old habits died hard. "Hold your sword ready." Lelouch spoke low and quietly, letting the shock on his features melt slowly into an expression of bewilderment and fear as he stared up at him, a complete contrast from the steadiness of his voice. "Take the microphone and do and say exactly what I tell you to."
"No. It is very rare, but not unheard of since the existence of Geass. What do you think gave them the idea to pull Julius Cesar from his mother's womb the way they did?"
"Would I have jumped in front of you like that and gone through all the trouble of getting stabbed for you if I was joking?"
"Goddammit." Lelouch breathed, his frustration unfurling and echoing throughout the throne room. "You couldn't have mentioned any of this before?"
"As I just said, the occurrence is rare. Rare enough that I didn't think much of it, and even if I had, I was hardly going to spoil your fun, with you approaching your untimely death and all. The child itself was only brought to my attention minutes ago."
If nothing else, the fact that Lelouch had been throwing up for the past three mornings - the current one included - now made better sense. They'd simply assumed it a natural result of all the stress combined with, perhaps, repressed anxiety regarding his upcoming death - until it had become obvious to C.C. that as a side effect of having received the Geass from a female Code bearer, as well as most of his sexual encounters with Suzaku - Lelouch was in fact and indeed expecting.
He'd done a reasonable job buying them some time to work things out alone. Suzaku, as Zero, had made it clear to the crowd that the Emperor was currently at the mercy of his blade and had agreed to private negotiations. They'd released all the captives, with Lelouch putting up a decent act of being forced and frightened into submission and subsequently ordering the release of the prisoners. Down below, Jeremiah had acted accordingly, though his confusion at the sudden turn of events had been clear - as had been the fact that Cornelia had been planning and was currently leading a small resistance. Suzaku had waited till all the prisoners, Nunnally included, were safe with her, before motioning for the Emperor to get up and take the bleeding, dying girl with him, the tip of his sword never far from Lelouch's neck for as long as everyone's eyes were on them. It had been perfectly orchestrated to look as though Zero was ensuring the safety of those who had been held captive before trying anything else. No guards had followed when Zero brought the Emperor and the Witch into the throne room and shut the doors. No one had attempted to shoot. Not one person protested. No one had resisted.
But it was apparent now, after C.C.'s revelation, that the fate Lelouch had to deal with behind those doors was far different from whatever he'd been... well, expecting.
Lelouch smiled bitterly. "And you couldn't have just left us in blissful ignorance."
"I thought at least one of you would prefer to be making an informed decision." C.C. shrugged, then smirked. "And perhaps I was being just a little bit selfish."
There were two possible meanings to the second half of her answer, and ones that weren't necessarily unrelated. Lelouch didn't have the time to think too much about that, however, when he had to be busy worrying about the first.
The knowledge that he was now supposedly with child was going to have significant bearing on whatever course of action they decided to take next.
He looked to Suzaku, who'd taken off the helmet mask he'd been wearing once they'd stepped into privacy but had remained silent and still during most of Lelouch and C.C.'s exchange. His former knight's brow was subtly knotted and his eyes grave.
Slowly, as if to make his point clear, Suzaku pulled down the second mask - the cloth that covered half his face - before he spoke, voice quiet. "I won't. I'm not doing it, Lelouch. Not while..." He stopped himself, his mouth a thin line. "But your - our sins are still far too great."
"I know that." Lelouch snapped. Within a moment's thought Lelouch knew he'd still be able to bring himself to make the sacrifice if absolutely necessary, but faced now with the confirmation of Suzaku's reluctance, as well as the pinch they were in due to C.C.'s impulsive rescue - here was a chance to see if he couldn't change his strategies and have them work out for the betterment of everyone - himself and the baby included. Well, it wasn't so much a chance as it was Lelouch being forced to reformulate their plans, especially since the only person who could kill him now had just flatly refused - but that was marginal at present.
At present Lelouch needed to take things in stride and address matters simply as though they were all just another glitch in his plans. He weighed their options.
For the world and its people, Lelouch vi Britannia still needed to die. The death of the monster, or at least, the assurance of it, was needed for the people to be satisfied, and was needed if they ever hoped to arrive at a peaceful solution. There was no ruling that out.
But for the baby to live - which, if Lelouch were to be honest with himself, was what he'd want as well given a choice - Lelouch had to live, too. The most pressing issue, then - morals and questions of atonement aside - was how to orchestrate a convincing appearance of his death to set the world on the right course once again while at the same time ensuring the continued safety of their child.
The obvious solution, given the current situation, was to accept the Code from C.C. But Lelouch couldn't use himself to fake his own death, because the immortality from the Code logically wouldn't pass to the fetus, and the risk of losing it during the ordeal was...
Unless, of course -
Lelouch smiled tersely at Suzaku. "You have my gun?"
"Yes." Suzaku produced it from his cloak, having picked it up for good measure when he'd directed Lelouch off the platform earlier.
Good. "C.C." Lelouch turned to his other companion. "If you are still willing, then I will fulfill our contract here and now, according to its original terms."
C.C. smiled, slow and lazy from where she'd conveniently settled herself on the throne, blood-stained clothing and all. "Are you sure you're ready for it, boy?"
Lelouch felt himself giving her a wry smile in return. "I've not been left with much choice." The people outside were waiting. The whole world would be watching. They needed to act, and to act fast. His smile fell away. "How do I know if this isn't all a set up to force me to take your Code from you?"
"You don't." C.C. said blandly. "Although it should become more than apparent in a few months whether or not I'm lying. Also, if I'd wanted you to take it from me that badly, I would've forced it on you months ago."
That sounded legitimate, though it wasn't as though Lelouch could do anything about it to begin with. He nodded. The measure of trust he had in C.C. was enough. "Will this affect..." He trailed off, words softening as he suddenly found himself unable to say it.
Fortunately, C.C. understood. "It shouldn't. Your geass abilities will disappear, but the womb will stay intact. As will whatever memories I've transferred to you before, and whatever new ones you may gain from this."
"And you'll..." Lelouch didn't want to lose her right away, either, even if there was a possibility that it was still something she wanted.
"I'll live. A full, mortal life." She smirked a little. "If no one kills me first."
It was worth the risk. Lelouch met Suzaku's eyes. "We'll stage my death, then, with this. It will mean that my punishment will become that of a life in exile and a life which I may not be able to end as I please, but those are all details which can be left till later."
Suzaku recognized that Lelouch was actually looking to him for his opinion. There were two lives in the balance now, after all - not just Lelouch's, but that of the child he was supposedly carrying. Suzaku's child. Theirs. Suzaku had never wanted to be the one to kill Lelouch in the first place, but with all they'd done and had set out to do, he'd come to accept the need for Lelouch to die, at his hands and in front of the world. Now, however, there was a need even greater than the first, and one that required that Lelouch live despite both their sins. It wasn't difficult figuring out which took priority. Suzaku clenched his hands to keep them from shaking (in relief, uncertainty, worry) and swallowed. "Okay." He didn't know the full extent of Lelouch's plans just yet, but he had faith that Lelouch would only choose what was best for the baby, too.
Lelouch nodded and shrugged off his cloak, glancing over at C.C. as he reached for his collar and began stripping with unabashed efficiency. "I'll need the mark somewhere less visible and obvious - between the shoulders or on my lower back, if you can." His robes pooled around his feet and Lelouch stepped forward toward the throne, now clad in nothing but white pants. "Do it."
C.C. rose from where she was seated and at the same time, Suzaku instinctively moved closer to Lelouch, somehow already knowing that it wasn't going to be very pretty and wanting to at least... be there while it happened. Naked from waist-up, Lelouch looked pale and almost vulnerable in the soft light filtering in, even with the resolute expression currently on his face - which softened too, into something a little more reassuring as he allowed Suzaku to take his hand.
The flicker of acknowledgement from C.C.'s amber eyes confirmed Suzaku's suspicions as she touched her fingers gently to the small space between Lelouch's shoulderblades. "I cannot control exactly what he'll go through and see, but I can guarantee it won't be pleasant. Be ready to catch him if he falls."
That was all the warning they got before she planted her palm on Lelouch's skin, closed her eyes, and let the transference forth.
It seemed to happen faster than expected. Lelouch gasped once, violet eyes wide and unfocused, and Suzaku could almost feel the shift and force of C.C.'s power, but couldn't see what visions were haunting Lelouch - until Lelouch staggered a little and Suzaku gripped his arm to hold him steady and was granted a brief flash of images himself due to the closer physical contact. War blood death life screaming singing anguish joy, a young child crying, an army of children, serene and asleep with the winged sigil branded on all their foreheads -
And then C.C. let go, sinking weakly back into the throne and looking suddenly exhausted, and Lelouch went limp in his hold. Suzaku reacted fast, catching him by both shoulders and lowering him carefully to the ground, then remained crouched by his now unconscious form as he looked up in concern at C.C.
She smiled, small but genuine, speaking calmly into the hush. "It's done."
From beside him Lelouch's eyelids fluttered, and Suzaku touched a gloved hand gently to his face. "...Lelouch?"
Lelouch's stare was soft and utterly blank and Suzaku allowed panic to seize him internally for all of one second before a familiar light returned to his eyes and Lelouch finally seemed to come back to himself. He sat up slowly and Suzaku moved back to give him more space, noting the flash of the same red-winged sigil that was now marked in between his shoulders.
"Are you alright?"
"- A splitting headache, but I'll manage." Lelouch reached for his clothes and lost no time in picking up right from where they'd left off. "Put your mask back on." Evidently he'd lost none of his flourish either, given the way he slipped effortlessly back into his blouse and spun to C.C. as he rose. "If you can lie on the floor and pretend to be dead for awhile longer, I'd greatly appreciate it."
C.C. looked thoroughly unimpressed but sighed to indicate that she'd play along because it wasn't like she had anything better to do at the moment anyways.
"Suzaku, there should be a line I've told Sayoko to keep open just in case. Radio her and tell her to have the doctors on standby." Lelouch faced him fully then, the subtlest smirk finally crossing his lips. "There's a coroner's report that needs faking once these doors open and you shoot me in the back of my head."
Somewhere up there, someone was definitely laughing at him. Lelouch sat at the table in one of the abandoned apartments they'd used before they'd seized the throne on worldwide television, nursing a warm mug of decaffeinated tea and trying to reconcile with the whirlwind change of events that had taken place earlier in the day, now that he finally had some time to do so.
They'd had a decent-sized audience when they'd walked out of the throne room - Cornelia and most of her resistance force included, as well as the curious and confused among the freed prisoners. Though on guard, all of them had stood clear and avoided eye contact with him - making it clear that they still thought he possessed his Geass - and their numbers and the identities of those present had been more than sufficient for Suzaku, as Zero once again, to carry out their reformulated plans immediately. That had been the simple part. He'd announced, letting Lelouch walk out in front of him, that the Emperor had agreed to full and complete exile in exchange for his life, before pulling the gun and swiftly putting a bullet through Lelouch's head.
"However, the sins he has committed against the innocent have been too vast and numerous for such pardon." Those had been the last words - staged, scripted, rehearsed - Lelouch had heard before his first death.
From there, everything had erupted into a semi-state of chaos. Nunnally had been the first voice to break through, her screams of anguish and confusion sending a jolt through what was either his heart or his consciousness - maybe both - as he lay prone, but Lelouch had of course played his part well. She'd stopped only when Suzaku had crossed over to her, presumably having held her hand and whispered a reassuring promise into her ear. (Suzaku had later told him that she'd refused to let go of Zero for a long time after, the tears falling in silent streaks down her face.)
And then the medical team that had participated with Sayoko, Cecile and Lloyd in the final 'betrayal' he'd orchestrated had come barging in (just as planned), whisked his body off to be examined after a few sharp orders from Cornelia, and pronounced him dead shortly after, to what could only have been the delight of the anticipating crowd and all who were watching the news.
Of course, there'd been a lot more going on behind the scenes. Sayoko, who'd roped the doctors in on the new situation with impressive efficiency, had already begun making arrangements with them to have a replacement dead body prepared. Meanwhile, Suzaku, Cornelia, Kaguya and Ougi had moved swiftly into intermediary control of the political situation outside, and Lelouch was confident that Jeremiah had had the good sense to act according to the initial plan and move into exile himself, once Lelouch's public death by Zero's hands had taken place, despite the slight deviations.
C.C. had rejoined him and once the coast was clear they'd made their escape disguised as two of the many palace guards now freed from Lelouch's control (since the official word was, of course, that Lelouch the Demon Emperor was dead and wouldn't be around to give them orders any longer). The plan was for them to lias with Suzaku via an encrypted channel once they'd found a suitable hideout, and for Suzaku to join them once he was able to, bringing the doctors with him under the cover of nightfall so that they could help with what Lelouch really needed to be examined for.
It had actually been a lot more exhausting than it sounded. Perhaps that was because Lelouch had gotten too accustomed to being waited on hand and foot in the recent months. Or maybe it was because much of his physical energy was at the same time being used to adapt to the Code, or to the carrying of the baby. Maybe all of it. Whatever it was, Lelouch had hardly had the time to think about much else while they'd been on the move, his focus dedicated to determining the safest possible routes and permutations and all the risks they carried. Certain now that they were in the best holding site in the vicinity for the time being though, he found himself pressing fingers to his forehead as if to deal with a massive headache, while the reality slowly and finally set in.
Having the Code did feel... different. Lelouch was acutely aware of the absence of his Geass, having grown accustomed to it over the years - much as he was now also aware of his connection to the World of C. C.C. had been cryptic in response to a few of his questions, leaving him to his own devices and retiring early to her room - rather unsurprisingly, given how her now mortal body was probably as tired adapting to the sudden change as his was, if not more so. Instinctively though, Lelouch knew that if he were to dive just a little further into his consciousness - now an almost tangible thing in his mind's eye if he concentrated - the World of C would open fully for him, and everything C.C. had done or could have done would be his to work new miracles with.
He wasn't too keen to explore his new abilities so deeply yet, however. C.C.'s transference had hurt - even if the images weren't exactly disturbing him anymore, the memory of the pain was. And when he'd "died" for the first time that day, a vast, endless plane stretching out into both the past (which had held too many memories Lelouch hadn't exactly wanted to revisit right then) and the future (which had held an endless number of possibilities and uncertainties) had appeared before him, and Lelouch was still having difficulty shaking off the sensation of sheer emptiness that had momentarily left him with - though it was not overwhelmingly great.
If it had been any less serious a situation, Lelouch would probably have laughed at the whole thing, but as it was, this was still a mess. A mess much bigger than what he'd originally intended to create - but then again, Lelouch hadn't originally intended to be alive at this very moment either.
Now that he quite literally had something to live for, however, Lelouch supposed it was all for the best.
...A merging of consciousness. Lelouch could see exactly what C.C. had meant now. Perhaps it was even more so because the baby was within him, part his and part Suzaku's and so intimately connected to his person. But ever present now, more than anything else and even the doorway to the World of C, in fact - was the small, tiny consciousness of the child, feather-like at the very edge of his mind. C.C. hadn't been lying. Lelouch hadn't had to look far to feel its existence - clear and undeniable and yet at the same time, delicate and not quite... tangible yet, like the faintest glow at his center or in the middle of a dim room.
It was enough for Lelouch to be sure that it was safe, unaffected by the day's ordeal and his receiving of the Code - though the rest of the answers to this whole bizarre and unexpected situation, Lelouch knew, lay with the doctors once Suzaku brought them in.
...So small. Lelouch placed a hand gently over his stomach and closed his eyes. The baby's consciousness was something subtle and unobtrusive, almost shy, like a slow, fluttering awareness - but always there when he looked for it. ...There.
Slowly Lelouch reached out and for the first time, tentatively brushed a soft mental caress over it. No matter what happened now... he'd do everything he could. He'd failed so many who were precious to him - Euphy, Shirley, Rolo, Nunnally - some even before he'd realized how much they'd meant to him - and he was determined not to let it happen again. Not after all they'd already done for this child.
Its mind probably wasn't even complex or developed enough yet for him to communicate, or for it to even register his mental touch - but it felt strangely comforting to be able to recognize its presence all the same, and Lelouch found himself smiling wistfully as he let his hand linger a little longer on his abdomen.
To think that something so small and simple had so drastically changed everything for them - within less than a day's time, too.
And then as if hearing his thoughts, a gentle knocking came from the door, soft and precise with the password in Morse code.
E - U - P - H - Y
Lelouch rose from the chair and made his way over to let Suzaku and their visitors in. It was time.
If there was one thing Suzaku thought was constant about Lelouch, from the time he'd first known him till now - it was that Lelouch liked to be in control. Of pretty much everything. If he couldn't be in control, then Lelouch still liked to feel that he was, and if he couldn't even feel like he was in control, then he at least liked to look as though he was. Suzaku sat next to him at the table while Lelouch more or less launched into a whole series of extra questions which he had for the doctors seated opposite them, wanting to address as many potential issues as he could. Fortunately the two members of the royal medical team who had volunteered to come along with him - Thaniel, a young but talented obstetrician, and his older sister, Rita Clark, a surgeon just as skilled in her profession - were fully understanding and more than happy to answer all their questions (mostly Lelouch's, actually, since he was clearly doing and wanted to do most of the talking) patiently.
So far everything looked good, though. They'd already checked Lelouch over, hooked him up to some complex portable ultrasound machinery - which had not only confirmed what they already knew but had allowed all of them to have a look at the fetus' heartbeat, tiny but strong and twice as fast as Lelouch's had been in that moment - and very quickly, to all their relief, determined that both Lelouch and the baby were doing fine.
There'd been the technical details as well: Lelouch explaining with admirable calm and aplomb what C.C. had told him about her female ability to reproduce having been granted to him as an unintended side effect when she'd bestowed him with the Geass, and a subsequent confirmation by the doctors that the uterus he currently possessed did indeed seem to be connected to his rectum by a small channel which had formed, thus allowing conception to take place.
Of course, that didn't necessarily make it a viable solution for birth, which was clearly why Lelouch was also so intent now on making as many clarifications about Cesarean procedures as possible, despite the fact that it was something still so very far away at present. (It did appear that the healing process, at least, would be a lot less complicated as long as he was still in possession of the Code by then. That was one thing to be thankful for.) Not that Suzaku had anything against addressing everything worth worrying about while they could.
For Suzaku, however, the defining moment came when all of their most pressing concerns had been answered and when Rita reassured them with a warm smile. "There should be no other problems, then... provided you still wish to see this through."
Lelouch looked at him then, brief but serious enough as an affirmation of what they'd decided and Suzaku felt himself nod in return as the reality finally seemed to hit home. They were going to have a baby. Despite and in spite of all odds - here they were, now, two people who'd least expected a child but who were going to accept the responsibility it came with anyway. It was the path they'd both already chosen.
"After everything we've already done for its sake..." Lelouch answered the doctors with a wry smile. "How can we not?"
The truth was, that at the end of the day (or night, really, considering how it was now close to two in the morning), Suzaku still had some worries and questions of his own - ones that weren't meant for the doctors and weren't ones they could answer either - though at present he was also admittedly in a much better emotional state than he'd thought he'd be in before C.C. had intervened that morning.
Evidently, it was the same for Lelouch, who fitted warmly and readily against him when Suzaku climbed gingerly in with him in the bedroom, after the doctors had left with a promise to continue assisting them however they could and to follow-up with them in another four weeks... wherever they'd be in four weeks, that was.
For now though, the priority was still keeping Lelouch and C.C. hidden and safe. The world could never know the truth. And Suzaku wasn't stupid enough either to assume that having the Code meant Lelouch was now invulnerable to any form of assault. C.C. herself had been captured before, after all - which was how their lives had all been re-intertwined in the first place - and if Lelouch was in danger, that pretty much meant that the baby would be fully exposed to it as well.
So much of it was still in a whirl in his mind, and Suzaku slid a hand behind Lelouch's shoulder and kissed him soft and slow, wishing, just for a moment, that they didn't have to worry about anything else.
Lelouch was still here, after all, tangible and soft against him and real with a sigh forming at the back of his throat - and that was ultimately what mattered the most.
"I know this isn't exactly what we both wanted." Lelouch murmured against his lips, his eyelids lifting to reveal a calm violet as they parted.
Suzaku understood what he meant. "It's far more than we deserve." He agreed softly, pausing to search for the words which could best express his conflicted emotions to Lelouch. "All the same, I..." He felt a smile, small but genuine, find its way onto his lips. "I'm kind of glad it turned out the way it did."
Lelouch smiled at that, too, and Suzaku found himself trying desperately not to think about what would've happened had C.C. not intervened the way she did - had they not known. Naturally, he failed. And with Lelouch a little more relaxed now, like this - it was probably one of the best few chances he'd have to voice the question that had been gnawing quietly at him since the moment Lelouch had changed their course of action in the throne room.
"Lelouch -" Suzaku forced the words out before he could change his own mind. "If you'd known... if you'd found out before the Zero Requiem, would you have... told me?"
Lelouch went silent and didn't answer for a long time. He had to wet his lips before he finally spoke again, voice quiet. "I would've done what was necessary. The truth would have torn your resolve in two."
Suzaku swallowed thickly and nodded, his eyes burning. He supposed he'd already known the answer; he'd just... needed to hear it. This had happened only by chance, then. Things had changed only because the knowledge had been revealed to him at the same time as it had to Lelouch. And Lelouch had been forced to react and resolve the situation with what they had and within very little time. Suzaku would never have known otherwise.
"Shh..." Lelouch wrapped an arm around him, hand cupping the back of his neck as he brought their foreheads gently together. "It's not what happened in the end. Focus. Here and now - you'll continue to live out your punishment as Zero, bearing the hope of all the world's people on your shoulders, while I take mine in the form of exile... but we will keep moving forward. We must. Now that things have come to this. Now that we're here."
Now that Lelouch had made the decision - for him, and for the unborn child he was carrying. Suzaku swallowed again, voice hoarse. "I'll do everything I can. I promise."
Lelouch smiled a little, running fingers through the hairs at Suzaku's nape, but his gaze was pensive. "There's one more thing." He said quietly. "To truly live, Suzaku - in this way, alongside me, alongside Nunnally, C.C... and the little one we're going to bring into this world... You'll have to forgive yourself."
- and for a moment, Suzaku felt his heart skip a beat, but then Lelouch continued speaking, slowly, softly.
"Forgive the Kururugi Suzaku you once were, the Suzaku who is no more. Let go of the deeds he's done. That Suzaku is dead. He's been dead for almost two months now, and he's not the same man who is the father of our child." Lelouch brought his hand forward to caress the side of his face. "Can you do that?"
"I..." Suzaku covered his hand with his own, aware of the tears which had begun to brim in his eyes. His throat felt dry and constricted, but he managed to rasp the words out, gripping Lelouch's hand tight. "I'll try."
That was as much as he knew he could give at that moment. But Lelouch smiled at his answer, his whole face relaxing into something more serene, satisfied. "Good." Soft lips pressed against Suzaku's own. "That's all I need you to do."
"...Lelouch." Suzaku whispered against him in one shuddering breath, and Lelouch made a small soothing sound even as Suzaku pressed him close and returned the kiss. It was long and heartfelt, Lelouch responding to him fervently with moist lips and an eager tongue, and before Suzaku quite realized it he'd rolled (or been rolled) on top of Lelouch and was, of all things, somehow starting to laugh a little despite the tears.
"You know -" his voice still sounded a little hoarse, but that didn't really matter. "- Now that this has happened... I think your old plan sucks." He grinned down at Lelouch. "I'm beginning to like this one a lot more."
"You - " Lelouch scowled, gloriously, growling in mock annoyance as he yanked him down for another kiss, Suzaku still laughing, but by the time their lips met again he was smiling against Suzaku's mouth, too.
Suzaku slipped his tongue back in, allowing Lelouch to wrestle a little for control before taking over and reducing him to soft noises with steady strokes, long and broad and hot. Lelouch tilted his head up in appreciation, baring a pale, smooth stretch of skin on his neck which was waiting for his attention, and so Suzaku trailed the kisses slowly down until he fastened on Lelouch's fluttering pulse and sucked, earning himself a low moan of approval as Lelouch parted his legs to make more room for him.
He made quick work of the buttons on Lelouch's shirt, nosing and licking further down till he was breathing lightly over a nipple and causing Lelouch to tense under him, his hands finding their way into Suzaku's hair.
"Ge- gently," Lelouch's voice was breathless, the blush on his face visible in the dim light from the window when Suzaku looked up at him. "I'm still -"
...Ah. Sensitive. Suzaku bit back an amused smile and assented, closing his lips carefully around the nub, avoiding the use of his teeth entirely and suckling very, very lightly. At least the explanation for Lelouch's heightened receptiveness here in recent days made a lot more sense now. Lelouch's hands tightened in his hair, his throat making the most delicious strangled gasps and mewls as Suzaku tenderly sucked and licked, and - gods, the whimper that escaped him when Suzaku angled his hips forward and finally brought their erections together, moaning with a little thrust even as he drew his tongue slowly, delicately over Lelouch's other nipple.
Lelouch let his head roll back, canting his hips up and rutting gratuitously against him - with him - the rise and fall of his chest becoming more pronounced as his breathing grew heavier.
The friction was wonderful, the way Lelouch was lifting his hips and rocking against him better still - but Suzaku eventually decided he had something else in mind and ground against him once, twice - three more times, before sinking further down and planting feather kisses on Lelouch's hipbone as he pulled Lelouch's pants and briefs down and off, freeing his arousal. It was already beginning to pearl at the tip, and Suzaku wet his lips as he smoothed his palms over Lelouch's hips, wondering what sort of noises he'd be able to draw from him this time as one of Lelouch's hands slipped back into his hair, the other tightening in anticipation in the sheets.
"Oh- god, Suzaku." It was barely a whisper, and it turned into a sharp intake of breath when Suzaku opened his mouth and breathed out over his cock, warm and moist. "Nng-"
Suzaku licked a slow line up from the base of his cock to the head, steadied Lelouch's hips with his hands, and descended. Lelouch muffled a yell in the pillows, his grip in Suzaku's hair tugging almost painfully at the roots, but Suzaku continued sucking him off, easing his jaw further open with each time he sank back down and working his way slowly toward the hilt, moaning around him and enjoying the way Lelouch was whining in return at each suck, sending little jumps of pleasure through Suzaku's own neglected cock below.
Suzaku was good at this, and knew it. It was evident in the way Lelouch gave up trying to muffle his cries and in the way his toes were curling and in the way both his hands tangled in Suzaku's hair and started to really tug for his attention -
"Ah, ah, wait. Wait wait wait, Suzaku, wait -" Suzaku looked up in mild surprise, letting himself pull off slowly with a soft pop. "I want..." The flush was high on Lelouch's cheeks, his breath coming in shallow pants, his hair slightly askew and nipples still dark and erect. "I - need..."
...Oh. "But..." Suzaku had pretty much been operating instinctively on the assumption that they were no longer in possession of any lube, so when Lelouch reached under the pillows behind him and produced the bottle and pushed it into his hands with the tiniest smirk, Suzaku found that he had to keep himself from laughing. Of course Lelouch would think to bring such a thing along, even with all the earlier commotion they'd been in. Lelouch reached for Suzaku's fly with deft fingers, undoing his pants and pushing both those and his briefs out of the way in quick succession and Suzaku smiled, kneeling and dipping forward to kiss him again as he uncapped the bottle and tilted a generous amount onto his fingers. "Lelouch-"
"Hmmm," was all Lelouch said against him when Suzaku reached down and felt for his hole and rubbed a thumb in circular motion around it, pressing just barely in. "Mmm - Suzaku. Yes."
It was almost ironic, really, how vocal and almost demanding Lelouch was being now - especially considering how this very apartment had been one of the first few places they'd fucked in - back when Lelouch had been clearly embarrassed about all the noises he was making despite the bold front he'd put up, and when Suzaku had had to work on relaxing him and coaxing them out of him, bit by bit.
Suzaku slipped a finger in and Lelouch's eyelids fluttered closed, his hands coming up to rest on Suzaku's shoulders and his exhale long and sultry as Suzaku moved the digit within him, swallowing at how hot it already was. A second one, slowly, and Lelouch's breathing quickened again while Suzaku scissored and stretched him, shifting them a little and then curling his fingertips slightly forward to search, brushing gently against the walls until -
"N- ah, ah..." There it was. Suzaku leaned forward and caught Lelouch's mouth in another kiss, drinking in his mewls and whimpers as Suzaku thrust his fingers steadily in and out, massaging his prostate and pushing against it. He felt Lelouch's fingers dig into his shoulders, sensed Lelouch's thighs trembling, felt and heard him begin to gasp. "Suzaku, Suzaku -"
Suzaku didn't need more motivation than that. He pulled out, kicked his pants and underwear fully aside, bit down a groan as he coated himself, then lifted one of Lelouch's legs by the underside of the knee and eased himself in. As with most other times the first thing to hit his mind was hot tight hot- and Suzaku had to clamp down on the impulse to begin thrusting right away; just because they'd done this before and done it last just one night ago didn't mean Lelouch didn't need any more time to adjust. Suzaku steadied himself, trying to bring his breathing under control, and opened his eyes to check on Lelouch - who seemed to be doing the same, his hands now fisted in the sheets and his eyes still screwed shut.
Suzaku managed to lean up and press a soft kiss to his forehead. "Alright?"
Lelouch opened violet eyes to smile at him, one hand coming up to cup his jaw and bring him in for another kiss. "Yeah. Move."
So Suzaku did, slowly, rocking further in with little shallow thrusts until he was - god, buried in at the hilt, and Lelouch's other leg wrapped around him, his heel hitting the base of Suzaku's spine. Suzaku braced his arms on either side of him and controlled the pacing, slow, but smooth and steady, out, in, out, in again, out - and if memory served correctly, in at an angle like this meant— Lelouch cried out, almost flinching and both hands flying back to grasp Suzaku's shoulders and Suzaku nipped at his collarbone, lifting one of his legs briefly again for better access. "Got it."
He began moving in earnest. Lelouch gave a long shudder and moaned, his cock which had softened a little stirring quickly back to life where it was trapped against their stomachs, his walls clenching and his voice keening every now and then when Suzaku hit in at an even better angle, making Suzaku moan as well and grit his teeth. Soon Suzaku found himself restraining the urge to simply slam his hips home and throw all caution and pacing to the wind - and then somewhere in the middle of all their panting and the feel and sound of skin slapping against skin Lelouch was gasping the order, his heel digging into Suzaku's back and pulling him closer still. "Faster."
Suzaku almost slowed further instead, slightly taken aback. "Are you sure?" In again, ah - "I mean - you're..."
Suzaku didn't want to do anything too rash, especially now that they knew. Then again, it wasn't like their activities prior to the discovery of Lelouch's pregnancy had affected anything... And Lelouch let go of him, taking his face in both his hands and pulling him forward to kiss him full and hard. "Yes." The whisper was hoarse against Suzaku's lips. "Do it now. Do it for me." Lelouch kissed him again. "Please."
There was no way he could refuse. Something in the way Lelouch had said that sent a huge jolt all the way from Suzaku's gut to the base of his cock to the very tip of it and Suzaku growled into the crook of his neck, lifting Lelouch up, pinning him upright against the pillows and almost, almost slamming him into the headboard before finally giving in to instinct and snapping his hips up and home, home, in, in, in as he gripped Lelouch's thighs and fucked him hard and strong and fast.
Lelouch threw his head back, his mouth falling open in abandon and his fingers scrabbling against Suzaku's back as he let forth a string of unintelligible sobs and gasps and cries. The headboard - no, the bed was creaking, Suzaku was vaguely aware of the noises he was making but it was Lelouch who was just getting louder and louder, his whole body shaking with each surge up into him, and really C.C. was probably already awake in the next room listening and grinning pervertedly - but after a certain point Suzaku didn't think anymore, focusing just on the way Lelouch was urging him on with his keening and Lelouch's scent when he buried his face in between his neck and shoulder and the tight delicious heat he was thrusting into and just yes yes, yes, yes.
"Ah, ah, ah, ah - ah-" Somewhere along the way Lelouch's cries heightened further still, his hands yanking at pretty much anything of Suzaku's they could find purchase on - his shirt, his hair - "Ah, aah—" and then he was coming, coming in spurts onto both their stomachs and tightening up so much - so much that Suzaku was following soon after, burying himself deep inside him and spilling into him and letting a long groan out into his shoulder.
Slowly, Suzaku relaxed his grip on Lelouch's thighs and let Lelouch's legs fall back onto the mattress, and for a few moments they remained there panting heavily, Suzaku's sweaty forehead pressed against Lelouch's collarbone and Lelouch running his hands calmingly through Suzaku's hair and down his back while they both regained their breaths.
After some time Suzaku gently disengaged and then pulled off his T-shirt, using it to wipe them both clean before moving aside to let Lelouch shift back down and lie properly on the mattress again. Suzaku rolled up to him, wrapping an arm back around his waist, and Lelouch reciprocated, snuggling against him and all but radiating the satisfaction that seemed to be thrumming underneath his skin.
"...Thank you," came a murmur from Lelouch.
"Mmrmh. ...What for?"
Lelouch smiled when Suzaku opened his eyes to look at him quizzically. "I know I still live, technically. But it seems coming into possession of the Code and having died once all in the same day has had certain repercussions on my ability to feel as though I am indeed alive." His smile turned a little more into a smirk. "The coping mechanism was to get you to fuck me senseless."
Suzaku couldn't help it at that; he huffed a dry laugh into Lelouch's shoulder. "Did it work?"
Lelouch gave a low, satisfied hum. "I think so."
Smiling, Suzaku mouthed his shoulder languidly as he traced circles into Lelouch's hip with his thumb, then gently, reverently slid his palm over Lelouch's abdomen, still flat, though it likely wouldn't remain that way for much longer.
...Who'd have imagined that all of their coupling would have led to this, would have eventually become part of the cause of this tiny miracle - of what was perhaps a blessing in disguise?
"...Can you feel it?" Suzaku ventured softly, eyes lifting to look at him once more. "Like C.C. did. I mean... now that you have the Code..."
Lelouch answered him quietly with a slow, small smile. "Yes."
Suzaku felt his heart quicken a little at that and he managed, a little hoarse, "What's... What's it like?"
Lelouch's eyes seemed to soften, and he spoke slowly, as if searching for the right words. "Like... a faint pinprick of light, glowing. At my core and at the edge of my mind - when I look. Sometimes... like... wings whispering against my consciousness. Something I wouldn't notice unless I'm paying attention." His voice softened further, the smile gentle and radiant. "Like the first warm rays of the sun on a winter's morning, if you like."
"Oh, Lelouch..." At a loss for other words Suzaku shut his eyes and drew a heavy breath. It sounded wonderful, humbling, precious - but with the feeling of wonderment came the worry as well, returning to him full force as reality sank itself back in.
Lelouch watched the small frown flit across Suzaku's features and could almost sense his mounting concern, though he didn't blame him. There was much they still needed to do - find a better hiding place, for one - somewhere he and C.C. could settle and where Suzaku and Nunnally could easily return to, somewhere he and Suzaku could raise their little one in safety and in peace - and there was much that still needed to be done to ensure that the world was set back in the right direction, too, and to ensure that no one else who posed a potential threat would know about his survival. It was only natural for Suzaku to be worried.
But the worst, Lelouch was convinced, was already over. Now, as long as they had each other... something in Lelouch's senses was telling him that everything would turn out alright.
For now they were still here. They had time. They were safe.
He slipped a comforting arm around Suzaku and tried to ease what anxiety he could. "Get some sleep." It had been a long day for all of them. "We'll sort everything else out in the morning."
"...Yeah," Suzaku eventually relented with a small smile, squeezing his shoulder lightly. It was the first time Lelouch had seen him smile like that in a long time - tired, but with warmth, hope. It looked to be the first of many to come. "Sounds like a plan."
Happy Zero Requiem anniversary. I hope this has made for a good angst-killer. Reviews make me happy, as they always do!