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So Much Colder and Lonelier

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Lelouch’s room was supposed to be sealed. No one except Nunnally could go there after he died a little over a year ago, and even then Nunnally rarely went there. 

Yet…

The door was open.

So, maybe Suzaku should give some context to it. 

It was Lelouch’s birthday, it would’ve been his 20th birthday, but of course, since he had died the year before, there was no one to celebrate it. Everyone celebrated his death. Only a handful of people cared about his birthday anymore. Suzaku was given a day off once again — Nunnally knew who he was, even though he denied it every time — and so he was walking down the halls he once saw as the Knight of Zero. 

And as one could have guessed, he wanted to see Lelouch’s old room. Or, at least its door. Nunnally wouldn’t let him go in, not since he denied being Suzaku. 

“Why would you need to see my brother’s room? It’s not like you were close, right?” she said with a biting tone, voice dripping venom. 

“I— Yes, Your Majesty, I understand. Have a good day,” he replied, making sure his disappointment wouldn’t shine through his façade. 

Yes, that was right, he wouldn’t be able to go in. But he could still go see the room’s door and reminisce, as no one ever came there anyway. Nunnally was with Cornelia who had wanted to take her to do something more enjoyable than grieving — after all, she had lost a little sister while Nunnally had lost her big brother, they could understand each other in that sense. Even if Cornelia despised Lelouch, hated him with a burning passion, she still cared about Nunnally

Besides, Nunnally had made sure that Cornelia didn't wallow in her grief the entire day on both Euphie’s birthday and her anniversary of death, so Cornelia wanted to pay her back for that. How else. 

That meant he could sit in front of the room and mourn, reminisce the memories he had had with Lelouch once a long time ago. He knew the door had to be locked so no one could go in and destroy it, but it still stung a little. 

But, when he got there, he saw the door open. Someone was inside, and that meant there was someone who was not supposed to be there.

Lelouch’s room was supposed to be sealed. No one except Nunnally could go there after he died a little over a year ago, and even Nunnally rarely entered. 

Yet…

The door was open.

Logically, Suzaku knew he shouldn’t  do anything about it, Zero wasn’t supposed to protect anything that was Lelouch’s, but he wanted — no, needed — to do so anyway. Maybe he could explain it away by saying he was protecting what Nunnally had deemed hers, what she wanted kept safe. Yes, that he could do. That way he could make sure Lelouch’s room would be alright. 

(After all, he had exactly four things Lelouch had left him aside from the room — his symbol of  knighthood, Zero’s costume, his emperor’s robes and Nunnally (along with a duty to protect her). He couldn’t afford to lose any more from him.)

Zero unsheathed his sword just in case, mostly to scare whomever was in that room away. He wouldn’t need to hurt anyone or cause a scene that way. 

But, what he found out instead was that the person in the room didn’t care at all when he entered it. 

“Hello, Zero. It’s wonderful to meet you again,” they said, sitting in the desk chair his back turned to the door. “Put that sword away, though. We’ve already established that I cannot be kept dead. I tried.” They watched the scene outside the window, and when Suzaku looked more carefully, he could make out the forms of Cornelia and Nunnally. 

Were they in danger? 

“You are not allowed to be here. How did you even get in?” he gritted out, clutching the sword in his hand tighter. But, despite how unwelcoming he knew his tone was (this person was in Lelouch’s room, possibly stalking Nunnally (and Cornelia, he guessed), they could be up to no good), the stranger just flipped their hand and stayed in their seat. 

“It’s easier than one might think. Just own the damn keys,” they said with a rather bitter voice —  was that a hint of despair in their voice? — and showed him a few keys that were all hanging from a chain around their finger. 

All Suzaku could see was red . Why did this person have keys here and god knows where else if he did not . He tried to grab the keys, but the person was faster, kicking the desk and rolling away in the chair. 

“Tt. You—” And then the words died at the back of his throat. Suzaku nearly choked on his words as he could only stare at the person sitting in front of him, his face mostly bored, even if there was a clear undertone of something hiding  underneath that bratty expression he had always worn. 

He sat on the chair, his arms crossed over his chest, one leg resting on the other like he was in no hurry at all. He no longer wore white or purple, but the suit he was wearing was no less royal or commanding. He had a dark grey long coat on him, decorated with delicate silvery accents, and perhaps it was the monochrome he was wearing rather than the clashing colours he used to wear that had him look even more like the prince he’d once been. 

“Lelouch?” Suzaku choked out the name he had not been able to say out loud in a long time. He sounded much too desperate for his own good.

It was like someone had just decided to crush his chest and then let him fall off the highest tower in the palace. It hurt that much to see Lelouch once again, but even so, he was like a breath of fresh air. Suzaku walked closer to him and reached out his hand, touching Lelouch’s cheek as though to ensure it really was him and not someone else. Not an illusion. 

“Hello, my dearest, Suzaku,” Lelouch replied, his bored, stoic expression melting away and revealing a soft smile. There were tears glimmering on his eyelashes, those that Suzaku knew for sure would never be shed even if he wanted to. Because after all, Lelouch had lost his ability to cry a few weeks after Nunnally’s ‘death’. He would have known. There still happened so many horrors after that, but never once was there even one single tear on Lelouch’s cheeks ever again. 

In a way, Suzaku hated it, but he was also glad. That way he could feel less guilty about anything and everything he said. 

“Why… why are you alive…?” Suzaku asked, cradling Lelouch’s face in his hands. The young man nuzzled his hands and looked up at Suzaku. 

“I.. I didn’t mean to be alive, but… C.C. made sure I couldn’t leave our world for good. She— she wanted me to come back. I’m glad I got to see her, you and Nunnally again, but I— I never wanted to be alive, so I apologise.” Lelouch took a breath and averted his eyes. He seemed to need the pause before he continued. “I don’t know if seeing me again hurts you, but if it does, I am deeply sorry. I wanted to keep you and my sister safe, safe from me. I suppose I failed yet again by coming here today. If you are angry at me, you may do whatever you want to do to me, regardless of what it is,” he ended, sighing. 

“Well, I am mad at you.”

“I thought as much.”

“But not because you’re alive. It’s because you’re apologising for being alive. You don’t know, but Nunnally and I have grieved you for so long, and because you just had to have that genius idea of making the world hate you, there is literally no one either of us could talk to. Not even each other. She knows who I am, but I cannot admit to it because I would feel too horrible for being alive when you , the one she actually misses , are dead . So, she doesn’t talk to me about it. And because I am Zero, there’s no one I could talk to either. You being alive is— It’s more than I could’ve hoped for.”

“So… You aren’t going to punch me or try to kill me again?”

“I am considering it. Am I still allowed?”

“Even if I were to forbid it, I think I’d deserve it and you would deserve to do it after everything I put you through.”

“So because I’m mad at you, even if for different reasons than you thought, I can do whatever I want to you?”

“Yes.”

And with that permission, Suzaku took off his mask and kissed Lelouch. 

“Happy twentieth birthday, Lelouch,” he whispered against Lelouch’s lips, happy he could feel Lelouch smile into the kiss. 

“I’m glad you’re alive...”





... For the world was so much colder and lonelier without you.