With a Side of Cake

BY : escapeasy
Category: +. to F > Code Geass
Dragon prints: 333
Disclaimer: I do not own anything pertaining/related to Code Geass and I’m not making any profit from this work.

[Original post date: May 2013]

Another 10 song challenge. Here be the rules for anyone else who wants to try:

1. Pick a character, pairing, or fandom you like.
2. Put iTunes or equivalent media player on random.
3. For each song that plays, write something related to the theme you picked inspired by the song.
4. Do 10 of these, then post.

Key: Song = Artist ~ Genres
*Knowing the songs isn’t necessary, but it can always help. Or be fun.

Contains SPOILERS.


With a Side of Cake

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1) Bohemian Rhapsody = Queen ~ AU/Tragedy/Romance

It shouldn’t have ended like this.

A gun hot and smoking in Lelouch’s clenching hand, grasping to the sight his eyes won’t believe – that he created; an artist painted red by the hole in his chest. A dark, moody pool grows on the white marble floor, blood creeping along the cracks as it soaks in sparkling, golden hair and in the regal cloth of an unmoving body. Violet eyes are only staring, empty but trapped in the blue eyes that never lied to him, only adored him. The same blue hues that are now glassy and wide with the surprise of death.

Of betrayal.

Not a noise – a heartbeat or a panicked breath – fills the void left behind by a man that always had something to say.

The silence is all-consuming.

Clovis hadn’t said a word, didn’t make a sound, when the bullet bit his chest…

The second the trigger was squeezed, that blast that ricocheted throughout the sun room until it landed with the heavy thud of Clovis’ body, everything that existed in Lelouch from his thoughts to his voice ceased to be – as if he aimed the gun at his own heart.

Lelouch isn’t even sure he still exists.

The light touch on his arm is little more than a ghost to his mind despite his senses being fresh, sharp and tender like the bloody body flavoring the air.

“…It was necessary.” He hears the voice of his mother call to him from outside his mental freeze, and although her words want to carry remorse, it’s hardly sincere. “You didn’t have a choice.”

Lelouch was given the choice in that instant he locked eyes with the eccentric noble months ago. Lelouch could’ve turned his head, could’ve turned his lips into a sour frown rather than an enticing smile. He could’ve been vinegar instead of honey, and this fly would still be alive, not drenched in mistakes that will never be cleansed.

There wasn’t anything pushing him into those conceited lips or shoving him into silky sheets that cocooned them in a world separate from the real one waiting outside the door – it was only the desire that pulled him closer. That he could’ve ignored. Lelouch chose to let this man dote on him with kisses and pleasure him with aristocratic hands that knew little of labor or dirt. Lelouch chose to return the affection in equal strength.

Scattered memories unfold in Lelouch’s mind like a messy collage, cascading his body in sweeping sensations as they flow from head to toe. They tangle with his nerves, tingling up through his skin as caressing fingertips that coyly and brashly positioned him for painting after painting until the bed seemed too strong to deny.

Those fingers that persistently peeled him like a fruit and scooped out the hard pit that was his heart.

Lelouch is enrapt by the body that writhed underneath him in theatrical ecstasy that now lies so motionless it’s hard to know if these memories aren’t just sculpted by his imagination. Everything is so vivid in his mind that regardless if it’s fact of fiction, he’ll never forget them.

Lelouch hadn’t targeted Clovis anymore than Clovis had targeted Lelouch. It was circumstantial. Lelouch—his mother stood something to gain. Clovis was just another step on the ladder, and although Lelouch knew that, he didn’t look at him that way. Didn’t focus on the details like Clovis did with his art—

So that was just another reason for Clovis to get the ax. He distracted Lelouch and mother doesn’t allow for her picture-perfect son to be distracted.

He had that endless smile that always reassured Lelouch he was more than his mother’s son and persnickety pouts that dared Lelouch to brood on the brightest of days. The way Clovis’ eyes trailed Lelouch as if he was some rare species, which had annoyed Lelouch immensely at first, was admiration and attraction more than anything else.

All of this wasn’t just his mother’s doing.

Violet eyes don’t move from that porcelain face – the one Clovis attempted vainly to capture in numerous self-portraits, but was never able to please himself despite loving his own reflection. A cold irony steels in Lelouch’s bones at the thought that, even lying lifeless and limp on the floor with the rays of the dying sun from the wall of windows draping over his sullied grace, he still bears a beauty worth admiring. Worth capturing.

“Don’t worry about the mess. I’ll have it taken care of. You did an excellent job of keeping a distance, keeping yourself clean – not that I expect less than perfect from you, my son.” Mother’s voice is too loud – but her steps are louder. They click, click, click slowly around the body on the floor, bypassing his death just as she had planned, to peer out of the window. Lelouch has never hated the sound of footsteps as he has in this moment. Each clack of her heels is a hollow and harsh spike, reaching through his fog like nails piercing his ears.

His very being.

Why did Clovis need to die, again?

What was the real reason?

Lelouch can’t seem to remember – but did he ever care—?

Clovis was an obstacle to only Clovis; that was always obvious.

He just loved art and beauty. Not power or status.

Clovis mattered only to Clovis.

—That’s right, Lelouch doesn’t care.

Lelouch doesn’t care about anything.

He lives for his mother’s happiness…

“It’s a good thing this part of the palace is isolated at this time of day.” she is speaking mostly to herself even though her voice is loud enough to create a shallow echo – or maybe that’s just because the silence in Lelouch’s head is so unbearably suffocating… “Still need to make sure there aren’t any witnesses—” The detached ordering of her words is chased back into her throat when a wisp of insanity escapes his. She turns towards him, her plain expression calculating, measuring him as a disgusted droop warps the solid line in his lips.

It isn’t funny, but something has sprung a leak and the hissing from his throat is despondent and shallow; fake laughter similar to all the smiles – the act – he’s lived thus far spilling from him in mad shakes. His shoulders and chest begin to flounce, his pained  voice shattering against the stone-cold luxuries of this palace sun room all the while his mother stares as if is she’s never laid her eyes upon him.

It isn’t funny, not at all.

But he keeps laughing.

Wanting to cry.

And laughing because anything deeper, closer, real to his heart are feelings he hadn’t properly learned to handle like he was a robot built without them. Without the very thing that’s supposed to make him human.

But it seems, despite mother’s best efforts, the Tin Man had a heart all along.

“None of this matters…” he says when his laughter finally quiets, lingering only in the upturned corners of his sneering lips. His body is still. “Not to me,” he murmurs in a tone that’s not broken, not fractured, just enlightened by the dark truth he never bothered to explore.

He cocks the gun with a swift thumb, his eyes never leaving Clovis’ for a second or a blink.

“Lelouch…” his mother takes an anxious step towards him, to reach him before the darkness that’s always hovered over his head devours him, but it’s too late—

Because even this man that had a case of narcissism gave Lelouch something, and it wasn’t conditional love or consequential power. He gave Lelouch the beauty of life and love when no one else would, and that’s all Lelouch had ever wanted. But it’s too late to realize this now—

His arm is already ascending—

His mother is crying his name, running to him when the gun fires a second time—

And he collapses to the floor, a surge of pain and coldness until it melts to darkness.

Until he’s just another bleeding body on the floor.

Until he’s reunited with a kind smile and warm embrace on the relaxing shore of a sunny beach…

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2) Beautiful Killer = Madonna ~ AU/Drama

It was only a matter of time.

Clovis was many things, most titles and definitions he took the honor in dubbing himself, but he wasn’t stupid. Delusional? Some might say so, but Clovis preferred to call it being imaginative – but his escapist personality hasn’t served him well outside his imagination and sketches. There he absorbed himself in taming the vast oceans of his creativity rather than be weighed down by the anchor of reality. Of course, as much as he liked to sail away on his paint strokes and pastel smears, he’s always tethered to the shore and it always reeled him back into its unpleasant orbit. On a typical occasion, it wouldn’t be anything dire so much as technicalities like his fancy signature on documents he can’t be bothered to read or question. He’s the highest authority, so he has to partake in the technicalities of bureaucracy, even if he’s left ruling the country to his council – they know what they’re doing, he doesn’t need to worry…

But tonight is no such luxury.

Tonight, it’s the barrel of a gun that sank his dream boat.

Still, Clovis knew this would happen.

Whether or not he wanted to face this truth of his mortality was another matter entirely – because art and their creators live forever.

The revolution that was breeding in the underground has finally, and violently, sprouted up through the cracks to coil tightly around the city and is now constricting around the oppressors – to kill a snake, one must chop off the head. Unfortunately for Clovis, he’s that head. But he never asked to be in charge, to be born the sole heir of a queen who lost her health and life to an illness that poisoned her mind.

The only thing Clovis ever asked for was beauty in a world that no longer knows what true beauty is.

In the process, he neglected his duties, and he knows that. Now, it seems, he must pay the price for his frivolousness. He must pay for his and his mother’s crimes against their people whom they constantly trampled for their own ends – but it’s hard to care for a world he never felt connected to. Clovis is a spoiled child who was taught that loving himself was the first rule of life – because no one would ever love or care for him as much as he would for himself. His mother might have been right about that, but selfishness can end to a downfall just as easily as selflessness can. Not that there’s much he can do to change that now.

He’s run out of time – and he hasn’t even finished his latest work yet…

What a pity.

An injustice.

The fact that his last regret will be not completing his artwork instead of being a better ruler is missed on him, or perhaps he just doesn’t care enough about anything else to spare the thought.

The feeling in his chest is fear, of that Clovis is certain, for he doesn’t wish to die anymore than the next person does, but it’s numbed by calmness, by the knowledge that every empire falls – still, he has to wonder about the origin of this sudden wisdom. The frightened chill bristling his nerves and skin is real, too real. As his unknown assassin draws nearer with the lifeless click of a gun, Clovis feels panic trying to ignite his survival instincts – that fight or flight response. The invader is stepping closer until the flooding moonlight from the window casts over his face like a holy reveal – Clovis almost laughs bitterly at that. Before him is the savior of their nation? At least, Clovis would laugh if his breath wasn’t trapped in his lungs by a knotting grief and terror lodged in his throat.

But as this nameless man stares – glares – at Clovis to the very distant – detached – sound of revolution birthing on the streets beyond the palace walls, he is stricken with awe.

This man is gorgeous.

Eyes of amethyst…! Clovis has never seen anyone with such irises; they are even more striking against this man’s ivory skin and ebony hair! Such fierceness fueled by righteous rage… They plunge past Clovis’s blue pair and into his skull, seizing his brain through a bedeviling beam that has Clovis more than a little aroused… So vibrant, is this man! He’s a torrent of emotions and colours, the two indistinguishable from each other in a way Clovis envies – not only in his own appearance, but that he will never have the chance to transform it into oil on a canvas… If he would even be capable of doing this mysterious man justice through his art. This killer is a living masterpiece – and still in the making, as history would have it.

Truly, Fate is cruel to offer Clovis such a breathtaking death.

“Do I at least get a last request?” Clovis asks in the taut stretch of silence choking the room, his light voice feeling weaker than he’s ever heard it sound – his fate pruning any arrogance he thought he’d always have.

The man’s expression doesn’t change; just sharp eyes that never stop judging Clovis even as he sits on his deathbed, perhaps even counting the sins that brought him here. An endless list, no doubt.

“What is it?” he demands in a frozen slice, perhaps curious but not exactly indulgent. It’s a wonder he hasn’t just pulled the trigger already.

Clovis’ lips curl in one corner, something in his chest flailing hotly as dreadful acceptance smothers any instincts he should’ve had but never learned – because he never needed any in his sheltered life.

“I want a kiss.”

The man is appalled, his icy, callous eyes gleaming with a flicker of something Clovis so desperately wishes he could’ve discovered earlier in his life. Maybe if he had ever bothered to involve himself in the state of affairs

“Do you take me for a fool!?” he rumbles like a roaring lion, drawing attention to the gun with a subtle jerk of his wrist.

Clovis’ lopsided grin falls flat, a wistful and rueful line trying to lift the corners of his lips again. “Not at all.” Clearly, if the man was so foolish, he wouldn’t have made it this far, wouldn’t be savoring this moment wherein history will immortalize him. “I was only thinking that, if I must die, I would die a happy man if I was kissed by someone as beautiful as you before I go…”

Those fierce violets flit over Clovis briefly, another swift judgment he can feel blistering through his thrashing heart.

“I thought for certain you would beg for your life,” he finally responds in a deep, pragmatic tone hinting at disappointment – is that what he was waiting for? How delightfully sadistic.

“I didn’t think you’d listen,” Clovis can’t help but wryly remark in return – beg for his life? Can’t say the thought didn’t cross his mind…

But Clovis has been waiting for this for a long time.

Perhaps longer than he was even aware.

Begging would only disgrace his last breath.

The man smirks, a venomous joy infecting his lips and eyes. “You’re right.”

The bullet spears through his chest like a splintering torch, lodging in his hammering heart that quickly weeps at his loss—that he didn’t even try to escape. He clutches at the pain, the spreading fire on his chest that burns hotter and hotter as the rest of his body chills; all of his heat, his life, is pouring out of him in a panging rush, and he crumbles. His eyes and ears are clouded, the hopeless sound of his pumping heart consuming him as darkness creeps over his vision—

But his head is captured and cradled tightly, securely, as he feels his back yield to gravity. That beautiful face hovers above him, stern and pitying but not sympathetic – just like the lips that press against his. Painfully euphoric, Clovis’ chest swells at being kissed and he desires to feel more, to taste and move his lips against those of his killer’s, but he can’t move at all. He can’t even breathe as life slowly leaves him in shallow gasps that leak the warmth of his body from his heart.

“…Perfect.” Clovis whispers, harsh and content underneath the measured gaze of this unknown man. He’s carefully laid down on the floor, left to stare up at his assassin until death swallows him. The violet-eyed man tilts his head as he watches his prey die – the glint from his gun resting on his knee is practically lost to Clovis. He feels more like he’s falling asleep, just with a painful burn in his chest and his savoir, perhaps, kneeling above him. He smiles faintly as the thick abyss quickly crawls over him – though anticipated, it’s not quite how Clovis imagined his end. It’s better.

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3) Assassin = Muse ~ AU/Romance/Fluff

“Say, Lelouch…” Clovis says, inspecting the nails of one hand, perched across from Lelouch with a chess board between them on the veranda overlooking the garden of the Aries Imperial Villa. “If an assassin were to leap out of the bushes right this moment, and with a sinister weapon of some sort, threaten my life, would you protect me?”

“Why would I do that?” Lelouch nonchalantly spurns, claiming a white bishop with his black knight.

“Because we’re lovers, of course!” Clovis gasps, scolding Lelouch for asking such an incomprehensible question.

“Yes, I’ve been meaning to solve that problem.” Lelouch tilts his head, not lifting his eyes from the very one-sided match Clovis has apparently become bored of playing. “Your turn.”

“Are you trying to hurt me?” Clovis huffs deeply, feathers ruffled and heart wounded as he stabs Lelouch with a scowl, voice spilling out of him with increasing drama. “Because you are succeeding!

Lelouch struggles to keep a smirk from tickling his lips. “I’m not sure why you’d depend on me in an attack, anyway. That’s what all the royal guards are for.”

“It’s the thought that counts!” Clovis mumbles, blatantly ignoring the pieces awaiting his command with a turned cheek.

“With that logic, would you do the same for me?”

The unexpected turn-around flutters over Clovis’ eyes and he looks at Lelouch’s pointed stare that doesn’t quite burn him on the spot.

“…Perhaps it was a stupid question.”

A sour curl warps Lelouch’s lips. “As long as we both know where we stand.”

“No, don’t misunderstand…” Clovis ruefully starts, his downcast gaze catching on his white army, “I simply don’t want to think of the situation – either way, it is tragic. I certainly don’t know how you would ever survive without me.”

Lelouch is quiet, watching Clovis unwittingly expose his white king with a hasty slide of a queen just to thwart an unimportant pawn. Lelouch smiles – a small, soft bend as he takes his black king and hops right into the opening to trap the vulnerable patriarch.

“Checkmate,” he says, gaze and lips soft as he connects their eyes. “You still suck at chess, even after all these years.”

“For all you know, that could’ve been on purpose.”

“Not likely,” Lelouch easily rejects his older brother’s lame defense. “But I appreciate the sentiment.”

Clovis seems to turn inward a moment, a tender smile shaping his lips.

“Then that’s all that matters…” he stands with a bit of a flourish, his hips leading the way to Lelouch to gently brush his fingertips over a fair cheek as he leans in close – but not close enough. “Right?”

Lelouch simpers and grabs the front of Clovis’ formal robes, tugging down until their lips meet in a sweet press that instantly silences the older man’s surprised puff. The kiss is lingering and soft, a divinity so simple Clovis is somewhat amazed at how quickly and effortlessly it steals his breath. When they part, he finds it caught in Lelouch’s eyes.

“…You shouldn’t pull on my clothes – they are worth more than your life.”—words that were meant to scathingly tease only dissolve between their lips.

Lelouch’s lips deviously flip. “Then perhaps we should get you out of them as quickly as possible to preserve their integrity.”

“In the middle of the afternoon?” Now Clovis is smirking wantonly. “My, you’re becoming quite the bold young man, aren’t you?”

Lelouch shrugs as he rises to his feet. “You like bold.” His gaze is gleaming as he unbuttons the top of his shirt, taking leading steps towards the door.

“Indeed I do…” Clovis follows a grinning Lelouch like a train on a track – mindless but driven to reach his destination; leaving the thought of death and assassins to keep only his conquered king company.

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4) Ask Her to Dance = Coconut Records ~ AU/Humor/Romance

A stretching cry of pleasure ruptures through the opulent open-loft, leaving no piece of imperialistic furnishings untouched, leaping from the top of the wooden stairs leading to the bedroom where a worn-out man wears a slight grimace.

“Careful,” Lelouch puffs as he tiredly rolls onto his back in their bed, “I don’t think they heard you in Australia.”

“You should know well enough by now that my volume is a compliment to you,” Clovis says in a haughty tone as he takes a moment to tie up his long hair into a loose ponytail.

“Sounds more like it’s for you than me.”

Clovis ignores that irreverent mutter by choosing to spoon up to his exhausted lover and delicately skate his manicured fingertips on a heaving chest.

“Lelouch…” Clovis softly beckons in a light and airy voice. “There’s something I want you to do for me.”

“What is it now?

Once again, Clovis chooses to relish the physical aspect of his companion rather than let that scornful sigh dampen his mood.

“I want you to model for me… nude.”

“I haven’t changed my mind since the last time you asked.”

“I’m imagining you relaxing, on a chaise lounge, maybe, in front of a window viewing the night sky with soft moonlight glowing on your skin and a draping of silks around you, something to bring out your eyes, and—”

“Already said no,” Lelouch blandly rebuffs Clovis’ denial. “So stop imagining. And drop it.”

Clovis bristles. “You won’t even consider it? For me – the best thing that ever happened to you!?”

“No.”

It would appear that Clovis’ plan to loosen Lelouch up with sex hasn’t worked.

“Why not? You certainly don’t have any reason to be ashamed.” Clovis accentuates his impish grin with a sweeping hand over the topic of interest below Lelouch’s waist. “You should proudly flaunt all that the good Lord has given you.”

Lelouch is not amused—“Be that as it may,”—but he certainly isn’t refusing Clovis’ complimenting—“I don’t understand why you still think flattery will work on me when it never does,” he coolly counters as he shoves away Clovis’ persuading hand and stands, turning his back on the conversation as he fetches his robe from a nearby couch – where Clovis had literally ripped it off like he so enjoys doing.

“If you were a normal person, it would.” Blue eyes follows every movement of Lelouch’s body with careful observation, relishing the shifting angles and shapes – and those delightful scratches – as he slips on that royal blue covering, making Clovis even more determined to convert this image to some sort of canvas.

“That’s rich, coming from you,” Lelouch gibes with a flick of his hair over the collar.

Clovis doesn’t know what that’s supposed to mean, especially since he’s better than normal – he’s Clovis.

Well, at any rate, the butter-up plan has also failed. Looks like it’s time for the begging approach.

“I promise to keep it private – no exhibits, professional or otherwise. Not even in any ‘secret’ collections that may or may not be released before or after I’m dead.”

“No.”

“Lelouch~!” Clovis complains, whining like a toddler as he rolls in place amongst the rumpled sheets. “Please~!? I’m asking you nicely when I don’t even have to!”

“I said no!” thunders Lelouch’s anger before he whirls around and returns to the bedside with stomping feet to aggressively jab a long, pointing finger at the man-child, “And if you disobey me, in any way, I’ll murder you!”

“You know that old adage about artists gaining fame and immortality after they die.” Clovis very condescendingly tsks, a royally lazy grin shaping his lips as he props up on one elbow. “You’d be doing me a favor.”

“You mean aside from the fact that’s you’re already a world-famous artist?” Lelouch tersely utters as he sternly and stiffly crosses his arms over his chest. “Then I’ll butcher your hair.”

Clovis gasps quite deeply, sitting up and clutching at his strands of gold that are his second pride and joy – first being his overall appearance. His art takes third place. “You know to never joke about my hair.”

“You know to never depict me naked in your art – professional or otherwise.”

Th-this man! Why is he so unreasonable?!

“You’re too uptight.” Clovis pouts with pursing lips and slumping shoulders.

“You knew that before we became involved.”

Became involved – leave it to Lelouch to make romance unromantic.

Indeed it is true, however. Lelouch’s no-nonsense and reserved personality, and his looks, attracted Clovis greatly in the beginning – he doesn’t really know why. Now these traits, while good for managing the boring business side of an artistic career, and Clovis in general, just seem to be getting in the – his – way. No one says “no” to Clovis quite like Lelouch does…

And Clovis does kind of like that.

A heavy, dramatic sigh pushes Clovis to fall onto his back where he deflates against the bed like an empty sail. “Would you at least draw a bath for me, then, love?” he wearily calls, voice wistful and sweet in the most passive-aggressive way possible.

Lelouch’s eyes pin Clovis with an accusatory suspicion that only faintly narrows his eyes and he pointedly ties his robe closed with strong tugs as he makes his way through the spacious bedroom to the en suite bathroom – with Clovis watching him as he does. Once the ornery gent is out of sight, Clovis sighs a bit more modestly to himself and stretches into an arc with a yawn like a pampered cat, listening very contently to the sound of running water. As much as Lelouch likes to be difficult, he assures the happiness of the individual he frequently calls “a foppish and delusional brat” at almost any cost. Perhaps, in the end, that should be good enough.

But a sexy still-life of Lelouch in the buff wouldn’t be bad, either.

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5) Long Way from Home = The Heavy ~ Family/Angst

Moving to Area 11 wasn’t a decision Clovis made in haste or took lightly, like some thought. While it’s true that his motives were sentimental, he wouldn’t have been granted permission to govern if he wasn’t deemed able enough to do it.

Also in truth, Clovis has grown homesick.

Luxuries aren’t hard to come by in the east, but it isn’t home. His mother isn’t here to fuss over every aspect of his life, and his brothers and sisters aren’t here to envy it. Yet, a brother and sister are the only real reason he came to the other side of the world in the first place. Although heartbreaking, he was inspired by the death of Lelouch and Nunnally, which hit harder than Clovis initially realized. It was devastating news, to say the least, but the tragedy of it wasn’t a weight that swung all at once. Bits and pieces of the reality would strike him, flecks of despair and regret – not for himself, but for those who thought banishment was something that two children deserved – cutting his heart.

On bright, sunny afternoons while sipping tea with his mother, Clovis would remember Lelouch and Nunnally, and how they lost theirs. During strolls through the palace he would think of how they were in a strange place in a strange land when they passed – although Clovis hopes they weren’t alone, he knew there was no replacement for family. When lying to rest for the night, he would wonder if they hoped for rescue just before they died – if they were huddled together, waiting for a hero that would never come to their aid.

He wondered if Lelouch knew – because he was a boy too smart for his own good – that they’d been left to die as if no one cared.

But that wasn’t – isn’t – true. Clovis cared. Cornelia, Euphemia, Schneizel… they cared. He knew they questioned the emperor’s decision as much he did, but there was little that could be done – and to voice such opinions… – for as quickly as Lelouch and Nunnally were cast out they were gone. It was unfathomable and horrific when the emperor attacked the very lands he’d sent his children as a pretense to not do so – Clovis wasn’t certain, but if it was on purpose…?

Clovis never felt so powerless and never hated politics more.

All these anxious thoughts would shred his chest until the hollow pit within him was too large to be ignored or filled – not even through art which grew to have a sort-of therapeutic effect on Clovis. His imagination and creativity were sometimes very difficult to nurture when he felt barren during these lonely moments. He found himself thinking instead. Becoming the viceroy of Area 11 was something Clovis pondered long and hard over a chess match he never got the chance to finish with the cunning little boy he’d loved more than he was aware. A small remnant of the past preserved in black and white, seemingly so insignificant – only, during that game, Clovis had the feeling that he might have won. Lelouch didn’t think so, and Clovis wouldn’t have been surprised by defeat, but that feeling

That was how he felt about the move. He knew his emotions were leading, but Clovis was going to leave Pendragon and join the souls of his little siblings if it was the last thing he did.

They really deserved so much more than that.

Of course, a painfully hopeful part of him wanted them to still be alive and he entertained the delusion of finding them in a happy, overdue reunion from time to time – mostly during his restless nights far away from the only place he’d ever known as home.

Skulking around his studio with a woody red wine in hand, Clovis feels out of place – lost. He gazes upon old sketches and drafts; half-baked ideas that haven’t gotten the attention they deserve due to a few unavoidable responsibilities, and some admittedly recreational agendas. That’s when he sees something he’d forgotten, sandwiched between papers in an old sketchbook he had back when…

A lump swells in his throat and his eyes burn, but he smiles.

Plucking an old photograph from the rough pages is a picture of a young prince holding a flower, looking about as interested as Clovis remembers he was. It was a quick snapshot of him, and the details are hazy. Lelouch was obliging Clovis, of that the third prince is certain, for Lelouch found the task of modeling dull and tiring. Clovis had meant to get more shots, but playing with Nunnally in the garden was more important. The melodic sound of Lady Marianne laughing as her son scampered away from the budding artist who huffed in frustration is still fresh in his ears. Clovis was much too dignified to chase after him then, but now… he wishes he would have let himself be undignified.

Clovis drinks his wine, swallowing the feelings he doesn’t want to feel as he takes the picture over to a blank canvas still waiting to be graced with his talent. He trades the glass for a pencil and begins lightly sketching, watching Lelouch be reborn right before his eyes, at his own hand.

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6) Rose of the Devil’s Garden = Tiger Army ~ AU/Fantasy/Mystery

There was a tale about a flower that bloomed in a secret cave somewhere underneath the earth, but it was not an ordinary flower. It was said to thrive despite being hidden from the sun, nestled in the catacombs of a lightless labyrinth where death was waiting in the shadows upon every wrong turn. The authenticity of this legend was debated by many and virtually no clues were to be found of its exact location, but that didn’t prevent slews of warriors and scholars alike from searching for it. For as the story went, whoever could survive the treacherous tunnels to find this flower and pluck it with their bare hand, it would grant them an untold power of unimaginable strength.

But those who sought, lusted, for this flower and set off to claim it were never seen or heard from again…

In a nation bordered by the shore, a strange famine was ghosting through the lands and forcing inhabitants to the brink of starvation – but it wasn’t of a natural cause like drought or floods. The food was simply disappearing without a trace; from stalls, from homes, not even the palace was safe. So Prince Clovis ordered to quickly solve and stop this crisis, lest everyone and himself perish. When a green-haired witch was revealed to be the food-snatching culprit, Clovis ordered her death for practicing the black arts, which wasn’t an art he appreciated. However, he was seduced by her lips when she spoke of the flower of legend, and because he was not immune to the flower’s temptation, he reluctantly brokered a deal to spare her life in exchange for her knowledge.

To insure her cooperation, she was shackled with stones and amulets that negated her abilities while she led them to the flower. Although her honesty was questioned, she not only proved to be correct on every facet and remained unfazed against their suspicions, but she showed no interest in escaping – with her life in their hands, she didn’t dare make a wrong move.

The prince was greatly pleased by the result of their contract and found that in little time he was at the threshold of fame and power – something he was certain would have been near impossible without her. With the witch’s mind they were able to pinpoint the flower’s exact location, effectively bypassing the underground maze by digging a direct path to the chamber of the flower. The devastation to the local wildlife and vegetation, as well as neighboring villages reliant on them for sustenance, was a necessary price – whatever destruction he caused he would surely be able to repair after obtaining the flower. The cave was about as dreary as the story alluded; encased in obsidian with a carpet of ashy soot and littered by untamed, thorny roots that coiled across the floor in broken chains while dried brush bordered the room – it was as if the entire cave had been burned from the inside.

Standing tall and alone in the heart of the small area was the star of the old tales that lured many to their deaths – but not Clovis. It appeared to be rooted in a bed of jagged black rocks like the covering on the walls, free from the dusty cloak of the rest of the cave under a slender cone of light from a little patch of crystals sprouted from the ceiling. Perhaps stranger than everything else was the soft weeping of a young girl, a constant loop of not just sadness but grief as water rained down on the lonely flower, almost leaking from the crystals. The pain in this phantom girl was troubling and magnetic – almost oppressive, but Clovis was steadfast and crouched in front of the flower, nearly kneeling as if in the presence of a God and studied it with awe. The flower itself was a delicate but fierce looking specimen, its rich, ebony petals arranged intricately weaving out from a violet center and was supported by a thin, woody, somewhat vine-like stem studded with small, scarlet teeth, and it certainly didn’t look easily removed. When Clovis voiced this thought, he received a snide remark from the witch about purposeful irony.

When he grasped the flower stalk, it was more painful than he could have imagined. A cry, shrill and hardy, tore from his throat as the thorns not only pierced but imbed into his flesh like hooks. Tears welled in his eyes as his wounds wept like the ceiling, strings of dark blood trickled between his fingers and down the flower stem to drip against the rocky ground. Clovis lost all composure; the prince known for his pampered upbringing cursed and sobbed like a child. Truly agonizing, Clovis felt he might faint as his blood spilled from fresh, fiery punctures he could feel sizzling in his skin. The idea of pulling was more than unbearable – he was more than certain that if he were to try, he’d be left with no flesh on his hand.

Then the cave grew angry.

Like a thunderstorm underground, faint rumbles grumbled through the earth and shook the cave as if it was convulsing within itself and the crying from above thickened, rain pouring in hot beads to the melody of gnashing rocks and harrowing sorrow—

The quakes seemed to charge straight for him, to the flower, and he screeched, pleading for a rescue—

When he was frozen—

A pair of eyes appeared to him in a flash, one was violet like the flower’s center while the other was as red as the flower’s thorns and just as ireful, but its shape was not normal – was not human.

—And he could hear the strangled cries of his men as his bones iced—

Paralyzed by those eyes that prickled his spine like an unwanted illness.

—All around him bodies dropped, screams scratching from their throats while his heart slowed. The prince could hear them dying, could hear their anguish, but couldn’t see them—

A smile appeared next, hellish and curled as a rotten, ghoulish hand reached out of the darkness and pressed against Clovis’ chest. Very suddenly, he couldn’t breathe. The hand phased right through him to clutch his heart, squeezing as a mad laughter rolled over him in haunting waves, suffocating and deafening him as the redness, the eye of an unnatural shape, consumed him—

And then he was on the floor, body shaking with a numbing frost that streaked his hair in stark strokes of white. His shivering was uncontrollable yet he could not move. He lie helplessly in the wet ash as a human-looking male rose up through the rocks; his hair black as the ebony petals, his eyes as red as the thorns, and his slender, naked body coated in blood as if birthed from the very earth – or birthed from Clovis…? Unbelieving his own eyes, he watched as the flower-child stepped over the rigid bodies of his company to approach the imprisoned witch who remained unharmed and freed her. He watched her smile with longing as she touched his face, and the prince realized he’d been used.

He realized the legend was a lie.

He realized he knew too little.

And he realized it was too late to be counting his mistakes.

A hot bile of rage flooded his chest, but it was weak against the chill spreading within him. Clovis could only watch through dying eyes as the witch left the cave with the Devil – not God – born from the death of him and his crew, not knowing exactly what destruction he just aided in unleashing upon the world…

.

.

7) Cheating on You = Franz Ferdinand ~ AU/Mature/Crackish

A soft, indulgent chuckle seeps from Clovis’ lips as he lies back against the bed, the black-haired head sucking at his neck being more than enough incentive to nest in the sheets. With the blankets kicked up around their bare bodies, Clovis settles for the long haul underneath the pleasures of another man settled between his legs, shifting against his hips. His blue eyes fall closed in a satisfied sag while Lelouch mouths his flesh, slowly kissing downward over a thick clavicle to his chest with sweet, melting lips that release another light patter of laughter from Clovis. Perhaps curious to see what’s so humorous, Lelouch looks at Clovis and lifts an eyebrow, pressing his mild smirk against the smug smile he finds on the blond’s face. Clovis reels Lelouch closer to deepen the kiss at the leisure of his tongue, hands smoothing up a boney back to grip shoulders—

Scratching them with a velvety moan when they move; Lelouch’s hips steady against Clovis’ body like waves lapping at the shore. Clovis sinks under the unhurried but precise pace, his voice leaving his lips in wisps against the strong currents of Lelouch’s thrusts. Violet eyes are gleaming as Clovis’ speech is snuffed by his breath, pants and gasps thick in his throat while they rock in the quiet bed. A sudden wail bursts from Clovis’ throat when Lelouch adjusts and swings his hips harder, a loud sound of rapture flying sharply through the air. Lelouch takes his turn to chuckle, his amusement rumbling in his chest at the blond beneath him, nibbling an earlobe as Clovis writhes into a flush. Not drowning in the ecstasy fast enough, Clovis wraps a long leg around Lelouch and presses with urgency as he slings an arm across sharp shoulder blades, eyes dimming to everything around him—

Except for the flash of bright, pale yellow hovering in the doorway with a pair of watching, pale blue eyes—

“Sch-Schneizel—!?” Clovis squeals, the mood cracking right in half.

Schneizel?” Lelouch echoes with bewildered disgust.

“You-you’re back early from your business trip,” Clovis says, a touch of surprise smearing his voice as he more or less pushes Lelouch to the side.

“No, I’m not.”

You,” Lelouch venomously spits, covering himself with blankets and glowering at their interruption looming in the doorway.

“I’m not any happier about this than you are.” is the blasé counter from Schneizel’s flat lips.

“It’s not what it looks like—No, it’s exactly what it looks like…” Clovis barely attempts to lie.

Schneizel just stares.

“But if you join us, it won’t be me having sex with someone who isn’t you. It’ll be the three of us, together, enjoying ourselves, and each other…”

Lelouch chokes. “No way am I sleeping with him! I can’t even believe you are!”

“The feeling is mutual, Lelouch,” Schneizel stoically announces, setting his briefcase on the arm-chair beside the door-less entrance to the bedroom.

“Of course – you couldn’t handle me,” Lelouch sneers.

Schneizel scoffs. “I think you’re confusing us.”

“The only thing I’m confusing is how anyone could be attracted to a pompous know-it-all like you.”

“That is disconcerting; perhaps you could enlighten me on the subject?”

“You mean there is something you don’t know?”

“Insulting yourself just to insult me? Was it worth it?”

Lelouch is steaming, and just as he’s about to retort—

“Gentlemen, please!” Clovis complacently admonishes, holding his hands up between them like an impartial observer – a referee. “If you’re going to fight over me, I’d prefer a duel of some kind. Perhaps one where you’re shirtless…”

“Who’s fighting?” Lelouch smirks with a cross of his arms over his chest. “I already won.”

Schneizel quirks an eyebrow. “That so?”

“The fact that he needs to cheat on you to be satisfied clearly means you failed.” Lelouch is smirking much more broadly than his ego should allow and he doesn’t give Schneizel the chance to counter. “Clovis! Tell him I’m right,” he orders, to which Schneizel narrows his eyes.

“…Are you sure you don’t want to duel in a naked battle of some sort?”

“Not for all the tea in China,” Schneizel blandly says.

“You’re not fighting for tea,” Clovis mutters through a pout.

“Yes, but I wouldn’t even for tea – and you know how much I like tea.”

Clovis sighs heavily, draping himself in despondence at the lack of homo-erotic sparing. “If the two of you insist on twisting my arm,”—Lelouch and Schneizel merely share a glance at that—“I’ll make my choice.”

“Schneizel…” Clovis locks eyes with the individual bearing the name, lips solid and voice solemn. “I’m leaving you.”

Schneizel visibly clenches his jaw while Lelouch spouts with a victorious ha!

“You’re just so~ boring, dear.” Clovis walks up to his recent ex, placing his hands pityingly on those broad shoulders. “You wouldn’t know fun or excitement if it pinched your bum – and I should know, because I did that several times and it got me nothing from you!” he withdraws his touch with a sympathetic shake of his head. “It’s nothing personal, you understand. I just don’t enjoy your company anymore. Or the sex. It was never bad, mind you, just… Well, Lelouch and I—”

Schneizel covers Clovis’ mouth. “Just go.”

Clovis hums, taking the hand that silenced him and patting it with care. “I understand. Partings aren’t easy – especially considering you let me slip through your so very cold fingers – I of course mean that literally and figuratively. So, the shorter the better.” He steps back with resolve firmly set in his jaw, “Lelouch! Let us depart and allow this poor man to wallow in his despair in private!”

After dressing and packing a few, or several, over-night bags, Clovis takes his leave with a smug Lelouch in tow… and a butler or two to carry the luggage. Schneizel escorts them out with a meager smile, nodding to Clovis as he passes through the door and catching Lelouch just as he exits.

“I wish you better luck than I had.”

Lelouch blinks at the resigned, defeated, tone in his nemesis’s voice, and is instantly chastised by Clovis for the delay. Lelouch brushes off Schneizel by lifting his chin and marching away, leaving Schneizel to shut the door softly behind them, his head hanging—

Before a deep sigh of relief lifts his spirits. “That was easier than I anticipated.” He grins softly to himself and walks away from the door, humming a pleasant tune as he basks in being dumped.

.

.

8) Caretaker = Laura Stevenson and the Tin Cans ~ Family/Hurt/Comfort

“Guess what your favorite brother brought you~!” Clovis sings as he approaches the table. “Cake!”

Lelouch looks down at the offering with zero excitement.

“Come now!” Clovis gently bumps Lelouch with his elbow as he sits beside the child with his own sweet serving. “Cake makes everything better!” he glances around briefly before leaning in to discreetly whisper in Lelouch’s ear, “Even this boring reception, am I right?” The teenager looks terribly pleased with himself as he carefully forks a moist sponge of cake into his mouth, moaning in a disturbing fashion while savoring the flavor.

Lelouch simply lets his gaze fall back down to the immaculately layered slice of wedding cake topped with snowy white icing and garnished with mint leaves and succulent gems of ruby-red strawberry wedges. While Clovis is doing his obvious best to give the cake an undeniable appeal, Lelouch couldn’t more unimpressed. His young eyes scan the ballroom, flitting through the ornate crowd of posh clothes and flashing jewels supporting strained smiles on so many strange faces until he lands on the emperor and his new wife who hangs on him like an ornament—

And then checking on his mother on a quiet terrace outside the party, cooing to a fussy Nunnally in her arms. Alone.

Lelouch looks away.

“Say what you will about the bride, she has good taste in cake.” Clovis is beaming at the already half-eaten dessert on his plate, sheepishly eyeing the serving table. “You think anyone will notice if I take another slice…?” His lips sag when he notices the slumping boy next to him. “You haven’t even tasted it yet.”

Lelouch fidgets in place, feeling unbearably small like an ant amongst a herd of elephants – but not fully understanding the sensation – as the new couple walk by their lonely table. Clovis notices this as he watches them pass, a somber heaviness pulling his eyes down to his empty fork.

“You know, many of the other wives are jealous of your mother,” the older brother says with a tender absentness, cutting another strawberry-striped bite. “Including mine.”

Lelouch lifts his stare, silently intrigued by the topic.

Clovis nods as if hearing his little brother speak, “They would never admit it because she’s a commoner – no offense – but they don’t hide it as well as they think they do. Especially my mother – then again, she’s a very intense person.”

Lelouch furrows his brow. “…But why are they jealous?”

“Because they think she’s his favorite.” Clovis tilts his head in the emperor’s direction. “Marrying this woman today seems like little more than a distraction from the upset to me – but you know what would really put all these ladies at ease?” At Lelouch’s lack of a response, Clovis gushes with an excited, “Cake!” and then he laughs, uninhibitedly shoving a syrupy strawberry into his mouth. “Really, it’s impossible to be unhappy while eating cake – but they’re all so concerned about their figures that they don’t let themselves enjoy it. And if you ask me, that’s part of the problem right there.”

“I don’t think establishing an emotional connection to cake is very healthy, either.”

Clovis blinks with surprise at the child chastising him, fork slowly sliding out from between his lips. “No, but if they ever bothered to eat anything they’d be a lot less grouchy, wouldn’t they?”

Lelouch looks at his plate with a shrug.

Clovis leans in low to Lelouch’s ear again, “But, seriously, if you’re not going to eat your cake…”

Lelouch half-smiles at Clovis’ semi-desperate murmur and picks up his fork—

When a full smile claims Lelouch’s lips for the first time all day after a small bite of cake, Clovis smiles with him.

.

.

9) Waste = Foster the People ~ AU/Family/Humor

“I don’t understand what we’re doing here.”

“I already told you: to relax.”

“But I don’t understand why.”

“…” As Clovis just stares at Lelouch for a moment, he gets the feeling he’s being pitied. Sure enough, a biting chuckle rasps from Clovis’ lips as he pats his brother’s shoulder with great sympathy. Lelouch is instantly annoyed. “You poor boy… You seem to forget the luxuries of being royalty.” Clovis hooks his arm with Lelouch’s reluctant one, leading them through the beach sand under his bright fuchsia parasol. “This is one of those luxuries.”

“Doesn’t feel like one,” Lelouch peevishly mumbles as he stumbles over the boiling sand with bare feet. “And during such an economic slump, this is just absurd. I should be with the others trying to solve the fiscal problem.”

That’s what makes this a luxury. We don’t have to worry about anything. Let the pencil pushers worry for you.”

Lelouch more or less deadpans. “This is why no one respects you.”

Clovis laughs as if his little brother made a particularly adorable funny. “Try as you might, you won’t bring me down! I’m impervious when I’m on the beach!”

As a piece of startling evidence to this statement, a look of freedom shapes Clovis’ lips – not a careless curve like between the palace walls, but one of pure exhilaration.

But the beach isn’t what Lelouch considers to be his sanctuary.

“If you want to waste your time and be unproductive by vacationing in Japan during the lowest recession we’ve seen in decades, then that’s your choice. Why force me along with you?”

“Lelouch, you’re young. You have the rest of your life to ruin by stowing away indoors and aging into a pale, wrinkled old man no one will find fun or sexually attractive without being paid. Right now, while you’re still socially desirable and handsome, and somewhat virile, take the time to enjoy the finer things in life.”

Clovis stops them at the shore, the ocean surprisingly but refreshingly cool as it cascades over their feet with the sand shifting under them in a way that it feels as if the world is turning while they stand still. Lelouch has to squint at the sun’s reflection on the water, a salty scent curling in his nose while the wind gently sifts through his hair and he looks to Clovis, at that unhindered smile. Lelouch thinks to himself, not for the first time, that he doesn’t understand this person standing next him. He knows him, but he doesn’t understand him.

And he ignores the jab at his physicality.

“You mean like getting sunburn and feeling sand grit between my teeth?”

Clovis nods, “Something like that.”

“You’re not even listening, are you?”

“Trust me; this will be good for you.”

Following Clovis’ confident declaration is the Japanese prime minister’s son who appears bare-chested and sun-kissed, a towel on his shoulder and toothy smile on his face.

“You really came at the perfect time,” Suzaku says with a disposition brighter than the sun. “It’s not too hot and the water’s not too cold. I’m glad you could come. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other—Uh, I know you were probably busy, but…” shyness darkens he features a tad but Lelouch is quick to brighten them.

“No problem,” the prince placates with a soft smile of his own – blaming his brother’s obnoxious parasol for any pink that might be staining his cheeks. “It has been too long. I’m glad to be here.”

Suzaku bashfully ruffles his unruly brown hair and glances away. “Ho-hopefully, I can show you a good time during your stay.”

“I’m sure you won’t disappoint.”

Perhaps it isn’t the sun that touches Suzaku’s cheeks when he lifts his green eyes to meet Lelouch’s charming stare – and he mutters something about his cousin through an apology when he spots her coming from the beach house—

Lelouch watches him jog away with keen eyes and an ill-concealed smirk on his lips—

Leading him right into the gaping grin and twinkling eyes that are Clovis’ expectant expression—

Lelouch mentally sighs at himself.

“…I suppose I could stay for a little while,” he concedes with a slightly haughty shrug, feeling his argument sink like a small boat in the big ocean.

That’s the spirit!” Clovis exclaims with triumph, enthusiastically whirling them around to follow the boy he proceeds to call delightfully bronze and firm

And then Lelouch finally realizes he’s trapped on an island with his meddling brother… Suzaku certainly has his work cut out for him.

.

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10) The Other Side = Scissor Sisters ~ Crack

“You shot me.”

“I know.”

“You actually shot me!”

“I know.”

Your own brother!

“I know! I was there!” Lelouch barks with a scowl. “You don’t have to keep reminding me!”

“No,” Clovis shakes his head in a chiding fashion. “I don’t think you understand. You see, I was shot. By you. On my own throne!”

A distressed sigh gales from Lelouch’s mouth as he rubs his temples – ever since reuniting with all those he had lost after dying, embracing this new plain of existence with civility and tranquility, Clovis is the only one making it hell. Euphemia, Shirley, Rolo… that terrible list of innocents Lelouch sent to the grave have forgiven him – but Clovis

“You couldn’t even wait until after art week? Do you have any idea how much it means to me? I look forward to it all year!

“It’s not my fault you let your stupidity get the better of you when the ‘poisons gas’ was lost and you ordered to massacre the entire ghetto! That’s genocide, you ignorant Narcissus! You think they give a goddamn about your bloody art week!?

“Oh, sure. Throw that in my face. That one mistake will haunt me forever, won’t it?”

Lelouch wonders if it’s possible to suffer a stroke in the afterlife.

“But you’re doing the same to me,” the former Zero grouses through gritting teeth – seriously, they’re dead. Of all the dead people who have ever lived, Clovis wants to bother Lelouch? Every artists he’s ever admired is here, but no. Let’s obsess about the fratricide.

“That’s different – you didn’t have to kill me. But you did. With a bullet.”

Lelouch’s eye twitches, an old reflex from his Geass-bearing days.

And in the face of idiocy.

If there were any doubts about whether or not it was absolutely necessary to kill Clovis, well, they’re as dead as Clovis is thanks to this lovely cycle of conversation that’s been going on for what he guesses are many Earth decades.

…Because time works differently here than it does there, apparently.

“You are more insufferable than I remember,” Lelouch grumbles, feeling what might actually be his soul withering inside him.

“Well, I suppose, since I am your older brother and I did see that you expressed some remorse about killing me,” Clovis prattles somewhere between conceit and condescension, “I’ll be the bigger person and forgive you.”

If this is Clovis being the bigger person, Lelouch never wants to see him as the smaller person.

“Fine,” Lelouch dismissively mutters, walking – or at least he thinks he’s walking, he’s still adjusting to this new sense of being – hoping to leave his brother who might be a bigger idiot than Suzaku before there’s any chance this tide will change. This would be a lot easier if he could figure out how to get off Clovis’ stupid beach.

“I mean, I understand what you were trying to do, but I’m very hurt that you used me. You took advantage of such a disgraceful moment in my life and—”

“Clovis,” Lelouch interrupts, turning around to look his oblivious brother right in the eye – or whatever Lelouch perceives to be Clovis’ eye. “I really don’t want to continue discussing this with you. If you want to remain in my company,”—rather, if he must remain in Lelouch’s company—“pick another topic.”

A blond eyebrow lifts. “Very well… It is a rather horrid subject, isn’t it? I didn’t even go into detail about how it felt – but then, you know a little about that, don’t you? Being stabbed, and all. That must have been just dreadful.”

Exactly the word I would use,” Lelouch sardonically snarls – Clovis can’t even begin to imagine the pain, physical or emotional… “I’m serious. No death. I’m done with death.”

“Right. Well, speaking of being stabbed…” Lelouch wanted this, but what’s that expression? Be careful what you wish for? “That little friend of yours had quite the thrust didn’t he?”

…Oh no.

“And a very shapely physique. He was always prancing around in that skin-tight outfit…”

Not this.

“And that stamina – I bet he could just go and go and go and go and go and go and go and go—”

Lelouch barely represses a shudder. “Clovis.”

“What?”

“Shut up.”

“But I—”

“Just. Shut. Up.”

The blond huffs. “You’re the one that wanted to change the subject, so I did. Not my fault you’re a prude virgin.” Clovis grasps his head semi-hysterically, “You had the pick of the litter, you know, all those opportunities just falling onto your lap and you chose no one. How is that even possible? Forget murdering me, you killed your own sex-drive!”

Maybe Lelouch had it wrong from the start.

Maybe this is actually Hell.

Or something worse.

.

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End



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