Land of the Rising Son

BY : escapeasy
Category: +. to F > Code Geass
Dragon prints: 379
Disclaimer: I do not own anything pertaining/related to Code Geass and I’m not making any profit from this work.

[Original post date: July--November 2014]

Inspired by a short I wrote in With a Side of Cake: 9) Waste. It is 5 parts and complete.

Note:

‘English’

“Japanese”

*Also, all italic openings are lyrics from the song Love Letter to Japan by The Bird and The Bee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWYoIoqJURA

Disclaimer?: I feel I should say that I don’t claim to be an expert on anything Japanese (or being a prince, for that matter). This is all just fictitious fun set in an alternate CG reality with a Suzaku-focus, who is Japanese. So, uh, yeah…


Dearest one, I had a dream

I mouthed the words, the sound came out

I spoke to you in Japanese

Oh, my love I cannot see, I heard your name

I know at once the was no place I’d rather be

All at once, there was no place that I would rather be

-•-

Land of the Rising Son

Part 1

‘I have a love~ly surprise for you at the villa!’

When Suzaku received that fairly cryptic message this morning, he wasn’t sure what to expect – if only because of the sender. Clovis la Britannia might be the third prince of his home country, but he is an odd sort of gentleman. While he’s always been nice to Suzaku he also has an ego as large as his homeland – which comprises of both the southern and northern areas of the continents – and often overflows with backhanded compliments. He isn’t a malicious man but has been finely crafted by the luxurious and elitist hands of powerful aristocrats and modesty simply isn’t a part of his design.

When he said little else other than to arrive at lunch time, Suzaku figured it was harmless enough – not that His Highness would really harm Suzaku… physically – and that he would only know the “surprise” at that time.

Suzaku doesn’t mind surprises, anyhow.

Spontaneity is a fun part of living.

Fortunately, Suzaku is free of his own duties today so he is able to join Clovis – not that the other prince had asked if he is available…

When he arrives at the wide, two-story mansion sprawled over gravel studded with topiaries, there’s nothing out of the ordinary within sight just yet. Suzaku steps into the ripe summer sunlight when an attendant opens the car door for him. The sleek black vehicle is a stark standout from the traditional Britannian aesthetic of whites and creams coating the villa. Pops of colour are along the circular driveway and in the trim bushes bordering the house with blooming flowers – always blooming no matter the weather. The variety changes, to suit the season, but the Lady of the house is responsible for that much in regards to gardening this place even when she isn’t staying. The light, floral scent spins in his nose with a light breeze as he walks to the door with his escorts in tow—

When the double-doors suddenly burst open and a rainbow flood of balloons is unleashed into Suzaku’s face before they float up to the sky as if fleeing the flamboyant man behind them. Prince Clovis stands at the entry with outstretched arms and shinning smile that isn’t nearly as bright as the custom kimono draped around him. Suzaku does his best to suppress a sigh at the flaming lions – literally, their manes are made of fire – printed on the sky blue robes, aware that it’s just this… eccentric prince’s way of celebrating… something.

‘Suzaku, my boy!’ Clovis sings, his flaunting voice bouncing around the large foyer.

‘Your Highness.’ Suzaku greets in a much more mild fashion with a dip of his head.

‘What do you think? It just came in!’ Clovis rotates to let Suzaku’s eyes truly behold the entirety of his kimono, directing with waving hands.

‘It’s…’ The obi sash isn’t even tied properly – a fact that’s only more obvious what with it being the brightest orange Suzaku has ever seen. The lions are ferocious with roaring mouths and springing claws, perhaps angry with existing on such a flashy getup, and small white flowers are peppered throughout with their rounded petals centered by diamonds. ‘…really something.’

Clovis smiles appreciatively, smoothing his hands over his creation with too much admiration. ‘Leaves you rather speechless doesn’t it?’

Suzaku laughs quietly in uneasy agreement.

It certainly does.

‘Good thing you like it,’ Clovis says, flicking a loose lock of his braided, long golden hair from his face. ‘Because I have one just for you, too.’

…Erm. ‘Is… that the surprise?’ Suzaku cautiously asks, uncertain if he’s being rude or not. Because, that kimono is…

Clovis chuckles behind his grin as steps behind Suzaku. ‘Close your eyes~!’ Clovis enthusiastically exclaims before taking the honor upon himself by slapping his hands over Suzaku’s eyes and pushes forward as if steering a horse. Suzaku tries to coordinate his steps through Clovis’ guiding but he feels much less graceful than if he just followed his other senses. A muddled grimace is waving across his lips as he listens to Clovis’ not-so stifled giggling, grasping the older man’s wrists if only so he doesn’t flail over his flouncing feet—

Until they reach an abrupt stop.

If not for the bumper of the hands on his face, Suzaku’s nose might’ve been what broke his fall.

‘You—!’ Clovis suddenly yells, his pampered voice shredding through his strain, ‘I told you—!’—an aggravated sigh—‘Please wait here a moment,’ he says in Suzaku’s ear, patience dissolving from his cheerful demeanor. ‘Don’t peek.’

‘…Yes Sir.’ Suzaku sheepishly replies after realizing Clovis is waiting for such response.

‘What happened to the bow?!’ Suzaku hears Clovis grouse. ‘I picked it out especially—Don’t struggle!—Stay still and do as I told you!!’

‘Like Hell!' This second voice prickles right through Suzaku’s ears to his eyes with a twitch. ‘You don’t own me. There’s no way I’d wear that stupid—!’

‘It isn’t stupid! Stop being so difficult. It looks so fetching on you’

‘Get away from me!!’

‘…Lelouch—?!’ at that last fiery bellow, Suzaku’s eyes snap open, recognizing the owner and no longer able to follow orders—

But the scene before is eyes isn’t what he expected:

A black-haired man is attempting to untangle himself from his bigger brother who has an extremely red bow with little heart droplets hanging from lacy tendrils held tightly in his hand.

Scratch that. It’s exactly how it sounded.

Lelouch straightens his clothes with a haughty huff as he shoves and steps away from his older brother, who also huffs, brushing off the annoyance with dignified sweeps. For a few seconds, while caught in those amethyst eyes, Suzaku doesn’t – can’t – breathe. He just feels his heart pump loudly and hotly through his body as if yelling at him with frustration, demanding his bones to hurry his ass over to the taller man he hasn’t seen since winter.

‘I—!’ Suzaku could hardly care less about bows or kimonos this moment. ‘I thought you weren’t coming until July?’

‘Surprise.’ The western prince’s lips ooze with charm as he smiles with a lazy shrug.

This is when Suzaku realizes he’s bouncing on his heels. His bubbling excitement is reflecting back at him in Lelouch’s cool countenance and he stills himself with a subtle cough – not without noticing the way a fleck of amusement quirks Lelouch’s lips. Suzaku can’t keep from smiling to the point that it might tear through his cheeks, however. He’s acting the part of an excited puppy, bounding up to Lelouch with unbridled gusto and jumpier than normal for a friendly greeting.

The truth is that his affections aren’t as innocent as a dog’s would be.

“Nice to see you as well, Tohdoh.” Lelouch smiles at Suzaku’s shadow, reminding the Japanese prince of his surroundings. ‘You look well.’

‘Same to you, Your Highness,’ Tohdoh greets with a curt bow. ‘It’s been too long.’

‘Indeed.’ Lelouch says amiably, a quaint smile on his lips. ‘I know Jeremiah missed your company.’

Tohdoh lifts an eyebrow while Lelouch chuckles at the deadpan expression on the blue-haired Knight’s face who escaped Suzaku’s notice in the background – whether that’s do to Clovis’ colourful feathers or Lelouch’s sudden appearance, it’s hard to say.

No. It’s both.

‘Prince Suzaku,’ Jeremiah greets with a courteous dip of his head now that he’s been somewhat formally acknowledged.

Bashfulness touches Suzaku’s small smile. ‘I always tell you ‘Suzaku’ is fine.’

‘Of course, Sir.’

Suzaku’s simper is no less pleased by Jeremiah’s polite refusal.

“Will you be joining us for lunch?” Lelouch asks Tohdoh.

The older man hums with a shift of his eyes. “If you’ll excuse me, Your Highness, I’ve only come to see Suzaku well. I’ll return for him later.”

“I see.” Graciousness is glazed across Lelouch’s soft – do goddamn soft – lips even as they slightly frown. “Another time, then.”

Tohdoh hadn’t mentioned anything about leaving Suzaku alone before now, though.

Why is it that I wasn’t included in the greetings?’ Clovis whines.

‘Jeremiah, greet my attention-deprived brother.’ Lelouch commands with an offhanded gesture at the stiff guard after Tohdoh’s exit. ‘Then take the day for yourself.’

Clovis squawks at that but Jeremiah reverently bows, ‘Yes, Your Highness,’ with an arm crossed over his chest as his master leaves with Suzaku herded into one arm.

‘And just where are you going?’ The older brother demands, his petulance ricocheting against marble floors and crystal chandeliers.

‘I’m going to show Suzaku his new kimono that you designed especially for him.’

‘I see!’ Clovis lights up like a flare of fireworks, any maltreatment towards him instantly torched and forgotten. ‘Do take your time!’

•-•

“We’re not really going to do that now, are we?” Suzaku asks hesitantly as they enter Lelouch’s private room. “I mean, I appreciate the thought, but—”

The lips on his neck and arms that wrap around his waist from behind effectively silence Suzaku’s mouth. He shudders, a weakness rippling through his body as he feels Lelouch’s kisses against his skin and spins himself around right into those delightful lips. He flings his arms around Lelouch’s neck as they sloppily and somewhat desperately kiss with tongues reaching to touch everything as if they feared never getting this chance again. Suzaku moans lightly at the back of his mouth when Lelouch’s hands sink into his plump posterior with squeezing fingers. The brunet hugs the coal-haired male tighter as if trying to merge them together, clinging to the body his has missed.

‘Forget about my stupid brother.’ Lelouch’s words steam against Suzaku’s lips when they break; dark and seductive like a sweet poison pouring into his mouth. ‘We’re alone and the door is locked.’

Why did Suzaku think Lelouch actually meant what he said to Clovis?

And did Clovis take his brother seriously, too? Or did he catch the implication?

‘How long do we have?’

‘As long as we want.’

‘But, the lunch…?’

‘Like I said. Just forget it.’

Not a problem!

Suzaku’s back is flat against the bed swiftly enough as he pulls at Lelouch pants, bumbling with a black belt and zipper while Lelouch sheds his royal blue, yellow-trimmed blazer and white cravat. He’s still unbuttoning his silky, frosty gray long-sleeve shirt when a thoughtless moan pours from Suzaku’s lips as his fingers find the bulge concealed in Lelouch’s slacks. He smoothes his palms over the hard heat in Lelouch’s black boxer-briefs and spreads his legs wider apart for the man between them, hearing a deep chuckle in return. Lelouch hooks his hands under Suzaku’s knees and pulls them up after his shirt is abandoned to the floor, wedging himself comfortably in the middle of the brunet’s bare thighs. Suzaku moans again into a kiss as Lelouch pries into the split of his striped, two-toned forest green kimono and light gray under clothes, rubbing their hips together while the carefully folded sides of his garment are undone.

‘I do love you in a kimono, though.’ Lelouch amorously announces after leisurely unwrapping until Suzaku’s naked body is exposed with his arms splayed out as if in surrender.

‘Why’s that?’ A sly grin bends Suzaku’s lips and he tilts one of his bent knees to the side to let Lelouch’s hungry eyes funnel between his thighs. He doesn’t bother mentioning that his father’s traditional taste is responsible for his clothing – and not just because any thoughts of his father at the moment are extremely unwelcome. (If his father could see him now: eagerly spread underneath Lelouch, waiting to be taken… Just what expression would he have?)

‘Because it makes undressing you like opening a present.’ Suzaku can feel Lelouch’s salacious gaze slide over his skin, a prickle of excitement pebbling over his flesh in its wake and hardening his nipples. ‘It’s so… erotic.’ Lelouch’s voice is overflowing with lust, a dark honey dripping into Suzaku’s ears and filling his head like a spell when they kiss again.

A slight snicker bumbles up Suzaku’s throat when Lelouch’s lips, tongue and hands begin roaming his body; lapping and gliding over the tracks his heated violets left behind. It’s Suzaku’s way of agreeing without saying so. There’s just something about the anticipation for touch as he’s peeled like a banana and then laid bare, vulnerable, under Lelouch’s hands and eyes that’s inexplicable exciting. Lelouch is already sucking and biting skin, making quick work of marking Suzaku as he savors his lover – but the foreplay feels like an unnecessary preface, especially when Suzaku’s nipples are involved. The mouth that suckles on his tense bud is like gasoline on a fire and he squirms, rubbing to feel Lelouch’s skin against his thighs while grabbing at the hand pinching his other nipple. It’s as if Lelouch is trying to start Suzaku up by pressing the power button when he’s already turned on. Perhaps he’s sending the wrong message, because when Suzaku mewls and rotates his hips, his impatience, against Lelouch he’s only pressed more firmly into their dip on the bed. Suzaku can feel Lelouch’s arousal jutting against him as its owner switches to his other pink nub without compunction. Lelouch even grinds their shared excitement together as his tongue traces the stiff spot on Suzaku’s chest that simmers delightedly in response unlike the urgent somethings father south that don’t appreciate the teasing.

That’s why, after spending months apart, Suzaku can’t – nor does he desire to – pace himself.

Time is always too slow when it should be faster.

‘Lelouch…’ Suzaku calls, a husky-wrapped plea floating on a push of desperation. “We can do more later, so…” So desperate that he can’t manage English on his tongue as he pulls his knees towards his chest, “for right now, just…”

The western prince lifts his head to settle the smoldering sight of his eyes on Suzaku’s face. ‘…I don’t want to hurt you.’

“You won’t.” The affirmation is much more solid in his voice than it is in Suzaku’s head, but it’s his body’s thoughts that are stronger this moment. “Please.”

Lelouch is looking equally dazed with a striking rouge across his cheeks and a sheen from his wet lips. Suzaku’s mouth feels dry, empty, just as his body has felt without Lelouch. His hesitance is understandable, considering the separation that paused the physical aspect of their relationship, but unnecessary – maybe Suzaku is too deprived to be cautious, but he doesn’t care.

‘…Lelouch…’ Suzaku beckons again, feeling much too overwhelmed with swirling emotions, euphoria overtaking lonesomeness like a flood across the desert and it’s welling up in his eyes. Lelouch kisses the palm that reaches for him, lowering to kiss the lips that so sweetly and delicately implored him. Suzaku relishes a moment of feeling Lelouch’s chest against his, the way their hearts pound as if in greeting, and he holds tightly to the black-haired man until hands are pushing at his bald shoulders.

‘Don’t want to stain your clothes, do you?’

Suzaku blinks at the blunt words that zing through his lovey-lusty fog but promptly sits up to pull away his ancestral attire while the older chap rifles in his pants pocket. The flush on Suzaku’s face is nearly cooked completely off of his skin when a small tube of lubricant is brought into view – a little item Lelouch knowingly stored in his pants. Suzaku’s breath catches in his chest and he slides his bottom lip up against is teeth as a zealous sensation twists inside him, quite pleasantly mewling at the way his underwear is wrenched from his hips. The open eagerness of Lelouch’s actions only boil that coiling feeling within Suzaku as he lies against the bed again, adoring the view from underneath the veneer the Britannian wears for everyone else. This fiery side of the famously cool prince only excites Suzaku even more, adding spice to the feeling of Lelouch’s dry fingertips surfing down the brawny currents of his flexing thigh muscles. A throaty sound of pleasure sails from Suzaku as Lelouch’s lubricated digits press against him, enter him, and the sensation squirms up his spine. Suzaku’s hips are uncontrollable at Lelouch’s hand, shifting like a wind sock in the breeze as another similar moan seeps from his lips. It’s soft and content as his eyes briefly close while those long fingers prepare his nearly-celibate body—

‘Have you been doing this yourself?’

“…Like you didn’t know.” Suzaku groans a bit at the truth that teasingly nibbles from Lelouch’s mouth and presses his curled fist against his forehead.

‘I mean outside our phone calls.’

Suzaku isn’t in the mood to be teased. He already feels too close for comfort and he’d rather be with Lelouch when the end falls upon him. All the concentration at his entrance was appetizing but he’s too famished to be satisfied with Lelouch’s fingers alone – such an act is suitable for his lonely showers, not when the flesh he desires is right in front of him. His hands are once again reaching for Lelouch’s crotch that’s pressed closely to his, fingers wanting to claw at a task he somehow forgot to finish. Perhaps it was Lelouch’s intention to distract Suzaku – if so, it worked – and he will surely make up for that as his stretching shorts are yanked out of the way. Lelouch grunts at the blunt unveiling but still flaunts a proud smirk on his lips as he watches Suzaku gape with an eye-full of all that’s revealed. Lelouch hasn’t let on that he’s this aroused, which is rather unfair in Suzaku’s eyes—

‘So impatient,’ Lelouch taunts, his devilish voice twisting off his tongue and slithering into Suzaku’s ear as he leans forward.

Suzaku is somewhat surprised by the lips that press against his; he opens for the kiss but is disappointed his view has been obstructed—which is so much more unfair. Lelouch forces Suzaku deeper into the pillow with his tongue and all the brunet can hear are the fingers that exit him and their greasy movements over the something he wanted to admire. He presses his hand against Lelouch’s chest when the older boy leans over him, a teasing pressure building at his bottom; the slick, soft tracing of his waiting entry is circular and too tortuous. Lelouch is pushing and rubbing but not entering, making Suzaku writhe as if his body has become a tornado.

“Ngh. Don’t tease me…” Suzaku groans, one hand clenching Lelouch’s shoulder and the other fisted at his teeth as his spine worms with insatiable temptation.

Lelouch chuckles again, a deep and quiet rumble like thunder and the anticipation for the storm is brewing under Suzaku’s skin. Suzaku’s cheeks are already red-hot when Lelouch pushes into him and now he thinks his chest might burst as the moment spreads within him in a slow singe. The long craving burning through his flesh is languidly being fed as Lelouch’s solid erection slides through his tight opening in a pleasant, scorching spear. An airy moan breezes from his throat as he feels himself being filled, his body curving as Lelouch’s hips finally meet him. It’s almost too much and yet not enough. His muscles are a chaotic spasm of satisfaction and greed as deep breaths hoist from his lungs and he takes a moment to enjoy the sensation of finally being joined with his lover.

‘Suzaku…?’ Is the concerned huff from Lelouch’s lips as he pets the side of the brunet’s face.

“It’s fine. I’m fine.” Suzaku assures with a faint smile, tightly bending his legs around Lelouch, never wanting him to be anywhere else. ‘It’s… good. You’re good.’

Lelouch presses his forehead against Suzaku’s, the moisture on their skin hot and sticky but pleasant unlike the humid summer days Lelouch had cursed when first visiting this island nation. A soft smile of reverie splashes Suzaku’s mouth as he wraps his arms around the man hunched over him like a rainbow and kisses the warmth that’s so much hotter than he can seem to remember.

“I’ve missed you so much it hurts.” Suzaku murmurs against Lelouch’s lips, fingers firmly threading in onyx hair like knots. ‘I love you so much it hurts even more.’

‘…I’m moving now,’ Lelouch declares in a rather brusque mutter, apparently ignoring a raging rash of something emotional trampling across his cheeks. He pushes his hips heavily against Suzaku, making the younger man’s body tighten and his face slightly purse, squeezing a small gasp of excitement from his lungs—

Just before Lelouch is moving his body and Suzaku is easily lost in the motions as they surge over him. He is in a comfortable trance on the bed as his body remembers Lelouch through these initially tame intrusions that still seem to be a torrent tear right through him. Lelouch is dominating his every sense, nerve and breath and he’s drowning while breathlessly chanting for more. As Suzaku’s eyes are trapped and mesmerized by the lustful amulets that are Lelouch’s amethyst eyes, he understands the desirous swashing in his head is just another claim.

Indeed, Suzaku has known for years that he belongs to Lelouch – just as Lelouch belongs to him – and right now that feeling couldn’t be greater expressed than how tightly they’re fitted together. He feels utterly delirious as his lover moves inside his body, reaching the place allowed only for him to touch and unearthing something only he can inspire. Suzaku lies at the bank of pleasure as Lelouch’s body fluidly laps at his, flowing and ebbing with stronger tides that tumble unintelligible Japanese from the his mouth. Suzaku doesn’t cry to any god or any heaven, just half-eaten praises that are given right back to him by Lelouch’s hips. Such earnestness from the aloof prince is a subtle language dripping on Suzaku’s skin and filling him up to the brim of his skull until any straggling thoughts are oozing out of his ears.

Every deepening thrust that enters Suzaku slices away the time they spent apart. All that snail-sliding time that splinters under Lelouch’s body, kiss and touch after thrust shattering the time that was trapped in Suzaku’s chest like a sandglass. Each and every grain of sand that encumbered him is whirled away as Lelouch fills him with the hot haze of pleasure instead. Suzaku becomes a breathless puffing machine under this sweaty bliss that has seared into his memory and never cooled. It kept him warm while Lelouch was away; sometimes they were a fuzzy heat that made him feel weightless until they roasted too hotly and burst his bubble with lonely aches that sometimes moistened his dreams…

Odd how now Suzaku can’t tell if he’s really awake.

Lelouch pushes against the back of Suzaku’s knee with one hand and Suzaku’s wrist against the bed with the other as he throws all he can manage through his hips as they hustle to the peak. Suzaku is deep underwater, body moving in the natural rhythm of an oceanic passion where their scent is a reassuring, heady aroma clouding in his head. The brown waves of his hair are moist and mussed as his head rubs and tosses against the pillow, ears overflowing with Lelouch’s labored grunts and breath that bathes his skin. Suzaku can even taste it on his tongue as he gulps for air around uncontrollable sounds pumping up from these hardy thrusts, neither ever seeming to ease in the slightest.

The world is tilted as their desires chase all that time they never shared together. Suzaku can feel the rush barreling through his body as he consumes everything Lelouch is giving him and he closes his free leg tighter around the fair-flushed man to keep him from drifting too far. Impatience, desperation, infatuation… Suzaku doesn’t even know the word for this any longer – other than ecstasy. He’s moaning with chops of elation that flood his nerves as the person he wholeheartedly loves kisses, marks and pleasures him with equal affection. Lelouch’s thrusts are precise and adept, pushing Suzaku with pleasant persistence that nudges him steadily, carefully to the edge in an almost torturous way – but Suzaku adores each bump of those boney hips against him that always land with promise…

Before he even thinks about it, he’s reaching for what was ignored between them and is touching himself with anxious fingers. His strokes are harsh and hasty, even clumsy against the strong repetition of Lelouch’s body against him, but he doesn’t stop. Not only can he already hear the painful wheezing of Lelouch’s dying energy but the climax is an undeniable pressure corked in his erection like a bottle of Champaign he’s slowly twisting to pop. Lelouch’s head slump to the side, croaking pants painting across Suzaku’s cheek and wading into his ear as the grips on his wrist and thigh tighten.

‘…Suza…ku.’

It’s a surprisingly fragile murmur of his name, soft despite the hoarse huffing of failing lungs, and never has the sound of his own name been so sexy. It has purred from Lelouch’s lips through a smirk or with a slight cackle over the phone, but this is so sweet it twangs through Suzaku with a shudder. He clenches his eyes shut and gropes his hard length with fevered squeezing as Lelouch’s hips swing against him like a pendulum ticking time – an utterance of Suzaku’s name is the warning this time and it’s enough to yank his orgasm right out of his youthful body, but he holds it. He wants to wait. Lelouch’s name is slurring from his heaving lungs as he clamps himself, all of the older prince’s efforts burgeoning to the brink until a sudden, choked noise scratches in Lelouch’s throat and his body stiffens with a last and lingering thrust. Suzaku releases his hand not even a second later and everything unravels in a rapturous rush until he’s another sag of flesh and bones on the moist patch of bed. Lelouch flops to the side on his back with a heavy gust while Suzaku is a weightless whip of fluff. He rakes his fingers through the wet flurry of his hair as he sits up, lazily emerging from his tranquil surfing with a dopey smile.

‘Lelouch, you were…’ Suzaku starts, his simper falling and eyebrow raising once his greens land on closed eyes. ‘…You’re not falling asleep, are you?’

Lelouch barely bothers to groan.

‘What about lunch?’

He shifts in his increasingly sleepy state. ‘…Forget it…’

‘But, I’m actually hungry.’ Suzaku grins, poking Lelouch’s shoulder as the older boy curls a bit onto his side.

‘…Mm… Then go…’

‘By myself?’

I’m sleeping. Do whatever you want.’ Lelouch grumbles, eyebrows lightly furrowed.

‘How romantic.’ Suzaku dryly quips, glancing at the time. ‘You got what you wanted and now you’re checking out? Won’t you even cuddle with me a little, at least?’

‘…’

‘…Lelouch?’

His only response is quiet breathing.

Suzaku leans closer, nestling on his stomach and in the contour of Lelouch’s slender frame, rubbing his thumb over a hot, pink cheek.

‘…I guess you were pretty tired even before this, huh?’ Suzaku smiles softly to himself, skimming the tip of his finger over Lelouch’s plump lower lip.

Can’t be helped, Suzaku supposes. Lelouch can rest.

…For now.

•-•

‘…So you snuck away, in other words?’ Suzaku grins; seated at the small, round table in the salon with a wide view of the backyard garden and courtyard.

Sneaked. ‘Snuck’ is improper.’ Lelouch coolly deflects. There was apparently supposed to be a trio of string performers to play for them while they ate, but Lelouch did away with that.

‘So you’re not denying it?’ Suzaku’s grin widens at the blatant dodge.

‘Why, are you complaining?’ Lelouch arcs his thin ebony eyebrow, stabbing his fork into a seasoned red potato wedge.

‘I’m not.’ Suzaku coyly shrugs, sipping his water. ‘I just don’t want you to get into trouble.’

‘I’m already 20 years old. A legal adult even by your standards.’ Lelouch deadpans, blandly chewing his bite. ‘I don’t ‘get in trouble’ anymore.’

‘But you left your mother there alone. She won’t be happy about that.’

Lelouch sighs. ‘She’s also an adult. She doesn’t need me to take care of her.’

‘I guess that’s true. So, your mother will be visiting in July as planned, then?’

‘Yes. And it’s never a good idea to leave Clovis alone for too long.’

‘What? I’ve only been here for a month.’ Clovis is the only person keeping them from being alone. Lelouch was very vocal about that, as well, but the man won’t budge.

‘And now you can leave.’

‘So cold!’

‘This isn’t your play house, it’s my home. Don’t overstay your non-existent welcome.’

‘Why are you so mean to your big brother who went through all this effort to please you?’—And yet he couldn’t even leave the two birds alone to enjoy it.

‘I didn’t ask you to do anything.’

‘What about the message I got from him?’ Suzaku asks.

‘That was all I required, and he was even weird about that.’

‘And to think if I didn’t do all of this for you Suzaku would’ve just come here to your face and nothing else! What kind of surprise is that? Where is the pizzazz?

‘Suzaku doesn’t need pizzazz.’ Lelouch tersely says.

Clovis gapes. ‘You hear that, Suzaku? He doesn’t think you need to be treated with any sort of specialty!’

‘That isn’t what I said!’

Suzaku just simpers.

Lelouch was right, even if it sounded wrong.

Just seeing Lelouch here was surprise enough and all he wants.

…Not that he doesn’t appreciate Clovis’ troubles.

‘I wanted to do a dinner for the two of you.’ Clovis continues as if not hearing his younger brother. ‘They’re much more refined and romantic but Lelouch insisted we do lunch. He said he just couldn’t wait until evening to see you.’

‘You did?’ Suzaku flicks big doe-eyes on Lelouch with incredulity – because Lelouch would never openly voice something like that.

‘I didn’t.’ Lelouch says, surly, with a glower at his brother.

See?

‘He was much too impatient. Fussing about as I did what little I could. If it had been later, I could’ve done so much more. Candles, swans, chocolate fountains – the works!’

‘I just didn’t see the point in waiting when I was already here. You did lunch all on your own.’ Lelouch dismissively utters with a sip of his Bloody Mary – a scoff dropped like a rug over his honest emotions, but Suzaku still smiles softly at him. ‘And I told you to leave before he got here.’

Clovis ignores him. ‘I nearly had to literally whip the staff to get these meager preparations in order on time. And then he didn’t even wear the pretty bow! Honestly!’

‘Like you would lift a finger even for that. And no one told you to do anything.’ Lelouch angrily retorts. ‘And I never said I would wear it!’

‘I think it’s sweet.’ Suzaku says, smiling a gooey-sappy smile that makes Lelouch cough as if it’s stuck in his throat.

Clovis hums. ‘The sweetest you’ll probably get from him, no?’

‘Why are you still here?’ Lelouch coldly grouses. ‘No one wants you around.’

As Clovis flounders in the insult Lelouch slapped across his face and the two begin to bicker, Suzaku stifles a chuckle. These two brothers have always been a bit at odds but nothing serious or cruel. At most teasing is their pass-time even though Lelouch is sometimes too dry to make his sarcasm stick and Clovis is too sensitive to always know the difference. This time, though, Suzaku is betting Lelouch’s bitterness is on his interrupted sleep. The only reason Lelouch is even at lunch is because of Clovis’ persistence – he phoned Lelouch’s bedroom a number of times to get him up, but when that was ignored – by way of an unplugged phone courtesy of an ireful Lelouch – a personal visit at the door was required. Clovis didn’t let up until Lelouch was stalking down the stairs for the extravagant meal he planned. Suzaku is grateful, even if he panicked prematurely and dressed himself in haste and Lelouch is grumpy when he’s tired.

Suzaku is just pleased to spend time with Lelouch.

And, of course, he’d been expecting to eat.

Sex only made his stomach hungrier.

Once Clovis scurries to the wash room in a hurry, after Lelouch told him he had something in his teeth, said younger brother sighs off some irritation and swallows more alcohol.

‘He was supposed to make himself scarce.’ Lelouch gripes, pressing the iced, sweaty glass against his forehead. ‘Why did I think he actually would?’

‘He’s just excited.’

‘Puppies get excited. Clovis is at this level 24-7.’

‘You could’ve just told him that you wanted to be alone.’ Suzaku softly smiles – inwardly wry for the same comparison he made of himself earlier.

‘I did.’

‘In those words?’

‘…I don’t see what difference it makes.’

‘You, of all people, should know you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.’

‘I don’t want to catch flies. I want them to leave me alone.’ Lelouch sets his glass down on the red velvet table cloth cluttered with confetti and valentine-themed roses. ‘Besides, he’s used to it.’

Suzaku hums. ‘Just how brothers are?’ Not like Suzaku would really know. He’s had similar interactions with his cousin, but Kaguya is a girl and not over all that often.

‘Well…’ Lelouch appears to catch the lonely twinge in Suzaku’s voice, knowing he’s grown up a lonely, only child. ‘More like that’s just how you’re supposed to treat Clovis.’

‘That’s mean.’

‘No, it isn’t. He’s nothing more than an overgrown, spoiled child. Harsh treatment suits him.’

Tough love , is it?

Suzaku snickers a bit mockingly. ‘Or maybe you’re just suited to treating others harshly.’

Lelouch’s expression is blank barely a second before he’s coating it with his more lecherous shade. ‘You’ve certainly never minded when I treat you a little ‘harshly.’’

‘That—!’ Suzaku isn’t blushing at that. ‘That is very different.’ He isn’t!

Lelouch chuckles in his chest, those deep rumblings that Suzaku loves to hear except in this moment.

‘Listen,’ he says as he sets his arm across the heart-shaped back of Suzaku’s chair. ‘I wanted to do this privately.’ He glances in the direction where Clovis scampered like a cat with its tail on fire. ‘Luckily his vanity buys us some time. It’s about your birthday present.’

‘You mean your presence isn’t my present?’

Lelouch clears his throat at Suzaku’s attempt at a joke. ‘…Yes and no. I’m moving here.’

—!?

‘…What?’ Suzaku’s brain might’ve just broken.

‘I mean officially. This Villa has become my new home.’ Lelouch smirks and tousles Suzaku’s messy brown head, easily answering the question he sensed within it. ‘No more country hopping unless it’s important or unavoidable.’

Suzaku’s brain has definitely frozen, but his body definitely hasn’t. He springs to his feet before words can even complete themselves in his head and he’s hauling the taller male out of his chair.

‘This—! I can’t even—! You—!’ Suzaku’s limbs spare him any more sputters by simply yanking Lelouch to his body in a bear-hug.

Happy birthday.’ Lelouch grates through a wince, encased in the jittery Japanese prince’s arms. ‘It’s just one part of your gift, though.’ When Suzaku pulls back with a curious blink, a satiny smile softly blankets Lelouch’s lips as he taps Suzaku’s nose with his finger.

Suzaku’s lower lip trembles. ‘I—! I don’t need anything else!’ he emphatically declares as he squeezes Lelouch to ward off his joyful tears.

Suzaku…! Can’t… breathe!

‘S-Sorry!’

Lelouch manages to chuckle again, breathlessly and red-faced, patting Suzaku’s head while the teen wishes he wasn’t so emotional. He sniffles slightly as the Britannian wipes the undignified expression from his face with a sweep of his hair—

Before his cool violets are pounced by gleaming greens. ‘Guess that means I can have you whenever I want, then?’ Suzaku murmurs, trying on his most impish tone.

‘As long as you understand it works both ways.’ Lelouch grins, bedeviling in all the right ways.

•-•

Suzaku can’t keep track of his own breathing as he moves his body, hips set in a strong, bobbing rhythm on Lelouch’s lap. He’s riding on building pleasure as he watches the way enamored excitement blooms on those Britannian cheeks below hooded eyes. Suzaku likes the way Lelouch’s razor stare carves into him as pinkened fingertips caress the slopes and angles of his body. Despite looking comfy in his nest of feather-filled, neutral-toned cushions, Lelouch is keeping his hands very busy roaming the bouncing body straddling him. Suzaku truly enjoys the way fair hands slide over his skin as he carries them to the tip-top, gasping a stray breath as he feels them rub and squeeze his nipples. Teasingly toying with his pointed nubs, Suzaku’s back curves into a tighter arch and that gleams hotly in Lelouch’s eyes; they’re such vivid violets that blaze so intensely, it makes Suzaku feel even more empty-headed and dizzy than he already is.

He grabs Lelouch’s shoulder as he drops his head and shifts his hips to a faster gear that makes the proud prince under him grunt as he pushes himself down more roughly. Suzaku kisses that sound from Lelouch’s wet lips, licking and huffing as the fingers that explored his body sink into his round rump and squeeze. Those long, firm digits clench and pull his flesh to the rhythm of his thrusts, almost urging him along faster. Suzaku can tell by a glance at his love’s face that the end is near and he straightens himself with a sprouting moan that twines between his pants. He lets his head fall back as his eyes fall shut, clutching Lelouch’s arm with his other hand and loses his body to the tossing of pleasure and Lelouch’s heavy breathing. Suzaku’s mouth drops open and a scoop of sound escapes his control; an indulgent leap of his voice that coils around his spine and yanks when release shatters both of them. All at once he’s stiff and loose as he feels Lelouch deep in his body and the spinning world topples with a crash…

Suzaku’s head is still in a daze when his entire body goes limp, looking down at Lelouch as the mingled pieces of themselves divide and melt back into place. Lelouch is sweaty and spent like a dead fish, making Suzaku wonder if maybe this was more than his partner could bear. He knows the older man’s endurance isn’t close to strong – more like below average – and coupling that with the fact that they’ve spent the majority of their reunion in bed… It’s always a glaring sign of Lelouch’s depleted energy levels when he allows Suzaku take the more active role.

‘Lelouch… are you tired?’ Suzaku asks as he catches his breath, feeling himself recover more quickly than his fatigued friend.

‘Yes—No. That is…’ Lelouch wipes the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand and closed eyes. ‘I need a moment.’

‘I’m sorry if I’m being too eager.’ Suzaku says a bit quietly – insecurely – as he lies beside Lelouch underneath the caramel satin sheets. ‘I just…’

‘Don’t apologize.’ Lelouch chides, closing his fingers around Suzaku’s chin and pressing their lips together. ‘It’s understandable that you missed me so strongly you became overwhelmed with uncontrollable passion upon our reuniting and was consequently hungered by my announcement.’

‘I…’ Suzaku simpers. ‘I didn’t say that.’ But he was damn close to admitting it.

Lelouch is smirking, softly but still smirking.

When he chuckles knowingly at Suzaku’s weak argument, the eastern prince has no choice but to sigh as his neck is kissed by the man attached to this ego – and that Suzaku has only increased its size.

‘Good thing for you that is no longer an issue.’ Lelouch carries on, sincerely soaked in his own conceit. ‘I’ll be right here whenever you need me.’

Suzaku rolls his eyes – not that Lelouch notices.

‘I think I’ll miss these passionate reunions where you plead me to take you or hearing you gasp my name with your sweet voice over the phone, but…’

‘I can arrange some distance right now, if you’d like.’

‘Relax.’ Lelouch’s cheeky half-smile says. ‘I’m just teasing you.’

‘…I won’t miss it.’ Suzaku softly says as he skims a finger down Lelouch’s wet chest. ‘I prefer you close to me.’

‘I think we’ve established that.’ Lelouch quips.

Suzaku sticks out his tongue.

‘But, we won’t always have the chance to be attached at the hip’—Lelouch wags his eyebrows at the implication and Suzaku shakes his head—‘For instance, right now I’m sure you’re thinking it’s getting late and that you’ll need to leave soon. Even though you really want to stay right here with me all night.’

Dead on.

‘I’m that easy to read, huh?’

‘You’re not even a challenge.’ The arrogant prince murmurs as he nuzzles into Suzaku’s ear, lips pecking his jaw. ‘And I think you should stay the night regardless of whatever you are thinking.’ Lelouch’s words are a trickling tingle down Suzaku’s skin that bubble up from his stomach and out of his mouth in little giggles like a giddy foam as lips press light kisses down his neck.

‘I thought you said you needed a moment?’

‘That was a moment.’ Neither Lelouch nor his kisses falter as they speckle delightful bumps over Suzaku’s body as he pecks along a collarbone.

‘Mmm… Maybe I could… make a call…’ Suzaku technically has lessons tomorrow and he knows Tohdoh is waiting to retrieve him, but… if he wakes up early enough in the morning, he should be able to adhere to his schedule.

‘Maybe you should.’

Somehow it doesn’t seem even that will be possible when Suzaku is already yielding on his back and Lelouch’s mouth is closing on his nipple. He doesn’t resist the pleasant tingle Lelouch’s tongue needles through his blood but he does shift with a quiet chide of the other prince’s name on his lips as he weaves his fingers into onyx hair. Lelouch relents only to smear a possessive kiss on Suzaku’s mouth as he presses his body against the one beneath him with unyielding weight.

‘I’m not letting you go home tonight.’

•-•

Suzaku revisits a different heaven as they lie tangled together in Lelouch’s bed, breathing-in the soft peace of sleep. Lelouch has long since gone comatose but his body is warm, tangible and like another blanket with an arm draped over Suzaku’s waist. Face to face and chest to chest, Suzaku relishes the close proximity of the man who keeps his heart and rests at ease in the darkness, awash in Lelouch’s scent. He’s soothed by the soft swath of Lelouch’s breaths wafting across his cheek and the heartbeat that pumps his with contentment. Just by being bundled up in blankets and limbs, Suzaku is in heaven.

Such simple heaven he never has to be separated from again.

Not by oceans.

Not by borders.

Not by all that distance that makes the world too large.

•-

-•

The sun is filtering brightly through the trees outside one of the tall windows of the palace library, casting warmly over Suzaku’s arm and the open book of his nation’s economic policies. It’s more than a little complicated and more boring than Suzaku is willing to openly admit, but today is a study day and he’ll read whatever is assigned to him – even if his tutor has left the room. How much of it will stick, however, is a different story…

The revelation that Lelouch is practically permanently becoming Suzaku’s neighbor should be calming, and in a way it is, but he’s giddy with the news that’s still freshly fizzy in his blood. All of those dreaded days and nights when all he wanted was to be near Lelouch; to see his smile, feel his body, listen to his heartbeat… Those grueling moments are extinct. They may have to spend some time apart, Suzaku understands, but nothing to the extent as they have been until now. They’ve been friends since childhood and romance isn’t really a new addition to their relationship. It was a smooth transition – the only renovation required is how to handle the distance while yearning, but Lelouch has already settled that issue.

A sudden snarl snags Suzaku’s ears, and he pries his green eyes away from the truly fascinating details and stipulations of foreign trade to the much more pleasant sight to his side. Suzaku smiles softly at the other prince slumbering on a nearby sofa that’s safely tucked away from the intruding sunlight. He isn’t sure if Lelouch is tired from jetlag or sex – they did burn quite a lot of energy yesterday and that always takes a stronger toll on Lelouch than it does Suzaku. Or maybe Lelouch was just bored. The ironic part is that Lelouch wanted to tag along with Suzaku today to help adjust his internal clock to Japanese time. The older prince had strongly suggested Suzaku should skip his study work several times but Suzaku didn’t waver. Lelouch then resigned himself with a dramatic sigh and settled on the couch in wait. While Suzaku doesn’t always enjoy his lessons he understands their importance – and perhaps Lelouch does as well, since he wasn’t as persistent about sneaking off to do something more fun as he could’ve been. Suzaku wanted to. He really did. But now that Lelouch is here to stay, Suzaku doesn’t feel so… anxious to tie himself to the other prince.

Moreover, he doesn’t have the same luxuries Lelouch has – although that isn’t quite the right way to put it… Lelouch vi Britannia is the 11th son of the Britannian Emperor and 17th in line for the throne. The odds of him ever ascending to power are slim, as he’s even noted (not without “major housecleaning,” as he put it), so he allows himself to live more lazily than he should – the fact that he’s decided to move to Tokyo instead of furthering his education is telling. The truth is, if Lelouch wanted to be in the race for power of any kind within the government of his country, he would be. He’s cunning, savvy, and fearless but he lacks the desire and despite being adept at politics he is averse to them. Suzaku can’t blame him for that, but he sometimes wonders if it’s a waste – or if he just envies that untethered lifestyle…

Suzaku, on the other hand, is the only child to the Japanese emperor. It’s a long way off before he’ll ever obtain the throne after his father, and he won’t be alone in leading the country, but he is the tip of the spear. Suzaku will one day sit at the top and he needs to be as prepared and knowledgeable as he can be to properly lead his people – a more than intimidating thought, but he’s been familiar with it his entire life, having been groomed for nearly just as long.

Even so, he’s only really ever felt like a prince in name. His father, Genbu Kururugi, is a strong leader that has the respect of the majority even if he isn’t always kind. He’s fair but very strict. He involves himself heavily in running their nation, more than maybe many other present-day monarchal societies. The truth is that his father is very much beloved by their people for rejuvenating the hard-hit and slumping economy of his predecessor, subsequently uniting the torn nation. He improved relations with some of their allies and launched a very lucrative field of aiding the Britannians with developing their knightmares. When it was revealed that that Japan harbored the largest amount of a rare resource, known as sakuradite, in the world, it wasn’t long before the collaboration between the two old nations strengthened their friendship even further – and in turn boosted the wealth as they began to merge more with Britannia’s economy which was in better shape. Soon enough, Japan returned to the strong, proud nation they once were as they climbed out of a rough recession… Suzaku tries to not think too much about how big the shoes are that he’ll need to fill – after all, his father is still healthy and relatively young as far as politicians go, so it won’t be too soon before he needs to step up.

The young prince forgets his worries with a stretch, stress cracking from his spine with seductive procrastination and he’s up on his feet for break time fairly quickly without another glance at his assignment. He steps lightly over to Lelouch, sweeping his eyes around for any spies, and kneels beside the blissfully sleeping man. A delicate slide of his fingertip pulls back the fray of Lelouch’s sable hair, revealing just how ridiculously good-looking he is. This scene calls certain western fairy tales to mind and while Lelouch wouldn’t appreciate being compared to a princess, mischievousness flares the edges of Suzaku’s mouth. He dips his head to place a chaste kiss on the sleeping beauty, feeling Lelouch’s warmth on his lips as he gently brushes—

But a choking grip clamps on his neck below his Adam’s apple—

And then he’s a coughing mass on the floor.

Isn’t there a saying about not bothering a sleeping animal…?

Lelouch certainly looks a bit like a feline with springing claws as he notices Suzaku on the floor.

‘Oh, Suzaku…’ but he doesn’t sound nearly as alarmed.

“You…”—hackcouchcouch—“got my throat.” His trachea, to be more accurate.

‘Mm… Reflex.’—Is all Lelouch offers in apology as he sits up with a yawn and a leisurely stretch.

‘You didn’t forget where you are, did you?’ Suzaku rubs at his neck, knowing he’ll be a lot more careful around this sleeping beauty – and he’s somewhat grateful Jeremiah isn’t in the room to see what just happened.

‘I felt someone kissing me. That’s assault regardless of where I am.’ Lelouch perfunctorily says as he stands and straightens his clothes.

Of course… Lelouch would never allow himself to be so vulnerable even—no, especially in his sleep. Suzaku knows Lelouch has learned some form of self-defense on his mother’s insistence despite having a Knight, but has never actually witnessed it. He’s even seen the pistol Lelouch carries but never in use. To think his mother had him learn about the vulnerabilities of the human body and how to exploit them… Even though Lelouch is slow and weak, he could still do some damage – and combined with the pistol, now that Suzaku thinks about it… This cool prince has just become exceedingly more dangerous.

Suzaku attempts to laugh but it’s a measly, uneasy patter of his voice tripping through the space between them. He still isn’t sure if Lelouch’s preparedness is comforting or worrisome.

‘A-anyway, are you hungry? We could have lunch outside in the gazebo.’ Suzaku gets back to his feet after Lelouch offers him a hand.

“Sure.” A smile. ‘You look like you need some air.’

•-•

‘There is a nice breeze today,’ Lelouch casually notes before sipping a small cup of tea.

‘Yes. I’m glad it’s not too hot today.’ Suzaku smiles softly to himself, looking out across the emerald lawn sparkling under the midday sun and at all the wild hedges bordering the covered, stone walkways that sway gently in the wind. ‘It feels nice.’

Lelouch’s eyes slide and pin on Suzaku as he lowers his cup. ‘Jeremiah.’

‘Yes, Your Highness?’ Said man responds from the edge of the large square gazebo, standing the most respectful distance he allows between him and his master.

‘Is there anyone else nearby?’ Lelouch places the cup on its saucer, eyes locked with Suzaku’s that look at him with curiosity.

‘No, Your Highness.’

‘Then,’ he slides his arm across Suzaku’s shoulders, sparing only an impish curl of his lips at the guard, ‘would you mind turning around?’

Suzaku swallows the instant the broad back of Lelouch’s knight is facing them, more than ready for the lips that touch his. It’s a somewhat bitter, herbal taste that swims into his mouth as he opens for Lelouch’s tongue, feeling it sweep over his bottom lip before diving in as he grasps at the other arm that reaches for him. He lets himself become cradled when a soft, warm hand cups his face, tilting and pulling him deeply into the kiss the passes slowly between them. Suzaku’s heart is full, thudding happily as everything other than Lelouch, his touch, his taste, is carried away by the wind that sifts lightly through his hair—

‘Incoming,’ Jeremiah quietly warns with practiced ease – a reality that’s all too painful. Considering the man is always stitched to Lelouch like a second shadow, he’s been more than aware of the relationship between these two princes – it probably wouldn’t be unfair to say that Lelouch uses him as a buffer more than a body guard in moments like these. Even if his back is turned now, he’s inadvertently seen Suzaku naked at one time or another. He’s always been very… professional, and that always makes Suzaku uncomfortable when the man addresses him by title. All things considered, it feels too formal.

(Or like mockery.)

Suzaku mewls against Lelouch’s lips, clinging to fabric like sacred beads as he wishes for this moment to never end – to not have to hide behind a lie or pretend it doesn’t hurt. When Lelouch’s lips withdraw, Suzaku has no choice but to follow suit, reluctantly releasing the sleeve of Lelouch’s rustic red jacket. He resigns himself to the creeping coldness of Lelouch’s absent touch as a few palace servants scuttle by in the distance.

‘…It does feel nice.’ Lelouch says this with a playful tongue licking at his smirk, words dripping from his mouth like melted frosting into Suzaku’s ears.

Lelouch can smile hollowly but Suzaku can only quickly press his fingertips to what he lost from his lips.

‘This part of the palace grounds reminds me of the Aries villa, back in Britannia.’

‘Ah—! I’ve seen pictures of it. It must be beautiful this time of year.’ Suzaku smiles but hates the formal tone they’ve suddenly adopted. So unnatural.

‘It is,’ Lelouch agrees, taking another sip of tea and casting a sultry gleam into Suzaku’s eyes. ‘But, I look forward to spending the seasons here in Japan again.’

‘Yes…’ Suzaku tries to keep his voice from wavering but isn’t so successful. ‘And I would like to see your home someday.’

‘You will.’ Lelouch smiles – so innocent and mild on the outside that no one would suspect he has fangs that can bite, and corrupt, hidden on the inside.

They’ve known each other for a long time but Suzaku doesn’t often leave the palace any more. Not too long ago there was an old rule, of sorts, that forbid royalty to leave the palace walls. While that order no longer stands, thanks again to Suzaku’s father, it doesn’t mean he’s wandered freely. Suzaku has become very familiar with his home country, as he understands he should, but that’s about the extent of his travels. He’s accompanied his father from time to time as educational trips overseas but those are few and far between – not that his father travels much himself. Genbu always stated that Suzaku was too young, or he needed to focus on his studies, or he’d be too busy… As Suzaku has gotten older, he’s wondered if those are all just excuses. He can understand his father being cautious, but at some point it feels less like he’s protecting Suzaku and more like he might be ashamed…

After all, now that Suzaku is older and has finished his grade-school studies, he’s still stuck in a classroom instead of getting his feet wet.

‘I’ll be visiting Nunnally and Rolo in the fall for their birthday; perhaps you could come with me then, for a bit.’

‘Ah, yes! October, isn’t it?’

‘Correct. They’ll be turning 18 this year. An official adult in Britannia.’

‘…Wow. So fast?’

‘Yes, it’s troubling.’ Lelouch sighs, wearily and heart-broken. ‘Mother has done well with deterring any marriage proposals and the like while we were young, but once we’re old enough she stops being that shield.’

‘Marriage proposals?’ Suzaku asks with a small frown. ‘You’ve gotten them?’

Lelouch nods. ‘She’s always let us make our own choices. Nunnally is smart and strong just like mother, but I worry about the reprobates that will be after her. It’s easy for me to say no, but I’m always concerned she’s too nice…’

‘Have you received many proposals?’

‘Hm?’ Lelouch’s eyebrow lifts at Suzaku. ‘Oh, yes. You’d think they’d give up because I always reject them, but no.’ He waves off the notion as if it were an annoying insect buzzing around his face. ‘It’s ironic since so many of them have looked down on my mother for being a commoner and yet they hop on her children like steps on the ladder. Disgusting!

It’s understandable that Lelouch would get proposals but the thought has never struck Suzaku’s mind. Their relationship as lovers might still be young, but they’ve known each other for most of their lives. It feels as though, for as long as Suzaku can remember, it’s always been him and Lelouch – but it remains true that this western prince sprouted from a place virtually unknown to Suzaku. He knows the country, of course, the entertainment and celebrities, the politics and the relationship shared between it and Japan, but… that’s only outsider knowledge. The fact is that there’s a side of Lelouch’s life that Suzaku doesn’t know.

‘What’s with that expression?’ Lelouch asks, rather – and rarely – clueless.

‘I just… didn’t know… that you get proposals.’

Lelouch arcs an eyebrow. ‘So?’

Suzaku’s face purses with wry pity – Lelouch always says Suzaku is an idiot, but he’s the one who’s dense when it comes to this.

‘I guess it bothers me.’

‘You guess?’ Lelouch dubiously echoes. ‘You shouldn’t be bothered. I have you. I don’t want anyone else and I never will.’ Suzaku snickers and it draws a sharp slice of Lelouch’s violets over him. ‘What?’

‘N-Nothing.’ Suzaku hides his amusement behind his hand while Lelouch huffs and drinks more tea.

True enough, Lelouch can be oblivious about romance and the emotions of others, but that also means he’s capable of delivering almost-absentminded lines of affection like he just did. To Lelouch such a statement isn’t romantic it’s just fact. He’s a… pragmatic type of romantic.

And Suzaku loves that about him.

‘I feel the same.’

Lelouch scoffs. “Of course.”

Even so…

The feeling was mutual before they secretly consummated it. While it might be true that Lelouch’s older brother, Clovis, might have been the one who pushed the two boys into the snowball of their relationship – not that Lelouch ever likes to give his “foppish and delusional” brother any credit – it was Lelouch that made the first actual move. Clovis had been visiting with Lady Marianne way back when and had quite flippantly noted how much in love the two younger boys were after watching them interact. Lelouch had sputtered indignantly in a way Suzaku had never seen from his eloquent friend but he didn’t deny it – Suzaku, on the other hand, could only resort to a fevered blush. Thanks or not to Clovis, Lelouch and Suzaku trudged through a short-lived awkwardness before Lelouch plunged in with all his authority during one of their friend’s outrageous campus games involving love and trading heart-shaped hats. He nabbed Suzaku’s hat as per the rules but also offered his own for Suzaku to choose – take Lelouch’s hat for romance… or reclaim his for no romance. Suzaku chose to trade hats, of course.

And yes, that was pretty much Lelouch’s confession.

Suzaku had laughed giddily at the time, charmed to death by the prince who lacked romantic charm.

It was true for quite some time that Suzaku didn’t have friends. His interactions were always very limited when he was young, which is partly how he and Lelouch became so acquainted. Because of the distance between Britannia and Japan had been shrinking, and perhaps because Genbu recognized his son’s need to socialize, Lelouch became a regular in the first place. They met as children and, after breaking some barriers inscribed to them from ignorance and unfamiliarity with each others’ cultures by way of some sticks and stones, they became the best of friends as if they had never been anything else. It isn’t unfair to say that it’s all thanks to the Knightmares. Because Japan and Britannia began collaborating, a research facility was built in a naval port allowed to Britannia by the Japanese Emperor and it was none other than Lelouch’s mother who was a notable pilot and once a distinguished Knight of the Round Table. Even after becoming an empress and mother, she continued to dedicate some of her time living and working in Japan and often brought her children along with her.

At the same time, however, the vi Britannias didn’t officially live here in this country and the time spent was typically only seasonal. For entire summers and sometimes winters for many years Suzaku had Lelouch to himself, but that was it. When the science and technology wasn’t as fruitful, reached a frustrating plateau or she wasn’t needed, however, the visits decreased and nearly ceased. The two princes didn’t see each other for much of their middle years until Lelouch decided to study in Japan during high school. Through some miracle, Suzaku was able to convince his father to allow him to attend the same academy – since it was a very prestigious and celebrated school – and he was soon back into that natural beat with his childhood friend.

The rest is history.

Suzaku used to wonder, at first, often when his mind was left alone after Lelouch returned home, just why he deserves this. If Lelouch deserves something better – or simply something more appropriate. A smart and charming girl he can openly kiss. Not a clumsy, dim boy he has to hide with in the shadows. Not a relationship that’s still scorned and misunderstood by much of the world.

But, these are old thoughts creeping up from Suzaku’s insecurities like weeds. Lelouch’s feelings have been made clear – and not only by the seemingly offhanded utterances about his fondness for being in Japan, for loathing his overgrown family, his strong distrust and cynicism for the human race… Lelouch is an elegant and stunning flower that has surrounded itself by a thicket of thorns. Somehow, Suzaku became the only outsider allowed to reach him, and now he’s unable to leave – not that he wants to. Suzaku only fears he might be forcibly plucked from Lelouch’s side and torn to red, bloody ribbons as a result.

But, Suzaku tries to not think about that…

Especially when this proud flower is standing tall and beautiful right next to him rather than on the other side of the world.

Also, Lelouch’s hand might be currently groping up Suzaku’s thigh…

It makes Suzaku smile a stupid, silly grin as his body fills with a fluttering heat that only Lelouch can make him feel.

The reality also exists that Lelouch has become much more traveled over the years and met more people than Suzaku, and yet, he always finds his way back to Japan and its Prince. To a place he likes to call home.

To a place that has become home.

•-

-•

A couple of uneventful days crawl by as Lelouch settles himself into his new home. Suzaku attends his studies as per usual thinking of this new chapter in their lives all the while. Even the little joys like phone chats and texts are abundant as they now share the same time zone. Truly, Suzaku’s body has dissolved into air and concentrating isn’t common amongst the clouds – which has earned him some deserved-scolding from his tutors and Tohdoh – but he tries to keep his feet on the ground.

The effervescent smile on his face is harder to tame.

But, perhaps, an avoidable yank on his ankles is what is needed to ground him.

Suzaku is just finishing some work for his subject of the day, arithmetic, when he’s called to his father’s office…

It isn’t strange for Suzaku to be summoned to his father’s private study as it’s practically the Emperor’s home within a home, it’s just not that common for them to meet face-to-face. Suzaku can’t even remember the last time he’s met with his father outside this office let alone outside of a meeting.

He walks along the raised wooden pathway into his father’s office that’s flanked by indoor flowerbeds and covered by a skylight of equal-length to the walkway. The dirt is moist and pungent in Suzaku’s nose – recently watered, he gathers – and the small shrubs and a trees planted in a straight line as if in procession have been trimmed since the last time he saw them…

The flaming, red circle on a crisp sheet of white is the first thing that scalds Suzaku’s eyes. It hangs vertically, loud and proud on the wall behind a bulky, dark wood desk, and as such behind the Emperor himself. Beside it in modest shadow boxes are the medals his father received during his military service while some old relics of the past lie and old banners hang in a viewing case on the other side – all of which Suzaku was never allowed to touch. The room itself is large and uncluttered, few furniture other than his father’s desk and a couple of chairs for visitors. The floors are polished wood and the walls are coated in a muted earthy sponging, decorated sparsely with reprints of important government documents along with aging portraits – some of former royalty or military men and the like. Their black, sleek frames and glass are shinning due to the windowed corners of the back wall behind his father, one of which has a cushioned chair and table for outside viewing of a garden – but Suzaku has never seen his father use it. The red velvet drapes are pulled back by gold cording but at night a single desk lamp and old wall-lanterns illuminate what’s important and nothing else.

His Majesty Genbu is a tall, stout man of his middle ages whose brown hair has thinned and turned to ash but his brown eyes are still sharp – while Suzaku’s resemblance is strongly inherited from his father’s features, his eyes were borrowed (or perhaps taken) from his mother, as even Kaguya, Suzaku’s cousin from his mother’s side, also has green eyes. His father is stuffed into a solid steel-blue kimono with a white undershirt, starchy and tightly fastened despite the summer heat and his barrel chest. Although Tohdoh has spoken of the Emperor’s physical prowess, it’s been resigned with all his years bunkered behind this very desk.

Suzaku feels the heat of the sun glaring down on his back – but not from any windows – as he stands before his father, waiting to be acknowledged. He silently watches his father’s thick fingers slide a manila folder to the edge of the desk near him and swiftly return to scribbling a fountain pen to the quiet, soft tune of crisp classical music playing from his computer.

“Suzaku,” Genbu addresses his son with a formal coating, not lifting his eyes from documents at the tip of his pen. “Take this. I want you to familiarize yourself.”

Suzaku unclasps his hands from behind his back to take that same folder his father slid. He doesn’t sit as he opens it, because he wasn’t told to (why should he, for a brief visit?), and finds confusion as he flips a few of the pages inside it.

“…I don’t understand.”

“You will become an adult very soon – legally speaking. I realize you are still young, but this will give you plenty of time to seriously consider your options.”

“…Options?”

At this, his father’s sharp eyes pin to Suzaku and seem to deflate his chest. “I’ve already chosen to belay this more than perhaps I should have, but I believed you should become of age before even stepping into it. You’ve matured, and that’s important, but this is equally important. I wasn’t able to choose for myself but… it was your mother’s request that you be given a choice.”

Suzaku’s heart leaps to his throat at the mention of his mother, unable to speak or even swallow for a moment. The Emperor never speaks of his late wife. So much so that Suzaku knows very little about her.

Pensiveness tightens his lips and eyes as he closes the folder. “…How much time do I have?”

The Emperor seems to hum on that a bit, pen swiveling. “It’s not a matter of urgency, but… don’t be too casual about it.”

Just another assignment?

One that demands Suzaku to be proactive?

“…Are these my only ‘options’?”

“They are recommended.”—in other words, they already have the Emperor’s approval.

Suzaku wants to speak more, to ask questions, to just converse – communicate – with his father, but he isn’t sure his voice can be heard over the scratching of that pen or that it won’t evaporate in the blistering sun being eclipsed by his father’s head.

All Suzaku can think of are violet eyes.

“…I understand.”

“Good.” The finality in his voice hits Suzaku like a hammer—no, a bomb. Something that fell from nowhere and is still ringing in Suzaku’s ears even after he’s dismissed from behind a pile of papers and red sun. “That is all.”

•-•

His feet are no longer light as he shuffles from the interior of the palace to the veranda outlining (caging) his entire world. Prim and trim topiaries and bushes. Neatly crafted rock gardens. Pampered blooms of flowers from bushes to tree blossoms—

It all pales to the colourful life outside these walls.

Like the gardens touched by the green thumb of Lelouch’s mother. Suzaku’s father could never be bothered to spare the thought about the pointless aesthetics of flowers. It’s always been the same. Suzaku’s always had the same view. Well-cared for but overlooked. Not like when he met Lelouch and—

His mobile is already pressed against his ear as he stands on the gravel path cutting through a large round of short-cut grass surrounded by sand and rocks. The sky above him is gray but it has yet to rain.

‘How is your head?’ That soothingly deep and placid voice floods Suzaku’s skull.

“…What?”

‘You had your math studies today, didn’t you? You’ve always been terrible at math.’

A joke.

But Suzaku doesn’t feel like laughing.

‘…Lelouch…’ Suzaku quietly beckons, gravity strong on the slim folder slipping in the grip of his fingers. ‘Would you… like to have dinner at the palace with me tonight?’

‘Dinner?’

‘U-uh, that is—you’re probably busy. I shouldn’t have—’

‘I’ll be there.’

Suzaku swallows the assertive answer but it doesn’t seem to make him any lighter.

Not like before he visited his father.

And he wishes he wasn’t so nervous.

Or that he didn’t feel so out of place.



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story