Pairings: Schneizel el Britannia x Kururugi Suzaku, with a hint of SuzaEuphie
Rating: Mature (more R than NC-17 though)
Warnings: Yaoi, very non-canon pairing, OCs, and mature content. SPOILERS to the entire first season too. And this fic is long. As in LONG. Because Suzaku demanded it so and I could only obey.
Disclaimer: These fabulous characters and Code GEASS belong to Sunrise. I only own the plot of this fic.
Summary: Losing everything is just the beginning. The worse hell is trying to get them back.
There were two things about Lancelot’s ability to fly which made it a double-edged sword. One, it allowed him to aim a shot without worrying about trees or other kinds of obstructions. Two, it worked the other way around too. The enemy could see him clearly and up in the sky, he easily became a conspicuous target.
Suzaku had never put much thought on the second detail, so when he saw Claire’s Knightmare being pushed back by four of the enemy, he jumped high up into the sky and fired at them, carefully aiming at their legs and arms.
Suddenly alarm blared inside the cockpit, warning him of incoming missiles, and Suzaku realised that he had fallen into a trap. He didn’t really remember what happened next. His body must have reacted quickly and shot those missiles down because when his mind took over again, he was already on the ground, landing safely.
“Thank you, Sir,” Claire’s face appeared on one of his screens, looking shaken but relieved. Suzaku barely had a chance to smile at her when he noticed two enemy Knightmares heading his way.
The Second Prince had been right – again. It was easier to move alone, but this operation was way too big for anyone to handle without any backup. Their current target, a military harbour on the west coast of the island, was heavily fortified and protected by four main cannons. The task set for his squad was to take them down as quickly as possible before they could inflict heavy damage on their main fleet. If they succeeded capturing the harbour, the Chinese Federation wouldn’t be able to send in more reinforcements.
So far, they had demolished three out of four. The last one was positioned on a small cape at the far end of the harbour and it was designated to be Jacques’s job. Suzaku glanced around anxiously. They were still fighting, which meant that the last cannon was still active. He was considering the pros and cons of going there himself when his lieutenant’s voice boomed in the cockpit.
“Sir, all cannons are down!”
“All right. Pull back, everyone!” he ordered and then quickly switched the communication link to Avalon. “All cannons are down. The main fleet can move in now.”
He could almost hear the whispers of excitement going on in the bridge of the ship. There was a faint click, and then a familiar clinical voice came through the line. “Excellent job, Suzaku-kun. Now withdraw your squad and move along with us.”
Suzaku allowed himself a deep breath as he made his retreat. Even now, he could already see the end of this battle. Once the enemy troops had learnt that they had nothing between them and the Avalon but a few brick walls, they would surrender.
And they did. Not ten minutes later.
Suzaku stared at lines of prisoners filing out from the main building and thought of the Second Prince of the empire, watching from his lofty pedestal in his floating fortress with a small contented smile. The smoke was fading in the sky, but he knew this wouldn’t be his last battle. There would be many more to come, and he would be present in many of them if he managed to keep his life instead of losing it in one of them.
But there was one thing Suzaku was sure of. He still had his goal – for Japan and his memory to Euphie – and he needed every help he could get to reach it. But if Schneizel became too much of a threat to humankind, he swore on his life that it would be his hands which put an end to everything and killed the prince.
It would be his hands.
“How is it?”
Lloyd’s beaming face replaced Cecile’s on the screen. “Ninety-eight percent, Suzaku-kun. Do you realise what this means?”
Suzaku quirked an eyebrow. “What?”
“This means that you have become almost as important as Lancelot himself,” the earl told him with a satisfied air. Suzaku would have doubled over in laughter if he wasn’t inside the Knightmare’s narrow cockpit.
“We must celebrate,” Cecile’s voice rang in the background as he climbed out of Lancelot. “I’ll see if there is anything left in the mess.”
“And some wine please,” Lloyd called after her.
Suzaku claimed the chair left by Cecile and sat watching his superior working on lines of codes. He had learnt some basic programming in case – and this was a very big IN CASE, because the older man was very protective of his Lancelot – he needed to do a little change on the Knightmare’s program while Lloyd was not around. It cost some of his sleeping time, but he felt that Lancelot was worth it.
Lloyd must have started to rub off on him.
He realised that they were unusually inactive in these past two days. After the capture of the harbour, the enemy crumbled before the Second Prince’s fleet like a group of fleeing rabbits. They had regained most of the island and there was only one base left. Unfortunately, it was the largest base of all and also sheltered myriads of soldiers and possibly hundreds of Knightmares. A frontal assault most likely would take heavy tolls on both sides and to Suzaku’s relief, their commander-in-chief opposed this idea and gave the general who had suggested it a stern talking-to.
As the result, they were now waiting for a group of reinforcements to make their way around the island in order to catch the enemy from behind. It was a simple plan, but the prince had assured him that it would be enough when he had voiced his anxiety.Their eyes are fixed on Avalon, he had answered with a smile which Suzaku had come to hate so much. It seemed so false to his eyes, but of course the prince was right. Avalon meant Schneizel el Britannia and Lancelot. As he had discovered from the screams of a few prisoners when they had seen him, the ‘white demon’ stuff was really out there, creating disorder inside the enemy.
But all this waiting was making him edgy. Until now, their enemy hadn’t made a single move. It might be out of fear, but no one could say for sure. For all he knew, they might be brewing some kind of evil plan right now and on within next hour or so, a surprise attack would have already been launched. He had been more than glad when Lloyd had suggested running a compatibility test. At least it could take his mind away from the war for a little while.
“Do you know how popular you’ve become?”
Suzaku looked away from the screen and stared at his superior who was staring back at him with an alarming amount of concentration. “Me?”
“Yes, among your fellow countrymen especially.”
“You should’ve expected that after all those impressive feats you’ve done,” the older man told him. “Everybody loves a hero, Suzaku-kun, especially one who is brave enough to put his life in danger’s way again and again. And sometimes, this kind of admiration even reaches a point where his past no longer becomes an issue for them.”
Suzaku could feel a corresponding smile making its way to his lips. “This is the first time you’ve ever said anything like that to me.”
“Don’t get used to it,” the earl said with an admonishing tone. “I’ll admit though, that coming across you was the ultimate stroke of luck. I doubt I can find anyone else who has a degree of compatibility this high with Lancelot.” He paused and a thoughtful look settled across his face. “You know, sometimes it makes me wonder if you’re also this compatible with him.”
Lloyd shook a finger slowly in front of his face. “With whom is the right question, Suzaku-kun.”
It felt like he had suddenly been doused with a bucketful of ice-cold water. “With… whom?”
“I hacked into your PC,” the earl admitted without the slightest bit of remorse and when he noticed the look on Suzaku’s face, cheerfully added, “Don’t get mad at me. It’s your fault for not telling me in the first place. Now at least I know where to look for you if you aren’t in your quarters.”
“Ah, here is the wine,” he interrupted and happily turned to Cecile who had returned with two plates of sandwiches and a bottle of wine. The younger man was left alone to stare at his back with multiplying horror.
Every morning, Suzaku would wake up, open his eyes, and see either one of these things: the grey well next to his bed, the computer on his desk a few feet away, or the tight pattern of his pillowcase. He could expect this routine to be unchanging as long as he still slept on his room aboard Avalon. It was strangely comforting in a way.
But one morning, he woke up, opened his eyes, and found a pair of curious violet eyes looking back at him.
“Good morning, Suzaku-kun.”
He started and would have thrown off his blanket – no, not his blanket, Suzaku realised in horror – if he hadn’t gotten a quick grip on himself. “I… Schneizel-sama, what…?”
“You fell asleep last night before you could leave,” the prince told him with an amused little smile. “I must have greatly tired you out.”
He wasn’t even completely sober, and yet Suzaku could already feel blood flooding to his face. After a moment of stupefied inaction, he gathered his wits and said slowly, his voice only a little above nervous whisper, “I have to go.”
“That you do,” the other man nodded, propping up his head on one hand, and glanced to the nightstand behind him, “but not before you have your cup of coffee first.”
The real gravity of the situation hit him after that line. Suzaku could see it in his mind, someone, the prince’s valet maybe – if he had indeed brought one on board – delivering a cup of coffee under his master’s order and seeing him here, sleeping in the prince’s bed, completely naked. Everyone could jump to the right conclusion at once. The news would spread faster than the one heralding their victory. Claire and Jacques would lose every bit of respect they have for him and despise his breathing guts. Those who already had would laugh and call him ‘the Eleven whore’.
Suzaku was too absorbed in this terrifying world of blind conjectures that he didn’t realise that the prince was watching him with great interest. This went on for quite a while until he decided to take pity on him and break his train of thoughts.
“No one saw you here if is is what troubles you so deeply,” he said calmly, almost making Suzaku start again. “However, you may want to drink the coffee. Klaus has brought it up himself as far as to the door. He will be disappointed to find an untouched cup later.”
Suzaku sensed a vague inclination to ask more about this ‘Klaus’ – the chef? the valet? the random officer who took his order? – but couldn’t make up his mind on how to phrase the question without sounding really stupid. In the end, he decided that it was a moot point because what had happened had happened. He raised his eyes and met the prince’s languid smile.
“Your coffee, Suzaku-kun.”
Suzaku felt his entire body going rigid. He recognised this kind of thing. A similar game had been repeatedly played on him by many of his instructors during his academy days, often only to make them laugh or serve as an interesting foreplay. And apparently now the Second Prince was inclined to take his turn.
There were two cups sitting on the nightstand, which was strategically located next to the other side of the bed. He could either reach over the prince’s body – which was not only embarrassing but also overwhelmingly inappropriate – or go around the bed. The problem with the second option was, while the older man had clad himself in a maroon-coloured dressing gown, the only thing keeping Suzaku away from complete exposure was the white blanket. They might have already seen each other with nothing on several times, but to parade around naked under the scrutiny of an royal prince…
Who was also a royal bastard, Suzaku seethed silently. It was no less debasing from his past experiences. The prince only made the whole act look a little more sophisticated with his elegant way of doing things.
“Or do you want me to get it for you?” The suggestion was offered with a tone which implied nothing and everything at once.
Blood was now rushing loudly in his ears and the sound swept every bit of patience away, replacing them with sharp resentment. Suzaku glared back and hissed, “No, thank you, Sir.”
And he threw the blanket aside. The air in the room felt cold on his newly-exposed legs, but he ignored it. Rising to his knees, Suzaku put one hand in front of the prince and another behind him, careful not to make any direct contact. As he leant forward, his bare stomach brushed the soft fabric of the dressing gown and the sensation made Suzaku bit his lips, eyes shutting tight momentarily. But he steeled himself and reached for his intended cup – the full one – before quickly returning to his side of the bed.
The whole sequence took no more than five seconds, but his heart was pounding wildly in his chest once he was done. The prince barely moved at all. He only tilted his head slightly to one side, watching his every movement intently. There wasn’t any lecherous smile or victorious smirk, only deep curiosity reflected in his eyes.
Suzaku looked down hastily to his cup. The intensity in the older man’s gaze was making him uncomfortable and he suddenly found the coffee very useful to keep his mind off... other things. He watched slivers of light dancing on black gleaming surface for a little while before the full realisation that he had been fascinated by blurry reflections on caffeinated liquid dawned on him.
Suzaku almost cringed. It was rather disturbing.
He could still feel the prince’s eyes on him and quickly brought the cup to his mouth. A few sips later, Suzaku realised that he recognised the flavor. Which was odd. He licked his lips several times to make sure of the aftertaste, and yes, it was no different to the coffee he usually had every morning in the mess. He would have expected the prince to have his own finer brand stocked somewhere, ready for his exclusive enjoyment.
And suddenly the other man was very close, much too close to Suzaku’s comfort. “Make sure you’re holding your cup steady, Suzaku-kun,” his deep voice whispered in front of his ear.
It might be years of being trained as a soldier to follow every order, no matter how nonsensical it was, because when a hand clasped his face and pulled him down, there was no coffee spilled to white pristine sheets. The prince was kissing him passionately, like he was claiming his mouth and marking it his for eternity. Suzaku remembered none of his earlier annoyance, his mind blanking completely until the other man withdrew with a gentle sweep of tongue on his lower lip. It still did not make a return even after the deed was done, mainly because there was a hand lingering on the base of his neck, stroking the sensitive skin there slowly.
“This is nice,” the prince said with a contented smile, watching him with half-lidded eyes. “We should do this more often.”
Suzaku wasn’t quite sure what ‘this’ was referring to, so he said nothing – which was probably safer since most of His Highness’s ministrations tended to cause an embarrassing effect on his precious vocal chord. Every end nerve, every fibre in his body was thrumming with pleasure. Suzaku tried hard not to show it but he realised that it was rather impossible. Breathing gradually became a labour for him and the complacent look displayed so nonchalantly on that handsome face hardly helped if at all.
But he hated this. He hated how this imperial could make him feel this weak. This helpless. He hated how his body always submitted every time and let the older man did what he wanted. And the worst of all, he hated the fact that he could not – or would not, who the hell knew – do anything about it.
“We will launch the final attack tomorrow,” the prince suddenly said, his fingers still moving with agonizing slowness. “Are you worried, Suzaku-kun?”
“Should I be, Sir?” Suzaku was relieved to discover that his vocal chords were still able to function properly under that sweet torture.
“Perhaps,” the other man smiled noncommittally and withdrew his hand. Suzaku bit his tongue to prevent himself from giving voice to any kind of protest. “Contrary to popular belief, I do not have the gift of foresight.”
“But you have correctly predicted the outcome of every single battle we have gone through so far.”
“Predicted, yes,” the prince sounded almost regretful. “"Still, the fact is that humans are beings prone to many kind of mortal flaws. I am not immune to mistakes.”
“Then we shall make no mistake tomorrow,” Suzaku replied matter-of-factly. He wouldn’t allow the war to drag on. Tomorrow would be the end.
There must be something in his answer which he wasn’t quite aware of. Something wrong, or unexpected. He wanted to look away. He didn’t like the way the prince was looking at him – almost like there was surprise, or genuine honesty, or a hint of possessiveness, or maybe a mix of the three – and he certainly didn’t like what it was doing to him.
And when the older man opened his mouth again, he knew he was right.
“Why did you let me take you again and again?”
A long moment of stunned silence ensued. Suzaku felt like his entire world had narrowed into that one question. There supposed to be no question. Schneizel couldn’t ask him that. There was not a place for that question here, in this, between them.
“Why?” the question was repeated, slower, softer.
But being the royal bastard that he was, the prince went and asked it anyway.
Suzaku stared blankly at the older man. There was virtually no answer he could give without grazing the painful truth a little, so he went by the safest route.
“I don’t know,” he mumbled, his answer echoing hollowly in the room. It was a lie – an easy way out – and he knew that Schneizel knew that.
“Yes, you do,” the prince stated, his smile cold. “You are not someone who does things without knowing why. Is it duty? Fear? Frustration? Mutual interest?” There was a pause and then his voice dropped to a gentle murmur. “Or, dare I hope, trust?”
The safest route once more materialized itself before his eyes. Suzaku didn’t need to look at it to know what he should say.
“Yes,” he lied firmly, and yet felt like he had just displayed the darkest part of his heart to the world.
“Your head hit the back of Lancelot’s cockpit,” Cecile told him after he had woken up with the sensation of thousands of hammers vigorously pounding his head from every side.
“And Lancelot is in a wreck,” Lloyd added with the same petulance often displayed by five-year-old boys.
Cecile shot the earl an irritated look before helping Suzaku to sit up slowly. Millions of colourful fireflies swarmed his eyes until he couldn’t see anything else but a giant mosaic of gradients and colours, like he was peering into a small kaleidoscope. They faded after a while, but not without leaving him one helluva of a headache.
And suddenly, pieces of blurry memories were coming back to him. He remembered the heat of battle and sitting inside Lancelot, his hands numb from gripping the control too tightly as the battle thundered and roared all around him. The last fortress stood proud and tall, unwilling to surrender under the heavy bombardment of the attacking fleet. They were beset, but they had hundreds of Knightmares and thousands of determined soldiers, all fighting their hardest because if the base fell, so did China’s ambition. They simply refused to back down, even when Avalon aimed all of its cannons to their command centre.
Avalon. God, no.
“Avalon,” Suzaku whispered, fear clinging to his heart and voice as he clutched Cecile’s upper arm. “Is it okay? What happened?”
Lloyd was the one who answered him. “Yes, Avalon is okay, Suzaku-kun, thanks to your mad, unbelievable, but inexplicably effective maneuver which, if I may add, is exactly the reason why you are lying here right now. What in the emperor’s name were you thinking when you did that?”
Suzaku ignored the question. “And Lancelot–“
“– is okay too,” the earl interrupted him and his frown cleared slightly at this bit of information. “But he may not survive long with the way you continue using him, so please refrain yourself a little in the future.”
“So we’ve won?”
“The war is over?”
“The war is over,” the older man repeated and solemnly added, “for now.”
Suzaku would have fallen back to the bed if Cecile had not been holding his shoulder with such intensity that it almost hurt. Relief washed over him like a warm waft of air, leaving him weak and trembling slightly. He barely listened as Lloyd rambled on, explaining every single damage the enemy had inflicted on Lancelot with exact thoroughness.
The battle had been brutal, but what filled his mind was something else. Suzaku looked down to his hands. They had killed many, destroyed many, and yet when he had seen that the enemy had its two last standing cannons aimed at Avalon, they had not hesitated. Not for one millisecond. They forced Lancelot to fling himself to a nearby enemy Knightmare, driving them both to one of the cannons. It exploded, along with the Knightmare. Suzaku jumped back just in time to avoid getting himself caught in the explosion but he wasn’t fast enough to evade a direct hit from the remaining cannon.
Despite all that, he had come out alive. The irony was so obvious that Suzaku found himself laughing quietly.
“Suzaku-kun?” Cecile’s anxious voice reached his ears and her hand tightened a fraction on his shoulder. He looked up, but the sight that greeted his face ceased his laughter completely.
Schneizel was standing at the threshold, his face an emotionless mask carefully arranged behind golden fringes. Cecile almost jumped back, but she managed to keep her reaction to standing up from her chair and stepping aside. The temperature in the room had suddenly dropped a few degrees and for once, Lloyd did not try to break the ice with his usual flippancy. His pale eyes watched them, both hands casually plunged deep into his pockets, and Suzaku realised that he was left to his own devices.
But before he could open his mouth, the prince had turned around and left.
The messages stopped coming entirely after that.
It was abrupt and Suzaku was more than a little confused. At first, he hadn’t thought much about it since both of them were incredibly busy. The prince, as the temporary Governor-General of Japan, had to bring order back to the island. Suzaku himself found his arms full with chasing a group of fleeing enemy soldiers who had taken five Britannian officials hostage. They had gone into hiding in the mountains, harsh and rocky and all over a difficult terrain to conquer. The entire mission took almost one month to finish and afterward, there were still flames of resistance to put out.
But then the hectic period ended and with it, his one and only distraction. All kinds of hell simply broke loose without the barrier.
Suzaku liked to consider himself as an optimistic person, but a small, weaker part of him was starting to wonder when two months had passed without him ever being summoned even once. He usually tried to stay away from the thought as best as he could – there was practically no reason why he should be bothered by this. In fact, it should have come as a relief that he no longer had to play whore for the prince. But for one reason or another, the questions, the suspicions had begun to disturb him day and night, soaring to the surface at the most inopportune hours and leaving him more puzzled and frustrated than ever.
Guessing and speculating became unavoidable. His first theory was that the prince had finally gotten bored with him and moved to greener pastures. And if this was the case, Suzaku didn’t think he wanted to know further. It was no longer his business. He could move on and pretend that nothing ever happened. The best conclusion. The end. Farewell. Ta.
If only he could stop at that.
There was something else. No matter what, Suzaku couldn’t silence the contradicting voice in his head – he called it doubt, not hope. He had been feeling this sense of déjà vu for days and a part of his mind wondered if the prince was really avoiding him again.
But on what basis? Fraternization? While the act itself was not explicitly forbidden in Britannian Army, it was definitely frowned upon. That there was much fraternizing going on under his nose had not gone unnoticed by Suzaku, but most of the times, he chose to turn a blind eye on them, especially when it came to Jacques who, in his opinion, was one of the absolute worst that it was infinitely safer to know nothing about his escapades.
In term of magnitude, however, Suzaku was aware that his case dwarfed Jacques’s completely. That it involved the second son of the Imperial Family and an Eleven officer was only the tip of the iceberg. It would be enough to destroy his future in the Army and with it every plan he had secretly harboured for his country.
Yes, it was better this way.
It was better, and yet those words only rang hollowly, entirely without meaning every time he repeated them in his head. They were useless. The fact remained. He missed Schneizel and missed him bad. What exactly he was missing was unclear to him, but then again, maybe he didn’t want to find out. For now, all he knew was the loss smote him harder than he had ever thought possible.
It could be the sex. He wanted a warm body at his side, to touch him, to thrust deep into him, to make him feel alive with black heat and raw pleasure. He wanted to hear that voice in front of his ear, deep and rich with amusement or roughened by lust and pleasure. He wanted the oblivion, the complete abandon when he reached his climax and screamed into the prince's mouth.
The memories visited him during the strangest times – in Lancelot’s cockpit, while talking to Jacques or Claire about their newest mission, while attending to Lloyd’s every whim, while eating with the others in the mess, or while wrapped in thick tendrils of sleep. The last was especially recurrent. Often he would wake up in the middle of the night and found his body drenched in cold sweat and very, very aroused.
The fourth night it had happened, Suzaku knew he had to do something. When his fingers curled around the hard flesh, he remembered many strange things. Jacques and his lovers, Claire asking him why he was so pale nowadays, Lloyd lecturing him about Lancelot, and Schneizel. Schneizel with his hands on him. Schneizel kissing the sensitive spot on the juncture of his neck. Schneizel making him feel much, much more that he had ever allowed himself to feel. The sound of his own breathing was too sharp in his ears and he almost didn’t realise when his fingers climbed down and descended to a place they had never touched before. Dark memories rose unbidden to the blank canvas of his mind. The time he had lost his virginity to one of his Academy instructors. The way he had kept a deaf ear to Suzaku’s screams and pleas. The fact that he had done it again and again without looking at him even once.
Suzaku froze and pulled his hand back quickly, burying it under his pillow as his body curled beneath the blanket, shaking violently. All those memories were still there and yet he had allowed the prince to touch him. He still wanted the prince to touch him. God.
It was not unlike going crazy. After all, madness ripped common sense easily into shreds and his was already burned to ashes.
He only ever touched himself again in the shower, when the sound of water splashing on the cold tiles would muffle any other sound, when he could pretend that the droplets of water running down his face were nothing special.
The wetness on his face when he woke up every morning however, was a different story.
“Hey, there you are.”
Suzaku turned around quickly and was greeted by Jacques’s sunny grin, white teeth almost gleaming under the flaming crimson sky. He frowned slightly, wondering when the door leading to the deck had been opened and why he hadn’t heard a sound. Had he been immersed in his thoughts that much?
“Finally, we’ll return to Tokyo tomorrow morning,” the other man said with a sigh as he leant to the railing next to him. “I don’t know about you, but it’s a big relief for me. I want a vacation real bad.”
“I can tell,” Suzaku smiled back at him, deciding that he would be polite despite having his favourite time of the day disturbed. He loved coming here everyday at sundown, to feel the wind on his face and let his troubles drift away with it – or at least pretend to. He did that often nowadays. Pretending.
“So, what are you doing here?” The grin had been toned down, and in its place now was a curious look tinged with amusement. “Hiding from the majority of your fans?”
Suzaku found himself frowning again at the harmless but unwelcome teasing. “No, I just like it here,” he couldn’t help a note of irritation which had slipped into his voice. No wonder. He had been in a bad mood since… practically more than two months ago.
Fortunately, Jacques didn’t seem to notice – or if he did, hardly took any offence. “It’s nice,” he breathed in deeply and let out an appreciative sigh, enjoying the fine autumn weather. Suzaku felt a rush of cutting guilt. He glanced at the taller man, noticing how the setting sun painted his long dark hair in soft russet, eyes closed in quiet appreciation. Jacques looked breathtaking like that, he thought and quickly scolded himself for letting the notion appear. It was true that he reminded him of Schneizel, but everything reminded him of Schneizel nowadays, so it was a moot point.
“I’ve been watching you for some time, you know?”
Suzaku tensed. Jacques couldn’t possibly mean what he was thinking he meant, right? A part of him wanted to consider the possibility that Claire had been talking to her fellow lieutenant about their colonel’s strange mood lately and Jacques was now about to bring that topic up. But he quickly realised that the idea was nothing short of ridiculous. There was no way he could misinterpret that look in the other man’s eyes.
“I was hoping you would notice,” Jacques continued, apparently undeterred by his lack of response. He stepped closer and put one hand on the railing behind Suzaku, effectively trapping the younger man. “But you just have to play hard-to-get, don’t you?” he added with an amused smirk.
That wasn’t it, Suzaku wanted to say, but he was too mesmerized by the golden hues reflected in the other man’s eyes. The sun made them seem ablaze with fire, smouldering and captivating. When Jacques’s face slowly drew closer, all he could see were those eyes.
The first contact on his lips burned him. Suzaku’s reaction was immediate and instinctive. He jerked forward, capturing the taller man’s lips in one feverish motion, his fingers gripping broad shoulders violently until Jacques moaned against his mouth. There was nothing but heat and dark fire in him and deep, insatiable want. Suzaku closed his eyes, pressed harder, crushed deeper, and only wanted more. He wanted something else, so bad that he almost didn’t feel the metal railing digging into his back as Jacques drove him back, putting almost his entire weight on him.
They broke apart with short, gasping breaths. Suzaku kept his eyes closed, his head lolling backward to open air as he struggled to calm himself down. He could feel the other man’s heavy panting at the crook of his neck, and suppressed a shiver. This wasn’t right. This wasn’t what he wanted. This wasn’t what Jacques deserved.
Did he care?
“If I’ve known this is how you’ll react to my advances, I would have kissed you a long time ago,” the older man told him, laughter in his breathless voice as his lips traced a line from Suzaku’s neck up to his left ear. Suzaku only stared, unmoving, at the darkening sky. He felt like someone had ripped his heart out of his chest and crushed it in one hand. The pain. The cold anger. He wanted to do it to someone else – and here was Jacques, ready at his disposal. He could make the other man feel like this, and he would just laugh afterward because it wasn’t his fault. It was Schneizel’s. The prince made him do this. And maybe then he would watch Jacques do it to someone else and laugh again.
He didn't care.
Suzaku closed his eyes. But not this time. He knew he was capable of many cruel things and this was only one of them, a little speck in the vast constellation, but Jacques didn’t deserve this treatment. In fact, no one did.
Coming to a decision, Suzaku slowly detached himself from the other man and tried to make a little distance between them. He caught the half-surprised, half-doubtful look on Jacques’s face but only steeled himself and stared back.
“We shouldn’t have done that,” he declared, his voice sounding much too weak to make any kind of declaration at all. Those dark eyes, hazed with lust and something else that made Suzaku shudder, narrowed.
“What do you mean?”
“We shouldn’t have done that,” he repeated, harder and firmer this time. “We really shouldn’t. It isn’t right.”
“Afraid someone will find out?” A hint of sneer accompanied the question. Suzaku thought of everything he had done with the Second Prince and resisted an urge to snort. Jacques was looking at this from an entirely wrong point.
“Maybe,” he mumbled and looked away, avoiding the other’s eyes. He thought of how different they were from Schneizel’s. “But for now, I just want to be able to look at you in the eye and not think that I’ve done something I shouldn’t.”
“You kissed me back.” There was an accusing note in it and Suzaku guiltily glanced up at the taller man.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Are you really?” Jacques snapped and turned away from him, his angry gaze set to the range of mountains in the distance that glowed bronze in the twilight. Once again, Suzaku realised how handsome his lieutenant was.
He really needed to get rid of that thought. It was essentially the source of his problem – apart from the prince of course, but that was beside the point. The point was, any kind of attraction notwithstanding, fraternizing with a subordinate would only bring more trouble for both of them.
He tried not to think how hypocritical it sounded.
“Well, at least now I know how it feels to be turned down,” Jacques murmured, still not looking at him.
Suzaku bit his lips so hard that they almost bled. “I’m really sorry,” he said miserably.
“Stop saying that,” the other man hissed, his tone sharp with reprimand and obvious discomfort. When he finally looked at Suzaku again, it was with a pair of solemn eyes, followed by a wry voice. “I have one advice though. If it really isn’t your intention to attract more attention to yourself – especially the unhealthy ones – you may want to lower your voice a bit.”
Suzaku blinked. “My voice?”
“You know, when you’re taking care of yourself in the shower.”
Everything went silent. Even the wind had suddenly stopped blowing, or maybe it was just his ears malfunctioning because blood was rushing to his face like a spring deluge. Suzaku felt like he could die from embarrassment alone.
“Oh, God… I– Was I really…?”
“Yes,” Jacques said with a hint of a smile. “You were quite loud.”
Now would be a good time to scamper back to his hole six feet under. The mortification was so great that there was about zero chance he could return to the living world. In fact, thinking about what the other soldiers might be saying behind his back was enough to make him want to remain among the dead.
His lieutenant seemed to notice this too and took pity on him. “Don’t worry,” he said soothingly. “No one has said anything to you, right?”
“I think everyone appreciates it instead,” Jacques told him calmly, pretending not to see the shocked look on the younger man’s face. His old mischief was already evident in his voice when he added, “Your voice makes a very good wet-dream material.”
Yes. He was officially dead right now.
“Are you really sure you don’t want to come?”
“Yes, Cecile-san,” Suzaku answered as politely as possible for probably the twentieth time or so, and silently wondered how many more times he would get this question today. His cheeks were hurting from too much smiling and assuring people that he would be all right by himself. All military personnel had been given a day off and for some obscure reasons, everyone seemed hell-bent to get him to join them.
The problem was, he wanted to be alone today.
“If you’re really sure,” Cecile said hesitantly.
Suzaku quickly seized the chance. “I’ll be fine,” he told her, forcing another smile to embellish his face and cover his growing impatience. “I’m not really in the mood to go anyway. Why don’t you ask Lloyd-san instead?”
That, of course, did the trick. She reproached him slightly for implying things which had no base whatsoever, but in the end quickly went away. Suzaku watched her back for a moment, wondering if she would really follow his suggestion, but then decided that he didn’t want to know. Now that he had gotten the solitude he wanted, he should make the best out of it.
Two hours and not more than three pages later found him lying on his bed in utter boredom, one hand covering his eyes and the book he had intended to read abandoned at his side. He was starting to regret his decision not to go with the others. Even a shopping trip with Claire sounded really appealing right now. He could barely concentrate, let alone make sense of complicated war strategies.
It was not long until his mind drifted to unwanted directions. Suzaku was far from surprised to discover that the Second Prince turned out to be the strongest magnet in this department.
He almost had never seen Schneizel again.
Since the Federation’s invasion on Kyushu had ended in failure and certain level of order had been restored, the Britannian main fleet had returned to Tokyo. If his meetings with the prince had been few and far in between under the pressure of their post-war business – and even if they had met, it would have been in formal gatherings under so many eyes – the occasion practically dwindled to naught once it was over.
What frustrated him beyond anything was the fact that he knew that Schneizel had been watching him. Most of the times, it would just be a little tug of instinct, which was enough for him. He was a soldier. He knew when he was being watched.Or maybe he was just being paranoid.
This, unfortunately, only served to make everything more complicated than before. Suzaku had given up trying to ask himself ‘why’. There was no use – it would only pile more headaches on him. In the prince wanted to hide from him, so be it. Suzaku would rather let the frustration plague him forever than seek answers from the older man. Unlike with Euphie, there were things he would not do for him.
But of course it wasn’t the same. He loved Euphie. It was different with Schneizel, too much lust and raw need and, he reflected bitterly, an unbelievable amount of pain. It wasn’t love.
Then what was it?
Hissing softly, Suzaku pulled a pillow to bury his face in. This was getting out of hand. He really should go out and search for some sort of distraction. He considered a few options, among them going to the training ground and catching up with Cecile or Claire, but discarded them just as quick. There was no one around he could spar with and he didn’t want to see Tokyo – not yet, particularly the Britannian part of the city. There were too many painful memories he had buried there.
Or maybe he could go to the ghetto. Why not? True, there was quite a chance that he wouldn’t be getting out alive, but this kind of risk had never deterred him before. He didn’t see why it should now.
Suzaku inhaled a deep breath and rose from the bed to change his clothes.