Part Five: Janus

She looked down at the pack of clothes had been thrown into her chest and had nearly knocked the wind out of her. With a careless, haughty glance, the boy – for that was all that he was in spite of his efforts to seem otherwise – coldly said: “Change. Looks like you were chosen to go into town.”

In her hands lay a white cotton blouse and a dark grey riding skirt. A flying bonnet momentarily obscured her vision before it too fell down into her lap. Grimacing at the skirt – at least it wasn’t a dress – she shook it out, wondering if it would fit her, and if it did, how they had known what her size was. Glancing past the skirt, she peeked at the Prince, who also was holding a set of clothes. Suddenly curious, she gathered up the clothes to move elsewhere, far from wandering eyes to change, all the while wondering if the Prince would be wearing his mask when they went into town or if she was finally going to see what was underneath that silk cloth.

.           .           .

Soft-hearted Suzaku greeted her with a cheerful compliment.

“You look very pretty.”

Brushing aside his smile, she looked him up and down, noticing the clothes that she had seen in the Prince’s hand and was now on someone else’s body. She wasn’t sure whether to be disappointed in herself for believing that he would give away his own identity so easily or in the dupe. She decided to go with the former.

“Ready to go?”

“…Yes,” she muttered. Jamming her bonnet on her head, she pushed past him. He offered her a hand in mounting, but she ignored him. Settling into the saddle, she glared down at him from her great height before drawling, “Well, what are you waiting for?”

Shrugging, he smiled at her as he walked towards his own. Heaving a sigh, she took up the reins – she couldn’t understand the woman who had accepted that man’s proposal; what was so good about him? – when she heard a familiar voice from behind.

“You’d do well to treat him with respect. He’s done nothing but treat you well.”

“I’ll treat him with respect once he’s earned it.”

“I won’t accept that kind of behavior.” His hand fell on hers as his eyes became flinty. “You’re better than that, C.C.”

“What would you know?” she scoffed. Swallowing the electricity running up her arm at his touch, she narrowed her eyes. “The Black Prince you may be but you’ve done nothing to deserve the title that’s been granted by others with weaker hearts.”

She expected him to get angry. She knew that what she was doing was uncalled for, but she was curious; she wanted to know just what his limits were, how far she could go, how long his patience ran before it dried up and he snapped. From the stories she had heard, she had thought that she would be some gun-slinging psycho, but she had yet to see him so much as hold up a gun, much less shoot one. But no one just made up those kinds of stories. Even if they weren’t completely true, they had to have been inspired by something. And she wanted to find out what.

But he didn’t. After staring at her for some time, he merely turned away.

“Suzaku.”

“Yes, sir?”

“Quickly and quietly. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

Suzaku smiled at her. “I’m ready when you are.”

As they cantered over the rolling hills of the praise, C.C. thought back to the Prince’s hands. Gloved in black suede, they had rested lightly on hers, and though she hadn’t touched his bare skin, there had still been that unmistakable feeling that his hand was familiar. As if her body could remember the shape and feel even if her mind couldn’t.

Strange.

.           .           .

It was supposed to be simple. Into town, quietly buy whatever it was that they needed from the local general store, and then back out and into the wild, and away from whatever greedy bounty hunters there were. That had been the plan – an easy grocery run. But for some reason, things went a little differently today than it had for all the other times.

She eyed her horse. It was still tied to the post, and though said post was a few feet away, three men with murderous intent stood in the way. Blowing loose strands of hair away from her face, she tightly gripped her gun. She glanced at the man besides her.

He looked nothing like what he usually did. All warmth and friendliness – all cause for her contempt – had vanished without a trace. As he opened the barrel of his gun, she glimpsed the cold, unfeeling demon that people said possessed those who dared to go against God’s will. A shiver ran up her back.

“I need you to take the one on the right.”

She gave a curt nod. He must’ve noticed how tense she was because he faltered and his former disposition resurfaced.

“Lelouch would have my head if you died. Not that it doesn’t also apply to you, but… Don’t worry. Just make sure you cover my back, and we’ll be out of here soon.”

Looking back, C.C. couldn’t really answer the question of what happened thereafter. She could faintly remember the fear and the rush of adrenaline, smell the dust and sweat in the air, and taste the metallic tension. She could recall the shouting of men and the steady drum of horse hooves, of shrill whinnies and heavy bodies hitting the ground. But above all else, the one thing that she could remember the most was the eyes glowing at her from the beating heart of the chaos as she fled for her life – those glimmering violet eyes and that cruel sneer framed by a head of hair as dark as the devil’s soul.

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One thought on “Part Five: Janus

  1. Sean says:

    I see Rolo is as chilly as ever, but then once again that is fitting for him. I can’t recall him ever really warming up to anyone besides Lelouch in the series after all. I rather like how she subtly seems to be hoping that Lelouch will be the one coming with her if partly so she can finally see his face. Her disappointment makes it even better as does her rather frosty demeanor with Suzaku, which I think might be partly fueled by that disappointment. Though she’s also generally been like that as well with him.

    Lelouch is of course correct about her treating Suzaku better and I like how he sticks up for Suzaku as you would expect him to. It partly shows how he feels about his men or at least Suzaku. His comments about C.C. hint once again at a familiarity with her and I become increasingly curious as to what the exact story behind that is even with my speculations. I like that she’s trying to see how far she can go with him just to see how he reacts. I do agree that it’s interesting that Lelouch has yet to show off whether he has any skill at all compared to his men. It’d be interesting though I wouldn’t be surprised if his talents come in planning and such. The comment about the hands implies a well-known persona to her as well.

    Of course things don’t go as planned and it was cool to see Suzaku go deadly serious as you would expect of him in these situations. I do feel somewhat confused regarding that last paragraph which I guess reflects C.C.’s view of things as well. I hope Suzaku is alright. I don’t know what to make of those last lines. They obviously describe Lelouch, but it almost sounds like Lelouch was behind the whole thing? Was it some sort of test as he’s grooming her to replace Suzaku? Very curious.

    Thank you as always. 🙂

    Like

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