“Oh, it’s so wonderful to find a familiar face. I hope you’ve been doing well since we last met, Suzaku.”
Suzaku couldn’t believe she had remembered his name – his name – out of probably all kinds of people she had met in her duties as Duchess of Windsor. But here she was, standing in front of him in a beautiful dress, at the auction he’d helped organize. Wow. He’d have pinched himself to see if it was all a dream if it hadn’t been for the sweat crawling down his back.
“Oh, yes,” he stammered. The tips of his ears turning bright red, he wrung his hands. “It’s nice to see you too. I mean, it’s nice to see your Grace too.”
“Oh.” Her smile faltered slightly. “There’s really no need. I’m just Euphie here.”
They stood quietly for some time, and Suzaku tried his best to find a comfortable way to stand awkwardly beside her.
“So, um… Is this the kind of thing you do in your free time?”
“Oh, yes. I’m the vice-chairman of the International Animal Coalition at my school. I wasn’t supposed to come, but the Chairman couldn’t at the very last minute, so I was sent as a substitute. I can only hope I can do my school justice; I’m supposed to give a speech tonight at the end of the auction.”
“Oh, anyone would love to listen to you for hours. I know I would.”
They blinked at one another, and Suzaku tried to hit the delete button. Glancing around wildly, he apologized to her profusely, refusing to let her get a word in, before excusing himself and running away as fast as he possibly could at a black-tie event.
Throwing himself to the snowy outside, he drew in a deep breath before slowly letting out a sigh. Falling down to his haunches, Suzaku covered his face with his hands.
Oh, God, what was wrong with him?
. . .
“Shouldn’t you have gone?”
“I’m sure the press would have loved for me to have gone, but I don’t feel much for tossing them a bone tonight.”
He set the last of the tests in the large pile.
“And now that we’ve finished all the midterms off,” he said while stretching, “how would you like to spend the rest of the evening, my sweet?”
“I would like to go to bed.” She stifled a yawn. “I’ll put these in the gradebook tomorrow, but for now, I’m too tired to bother with anything.”
He nodded. “I’ll come join you in a little bit. I have to go finish something up.”
“I thought you were done for the day.”
“I was, I just want a little head start for tomorrow. It won’t take long,” he promised. She looked at him balefully but said nothing more. Kissing him goodnight, she stood up to leave. He watched her leave before getting up himself.
Just a little bit more, and he’d be able to rest easy for the evening.
All he had to do was keep at it a bit longer, and it would soon pay off.
. . .
He turned when he heard the door creak. In the doorway stood his wife. Wrapped in a blanket, she sleepily blinked at him.
“Come spoon me, rabbit.”
He glanced at the clock on his desk.
“It’s late, sweet pea. Why did you get up?”
“Because you’re not in bed with me.” Sitting in his lap, she wrapped the blanket around his shoulders too. “Nothing is so important that it can’t wait until tomorrow.”
He looked up to see her staring at him intently. Almost shrinking back, he tried to hide, but she wouldn’t let him turn away.
“What’s wrong, Lelouch?” Gathering his hands in her lap, she held them tightly. “What’s wrong, sweetheart? Why aren’t you in bed at 4 in the morning?”
His eyes fluttered; she patiently waited.
“…I just…don’t think I was expecting an invitation from them. What is it that they call me? ‘A blight on an otherwise spotless reputation’? They aren’t the kind of people to so openly welcome blights back.”
“Then what am I, to not only welcome but want and need and love a so-called blight?”
He looked down at his hands. Their wedding rings glimmered softly at him, and he tightly held her hands.
“The most wonderfully silly person there ever was. The most perfect imperfection to walk this earth.”
“Blight or not, I will always love you.” She kissed his temple. “And I will always, always stay with you.”
And though he had never really been afraid she’d leave, he felt a weight lift from his shoulders as she leaned on him and made him feel as un-blight-like as he had ever felt in his entire blight-y life.