Part Twelve: Laundry

When Suzaku opened the front door Sunday morning, he was a little less than pleased to find his daughter’s boyfriend – that is, what he assumed to be her former boyfriend – waiting on their doorstep.

“Lelouch,” he said grumpily. “I’m afraid C.C. is a bit busy today, so she won’t be able to-”
“I was actually hoping to speak to you and C.C.’s mother.”

He blinked. To him and Euphie? Why? What could he possibly have to say to them when he had wronged their daughter? Sure he still wasn’t quite sure what had happened at the party, but he didn’t really care to know the exact details. All he really cared about was the fact that his daughter had come home in tears and had locked herself in her room in spite of both his and his wife’s pleas, and the fact that the boy had made her cry was enough for him to want to get his shotgun.

“Please, sir. It won’t take long.”

Pursing his lips, he was about to send him away, when his wife appeared behind his shoulder. Brows knit together, she craned her neck to see who was keeping her husband so preoccupied so early in the morning. Upon seeing who was in the doorway, she sighed.

“Lelouch, what happened?”
“That’s why I’m here. To explain. Please, I promise it won’t take long.”

The two adults glanced at one another. Suzaku still didn’t want to, but Euphie evidently wanted to, and sometimes you had to do things you didn’t want to for the good of others. And besides: no matter what he thought now, he couldn’t deny that a part of him hoped it was all just a misunderstanding. As much as he hated to admit it, C.C. really did love him, and he her (as far as he could tell anyway), and he preferred to have her happy than in tears.

. . .

“Cera, sweetie.”

He gently nudged the door open. Peeking in, he glanced all around at the abandoned clothes on the floor and the scattered polaroids, as if she had thrown the shoebox of pictures out of rage. Picking his way through, he saw the smiles, the hugs and kisses, the past memories of their time together, and couldn’t help but grimace. No doubt she had been looking over these last night.

Lying down beside her, he looked up where there were still more pictures that had been hung up on the strings of lights spanning the ceiling. Sighing, he closed his eyes before touching her shoulder.

“Cera, can I talk to you for a moment?”

She didn’t reply or even move. Maybe she was finally asleep after a long night of crying. If that was the case, then he pulled away; it was better for her to get some rest after the excitement of last night.

“Sometimes people in love do stupid things because we don’t want to lose the one person who makes us so happy,” he said softly. “And while that’s about trusting the person you love, it’s also because of human nature – especially when you’re so young and you have more to lose and experience those up’s and down’s so much more intensely than older people would.”

He studied one of the pictures hanging above them. It had apparently been taken when neither had been paying attention – probably by Milly, considering how sneaky and mischievous his daughter’s best friend was; he was looking down at the cutting board in front of him, knife in hand as he sliced a carrot and a smile lighting up his face as his daughter sat on the counter beside him, busy laughing at whatever he had just said.

Maybe it was because of the fact that the boy had shown up the next morning with a careful, level-headed explanation and apology in tow, or maybe it was because the picture had been taken when neither had been posing, but Suzaku couldn’t help but feel his heart crack because… Well… He understood. It had been a long, long time, but he and Euphie had been where they were now, and the experience had been so extraordinary – so powerful – even with 20 years separating him from that time, he couldn’t help but blink sadly up at the picture.

“This is your decision to make. Your mother and I won’t try to interfere any more than we already have. But just know, C.C., we love you and stand by whatever you ultimately decide.”

Then, kissing his daughter, he set the envelope the boy had given him on her nightstand before quietly leaving her be to her thoughts and fresh wave of tears as she tightly held in her hand his messages from days past that lay dimly glowing as he told her how much he loved her.

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