16: Dangerous Animals

The sun had just risen over the city skyline when the door swung open, letting in a chilly autumn breeze. Shivering, C.C. glanced up the POS records she’d been looking over when her heart nearly seized. The blood draining from her face, she stood, frozen in the doorway, as he hesitantly stood by the door of the restaurant.

“I’m so sorry.”

She heard the faint break in his voice as he stood there, his hands curled up into fists and dressed in what appeared to be a very expensive, all-black suit: an outfit he had disowned after disavowing himself from his past society. Her knees knocking, she staggered to the nearest chair and only just barely sat down before they gave away. Resting her forehead in her hand, she closed her eyes as the tears began to well. When she felt his arms around her, she continued to be still and quiet, even though she wanted nothing more than to scream at him and push him away.

“I’m sorry, Princess.”
“…What happened? How could you… What happened, Lelouch? What did he do?”
“He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Tightly holding his hand, she looked at him as he softly said, “My life isn’t worth Leopold’s.”

“So this is it? You’re just going to give everything up and go back? Don’t you even care what’ll happen to your son when he finds out he’ll never see his father again?”

But even as she asked him, she already knew the answer. Of course he cared. Of course he did; how could he not, when he had suffered through the very same effects? But she knew he preferred he grow to hate his father for abandoning him than for him to die, and so while it broke his heart – which she could clearly see in his eyes and his shaking hands and his tears – he willingly made the choice he believed as his parent to be the better option.

“You can’t even visit?”
“We’re moving to the Philippines. All of us.”
“Why? When?”
“Next month. Shin’s ready to start expanding, and he wants a country that’ll allow for that kind of growth.”

Feeling sick to her stomach, she closed her eyes. She understood, but at the same time, didn’t. Or perhaps she was just sickened by how she thought that, should she have been in his position, she would have made the exact same decision that he had. Because he was right; nothing was worth more than their son. Absolutely nothing; all was incomparable to their baby. But while she understood him, it still left her bereft and as if a knife had been very slowly and very painfully sunk and twisted in her chest.

“I came today to give you this.”

Seeing the papers in his hand, she covered her face. No, no, no. This couldn’t be happening. How could they have arranged this to be so clean and quick? Didn’t they have a right to say goodbye? Didn’t their son have a right to see his father one last time?

“As soon as you sign them, you’ll have complete custody of Il Romantico and Leopold.”
“You can’t do this to us.”
“We don’t have a choice.”
“I don’t care, you can’t do this to us. You can’t do this to Leopold. He loves you. Leaving him is going to kill him. He loves you too much, Lelouch. Don’t go. Stay with him. Please, I’m begging you. Stay with our son.”

But he only kissed her cheek and pulled away. Refusing to let him go, she tried to hold onto him, but he eventually slipped away from her and, without so much as a backwards glance, walked away.

And then that was it. That was all.

He was gone.

Just…

Gone.

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