title: good morning, sunshine."Milly, I don't like it."
summary: milly is no princess, and suzaku is no knight.
warnings: fluff. and angst.
notes: one half of a giftfic for julia ♥
"But it looks good on you! Let me get Lelouch; he'd agree-"
"-- no, no, hey!"
A yelp and a firm grasp on her wrist are the only things that stop Milly Ashford from setting down her half-eaten apple, picking up the closest guide and calling one Lelouch Lamperouge for fashion advice. She passes a mischievous look to the person who had since let go of her wrist, watching him run that same hand through his hair and look in the mirror, obviously disgruntled by what he sees. (But, really, he shouldn't be. Milly is no princess, and he is no knight.)
"So," she inquires, stepping up next to him and admiring her handiwork. "Honestly, what do you think? Did I do a good job? Is it the right size?"
Standing in his Knight of Zero outfit -- and the ridiculous cape and thigh high boots that went along with it -- Suzaku Kururugi sighs and raises a gloved hand to the mirror and presses it against the surface. For a while he just stands there, unsure of what to say or think, lips pursed tightly together and brows furrowed in some sort of concentration. It's like this for only a few seconds-
(She counts in her head: one, two, three, four, five...)
-- before he turns to her, hand falling back to his side.
"You did a wonderful job; it fits just fine. Thank you," Suzaku says, and Milly knows he means it when he gives half an awkward smile and reaches up to scratch the back of his neck over double collars.
Proudly, she reaches out and straightens those collars and the cape, a quick rustle of movement before she sets her hands on Suzaku's shoulders and grins up at him. "You still didn't tell me what you think! I know it's late, but it's not like you were around so that we could celebrate properly! And now... Suzaku? What's wrong," Milly asks, trailing off from her previous tirade to lean up towards the other with a concerned look.
(And he really is such a proud, gentle man, she realizes, as his lips curve into a smile that can only pass off as bitter, and his neck cranes as he leans down to press his forehead to hers in a light knock, his eyes sliding closed.)
"I'm sorry. You'll throw a celebration for my twentieth birthday though, won't you," he questions, the hand that was previously on the back of his neck rising to brush against her cheek in a hesitant touch that Milly doesn't quite process immediately after putting two and two together.
And then, finally, she manages a quick tumble of words, "You're- you- you're nineteen!? And I missed your birthday then, too?"
Suzaku laughs a hollow laugh at the outburst.
"I am Zero; Zero does not age. He remains constant, unreachable, and silent."
It is the first time that Milly feels as if she is talking to a stranger.
The next day comes as quiet as the one before it: the alarm doesn't go off, and she sleeps in until eleven. When she wakes up, she finds that she's missing the warmth of the person who sleeps next to her, curled around her like a protective shield of muscle and skin. However, Milly is quick to deduce that he hasn't left the room yet as she turns on her other side and sees a head of curly brown hair in her direct line of vision.
He never leaves until she wakes up completely. Even now that doesn't change, as he is sitting on the floor on her side of the bed, petting a sleeping Arthur in his lap. He looks so much like that boy with the bright eyes who first transferred to Ashford Academy.
(Perhaps this man isn't a stranger, after all.)
She reaches out and presses her fingers to the back of his neck, watching him stiffen as a way of warning and shooting a quick glance over his shoulder. He is first and foremost a soldier when he reacts, and second a boy who is growing into a quiet, handsome man when he realizes it's just Milly and smiles at her.
"Good morning, Milly," is his greeting, a hand reaching up and behind him to brush against hers.
She takes the gesture happily, hand turning so that she can entangle their fingers for the moment. His hands are rarely as bare as they are now, but they are most definitely the hands of a man who can snap necks without a single moment's hesitation or effort.
... that's kind of scary to think about, so she dusts that thought off and sticks it back on the bookshelf with a smile being returned to Suzaku.
"Good morning, sunshine! Were you waiting for me?"