A/N: So, I recently re-watched the series, and I got interested in it again. I've read a lot of fanfics like this one, but I wanted to try write one myself. This is my first Code Geass fanfic, so please bear with me if I make any mistakes and whatnot.
Disclaimer: I don't, in any way, own Code Geass. That honour belongs to its rightful owners alone.
A soft sigh escaped the newly crowned empress' lips as her eyes drank in the sight in front of her. Most would call her surroundings plain and quite normal, but she found herself enjoying and savoring every moment her eyes remained opened. She only wished they had opened sooner.
"Empress Nunnally," she heard a voice call out to her, and she knew without turning who it was.
"Zero." The way she greeted him made him wince. Her voice was cold and devoid of emotion, but he knew he deserved it. He had killed her brother, after all. Even if Lelouch had been evil in everyone's eyes, he had no doubt that the man was still loved by his little sister.
The very same little sister Lelouch had given his life for.
"What do you want with me, Zero?" Nunnally asked tiredly, finally deciding to give him the respect of at least facing him as she wheeled around.
He smiled bitterly from beneath his mask, wondering if her anger would only rise if he were to show her his true face. In her eyes, best friends did not kill each other, after all. Knowing this, he cut to the chase quickly, "Someone's here to see you, Your Majesty."
"Oh?" Nunnally blinked in slight surprise. She knew it couldn't be one of her half-siblings, because if that were the case, they would have been let in instantly and Nunnally had no doubt their names would have been mentioned. "Who is it?"
"Someone who claims to have been friends with... your brother, Your Majesty," Zero cleared his throat, looking uncomfortable as he referred to her brother.
Nunnally's eyes widened. "Very well. Send them in." She wondered what anyone who still took on the title of being her brother's friend proudly would possibly want with her. She could only hope they would finally give her an answer.
"As you wish, Your Majesty." Zero bowed dutifully and left to obey her command. In seconds he returned, a beautiful dame in tow. She was wearing a modest dress laced with frills, her lush emerald hair pulled back into a neat plait. But what drew Nunnally's stare most were her eyes; a pair of cold, honey-colored orbs that now bored into her soul.
And yet despite their facade of indifference, they also held something Nunnally could only hope for. They glittered with life.
Nunnally acknowledged her with intrigue.
"Empress Nunnally," the maiden greeted monotonously, and the empress wondered if she had really heard the bitter sadness in her voice or if it had just been her imagination.
Nunnally managed a smile, recognizing the woman not only from her voice but also from stories retold and the air she carried with her. An aura of knowledge and wisdom too old for someone looking so young. "Lady C.C.," she said. Her brother's benefactor and one of the only ones she knew who continued to grieve him. Someone Nunnally knew her brother truly cared for, and someone, because of her undying loyalty, Nunnally respected greatly.
C.C. offered her a tight smile, something in her eyes Nunnally couldn't quite discern. "It's been awhile, Nunnally," C.C. gave, not caring to address the empress respectfully. It was a refreshing taste for the crowned empress. "Your brother would be proud."
The empress choked on the tea she had been languidly sipping. Placing the cup down gently, she looked at C.C. gravely, beginning to wonder more what the immortal had in store for her. "Leave us," she ordered, and the only other in the room nodded before making his leave.
They both remained silent until the assuring click of the door sounded and the resounding footsteps drifted away. "You had Zero leave?" C.C. asked with a hint of curiosity in her voice.
The empress sighed. "What is it you're here for, C.C.?"
To her surprise, C.C. only smiled, her eyes solemn but full of regret. "I'm here for not the beloved"―it was the emphasis that made Nunnally cringe―"Empress of Britannia, but rather for the sister the man I loved did everything for."
Those words were enough to make Nunnally's eyes fly wide open in shock. After a lingering beat of silence, she replied, "...Well, you have her. And before you start, I'll begin with saying how sorry I am for―"
"Betraying him?" C.C. cut in coldly, her face blank. "Siding with Schneizel―who, need I remind you, wanted Lelouch dead? Or perhaps it's questioning his love for you that you're sorry for." Nunnally was stunned into silence by the sharp edge in C.C's voice.
She lowered her eyes quietly, her gaze falling to the floor in shame. "I'm sorry," she apologized shamefully, her soft amethyst eyes moistening with tears.
C.C. sighed, any trace of anger gone as her glare softened. This isn't what I came here for, she reminded herself sternly. Lelouch never held her for blame, and so neither will I. She was merely his queen―rather, his confidant. She had come here with a purpose and she would leave as soon as she was done.
"You really did love him, didn't you?" Empress Nunnally questioned softly, her voice terrified but also knowing.
C.C. remained silent. Present tense, because I still do, she answered silently. Shaking it off, she scowled and bit out, "Do you want what I came here for, or not?"
Nunnally seemed too shaken to respond at first, but then she took on a look of curiosity. "And what did you come here for, C.C.?"
C.C. remained silent for a few moments before whispering quietly, as though if she spoke too loud she would break what little peace they had: "You deserve to know the truth." Part of her felt guilty for doing this, as Lelouch had always told her that all they planned for was for the best, and to just forget it, please. But she had also seen the longing in his eyes, and her heart reached out to him. Because no matter what he said to her, his eyes spoke so much more.
Nunnally's eyes widened at C.C.'s short, but important message. She gulped, her eyes full of hope yet ample caution. "...The truth?"
C.C. smiled softly. "Yes. The truth. Nothing less and nothing more. Your brother may not have wanted it, but I think you've earned the honor."
"I―" Nunnally stopped herself. To be honest, she didn't know why C.C. would ever suggest she deserved to know the truth, but she was grateful for it. She wanted to understand. Yes, she had already gotten the gist of it due to the barrage of memories not her own that had swept over her the moment her hands clasped her dying brother's, but none of it had been clear in the kind of way she couldn't deny.
She... She needed to know more. Why did he have to die? Why would he willingly sacrifice his life? And more importantly, why couldn't he have told her? Why leave her suffering in the dark?
Before she could ask C.C. how she intended to show her the truth, the woman smiled sadly―the bitter smile of one who regretted their life. Her golden eyes held a tinge of sorrow as she reached a porcelain hand into a leather bag she had brought along with her. Then, C.C. abruptly placed two disks on the table; her hands had moved in such a hurried fashion that Nunnally wondered if it was because C.C. didn't want herself to rethink it all and reconsider what she was doing.
C.C. reached up with trembling fingers and pushed behind her ear a strand of hair that had escaped the plait the rest was in. "I'll be taking my leave, now," was all the woman had to offer before taking in a deep breath, sending Nunnally an encouraging smile, and striding away with her head held high.
"Wait," Nunnally called out suddenly, timidly, and C.C. halted with her hand on the doorknob. "My brother..." The empress gulped and pried on, "What was he to you?"
C.C.'s eyes widened. She considered the question for a moment before the ghost of a smile touched her lips and tears pooled in her eyes. "He... He was the only one who understood me; who cared for me genuinely. He made me see that the world is not unkind, should you choose to see it as such. He gave me a reason to live, Nunnally, and now all that is gone."
C.C. carried on before Nunnally could respond, her heart aching with the weight of the words that left her mouth: "He promised me I would die with a smile on my face. I don't think he can ensure that now, can he?" And then, too quickly for Nunnally to protest, C.C. left the room.
Then all was silent.
Nunnally silently reached for the disks, her eyes shining with hope even though her heart broke at the scratchy, broken quality of C.C.'s voice. "Oh, brother..." she whispered hoarsely. Finally she was given the chance to understand him. I'm so sorry, big brother. Her throat dried. I'm sorry I turned my back on you. C.C. was right: I betrayed you, when you had only ever loved me. You did everything for me, and all I did to repay you was betray you.
And I never―I never even gave you the chance to explain yourself. She whimpered at the thought. She had left him when he needed her most, even though he had always been there for her. "Lelouch," she choked, "I―I'll fix my mistakes. I'll change, I promise."
Even after Zero had returned to her side, and she gripped the disks tightly to her chest, a terrifying thought slipped into the depths of her mind:
If I had been a better sister, could you be alive, at my side?
She didn't want to think of the answer, because deep down she had a feeling she knew what it was already.
Yes. He might have. Could have.
If only she had supported him and cared for him like he deserved.
One glance at the disks made her wipe her tears away. Her brother would have never wanted her to cry like this. He would have told her to move on with her life, and the least she could do was grant him his wish like he had granted her hers.
"Zero," she was pleased to hear her voice didn't waver, but instead remained proudly steady, "call the others. Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting and knowing my brother before he became the Demon Emperor. Schedule a meeting for tomorrow, at noon."
He could only nod, silently wondering what had transpired between the two women.