A/N: So, when I started this story (many moons ago) I always intended to take the story out to Kallen's death. Partly because I think the show implies C.C. and Lelouch had something, even if they didn't act on it, and I thought C.C. deserved a chance with him, and partly because I didn't think C.C. would ever offer Kallen Geass, or that Kallen would accept if she did (see epilogues #1 and altered). However, when I was finishing the story a few months ago I thought it would be nice to consider what would happen if C.C. did offer, and Kallen did accept. So that's why you get this. It picks up at the end of chapter 3 when everyone is preparing to part ways at Nunally's and ends at the equivalent of the end of chapter 4. Hope you enjoy.
Alt. Ending #2
3 years post Z.R. – June (picks up in the last section of Chapter 3)
On their last day together Lelouch and Kallen made a real effort to spend some quality time with the rest of their small circle. It wasn't that they had ignored their companions the rest of their stay, but they had been understandably wrapped up in one another. No one had blamed them, but that didn't mean that their presence wasn't missed all the same. And so, after their early morning . . . endeavors, the two dressed and made their way downstairs to join the rest of the world. They spent the day down by the lake with Nunnally and Sayoko and Suzaku, and even C.C. They had a picnic lunch and then took a walk, followed by kite flying and paper boat races on the lake in the afternoon. They behaved like the carefree children they'd never had a chance to be, and it was liberating.
They all trekked home for dinner and afterwards broke into conversational pairs. Lelouch and Nunnally wandered off on their own for the first time all summer – and Kallen felt a slight pang of guilt knowing that Nunnally must have missed him just as much as she, if not more so. Sayoko took Suzaku aside hoping for news of home though, honestly, it was quite likely she was mostly trying to give them both something to do so that Lelouch and Nunnally could be alone. At some point they headed out on to the porch to converse in the light of the setting sun.
And thus Kallen found herself alone in the parlor with C.C.
Kallen had never felt particularly comfortable with Lelouch's "accomplice," even though she –unlike the others– had known all along that the girl was not his mistress. Still, there had always been more than a little mistrust between them. Perhaps because she had known how important the immortal witch truly was to Lelouch, perhaps because the other girl was fighting for her contract rather than a cause, or perhaps simply because C.C. was so different from anyone else she had ever known. Despite that, she had come to tolerate C.C.'s presence in that time after the Black Knights' recovery of Lelouch, and perhaps even respect her a bit. And so, it wasn't without sympathy that she noted the way C.C.'s eyes followed Lelouch through the window.
"I'm sorry," Kallen said quietly into the stillness.
The girl-woman turned, tilting her head curiously though her face was nearly blank.
"What for?" she asked blandly.
Kallen sighed. "For this." She gestured helplessly. "For . . . for taking him from you, I guess."
C.C favored her with a strange little half smile, though it seemed the gesture was more for herself than for Kallen's benefit. Kallen remembered asking her once if she loved Lelouch and the witch had said she didn't know. Surely she knew now. It was clear even to Kallen and she had only seen them together for small bits of time in the past weeks. It hadn't seemed to matter before, when she'd thought that this was all the time she had, but now that Lelouch had promised to wait for her –to stay for her– well, it seemed so much more selfish.
"And don't tell me you don't love him," she added. "I know you do."
There was a moment of silence.
"Yes," C.C. finally admitted, to Kallen's surprise. "But it's alright. He needs this – needs you."
Kallen nodded. "I suppose you can afford to wait. You'll have him forever." She didn't mean to sound wistful, but she must have been unsuccessful in hiding her feelings, because the immortal witch tilted her head and studied her with an unfathomable look.
"You could have it," she said after a moment.
Kallen blinked. "What?"
"Forever. You could share it with him. I could give it to you." C.C. spoke slowly, as though the words were a revelation to her even a she said them, a new thought that had only just occurred to her.
Kallen's palms began to sting and she realized she'd clenched her fists so hard the nails were biting into the skin. It wasn't something she'd even thought to consider - forever. She would grow old and die and he would go on, forever young, that was reality. Or so she'd thought.
The witch shrugged. "The same way Lelouch gained it. Geass."
Kallen's mind was racing. Forever? Her and Lelouch? It was the unattainable dream every young couple wished for and they could actually have it. Only . . .
"Why?" The question slipped out almost against her will. C.C. had already admitted to loving him. Why would she willingly hand over their future together, distant though it might be? "He loves you too." Even if he didn't fully know it.
"Yes." C.C. seemed somewhat surprised, not that Lelouch might love her, but that Kallen would say so – perhaps because Kallen knew, perhaps because she was so calm about it. "But he doesn't love me the way he loves you. I don't think he ever will."
"You can't know that," Kallen protested.
The immortal witch smiled sadly. "I know more than I'd like about love, in all its forms. Lelouch is Lelouch. He won't betray you, even after death."
No, he wouldn't. Because Lelouch was beyond loyal - the man was practically obsessive in his affections.
"How?" Kallen asked at length.
"I told you. Geass."
Kallen shook her head. "I know. But how does it work?"
"I would give you power. How it will manifest we won't know until after, but it's typically something in keeping with your personality. You would need to use it – often. Nurture it and let it grow in power, until . . ."
"Until what?" Kallen prompted, when it seemed the other woman would not continue.
Another shrug. "Until you are strong enough to kill me and extract my immortal code."
Kallen's lungs stopped working, the blood drained from her face, and she felt as though she might actually pass out. "What?" she managed to gasp.
C.C. was impassive as ever. "You will kill me and my immortal code will transfer to you."
Kallen shook her head.
"I do not see the problem. As a terrorist you killed many people."
Kallen gasped and reared back as though slapped. "For my country. For our freedom. Not for my own gain."
"No? So you did not wish to be free?"
Kallen frowned, considering that point. "It's different," she maintained.
C.C.'s gaze softened slightly. "Don't think of it like that. We're doing this for Lelouch. He's done so much for us, for the world, at such personal cost. How can we withhold from him his happiness?"
Damn. The witch made a good point. And it wasn't like Kallen didn't want it. Badly.
C.C.'s gaze held hers stubbornly and for the first time Kallen felt they truly understood one another, had connected on a deeper level.
Kallen released a long sigh, shoulders falling as the tension of shock and indecision left them.
"We can't tell him," she said.
"He'll figure it out though. After." Lelouch must know how the transfer worked. After all, he'd acquired a code. For a moment Kallen wondered who he'd gotten it from, before deciding that it didn't matter. Geass was a terrifying power, immortality even more so, and she had no doubt there were few in this world who did not abuse it. Whoever Lelouch had taken his forever from, they had no doubt deserved death, perhaps even craved it.
Kallen glanced out the window. The others were still walking the grounds, their figures now flat silhouettes in the distance. Little chance of interruption now. She took a breath to steel herself and faced the woman who was about to become her conspirator.
"How do we do this?" Kallen asked.
C.C. smiled, a look of almost triumph that seemed completely out of place given the pact they were about to make. "It begins with a question and a contract."
ℓ ℓ ℓ ℓ
3 years post Z.R. – August
"Are you using it?" There was no preamble to the question, no lead-in, but then, C.C. had never had much interest in social niceties.
"Um, yes?" Kallen didn't know why it came out almost a question. She refrained from flinching under her accomplice's hard stare.
Kallen swallowed, thinking. "At least one or twice a day. Sometimes more. When I'm sure no one is looking."
C.C. rolled her eyes. "You need to use it more. It isn't as though you're going to hurt someone."
No, Kallen supposed not. Though she probably she could use the power that way if she wanted to.
"You need to use it more," C.C. restated, firmly.
ℓ ℓ ℓ ℓ
4 years post Z.R. – March
"How is Lelouch?" Kallen asked.
C.C. studied her slice of pizza, picking off a burnt piece of pepperoni. They always met over pizza. Kallen wasn't sure why.
"I don't know."
Kallen frowned. "What? Where is he?" She'd assumed Lelouch and C.C. would stay together. Hadn't they been before?
"It's better this way," C.C. said, toneless, as was her norm.
"Better for who?" Lelouch didn't do well alone, Kallen knew this from experience. She remembered finding him in a dark alley, refrain clutched tightly in one hand. She shook the memory away. He hadn't lost everything this time. He had something to live for.
C.C. looked up sharply. "For both of us." There was an edge to her tone, to her look, that Kallen had rarely seen.
She was lonely, Kallen realized, but she was distancing herself from Lelouch for his sake. Hoping to minimize the sense of loss he would inevitably feel once she was gone. She was being . . . noble. Kallen took a moment to assimilate this new aspect of the woman into her thoughts.
"Thank you," she murmured, at length, because Lelouch would never get the chance to say it, and C.C. deserved to hear it.
C.C. nodded once and then turned her attention back to her lunch. Kallen didn't say anything more.
ℓ ℓ ℓ ℓ
4 years post Z.R. – July
C.C. released Kallen's chin and nodded in satisfaction. "You're progressing more rapidly than I expected. That's good."
Kallen blinked, eyes a little dry from holding them open while C.C. completed her "inspection." "What does that mean?" she asked.
The witch shrugged. "It means we can complete this in a few more months, probably."
Kallen's chest tightened at the words, equal parts eagerness and dread. Every day they waited for her Geass to progress was an increase in the age gap between herself and her lover. But every day she grew stronger was a day closer to ending C.C.'s existence. She tried not to think about it much. That she was going to murder an ally for her own selfish gain.
"Have you seen him recently?" C.C. asked, casual.
There was only one "him" in their relationship. It startled Kallen a bit, both because the question came without segue and because C.C. never asked about Lelouch. She imagined it was a painful subject for the immortal.
Kallen shook her head. "Work has been busy. And he's trying to stay out of Japan for a while."
C.C. nodded. "He's always been discerning."
Well, that was one way to put it. Calculating was another. She didn't quite like the negative connotation of that label though. It implied a cold sort of emptiness Lelouch had never quite perfected, despite his efforts. Lelouch cared too much to be calculating. So perhaps discerning was the better word after all.
"He promised to come back for Christmas." Traditionally that was a lovers' holiday in Japan, though she didn't think it was in the rest of the world. It was sweet that he'd remembered.
C.C. hummed with apparent disinterest, but Kallen saw the slight stiffening of her shoulders and knew the witch remembered too. C.C. laid her napkin across her empty plate and pushed to her feet. "I'll see you next month."
ℓ ℓ ℓ ℓ
4 years post Z.R. – December
Kallen left The Zero Residence with a definite spring in her step, despite the cold. She was going to see Lelouch for the first time in a year and a half. She would be able to hold him, touch him, feel him—
She fought a full body shudder that had nothing to do with the cold.
The flat greeting nearly caused her to stumble and she turned her head slowly toward the source. She could just make out a long line of apple-green in the alley to her right.
"C.C.?" Why was she hiding in an alley? They met in public all the time. Actually, why was she here at all? Their next appointment wasn't for two more weeks.
Kallen frowned. "Time for what?"
C.C. didn't answer, only turned on her heel with a sharp, "Follow me."
Kallen did, wondering at the immortal's odd behavior and glad she had another hour before she had to be at the train station. She hoped whatever this was didn't take long.
C.C. led Kallen through several alleys and finally into a deserted warehouse far enough from the Zero Residence not to be suspicious. She took a surreptitious breath to steady herself and then turned to face a confused Kallen.
"Your Geass is strong enough now to complete the transfer," she said, careless tone hiding the sudden twist in her stomach. She didn't know why she was nervous. She'd wanted this for centuries – to see the end of her empty, immortal life. And doing it now would allow her to give the greatest possible gift to the partner who'd most understood her. The man she'd come to love. She shook off her doubts and extended a hand to Kallen.
Kallen seemed frozen. "Now? But how do you know?"
"I sensed it. We have a connection, you and I, through Geass." C.C. knew, down to the very marrow of her bones, that she was right, but because Kallen seemed to need the assurance she stepped closer and cradled the other woman's cheeks in her hands, peering into her eyes. "Two," she confirmed, the symbol of Geass a faint glow behind the contacts she'd instructed Kallen to wear. "You didn't feel any different?"
Kallen shrugged and shifted away, awkward. "I don't know. My head's been so full of L—um, other things lately, I hadn't really noticed." It seemed cruel to mention him now. Especially if this was really going to be the end.
C.C. smiled, knowing and sorrowful. "It will be over quickly," she said. She slid her hands from Kallen's face, down her arms, and used them to lift Kallen's right palm to rest lightly over her heart. Her gaze held that of her accomplice firmly, trying to convey a surety that here, at the end, she wasn't certain she really felt. But they needed to do this. For her. For Lelouch. "You're strong," she told Kallen, and it was the truth. "Stronger than anyone I've shared the power with." Stronger even than Lelouch in many ways. Only Kallen could do this. "Grant my final wish. Give me peace."
She closed her eyes, that same tiny smile still on her lips.
Faced with the moment of truth, Kallen wasn't sure she could go through with it. Her knees felt weak and her stomach turned. She had been a soldier, but she had never been a killer. In the end, it was the look of serenity on C.C.'s face that decided it for her. The ageless woman was ready to move on. Who was Kallen to deny her that basic right given to all humans? The right to end?
Kallen took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and called on the power of her Geass.
ℓ ℓ ℓ ℓ
4 years post Z.R. – December
Chinatown, Yokohama, wasn't quite the last place she'd expected for her Christmas get away with Lelouch, though it was pretty far down on her list of possibilities. The rickshaw, however, she'd never imagined. It was a little funny, being pulled through the streets of Chinatown by a little old man. It provided a pleasant, if brief, distraction from the thoughts that had plagued her since her last hour in Tokyo.
C.C. was gone. Dead. Forever. And Kallen would not be. Ever. They had successfully transferred the green haired witch's code – Kallen now possessed the penultimate manifestation of Geass power: immortality.
She'd expected to feel different, at least mentally, but she didn't. That would come later, she supposed.
She couldn't get the image of C.C. out of her head. Sprawled on the cold concrete floor, a smile making her already flawless face breathtakingly beautiful. It was, perhaps, the only true smile she'd ever seen on the woman's face. Or at least the only truly happy one. Kallen had just begun to panic about what to do with the remains when they faded away. It was convenient, she supposed, but unsettling. That someone who had lived for centuries could leave nothing behind when they left the world.
She still hadn't figured out how she was going to explain this to Lelouch. Because there was no keeping secrets from him. And she wouldn't want to if she could.
"Best not to keep young man waiting, yes?"
The words startled Kallen and she looked around to realize the old man had stopped alongside a row of old, but decently maintained, apartments. He came back to assist her down and slipped a key into her hand with a twinkle in his eye.
Kallen almost frowned, but caught herself and gave a polite bow. She reached for her purse to find money for a tip, but the man waved her off. Already paid by Lelouch, no doubt. Or maybe he owed Lelouch something. Even without Geass, Lelouch had a way of bending others to his will that was rare. But then, C.C. had told her that Geass manifestation seemed to be almost the extreme of an already dominant trait within the recipient, so she supposed that made sense.
She took the stairs cautiously, uncertain if the young man referenced was Lelouch or another emissary. When she reached the door that corresponded with the key in her hand and saw the clear alias on the plate though she knew it had to be him. Her stomach twisted in excitement colored by anxiety - eager to see him again after so many months, but worried now that the moment of truth had come. She swallowed hard to clear the lump in her throat and took a few calming breaths.
"I thought you said there was a ways to go?" she questioned before she'd fully crossed the threshold. The decision to put off the conversation they needed to have wasn't intentional, but once the words were out she realized she needed a few minutes to enjoy being near him again before she could break the news. She needed the strength his presence gave her. "We're still in Chinatown." It was a struggle to keep her tone casual, but she did so, eyes trained on his darkened figure across the way.
"Misdirection is a powerful tool, one not to be underestimated," Lelouch admonished, amethyst eyes twinkling as he turned on the lamp beside him. "Hello, Kallen."
She was beautiful, standing in his doorway, toeing off her shoes. And it had been far, far too long since they'd last been together. He couldn't wait this long again. He couldn't wait any longer now. He had to be touching her.
He rose smoothly and approached, his hand catching hers and bringing it to his lips for a soft kiss. He did not release her after, instead using the connection to draw her closer to his body and further into the room.
"I've missed you," he murmured almost into her hair.
"Me too," she answered and then fell silent, unable to think of anything else to say now that she was face to face with him.
He was beautiful. Was that going to hit her anew each time she saw him again? It wasn't that she'd forgotten in their time apart; but rather that her mind seemed incapable of properly cataloguing the true depth and vibrancy of him. It didn't help that his touch on her skin set her heart off like a jackhammer. Her pulse jumped, her breath stalled, and her body burned and ached as he settled down onto the couch with her beside him.
"Is here alright?" Lelouch spoke softly against her ear, loving the shiver the action provoked. "I didn't want to seem shallow or over eager by taking you straight to the bedroom." Not that they needed to be in the bedroom for this. Lelouch had been fantasizing about having her on this couch from the moment he first saw it. It was unusually deep-seated for a couch. Uncomfortable for sitting, but perfect for two people to do other things on.
She shuddered at the word alone. Swallowed hard to clear the sudden lump of desire blocking her throat. "Either one is good." Oh God, not good, not good. She had to stop him. Had to tell him before they went any further. She didn't know how he would take the news, but if he was going to be angry she didn't want to add betrayal to her list of sins by giving in to her body's selfish wants under the false pretense of normality.
He must have sensed her hesitancy, because his fingers slowed their caresses and he pulled back to meet her gaze, worry in his own.
"What's wrong?" She looked uncertain, even frightened, and for a moment he was terrified she'd changed her mind. His hands swept thoughtlessly upward to cradle her face in his hands. "Tell me," he urged, quashing the threatening rise of panic, determined to let only tenderness bleed through in his touch and tone.
She licked her lips. "Lelouch . . . there's, ah," she swallowed thickly, "there's something I haven't told you." She couldn't put it off, she needed to tell him now. Because he was going to figure it out even if she didn't –she would stop aging, and anyway he'd see the mark when they made love– and she didn't want to seem like she was hiding from him.
His hold on her shifted, sliding along her waist in an effort to comfort her, and she felt something crinkle against her torso. She frowned. She didn't have anything in her pockets.
"Hold on," she told Lelouch. Her hands searched her fitted jacket and encountered paper. She pulled it out and found a neatly tri-folded piece of heavy stationary, Lelouch's name scrawled across the outer flap.
There was no questioning who had penned it or where it had come from. C.C. must have slipped it into Kallen's pocket in the moments before her death, when Kallen had been otherwise distracted.
What did it say? Should she give it to him now? Should she read it first?
The decision was taken from her hands, quite literally, as Lelouch gently plucked the folded sheet from her limp fingers.
He turned the page over, eyes widening slightly to see his name on the flap. The handwriting was familiar and he flipped it open, eyes rapidly scanning the page. Something in the vicinity of his heart clenched and he read it through twice more, though the last time was made difficult by his suddenly blurred vision.
Kallen sucked in a breath as he read. He'd gone unnaturally still, only his eyes roving back and forth across the page. Eyes that were beginning to shine with the sheen of unshed tears. He blinked against them, as though trying to clear them away, but they persisted. Her heart sank. Oh God. Had they made a terrible mistake? She'd known what C.C. really meant to him, but she'd selfishly allowed herself to believe the witch's assurances—
The crisp sound of paper creases being reinforced drew her from her rising panic and she looked up to find Lelouch smiling softly at her. He leaned to set the letter on the end table and then took her hands in his.
"Well, that explains her behavior over the last few months."
Kallen blinked at him, unsure.
He drew her gently into his arms, cheek coming to rest against the top of her head. "I wish she'd told me," he murmured. "I would have liked to thank her."
A tension Kallen hadn't even known existed suddenly eased and she all but collapsed in his arms. "You're not angry?"
He turned to kiss the top of her head. "Angry? Sad, perhaps, but how could I be angry? She's given us forever."
He pulled back far enough to tip her head and kiss her, and she let herself sink into his warmth. Forever wasn't such a terrifying thought knowing it would be spent at Lelouch's side. Her fingers reached to trace his cheek as they indulged in gentle exploration for seconds that stretched to minutes.
At length, Lelouch pulled back, hands sliding upward to cup her face as he studied her with serious eyes. "Does this mean you're coming with me?" he asked.
The question caught her off guard. She hadn't really thought about it. Of course she'd spend eternity with him, but right now? She had obligations. Responsibilities.
He frowned at her hesitation. "You won't be able to hide it, Kallen. You're not going to age."
She shook her head and then nodded. "I know. But I need to give my notice, train someone new. Suzaku's going to have to get used to wearing that damn helmet all the time again." She grinned at the thought and Lelouch answered it. "Give me six months," she pled. "Six months and then I'm yours."
His smile gentled and he traced the curve of her cheek with the back of one hand. "Six months," he agreed. "A small price to pay for eternity with the woman I love."
She smiled and took his hand in hers, moving to stand and pull him with her. "So, where is the bedroom in this place?" she asked, eyes twinkling. Lelouch threw back his head and laughed, warm and joyous and wonderful. He shifted to tangle their fingers together and pulled her toward the door on the left.
"Come on," he encouraged, "I'll give you a glimpse of our forever."
A/N: And with that I bid you farewell. No plans for further Code Geass fanfic, unfortunately, but someday inspiration might strike again. Hope you enjoyed reading, and thanks for giving me a chance.