The Familiar of Zero was written by Noboru Yamaguchi and published by Media Factory.
Code Geass was directed by Gorō Taniguchi and created by Sunrise.
I own neither, will not profit by these works, and will abide by the rules set before me, copyright held by them. I own only the creative bending of these worlds into a new project in an exercise of the imagination.
Zero Over Zero
The Day a New Zero was Reborn
"Greatness is a neutral thing, despite what some may say. It refers not only to the goodness of heroes, nor strictly to the cruelty of villains. Not to success or to failure. Only one thing stands true for greatness: the ability to influence in spite of what stands in the way…"
"Lelouch vi Britannia was one such person of greatness. Of this, there was no denying. He shook the world with his presence, finding way after way to surpass the odds pressed against him. His influence had been felt everywhere and, even after death, his name held power. Many had wondered how he came to be so. The feats he produced only further twisted the idea of who he was, the closer facts of his life carried only by his confidants and the deceased."
-Price, Thomas J. "The Royals we Knew Not." Figures of History. Hi-TV. New York, New York, 11 Mar. a.t.b. 2098. Television. Transcript.
"Some had said he was a man of luck, others insist he wasn't, rather a demon amongst men. Though there were as many accounts as there were rumors, there was one truth they did not know."
"Their demon was not yet dead."
A voice rung out from nothing, speaking casually, though laced with an absolute certainty. Lelouch heard it with clarity but knew not where it came from, echoing within his mind. Awoken, but confused and immobile, he immediately recognized the familiar voice.
"It looks like you get to live."
"It's because they gave you a second chance of sorts. Appreciate it."
"Who has? What's the meaning of this?"
"You'll find out soon enough. I'll give you more details at another time. For now, though, there's someone who needs your help."
"Later? Answer me now, witch! What are you planning?"
"Hmm, always demanding, even now. I planned nothing. And by the way, you ought to take care of that attitude of yours. She'll hit you."
Given little chance to respond, Lelouch fell through a directionless world towards a destination unknown, to another Zero.
Was this the afterlife? It couldn't be, but the young man couldn't help but wonder. It felt like an eternity since the day of his death. He remembered most everything, though it was blurry and faint, like a distant memory from long ago. Perhaps it had been. There was no keeping time for the dead. He had his answer in short order, though.
It was far too comfortable, he observed, too tranquil for someone reviled as he was. It was lively with young and careless laughter filling the air, reminding him of his own peers back at the academy. The air was fresh too, not at all like the stench of the ghettos in the settlements, reminding him more of the villa he once called home. His body felt heavy as well. It was as if he had awoken from a long, deep sleep. Considering what he had deserved, the weight should have only grown heavier, but as time passed he could feel the warmth of the sun on his skin. The longer he lied there, the more of the world he could drink in. He was alive, somehow.
At first a foot, and then his hand. Soon he stirred the rest of his body to action. He felt some grass, stiff but comforting, another sign that he was to live. His senses began to return to him whole, and the commotion he had made out before was now in full volume to his ears. The speech resembled some strange dialect of French, though he could be wrong at the fault of his own muddy hearing.
"What a failure!"
It was lively, to say the least.
Jeers and jests found their way to his ears, though it seemed that they weren't meant for him. The laughter, it wasn't quite of joy or hatred. It was arrogant, mocking, and too well recognized by his ears. Memories of a young boy, alone in a den full of wolves, returned to him and pressed him to move.
Lelouch stood up when he could, in search of more information. It appeared that he had caught the attention of the crowd surrounding him, each one dressed in white shirts and dark capes with what looked like an odd pentagram clasp. The boys wore dress pants and the girls wore pleated skirts, altogether making up a sort of uniform. Their shouts had lessened to low whispers at the sight of his movement and their eyes focused on him as if he were some curious object.
"Mr. Colbert, please let me perform the summoning again!"
One voice raised itself above the near hush of the crowd and caught everyone's attention. Eyes moved to the source and came to rest upon a young, petite girl with eyes the red of rubies and a lighter hue for her hair.
The tall man gave the girl a concerned look. He wore long, black robes and round glasses and held a smooth staff longer than he was tall. Middle-aged and balding, he was apparently the only adult supervising the other youths. Shaking his head, he responded with a stern voice. "This is a sacred ritual that influences a mage's entire life. It would blasphemous of the ritual and our traditions to do so. Whether you like it or not, this boy is to be your familiar."
"But I can't have a commoner for a familiar! It's unheard of! Unbelievable!"
"There can be no exceptions, Miss Vallière. Now, continue with the ceremony. You will face expulsion otherwise."
"Excuse me?" With a few simple words, Lelouch had grabbed Mr. Colbert's attention, and subsequently became the focus of everyone's view once more.
Lelouch had heard enough to gather what was happening. This was a class of some sort, and he was involved in the proceedings as much as they were. Their clothing made sense. School uniforms, and a teacher. What was most revealing was the fact that, however unlikely it was before, there was magic here.
Certainly, Lelouch was no complete stranger to headache-inducing phenomena that defied all logic, but just as he had taken in the existence of Geass, so too would he take in this information. If anything, it was only proven further by taking a simple glance around. They appeared to stand within a wide courtyard with impossibly massive walls and imposing towers crafted of stone surrounding them. In front of the central tower fantastic creatures of every kind — a flame tailed reptile, some giant mole, and even a sizable dragon — simply lazed about, acting more like domesticated pets than predator and prey. Seeing them had startled him, and he was loathe to admit to anyone that he was so much as surprised at first, but there were more important things to settle. All of this would imply that he was one of them too.
He was a familiar, as they had said, and his apparent master was the little girl in front of him. A child of some noble — no doubt if her haughty posture and proud speech were of any indication — as much as the rest of the students here were. He had a purpose here, and it was to serve the girl. That much was apparent, as much as he wished otherwise. It was simply another thing he'd have to accept, no thanks to whoever roped him into this. No, the only thing that truly nagged at him was her hair. He couldn't shake the thought that it was more than just coincidence that made it so.
Pink. It was a color that represented a tragedy that marked his history with innocent blood. It only reminded him of another person long gone. Someone he wished he could have saved somehow, but fell by his own hands instead. There were few times that he had torn himself over the lives he took, and she was one insurmountable, even now. She's likely the one C.C. was talking about. For now though...
"Can you please explain to me what's happening here?"
Mr. Colbert, ever so willing to move thing along, piped up. "Ah! Yes, of course. I'd be glad to. Though this is quite novel, seeing how I've never heard of a human summon before!"
"Yes, but the question?"
"Hm? Why you are to be Miss Vallière's familiar. Of course, you must complete the ritual first. It would no doubt help move things along if you cooperate." At this, Mr. Colbert gestured towards Louise. She turned and stepped up to him with a small frown on her face, looking no less displeased than she was before. To him, it appeared that she was trying to be intimidating somehow, but came off more as a pouty child.
"Kneel," and thus he did so. Even on one knee, he could still see Louise comparably eye to eye. This allowed Lelouch to get a better view of his "master". The more he looked, the more he thought of another young girl, the gentle lavender eyes and flowing brown hair replaced by a sharp determination and a different but somewhat similar set of tresses.
"So, what is my new master's name?" Lelouch spoke with as much grace as he could, pressing any amount of sarcasm away if only to start on good terms.
Louise was not as kind in return, but prompt. "My name is Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière." She spoke with a firm confidence, her voice level and tinged with bits of her noble heritage.
"Ah, I see. Lelouch Lamperouge, at your service. And what is it that I may do for you?" A long pause followed and Louise seemed to falter. It was as if she had trouble getting the words out. "Is something wrong?"
There was a shout that sounded like a dare, words of false encouragement tinged with the sound of mockery. Quickly her other peers caught on and joined in on the fun, not leaving the opportunity to waste.
Shooting a glare somewhere into the crowd did little to quell the jeering. In the face of such opposition, her expression seemed to falter for a brief moment, her mouth curving down and her eyebrows shifting closer before disappearing into another steely expression without a trace.
So she wears a mask as well. She's not as strong as she makes herself to be.
Faltering at their words, she finally spoke. "All of this is so very wrong. You're lucky to have this. A commoner would never have this from a noble." With this she began chanting, leaning in after pointing her wand at his face.
"And that is…?!" Once again the prince's thoughts were interrupted by the will of a girl, kissing him on the lips for the briefest of moments. Lelouch was wide-eyed, caught off guard by the sudden action. When she pulled away, he sought to regain his composure, quickly forcing his features into a neutral expression.
She, on the other hand, seemed indifferent, as if her complaints from before had not existed at all. "With that, it is done."
"Well, that wasn't horrible." Soon after though, Lelouch came to regret those words as a blinding pain seared itself across his left hand, his other clenching it at the wrist lest it would be burned as well. Breaking out in a cold sweat, his mind reeled at the pain, cursing the ritual and its absurd methods. He let out a shrill, pained shout and endured the trial as best as he could.
I take that back. A contract of Geass isn't nearly as straightforward. Or painful.
Though the moment was brief, Lelouch felt weak and shaken, no doubt from the ritual. He made an effort to look upon his hand half expecting to see burns or blood but only saw strange lines etched into his skin, like some cursed brand or seal.
"Hmm, interesting," Mr. Colbert had come up to him without his notice, as he was too distracted by the sudden turn of events. It hadn't seemed that he was bothered by Lelouch's sudden display of pain as if it never occurred. "I've never seen this set of runes before. If you don't mind, I'll be recording them for later."
Lelouch allowed him, too exhausted to pay attention, much less protest. Perhaps the other creatures had experienced the same? His question went unanswered and, once the man was finished up, the students were sent away, as it was apparent that the girl was the last to drag a creature into this strange world. As he was though, he had some trouble making sense of the layout of the area, or much anything at all. He felt sleepy again, and the world grew rather dark once more.
Today was another disappointment.
It didn't come as much of a surprise, at least not in the way that she thought it would be, but it was still infuriating. Louise, as far as she could remember, was always the subject of misfortune. For the life of her, she couldn't fathom why. Her familial problems got her sent to the Academy, full of students where her embarrassment found more exposure than it had at home. There the servants would stay quiet at the least. Then after bearing it all, she finally succeeds at something, a crucial thing at that. But what luck, she summons a commoner! Nothing divine or magnificent like a dragon or a griffin, but a plain-as-day commoner.
Thus she found herself where she was now, in her room with the dog she had dragged upstairs. She was a little worried after he fainted when the contract was formed, but that soon gave way to a mild irritation once she knew he would be just fine. Who was he to have nobles help him up and not the other way around? If only he were actually a dog; she'd have something cuddly to comfort her like the animals her elder sister watches over back at the estate. If only she were home. Hopefully, he was well behaved too, but such hopes dimmed slightly with each passing minute.
He had seemed to be competent enough to not be an idiot, judging by what she had seen earlier. Seeing him wake with a jolt, she began, "I see you're finally awake. I've thought about this situation for a while and I've decided to make you my familiar despite how much I'd rather not."
"Very well then." He didn't react much to her words, glancing around the room in what looked like rapid thought. Of what he could be thinking she couldn't fathom. Summarily ignoring that, she began to go about her business.
Undressing seemed to have caught his attention, causing him to make a somewhat sour look. It went as soon as it came, quickly replaced by another neutral expression. This only served to make her a tad more frustrated as he dared to feel offended instead of actually serving her properly like he should. It didn't matter enough what he thought for now though, so as long as he listened well in the future. "Wash these."
He seemed to understand quickly anyway. For a moment she was worried that he came from some barbarian place that didn't hold simple concepts such as master and servant. He was to be like a servant, yes, much like those at home, so such a display didn't count. Not one bit at all.
"If I may ask, where am I?" He'd turned his head towards her for what seemed like the first time since they had met. His voice was plain as if he were asking for the time of day.
Was he going to be someone clueless? It irked her a little that he would have such an obvious question too. Perhaps her guesses were more on the spot than she thought. Although it was some progress at the least, that still didn't help her hide a little of her irritation. "Where? This is the Tristain Academy of Magic, of course."
"And Tristain is...?" He hung on to the words, seemingly unsure of himself and the question he had.
"You don't even know that?" She snapped at him for his ignorance. "It is the Kingdom of Tristain on the continent of Halkeginia. Just where did you come from that you don't know of this?"
"Somewhere far away, apparently."
Founder, why is he being so cryptic all of a sudden? Certainly, a servant should be distant to some degree, but this was beyond that. She felt tired all of a sudden, but whether it was from the time or the disappointment, she couldn't tell. In either case, she had enough for the day.
"Just go do the laundry. Once you're done, you'll be sleeping there." Making orders and pointing seemed to get her point across, although she caught another trace of displeasure on his face when she pointed out that last bit before he left. The dog. Oh well, I'll press it out of him later. For now, to bed.
Shuffling into her sheets, her mind played over the events of the day, mostly unhappy, but now at least with a glimmer of hope for her future, no matter how dim it felt. With that last thought in mind, she slept with a small smile on her face, her worries briefly forgotten for the night.
Carrying a basket of delicate laundry, Lelouch wondered if this society of mages condoned slavery based on how he'd been treated so far. He would have to check later just to be sure. The bedding provided for him especially pissed him off, not necessarily because of what it was — she was probably expecting an animal like the rest of her classmates in the first place, so it was appropriate enough for that — but rather because she didn't seem to care at all that it was a person she summoned and would leave that bedding as a patch of hay on the floor like it was none of her concern.
Damn nobility. I guess they're often the same no matter where you go, Lelouch thought ruefully, but not without some relief. It reminded him that no one would recognize him as the Demon of Britannia, a title he'd much rather be without anyway. If the wrong people from his previous world found anything out about him being alive, all he would have worked for there would be for naught. There he was a dead man.
Besides that, other things had come to light as well.
The first thing was that he had been transported to a different world altogether. That much was evidenced by the magic surrounding him, the geography alien to him, and the twin moons in the sky, one pink and the other blue. Another fact, however, was much more alarming.
His Geass didn't work on Mr. Colbert. Or rather, he no longer had Geass at all.
He gave an order that was more of a question, but it still should have triggered the immediately dull response that someone under the effects of his Geass would. No, Lelouch could no longer feel the Power of Kings that had once coursed through his eyes, a longtime asset that he found indispensable during his struggles against his enemies. After all, absolute command was rather convenient, even if it was once per-person. It was something he would have to do without. Inconvenient, but nothing could be done. Instead, he'd been tied by a new contract, one possibly more irritating than the last.
Lelouch passed through the vast Academy halls, attempting to find a path out and tracing his steps along the way. He was apparently unconscious and carried up, so he had no recollection of how to navigate his way back down. He heard voices in the hall ahead and thought to ask for directions instead of waste his time wandering around the damned place.
That would be a mistake.
As soon as Lelouch turned the corner, he backed into the shadows at the sight of two youths flirting with one another by a fountain. An intimate moment, no doubt, and one he wished to avoid.
"Oh Sir Guiche, that's so sweet of you to say. I can make one of my cheesecakes for you if you would like." The girl was eyeing the boy shyly, placing a hand on her cheek and slightly turning her head away. A light blush could be seen on her cheeks in the dim light of the chandelier, rosy and full of warmth.
"I have no affection to hide from you Katie, my sweet little rose, I'm sure I would love to have a taste. They must be wonderful." The boy was full of pomp and seemed to have a thing for theatrics, holding a rose in his hand toward his companion. At face value, he was a kind of person Lelouch was familiar with, reminding him of one of his asinine brothers, blond hair, chest-frills, and all.
With no obvious way around them, Lelouch decided that the best move would be to quietly walk past, attracting as little attention as possible.
"Oh, it's the commoner Louise summoned."
"So that's him. He's been the subject of gossip amongst the first-years as well, Sir Guiche."
Lelouch continued to walk, minding his own business and hoping that the young noble would choose to ignore him and resume his flirting, but the noble still watched Lelouch as he called for his attention. "Hold it right there."
It would seem that little would still be too much, though in retrospect he had always been a magnet for such unwanted attention. Putting on the false smile that he had perfected in his own Academy days, Lelouch turned around to face him and spoke with polite indifference. "Yes, did you require something of me?"
"You should thank me for helping you up earlier. It's no good to cause trouble for nobility, but I suppose it couldn't be helped." Placing an arm around the girl, a laid-back smile appeared on his face as he continued to posture with his rose in hand.
"I see, so you're the one who carried me upstairs? I thought a servant would've been called to do that." It would be awfully petty of him to falsely claim that he had helped a lowly commoner, but that doesn't seem to be the case...
Guiche, oblivious to the doubt of the man in front of him, responded, "Although that is true, it is the duty of a Gramont to help others. Also, there weren't any servants nearby at the time anyway. It was more convenient to levitate you myself."
"Levitate me? Was Louise preoccupied somehow? Or does it take two people to lift someone like that?"
"Hm? Ah, has she not told you yet? She is known as Louise the Zero, a mage with zero talent and a zero percent chance at success!"
Hi, my name is Verrill and I'd like to thank you for reading my fanfic between two of my favorite anime amongst many. Code Geass was a wonderful mess that left me always itching for more and The Familiar of Zero was a series that somehow caught my fancy when I least expected it.
It was a few years ago when I thought about how their shared title of "Zero" happened to be the same and yet mean radically different things, so I had wondered if there was anyone who wrote them together in the standard summoning-of-the-familiar way, but I couldn't find much that scratched that old itch to satisfaction.
Thus, as they say, write what you would like to read, and so here I am.
Also, though Lelouch is alive and maybe well now, this idea precedes that and as a result, this work will consider him planned dead at the time of the Zero Requiem.
Please support the official releases, review my work as you see fit, and be welcome to ask what you wish.
Otherwise, take care~