A/N: Well . . . here's the second chapter I guess. Sorry it took so long. I would like to thank all the people who reviewed and added this story to their favorite story alerts. Your encouragement is much appreciated.
Uhh . . . thank you.
Ahem. Anyway, I'm happy to note that there are other LelouchCornelia fans out there. Cool!
Well, here's the second chapter!
A lingering thought fluttered into her mind, probably due to that dream she just had regarding her younger years.
Was I ever able to thank him that time?
She couldn't help but wince. She wasn't able thank him then or any other time after that, either. She supposed it was because of her pride.
Shaking herself from her thoughts, telling herself that there was nothing she could do about that now, she stopped and patted the creases on her clothes. She smiled and entered the bustling festival square, trying to decide what food she felt like eating.
She figured she could stray away from her diet. After all, it was just the prior night that she successfully took over Area 18 once more. She had the right to celebrate, right?
She sighed, knowing that the only time she actually strayed away from her militaristic side and indulged in foods that her military diet normally did not permit was when she was depressed, she started walking, trying to find something light that she could eat out in the fields. She wasn't ready yet. She wasn't ready to continue on enjoying herself in the festival.
She forced a pleasant smile as an old Eleven couple watched her as they passed by. The old woman suddenly stopped and approached her.
"Madam. . ." the elderly woman began. "I know it is not my place to say this but, I think it would do you good to cheer up. A festival such as this does not come every year, mind you." Her eyes suddenly widened in surprise. "Oh, excuse me. I am really sorry. I didn't mean to sound so rude-"
"It is okay." The purple haired woman smiled, hiding her uncertainty. "Yes. . . I think you are right. I'll try to cheer up. Thank you. Good day."
The old woman bowed her head, a common trait she saw amongst the Elevens, before continuing on her way, her accomplice bowing and muttering a quick apology before leaving to join his wife.
Her smile left her face as the couple left. She stared at the heavens, wondering if she would ever be able to let go of the past. She wondered if she would ever be able to change the present and live in a painless future. She brought a hand to her waist, gripping a gun that was not there for reassurance.
It was the only thing that could remind her to not forget the pain these Elevens wrought. They, after all, took her precious siblings. One by one, they died all because of the Elevens. She could only hope that these Elevens, especially the terrorist Order, would not take yet another precious sibling from her. Because if they did . . .
If they did . . .
She didn't know what she would do if they took Euphie from her, too.
Euphie was just so kind . . . too kind. She was too kind and still innocent. She was nothing like her, more like that pacifist fool, Clovis. While she chose to fight in the battlefield, to become a sword so that she will be able to make peace with her mistakes, Euphie chose to bear the pain and continue smiling, not letting their deaths affect her so as she strived for peace in her own way.
A wry smile appeared on her face.
And they said she was the strong one.
Taking a deep, calming breath, the disguised royal chose to stop thinking in favor of finding food lest her thoughts would drive down to an even more depressing road, she took a quick glance around the area she was currently in. The different scents of the food stalls filled the air and only served to stimulate her appetite more.
She decided to stay strong. A smile appeared on her face. She told herself that she would enjoy this festival.
Enjoy it, she would.
She approached a nearby stand whose queue was rather small. There were fries as well as deep fried potato slices being sold. In front of the queue was a demure red-haired girl.
Hmmm . . . why was it that she felt a sense of foreboding?
"Why the hell does this Britannian imbecile take so long to finish MY order?!" was something she would have liked to voice out. Sadly, she could only smile pleasantly through her gritted teeth as the Academy student smiled apologetically at her. He placed several potato slices that just came from being deep fried on a strainer to drain out the excess oil before putting it in a bag and serving it to a visitor who ordered after her. The second person, she added wryly.
"Thank you for buying, please enjoy your stay in the festival!" the Brittanian youth smiled his thanks. Wiping his brow with the back of his sleeve, he turned to the infuriated red-head. "Ah, Kallen, what was your order again?"
Kallen took a deep breath before smiling sweetly. "As I said before," she tried not to let any venom leak into her voice. Calm and kind was her fake persona. Damn calm and kind she will be! "I would like-"
"Welcome miss, what would you like to order?" the boy greeted another customer. Kallen resisted the urge to pull out her purse-knife and stab the boy to pieces. Really, being stabbed to pieces would be a very painful experience indeed. She sighed again, intent on voicing her inconvenience and berating the boy for his poor service when the visitor he just greeted cut her off.
"Excuse me, young man, but I believe she came ahead of me." The woman told the student-vendor. Kallen blinked before turning to the purple-haired woman.
Wait, purple hair?
Her blue eyes widened in shock, as did the woman's deep fuchsia, as their eyes met. Kallen tried not to show her surprise, as well as anger, as her shock disappeared from her system. She smiled pleasantly at the older woman before switching her attention to the student-vendor.
"I would like-"
"Don't worry, Kallen, I know what you ordered." The youth smirked cheekily at her then reached out a bag of fresh potato chips for her. "Here, a bag ready for the pretty student council lady. It's on the house so you don't need to pay. Of course, if you really want to, maybe you and I could-"
"Thank you very much, but maybe some other time." She replied quickly. Really, she just wanted to high-tail out of the place and return to Lelouch as soon as possible. Maybe she'd even drag him out of the area just for safe measure. Just as she was about to leave, she was suddenly stopped by the very reason of her panic.
"Excuse me, miss? Could you please wait for a minute?" the woman began. "There is something I want to talk to you about."
Millions of thoughts raced through her head at the implication of the purple-haired woman's words. Could she have been discovered? Her hand cautiously took out her purse and held it. She knew she could not outright stab her but damn if she was going down without a fight.
Maybe I really should not have gone to the festival as Zero ordered. . .
The woman finished paying before approaching her. Kallen tried to smile pleasantly. "What is it that you wanted to talk about?"
"Hmm . . . I suppose I should start with introducing myself. You can call me Nel. I believe we have met before, haven't we? Back there in the haunted house where you tried to scare me?"
"Yes, I remember." She replied politely and hid a small cough behind her hand, using it to quickly scan for escape routes. "Is there anything wrong?"
"Nothing major, I assure you." Nel answered, oblivious to the anxiety Kallen was feeling. "It's just that, I was wondering, since most of the escorts, rather, tour guides are guiding the Elevens" Kallen's fist tightened around her pink purse. "I was wondering if it would be possible for you to arrange a guide for me." She paused for a bit. "You are part of the student council, are you not?"
"Yes I am." The half-Japanese red-head loosened her hold on her hidden weapon. "I am a bit busy though and I don't have much authority over the students. However, I know a man who does." She wondered if Lelouch would recognize her. After all, wasn't he the one staring very intently at the warrior princess when she was wearing that rather provocative bathing suit that time in Clovis Land's opening? A small twinge of jealousy ran through her before she quickly squashed it. "He is our Student Council Vice President and the one-man overseer and coordinator of this festival. I am sure he has time to spare for a small task such as this."
"Hmmm . . ." Nel hummed, impressed. "A one-man supervisor for this large-scale event? I'm impressed. However, wouldn't it be better to have some people help? The poor boy must be dead stressed from such a task."
"Ah, it is no problem, I assure you." Actually, he was very stressed but he seemed to be having fun so . . . "The President herself has a lot of faith in his skills." She added to reassure both herself and . . . 'Nel'. "Now, if you will excuse me."
"Oh, wait!" the older woman suddenly called. Kallen stopped in her tracks. Damn it! She was about to escape! "Aren't you going to take me to him?"
Ah to hell with it. "Of course!" she had to refrain herself from grinning roguishly. Demure Kallen. "Just follow me. I'm headed his way to deliver him these snacks."
A stray thought about Lelouch's lack of excessive fat quickly fluttered through her mind before it just as quickly left.
"I see." The woman smiled. "Thank you very much, then. Let us be on our way."
As they walked side-by-side, Kallen cast the woman a quick side-glance from the corner of her eyes. She hoped her suspicion about the true identity of her companion was wrong.
Because if her suspicion was true, then she was either very cursed or very blessed when it came down to opportunities. Oh Kami can just be so cruel at times!
A tense atmosphere descended upon the walking pair.
"Is there something wrong?" the purple-haired woman decided to break the silence.
"N-not at all."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." The Britannian visitor eyed the student carefully. Kallen felt a small rush of panic run through her system. Keeping her cool, she continued walking.
"Say, Nel," Kallen began, snapping the disguised royal from her staring. "How do you find the festival so far?"
The purple haired woman fell silent for awhile to mull over her thoughts. "Honestly?" Kallen nodded her head absentmindedly. "I find it a bit distressing."
Kallen's blue eyes drifted curiously towards her companion. "Distressing? How so?"
Nel briefly wondered how her companion will take her reason. "It is not entirely the fault of the festival, though." She began. "It's more of certain . . . issues, I guess." Seeing her companion's questioning look, she decided to elaborate just a little bit. "I'm a bit uncomfortable with the presence of the Elevens."
Damn racist. The red-haired girl's azure eyes narrowed slightly. "And what is the problem with the Eleven's presence in this cultural festival, might I ask?" she tried her best not to sound too snooty else certain questions might arise.
"I told you, I have certain issues." Apparently, she still sensed the hostility in the tense air. Though her response did lack a certain fire in it . . . maybe she really did have certain issues.
Though that never stopped her from stabbing people with an oversized jousting pole. She thought wryly.
And yours never stopped you from blowing things to bits. A dark voice in her subconscious shot back.
"Look, I am sorry if I offended you, okay?" Cornelia tried to calm her down. The words felt alien to her but, as a royal, she had to display a certain amount of courtesy when outside the battlefield. "Though I have to admit, I am curious as to why you were offended."
Kallen's widened in alarm briefly before she turned her gaze elsewhere. "W-well . . ." Damn it! How am I supposed to answer this?! "I . . . too . . . have issues." She decided that shooting back the same excuse was fair. Besides, it wasn't as if she were lying right?
"I see . . ." a thought suddenly came to her. "Could it have something to do with Kururugi Suzaku?"
"W-what?" Kallen flushed in horror. "Why do you say that?" Really, she wanted to know.
"Seeing as Ashford Academy is a prestigious school for Britannian students, most of whom are from noble families, might I add, and Kururugi Suzaku is, in fact, the only Eleven student in the academy, I would think that your . . . issue about the Elevens just might have something to do with him." The second princess paused, letting her words sink in her companion. "That, or you're half-Britannian, half-Eleven."
"Wh-who. . . who are you?" she asked stupidly.
"Just think of me as a knowledgeable visitor." She smiled back amusedly. Kallen was suddenly shocked out of her stupor at seeing her companion's smile.
For a moment there, I thought I was talking to Lelouch . . .
Remembering her situation, she cleared her throat and spoke with a little bit more forceful, yet still demure, voice. "Kururugi-san does not have anything to do with this, I assure you." She stated. Kallen saw her companion's fuchsia eyes shine with amusement and she resisted the urge to lash out. "Seriously."
Cornelia let out an amused sigh, feeling more relaxed than ever since she rejoined the festival after her short, calming nap. "Alright. I will accept that." She suddenly smiled and Kallen saw another flash of Lelouch's infuriating smiles. "It's okay if you don't want to talk about your boy troubles with me. After all, I'm only a stranger."
"By the way," the pure Britannian suddenly cut her thoughts. "How much longer before we reach the student council vice president? We've passed by that stall twice now."
Kallen stopped in her tracks as if realizing something. She started looking around from side to side. Cornelia, seeing her escort's confusion, decided to voice out her own.
"Is something wrong?"
The student among the duo suddenly stopped and fumed.
Son of a-
She stomped her foot on the ground angrily to vent off her steam.
Lelouch took a sip from his bottled beverage before resuming his work as he typed away at the laptop's keyboards. He read through several articles, mostly suggestions, plans, and personal memo's detailing guidelines for the next course of action.
He suddenly stopped scrolling as an article entitled "Death of Cornelia" came up.
He put aside his laptop, making sure to close the program, logged off his account, and shut it down for extra measure just in case somebody would get a hold of it. He then leaned back on his chair as he stretched his arms before lazily staring up at the blue sky.
It was still midday and yet the sun wasn't too bright. A soft wind blew, cooling the balcony area even more and helped ease his thoughts, making him wonder if the world could ever be more peaceful. He remembered the days of the past that were just like this.
He remembered doting over Nunnally as the little brunette ball of energy played around and kept having her way with things. It didn't help that Euphie kept encouraging her, never bothering to chastise Nunnally whenever she went out of hand. Luckily, Cornelia had been there. She was usually the one who would stop Nunnally from doing anything too troublesome or dangerous.
She had always been in command, making the people around her know that she was not just some princess without will. Everyone but Euphie, that is.
He smiled wryly. Apparently, their weakness as the elder sibling was their younger sisters. Luckily for Cornelia, though, was the fact that Euphie was not a troublemaker.
He smiled at the memories of his younger years in the royal family before snapping out of it. The past should never have anything to do with his decisions for the future.
He sighed tiredly. Did he have the heart to kill another one from his blood?
The ex-prince brought a hand up to eye-level and glared at it angrily.
The same type of blood that connected them and made him hesitant was the filthy one.
He had already decided that, no matter what would happen, he will continue walking down the road, this road, which he had already filled with so much blood and carnage. He had already sacrificed so much; he just had to keep on walking. He'd live and bear with the consequences of his actions, all for the sake of his only happiness, Nunnally's safety.
So . . .
. . . So why was he starting to hesitate?
"Th-that, that -!" Kallen stammered angrily. She had to grit her teeth in order to stop herself from shouting any profanity to properly express her anger. Her grip on the paper back tightened as she pressed it towards herself with increasing pressure.
That vile, arrogant, condescending, mother fu-
A hand suddenly lay on her shoulder. Her blazing eyes snapped towards the owner's and her internal rant stopped.
"Is there something wrong?" the taller woman asked, concerned. Kallen could not help but wonder how the person in front of her could be the heartless fighter she had known in the battlefield. Or was this person really Britannia's fierce princess?
"There seems to be a slight problem." She answered as she tried to calm her anger. Honestly, why did that bastard just have to give her such a hard time? "I was supposed to meet the vice president here, but, well, to put it bluntly, he left."
"Ah." The purple-haired woman was at a loss of words. Her noble side berated herself for having nothing but an uncharacteristic 'ah' to say. She hid her embarrassment with a cough as she contemplated her next course of action.
She eyed her tomato-red companion with half-open mauve eyes. She could see steam rising from her companion as she continued to angrily mutter something under her breath. Sighing, she approached the teen.
"Kallen . . ." she began, wondering how she would go about this. "Are you busy?"
Her companion stopped her rant when she spoke. Her darkened blue eyes gained some light as she met Nel's sympathetic smile. "No." she sighed in defeat. Lelouch could be a bastard for all I care! "Not unless I'm assigned to do something against my will. Again."
Again? "If it is not so much of a bother, would you like to be the one to guide me through the festival?"
"I . . . I don't know . . ." she felt very unsure about this situation. Not to mention how awkward it felt especially if this person was, indeed, Cornelia Li Britannia.
"Please, Kallen?" she asked once more. "If not as my guide . . . then as someone to talk to." She paused then added. "Enjoy this festival with me. If anybody asks, just say you are working as my guide."
Kallen weighed her options. On one hand, this could prove as a chance to uncover the mystery if this person was indeed Cornelia or not, and, if this really was Cornelia, she might be able to find some valuable information that she could report to Zero such as weaknesses. On the other hand . . . she might give Lelouch a hard time if he was depending on her for something.
Finding the latter idea as appealing as the former, she decided. "Alright. From now on, I will be your guide and friend for the duration of this festival." She bowed a bit and internally wondered why she did so. "Welcome to the Ashford Academy Cultural Festival, Ms. Nel." She tried to smile as sweetly as she could. "Is there any particular place you would want to go to first?"
Nel brushed stray royal purple locks from obscuring her vision as she thought. "Truthfully, I have never attended any festival such as this. I would be glad if you would take the lead."
Kallen nodded while keeping in mind this fact. Sheltered royalty, eh? She thought wryly. "Well, then. Let's go to the games area first and decide what to do next from there."
As they walked, Kallen took the initiative and engaged a light conversation with the visitor, intent on trying to find more facts supporting her guess on Nel's true identity. She briefly wondered if she was just being paranoid before shaking the feeling off. It was better safe than sorry, after all.
She felt for her pink purse and gripped it tightly, making sure it was there and ready.
Curious golden eyes blinked, the tip of a slice of pizza in her mouth, as the pair walked passed her.
Ah . . .
"Lelouch?" she blinked, a bit startled at the question.
"Yes." She took a sip from her bottle. "It's just that, I've heard a lot about him from Nunna-chan here so I was wondering what sort of man he is. He's the one facilitating this event, after all."
"Oh?" the blonde grinned knowingly. "Well . . . he's a hard worker when he wants to, I guess. A bit stuck-up and keeps bottling up his emotions and never asking for help." Her blue eyes strayed over to the smiling Nunnally. "Except when it concerns Nunna-chan, of course. He'd then get flustered and dote like a mother hen." Her smile faded slightly as she turned to watch several students walk by. "Lately, though, he seems to be, I don't know, gloomy, I guess." She paused to think over what to say next. "It's not that he shows it or anything, mind you. It's just a feeling that he's giving off. He seems preoccupied with something and it makes him seem more distant and gloomy than usual."
"I see . . ." the bubblegum-pink haired princess looked on thoughtfully as she watched children pull their parents around the festival stalls. Beside her, Nunnally felt the sadness of her elder sister. The crippled girl reached out her hand, which Euphemia took in hers, and squeezed Euphemia's hand comfortingly. Euphemia smiled back and internally smacked herself. She forgot that Nunnally couldn't see her.
"Thank you, Nunna-chan."
Millay looked on at the exchange with a melancholic smile. She remembered the days past, to those rare times when she walked through the palace halls and grounds when she was much younger. She remembered the many children that played there together as if they were family. She was shocked when she found out that they were.
"Oh cheer up you two!" she clasped her hands together and smiled. "I have an idea! Both of you should come with me and we should go and have fun! We're not here to talk about gloomy Lelouch, right? Let's go!" she smiled and winked at Euphemia. "We might even run into that busy body, you know."
Euphemia's mood brightened. She stood up along with Millay and started pushing Nunnally's wheelchair towards the festival grounds as the older blonde skipped ahead of them.
You owe me one for this, gloomy-Lu.
"Things are changing."
He swirled around swiftly towards the voice. The green-haired woman strode past him and rested her elbows on the rail, chin resting on her arms. She absently watched as people wove in and out of the crowds on the school grounds, trying to get from one place to the next.
"Things will change." He turned back to his work, knowing that he shouldn't be at all surprised that she found him. In fact, he realized he should have expected her to come. It was only a matter of time.
She shot him a wry smile before turning and sliding down to the floor, resting her back against the rail. "Of course they are." She wondered how she should go about telling him what she felt. "However . . . things are changing."
She smiled inwardly as she felt him getting slightly annoyed.
"Oh that's interesting." He closed his laptop and paid more attention to her. Despite her mysteriousness, he knew that her words were to be heeded. He couldn't explain it (or it could have just had something to do with experience, he mused) but she always seemed to just know things. Things that were important and would come and that he needed to be ready. "Do tell."
He just needed to find some way to pry the information from her, first.
"Things might not go as you have planned." Her eyes bore into his royal lavender ones. "As I have said, things are changing. Be prepared for them or else you will die." She deadpanned. "You still have a contract to fulfill so remember, do not die."
"Very helpful aren't you?"
"Of course." She stood up. "I can tell you this much, at least. There is . . . an interesting person in the festival." She started walking to the glass doors leading indoors before turning back, her eyes piercing his. "And I want my pizza. You would do well to coordinate the pizza event effectively, Lelouch."
A cold shiver coursed through his spine as the woman left.
Did she just threaten me?
A/N: Holy! How the hell did the LuluSuza fics multiply?! Hell, I think there're even more of that kind of fic than LuluCC! WTF?! Damn!
Ahem. As you may have realized . . . this is pissing me off. Damn. Sorry, just had to write that 'cause it's annoying me to no end.
Good news is, my buddy Overhaul is writing and he even has a friend, masterkeys2, who is also writing an interesting fic. That, and Code Geass R2 will be out soon! Boo-yah! Hrm . . . I'm conflicted since a new pairing is drifting in my mind . . .
Anyways, there you have it! The long-awaited and anti-climactic chapter 2! I know it's not much, but I tried to do some character development (though I seem to just be going in circles). I've sorta got a conclusion in my mind, but I don't know when or how I'll write it. I've got no excuse, I'm lazy and that's the truth. Nya-nya! Bwahahahahahahaha!
Tell me if there're any typos and I'll try to correct it.
Lord Esquire: Thanks. Found the typo and fixed it (29/3/2008)
Tenshi-chan: Nee-san! You're here!! Will you also be writing Code Geass fics? nudgenudgewink (29/3/2008)