Author's Note: Spoilers for R2 episode 8. Admittedly the concept is a little strange, but I wanted to try something different. SuzaEuphie just makes me all warm and fuzzy, after all.
Disclaimer: I don't own Code Geass.
The room was pitch-black except for the dim red glow of the numbers on the clock when she appeared. Despite the darkness of the room, the specter had no trouble making out the sleeping form on the bed. Suzaku lay on his side, the sheets pulled up to his waist.
Euphie drifted toward the bed and studied the Knight's face with a wistful smile. When Suzaku slept, the stress of his position completely drained from his visage and he looked so young; so much younger than he was forced to act during his waking hours. The deep green eyes that had seen so much death—including hers, the spirit thought with a pang—and suffering were no longer visible to belie his age. His body might have been 18 years old, but his spirit was so much older.
The princess sat down on the bed next to Suzaku, though her weightless form did not disturb the mattress or the man occupying it. Ever since her death, Euphie had watched over Suzaku. Though she had been at peace when she had passed away despite the circumstances, she knew she would wait for Suzaku to find his own peace before she could move on. She just couldn't bear the thought of leaving the man she loved alone in such unhappy conditions. Once he found some semblance of inner peace, she could move on from the realm of living and wait for her love in the next life.
Suzaku had once told her, much to her embarrassment, that he thought of her as his guardian angel since she had done so much for him in the short time they had known each other. Without her, he said, he didn't know where he would be. Now that she could no longer be with him, she had taken it upon herself to act as that guardian angel, though Euphie hardly considered herself an angel.
Euphie watched Suzaku carefully. Only a few hours before, Suzaku had allowed Zero—Lelouch—to take one million Japanese into exile to the Chinese Federation against the wishes of the Britannian forces he was in charge of. Though he had made the right decision, no one would thank Suzaku for saving those million lives. He knew that and had done it anyway. And he had been forced to come to some conclusions about the nature of his enemy that he had been trying to avoid since Zero's reappearance.
Overall, the day's events had shaken the Knight (more than he would be willing to admit), and Euphie was more than a little surprised to see him actually asleep. Over the last year, she had watched over countless sleepless nights where Suzaku had agonized over the past. So often she had wanted nothing more than to be able to hug him and assure him that everything would be alright. It hurt her to see the man she had loved in so much pain all the time. She had watched as that pain transformed Suzaku into a man she didn't always recognize; into a man even Suzaku didn't always recognize in the mirror. It startled her to see the gentle soul so tainted by loss and betrayal.
But the Suzaku she knew returned every night when she watched him sleep. More often than not, his sleep was fitful, wrought with dreams of past hurts. No matter the show of toughness he put on for the sake of others—and perhaps himself—he was hurting. That was a sign for Euphie that his gentle soul was still in there somewhere. Suzaku was just trying to protect it after losing those closest to him. And with Zero's recent reappearance, Suzaku had forced himself to harden his heart further in an effort to protect it once more.
Euphie reached out a transparent hand to stroke Suzaku's face in a vain attempt to comfort her love that would never reach him, but pulled back reflexively as he whispered a pained word.
"Lelouch," he muttered.
The princess' spirit blinked, realizing he was dreaming about his best friend/her brother again. It wasn't surprising, considering what had transpired earlier. Lelouch's plan to exile those one million Japanese—one million of Suzaku's people—had hinged on Suzaku being unable to order his soldiers to fire. Only someone who knew Suzaku extraordinarily well could have made that bet and because of that, Suzaku knew Lelouch's memories had returned after all. No matter the surveillance they had done at the school and no matter what had transpired in the phone call with Nunnally, the conclusion was inevitable. Suzaku knew Lelouch too well to fool himself about it anymore.
"Why?" Suzaku whispered. His voice was pained and Euphie noticed beads of sweat on his forehead and frowned. His features had tightened as he dreamed. She hated seeing him like this.
Why did Lelouch kill me? Is that it, Suzaku? The princess looked sadly down at the Knight of Seven. She knew that she held part of Suzaku's heart (because he held a part of hers in return) and when she had died, it came with her. She would guard it for him; for the man she loved. She would do it for him because he was guarding that same part of her heart in exchange. Some day they would reunite the pieces, but until then, she would watch and wait and hope.
Curiosity overcoming her, Euphie reached out a hesitant hand and placed it gently on Suzaku's head. He shivered lightly despite the sweat on his brow, but made no outward sign of recognition at her touch. What are you dreaming of? Closing her eyes, Euphie took advantage of her spiritual state and entered Suzaku's dream.
When she opened her eyes, Euphie found herself standing on the stage from earlier in the day. Suzaku stood alone, still in his Knight of Seven regalia, looking out over the empty land where one million people had stood hours before. Suddenly, Zero materialized in what would have been the front row. Suzaku, however, didn't look surprised at his best friend/worst enemy's sudden appearance.
"Lord Kururugi," Zero greeted formally with an incline of his helmeted head.
"Lelouch," Suzaku greeted in turn. His voice was strangely devoid of any emotion.
"Ah, so you did figure it out." Lelouch removed the helmet and dropped it to the ground. However, it disappeared before it could hit the grass. The Geass in his left eye shone without restraint. But because he had already used it on Suzaku to save his life, it didn't matter.
"You knew I would." There was no accusation in the Knight's voice, just a statement of fact. The clues were too obvious for someone as smart as Suzaku to ignore, after all. Lelouch had to have known that his actions would give him away but had proceeded anyway.
"Yes." Lelouch seemed amused. The expression on his face that resulted from the combination of the quirk of his lip and the crimson Geass was chilling.
"Then why?" Suzaku asked.
Lelouch smiled a mischievous smile that Euphie remembered well from their childhood. It was the smile Lelouch got when he had a worthy partner in a game of chess. "The game wouldn't be fun any other way. You know that." Lelouch was only gratified in winning a good game, after all. There was no honor in any other kind of victory.
Suzaku seemed to ponder this for a time. "Yes, I suppose you're right," he agreed finally. "But where do we go from here?"
Lelouch shrugged. "Who knows? I have my goals and you have yours."
"But Nunnally is here," Suzaku pointed out.
"You're the only person I would entrust her to," Lelouch replied casually.
"I will be back. She is my sister and the reason for Zero's existence, after all." Lelouch paused. "Besides, Ashford Academy needs to be protected."
"And you plan to do that after this stunt?"
Lelouch had the decency to look abashed. "Actually, I was hoping you would do that."
"You know me well," Suzaku said with a nod, more for himself than his companion. It would go without saying that Suzaku would protect the people he had come to cherish at that school.
"You're my best friend." Lelouch's tone made the reason seem obvious.
"Since seven years ago," Suzaku agreed. Yes, the reason was obvious; for them.
"Why did you use your Geass on me?" Suzaku's question came out of nowhere and Lelouch seemed genuinely surprised by the question.
"You ordered me to 'live' with your Geass. Why?" Suzaku repeated. There was no heat in his voice. He could have been reading the dictionary for all the emotion in his voice. The lack of inflection was somewhat chilling to Euphie as she listened, considering they were discussing Suzaku's life and how close it had come to ending a year before.
Lelouch seemed dumbfounded by the question. "Because I don't want you to die."
"Even if I wanted to?" Suzaku looked Lelouch directly in his Geass-infected eye. "I know your Geass works by completely overruling the victim's will."
"Even if you're ready to die, the rest of us aren't ready to let you go," Lelouch replied simply. He smiled wryly. "And besides, how can there be a Black Prince without a White Knight for balance? We're like yin and yang, you and I."
"And Euphie?" Suzaku asked after a moment. The apparition in question blinked but made no other move. It was not her place in another's dream.
Lelouch pursed his lips, looking decidedly uncomfortable. "Suzaku…"
"After everything, I think I've earned the right to hear the truth, Lelouch," Suzaku said, voice rising. That was the first indication of emotion he had shown during the entire encounter. Euphie hated seeing him upset but was merely a spectator in the dream so remained silent. Was this what was upsetting his sleep?
"I know," Lelouch replied after a short time. "But that doesn't mean I'm ready to tell it."
Suzaku blinked, not comprehending the statement. "What does that mean?"
Lelouch shrugged. "When the time is right, I promise I will tell you."
"Lelouch…" Euphie blinked when she realized her half-brother was fading. Suzaku seemed alarmed at the fact his best friend was disappearing but Lelouch himself appeared unfazed.
"When the time is right," he repeated. "Until then, remember our promise." And with those words, he was gone.
"Lelouch!" Suzaku cried out. Balling his hands into fists, Suzaku fell to his knees. Having seen enough, Euphie closed her eyes and forced herself from Suzaku's subconscious.
Opening her eyes once more, the ghost looked down at the sleeping form of Suzaku. He had rolled onto his back during his dream. "Lelouch," he whispered again, weakly calling out for his friend who disappeared before he could answer the most important question; the question Suzaku had been searching for the answer to since Zero had pulled the trigger. Even his anger over the situation had faded as Suzaku realized he just wanted to know why it had to happen that way.
Euphie understood Suzaku's frustration, though suspected she knew why Lelouch had vanished from Suzaku's dream after that question. The rest of the exchange involved information that Suzaku either knew or could infer from his experiences. His subconscious had merely created a Lelouch to answer those questions with information Suzaku already knew. However, he didn't know the answer to that last question and his dream Lelouch was not the real one so would not give him an answer; it would not because it could not. Suzaku did not know and as a result, the creation of his subconscious had vanished. He would have to wait for the real Lelouch to tell him the truth.
"Oh Suzaku," Euphie whispered. "I'm so sorry." She placed a matterless hand on Suzaku's cheek and traced the Knight's jawline. He seemed to relax under her touch, even though her touch had no true substance to it. He should not have reacted to her, but the tightness in his features relaxed and the peaceful face of his slumber once again returned. It was as if all the pain had drained from him in an instant. She only wished she could do that for him during his waking hours. Though she was merely a spirit, humans were most in tune with the spiritual realm when they were asleep, so perhaps the deep connection they had shared while Euphie was alive made Suzaku subconsciously aware of her presence.
Euphie smiled sadly at the picture of innocence that lay before her. Asleep, Suzaku looked so much younger than his 18 years; he looked untouched by pain and suffering. Resting her head on his chest—though he would not feel her weight—Euphie could hear Suzaku's heart beating. Such a kind and gentle heart, she thought, but one that is fragile from being broken too many times. It is a heart that is guarded to keep it from shattering into pieces.
Too many times Suzaku had been hurt in his past; too many times his heart had been broken only to be put back together in a meager imitation of the original. She knew that it was still recovering itself from the damage the previous year had done to it. Healing the wounds of the heart took much longer than wounds of the flesh. As a result, Suzaku had to be extra careful to guard his heart.
Pushing herself back up to look at Suzaku's face, Euphie sighed. She bent over his ear, knowing he wouldn't be able to hear her. "Will you ever be able to forgive me for leaving you?" she whispered anyway. I know I can't forgive myself.
The specter blinked, not sure if she had heard correctly. The name fell from Suzaku's lips like a light breeze and Euphie shivered as if she had felt the wind. Had he actually heard her? Pausing, Euphie studied the boy's face but saw no indication of anything unusual. He was probably just dreaming.
Pursing her lips, Euphie knew it was time for her to retreat and let Suzaku rest on his own. She would return to watching him from afar and lend him her strength when he asked for it. Floating slowly away from the bed, an intake of breath stopped her. She turned around and was surprised to see Suzaku's eyes open. They were half-awake but somehow focused on her.
The spirit paused, not sure what to do. He wasn't supposed to be able to see her, but if she could communicate with him for just a few moments, then she would not turn down the opportunity. He had initiated the contact, after all. "Yes, Suzaku."
"Are you really here?" he asked, sitting up. His tone was hopeful but she could register a look in his eyes that worried he was only dreaming.
She floated back next to him and sat down next to him. He watched her intently, as if he was afraid she might disappear like Lelouch had in his dream. "For a few moments, I am," she replied.
"I don't understand," he began but she put a transparent finger to his lips and he fell silent.
"I'm your guardian angel," she said and couldn't help but giggle, remembering the blush that had spread across her face when he had called her that. Suzaku smiled slightly, apparently remembering the same thing.
"How much time do you have?" he asked after a moment.
"Not much," Euphie admitted, feeling the pull of the spirit world on her consciousness. She needed to leave the human realm soon. Spirits did not belong here so it cost a great amount of energy to make trips into the living world. "But I'm always watching over you."
Suzaku's eyes widened and Euphie smiled gently. "I…" His expression was suddenly ashamed and his gaze fell to his lap. "Euphie, do you hate me?"
The princess was startled. "Suzaku, I could never hate you."
"Even after everything I've done?"
Euphie wanted nothing more than to put her arms around the Knight and the realization that she couldn't was painful. Instead, she put a clear hand on top of his. "The Suzaku I fell in love with is still in there. He showed himself today by saving those people."
The spirit could feel herself fading as she had overspent her time. Just a little longer, she hissed to herself.
"My time is out, Suzaku." His eyes widened but she shook her head. "Just remember that I love you and that I'm always watching you. Whatever happens, don't forget that."
"I love you, too," he whispered and Euphie thought her heart might break. "I miss you."
Her bottom half had already disappeared but Euphie would be damned if she wasn't going to use her time to the fullest. "I miss you, too."
She put her weightless hand on his cheek and he looked at her, drinking in her appearance even if she was transparent and fading into nothing. "I'll be waiting for you, Suzaku. But I'd rather wait a long time for you to join me, alright?" She smiled sadly. "Please live. For me, okay?"
Euphie's hand tingled as she used her last remaining bit of energy. Suzaku's eyelids suddenly drooped but he fought valiantly to remain awake for just a little longer. "Be strong my knight," Euphie whispered as Suzaku finally lost the battle against the warm embrace of sleep. Her power would ensure that he would at least not dream any more tonight. It was all she could do for him now.
But it would also ensure that Suzaku would forget this had ever transpired when he woke up. He was not a medium, so his perception of anything other-worldly was tenuous at best, so it was not difficult to assure he wouldn't remember their meeting. Humans and spirits were meant to exist on separate planes, after all. She smiled sadly as she felt her hold on the living world completely vanish. She only hoped that her words would stick with him even if he didn't remember where he had heard them.
The last thing she saw was the pendant she had given Suzaku upon becoming her knight on his bedside table.