"Um... C.C., wasn't it?" Kallen called out nervously, fingers wringing the hem of her Black Knight uniform skirt. "A moment, please."
The other girl turned, casting an impassive amber gaze upon her, and Kallen unconsciously shivered. For some reason, the green haired woman always seemed to unsettle her when she wore that expression.
"Yes?" her voice, calm and cool and utterly collected, cut in, and made Kallen envious of how mature she seemed.
Is that why Zero trusts her so much? The pilot of the Guren wondered, before shaking herself from her thoughts, absently removing her hand from the hem of her skirt. "Ah, yeah... I was just wondering... why did you join us?"
It had been nagging her for some time. The others, they were either part of her brother's original team, or recruits that had gone through a rigorous screening process.
Not C.C., though. She just appeared with Zero one day in the command center, and he simply said, "This is C.C. She is my friend and a comrade. You can trust her."
And with that, he withdrew to his office, and she followed behind him, not like some obedient servant or the way a lover or a mistress might act, but like a partner, an equal.
Kallen wondered why it was that only this strange, foreign woman had that previously unknown honor, along with the privilege knowing who Zero really was, what he looked like. What set her apart from the rest of them? Devotion to Zero? Intelligence? Skill?
A cynical part of her wondered if it was superficial, for, as detached and unapproachable as C.C. seemed to be, she was still a beautiful young woman, and Zero was, despite it all, still a man with all the flaws of one.
What else did she know about Zero that no one else did?
Despite herself, Kallen wanted to know, wanted that same intimacy with the mysterious leader of the Black Knights that the other girl seemed to have.
"Why?" C.C. blinked, obviously caught off guard by the question. "Now that's an interesting question," she murmured, almost slyly. "Why do you ask?"
"Answer the question," Kallen shot back, more sharply than she intended, but she wasn't the type to dance around the real questions, and didn't like getting that treatment either.
C.C.'s lips quirked into a smirk, as if her response had been amusing. "I did not join you," she corrected lightly.
"What-" Kallen began, startled, when the green haired woman continued speaking.
"I am Zero's accomplice." That odd smile played on her lips, and her amber eyes twinkled, bemused. "I am a Black Knight by technicality at best, but first and foremost I am only Zero's accomplice."
Kallen's nostrils flared, a rush of irrational irritation flooding her veins at her careless words. "What do you mean, 'Zero's accomplice'?" she questioned roughly, taking a step forward. "We're all Zero's accomplices!"
"Is that so?" C.C. chuckled mirthfully, sending yet another wave of irritation through Kallen. Just as she was about to lay into the green haired woman, C.C. continued, "I think you misunderstand me. Within the Black Knights, that statement is true. But I said, I am Zero's accomplice."
Kallen took a faltering step backwards, before regaining herself, taking that step forward again and narrowing her eyes angrily. "What the Hell gives you the right to sound so superior to me! What have you done! I fought for Zero! I protected him!" she spat, furious at the other girl's airy condescension.
"So have I."
She stilled, eyes widening, breath caught in her throat, unable to speak.
C.C. continued, looking away, "All those things... I have done as well." A strange look came over her porcelain features. "He faces more threats than just Britannia... indeed, threats that may be even more dangerous than any Knightmare or gun could ever be."
There was a strange quality to her voice, no longer calm and cool but almost regretful, wistful, as if there was some whisper of bitter nostalgia that plagued her.
"What kinds of threats?" Kallen asked softly, anger forgotten, spellbound by the strange air that the green haired girl had taken.
C.C. turned towards her, a half-way sad, half-way envious expression on her face. "Some, are the mundane, mere human failings, which may in fact be more dangerous than anything else. The others, however..." she trailed off for a moment, eyes dark.
"Be glad you do not know of them. Such things aren't meant for humans, nor, perhaps, the world," she finished softly, looking away again. "Your Zero faces these things because of me, and thus, I am his accomplice."
The heavy words rang in the air for a moment, and Kallen took an involuntary step backwards, fully cowed by C.C.'s admission, and, admittedly, shaken by them.
The otherworldly air C.C. carried herself with, the magnetic grace that Zero exuded... there was something more to both. Something that, Kallen sensed, if she was ever to pierce the mystery of, she would find herself on the other end of a high and cold wall, in a place of darkness and crushing solitude.
After such a realization, Kallen had to wonder... was she really doing anything for Zero, that this mysterious C.C. was not already doing? After all, it was C.C. who knew the most (seemingly) about Zero, so naturally she could protect him best from such things.
Was her belief about being one of those closest to Zero just a deluded fantasy brought on by ignorance and childishness?
"Your innocence to these things make you useful to him," C.C. interrupted suddenly, as if sensing her thoughts. "You are ignorant to that which plagues his heart, nor of the matters that lie outside of his ultimate dream of destroying Britannia. You are his willing soldier, his guardian, someone he can depend on without needing to show weakness."
Kallen blinked yet again, stunned into taking another step backwards. Just what was she saying...
C.C. offered her a slight, melancholy smile. "I envy that innocence of yours."