The End of Geass
Spoiler Warning: This piece of fan fiction contains spoilers for Code Geass R2 up to episode 16. So don't read if you haven't seen that far yet.
Foreword: Hey all, it's youngde again, much sooner than even I expected with a Code Geass one-shot. The main reason I wrote this little story so quickly is because of an anonymous reviewer of my last (much longer) story, "Memories of the Rebellion," a fic about Kallen's thoughts while in her prison cell during episode 15 of R2 about what has transpired so far in the series. (While not really necessary to understand this story, my pride as a writer would appreciate it if you checked it out.) Anyway, this anonymous reviewer enjoyed the story, but was a little disappointed about the fact that I made no predictions about what may become of Kallen. This review (along with a couple other inspirations that I'll mention in the Afterword) got me thinking about several possibilities, and I ended up coming up with the following post-series scenario. (A scenario that's admittedly not very likely, but hey, that's what fanfiction is all about, right?) At any rate, I don't want to say too much here in the Forward that might give away what happens, so I'll leave it at that.
So then, anonymous reviewer, this story goes out to you!!
Read and enjoy. Please comment, review, flame, whatever floats your boat. Or don't…I'm not that desperate for approval. (Just a little desperate. Please, say nice things about me.)
Disclaimer: Code Geass is not owned by me. It is owned by Sunrise with character designs by CLAMP. If I did own Code Geass, the fight scene where Kallen beats on Suzaku would have lasted at least 3-4 minutes. Best. Scene. Ever. It both showed that Suzaku hasn't yet become a complete douche (I admit, I was getting worried.) AND it finally let us get a little Kallen action while letting her blow off some steam. I could watch again and again…and again. In fact, I'm watching it right now.
"It's all finally over," Lelouch thought as he stood among the remains of the Sword of Akasha with Suzaku Kururugi, Kallen Kozuki and C.C. The Emperor, his father Charles di Britannia, was dead, and with him his mad plan to 'destroy the gods.' The combined forces of the Order of the Black Knights and the Britannian military loyal to his brother Schneizel el Britannia had succeeded where either force alone would have been defeated. Both forces were now standing down, and Lelouch smiled at the thought that most battles from this point on would most likely be done in the political arena rather than on the battlefield. It had been a long and difficult journey, but it looked like the more peaceful world that he had always sworn to create for Nunnally would finally come to pass along with the free Japan that he had promised to Kallen and the others.
As he surveyed the wreckage of the Sword of Akasha, he noticed that Suzaku was standing in a stunned silence, apparently having trouble taking in everything that had just occurred. Kallen meanwhile seemed to be searching for something among the rubble, followed by C.C., who still hadn't regained her memory and continued to act like a 10-year-old slave girl. Apparently C.C. was currently rendering her services to Kallen by helping her find whatever it was she was looking for.
As he looked at C.C., something crossed his mind. His gaze fell to look upon his own reflection on the polished floor, a reflection in which his left eye glowed red with a symbol resembling a bird in flight etched into it. That's when he suddenly realized that it wasn't over, not quite yet.
Geass. C.C. once told him that 'The power of Kings is a lonely one.' Truer words were never spoken; it seemed those with Geass were destined to be alone. And it was deservedly so. Geass was an evil power. It bent the minds of people to the will of another. Whether it was his father's ability to rewrite memory, Mao's capacity to read minds, Rolo's power to stop a person's perception of time or his own capability of "Absolute Obedience," Geass was a power that should not be held by mortal men.
He had agreed to his contract with C.C. to take on this power knowing that it could be evil, knowing that it may be beyond his ability to control. However, he had had a goal in his mind ever since he saw his mother murdered and his sister crippled right before his very eyes, and he needed the strength to achieve it. In his own arrogance, he presumed that he would be able to subdue the power of Geass. Instead, the power had overwhelmed him. Without it, he would not have been able to come so far, to accomplish all that he had done, that much was true, but it had cost him dearly.
He had been forced to murder his first love Euphie, which in turn destroyed the lives of his best friend Suzaku and another friend, Nina. The power of Geass was responsible for the death of Shirley; she had been innocent, but simply got too close to a power she did not understand. The perpetrator of this crime, his false brother Rolo, also died due to the defect in his Geass that stopped his heart, just as Lelouch was coming to understand him. Then there were all the lives that were destroyed either directly or indirectly via commands from his own Geass; he had even ordered many people to simply kill themselves with his power. People with families and friends; people whose loved ones would never see them again. There was so much blood on his hands, all due to the evil power that rested in his left eye.
How long would it be before his power claimed another victim? And who would that victim be? Lelouch couldn't stand the thought of losing someone else he loved due to this evil. Not Milly or Rival. Certainly not Kallen or Nunnally.
He was all that was left of the power of Geass. His father and V.V. were dead. C.C. had lost her power along with her memory. Rolo and the Geass Cult were also gone. The power of "Absolute Obedience" gained in his contract with C.C. was the only Geass left in the entire world.
That's when something caught his eye. A small pink pouch that had slid under a pile of rubble. And Lelouch knew what he had to do.
"Suzaku, I need to ask a favor of you," Lelouch said as he bent down to pick up the pouch.
This startled Suzaku out of his reverie. He looked at his best friend and fought down the dark urges that had plagued his mind for the past year whenever he thought of this man. Lelouch had explained the truth to him, how Euphie's death had been a tragic mistake of bad timing and misspoken words. Suzaku had decided that he would try to forgive his friend, but still, it didn't prevent the surges of anger, wrath and sorrow all directed at Lelouch whenever he heard him speak. Suzaku knew it was going to take a long time, but he also knew that it was what Euphie would have wanted, so he would do his best.
"What is it, Lelouch?" he asked, trying his hardest to sound as he did before he had learned that Lelouch was also Zero.
At first, Lelouch mumbled something so quietly that Suzaku couldn't hear. "What was that?" Suzaku asked moving closer.
"Take care of them…of Nunnally, C.C. and Kallen……Promise me that you'll take care of them for me, okay?"
"Huh? Lelouch…are you alright?" Suzaku asked.
"Just promise me!!"
"Um, okay, I promise. But why? Are you intending to go somewhere, Lelouch?" Suzaku asked, utterly confused at this point.
"In a matter of speaking. You were right about one thing, Suzaku: Goals achieved by contemptible means mean nothing. I have achieved my goals, but my means have left me with much blood to atone for," Lelouch said slowly.
"So…you're turning yourself in then?…To which side though: the Britannian military or the Order of the Black Knights? You've technically committed crimes against both." Suzaku asked, getting a little concerned by Lelouch's tone.
Meanwhile, Kallen was still searching the rubble for her pink pouch with a retractable knife, assisted by the disturbingly eager-to-please new C.C. It just wasn't…right…C.C. being like this. She had become Kallen's pillar of support during the time between the Black Rebellion and now, the older sister figure that Kallen turned to in times when she needed help. C.C. wasn't supposed to be some sort of poor, subservient girl that answered every beck and call.
Still, Kallen was appreciative for the help nonetheless. That pouch had been a gift, custom made by her brother, to protect herself in the dangerous ghettos after Japan had become Area 11. She carried it with her always. It was unthinkable to her that after everything that she had been through, she would lose it right at the end. That's when she noticed that Lelouch seemed to be holding it as he was talking to Suzaku. She was about to call out and thank him for finding it when she noticed that Lelouch wasn't acting quite right.
She gasped as the blade extended and she heard Lelouch shout the words, "This is the End of Geass!!"
"Suzaku! Stop him!" Kallen shouted.
But it was too late.
So it was that the single greatest armed conflict in the history of the world was ended. Britannia, under the rule of Emperor Schneizel, formally recognized the members of the United Federation of Nations as independent states. Furthermore, they ceded all territories seized since the invasion of Japan eight years earlier, restoring their freedom. While this still left Britannia, by far, the largest nation in the world, its influence had been reduced largely to the Motherland of the American continent.
Meanwhile, officially, Zero died a martyr leading the combined forces of Britannia and the Black Knights against the Emperor. Stories quickly circulated around the globe about how the 'Mad Emperor' had decided to use a powerful secret weapon against all the people of the earth in order to fulfill his dream of creating a world where only the strong survive. As such, Zero died a hero to all the people of the world, and his passing was mourned by all.
A couple months later, another shocking development occurred when it was discovered that Zero had been conducting a secret investigation into the supposed barbarous acts of the 'Massacre Princess' Euphemia li Britannia. According to Zero's findings, the real Princess Euphemia had been assassinated shortly after her announcement of the Special Administrative Region of Japan and replaced with an imposter by the previous Emperor, who then carried out the massacre of innocent Japanese on his order. Thus, the name of Princess Euphemia was expunged.
Knight of Seven, Suzaku Kururugi, remained true to his word, and took it upon himself to look after Nunnally, Kallen and C.C. He saw to it that the Stadtfeld name was restored within the Empire after it had plummeted due to the actions of its head's illegitimate daughter. The only condition was that Kallen would be named as the new head of the Stadtfeld family. Ironically, despite being the head of the family, Kallen only chose to use the name Stadtfeld for official business. Otherwise, she kept her name Kozuki and returned to her homeland of Japan, where she established the Kozuki-Stadtfeld Relief Trust for those who lost loved ones during the Britannian occupation and subsequent war. In addition, Kallen adopted C.C. into the Stadtfeld family as her sister.
Nunnally, realizing that she felt most at home in Japan and knowing that her Knight Suzaku desired to return home as well, asked Emperor Schneizel to appoint her as the Ambassador of the Empire to Japan 'to help heal old wounds and bring about understanding between our two lands.' Schneizel enthusiastically agreed that she was the best choice for the job. Overall, this made the task that Suzaku had taken upon himself much easier, as the three people he promised his best friend he would always look after were in such close proximity.
7 Years Later
It was getting late as Kozuki Kallen stood in the main hall of the Stadtfeld family home in Tokyo. It had been another hard day helping manage the Relief Trust, but at least the work was satisfying. Still, she sometimes missed the excitement of the old days, but whenever she did, she would silently chide herself. In those days she had hurt and killed people. Yes, it had been for a worthy cause. Yes, it had helped bring about freedom for her people. But it didn't change the fact that people had died by her hand. Now, she had dedicated her life to helping people who were suffering rather than being the cause of the suffering in the first place. It was only because of this fact that Kallen believed that she was even worthy of moments of peace like this.
This particular moment of peace, however, was promptly shattered as a 6-year-old boy came bursting into the room with his twin sister hot on his heels.
"Give me back my Guren!! You got the Lancelot!! That one is mine!!" the young girl said.
"If you want it, just take it," the boy taunted, holding the small scale model of the Guren Nishiki slightly out of the girls reach.
"Lelouch Naoto Kozuki-Lamperouge!! Stop tormenting your sister right now!!" Kallen yelled just as the front door to the grand hall started to open. As the young Lelouch relented and gave the model back to his sister, a voice from the front door made Kallen turn.
"Uh oh, full name. Someone's in trouble," the voice said.
"Suzaku! You're here," Kallen said running up to hug him. After a short embrace, she let go and looked up at him. "What took you so long today?"
"Oh, you know my boss. She can be a real slave driver," Suzaku said with a grin.
"Hey, hey," Kallen protested, "That 'slave driver' is the sister of the father of my children. So you better watch your mouth."
"Sorry, Kallen." Suzaku said as the smile faded from his face. "But seriously, Nunnally's work is always an uphill battle. There are still plenty of people that resent Britannia, even after all this time. I'm afraid she's been overworking herself. She loves the Japanese people so much and wants her people and ours to come to understand each other."
"Well, at least she has you as her Knight. That has to help somewhat, right? I mean, having a person of Japanese decent being her right-hand man must count for something." Kallen asked.
"You would think so, but although I am a man of Japanese decent, I'm also still a soldier of Britannia. One of the Knights of Rounds that help subjugate this land during the occupation. I'm afraid I'm not very welcome here," Suzaku admitted with a sad smile.
"Why do you still do it, then?" Kallen asked.
"Because I promised Lelouch that I would take care of Nunnally……and you and C.C., and this puts me in the best position to do that. And because, Britannia has come a long way since the war, but it is still full of corruption and prejudice. But even so, there is something of Britannia that is worth saving—Nunnally proves that—so I'm going to keep trying to change it from the inside. Even if I'm just spinning my wheels."
"You're not just spinning your wheels, Suzaku," Kallen comforted. "If not for your and Nunnally's influence, I don't know where we, the twins and I, would have ended up after the war the was over. It's largely because of your help that I can finally use my Britannian name for something positive in this world. It's because of your help that I could finally live in a peaceful world with my mother. And I certainly wouldn't have been able to take in C.C. if not for you."
"Thank you, Kallen," Suzaku said with a slight smile, and after a short pause he continued by asking, "Speaking of your mother and C.C., where are they?"
"My mother is actually out of town for a few days visiting relatives. As for C.C., who knows where that girl is half the time," Kallen answered. "So at the moment, it's just me and the kids."
"So I noticed," Suzaku commented taking in the twins reenacting an epic battle between the Guren and the Lancelot. The scene somehow made him slightly uncomfortable. "Knightmare Frame models?" Suzaku inquired.
"C.C.'s brilliant idea for a gift, not mine!" Kallen grumbled. "They're too young to be thinking of such things as far as I'm concerned."
"Well, they are the grandchildren of Marianne the Flash and the son and daughter of the Ace of the Black Knights. It's in their blood."
"But you KNOW how dangerous piloting Knightmare Frames can be Suzaku," Kallen said indignantly.
"Yes, but I also know that their favorite hobby is playing games like chess and shogi. Next thing you know, you have a couple of little Lelouch's commanding armies into battle. Yeah, that's much…safer……." Suzaku began to trail off as he noticed his comment meant to be in jest was darkening Kallen's mood substantially. "Sorry, Kallen. I…I didn't think…"
"No, it's fine Suzaku…it's not your fault that…Oh, for heaven's sake, Lelouch Naoto will you stop it, now!!" Kallen screamed as she noticed that the twins' Knightmare battle had reduced itself to a brawl with Lelouch now holding his sister in a headlock.
He promptly let go at his mother's behest and said, "Sorry, mom," with a slightly (obviously fake) pained expression on his face. Kallen stared at him angrily for a moment, but just couldn't stay mad at him for long. Aside from his fiery red hair and sapphire colored eyes, he was the spitting image of pictures she had of her brother at that age.
"Ha. Ha. Mommy used your middle name again, Lulu Naoto. Now your really in trouble," Lelouch's little sister jeered.
"Shut up, Shirley Euphemia," Lulu said to his sister. Shirley definitely took after her father's side of the family, with her black hair and deep violet eyes. Many said that she greatly resembled Marianne in her youth.
"Look, could you two just go and do something quiet for awhile while I talk to Suzaku?" Kallen pleaded.
"Like play chess!!" The twins said in unison.
"Yes, fine. Go play chess." Kallen said, feeling somehow defeated.
"I get to play as black," Shirley said as they left the hall.
"No way, you got black last time. It's my turn," Lelouch said.
"I called it. Besides, I'm older," Shirley retorted
"By about 10 minutes," Lelouch complained as their voices faded from leaving the room.
Kallen sighed as they left. "Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to raise them properly."
Suzaku smiled and said, "Yes, they both take after Lelouch in terms of intelligence, but their physical prowess they certainly got from you. Plus, there's two of them."
"Two too many," Kallen half-joked. "Honestly, it's bad enough when their fighting, but when they decide to work together, it's almost more than I can handle. If C.C. and mother weren't here to help, I think I would be stark raving mad by now. And it's only going to get worse as they get older. Can you imagine what they'll be like when they reach 17 or 18?"
Suzaku nodded in agreement. 17 or 18…the ages they had been during the time of the Black Rebellion. "If you're worried about whether they'll make the same mistakes we did at that age, it's just up to us to make sure the world is still peaceful at that time," Suzaku reassured her. "After all, kids that age shouldn't have to make those kinds of choices, the kinds of choices we were forced to make."
Kallen nodded, but still seemed lost in the world of possibilities. Possibilities that included her son and daughter being dragged into the constant cycle of violence that seemed to engulf the world. Suzaku decided it was best to change the subject. "Lelouch Naoto and Shirley Euphemia Kozuki-Lamperouge. I still think their both beautiful names," Suzaku complemented.
"After I named our son after the two men I loved most in my life, it seemed only fair that I named our daughter after Lelouch's two lost loves. And even though we—Lelouch and I—weren't…you know, married, I still wanted them to have their father's family name. Well, their father's mother's name, that is." Kallen said in a rather melancholy tone.
Suzaku considered Kallen's words for a moment before saying, "Two men you loved most, huh? And where do I fit on that list?" in an attempt to cheer Kallen up.
Finally, Kallen took the bait and smiled a little. "Well, the top three are Lelouch, Naoto and Lulu Naoto, of course. Not necessarily in that order."
"Of course," Suzaku said.
"Then…hmm," Kallen continued, "I guess next would be Ohgi, Rival, Tohdoh, Xingke, Minami, Sugiyama, Yoshida, Asahina, Urabe, Tamaki…"
"Tamaki!" Suzaku interjected. "The tall, gangly guy with the bad goatee?"
"That's him," Kallen said without missing a beat. "Hmm, who else? Oh yeah, Gino!"
"Gino!?" Suzaku cried. "Oh, come on!!"
"He was very nice to me while I was a POW," Kallen remarked in her own defense. Noticing Suzaku was beginning to sulk, she said, "Oh, come now, Suzaku, you know I'm just kidding. I already told you that I owe you so much for helping me and my family. And I really appreciate you trying to cheer me up."
"You clearly need it," Suzaku said, returning to his normal self. "You've been a little off for awhile now. Not just tonight either. Nunnally's noticed it, too."
"Yes," Kallen admitted, "It's just…I still can't get used to it. It gets so hard…him being gone…"
"I sometimes wonder, Suzaku, if Lelouch would have made the same decision if he had known what would happen. If he had known that he was becoming a father." As Kallen finished, her eyes looked towards Suzaku's, searching for an answer.
"I think that Lelouch felt there needed to be justice done for the blood he spilled and did what he felt was right at the time," Suzaku said simply. "And once that idiot got an idea into his head, there wasn't much anyone could do to stop him."
Kallen smiled a little as she said, "That's true." After that, both she and Suzaku stood in silence for what may have been a couple of minutes before Kallen finally continued, "We were both so stupid! We should have realized that there would be consequences to what we did that night, but after the briefing was over and the two of us were the only ones left in the room…one thing led to another and…" At this point, Kallen choked up a little.
"Kallen, you don't have to…" Suzaku tried to interrupt.
"No, it's fine," Kallen said as she regained her composure. "It's actually a good memory…mostly. At the time, I didn't know if I was just a replacement for Shirley or C.C. And, honestly, I didn't care. I just knew that the next day could very well be my last, and I couldn't let this moment pass without letting him know how much he had come to mean to me. That I was willing to give him everything I had……Still, it was really stupid! I mean, what was I expecting to do in the event of…you know, one of the possible outcomes of our…actions?"
"You mean like the one that actually happened?"
"Exactly! I mean, if the Stadtfeld name hadn't been restored, I would have been left destitute…with two children."
"Kallen," Suzaku broke in, "I, and Nunnally, and all of us. We wouldn't have let that happen to you."
Kallen smiled and said, "I know, I guess I was just being a bit overly dramatic. But it was still really stupid."
After a short pause, Suzaku asked, "Do you ever regret it?"
Without even a second thought Kallen said, "Never. Lulu and Shirley are the joys of my life. They make my life hard, that's true, but they also make it worth living."
"Lulu and Shirley," Suzaku repeated. Then a moment later, he continued, "Hey, why did you ever start calling Lelouch Naoto, 'Lulu,' in the first place?"
"Ironically, it was Shirley that started calling him that first," Kallen said with a somewhat sad smile, "None of us know if she heard it from someone or came up with it herself. I'm not sure whether or not even she remembers."
Both she and Suzaku then both became very quiet for a few moments before Kallen broke the silence with another question, "Hey, Suzaku? Have you forgiven Lelouch yet?"
"Huh?" Suzaku said, feeling that that question had come out of nowhere.
"You've been wondering why I've been a little off lately. The first reason is because I've been wondering what Lelouch would have done if he had known then that he was going to be a father, but the other one is that…well, I've been worried about you," Kallen admitted. "The truth is, you've been acting a little off as well, and I think it has something to do with you not being able to forgive Lelouch, even after all this time."
"In other words, you and Nunnally have been talking behind my back and came to this conclusion," Suzaku guessed.
"Basically," Kallen said. "Are we wrong?"
Suzaku sighed as he said, "No. The problem is…he's the best friend that I ever had, and 7 years ago, I decided after finding out that his using Geass on Euphie was an accident that I would forgive him. But it's not quite as easy as that, is it? Even now, when I think of him, the first feelings that spring up within me are the anger and resentment over what he took from me rather than a desire to forgive. Instead of feeling compassion for my first true friend, who became as close to me as a brother, my first instinct is to cling to a hatred over something that he didn't even mean to do."
Kallen nodded as she understood. "Remember that time you came to apologize to me in my cell when I was a POW?"
"The time that you beat the crap out of me?" Suzaku replied.
"That would be the time, yes," Kallen acknowledged with a small grin. "Even as you said you were sorry, I wanted to forgive you. You were one of my best friends. But the darker side of me just took over before I could do anything about it. Before I could even think about it, I had just absolutely pummeled you."
"Then you said you hated me," Suzaku recalled sadly.
"It wasn't you that I hated, Suzaku," Kallen replied. "I hated the circumstances that led to us being on opposite sides of the war. I hated the corrupt Britannian government that you served. I hated what your own hatred for Lelouch had turned you into. I even hated the fact that you weren't fighting back since then I had no reason to keep punching you. But I couldn't attack any of those things, so I took it out on you instead. For a moment, I honestly thought I might kill you."
"I knew you weren't going to kill me," Suzaku said. "If I had thought that for even a moment, my Geass would have activated. You always had such a caring heart, Kallen; I figured you just needed to vent a little."
Kallen smiled and said, "Then you had more confidence that I would hold back than I did. But anyway, my point is that it is often simply easier to hate than to forgive."
"I guess that's about right," Suzaku agreed. "Why do you think that is?"
"That's something else Nunnally and I talked about since we were worried about you," Kallen continued. "She told me that she thinks it's because emotions are just that…emotions. They come to us unbidden, before we even realize that they're there, in no time at all. But forgiveness isn't an emotion; it's a choice we have to make. And making choices, even simple ones, take time. And usually, choosing to forgive someone isn't a simple choice. In fact, it's very difficult, because getting in the way of that choice are all those unbidden emotions that keep us from wanting to forgive."
"Nunnally is a…cleaver girl," Suzaku said quietly. "Still, I thought I forgave Lelouch a long time ago…so why does this resentment still…?"
Kallen thought about that for a moment before saying, "I don't think forgiveness is a one time deal, Suzaku. I think it may be a decision we have to recommit ourselves to everyday, perhaps for the rest of our lives. Because if we don't, the sin that we need to forgive will have control over our thoughts and minds until the day we die."
"Yes, that's right," Suzaku said, "But even knowing that doesn't seem to make it much easier, does it?"
"No, it doesn't," Kallen replied.
A short pause later, Suzaku quickly blurted out all in one breath, "And you know what the worst part is? Not being able to forgive him, despite knowing all the things that I did during that war. It's not like I'll ever be able to forget them; everyday as I walk down the street, I see the looks of people who have clearly NOT forgiven me for my own sins. And, deep down, I resent them for it, as if my crimes are so much more deserving of forgiveness than Lelouch's or anyone else's."
Kallen approached Suzaku and gave him a small hug while saying, "We all did things that we regret during the war, Suzaku. It's not your burden to carry alone. We all have blood on our hands and it's our duty to see that that blood wasn't shed in vain. That the dreams of those that were lost are made into reality."
"Yeah," Suzaku said, returning Kallen's embrace. "You know, things were so much easier when I was a self righteous fool. When I insisted that ends achieved by contemptible means don't mean a thing."
"You don't believe that anymore?" Kallen asked, breaking the hug and taking a step back to look Suzaku in the eyes.
"I do," Suzaku said, "but I've come to realize that if any end worth achieving is to be accomplished, some means must be taken. And sometimes, none of the possible means are entirely without contemptible aspects. In which case, one can only choose the least loathsome method and hope the end is worth it."
This statement of Suzaku made Kallen curious. "So whose means were less 'loathsome' during the war? Lelouch's or yours?"
"I'm honestly not sure," Suzaku answered truthfully.
"Well, things certainly are getting deep in here," said a voice from one of the side doors of the main hall. Suzaku and Kallen turned to see C.C. standing there taking a bite out of a pizza slice as she looked at them both with that disconcerting stare of hers. Ever since the war ended seven years previously, Kallen and Nunnally worked with C.C. constantly to break her of her 'slave girl' habits. It had taken time, but slowly, C.C. started to once again become an independent and confident woman. At the same time, her old C.C. personality started to reassert itself. Apparently, even thought the memory of C.C. was gone forever, the 'essence' of C.C. had remained under the timid slave girl exterior. Unfortunately, her maturity level had only increased by the seven years that had passed since the war ended, making her the mental equivalent of a 17-year-old; however, what really made Kallen wonder was just how much the 17-year-old version of C.C. was like the 600-year-old version. 'With age comes wisdom and maturity, my ass!' Kallen had thought on numerous occasions.
Even so, Kallen was grateful to have the old C.C. back in any form. During the war, the two of them had bonded and become almost like sisters. When Kallen first met C.C. again after she had lost her memory, it was absolutely heartbreaking to Kallen. It felt like her sister had died; and after already losing her brother, it was almost too much to bear. Having the old C.C. personality come back was almost like having her sister come back from the dead. Still, there was the problem with C.C.'s mental age. Now that she acted like a seventeen-year-old, that made Kallen the 'older, wiser, more responsible' sister. While C.C. never seemed to have a problem with this arrangement, Kallen found the entire role-reversal rather disconcerting.
But disconcerting or no, the 'older, wiser, more responsible sister' part of her was getting bad feeling about C.C.'s recent actions, so before Suzaku could even get out a greeting, Kallen said, "C.C., please tell me you haven't been feeding the kids pizza this late."
"They're playing chess. They need their brain food," C.C. replied.
"I would hardly call pizza, 'brain food'," Kallen retorted.
"It has anchovies on it. Anchovies are fish, and fish is supposed to be brain food," C.C. answered.
Kallen considered C.C. for a moment before putting her hands to her temples and saying, "I can't tell if you actually believe what you're saying, or if you're just screwing with me." C.C. just regarded that statement silently, with a look on her face that did not in any way betray which was the correct option. "At any rate," Kallen finally said, "How many times have I told you not to give the kids pizza after supper?"
"The Master would never mind," C.C. curtly replied. 'The Master.' Even after seven years, she still always referred to Lelouch as 'The Master,' although in recent years it seemed to have become more of an affectionate nickname rather than an actual sign of respect.
"Well, 'The Master' isn't here now, is he?" Kallen said. "This is my house, so I'll ask again, please follow my rules regarding the children."
C.C. stared at Kallen for a moment before answering, "As you wish."
Kallen nodded, knowing that the promise most likely would not last long; however, just as C.C. turned to leave, Kallen suddenly stopped her by saying, "Wait a minute, C.C. What's the idea behind giving the twins Knightmare models without consulting me first?"
C.C. cocked her head to the side with that question, clearly confused. "Are they not appropriate gifts for them? They carry the names of two of the greatest Knightmare pilots of all time: Kozuki and Lamperouge."
"They're too young to even be thinking of such things. Tell her, Suzaku," Kallen said.
Suzaku, who up until now had thought it wisest to remain out of this particular conversation simply stuttered, "Well…ah…that is…um. They certainly are too young to actually pilot a Knightmare, if that's what you mean."
"Way to help me out here, Suzaku," Kallen dryly complained.
"I don't know what you're worried about," C.C. said. "You're The Q-1, Zero's First Knight, the Ace of the Black Knights, the Red Lotus. Lulu and Shirley couldn't have a better instructor for when their time comes. That is unless…you think you've lost your touch."
"W…what!?" Kallen gasped.
"Well, it has been awhile hasn't it. You haven't really piloted a Knightmare since the war ended. Maybe you're afraid you've gotten a bit rusty," C.C. observed.
"That's true actually, Kallen. You have been out of the pilot seat for a relatively long time," Suzaku agreed. A wrong move, Suzaku realized as Kallen turned heel and stared at him with venom in her eyes. He hadn't seen that look in awhile.
"Excuse me!" Kallen yelled. She then stared down Suzaku for what seemed like an excruciatingly long time before she finally smiled. That devil's smile she would get whenever she got one of her insanely rash ideas. "Fine then. It occurs to me Suzaku that during the entire war we never had a fight to its final conclusion. First thing tomorrow, you and me, the Lancelot vs. the Guren. And this time we fight until one of us wins."
"Wait a minute, Kallen!!" Suzaku protested. "You're a civilian now. What makes you think that you can just take the Guren for a sparring match?"
"The Ace of the Black Knights still has some pull in certain circles, Suzaku. Especially with General Tohdoh in charge of Japan's military forces. I'm sure he wouldn't mind letting me borrow it if I explained it was my honor at stake."
"Still, have you even piloted the Guren since it was last upgraded?" Suzaku asked, growing more concerned that this wasn't just a joke. "I've been piloting Lancelot for eight strait years. I don't doubt that once you got your bearings back, you would be as fierce an opponent as ever. But to take me on cold like this now, without any preparation, it's madness!"
"So you'll have a slight advantage. It will just make beating you all the more satisfying," Kallen said, sounding dead serious. She then continued her stare down with Suzaku as he tried desperately to figure a way out of this. He needn't have worried, however, since about a minute into the stare down, the realization of just how ludicrous the fight she was proposing to Suzaku was caught up to Kallen and she started laughing at her own impetuousness. This greatly relieved Suzaku, who joined her in a good laugh. C.C., for her part, seemed a bit disappointed.
"I really wanted to see which one of them was better," she said to herself.
As they finally stopped laughing, Suzaku managed to utter between chuckles, "It was an…interesting idea to say the least Kallen,…but I'm not sure how the taxpayers in both Britannia and Japan…would react to hearing that two of the most expensive…Knightmare Frames in existence were half-destroyed during…a grudge match."
Kallen finally regained her composure as she said, "You're just saying that as an excuse because you know you would lose. And besides, only one of the Knightmares would be half-destroyed. I doubt the Guren would even need a fresh coat of paint."
Suzaku gave her half a grin as he said, "You know, it's saying and doing rash things like that that's always gotten you into trouble, Kallen."
"Can't argue with that," Kallen agreed.
"Hey, you know what just occurred to me, Kallen?" Suzaku suddenly asked.
"What's that, Suzaku?"
"All this talk about Knightmares and Knightmare pilots just made me think, you must be alot like she was, like Marianne the Flash," Suzaku said.
"Hear me out. I never met her in person, of course, but I heard just about everything about her from Lelouch. On the battlefield in a Knightmare, she was like raging inferno that couldn't be quenched, but off the battlefield, with her family and friends, she was very loving. A kind-hearted woman to all who met her," Suzaku explained. "Maybe that's why Lelouch grew so close to you so fast."
"I'm not sure I like where this is going, Suzaku," Kallen said nervously. "It sounds a little too…Freudian."
"Oh, are you saying The Master had an Oedipus Complex?" C.C. interjected.
"What!? No, of course not!" Suzaku said, realizing that he had just dug himself into a very deep hole. "I'm just saying that Lelouch had very good taste in women is all," Suzaku continued turning to Kallen. "Strong women, in both will and body, who were also kind in heart and full of moral character."
At this, Kallen smiled a little and gave Suzaku another embrace, whispering into his ear, "Thank you, Suzaku…for everything."
Just then the main door of the hall opened and a man, still half-obscured in the dim light outside yelled, "Suzaku! What the hell do you think you're doing with my wife!!"
"L-Lelouch!" Suzaku yelled, letting go of Kallen. "Nothing happened. We were just…you know, hugging, is all."
"It's not true, Lelouch," Kallen tearfully confessed. "You've been gone for so long, and Suzaku just kept forcing himself on me that, eventually, I just gave in. I'm so sorry."
"It's true, Master," C.C. chimed in. "It was terrible. Although I did get some nice pictures and videos if you want to watch later."
"What! No…I…I…" Suzaku trailed off as he noticed the smiles on the faces of Kallen and C.C. and realized that he was the butt of an impromptu joke.
"Still a bit of an idiot, I see. Eh, Suzaku?" Lelouch said as he came fully into the hall. "It's nice to know that in my long absences some things always stay the same."
"Yeah, yeah. You know, you don't have to make an ass of me every time you come back to Japan, you know?" Suzaku said taking in the sight of his best friend. In the past seven years he hadn't changed that much, except that he perhaps looked a little tired from being constantly overworked. And, of course, there was the dark patch over where his left eye had once been with a vertical scar emerging from beneath it.
7 Years Ago
"Lelouch!!" Kallen cried as she ran up to him. Blood gushed from the left eye socket where he had just used her knife to cut out his own eye. "What the hell were you thinking!?"
"This is the end of Geass, Kallen," Lelouch said, looking at her shocked face with his one good eye as he held a hand over the other socket to stem the flow of blood. "It's an evil power that I took upon myself, foolishly thinking I could control it to my own ends. But no one should have this type of power. I was the last with Geass, so I had to put an end to it."
"Lelouch!" Suzaku shouted, after finally shaking himself out of his stunned stupor. "For a second there, it looked like you were going to kill yourself!"
Lelouch looked up at Suzaku for a moment, who looked absolutely furious. Then he looked back at Kallen, who appeared to be half terrified, half angry with the tears streaming down her face. C.C., he noticed, was shaking in absolute shock over what had just transpired, not even daring to come close.
Finally, Lelouch said, "Suzaku, if I believed for a moment that all the people who are dead because of me would be satisfied simply with my own death, I may have just killed myself. But I'm not so arrogant that I believe my own dirty blood is worth all the blood that I've spilt. Even so, it may be that that is all the satisfaction I'll be able to give the dead. That will be up to whatever court I end up in to decide."
"Lelouch, what are you saying?" Kallen asked, growing more concerned with each word he spoke.
"I'm turning myself in to the combined forces of the Black Knights and Britannia. I don't doubt there will be some squabbling over who has the legal right to try me, but it's the right thing for me to do. And after all the wrong choices I've made, I need to finally make a right one."
"Lelouch, you can't!!" Kallen cried.
"Kallen, I originally donned the mask of Zero to create a peaceful world for Nunnally. Later, I realized that I fought for all those I cared about: Milly, Rival…Shirley…even Nina and Suzaku…and C.C.…and you. But now I've done what I set out to do. I've made a more peaceful world for Nunnally. I've helped free the Japanese people. But all of that cannot justify the means I have chosen; I need to atone. The dead cannot speak for themselves, so I must let those that have survived speak for them, and pass judgment."
"Lelouch…please!" Kallen pleaded.
"Kallen, I know," Lelouch said, lowering his voice to speak only to her. "I wish last night wasn't the only night as well. I wish we could spend many days and nights together. I love you, Kallen. I know I'm late in saying it, but it's nonetheless true."
"Then, then why?"
"I don't deserve the kind of happiness I would find with you, Kallen. Not after all I've done. I only deserve penance. You, however, deserve to find a good man, settle down and raise a family in the peaceful world you've helped create."
"That's not true!!" Kallen screamed. "I've done awful things, too! We all have!"
"Most of those things were perpetuated by the course I laid out when I first killed Clovis. They are also my burden to bear, Kallen, not yours," Lelouch explained.
"Besides, Kallen," Lelouch continued, "even though my power of Geass is gone, I have no idea of the misfortune that it causes can be discarded so easily. I can't stand the thought of the pain that I've caused to so many others falling upon you as well. It's best if I keep my distance from those I love, even if the court actually does decide to show me mercy."
Kallen by now had broken down into sobs, so Lelouch took her into an embrace and let her cry on his shoulder. Meanwhile, C.C. had finally worked up the courage to speak. "Master, I don't want you to go."
"I'm not particularly excited to do this either, C.C." Lelouch said, "but it's something that needs to be done if the world is to heal itself. Suzaku, I think you should be the one to take me in."
Suzaku, who had been taking in the conversation silently up to this point, was at a loss. Part of him agreed wholeheartedly with Lelouch's assessment. However, the other part, the part that was still his best friend, was screaming that this was wrong. After a moment, he simply said, "I understand."
Lelouch released Kallen and stood to be led away by Suzaku. "Suzaku! No!" Kallen implored.
"This is his choice, Kallen, not mine," Suzaku said as he led Lelouch away, leaving Kallen and C.C. to weep in the ruins of the Sword of Akasha.
Thus it was that while Zero officially died as a hero, Lelouch Lamperouge was completely erased from public record. Legally, he no longer existed. As such, there was little trouble holding him indefinitely in a prison within Tokyo. However, Suzaku did see to it that Lelouch's closest friends were aware of his predicament and that they had access to him; therefore, he was visited frequently for a man who did not exist. However, because of Lelouch's continued perception that he would bring misfortune upon all whom he cared about, he was not entirely comfortable with the arrangement, but appreciated it nonetheless.
Just as Lelouch predicted, there was no end to the secret meetings and arguments between Japan and Britannia over who had the legal right to try him for his crimes. In the immediate aftermath of the war for the sake of keeping the peace, Britannia had allowed Lelouch to be returned to the jurisdiction where his crimes had primarily been carried out. However, soon enough, they argued that since most of his crimes had been against Britannia, he should extradited to the Motherland and put on trial there. Japan, however, insisted that his use of their people as tools (referring particularly to the sacrifice of the JLF) in his own personal war of vengeance was more than enough reason for them to act as his judge. His role in the massacre attributed to Princess Euphemia, though accidental, was also a serious factor to consider. As a result, Lelouch sat in his cell for many months with little news as to what his ultimate fate would be. However, he was far from idle during this time.
It was while in his cell that Lelouch came up with a probable scenario that would vindicate Euphemia from her alleged crimes. To his surprise, Schneizel and Cornelia came all the way to Japan to hear his proposal and didn't even object to accrediting the information to a secret investigation carried out by Zero. Also during this time, it was Lelouch's political savvy combined with Suzaku's and Nunnally's pull within the Empire that allowed the Stadtfeld family to be restored with Kallen as its head. He even was the one who assisted Kallen in the setting up and maintenance of the Kozuki-Stadtfeld Relief Trust. With Lelouch's knowledge of finances, the Trust only grew with time and was able to help far more people that Kallen could ever have imagined.
It didn't take long, however, for Kallen to realize that something special was growing inside of her. It took her nearly two months to work up the courage to tell Lelouch that she was pregnant. Lelouch, was, at first, disappointed at the news, believing that he had once again caused misfortune to someone he loved. Kallen, for her part, was nervous, but nevertheless happy, and wanted Lelouch to be a part of their lives if he were able. She even asked if marriage was a possibility. Lelouch, however, despite wanting to be there for her and his unborn child, was reluctant. He explained that with the restoration of the Stadtfeld name, she could easily take care of herself and the baby without him, and she would have Suzaku to support her as well. In addition, he didn't want Kallen to have to wait for him, particularly when it was likely that he would be executed for his crimes. He certainly didn't want to leave Kallen a widow. The revelation that there were twins growing inside of her only seemed to cement Lelouch's resolve in this matter.
After nearly six months, it was finally decided that a joint trial with representatives from both Japan and Britannia would decide the fate of war criminal, Lelouch Lamperouge. The trial went on for just over four months, only recessing briefly to actually allow Lelouch to be present for the birth of his children. (Again, this was largely due to Nunnally's and Suzaku's influence.)
During the trial, much of the testimony was damning, but what surprised Lelouch were how many people actually testified for him. Nunnally, Kallen and C.C. he had expected. Even Sayoko, Kaguya and Jeremiah he didn't find terribly irregular. But the fact that Ohgi and Tohdoh actually chose to set aside their grievances and testify on his behalf floored him. Even more shocking was that Schneizel and Cornelia implored the court for mercy for their brother. But the most appreciated testimony of all was delivered by his best friend, Suzaku:
"Who among us have any real right to judge this man? Yes, his crimes are many. Some are absolutely contemptible. But are any of us here really that much better. Every Britannian I see here has taken part in campaigns that killed the innocent, that slaughtered unarmed, surrendering soldiers as they begged for mercy. Each of us committed murder and subjugated millions all in order to fulfill the Emperor's mandate of inequality, secure in our belief that what we were doing was righteous. Meanwhile, most of the Japanese I see here were part of resistance groups or the JLF, both of which regularly targeted Britannian civilians. Then, after many of you became Black Knights, even when you had doubts about Zero's commands and actions, you still carried out his orders. He may have been the trigger, but all of you were the gun. And even the people here that were NOT directly responsible for taking innocent lives are guilty by proxy because, either in word or in deed, they supported those of us who committed these acts. We are all just as guilty as Lelouch Lamperouge for what occurred during the war. So before any of you deem yourself worthy of judging him, judge yourself and see how much your own crimes weigh."
When Lelouch later asked Suzaku when he had gotten so eloquent, Suzaku admitted that it was largely Nunnally and Kaguya who had written his little speech. He just needed to have it memorized before it was his turn to speak. As it turned out, this testimony served as a turning point in the trial, and allowed Lelouch a reprieve…sort of. Lelouch was found guilty of his crimes; however, the punishment laid down to him was rather irregular. It was noticed by the court how well the Kozuki-Stadtfeld Relief Trust was assisting in the recovery of the Japanese people, largely due to Lelouch's efforts. It was decided by the court, therefore, that Lelouch's punishment would be to live the rest of his life in service to those he had harmed. Besides the Kozuki-Stadtfeld Relief Trust, a separate equivalent fund would be set up to help Britannians who had lost family during the war; this fund was named the Euphemia li Britannia Relief Fund. While to the public, Kallen and Cornelia, respectively, would officially be in charge of the two relief efforts, both would actually be run by Lelouch. So in the end, Lelouch's punishment was in essence working two full-time jobs that required him to constantly move back and forth between Japan and Britannia.
Kallen was ecstatic about the sentence and pleaded with Lelouch that they should now become a real family. Lelouch, however, was still reluctant. He felt he would mostly be an absentee father and husband, and he didn't want Kallen to suffer through that. Crestfallen, Kallen finally made an ultimatum: either marry her, or she would see to it that he would never have access to see his children ever again. Lelouch started to protest when he realized that as someone who did not legally exist, he wouldn't have much recourse. Therefore, he relented, and he and Kallen were married on the anniversary of the end of the war. Rumors quickly spread that the head of the Stadtfeld family had a secret husband that remained hidden from the outside world.
7 Years Later (…again)
"Yeah, yeah. You know, you don't have to make an ass of me every time you come back to Japan, you know?"
"Well, it's not like I come back so frequently that I get to do it that often," Lelouch sighed as he smiled at his old friend. That was true. Lelouch had just returned from a four month trip to the Britannian Motherland, which had only been interrupted briefly when he came back for one day two months prior to celebrate Kallen's birthday. "Anyway, are the kids still up, or am I too late?"
"Oh, yes. C.C., could you go get the kids and tell them their father is home?" Kallen asked. C.C. merely nodded and left the great hall to find the twins. Meanwhile, Kallen approached her husband who took her into a loving embrace and gave her a sweet and very long kiss.
Suzaku shifted uncomfortably for a few moments before finally uttering, "Uh, yeah. Still here, you two."
Both Lelouch and Kallen grumbled a bit as they released each other and turned to Suzaku. "Oh come now, Suzaku," Lelouch complained, "I haven't seen my wife for months and you can't let us have our little moment. Even when I'm here, I leave before dawn and often don't come back home until late at night. If I didn't work with Kallen, I'd see her so rarely when I come back to Japan that I might as well stay in Britannia all the time."
"Don't even joke about that!" Kallen demanded. "The twins miss there father enough without you never being here."
"Yes, well, curse my luck that my brilliant tactical skills also happen to translate well to world of finances. Otherwise, the court wouldn't have put me in charge of not just one, but the two largest war relief funds of all time. Then, I might actually get more than one day off every other weekend," Lelouch ranted.
"I don't think that's too likely Lelouch. If they hadn't put you in charge of the war relief, they probably would've just killed you," Suzaku pointed out.
"Good point," Lelouch agreed.
"My poor, Lelouch," Kallen said in a mocking tone as she put her arms around his neck. "Still, such financial savvy. I knew there was a good reason I married you."
"You, an heiress to an absolute fortune, married me—a man forced by court order to work two jobs at a salary barely enough to live on—for the money? Kallen, I know I'm supposed to be the one that's the brains of our little dyad, but that's just sad," Lelouch commented, causing Kallen to release him and hit him hard in the shoulder. "Ow! Calm down, Kallen……Anyway, speaking of marriage, your big day is coming up soon, Suzaku. How are you holding up?"
"I could be asking you that, Lelouch," Suzaku said. "You're so protective of you little sister, I keep half-expecting Zero to assassinate me in my sleep."
"The thought has crossed my mind, but Nunnally would be heartbroken. I just couldn't do that to her," Lelouch replied.
"That's…comforting to know," Suzaku said warily. "But you know for sure that you're going to be in Japan next month, right? So you can definitely be my best man?"
Lelouch pondered what Suzaku said for moment prior to saying, "I'm back here in Japan for at least three months, so that's not a problem.…But Suzaku, I have to ask, are you asking me to be your best man because Nunnally would want you to,…or is it what you really want?"
"I know there was alot of bad blood between us, Lelouch. And I know that I'll always have a certain amount of lingering resentment towards you. But I forgive you, and I'll just keep forgiving you everyday for the rest of my life if that's what it takes," Suzaku explained, glancing briefly at Kallen. "You're my best friend, Lelouch. Always have been and always will be. There's no one else I want to stand by my side on my big day."
"Well, then, I accept," Lelouch said with a smile. "Although I don't know if I can be the best man. I have enough trouble being just an adequate man."
"No argument there," Kallen said just as Lulu and Shirley burst into the room, followed closely by C.C.
"Dad!" Lulu exclaimed.
"Daddy! Daddy!" Shirley squealed as Lelouch embraced them both. "Guess what, Daddy!! Lulu and I were playing chess, and I was playing as black, and I was winning!!"
"Really?" Lelouch said with smile at his daughter.
"Nuh-uh," Lulu complained, "There's no way I'd ever let her win."
"I was too winning, Lulu!" Shirley cried as she threw a punch her brother's way, but before a fight could break out, Lelouch pulled them apart.
"Now, that's enough you two!" Lelouch said with a slightly raised tone. "You know that I do not approve of using violence to solve conflicts. Most fights aren't worth what they cost, so use your words first before you ever do something that you might later regret."
"Yes, Daddy," the twins said in unison.
"Anyway," Kallen interjected, "I only let you stay up this late because you both said you wanted to see your father when he first got home. You've seen him, now say goodnight and go to bed."
"Aww, Mom.…" Lulu began.
"Don't 'aww, Mom,' me, young man," Kallen said. "It's already well past you and your sister's bedtime. Now off you go. C.C., could you make sure they actually go to bed?"
"Very well, but I better get paid extra for this," she said as she led the quietly grumbling children upstairs to their rooms.
As she and the twins left, Kallen turned to Lelouch and Suzaku with a slightly confused look on her face and said, "We don't pay her at all."
"Well, that's C.C. for you," Lelouch observed.
"At any rate," Suzaku said, "I should really be taking off, too."
"Oh, Suzaku. Do you have to go so soon?" Kallen asked.
"Yeah, I just came by to confirm that Lelouch would be my best man, and you two look like you need some alone time. Besides, Nunnally's waiting up for me," Suzaku explained, then noticing a death glare from Lelouch continued, "I haven't touched her yet, I swear."
"And you better not until next month," Lelouch remarked in that slightly evil tone that had become his trademark during the war.
"Well, goodnight then, Suzaku," Kallen said, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
"Yes, goodnight," Lelouch repeated, reverting to his normal voice.
"Goodnight, Lelouch, Kallen," Suzaku said as he exited the door, then the door closed behind him and he was gone.
"Now, where were we?" Kallen said seductively as she snaked her arms around her husband, but noticing that his mind seemed to be elsewhere asked, "Lelouch, what's wrong?"
"I don't deserve to be this happy," Lelouch said. "I brought misery to so many people. Now, I can't even be here for my own kids. Half the time I'm half way around the world, and the rest of the time I work 12-14 hour days with only the occasional day off. It seems I was right. Just because my power of Geass is gone, that doesn't mean that the misfortune caused by Geass won't continue to follow me. And those that I love."
"Kallen, In the past four months I've only been with you and the children for one day!" Lelouch exclaimed.
"But what a day it was…" Kallen observed wistfully before suddenly becoming very pensive. "Actually, Lelouch, that's something I need to talk to you about. You see…um…that is to say.…"
"Kallen? What is it?" Lelouch asked as Kallen stumbled over her words.
Kallen had known that she would be nervous when it was time to talk about this to Lelouch. She had resolved to tell him in person, but now that it came to it, she found herself at a loss for words. "Well…it's just that…on my birthday, two months ago…you know, when you came back…"
"You knocked up Kallen during another one-night-stand, Master." C.C. blurted out as she appeared at the top of the steps.
"C.C.!!" Kallen yelled up the stairs. "What the hell are you doing!?"
"Such language. You should keep your voice down or the twins will hear you," C.C. said with a slight grin. "As for what I'm doing, you seemed to be having trouble, so I decided to help you out."
"I'd hardly call what you just said helpful," Kallen said bitterly. "I was trying to make this moment…you know…"
"Special?" C.C. offered. "Well, I think this moment is very special. Just probably not in the way that you anticipated." With that, C.C. then disappeared back up the stairs.
"She is so…infuriating!" Kallen huffed out.
"Of course she is," Lelouch remarked. "That's because she's C.C."
"Yes, I suppose so…" Kallen said, a slight smile returning to her face.
"So, you're pregnant again?" Lelouch asked.
"Yes…" Kallen confirmed, somewhat nervously. "Is that, okay?"
As an answer, Lelouch took her into his arms and held her tight against his body before saying, "Of course. It's better than okay. It's wonderful. I just can't help but feel that this is part of my penance, having such a wonderful family, but barely being able to see them. I deserve such punishment, but not you or the children."
"Lelouch, I don't know if I'm any less guilty than you," Kallen said into Lelouch's chest. "You may have been the trigger, but I was the gun, remember? I'll share your penance for as long as it's yours to bear. As for the children, we'll both just have to do the best we can, and hope that someday they'll understand." Kallen then looked up at Lelouch with a smile. "At any rate, stop being such a downer. This is the best birthday present I've ever gotten."
At this, a slight smirk appeared on Lelouch's face as he said, "Alright, Kallen. But C.C. was right. 'The power of Kings is a lonely one.'"
Kallen continued to smile while saying, "Lonely, perhaps. But at least with us here, Lelouch, you'll never truly be alone." At these words, Lelouch brought Kallen's lips up to his and kissed her, grateful for not being alone.
Afterword: Psych!! Honestly, none of you actually thought I was going to kill Lelouch, did you? Really, how many of you were fooled? (And it doesn't count if you skipped to the end to check if Lelouch was still alive. Lousy cheaters.) Anyway, I feel I must apologize to all the Suzaku X Kallen fans out there—like, all five of you—for dangling in front of you what must have appeared to be a tantalizing morsel. But alas no, this, like my last work, was indeed another Kalulu fic.
Anyway, like I said, this fic is meant to be a speculation about what may happen to the main cast post-series. I'll be the first to admit that some of the assumptions I've made in this story aren't very likely. For one, I'm almost positive that C.C. will get her memories back prior to the end of R2. Also, I suspect that Schneizel is going to turn out to be much more 'evil' than I depicted him in this story. (But I like Schneizel. He has class. I don't want him to be evil.) Also, some may have noticed that I made minor use out of a couple spoilers that have been littering Code Geass message boards for awhile. For those of you who don't read spoilers, I won't point them out, but those of you that do probably picked up on them fairly easily.
As I said in the foreword, one of my inspirations for this story was an anonymous reviewer of my previous story who wanted me to speculate what may happen to Kallen. It occurs to me that he likely meant in-series rather than post-series, but this is the direction that the suggestion took me. The second inspiration came from my dad when I went to his church last week, and he gave a dynamite sermon about forgiveness. (Before anyone asks, yes, my dad is a pastor and yes, that makes me a PK. Which is probably why, ever since high school, so many of my stories revolve around themes of redemption and forgiveness.) My last inspiration was the scene in episode 16 of R2 where Kallen whales on Suzaku and then says she hates him. I felt that scene needed to be fleshed out a bit more, and it became one of the central aspects within my story, with the rest of the story being built around it. Admittedly, a somewhat eclectic group of inspirations, but hopefully they came together in a way that fashioned an enjoyable read.
I also have to say, for being so much shorter than my previous story (only about 1/3 the length), this one I found in many ways more difficult. "Memories of the Rebellion" largely followed the plot of the series thus far, so I already had a rough outline as to how the story would flow. This story though was original, written from scratch, so the planning and outlining phases took forever, especially after I decided to flashback and flash-forward again. The process of writing over half the story while making it sound as if Lelouch had killed himself when he really hadn't was also extremely difficult. Trying to use clever phases and various verb tenses that made it sound like he was gone without ever confirming it was not easy, and I'm interested in knowing how well I pulled it off. (That's a request to all of you that review.) Finally, unlike my last story, this one contained alot of dialogue, which has always been difficult for me. I prefer stories where I can take one character and stick with him/her for long periods of time, but dialogue requires one to constantly switch your point-of-view. As a result, I've always found large amounts of dialogue troublesome.
Finally, I would like to apologize for using two fanfiction clichés that have been done to death. First: a main character having twins after the series ends. I originally only planned for Lelouch and Kallen to have one kid, but then I realized that by having twins, I could name them 'Lelouch Naoto' and 'Shirley Euphemia.' Since three of the four names were of characters known to be deceased, it made it seem (in my mind) more likely that Lelouch was dead as well. Second: a main character announcing that she's pregnant at the end of the story. The whole reason I did this was because I got a line in my head with C.C. telling Lelouch that he had knocked Kallen up, but with C.C. being all moe immediately post-series (according to this story), I couldn't use the line when Kallen first became pregnant, even though I wanted to. So instead, I had Kallen get pregnant a second time after C.C. regained her original personality and used the line there. This was purely self-serving for my own entertainment, so I'm sorry if some of you find it tasteless. But then again, isn't writing for your own enjoyment part of what makes fanfiction great?
Anyway, once again, this is youngde, signing off.