Disclaimer: I don't own anything
'get out of my head!!'-Normal thought
Geass vs. Geass (with backup)
Suzaku Kuurugi sighed as he leaned back on the couch. It had been a long day in his opinion. The battle last night had kept him up for a while. First there was the veritable massacre of the JLF, then there was the appearance of the Black Knights, and that red frame that seemed to be every bit the Lancelot's equal in every way. The Gurren Mrk. II, as Lloyd and Cecile had called it.
'I wonder just what kind of pilot it has. Whoever it is, they're certainly just as good as me. And… I wonder just what made someone like that join Zero? What do they see in him?'
"Hey, Suzaku! Wake up! You there buddy?"
Suzaku's eyes flashed open, he wasn't even aware that they were closed, to see a hand waving in front of his face.
"Oh… Sorry Rivalz. I guess I haven't been getting much sleep lately" he apologized to his blue-haired friend. He and the student council had been in a meeting and it seemed he had dozed off. Well, almost all of the student council, Lelouch and Shirley were absent. Lelouch he could understand; his old friend never seemed to be around. But Shirley?
"Geez Suzaku, at this rate you're gonna end up being like Lelouch. You're dozing off almost as often as he does" Milly spoke up from her place next to the window.
"Hey, give me a break!" Suzaku retorted, "I'm a soldier remember? Sometimes we need to stay up late for our duties. And at least I'm not skipping class like Lelouch"
"Yeah, I guess you have a point. I don't have any idea what that slacker does that could take up so much time" the blonde replied in agreement.
"Oh, by the way Suzaku," Rivalz said, "I heard that there was some action by the harbor district last night. Know anything about that?"
"Ah, well there was a battle there last night" the Suzaku replied. He didn't really see any harm in telling his friends about the battle he had been in last night. They were just civilians after all. "We got a tip that the Japanese Liberation Front, or what was left of it anyway, was going to try to flee to the Chinese Federation with a tanker full of liquid Sakuradite. Naturally, Princess Cornelia-" Suzaku was cut off from his explanation as the phone on the coffee table in front of him rang.
Seeing as he was the closest to the phone, Suzaku picked it up.
"Hello? Ashford Academy Student Council"
"Suzaku, it's me" came a familiar voice over the line.
"Oh, Lelouch. How's it going?"
"I'm doing okay. Listen, is there anything odd going on there?"
"Yeah, you're not here. Listen Lelouch, you're gonna have to stop cutting classes like this. Your grades are gonna start dropping like a brick" Suzaku joked as he scolded his friend.
"Yeah, sorry about that. I'll try to show up more"
"Well, to answer your question, not much. Oh yeah, you wouldn't happen to know where Shirley is would you? She never showed up today" Suzaku asked, so caught up in his conversation that he didn't notice a certain dark-furred cat approaching him and trying to bat at the phone cord.
"Hm… No, I haven't seen her since the last meeting" Lelouch answered, "By the way, can you give a message to Nunnally for me? I'm not going to be back until late tonight"
"Sure thing, I'll do that" Now the cat was eyeing him.
"By the way Lelouch, you know about president's plan-" That was when the cat pounced.
"By the way Lelouch, you know about the president's plan- GAAH! Arthur, stop it! OW! Arthur!"
"Uh, Suzaku?" Lelouch asked into his cell phone, only for the line to cut out.
"Well, that was odd" Lelouch said as he hung up, turning around in his swivel chair to face Naruto and C.C. The former was leaning up against the wall next to the door to his office while the latter was lounging on his bed in the Black Knight's mobile HQ.
"In any event, Suzaku didn't seem to know anything, so that eliminates one important group; The Military"
"Yeah, and now we have a chance to intercept whoever was there before the military gets wind of it" Naruto added.
"Yes, but the military was also the most obvious group. It's hard to think of any other possibilities"
"Maybe it was a surviving member of the JLF?" C.C. suggested, feigning disinterest.
"Not likely" Naruto spoke up, "Even if any of those soldiers managed to jump ship during the assault, I highly doubt anyone could get far enough away before the Sakuradite went off. Besides, if they reported something like that to any surviving resistance groups, Kyoto would get wind of it and Lord Kirihara would contact us"
"Meaning that it could only be a civilian" Lelouch concluded. "It could be some random dock worker that got caught up in the chaos"
"I don't think so" Naruto said, "I think that phone call gave us our first suspect"
"What do you mean?" C.C. asked. Lelouch on the other hand, already had a good idea.
"Suzaku said that Shirley was missing, and Lelouch thought he saw her there last night. I'm pretty sure I saw her too when I was taking out that straggler before the operation"
"Why didn't you do something about that?!" Lelouch asked, obviously miffed. "You took care of that Britannian soldier, so why didn't you get her out of there? Or at least tell me?"
"I'm sorry! I didn't think she was anyone important, it's not like I'm familiar with your friends. I thought she'd get out of there once the fighting started, and I was already running late when I took out that soldier"
"Alright Alright. I see your point. In any event, we need to confirm whether she knows or not and proceed from there" Lelouch spoke as he got up, putting on his helmet as he moved to the door.
"So… we start with Ashford then?" C.C. asked as she got up to follow him out.
"Want me to come too?" Naruto asked.
"You might as well. We'll probably need your help at some point" Lelouch answered as he opened the door.
Nodding, Naruto donned his own mask as he fell into step with his companions, walking alongside Lelouch while C.C. walked behind.
As they left the trailer however, Naruto spoke in a low voice.
"You do realize you may have to use your Geass on her, or worse?"
"Yes. I just hope it doesn't come to that" Lelouch answered with a grimace.
"…and based on these photos hear, we can conclude with certainty that the red Knightmare is indeed the Gurren Mrk. II, a product of Indian scientist Rakshata Crawly" Cecile Croomy finished.
She was currently sitting in the main conference room of the Government Bureau at the large table with the second Princess and her generals. Lloyd sat next to her as she gave her superiors a detailed briefing on what the two of them had learned from their observations on the battle the night before. Cecile had to admit, she was a bit on edge. This was the first time she had met Princess Cornelia in person, and the second princess certainly gave off a foreboding presence.
"And what about that other elite Knightmare frame included in the report?" Gilbert G.P. Guilford, Cornelia's personal Knight asked. "What were you able to gather about that?"
At this, Lloyd stood up, pressing a few keys on the built-in computer in the table in front of him, bringing up several images on the large screen at the front of the room. The pictures of the Gurren Mrk. II were replaced by pictures of that new black and red machine.
"We believe that this machine is designed around much the same concept as our Lancelot. It's fast, agile, and excels at close range melee combat with swords"
Continuing, Cecile brought up a few more pictures, most blurred somewhat from the machine moving so much when they were taken.
"This Knightmare is obviously geared towards close-to-medium range combat. Its weapons seem to consist of a katana…" She brought up a close-up of said weapon slicing through a Sutherland, "…a medium-range, heavy machine gun…" an image came up of the black Knightmare holding the sword-like gun, "…four slash harkens mounted on the wrists and shoulder joints, as well as what appear to be a heavy rifle and a large claymore…" she finished as she brought up an image of the machine's back, showing the two weapons behind its shoulders.
"Finally, we believe its primary weapon to be this" she brought up a screen showing a video taken from one of the harbors security camera. The video showed a trio of Sutherlands on the dock, trying to recover from the Sakuradite blast. Suddenly, a hail of machinegun fire came out of the mist, shredding two of the Knightmares. Then, the black Knightmare leapt out of the smoke, driving what seemed to be an orb of dark-reddish energy into the final Sutherland. "We believe this weapon system to be similar to the Gurren's Radiant Wave Surger, except that instead of grabbing the enemy and bombarding it with high-intensity microwaves, this system simply forms a large sphere of energy and drives it into the enemy unit, followed by its detonation. In short, it appears to be far more concentrated and destructive then almost any Knightmare weapon used in the field to date"
The body of generals and commanders began murmuring amongst themselves, unrest clearly present.
"Also, as you can see from the pictures, this unit lacks any form of landspinner"
"Then how was it able to move? I heard reports saying it was moving like no Knightmare we've seen before!" General Darlton asked from his seat.
This time it was Lloyd who answered.
"We believe that movement is achieved through some kind of thruster system on the legs. It would allow the machine to float over the ground, moving in any direction it pleases, giving it far more movement options then landspinner-equipped Knightmares. Not to mention the fact that it would allow the machine to move over water as we saw, it's probably how it got across the bay. It's genius really. Far superior to our landspinners"
Several people in the room seemed displeased at the eccentric Earl's praise of enemy technology.
"In any event," Guilford started. "Do you know anything else about its capabilities? A weakness perhaps?"
Cecile shook her head.
"As far as we can tell, this machine is just as powerful as the Lancelot. And its pilot seems to be just as skilled as Major Kururugi. The only other bit of information we have on it we got from this radio message we intercepted" With that, she pressed a key on her computer. The speakers in the room filled with static as audio began to play. The words were a bit garbled, but still clear enough to hear.
"…This is Raven, All forces pull back! Enemy reinforcements are inbound and Zero's unit is down! I repeat, all Black Knights initiate full retreat!"
"…What about Zero?"
"Don't worry, I'm on it. Musashi still has plenty of power. In the meantime, get out of here! We'll be right behind you!"
"Based on this, we can assume the machines codename and at least who its pilot is"
"Who is this 'Raven' anyway? Is it a codename?" Darlton spoke up as the transmission ended.
This time it was the head of intelligence, an MI6 representative, that spoke up.
"According to the rumors around the ghettos, this 'Raven' is the name of Zero's first Lieutenant. He seems to have joined them soon after the battle of Narita, and has apparently been Zero's right hand man ever since. Some even call him Zero's personal Knight"
"Well, that would correspond with your findings at Narita. Are you sure this is the same machine?"
"We are positive of that sir"
"And what would you think your machine's chances of defeating this one are?" this time it was Princess Cornelia herself who spoke.
Cecile grimaced, already knowing the answer. They all knew the answer really. They had all seen the damage reports that that monster had caused. At least 25 Sutherlands and Gloucesters, destroyed in just under five minutes. It was a feat of piloting rivaled only by the legendary Knights of the Round themselves.
No matter how you slice it, while the Black Knights may have been outnumbered, they were by no means outmatched.
"You know, it's kind of ironic what we're doing considering that most girls in this school would love the fact that you'd go through their things" Naruto said as he rummaged around Shirley's desk while hacking her computer at the same time.
Lelouch scowled as he picked through the orange haired girl's closet. So far, they hadn't found anything. Since returning to Ashford, he and Naruto had changed back into their civilian clothes, Lelouch into his normal street clothes and Naruto into a black and red jacket and a dark-orange T-shirt along with dark pants and tennis shoes, and gone with C.C. to try and locate Shirley. Needless to say, she was nowhere to be found.
So now, the odd trio was tearing through her room, while Shirley's Geass'ed roommate stood guard outside. Lelouch was digging through the girl's closet while Naruto took her desk and computer and C.C. took anywhere else.
Lelouch 'humph'ed in response to Naruto's quip as he continued to dig through a large pile of unsorted clothing trying to find any kind of secret box or whatever. C.C. just chuckled from under the bed.
Not hearing a response, Naruto just went back to feeling around the shelves around the desk while looking through the computer files.
"Let's see… Homework, Music files, pictures of Lelouch, yaoi doujins, more homework, emails from Nina, project papers, yaoi fanart, some research links, more pictures of Lelouch, emails from Kallen, links to yaoi fanfiction sites, love letters to Lelouch, emails from parents, some flash games, yuri fanart and doujin link from Milley (copy's to disk), even more pictures of Lelouch, more links to yaoi fanart sites… and some school pictures. Well, apart from being your stalker and a yaoi fangirl, I don't see anything out of the ordinary here" Naruto finished as he subtly slipped a disc into his coat, seemingly unaware of how Lelouch now had a very obvious 'WTFH?!!' look on his face, and C.C. only looked a little less weirded out, though that might have been because of the extensive shounen-ai manga collection she found under the girl's bed.
"Not much else that I can…" Naruto trailed off as he pulled on one of the drawers on her desk, only to find it locked.
"Hm…" Naruto mused as he yanked on the handle a few times, then swiftly drew what appeared to be a small pole-axe from his trench-coat and smashed it into the lock, effectively breaking it.
Lelouch sweatdropped. For being such a subtle person sometimes, Naruto seemed to just love smashing things. Nonetheless, he and C.C. walked over as Naruto pulled the entire drawer out and set it on the desk.
"It looks like… some letters… a time schedule and… a diary. Well, this might prove useful" Naruto said as he handed Lelouch the diary and C.C. the schedule while he looked through the letters himself.
Lelouch sighed as he looked through the diary. More obvious information that she was infatuated with him. He didn't really care. Most girls at the school were no different. But what was odd was the fact that there was nothing in it from a few days ago forward.
"Ahh crap" Naruto drawled in a nonchalant way as he looked over the letter in his hand. "Looks like she knows"
"Are you sure?" Lelouch asked, his face clearly showing apprehension. If Shirley did know about his identity, and she was nowhere to be found… that could only be bad. For all he knew she might have gone to the police with this information. Or worse, the military.
"Ahem, "I can't believe it. It just… It just doesn't make any sense! Lelouch... the boy I've known for years, and who I've fallen in love with… is Zero! He's the terrorist that killed Dad! How could he do this? Why? Why would he do such a thing?" it goes on to mention how she found out, but you get the idea" Naruto finished as he folded the letter back up.
"Does she say were she might be going? Or whether she's told anyone" Lelouch asked.
"No, and I don't think she's told anyone yet. Based on these letters, I'd say she's pretty confused right now. She doesn't want to believe what she saw, and so she hasn't told anyone yet. I think she's trying to wait to confront you about it or something before she tells anyone. It does mention she met up with some weird guy who said that he'd help her, but I don't think she was interested. Sorry, I don't have any idea"
"I do" C.C. spoke up from looking at the time schedule. "Look at this" she said as she showed the book to her companions, pointing to one row, "Today, at 5:30; Narita"
"Well, that's certainly a place to start" Lelouch said, nodding, "We'll head there next"
"'kay. By the way, you want me to burn these?" Naruto asked as he held up the letters.
"Yes" Lelouch agreed as he pocketed Shirley's diary in his coat, "Well, the next train for Narita leaves in thirty minutes. We can make that" the dark-haired teen continued as he checked his watch as the trio left the room.
"Well, let's go then"
"Hm" C.C. agreed in a disinterested manner.
"You did remember to tell your mind-slave to go back to her duties right?"
"Oh crap! I'll be right back"
The terrorist, his immortal lieutenant, and his immortal girlfrien-er I mean, 'accomplice' walked casually out of the Ashford dorms, heading to the main gate.
"So what do you plan to do about this?" C.C. asked. "You know you won't likely be able to bring her to your side"
"So does that mean you'll use your Geass? Or are you going to-"
"Mes-sage on the blowing wind"
"Sorry, that's me" Naruto spoke up as he pulled his cell phone from his pocket, ignoring the odd looks Lelouch and C.C. were giving him about his ring-tone. "Ah, it's one of my contacts"
"Hey what's up?" he spoke into the mouth piece as he hit the 'answer' button.
Silence followed as the person on the other line said something.
"Yeah, I'm in Tokyo now"
As the person on the other line spoke, Naruto's eyes suddenly widened.
They soon turned serious as Naruto spoke again.
"Yeah. Thanks for the intell…"
With that, Naruto ended the call, turning immediately to his friends.
"Lelouch, I have to go. An MI6 team tracked down my contact, and I need to go help him"
Lelouch was taken aback for a second. Seeing Naruto this serious was a rare occasion, but he soon schooled his expression.
"Alright. Do what you have to"
The blonde nodded back as he turned to run off.
"I'll call you as soon as I'm finished!" he yelled back as he ran off into the city.
"Well then, let's go" Lelouch said as he and C.C. started walking towards the train station.
"Lelouch. There's something I want to ask you" C.C. spoke as the two sat across from each other in the train compartment, the Japanese landscape rolling by outside.
"What?" Lelouch replied, gazing absently out the window.
"Your friend, Naruto, how much do you know about him?"
"Do you not trust him?" Lelouch asked.
"You didn't answer my question"
"Hm. Not much" Lelouch relented.
C.C. didn't reply, instead she simply returned her gaze to the window, though Lelouch could clearly make out a troubled expression on her face.
"What do you know about him?" he asked, echoing her question.
The green-haired girl mimicked his reaction as she seemed to be debating whether to answer him or not, but she seemed to relent after a few seconds.
"You don't know this, but Naruto is well known among immortal's like myself, and the Geass Directorate"
"It's an organization created for the research and control of the power known as Geass, as well as a safe haven for those cursed by its power. I was the leader of it a while back"
"Hm" Lelouch mused as he thought about that. An organization centered solely around Geass? That might be something worth looking into at some point.
"Anyway, Naruto has had dealings with the Directorate for a long time, but only occasionally. It's how I know him"
"And what's your point witch?"
"I'm getting to that, boy. I said Naruto has had dealings with the Directorate for a while, but he has never joined, nor has he had any intention to join. That in of itself is nothing special. Plenty of immortals live around the world as hermits. It's who or rather what Naruto is that makes him so special"
"Oh?" Lelouch asked, curious.
"Naruto is unlike any immortal that has ever existed. He possesses immortality, and the ability to induce mental shocks and is immune to Geass like other contract givers, but he also possesses Geass abilities too, something that no immortal has"
"So people like you can give out Geass, but can't possess one yourself?"
"Exactly. But he can. The directorate has been documenting his abilities as much as it can for a long time, and from what they found, he can use every possible Geass ability to some degree, something else that should be impossible. You can't have more then one Geass ability, even if you should try to make a second contract with another immortal, it wouldn't work"
"Yes. I said that he has had dealings with the Geass Directorate with a long time. To be exact, he's had dealings with it since it was created. In fact, it's believed that he was a mentor to its first Grandmaster and founder"
"And how long ago was that?"
"It was created in Athens, by Pearicles"
Lelouch's eyes widened slightly. "So you're saying that he's over 2,500 years old?"
"Older actually. The directorate has found archeological evidence tracing his existence back as far as the early Egyptian era, over 5,500 years ago. And even then, he continues to appear in the same manner he is now. That makes him the oldest living being on the planet"
"So what you're saying, is that you don't trust him"
C.C.'s eyes narrowed, as if trying to disagree, but she didn't say anything.
"That person is quite easily the most powerful being on the planet, and he has never sworn total allegiance to any cause. You'd be a fool to think you can order him around like you can the others. The only reason he follows you is because he wants to"
Lelouch seemed to take all this in slowly, still a bit surprised at what this strange girl had just told him. In fact, it didn't just seem like she mistrusted the blonde, it seemed like she was almost… afraid of him.
He started chuckling. At that thought, and another.
"What's so funny?" C.C. asked, sounding slightly miffed.
"I always knew that I couldn't order Naruto around like the others. And I trust him because he's my friend, and I know him. A lot more then you do too. So don't worry. In fact, I'd say you might actually be afraid of him"
C.C. seemed a little flustered by that comment, but didn't reply.
The two sat in silence for the next few minutes, just watching the world pass by outside the window.
"By the way…" C.C. started.
"When Naruto was staying with you and Nunnally, did he happen to have a cat with him?"
"Uh… yeah actually. Why?"
Lelouch's eyes narrowed. C.C. was obviously trying to hide something with that comment, but he'd let it slide for now.
"Arrival at Narita in: Five minutes. All passengers, please prepare to disembark"
The air whipped past his face, his blonde hair covered by the black motorcycle helmet. Serious blue eyes narrowed behind the goggles on his face.
He was running late.
His hair and face were covered by the aforementioned helmet and goggles, while a large duffle-bag was strapped to his back.
"Hey, what's up?"
"Naruto, I have some information I think you should know about. Are you in Japan?"
"Yeah, I'm in Tokyo now"
"Alright. I found out that a Geass user just flew in there the other day from the Chinese Federation. He's a Mind-reader by the name of Mao. He's pretty messed up from what I heard. You might want to watch out for him"
"I don't know. But I do know that he was one of C.C.'s contract holders, and is near-obsessed over her. He might come after her and Lelouch at some point"
"Alright, thanks for the intell"
Now, he was tearing along the road in his custom high-speed motorcycle. He knew that this guy wouldn't be able to read his mind, but even so, the special equipment he brought with him would help. He couldn't even warn Lelouch either. And this guy… an insane Geass user obsessed with C.C… Definitely a bad situation. There was no telling what he would do, and Lelouch was ill prepared to go up against someone like this, especially with no warning.
Lelouch… C.C…. He'd be damned again before he let something happen to those two, to his charges.
'Taking such an interest in a pair of mortals? This isn't like you Naruto'
Despite his foul mood, the blonde gave a small smile at the soft, melodious, yet almost monotonous voice in his head.
'You know what I mean. They have to be the ones'
'Are you sure?'
'Their background… their existing connection… the timing… it's too good to just be coincidence. We're almost out of time as is. And neither of us believe in coincidence'
'Yes… It is almost time. Then we can finally return… my Naruto-kun'
Naruto shivered as he felt the sensation of long, slender arms wrapping around his neck, and a warm body pressing against his back. Then… just as quickly as it came, it was gone, leaving Naruto missing it already. Giving another soft smile, Naruto patted the small warmth mass hiding in his jacket pocket, before looking up at an oncoming road sign.
Lake Kawaguchi-20 kilometers
Naruto's scowl returned as he gunned the engine further.
Narita… It seemed like forever since he had last been here. In reality, it had been only three weeks since the battle. It seemed like the clean up was still in progress down in the city. Up on the mountain however, the mud and wreckage left by the Black Knight's rampage down the slopes had been cleared away. It almost looked exactly as it did before. Well, almost. Up the mountain slope, nearing the peak, was a memorial erected by the Britannians. Or at least that was what the area map mounted in the station had said.
Lelouch shook his head at that. It was just more of Britannia's PR campaign to justify crushing a people who were only fighting to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
'Huh. I actually sounded like Suzaku just then'
Hearing the footsteps behind him, Lelouch turned to find C.C. standing in front of him, munching on some random junk food she had bought from the food court at the station. Food bought with his money too.
"Well?" she spoke, her voice mumbled by the fries in her mouth.
"I asked around. A few of the station workers remember seeing her here a few hours ago, but nothing more. Nobody saw her leave though" the teen answered as he grabbed the giant pretzel she had been holding and began munching on it himself.
"Hey. That's mine!"
"Too bad. You bought all this with my money. I'm obligated to at least some of it. Anyway, what did you find?"
"The same, more or less. A few saw her come here, nobody's seen her leave, nothing else" the girl replied. "In any event, I think we should split up. We'll cover more ground that way" she continued, gesturing towards the map.
"Do you even know what Shirley looks like?"
C.C. merely reached into her pocket, pulling out a picture of the orange-haired girl with Milly and Nina that she had obviously pilfered from the girl's room.
"Is she the stupid one, the annoying one, or the slutty one?" she said as she indicated Shirley, Nina and Milly in said order.
Lelouch rolled his eyes at her nicknames, though in all actuality, it was a rather apt description of the trio. He'd actually been of a similar opinion of the three girls. Shirley usually was a naive idiot, Nina was pretty annoying, and despite his cordial friendship with her, he still would be the first to admit that Milly flirted with practically everyone around her, male and female. In fact, if he didn't know any better, he'd think she was bi. He was pretty sure a good number of the student body thought that.
"The stupid one" he replied as he took a bite of the pretzel.
"Hm. As I thought" C.C. replied. "Well then, I'll take the east side of the reconstruction area, you'll take the west side, and we'll just work our way towards the memorial park. How's that sound?"
"Sounds good" Lelouch agreed. With that, he turned and started walking towards the exit, C.C. at his side.
"Oh, and if you do find her, don't kill her" Lelouch said in an almost exasperated tone.
"Please. Who do you think I am? Naruto?"
He had been walking around the reconstruction area for the better part of thirty minutes and had seen neither hide nor hair of Shirley.
Lelouch sighed as he ran his hand through his hair, a habit he had picked up from Naruto, in defeat. Where the hell was she?
Lelouch's thoughts were broken by the ringing of a cell phone, his to be precise.
'I wonder who that is? I don't remember giving that witch my number. Though in retrospect I probably should'
As he took the phone out of his pocket, the teen's eyes widened at the recognized name the phone was displaying.
Opening the phone and bringing it to his ear, Lelouch steeled himself for the worst. There was no telling how the girl would react.
A pause. Then something he wasn't expecting.
"Hello there… Lulu" the boy's eyes widened at the sound of an unfamiliar, obviously male voice.
"Who is this? How did you get Shirley's phone?" Lelouch spoke, trepidation quickly entering his voice as a new possibility became apparent, one that explained Shirley's disappearance. And if Naruto's contact was being shadowed by MI6, could that mean that they the military really did know?
"Well now. That's not very polite" the man replied. Lelouch scowled. He was clearly mocking him. And the voice… it didn't seem like that of a military agent. It had a random, unpredictable tone to it. Something common in people not entirely stable.
"Where are you? Where's Shirley?"
"Well, I don't really feel like answering the second one. But as for the first one, you could always look behind you"
"Huh?" Lelouch spoke as he turned behind him to find a man walking up to him, Shirley's phone pressed to his ear. The man was waving to him in an odd manner.
The man was in his late twenties, and was garbed in slightly odd clothing. Over a non-descript pair of pants and shirt, he wore a large white trench-coat, along with gray leather gloves. His hair was a pale whitish-silver, and fell around his head in a random and messy fashion, along with a bit sticking up above his forehead. Finally, his eyes were obscured by a thick visor that seemed to reach around his entire head. Lelouch scowl morphed into a mild grimace. He was obviously not in the military, or connected with it. But at the same time, that visor would prevent him from using his Geass on him.
"Just who are you?" Lelouch asked, shutting the phone off. "And what have you done with Shirley?"
"My my. That's no way to greet your new friend. But I suppose its befitting of a terrorist like yourself" Lelouch's eyes widened again at that remark. So he knew about him? Could that mean that he was the one Shirley mentioned in her letter?
"You haven't answered my question" he said flatly.
"Yes, I suppose I haven't. Well then… Lulu, I guess you can call me… Mao"
"Mao huh? Well then, what have you done with Shirley?" Lelouch continued, a little weirded out at the nickname the man was using. When Shirley used it, it was just annoying but hearing it from this guy was just plain creepy.
"Well… If you want to know where your dear Shirley is that badly… Then how about we play a little game then?"
"Yes. Just a little game of chess. You do think you can beat me of course, don't you?"
Lelouch frowned. It wasn't that he doubted his own abilities, it was something about the man in front of him. Something about him seemed… off. Like he wasn't entirely stable. And with him unable to use his Geass… that didn't bode well. Sure, Naruto had taught him some CQC, but this guy could have a gun for all he knew.
"Alright then. Where?" Lelouch decided that at this point it was best to just play along, for now.
"Splendid! Splendid!" Mao clapped in an odd fashion, something that only reinforced Lelouch's suspicions about his mental stability. "Just follow me" With that he turned and walked towards the tram station. Lelouch followed, very tense at this point.
'I hope I know what I'm doing. Not like I have much of a choice though'
"Excuse me, have you seen this girl around here recently?" C.C. said in her usual monotonous tone to a some random man walking his cross-country motorcycle as she showed him the picture, indicating Shirley in it.
"The orange-haired one?"
The man's face scrunched up as he examined the photo.
"Hm… Yeah… I think I saw her near the station. I think she was heading for the tram station with some guy with her, but that was about two hours ago" he said as he pointed to the tram station nearby.
"Well, thanks anyway" C.C. replied as she pocketed the photo and looked over to the station.
And just as she did, her eyes widened as she saw the two people walking towards a waiting car. Lelouch, the boy whom she would admit was unlike almost anyone she had ever met, following a very familiar man with silver hair.
'No… Not him. Anyone but him!'
'What… Just who is this guy?'
Lelouch stared at the chessboard in disbelief. This man… the man sitting across from him giving him an odd, but smug grin had beaten him. Not just beaten him, he had demolished him.
"Who are you?" he asked, shock clearly evident in his voice.
"Oh like I said, I'm Mao" the man replied as he waved his finger like a parent scolding a disobedient child. Again, clearing taunting him.
Suppressing a scowl, Lelouch's gaze returned to the board, trying to find some way of explaining how this man had beaten him so easily. Not even Schnicizel had ever been able to read him moves like this. It was like this man knew every move he was going to make as soon as he did. Wait…
"…I've found that Geass users tend to be drawn to one another for some reason or another" Naruto's words echoed through his mind.
Lelouch couldn't help the small, victorious smirk that briefly graced his face as he spoke, or rather thought.
'You can read my thoughts, can't you?'
Mao began laughing in a manner that seemed just a little insane to Lelouch as he clapped in that odd manner.
"Ah ha ha ha. So the wayward prince finally figured me out eh? Well, I suppose you didn't become such an infamous terrorist by being stupid now did you?"
He seemed to calm down some as his hand reached up to the visor that obscured his eyes.
"Though I have to say, that little gift you have must have come in handy too. We are oh so similar you and I" he said as he pulled the visors down, revealing two very familiar sigils in his eyes.
'Geass! I knew it!' Lelouch thought as he quickly activated his own power. He had to make this quick. Unfortunately, Mao was quicker.
"Oh no you don't!" the man said as he quickly replaced the visor, obscuring his eyes behind the tinted plastic and rendering Lelouch's Geass useless. "I heard what you were thinking before when we met. You were complaining to yourself how you wouldn't be able to use your Geass on me with these visors on. I know all your tricks… Lulu"
Lelouch 'tch'ed in frustration at his failure before speaking.
"Yeah well, I played your game. So where's Shirley. You said you'd tell me where she was if I played your game"
"Oh but of course" Mao replied as he turned his head to the window behind him. As Lelouch followed his gaze, he realized that they were coming into the tram station at the top of the mountain. "In fact, she's right there" He finished as he gestured to the back window of the car as it stopped.
Lelouch's eyes widened as he saw Shirley, pacing slowly back and forth at the top of the platform.
"Shirley!" with that he jumped up from his seat, running out the opening doors onto the platform steps to face her. "Are you o-" Lelouch was cut off as Shirley pointed a very familiar gun at him. His gun. The one he had been carrying during the Tokyo Harbor operation.
If there was any doubt in his mind that Shirley knew who he was, that crushed it.
"Shirley… what are you doing?" even knowing that Shirley was aware that he had been the one responsible for her father's death, Lelouch was surprised that she would ever go this far. Was she that angry at him? He took a few steps forward, only to stop as she raised the gun at him.
His thoughts were broken as she spoke. Spoke in a weak voice as her hands began to shake even as they held the gun.
"Lulu… why? How could you do this?"
"That… that gun is…"
"Yes. It's Zero's gun… Your gun Lulu"
'Yeah… she knows alright. Damn it!'
"Yes. 'Damn it' indeed" Mao said as he walked out of the car, standing a few feet behind him. "Now that she knows who you are, you'll have no choice but to kill her, and that can be such a mess to clean up, even with your Geass"
Shirley's eyes widened as he spoke, and her fingers began shaking, like she was already preparing to pull the trigger.
'Damn. Now I get it! This is all just a sick, twisted game for him! He uses his Geass to read her mind, and because he knows what she's thinking it makes her easier to control. He's trying to set Shirley off and get her to kill me!' Lelouch's mind was racing at this point. He had to do something. Maybe he could talk her out of it, talk some sense into her…
"Shirley, don't listen to this guy! I'm your friend here! He's only trying to use you!"
"Oh? I'm trying to use her? Just like you used her?" Mao cut him off. This really was so amusing to him. "At least I'm truthful with her. Unlike you who simply lied to her again and again. All those times you pushed her away… you were too busy plotting the destruction of Britannia and the killing of its soldiers. People like her father"
Those words alone had a definite effect on Shirley.
"No… Lulu really were planning all this weren't you? You wanted to kill people! All those people!"
'Damn. She's far too unstable. The worst part is… he's right. He's being truthful with her while I've been lying to her all this time. At this rate… I probably will have to use my Geass'
"Oh no you don't" Mao spoke up. "You best not use your Geass, or I'll just have to kill you both. That wouldn't make this much fun now would it?" he continued as he drew his own gun from his pocket, pointing it to Lelouch.
'Damn it! What now? I can't make any plans in my head. He'll just read them. Is his Geass that powerful? Does it have any limits at all? A time limit? A delayed reaction? Anything?'
"Yes. Keep thinking Lelouch. Keep thinking. Its what you do best after all. Thoughts spinning round and round and roun-"
"Shut up damn it!" Lelouch yelled. This guy… his mind reading may have been able to let him control a weak-minded person like Shirley, but to someone like Lelouch it only served to be an annoyance, a very big annoyance.
"Heh. This is a fitting death. Poetic justice for a thief like you"
The boy's eyes widened at Shirley's weak voice, though it held a small amount of strength born from demented determination.
"We'll die together. We'll both atone for our sins"
"Yes. Yes. Sinners must be punished"
"Do you ever shut up?!"
"Oh I'm sorry. But this is just so fun. Controlling peoples lives is just oh so amusing. Wouldn't you agree?"
'Damn. I need to talk some sense into her'
Shirley's hands were now shaking so much, Lelouch wondered whether or not she could hit him.
"If you think murder is a sin, then this definitely counts as one. You call that atonement?"
"Oh yes, I like your rhetoric. So dramatic"
"N-No… Your wrong" Shirley's voice was now quivering
"Ah, but there's a problem with your logic Lelouch. If she kills you that's murder, but if she takes her own life wouldn't that even the scales?"
Shirley's eyes widened, before setting into the shaky determination from before, and more importantly, her hands stopped shaking.
'Great. I was right. This is all some sick game for him. He's trying to make Shirley kill me then commit suicide. I can't get through to Shirley, and if I use my Geass he'll know and then he'll shoot me. What can I do? It can't end like this!'
Shirley's fingers pressed onto the trigger.
'Think damn it! Think!'
A shot rang out in the tram station.
Lelouch's eyes widened, but not in pain, as no bullet had hit him. In shock. Mao's eyes did the same, as did Shirley's own as the gun in her hands was split to pieces.
Lelouch complied, instantly dropping too his knees as another shot came out from the woods to their left, this one aimed right at Mao's head. The crazed man had apparently heard the message because he ducked just in time, the bullet just taking off his visors and cutting his forehead.
Hearing the tinted plastic clattering to the ground, Lelouch spun, hoping to catch Mao's unprotected eyes with his Geass. Unfortunately, he wasn't fast enough, and Mao was already leaping over the railing at the bottom of the platform, sliding down the tracks as he tried to make for the woods.
But even as he did, Naruto had already burst from the woods onto the platform, a high-powered sniper rifle in his hands with C.C. right behind him.
Rushing past Lelouch, Naruto stopped at the bottom of the platform, taking aim and firing off several more rounds at the retreating form of Mao. Though some did hit the man, none were enough to slow him down or kill him.
With Mao out of sight and his magazine empty, Naruto lowered the rifle, an annoyed look on his face.
"Bastard's quick on his feet, I'll give him that"
Turning, he found Lelouch getting to his feet, brushing dust off of his pants.
"Yeah, I'm fine" Lelouch answered as he nodded to the blonde. Suddenly remembering Shirley, he turned around to find the girl being restrained by C.C., the former looking more and more fearful by the second while the latter simply looked annoyed at her struggling.
"Are you going to kill her?" Naruto asked as they approached.
"No. She's been caught up in something she never should have been. She's still my friend, and for her own safety, she doesn't need to know about any of this"
As he stood in front of the restrained Shirley, Lelouch noticed that she was averting her eyes, refusing to look at him. Sighing, Lelouch grabbed her face, forcing her to look into his eyes.
"This is for your own good Shirley. It's best if you don't know who I am anymore" he spoke in an apologetic tone as his right eye began to take on a reddish hue. Shirley's eyes widened as the crimson sigil, nearly identical to the one in Mao's eyes, appeared in his right eye.
With that, he forced his will upon her mind, willing her to forget everything she knew about him, Zero, that night, and this moment. As his Geass worked its mystical power on her, erasing everything memory she had of him, he spoke in a low voice, knowing that she wouldn't be able to hear him.
"I'm sorry. Goodbye"
The memorial stone. Dedicated to all those brave soldiers who died in the battle of Narita.
Shirley smiled softly as she set the flowers she had brought on the stone alongside many others. Her mother had been right. She supposed that she had finally found some peace with her father's passing.
As she stood and began walking off, she was unaware of the two pairs of eyes watching her, one a dark amethyst, the other a sky-blue.
Lelouch's face was unreadable as he watched the girl walk off. It hadn't been very hard for him to erase himself from her memory, and it wasn't hard for him block her out of his mind either. She was a peer, not a close friend, but a friend nonetheless. It wasn't so much the act itself that troubled him, it was the lesson he had learned from this incident. Naruto's words of wisdom continued to echo through his head.
"Then until that task is completed, you should forget about all but the second one"
"You must not include your heart in this battle if you wish to keep your sanity. Bury your personal feelings, and concentrate on your greater goal. You must fight for something greater then yourself, if you wish win"
Now he fully understood what Naruto had meant. By keeping people close to him, he made them vulnerable to his enemies. Would he have to distance himself from everyone? Milly, Rivalz, and even… Nunnally? Just like he had with Shirley? The first two he could probably handle… but Nunnally… His sister was one of the core reason's he was fighting this war. To create a peaceful world where she could finally be happy. Where she wouldn't be judged by her handicap and disability. And if he distanced himself from her… Just what would he be fighting for? What could keep him from being consumed by the same darkness that had consumed his father?
Naruto could sense the conflict in his friend's mind. "It's an interesting paradox actually"
"Your predicament. The only way you can keep yourself from losing the way to your goal is to have someone close to you. Someone who can be an anchor for you always. But at the same time, bringing someone close to you will put them, and you, in harms way. It's a cruel paradox to say the least"
Naruto adopted a far-off look in his eyes as he stared upwards. "Find someone who will always be there for you, no matter what. A person who understands you, is like you, and will never leave you. And most importantly, a person who you know you won't have to look after. A person that can look after themselves"
"Like who?" Lelouch asked, a bit confused by Naruto's words.
"I don't know" Naruto replied, "that's for you to find out for yourself" but as he finished, Lelouch noticed that for a split-second, his eyes centered on a figure approaching them.
"I got the tickets" C.C. said in her usual monotone as she reached them. Noticing Lelouch's expression, she spoke again. "Don't tell me you're hung up over what happened with that girl?"
"Of course not. I didn't even like Shirley that much. She was in too deep and I threw her out before she wound up dead"
Lelouch gave her a look of mock-surprise. "You? Concerned with me? That's a first witch"
"Please. I'm only concerned with your physical well-being. As long as you don't go doing something that gets you killed, I don't care what you do"
"Really? So that relief is about his well-being and not the fact that he's not interested in Shirley?" Naruto spoke up, that infuriating smirk on his face.
"Shut up! And it is the former" C.C. shot back. Lelouch himself could only smirk at her plight.
"Oh? Well I guess that's understandable. After all, you seemed pretty concerned when I ran into you. And heck, you almost looked ready to break Shirley's neck back there"
"That's enough. Let's go, the train leaves in fifteen minutes anyway" Lelouch spoke up. Apparently, C.C.'s mistrust of Naruto wasn't enough to keep her from trying to pummel him.
"Yeah, you're right" Naruto agreed as he stared walking off. C.C. simply snorted in frustration as she and Lelouch followed him. The dark-haired teen on the other hand, found himself pondering Naruto's words.
'Someone like myself… A kindred spirit? Hm…' unconsciously, his eyes drifted to the green-haired girl walking beside him who, oddly enough, was eyeing him herself out of the corner of her eye.
As soon as she noticed his look, she quickly averted her own, fighting back the small redness threatening to grace her cheeks, unaware that Lelouch was doing the same thing.
Well, there you go.
I know, most of you were probably hoping for an update for Roku Naruto. Sorry, but I might have to put that one on hold for a little while until I get past a writers block I've been having with it.
As you can see, Lelouch is a bit OOC compared to canon, and you can probably also tell that I don't like Shirley (what can I say? she's almost as annoying as Nina). Will she die eventually? Maybe. But if she does, it'll definitely be in a way that says I don't like her.
And for those a bit confused as to why Naruto lied to Lelouch about where he was going, he knew from his contact that Mao was a mind-reader, and knew who Mao was from Shirley's letters. So if he had told Lelouch, then Mao would have been able to pick up on his plan by reading Lelouch's mind.
Oh, and I know that I did say that Naruto wouldn't be paired with anyone. I actually just meant anyone from the Code Geass universe. His mysterious companion will be explained later (along with his contact).
And Naruto's ringtone is 'Beyond the Bounds' from Zone of the Enders II. Foreshadowing? Maybe.
I originally had the idea for Naruto to go completely overboard in this situation and use a .50 cal rifle to save Lelouch, but I think that might have created a few loose ends that would have been a bit difficult to tie up, namely:
Shirley's missing arms
the massive blood splatter created from Mao's vaporized torso
the two giant holes in the tram behind them
By the way, C.C.'s 'assessment' of Milly, Shirley and Nina comes from a friend of mine.
And on a final note, I'm going to be concentrating a good bit on the Geass element of the CG universe, so any suggestions on Geass powers would be quite helpful. The only restrictions being that they have to be mind-based (no telekinesis or laser eyes). Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
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