Dirge of Cerberus: Beowulf
James D. Fawkes

Stage One: The Descending Sword

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

His footsteps were quiet, noiseless as he crept through the hollow halls of the vast development facility. It was night and very few lights were on, casting the pale walls and dark corridors into deep and never-ending shadows. Nothing was heard except for the rustling of his clothing and a slight chink from the gauntlet on his left arm.

Voices approached suddenly from around the corner and two men totting automatic rifles were standing in his path, staring at him with shock. As he reached for his own firearm, they seemed to recover and cursed, leveling their weapons at him. He jumped backwards to dodge the discharge, aiming with the triple barrels of his revolver, then fired twice. Both men fell to the ground, dead.

Stepping over them, he broke into a light sprint as he mentally guided himself using a memorized map. The rest of the security detail would surely notice something off soon enough and he couldn't take all of them and still steal what he was looking for at the same time.

Finally, he rounded the corner he knew would lead to his target and came out in a large hangar, eyes searching for the object he desired. A glint of gold caught his eye and immediately he saw it. His lips twitched, then he ran over the iron walkway, his footsteps clanging noisily as several guards saw him. Bullets raining down on him, he jumped down and landed atop a tall machine.

He knelt atop the metal cockpit of a tall mechanical robot that was shaped like a human (albeit, with a hunch back). Tattered red cloth and long, messy, waist-length hair cascaded down his back and silver glinted from a peculiar looking pistol strapped to his right thigh in a long holster.

Reaching down, the man pressed something amongst the black metal and instantly a section of the machine's back disengaged, revealing a soft, comfortable seat. The red cloth rustled noisily as the man leapt onto the seat, pressing some sort of key into a slot amongst the controls. Immediately, all of the screens and buttons lit up, waiting, aching for the touch of his agile fingers.

As the seat and the section it was attached to moved back into place and seamlessly blended with the rest of the machine, the man raised his black gloved hands and started to work, fingers flying across the buttons and controls. In the hangar, outside of the machine, a pair of mechanical green eyes came to life.

Metal creaked softly as the beast of made of hard alloys stood straight up, the spinners attached to its ankles falling out of place to rest on the hard floor. The metallic demon stood on golden legs and grasped its rifle with black hands and golden arms. Its head was likewise made of gold, a solemn block attached to its forehead that parted to reveal the green glass hidden beneath. A single golden antennae shot up from where the left ear would be on a human.

Its black chest reflected no light and painted in a dark ink on each of the pauldrons that shielded its shoulders was the Japanese character for One Hundred. Two flat sheets of gold, shaped vaguely reminiscent of airplane wings, were attached to its back, one near each shoulder. Aiming with the thin rifle it carried in its hand, one massive black finger pulled the trigger.

Several thin beams of yellow shot outwards at astounding speeds, thickening slightly as they went. Immediately, the hangar door exploded outwards in a blast of metal and shrapnel, fire catching onto the walls left behind and eating the paint. Through the smoke, green eyes glowed as a shining metal monster slowly passed through the doorway.

"Type One Hundred," a deep, silky voice called out over the damage, "Beowulf Prototype, launching."

Inside of the massive metal monstrosity, a pair of red eyes glinted dangerously beneath a curtain of messy black hair and a crimson bandana as a smirk crept over the pink lips of a pale face. As a green glow lit up the edges of the two golden plates on its back, the Beowulf took to the sky and disappeared.

Cerberus cried a pitiful dirge.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

"I will fight to the last as a crown princess!" Cornelia declared resolutely, glaring at the red monstrosity before her. As her loyal knight Guilford called out to her, she commanded her Knightmare forward in an almost suicidal manner.

"Hmph," Lelouch chuckled humorlessly inside his Burai, "what a boring choice."

In that instance, the wall of the narrow man-made canyon exploded in a shower of rocks and heavy stone shrapnel right in between Cornelia's Gloucester and the Guren Nishiki. As the dust from the explosion began to settle and subside, a familiar white and gold Knightmare frame could be seen, holding a blue and gold rifle.

It turned slightly, the pilot's voice echoing over the group, "Vicereine, are you all right? I've come to your aid!"

"The special R & D unit?" Cornelia asked in a shocked whisper. "Under whose orders?"

"That Knightmare!" one of the three Burai pilots said fearfully. "It can't be!"

"Yeah," his comrade replied, "the one from Shinjuku and Lake Kawaguchi."

"Again?" Lelouch growled angrily. "Him again?"

One of the Burai lifted its rifle and shot at Cornelia, but the Lancelot swerved in front of it, a translucent green shield forming from its forearm and blocking the bullets. As the Guren came towards it from behind, Lelouch's voice commanded her, "Guren Nishiki, take out that white Frame! Its speed is a hindrance!"

"Yes, sir!" Kallen's voice replied as the Guren dodged a shot from Lancelot's VARIS rifle. She maneuvered expertly along the slanted wall, reaching up with her silver arm as the white frame lashed out with a kick from its left leg. A red glow surrounded the silver and white, and at the last second, the Lancelot jettisoned the extra equipment that had allowed it to travel up the flooded slope.

"Take care of that one!" Cornelia called out. "I'll take Zero!"

Her Gloucester lashed out with its slash harkens, which were dodged with relative ease as the Burai on the left opened fire on her.

"This is payback for Shinjuku!" Kallen shouted as she charged the Lancelot. The white frame drove its elbow into the slightly taller red machine, pushing the Guren away as it grabbed one of its MVS swords in its left hand. It fired the VARIS with its right hand, but the shot was easily dodged.

Several more shots were fired, but the Guren swerved around each one as if they were moving in slow motion. As the red frame came closer, the Lancelot tried to his it with another kick, but the Guren jumped over it and high into the air. As it landed, it tried to hit the white frame with a side swipe and a sweeping kick at the feet, but the Lancelot had already moved out of the way.

The Guren reached up with its silver arm as the white machine tried to hit it with its slash harkens, but both were destroyed. Kallen called out mockingly, "That's your weapon?"

After several more exchanges of blows, all of which were dodged, the Lancelot slashed at the Guren with an MVS sword, which was grabbed by the red frame's silver hand and began to bubble dangerously. Letting go as it exploded, the Lancelot twisted around and aimed at it with the VARIS rifle. A single shot was fired, which was blocked by the Guren's silver hand, but the force behind it was enough and the red machine fell backwards down the mountain.

Several more Burai pulled up beside it concernedly and Lelouch's voice crackled over the radio, "Ougi. How's the Guren?"

"It's fine," Ougi answered, "but the right hand is busted. It'll need repairs."

Lelouch growled, "We're pulling out! All units, move to the fallback point! Anymore of this and we'll be in a battle of attrition! Withdraw!"

The Burai Lelouch occupied shot its slash harkens at the steep far wall, climbing up to the top as he gave his order. Cornelia tried to follow, but her Gloucester gave out before she made it too far. The Lancelot sped over, stopping in front of the purple machine as the pilot, Suzaku Kururugi, said, "Vicereine!"

"Go after Zero," Cornelia demanded. Suzaku started to protest, but she said, "My Energy Filler's just run out! Go!"

"Yes, ma'am!"

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

As Lelouch's Burai continued through the dense forest, the white frame known as Lancelot followed him like a lost puppy, trailing him relentlessly. Hoping to catch Suzaku by surprise, he turned slightly and fired at him with the gray frame's rapid fire rifle. The white frame dodged it easily, lashing out with a slash harken that tore off the Burai's right arm.

Even as Lelouch tried to escape, abandoning all pretense of offense, the VARIS rifle was fired and the Burai lost its leg below its left knee and collapsed. Grabbing his mask and securing it over his head, the cockpit ejected violently, crashing into the ground as it skidded across a rocky clearing. A cloud of dust rose in its trail.

As the Lancelot came into the clearing, Lelouch stood atop the jettisoned cockpit, his stoic mask gazing indifferently at the white frame and his body motionless. Beneath the surface, however, and beneath his mask, he was glaring up at the machine that had ruined all of his carefully laid plans.

"Special Dispatch Head Trailer, I've found Zero," Suzaku said to his superiors. "I'm moving in for the arrest."

"Zero," Suzaku thought, unwilling to share his thoughts aloud, "I am indebted to you. Thanks to your actions, many have been saved, and I know that many Elevens support you from the shadows. But…your methods are wrong."

The Lancelot leveled its gun at the solitary figure, its green and yellow eyes uncaring and cold. But then, something strange happened. Three thin yellow beams appeared from nowhere and pierced through the Lancelot's gun, even as the surprised visage of a green haired girl stopped in front of Zero. The VARIS exploded in a shower of shrapnel, littering the ground with metal.

As a golden frame flew onto the scene, the Lancelot ducked underneath another burst of beams and lashed out, kicking the gold Knightmare to the ground, where it stayed for several seconds. In those seconds, the green haired girl had run up to the white frame and pressed her hand against its cool skin. Instantly, the Lancelot froze.

"Hey!" Zero walked towards her. "What are you doing?"

"I'm showing him a shocking image," she replied. "I don't know what he's seeing. Anyway, get out of here. Now's your chance."

"Listen to her," a deep voice suddenly advised, coming from the now standing golden frame. "I can escort you, but our time for escape is limited."

Weighing his options, Lelouch couldn't help but agree. However, there was one tiny flaw with that plan. He turned to C.C., "What about you?"

"I can't move just yet," she told him stoically. "Go ahead."

"No way," Lelouch said stubbornly. He reached for her shoulder. "I can't be indebted to you."

The minute his hand touched her, she turned around and lost her calm, "No! Not now!"

Images flashed through Lelouch's mind: a scene where people, mostly children, were throwing rocks at what looked to be a church. Carved into the stone was the same symbol on C.C.'s forehead. The second image was of a nun with the same tattoo on her brow. The third image depicted C.C. sitting naked in a stream, that familiar symbol now carved around, on, and below the flesh of her left breast. Even more images came, flashing through his eyes with amazing speed: children running from a demolished town, dead corpses laying on the red stained ground, and what looked to be the launching of a nuclear bomb.

The instant they stopped, the Lancelot spun away, firing at random parts of the ground and cliffs. A sharp piece of rock flew from the debris and struck C.C. in the chest, who fell into Zero's arms, unconscious. In a blur of movement, the golden frame had moved and picked them up into its hands, rushing away from the scene.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

The cave was dark and dank as the sun began to set, filled with stalagmites and stalactites that dripped water. Outside the cave entrance sat the tall golden beast of a machine, its normally glowing green eyes colored black in its state of inactivity. The glow of the dying sun painted it in a glorious light.

"I don't think this woman is human. She heals incredibly quickly and she was shot in the head at Shinjuku," Lelouch admitted to the other man (who actually looked to be about his age). The ex-prince glanced at the foreboding Brittannian, "You never actually introduced yourself."

"I am Vincent Valentine," the man told him, leaning up against one of the rock formations. His calm, relaxed posture actually had Lelouch slightly jealous. Even as Zero, he couldn't quite manage that aloof of an appearance. "Britannia lost my trust years ago. I refuse to fight for them."

"So you stole the Beowulf," Lelouch mused. Frowning seriously again, he turned his attention back to C.C., running his fingers over the mark tattooed on her forehead. "Clovis was researching her in secret, so she's obviously not related to Britannia. Her vital signs, though, are just like any normal human being's."

She stirred in her sleep, whispering something. Caught off guard, Lelouch leaned in closer in case she was asking for something, pressing his ear close to her lips. A drop of water fell from the ceiling and Lelouch suddenly pulled away, eyes wide as he looked back down at the green haired girl laying naked beneath his cloak.

"You finally called me by my name," she whispered. Shocked, Lelouch sat back on his haunches, Vincent's quiet chuckles echoing from the walls.

Coming back to his senses as she stirred and woke, he said to her, "I removed the shrapnel and cleaned your wounds."

"There was no need," she replied as she sat up.

"So it would seem," he mused.

"You didn't have to save me," she declared boldly. "Why are you always so unnecessarily proud?"

"Well, I learned something interesting," he smirked lightly. He said her name, but the sound of water dropping to the floor made it impossible for Vincent to decipher. "Your name."

"Eavesdropping is a bad habit to get into," she said coldly.

"It's a nice name," he told her, though his voice made it hard to tell it was a compliment. "Certainly more human than C.C."

"That's stupid," she told him with a hint of humor. "Nothing about me is human. After all, I…I…forgot everything. All of it. I can't have a name."

"Well, this is as good a time as any to say it," Lelouch said dispassionately. "Yes, you saved me back there…and indeed, several times before, including giving Geass to me. So…I won't say it twice. Thank you."

C.C.'s eyes went wide, "That's the first time anyone's thanked me for anything. Well then, would you mind returning the favor? Call for me again, like you did before."

Lelouch blinked owlishly, "Oh, your name?"

"Just once," C.C. said, smiling slightly, "kindly, gently, like a lover would."

A smile twitched at his mouth, "Very well."

His lips curled over each syllable and his voice was soft and warm, indeed like a lover, "Elizabeth."

After a minute of silence, during which he ignored Vincent's soft chuckles, he asked, "How was that?"

It took her a moment to respond, during which he noticed her pleasurable shiver, but she said, in her usual tone, "Horrible. It was absolutely horrible. It wasn't kind or gentle and you didn't sound anything like my lover. Your pronunciation was off and you looked cold while saying it, too."

Vincent's chuckles grew slightly in volume, but Lelouch couldn't help the smile, "You're such a shrew."

"Of course I am," though she was smiling, she replied as if it was more obvious than the sky being blue. "I am C.C., after all."

Not much later, dressed once more in his infamous costume, Lelouch turned his cell phone off with an audible beep. Ignoring the other frame outside, Kallen came rushing into the cave, panting with excitement. As she caught sight of him, she called out, relieved, "Zero! Are you all right? The others are already—."

She paused as she caught sight of Vincent and C.C., glaring, "Who are you?"

"Ah, don't worry," Lelouch said smoothly, "she's a dear friend of mine and he is our latest recruit, Vincent Valentine."

As the green haired girl looked up at his words, he continued, "C.C., I don't know why snow is white, but I do find such white snow beautiful. I don't hate it at all."

"I see," the girl responded neutrally.

Vincent's lips curled, "Well, that's interesting."

He never did explain what he meant by that.

— o.0.O.O.0.o —

To be continued…

Disclaimer: I don't own Code Geass, Mobile Suit Gundam, or Final Fantasy VII

Nobody knows what C.C.'s real name is, but, if you look carefully, you will notice that there are four or five syllables, the first one most likely a vowel. The second seems to start with a consonant like 'l' or 'r' and the third with either another vowel or a consonant like 's' or 'z'. So, with five syllables and that information concluded logically, it is most likely "Erizabesu", the Japanese rendition of "Elizabeth".

This is a side project (seriously, this time) inspired by the answer to my MHS challenge, Knightfall. I'm not quite sure how to spell the author's name, but it was Anthurak the Chaos Lord, or something similar. This story's chapters will be much shorter than SUTFH, but I'm sure the quality won't be diminished.

Yes, the Beowulf is based on the MSN-0100 Hyaku Shiki. In fact, the only thing I really changed was the spinners on its ankles and the height of the machine itself. For those with no idea what the thing looks like, there's a picture linked to my profile near the bottom.

This story is based on the challenge hanging up in my profile near the bottom. This will be a short chapter fic.

For those of you who want to do the challenge with Vincent Valentine as the main character, I not only allow you to use this as a starting point, I encourage it. Perhaps, then, I might have to make it the "Wulfric" challenge, eh?


James Daniel Godric Fawkes

James Daniel Godric Fawkes(Signature best viewed in Wendy Medium font style)