Title: Critical Point
Series: Code Geass r2
Pairings: None just Nunnally/Lelouch sibling love
And it came to this:
a metronome of knees and elbows and heartbeats marking a second lost, a second regained, a second made meaningful in this world where all you had left to cling to were the scattered remnants of a pretty, pretty childhood.
When Nunnally was five, chatter and sticky fingers and large liquid eyes — she was curious. It was late spring and dew coated the feathery leaves, wetness glimmering in the hazy sunlight filtering through the flora around her.
She crouched down in front of an overgrown fern her mother had planted in their expansive backyard and pushed a large portion of the plant aside in order to take a better look at the family cat dead on its side. The head was tilted on an angle and the chest did not rise with breath; her tail did not twitch in annoyance as a large bug began to crawl over it. Her eyes stayed closed, and her limbs immobile.
She reached for the cat and patted the soft white fur as softly as she could. "Goodnight." she whispered because death had never looked so peaceful.
When Nunnally was six, scraped knees and clumsiness and old enough to fear — she climbed up a thirty-foot tree and fell. At the hospital, they gave her four stitches in the back of her head and a lollipop.
"Nunnally, why did you do something so reckless?" His mother demanded shrilly, fiercely gripping her daughter's shoulders through teary eyes. Beside her, Lelouch's face was ashen with grief and worry.
"I was scared," she croaked, burrowing her face into her mother's black hair. Her shoulders began to shake violently. "I was so scared."
Her mother let her hold her, returning the hug the best that she could. She could feel the heavy frantic beats of her heart in her chest, a burning heat resonating through her clothing. Nunnally's face was flushed not just from crying.
A pause, a sniffle, a hiccup, before... "The tree. It scared me, so I wanted to see if I could do it. If I could climb it..." Her lip trembled. "So I did."
When Nunnally was seven, naïve and quiet and shaking — she became blind.
Trembling underneath her mother's corpse and seasick with blood, she stared at the bodies strewn like bloodied confetti on the staircase, at Lelouch's horrified face, at mother's—
She closed her eyes. She did not want to see these things. She wanted the cold numbness of amnesia to soften her memories into a distant, wet blur. Her legs throbbed, the pain coming alive again. The doctors say she cannot walk anymore.
And no matter how many times they tell her to, she will not open her eyes. Lelouch is the only one who doesn't ask her.
When Nunnally was eight, reflective and solemn and tired — she learned how to sew. Every afternoon, stabbing thread in and out of a piece of soft cotton to embroider, she learned to be patient. They had a maid now, thanks to the Ashford family, but Lelouch was still with her almost every hour of the day, massaging her withered body, telling her stories, brushing her hair.
She loved him. Just love, in undiluted form, and gratitude for everything he had given up for her. And if there was one person she had to choose she could ever love, she had enough for only him.
When Nunnally was nine, warm and alive and bursting — she went to the beach for the first time.
She enjoyed hearing the crashing waves, of feeling scratchy sand between her toes, the way the sunshine soaked in her skin and the wind rushing over her forehead to play with her bangs. Lelouch entered them into a sandcastle contest and she dug her fingers into the sand with enthusiasm, mixing it with water, cupping the clumps in her palms and molding it all together with quick, nimble fingers—a deft grace no one had anticipated.
Lelouch had the bold design ideas and the ambition. Nunnally had the patience of execution. She was focused and good at following orders as Lelouch either guided her hands or she felt her way around. When they won first place, she was practically bouncing; only the low thrumming natural ache in her legs prevented her from getting up and cart wheeling.
Instead, she beamed proudly and closed her fist; palming the blue ribbon tightly. She had never won anything before.
When Nunnally was ten, young and genuine and old — she was introduced by Sayoko to the Japanese tradition of watermelon smashing. Parked in front of two large watermelons with a bandana over her eyes, she waved her stick uncertainly and missed by several feet. It took two tries and Lelouch shouting advice in the background before Nunnally could hit one of the melons. She gobbled up her share; sticky palms clutching the crushed, dripping fruit bleeding down her fingers and she laughed and laughed and laughed when Sayoko had to step in for her brother because he was too weak and uncoordinated to properly smash the remaining watermelon open himself.
When Nunnally was eleven, unpredictable and burning and fragile — she dreamt of a witch with a drooping set of ugly, demonic wings, green hair and amber eyes that shattered spacetime wherever they happened to glance. There was power; a sudden fall of a white rapture so brilliant and pallid it burns her pupils, and the whole world is transfigured; reality sluices off. Above her, the sky is grey with uncertainty, stained black by night and a dark promise.
When she looked further, helplessly drawn, she realized it was because trapped under their gray flatness were images of the cataclysm she had just passed through. Cosmos and times and minds breaking, shattering across the whole spectrum of reality until everything was white, a desert of scorching white that she traversed, walking for miles and years while weighed down by wings of what had felt like iron as civilizations rose and melt, glass-delicate, along the impossible horizon, to find, to find —
She woke up with a suddenness that caused her brother to exclaim. Sitting up, she reached out to trace the contours of his face. Eyelids, cheekbones, lips, jaw. Already, her dream was fading into forgetfulness; Lelouch had always been the filter through which she had defined her reality.
"Nothing," she said, withdrawing her touch. "Just a dream."
When Nunnally was twelve — she got to take care of her brother for the first time.
He had been coughing and sneezing all morning, and when she placed her hand on his forehead and it felt burning hot, she ordered him to go to bed. Lelouch didn't go easily but she kept insisting until he meekly settled down underneath two layers of blankets. Sayoko happily helped her make a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
"Onii-sama is hardly ever sick." She announced, as he scalded his mouth slightly from the first spoonful of soup.
"You're enjoying this aren't you?" Lelouch said grumpily, but licked the spoon clean all the same.
She grinned. "Very."
When Nunnally was thirteen, awkward and hungry and wanting— she tried to kiss a boy. Tentative and nervous, she almost allowed herself to steal her first kiss. But she heard him walk away at the last moment, so unaware of what Nunnally's leaning meant and she pretended nothing large and new had been killed before it had even fully formed. But still, her heart tightened at the loss of that first kiss.
When Nunnally was fourteen, pretty and gentle and yearning — she knew there was something dark and twisted buried deep deep in her brother.
Lelouch could be too proud, too vengeful; holding too fast to the vain grace that was his own personal pride. He carried it— it's there in the careful clench of his hands, in the stiff and calculated poise of his spine.
Nunnally thinks that perhaps she should not need Lelouch this badly, and that perhaps he will be the ruin of himself one day. But then she thinks that perhaps —
(in the end, it was all just of flesh and blood, body and bone; brother and sister, shoots and leaves)
— perhaps, she will be brave.
When Nunnally was fifteen, raw and earnest and wise — she died.
Lelouch won't stop crying.