Summary: AU. The Britannia has lost the war and the emperor is dead. Lelouch removes the mask of Zero and takes the throne. He promises Kallenthat he will make sure she is by his side. Only not in the way she was expecting. And some one else isn't very happy with this new turn of events. And he isn't ready to stand by and let her go.
SPOILERS if you haven't watched R2.
Disclaimer: Code Geass isn't mine.
The sound of cheering met Kallen as she exited the Guren. Dozens of people dressed in the dark uniform of the Black Knights crowded her and the other remaining pilots on the deck of the Ikaruga. Hands slapped her back, friends hugged her and Tamaki crowed loudly over their victory (even though he had been among the first to lose his Knighmare). Kallenfelt elated as she laughed and cheered withthose around her. But even as she exchanged a hug with Ohgi, her eyes were searching out for only one person. A frown flickered over her features as she glanced from face to face. Where the hell is he?
Surprisingly, it was Tamaki who first noticed her growing distress. "If you're looking for my best bud, he's still up on the command deck," he said, waving a hand vaguely in the air. As Kallen extracted herself from the throng and made her way to the elevator, Tamakicalled out again. "Bring my buddy back with you, Kallen! I couldn't get him to come down. Said he had one last thing to do. As if I wasn't more important anyways!"
Kallen shook her head as the elevator doors slid shut, a small smile gracing her lips. She doubted Tamaki was high on Lelouch's list of priorities, though the way he was often deployed in battle suggested Lelouch may hold some fondness for the man. Or was just fully aware of his abysmal piloting skills. Stepping out on to the command deck, Kallen's good mood dissipated. Only Mutsuki was still there, monitoring the after mass of the battle. At Kallen's questioning, she revealed that their esteemed leader had returned to his room to get ready for the speech he was sure to be giving when the Ikaruga made port at Uther, the city just outside of Britannia's capital, Pendragon, in less than a hour. Maybe Tamaki's right, Lelouch really should be relaxing. After all, we've won.
Reaching his room, Kallen opened the door without knocking. "Lelouch," she started, "you really need to – Lelouch?" She stopped mid-sentence as she spotted Lelouch standing in the corner, not in his Zero outfit as expected, but buttoning up his Ashford Academy uniform. He turned slightly to face her as she fell silent.
"Kallen, just the person I wanted to see," he said.
Kallen frowned. He may have been dressed as Lelouch the student, but it was Zero talking. "Lelouch, what are you doing? Everyone is waiting for you. Zero needs to make his speech now that we have defeated Britannia. We don't have time to go back to Ashford."
"Kallen, I won't be able to keep that promise anymore."
"What promise? Lelouch, what are you talking about?"
Lelouch turned to face her fully. "I am not returning to Ashford."
Kallen snorted. "I know that. You can hardly return at the moment. But we'll be back before the semester ends. We'll even still be in time for finals. Not that is exactly a good thing. Maybe –"
"I mean ever."
Kallen blinked. "Wha-what do you mean? Lelouch?"
"I cannot return to Ashford. We have won for now, but unless the proper measures are taken, Britannia will move against us again. And now that they have the F.L.E.I.J.A., we cannot let that happen. There must never be another Battle of Tokyo."
"What on earth do you think you can do about it? Zero is a symbol of hope to the Japanese, but one of rebellion to the Britannians. You can't just expect them to follow a masked man. And you can't geass them all."
"I don't plan to rule them as Zero. I plan to rule them as Lelouch vi Britannia." At Kallen's bewildered stare, Lelouch let that infamous smile to stretch his face. "Zero shall disappear here. He has no place in this new world. I shall have a new part to play."
"Lelouch," Kallen started slowly, "if this is about Nunnally..."
"Nunnally..." Lelouch swallowed. "This is no longer about Nunnally."
The look in his eyes stopped Kallen from saying anything else on the subject of Nunnally. For a moment she almost gave up the fight entirely. But only for a moment. "You can't possible think this is going to work! How the hell am I going to explain Zero's disappearance? And where you came from?"
"I have it all worked out. Are you going to start doubting me now, Q-1?"
"This is insane," she muttered, but Lelouch knew he had won. Kallen sighed angrily. Damn it Lelouch, this isn't how it's suppose to go! Still, she followed him out the door, glancing one last time at Zero's mask which now lay on the bed. Whether or not this worked, things were never going to be the same.
"All Hail Lelouch!"
Kallen watched as the mass of royals and nobles cheered the eighteen-year-old boy who now sat on the throne. Lelouch had been right, it had been surprisingly simple. A few mind controlled people in the right places, including the previous heir to the throne, Odysseus u Britannia, and Lelouch had been name the new successor. He even had the support of the Black Knights and the U. F.N., after Zero's final message had been found, stating that Lelouchwould be the best hope for continuing peaceful interactions with the new Britannia. Never mind that Zero himself had disappeared after the final battle and no one had seen or heard from him since. It had probably helped that Lelouch had promised them that his first order of business would be to free the numbered areas, though.
Kallen fidgeted in her spot at the back of the large hall. She hated even standing in the same room as all of these worthless aristocrats. She despised the lot. If she could have her way, all of them would just be left to rot. Her bad mood was drifting to those near her, and the increasing glances from the nobility was just making it worse. She glared at the old Duchess who was currently looking down her nose at her. The Duchess just made a little harrumph noise and turned back to the throne. That was the last straw. Not caring how it looked, Kallen slipped out the great oak doors, and stormed down the hall.
It wasn't long until she felt alone. Anger left her as she leaned back against the wall, next to a painting of horses. It was all Lelouch's fault really. Kallen slid down the wall and hugged her knees to her chest. Why now of all times? Why doesn't he want me by his side anymore?
She managed to squeeze a single self-pity tear out before anger returned, causing her to slam her fist into the wall.
"Well, some one's unhappy."
Startled, Kallen looked up into the grinning face of Gino Weinberg. "Hello beautiful," he said.
It took all her self-control not to attack him right there. She hadn't seen hair or tail of any of the Knights of Round since the Battle for Japan, save a brief spotting of Suzaku when they had landed in Uther. All reports had the surviving Knights fleeing with Schneizel, who was currently in hiding in the after mass of Britannia's defeat. And yet here was Gino, looking like the cat that had caught the mouse, standing in front of her.
"What the hell are you doing here?" She blurted, shooting to a standing possession.
"What, a guy can't take a stroll in the palace?" Kallen's eyes narrowed. Sensing danger, Gino took another step back, raising his arms showing her he was unarmed. "Look, I have a right to be here as much as you do. More so. All Knights of Round are supposed to report to the palace after major battles."
Kallenblinked. "I thought that the Knights were with Schneizel? Only Suzakusided with us, -" Lelouch really, she thought "- and I distinctly recall your Tristan on the other side of the battlefield."
Gino sighed. "We lost though. And as far as I can tell, you have left Britannia alone, so there is no reason for me not to return. Plus, Suzaku is here. Can't leave him by himself for too long, he gets depressed easily."
This wasn't what Kallen expected to hear at all. He just came back like that? No strings attached? Gino wasn't quiet done speaking, however, and his next statement put her on edge. "Besides, I can't very well find out much about your puppet emperor, if I am playing hid-and-go-seek with his Highness, Schneizel."
"He's not a puppet," stated Kallen. Gino just raised an eyebrow.
"Really? Convenient that you just happened to find a dead prince who also just happened to be a good friend of yours and sympathetic to your cause. I suppose it'll be easy for you to keep an eye on him here, and your friendship as a perfect excuse to be in his confidence."
"I'm not staying," she said quietly.
Whatever Gino had expected it wasn't that. "You're not?" he asked surprised.
"I need you to return to Japan. It'll be too suspicious for you to stay here."
"No," she said flatly. "I'm going back to Japan, to help with the reconstruction of Tokyo. I'm not need here." The last part was barely a whisper.
"Back to Japan? Are you sure?"
Kallen snapped. "Leave it Gino! Of coarse I'm sure! Back to Japan! Back to Japan! Have I made myself clear? Want it in writing?" She felt tears in her eyes. "Damn it," she muttered, wiping angrily at them.
Gino had the grace to look embarrassed. He started to reach out to her, and stopped. "I'm sorry," he said.
Kallen shook her head. "What to you have to be sorry for? I'm thrilled to go home. I never like Britannia, or the people here." She didn't notice Gino's wince.
"Well," he said, making an effort to be cheerful, "guess this means we'll be back in time for finals."
Gino's smile was back. "Of course. I'm still enrolled at Ashford, and my orders are still to stay stationed in Japan. Hey, what's with the horrified look? Kallen? Hey – where are you going?"
"Honey, I'm hooome!"
Kallen groaned as the door of suite slammed shut. She dumped more vegetables into the pan and glared at Gino as he entered the kitchen. He simply grinned at her and ducked as she threw a packet of frozen peas at his head.
"Hey now," he said, getting out a pot and filling it with water, "is that anyway to treat the man making you dinner?"
"I'm making dinner, you're just going to make a mess as usual. Why haven't you found your own place yet, where you can harass the land lady?"
Gino blinked innocently. "Do I look like the type who would harass land ladies? Shower them with gifts, yes, but never harass." Kallenrolled her eyes, and readjusted the temperature on Gino's pot of peas. "Besides," he continued, "I can almost use the microwave now."
"That's not the point," muttered Kallen.
"Why, Kallen, I'm starting to think you don't want me here," he said, wounded. He ignored Kallen's pointed look. "And it isn't like Milly wasn't so kind to offer a place to stay here on campus."
"She offered one place to stay, to me. You just tagged along."
Gino slung an arm around her shoulders. "Well, there are two bedrooms, but if you really want to act like there is only one, I'm willing to share a bed." Kallen elbowed him in the ribs, blushing brightly. Damn, one month and he still has me acting as if I'm an innocent schoolgirl. Lelouch this is all your fault!
Despite much pleading from her, Lelouch hadn't seen any good reason to make Gino stay in Pendragon. "It'll be more dangerous with him here if he continues to suspect me." Kallen sighed as a familiar feeling of sadness gripped her. She shouldn't have thought of Lelouch.
"I need you to return to Japan. It'll be too suspicious for you to stay here."
"So that's it?! You're just going to throw me away?"
"Kallen, this is only temporary."
"I am not leaving you to get assassinated by the first unhappy noble!"
"We cannot afford to fuel any suspicions. I can last a few months. I don't plan to have you leave forever. You're too important. Just as Zero needed you, so do I. I just need time to make the proper adjustments."
" – earth to Kallen," said Gino, waving a hand in her face. Kallen blinked and glared at him. "Come now, you don't really like being in that unhappy place do you?"
"What unhappy place? Any place without you is automatically happier," snapped Kallen, and then felt immediately guilty. Gino often noticed when she became sad, and did a good job of pulling her out of it. He didn't mind when she was angry, but acted like it was the end of the world if her eyes so much as looked like they were teary. "Sorry," she muttered.
Gino just shrugged and grinned. He was used to her moods by now. "I thought you would want to know that you were burning the vegetables."
Gino's grin widened. "Perhaps tonight is takeout again?"
Kallen halfheartedly watched the news as she and Gino sat on the couch, eating their dinner straight from the cartons. At least tonight it wasn't pizza. She wouldn't have said it in front of C.C., but she could happily go the rest of her life without ever touching pizza again. Though it wasn't pizza that was the problem at Ashford.
As nice as her time was at Ashford, she was still waiting for Lelouch to summon her back. Being so far away from him bothered her; she was the only one qualified to protect him. She had been the head of squad Zero. It didn't matter if he had practically promised to reinstate the position, if he never called her. At the rate he was going, one of his brothers would kill him before he could make any changes. She didn't like it one bit.
Kallen picked at the food as Milly finished her special report on the new memorable in the center of what had been the blast zone from the Battle of Tokyo. She was only half listening when Gino suddenly sat up straighter, and turned up the volume.
"…and now we go live for the official coronation of Britannia's 99th emperor, Lelouch vi Britannia."
Kallen sat up as well, eyes focused on Lelouch as he started making his speech. Most of it was about the ideals of Britannia, and what he was going to do to bring it back into glory. There was a nice bit about relations with the U.F.N and the newly freed numbers as well. It was the end that really got her, though.
"…and I now present Suzaku Kururugi, my Knight of Zero!"
And here is the first chapter of Tristan. Those familiar with Arthurian legends might suspect where this is headed, but I would like to think that either way I am going to make it interesting and fun to read.
This is my first shot at a chapter story, so don't be afraid to lay on the criticism.