A/N: This story is a sequel to my other story "Keep Your Enemy Closest". I highly recommend reading that first in order for everything to make sense.

Disclaimer: I don't own it

Rewrite of episode 20 of Code Geass. Lelouch's point of view

.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.

Rain could be heard pounding loudly on the roof. Outside, the sky was a frighteningly dark color. Patches of heavy clouds were illuminated occasionally from flashes of lightning. For a split second, everything would be visible, and then, darkness once more.

The thunder that followed was loud enough to split my eardrums.

It was only a storm. It was caused by differences in atmospheric pressure, and the lightning, by imbalanced charges in the clouds and in the ground. It could be explained scientifically. It could be predicted.

But it could not be stopped.

To someone like me, who always had a plan for everything, a storm was a variable. It did not scare me, of course, but it induced in me a certain uneasiness. The kind that I felt during the times where I couldn't completely be in control.

And as I stared out the window, watching the water running down the glass pane, I noticed that Ashford Academy seemed nice and dry and warm.

Class wore on. I was already quite well versed in Britannian history and didn't feel the need to listen or take notes. I let my mind wander. Naturally, my thoughts drifted to Suzaku. I glanced to where he usually sat in this class. He was absent. I had suspected that he would be absent. Most likely, he was in a substantial amount of trouble after he had disobeyed orders. However, that didn't stop me from hoping that every time there was a knock on the classroom door, Suzaku would come in and take his seat.

But, then again, Lelouch Lamperouge knew absolutely nothing. Lelouch Lamperouge hadn't spoken with Suzaku Kururugi in almost a week. Zero, on the other hand, had spoken with Suzaku less than forty eight hours ago.

I felt my cheeks heat up at the remembrance of our sinful deed in that cave during a storm much like this one. I could not shake the feeling from my mind of Suzaku kissing me and touching me in such intimate ways that I would never have permitted, had he been any other man. It wasn't at all like the time when we were kids. This time, he had been much more sure of himself, older, and more knowledgeable in the ways of lovemaking. I hadn't realized until that night just how much I had been longing for Suzaku's touch.

The bell rang and tore my mind away from my heated daydream. We filed out of the classroom, and after retrieving my bag with my costume, I went straight to work.

It was another day, with more problems for Zero to deal with. As I sat on that couch (with Karen unknowingly blocking my view of the TV), Tamaki suddenly shouted something out.

"Were not part of it!" I assumed that he was talking about the incident in Kyushu, where the Chinese Federation, posing as Japanese, had invaded last night. Obviously, the media thought we were involved somehow. Please. As if we would do something so ridiculous. I stood up.

"What are we going to do about this, Zero?" Ougi asked.

"Absolutely nothing." I replied.

"So then are we just gonna sit and watch while these people and the Britannians kill each other?" said Tamaki. I turned my mask-covered face to him.

"Exactly."

.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.

It wasn't until later that night, when I sat alone in my private chambers watching the battle from various well-placed surveillance cameras, that I fully realized the implications of those words.

Plenty was happening in the Fujioka base. I watched as the Lancelot took down tanks, helicopters, the entire first line of defense, completely on its own. It was both amazing…and horrifying. But worry clouded my mind.

No matter how you look at it, a single man cannot defeat an entire army.

My heart continued to sink as hours passed. No Britannian reinforcements arrived. The Lancelot kept up its brutal fight, but as time went by, it had taken some serious damage. According to my calculations, its fuel would soon be depleted. I felt my nails painfully dig into the palms of my hands. What did the Britannians wish to accomplish with this meaningless attack that was destined to fail?

What was Schneizel playing at? I clenched my fists angrily. Knowing him, he probably thought to send the Lancelot in to disrupt the main forces, and if it never returned, well, he most likely didn't even care.

I stood up, letting my rage consume me. Was this meant to be Suzaku's punishment? A suicide mission? Those of my own blood disgusted me. To them, Suzaku was expendable.

I stormed out of the room and into the hall. People I came upon promptly moved out of my way, feeling the intensity of my anger.

My feet came to a halt in front of a set of heavy metal doors. I entered the code into the keypad. The doors opened with a hiss to reveal the latest and greatest of my stolen treasures. I gazed upon the black foreboding armor of the Gawain.

I was Lelouch Lamperouge…I was Zero, Goddamnit. I had power enough to do anything. And there was absolutely no chance in hell that I would be watching my only, cherished, friend die a horrible death right before my very eyes.

I climbed into the knightmare.

.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.

I do not consider myself an exceptional pilot, but I do know a fair amount. Nevertheless, the Gawain so far had proved to be more of a challenge than I anticipated.

The controls, themselves, were a lot to handle for one person and required complex calculations and data input that probably was best left to a computer. There were many new systems to get used to and float system was still very new to me. But I knew I could handle it. I had to.

The Fujioka base came into view. I spotted the Lancelot surrounded by enemies, heavily damaged, weaponless, and completely overwhelmed. I was running out of time.

My finger twitched on the button. I had never fired the hadron cannons from this far away before. There was no room for hesitation. I pressed it and red beams erupted from the Gawain and cut away a circle of enemies around the Lancelot.

When I finally touched down next to the Lancelot, I briefly noticed the complete destruction that I had caused. I exited the Gawain and lowered myself onto the charred ground. Suzaku had done the same and stood, gazing up at me with hard eyes.

"What are you doing here, Zero?" Suzaku asked. I could barely hear him over the roaring fire. I hesitated for a moment. Why was I here? The reason was obvious, but it didn't really seem like the right thing to say.

"You don't deserve to die like this." I said. I held out my hand suddenly. "Come with me." Suzaku didn't move.

"I will not leave until the battle is won." Replied Suzaku as if it were the most obvious thing a person should do. Such a foolish but brave and honorable thing to say.

"The Gawain is a two-person knightmare." I said, my imploring tone betraying more of my emotion than I would have otherwise preferred. "We can finish this battle…together." I felt the heat of the flames beginning to lick at my sides. Still, Suzaku didn't move. I was starting to get desperate. Something slipped out of my mouth before I could stop it. "Together…you and I can do anything!" I wasn't going to give in to Suzaku's overly inflated sense of pride. "PLEASE, SUZAKU!" I shouted.

My voice seemed to have jolted some sense into him. Slowly he walked forward and took my outstretched hand. Once our bodies were pressed together and Suzaku held me tightly, I grabbed the cable and lifted the both of us back into the cockpit of the Gawain. Wordlessly, we each settled into our respective controls.

From the outside, the freshly regrouped pseudo-Japanese army watched the imperious figure of the Gawain straighten up and draw its weapon. It would be the last thing they saw.

.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.

"It's ok to shoot." I purred in Suzaku's ear. His body tensed. We were standing outside the Gawain on the floor of the base's secret jet hanger. In front of us knelt Sawasaki, with his hands tied behind his back and his eyes cast downward in defeat. Suzaku held a shaking gun to the man's temple. I continued.

"He may have known your father, but make no mistake. This man is a traitor. He abandoned his country when it needed him most." Suzaku's finger tightened on the trigger as he listened to those words. "He is nothing but a coward." I said. Suzaku continued to hesitate. Suddenly his gun was pointing at my face instead.

"You're one to talk." Suzaku growled. "I suppose it's easy to call other people cowards while hiding your own face beneath a mask." I had to chuckle a little at that. Slowly, I pulled out my own gun and aimed it at my dear friend.

"Then that makes all three of us." I concluded. Suzaku scowled.

"I have done much for this country and its people. And unlike you, I've done it all without wearing a mask." He snapped. I blinked, surprised that he had challenged me.

"The very fact that I am still wearing this mask proves your cowardice. You've had numerous opportunities to remove it." I reached up with my free hand and began to slide the mask off my face. Suzaku's eyes widened.

"Stop." He called. I didn't listen. There was the sound of a gunshot and I felt the sting of the bullet that grazed my shoulder. "Stop it." Suzaku said again turning his head away. With my point proven, I replaced the mask.

"You are afraid of this mask." I said, taking a step closer to Suzaku. "You are afraid of what's behind it." Suzaku's attempted to straighten his shoulders and take on a more confident stance. But he was trembling. I knew he couldn't shoot me. Not after what we had done. Not after what we had promised. "You are afraid of the things it allows me to do."

I walked up to Suzaku, pried his gun away from him and tossed it to the side. He seemed a bit relieved to be rid of the killing weapon. It was better this way. A gun never fit in Suzaku's hand the way it fit in mine. I stroked his cheek with my gloved fingers. "But it doesn't matter if Zero is a coward." I said, leaning in closer. "It doesn't matter how evil or corrupt Zero becomes." I released Suzaku and turned to Sawasaki. "It doesn't matter because Zero is a symbol, not a person." I rested my gun against Sawasaki's temple. Suzaku gasped.

"No, please! Zero-"

"And so when Zero does something like this…" I fired my gun. Sawasaki's body slumped to the floor, a pool of crimson spreading out from beneath him.

"…in the end, no one gets hurt."

There was absolute silence. Suzaku stared with his mouth slightly open at the dead body on the floor. When the blood reached the tips of his shoes, he fell to his knees. The red stream soaked the white material of his uniform. His voice cracked when he finally spoke.

"Tell me, Zero. Does that mask make you a god?" Suzaku gave a laugh. It was that sound that sent chills down my spine. "Just when I think I can understand you, you go and do things like this." He turned his emerald eyes to me. "What gives you the right to take away human life?" I seemed to have noticed just how furious he was a little too late. He grabbed me by the neck and wrapped his fingers tightly around my throat.

I was so frustrated I wanted to scream. Why couldn't Suzaku realize all that I did for him? Why couldn't he appreciate it? I wouldn't be in this goddamn building if I hadn't come to save his ass. I wouldn't have shot Sawasaki if I knew Suzaku wouldn't be tortured after doing it himself. I wouldn't have put on this ridiculous costume if I hadn't wanted to save his country. And yet he was so selfish. He thought he was all alone in the world. He thought that no one would care if he died.

I gasped for air, clawing uselessly at Suzaku's hands. Black spots began to appear in my vision and I felt dangerously close to fainting. Suddenly, I was released and I fell to the floor, coughing. Suzaku had me pinned to the ground a moment later. I couldn't find the strength to fight back. My eyes widened when he began to tear at my shirt.

"I'll show you fear, Zero. I'll show you who the scared one is around here." His knee was pressed between my legs and his shadow loomed over me. I gasped sharply as his nails raked over the bare skin of my chest, leaving behind stinging red lines, and in some places, drawing blood. Suzaku was panting. His hands stopped the abuse of my body and came to rest on the sides of my mask.

"You shared your secrets with me in that cave. I know you have feelings like the rest of us." Suzaku continued, his eyes searching. "I'll expose you for the human that you really are."

The mask came off

As I stared up at Suzaku with my naked eyes, I watched the angry, vengeful emotions on his face transform into complete shock. I refused to look away, but at the same time, I realized that I hadn't been ready to reveal myself to Suzaku.

Fortunately, we were spared the inconvenience of conversation. Two Britannian Knightmares blasted through the wall behind us. Suzaku looked over his shoulder as they began to roll toward us. I knew I had to leave, but I wondered if Suzaku would let me go. His green eyes were unreadable when they turned back to me. I began to slide out from underneath him. The hand that was still on my chest twitched but made no movement to grab me as I slipped out of its grasp.

And then I was running back to the Gawain, dodging the machine gun bullets of the two Britannian Knightmares. When I was just about to shut myself in the cockpit, I looked back. Suzaku stood there, his uniform still drenched in Sawasaki's blood. In his hands, he held my mask.

And I had a feeling that I had just lost my best friend.

.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.

A/N: Yeah, no sex yet. If that's all you came for then I'm really sorry. It'd be great if you'd leave a review anyway.

Also i want to know who you think should top. Obviously, i prefer Suzaku but i want to know the opinion of the general population.