Serena: I've failed you all. ;___; But I'll redeem myself next chapter, I swear!!! DX THERE'S A POLL CONCERNING THIS STORY ON MY PROFILE. PLEASE LOOK AT IT IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY. I am so sorry for the wait! I've been dealing with college stuff and then there's the ever helpful procrastination thing. Plus, I was having trouble with Euphemia's and Cornelia's characters. I wasn't sure how to write them. I got a book though that helped me with their characters so…I managed to get this chapter done finally. Anyway, I can't believe the amount of reviews this story has already gotten. Is it really that interesting? I mean, yeah, if someone else had written this, I'd be reading it…but still. Wow. [shrugs] Anyway, Chapter 3 has arrived!! And it continues where the last chapter left off!! So read on. :D
I would like to thank the following people for reviewing: starfruit-22, La Luna Negra, Djay, Patet, 23emanresu, Naome 666, Rollo-kun, Shinku Anrui, Nusku, 2stupid, TenshiGosuperu, Xhadow Kiss, setsuko teshibam, LelouchForever, Star Jinin, ayashi77, Altair718, Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, TheWhisperOfWind, Yamiro, Infidel Pumpkin, sennyo-chan, Chibi Tsuki Hikari, Midorchi-chan, Lickumz, lover-of-light, dark-kitsune-chan, Anonymous Sister of the Author, PirateCaptainBo, x, Zaywex, and CGRD!
Thank you all for your wonderful reviews and for the story alerts and all the favorites! ^^ [bows] See Yamiro? :D Told ya I'd update soon. So no Boba Fett! D:
A huge thanks goes to Star Jinin who was kind enough to beta this chapter for me. I know she had to of had many issues with it. My rough drafts are what I call "organized messes"…which I have decided means "not good". And uh…she never beta read the edited version of this chapter. ;__;…I know. I'm terrible, but I felt too awful for not updating sooner so…yeah. Anyway, she'll be beta reading this story from now on so squee! ^^; [flees]
Warnings: AU. More angst…of course. Some SuzakuxEuphemia and some SuzakuxLelouch as well as lots of platonic sibling love for Lelouch. =D Cause he needs more love…I gotsa cookie for anyone who gives Lulu a hug!! ^^ They're Zero-shaped even.
Summary: On the day of Nunnally's kidnapping, Suzaku was absent because of military duties. With no one to aid him, Lelouch was forced to face Mao on his own. // "Holy Mother, I seem to have found you again."
Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass nor do I own Silent Hill. Story title inspired by the song Battleship Grey by Kirsty Hawkshaw.
Title: Battleship Grey
Chapter 3: Royalty
By: Serena the Hikari of Love
Beta'd By: Star Jinin
"Is it lonely where you are?
Does the darkness know your name?
What's it like?
Can you feel?
She said her blood turns to ash.
-O.R.T; Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill Origins)
Euphemia's eyes shimmered as she was on the verge of tears. Could it really be--?
"Lelouch?" she questioned in disbelief as she took a small step forward. "Is that…really…"
Suzaku didn't know what to say as he stared at Euphemia with wide eyes.
Should he lie and say that she was mistaken?
Had Lelouch been more himself he was sure that the violet-eyed boy would have demanded that he lie to her. Well, perhaps "demanded" was the wrong word, but the point was that Lelouch would have told him to lie to Euphemia in order to keep his identity a secret.
One thing that hadn't changed over the years was Lelouch's loathing for the Britannian Empire--namely, his father. The boy was terrified of having his princely heritage discovered. If he was discovered, word would spread and would eventually reach the ears of someone close to the Empire. If that happened, Lelouch's life would drastically change and that was something neither of them wanted.
Was it selfish of him to want to keep Lelouch all to himself?
His eyes narrowed slightly as his mind came back to the matter at hand.
No, he could not lie to Euphemia. He just couldn't.
For one thing, he didn't approve of lying as he thought it only hurt people in the end. Second, how could he lie about something like this when Euphemia was staring at Lelouch with her own two eyes? Lelouch was her brother and despite her having not seen him for years, Suzaku was quite certain that she would be able to recognize him. After all, Lelouch wasn't someone who could be easily forgotten. Plus, after seeing the look Euphemia had--a hopeful, pleading expression that begged for it to be true, to know that her eyes were not deceiving her--Suzaku just didn't have the heart to try.
So he sent Euphemia a small smile and nodded his head slightly.
Euphemia ran forward and flung herself onto the bed, wrapping her arms around Lelouch in a tight hug.
"I don't believe it." she whispered, tears freely running down her face as she buried her head into Lelouch's chest. "Father told us you were dead. He said you and Nunnally died in the war, but you didn't. I'm so glad."
Lelouch stiffened slightly when Euphemia first touched him, but otherwise didn't acknowledge her presence. He kept his head turned away from Suzaku and Euphemia and just stared at the wall with that same somber--yet somehow blank--expression that Suzaku detested.
Euphemia didn't notice this at first, as she was too preoccupied with wrapping her mind around the knowledge that her older brother was alive.
Lelouch vi Britannia. The same boy she used to play with at the Aries Villa, the same boy she had a catfight with Nunnally over about who would get to be Lelouch's bride in their pretend game, was alive.
Never had a simple word sounded so beautiful, so wonderful. Alive…Lelouch was alive. She could touch him, talk with him, listen to him, and play with him again.
She was brought out of her happy musing as a thought struck her.
Lelouch was not responding.
She unwrapped her arms from around Lelouch so that she could wipe her tears away. She sat back and narrowed her eyes slightly at Lelouch.
"Lelouch? It's me." she said, her smile falling a little. "Euphemia, remember?"
She waited a moment, hoping that Lelouch would say something or even look at her.
"Lelouch?" she tried again, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Lelouch, don't you recognize me?"
She still got no response.
"Su-Suzaku?" she questioned, her confused and scared eyes locked onto Suzaku. "Why isn't my brother responding?"
Suzaku sighed and looked away.
How was he going to explain this to her? He couldn't tell her of Lelouch's condition without explaining what caused it. Euphemia had just learned of Lelouch's survival and she probably thought that Nunnally was still alive as well. It was a logical conclusion to come to and no one could blame her for thinking that if indeed she was.
How could he tell her that she had lost Nunnally not once, but twice?
"Suzaku?" Euphemia pleaded. "What's wrong with my brother? Why won't he…"-she placed a hand over Lelouch's- "…why won't he answer me?"
Suzaku turned his head to gaze at Euphemia, his eyes filled with sorrow.
"Euphie…" Suzaku began. "Lelouch is…well…"-he took a deep breath and exhaled slowly-"…something terrible happened a few days ago."
"I'm sorry." Suzaku apologized.
He felt horrible, like he had just committed an unforgivable sin.
He had made Euphemia cry.
But not because he wanted to.
It was entirely unintentional--albeit inevitable--yet he felt the need to apologize. He had finished telling Euphemia about what had happened days earlier and as expected, the pink-haired princess was sobbing in mourning for not just Nunnally, but Lelouch as well.
Her brother's behavior made so much more sense to her now.
As children, Lelouch always doted on Nunnally and Euphemia doubted that that had changed these past few years. After Lady Marianne's murder, Lelouch could always be found at Nunnally's side. He would talk to her regardless of whether she was asleep or awake. He would hold her hand, telling her that everything would be okay and that he would protect her. He helped her cope with the loss of her sight and legs.
There were so many things he did for that little girl and there were undoubtedly many more things he had done for her that Euphemia knew nothing about.
Now Nunnally--the only family Lelouch ever had these past seven years--was gone and Lelouch no longer had any close family members by his side.
If she herself felt this bad, she couldn't imagine how bad Lelouch felt. It must be an awful feeling.
Euphemia took a deep breath and exhaled shakily. She lifted a hand to wipe away some of the tears clinging to her cheeks before reaching down to clasp one of Lelouch's hands in both her own.
"Has he said anything at all?" she asked, directing her question at Suzaku as she stared at Lelouch.
"No. He hasn't." Suzaku answered.
Euphemia's frown deepened and her shoulders sagged.
"…but…" Suzaku added.
Euphemia's frown lessened at this and she turned her head to look at Suzaku expectantly.
"…he has eaten something today." he finished, gesturing to the bowl of lukewarm soup. "And he hasn't all week…so that has to be a good sign."
Euphemia tilted her head downward and stared at the floor for a moment before looking back up at Suzaku and sending him a small smile.
"Yes." she said, nodding her head a bit in agreement.
They were silent for a few minutes, neither really knowing what to say due to the circumstances.
And during this silence, Euphemia thought about Lelouch. What would happen to him now that Nunnally was gone? Would he be able to carry on with his life? Would he ever speak again? Would he ever recover from this state?
She couldn't just leave him now that she knew he was alive. Not when he needed someone to be there for him, to hold his hand and tell him that everything would be okay…just like he did for Nunnally so many years ago.
'I want to help him. I want to be here for him everyday, but I'm a princess. It would be nearly impossible for me to visit with him. I have my duties as the Sub Viceroy to fulfill and I cannot slip past my guards all the time. '
She sighed and stared down at the hand she held, her mind remaining blank for a moment before her eyes suddenly widened as an idea struck her.
'I cannot stay here with him, but I he can stay with me. He gave up his claim to the throne, but he is still a prince by blood.'
"Suzaku." Euphemia started, turning her head to look at the brunet.
"Yes?" Suzaku questioned, taking notice of Euphemia's sudden change in mood.
"I want to help my brother, but I cannot be here for him everyday. However, he is still a prince by blood…so I can just take him back with me."
"Take him…with you?"
Euphemia nodded her head.
"Yes! I can talk to Cornelia. I am sure she will agree." she said, smiling a bit at the thought. "We've all thought him dead for so long…this will be great news! Plus, I can make sure Lelouch is well cared for. What do you think?"
To be honest, Suzaku wasn't quite sure what to think about that.
He knew that Lelouch--if the boy had been in his right mind--would be freaking out right now at the thought of being shipped off to the Britannian homeland and meeting his father again. Lelouch would be completely against the idea, but--and Suzaku looked at him when he thought this--Lelouch needed someone to care for him and as much as he wished he could, Suzaku could not play nurse to him forever. Lloyd would eventually hunt him down, forcibly drag him back to their military base, and seal him inside the Lancelot for a month or until Cecile rescued him.
'What if I don't want him to be taken away? What then, Euphie?'
Suzaku nodded his head and smiled slightly.
"I think it's a wonderful idea, Euphie." he agreed.
It wasn't so much of a lie as it was a half-truth; therefore, he didn't feel guilty for agreeing with her despite his conflicting thoughts.
"I'm glad you agree. Oh! Suzaku?"
"I was wondering…are you the one who has looking after my brother?" she asked, eyeing the soup bowl.
"Well…yes, I have." Suzaku answered, eyeing the now cold soup sitting in front of him. "He and I have been friends for quite some time and I was worried about him so…"
He trailed off as he watched Euphemia's eyes brighten in realization.
"Oh, I see." she said, gazing at Suzaku happily. "You're that Japanese boy Lelouch said he made friends with."
"-I know?" Euphemia finished for him. "He sent me a letter once and told me so. I was very happy that he made a friend while he was away from home and I've always wanted to meet that friend." -she tilted her head down in a show of shyness- "So that boy was you…I can see why."
Both she and Suzaku turned their heads to the direction of the door as they heard it open suddenly.
Both promptly gasped as they stared at a female figure that had a lovely shade of violet hair standing behind a noticeably stressed Milly Ashford.
Milly stepped into the room and stepped aside to allow the woman behind her a chance to enter the room.
"This is his room, Your Highness." she stated.
"Thank you. Make sure to tell no one of this visit, understood?" the woman ordered, her sharp amethyst-colored eyes settling on Euphemia and Lelouch.
"Yes, Your Highness." Milly responded, sending Lelouch a pitying look before leaving.
"So my suspicions were correct after all." Cornelia stated, moving to Lelouch's side.
Her eyes softened and finding that she was unable to restrain herself, she wrapped Lelouch up into a tight but gentle hug as he seated herself beside him.
She just couldn't help herself.
Her closet siblings kept dying.
Years ago, she had been informed that Lelouch and Nunnally had been killed in the war. Lady Marianne's death had been a major blow, but her children dying as well? That was just too cruel.
Seven years later, her brother Clovis was murdered by that abomination of a man who called himself Zero. Who was next? Schniezel? Or--God-forbid--Euphemia?
But now here was one of those dead siblings, very much alive. Could anyone blame her for getting just a little emotional and hugging her little brother in front of an Ele-Honorary Britannian that she didn't particularly like?
"To think that you were here this whole time." Cornelia muttered, placing a hand on top of Lelouch's head. "Hmph. I'm sure Clovis is turning in his grave right about now for not finding you first."
Euphemia smiled at the sight of her big sister being so loving towards Lelouch. It was a nice change to see, as Cornelia was usually so reserved with her emotions.
"I'm sure brother Clovis would be very happy to know that Lelouch is alive." she agreed.
Suzaku watched the happy reunion with a small smile on his face. He was happy to see Lelouch's siblings being so loving towards him and he knew by seeing this display of love that Lelouch would be in good hands.
That did not mean he was okay with Lelouch being taken away from him. Quite the contrary.
He was being selfish, he knew. But he hardly cared.
Rather than voicing his objections, however, he just kept his mouth shut. He hated to admit it, but the situation was out of his hands.
Cornelia leaned back, sighing as she looked down at Lelouch.
"If only we could say the same about Nunnally." she muttered, frowning slightly.
Euphemia stared down at the bed sheets, her eyes threatening to spill more tears.
"I know." she said quietly.
A spot of color caught her gaze and upon turning her head slightly to look, she discovered a small paper bird nestled against the pillows. Curiosity got the better of her and she reached a hand out to pick it up.
"What is this?" she asked aloud, cupping the tiny bird in her hands.
All eyes--even Lelouch's--turned to her as she held the tiny bird out for all to see. Suzaku's eyes widened slightly and he reached a hand out towards Euphemia.
He wasn't quick enough.
Lelouch wrenched himself out of Cornelia's hold and snatched the tiny crane out of Euphemia's hands before anyone had a chance to blink.
He glared, clearly unhappy that someone had dared try and take his crane away.
He even growled to further show his unhappiness.
He sat back after a moment and all the anger drained out of his face as he began to gently tug on the crane's paper wings.
Suzaku sighed as Euphemia and Cornelia stared at Lelouch in alarm at this sudden mood swing.
"He doesn't like for anyone else to touch it." Suzaku explained to the bewildered princesses. "It's…hers."
Euphemia titled her head down in shame. She didn't know, but she still felt guilty for upsetting him.
'I can fix that, though. I will see to it that he learns how to smile again.'
With that thought in mind, she looked back up at Cornelia with determination set in her violet irises.
"Sister," she began, catching the elder's attention. "I was thinking. Now that we know Lelouch is alive, we're going to take him back with us, right?"
"Of course." Cornelia answered without hesitation. "I will not leaving my younger brother here."
She figured as much, but it was still nice to hear it.
"That's wonderful. Won't Schneizel be pleased when he hears the news!" Euphemia said in a bit of excitement.
Her brother would be coming back home. She had no reason not to be.
"What a terrible place the world has become."
A tall figure stood before an altar. The altar was covered by a frayed white sheet and countless melted candles littered its surface, some lit and some not. An old wooden podium stood atop a raised section of the stone floor behind it, a cross etched into it's front. Thick walls of powdery stone and dark wood made up the walls surrounding the figure and long windows of stained glass were embedded into the wall's surface.
No light shone through them.
The figure kneeled before the altar and performed a signum crucis or "sign of the cross" in prayer.
"Holy Mother, I seem to have found you again." he stated as he stood. "It seems that your sorrow still exists. It is unacceptable."
He turned his back to the altar.
"I tried to find you, but I found someone else in your place." he continued.
He began to slowly walk down the aisle, passing the long wooden pews that held a couple of occupants.
The occupants did not seem to mind that he was talking to himself. In fact, they didn't even acknowledge him.
"He looked nothing like you, but he was the same. He is the same…and that makes me happy."
As he reached the middle of the aisle, he paused and turned back to the burning candles.
"Is it wrong of me, Holy Mother?" he questioned. "Do you think me wicked?"
He received no answer. Not from this "Holy Mother" and not from any of the other occupants.
He shrugged after a moment of silence.
"I've decided what I'm going to do and that is all that really matters. See?" he said, gesturing to his attire. "This is me now and my new purpose is to bestow nothingness unto my new enemies."
He remained silent for a moment before he turned and continued to walk down the aisle.
"I have to leave now." he stated. "I'm planning to meet him again. I think he will like that."
Serena: =D Who do YOU think was talking just then? Will I tell you if you ask? No. Will I give you a hint? Already did. :D Besides, you'll never guess correctly…I think. o.0 I don't know. SOME of you can read minds! D: Anyway, kinda important thing you guys should know. I just started college recently. I'm not sure how that will affect my updating. Knowing me, it probably won't change a thing. XD But, just thought you guys should know. :3 Anyway, please review and I'll see you guys next chapter!! =D Which will definitely be sooner than this chapter was. _ I hope…
For those wondering about the signum crucis or "sign of the cross" thing, it's something that Catholics and other Christians use as a sign of faith. You know, it's that sign some people use where they make a few movements with their hand? Ah, I can't describe it. XD I just remember seeing a lot of people using it at churches or in movies. So I did some research to find out its name and realized it was just what I needed. Keep reading and you'll discover the identity of the "Holy Mother" he was talking to. :D
Oh and one last thing. The part where Euphie mentioned receiving a letter from Lelouch, that really did happen. It's in the Stage 0.884 sound episode.