Entitled: Reverse Victims
Fandom: Code Geass
Words: 2000 words
Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass and etc.
Setting: Begins early season two, continues on until the end of the series. Spoilers.
Notes: For Jazz. It was supposed to be a drabble, but then Lelouch was sexy and Kallen was hot and I sort of gave up on that whole self-restraint thing.
She isn't stupid.
He beats her in eleven turns. Eleven turns and board is half wiped of any white, and it isn't as though chess has ever been her game, no, she'll admit to that but—eleven turns—
"Don't look so upset," Lelouch with half his smile hidden behind his fingers. He has the tendency to touch his mouth when he's thinking or gloating about something. Kallen frowns at the board.
"I'm not upset," she says coolly, and looks blackly at her conquered army. Lelouch leans forwards a little, beginning to gather up the pieces. She makes no move whatsoever to help him.
"I've never seen someone who played so aggressively," he says, rather loftily. Kallen grinds her teeth. She has never, ever been a good loser.
"Oh?" she says, perhaps a bit too bitingly, "You know, people tend to say that about me. Isn't that funny?"
Not really. Lelouch looks at her considering for a moment, one long pointer finger tracing the scoop of his lower lip. "Maybe 'aggressive' was the wrong word," he says slowly. His hair is getting long again. She isn't interested in apologies. She stacks up her pieces as quickly as she can and stands to leave.
"It's more like," Lelouch says at last, "The way you dispatch your units. It's interesting. You rely very heavily on the idea of sacrifice."
A ripple of something like nausea crawls through her stomach. Lelouch raises his eyes to her own, and after a moment turns his attention away, tucking his papers under one arm and walking out of the room, snagging his costume as he leaves.
The next time it only takes nine.
And she isn't stupid, she really isn't, so she can't figure out why she keeps loosing.
She walks out of his room without excusing herself and pulls on her fighting clothes, pulls back her hair and gets into her Knightmare, with her fingers so tightly clamped the joints have started to knot up.
She flies for some time, and through the window, the sky is tinted red. The Britanian base is small, and largely unimportant, and just what she needs. She can do subtlety. She can do finesse.
But it's so much easier to just smash through the ceiling.
She takes her time with aiming. Leisurely. Maybe that's a bad thing, but at some point, killing enemy soldiers became sort of…relaxing. This is justice. These people are evil. These people have killed and maimed and raped and beaten and stripped her people of every last drop of their pride until Japan's veins withered and the people could no longer see a gun without screaming.
She doesn't feel remorse, and she isn't sorry, they deserved it, and she is not one of them.
Needless to say, she is called back to base.
"What were you thinking?" Ohgi yells, as soon as she's swung one of her legs from the cockpit, "There was no reason to kill those men! They hadn't done anything, Kallen! You can't just kill every Britanian you meet!"
It hasn't been a very good day. When she slides down the side of her machine, her legs and hands leave smeared and red. "What are you so scared of, Ohgi?" she hisses, "Worried about your girlfriend? Have you forgotten who we are? What we are?"
She regrets it even as she says it, the way Ohgi's face closes down. It is not in his nature to do the things he does. He does not have the same capacity for cruelty she does. He has never learned passion in the way she has.
"Ohgi, Kallen, that's enough," Zero's voice breaks through the remark Ohgi had begun forming. She can't hear Lelouch behind the mask, and that's just as well—because Lelouch is as wicked as she, as tainted by Britanian blood with his royal purple eyes.
"Those men were soldiers, Ohgi. Being a soldier means being ready to die, having consented to die, for the force they represent." Zero's voice has that grand-standing quality turned up, and the whole deck has begun to stare.
"Kallen," Zero snaps. Her heels come together.
For a moment the mask is silent, and then he says, quite coldly, "Do not act without orders. You have a responsibility to our force and to me, and if you are not able to fill this responsibility, I will find someone else who can."
If she were the sort of girl who cried, she might now. "Yes, sir." She says, more muted, but still full of pride.
Ohgi has cast his eyes away, as have the rest of the crew, as though they are ashamed to look at her. She casts her chin up at a slight degree and balls her hands at her side.
Zero turns on his heel, "Continue with our present track. Kallen, come with me."
She follows him, her feet oddly heavy, until they have reached his private office. He pulls off the mask, and then the cloak with deliberate slowness, turned away from her. She waits with her back against the door, her arms crossed.
"Are you trying to prove something?" Lelouch asks, almost politely. When he turns around then, his hands slam down at either side of her head, and his eyes are purple and red and winged and so full of fury.
She could hurt him. She could break his arm or snap his neck as easily as another person might touch his cheek or kiss him. But she doesn't, and it isn't because of respect or affection. It's because, on some base level, she is afraid.
"No," she mutters. She feels like a child.
"I know you aren't stupid, Kallen," he goes on in that same, almost detached voice, "You just do really stupid things."
She looks at her feet. "I'm sorry." She says, quietly, because she knows herself well enough to recognize her flush for the shame beneath the anger.
When she musters enough courage to again face forwards, Lelouch is staring at her intently. "I need to be able to trust you, Kallen," he says pressingly, "You know that. You are the most powerful piece I have."
Of course she is. She looks back at him, and dislikes this expression reflected back to her in his eyes. She hardens it and looks down and to the side.
She is nothing if not loyal. But there is a certain game the two of them play, and sometimes—sometimes he looks just a bit too royal, and there is not a fraction of his heart that can love Japan as anything more than a stepping stone to the world.
She wants to know. She wants to be loyal to what is right.
"You keep talking to me about sacrifice," she says finally, "But you're the one who always throws away his queen. It gets me every time. You were right, Lelouch," she takes a breath, because admitting mistakes is not something she is good at either, "I act too hastily."
She reaches out and turns the door knob, spinning away and slipping outside, but not before catching sight of his oddly troubled expression.
"I wouldn't worry about that."
It takes seven turns, and she has decided that chess is a stupid game, really. She still manages to take his queen. She carries it around in her pocket for a few days, until the tiny crown has begun to dig into her side painfully and the whole thing has begun to seem rather childish.
This time she doesn't take the Knightmare. This time, she didn't even go looking for trouble, trouble just happened to deposit itself before her.
She didn't even think about pulling the man away from the woman on the ground and kneeing him in the stomach, and kicking him in throat when he goes down, and yelling some of her more prolific curse words for good measure.
The woman has gotten to her feet by the time Kallen turns back to her. She tugs her skirt back down and looks at Kallen with dirty tears still running down her cheeks. Her eyes are the same color as the sun as it sets—melting orange. She takes one look at Kallen's flamboyant coloring and starts sobbing anew, this time from gratitude. She spits at the man on the ground, digging into her purse and shoving money into Kallen's hands.
"Disgusting animals!" the woman hisses with a hiccup, her Britanian-blonde hair flopping limply into her face, stiff from hairspray and wet with sweat. She takes another breath, blubbers something to Kallen, and takes off running in her broken heels and ripped clothes.
That woman had thought she was a Britanian, Kallen realizes. She looks down to the man on the ground, his pants still down around his knees. It is only now that she realizes he is Japanese.
Very slowly, her fingers curl open, and she lets the money fall to the ground, wadded into balls. They flutter slightly, from the breath of the man she had brutalized.
She feels sick.
It takes four turns.
She has the notion of a countdown.
"I think that might be a record," Lelouch says blandly. Kallen says nothing, only looks at the black king, a sort of frown appearing between her eyebrows.
"I keep getting worse," she says finally. The ship hums around them. She wonders if Britania claimed to own the sky as well.
Lelouch resets the pieces. "Let's play again."
She watches the clock's hand run in circles. It never ends. Maybe that's supposed to be some sort of metaphor, that whoever designed time to be measured by circles did so intentionally.
"You win." She says, and faces him. She picks up her king and tosses it. "And that leaves us with…Zero."
He tosses the piece back. She moves her knight forward, sends it skipping across the board for his queen. He takes out her knight with a rook.
It isn't until thirty minutes have passed that she remembers—this isn't the point of the game.
She moves her remaining bishop into position, and double-checks. "Check." She says, disbelievingly.
Lelouch maneuvers his queen out of the corner carefully.
She stares at the board. "I just took your king," she says out loud, accusingly. An indelicate and floppy process, to be sure, but somehow, ending with her as the victor.
Lelouch knocks the piece from the board carelessly. "I was never protecting him," he says, and extends his hand.
Haltingly, she takes it, watching as he bends forward smoothly, pressing his lips to her knuckles. He never takes his eyes of hers, and it seems like the more she looks, the less she can see.
"What are you doing?" she asks softly, and they both know she isn't asking about the kiss. Her heart is beating hard and she is so young, and so unprepared for what is to come.
"You'll see," Lelouch says, pressing something into her hand before dropping his mask over his face and exiting the room.
The king piece glistens in her palm, his stone crown sharp and heavy. Her fingers close over it tightly, and she runs after him. When she kisses the place his lips had touched her skin, she imagines she can taste despair.
It will take her a very long time to understand.
She finds the queen's piece in his corpse's pocket.