When Kallen was younger, back when Japan was Japan, Brittania was a faraway place that a faceless man called Father came from, and her brother was her invincible protector and playmate, she remembers not wanting to fall in love the way her mother did.

Loving a man who might have loved her back but could never show it and never express it, having to pause every now and then during the day and wonder if what you felt was ever real, loving him so desperately that sometimes you cried at night because you thought he did love you and still left you.

She absolutely refused to have that happen to her.

No way, no how.

Fate, Kallen will think later, after she's buried her own desperate, 'maybe or maybe not requited' love, is a right cruel bitch.

---

Lelouch is terrible with love.

He loved people, to be sure. He loved Nunnally, clear as day. He loved his mother (up until he learned she was trying to destroy the world, but even then, he felt a lingering attachment to her). He loved his friends, Suzaku, and Milly, and Rivalz, and even Nina in a small way, he loved Shirley in a way that he never got to figure out, he loved Euphie with the innocence of a child and the confliction of a man, he loved C.C. in a way he never really wanted to think about because he was sure the witch would use it as blackmail.

Unfortunately, he was also incapable of realizing that he did in fact, love them, until it was already far too late.

As such, Lelouch only really understood he was in love with Kallen when the word "Sayonara" was on her lips, a kiss lingering on his own, and the knowledge that he wasn't done breaking her heart yet.

---

Hate, Kallen decided, as she stepped into the Guren's cockpit, with the Damocles rearing up behind her and Lelouch's army before her, is far more useful than love.

Love causes you despair, love forces you to want to hope when you know hope is a betrayal, love will tear you down and leave you broken.

Love makes you cry.

But hate won't make you stronger, Ougi warns her, trying to urge her to keep a cool head when they both know that's impossible.

She knows that.

Hate is poisonous. Hate is destructive. Hate is evil (like Lelouch).

Love is all that is good and pure and nice in the world, love is gentle and kind, love will save us all.

But hate can get you up in the morning when love only makes you want to stay in bed and cry your eyes out. Hate can let you put a gun in your hand and point it at someone you thought you loved so much you wanted to protect. Hate can make you stop believing in foolish little things like promises and princes and love.

Hate doesn't make you strong, she thinks, but at least it won't make you cry.

---

Kallen is beautiful.

Logically, Lelouch has always known this. But somewhere between his head and his heart that knowledge always seemed to get lost.

Now, staring at her thinning face, pale from lack of sunlight, once vibrant crimson hair dulling into a rusty red, he finally seems to get around that fact, because even now, she is beautiful to his eyes.

Even locked in a prison, beaten, and nearly broken, Kallen is beautiful.

He'd had hundreds of chances to think this. He'd had dozens of chances to hold her in his arms, smell her hair, feel the warmth of her against his own.

Now all those chances are dust and memories and wistful wishes in the back of his mind, and the only thing Lelouch can do now is let her watch him die and take every word she spits at him to his grave.

---

Kallen knows he broke her heart.

She tries to take small comfort in the fact that the shattered pieces of hers maybe, just maybe, broke his in the process.