This world was rotting.
Beyond this haven for the scholarly and privileged Britannian youth — this world brimming with sadism, bigotry, and supremacy preserved for one elite monarchy all together.
In retrospect, Lelouch Lamperouge thought he was grateful to have shaken off the fetters of royalty, to have been driven from the glowing golden gates of well-to-do and noble standing (and they were blood-encrusted gates, blood of many untarnished countries). To him, there was no merit in holing up behind mansion walls like the royals and pretending like his own business didn't stink — especially while this world churned in horror and revulsion of an impending war to end it all.
Never mind what had to have happened in order to release himself…
He blinked, and stared around from the window at his class halfway packed with their briefcases and textbooks crammed in their arms. "Hmm?"
One of his students lowered her hand. "Are we free to go to sixth period? Mrs. Oogi gets mad when we're running late." She raised her finely-plucked eyebrows at her professor as his violet eyes cleared of the distracted haze.
Lelouch glanced at his buckled wristwatch, speaking up once he had collected his thoughts, "Ah…yes. You are free to go. No homework for tonight." A thunderous chorus of whoops and catcalls filed out as his sixth years rushed for the entrance of the first floor hallway, as if expecting lingering for too long would change his mind.
The girl who had raised her hand now fought the swarm of bodies to reach her girlfriends. At the last moment, she stole a glance of him in his white button-up oxford shirt — looking over his notebook cautiously as he felt her gaze — before blushing (they never noticed a group of boys with nasty sneers passing by) and one of the other girls elbowed her, laughing.
At the very least, these students respected him well enough to keep their hormones in check when addressing him — unlike a certain perverted lover of his he could name.
The letter Lelouch had sent to Suzaku Kuruugi several weeks ago, carefully thought over after a session or two of homework grading, had been composed with such flourishingly demanding questions about military life such as—
(Are they treating you well? Do they feed you three meals a day? Are you getting into trouble with the other Britannian soldiers? Would you believe me if I said to you that I missed you and your at times aggravating masochism?)
The letter back, delivered that afternoon by second period, sat opened on his teacher's desk — looking as if it had been scribbled with little time dedicated on a crumpled piece of paper he had conveniently found on the floor, had remarked about how girly Lelouch's handwriting was (he chose to ignore that) and—
(Yes—I get lots of training at the base. Yes—I miss Ashford dinners. Yes—I am a delinquent after all. Yes—but that's not the only part about me you miss, Sensei.)
A sad smile crept over Lelouch's mouth. His hands trembled, flattened to the words on the paper.
"Lost in thought, Lulu?"
He spun around — Milly Ashford, his dear friend. In what appeared to be a pin-striped business dress, she crossed her arms behind her back in the doorway to the classroom. Milly returned the level of wariness he gave her as it became a meaningless staring contest stretching between them.
"What did you need, Milly?" he asked finally, shoving Suzaku's letter into the back pocket of his trousers. "I'm a little busy at the moment."
"I won't take up too much of your time," she assured him. "But I think since holiday starts soon, you might need this more than I will." The blonde heiress revealed what she was hiding behind her — a long, clear vial sloshing with colorless liquid.
Lelouch frowned at first to the vial, then her eerily blank expression, not liking its manifestation. "Why would I need this? What is it?"
"You take it. Doesn't really matter how. And it will help you relive happier memories temporarily." Milly sighed when he didn't move towards her, her skirts swooshing as she pushed the vial into his hands. "Just trust me. You'll thank me later." Before he could ask again, she vanished with her floating blonde spirals, the same sad smile hanging onto her features.
The day before holiday, after lunch time — on his chalkboard: Burn Faggot.
The first time — Lelouch only allowed himself that night a small sip. It hit the back of his tongue with a sour, powdery orange tinge—
He dreams that he is lying on a cushion, surrounded by drapings of mosquito netting. "My little Lelouch…" A woman with blue ribbons in her black hair hovers over him to tickle his stomach and kiss his cheeks in wet, loving smacks. "My little boy is mine to protect forever," his mother promises him, her violet eyes all full of laughter…
and so another is needed, to get rid of the shakes in his legs for sleep—
Suzaku in this one. His colorful yukata for the school festival slims him and compliments his tan skin. The material whisper-silk to the touch. And no, he can't see the fireworks from inside the temple, but the distraction of Suzaku's lips greedily snatching his mouth suits him fine. "I love you," Suzaku promises him against his neck…
and so another—
A call to him, someone panting from Aries Palace's courtyard. A small, warm body collides into him; a girlish squeal of indignation and surprise. Nine-year-old Euphemia nestles her face into his chest, her arms round him fierce. She cries, her small, lavender-colored eyes prickling with tears. "I won't leave you never ever," she promises him…
After throwing up Sayoko's breakfast into his bathroom's sink, Lelouch blessed his luck that the entire day (and maybe the rest of the school's break) was available to spend curled up in the fetal position alone with his excruciating headache.
And even more thankful — Nunnally had not caught a whiff of his physical condition. It may have been a result of her new boyfriend currently paying a visit.
Honestly, Lelouch did not hate Rivalz Cardemonde. And he probably never would as long as Rivalz did not screw up the good situation he was in. But Lelouch would not— would not become his BUDDY. He began to loathe the nickname from the sudden moment it was conceived on his student's lips.
He was OLDER than him, dammit! The title of 'Professor' deserved RESPECT!
As Lelouch cleaned himself up and stepped into the living room, still nursing what felt like the universe's most evil hangover, his smiling sister and Rivalz called out to him. Nunnally touched Rivalz's arm to signal him to let go of her wheelchair (making Lelouch's eyebrow convulse for a second, unnoticed), and she moved closer.
"Look what we found, Big Brother! It is our Big Sister Euphemia— it was in the dresser drawer and Rivalz described it for me, so it has to be her!" She chirped, obviously pleased while holding up a colored photo of a child with wild, rose hair and grinning at the camera, forever captured as motionless and beautiful.
In a violent motion, the picture frame decorated so exquisitely with shiny, intricate metallic swirls knocked from her hands. The impact of her brother's hands hitting hers so angrily caused her to yelp timidly. Rivalz backed her away, terrified as Lelouch's eyes bugged out behind his glasses, as his hands went clasping to his throat. He began making horrible meaty coughs aimed for the floorboards.
"What's going on? Big Brother, are you alright?" The panic in Nunnally's voice brought out Sayoko and Cee-Cee from the kitchen. The green-haired woman immediately grabbed onto Lelouch as he went to his knees; the maid firmly led the other two protesting into the shelter of another room.
Sweat trickled from Lelouch's forehead, clumping his bangs. Tears and snot and drool tangled together from his nose and mouth as his body shook in her arms. He blindly searched for the rest of her. Lelouch's hands worked into the fabric of Cee-Cee's grey blazer, gripping with all of his might.
"It's going to okay, Lelouch." Cee-Cee shushed him, stroking his hair as another round of shudders bucked him further, "I can make all of the bad things go away, remember?"
"It's going to be okay. Trust me," she repeated, nodding to Sayoko who returned, filling a syringe in her right hand with a powerful sedative. The young man flinched up as the medicated shot like heat in his bloodstream, his eyelashes fluttering as he collapsed face-first into Cee-Cee's collarbone.
It was the exact opposite—
Cinders fly in his face, his windswept hair, and the vest of his pale blue uniform. The figure roped to the flaming stake in the fields, with her black hair, with her blue, satin ribbons, screeches to the heavens until the fire consumes her voice…
of all the other times—
The bleeding boy with emerald eyes on the square below him pushed on all fours. The larger of the bullies, a self-important Britannian teen, prods one of his shoes into Suzaku's bruising face. "Lick it clean, Eleven-kun. Or we'll kill you…"
and he thirsted for what was even more—
Clovis hates him. And that's all he understands in that moment. His older brother laughs cruelly, pushing a stunned Euphemia into him. In the commotion, in his hurry to catch her falling, Lelouch's finger tightens on the trigger… and the gun goes off… her rose red blood soars into his widening eyes…
His gym bag began to slip from his moistening palms. Suzaku exhaled nervously, hopping up the clubhouse stairs two at a time, and stopping at the closed front door to where he knew Nunnally and Lelouch were most likely eating lunch.
It had been seven months since he and Lelouch had seen each other — seven agonizing months away — and he could barely contain himself to surprise his lover with an early vacation from training at the Imperial Army's base.
When Cee-Cee answered his knocking, Suzaku grinned cheekily at her. "Hey! Is Lelouch around?" He craned over her shoulder eagerly, still grinning.
It was then — glancing into her tawny-colored eyes darkly circled; frightened, his stomach twisting — the red and blue gym bag thudded onto the concrete.
Milly mumbled sleepily to herself on the bed nearby. An injector attached to an empty glass tube shattering onto the waxed tile floor as her head crashed muffled against a pillow. Lelouch barely heard it, sinking heavily against her bedroom wall.
His eardrums pulsed with his own heartbeat as he let the needle that had punctured the inside of his elbow pop free and lay limply in his right hand. He couldn't hear his name being shouted from the corridor. Didn't see Suzaku through the stimulates of the drug and built-up of tears in his eyes. When the brown-haired man dropped to his knees in front of him, Lelouch saw someone else.
He smiled very slowly, cradling that beautiful, young face with both of his hands.
"Euphie… Euphie… it doesn't matter anymore. You know we will always… no one is taking us away from each other…I will always… love you…" Lelouch murmured, brushing Suzaku's tears dry with his thumbs.
"so don't… cry…"
Lloyd told him that there was no saving Miss Ashford. The doctors in Tokyo did their best with the medical tools existing. But the drugs had weakened her heart.
But Lelouch… his darling, stupid Lelouch…
His employer at a military base in the Tokyo settlement — an eccentric Earl and scientist — reassured him with a reedy smirk that Lelouch would recover after the abdominal surgery, and after many therapy sessions of drug addicts, but most importantly, after the young professor decided to regain consciousness.
It was another two days before Lelouch did, shakily reaching for a Suzaku with a thinner face and stronger arms that seven months of training were responsible for. One of his fingertips brushed a bit of fuzz on Suzaku's chin before losing strength. The soldier — on his knees beside the hospital bed, who had refused to sleep in chairs at four in the morning — caught it to bring Lelouch's palm to his mouth, placing kisses on his fingers.
When his violet eyes rolled around in their sockets, Suzaku whispered harshly, "Don't even think about going to sleep, Lu. You have to stay with me."
"Your eyes are all red…" Lelouch said groggily, his tongue feeling like wood.
"You haven't seen me in over half a year, you let me find you in someone else's apartment littered with illegal drugs and half dead on them, and all you can say to me is that I'm crying?" The brunet smiled mockingly, closing his stinging eyes.
"What the hell were you doing with Refrain in the first place? That stuff destroys people, Lelouch… it's meant to mess with your head before it kills you… the last thing you were talking about was some girl named Euphie… is she…?"
Suzaku reopened his eyes to watch pupils dilate. Lelouch's heart monitor grew louder as the older man buried his face into his hands, shoulders trembling. The doctors thrust Suzaku out of the way as they grudgingly rolled up Lelouch's sleeve, as he succumbed to hysterics.
Blinded by a awful whirlwind of emotions — none of them soothing — and a single mission to accomplish, the brown-haired soldier stormed into the clubhouse, banging on all closed doors within reach. "Cee-Cee!" he roared.
Fatigued, a tall figure in a short, red bathrobe drifted into view, leading him into one of the showers. She silently straddled over the edge of a porcelain bathtub, her long strands of silky, green hair screening her face from view.
"I need some answers to what's been happening! Did you know he was taking Refrain?" Suzaku growled at her from the doorway, clutching his fists. The woman shook her head once and did not look away from staring at a mildewed crack on the bathroom wall. "What about this Euphie girl? Why when I mentioned her name he nearly had a heart attack? C'mon, say something to me dammit!"
"I am not the one to be telling you his past," Cee-Cee said simply. "And I don't appreciate being spoken to like this."
When Suzaku walked over, he plopped down on a covered toilet seat. And did not move, even as the green-haired woman sent a careful, searching look over her shoulder.
"I first met Lelouch when he was thirteen, and had witnessed his first death." She did not sound pleased to be recalling this nor saddened.
"The same fate would have befallen him and his sister if I had not hidden them in the countryside then. For that long I have been protecting them for the sake of my late best friend. And for the sake of her kingdom." Suzaku's eyebrows twitched up, bewildered.
"Lelouch's destiny was not to be burned alive that night. He is meant to rule as king."
"I don't understand what you are talking about…" Suzaku watched as Cee-Cee's normally friendly and mischievous disposition exposed a touch of a natural, callous smirk as she leered, throwing her pale green hair over her shoulder.
"…Didn't you know you were fucking royal blood?"
Lelouch woke up with a note tied loosely to his wrist with some felt string. When he questioned the nurse, she replied happily that a handsome, tanned man with green eyes was the only one to enter the room in the past ten minutes—
(Lu— I know there are important things I have to learn from you. I know now that they are things that make us severely different from each other. You may not want to share them with anyone. But please make an exception with me.)
LORDY. I'VE REWRITTEN THIS SUCKER EVERY TIME I LOOKED AT IT. -stabs brain-
Everyone can obviously tell where it started— right after Suzaku left for the Imperial Army. I don't think there will be many questions regarding that. But if you are indefinitely confused by the placement of the universe, reading the previous stories (mentioned in this author note) will give some insight. But there is still some that hasn't been explained. Will this be continued? There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how Lelouch became an exhile and his Mother, the nasty circumstances of Euphie's death, and of course, the recent events. We've only scratched the surface of it, kiddos. ;DD
Um. CG isn't my creation. But YOU know that. This installment follows the AU universe created by DiamondMask and myself with fanfic stories such as Diamond's "By Way of Mouth" "For Me, It's You" and "Lolita" and my "Detention" and "Peccadillo". AND WE OFFICIALLY HAVE FANS OF OUR NONSENSE! IT IS CRAZY. O.O -waves frantically in the direction of previous story readers and Miroku25-
I've got to endlessly thankthankthankthankthank DiamondMask for her help, her encouragement, her kindness, and of course her brain I am married to. -loves-
Comments? Why sure. My inner review junkie would be very pleased.