A/N: Omg these past two weekends I've been watching Code Geass. And all I can say is ALSDJFASLDFJLJKADSF AMAZING. I loved the series, I loved the characters. I loved everything. Naturally, I was inspired to write fic. This idea popped into my head randomly and I'm not sure where I'm going with it but I do love Suzaku/Kallen. Suzaku = my favorite 3 I'm sad to say that it's pretty unpopular but I hope you guys will enjoy the story anyways. Please note that since it is my first time writing the characters they probably won't be too in character. Which is...sad.
TThe mask was heavy.
The mask was heavy as was its burden with it. Suzaku knew this – he knew Lelouch knew it – but somehow knowing it beforehand did nothing to help ease the pain. Suddenly Kururugi Suzaku no longer existed in the world. It was just Zero, always Zero.
He knew there would be questions. Questions came along with the burden. Sometimes after meetings with Nunally, she would stop him before he went on his way, soft mouth twisted in confusion. But he'd just pat her head before she could say anything, pat her head like he used to, and she'd be silent. The former Black Knights threw him confused looks – sometimes that Ohgi fellow looked as if he actually knew something – but they would easily forget it and go on with their lives.
Yes, their lives. Because two years after Lelouch the Demon Emperor had been murdered by Zero the Hero, everything had suddenly settled into place. Everyone had moved on, everyone had found their own happiness.
Because the world had finally become a gentle place.
And isn't that what mattered? Isn't that what Lelouch wanted, what Lelouch sacrificed so much for?
Yes. The answer rung in Suzaku's mind like a dim bell. But no matter how many times he tried to tell himself that he was doing the right thing, that he was living out Lelouch's – Zero's — legacy, it did nothing to ease the ache that had taken over his chest.
He couldn't help but feel guilty. Who was he to demand happiness of all things when he had so willingly and decisively accepted the final wish that Lelouch bestowed upon him? Who was he to question his wretched existence in an otherwise peaceful world? Who was he?
He didn't even know anymore.
Most definitely, he was not Kururugi Suzaku, former Knight of Zero. And by no means was he the former glorious Zero, fearless leader of the Black Knights.
He was Zero. Yet he wasn't.
Suzaku laid back on his bed and stared up at the ceiling, a dissatisfied sigh coming out of his mouth. "You're losing it, Kururugi," he murmured to himself. It was a slight comfort to call himself by his former name – no one called him Suzaku anymore. He was only Zero to the outside world. It was okay to be Suzaku in his little apartment that Nunally had given him, far off from the tiresome troubles life had shoved at him. He did little to nothing now, making public appearances when necessary, coming to Nunally's aid when she asked, doing his best to avoid anyone else.
It was a dull life.
So when a knock – hesitant and so quiet he almost missed it – sounded from the front door, Suzaku couldn't help but freeze. His moment of tension quickly evaporated, it was probably just one of the neighbors being stupid. He let out another sigh and closed his eyes in hopes that he would eventually drift to sleep.
There was silence for a few moments before the knock came again. It was much louder this time around, and much more insistent, as if the knocker refused to be ignored. Suzaku opened his eyes and turned his head to focus his gaze through the open bedroom door, staring at the main door, absolutely puzzled.
Someone was knocking. That fact had yet to register in Suzaku's mind and he continued to gape like an idiot.
Another loud knock sounded through the empty apartment. This one finally jolted Suzaku out of his daze. Oh. "Oh," he mumbled to himself and quickly rolled out of bed, landing clumsily on the floor. He grunted in pain before staggering back up to his feet and making his way to the front door. As he approached he could've sworn he heard a sigh from the other side, but it was probably nothing.
Not bothering to look through the peephole, Suzaku swung the door open freely, it was probably Nunally or someone, no one else knew he lived here. "Yes – "
His words immediately died on his lips and he simply stared at the person on his doorstep.
Kallen Stadfeld – or Koizuki Kallen – fidgeted uneasily under his stare before looking up in a determined manner. "Well?" she asked expectantly. Suzaku blinked in confusion, still shocked over seeing his former rival in person, dressed in a simple summer dress, hair down in her usual do.
"Mmpfh?" he managed to ask. Kallen sighed but Suzaku thought he saw the corners of her mouth quirk up in a smile? Smirk? He didn't even know. But Kallen looked unusually patient with him and that alone was enough to make Suzaku's knees buckle in nervousness.
"Aren't you going to invite me in?" Suzaku blinked again and he looked over Kallen once more. She looked distinctively thinner as if she hadn't been eating properly since he last saw her. Dark shadows smudged under her bright blue eyes. Suzaku couldn't help the automatic twinge of concern flicker in the back of his mind – when was the last time he was actually concerned for somebody – before he finally noticed the suitcase in her hand.
His gaze lowered to her arm and stayed there. Kallen's eyes followed his and when he lifted his eyes back to her, she looked a little sheepish.
"Could you," Suzaku's voice cracked unpleasantly and Kallen raised her eyebrow in an amused manner, "excuse me for just a moment?"
As soon as the redhead nodded, Suzaku immediately slammed the door shut in her face, ignoring the future consequences that might befall him. He stumbled into his room in a panicked manner, eyes searching frantically before they finally landed on his Zero mask and outfit. The offending items were grabbed and stuffed into his mattress – he had no other time to think of a more appropriate hiding place.
Now, despite the fact that that the war was over and Kallen no longer had any need to rip Suzaku's guts out, she still harbored a good amount of aminosity towards him. For good reason. Therefore, Kallen finding out that Suzaku was really Zero which meant that he had killed Lelouch would be bad. Really bad.
When Suzaku walked back into the living room, Kallen was already sitting on the couch. She looked up at him in disapproval. "That was stupid you know," she scolded lightly and it's weird because nothing Kallen does is ever light, ever. "I could've been anyone and you opened the door just like that. You need to be more careful."
Suzaku just stared at her for a while. Kallen stared back. "What?" she snapped impatiently after a few seconds and some of the tension in Suzaku's shoulders eased because this was the Kallen he was used to – demanding, tough, all of those things.
"Nothing," he replied quickly. Kallen sniffed at this and fell silent again, the awkwardness returning to the room. Hundreds of questions and concerns buzzed in Suzaku's head but he didn't know which ones he could ask that wouldn't result in him having a bloody nose.
So when, "Do you want a cup of tea?" ended up slipping out of his mouth, Suzaku was sorely relieved when after a few tense seconds, Kallen nodded curtly.
Suzaku opened the cupboard with fumbling fingers. He frowned at the emptiness – when was the last time he ate a proper meal anyway? Reminding himself to somehow get proper groceries later, he seized the packet of green tea and placed it on the counter. Then he got on his knees and searched the lower cabinets for the kettle.
"Where – is – it?" he muttered in annoyance. Suzaku didn't notice the footsteps behind him until it was too late. Something sharp placed itself on the pulse of his neck and Suzaku immediately froze, muscles tensing in anticipation. He made to turn around and overtake Kallen but –
"Oomph!" Pain shot through Suzaku's head and he slumped to the floor, ears ringing. He laid there helplessly for a while before the sound of stifled laughter reminded him of the other person in the room. His eyes shot open to see Kallen standing before him, hand covering her mouth, eyes crinkled up in a mixture of disbelief and amusement.
Puzzled, Suzaku ran his eyes down her figure. No knife, no gun. There was no way she could've hid it in her clothes that quickly. Kallen stopped laughing when she saw that Suzaku was staring at her chest and swiftly kicked him in the chest.
"Ouch!" Suzaku glared up at a blushing Kallen.
"Pervert," she hissed. Suzaku's mouth fell open at that.
"W-Wh—I am not a pervert!" Suzaku protested. "I thought you were trying to kill me!" Kallen blinked confusedly before shock tore through her face.
"Kill you?! How dare you think that you – you – " She growled and tore at the ends of her hair before turning her back on him. "I wasn't trying to kill you! You were taking too damn long and I came here to check up on you! But you flailed like the dork you are when I touched you and – "
"Hold on," Suzaku interrupted. "You put something at my neck." His glare intensified, even though she couldn't see him. "Sure sounds like your wallet knife."
Kallen stood there for a moment. Then, her shoulders began to shake.
Suzaku flinched. Was she…crying? Why was she – "Kallen," he began uncertainly, slowly standing up to his feet. "What are you – "
Suddenly, she spun around, taking Suzaku by surprise. She glared at him before shoving her hand in his face.
Suzaku blinked. Right at the tips of Kallen's slender fingers were perfectly manicured, navy blue, pointy nails.
Suzaku blinked again. Oh.
"Erm," he said awkwardly. Kallen put her hand down and shook her head at him. Suzaku blushed in embarrassment. The years of solitude had made him slightly paranoid.
Kallen shook her head again and placed her nails against Suzaku's neck. Damn, they were sharp. "Dork," she whispered. Suzaku blushed harder if that were possible.
"I – " he started but Kallen quietly stepped away from him. Suzaku fell silent and lowered his eyes to the floor. "I'm sorry," he murmured.
Kallen laughed harshly. "Somehow you always end up saying that to me," she said jokingly but when Suzaku raised his head again, he saw that her eyes were glistening. With what, he wasn't sure. But he couldn't hold back anymore. She had already kicked him once; he could take all that she would dish out. So he took a deep breath and finally asked the questions that had been plaguing him for the last fifteen minutes or so.
Kallen stiffened and turned away from his gaze but Suzaku strode towards her and grabbed her chin, forcing her to look up at him. Suzaku's eyes were smoldering. He saw Kallen wince slightly but he didn't loosen his grip.
"Why are you here?" His voice was quiet but his words seem to pierce the air around them. "Why are you not reacting? Why is it that you can you come in here and see someone who's supposed to be…" Suzaku visibly struggled to get his next words out. "…who's supposed to be dead and act perfectly fine?" His hand dropped from Kallen's chin and grasped her shoulder to shake her.
"Why?" he demanded.
Eyes still glistening, Kallen bit her lip anxiously. Suzaku shook her once more for good measure. She sighed and went slack in his hold.
"Honestly…after all that's happened…I don't think anything can surprise me anymore."
Suzaku released her. Kallen immediately backed away from him and began to rub her shoulders. Guilt buzzed in Suzaku's mind but he pushed it off.
"You still haven't answered my other question." Suzaku didn't know if his voice was shaking in fury or expectation or what, but he did know that whatever Kallen said next would change everything. Kallen looked surprised before it melted into resignation. She kept her eyes on the floor as she walked toward him again.
"Because." And her voice was so tiny and timid and so not Kallen that Suzaku had the urge to shake her again. "Because." She lifted her hand to touch his cheek. They both winced. "Because you're still here. And I'm still here." Suzaku turned her head away from her gaze. She dug her nails into his cheek.
Suzaku's head snapped right back to her. No one had called him Suzaku in so long – Suzaku didn't even exist anymore. But here she was, his old classmate, his would-have-been friend, his rival, standing before him and calling him by his name as if it were an everyday occurrence.
His eyes began to water.
"You're…still here," he gasped out. Kallen nodded, bottom lip quivering. She slowly began to pull her hand away but Suzaku grabbed it and pulled it to his chest. Kallen looked at him in surprise but Suzaku just shook his head and pushed her palm against his shirt.
"I'm still…" Kallen's gaze softened and she curled her hand into a fist, clutching the fabric tightly.
"You're here. Kururugi Suzaku."
Suzaku choked and lowered his head to Kallen's fist and began to sob. Kallen sniffed and placed her hand on top of his head.
"I'm so sorry," he gasped out. Kallen laughed, voice watery, and began to stroke her fingers through his hair.
"You dork. What are you apologizing for?"
Suzaku cried harder.
A/N: Finished! Not sure if I'm going to continue to this or not, but I am liking the idea. Depends on the feedback I get. You guys probably have a lot of questions - but if I actually finish this, hopefully they will be answered. Anyways, comments/concrit are greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot! See you next time :)