Tables Turned

An AU version of a scene from R2 Turn 15: The World of C

There was one fate Kallen wouldn't wish on anyone. But playing a part was something she was becoming adept at.

Kallen had been enjoying her conversation with Nunnally, but now that she was left alone with Suzaku, the atmosphere had chilled considerably. Something about his mood made Kallen uneasy, as if she were suddenly vulnerable in the Governor's absence. Maybe it was because he'd referred to her by her prisoner number, not by name; something soldiers did before killing someone. His shocking news about Shirley's death helped to explain his anger a little, but still...something was wrong. Kallen's battle instincts told her to be wary, that the man calmly talking to her right now was dangerous. Rather than become hopeful when he opened the door to her cell, it set her nerves jangling; she wanted that barrier between them, and felt exposed with it open. She saw what was in his hand, and for the first time in her confinement, she felt mind-numbing fear. "No, please," she cried out, shrinking back, her voice sounding not defiant, but weak and pathetic. Anything but that. Her heart hammered, choking her. Pride gone, she pleaded for him to stop.

But Suzaku was relentless, full of some unholy fury and hell-bent determination. He forced her down into the chair none too gently, twisted her arm behind her and began to tell her what he was about to do to her. "You won't even resist," he said with some strangely soft smile in his voice, the kind of smile that has nothing to do with being happy.

Terror filled her. Kallen couldn't let herself be subjected to refrain. Humiliated? Sure. She could take whatever the Britannians would deal out, her fighting spirit fueled by their actions. But not this. Not the drug that had claimed her mother and far too many of her people. I won't let him, she thought. I will fight to the death to protect Zero's secret. Naoto, help me!

And with that thought, her fear diminished a few notches. Adrenaline coursed through her body, but she was able to think clearly, and look for her opening. Sure enough, Suzaku was not very adept at administering this drug. He loosened his grip on her as he moved the syringe into place. Perhaps he was lulled into a false sense of superiority because she was not struggling any longer? Now.

Kallen yanked her arm down as hard as she could, using it as leverage to propel the rest of her body backwards over the chair. The intention was to pull Suzaku forward so she could kick him in the face. It didn't quite work out that way (damn dress), but it did knock the chair over sideways, resulting in her on the floor with Suzaku sprawled partly underneath her, the syringe of refrain nowhere near her exposed neck.

She looked down on him in perverse triumph, and was shocked to see how horrified he looked. Was being beaten by a girl (or a prisoner) so humiliating? But then she saw where the refrain had wound up, and she sprang back from him in horror.

It was stuck into his chest, plunger down.

"O God, I'm sorry, I didn't meant to…" she started babbling, scooting backwards away from what she had done.

He kept staring; he didn't seem to hear her.

"I…I had to do it," he said, his voice small and scared. The proud knight who had walked into her cell had vanished. "I had no choice, don't you see? I had to. Oh, Father….."

And then he started screaming. She looked around uneasily. Weren't there guards in this place? Shouldn't they come if she really were murdering Suzaku in her cell? I said I would die to keep Lelouch's secret, she reminded herself, standing up. But no guards came. Damn, he really did arrange for there to be no witnesses to what he was going to do to me.

He was wimpering. "I…I couldn't stop it. I tried, but no matter what…they keep killing each other…." His voice kept pleading. "I know we were friends, but I had to stop you. It's your fault! Don't you see what you're doing?" The syringe was still in his chest, protruding like the hilt of a dagger, as if she'd stabbed him. But then Suzaku was sitting up, his eyes still a little wild looking, and it fell out and clattered to the floor. Startled by the sound, he looked down, and when he looked up again, his eyes met Kallen's.

His face transformed into a bright smile, one that Kallen had never seen on him before. His whole face lit up, eyes sparkling with warmth and everything. It was creepier than the look of horror, in her mind.

But before she had a chance to consider that, he leapt to his feet and came over to grab her by the shoulders. Gently. It was quite the contrast to the rough handling he'd given her just a moment ago. "Euphy!" he exclaimed. "Oh, Euphy, I'm so happy to see you! I've missed you so much!" he enthused. What? Who the hell was Yufie? Kallen froze. He'd mistaken her for the dead princess. The one who had murdered countless Japanese. It made her ill to her stomach. See, this is why I hate refrain, she thought, before he hugged her like he was never going to let her go. "Oh, Euphy," he mumbled into her shoulder, making this whole situation incredibly awkward.

Oh shit, what if he tries to make out with me or something? Can I hit someone who's doped up on drugs? If it's Suzaku, hell yeah!

But wait. She had a Knight of Round clinging to her and nuzzling her shoulder like a puppy dog. The door to her cell stood open. There were no guards in earshot, let alone sight. Surely, if there were ever a time to attempt to escape, it was now. Zero had said he'd come for her, but he was damn well taking his time. It was time for her to break out of this joint.

"Suzaku," she tried, not sure if he could hear her voice in whatever dream world he'd entered.

He looked up, though. "Yes?" he asked, his face just begging for her to issue a command. Not just any Knight of Round; he was Princess Euphemia's knight. And he thought she was Princess Euphemia. She could probably order him to lick the ground and he'd just drop to his knees and do it.

"I…I'd like to go outside. But, you know, I'm a prisoner in here. Do you think…do you think you could get me out?"

"Yes, Your Highness!" he said eagerly, releasing her and putting his right hand to his chest, a perfect gentleman once again. He was all smiles. Where was the serious Suzaku she knew, the one who acted as if he affected the fate of the world? The one who was so angry about everything? The one who lectured her and looked down on her with a mixture of pity and disapproval?

She picked up the case of refrain and syringe, gingerly hiding the evidence of what had happened. Suzaku insisted on taking the case from her and returning it to his coat pocket (or wherever he hid it under that cloak of his). He turned and left the cell, gesturing for her to follow him.

Who was she to refuse?

"Now, you'll have to act gruff around the guards, convince them you have some reason for smuggling me out," she whispered to him conspiratorially. If he tried to walk her out of here in his current state, they'd lock him up pretty fast.

"Don't worry about it, I have it all planned already," he assured her. And to his credit, even high on some pretty potent hallucinogens, he did. She did her best to act meek and docile and subdued, a harmless little girl. He moved with confidence, spoke clearly, and practically dared the guards to question why the prisoner needed to be transferred to the regular detention center across the street.

Which was all fine and good, until they actually got out of the Viceroy's palace, but no one would let them leave the grounds with that excuse. So he offered her his arm, and just strolled out the gate as if she were a guest. No one even stopped them to ask questions; these guards were for keeping people out, not in. It helped that she was in a dress, not a prison-issued straightjacket, but still.

"Where to now, my lady?" he asked her.

She was pretty sure that if she asked him to take her to the park to chase butterflies, he'd comply. It was…weird…seeing this side of Suzaku. She was starting to wonder if she'd mind being around him if he were like this more often. It's just the drug making him dopey, she told herself. Was this what it was like for Lelouch, though, when he used his geass on people?

"Um, I'd like to get on a train," she told him. She had to get out of the Tokyo Settlement as soon as possible. She wouldn't truly have escaped until she were off Britannian soil.

He looked a little uncertain for a moment. Confused. It wasn't wearing off, was it? The dose should last at least an hour! Longer, if it was his first time. "You'll come with me, right?"

"Of course," he said, and the uncertainty smoothed away. "You're as impulsive as ever."

At the train station, she debated ditching him. It would be safer if he didn't know what city she'd headed for; it would give her more of a head start from the pursuit.

But that was going to prove very difficult.

For one, he was attached to her arm and not about to let her out of his sight. For another…she had no money to buy a ticket. Thinking fast, she came up with a plan to ditch him as soon as possible. She had him buy two tickets to a town just outside Tokyo…and one from there to Osaka just for her.

"I have to meet some people. Family business. You don't need to come along for that," she informed him, praying he would buy it.

His face fell, but he responded, "I understand. I...I have…my duties to be getting back to, as well." The look on his face made it clear he had no idea what those duties might be. He was a cute idiot, though she quickly pushed that thought aside.

On the train, he stared at her happily, and tried to tell her stories about things they had done together. She supposed the drug made you really nostalgic, but he was borderline weepy over…everything. If she ignored him, sometimes he acted as if she'd responded anyway. She didn't want to get any suspicious looks (well, any more suspicious looks; their clothing really stood out), so she tried to play along.

"This is like the day we first met. Just the two of us, running off to see the city, you claiming to have guards in swift pursuit. I wish every day could be like today. When I'm with you, Euphy, I can be myself. Everyone else looks at me and sees an Eleven working for Britannia." Because that's what you are, you traitorous bastard! "But you see me as just…me. I don't have to prove anything to you."

"I…I'm glad you feel that way. I like being able to just…be myself, too. Not having to pretend I'm someone I'm not," Kallen lied through her teeth.

"Someday, the whole world's going to be that way," he assured her. "The Japanese will have their own nation again, and people will be able to live without fear. You're going to make that happen."

"Yes, I will do everything I can to free Japan," she said quietly, completely sincere this time. Why couldn't Suzaku fight on their side, again? Maybe, instead of escaping from him, she should try to bring him along? But no, once the drug wore off, he'd immediately turn her in. He might share her ideals, but their methods were incompatible. Still, there were two more doses in that case…. No, what was she thinking?! It was one thing to inject him by accident, but to do it on purpose? No way!

"Can I borrow your phone a moment?" she asked.

"Sure," he said in surprise, and handed it over. "I'll give you some privacy," he offered, and stood up.

Sure enough, Lelouch's number was programmed into it. But not Zero's. She debated with herself for a moment. If she called Zero's line, the military would learn what it was, and he'd probably have to change the number. But if she called Lelouch's line, then Suzaku would know that she knew who Zero really was. And either way, Zero would find out she was calling from Suzaku's phone and would demand an explanation. There had to be a way out of this….

And there was. She dialed quickly. "Ohgi?" she asked, when the phone picked up.

"Kallen! How are you, are you still in prison?"

"No, I got out. I need someone to meet me in Osaka tonight."

"That's wonderful! I'm on it, we'll have someone contact you…"

"Not on this number, please; this phone belongs to a Britannian soldier. I'll call again from a payphone in the train station, okay?"

"Sounds good. I'll be waiting for that call. Do you need any other support?"

"No, just get me out of here!"

"Will do. Take care of yourself. Are you disguised?"

"Umm…not really. I'll do something about that soon. Bye."

"Be careful. Bye."

They reached their stop and disembarked. Kallen wasn't sure how much time she'd have before Suzaku stopped smiling at her like a love-struck idiot. "Are you hungry?" he asked her.

"Yes, a little." He insisted on buying food for her, and spent most of the meal trying to get her to smile or laugh for him. Without too much effort, she got him to take her clothing shopping afterward. She pocketed some of the change, too. A hat and shades were in order, of course, but anything to get out of this stupid, worthless dress.

"You look beautiful," he said warmly when she re-emerged from the changing room, and kissed her on the cheek. She wondered briefly what he thought she was wearing; she doubted he'd have complimented the rather drab, nondescript get-up she'd gone for. Considering he thought she had long pink hair past her waist…yeah. But she didn't want to think any more about how she was playing into his fantasies. He of course offered to carry the shopping bag that now had the yellow dress in it. Then they walked back towards the train station; after all, she had a train to catch. Part of her was uneasy about having accepted his kiss like that without complaint, but she reminded herself that she was playing his girlfriend and could not raise suspicion.

But they didn't quite make it inside. There was a fountain in the cobblestoned area in front of the station, and Suzaku stopped next to it, putting down the bag. He picked up Kallen by her waist and seated her on the ledge. He plucked the sunglasses away, then held her hands and stared into her face intently.

"Thank you. Thank you so much for today. I've…I've never been happier in my whole life. Euphy, you are the most amazing girl I've ever met, and I want to spend the rest of my life by your side. I love you."

Kallen teared up. She felt awful for what she was doing to him, but realized it would be even worse when this wore off and he remembered the girl he loved was dead. Until today, she'd had no idea he felt that way about the princess. She took a deep breath, and replied, "I feel the same way. I want you to always treasure this memory. Just, remember me like this. I…I love you, Suzaku." Dear God, I hope that was the right thing to say.

When he lifted her down, he spun her around with a laugh, and pulled her in close. The smile faded as his eyes got hazy and his mouth fell open a little. It was a strangely intent, serious look that threw her off. No one had ever looked at her like that, like she was the only person in the whole world. Then, he tilted his head and kissed her. It was…weird. It was gentle, but his strong arms around her weren't about to let her go. She was surprised to find herself kissing back, relaxing into his embrace, trusting him, if just for this moment. This is your punishment for doing this, she told herself. Letting him steal your first kiss. Then he broke the kiss and smiled at her. "Euphy," he murmured quietly.

"Suzaku…I have to catch my train."

He stopped smiling. "Of course," he said, and reluctantly let her go. He put her shades back on for her and picked up the dress bag. They held hands walking into the station. It turned out she still had ten minutes until her train would be boarding.

Kallen knew she couldn't just leave him like this. Her intuition said she'd be responsible for the inevitable fallout. And knowing Suzaku.... But it wasn't safe for her to stay with him any longer. The drug wouldn't last forever, and it had been over an hour by now, surely. "Can I have that wooden case?" she asked innocently. He pulled it out from his coat pocket and handed it to her curiously, but didn't ask. Should she? There was enough here to last until the rendezvous, most likely. Part of her was rather wistful about keeping such a friendly, devoted Suzaku around. He could be so…chivalrous. When he wanted to be. "Would you…would you like to come with me?" she asked, knowing the question wasn't fair, that he didn't know what she was really asking.

"You know I would. But…I don't belong." He smiled at her wistfully. "You know Viceroy Cornelia doesn't approve of me. I don't want to spoil your time with her."

She couldn't bring herself to give him any more refrain. She would have to write him a note.

She had him get her a pen, and ripped off the entire corner of the paper shopping bag. She wrote him a note quickly, trying to say everything important, trying not to feel too dirty. She gave it to him when she was finished. "You can't read it until after my train leaves," she told him, stuffing the refrain into the bag with her dress. She would destroy both items at the first opportunity.

"Okay, if that's what you'd like," he said, smiling sadly at her. "I don't want you to go."

The words 'I'll be back,' died on her tongue. "I'll…I'll miss you, too. But, you'll always be here." She took his hand, and put it over her heart.

He took her hand, and raised it to his lips, kissing the backs of her fingers as he bowed his head. "Thank you again for today. I suppose I can't be too selfish and keep you from your family." He pulled her in for one last hug, pressing her to him and breathing in the scent of her hair. "I'm going to miss you so much," he murmured in her ear, briefly kissing her cheek and letting her go.

"Remember, read the note after I'm gone," she reminded him, then picked up the tattered bag and boarded her train. There was no way she could pretend that the afternoon hadn't affected her. She knew she'd spend the train ride thinking about Suzaku, not her rendezvous with the Black Knights.

He sat in the station morosely, waiting for her train to leave. Suddenly, he didn't feel very well, like he should put his head down between his knees. Was Euphemia still with him? He thought he could see her there, in front of him. But no, that wasn't right, she'd gotten on a train…hadn't she? Then why could he hear her voice?

"I love you, Suzaku."

Suzaku woke up with a start. He was lying on a bench in a train station. What? How did he end up here? And then he remembered.

"Euphemia!" he called out, standing up abruptly. He swayed on his feet, suddenly dizzy.

But that was impossible. He must have been dreaming. Euphemia was dead. His head hurt, and he was thirsty. He felt empty inside. He went to find something to drink, hoping he could puzzle out how he'd ended up where he was. The dream about Euphy had been so…vivid.

When he put his hand in his pocket for change for his drink, he found the folded up corner of the shopping bag. When he opened it, he realized what had happened.

Suzaku,

I am SO sorry. I never meant to take advantage of you like that. It was an accident, I swear! But…no, there's no excuse. Refrain is evil, evil stuff. I hope you never use it on anyone. Remember what it has done to our people! And, if you are tempted to try it again…it won't work as well. You won't have a real person playing along; it will feel like a cheat. All the addicts say the first time is the best. I took the extra away, but I'm not dumb; I know how easy it is to find that stuff in the ghettos. This is going to sound dumb, but please take care of yourself.

I understand why you are so angry now. I lost my brother; that's why I fight. But if you truly love Japan, then you will want it to be free, as Euphy did. I hated you for your stuck-up superiority, but that's just your defense against Britannians, isn't it? I am sorry I never got to know the side of you that she did; you can be a really nice guy. Part of me was tempted to kidnap you and bring you along, but I couldn't bring myself to give you any more of that poison.

But that would never have worked anyway, would it?

Long live Japan! See you on the battlefield,

Kallen Kouzuki

He sat down, put his head in his hands, and wept. It was real, but Euphy had never been there at all; it was just a figment of his imagination. But he didn't have the heart to go after Kallen now. There was an ache inside that he thought would never go away. He brushed his fingers over his lips, remembering her…but no, that had been Kallen!

He deserved this. This was what happened when you crossed the line, when you tried to control people like that. Your humanity died. He was going to go see Lelouch right now and pound the truth out of him, if necessary! He'd be called on the carpet for letting the prisoner escape soon enough; no need to report her missing now. He boarded a train back into Tokyo. "No, Kallen, it wouldn't have worked," he told himself. "We're enemies." But he couldn't quite bring himself to be angry at her for using him.


Author's note: I woke up from a dream and wrote this. The dream was a bit complicated, and really had nothing to do with this, but it did involve Euphemia becoming a victim because she had tried to be a perpetrator, and the use of refrain and geass to create alternate realities to entrap people - but in this case, there was an alternate reality within the alternate reality, and the people trying to help the victim escape didn't realize she'd gotten herself into it. It ended tragically. Why yes, my dreams have more involved plots than my fanfic, why do you ask? I immediately thought of the scene where Suzaku tried to force (himself) refrain on Kallen, and wondered what would have happened if she fought him off before he thought better of it. And this was the result. Yes, yes, I know Suzaku didn't go through with it, and Kallen gave him an awesome beat down in retaliation – but I think this would also be payback. Even though it's AU, it changes very little, because they will still have to break in to get the Guren for the second battle of Tokyo anyway. It just means Kallen will meet the memory-impaired C.C. a little earlier and have to pilot another Knightmare for a bit. So, there's really no point in taking it any further. In a way, this takes the place of her conversations with Gino. Ohgi is on his way to meet up with Viletta about this time, but I'm assuming he set up everything for Kallen before he left.

If you're curious what I think of Suzaku when he's not high as a kite and love-sick, check out my Requiem story Knight of Zero. It's complete now.