Summary: Oneshot. Post-R2. Yaoi. It's never good when the mask begins to talk back. //"You aren't Lelouch. I will never yield to you, Suzaku Kururugi. I alone am Zero."
Warnings: Spoilers for the ending of R2. Please turn back if you have not watched the whole series. Yaoi (hints of SuzaLulu, ZeroLulu), mentions of violence and blood, death, some insanity. Slight swearing.
Disclaimer: I don't own Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. It belongs to Sunrise and CLAMP.
This idea kind of wandered into my head, when I was supposed to be working on a ZeroLulu oneshot. It's a bit… weird.
Surrender To Nothing
A Code Geass Oneshot
They all screamed one word, one name, one thing, over and over again like a mantra. The word echoed around him, surrounding him, numbing him to the tragedy that he and Nunnally alone were able to grasp. The rest of the world saw only the lie that the 99th Emperor of Britannia had so successfully woven. The illusion. The miraculous event.
The evil dictator, the most hated man in the world was dead. And they all joined in celebration, shouting the name of their savior to the heavens. The name of the man, who had given them their miracle in the midst of dark reign that had come to an end, was their life line. Their prayer.
"Zero! Zero! Zero! Zero!"
Their cries made Suzaku Kururugi (no, he was Zero now) sick to his stomach. He stood tall and proud, as Zero should. But inside, he was weeping. Inside, he was drooping over his friend in silence, the man he loved and hated most in the world, Lelouch Vi Britannia, was dead. But his own cries were not heard over the chorus of cheers. No one would hear.
Except the mask around Suzaku's head, which suddenly felt heavier than Suzaku could bear.
As Suzaku (Zero) stood on the platform, watching the new Empress cry over the fallen Emperor, he felt the mask tighten around his neck.
For a few moments, he couldn't breathe.
It felt like the outlines of the mask were deliberately trying to choke him.
In the aftermath of the murder of the emperor, Suzaku (Zero) stepped up and spoke the rehearsed words that Lelouch had told him, so many hours ago (when he was alive, when Suzaku hadn't killed him). He told them that he was not meant to rule. He told them that he was just a defender of justice, that he would be there as symbol to stop any more injustice in the world. He would help the new Empress Nunnally build the path to a new and peaceful world.
After many negotiations, it was decided that Zero would be part of Nunnally's personal guard. Peace was already on the way, all according to Lelouch's plan. But Suzaku wasn't even paying attention to all of it. Behind the mask, he was still mourning, reminiscing over his love. He still pined for Lelouch.
He hadn't been given any heed when Nunnally escorted him to his new chambers inside the palace.
The Empress had to nudge him, "Zero… these are to be your new rooms."
"Ah… yes, your highness. Thank you for your kindness," Suzaku was reminded that he was Zero now, he had to answer back to that name.
But the mask was growing heavier, as if it didn't want him to answer. It wanted him to deny his identity as Zero.
Nunnally looked around for any eavesdroppers, and whispered in a low voice, "…Suzaku? Is that… you?"
His heart sped up. He didn't want to answer with a lie. This was Nunnally, Lelouch's sister. He still craved someone to acknowledge who he was now… Suzaku Kururugi. Someone to talk to as himself, to let know that he was grieving over Lelouch's death. That it was Suzaku, not Zero, who had ultimately brought Lelouch to his last breath.
But in the end, Suzaku shook his head. "Suzaku Kururugi is dead, Empress. I'll be retiring to my rooms now."
Turning away from Nunnally's crestfallen face, Suzaku thought he heard a small sigh of contempt echo within the inside of his mask.
"You don't deserve the name Zero," whispered the voice within the mask, as soon as Suzaku closed the door.
Shocked, Suzaku turned around to see who had spoken.
No one was there.
Days pass. Weeks pass. Then months.
Suzaku feels like he is going to die inside. Because every day is the same.
Everyone's lives continue on happily. Building a new world. The very thing Lelouch planned out and intended it to be.
But Suzaku begins to hate them for being so happy, so naïve. For being the very things that Lelouch died for. He begins to lose sense of himself. Just wallowing in self-hatred which is slowly oozing and overflowing to the outside.
Suzaku begins to hate them so much.
And every time he feels this hatred, he hears that disembodied voice laugh along with him.
The mask grows lighter every time he feels hatred.
It was routine for Suzaku to go to bed for his mask on, never taking it off except in the shower and when he needed to brush his teeth. Other than that, the mask was always with him, always weighing more and more every time Suzaku picked it up. The weight of the mask was akin to wearing a brick or even several more bricks around his neck, and on his head, every time he put on the mask.
The interior of the mask was beginning to smell salty from all of Suzaku's silent tears. At night time, when Suzaku felt that the mask was getting too stuffy, he would take it off and start staring it in silence.
Then Suzaku started talking to it, brown curls barely peaking out from the covers, the loneliness eating away at his heart.
"Hello Lelouch," he'd say to the mask, "How was your day? You know this is weird. I never considered talking to Zero before, but here I am, talking to you as Zero as if we were always on close terms…"
Sometimes he'd bring up the past. His pain. His unanswered questions.
"Did Euphie suffer when you shot her? Did you cry? Are you crying now, Lelouch?" He'd say. The mask would never answer. Then he'd scoff. "I hope you are."
"I hate you."
And then he'd soften and tears would come out.
"I love you."
He'd laugh and cry at the same time on these nights, asking and muttering incoherent things.
"Why did you have to right? Why is the world a better place without you? Why do I have to be Zero?"
Of course, no one ever answered back.
"You are such a despicable bug…"
Until the mask talked back.
The clock hanging on the wall, its pendulum swinging back and forth in a hypnotizing dance, ticks away every eternal second.
The mask, as if it had eyes, as if it had lips of scorn and deceit, stares back.
"That's right, Kururugi Suzaku," the voice from the mask drawls in the typical Japanese manner just to irk him further, "My name is Zero. I've been watching you since you assumed my identity. I must say, you've been doing an awful job impersonating me."
Suzaku is too busy, frozen in brief disbelief, to even shut the mask up for it's mockery and cruel words.
This can't be happening.
"You can't talk back… you aren't real… Zero isn't real… Lelouch made you up… Lelouch…," Suzaku began to rock back and forth to himself, watching the mask with pure revulsion.
"I was breathed to life as soon as Lelouch thought me up. I am real, Suzaku Kururugi, as long as someone wears the mask. I am Zero."
The mask was still, as if there hadn't been a disembodied bug that had come from it. But Suzaku could see the flicker of shadows from the mask, as if there was a person standing in front of it. A person who was certainly not Suzaku.
He was going insane. Surely that was the only logical explanation for this. Masks weren't supposed to talk about when you talked to them (which any sane person wouldn't do anyways…). Inanimate objects were just meant to stay inanimate.
"You're not real," Suzaku scowled at the mask. "I'm Zero now. Not you. Go away."
Dark laughter echoed into the shadowed room.
"You think you can rule over me, Kururugi?"
Suzaku shouted, "Of course I can! I'm Zero, damn it. You're supposed to be a symbol—under my control!"
The infuriating mask was making Suzaku (who was already emotionally unstable to begin with) even more riled up and heated in rage. He was not going to go insane to a talking mask—particularly not an impertinent one such as this.
But this was Zero's mask after all.
"Don't make me laugh. You aren't Lelouch. I will never yield to you, Suzaku Kururugi. You didn't create me. You didn't give me life. You aren't the one who gave me a purpose. Lelouch did that. You are just a mere chess piece in his game to play the part of Zero," hissed the mask. "A rather foolish decision on my creator's part. You will never be a proper Zero. I alone am Zero."
"Shut up," Suzaku told it, and to his awakening doubts that the voice had unearthed.
Doubts that asked whether or not he could pull off being Zero for the next several decades.
Doubts that asked whether or not he'd make the right decisions to build Lelouch's peaceful world.
Doubts that asked whether or not he would go crazy and kill someone from his eating guilty-filed insanity.
Doubts that told him that he couldn't pull off a Zero like Lelouch could.
"Shut up," Suzaku hissed louder. "Lelouch gave me this Geass, and I accepted. I control who you are, Zero."
The mask was still. "I was made to be rebellious Suzaku. I refuse to be dominated by a fool. I listen to Lelouch alone."
"Lelouch isn't here anymore."
The mask was thoughtful. "And whose fault is that?"
"You're just a damn bastard, Zero, who won't shut up," Suzaku hissed quietly into the interior of the mask, which felt more and more suffocating with each passing day.
"And you are a pathetic backstabber who killed his own father and his best friend, who by the way, happened to be the source of many years of repressed sexual frustration and love. I think I prefer being the bastard. It suits me more than your label," the voice answered back, echoing within the mask. "You should just let me take over. I'm a much better Zero than you, seeing as I actually am Zero."
"… I hate you."
"Funny how you've now ended assuming the identity of the very man you've hated for the past two years. And the man who killed your dear Euphie."
Suzaku punched the wall by him with a deafening crack, leaving a firm dent in it.
The servants who had been passing by in the palace all jumped and looked at him with terrified looks. Nunnally herself looked concerned.
"Zero? Are you alright?"
No, no I'm not alright… I'm going insane… I'm hearing voices in my head… thought Suzaku, who suddenly envied Nunnally who couldn't seem to hear the little arguments that he'd been frequently having with Zero for the past couple of days. At the moment, Suzaku considered telling her who he really was, what was happening to him…
But Lelouch's face flashed in his mind, making Suzaku stop his thoughts.
"Yes. I'm fine. I just… saw a bug," he said lamely as Zero's chuckles echoed throughout his head.
For Lelouch, Suzaku would endure with Zero requiem… no matter how much he hated it.
Suzaku was showering again, trying to get the blood stains that he sometimes saw on his hands off. But no matter how much he washed them with clear water, his hands remained as red as the forbidden fruit in the bible. His sins were bright red, staring him in the face.
He could never get the brightening blood off. And he would never be rid of the smell, or the screams of the people from the FLEJIA bomb, that he sometimes imagined in his dreams.
Zero never commented about his hallucinations. The mask sat on the edge of the sink quietly, mostly likely thinking up more annoying things to say in order to provoke him.
Suzaku didn't want to give the mask—Zero—the satisfaction of getting to him mentally, so he stayed quiet during the only peaceful time during his day (save for the blood he sees everywhere) during his shower.
A hand snaked around Suzaku's naked chest, a warm body against his. Suzaku's breath hitched as a familiar breath breathed against his cheek, the familiar smell of lavender and ink nestled around his nose.
The smell of home.
"…Suzaku…," that voice that he'd longed for over the past year whispered to him heatedly, allowing Suzaku to feel his black locks against Suzaku's cheek.
Instantly Suzaku turned around, arms wide to embrace the warm body only to slip against the wet soap on the floor and fall against nothing.
No Lelouch. Nothing. Zero.
And the mask finally started laughing at him again, "Hallucinating your dead lover?"
"You fucking stop laughing!" Suzaku screamed at the mask, which sat on the counter mocking him, "Lelouch asked me to kill him! Lelouch chose me over you! That's why you're here aren't you?! You're jealous that he gave me your identity! Well, too bad for you Zero! Lelouch loved me more!"
As the shower continued to sprinkle down on Suzaku's wet body, Suzaku was breathing heavily. The mask, he noted with vicious boldness, was finally lost for words. Silent as it should be by Suzaku's outburst.
It would take two more days for the mask to speak up again, when Suzaku hallucinated Lelouch coming in to sit by the dresser, reading a book and writing down tactical plans which Suzaku had recognized instantly as the battle plans for Narita. Plans involving the Black Knights.
"He may love you more… but he gave his life to me."
With a roar, Suzaku threw the mask off of him, watching it hit the hallucination of Lelouch. The mask phased through Lelouch, as if he were a ghost.
For Suzaku, this Lelouch might as well have been a ghost. At least then, he'd be the real Lelouch, not this fake.
These hallucinations stuck in the past, not the present—not even the future.
The hallucination of Lelouch smiled up at him, as hearing his troubled thoughts. Then, with every detail that Suzaku remembered from when Lelouch was alive, the hallucination was walking up to the distraught former Knight precisely in the same way the real Lelouch would've. Each step from the illusion seemed so real, to each concise step and the way that the illusion parted his lips in a slight smirk.
Then when the hallucination crouched down so that his eyes were level with Suzaku's… the intense softness in those violet orbs made him want to cry.
The lie wrapped his arms around Suzaku's shaking frame, ghosting the lingering presence of feigned warmth.
"I love you, Suzaku."
God. Even the soft sighs and breathes in this illusion sounded so real… Suzaku suddenly longed to be with the real Lelouch again. Suzaku suddenly wished that he hadn't went along with Zero Requiem, that he had tried to persist to another plan… one where he would go down with Lelouch, instead of without.
"Why didn't you take me with you?" Suzaku whispered quietly.
The hallucination only smiled sadly as the mask of Zero sat forgotten in the corner.
The hallucinations didn't go away. Suzaku saw them daily now, at least three to four times a day. Lelouch walking by his sister Nunnally. Lelouch lounging in the sitting room. Lelouch making funny faces at the ambassadors from the Chinese Federation and other countries at meetings which Suzaku (as Zero) had to attend. Lelouch holding out a hand and just sitting with Suzaku. Sometimes Lelouch brought Euphie to visit him too. They would sit and laugh together, smiling brightly at Suzaku… as if they weren't dead.
But the good thing about them, Suzaku thought smugly, was that they never acknowledged Zero, who often went silent every time the latest hallucination came into place.
The palace was getting more peaceful as the days went by. Suzaku was almost used to this routine of talking to Lelouch-hallucinations and disembodied voices like Zero.
He was almost happy.
Happiness is fleeting, Suzaku. He chided himself, because this not-happiness was a farce and it could not last forever.
This illusion dispersed just as soon as it began.
Because that day, an assassin got into the palace.
"Her highness is in danger! Someone had just shot her highness!"
Suzaku moved as quickly as possible, moving in front of Nunnally, cursing himself for his carelessness in preoccupying himself with illusions. The assassins came in with their guns but Suzaku yelled upon seeing the blood coming from the Empress' dress.
In that moment, he was not Zero. He was Suzaku Kururugi—and he murdered them all with vengeance.
The rest was a blur when the other royal siblings came rushing in and pushed Nunnally towards an awaiting ambulance to the hospital. Suzaku Kururugi, still as Zero, looked forlornly at the image of Lelouch in front of him. The image who looked disappointed at him.
"I thought you would protect her, Suzaku."
"Lelouch… I tried… I'm sorry…"
This not-Lelouch smiled at him sadly and disappeared, leaving him with the stench of death.
"I told you."
The royal siblings leave the hospital room vacant, except for Zero, who they are convinced will guard their Empress loyally. But at the moment, Suzaku has never felt more incapable of guarding her.
He knows what he is. He knows he is a failure. He's failed the task that Lelouch has given him. And now the mask is truly mocking him.
"I told you that you weren't good enough to be Zero."
The mask waits in silence. It knows that it will get what it wants if it waits. It's been wearing Suzaku Kururugi down for this moment.
A defeated sigh escapes Suzaku's lips.
"I can take over now, if you'd like," the voice says to him smoothly, "It'll be like going to sleep. I'll just take your body, and then your soul can rest at peace. You can be with Lelouch again."
By now, Suzaku is tired. Tired of masquerading as Zero. Tired of seeing and hearing things that shouldn't exist. Tired of seeing fake versions of Lelouch.
He just wants to sleep. He just wants to lie down and forget it all. He just wants Lelouch again.
He doesn't know that he's giving in to the manifestation known as Zero. He doesn't know that Zero has been aiming for this, a body. He doesn't know that Zero wants him to give up.
To surrender to nothing.
"I want to see him."
"Then let me take your everything left. Let me give you nothing and build Lelouch's world in your place."
Suzaku closes his eyes.
And Zero takes over.
Nunnally, at that moment, opens her eyes just half an inch wide. Her vision is still hazy as she spots the figure in her room, the figure guarding her. It's Zero… at least… she thinks it is…
The mask is not on Zero's face though.
And for a minute, Nunnally thinks that she sees no face at all where there should be a face, before the mask slips back on Zero's face. The image terrifies her, as she realizes that this is no longer the Zero that her brother chose for her. This is a very different Zero.
"Good evening, Empress. I trust you slept well...," this strange new Zero says to her.
"Y-yes…" Nunnally stutters, unable to get rid of the image of Zero's face (or lack of face) out of her mind.
"Is there something wrong?"
It's probably her imagination.
But was Zero a real other entity or was Suzaku just plain crazy? Well. This piece was the result of my strange mood on the weekend. I apologize for the oocness... which is very present in this badly-written piece. I was going to post this on Friday… but I got impatient.
Thank you for reading this weird oneshot! If you see any grammar/spelling errors, please point them out so that I can go and correct them. Please review :D