Of Masks and Mirrors- Chapter 1

Lelouch pondered on what he had just seen as he settled in a small niche between a large metal capsule and the trailer's wall. The vehicle shook up and down with each bump and obstacle it passed over. It was quite obvious to him that these were no ordinary people. There had to be reason why a good part of the Britannian army was chasing after them. He backed off into a dark corner as he heard the trailer door being opened. His eyes narrowed in thought as a woman stepped in, shedding a jacket and talking to an unknown person, whom he assumed was the driver.

"No! That would be slaughter!"

Lelouch backed into the wall even more. It seemed this situation needed to be observed just a bit more… What he wasn't prepared for was for an older model of a Knightmare, the Glasgow to leap from the back of the trailer. By the time he got over his shock, the doors were already starting to close and he was, once again, locked in.

He was alone with a capsule of unknown substance, and the driver of the trailer. Then, a thought occurred to him.

"No way…" He breathed disbelievingly. "Terrorists?" A thousand thoughts ran through his mind at an incredible speed. That would explain why a large part of the Britannian army was chasing after them, and if he knew anything about the Britannian military, they shot to kill and showed no mercy. He swallowed nervously. That would include him.

However, he was a Britannian student. His uniform and overall appearance should tell them that if nothing else. Maybe that would be enough to spare him his life. Then, he corrected himself. It will.

Lelouch widened his eyes, his pupils diluting in fear, at the gun pointed at him. Of all the members of the Britannian soldier squad standing in a half-circle around him, none of them held a shred of mercy in their eyes. He quickly glanced at the motionless girl next to him, his hand shivering over her corpse. Her blood was spreading rapidly from the wound on her forehead.

So much blood… he thought. Distantly, he could hear the squad leader say something, his lips annunciating with every word, but it was like he wasn't really there. It was somebody else kneeling next to the dead girl, somebody else with a gun pointed at them, somebody else with the name Lelouch, and somebody else just about to be killed… to die.

Lelouch was quickly brought out of his reverie with a sharp click. His eyes snapped to focus on the gun again. The safety had just been thumbed back and trigger about to be pulled. He closed his eyes, and slightly bowed his head. It would seem as if he had just given up and accepted his fate without protest on the outside, but on the inside he was bitterly regretting he had failed to fulfill the promise he had made so long ago before this moment. If he had the chance, he would redo his whole childhood and made sure it turned out right.

Suddenly, the previously thought dead girl's hand shot forward and grabbed his wrist in a fierce grip. Lelouch was instantly brought into a kaleidoscopic world of chaos and order, and what were really seconds passed like centuries for him.

"If you had power, would you live?"

A devious smile curled at the ends of his lips. He gracefully stood up to face the soldiers fearlessly. With a dramatic, yet elegant gesture, he said invoked the power he had just acquired.

"Lelouch ni Britannia orders you to… die!"

Inside another trailer, a Britannian medical one, pseudo blue eyes looked up from his bandaging task into the distance when their owner felt a surge of power. He shook his head, red bangs swaying with the movement and continued wrapping the midsection of a wounded soldier. As he finished up, he wondered how things were going to turn. He sighed and brushed a few brown, stray bangs from the naturally tanned face.

Then, he heard blipping from behind and backed off from the still unconscious soldier, taking a chipped, damaged, but otherwise in good condition pocket watch from a nearby counter top and set it in a handkerchief. He easily slipped into his other persona, a fiery, independent, and childishly reckless medic with an indisposition for rules. He turned around with an exaggerated swagger to greet his superior and fellow subordinate while tugging on a pair of gloves.

"Lloyd, Cecile, how are you two doing?" Lloyd chuckled as he swept into the room with Cecile right behind him, only in a more dignified fashion.

"We're doing very well, Samir. How's our devicer doing? Good, I take it?" Samir placed a hand at his hip and cocked his head to the side.

"Who do you think I am?" he asked, shaking a finger playfully at the two. "I'm the best medic you've got around here!" Lloyd laughed.

"No, you're the only medic around here." Samir crossed his arms, pouting.

"And that exactly why I'm the best. There's no competition. They all got chased away by my superior skills!" He proclaimed, puffing his chest out. Then, he smiled. "Well anyways, I better get going. Lot's to do, so little time." He handed the cracked pocket watch to Lloyd. "Be sure to give this to him when he wakes up. It's what stopped the bullet. Otherwise, he would've been dead." Cecile looked concernedly at the unconscious boy's obvious young age.

"Is he really alright? He doesn't look like it." Samir clucked his tongue at her question.

"Patience, Cecile, is the key to everything. If you wisely wait long enough, you will get what you want in the end. Besides," he checked his wristwatch. "He should be waking up any moment." And with that, he exited the room. "Oh," he added with a grin before going through the door. "If anything turns up, just call me and I'll come over, okay?" Lloyd lazily saluted to the redhead.

"Will do, but I hardly doubt we'll need to." Samir just laughed.

"Watch the patient for me." The door closed with a sleek hiss and the two remaining in the room turned around to wait for the third occupant to wake. They weren't kept for long. True to the medic's word, the young man began to stir after a few moments. It was then that Lloyd took the opportunity to lean up close and say his first sentence to the other.

Suzaku was bordering on the thin edge of consciousness and unconsciousness and vaguely he heard a familiar phrase, but before he could grasp where it was from, a loud cheery voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Having a bad day are we? Lost your chance to go to heaven, Private Kururugi?" His eyes snapped open and he resisted the urge to glare at the owner of said voice. Then, he noticed where he was, and realized that he didn't recognize the place he was in.

"Where... where am I?" Lloyd chuckled.

"Currently, we're at the edge of of the Shinjuku Ghetto inside one of the emergency medical vehicles. If it weren't for this," he raised a pocket watch by its chain to Suzaku's eye level. "Then you would've been dead." He dropped into Suzaku's hands. The boy looked at it carefully. "They say you guys believe that a god reside in certain objects. I guess this is one?" Suzaku clenched the cover with a bitter smile.

"You could say that," he quietly said. Lloyd sensed this wasn't the best to approach the boy with and clapped his hands together in excitement.

"Say, Private Suzaku Kururugi, how much experience do you have in piloting a Knightmare Frame?" Suzaku grinned.

"Oh, I'd say a good amount. Why?" Lloyd grinned back and tossed a key chain to the boy.

"Because you're our new devicer. Do you think you can handle it?" The tanned boy smirked with a glimmer in his eyes.

"I'd think so, but three questions." The scientist nodded encouragingly. "First of all, who are you? Who is your friend over there next to you? And who was the one who healed me?"

"Lloyd Asplund at your service." Cecile nodded.

"Cecile Croomy," she stated with a smile. "And Samir Adelram was the one who bandaged your wound." Suzaku was puzzled and sighed, yet another unknown person.

"And may I ask who that is?" Lloyd waved the question off and reached into his pocket. Suzaku tensed, but relaxed when he saw it was a walkie-talkie. He pressed a button and talked into it.

"Oh Samir," he said in a sing-song voice. "Your patient is asking for you~." There was a pause and then he nodded hastily. "Yes, yes, I know you're busy. You're always busy, but could you make a detour from your route to come over here again? I want to make sure our devicer is as healthy as he can be at this moment for testing." His smiled fell. "But Samir, you said you would come over if I called you." Then he brightened up. "Alright, so when are you going to be here?" There was no answer. "Hey! Are you there? Samir?"

There was a metallic hissing noise behind them, but Lloyd didn't hear it, distressed by his friend's lack of response.

"Samir? Samir? Talk to me!" There was a chuckle and tackle from behind.

"Were you worried about little old me, hmm? I never thought I would see the day." A redhead teased. Then, he noticed Suzaku's bug-eyed expression. "Ah, you're Suzaku Kururugi, correct?" He didn't wait for an answer and took the shocked teen's hand. "It was a pleasure to tend to your wounds." Suzaku twitched, unsure of whether to be horrified or complimented by such a statement. Lloyd clapped a hand on Samir's shoulder.

"Now, don't terrorize the boy too much, he's a very important component of our experiment." Samir rolled his eyes at the scientist as he took his gloves off and checked Suzaku's temperature.

"It's all about the experiment, right?" he said exasperatedly. Lloyd nodded, but then winced as Cecile made her presence known with a vice-like grip on the scientist's ear.

"What have we told you about talking like that?"

"Ow, ow, ow, to not refer, ow, to human like as, ow, tools, ow." He hissed as Cecile twisted his ear before releasing it. "You're so cruel, Cecile."

"You deserve it."

"What? How could you say such a thing..."

Meanwhile, Samir was finishing up his check-up and started a conversation with his patient.

"So, how are you truthfully?" Suzaku raised an eyebrow, but replied.

"A bit sore, but nothing much." Samir rolled his eyes.

"Not like that, silly. You think I wouldn't know that? I'm a medic. No, what I meant was up here." He jabbed Suzaku on the forehead. "Are you exited, confused, afraid, angry, what?"

"Well," Suzaku rubbed the back of his head. "I'm excited and afraid." Samir nodded.

"That's understandable. Exited, because you've been given an opportunity to prove yourself. Afraid because you don't want to mess up and ruin this chance and your career?" Suzaku smiled faintly, but shook his head.

"Close, but not quite." Samir raised a questioning eyebrow, having been proven wrong. Suzaku didn't rise to the prompt and he shrugged. He quickly finished his check-up and turned to Lloyd, who was nursing his ear.

"Well, he's a bit hurt on the side, obviously, but it shouldn't affect his piloting as long he doesn't strain it too much. He's free to go." He looked to his watch and slipped his gloves on. "I should get going. I'm behind schedule. There's still a couple patients I have to get to." He waved. "Make sure to be careful, Suzaku. See you around."

The door closed with a velvet hiss and a large grin crossed Lloyd's features.

"Yes! There's no time to waste. Let's go!"

Samir watched the custom-made Knightmare Frame powerfully shoot out of it's launch site and skate away, leaving dust clouds behind it in its wake. His expression was one of concern, and Lloyd noticed it.

"Don't worry so much, Samir. He'll be fine, and you know it." Samir gave a small smile and bowed his head.

"I know, but I can't help but worry." Lloyd shrugged.

"As long as he's able to pilot a Knightmare Frame, he's fine." Samir snorted and gave Lloyd a fond glance.

"Should I tell Cecile you said that, Earl of Pudding?" He asked in a teasing tone. Lloyd blinked in surprise. The medic only referred him with his nickname when he wanted some time alone. Whether he was aware of this habit was questionable, but Lloyd took the hint and walked away.

"Just don't stand there the whole time. I can't have slacking workers." Samir smirked at the irony.

"Oh don't worry, I'll definitely be doing something important, Lloyd, something very important." Samir murmured to himself, and he too took off, only in the opposite direction, which, coincidentally, was the same direction as Prince Clovis's private transporter.

Upon nearing the heavily plated vehicle, Samir was disappointed to realize there was only one entrance and one exit, easy to guard and hard to trespass. There was only one soldier dispatched there.. However, it would be easy to bypass the security, with a little help. He sauntered away, whistling a tune.

Samir opened the door to his temporary room, back in the medical transport, and locked it behind him. Then, he opened a bag he had prepared for this specific event.

"It's show time."

Lelouch smirked as he took his helmet.

"Oh, don't you remember me Clovis? Long time no see, hmm?"

Samir watched the two princes' conversation with interest his new perspective brought him. His eyes narrowed as he saw the true fear and horror in Clovis's expression, the pure desperation. He switched his focus to Lelouch. Truly confident and in control, the other was, and wholeheartedly in belief that he was right in his actions. Only later would he know the true cost of his actions, too late. His goal was understandable, but the way he went about it...

Samir closed his eyes. Lelouch would suffer more if he took the bloody path, and it was likely he would end up walking down that road anyways. However, Samir opened his eyes, perhaps it would help Lelouch if he didn't have to kill with his bare hands so soon. His gaze transferred to the scene in front of him unfolded.

Just about when Lelouch prepared to shoot Clovis, Samir stepped out from his shadowed corner and softened his features.

"Lelouch..." he said softly.

At the sound of his name, Lelouch rapidly turned around, but still kept the gun trained on Clovis's forehead.

"Who are you?" He asked with a tinge of fear. Samir inwardly smirked. Fear the unknown, indeed. Oh, the irony.

"My name is of no concern to you." He smoothly said with a higher pitched voice, shifting his skirt. "But the man you currently hold under gunpoint is."

Lelouch shifted to face the unknown intruder more and narrowed his eyes.

"Who are you?" he repeated.

Hi hi everyone! If you're new to this, I recommend you read Of Promises and Lies, since that's the story that's before this one to get rid of any confusion you may have now or in the future. If you're one of the ones that came along from that, then welcome back!

This chapter was already partially written, remember in OPAL I put a poll up asking if I should continue it or not? Yeah, that was the result. I re-watched the first episodes a couple times over and over again. That's why it may have seemed a bit off...

I would like to apologize in advance for any unfavorable update situations. I try to update once a week, but I can see now the next few aren't going to be kind to me... Why am I updating then, you ask? That's all courtesy of ame-no-itteki, for bugging me constantly. You're all welcome to the same as much as you want!

As always, feedback is always welcome. Comments on what you liked, what you didn't like, what could've been changed, constructive criticism, etc. Hey, even a genuine flame would be accepted with open arms! I have get to receive one. /giggles/ I can't wait! But, it has to be a real one, with furious flaming intent.

Alright, enough babbling. I have a habit of doing that. /chuckles nervously/