Disclaimer: I don't own Code Geass. I do own the plot.
Chapter One: Prelude to Madness
Somewhere in London, 11: 59 P.M. on New Year's Eve, 1899.
The shadows called to his staggering and stumbling form, singing songs of protection and shelter. Blood dripped down from the tips of his fingers on his left hand, leaving a trail of little red splots on the cobbled streets of the city, and the opposite hand clenched at the shoulder shedding the precious red fluid. He looked around frantically, eyes dark and half-wild from the pain creeping along the entire left side of his body. The butcher shop stood to his right, the tailor next to that, followed by another little shop. He perked up when he saw a little cat sitting in front of the last store, as if awaiting his arrival. 'My Lord, I have been expecting you,' A lone voice whispered softly in his head. He flinched back a bit, alarmed by this. The cat took a step closer, amber eyes glinting sharply in the dark night. 'You feel a little queasy, a little unnerved, yes? You're hearing the screams of your people, My Lord. You have a duty to fulfill and I am here to assure you do so.' The voice whispered again.
"A duty? My people?" He whispered softly, looking around at the dark alleyways and lightless crevices of the shops. He saw little flickers of movement, little things his eyes had never caught before. He looked back to the cat, panting harshly as the strain of his injury, the weakness from the blood loss and the realization of what was happening finally began to sink in.
"Save us!" A voice from the shadows cried. He turned and looked back to see a thin, shaky black shadow reach out to him. It touched his skin and he was winded, feeling as if all the air had been suck from his lungs. He stumbled back and the cat launched forward, fur on end and hissing loudly.
'Fool! Your touch will kill him until his powers are settled! If he dies, so does our salvation!' The cat snapped angrily before looking back at the fearful human a few feet away. It then nodded it's head toward the shop it had been sitting in front of. 'Come with me and your wounds shall be treated. And then you'll be able to learn who you really are.' She stated as she walked back. He blinked slowly, still feeling suspicious, but followed the peculiar animal in hopes of seeking some kind of medical attention for his deep wound.
The next morning every paper in London ran the same headline; The Grand Duke of Weschester's only remaining son disappeared on the eve of the New Year.
Tokyo, 5: 35 A.M., modern day.
He woke up to his mother's blaring alarm, just like every other morning. She returned every night at eleven, ate a small snack, and then went to sleep. At 5 she got back up and left for work again. He had memorized her schedule, mostly because of his own resentment towards it, and had set his own schedule to a similar beat. He went to bed at nine like always. He'd wake up when she slipped in through the creaky old door to their crappy apartment, listen to her shuffle around for about ten minutes, then doze back off. He'd always wake up with her alarm, remain awake another five minutes so he could hear her get in the shower, go back to sleep, and stay asleep until he had to wake up an hour later to ready for school. And, much to his surprise, she always found a way to make him a little bento box before darting off to one of her two jobs. When he saw the little container wrapped up in a white clothe every morning he felt a mix of joy and agitation. He didn't need her taking care of him like he was some ignorant little child but a slim part of him was grateful for the gesture. She should have spent her time making her own lunch instead. He, however, never vocalized these feelings of his.
He waited the usual five minutes before a dreamless cloud of black enveloped him again. The loud blare of his own alarm stirred him an hour latter and, much to his own resistance, he rolled out of bed. He glanced at his cell and saw his girlfriend had already sent him five different good morning texts. With a heavy sigh he left his phone on his nightstand and headed to bathroom for a shower. A beautiful start to what he was assuming would be a beautiful day.
"Suzaku-Kun!" A blur of pink and white glomped him as soon as he stepped onto the campus. He held his ground, thankfully, and let the perky girl nuzzle him gently. "Why didn't you answer any of my text messages?" She whined softly, looking up with big purple eyes. It was those exact same eyes that had drawn him to the girl but now he had come to resent her as well. Her eyes couldn't make up for her repulsive personality.
"I had to shower and get my things together. I didn't even have time to grab my phone. I left it at home, Euphy," He stated gently, hoping she'd take some pity on him. He'd been busy that morning, writing a note to his mom that he'd probably be out with friends at the mall when she got home. It was Saturday so classes ended early. A new horror flick was out and his small gaggle of friends were eager to see it. They'd even agreed to pay for his ticket as long as he agreed to go too.
"You should try waking up earlier than. That way you'll have plenty of time to get every thing and not forget your cell. Sheesh! Now we're going to have to go get it after school and then we'll be late getting ready for the movie and then we'll show up late! Do you think about all of this when you decide to screw everything up?!" She grumbled, arms crossed over her chest and a pout on her face. Suzaku bit back any harsh comments he had and, instead, gently took her hand and kissed it. She looked at him with her pout still plastered on then let out a small sigh. "Okay, okay. How about instead I'll go home alone and get ready for the movie? That'll give you time to get yourself put all together pretty for me." She hummed, smiling at her solution. Suzaku flashed her a bright smile and nodded. He, again, resisted the urge to snap at her. He had suggested that exact same thing to her three days ago when she told him her plan to go to each other's houses and help one another get ready.
He followed Euphy begrudgingly to their class, where their friends were awaiting their arrival. He mentally calculated the complicated jumble within his group to assure he didn't step on any toes. Now, let's see... Takashi and Yosuke hated each other because Yosuke had always bullied Takashi when they were young. Tiff, the perky blonde transfer student, was dating Yosuke but was actually hung up over Tomo, who was Yosuke's cousin. Tomo, however, resented Suzaku dating Euphemia because he himself was head over heels for the spoiled Daddy's girl. And then there was Shia, Takashi's girlfriend, who came from a troubled home life and made it her business to tear the other two girls down every chance she got. And last but not least was Suzaku's dear cousin, Kaguya. She liked Takashi but was too shy to tell and when she was finally ready was too late. Shia had snatched him away and Takashi had explained he wasn't going to dump Shia just because of Kaguya's feelings. He took a deep breath and slowly stepped forward to face the day. Ah yes, another beautiful morning of lies and deceit from Suzaku Kururugi.
After class Euphy had changed her plan for the fifth time. She called her older sister, Cornelia, and told her which outfit she wanted. She told her to bring it over to Suzaku's house so she could change in the restroom there. "Okay, yes. I love you, sis!" She giggled happily in the phone. Suzaku shifted his attention to a peculiar little kitty staring at him curiously. It's fur was a pale violet hue aside from it's lightly fluffed black tipped tail and a patch over its right eye. It's luminous amber orbs shifted from Suzaku to Euphy, who was now also staring at it. Her eyes widened, she squealed, darted over and snatched it up, pressing it to her chest. "Oh how cute!"
"Are you sure you should pick it up? It may be diseased or…" Suzaku's voice trailed off when she pinned him with a glare. He held up his hands quickly. "Sorry. Forget I mentioned anything." He stated. He reached over to pet the little cat when it hissed at him and scratched his hand.
"He knows you were being mean to him!" She giggled happily. He sighed and spotted a purple rope with a little tag knotted around the cat's neck. He reached over, ignoring the low growl released from the scrawny thing's throat, and looked at the little gold tags. "Is there a phone number?" Euphy asked curiously.
"No, but there is an address, which is just as good. I'll take this cat home and then go get my stuff," Suzaku stated, reaching to take the little cat. She turned away and whimpered lightly. He blinked, stunned by this. "Euphy, you know you can't keep him. He had an owner who is probably missing him like crazy." He stated gently. She sighed again and looked at him.
"Well can I at least come along to take him home? I mean, he doesn't really like you anyway. This way you don't get all scratched up and I have more time to bond with the little guy!" She suggested eagerly, eyes shimmering happily. He didn't even try to argue with her. He knew that if he did she'd just get fussy and he wasn't in the mood to deal with it.
The address was about three blocks from the school in the direction of Suzaku's apartment. The store had a black canopy draping over the door and large shop window. The window was crowed with what appeared to be fake skulls, toy knives dipped in fake blood, and a few little gold dishes dangling from silver chains with fake cobwebs strewn across. A few incenses were strung out from around the rim of the dishes, held in place by little holders invisible to the eyes of the teens outside. They watched as the pale gray smoke flittered from the burnt tips and released its aroma to the inside of the shop. "This place is way too creepy to be this little kitty's home!" Euphy protested, stepping back a bit. Suzaku glanced at her and realized she was shaking a little bit.
Taking his frightened girlfriend's hand in his own Suzaku walked forward and pushed open the door. A bell at the top dinged, being struck by the top of the door, and both teen's jumped in surprised. "Ah, so you've finally come home. Well, I'll admit I'm not fond of anchovies on pizza but to each their own, or some virtuous bull like that," The dark figure behind the register stated calmly, their back to the customers. He was wearing what appeared to be an all black suit, his hair, also jet black, blending in with his outfit. The only way they knew his hair was not a part of his coat was that a bit of the pale flesh of his neck was visible. He reached up, hands in white gloves, with a large cardboard box and shoved it on to the shelf he was facing. "I'm going to warn you, though, that next time you test my patience I won't hesitate to rid of you for good." He sighed before turning. Suzaku's heart skipped a beat then picked back twice as fast when he was met by a pair of intense amethyst spheres a few tones darker than those of his companion. The shop keeper blinked a few times, surprise registering on his beautiful pair face, before looking a tad bit annoyed. "This is not a store for children. Tell me, why are you here?" He asked, slipping into a black office chair situated behind the counter and in front of the register.
"We came to return your cat," Suzaku stated after a second, indicating the little furry creature in the pink haired girl's arms. A brow was raised quizzically as the shop keep leaned forward, resting his elbow on the counter top and resting his chin in the hand. He blinked a few times and watched as the cat squirmed free of Euphemia's grasp. It darted across the dusty wooden floor, hopped up elegantly, and sat on the counter before him. He turned and shook his head at the cat. "Uh… Is it not your cat?" He asked worriedly, watching as the man analyzed the four legged creature before him.
He glanced up, dark bangs falling into his eyes a bit, and sent a lazy grin in Suzaku's direction. "You brought the little wretch to the right place. I thank you for this. When this kitty gets tired it won't come home on it's own," He explained, sitting back in his chair. Seeming to feel courageous, or just wanting to test the shop keeper's boundaries, Euphy stepped over and began petting the cat on it's head.
"Your kitty is so friendly," She stated cheerfully. The cat leaned closer to her touch, purring slightly. She giggled in response. "Kitty doesn't like my boyfriend very much, though. It attacked him quite a few times."
A dark, mirthy chuckle bubbled out of the shop keeper's throat. His grin had become almost sadistic as he shifted his harsh gaze on Euphy. She stopped caressing the cat's fur and tensed up visibly. "My pretty kitty hates good, wholesome people. Those who act only for others, who never speak up from fear of hurting another person… It makes Kitty's skin crawl. Sinners, however, make Kitty feel free and fair! At one with Kitty's natural self, if you will." He hummed lightly. Euphemia flushed furiously and glared at him, her hands falling to her hips stubbornly.
"And what sin have I committed?! He's the one who's always late and forgetful!" She snapped, pointing at the bemused brunette accusingly. The shop keeper blinked lazily, slowly, before looking back at the cat. It mewled lightly, stepped forward, and lightly head butted the arm holding his head up. He lifted his head and began lightly stroking it's fur with one gloved hand before fixing his gaze back at the aggravated female.
"With one glance at your hair, face and from what your attitude has told me you have a long driving relationship with Pride, which seems to be the leader of the others. If you have Pride, you'll most likely end up with at least one other sin," He stated, his other hand plopping up and one finger sticking up. She scoffed and rolled her eyes.
"It's called teenage girl syndrome, idiot. Look it up sometime on the web," She retorted harshly, glaring at him still. The shop keep kept his cool, eyes shimmering dully with his calm collected nature.
"After that comes the sin of Greed, considering how terribly you want your boyfriend back there to pay attention to no one but you. Next Envy due to your jealousy toward a friend who is in a relationship you consider more successful than your own. And, finally," He continued on casually, "the sin of Lust due to the fact you've cheated on your boyfriend quite a few times." He yawned leisurely, as if growing bored, and shifted his gaze to Suzaku, who was stunned at the newly revealed information. The shop keeper's eyes narrowed a bit, seeming to scrutinize the high school boy. "You, on the other hand, have lived a relatively sin-free life. You're very difficult for me to read." He mumbled bitterly, a spark of annoyance flashing in his eyes.
It was then Euphemia's hand came down on his face, the sound of skin hitting skin echoing in the tiny shop. His head remained tilted to the side, his cheek turning a tad bit pink where the other had laid her hand. He then looked at her sideways, eyes narrowing to dangerous points. Tears pricked at the corner of her eyes, her entire form shaking, but still her hand remained raised as if to strike again. "How… How dare you!" She wailed before turning and running off, shoving Suzaku's shoulder as she ran by. He blinked, looked back at her and sighed. He shifted his attention to the shop keeper, who was now looking at him with an amused grin.
"I'm really sorry about that. Sometimes Euphy just overreacts and takes jokes too seriously," He stated apologetically, bowing politely. The shop keeper shook his head slightly at this and let out a soft snorting noise. Suzaku glanced back up curiously.
"I never said it was a joke," The shop keeper stated calmly, "because it wasn't. I'm what you could call a psychic, if you will. Unlike the majority that see ghosts, however, I can read how many sins a person has committed up to this point in their life through looking in their eyes and observing their personality. If they have Pride than a quick glance in their eyes reveals their other crimes to me. I meant every word I said about your girlfriend. If you don't believe me, ask you friend Tomo what he and Euphy where doing together last Saturday evening. It certainly wasn't busing tables at the diner on the corner or getting a pedicure at a salon across town." Emerald eyes blinked back surprise as he watched and listened to the shop keeper. Other than Euphy's name he hadn't given him any other information. His skin crawled a bit at the thought of this man's strange ability being real.
"I… I have to go. I'm supposed to go to the movies with my friends tonight," He stated quickly, bowing again. The shop keeper nodded, an all-knowing smirk twisting up his lips.
"Feel free to stop by again any time you like, Suzaku Kururugi," He stated cheerfully as the other made a bee line for the door. Suzaku's blood went to ice in his veins as soon as he stepped out of the shop. He had never given the strange shop keep his first or last name.
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