Word Drama 02

Britannian air cruiser Avalon
Pacific Ocean
September 13, 2017

It had all been for nothing.

That simple line of words ran through Suzaku's mind like a continuous stream of water or music player set on repeat. No matter what he did, no matter how he moved his body, no matter what position he aligned himself into, he could not get that phrase out of his head. Nor could he hold back the tears that streamed down his face or the shame that he felt in his heart. The words only continued to repeat themselves over and over.

It had been five hours now since Japan's complete destruction, five hours since everything Suzaku had come to cherish went up in a mixture of smoke and fire. The reports were still coming in, but the last Suzaku had heard there were no survivors; every Japanese and Britannian that had been left behind was thought to have perished in the devastation. Only those that had been evacuated to the Avalon during the crisis, such as Princess Cornelia, her knight Lord Guilford, and the majority of the Ashford Academy student body were the only remainder of what had been Area 11, the once proud nation of Japan.

For an eternity, Suzaku's mind continued to reel as everything he had endeavored and worked for over the last seven years had now been undone with the death of his homeland. His father's murder was now meaningless. His choice to join the Britannian military to change the system from within no longer had any reason to it. The valiant acts he had performed under the service of Princess Euphemia, as well as the vision he had shared with her, were all now equivalent to ash just like the islands themselves.

The horror he felt when he had plunged his knife into his father's chest. The shame he had gained when he had chosen to wear a Britannian uniform and bear the sigil of the Empire as a slave. The pain he had accumulated from being looked upon as a lowly servant by his masters and a traitor by his own kind. The endless strain his body had endured from throwing his life on the line over and over again. All meaningless and all wasted.

All that remained was the eternal hatred he felt for the one who caused it all out of his own selfish desires, the one who he had called a mistake and claimed should have never existed: his former friend turned enemy Lelouch vi Britannia. The one and only Zero.

And so, for the last five hours, Suzaku had secluded himself to the relative comfort of his personal quarters aboard the Avalon. In that time, Suzaku did not sleep, only ate the barest amounts of nourishment, did not move far away from his bed nor did he allow any light into his domain. He was subconsciously punishing himself and was fully aware of it, throwing himself into a makeshift solitary confinement for his failure to stop his former friend, for his trusting him to take Euphie's hand when he should have struck him down where he stood. No matter what he did, he could not shake off the following question: what would have happened if Suzaku had all but done what was needed at the time?

"Lelouch…" Suzaku snarled with hatred as he twisted and turned in his bed. "It's all because of you, you and your selfishness…" he continued to murmur. "…I should have killed you… It should have been you…!"

"If only it had been you…!" Suzaku continued to bellow. "If only it had been you, none of this would…!"

"So this is what has become of the great Suzaku Kururugi," a voice spoke out from the darkness. "From traitor and murderer to pathetic whiner and weakling. Pride of His Imperial Majesty's Army and Princess Euphemia indeed."

"Who's there!?" Suzaku barked as he arched up from his bed, his rage now directed to the one who dared enter into his private space without permission to mock him. It barely registered with him that he had not heard the door open or sensed another presence in the room until now.

The voice emitted a nasty chuckle. "Someone you know very well, my son," the voice stated just as its bearer exited from the darkness and into Suzaku's view.

In an instant, Suzaku's rage was replaced with horror at what his eyes saw before him: a middle aged man with a large build, dressed in a formal brown suit with greatcoat over his shoulders and an eternally stern expression grafted onto his face. The very same man that Suzaku had murdered so long ago. "Father…?" he let out in a breath.

"Good to see you have not forgotten about me Suzaku," Genbu Kururugi replied with a sneer. "But then, that would be impossible for you."

The apparition smiled vindictively. "After all, no man can ever forget the first blood spilled on his hands."

"This is impossible!" Suzaku nearly shouted, not believing what his eyes or other senses were telling him. "I killed you! I killed you seven years ago!"

Genbu laughed at that. "You did, and you would be a fool to presume otherwise." the image continued. "What you see before you is a mere shadow, brought forth to this realm by your doubts and self-hatred. The very judge and tormentor you subconsciously desired for your long list of crimes."

"You have no right to judge me!" Suzaku shouted at the image of his father.

"Oh but I do my son," Genbu stated as fact. "For it is from your desire to be judged that I am given purpose."

In the true nature of a specter, Genbu circled the bed Suzaku laid on while continuing to speak. "I must compliment you Suzaku, you have truly outdone yourself since my untimely demise…" Suzaku sneered back in response, but that did not stop Genbu's stride. "Abandoning Lelouch and Nunnally in their time of need… Joining the ranks of our enemies and becoming their willing slave… Piloting one of their machines against your own kind, as well as becoming one of their top aces along the way… Turning your back on every single person that has come to care about you…"

The ghost seemed to take noticeable delight at each cringe Suzaku's face took at an accusation. "And now…" Genbu smiled. "…you have even come to betray Lelouch and Nunnally to your masters as well."

"I never betrayed Lelouch! It was he who betrayed me!" Suzaku roared at the image of his father, his hands folded into fists and sweat pouring from his head. "He was the one who turned on the system! He was the one who killed Euphie and destroyed everything I cared about!"

"Did he now?" Genbu looked at his son with peculiarity.

"YES!" Suzaku let out. "I was there, watching from the Lancelot's monitors as Lelouch shot Euphie! I was at her side when she passed on from that wound, and a part of me died with her in that very moment in time!"

He smashed a fist into his bed cover at the memory of it all. "Lelouch brainwashed her and used her as his pawn, just so he could incite rebellion! And now our people and everything I've fought for, everything I've humiliated myself for, are ashes because of him!"

Genbu only watched with apathetic eyes as his son began to breathe heavily from his tirade. "Are you finished, or did you want to add more to your pathetic drivel?"

Suzaku looked back incredulously. "How can you not care about any of that!? You were their Prime Minister, their elected leader!"

"You forget, my son…" Genbu smiled fiendishly. "I was the one that originally wanted every Japanese man, woman and child to fight to the end seven years ago, so that the Japanese race may die as warriors rather than live as slaves. If anything, I should be thanking Lelouch for allowing them to do just that!"

"You heartless bastard!" Suzaku hollered, instinctively leaping up to his feet.

"Heartless? Perhaps so…" Genbu said, casually inspecting his nails. "But even if I am, at least I can say I was heartless from the beginning. Unlike you, who possessed a heart at one time but willingly threw it away in your mediocre quest for self-destruction…"

"Have you not heard anything I said!? I lost that part of me when Lelouch used and killed Euphie…!" Suzaku started to rant again.

"Indeed, but it was by your own choice that you abandoned your heart!" Genbu shot back against his son with a singular laugh. "And because of your actions, Lelouch has now been stripped of everything he fought and cared for, while Nunnally is on her way to becoming her father's plaything."

Genbu began to circle Suzaku again. "All of these outcomes, Suzaku, and you never questioned why it has come to this…"

"That's because I already know!" Suzaku stated.

"Do you?" Genbu smiled devilishly again. "Have you asked yourself why Lelouch had used Geass on Euphemia when logically the Special Administration Zone fit perfectly into his motives? Have you ever wondered how Lelouch could callously butcher the one sibling he truly cared about besides Nunnally and not feel anything toward it?"

"He did it because for his lust for power!" Suzaku shot out. "That's been Lelouch's motivation from the beginning!"

Genbu laughed at his son's exclamation. "You know that to be untrue Suzaku, as it goes against everything you know about him, the exiled prince that stumbled into our household seven years ago," he countered. "The boy who, in spite of being abandoned by his country and the world, cared selflessly for his beloved sister and his best friend's well-being, and later on came to care for many others."

The father drew closer to his son, retaining his specter like presence. "Selflessness, empathy, compassion, love, dedication. Those five words make up Lelouch vi Britannia's core being, from the first day you met him all the way to the present. Those are what drove him to do things such as diffuse a car accident he was entirely uninvolved in, to accept a role in the Ashford Academy Student Council to aid his childhood friend in her quest to establish a pleasant environment, to care for his crippled sibling in place of their mother, to look after his best friend who is eternally haunted by the demons of the past. And at the forefront of all of those, to create a place for all peoples to live happily, a motivation that you had adapted for yourself as well but only much later on."

Genbu smirked once more as his son fidgeted uncomfortably from his words. "You knew all of these things, but not once did you ever try to make sense of his actions, not once did you place a semblance of trust in him. Instead, you gave into your rage and selfish hatred and chose to see Lelouch as your enemy just as he was Britannia's; in other words, you ran away again, just as you did seven years ago after killing me and just as you are doing now."

"The Lelouch I knew was nothing more than a mask!" Suzaku countered with as much force as he could create. "A well-played persona of compassion! An efficient monster hiding amidst a facade of humanity! A series of well-rehearsed lines! That's all Lelouch ever...!" Suzaku tried to speak further, but found the words die in his mouth before he could utter them.

"Oh? A mask you say?" Genbu glared at his son. "Tell me, does a mask display needless acts of kindness to the most mundane of people? Does a mask care for a blind and crippled girl for the duration of its life, when the most efficient choice was to simply abandon her? And would a mask save the life of a friend-turned-enemy, by inspiring him to live even by force even when the person in question lost every ounce of resolve to continue on?" That last one made Suzaku look on in shocked realization, much to Genbu's amusement. "A mask indeed, baka-na Suzaku. A mask of your own delusion!"

The specter chuckled at his last statement. "At the very least, Euphemia seemed to understand him. Oh yes, she paid for her understanding with her life, but for all of her weaknesses at least she was able to see through the so-called mask to the true face underneath, once again unlike you."

The sinister nature of Genbu's grin only deepened at his next few words. "If she did not, then why did she believe in him even to the end?"

At that, Suzaku's mind recalled the events of the SAZ and the dying image of Euphemia and how even to the end she showed no hatred and only kindness, even to the one that had killed her. Immediately his eyes snapped closed and tears began to draw out as he shivered from the chill he felt from it.

Genbu only laughed at his son's pain. "Yes Suzaku, it was you who betrayed Lelouch at the beginning. Not only that, but you plan to do so again, by using him as a bargaining chip for ascension to the Knights of the Round."

Suzaku's eyes snapped open again and he stared up in horror at his father. "How…did you…?"

"I know everything there is to know about you my son, including your newfound plans to ascend to Knight of One," Genbu looked down dominantly at his child, who only looked back with vehemence. "Truly the epitome of wretchedness, exploiting the only one besides your beloved Princess who understood you and tried to help you, all for false honor and a meaningless purpose no less. Just how far will you fall my son, before you reach the mouths of Satan himself?"

"I don't want to hear it from you!" Suzaku hollered as he drew up and threw his fist out. But before the blow could connect, the image of Genbu disappeared before him and his fist hit nothing but air.

"I'm sorry; did I hit a sore spot Suzaku?" Genbu spoke condescendingly from behind.

"I'll kill you!" Suzaku growled with hatred as he turned around.

"You already have, remember?" Genbu gestured down to his chest, where Suzaku's knife was embedded and blood was stained into his suit. "You cannot kill what is already dead, not any more than you can be rid of your past sins."

"What are you saying?" Suzaku spat.

At that, Genbu drew himself to Suzaku's face, eyes matching each other. From his gaze, Suzaku felt as though he were staring into an abyss, as he saw nothing behind his father's eyes but an unending void. Despite his best attempts not to flinch, he eventually was forced to look away.

"This is but my first visit to you Suzaku…" Genbu spoke out, his voice suddenly becoming even more hollowed. "…as long as you will it, I will return to bring to light every sin that you have committed, every falsehood that you justify to others and yourself, and every hypocritical action you take that only worsens the world. For I am your shadow, and no matter how much you try, I will always be there with you, to bring about the judgment and torment your soul has always wanted."

At that, Genbu began to step backwards, his image fading into the darkness. "Ja ne aisoku." he spoke chidingly, before vanishing entirely.

Once more, Suzaku was left in the darkness, but even though he was physically alone, his past demons and several new additions continued to haunt him. All much to his despair.