Your Past, My Future
a/n I do not own Code Geass
Zero woke up with dreams of kings and emperors, floating shrines above the clouds, of trust and betrayal, hope and despair; all these images and sensations possessed his mind as he tried to open his eyes and force himself out of bed with all the vigor and passion that usually gripped him in the mornings, which is to say, none.
He groggily made his way to his bathroom sink to put in the custom contact lens C.C. had made for him. It wouldn't do for a member of the Black Knights to be subjected to his uncontrollable Geass. If he told someone to go away, he might never come back.
Zero opened up a drawer and reached for his contact lens, and found…nothing. He checked again, pulling out random articles and looked into the other compartments and behind his mirror, and even examined the floor before he realized where he was.
He was at a home.
It was the same home he had lived in for years, so he hadn't noticed it at first, but he thought—he was certain—that when he had fallen asleep the night before, he was on the flagship of the Black Knights.
Zero's mind raced, finally expelling the last vestiges of slumber. All of his enemies knew him as Lelouch, so he would be a fool to hide in his own house, and if he was captured, who among his foes would place him in an exact replica of his old bedroom?
A light tapping on the door interrupted his thoughts. "Come in," he called, carefully closing his left eye. If he wasn't captured, he would ask C.C. to make him another lens as soon as things started making…
"Excuse me, Lelouch-sama," Sayoko said respectfully. "Nunnally –sama wanted to know if you would come down to breakfast with her."
"Nunnally-sama wanted to know if you were coming," she repeated. "Um, Lelouch-sama, are you unwell? If you like, I could tell your sister"—
"No, no, I'm fine," Zero replied. "Tell Nunnally that I'll be down shortly."
"Yes, Lelouch-sama," she replied before turning to leave. "Oh, and do hurry. If you take too long, you'll be late for school."
Late for…school? That was an odd thing to say to the leader of an international military force. And…Nunnally. What was she doing here? His sister hadn't been in this house for over a year, most of that time he wasn't even aware that he had a sister. Her place at the dinner table had been taken by his false brother, Rolo.
Zero shook his head ruefully. Rolo had been planted to spy on him and, if necessary, assassinate him, but in the end, Rolo was truer than any of the Black Knights who followed him, and it was he, Lelouch, who was false. And yet, for an entire year, he had thought that he and Rolo were related because of when the Emperor had—
After Rolo died, Zero went to face the Emperor, a man who could not be killed nor controlled by his Geass. The 98th Britanian Emperor was waiting for him in that shrine above the clouds. He said that he was trying to do…something. Something big. Perhaps he sent Zero here, stuck in some dream of his past memories, or maybe he had used his Geass to completely rewrite his memories, like before. But why the Emperor would give him memories of leading a war against the Britanian Empire, Zero could not imagine. But then again, Charles zi Britannia had done it before, so maybe his Geass didn't work right when used twice on the same person.
Lelouch left his room and proceeded toward the dining area. This place was far to real, to perfect to be fake, and not even his memory held the detail that his eyes now viewed. And then, before he knew it, he saw his sister.
She sat there, just as she had always sat during all the years that they had grown up together. She was just as he had remembered her, with her long, wavy hair, her thin, frail legs, her permanently closed eyes, her soft, gentle face, and her smile. That magic smile seemed to show infinite contentment, unbothered by her crippled legs and blind eyes—for why would someone whose soul shined with so much pure light need to receive light? And what need had she to walk when she could spread joy wherever she was? Hers was a smile devoid of such vile passions as hatred, cruelty, or revenge. It was a smile that Lelouch had known, grown up with, loved.
It was that smile that greeted him now.
"Good morning, Onii-sama," she said cheerfully, as though the only thing she wanted in the world was to have breakfast with her elder brother.
The last time he had seen his sister, she was the puppet princess governing Area 11. The last time he had heard of her, it had been in the report naming her dead, caught helplessly in the massive explosion of the Freya bomb.
"Good…good morning, Nana-chan," he said, trying to keep his voice clear.
She faced him, concerned, and Lelouch was glad she couldn't see as his eyes watered, but she knew him too well for him to hide anything from him. "Onii-sama? Is something wrong?"
"No, Nana-chan," he said as a rebellious tear fell down his cheek. "I…I'm"—he reached out for her hand, and squeezed it more tightly than was probably comfortable for her, but she didn't cry out. She reached out to touch her face, but before she could, Lelouch wrapped his arms around her, giving her the hug that he hadn't given her in far too long. "I'm just glad to be with you."
He never lied to his sister. Even if she could be fooled, he didn't think he could bring himself to do it. And he wasn't lying. It was probably the most honest thing he'd said his whole life.
His Geass was gone. It no longer menaced in his left eye, nor could he activate it on command. He experimented a few times on random people, and instead of unquestioning obedience, he got confused looks and oblivious questions ("What? Why do you want me to stand on one leg? Well, I could, I guess…"). Then, during class, while the teacher was giving a lecture about electrolytes and the solubility of ions in water, which was boring the first time he heard it, Zero pulled out his class schedule, which marked the year as 2017 a.t.b.
2017. That was one year previous, the same year that he had organized the Black Knights. So, if this wasn't an illusion or a trick, he was in the past. Zero knew he should be shocked, but not too long ago, he believed that mind control was a myth, that freezing time was impossible, and that most people actually died when shot in the head, so in comparison, whatever was going on didn't seem particularly overwhelming.
His mind kept on wandering back toward his encounter with the emperor, and the—what was it?—Ragnarok Connection. He was seeking to recreate the world, to forge a changeless, stagnant existence. A world of memories.
When he had fought with Suzaku, his oldest friend and fiercest foe, it was a difference of methods, but their objectives were mostly the same. Against the Emperor, it was just the opposite. Zero had fought to achieve the future; Charles vi Britania sought the past.
And apparently he succeeded.
He glanced at his fellow classmates. Some of them were almost the same as when he last saw them. Milly was bossy and controlling, but in an admirable sort of way that only she could manage. Rivalz, his old friend, was louder and more rowdy than Lelouch remembered, but was essentially the same. And then there was Shirley.
Shirley flashed him a smile that had more to do with her eyes than her mouth. She was smiling last he saw her too, as she lay, blood pooling around her, her hand growing cold as she told him—I love you, Lulu. No matter what, I—LIVE! LIVE! I COMMAND YOU TO—will always…
Zero shook his head, forcing himself back to the present. Her death was wrong, a tragedy, but it was in the past—although technically, he was too.
Two rows in front of him sat Kallen. Before he became Zero, Lelouch never looked twice at her, and she never looked twice at him. At school, she was quiet, meek, with a chronic illness that kept her out of physical activities and often caused her to miss school. Meanwhile, she worked as a terrorist, using a different personality, a different vitality, and even a different name. In short, her life was immersed in lies, which was something Zero understood perfectly.
Kallen ate her lunch outside with her friends, if they could be called her friends. She tried to keep a low profile at school, and it wouldn't do to bite someone's head off for being a bloodsucking Britannian prick. They couldn't really help how they were born, but she still couldn't invite her classmates to see what she was doing after school.
Walking through the grounds, she noticed that guy, Lelouch, looking at her. She couldn't say that he was the least attractive guy at school, but she could say that he was one of the most arrogant. And right now, she kind of wanted to.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" she asked with a respect she did not feel.
"What? No. Why do you ask?"
"Nothing," she replied. "It's just that you've been staring at me the whole day."
"Is that so? That's odd. I didn't notice."
Idiot. "Well, just stop." She turned around and started to walk away.
She stopped instinctively, though she would have preferred to keep on going.
"Are you doing anything later today, after school?"
Yes, I'm going to go kill Britannian snobs like you. "I've got plans."
Lelouch let her go and didn't bother her more. He couldn't use the Geass to force her cooperation, not yet anyway. He considered using her feelings for him to manipulate her into giving him information on her resistance cell, but he decided not to. First of all, he doubted that she even had feelings for him yet, and more importantly, the feelings that women had for him usually involved him having guns pointed at him.
"Hey, Lulu!" called Rivalz. "So are we going or not?"
Going? "Going where?"
"To the chess match! You told me about it yesterday, I remember you used the phrase, 'worth a fortune.'"
He was returning from a chess match with someone when it all started. He was passing through the Shinjuku ghetto, when he ran into the truck that had C.C. in it. If he missed that chance to obtain the Geass, he might never become Zero.
"Of course I am," he replied. "Uh, did I tell you where it is?"
"I can't believe you've forgotten where it is," Rivalz said on his motorcycle. "I mean, when people are offering an amount with that many zeros, that's not something you just forget."
"It must have slipped my mind," Lelouch replied calmly. "By the way, could you drop me off here?"
"Yes, on the side of the road, if you don't mind."
"But, but Lulu, we're practically in the ghetto!"
"I know. But there's something I need to do here, so if you don't mind…"
"Uh, okay, I guess." He stopped the bike. "Do you want me to wait for you?"
"No, that's fine," Lelouch replied. "This may take a while."
Zero looked at the intersection where it all started. It was here where he had unwittingly fallen into a terrorist's truck, gained the power of kings, countered Clovis's massacre, and personally assassinated his half brother. If it didn't happen exactly the same way…
It occurred to him that he wasn't even sure what day it happened.
Oh well, he thought. I guess I'll just have to wait.
"Have you noticed something off with Lelouch?"
Milly glanced up at Rivalz. "You know what? I was thinking exactly the same thing. He seems even more distant than usual, and that's saying something."
Rivalz nodded his head in agreement. "Yeah, I know. And last week, he asked me to drop him off in the middle of the ghetto, for no reason at all. And the other day, I was passing by, and I saw him in the exact same place!"
"That is odd." Milly glanced at Shirley to make sure she was listening. "You don't think that he might be going there to see his girlfriend, do you?"
Shirley's head jerked up and her mouth dropped open.
"Well that would explain a lot," Rivalz admitted. "But if she lives in the ghetto, then she would have to be, well, an eleven."
"That's impossible!" Shirley cried. "Lelouch wouldn't go into a crooked part of the city for that! There's got to be another explanation!"
"Well, what else would he do in a place like that?" Milly eyed Shirley lazily. "I mean, what else can you get in a place like that that you can't get anywhere else? Unless…no. You don't think that Lulu's on drugs do you?" Milly didn't want to believe it, she didn't even want to think it, but she loved watching Shirley squirm.
"What?" she shrieked. "But—no—he—Rivalz!" She pointed an accusing finger at him. "This is all your fault!"
"What? How is this my fault?"
"Who was it who's always dragging him off to wild parts of the city? Who is it who's always encouraging him to gamble? If it weren't for you, Lulu wouldn't be doing dangerous things like that!"
"Hey, he's the one who asks me for a ride, and he's the one who tells me where to go. And I don't encourage him to gamble; the only reason I bet on him is because that guy never ever loses!"
"And besides, I'd do dangerous things no matter whom I'm with."
The student council members all looked at Lelouch as he strode into the room, unperturbed that everyone was starting rumors about him.
"I'm sorry I'm late," he said. "My Japanese girlfriend called to yell at me about my drug use."
The tedious affairs of a normal high school student was never something that enthralled his interest, even before he knew the alternative. Lelouch couldn't force himself to care about the gossip or the dating drama, and he had already learned everything that they were taught the year before. But day after day, nothing happened, so he was gradually forced to embrace the nothingness of normalcy.
For him, normalcy involved a great deal of chess and dirty money.
It occurred to him that if he was in the past, then the Emperor and Suzaku had also gone back in time, because they were both with him when it happened. And if Charles zi Britannia was from the future, he may have prevented C.C. from coming here in the first place. And if that were the case, could he defeat the empire, not as Zero, the man of miracles, but just as a brilliant tactician? That was his original plan, and he might be able to persuade Kallen to let him into her resistance unit, but…
His opponent was forced to take his attacking bishop with a rook, which Lelouch promptly captured. The nobleman he was playing wasn't the worst player ever born, but neither was he putting up much of a fight. As the man pondered his next move, Lelouch's eyes wandered over to the television set, where the newswoman was reporting some tragic bombing.
"…where eight Britannians and fifty-one others were killed by…"
Blah, blah, blah. In my day, they wouldn't even bother reporting something so trivial compared to the Black Rebellion or the war to liberate Japan.
His opponent made yet another tactical blunder and let his knight be pinned to his remaining rook. Meanwhile, the news was interrupted with a so-called emergency report,
"…in a truck. The military is currently working to intercept them, but they have stolen a capsule of poisonous gas, and so we urge you to stay indoors. They were last seen on the road K-47, so…"
Pretty tame emergency, he mused. Now, if it were a stolen Freya warhead, it would be an emergency, but poisonous gas was just—
Just then his mind clicked. Poisonous gas! That's what they called it! He had personally used the capsule as a bluff to rescue Suzaku, but that capsule really contained…
"Oh no," Lelouch said calmly. "What have I done? I appear to have lost the game." He flicked his king over in forfeit and got up.
"What? What do you mean?" asked the noble. "You're winning!"
"Technically, but you'll be able to capture my king in a few moves. It's rather straight forward, really. I can't see why I didn't see it sooner. But anyway, I've lost, you've won, and if you don't mind, I have to go."
a/n So the other day I was bored witless when my brother suggested some anime series I've never heard of. Two days later, I finished every episode of Code Geass ever written. There's something inherently disappointing about endings. If the ending's bad, you're disappointed because it's bad. If it's good, you're disappointed because it's over, so while I was waiting for my beta to get back to me, I decided to write this. Originally, I wanted to do a crossover with Death Note, replacing Zero with L (Lelouch starts with L, and if I replaced him with Kira, I don't think anyone would have noticed), but I wasn't exactly sure what to do with that, so I settled on time travel. I got the idea from Here and Now, Then and Again, and Mixed with the Lightning of Slaughter. The first two are exceptionally well-rounded—and addicting—fanfics, and the last one is madness on steroids. All three are favorited.