A little background as to how this came to be. Code Geass is the story (spoilers if that weren't obvious) of Lelouch's fall as much as his rise, and what happens if you're a Magnificient Bastard who's not quite bastard enough. It's also, of course, Suzaku's story. The story of grand plans gone amiss, and self-redemption.
This is not a Fix Fic, at least not mostly. Every fanfiction is an attempt to change something about the work they love. But this is not an attempt to make Code Geass better. This is just to make it different. This not Suzaku's story. He's here, but this is Lelouch's perspective, and it's far more Lelouch's story.
In Code Geass (I'm just gonna call it CG from here, cause that's annoying to type out every time), Lelouch is a man who is angry, and determined... but cannot quite discard his attachments when the time comes. Here, in my work... he can. If you thought CG's Lelouch was vengeful, my Lelouch will blow you away. And perhaps frighten you as well. Nothing will get in the way of this man's wrath. Nothing
But I've given up too much of the game already. For the most part, this will follow the anime's events. My Lelouch will react somewhat differently... and those differences will eventually lead the story to completely derail, and become its own entity. My Lelouch... is wrath itself, and let's just say that several major decisions will be different because of that.
These first few chapters especially, it will just be seeing CG play out from Lelouch's perspective exclusively, hearing his thoughts, seeing his actions. He will do some things differently, but it will mostly go the same. And make no mistake- I'm not here to make CG a painless story. The pains will be there, they will just be different.
Enough of my blabbering. ON WITH THE SHOW!
Suzaku scampered up the hill with ease, and I struggled after him. He made it look so easy... just a few leaping steps, and he was up. I, on the other hand...
"Lelouch!" Suzaku called. I turned my gaze upward, away from the dirt slope I was clinging to, toward my friend. He stretched out a hand.
"...Thank you..." I grunted as I took his hand. He pulled me up over the ledge, and I hung my head, and panted. I had been tough... but anything worth doing is. I had made it. We were at the top. The cicadas buzzed a chirping song as-
Wait. The cicadas... had fallen silent. I looked up, and they had taken flight, flying every which way in a panic. What... was going on? Our presence couldn't have alarmed them that much... could it?
Then a shadow fell across the field. I looked up, and the sky... it was swarming with planes. Dozens... no... hundreds of them, or maybe more than that. Innumerable as the stars in the sky. Suzaku and I stared at them in astonishment and wonder... and in a flash of insight, my father's words came back to me. "A prince and a princess would make for good bargaining chips..."
Those weren't just planes. Those were a declaration of war.
In the year 2010 of the Common Era, the Holy Empire of Britannia invaded Japan. The small island nation had no chance against Britannia, which was the world's last remaining superpower. Despite its lack of natural resources, the nation of Japan had taken a stance of nationalistic isolation.
In order to take the mainland, the Britannian forces mobilized the first of the Knightmare Frames; a new kind of humanoid powered armor. Their abilities exceeded expectations, and the Japanese defenses fell one after another before the might of Project Knightmare.
Japan became a territory of the Empire and was stripped of its freedom, its rights, and even its name. Area 11. That designation was the new name given to the defeated Japan. And it would be more than a decade before they were finally permitted to once again call themselves Japanese.
This is the story of the years leading up to that change.
"Let's see how far he's wrecked things, hmmm?" I suggested as we approached the building.
"Hey, that's pretty harsh, Lelouch!" complained Rivalz. "He's only played this much because you're late!"
"We're late, Rivalz. You're my driver, after all." I adjusted the collar on my uniform. The Ashford Academy school uniforms were elegant, to be certain, but they tended to ride up on the neck.
"Hey, I drove as fast as I could! It's your fault we didn't leave on time!"
"Then I suppose that makes you a criminal for speeding as well." I smiled slightly. Rivalz was such an easy mark.
"C'mon, give me a break here!" he whined. My smile widened, but he didn't notice. We reached the door, and it opened automatically.
"So, your relief is finally here?" droned a bored voice. I smiled. The man was slightly overweight, with a gaudy outfit and pretentious little mustache. It was quite amusing how perfectly he met the stereotype of the arrogant noble.
"Oh, thank god!" laughed my master as he stood. The title of "master", of course, was ironic, a little inside joke. Once, years ago, we'd met in a chess parlor, and he'd offered to teach me chess. It was very kind, and he was very gracious, but when I had him in checkmate fifteen moves later, he realized his mistake. He wasn't a bad chess player, but he wasn't exceptional, either. He was, though, good natured and friendly. I liked him.
The noble, still sitting, gazed at my uniform with the same bored look. "What, a student, is it?"
"What, a noble, is it?" I answered. It wasn't my grade A material, but if I had answered with true wit, he might realize what he was up against. Better to appear an overconfident kid, and let him make his own downfall.
"How nice for you kids, having this much free time..." muttered the noble. Stones and glass houses, old man.
"How nice for the nobility, to have time to play with kids," I countered easily. He was easier than Rivalz. Well, okay. Not that easy. Let's not be insulting here.
He grimaced, but bit back a retort. "What's your name, kid?"
"Lelouch Gaspar," I answered, glancing at the board. Hrm. My "master" had overextended himself, and didn't have enough free pieces to continue his offensive. The position was unfortunate... but I had plenty of pieces to fight with. The best thing to do here was to bait the man, breaking his defensive lines, and then push forward.
Really, too simple. This would be quick indeed. "Good God, even you won't be able to win this!" exclaimed Rivalz. Good old Rivalz, only seeing the surface, never deeper. He made for a great dramatic foil.
"Rivalz, when must we leave to make it to our next class?" I asked calmly.
"Well, if we speed, we'll make it if we leave in twenty minutes," he answered, still looking concerned.
"No need for that. You sped all the way here, after all. I'll finish this in nine minutes." I sat down. "Master, about that matter..." I said carefully. He nodded. The sides were loaded against me, so we should be able to get great odds on our bet.
"Nine minutes?" replied the noble, bemused. "Fine, twenty seconds a move, then."
"That's plenty," I nodded, picking up my king. As slow as this man thought, the time limit would work significantly in my favor.
"King first?" The noble was genuinely confused
"If the king does not lead, who will follow?" I smiled. He laughed. Good. Think me as foolish as you like. Think that I am simply being symbolic, that this is just a foolish, philosophic gesture. Don't see the trap until its steel jaws have closed around your throat. "Your move."
In the end, it only took eight and a half minutes exactly. Rivalz and I left after collecting our winnings, leaving the baffled and appalled noble to stare at the board in disbelief. "Nobles are great!" laughed Rivalz as we walked. "They're so proud that they always pay up, and they're so arrogant that- hey, are you okay?"
"Hmmm?" I answered. I had been half listening, of course, but I was still preoccupied with the game I'd just won. It was sad, really. He had all the pieces, he just didn't know how to use them. Couldn't make the right decisions under pressure. I was getting bored of it, really. I didn't play for the money, or even for the look on their faces when they lost- though I admit, I enjoyed that part quite a bit. I played for the challenge. The situation there had been somewhat challenging, but really, the man himself had been none at all.
That is Britannia... it preaches a "Might Makes Right" philosophy, which is bad enough, but it's hypocritical even to those ends. The so-called "nobility" are a collection of arrogant fools and incompetent buffoons, kept in power by the grace of their ancestor's courage and an abundance of money. I frowned, and narrowed my eyes. "The Strong Rule Over the Weak", only that's not true. The weak rule over the weak, only the weak that are in power are in fancier clothes, and full of unwarranted pride and arrogance. The whole system is rotten. And one day...
One day I will bring it all down on their heads. I gritted my teeth. For what they did to this country, to me, to my mother, to-
"Lelouch? Are you alright?" asked Rivalz, interrupting my thoughts. I blinked. "You looked... kinda scary for a minute there, man."
"'Worried' is the word, Rivalz- I was imagining Tohsaka-sensei's face if we were late," I answered with an apologetic smile.
Now Rivalz was frowning. "We'll get back in time for second period, though. We'll have plenty of time."
"Rivalz..." I sighed, "it's Thursday. European Literature is first period on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
He paled. "C-Come on then, Lelouch, we've gotta run! We've really gotta hurry!" I sighed. Why hurry if we've already missed class? It doesn't make a difference at this point... But no point in bothering him now. Better to just roll with it, and at least give him the hope of getting out of it. And hey, when it gets crushed? That'll be fun too.
What? No one ever said I was nice.
A loud beep cut off my thoughts, followed by a voice. "We apologize for the delay. This is an announcement from Prince Clovis, third in line to the Britannian throne." Clovis...
"My friends and fellow citizens of Britannia! And of course, the many, many Elevens who choose to help our glorious empire! Do you understand? My heart is torn in two! Part of me is sad, but another part is enraged!" No one likes a ham actor, brother. "However, I- the steward of Area 11- must stand firm against these terrorist! For this battle is one for justice! For justice, and the happiness of all people!" Well, okay. Sometimes ham actors can be quite enjoyable, but you're doing it all wrong anyway. "Now, my friends, let us offer a prayer for those we have lost! A moment of silence."
"You goin' tah mourn?" asked Rivalz, with an apologetic smile.
I snorted. "What about you?"
"I'd be embarassed," he answered honestly. A good answer.
"Tears don't bring back the dead," I nodded, paying our parking fee.
"Ooooh, that's cold," Rivalz grinned.
"Maybe, but at least I'm not pretending," I answered evenly, climbing onto the bike. "A moment of silence isn't for the fallen. They benefit nothing. Such demonstrations are simply self-indulgence for the living."
I glanced at the big television overlooking the street- at my estranged, manipulative brother standing there, one hand pressed against his chest in mock agony. "Mock" was exactly the right word, too- it made a mockery of the lives that were lost. "Mourning and regretting, crying over lives lost... it doesn't change anything. The world doesn't change."
But still... Clovis la Britannia. It's been years... and you've changed. Before, you were timid, and self-absorbed... but still, a good brother. Good natured, friendly, and talented. Now... now you're cowardly, narcissistic and corrupt. "Absolute power", eh? We had pulled onto the highway now, and I regarded the buildings we passed with boredom.
I wonder what age has done to the others... Cornelia, Euphemia, Odysseus, Guinevere, Carline... Schneizel... I gritted my teeth. My feelings were mixed when it came to my siblings, but not Schneizel. No. Him, I out and out hated. His arrogance, his scheming, calculating nature, his... ah. Once again, we come to the issue of stones and glass houses, don't we...? I mused. I hated Schneizel for how much he shared with me, perhaps.
But that was all in the past. The name Lelouch vi Britannia was dead and buried. He died during the invasion of Japan. Only Lelouch Gaspar remained, an orphaned boy taken in by the Ashford family. My royal brothers and sisters... I would likely never meet again. Don't get the wrong idea. I wasn't heartbroken. I was hungry to get even for what that man had done to me... to my mother and sister.
An ambition to kill Charles vi Britannia, the Emperor of the Holy Empire of Britannia, and annihilate the royal family. Never accuse me of dreaming small.
"Hey, Lelouch," said Rivalz. I blinked- we'd already driven this far? I suppose I was lost in thought. "Do you want to become a CEO or something?"
"No way," I answered casually. "Such grandiose dreams lead to self-destruc-"
I was cut off by the blaring horn of a truck. I glanced back in surprise- they were right on top of us! Idiots, what were they thinking, tailgating in a vehicle of that size! Rivalz shouted something profane, and stepped on the accelerator.
He wasn't fast enough. The truck swerved, crashing through a road block before sliding out of control, and slamming into a construction building. It didn't look like they hit it too hard, and the truck wasn't damaged, but... "Was that our fault...? asked Rivalz, slowing to a stop. Thinking the same thing.
I stepped off the bike to survey the damage. Damage that Rivalz and I may have caused. Suddenly, there was a weird... glow. A green light, on the top of the truck. What... is that? I stared at it, and pulled off my motorcycle helmet.
"Hey! Over here!" shouted a voice. I glanced up. Passers-by had stopped to watch the wreck. Pulling out phones and cameras (but mostly just camera phones, of course), murmuring loudly to themselves about what a mess it was, about how someone should help, Vultures. Come to get their fill of drama by standing idly by and observing those in danger. Disgusting. I threw down my helmet, and began to run.
"Hey, Lelouch! Wait!" cried Rivalz, but I ignored him. They could be hurt, and people were content to just sit there and watch. Well, I wasn't. I wasn't going to just stand there and talk about what a shame it was when lives were in danger. I was going to act, dammit.
I ran down the unfinished road, past the broken barrier, and over to the truck. I slowed as I approached it. Girders and other rubble had fallen around the cabin, and I grabbed one, and shoved as hard as I could. It didn't budge. Kind of funny, really... girders were considered the perfect combination of strength and structure, and were supposed to be quite light. I'm sure they were, but "quite light" in terms of gigantic hunks of steel was still far too heavy for a human to hope to shift. "Hey, are you alright in there?" I called. No answer. I climbed the service ladder on the side, and shouted again. "Hey! Can you hear me?"
(I've found you. My-)
I paused. Uhm. What. It was like no voice I'd ever heard. So clear and true, unsullied by distance or obstacles. "Where... are you?" I asked cautiously. The top hatch of the truck's trailer was open, and I leaned forward, and poked my head in. "Are you in here?"
Then the world pitched forward. My head slammed painfully against something hard, and my vision went white. I kicked my feet out, tucking into a roll, and shook my head. Could have landed better there... but that's not important right now! "Hey! Stop! Stop the car!" I shouted.
The truck's roared, its tires squealed, and it powered off down the road. I narrowed my eyes. No ladder, no way to see outside... and fantastic, looks like the hatch I used to get in shut itself from the sudden acceleration. The inside of the trailer was dark, but still lit by little LED lights along the floor and ceiling. The only thing in the trailer were me, some boxes... and a huge, menacing looking device.
It looked... unreal. A large metal sphere, with cables connecting to it at regular intervals. Were they for stimulation, or perhaps suppression...? The coverage suggested that perhaps it was used to trigger a simultaneous reaction within the device at multiple points... but what kind of device could require that? Nothing... safe, I realized, and scooted away from the machine.
"Surrender!" shouted a magnified voice. "We have you surrounded! Stop the vehicle immediately!" Then there was a sound, a fast, chattering rumble, and the truck began to swerve. Gunfire? What the hell? "Our next shot will hit you! Stop immediately!"
Son of a fucking bitch, I'm trapped in a car with terrorists! I gritted my teeth. There's no easy way out of this. Lie low, wait for them to get caught, and explain things. My situation is not that bizarre, not hard to understand. The authorities will aid me. They'll sort things out. I narrowed my eyes. "Feels like shit to have to hide behind the skirts of Britannian law enforcement, though," I muttered darkly.
With a hiss, the door to the cabin opened. I could jump them... but I don't know how well armed they are, and anyway, it would make things more complicated. Innocent students don't play hero, they hide. I must play my role. I ducked back behind the large machine. A figure in a light green coat walked past, and as I watched, pulled off the coat to reveal a sleeveless brown outfit... a somewhat revealing one at that. And there was plenty to reveal.
Hey, I'm a healthy male. Sue me. Besides, you've got to look on the bright side of things. Sure, I was trapped in a truck with a couple of terrorists, but at least one of them was an attractive girl with crimson hair. She looked about my age, as well.
"You can get into the subway if you head through the ghetto," she declared, and for a moment, I froze up, and then I realized she must be talking to her partner. She strode over to a set of stairs that I had somehow not noticed.
"Karen! Let's use 'that'!" suggested a voice over the girl's communicator, on her hip.
"That would be a massacre!" she snapped angrily, and the voice quietly backed down. A massacre... I thought. I glanced at the large, ominous machine next to me. Well, shit. I paused. That woman... looks familiar somehow, and she doesn't exactly have a common appearance. Not with that hair. She pressed a few buttons, and the metal screen that I had assumed to be the back of the truck lifted up to reveal...
"A fucking Knightmare," I whispered in astonishment. The woman flipped a few switches, the cockpit sprang open, and she climbed in. These weren't just some random terrorists. These were actual resistance fighters- organized enough to have a Knightmare, and dedicated enough to use it. In a way, I admired it... maybe they would bring down Britannia before I would.
Still, if they were resistance, they were pretty sloppy. Their escape route was surface streets, which would be easy to monitor, and just as easy to deploy troops to. They hadn't even chosen a time of day where they would be able to blend in with the traffic. It was sloppy. At most, they would be able to bloody Britannia's nose... and even that was hoping too much. Patience, Lelouch... the time will come. Until then, just keep out of trouble... and quietly, calmly prepare.
The back of the truck opened, and the Knightmare fired out of it, blasting a pursuer out of the sky. It opened the rest of the way, and the mecha leapt out onto the road. This will be an interesting fight indeed... ah, dammit. The driver's closing the back again, I won't be able to see a thing.
Regretfully, I ducked behind the Big Spiky Doom Machine again, and sat down. It's gonna be one hell of a ride...
Oh, Lelouch, you have no idea, heheh. Alright folks, that's it for Chapter One! Give me your reviews, your criticism, your recommendations, and maybe a little support? I won't hold my breath on that last one, I ain't that conceited.
Chapters Two and Three, I'm posting at the same time as this one, just so you have enough material to get a feel for the story- how I write, how I envision the characters, and how things will little by little, start to slide off the rails of CG's established plot points. Lelouch Gaspar does not rebel the same way as Lelouch Lamperouge.