Preface to the story:Hello everyone, I've decided to use yet another story idea that had been running around my mind recently, and considering that my hard disk died on me, costing me several half complete chapters in the progress, I really feel like I need a break. So I started this. I won't say anything about the storyline here, just scroll down a bit and enjoy.
Legal disclaimer: I do not own Code: Geass, or any of its characters. I merely own this story idea, and the paper it was originally written on.
Guide to communication:
"Talk" normal talk
'thoughts' as it says
'-'radio communications '-'
Well, that's it from that part. On with the story.
Light in the Darkness
The roar of the motor bike was almost deafening to his ears, but he was used to it. One of the perks and flaws of good hearing was the increased sensitivity it entailed.
"Lelouch." The voice next to him broke him out of his thoughts, though it was somewhat difficult to understand him over the hum of the engine and the ever-present traffic round them.
"Mhm... Yes Rivalz?" the young man responded in a somewhat bored tone.
"We're almost there. You ready?" Rivalz asked, never once turning his eyes from the road ahead.
"Always." Lelouch responded with no small amount of amusement. He could feel the bike leaving the expressway, taking one of the exits that lead towards the estate of one minor Britannian noble or another. He didn't care that much just how Rivalz dug them up, but it was an agreement between the two of them, one to their mutual benefit. Rivalz handled the logistics, while he won the games. And it wasn't as if he didn't enjoy messing around with Rivalz, as much as his friend was irresponsible at times, he was also very loyal, and funny.
The money was split fifty-fifty, each of them putting away some money to keep the bike running, and adding a subtle contribution to the budget of the Student Council, a fact that made it a bit easier to overlook their absences now and then.
The hum of the engine stopped, signaling that they had finally arrived.
"You know," Rivalz began as he removed his driving helmet. "One of these days, Nunnally is going to kill me for this. Corrupting her poor, older brother." he added, clutching at his chest theatrically, face scrunched up in mock sadness.
"As if that could happen, eh Rivalz?" the taller of the duo responded through laughs as the two of them entered the large estate.
An hour later, Lelouch was smiling softly as he sat in the overly comfortable chair, elbows resting on his knees, and hands interlaced beneath his chin, his two eyes staring blankly ahead. The cloth of dark blue his school uniform was creased in several places, but his appearance was otherwise spotless.
However, to the sweating noble sitting on the other side of the chess set, none of those mattered much. He couldn't care less for the teen's lean athletic build, nor for his well kept black hair, even less for his uniform.
No, what he cared for was understanding how the boy had nearly beaten him without looking at the board once, and why he asked him to speak his every move. It was the endgame, no doubts about it, and the student that sat before him was a single move away from victory.
"Rook to C-5, and checkmate. I guess I will be taking your money after all, sir." he calmly, most of all politely stated, eyes closing in an innocent smile.
"Alright, I am a man of my word young man." the noble responded, motioning to the servant to pass a wad of bills to Rivalz, even as Lelouch got up and began walking towards the door.
"Before you go, will you answer me one question?" the noble asked, causing Lelouch and Rivalz to stop for a moment.
"How did you keep playing without paying any attention to the board?"
"Because I'm blind, sir." Lelouch responded calmly to the shell-shocked noble as the two teens walked out of the building.
Lelouch Lamperouge, formerly Lelouch vi Britannia, was very much blind, his sight a willing casualty of the day his mother was gunned down before him.
The day of the imperial consort Marianne's murder, he had pushed his little sister out of the way of the oncoming bullets. She had survived with nary a scratch; however, he wasn't as lucky. The bullets left several very minor wounds, from which only a mild discoloration of skin remained within a week, but the flash of the firearms combined with the trauma of the events of that day caused Lelouch to lose his sight. Doctors assured him it would return soon, but they were baffled as it never did.
He still remembered the many doubts that beset his mind that day, and once he had recovered enough, he went to face the one man that he held responsible for the death of his mother and the near loss of his sister Nunnally, not once giving note to his loss of sight. Supported by one of the royal medics, he walked into his father's nearly empty throne room and asked one question.
'Why was my mother, a favored imperial consort, left unguarded before her murderers?'
That question brought up his father's ire, as the very notion of his child questioning him brought up rage. When he gave the boy no answer, Lelouch, with little fanfare, renounced his position as the eleventh crown prince of the empire. The action had him and Nunnally cast off and sent as political hostiles to Japan. What little faith he had left in his father had died that day, followed soon by that for the rest of Britannia when Japan was invaded and conquered, despite assurances otherwise.
After their arrival in Japan, he was at a loss as to what to do. Certainly, the boy was a gifted strategist, but even strategists need resources to do anything. And the sense of guilt for pretty much cursing Nunnally to a fate like this gnawed at him constantly.
Genbu Kururugi, the prime minister of Japan proved to be a far kinder man than either of them expected, and the two children were given a peaceful home to stay in at the Kururugi Shrine on Mount Fuji, where his family lived until the invasion. He could still remember the pleasant scent of cherry trees grown there. He could also remember the two friends he had made during their stay, the minister's son, Suzaku and the older Kyoshiro Todoh, ranked lieutenant-colonel at the time, the younger man's instructor in combat.
After the chaos of the invasion, he lost contact with them, having been taken in by Ruben Ashford, a long-time friend of his mother's, and given a place to live in the prestigious Ashford academy.
He owed a lot, debts he was uncertain how he would repay, if it was even possible. That, combined with the time he had spent mulling over things during the seven long years he had spent in Japan had left him with very few actual desires in his life. Certainly, he wanted to know who was responsible for his mother's death. A part of him wanted to get back at his dear father for what he had done, and it wasn't just his and Nunnally's exile he was thinking of. However, more than anything, he wanted his little sister to be happy and safe. No matter how impossible it seemed to him, he wanted to return that world where she could keep growing with a smile on her face and not a worry on her mind.
A young, rather attractive brunette looked at herself in the mirror, adding up those final touches to her appearance before she went out. Nunnally Lamperouge had to employ a superhuman level of effort not to lose her patience. She knew well what Lelouch, her brother, was up to; the two of them kept no secrets from each other, but he was almost late, and he had promised not to be. Along with Milly Ashford, the three of them were supposed to visit downtown for shopping.
A soft giggle escaped her lips at the thought: Lelouch and shopping. If it wasn't for their resident maid Sayoko persuading him to do it, he would likely still be wearing nothing but his school uniform, though she had to admit, the uniform did his physique justice.
Before the loss of his sight, Lelouch wasn't one for physical exertion. However, the loss of his favorite pastime of reading forced him to adapt to the problem, and find another. At the advice of his doctors, he had taken up light exercise at first. Over the years, that light exercise evolved into full conditioning trainings that had left more than a few people gaping at him. Oh yes, it was highly entertaining to her and her friends to watch the shocked reactions of others as the 'blind kid' not only outran most of the other students, but performed various other feats of strength and skill near effortlessly. No one but her knew, though, that most of that skill came from the rigorous training that their maid, Sayoko put him through. With her help, he even managed to memorize the running track perfectly, and as long as there was enough room, he could easily run laps around it.
"Miss Nunnally, your brother has arrived" Sayoko announced, her ever warm voice bringing up a smile on Nunnally's face. Sayoko was a dear person, both to her and to her brother, someone they could both trust, and someone who had protected them more than a few times over four years she had been with them.
"It's time Nunnally! Milly's waiting for us at the gate!" her brother shouted from the door before turning to Sayoko. "Forgive me Sayoko, but we won't be coming for lunch, I promised them that we would eat outside."
"It's alright young master. Have a nice time." The mild-mannered maid responded.
"Thank you. I look forward to our evening spar."
"Likewise, young master."
"Brother, let's go. Bye Sayoko." Nunnally spoke in a very happy voice as she ran past her, grabbing Lelouch by the hand and dragging him outside.
"Goodbye miss Nunnally, take care." She waved them off with a smile.
"So nice, the two of them." She added as the siblings walked away, a calm, content smile on her face as she closed the door.
The cab drive that had taken them to the center of the city was short, and soon enough, Lelouch found himself flanked on both sides by two girls who had just began something that is regarded by most males with no small amount of horror as a 'shopping spree'. And today, on Milly's persuasion, he was financing. Well, at least that would be the worst thing to happen, right? And they wouldn't go asking him about what he thought of the clothes they wanted to buy… being blind did have its advantages.
As they kept walking, Lelouch holding an ever-increasing pile of clothes boxes, he descended into thought again. It was something he did a lot, considering that he had a lot of spare time.
Lelouch was a person with opinions on pretty much everything, even if he did keep most of them to himself. For instance, he held little love for roughly nine tenths of his family, most of the Britannian people, as well as a number of other things best left unmentioned.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were the things he liked, and among them, a rather highly ranked place belonged to Milly Ashford. The kind, if teasing blond was the only person, apart for Nunnally and Sayoko, that he had absolute trust in, and one of the few people whose appearance he could still remember fully, having met her years ago in court. And even knowing who he was, she always kept it a secret, only teasing him occasionally in private.
And now, she acted just as she usually did: flirty, teasing friends whenever she could, and generally having a lot of fun at the same time. And, if his sister's opinion was to be trusted, along with a number of 'accidents' he had no doubt Milly had staged, she was highly attractive.
Another point of interest was the girl's rather impressive intellect. While nowhere near those of his father Charles and older cousin Shneizel, or even his own, she was still a very intelligent young woman, highly perceptive, and always aware of more than she let on. Not to mention perfectly capable of getting what she wanted, when it was necessary.
He was not a religious person, but more than once, he felt the need to thank the heavens that she was a kinder soul than many would give her credit… a fact that certainly didn't stop her from messing around with everyone's heads.
That little description pretty much summed up the main actors on the image of the scene that was his life. The irony of the thought wasn't lost on him, but he was more than used to it. Theater, and acting by extension, were interesting to him, because ever since he lost the ability to see, Nunnally had begun practicing her reading skills… on stage plays, and he would listen and fix her errors. She had long since learned to read properly, but she would still often read out loud when he was in the room, for his sake.
"Ehm." A slightly irritated voice broke him out of his thoughts. It was the second time today… perhaps he should start counting?
"Yes Milly?" the sole male in the group of three suppressed a sigh.
"You didn't hear a word I was saying, did you Lulu?" she admonished him and glared lightly, though her voice was playful.
"No Milly." He agreed with her. It was easier, not to mention more effective in saving his sanity to simply agree with her. "I was thinking."
"Oh?" Nunnally prodded both figuratively and literally, jabbing a finger between his ribs lightly. "About what?"
"Hmm… the two of you…" He trailed of suggestively, bringing up a bright blush on his sister's face, as well as a wry smile he could almost feel on Milly's. It was a trait he had picked up from her, that teasing, and he doing it very much. And he just couldn't resist teasing his dear, sweet sister from time to time.
"My, my... is little Lulu finally growing up and noticing attractive girls?" Milly teased on. Lelouch merely smiled from behind the boxes he helped carry.
"Who knows? Maybe your enchanting presence helped me see the light." He joked, putting an intentional accent on the word 'see' to bring out a laugh from the two girls.
Laughter was important to him. To a man who could no longer see the smiles of those dear to him, mirthful, joyous laughter was the only recourse he could find.
"Ah, flattery will get you nowhere Lulu." Milly responded in mock sadness "But don't stop on my account." She added, letting out a giggle afterwards.
Milly Ashford liked Lelouch for more than a few reasons. He was smart, handsome, kind and caring. And despite the rather tragic past he had, he was still quiet sane. Nunnally and her brother were among the few that she truly felt comfortable with. The possibility of being herself with them, away from the expectations of her difficult parents who wanted to regain their status as nobility, was liberating, exhilarating even. And Lulu, though blind, was an excellent listener.
There was something to be said about his relationship to his sister as well. For as long as she knew them, the two were close, and Lulu always took care of Nunnally gladly. They were very close, and the bond seemed to have only grown stronger through the years.
Unlike many, Milly Ashford held no illusions about the Britannian royal family. Emperor Charles zi Britannia held over a hundred 'consorts', some of which were closer or distant relations. And she had no doubts that such things, normally considered taboo in other cultures, would be perfectly normal to any raised in such a society. Or maybe that was all wishful thinking on part of the overly perverted part of her brain. Still, if she didn't know them to be siblings, and had she not seen the outrage with which Lelouch defended against any slight at Nunnally's honor, she would have certainly thought them a couple.
"You're incorrigible Milly." Nunnally finally spoke, getting her blush under control. "And you're no better Lulu!" she scolded on, though without any real malice and barely suppressing a laugh that threatened to break through any moment now. Lelouch and Milly didn't restrain themselves one bit as they found their way to a local pizza parlor to get something to eat.
The place was quaint, but ridiculously out of place even with the change the founding of the Britannian Concession in Area 11. The atmosphere inside, though, was pleasant enough, the small booths offering just enough privacy while some cheesy (but fitting) music played in the background.
After sitting down in one of the booths, and putting way a small mountain of boxes that left a sizeable dent in someone's savings, they ordered a large pizza. For a while, an uncomfortable silence descended on the trio as the only sound apart from the background music was the chatter other patrons.
"What's wrong Milly? You look worried." Nunnally asked, concern for her friend coloring her voice. The blond was rarely one to be concerned, at least visibly.
"Oh, it's nothing. My parents are trying to get me married off, again. I'm supposed to meet my new suitor tomorrow." Milly lamented, resting her forehead on the palm of her hand.
"And it's another sleazebag I assume?" Nunnally asked, though she already knew the answer from the girl's disposition.
"Yes. I mean, if I must get married, why can't it at least be a nice, caring man…?" Milly trailed off, mind lost in thought.
"Like Lulu?" a thoroughly innocent female voice supplied.
"Yes, like Lulu." She retorted, not really thinking until she not only realized what she had said, but who had effortlessly goaded her into saying it. Suddenly, a wide smile came to her face, a mixture of mirth and pride, with just a hint of mischievousness beneath the surface.
"Ohh, you little minx." She half growled at her friend, bringing out another laugh from the girl.
Lelouch meanwhile sported an entertained grin. Listening to Milly and Nunnally try and outmaneuver each other was always fun. Of course, adding a barb of his own occasionally was even more so.
"I am honored that you think so highly of, lady Ashford." He offered formally, drawing on every bit of his royal heritage to make it sound properly, and succeeding in doing so.
"And what woman in her right mind wouldn't Lulu?" Milly responded off-handedly, waving her hands in surrender, though the light, barely visible blush on her face, as well as the slight lilting in her voice spoke volumes to the former prince.
"You do know that if there's anything we can do…" he spoke with Nunnally nodding quietly in agreement. Milly understood the unveiled offer for what it was, a show of unconditional support from her two close friends. It was heartwarming
'To hell with it already! I won't be down in front the two of them. They've got enough problems of their own to think about. Though I do wonder how mother and father would react if I came one day and stated I was married to Lulu? He's a fine man by any extent.' she thought, that usual scheming smile coming up on her face as her thoughts continued to go on a tangent once more… a smile that Nunnally had learned was a good sign that it was time to bail out.
"Milly… no evil plots to take over the world now, pizza's coming." Lelouch spoke calmly, breaking her out of her thoughts.
"Spoilsport. And how could you… tell…" she trailed off confusedly as the waiter brought in the large pizza and set it before them. Again, she gave up trying to figure these things out, remembering Lelouch's acute sense of hearing.
At that moment, any thoughts about the future were lost to the enjoyment of tasty food. The rest of the day passed in peace, before they finally returned to the academy dorms to prepare for tomorrow.
"Tell me again, why did I let you convince me to go and borrow Rivalz bike and take you with me on a chess run?" Lelouch asked in a combination of irritation and amazement.
"Because I'm your little sister and you love me very much. Enough so that you can't refuse me anything?" Nunnally offered from the driver seat of the bike.
'Damn, she knows me too well' he mentally noted, though the entertainment he felt at the fact easily outweighed the inconvenience of it all. Not that he minded… even if she wasn't as experienced as Rivalz, she was still a very smart girl. It wouldn't go wrong.
"And why are you skipping school?" he continued with the question, more interested in her thoughts than in her actual absence from class.
"Because my grades are third best in the class and I can afford to do so. And I wanted to spend some time with you." Nunnally explained, a smile on her lips that would remain unseen by her brother. Said brother only sighed contently, before resting his head on the back of his seat. It really was no use arguing, Nunnally had came fully prepared for any questions he might have had. A part of him was proud that he was at least partly a good influence on his sister… though another wondered if it was such a good idea to have her drive him.
"Nunnally, turn on the radio, will you?" he asked. Surprisingly, some of the local underground radio stations played good music, and he had come to enjoy it quite a bit. Nunnally didn't respond, but turned on the built in radio. A comfortable silence remained between the two of them as Nunnally kept her mind on the road ahead, while Lelouch once more descended into planning.
Whenever there was time to do so, he would take aside some time to plan for the future. As time passed, the end of the academy drew closer, and unless something happened, the two of them would soon need jobs to pay for themselves. The fact that they were Britannians helped for the time being, but that wouldn't last forever. Of course, his mind went over the things he also wanted to do, to find those responsible for the death of his mother, to get back at his father for all he had done to them, and to build a better world for Nunnally… but none of those were realistic with the amount of power he currently had at his disposal, so he avoided such thoughts as irrelevant, which they were. A number of things were impossible to do without attracting too much attention to themselves.
Once more, he focused on the sound of the engine humming. The regular rhythm of the old bike that Rivalz' bought last year was soothing to his mind, and it chased away the darker thoughts, at least for now.
"Brother, hang on. I'm taking a shortcut." Nunnally announced. The traffic was congested as it was, but with the closing off of several side-ways it was impossible to get anywhere on time.
"Through the Shinjiku ghetto? Just be careful." He retorted. As much as he felt for the people who were forced to the margin, he knew it was dangerous to go there, and despite possessing some level of physical prowess, he would not be able to defend Nunnally on unknown terrain. And he didn't even want to consider the possibility of her ending up alone in there.
"You know I will be." She soothed him as he took one of the exits from the overloaded expressway, slowly descending into the twilight of the ghetto around them. He couldn't see it, but the scents, the sounds, the very feel of the place was off, unpleasant. Almost…dead.
He had asked Nunnally to describe it to him, the damage the Britannian conquest did to the former city of Tokyo. Buildings and streets, once probably alive with people passing through them, now lay ruined. Large holes were gouged out of the concrete and ground by weapons. And the people… many of them were tired and broken, having lost all hope for a brighter future.
A part of him died that day. If he had stayed back in Britannia, if he had grown up among the rest of his blood family, would he have done that as well? Would he have proudly crushed the people of Japan just as his family did? He would likely never know the answer, but for this, he was glad he was no longer a prince.
They were making good progress even, as most people who lived there avoided Britannians like the plague.
"Shit! Look out!" a female voice shouted, as the loud honking of the horn filled his ears combined with the sharp screech of brakes.
"Brother!" he heard Nunnally shout as he felt the full force of the impact break apart the bike, sending the two of them flying. He could actually feel the vehicle that had hit them tumble just over him as he hit the ground, and the soft body of his sister landed on him. They were both still alive.
Author's notes: Well, here's the first chapter of my new story. This little idea has been running around in my head for a while now, and I thought it was time I put it on paper. Anyway, I don't want to reveal about the storyline as it will spoil the numerous surprises I've planned for the time ahead.
This story will focus a lot on Lelouch's personal thoughts and emotions about the events, as the blindness forces parts of him to develop differently. Some aspects of his old personality remain, but as a person who is forced to rely on others and trust in them to survive, well, there are differences. Faced with a different Lelouch, a lot of people will react differently.
Now, to point out a few things:
Yes, Lelouch is as blind as a bat. No, I will not yet reveal full details on that. His physical capabilities are far better than they were in the original storyline, as I believe that exercise would be a rather logical path for him to assume after losing his sight. His behavior is also a result of his loss of sight.
Also, Milly's thoughts on the subject of the Royal family are correct.
Finally, I would like to thank a fellow author, Kyugan, for the inspiration to write this story. His Code: Geass works are excellent and I heartily recommend them to everyone for reading.
Well, if you liked this work, review, and I will likely post another chapter in several days, most likely during the weekend, if I can get my computer to work again.