A Code Geass/Miscellaneous Crossover Fanfiction
Summary: Lelouch, Zero, chose to make a stand against injustice, tyranny, and oppression. In this war-torn world, he must make a choice between his vengeance and the fate of humanity when a force other than Geass rears its head.
Author's Note: This is not a fanfiction for those weak of heart, nor those cannon-Nazis. This story will be bloody, funny, divergent from any and all logic, and just downright strange at some points. While I will begin that plot of JUSTICE right after the events of the Lake Kawaguchi Hotel Incident, some retroactive changes to certain events will occur. To summarize, the battle at Narita hasn't happened yet, the Black Knights are dealing with Refrain rings, Todoh and the Four Holy Swords haven't joined Zero, and no one of any real significance has died…
If you choose to reread this paragraph very carefully, I've given you a hint as to future developments. :)
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
Chapter 1-The Insanity Begins
His right hand moved in a fashion vaguely reminiscent of someone petting an animal, the flickering firelight illuminating the pages of his chosen book well enough for the aged man to properly read. The finery that decorated his study was such that it left no doubt as to the social station of the man; even his clothing, a royal blue silk robe over equally fine pajamas and slippers, spoke of money in excess of the rank and file of the Empire. A bottle of, doubtless, fine vintage wine sat, corked, before him, a half-empty glass beside it.
Certainly, the scene was entirely normal, save for a few, small, inconsistencies.
It would strike an onlooker as odd, if they were to notice the reading glasses set carelessly aside on his desk. That same onlooker would find it somewhat strange that the shadows that could be glimpsed through the expansive windows were darker and more…sinister than he or she had ever seen before. No doubt, though, a sensible and reasonable soul would chalk such up to an overactive imagination. Even closer inspection would show minute details which the human mind would normally remove for the sake of the observer.
The wine, when he drank, would flow too slowly, remained too thick as he swallowed. His mouth moved, blurred, in unreadable ways and unknowable patterns, pronouncing words which were not words at all, but some more primal sound more accustomed to finding itself in the mouths of beast than the mouths of man. Sounds, whispers, echoed throughout the room at an inaudible level carrying things upon them which were at once hateful, loving, and devoid of any emotion that human beings have ever naturally called upon.
Now, at the level of detail we have dared embrace, the ancient man in fine clothing knows we are watching, waiting for him to acknowledge us as intruders in his home. He does nothing to indicate that we have intruded upon the sanctity of his lair, instead allowing us closer, to see that the shadowy thing in his grasp is no animal a sane or rational mind could conceive of. Biology and physiology have no place within this thing, which, even at first glance is cognizant, sentient, beyond…
The script in his book is squirming now, wriggling like a thing come alive and grown too large and wild for its confining restraints of the pages. Looking into the book, the mind cannot comprehend, briefly, what it sees. Then the cover slams closed and the stitched face is apparent, screaming in silent agony even as the ancient, timeless man continued speaking silently in words that are not words, bringing pain to the mind, too horrible for hearing.
He is looking at us now, seeing through the blackened abyss that hangs over our heads, and still the notwords continue…
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."
The word itself can describe many things to many different types of people, and mean a myriad of things to an outside observer. What, for instance, can be said of a man who sells cabbages as his 'routine?' Can the same be said for one who collates tax receipt as a daily routine? What of the man who kills others as a routine…can the same be said of him?
Lelouch Lamperouge's routine consisted of the putting on and taking off of masks, both literal and figurative.
He was the rebel leader, Zero. He was the tender brother for Nunnally. He was the skilled chess genius and gambling addict for Rivalz. He was the lazy but intelligent student for nearly the whole of Ashford Academy. He was the hidden 'Black Prince' for Milly and her family. For C.C…even on his best day, he couldn't hope to guess at 'who' he was to her. Now, though, he had donned the physical mask, that vaguely raptor-like identity-obfuscating shield.
For now, he was Zero, Leader of the Black Knights, and his day was anything but the routine he had hoped it was going to be…
Contrary to their first mission to Lake Kawaguchi, the last three months had been filled by relatively mundane missions uncovering drug rings, crooked officials, and hunting down the occasional serial murderer or violent criminal. In short, they had become the Japanese' beacon of hope for a better life, publicly flaunting Britannian rule in the face of those who would grind them to dust. Still, such a life of excitement is something that even the most timid of people can become accustomed to…
It had become routine.
Now he cursed that word.
Now, as his Knights stared at the strangely silent warehouse, bodies and bullets littering the floor, it was all he could do to strategize, observe, and ponder the evidence left to him. At once it became apparent that this was no accidental 'bad batch' of the drug refrain. Such incidents had been the cause of brain damage, insanities, and death among other things.
This was none of those.
There was the most remote possibility that a given group had had a singularly negative reaction to the drug, inducing a state of panic or aggressive behavior wherein they had…attacked the drug cartel's enforcers? Zero debated the probability for a moment before dismissing it. Even discounting the fact that refrain was a sedative by nature, the likelihood of a group of apparently widely different people would all have the exact same reaction…
Improbable just didn't seem to quantify the situation properly.
Zero took another, longer and more detailed, look at the bloody scene. It was fairly obvious that one faction, all looking like average Japanese or Britannian citizenry, had attacked a force of…
Behind his mask, an eyebrow raised.
Kallen, her red hair swaying slightly in an errant night breeze, looked curiously at her commander. Beyond the strangeness of the situation, the fact that they were lingering at the scene of a violent crime that had, by the amount of gunfire that had been expended, been very loud made her nervous. The caliber and type of gun the refrain dealers were using, some even ancient powder-ignition firearms, were not the quiet sort, and the sheer volume of them gave her cause to wonder at the lack of Britannian police or military, who should have already responded. "What is it, sir?" Her question, carefully intoned to be inquiring, but respectful, was what always prompted her fellow Knights to interact with their leader.
It wasn't at all because he scared them.
No, not in the least.
Together the two looked out over the aftermath of what had been a very bloody battle. It appeared, at first glance, to be a massacre of civilians, and Kallen's blood had boiled at the thought. After a moment, though, her tactical analysis skills had asserted themselves and the situation became stranger. A force of apparently, unarmed, civilians (somewhat rough-looking, admittedly) had charged, taken fire from, and successfully killed an equal number of well-armed, well-supplied defenders, all of whom were wearing paramilitary uniforms. There were a number of other…details, but she really couldn't bring herself to focus on them for fear of loosing the yakisoba she'd had for dinner.
"This wasn't a refrain ring," Zero's modulated voice spoke carefully and precisely. The redhead could pick up undertones of contemplative confusion even as her leader continued to speak. "The weapons they were using, their quality, the body armor, the level of technology in the security system around the warehouse, and the chemicals they were importing…none of them are right for refrain dealers. One of our sources must have flagged the sight based on the unusual deliveries alone."
"Then…" Kallen said slowly, piecing together the picture Zero was painting. "Was it another drug ring fighting a turf war…or…?"
"A possibility," Zero conceded. "However, I think the quality of their gear is just a little too good for an independent organization, especially one as…profit-oriented as a cartel." Bending slightly, Zero reached inside the coat of a man who was obviously behind whatever chemical manufacturing process was being conducted here. No weapon, civilian attire compared to the paramilitary clothing of most of the… 'defenders,' and the unmistakable air of an intellectual about him marked the man out from his contemporaries. In fact, the only reason Zero hadn't suspected the man of being part of the 'attackers' was that he shared a common characteristic not found on anyone not of the paramilitary group.
To a man, every person wearing body armor and this individual, were all partially…eaten.
His hand dug slightly deeper inside the man's tarnished and blood-stained lab coat, drawing forth a non-descript brown wallet. Flipping it open, the rebellion leader grinned beneath his mask, suspicions confirmed. Wordlessly he passed the identification to Kallen, who stared at it somewhat uncomprehendingly even as her commander turned towards the greater area of bloodshed with new understanding…and another, new set of questions. The Knightmare pilot, for her part, recognized the royal crest of Britannia with ease, but stopped at the smaller emblem placed beneath the crest, but above a picture of the dead man, his name, and other biographical information.
"It seems we've stumbled on the remains of a royal research division," Zero said, summarizing his thoughts before turning to the other Knights who each bore somewhat clueless expressions. "Ah, perhaps I should explain?"
"If you would, Zero, sir," Sugiyama said hesitantly.
"Well, I'm afraid this is something else which we can, at least partially, attribute to the Britannian Royal Family. You see, when a son or daughter of the emperor is born, and officially acknowledged as such, they are given two numbers…first, a number to signify what chronologically identified prince or princess they are…and the second signifies how far they are from the inheriting the throne." Facing the downed civilians, Zero's thoughts turned away from what he was saying and he dissected the scene further. "For instance, Oddysseus eu Britannia is the first prince and first in line for the throne. Cornelia li Britannia is the second princess and fourth in line for the throne."
All of the Black Knights nodded at the impromptu politics lesson, despite not being any less confused on the subject at hand. Zero continued somewhat slowly, his thoughts not exactly centering on the topic of discussion, "Well, that is the theory of succession, anyway. In practice, it is a little more convoluted…Schneizel el Britannia is the second Prince and, technically, third in line for the throne…however, he is the obvious choice for succession and will inherit the empire should anything happen to the emperor…"
"Schneizel has been currying public favor, noble opinion, and the emperor's good graces for years. He is a successful military commander, has contributed countless medical, scientific, and technological advancements to the empire…at least, in his name, meaning that he, of course, paid for all of it." Zero paused a moment for all of that to sink in, reiterating exactly who their enemy was. "Typically, princes and princess who strive for the throne carry out research in secret…in case they fail. Failures, after all, are not as pleasing to the emperor's ears as successes are…and that is discounting the fact that such research tends to disregard 'inconsequential' things like morality, ethics, and crimes against humanity."
Coming to the conclusion of his spiel, Zero paused once again. "This was most likely one of Clovis' research labs, kept off the books and lucratively funded…when he died, they likely decided to carry on for as long as their expense accounts and paychecks allowed. The only question left unanswered is…exactly who attacked them?"
"But…how can you be sure these were Clovis' men?" Ohgi asked. "And wouldn't that mean the police should have responded by now? I mean, if this was a royal research group…?" His thoughts were silently seconded by the remainder of the Black Knights, all of whom were looking anxiously over their shoulders and through windows, as if expecting the Witch of Britannia to emerge from the shadows any moment with a battalion of Knightmares at her back.
"The identification badge Kallen is holding," Zero stated offhandedly, looking over the minutia of the scene once again, as if trying to compel answers from the dead. "The Britannian crest is a giveaway, though the smaller mark beneath it is Clovis' personal signet…something which could quell any…misunderstandings with local law enforcement. I'd wager that none of the police would respond to any complaint for fear of an official rebuke…and given that this is a warehouse district, even that is unlikely. Sugiyama, Minami, Tamaki, Inoue, I'd like you all to go through what's left of their research materials. Take any laptops, memory storage devices, weapons, paper files, and anything else that might be of use, load it into one of their trucks and we'll consider it a donation to our worthy cause."
The last brought a few sheltered grins while Zero turned to the last three Knights, "Yoshida and Q-1, I'd like you on guard duty. In the event the police do show up, or Britannian military, notify me immediately and do not engage. Clear?"
Two chorused 'yes sirs!' later, and he and Ohgi were left alone, watching as their fellows scavenged equipment. The former resistance leader approached cautiously; even after months of successful operations and ample proof of Zero's genius…or more likely, because of those factors, Zero intimidated him. Still, the fact that he hadn't been issued any orders meant something, right?
Sure enough, the black mask turned minutely enough that Ohgi knew, from past experience, that his leader was including him in his field of vision and spoke, "Ohgi, a word?"
"Yes sir?" It was the only answer he could give.
"If I told you to take the Black Knights and charge, headfirst, without weapons, into a group of well-armed men prepared to shoot on sight…would you?" The masked man asked curiously, the tone of his voice thick with confusion.
There was a long silence before Ohgi shook his head. "I'd…like to say I had that much faith in you Zero, but…not even for you."
"Good," Zero stated unequivocally, startling Ohgi slightly. Seeing the consternation of the man's face, he explained, "I asked for your alliance when I formed the Black Knights, not blind faith. I'd have no use for people so stupid as to believe I am omnipotent." Despite himself, Ohgi grinned slightly at the reprisal…it was a backhanded compliment, to be sure, but…
"Thank you Zero."
The masked man made a non-committal noise in the back of his throat, a sure sign that he was thinking on other things. After another pause, "Then answer me this…what kind of men could?" A gloved hand pointed towards the doors where they had come in, still wide open, "There are blood splatters and bullet holes…enough to indicate a high rate of fire and a fair hit-to-miss ratio. From the number of footprints I can make out, I'd say that approximately twenty people took large caliber rounds from automatics non-stop over fifty feet. Only in the last ten did seven of their number drop dead and the survivors of the initial attack still possessed the strength to take on thirty well-armed men in hand to hand combat…at this point, a force twice their number, at least-and win. I see no reason to believe that the attackers had any military training…no substantial muscle build, scarring, callous marks, or identification to that end, nor that they had any weapons at all."
Zero sighed, and Ohgi detected a bone-deep weariness in that sound, "Everything I know of conventional military tactics cries out against the obvious conclusions this, this…mess indicates. Furthermore, I can't fathom why something like this would be done! Putting aside the evidence of cannibalism for the moment-"
At this, Ohgi turned slightly green, having been fervently ignoring the bite marks until now.
"-why didn't the attackers remove their wounded or dead? Why did they just leave an obvious cache of weapons and information laying on the ground? I'd almost believe this was some kind of set-up for a Britannian news agency, but even that would make more sense than this!"
Ohgi discreetly bit his tongue, having been about to suggest that very same thing. "Ah, Zero, maybe they were looking for something? I mean, that would explain why they left all of this stuff."
The revolutionary paused, genuinely considering the idea, before nodding. "It would make sense, but the fact that they didn't even bother to conceal their attack…I mean, they could have been looking to blame someone else…even us for the bloodshed, if they had foreknowledge of our raid, but…it would have been simple for them to alert the police by setting a watcher, or dress the attackers in copies of our uniforms."
Leader and Lieutenant were silent as they pursued different lines of thought, all of which came up dead ends. Finally, about to give up the puzzle as a matter for later thought (or possibly even the police to solve), Zero and Ohgi were alerted by a cry from the back of the warehouse. Predictably enough, the voice was Tamaki's who, knowing his luck and intelligence, had found a generous tank of nerve gas and decided to see what it smelled like.
"Oi, Zero, think ya' otta' see this!"
There was another long pause in their conversation, distinct from the previous one only by the nature of the pause and the commiserate suffering both had endured under Tamaki's hot-headedness, bipolar moods, and inflated sense of self-worth. Finally, though, both silently decided that it was probably better to check out what had found rather than risk fallout from inaction. Making their way past the slaughtered defenders and attackers, the revolutionary and his subordinate found Tamaki pointing his rifle at a hereto unnoticed passage carefully camouflaged by nondescript boxes. The only thing drawing attention to the drab door was the dead body laying partially in and out of the corridor behind it.
"Good work Tamaki," Zero praised, a surprised lilt to his normally monotone voice.
"No prob, Zero," The man shrugged, grinning. "Haven't gone in yet…you want I should lead the way?"
Kneeling to touch the dead man, Lelouch narrowed his eye behind his mask, crushing the disgust he felt towards the bite marks on the corpse. A quick check turned up an ID, but not the one he had expected. Instead of Clovis' signet, the man bore a small photo ID laminated next to a name and a red and white checkered circle cut into eight equal pieces with their arcs inverted around the edges. Strangely enough, it was a symbol that Lelouch had no trouble identifying. "Umbrella Corporation?"
"What?" Ohgi asked, blinking, "Isn't Umbrella a medical company? What would they be doing working with scum like Clovis?"
Zero froze, for a moment he was stopped cold by rage at hearing his second-in-command insult his brother. After a breathless few seconds, the absurd burst of anger faded and Lelouch shook his head slightly, attributing the strange reaction to the weeks of sleepless nights he had put behind him recently. Turning his attention back to the laminated card, he cleared his throat, "Companies, even small ones like Umbrella, always need funding. Likely, Clovis was borrowing their personnel to further cover his tracks from the Emperor. Still, what could he have been using medical staff for…?"
Shrugging off the unanswered question, he turned to Tamaki, "Inform Sugiyama that Ohgi and I are investigating this area and return to your duties."
Tamaki gave a sloppy salute and with a somewhat dejected look headed off, presumably to follow orders. Ohgi stood his ground as Zero approached the entrance, the masked man drawing his gun and flipping the mounted flashlight on. As the cone of light cut through the darkened passage beyond the, admittedly poorly lit, warehouse proper. Searching the immediate left and right of the paneling, neither found anything which promised to be any kind of light source or switch. Pausing a moment to steel himself before taking a step into an unknown quantity of an unknown situation, Zero raised his walkie-talkie to the voice modulator of his helmet and noted the time distractedly, "Q-1, Yoshida…status report."
"Nothing on the police bands," Kallen's voice immediately responded. "Yoshida's listening in on non-secure military transmissions and he hasn't gotten anything beyond the usual chatter. We're all green, sir."
"Roger. Ohgi and I are investigating a concealed section of the warehouse, radio transmissions may degrade the further we go in. In the event we do not contact you in two hours…at oh-two-hundred by my watch, attempt to contact us. If contact cannot be established, send Tamaki in as a runner to retrieve us. If contact is lost with Tamaki, do not, I repeat, do not expend more personnel on a search and retrieval. The remainder of the Black Knights are to continue on against Britannia, do you copy?"
"Do you understand, Q-1? This is an order," Zero stated in his hardest voice. While he had been established as their leader for some time now, incidents like this made it all the more important to enforce his authority.
"Good, Zero out."
Ohgi stared, somewhat wide-eyed at the masked man. Did he really think going in…wherever this was, was really that dangerous? Why would he possibly justify such risk in that case? "Zero, maybe we shouldn't proceed if we aren't sure what we're getting into?"
"There cannot be gain without risk, Ohgi-san," Zero stated, moving to take the first step into the unknown area. "It is likely that the warehouse facility was a dupe…something meant to look like an impressive hideout for a Black Ops Britannian research station. What we've seen so far are probably dead-ends placed there in case it was raided by OSI or a terrorist group. The latter seems a plausible suspect due to the lack of cleanup, but its equally likely that this was a cover for an even 'Blacker' research station, privately funded and disguising themselves as a royal division. Further speculation, though, is pointless. Whatever the case, this is likely a power-play by some faction within the military or political structure of the Empire."
Zero turned to face Ohgi, the black void of his mask reflecting the pale light of the warehouse and chilling some subconscious part of the former leader's mind. Doubtless, a primitive instinct recognized the man before him as an apex predator displaying dominance and, unknowingly, the Japanese man's body language reflected an almost-instant submission. "This is our chance, lieutenant. This is the break in intel we've been waiting for, this may very well bring us to the notice of Kyoto."
It was the mention of the primary resistance-backing financial organization that sealed his acceptance of the decision. "Very well, but at least let me go first…sir." But Zero was already stepping into the darkness, the beam of light ahead of him seeming somehow feeble in comparison to the darkness.
"Your concern for my wellbeing is noted, Lt. Kaname, but I should not expect you to follow if I cannot lead," The modulated voice returned as Ohgi fell into step behind Zero.
Nunnally had long since given up waiting for her brother to come home. To her regret, she had been forbidden from waiting up for him after one of her teachers had reported her sleeping in class…how exactly Ms. Morris had noticed when none of her other teachers had was a mystery she'd yet to solve. At any rate, Sayoko had rigorously enforced the princess' bedtime, and, as a result was dreaming peacefully. Nunnally's dreams were, for a long time now, the only place of solace she'd had from the world of darkness and immobility her life had become.
The colors of her dreams were faded from long disuse, but the light and life of her nocturnal fantasies were something she dearly missed in her waking hours. Nunnally smiled as she lay on the green expanse of the Ares Villa gardens, basking in the glow of a forever forgotten and unreachable time and place. She could see, down below, a younger Lelouch, exactly as she remembered him from eight years ago, playing a game of chess with a miniature Clovis under the watchful gaze of hers and Lelouch's mother, the 'Black Queen' Marianne vi Britannia.
Her brother might have thought her too young to understand exactly why her mother was killed…and perhaps she was when the event happened, but that was seven years ago. Nunnally was sometimes amazed by how…shallow her friends seemed; she resented them occasionally, for the simple lives they held, the simple concerns of what to wear and what to eat and who they were taking to the latest movie. She would do nearly anything for her and Lelouch to only have to worry about things like that. It worried her, how Lelouch spent so much time playing such dangerous games with the nobility, just to make enough money to pay for her medical bills, Sayoko's salary (no matter how often she refused), their food…
He would never tell her that was what he was doing, of course, but Milly had explained several harsh truths to her over the years they had been hiding at Ashford Academy…and that was, without a doubt, what they were doing, hiding. Milly had explained the reasons, the court intrigue, their status as political tools as long as they were without protection, and the probable culprits behind her mother's assassination. She couldn't really conceive of her family killing, no matter the proxy used, her mother. Still, while Milly had explained the harshness of the real world to her, Sayoko had told her, after much badgering, certain things. Horrible things, about a horrible world, living just underneath the world she had grown up in. Things about knives and guns, and what humans could do to each other. The worst part of it, though, was that she knew, without a doubt, she knew that Sayoko had told her a very small piece of what she knew, but it was the truth.
Sometimes she cursed her sense of touch.
She had been sick the next day, had told Lelouch it was the flu, and Sayoko had refused to say anything more on the subject no matter how hard she'd later pressed. Nunnally had come to the only conclusion left open to her given what she knew…Lelouch was too smart, too intelligent not to know about those things and he'd been working so hard, taking so many risks doing dangerous things, to protect her from the truth. Nunnally shivered against a chill that wasn't there as she watched a scene once familiar, now so foreign and strange. It was almost bizarre to see happiness reflected on her brother's old face when she knew from his tense touch and tight muscles that it was just a mask he put on for her sake.
Making to stand and embrace the figment-remnant of her mother for some scant echo of warmth, the princess saw around her a sudden change, where there had been nothing, there was now something…or rather, someone. He looked like no one she had seen before losing use of her eyes, which was decidedly strange as this was her dream, and not some real meeting in the world of the waking. There was a certain agelessness about him, dredging up memories of pictures found in books from her earliest school days spent with private tutors pouring over classics and history texts of ancient civilizations. She stared in puzzlement of the man who looked very much like an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh…though wearing a slim suit of dark material, and being, himself, a slender man with a lean and hungry look about him, she could not exactly say what prompted that thought nor why she felt it so appropriate.
The strange man looked about him, his face unreadable as any block of stone drawn from the raw earth. Nunnally unconsciously shivered as his gaze fell on her and some deep awe or fear rose up before she could quell it. "H-Hello."
"Good day," the man? said in return, his smile disarming whatever apprehension she may have felt. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to intrude, but it was just such a lovely dream…so rich in detail and emotion, that I couldn't bring myself not to at least take a look."
Nunnally blinked, so many questions rebounding in her mind that it was all she could do to remember her manners and ask but one at a time. "You…know you're in my dream…how is that possible?"
He grinned and lay back into the grass beside her, "Well, that is a complicated question. What particular aspect are you speaking of? The fact that I seem to not be of your dreaming self, but inside it at the same time? Or are you asking as to how exactly I came to be here?"
"You mean…you're not my imagination? You're real, I mean, really real?" Nunnally asked, her tone the soft falsetto of hushed disbelief.
"Oh, I'm glad to say I am very, very real," The man said softly, his eyes turned on the game, the players, and the matriarch of the household before them. "Amazing, such attention to the fine characteristics…the color on your mother's cheeks, the shadows the pieces cast, that tiny wrinkle over your brother's right eye when it narrows in concentration…I don't think I've seen this level of artistry in a long time, and even less seldom applied to something like a dream."
Nunnally blushed at the praise, her face pinking slightly, "T-thank you. This one is my favorite…my mother died only a few days later."
"Ah," the Egyptian nodded, a noise of understanding setting her more at ease. "I see, certainly an important memory, though it seems a bit…washed out? You'll forgive me for saying so, of course, but I'd have thought you'd make such a well-loved scene much more vibrant."
"I lost my sight, and the use of my legs, in the…when my mother was killed," Nunnally explained, at a loss as to why she felt she could so freely speak with the man, save for the fact that he was either a piece of her subconscious which had seen fit to provide her with much-needed company to stave of her depressive mood or…
…or, he was something else altogether, which she did not like to dwell on. It was a fanciful notion that he was anything else than a figment of her imagination, and if he indeed was, then such a concept would be truly frightening as she knew of no man that could traverse between the dreams of other people.
"You poor thing," the Egyptian said tenderly, "Perhaps if I…"
A finely manicured hand reached out and slid over the scene before them, rippling the pseudo-reality like water and sending clouds of hazy material up before them. When finally it cleared, Nunnally gasped in shock, for the tableau was not unlike what it had been before, but more real, somehow deeper, more solid. At her gasp, the young Lelouch pondering his chess pieces looked up, blinking, to where she sat and, apparently seeing nothing, turned back to his game. A flickering memory from beyond the wall of sleep emerged in that instant, nearly eight years old, when she had seen, from a wholly different perspective, Lelouch look up from his rows of black knights, pawns, and bishops, and onto a small hillock before…
The princess gaped as she perceived an identical copy of herself fusing in her mother's lap, looking on at the chess game in irritation. Almost as if from a great distant, those same thoughts came back to her…why can't Luly play with me? All he ever does is move those stupid pieces around the board with Clovis and Schneizel… Nunnally turned, now truly unnerved, towards the Egyptian, who looked quite smug in his accomplishment. "Wh-what are you?"
If anything the hoarse whisper made the notman's smile broaden further, "A great many things, my little princess, a great many things…but to you, I might as well be a genie, come to grant you your wishes."
He, It, smiled again, this time with more teeth than absolutely necessary, lending a predatory edge to his slender and handsome looks. "Oh come now, little princess, let us move past such trivial details as to how or why I am here…I would much prefer merely to talk of you and your desires."
Nunnally shook her head, "I-I don't-"
"-wish that Lelouch would look to you for help? That perhaps, just once, you could protect him instead of the normal order of things? How about your legs? Your eyes? Are you sure you don't have a wish I can help you with?"
Nunnally was silent for a long moment, practically salivating with a deep, almost forgotten need for those things he talked of so casually. There was a horrible temptation creeping up her throat, driving her damningly close to crying out an agreement, damn the consequences. For so long she had been nothing but dead weight, and though she knew Lelouch would never say it, he would lead an easier life without her. Still, the magnificence of the proposition gave her pause; instead of jumping at the offer, though, something her brother had said hung in her ears from when they had been talking, several years ago, of going back to Britannia and of how so many of their family members had been so nice…until their mother died.
When something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
"What do you get from giving me what I want?" Nunnally asked in a voice wholly unlike her usual tone. It was the best emulation she could do of Lelouch's 'serious' voice, the way he talked to people he didn't like when he thought she wasn't listening.
"A valid question," the man said with approval, "But, truthfully, I won't be giving you what you want. I'll be giving you the power to get it for yourself…as to why I would do that, well, my reasons are my own. I will tell you that I would require nothing of you in return."
"Really?" Nunnally asked, her dream-eyes narrowed in suspicion.
The Egyptian smiled once again and extended his hand. "Truly, you have my word…shake on it?"
Nunnally fixed her gaze on the person's? hand, her own suddenly clammy with nervous tension. She forced herself to remember that this was a dream…just a dream, and that she would likely wake up any moment, feeling incredibly foolish and needing to get ready for school. Sayoko would help her dress, and she would once again have to make her way in the dark for yet another day. There was nothing to lose, she assured herself, because this was all a dream.
Tentatively, she reached out a hand…
There was a thrill to the exploration of the area, Lelouch had to admit. Still, his emotional involvement was secondary to the results of the investigation…which were mixed, at best. The hidden doorway had led to a darkened corridor, which had in turn, led to a stairwell backlit with the low-level glow of chemical lighting. Neither Ohgi nor the masked man had seen anything resembling an electrical control panel, a fuse box, or even a light switch. Still, that had quickly become irrelevant as they noticed the immense amount of bloody tracks spanning the passageway they were now walking. Silently, they traced the staggered red foot and handprints down the stairs, and onto a platform where an empty, blocky, monorail car stood. Both stood, staring at the new scene of horror they'd come upon, each with vastly different thoughts. Finally, Zero spoke, though it was probably the last thing that Ohgi had in mind, preoccupied as he was by the gore. The very smell of it made him more than slightly nauseous, his stomach turning painfully.
Zero's mask, though, did more than make him merely intimidating. Among the myriad functions he'd installed when designing it was a miniature air-filtration system. It wouldn't handle anything like nerve gas, but the smell of blood was rendered little more than an annoyance. Though… "Ohgi, step towards me, now."
The Black Knight blinked and looked strangely at his commander, who had raised his pistol and was aiming… "Zero? What's wrong-?" The only indication he ever had that something was wrong was the low groan that seemed to come from behind him. His eyes widened in shock as his neck twisted down, to look by his foot, from whence the sound came.
"Ohgi-dammit!" Zero shouted, firing off two quick shots even as his lieutenant flinched violently. Hearing the unmistakable noise of a body hitting the ground, he ran his hands slowly over his torso, where he had expected to find blood or a gaping bullet wound, he instead found nothing. Finding himself whole and in no pain, he turned slowly and fell back in shock, leaving his back towards Zero and his eyes locked onto the mutilated mass that, he guessed, had once been a human being. The corpse's legs were missing, its spinal column exposed, flesh and muscle missing in ragged chunks. Ohgi realized, belatedly, that he had thrown up and was now on his hands and knees, a pool of vomit before him. The image of it, though, had been burned in his mind, as it would forever be.
"If you're done Kaname?" Zero asked, his tone grave as he scanned their surroundings much more closely. "I'd like to keep moving."
"Wha-What the, What the Hell?" Ohgi breathed harshly. "I heard, but-it was…it couldn't have…"
"Kaname, stand up and pick up your gun. We are in a hostile situation, behind enemy lines, and you will tow your weight." Zero said, his voice implacable as the mask it emerged from.
Ohgi swallowed the taste in his mouth and forced himself to his feet, averting his eyes from the body while he tried to rationalize what he'd seen, heard, and what the laws of reality allowed in a sane and rational world. "I'm…sorry, Zero. I just thought…I mean, I couldn't have…"
"You mean to say that you saw someone, who couldn't possibly have been alive by any stretch of the imagination, trying to bite your ankle?" Zero asked, his tone bland, but thoughtful. "What a coincidence, then…because I saw the same thing." Bending down to look closer at the corpse, the mask shook slightly. "Whatever it was that was keeping it alive, it seems to be dead now. The puzzling thing is that this blood is already congealed. That means…"
"Whoever it was died hours, if not days, ago." Ohgi nodded, taking his own careful look around the monorail platform. "But that's impossible, unless…do you think we were both hallucinating?"
"Extremely unlikely," Zero stated. "Disregarding the fact that we saw the exact same thing, there are drag marks. Today has been nothing but a series of 'impossible' events. Stumbling on this…mess, by chance, uncovering a conspiracy, and now…this. I think I'm willing to take a few things on faith at this point. Past this point Ohgi, issue one warning to any civilian personnel, then shoot to kill. Treat anyone approaching us as hostile until proven otherwise. I'd like to get out of here alive."
Ohgi nodded, trying to hide his unease at the idea of firing on an unarmed person, even a crazy one…or a dead one. Licking his suddenly dry lips, Ohgi settled for nodding as they stepped onto the train, guns drawn. Even as Zero moved to the controls, noting almost absently, the lack of any blood on any surface.
"Are you sure we should go further, Zero?" Ohgi asked hesitantly.
"There is something rotten in the state of Denmark, as the bard would say," Zero quoted. "Really, though I'm not usually a victim of curiosity, I believe this situation has moved from disturbing into something which I would be remiss not to look into. I have a gut feeling, Ohgi, that I need to go further. Whether you're with me or not, I will advance." Both men slightly started as Zero flicked a switch, the low hum of electric lighting filling the blocky monorail car with light. "Luckily, the rail seems to be on a closed power grid with a separate energy filler power supply.
"Yeah, lucky," Ohgi said, then blinked as a sharp metallic sound reached his ears. He reached out to stop Zero from closing the car doors, only to find out that the masked man had paused too, evidently hearing the same sound.
"Gunfire," Both stated at the same time, slowly moving to the railcar's doors, taking up firing positions…
Only to blink as Kallen's voice crackled over the short-wave radio. Zero clasped his and flipped the switch to transmit. "Come again Q-1, we can hear fire. Have you engaged an enemy and what is your situation?"
"Thank God, Zero! We've come under attack from-from the dead bodies! I know it sounds crazy, but they got up and, and-" Kallen cried, her report trailing off into a litany of curses. "We've been cut off from the exit, sir! We're coming down to meet you, Tamaki's in the lead!"
Pushing aside the facts he didn't have or couldn't understand right now, Zero pushed forward with the only option open to him. Commanding his lightly armed and armored troops to take on a menace which, presumably, took out a much more numerous and well-armed force would be nothing short of suicide. Instead, he opted to retreat…in the worst direction possible. "Q-1, fall back down the stairwell and into the monorail car. Ohgi and I are waiting and will provide supporting fire against the enemy following you."
In short order Tamaki shot into view, sliding a bit on the bloody ground before turning and firing off a brief burst of fire. The rest of the Black Knights: Sugiyama, Inoue, Minami, Yoshida, and finally Kallen emerged from the stairs, a tide of moaning human flesh behind them in black body armor. Lelouch cursed lightly behind his mask as he carefully took aim and fired off a shot to one of the pursuers heads. The man went down instantly and, miraculously, stayed down. His eyes narrowed as, even in the dim light, he saw Tamaki loose another few shots in rapid succession, almost all of which hit one of the peoples'(?) central body masses. Instead of going down, though, the bullets merely gave the figures pause before they shuffled forward again, heedless of the trauma inflicted beneath their body armor.
An instant later, his Knights had cleared the thirty or forty feet between them and the safety of the monorail car, allowing Lelouch to slam his hand down on the mechanism which shut the train-car's doors and leaving them all safe and alive…for the time being. The loud sound of flesh slamming on metal gave Zero a reason to quickly and efficiently throw the monorail into forward motion. In the midst of heaving breath, pale faces, and wide eyes which reflected the horrors of the last few brief minutes, Tamaki managed to sum up everyone's thoughts on their current situation.
"What. The. F_ck!"
Yes, Yes, I know as soon as the reviews start someone's going to be yelling at me to get back to work on my other stories. Anyway, this piece has been bugging me for months, so here it is. I kind of know where I'm going with this...and I'm also kind of winging it. This is my first time writing Code Geass Fanfiction, and while I think I've got most of the characters correct, if you have constructive criticism or otherwise want to comment,
Read and Review-
-Edited for Grammar Mistakes and Style(07/19/10)