A Code Geass Fanfiction
By Allora Gale
Chapter 1: All Good Things Come to an End
Lelouch paused on his way down the street outside the nearest bank where he had just deposited his latest winnings to take in yet another altercation occurring across the street. There were two armed men – most likely soldiers – violently subduing a middle-aged Eleven man who looked like a street vendor.
Logically, Lelouch knew that he should just move along. These kinds of atrocities happened all over Area Eleven every day and his preventing one incident would do little in the course of the long run. Nor would his efforts be widely acknowledged. And nor would it prevent the soldiers from exacting retribution on the vendor once Lelouch went on his way.
However, to just leave the vendor – Eleven or not – to be viciously assaulted while continuing on his way was simply immoral. It was in his power to at least grant the vendor a short reprieve from the beatings. And most soldiers would think twice about assaulting a Britannian citizen, even if that citizen mouthed them off.
So he crossed the street, hands casually in his pockets, and joined the small group of Britannian spectators that were enjoying the violence.
"Pitiful, isn't it?" Lelouch mused loudly to his neighbor, a man in his mid-twenties in a business suit. "That the only way these soldiers can prove their worth is to beat on an unarmed Eleven. What a sad display of their prowess." He scoffed.
The soldiers paused and turned to look at him, eying him up and down. He was just a skinny teenager. Not a threat. Nevertheless, one of them pointed his baton straight at Lelouch's chest and scowled.
"You some kind of Eleven sympathizer? You feel bad for him?" The man demanded.
"Hardly. I feel worse for you." Lelouch countered without missing a beat. "That the sole purpose of your existence is to brutalize an unarmed civilian is a little sad."
"This Eleven," The soldier said, using his baton to point back at the cowering man on the sidewalk, "Is guilty of deliberately getting into Viceroy Prince Clovis's way. He is mostly likely a terrorist and was attempting to assassinate the prince."
"And here I was laboring under the delusion that we actually had a judicial system." Lelouch drawled after a moment of hesitation.
Was Clovis close then? How close? He scanned his eyes up the street and felt his mouth go dry when they landed upon the royal entourage half a block away observing the violence. For an instant - the briefest of seconds - his eyes met with Clovis' and . . . there was recognition.
"Lelouch?" The prince queried in astonishment even as the student began to turn away.
"Shit." He snarled under his breath and took off running as fast as he could – which was, unfortunately, not very fast. He turned down an alley, knocking over anything he could reach to slow down the inevitable pursuit as he fled.
"Follow him!" He heard Clovis yelling behind him. "Get that student and bring him to me! Prince Clovis la Britannia commands you! Get him!"
"Shit. Shit. Shit." Lelouch gasped as he ran out of the alley and turned towards the nearest train station. He was lucky; there was one already waiting in the station preparing to leave. He scrambled over the ticket barricade, shoving a handful of small bills into the security officer charged with overseeing the ticket-taking's chest before barrelling onto the train. The door slid shut a second behind him and the train lurched forward.
Lelouch stood gasping, hands on his knees as he tried to regain his breath and think. Clovis had seen him. He needed to make a plan. What would Clovis do now? Would he use the media to do the searching for him?
No, that would only make Clovis look like a fool. He had been declared dead seven years ago. If Clovis started proclaiming on the news that he was alive, it would only serve to lose him support. Lelouch could well accept the fact that his family had never been particularly popular amongst the Imperial who's-who.
So that meant that Clovis was restricted to sending his own men searching for him. It was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand he wouldn't have to worry about any random civilians revealing his identity and location. On the other hand, it meant that the people coming after him were armed combatants and he would have little to no chance of overpowering them to get away.
So what choice did that leave him?
The hard one.
His cover had already been blown and those soldiers had gotten a good look at his school uniform. Nunnally's cover hadn't. He couldn't compromise her. He couldn't risk Clovis finding her too. He would do anything for Nunnally. He would do anything to keep her from being used as a political tool, even if it meant bowing his own head to the Emperor. He pulled out his phone, pressing the first number on his speed dial before bringing it to his ear.
"Master Lelouch." The woman replied calmly. "Are you alright? You sound out of breath."
"Sayoko, I need you to get my sister prepped to leave. Immediately. Pack everything you can into a car and get her out of Ashford Academy. Take her to Reuben's vacation house for now until I can figure something else out. I'll try to get back before you leave, but in case I don't, can you please hand the phone to Nunnally now."
"Will you not be joining us then?" Sayoko asked.
"That's impossible right now."
"I see. I'll get Nunnally."
He heard the gentle swishing of clothes for a moment as Sayoko moved to find her mistress before the phone was handed to her and Nunnally's gentle voice came over the speakers.
"Is something wrong, brother? Sayoko sounded like she was tense." Nunnally asked, immediately picking up on the dire situation.
"I'm sorry." Lelouch said thickly, the words seeming to stick in the back of his throat. "I'm sorry, Nunnally. They saw me. Clovis did. I'm not going to risk them seeing you too. So . . . I'm sending you away for a while with Sayoko."
"Lelouch." Nunnally said softly, "Don't do that. I'll go with you. I don't care where I go so long as it's with you."
"No." Lelouch said firmly. "I won't let you do that. Please, Nunnally, don't fight me on this. Let me protect you."
There was silence on the other side of the line for a long moment as his sister analyzed the situation. "You're going to let them catch you, aren't you?" She accused.
"Hopefully not, but I know I don't stand a chance against armed soldiers." Lelouch mumbled.
"What are you going to tell them about me if you get caught?" Nunnally asked softly.
Lelouch hesitated. The only thing that would absolutely keep her safe, so long as she wasn't discovered was . . . "I'll tell them you died during the war. That I wasn't able to save you." He said firmly, even though just thinking of such an outcome made his heart clench anxiously.
"Oh." Nunnally said, sounding somewhat disappointed. "You've already planned it all out, haven't you?"
"Yes. I'm coming to see you now, but don't wait for me. If I'm not there by the time Sayoko is ready to go, just leave. I'll make sure you're well taken care of, Nunnally."
"I know you will, Lelouch. You've always taken care of me."
"I love you, Nunnally." Lelouch choked while mentally preparing himself for the possibility that this could be the last time he talked to her for a long time.
"Love you too, Lelouch."
He hung up the phone with hands that were slightly trembling. He told himself the tremors were aftershocks from the exertion of running for his life, but he knew it wasn't quite true. Adrenaline only did so much. With a grimace, he shoved his phone into his pocket before getting off at the next stop.
He scanned the crowd furtively and was relieved when he didn't see any soldiers. Quickly, he went to the ticket dispenser and legitimately bought himself a ticket. The last thing he needed was to be caught on the train without paying right now. Then he boarded another train heading away from Ashford and rode it for a half an hour before hopping trains again and riding it to the station closest to the school.
It took him almost an hour to get back to Ashford Academy and he arrived just in time to see Sayoko loading Nunnally into a nondescript black sedan. He took off towards the car, cursing his deficient physical prowess as he began gasping from the exertion. Thankfully, Sayoko was watchful and noticed him pelting across the campus.
"Nunnally." He gasped as he came around the car and sank to his knees next to his sister who was already belted into the back seat. He reached out and hugged her closely, desperately trying to memorize every single thing about her, from the few freckles on her cheeks to the way her hair smelled.
"Lelouch." She whispered, her hands running over his face so she could have some clue as to his expression.
"It's not your fault." Nunnally murmured soothingly. "But you should come with me."
"I can't. He already saw me. And he recognized me. He knows I'm still alive. If he doesn't find either of us, he'll suspect that you're alive too." Lelouch explained. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Nunnally. I want to be with you. I want to be there to watch out for you, but I can protect you better from far away right now."
Nunnally frowned and Lelouch saw the beginning of tears forming in her eyes. It was time for them to go. If she started crying, his resolve just might shatter and despite his best intentions he might flee with her, knowing full well that he would be putting her in danger.
"You have to go now, Nunnally. Don't ever forget that I love you." Lelouch said, holding firm to his resolve.
"I won't, Lelouch. And be careful." Nunnally said softly. "I still don't want to believe everything you said about what happened after Mother died, but I trust you. And if it's true, you'll need more protection than I will. So you worry about looking after yourself, instead of worrying about me. I'll have Sayoko with me so you won't need to worry. But you won't have anyone."
Lelouch smiled softly. "I'll be careful." He promised as he slowly let go of his sister and got shakily to his feet.
Sayoko bowed respectfully to him. "Don't worry about a thing, Master Lelouch. She'll be well taken care of." The ninja promised before climbing into the front seat of the car and starting up the engine. Lelouch watched despondently as his entire reason for living drove away from him, waiting until it turned the corner off campus and disappeared into the busy Tokyo traffic before turning into the clubhouse.
There were things he needed to do now. Preparations he needed to make.
Without stopping by the Student Council office, he went directly to his room to access his computer. He took a detailed accounting of his finances before transferring the majority of his savings into Sayoko's personal bank account. Still, it wasn't enough. It wasn't nearly enough to provide Nunnally with everything she needed, with the lifestyle she deserved. He would be damned if he left her to live in poverty.
Frowning at the capital left to him, he quickly set up a match before leaving his room.
"Come with me, Rivalz." He ordered as he entered the Student Council office.
"Lelouch!" Milly exclaimed. "You were supposed to be here two hours ago! How are we supposed to get everything ready for the upcoming festival if our own Vice President is shirking his duties?" She demanded before striking him with a rolled up pile of papers.
"Sorry." He said distractedly as his eyes sought out his friend, who was currently hidden behind a towering stack of paperwork. "Rivalz, I need you to drive me somewhere now. Please." He pleaded. Taking public transit now would be too risky. He was almost certain that some of Clovis' men had seen him entering the train station. He had simply been lucky that he hadn't been caught while trying to get back to Ashford.
"Off gambling again?" Shirley demanded disapprovingly. "You know, Lulu, if you actually applied yourself to more useful things, you could achieve a lot."
Lelouch ignored the lecture, instead gesturing impatiently between his friend and the door. Rivalz hesitated, glancing nervously at Milly, as though asking for permission. Milly, for her part, had completely lost her joking facade and was trying to catch his eye.
He glanced at her and nodded almost imperceptibly before Milly's bright, fake smile returned. "Oh, fine!" She exclaimed. "Go on then. A little male bonding time never hurt anyone."
"Really?" Rivalz exclaimed, bewildered. "Thanks, Madame President!" He shouted before sliding away from the table and quickly rushing out of the room before she could change her mind.
Lelouch sent Milly a strained smile before following his friend out and down to where Rivalz kept his bike. He helped Rivalz roll the bike out of storage - a task he usually left for his friend to do - before jumping into the sidecar and pulling his helmet on. Another benefit of getting Rivalz to drive him was that his face would be at least partially obscured so there was a lower chance of being recognized.
"So, what's the big rush, Lelouch?" Rivalz asked as he kick started the bike and slowly pulled out of the parking lot.
"I have a match." Lelouch answered vaguely before giving his friend the address of the nobleman that was to be his opponent.
"Huh." Rivalz said noncommittally, chocking Lelouch's unusual behavior up to nerves about the match.
They were granted access to the nobleman's estate and shown to a large, extravagantly decorated drawing room, at the center of which, a Britannian in his fifties sat in a plush armchair next to a chessboard. He'd chosen white.
"Ah, so this is the infamous L.L." The noble man chuckled. "I have to say, I expected you to be a little older."
Lelouch nodded his head politely. "Duke Granstein." He greeted. "You know what they say about judging a book by it's cover. Though, if you're up for testing me, I propose a change in the odds."
"Oh?" The nobleman asked, quirking his eyebrow in interest.
"Ten to one odds, sir. You will retain the full minute allotted for your turn. I, however, will be restricted to only twenty seconds per turn. I'm willing to bet two thousand pounds."
The nobleman frowned as he studied his opponent for a moment.
"What are you doing, Lelouch?" Rivalz hissed.
He could understand why his friend was nervous. Lelouch had never attempted handicapping himself like this before during a match. But he was strained for time and he needed the money.
"Just watch." Lelouch murmured.
"I accept." Duke Granstein said finally, gesturing for Lelouch to sit across from him.
The game was more difficult that he'd anticipated. It turned out that Duke Granstein was actually a pretty decent chess player and the self-imposed handicap limited Lelouch's ability to think too many turns in advance. Quite honestly, he almost lost. It would have meant he'd lost everything. But at the last moment a sudden wave of inspiration hit him and he managed to trap the Duke's King in checkmate between his only remaining Knight and his Queen.
"Checkmate." He said quietly, his eyes still scanning the board for any conceivable way for the nobleman to escape. There wasn't one.
The Duke chuckled. "Well, you certainly are good." He said before waving his hand to one of his staff members. "Lucy, darling, go get the boy his money."
Lelouch bowed politely a few minutes later as the woman counted out his money and handed it to him. He handed half of the stack to Rivalz, who stared at the unusually large amount for a moment in awe before tucking it into the inside of his jacket and following Lelouch out.
Their next stop was a bank where Lelouch deposited the newly acquired ten grand directly into Sayoko's account.
He was just settling in to the sidecar outside the bank when an exclamation behind him drew his attention. "There he is!"
A soldier was pointing right at him.
"Drive, Rivalz!" He hissed as his friend pulled the bike away from the curb.
"What the hell is going on, Lelouch?" Rivalz demanded as he divided his attention between watching the road and trying to figure out what Lelouch was thinking based on his facial expressions. "Those guys were after you? Do you think Duke Granstein ratted us out? Oh God, my parents will kill me if I get arrested for underage gambling!"
Lelouch frowned, staring firmly down at his hands. He had hoped he'd be able to get a couple more matches in before Clovis' men found him. He had, ideally, hoped to acquire Nunnally at least a hundred thousand pounds before the life he had created for himself was wrested from his grip and replaced with the gilded cage of the Imperial family.
That, however, didn't look like it was going to happen.
"Turn down here." Lelouch said, pointing towards an alley that would pop them out on a one way road. It would at least limit the direction the soldiers could approach him from.
"What's going on?" Rivalz demanded loudly. "We should pull over. We can get in serious trouble for evading these guys!"
"They're after me. Nothing you do at this point makes any difference." He said tiredly.
"Why are they after you? What did you do, Lelouch? This isn't just about gambling, is it? No, the military wouldn't have anything to do with that."
"Rivalz, I want you to promise me you'll take care of the others for me." Lelouch said finally. Involving someone else in his mess was selfish. "Try to keep Milly in line. And keep Shirley from freaking out too much. And make sure Nina doesn't spend all of her time cramped up with that computer."
"What are you talking about, Lelouch?" Rivalz demanded. "You do all that stuff!"
Lelouch sighed. "Pull over."
Rivalz reluctantly complied, torn between compliance with the law and loyalty to his best friend.
"And don't tell anyone about Nunnally. Never mention her again. Understand?" Lelouch ordered, a determined fire in his eyes.
"What? Yeah, okay, Lelouch. But what are you going to do?" Rivalz asked as he rolled to a stop and stared at his friend.
Lelouch slowly unfastened his helmet and got out of the sidecar. "Get out of here, Rivalz." He said dejectedly, as he stepped up onto the sidewalk and waited. "I can handle this on my own."
Rivalz hesitated but complied, gunning the bike's motor back into gear before pulling back out into traffic. He drove to the end of the block before pulling over again, watching Lelouch's still form in his rear view mirror.
Lelouch waited, an oasis of stillness in a sea of moving pedestrians until the soldiers that had been pursuing them emerged from the crowd and hurriedly converged on his location. Just his luck, it was the same two soldiers he'd mouthed off earlier.
"There you are!" One of them shouted, drawing his baton and slamming it into Lelouch's face. "The prince wants to see you, boy."
The impact of the blow staggered Lelouch and almost sent him to the ground. He was caught, however, by the second guard and a pair of handcuffs clicked firmly around his wrists. He didn't resist. It was inevitable. One man could not stand against the might of Britannia. One man could not even stand against a fraction of Britannia.
Rivalz waited until he saw Lelouch get handcuffed before gunning his bike back into motion and speeding back to school. He raced across campus and into the clubhouse, opening the door to the Student Council office so forcefully that it left a dent in the wall.
"Lelouch was just arrested!"
AN: This is the new beta'd version. I realize now that this massive revision project will end up deleting all of my author's notes. I'll try to save the important bits. Hope you enjoy. Version 2.0 comes with chapter titles.
Revised/beta'd Feb 5, 2012