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2017, a.t.b., Special Administrative Zone of Japan

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"You carry the burden of a thousand deaths on your head... how does that make you feel...?"

From the total blackness of the secured office, the only source of light to be seen was the bloody glow of rings around her lavender irises.

She did not respond to the lofty question spoken to her.

His words…

"Zero will die…"

She shuddered with great, heaving breaths, rocking herself, rocking the long body clutched in her red, red hands.

Soaking wet her once ruffled, white sleeves stroking the floor. Soaking wet in her lap.

"Zero will die…"

The screams of the last survivors were mowed down by the remaining Britannian units; an tormented, weighted shriek of a young woman; an infant bawling alone in the stands; a lone soldier weeping into his hands.

The free flow of tears choked her vision, as it swirled ugly with the black and red and indigo, the golden metallic highlights on the edges of his massive, winged cape draping onto her paled, lilac-gown.

"Zero will diethen to be miraculously reborn. The people will love him for that."

Her shudders died little by little. The lithe woman towering above her spoke mildly, laying a clammy hand on her shoulder.

"What will you do with this knowledge... Euphemia li Britannia...?"

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Present:

2018, a.t.b., Luo Yang, Forbidden City, State Guest House

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He would never forget that moment — when he heard Zero's rumbling and triumphant laugh, his own eyes enlarged slowly in emerald horror as the ornamental, jet-black chess piece knocked aside the white king chess piece and secured its place gently in victory.

Somewhere in the blindingly red room, Suzaku fuzzily listened to his cousin clapping approvingly, declaring in a sickening-sweetly voice that this all had been inevitable.

As the shocked and awed guests (both privileged Britannian and Chinese citizens) whispered amongst themselves to the astonishing conclusion of the game — their perfumed and cultured murmurs welling over him like an overpowering sensation of drowning — he made use of all of his self-discipline to remain frozen and without expression as Zero and Prince Schneizel rose from their chairs.

"How very well played." Kallen's sleet blue eyes pierced into Suzaku's green pair as this was spoken by the Prince.

Her eyes almost seemed to want to apologize for this means as she came forward (to collect him). Sharply, the young Knight turned around, nodding solemnly in the direction of Anya and Gino who stared back at him with wide eyes. "Take care of the Emperor," he said.

"I'm sure they will, Suzaku; come along." Kaguya appeared from nowhere, smiling cheekily up at him and linking her small, white arm through his uniformed. He had barely enough time to bow respectfully to the Prince as his cousin and Kallen stiffly guided him out of the party.

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"Who is this Britannian scum? He looks like a no-good punk."

Careful to do this as noiselessly as he could, Suzaku glared outright at the thin man with a maroon-colored headband standing in one of the many strange doorways, as the boy found himself forcibly seated on a couch in the airship. Zero's airship. He still couldn't quite believe in this situation. It could just be a nasty dream. He wasn't really here, right? It never happened. No. He hadn't been bartered off to Zero like some kind of human trophy…

"Tamaki-kun, this is my cousin Suzaku Kururugi. The only other living member besides that of myself left of the Six Clans of Kyoto." The girl giggled gleefully, again clasping onto the brunet's flaccid arm, and gave it an excited shake with both of her hands. "Zero won him for me!"

The young pilot did not like the way the other man's beady eyes roamed him. "So… are you sayin' that he's a slave for the Black Knights now?"

"I have not given that command."

From behind the man Tamaki, the self-proclaimed savior materialized, gesturing offhandedly towards Suzaku who narrowed his emerald eyes loathingly at Zero — the question remained: was it Lelouch or someone else beneath the mask — before staring back at the floor stonily.

"We do not keep slaves. He is merely a prisoner for now. Suzaku Kururugi is not to be handled roughly unless he becomes uncooperative. And only at this time. He will be kept in my quarters until I specify my instructions otherwise. Are we clear on this?"

"If my Lord Zero wishes it, you may have him." Kaguya leapt to her feet at his arrival, her long strands of black hair whipping around her.

She beamed at the costumed man with obvious devotion.

A repulsive convulsion threatened to crawl up Suzaku's spine.

I don't ever remember you acting so mindlessly for someone else… what has Zero done to you…?

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His left cheek pulsed red hot as the result of the thin man… Tamaki… kicking him square in the jaw and sending him keeling onto the hard floor, the young pilot's rope-bound wrists and ankles aching with the added strain the impact caused. He could most certainly taste blood gushing in his mouth.

"What the HELL are you doing, you IDIOT!"

The Black Knight member bellowed at a shell-shocked Kallen who had yelled previously and their unmoved leader, jabbing a shaking finger accusingly at the brunet twisted up awkwardly with his lower body scrunched upwards and his exerting face planted to the steel of the airship (he uttered a pained groan to confirm he was even now conscious), "This damn punk was at Shinjuku—!—!"

"I do not know who assigned you the role of guard… but rest assure that I will make it known that the next time anyone is caught abusing this soldier, they will be severely penalized. You are relieved of this task." Zero stepped aside with a patient air as the well-endowed, teenage girl led out the protesting man, tightening her grip on Tamaki's frail arm that she wretched behind him.

A heavily sweating Suzaku let out low breaths between his lips on the floor, struggling to move himself, and blinking confused as the world straightened itself.

Clutching the back of Suzaku's white jumpsuit, the masked terrorist helped him into a sitting position.

His cold, leather-clad fingers slid underneath Suzaku's chin, quietly advising him to turn his face.

"Allow me permission to examine your injury."

Jerking away, he slammed his head backwards onto the corner of a nearby coffee table, stomach violently tossing in disgust for even letting the man touch him.

"For the sake of precaution, we will keep the binds, but only so," Zero informed him sternly with that rumbling voice modifier. He must have caught the sight of the boy's alarmingly purpling fingers because Suzaku's face once again was pushed into something, this time it was the soft cushions of a mauve-colored chair as the terrorist's bony elbow dug into the back of his neck.

After a couple minutes, Suzaku understood the meaning as the tension lessened on his wrists and as the invasion to his personal space ended.

He screamed as Zero went for the exit, his tanned face reddening with fury, "KILL ME! Can't you see that's what I want? Why won't you do it? You've taken countless other lives! Why am I special to you? I would gladly be dead than your prisoner!"

With a leather-gloved hand digging into the side of the steel door-frame, Zero hesitated.

"I hope you are good with children, Kururugi."

...?.?

...What the hell did THAT mean?

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He realized the answer to the somewhat of a riddle later that evening as Kaguya entered Zero's quarters, patting the tiny shoulder consolingly of an albino girl adorned with bright orange flowers in her silvery hair. The girl rubbed at her misted, ruby-red eyes with the back of a porcelain hand.

Emerald eyes widened in immediate and horrified recognition.

The Empress…

"It will be alright, Tianzi." Similarly green eyes met his as Kaguya said warmly between her companions, "Suzaku, this is my best friend, the Empress of the Chinese Federation, Tianzi. Tianzi, this is my cousin, one of the living Heads of the Kyoto Clan, Suzaku. Would you mind it terribly, cousin-dear, watching her while I get you both something to eat from the kitchens?"

Taking his pointed silence as some form of agreement, she shut the door behind her quickly, locking.

The tiny girl jumped at the click of the lock, staring at him with uncertain but beautifully childish, gleaming eyes. For the first time since the start of this incident, he smiled genuinely at another person. "They haven't harmed you, have they, Empress?" he asked with an overly gentle voice.

"N—no…" She sniffled, taking a tentative step forward to him, "I just…I—I—"

"I'm trapped here too. But it will be okay; if I can help it, I will return you home safely."

Ruby-red filled with more tears as Tianzi let out a frightened wail, sprinting down to where he sat propped up against the mauve chair, wrapping her little arms around his middle and clinging tightly as she wept passionately against his chest.

She began weeping for someone called "Li Xingke"... and for a moment, Suzaku wished that he could have hugged her back.

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TBC

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YOU VOTED FOR IT! MORE ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE! If you read "Proxy"… you see where these events are leading to… ;DD I'm pretty much following the timeline after Turn 9. If you are legitimately lost about anything… ask me questions. I'll be glad to clarify. Reviews are much appreciiiiiiiiiiiated! Code Geass is not owned by me. Yadda-yadda. I would love to own some DVDs though. And make some epic AMVs.