The Elegy of Suzaku Kururugi

By Coeurlito

Disclaimer: Code Geass belongs to Sunrise, Bandai, CLAMP, and all those other cool cats. If I owned the show, I'd have written it my way. Be glad I don't.

I've been a fanfiction lurker for years, but this is the first fanfic I've actually posted. I've got a million of 'em, but none of them make it very far because they've all got big plots and I tend to think in little, disjointed chunks. Hence, the style of this fanfic. Written in stages of insanity. Let's say I was feeling a bit morbid this week…

Warnings: Some language, wordiness, character death, shonen-ai (if you squint really, really hard and you're a naturally-inclined fangirl, which… well. This is fanfiction dot net. Of course you are.)

Also, L.L. lives.

BanDai, Sunrise, you sly dogs.

Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I try to keep from worrying about my age. I try not to perceive the passing of the years, but slowly, ever so slowly, my Geass has begun to suspect.

"Live," he commanded me, not "survive." He gave no conditions. He set no limitations.

So I live, and I will live forever.

My body generates and regenerates. It continues producing the chemicals that keep me healthy, or demanding those it cannot produce. It will not allow itself to sustain any injury it cannot repair. It will dodge bullets, dodge knives, dodge cars, and dodge my every suicidal attempt to throw myself off of a bridge or a building or something else that is very, very high. My cells will not mutate. There is no cancer, no HIV, nothing. I will never fall ill, and this wouldn't bother me but for the hypothesis that age is a disease, that once our bodies fully mature, life is nothing but a slow, meaningless death. It is a detrimental agent that causes men to grow older, and as I stated before, I will never fall ill. I will never contract this disease called "age." I will mature to the pinnacle of human fitness, and then I will stay that way for the rest of my life.

C.C. can pass her Code to someone else if only she chooses to do so, but I can't pass my Geass to anyone. The witch has lived a long time, but eventually, she will meet someone who can fulfill her wish and take her accursed power forever. Then, she will die.

I will remain.

Zero must always remain.

Lelouch imparted much of his memory to me in the weeks before the Zero Requiem. I would sit at his side, as was my duty, while he lay draped in the arms of his fireside chair, narrating in his lofty, distant voice. He told me about C.C., about how he made his contract with her in the moments after I lost consciousness, about the anger he felt when Jeremiah Gottwald accused me of Clovis's murder, about his dashed desire that I be Nunnally's knight, and about the betrayal and loneliness that fell upon him once he learned he had been trying to kill the Lancelot, the Lancelot had been trying to kill him, and that Lancelot was me all along.

There were emotions there. Hidden ones, which even then he tried to conceal or disguise, and Lelouch was not so terrible at lying as he was at denying his reasons for things. I never challenged him, though, and my silence allowed him to continue with his stories. Stories of his childhood, stories of Euphie, stories of me and of Tōdō and Kallen and how very proud he had been of them all.

But he did not mention the story about the Sword of Akasha, of the Geass sigil on Charles's palm or how that very palm had been pressed to his neck or how it had disintegrated even before Charles had.

So when the time came and I ran him through with that awful sword, I did not cry because Lelouch was dying. I did not cry because I would miss him.

I cried because it was the beginning of everything and the end of everything else.

It seems so long ago, looking back. It must have been about the time Ōgi's first daughter graduated from college. New Era something-or-other. It had been one of the first years.

That evening, he located me on one of the many balconies that made Nunnally's estate so famous, his mere presence burning with unanswered questions. His cheeks nurtured a collection of well-earned wrinkles, the green veins were beginning to bubble to the surface of each wrist, and the gaps in his wavy, black hair had slowly begun to fill with grey. He was getting older all the time, and I hated him for it.

I felt his eyes on the side of my mask, but chose not to dignify his curiosity with a reaction. He sighed loudly and the rail vibrated beneath the weight of his elbow.

"Zero," he began in the loud voice that signals a decision successfully made. "Zero, forgive me if this is out of line. I'd just… I'd like to know something."

Anything he had to say to me was invalid and irrelevant. However, I was Zero, and therefore inclined to listen.

"What is it?" I replied.

"Are you the first Zero?" he asked.

He knew. Of course he knew. Too many differences separated me from Lelouch. Differences in strength, speed, and strategy, but I was also more honest. More direct. I had tried to emulate Lelouch's subtle knack for manipulation, but alas, I see more merit in command than persuasion. I am a novice in such matters.

"Are you the first Zero?" he repeated with more blunt force than last time.

"No," I whispered.

"I am the last."

Some say that time heals all wounds, but I disagree. Time has a way of bandaging things, of covering them up and etherizing them into a false oblivion, but the wound still exists. No amount of time can un-inflict a bruise or un-cut a cut. Lelouch can never withdraw his pact with C.C. and Euphie is dead forever.

The resentment is gone, though. I have that much to be proud of. A sort of conciliation has filled the void it left behind. I understand, if only a bit, that Lelouch and I are different people and we will always walk separate paths. The path he walks is dark and twisted and overgrown with lies, and mine…

Mine is dark and twisted and overgrown with lies.

Perhaps we're not so different after all. We overlap, different parts of us, in different ways. Maybe that's the reason for this sudden indifference. I finally realize that we're the same.

But I haven't forgiven him.

I'll never forgive him as long as I live, and, well.

That's just it, isn't it?

I became good friends with Jeremiah Gottwald back in the day when Nunnally ruled the earth. It was a means to an end, of course, for I am Suzaku Kururugi, and I have no friends. I suspect Jeremiah knew this, but his loyalty to Lelouch was his loyalty to me and there is nothing for Jeremiah Gottwald except loyalty.

He worked as an orange farmer, which I found so fittingly ironic. Only he knew my identity for certain, and I would visit him occasionally when I had no pressing duties as Zero.

Ultimately, I wanted him to use his Geass Canceller on me, and I had come so close. So close to freedom, but every thought of the Canceller was a thought of suicide. My Geass knew I wanted to die and it stole my redemption again. Every time I tried to bring it up, my voice hid in my chest. My throat closed up. The words formed and died on my lips.

It was then that I realized there was no way out. Lelouch had cursed me forever. My only option was to glean as much advice from Gottwald as I could, because if ever there was a mortal capable of rivaling my projected age, it was him.

"Jeremiah," I asked as we brooded in the darkness of his kitchen. Me, sitting in the wooden chair by the stove and him, artfully peeling an orange with the tip of his sword. "You're… somewhat immortal, aren't you?"

"I expect to expire much later than my fellow humans, yes," he replied in his strong, extravagant way. "Why, Sir Kururugi?"

I managed an empty chuckle. "Have any advice?"

Cue his triumphant smirk. "Loyalty trumps all," he began. "If you plan to live a long and prosperous life, Sir Kururugi, find an ideal and attach yourself to it. Dedicate yourself to it. If it is not your passion, then make it your passion. Live for something greater than yourself."

If it is not your passion, then make it your passion.

But I needn't worry about that.

My greatest passion has always been revenge.

It was revenge. It must have been revenge. Harsh, deleterious, soul-eating revenge. He would suffer the way I had suffered. The two of us, opposing each other forever, forever.

He would wish for death. Oh, how he would wish, just as C.C. and I wished for it. We dreamed of it, of that merciless silence and the absence of everything, the erasure of memory, the banishment of sensation, the end to all our torment. He, too, would dream of death.

And, like us, he would wake up screaming, because that's all it was.

A dream.

"Zero."

Another dream, wasted.

A proud and imposing figure struck his shadow on the floor in front of me. I raised my head from where it rested on the back of my hand. He made a curt bow, an old habit of his, before apologizing for waking me.

"It is no matter," I replied. "What is it, Tōdō?"

He stood there a moment longer, ruminating. He bowed again.

"I have come to announce my retirement."

"It's because you're old, isn't it?"

Tōdō squared his shoulders and pressed his lips to a fine line. His aquiline eyes narrowed in a proud, patient scowl. And he was right to be patient. I wasn't finished with him yet. The war ended a long time ago, but I was not finished. Oh, no.

"Death is closing in on you, isn't it, Tōdō?" I spat, elated at the subtle hint of a flinch the acid of my voice had elicited. "Your body is failing you. You are not the man you once were. Your bones ache, your hair has turned white, your skin is beginning to sag, you can't see as far as you used to, and there are spots on your heart. You have worn out your use, and so you will step down quietly. You will live out the rest of your life — your happy, complacent life — with Nagisa, the one you love most, and then you will die and it's all over. Is that it?"

After a poignant pause, Tōdō closed his eyes and sighed through his nose. The arthritic square of his shoulders slackened. His voice was low and ancient.

"What's happened to you, Suzaku?"

"Why won't he come back, Tōdō?" I shouted, shooting up from the floor and curling my fingers — fingers covered in his goddamn gloves — into claws. "I know he's alive," I ranted, pacing around the room like a demon. "I know he's out there somewhere. He has to be. Why doesn't he suffer? Why doesn't he suffer with me, Tōdō, why?"

I waited for his answer. Finding none, I slid to the floor again in a puddle of violet — his goddamn violet — and curled my hands around my shins, hugging.

"Why am I alone?" I whispered. "Why am I always alone?"

Why, Lelouch?

Why?

Sometimes I wonder if I ever mattered to you.

Lancelot, who cavorted with Arthur's Guinevere. Lancelot, enemy of Gawain. Lancelot, who lied and cheated and hid his immorality. All these sins, Lancelot committed, but in the end, he still loved his king, didn't he?

You always told me that I was the betrayer, but who's been betrayed now, Lelouch? I know why you didn't tell me about that moment in Akasha, when your father assaulted you. You thought I didn't notice. You thought I was too naive, that I couldn't understand what was going on.

But I did.

I saw you take Eden Vitale from your father.

That was why you made me promise to kill you.

So you could wear that red sigil around your neck!

I wish Lelouch was Euphie and that his Eden Vitale was hers. I could live on if it was just the two of us together. I was happy once, and it could happen again if only I had someone to hold onto.

Over the years, I found one or two girls I could see myself in love with. Maybe not like Euphie, never like Euphie, but I could love them all the same. I looked at them, and I saw children. A family. I saw someone to settle down with for a while. Someone to take care of me. Someone to practice martial arts with. Someone to go camping with. Someone to cook grilled-cheese sandwiches for my kids — so many kids, and I'd teach them all the sound a frog makes in Japanese: Gero gero gero. I'd teach them how to play soccer. I'd teach them how to play Go and Scrabble and we'd have a family game night on Sundays when my wife would insist that we play backgammon together.

I would love my wife. I would love her so much.

But then she would die just like Euphie had died and I would be alone and that was the end of that.

Kallen died.

Gino, dressed in black, stood watch over the six foot hole and the woman who now lay in it. The last of the in-laws and the children and the grandchildren filed out of the rain, but he remained.

All night, he remained.

Gino, my old friend, his kinked white hair poking out from beneath the black beret, the gnarled fingers curled around the silver head of his cane, the muddy patent leather boots, and the herringbone overcoat. No umbrella. Damn the rain.

Here lies Kallen Weinberg A.T.B. 2000 — N.E. 65. Warrior, patriot, and loving wife.

Even now, I still can't believe she's dead. She was always so strong. So powerful. She went to her death kicking and cursing, cancer be damned. She died in the O.R.

They would all die.

"You don't have to stand out here with me, you know."

Gino's vintage voice inexplicably reminded me of old wood varnish. His smile was lopsided and weak. I knew it was a fake smile, and that it wasn't just rain pouring down his cheeks. I wanted to tell him. God, I wanted to tell him so badly, so I dug my words and my resolution out of my chest.

"Gino, there is something I must confess."

The wariness seeped into his eyes. Don't, they begged. Don't do it.

But I had to. I needed to.

"Gino, I'm actually—"

"You're Zero!" he interrupted with a wide, frenetic grin. "You're Zero, and that's it. Isn't that right?"

I remember feeling my bones sliding downward as if I were made of putty. My arms and my hands were nothing but hooks hanging from a frame. My head was a rock on my shoulders.

Three weeks later, I would stand at the exact same gravestone, keeping vigil because Gino would have done it if he weren't in that hole with his wife.

"You're Zero, and that's it," he had said.

That's right Gino. I'm Zero.

I'm Zero, and that's it.

They're all dead, now. I went to all their funerals. Tōdō's, Chiba's, Milly's, Rivalz's, Kaguya's, even Prince Schneizel's.

Nunnally's. The flowers. All the flowers. Lilies of chastity and white roses for innocence. The old ex-monarch requested to be buried beside her brother, Lelouch, but it was an empty request. I knew there was nothing but dirt underneath that headstone, but Nunnally needn't be concerned. No need to trouble an old woman with such trivial matters.

So when she asked to know who I was, I told the truth.

"I'm Suzaku Kururugi."

Her sagging eyes widened, and then her pudgy Buddha face shook with good-natured giggles. "But you can't be Suzaku Kururugi," she chuckled, sparkling. "Suzaku Kururugi is even older than I am."

I smiled to no one but myself.

"That's right."

I was there to throw the last flower before they covered her with dirt, but in the morning when I returned, there was another white lily resting atop the turf-covered hill.

A white lily, and a paper crane.

I have withdrawn from the world. Man is in space, there is no more oil to burn, and they're promoting Geass research again in spite of the UFN declaration against it. That's what woke me up. Their voices. Their annoying, raucous voices.

This world has worn out Zero. New leaders and symbols have come to replace the truth he represented, and so in my solitude I mastered the art of sleep. I learned to clear my mind. To sleep without dreaming. Not to enjoy the void it brought, nor to hate it, but simply to let it be. To simply be along with it.

I learned to exist.

Just to exist.

There is no life, nor death, in existence. A cat exists, but a rock, too, exists. A necklace exists. A house exists. I am the house that Lelouch built on his greed and his irreverence, and my walls will never crumble. My sanctuary will not be disturbed. I am the master of my own domain because I am my own domain.

I will sleep.

I will not dream.

I am alive, but not alive. I am dead, but not dead.

I am.

And I am.

No I'm not.

I don't want to want to see him again. I don't want to want to hear his voice. I don't want to need to know that there is someone out there, someone, someone who knows how lonely I am. How horribly lonely. How desolately lonely. How very, very, cold and desperately alone.

I'm heartsick for him.

I can't sleep anymore for dreaming about him.

The dreams. The dreams. I haven't seen him for one hundred and fifty years, but I still remember his face. His Valkyrie laugh. His fine, thin fingers and the nails he would trim square and even across both hands. The way he would twist them. The poses they assumed. His walk. The sweep of his heels across the floors at Ashford and the swishing sound they made. The specific corner of the library he used to escape classes. The way he slacked relentlessly in school and excelled at everything else.

And his eyes. Always his eyes.

I can't be with anyone. I'm afraid to go out in public. People will see me. They'll have no idea who I am, but God forbid that they see me. I haven't spoken with anyone for years. Sure, I've spoken to people, but they're hotdog vendors. Salesmen. People on whose wares my Geass must feed, and my Geass works so heavily to feed me because it knows I won't do it myself. I'll awaken from its trance shoveling things — mindlessly shoveling things — into my mouth just to stay alive.

He wouldn't know. He wouldn't care. He put this curse on me and he has no idea what it's like to be constantly dying and never die.

But he is immortal and I am immortal and he is the only person in the world besides C.C. who won't die before I do. He is the only one. There is no one else.

No one else.

And I'm alone.

He left me all alone. Forever.

It's a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, this thing with Lelouch. He's all I had. He's all I'll ever have.

They found me on the street. I was doing something, I can't remember what. Probably talking to myself or stuffing my throat with falafel or withdrawing money from the ATM in order to stuff my throat with falafel so I could go on talking to myself. Whatever the reason, they had come looking for me under the misguided belief that I was crazy.

Only after they institutionalized me did they realize that I wasn't crazy and I couldn't have gone crazy, because I was one hundred and sixty four years old and what I had gone was absolutely insane.

They trapped me in a white cocoon and put that cocoon in a padded cell behind one-way bulletproof glass. They made me eat things, terrible things, and pills. I can't count the pills. I'm not awake most of the time.

But it's nice.

It's a respite.

The pills help me forget about whatever it was I was so worried about before.

But I can never really forget.

They talk to me. They test me. They want to know why the tests came back and how I'm here-lies-Suzaku-Kururugi-consummate-and-invaluable-knight-of-his-Majesty-Emperor-Le-

They're pouring in like white marbles in a funnel.

It's because I'm screaming again, isn't it? Something inside of me is broken. Something is missing. There's a hole in my heart to match the hole in my mind. The blood is pouring out. The words. The sound of his name.

His name is a scream.

Lelouch.

Lelouch, Come back.

…Please.

Please, Lulu, my best friend,

Come back

And

Let me

Tear you

Apart

Do you remember, Lelouch? Do you remember when we climbed that hill together and it was Britannia on the other side? Do you remember the fire and the sirens and the blankets falling off of the shelves when we hid in the closet? Do you remember swearing to me, swearing that you would destroy or crush or lay waste to Britannia or whatever it was you swore to do?

Do you remember?

You were my first friend, too. I couldn't have any other friends, because I did not exist. Father never divulged the circumstances of my birth to anyone but his closest family, and for good reason.

I am half Britannian.

I grew up with the widest eyes and lightest hair of anyone I knew.

Maybe that's why it was so easy to abandon my country in the end. Maybe that's why I possessed an innate talent for killing. I'm a Twinkie, Lelouch. I'm yellow on the outside and white on the inside. I'm insidious. I was born insidious.

I want you to know, someday.

Someday when I can remember

where you went

who you are

and why it ever mattered

to begin with

But maybe if I forget you, it will all go away.

"Sir Kururugi! Sir Kururugi, are you all right?"

Kururugi? Me?

Blurry smudges of deep turquoise and orange. That strong and fearless voice. Vibrating. Bouncing. I could feel myself sliding around on something, and I could hear the whisper of wheels on asphalt outside.

I blinked my eyes and the pieces all came together. I was lying on the floor of a van of some sort, wrapped up in… in…

My arms? I can move my arms.

"Sir Kururugi," the voice was booming again, unconcerned with tone or decibel. I'm looking up, and there's a man with the heels of his palms planted on either side of me. An orange opera mask enshrouds half of his face. His solid frown never wavers. "Sir Kururugi, it is I, Jeremiah Gottwald. Do you remember?"

Jeremiah. Jeremiah.

Jeremiah who…?

"Are you able to speak?"

I can speak? But I don't know how. My lips crack. My tongue flounders. The words freeze in my throat before I can give life to a single one of them. I can feel my fingers again — I never knew I had fingers — sliding up and down the jagged edge of his mask. Over and over. I can feel them skidding, tearing, the flesh rent and blood welling. Red streaks over the eye. There is something about that glass eye. I need it. I need…

This Jeremiah grabs my hand in his. The fingers are hard and cold and there's blood dripping from them. My blood, I think. I've never known I could bleed like this. It's liberating.

"I see," Jeremiah muses. "I must admit, when you asked me for advice, I did not truly believe you intended to live so long. My time, however, grows short. This shall be my last mission for His Majesty."

His Majesty. His Majesty…

Whose Majesty?

Over the years I have cultivated an estranged hatred for memory. Memory is what makes us who we are. Memory is life, is it not? A man is hardly a man without the experiences he is built upon. Therefore it stands to reason that the elimination of memory is the elimination of life, or at least the end of one life and the renewal of a subsequent existence.

The present hardly matters when the past does not exist and the future can be amputated once the pain becomes unbearable. When man masters his own memories, he can travel through time and space. He can ration the years as he sees fit. The future becomes the present, the present becomes the past, and, as I said, the past does not exist.

But in order to forget, one must remember.

And the pain of one remembrance is enough to render everything else futile forever.

You abandoned me.

You didn't tell me about Charles because you didn't want me to know. You wanted to get rid of me because I was never anything but a heel to you.

I wonder, did you know? Did you know your command would do this to me? Was it really so spur-of-the-moment? Was it really just a desperate plea to spare my life, and if so, why? I was your enemy, wasn't I? You hated me, didn't you?

So why did you save me?

Is it because you hate me?

Or is it because, deep down, we're still friends? Is it because you couldn't bear to watch me die? Is it because you love me, Lelouch? Do you love me? Kallen once told me about her close-call with you, but you weren't really interested in women, were you? Was that it? Did you love me, Lelouch? Were you in love with me?

No.

It was never about me. You never cared a whit about me. You did everything on purpose. You told me to live because you knew that one day you'd take someone's code and you didn't want to be alone. You knew how selfish you were. You never came back to me because you were afraid of what I'd do to you if you did.

You're right to be afraid.

I won't hold back.

And that's why, when it finally happens, C.C. is absent, Jeremiah has shut down, and there is nothing between my fist and Lelouch's precious face.

"No!" This is the sound of my torment. This is the sound of my anger. This is me, leaning all my weight on the sword jutting out of the space between Lelouch's ribs and his spine. This is me, crying, watching his fingers drag a bloody caress across my mask. This is me, pushing Nunnally around in her wheelchair for ninety years. This is me, chucking flowers at headstones. This is me, locked in a lab. This is me, poked in the eye with a needle. This is me, remembering after I've forgotten, remembering who I am, remembering who he is, remembering that I will always remember and no amount of forgetting will ever help me forget.

His voice. His dark, windy voice that I missed so much and I wanted to throttle, to throttle, so far into oblivion. "Suzaku, please let me explain."

"No!" I shriek again. Bone smashes bone. The legs of the table snap and splinter as he crashes into it, but I'm not done. This battle will never end, and that's his fault, isn't it?

"There's nothing to explain! You did this to me!"

"I didn't know my Geass would work this way," his voice quivers. His eyes glitter with a sincerity so pure it has to be fake. It has to be! "I didn't know," he says again, reaching for me with his bloody fingers. "I didn't even know you were alive until Jeremiah found you. I wanted to save you, Suzaku, that's why I… I didn't mean for this to happen. You're my best friend, Suzaku, I would never—"

"Liar!" I punch him, sending him reeling back toward the floor. "Everything is your fault! You wanted this! You wanted me to suffer! You always wanted me to suffer! So I'm going to make you suffer with me."

"What are you going to do?" Lelouch heaves himself back up and stands, wobbling, his violet eyes aglow with resentment. How I hate his eyes. Oh, how I hate them. What they did to me. He smears the blood onto the back of his hand and spits the rest on the tile. "Are you going to kill me now, Suzaku?"

My fingers shoot out and snag the lapels of the shirt that used to be white until I dyed it red. The buttons pop off as I yank him forward, and there it is.

There it is.

Geass, perched atop his collarbone, sneering at me.

"Yes,"I make my promise. "I'm going to kill you, but not to watch you die. No. I'm going to kill you," and suddenly I'm winding up my fist and knotting my other hand around his shirt, "so that I can watch you come back!" I clock him in the jaw, "and come back!" Knee him in the gut, "and come back!" Break his cheekbone with my fist, "and come back!"

And come back, and come back, and come back. But it's all wrong, isn't it? You don't know how lucky you are. You will know how it feels to be beaten so hard that your heart bursts inside your chest. You will know the sudden sting of nerves as they tear apart inside your spine. You will know the irreversible delirium that seeps into your head when I hit it one too many times, the feeling of weightlessness, the way it inveigles its way into your nerves and steals your sense of self. You, at least, can taste death, Lelouch, but I will be starved of it forever!

I stop hitting him once I realize my fingers are all broken and his body is bent over my arm like a butler's towel. I've beaten him to death.

It is no matter. The duration of his absence means little to me. Time is at my disposal. I have become something of an expert at making it disappear.

His body drops to the floor with a crunch and folds up like a bag full of wood scraps. One shoulder sagging, the other smashed against the carpet. Arms twisted like the branches of some bleached, stygian tree. Back bent in half, feet splayed. Blood seeps past the hanging red lips. His empty eyes reflect the crystal chandelier overhead. I fold my legs beneath me and take a seat on the carpet in front of those eyes, because I want to be the first thing he sees when he comes back.

We dance, he and I. We waltz until my hands and feet are broken, until my wrists shatter, until my Geass drags me away. I hate him. I love hating him. I love the sensation in my gut just before I reach my Geass's threshold of pain.

But it's futile.

It's all futile, because when I wake up, there's Lelouch, and he's wrapping the bandages around my hands.

I hate him.

I hate him. I hate him. Why won't he let me hate him?

Why does he keep fixing me when I bleed, and why does he have that sad look in his eye, and why doesn't he go anywhere during the day, and why is he letting me sleep in his bed, and why is he standing there with that stupid bowl of pudding and that stupid condescending look on his face?

"Because you broke your foot on my spine and I don't want your stupid Geass telling you to get up at night because you're hungry," he replies in a very hoity-toity Lelouch-like manner.

I turn my head away when he makes another humiliating attempt to spoon soggy tapioca into my mouth. I don't want his sympathy.

"And I don't want you breaking your foot on my spine," he replies primly, "but it's happened, hasn't it?"

I care so much, but my passion is wasted on him. Why doesn't he care? I have killed him, maimed him, dismembered him more than ten times in the past three days, but it's him, it's him fixing me. It's him, laying me down in this bed that smells so inexplicably like him, that smell that can't be anything else but him, dressing me up in his clothes in recompense for soaking mine in his blood. Why? Why?

The self-righteous façade falters. Everything about him slides. The eyes slide. The corners of his lips slide. The rigid shoulders slide, defeated.

Lelouch sighs. He sets the bowl on the nightstand and sits down on the creaky pillow top mattress. He plants his palm at my side and leans over me, smiling his soft, secret, nostalgic smile. It's the smile he reserves for Nunnally, for Euphie, for C.C. and Kallen. This is his mercy. This is his gratitude. This is all the pain and the sorrow and the loneliness seeping, seeping to the surface so it can all just bleed away.

He's smiling because he's forgiven me.

He's smiling because he'll always forgive me.

He cares. He's always cared, maybe more than I can understand. He knows that I am more than the bones I have broken, the bruises I have inflicted, or the lacerations I have torn into his skin. The sorrow runs deep in his heart. The remorse for molding me into the monster I am. The hatred for his father. The hatred that will never heal, because his conquest took our lives from us, and we will never get them back.

Lelouch knows. He knows the reason I want to die.

It's because I was never alive to begin with.

Owari

One fanfic down. Five… billion to go.

Ahem.

Thank you for reading! I'm pretty bad about reviewing, but please don't follow in my example! Reviews are encouraging and really make my day, especially since I'm a college student and I nom reviews because there's not much else to nom around here…

Love and stuff,

Coeurlito