Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass. I do own the plot. All songs used belong to their respective artists.
Calm down, I'm calling you to say
I'm capsized, staring on the edge of safe.
Calm down, I'm calling back to say
I'm home now
I'm coming around, I'm coming around. – The Con by Tegan and Sara
It was officially five years. Five long, miserable years filled with peace and joy; but there was no Lelouch there. Suzaku sighed as he leaned back against the chair of his office, thinking back on everything that had occurred in the last five years since that oh so fateful day. Due to the peace brought on by Lelouch's final wish and Euphemia's rise to the role of Empress, there was rarely much work for him to do. Now and then he'd get a few documents to sign or have a meeting to attend with the young Empress, but there was rarely ever any action.
And it was at these times he'd remember Lelouch the most; specifically the events that first followed Lelouch's departure.
He had pounded on the walls until Kallen arrived and he couldn't feel from his elbows to the tips of his fingers. She had helped Cici up, making sure the other was unharmed, and then approached him. Her hand fell to his shoulder, a sorrowful frown on her lips. "I'm sorry, Suzaku," She said as delicately as she could.
He had ignored her and shrugged free of her grasp. He stood, feeling light headed and numb all over. He had then walked out, using the Lancelot to return to Pendragon. The entire trip he had stared at his hands, leaking blood from a few cuts and stratches all over, and wondered briefly why he hadn't paid more attention to the other. If he hadn't overreacted to the truth about Euphemia being alive maybe he could have saved Lelouch. But he had been too focused on the fact that Euphemia had been an innocent, that she had never soiled her hands in blood to achieve her goals, that he had cut Lelouch out because he thought he knew what the other was planning to do.
When he returned, Euphemia had explained everything to him. Only he, Kallen, Cici, Euphemia herself would be able to remember Lelouch, as far as the pair knew. When he talked to Nunnally for the first time after his return, he had felt his heart leap out of his chest. She had to remember her missing brother; they had been too close for even Geass to block him out! He had sat with her outside for tea, a little ember of joy had been lit within him, and asked her politely, "Do you miss Lelouch very much, Nunnally?"
"Who is Lelouch, Suzaku?" She had asked, seeming sincerely stunned, lilac orbs widened slightly in surprise. He had flinched slightly at her response, at how completely true it was. She really didn't remember him; game over. He had looked down at the small white glass cup in his hands and felt tears prick at his eyes.
"No one, Nunnally. I forgot you never met him," He had whispered and changed the subject as quickly as he could. He tried to limit his contact with Nunnally after that; she was just far too much of a painful reminder of the one he lost. He had, as far as he could, anyway, cut ties with anyone who had a bond with the now forgotten prince.
'I actually haven't seen Cici or Kallen since that day. I assume they've been well,' He thought as he stood from his desk. He hadn't really tried to find out where they were to avoid them and he was amazed that he still hadn't seen them in the last five years. He exited his office, heading to the throne room where Euphemia was having a conference with Cornelia. He's been summoned there a few minutes ago, but had tried to delay it as long as he could, deciding that chasing the memories of long ago would be more pleasant than a chat with the protective older sister of the Empress. 'Nothing is really going wrong, anyway; all damage done by Geass has been reversed. There s no war, famine or drought in the world. All economies are balanced as well. The task of the Knights of Round may as well be to sit around and twiddle our thumbs.' He knew that he should be less ungrateful toward the peaceful times but he still found himself hating them for what had been taken away.
"Suzaku, it's good to see you!" Gino boomed happily as they passed one another in the hallway. Gino appeared to be heading in from the gardens (most likely spending time with Anya) and seemed even more chipper than usual. Suzaku nodded to him and kept walking; even Gino, who had seemed so loyal to the ebony haired male, no longer recalled him in the least. He took a deep breath before pushing open the doors, ignoring the loud squealing protest he received, and entered the throne room.
"Ah, Suzaku," Euphemia said with a wide grin on her lips. Cornelia was glaring at the young Japanese male but it was nothing new to him; she always gave him dirty looks. "We were just discussing a matter you might find rather interesting; Lelouch." He twitched at the name and looked at her in surprise.
In five years, Euphemia had not changed too much. She looked stronger in her physical features(less sweet and more headstrong in the glint in her eyes) though her hair had grown longer (which she normally kept up in a ponytail or bun) and she may have gained a few more inches in height; he could also chop that up to the heels she normally wore, though. She was currently clad in a long sleeved white gown with the seal of the royal Britannian family stitched elegantly over the bodice. "Lelouch, Your Highness?" He croaked out softly.
"Yes, Kururugi; my younger brother that you let die!" Cornelia snapped scornfully, taking a step toward him.
"Cornelia, please!" Euphemia said in a stern tone; normally her tone would be pleading with the older woman (even after her rise to power) and this change of pace was rather surprising. The two other's looked at the petite woman as she released a small breath and sat up a little straighter in her chair.
"Now, I explained everything that happened to her as you explained it to me. Cornelia had a few questions to ask you herself, hence why I called you here. Would you have a problem answering these questions openly and honestly?"
"Of course not, Your Highness," Suzaku said, though he really didn't feel that way. He wished to keep it all to himself; Cornelia was an intrusive woman who delighted in making other's squirm (much as Lelouch had in life) and Suzaku did not want to be made into a dissection for the thrills of a princess. "What did you want to know, Princess Cornelia?" He asked politely, shifting his gaze to the scowling woman.
"Where exactly did Lelouch go?" She snarled lowly, eyes narrowed dangerously at him. Suzaku sighed, remembering everything Euphemia had explained to him which she'd been told from Marianne.
"He was taken to the World of C," He said calmly. He looked back at her, jade orbs hardening in a strange mix of sorrow and honesty. "He conversed with the being on the other side of the doors, the creature in charge of the World of C. He was then able to bring about this peaceful world by using your Father's Geass to alter the memories of everyone across the globe. It was what he was given in exchange for bringing an end to your Father and V2's plans. He erased all memories about himself, Geass, and the crimes committed against humanity by your uncle and Father."
"And what exactly is the World of C? And how much of this world was Lelouch's planning for the world?" She pressed forward. He could see that there was a little less suspicion; clearly Euphemia really had told her everything the pair knew.
"I don't know exactly," He said with a sigh, "because I never got the chance to ask Lelouch or the Immortal witch Cici. And then Cici left with another member of the Black Knights and I haven't seen them in five years. And it was all basically what Lelouch wanted; from everyone forgetting him to Euphemia taking over as Empress of this peaceful world."
"I see," Cornelia said, turning to look at Euphemia. She released a small sigh, as if disappointed. "My apologizes for being so dubious of what you told me, Your Highness." And then she walked off, seeming just as disgruntled as she had been when Suzaku entered.
"I'm sorry if I upset her," Suzaku said after the doors were shut, turning to look at Euphemia. The purple eyed queen smiled at him lightly and waved a hand in a dismissive manner.
"It's fine, Suzaku. She was upset when she came in; more with me than with you," She said gently. She slowly rose and approached one of the large windows she had put in as replaced to the thick stone walls of her Father's time. She smiled at the sunlight pooling in through the windows. "I should have talked to her long ago about what happened to Lelouch. However, on a lighter note, since today is… That… You may leave and enjoy a day in Pendragon by yourself. It's become your custom so I thought I should just let you know that you can go whenever you'd like. I'll have Gino or Luciano accompany me for the day." She said with a bright smile on her lips. He blinked a few times, remembering that he usually did steal away from the castle. Being here just made him think even more about Lelouch; the other had grown up here for a few years.
"I think I'll get going for the day then," Suzaku said before heading out as well. He paused at the doors and glanced back at her, swallowing a growing lump in his throat. "And thank you, Euphie." He said gently.
Her smile widened slightly but he did see a few tears begin to fall from her eyes. "You are very welcome, Suzaku,"
Suzaku pushed his sunglasses up on the bridge of his nose a little more. He had abandoned his blue trench coat and yellow shirt outfit when he outgrew it; now he wore tan jeans that clung to his hips and a sleeveless black turtle neck. He sighed softly as he walked past a small café with little white metal tables and matching chairs, a large green and white striped awning covering the customers from the rays of the sun. "Hello again, Kururugi," A familiar voice hummed, causing him to skid to a stop and look back.
Seated in a chair with a cup in her hands, was the all too familiar figure of Cici.
"Cici," He said as he stepped a bit closer toward her. She seemed to have aged accordingly as everyone else around Suzaku had in the last five years; he had almost been hoping she'd turn into a shriveled bag of bones, but kept the disappointment locked deep inside. Instead she sat there with a white conductor's hat on, her hair braided over her shoulders, a white tube top around her torso and a knee length blue skirt on with it. Her eyes were the same cat-like color he remembered. "Is Kallen here as well?"
"She had rehearsal; she joined a theater troupe to travel the world and I decided to tag along. I decided to grab myself a little bite to eat before heading over there; Kallen has a very short temperament, if you can believe that," She chuckled while setting her cup back down. Suzaku noticed that it was nearly empty. "Well, since I was just finishing my last free refill, would you be so kind as to escort me there? I've heard there have been some dangerous ruffians in the area lately." She hummed as she stood up. It was then Suzaku noticed the obnoxious orange purse Cici had draped over her chair; he wasn't surprised that she was the type to mix her colors as she had.
"I didn't really have any other plans, so I may as well," He said as she adjusted the strap on her shoulder so that it was more comfortable. She smiled and started walking, not going to fast so he could catch up to her easier. They fell into silence briefly before he decided to end it. "So is traveling what you two have been up to all this time?"
"We just joined the troupe last year; until then we were in Tokyo so that Kallen could finish up with school. When she realized that college wasn't really her thing," She answered with a twirl of her hand, as if trying to conjure up the right words to say, "she was introduced to theater by one of her classmates who was in the drama department. After she tried it out, she ended up loving it; and since I wasn't going to be abandoned, I agreed to help when I could. I'm on the set design crew; I don't know if Lelouch ever told you but I happen to be a rather talented painter." She smiled at him like a five year old would smile at their parents after passing their first big test at school.
"Do you ever miss him?" Suzaku asked abruptly, causing both their moods to shift immediately. Cici was silent for a moment and then looked down at her feet as she walked.
"A little. But I had a thought a little while ago; it's one of the reasons I'm glad I ran into you, actually. You see, I think that this little theory of mine could possibly be a very good point about the gifts of God and the power of Geass," She began. When she glanced at him she had a small conspiratorial glint in her eyes that Suzaku remembered well; she used to watch Lelouch with that look in her eyes.
"Go on," He said, nodding his head a bit as well. She smiled and looked ahead as they continued to walk.
"You can't just erase someone because you want to," She began calmly. She held up one finger when Suzaku aimed to argue her point. "Please hold all questions until the end of the lectures." She smiled when Suzaku shut his mouth and let out a sigh through his nostrils. "You can kill someone, yes, but they still existed at one point. Even with Geass you can only erase or end so much; Charles ability to alter memories was only temporary and Lelouch's ability to control ones will could only be used once per individual. So I think it's possible that Lelouch may still exist in the world; he just isn't Lelouch vi Britannia, the prince who saved the world and created this great peace."
"If he isn't Lelouch vi Britannia than who the Hell would he be?" Suzaku snapped angrily, irritated by the green haired woman's suggestion. Was she trying to imply that Lelouch was alive without his memories, and that he wasn't necessarily Lelouch? That thought left Suzaku pained, remembering the time he had betrayed Lelouch and Cici's suggestion had been true. The thought of Lelouch being alive, but not really being Lelouch, was like getting one piece to a present but not getting the other.
"He could be Lelouch Lamperogue," She suggested with a small smile on her lips. She paused in front of a building and Suzaku was left stunned at how close the theater she needed to visit was from the café she had visited. It was only one block over! "I doubt that God would take someone so precious away from humanity; re-write him with a new purpose? I think that could be possible but I don't think that even God would want to just senselessly take a good person's life. He is the big man in charge, after all; He can change the rules however he'd like to match his grand design. Do you know what I mean?" She asked him.
"I think so," He said cautiously, one eyebrow still raised slightly at her. She grinned and reached out, lightly patting his head as if he were a dog.
"Lelouch always said you were a little slow on the intake; given some time to mull it over and you'll probably be able to figure it all out on your own. You are a big, strong boy now," She teased before waving and disappearing into the building. Suzaku heard the soft notes of a piano and someone singing, temporarily tempted to go and at least say hello to Kallen, but decided against it. What would talking to Kallen accomplish for him, other than ruin his mood even more than it already was?
He ended up walking to a nearby park and settling himself on one of the swings. He watched some kids playing kick ball across the field and noticed one little girl playing by herself, bouncing a yellow ball on the ground. After a particularly hard toss toward the ground, it began rolling away and the young girl had to chase it. She paused, picking it up, and their eyes met; he noticed that her eyes were a bizarre rose color.
She headed over to him and plopped herself down on the swing next to him, setting her ball down in the sand pit the swing set was placed in. Her hair was a cerulean hue and tugged back in a long braid that touched the ground. She was wearing a long sleeved pink top with a flowery pattern all over it, regular blue jeans and white sneakers. "Hello," She said happily to him.
"Hi," Suzaku said after a moment, watching her curiously. She just continued to smile up at him happily. "Can I help you?" He asked politely.
"You seemed kind of sad and lonely so I thought I should come talk to you so you'd feel better," She informed him in that same chipper tone. Suzaku looked at her in alarm. Had he really been that much of an open book that a child no more than ten had been able to see how upset he was?
"Well, thank you," He said, forcing a sweet smile on his lips. He may as well be nice to her; she just wanted to help him. She reminded him a lot of Nunnally when he had met her all those years ago which kept him from being rude to her. "You are remarkably intuitive."
"My big brother says that it's called a 'woman's intention'," She beamed happily. Her mispronunciation earned her a small chuckle from the knight.
"Well clearly your brother must be a very smart person. Oh, is he here with you?" He asked, suddenly looking around for a boy maybe four or five years older than the girl with him.
"We live near this park and I walked over. My brother said he'd come and get me when dinner was ready," She said before picking up her ball and looking at Suzaku. Her grin grew wider. "Do you wanna play with me until my dinner is ready?"
"Sure," Suzaku said while getting up from the swing. He didn't really have any other plans for the day; why not spend it playing with a lonely little girl?
He ended up spending three hours just playing and talking with the young girl. He never asked for her name and she never offered it, but she was surprisingly sociable. When he asked her why she didn't play with the other children she said that they thought her eyes were weird. He felt bad for her and for the other children simply because they'd miss out on what a wonderful disposition this little girl had; if he hadn't looked past Lelouch and Nunnally being Britannia, he never would have met two of his best friends. "Geass, where are you?" A voice suddenly called, causing Suzaku to jerk up and turn in the direction it had come from.
Was it possible? He could see inky black hair peeking out from under a black beret, pale skin but the other's head was tilted in a way that hid the other's eyes. He was wearing a long sleeved green turtle neck sweater, a pair of regular denim jeans, and black sneakers. The young girl, apparently known as Geass, jumped up and gasped happily. "That's my big brother!" She beamed, rushing over to the other and hugging his legs.
Suzaku stood up, watching as the two spoke in hushed tongue, before the other glanced up and he knew; those amethyst spheres haunted his every dream and nightmare. "Thank you for being so polite to my little sister," He said in that oh so smooth tone that Suzaku had never been able to forget.
"It was my pleasure. She's a really sweet little girl," Suzaku said as he walked over. He could feel the blood rushing through his veins and hear his heart pounding in his ears. This was really happening, wasn't it? He wasn't dreaming or hallucinating?
"She is. Lelouch Lamperogue," He said, offering his hand. He took it and felt sudden… whole again. Just the warmth of their brief contact, this little casual gesture, made him feel as if Lelouch had always been there.
"Suzaku Kururugi," He said after swallowing hard. Their hands remained interlocked for a moment longer than necessary before Lelouch calmly took his hand back. He leaned down and picked Geass up, carrying her on his hip. Her arms wrapped tightly around his neck and she nuzzled into him, giggling.
"Well, Suzaku, would you like to join us for dinner?" Lelouch asked with a small smirk on his lips, a glint in his eyes. Suzaku's eyes widened at the other as he realized.
'Lelouch… You're-' "Sure," He said with a smile. The other smiled back and nodded as well, beginning to walk away. He followed happily, wondering if Cici had said what she said because she knew the truth. She always had been a mischievous sort of witch, after all.
But maybe the last joke of a witch was what really inspired this reunion.