A/N:Has it really been nearly two months since I last updated this? Oh boy, this isn't good. :/ All right, time to get around to updating!

Chapter 27 The next move

"Cornelia, you do realize you're suffocating me, don't you?" Lelouch groaned, not at all happy about the fact that his older sister was crushing him under the weight of her breasts. This was one of the things he'd been afraid of when he'd re-entered the Royal Family; his own sister, which was perfectly rational, considering he was her enemy, Zero, the leader of the rebellion.

He could never trust her completely, and he knew that. He wasn't a fool. Cornelia could just as well be faking emotion as she could be sincere in it. He had reason to doubt her before, but perhaps he was starting to trust her just a little bit more...he wasn't sure if he could completely.

There was only one person who was scarier than Cornelia li Britannia could ever hope to be, and that was Nonnette Enneagram, the only person Cornelia feared. That meddlesome woman hadn't appeared for a while. Hopefully, she had returned to the Homeland, so he wouldn't have to deal with her annoying, clingy ways.

"Lelouch, listen to me. Don't hide things from me anymore. Tell me, what are you hiding and why? I'm sick of my little brother running away from me and making excuses. It's time you took your duty as a prince of Britannia more seriously!" She said sharply.

Lelouch was finally set free and backed away, suddenly afraid of her, but he decided to stand his ground. "...I have no need to return to that world, Cornelia. It's a world of backstabbing and deceit."

Cornelia frowned at him. "Lelouch, must you continue with these insane conspiracy theories of yours? Can't you trust any of us at all?" She said.

"Sister, please, Lelouch has his reasons for keeping secrets. Please, just leave him alone about this," Euphemia begged, but Cornelia would not relent.

'Well, she isn't called the Witch of Britannia for nothing,' Lelouch thought, frowning as he recalled the battle where she had almost uncovered his identity, only for C.C. to show up at the last moment and divert her attention away from him, thus saving his life and his identity.

He had never expected Euphie, of all people, to figure out who he was, but she was pretty much the only person besides Nunnally he could trust in the Royal Family. No matter how nice Cornelia might be acting now, she would show no mercy to him if she learned he was Zero. He must never let her find out.

Then he could see himself in jail. Cornelia would be perfectly willing to sentence Zero to jail, and even if he was her younger brother, she would show no mercy. He was no fool. She only saw him as the "annoying sibling" with the conspiracy theory complex, and she would lose her affection for him the second that mask broke to reveal Zero underneath.

"I understand you want to defend your brother, Euphemia, but I cannot allow him to misbehave anymore."

"Cornelia, stop treating me like a child," Lelouch argued back, growing entirely frustrated with where this conversation was headed, and wishing he could strangle her at this moment.

"Lelouch, do you really not trust me at all? I will not allow you to go anywhere without your knight by your side." She beckoned to Jeremiah, but frowned at him for a moment.

"Yes, my lady," His gaze went to rest on Lelouch for a while, "My lord, can you please not run off on us like that again? We were all so worried."

"Gottwald, your concern is unfounded. I can handle myself," Lelouch said, growing very frustrated with where this was going.

"My lord, I have failed to protect you! I must fulfill my duties!" Jeremiah said, falling on his knees again.

"Don't grovel. I don't need my own knight to act like that." Lelouch scolded.

"Lelouch, must you continue to act like a civilian? It's uncouth," Cornelia scolded, again acting like the mother hen.

"Cornelia...I have raised myself over the past seven years. There's no problem with that."

"Yes, there is. You raised yourself and you have no manners like a proper noble should. I am going to make sure you learn discipline," Cornelia scolded, despite Lelouch's look of absolute disgust.

"She's even more worried about you than before," Euphemia said.

"I can see that," Lelouch said. 'Damn it, I have more important things to do than spend time listening to Cornelia lecture me! I have the Black Knights to command right now!'

"Lelouch, listen to me. You can't go around being so reckless anymore. From now on, Gottwald will accompany you everywhere you go to make sure you're doing what you're supposed to do. I won't have you rebelling anymore. You're seventeen years old now, not seven, Lelouch. Act your age."

Lelouch stared at her in complete disbelief. "Cornelia, you don't understand. I can't be here all the time, I'm actually helping out the Zone and the Black Knights."

There was an uncomfortable silence. Euphie gasped, wondering why on earth he had been careless enough to say that out loud where Cornelia could hear.

Cornelia stared at him with wide eyes. "Lelouch, that's a terrible joke. You'd better not be helping out terrorists. That's treason! You wouldn't do something that stupid, would you?"

She looked at him for a few moments and noticed his expression. He looked as though he was about to reveal something big...some sort of big secret. That he never wanted to tell anyone.

"Lelouch...tell me what you're hiding."

Lelouch looked away from her. "Would you hate me for it, Cornelia? You said you couldn't forgive treason of any kind."

"Lelouch, don't." Euphie warned.

"Of course, but you're my family. If the Emperor knew of your association with the Black Knights, he'd exile you again."

"...He won't. He blackmailed me into staying here. The reason he did so is because he knows what else I've been doing this whole time."

"Doing...what? Lelouch, you've got to be kidding," Cornelia said.

'I know I'm going to regret this in the long run, but I've got no choice,' Lelouch said to himself and swallowed. He paused..."...Cornelia, to tell the truth, the part about me being imprisoned by Zero is a lie...the truth is, I am Zero, Cornelia."

He waited for her to say something, anything at all, but she looked shocked for a few minutes.

Then she hit him.

"How could you...be so foolish, Lelouch? All this time...I wanted to destroy Zero, and you were him the entire time, risking your own life against your own siblings. You could have come to us from the beginning, you know. Why didn't you come back, Lelouch? You wouldn't have done all of those terrible things like killing your own brother."

Lelouch glared at him. "Cornelia, Clovis was massacring innocent Japanese. I had to do something."

Cornelia just stared at him. Jeremiah looked shocked, too.

"That means you discredited me, My lord? Why would you do such a thing?"

Lelouch cursed his foolishness. Had he made a fatal mistake?