Well, this one seems to have hit off well enough.
Kudos to all you fans that sent in suggestions.
To Panther-Strife: Working on it man, believe me, just this popped into my head over holiday break.
To Sketch: Standing by bro.
Death and Rebirth.
'It finally ends…'
Such were the thoughts of Lelouch vi Britannia, the young man who, through the culmination of blood, sweat, and copious amounts of tears, had managed to unite the word under a single banner.
Now admittedly, that sounds romantic, possibly even heroic, however, the truth of the matter is, sadly, much harsher than fiction would later make it out to believe, involving a tale of heartbreak, sorrow and loss, which was the result of one young man's quest to right the wrongs of his predecessors.
It seemed like an eternity ago that Lelouch, then under the guise of Lelouch Lamperouge, had encountered the apparently immortal woman known only as C.C, whom had bestowed upon him the cursed power of Geass, under the condition that, should he fully awaken to the power, he would use it to take her life.
Donning the mantle of Zero, Lelouch had set out to correct the wrongs that had been wrought in the name of his father, Charles zi Britannia, then Emperor of the Britannian Empire. He had amassed an army, made up of rebel factions from those nations that Britannia had ostracized, though the backbone had been the small, island Nation of Japan, where he and his blind, crippled sister Nunnally had been exiled and left for dead.
But of course, like all best laid plans, it was hardly going to be easy. Lelouch had no delusions, he never considered himself a 'hero'. He set Zero up as a symbol, a rallying point for those who would oppose his father, but all the while, his one TRUE objective was not the people, but the creation of a world where Nunnally, and those like her, could live in peace. To do that, any sacrifice was acceptable. Or so he'd thought.
Reality could be a cruel mistress, and more often than not, Lelouch found himself caught in her cruel clutches, either unable to make a decisive move, held back by his own emotions, or crushed beneath the weight of his crimes. Friends became enemies, trusted allies raised bloody daggers, the battle lines in the sand became so blurred that, for many, it soon became impossible to recall whose side they were truly on.
But at last, it was over, a lifetime of plotting, of sacrifice, culminating in one, no doubt epic climax that would have had Shakespeare weeping for joy had someone ever put it to paper.
He could hear it now, the shocked, intake of breath from the crowd, as the Demon Emperor, Lelouch vi Britannia, was silenced by the renegade Zero, who had miraculously returned from the grave to fulfill his promise of protecting the weak from tyranny. The irony of the situation, that he should be done in by his own alter-ego, was not lost on the soon to be departed Emperor, in fact, it brought a smile to his face as 'Zero', in actuality Suzaku Kururugi, stabbed him through the chest, Lelouch never raising a finger, accepting this assisted suicide openly, as penance for his crimes and to usher in a new age of peace.
Even as he fell, the Emperor's enigmatic smile never left his face, his fading purple eyes trailing on the captive members of the Black Knights, taking in their looks of confusion, and in Kallen's case, horror, though he could have sworn that, in some of the sharper ones, the light of understanding dawned.
'Which more than likely means that Tamaki's as clueless as ever…' the Emperor chuckled, recalling the mercurial redhead, who was just as quick to praise something as he was to condemn it, and vice-versa depending on the situation, with a hint of amusement, which faded as he felt a pair of gentle hands grip his own.
'Nunnally…' he deduced, unable to even move his head to look at his precious little sister, so weak was he from bloodloss. But then again, it was probably a fitting sendoff, after all, why should a demon be granted a last request, even if it were something as simple as a last glance at the sole light in his life?
"Big Brother!" Nunnally cried, her tear-stained voice like a choir of angels to the fading Emperor, cutting through his dulling senses to reach his very soul "I love you!"
Those words, five simple words that, to the dying Emperor, carried with them a greater power than if God himself had spoken them. His lips parted, drawing air into ruptured lungs, his elegant features stretching in a smile as he managed the strength to raise his head, his purple eyes smiling blindly upwards, her surprised, distraught features filling his vision, even as blackness creeped in from the edges.
"I know…" he whispered, smiling all the while, one bloodstained hand coming up to wipe away her tears, Nunnally's eyes widening in shock at this simple, loving gesture, even as the darkness swooped in, Lelouch falling into it's embrace without a struggle.
It wasn't so much a life as an, existence, the feeling that you were, in some way, part of the big picture, not so much an individual entity, but a smaller part of some LARGER entity, one who's being encompassed more than one facet of reality.
There was no self, there was not time, such things were inconsequential in the face of the grand scheme of things, Memories blurred, pasts were forgotten.
Only the future remained in C's world.
An Eternity within an instant...
"Are you awake?" a voice called out, piercing through the darkness, echoing slightly, as if the speaker was calling out to him from the far end of a long, dark tunnel "Can you hear me?"
'Who?' Lelouch wondered, his eyes flinching as they slowly opened, the former emperor drawing in a sudden gasp of air, as lungs that hadn't worked for what felt like an eternity, which SHOULDN'T have worked again after Suzaku ran him through, expanded forcibly, taking in deep, ragged breaths of air that forced him to the floor once more, coughing his lungs out.
"Easy, Easy…" the voice offered, professional concern, like that of a doctor, emanating from it's tone, though whoever it was didn't step forward to help "Your body's only just recalling how to operate, I wouldn't make any sudden movements were I you."
"Who?" Lelouch gasped, grimacing at the cold feel of the ground before him, tilting his head slightly to get a better look at his surroundings, only to grimace as he recognized the spiraling pillar of humanity that composed the collective will of C's World.
He was standing in the very spot where he'd renounced his parents and their ideals, where he'd reaffirmed his vow to create a world without war, without conflict, even if it meant being known as a demon. Back then, he'd been straight-backed and proud, his voice commanding.
Now he lay on the floor before the will of C, naked, helpless, each breath sending spikes of agony through his bones.
'What…is this?' he wondered, his eyes wide, gripping his sides as he tried to make sense of this strange situation, his logical mind racing to comprehend what was going on, only to come up blank. Lelouch really couldn't blame it for failing, as he'd never imagined he'd encounter a scenario like this before. Death was supposed to be a one-time experience after all.
'Unless you possess the power of Code.' He recalled, grimacing as the memory of C.C appeared in his mind, the green haired, immortal witch's features showing her typical all-knowing smile 'But I never took C.C's code, and V.V's vanished with Father…CHARLES.' He corrected, refusing to acknowledge any relation to the man who'd abandoned Nunnally and himself 'Could my Geass have evolved post-mortem? But I thought Code could only be passed on from contractor to contractor?'
"Hmm, awake for two minutes and you're already showing signs of advanced mental activity." The voice noted, seemingly impressed by the teen's calm demeanor "You truly possess a fascinating mind, I wish I could have studied it."
"Who are you?" Lelouch called out, his tone much calmer, now that he'd had a moment to gather himself. It was unnerving really, thinking of himself as a single entity, after the alien peace that he'd experienced as part of the Collective Mind of C "What are you doing here?"
"Good, good, already asking questions." The voice acknowledged, laced with decided approval at his words "And it looks like your body's recovering faster than anticipated, ah to be young again." The voice chuckled at Lelouch's scowl "Now-now, no need to get angry, I'm merely glad that my attempts to revive you went off without a hitch."
"Revive me?" Lelouch repeated, the former emperor quirking a brow at the voice's words "Are you saying you've brought me back to life?"
"In a word? Yes." The voice admitted, his tone serious, though still laced with that undertone of bemusement as he smiled at the recovering teen "It wasn't easy, separating your consciousness from that of the Collective. One would think you didn't WANT to live."
"I have no regrets about my death." Lelouch shot back, the former emperor sitting up slowly, squatting on one knee in order to both get a better footing and cover his nudity from view, "I accomplished my goals, my life was but a small price to pay to achieve them."
"Admirable resolve." The voice applauded, and there WAS admiration there, albeit tinged with the thus-far ever present undertone of bemusement, as if the speaker were enjoying some private joke "I can see I chose wisely when I opted to revive you."
"I should assume then, that you didn't revive me out of the goodness of your heart." Lelouch noted sardonically, slowly getting to his feet, even as clothes formed over his naked form, more accurately, the clothes he'd worn when he'd faced down his father, the main body of his Zero uniform, sans the helmet and cape.
"Indeed." The voice noted, Lelouch's eyes narrowing as a figure stepped into view, dressed in what appeared to be a white lab coat over a shirt, tie and trousers. His face, however, was obscured by intense light, save for a pair of circular, reflective spectacles "I have a need of your services…Lelouch vi Britannia…" a smile formed in the light "Or do you prefer to be known as Zero?"
"Lelouch will do." The former emperor replied, his tone flat and to the point "Lelouch vi Britannia died at the hands of Zero, those names no longer apply to me."
"Lelouch it is then." The figure noted with a nod, his glasses flashing from the movement as he held a hand to his chest "As to who I am, for reasons I'm sure you can relate to, I cannot reveal my name." He offered a polite, curt bow "For the sake of convenience, you may call me T."
"Well then." Lelouch mused, smiling wryly as he gestured around him "I must say you are a credit to your profession, so few have ever gone so far to cheat death."
"I can be quite stubborn when I want to be." T replied, his tone amused as he pushed his glasses up with one gloved hand, his iridescent smile like a beacon "but enough about that." He uttered, the smile vanishing into the light as he stood straighter, clearly a sign he was about to get down to business "I went to great pains to revive you because I need your help."
"One would think that a man that can revive the dead would be beyond the need for 'help'." Lelouch opined, quirking a brow at the doctor, who shrugged.
"I am not without my limits." The specter admitted "One of which is that it took literally all the resources I have just to bring YOU back, I doubt I could do so again."
"So why pick ME?" Lelouch asked, quirking a brow "You addressed me by name, and also as Zero, this leads me to believe that you performed a background check on me."
"Of a sorts." T admitted with a wan smile "I must say, you certainly lived an interesting life for one who died so young. So much suffering, so much pain, and yet you managed to die with smile on your face…" here his tone took on a wistful hint "I suppose we have something in common there."
Lelouch quirked a brow at that, but before he could ask the figure to elaborate, T held up his hand for silence. "Tell me, Lelouch-kun." He asked, Lelouch blinking as he realized that the man, or whatever he was, must be Japanese to use such a suffix "Do you believe in the parallel world theory?"
"The hypothetical existence of multiple possible universes?" Lelouch wondered, quirking a brow as the specter nodded silently "I've heard the theory, though it falls short of credibility."
"Indeed, it's hard to prove something that cannot be witnessed by normal means." T acknowledged, his tone scholarly "Nevertheless, C's world is, in fact, an example of a parallel universe, one that encompasses the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them."
"Are you trying to say that you're from a parallel world?" Lelouch asked, wondering just what kind of whack-job he was dealing with, though the fact he was alive did give the man's story credence.
"Indeed," T nodded, his features hidden by light "A universe where, believe it or not, the Britannian empire never existed." He smiled at Lelouch's look of shock "Or more accurately, was never FORMED, as the American Colonies proved successful in fending off the British, not to mention the United Kingdom wasn't lost to the Nazi's during World War 2, events which were paramount to the formation of the Britannian Empire."
"You've done your homework at least." Lelouch noted, internally thrown by the idea that his homeland never existed. True, the landmass was there, but without the Empire, how would life have differed? Would he even have been born?
"I want you to see something…" T instructed, his tone solemn as he reached into his coat, pulling out what looked like a remote control, of all things "This is the fate my world will suffer." He revealed, aiming the remote at a wall and pressing the button.
Lelouch blinked, looking around in wonderment as the world of C vanished, replaced with a barren landscape, covered with ice and snow that glittered like diamonds. Overhead, stars shone brilliantly in the black canvas that was the night sky, obscured partially by the glowing lights of the aurora borealis.
"Nice view, isn't it?" T's voice called out, Lelouch looking up to see the figure standing off to the side, his back to the teen, hiding his features, though Lelouch could see he had white hair "Would you believe this was once the bustling center of Tokyo city?"
"THIS?" Lelouch repeated, looking around the wilderness in alarm, his eyes wide with disbelief. Now that he looked closer, however, he could see things that identified this place as a city, like a series of small hills that were actually frozen cars, or a mountain that was actually a collapsed, iced over skyscraper "What happened?"
"They called it the 'Big Freeze'." T admitted, the labcoat sporting specter standing with his back to the teen, hands in the pockets of his coat, as if to protect them from the chill "The second coming of the Ice Age, hypothesized by scientists for years."
"I find it hard to believe that human civilization could be reduced to THIS simply because of a change in the climate." Lelouch countered, his tone disbelieving as he eyed the barren, inhospitable wasteland that was supposedly the center of Tokyo.
"Our technology was not as advanced as your own world's, Lelouch-kun.' T countered, his tone solemn as he snorted disissively "We hadn't even discovered Sakuradite, and so the greatest form of energy we could produce was still nuclear in design."
"I see." Lelouch muttered, internally shocked by how…BACKWARDS, his strange benefactor's world seemed to be. Nuclear power hadn't been used in Britannia since the discovery of Sakuradite. Even third world countries didn't use the stuff anymore!
"From a population of 6.9 billion, the earth's population dropped to a mere million." T went on, further startling the teen, the doctor's shoulders tensing slightly "And it all could have been averted if mankind had been allowed to develop, unencumbered."
"I assume from your tone that there was some…Outside Interference, that prevented this from occurring?" Lelouch muttered, earning a nod from the silent doctor "Should I assume, therefore, that your reasons for reviving me are tied to these?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes." T admitted, recovering himself with a sigh, though he kept his back to the teen "My goal has two objectives: One, to ensure that mankind's technology advances to the stage it can survive this cataclysm."lik
"For which you require knowledge of Britannian technology." Lelouch deduced, the former emperor nodding his head in understanding "If that is the case, why pick me? You could have contacted anyone from my world." Like Rakshata and Lloyd Asplund to name a few.
"I couldn't risk the temporal imbalance of bringing a person from one world to another." T countered, his tone dismissive "Every living thing has their place in the world, a role to play, if you will. Dragging from their own world to another could have catastrophic results."
"So you chose someone whose 'role' had already ended." Lelouch deduced, seeing the logic in the man's tone "I suppose that makes sense, I have no ties to my old world anymore, so the odds of my existence unduly affect yours should be minimal at best."
"Indeed." T nodded, his tone laced with approval at the teen's insight, turning to face the teen, even as their surroundings shifted back to that of C's world, his features once again hidden from the teen as he held out an Attaché case "And I won't be sending you in blind, either."
Lelouch quirked a brow at this, stepping forward hesitantly to accept the case from the figure, popping it open only to blink as he realized the entire thing was actually a concealed laptop computer.
"I've compiled quite a lot of information regarding your world's technology," T admitted, sounding pleased with himself, "There's also a program that will allow you to effortlessly hack into local government computers without leaving a trace."
"You make it sound like I'm some sort of secret agent." Lelouch scoffed, though he had to admit, T was certainly thorough. He almost wished he'd had the man as a member of the Black Knights "And what of the outside interference?"
"They shouldn't be able to track you so long as you don't needlessly reveal yourself." T countered, and Lelouch detected a hint of humor their "Not that I need to tell YOU that, of course."
"Of course." Lelouch snorted, smirking wryly as he recalled how getting exposed had caused most of the problems in his life. From Shirley to Schneizel, every time someone learned who he was, it lead to trouble "You mentioned your plan came in two parts," he spoke up, snapping the attaché case closed "What's the second?"
T fell silent, and for a moment, Lelouch wondered if the man had heard him, only to notice that the man's shoulders were slumped, and he seemed older than before. "There is someone…" he murmured, the enigmatic doctor's voice lowering, laced with an undertone of sadness and regret "Someone I want you to protect, at all cost."
"From the outside forces?" Lelouch theorized, only to blink as the T shook his head, his shoulders trembling slightly "Some other party then?"
"Both, actually." T admitted, taking a breath to steady himself, Lelouch's eyes widening as he realized the man was starting to flicker, like a bad video image "Time is short, I can't explain too much, all I can say is that the tools you need are in that case."
"Wait!" Lelouch demanded, stepping forwards with a look of alarm "Why me?" he demanded, grasping the fading doctor by the shoulders "Why of all the souls in C's world, did you choose ME?"
"Because you know what it's like to walk in the shadows." T countered, and for a moment, Lelouch could see a tired, wrinkled face framed with circular glasses "You know what it means to make a deal with the devil for the sake of a loved one."
"T…" Lelouch wondered, looking at the older man in alarm, only to blink as something was snapped onto his wrist, looking down in distraction just as the Specter rammed his fist into his stomach, doubling him over, sending him toppling off the side of the walkway with a yell.
"I'm counting on you…" T called out, his voice wrapping around Lelouch as the light enveloped him, a strange buzzing noise filling the air "God Speed, Lelouch-kun!"
"T!" Lelouch yelled, only to blink as he realized, one, he wasn't falling anymore, two, he was lying on what appeared to be a bench, and three, there was no one else around. "Where the hell?" he wondered, sitting up straight, the attaché case at his side, as he took in his surroundings, namely the empty city street, lit by a row of lights.
The bench he'd woken up on stood next to a bus stop, which was itself resting at the bottom of a massive flight of stone steps.
'It seems I'm in Area Eleven at least.' Lelouch deduced, glancing at the Kanji which adorned the side of the stop, 'Or Japan rather, there's no way the Empire exists if they're still allowing them to use Kanji instead of English…this must be T's world."
Having reached that conclusion, the former Emperor rose from his seat, wincing from the stiffness of his back, as he'd apparently been on the bench for some time before snapping to his senses. As he did, he noticed he was no-longer dressed in the remnants of his Zero uniform, but rather, in his old civilian clothes, black jeans, boots, a skin-tight, sleeveless shirt, and a thick brown denim jacket.
'He REALLY did his homework." Lelouch marveled, a little unnerved by how thoroughly the enigmatic doctor had researched him, even as he checked his clothes over for anything out of the ordinary. It was during his examinations that he espied the strange device clasped to his right wrist.
'A watch?' he wondered, only to dismiss this theory as there was no face, nor visible features for telling time 'Weird, it almost looks like something's supposed to attach onto it."
The rev of an engine drew his attention to an impressive looking motorcycle with side-car that was parked next to the bus stop, in clear violation of parking laws. Normally he wouldn't have given the machine an second look, however, the fact it bore the Black Knight's Crest on the gas tank caught his eyes, as did the letter taped to the handlebars.
'Dear Lelouch-kun.' He read, picking the letter up and glancing over it 'I figured you might like a little transportation while you're in my world. Consider this a birthday present of sorts. The instruction manual's included in the laptop. Best wishes, T.'
"The man has good taste." Lelouch snorted, crumpling the letter and tossing it effortlessly over his shoulder, where it landed in a trash can "Albeit a twisted sense of humor."
Shivering slightly from the breeze, the former Emperor turned, scooping up the attaché case from where it lay on the bench, setting it into the side-car before mounting his new ride, marveling at how futuristic the bike looked for a moment, before starting up the engine, smirking at the feel of power the machine gave off as he revved the throttle.
"Certainly a lot more impressive looking than Rivalz's." he chuckled, recalling how his old school-friend and constant contender for Milly Ashford's affection's machine would continuously break down at inopportune moments, such as the time they'd stalled when Kallen and her friend had crashed into a construction site.
Still chuckling at the memory, Lelouch pulled on the helmet that had been prepared for him, quirking a brow at how closely it resembled his Zero Helmet, before revving the engine and taking off, determined to find a place to stay for the night.
Unbeknownst to the reborn Emperor, a small, black and gold figure hovered behind him, buzzing mechanically as it easily kept pace with its designated partner.
For those of you that missed the crossover corner, yes, this is a Sailor Moon Crossover.
For those of you that pointed out thatthe 'Zero' costume IS formal wear, please don't compare it to Tuxedo Penguin's get-up.
Also, that was the only real dig I'm taking at Mamoru here, this is mainly going to follow the canon plot, so don't expect much more than the occasional snide comment from Lulu.
Also, Sailor Lulu MAY show up in omake's if the mood takes me.
Lelouch: Say WHAT?
Won't bother asking for eviews for this chappie, as the next one's getting published too.