All characters © Taniguchi Gorou

Summary: During the two-month period after Lelouch's conquering of Damocles. In prison, Lloyd wakes Rakshata up in the middle of the night, excitedly revealing a scientific epiphany, and it reminds them of old times. Spoilers for R2. Could be seen as one-sided Rakshata/Lloyd, but mostly friendship.

Author's note: First Code Geass fic! My chemical inaccuracy is only saved by the fact that sakuradite is a fictional substance.


Vis-a-vis

Tap.

She can't quite recall just what it is she is dreaming of; only that it is warm and it reminds her of old spices, the soft plucking of a sitar, and her homeland.

Tap-tap.

It's out of this seemingly imperturbable doze that she is in fact perturbed by flat taps replacing the sitar of her sleep. Rakshata squeezes her eyes shut tighter and hopes that the noise will fade and that she will return to her pleasant swirl of dreams. Unfortunately, the tapping (it is more like knocking, really), incessantly continues and she is forced to open her eyes. For a moment, she is caught between two worlds, as one who is dreaming well often is upon waking.

Ah, now she remembers; there's that sickly green-blue light. They are in a rotunda of cells, somewhere on the upper levels that are saved for the most pernicious of political wrongdoers. Although they all share the same white jumpsuit with brown straps, the men and women are separated by a wall of bulletproof plastic.

This wall, which Lloyd Asplund continues to tap on to get her attention.

"Rakshata! Rakshata. Raaakshaaataaaaa~"

Rakshata rubs her eyes and scowls. They have confiscated her tobacco pipe, which makes her all the more irascible upon being woken up with the absence of her nicotine. She is none too pleased. "What, Pudding Earl?" she grumbles, still far too muddled by sleep to get a good look at his face.

It takes a great deal for Lloyd, whose personality has never progressed beyond the stages of pre-teen levity, to become excited or serious. Through the plastic wall, his celadon-blue eyes are wide behind reflective glass and a bit of his hair has fallen across his brow. This expression, Rakshata notes, starkly contrasts with the half-lidded lizard's look of detached amusement that Lloyd generally exhibits.

"Gallium arsenide," Lloyd manages through a wide cheshire cat-grin. The plastic wall may be thick, but its soundproof quality has at least left the mercy of allowing the prisoners to talk to one another. She still debates on whether or not she heard him correctly.

Rakshata rolls onto her back so she is lying supine, face encased in those awful green lights. "What?"

Lloyd looks positively ecstatic. It's really quite amusing, the way it sits on his face, and his features are transformed into those of a teenager's rather than a man in his mid-twenties. "Remember at Colchester, how we were initially going to increase the Yggdrasil Drive's energy input by combining the sakuradite with nitrogen?" he asks in that nasal voice of his. "But then we realized that wouldn't work, since nitrogen has a tendency to create unstable compounds?"

"Yes..."

"Well, I'd tried some things around with the Lancelot, but then that didn't work, so then I tried them with the Guren—"

Rakshata sits up, her eyes narrowing. "You experimented with nitrogen on my Guren?" she asks dangerously. She's similar to Lloyd in the fact that she too has never been high-strung, unlike most of the people around her. She likes to see the big picture of things with an air of calm and not sweat the small stuff, but whenever she thinks of the Britannian MEC modifying her creations, Rakshata gets annoyed. Unfortunately for her, Lloyd knows how to push all her buttons. "What else did you do?"

This distracts Lloyd from his scientific epiphany momentarily. In an attempt to save himself from verbal demise, he waves his hands around flippantly and replies, "Oh, you know, the usual 'Seiten' stuff: cutting wings, new filters..."

"You added armor to my Guren."

"Yes, but it's better protected now, and it's quicker."

"The cannon was replaced."

"It was getting rusty—"

"And you added two Slash Harkens."

Lloyd sighs and picks at a nonexistent spot of lint on the front of his prison suit. "Don't you want to hear my idea?" he pouts. Ah. Now he will sulk, which Rakshata admittedly does not want to see Lloyd do for the remainder of their time alive. She has enough problems of her own, so she decides to give him the benefit of the doubt. Anything that would excite him enough to wake her up in the middle of the night has to hold some importance.

"There's not much else to do around here," Rakshata says as an invitation for him to begin, ensconcing into a lotus position and closing her eyes, imagining her precious pipe nestled between her lips. Lloyd immediately brightens at this and picks up where he left off.

"So! Sakuradite powers the Core Luminous, does it not?" he continues, holding up a finger. It is a flagrantly elementary question, so Rakshata does not answer.

"During Yggdrasil Resonance, the sakuradite conducts electricity and powers the whole Knightmare Frame, whether it be the Guren, the Sutherland, or the Lancelot. But the problem has always been that the energy runs out. The sakuradite isn't enough. But if we take into account the chemical makeup of sakuradite, and combine it with gallium arsenide..."

Rakshata's eyes fly open. "Of course. An arsenic compound," she exclaims, realization starting to dawn on her.

Lloyd nods ebulliently. His glasses slip down to the tip of his nose, but he does not notice. "Gallium arsenide has a higher saturated electron velocity and higher electron mobility than silicon..."

Despite the downers of being locked in a prison cell, suffering from nicotine withdrawal, and being woken up in the middle of the night, Rakshata finds her face lighting up. Why is it that she has never figured it out before? It's so simple!

Lloyd, perhaps sensing her dawning realization, begins to talk faster: "So the higher bandgap will make it more resistant to the heat—"

Rakshata leans over, hair spilling into her lap cutting in, "And the gallium arsenide solar cells can keep the sakuradite energy up—"

"—with solar power! Congratulations!"

Nina stirs suddenly behind Rakshata, and Rakshata throws Lloyd a disdainful glance for forgetting to keep his voice down. It is not nearly as threatening as usual, as she is still reeling in the excitement of this new discovery.

"Hnn...Rak..shata-san...?"

"Shh, Nina, go back to sleep," Rakshata whispers. Thankfully the girl does, and after a minute Rakshata turns back toward the plastic wall, a little calmer. "I'm impressed, Pudding Earl," she says, stretching like a cat out of her lotus position and working the feeling back into her legs. Lloyd offers her a whale-like grin that reminds her of when they were students at Colchester, back during a time when all they had to worry about were their dreams and not the dreams of mankind.

"Of course," he replies. "With this design any Knightmare Frame will be unstoppable." He considers, "well, not unstoppable, really, but certainly more durable tenfold, since the energy input would be increased by at least five hours..."

He's rambling a bit, which perhaps only Cecile and Rakshata would recognize as Lloyd's trademark sign that he is genuinely excited. Rakshata is again reminded of their years at the institute. They had been competitors in those halcyon days of medical cybernetics, equations, and engineering. Then at one point they had established a quasi-friendship of the sorts, Rakshata herself perhaps being the sole influence on what little social skills Lloyd has today.

She sighs, cutting into his meandering cogitations and dispelling her own, "But it will all be useless if we are assassinated."

Lloyd tries to overshadow his own personal fear of death by protesting, "You think Lelouch will grant us military impunity if we tell him we have a way to evolve mankind?"

"It's not evolution, it's progress," Rakshata replies. "Someone as brilliant as yourself should see the difference."

"It all depends on your view of humans."

"You see humans as test subjects."

"And you see them as science, so it's really the same thing in the end, no?"

She sighs again, brushing some hair out of her eyes. "Not really."

"Back to this again?"

"You brought it up, Pudding Earl."

"I see the grudge still holds," Lloyd smiles. "You owe me some pudding for last time, by the way."

Their bickering returns, but it is breathless and distracted by the discovery they share. It is the esoteric, half-hearted banter of two in the dead of night who take pleasure in knowing a great secret. They are the only two in the world to share this knowledge, but it can wait until the morning. Soon their conversation becomes punctuated with frequent yawns, and they end up calling a stalemate in the end. Despite their excitement, they lie down on the hard floors of their respective cells and try to attain sleep. Eventually, it comes.

This time Rakshata dreams of the Nobel Peace Prize, of gears and tubes and white coats, clapping hands, and of Lloyd grinning by her side.