Chapter Four

Though the facility they had made their escape from was high-security, the two test subjects encountered little resistance as they fled to the outlying city streets. The man found himself unable to keep up with the woman called C.C and in the midst of climbing a grassy knoll he sank into the welcoming carpet of vegetation. Under the moon their bloody footprints were gleaming a noxious black and thinking only of the guards that were surely on their trail he forced himself to wade into a tiny pond. C.C gave him a knowing smile as he was still catching his ragged breath, and overwhelmed by the extraordinary new sights the man could do little but savor the feeling of mud between his toes.

Is this what I've been missing? My whole world has been the interior of a cell, the tight grip of chains around my wrists and maybe the occasional corridor. But if there's so much out here- What might have been a fish brushed his ankles but that was soon proved false as the hand pulled his legs right out from under him. With a gasp of surprise he fell face first into the murky, waist-deep pond and got a mouthful of bulrushes. The texture of leafy plants gritty with dirt overwhelmed his mouth.

"Beautiful night for a swim, eh Lelouch?" The woman said smugly, who was splashing in pond as he spat out the nasty water in his mouth. He stopped trying to expel it as soon as the tangy bitterness of pond scum registered on his's the first thing I've tasted in an eternity.

He sputtered and tried again to speak. "Stop calling me that."

"Okay." She seemed to be enjoying this and cheerily pulled her long green hair into a soggy knot. "Would you prefer Zero?"

"Zero." The man repeated, an inkling of memory beginning to itch in the back of his mind. She got this endearingly hopeful look on her face and he didn't want to disappoint her. "That's a number, right?" That was apparently the wrong answer for her face fell, and before the woman could be stopped she seized his hand.

"I should have done this a long time ago."


Her eyes closed as if she had done this before, she whirled the dumbfounded man into her arms and kissed him squarely on the lips. Caught completely by surprise he allowed her to linger, but realized what he was doing and pushed the invader off him. Her company had been tolerable until now but this was the final straw. After a threatening step towards her his words came out as a dangerous hiss. "What's wrong with you? I'm not this Lelouch character you won't shut up about and I don't know what Zero is."

"Who. Who Zero is." She corrected, frustration flickering behind her eyes. After a brief examination of their hole-ridden clothes she showed the teeniest sliver of teeth in an infuriating smirk. "We're not exactly presentable, are we...follow me, and maybe this will bring it back." A cool hand brushed across the man's forehead and ruffled his ratty hair. Feeling strangely vulnerable in this strange new world the man decided that he didn't want to part ways just yet and accepted her offer. I refuse to trail behind her like a lost little duckling. He thought, matching her stride.

The woman led him down a paved path that clung to the sides of what he guessed were residential buildings until they reached a small park of some sort. In the center was a plain monument that reached proudly towards the sky, it's surface carved with elegant Japanese script.

She ran to the rock and urgently began scanning the writing. "This is Zero's grave. The names might bring something back."

The man found a place to sit on a rusty bench and noticed the carefully arranged offerings of candles and incense that decorated the grave. This Zero must have been a great man.

"Freedom...blah blah blah...savior...ah, here we go. '...coming to the aide of General Kozaki in the decisive battle.' And here...consort of the 100th Empress Nunnally vi Britannia." Something moved behind her eyes. "If you were in your right mind...that would have made you so happy."

"Nunnally..." He repeated distantly, trying to remember why that name sounded so important. As he began to rack his brain he felt a sharp sting in his upper arm and noticed with a sick feeling that it was one of the fast-acting tranquilizers they had used back in he facility. Before he could warn the woman his vision skewed dangerously and he felt his limbs fading away... theman collapsed to the ground and was unaware of being eventually passed to the hands of a retrieval squad, doomed to live out his existence as a thing subhuman.