Chapter 13 - Into the Deep End
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When she had woken up this morning and headed to school to keep her secret identity in check, never could Kallen have imagined some of the things that would have occurred that day. Finding herself in a royal limousine surrounded by several of the most important people in the world was one of them.
Fidgeting ever so slightly, Kallen kept her persona in check in order to make sure she did her best not to stand out, a task made overly difficult by the fact that Cornelia seemed hell bent on making Kallen burst into flames from glaring alone. Through the orders of the oldest member of royalty that had been attending, Cornelia had declared that Lelouch would ride separately which left only herself, Nunnally and Euphemia there to have some 'quality time' getting to know Lelouch's red haired love interest.
"Kallen-san, how long have you and nii-san had feelings for each other?" asked Nunnally, her lack of sight meaning that she couldn't see the tension in the air.
Kallen breathed in as she remembered the backstory that she and Lelouch had constructed while they had been out of view and made each others clothes look as if the two of them had done something inappropriate. "I guess when we started seeing more of each other when I was inducted into the student council, that is," she said meekly doing her best to avoid eye contact.
"There there," said Euphemia in a comforting tone as she did her best to make Kallen open up a little more. "You don't have to be so timid, we won't bite."
Or at least she and Nunnally wouldn't, Cornelia on the other hand...
"So what plans do you have with my brother for the future?" she demanded, showing that she could be very protective of something she cared about when she wanted to.
"I… I can't say we've thought that far ahead," said Kallen as a small tint of crimson crossed her cheeks, more from anger than anything else. Just the thought of what Cornelia was implying wanted to make her throttle her 'love interest' with everything she had. Perhaps crushing him with the Guren would be a suitable punishment.
"Teenagers," scoffed Cornelia as she turned her head to the side to be able to look out the window. Could her brother truly be submitting to carnal urges? Needless to say she and Lelouch would be having a good one on one conversation when they got back.
She knew that their father would disapprove of this as would most of the royal family. There would be others, though, who would be glad of such a thing, knowing then that their chances of the throne would be back to where they were before Lelouch had been discovered alive and well. Royalty were given no real choice in who they wed, they were merely pawns to be used by the Emperor in an attempt to increase the country's strength. If what she had heard was true, her eldest brother was already in talks with China about the potential marriage between him and the young empress in a bid to cease the bloodshed between two of the three great military powers. Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep an eye on the merger a little more closely.
Shaking her head and getting her thoughts back on track, Cornelia turned her attention back to Kallen, who was being talked to by Euphie, the pink haired princess wanting to know every inch and detail about Lelouch that she herself didn't know about. Being the eldest around, provided that Schneizel didn't decide to pop on out of the blue like he occasionally did, meant that she was the one who had to look out for not just Lelouch but Kallen as well. Undoubtedly the media had already gotten hold of news that Lelouch had kissed the timid girl and within the hour the entire world would most likely know.
This would end up getting the girl into a lot of trouble, no matter what way she looked at it Cornelia could not see this ending well. Such a timid girl would not just end up being the target of paparazzi and harassed by those who wanted her to endorse their labels, but also terrorist cells who wanted to use Kallen as a hostage to get back against the Britannian Royal Family.
Cornelia was not blind to the dangers that lurked within the streets of Area Eleven and how the most starving of dogs could truly fight the strongest. Those who had suffered through the wars that she helped wage would find this as an opportunity, one last dying gasp to exact some manner of revenge for those they had lost. This, of course, was the most bleakest of possibilities but sadly it was also the most likely. As a result of Lelouch's foolish actions, he had put this girl at risk.
She just hoped that he knew just what he had started.
Looking at his cellphone, Lelouch scrolled through the internet and looked at the response his actions had created. Suddenly it seemed as if both Tohdoh's escape seemed like old news and the only other thing that people seemed interested in was Euphemia decreeing that Suzaku would be her Knight of Honor.
Reading the articles that didn't correspond to him, Lelouch knew that at some stage Cornelia was going to throw the Knight of Honor book in his face. Or worse yet she would choose one for him with the intent of having them watch him like a hawk and report his every move. Nunnally would soon be facing the same thing but he figured that that wouldn't come for some time as Cornelia would hopefully have her full attention on him for the time being.
While this plan was all well and good for the time being he needed to get in contact with CC sometime soon. If they couldn't arrange a meeting with 'Zero' then he'd have to figure out some other way to go about creating a union. For the moment it seemed as if the Black Knights and the Britannian Army weren't exactly on bad terms with one another, especially not after the incident down at the port. They were still enemies by any means and would remain so for the foreseeable future but hopefully with the incoming threat in the form of the former chief cabinet secretary of Japan, Atsushi Sawasaki (who by the sounds of it was bringing a good portion of the Chinese Federation army with him, he would be able to form some kind of truce with them. The only reason he knew of this oncoming attack was because they had gotten in contact with Zero, wanting to know if the Black Knights would aid them in bringing 'peace' back to Japan.
What seemed funny was that the only reason they contacted the Black Knights was that they didn't want to face Lelouch as well as Cornelia, stating that the morale of the enemy troops would be too high with so many royals on the battlefield and that Zero would even the odds. Ironic really that no matter what happened in those two scenarios Lelouch played a big role and in neither would the oncoming threat come out victorious.
The problem though was that he needed both the Britannian Army and the Black Knights to fight side by side without shooting each other in the back, show that they were both needed to help defend the country. The victory, which he couldn't see happening even in the worst case scenario, wasn't what was necessary. So long as the Black Knights participated in the fighting so that it would announce their stance in the world, showing everybody that the Black Knights weren't enemies of a single faction. Depending on how the battle was fought and won would decree just how much publicity was created indicating that the two rival factions fought alongside one another for the same cause.
While good in theory, this would take a master tactician to make work.
If everything went according to plan however, he would make it work.
Kallen would never truly classified herself as a girly girl, clothes and makeup never truly having any real meaning in a world filled with war and hatred. Had the circumstances of her childhood have been different then perhaps she too would have been different in her likes and dislikes. One day, when all the fighting came to a stop, she would be faced with a world that would be completely foreign to her. At least now however she was getting her first glimpse at it.
"Oh this would look nice on you," said Euphemia as she selected a dress from her wardrobe, holding it up for Kallen to see.
Shaking her head in rejection, the garment was replaced on the rack as Euphemia went searching for another outfit that Kallen could wear for the evening's dinner. While the non-member of royalty had thought she would be brought in for an interrogation and nothing more, it hadn't happened as of yet so she expected it to undoubtedly happen while she shared a meal with princesses and her supposed 'boyfriend.'
While she was used to playing the timid role in school (although she admitted that she broke character from time to time) she was unsure how to play the role of a girlfriend. Kallen couldn't admit that she had ever held romantic feelings for anybody and as a result she was in completely foreign territory.
The sound of the door opening got both her and Euphemia's attention as Cornelia poked her head in. "Has Lelouch come by here?" she asked with a slight pant in her voice.
"Can't say we have seen him," responded Euphie. "Not since we first got back at least."
"Is something wrong your majesty?" asked Kallen, only really adding the 'majesty' part because she was nervous.
"Lelouch seems to have gone into hiding, don't worry though, I'll find him," said Cornelia with an air of confidence before she left, closing the door behind her.
Kallen for one couldn't really blame Lelouch for going into hiding for the time being. While she knew that she would be asked a truck load of questions within the upcoming hours, Lelouch would have to live under the same roof as somebody who would force every answer out of him, one way or another.
However, for what he had put her through and would continue to put her through, he deserved every bit of it.
What one could have imagined would have been quite a talkative moment around the dinner table was mostly spent in silence, the only sound being the cutlery clinging off of the plates and the sound of chewing seemingly echoing through the hall. Cornelia's focused eyes hadn't left Kallen the entire evening, even when her sisters talked to her she hadn't averted her gaze for more than a second. Euphemia could feel the tension in the room and opted to remain silent for the time being not wanting to be the start of something she could potentially regret later on. Lelouch seemed to however not be phased by this in the slightest as he helped Nunnally with her dinner, wiping his younger sisters cheek whenever something didn't quite go according to plan.
Kallen's eyes darted across the table at her supposed 'boyfriend' and while Euphemia and Cornelia imagined that the red haired girl was picturing the perfect lifestyle, Kallen was in fact thinking of the past as opposed to the future. More specifically, the day that she and Lelouch unknowingly crossed paths with one another.
While the Shinjuku event seemed like such a long time ago it was important in that it was the first victory over Britannia that anybody had gotten in such a long time. It was the first stepping stone into the revolution that was the Black Knights and just like herself Lelouch too had played a part. What part however she was still trying to figure out.
Having been part of the student council at school she had learned from Shirley and Milly that whenever Lelouch and Rivalz vanished for a while it was because they had gone gambling on chess games. For a teenager to play competitive chess for a substantial amount of money meant that he had to have a worthwhile head on his shoulders otherwise he'd just be funding the community he supposedly hated.
Kallen still hadn't dismissed the thought that Lelouch was indeed to face behind the mask. She had no proof to back up her claim but that day when Lelouch had asked her to forget about Shinjuku kept niggling away at the back of her mind. It was a mistake on his part and she had to admit that he had done his best to negate the situation temporarily but after that there had been nothing, no contact made between the two of them outside of school which only made it more suspicious. With the two of them being part of the student council there would have been plenty of time for them to plan and plot their next move but he had just remained silent on the matter.
Another thing which also led her to believe that Lelouch was Zero was on the day that Cornelia and Euphemia had come to the school and she had desperately tried to call the leader of the Black Knights to tell him the news. No matter how hard she tried to get in contact with Zero no connection had been made until much later when the news was more or less public. Kallen may have been drawing at straws but it was something she would keep in mind in helping her discover just who Zero was. The relationship she had with Lelouch may have been faux but that by no means gave her a reason not to use the time she would be spending with him to do a bit of research of her own.
"Is the food not to your liking?" asked Euphemia from nearby, noticing that Kallen hadn't touched her meal for the better part of a minute.
"Sorry, I was just lost in thought," said Kallen apologetically as she stabbed some vegetables with her fork before lifting them to her mouth. It wasn't a lie persay but she knew that the three princesses at the table would believe that her train of thought was on a completely different line to the one she had been on. Returning to her meal, Kallen silently vowed that she would discover just what part Lelouch played in the Black Knights and just what the prince of Britannia had planned for Area Eleven.
Lelouch scrolled through the various links he had up on his internet browser as he looked upon how the world had reacted to his actions. The dinner he had shared with Kallen and his sisters had gone as well as it could had and they made sure to make their 'plans' for the following day. Afterwards Kallen had been sent home with a private escort of which Euphemia had gone along for the ride, the pink haired princess seemingly taking a liking to Lelouch's girlfriend.
A small smirk crossed Lelouch's face as he stumbled upon a website that had somehow managed to get a picture of the shocked face that Cornelia had shown when he and Kallen had kissed. A simple copy and paste ensured that that image would soon be distributed around the building next time she threatened to put him through another round of vigorous training.
The ringing of his phone snapped him back to the reality of the situation and as he noticed the name flashing upon the blue background he answered the device and placed it to his ear.
'You sure know how to cause a scene, don't you?' scolded CC on the other end of the line. 'Knowing you however means that this wasn't some pubescent act of rebellion.'
"CC, I'm going to need your help to organise something tomorrow," said Lelouch before he was cut off preventing him from continuing further.
'Of course you do,' replied CC. 'Before you go into detail however explain to me why you decided to get Kallen involved outside of the Black Knights. I can't see any real reason at the moment why you would do something like this but I have no doubt that the answer will simply astound me.'
The sarcasm leaking out of CC's voice was refreshing for the young prince who was starting to get sick of the tone that society now spoke to him in. "I needed to show Britannia that the Black Knights aren't something they should fear unless they provoke us," explained Lelouch. "I'm going to create a bridge directly between Cornelia and Zero by being the middle man."
'I'm just dying for you to tell me how you plan on doing this,' said CC making Lelouch smile. After so much time without the green haired witch he was really starting to miss her.
At least just a little.
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