Title: The Immortal Witch's Associate
Disclaimer: Code Geass is the property of Sunrise
Credit: Immeasurable thanks to the talented Laerkstrein for beta reading
Warning: Alternative Reality
Timeline: The ending of the last episode and beyond
Summary: Contrary to the official records, the youngest emperor in the Britannian history did not repose in his mausoleum
Author's Note: This fanfic uses British English (some spelling and punctuation differences, such as 'travelling' instead of 'traveling' and single quotation marks for normal speech)
The story can be read independently or as a prequel to my other fics, Zero of Britannia and Oh, Really?
Wold = A tract of open rolling country (especially upland)
Simoom = A violent hot sand-laden wind, mostly appearing on the deserts of Arabia and North Africa
The oil on canvas painting, presented in a gold-gilded frame, had just been delivered to the palace this morning. Tomorrow, it would be relocated in the Hall of Portraits, together with the pictures of the previous emperors and empresses; yet, for now, it was held erect by a stand midmost the Emperor's bedchamber. The artist's mastery with his brush was unquestionably first-class — clad in immaculate white royal attire befitting for an emperor, Lelouch vi Britannia gazed benignly at every beholder of his portrait.
He would not look at anyone this way in reality, C.C. mused. The real Lelouch never had the time to spare just for something as insignificant as staring. Not when he had still been a student of Ashford Academy, while part-timing as a hero who saved Japan from tyranny. Not when he had become an emperor who ruled the world.
C.C. left the canvas and approached the armoire. This side of the room was walled with mirror from floor to ceiling, enabling its owner to see his full reflection from head to toe. It was behind this enormous mirror that the emperor's wardrobe lay.
She slid the mirror door open. It felt cold under her touch, albeit the frigidity was quite different from that of the wintry snow. It was closer the sort of chill she had experienced in the World of C, when Marianne's gaze had fallen upon her, for the witch had defied Charles' wish by siding with the eleventh prince.
C.C.'s ageless orbs of jade settled their gaze at one particular robe. She trailed her fingers along the smooth fabric. Tomorrow, this immaculate white garment would be saturated with carmine. Tomorrow, Suzaku's — no, Zero's — sword would pierce through it. Tomorrow, the tyranny would end. Tomorrow, the nations across the globe would rejoice. Tomorrow, the Demon Emperor would be no more.
To reverse the future from black to white, the ninety-ninth emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire must fall.
Ah, yes … Lelouch. He had been an amusing Geass receiver, possibly one of the best she had encountered during her centuries of life. He had manipulated those around him more than she could have calculated. He had yet to fail her expectation.
Must everything end tomorrow?
C.C. repressed her sigh. She was a witch — not in the sense of one who could turn a frog into a goose with a single abracadabra incantation, but an entity to whom no one could truly appeal in the name of anything high or low. The untrammelled, despicable power of Geass had taken her beyond the clutch of Age and Time by the way of loneliness. Nonetheless, even with such tremendous power at her disposal, there was nothing she could do to cancel the Zero Requiem; the nature of the affair lay beyond the Geass' power of meddling.
Within her, she perceived a soul who knew neither restraint nor fear, yet struggling with itself; surely, to such an unlawful soul, a happily-ever-after life was something unreachable. It was a nightmare; yet, it was a nightmare of her own choosing, and she would be loyal to her choice.
In order to grasp things with my own hands, I have lived up hitherto by calmly hurting others. Yet, what has been left behind in these hands of mine is nothing but solitude.
The taps of her shoes against the marble floor echoed the loneliness in her heart. Amidst the din of the palatial residents' various activities, the commodious space of the emperor's bedchamber made C.C.'s desolation multiply by the second. Thence, she decided not to linger.
She walked the length of the hallway from the emperor's chamber to the suspension corridor that bridged the main palace and the annex buildings. Pacing the rows of golden pillars of, C.C. looked at the garden below through the tunnel walls of clear glass. She remembered that once, following a horse-riding session with Lloyd, she questioned Lelouch in regard to his determination for the Zero Requiem. Suzaku had been there with him, standing next to a cupola-style gazebo by the lake.
She would not see any of them tomorrow … or the days after that.
Rather than bearing witness to his execution the next morning, she took refuge in the royal chapel. The confinement of the perpendicular room gave her a temporary solace. Kneeling, she folded her hands in a prayer, letting the sunrays that perforated through the arched stained glass window illuminate her tears aglow.
Would it be a sin if a little bird that has tired itself by beating about the immovable wires of its cage — a cage called 'Immortality' by name — is athirst for companionship?
When the jubilant clamour of the mob, modulated in triumphant discords, filled the streets outside, she knew that the Zero Requiem must have ended with a success.
Today, as the palatial residence prepared the emperor's funeral, C.C. slipped away from the imperial palace, stowing herself away in a food delivery van. The dress of a commoner draped her body and a small travelling bag occupied her hand. She was no longer the emperor's counsellor, Zero's partner-in-crime, Lelouch's woman or the possessor of whichever title the others used to bestow on her.
After hopping off from the food delivery van, C.C. took a bus to the countryside. Her destination was so remote that the last bus stop covered no more than two-thirds of her itinerary. Even so, she did not mind continuing the rest of her journey on foot. It had been quite a while since she had undertaken a long distance; life in the palace had denied her of such a chance. Besides, the scenery transition from the skyscrapers to thatched-roofed cottages became a feast to her eyes.
The sky overhead was so blue and serene. The air was far purer than the vehicle-populated capital city. The waft of breeze caressed her sun-kissed cheeks. It would have been perfect if she could travel lighter, without carrying Cheese-kun in one hand and her suitcase in the other. Nevertheless, one couldn't have everything in life. Heavily she tugged on, passing the feathery summits of the wild floras along the way. Beyond the screen of foliage, the gentle ray of the sun pelted down and the bumble bees danced round each other in mid-air.
Yonder, from south west to north east, ran the wolds that comprised a series of low hills and steep valleys underlain by calcareous rocks. Before them, stretched a field of gold sheaves that trembled in the vernal zephyr. Whether those breeze-swayed stalks of barley cheered for her or mocked her at their leisure, she could not tell. She denied herself any rest before she heard the sound of the lapping water from a nearby stream.
Squatting amidst the moss-covered rocks, she gathered her palms to scoop some water and brought it up to her mouth. Britannian water tastes good, she deemed as the invigorating liquid relieved her throat from thirst. There could be no way of telling what sort of country and timeline she would encounter next. Water might be malodorous or, worse still, it could be a rarity.
Next, she opened her bag and retrieved a disposable lunchbox. Five slices of pizza nestled within it, cold and their mozzarella cheese topping no longer melting. Pizza, of course, had been her most favourite meal at this timeline. All the same, she was excited to see the prospect of what kind of food would be her favourite treat in the future.
As the last chunk of pizza had gone, C.C. watched her long shadow fall to the water's edge, soon to be dispersed by a surfacing trout of which arching body dappled with the shards of sunlight. This reminded her of the journey she was meant to take — the plight her own lips had solemnly enunciated.
Resuming her itinerary, C.C. let her two little feet carry her across a sea of green verdure, a treasure of the fertile Britannian soil. Here and there were silver threads where the clear rills coiled in small rivulets through the countryside. It was not until she had long passed the end of a barn that her ears caught the tap of hooves and the groan of wheels from behind. C.C. moved to the side of the narrow pathway, giving the approaching vehicle enough room to pass by.
'Hey, lass, want a lift?'
The driver harnessed his two horses and the cart behind their reins halted. Despite his hay cargo, the man seemed too frail to be farmer; he even wore a vest and a shawl in such a mild weather.
C.C. scrutinised her adversary, considering the offer. The man appeared to be in his late thirties. The eyes under the canopy shading of his straw hat bore no malevolence; yet, her half a millennium experience in life had taught her not to judge a book by its cover.
If the worst comes to the worst, she assured herself, I can still defend myself against one man.
She thanked him and settled atop the hay-loaded wooden cart. The loftiness of the cart proved to be challengeable climb for an ordinary girl. For a knightmare pilot, however, this was no longer a valid argument. The only precaution she needed while climbing was to ensure that the gun, fastened on a garter underneath her voluminous skirt, would not thud against the wood in order to avoid suspicion. She threw her plushie doll first, followed by her suitcase and, at last, herself.
'Where are you heading to?' asked the cart owner genially.
Measuring the timbre of her voice to sound neither too genial nor too standoffish she stated, 'Aberdovey.'
'My home is in a different direction. I can only carry you as far as the Pomparles Bridge, which is about a mile's walk from your destination.'
'That's all right. Thank you.'
Trying to be friendly, he asked her again, 'Got relatives there?'
'Something like that.' This time, she added finality to her tone so as to let the driver know better than to pester her with more questions.
They arrived at a wider pathway flanked by verdant leas and heathers in a matter of minutes. Resting her head on the yellow plushie, with her braided hair spilling on the hay, C.C. watched the procession of white clouds silently drifting away. Soon, her mind wandered to the long path of life she had trodden thus far.
Cognisant though she was that there was no merit it nursing the aggrieved sense of her immortality, some questions remained unanswered. Back in the 1600's, why had the nun — that most dear yet most dreadful nun — given her the power of Geass and appointed the young orphan as her successor? Was it forlornness? Was it a punishment?
Immortality was a strange thing, in which time, places and people became the wardens who guarded her with vigilant accord, with an air of seclusion, with threats, but no real potency to harm her. Life had always clung to C.C. ever since, as though it had been protecting its own deathless soul. She had been crushed by water pressure, burned at the stake, subjected to the guillotine, enclosed in an iron maiden, and stabbed by spears. Nonetheless, no matter assassination method she had been exposed to, her ageless body obstinately refused to perish. Hence, she had turned into a creature imprisoned within the very freedom of her power.
With her old Geass, one glance had been all she needed to get men tremble with desire. There had been once a time when she basked in the affection her suitors showered her. Then, there had been a time when it all became too much. Any form of love sickened her. Caring for others could only hurt, because mortality took her friends and foes in its stride and she would be left alone. Nevertheless, there had also been a time when she involuntarily revived the long-buried affection within the cells of her body … and that time was not over yet.
During the span of half a millennium, C.C. had played a significant role in aiding rebellions, war of independence, freedom from slavery, religious conflict solutions, racial dispute settlements and countless other affairs. She had entered into contracts with numerous people over her lifetime, but none of which could reach the point of taking on her immortality. In consequence, none of these Geass wielders' death deeply concerned her. None except the ninety-ninth emperor of Holy Britannia. Just as other mortality in the world, his own should become a part of the statistics instead of enervating her to such a depth, and yet…
Lelouch vi Britannia was unlike any other. Not only did he not resent her for bestowing him the Geass, but he also proved that Geass did not necessarily bring loneliness. C.C. had originally planned to pass the 'Code' to Lelouch. This way, she would lose her original Geass, ability to bestow Geass on others, immunity to other Geass, and, above all, ages of endless life. Yet, the days she had spent with Lelouch opened her eyes. It was not a Grim Reaper that she truly needed, but a companion, someone to share immortality with. The law of attraction definitely worked in a strange way, far stranger than alchemy and metaphysics.
To Lelouch, I am his shield; Suzaku, his sword; Nunnally, someone to protect and, therefore, not to be used as a means to acquire his purpose. Although Lelouch didn't even inform Nunally or Suzaku of this plan, he did this out of necessity rather than sympathy, C.C. reminded herself. She did not worth more than his sister or best friend. She was a chess piece in the game he devised — something that could be cleared off the board for the price of the king's victory.
In spite of her awareness to his nature, her lips curved upwards.
The westward course of the sun escorted the itinerary of the witch-ensconced cart and its driver. After fifty good minutes had rolled by, they reached a forked road, where the farmer pulled the harness so that his horses skidded into a halt. 'Here we part, lass. I'm taking the right pathway. If you take the left one and continue for about a hundred and sixty yards, you'll arrive at the Pomparles Bridge.'
C.C. thanked the generous man, hopped off, and then walked along the instructed route.
The so-called 'Pomparles Bridge' was a quintuple arch bridge of stone with occasional moss nesting on its masonry. The dust accumulated over the far-seeing strides of time had permeated its originally cream colour into bistre. Underneath the bridge, ran a river like a turquoise ribbon.
Alone again, she thought as she found herself surrounded by silence, save for the sound of the lapping water. Living for centuries meant that she had been accustomed to spend her time in solitude from time to time, and the irrevocable sovereignty of circumstances had taught her to find comfort even in loneliness.
Ah, quietness. Just like the moments I spent with Lelouch.
One of the things that transpired between partners was the ability to share long silences that often stretched into protracted hours of unknown, reasonless felicity. Neither would break the silence unless a grave matter arose. Perhaps this was the main reason why the genius who once had sat on the throne of the global imperialism chose a witch over a dextrous knightmare pilot with admirable loyalty, a skilful politician with royal blood who did not mind with polygamy or an adorable classmate who would still have been deeply in love with her father's murderer had life not been robbed from her. It was not her looks that made C.C. prevail over Kallen, Kaguya or Shirley in Lelouch's eyes. C.C. was well aware that he would not have chosen her to be at his side had they not shared a common purpose.
On the eve of the Zero Requiem, it was C.C. who dispelled the silence in the emperor's private chamber. 'Lelouch, remember you promised to fulfil my wish back when we made a contract?'
She did not fail to notice him tensing, but when he spoke, no word from his mouth was shaken. 'So long as I can do so without affecting the Zero Requiem, I will.'
A thin smile graced her lips. 'Good,' she remarked, 'As a matter of fact, my new wish won't hinder your plans.'
That had been her last conversation with Lelouch. She avoided breakfast with him the following morning, as she did not trust herself enough to see his face without faltering her resolution.
The current C.C. had begun to feel fatigue on the soles of her feet when she caught sight of Aberdovey. It was pretty much a meadow of which green blades of grass merrily danced beneath the darkening clouds. The wind grew stronger. Still, the prospect of rain did little to deter her from taking a side route. There was a promontory by the sea, and she trod her way up to the land's end to cast one last glance at the country that had hosted her for the last couple of decades.
The teeming isle nearby was flocked with fawn-coloured edifices and, under the shelter of their umbrellas, people moving about them looked like dots from here. This was a small, coastal town, which was the remotest part of Britannian northern region. The townsfolk's modus vivendi might be one step behind that in the capital city Pendragon, but it still reflected the typical Britannian way of life.
It was not the first time she articulated the word. As a matter of fact, she had mentioned it each time she needed to forsake a certain life. There always were new places and new eras to explore, for immortality did not permit her to linger in one perpetual home without inviting public suspicion.
C.C. would have loved to linger a little longer, but a blink of blue-white light pierced down the grey sky, bright and thunderous, and it was soon followed by an earth-shattering holler. Overhead, seagulls sped their wings, eager to find shelters against the gusts of the howling squall. The lumps on the scudding clouds clotted more pronouncedly. There could only be one meaning for this: Storm would come howling in and rake the earth with shrieking winds and sheets of rain. Hence, the girl spurred her legs towards her destination.
When, eventually, C.C. set her foot at Aberdovey, the celestial disc had gradually declined to the horizon and the vault of heaven had blushed scarlet, adorned with streaks of gold. The weather was gentler here than by the sea, albeit the terrain was soft-suffused with the previous day's rain. The traveller slowed down, caught up by the weariness from hours of walking. She terminated her journey in a flower-strewn meadow where a stone circle lay. At the centre of that circle, stood a hooded figure, his ankle-length dark cloak wallowing in the wind.
'You are late,' the hooded figure remarked, sounding neither pleased nor displeased.
The witch took no offense. The mere sound of this voice, the fact that its owner was speaking to her, put her mind at ease. He was alive. 'It took longer than expected to sneak out of the palace with Jeremiah tightening the security and large crowds gathering here and there to hail the new Zero.'
'Be that as it may, it appears to me that you count no credit for your tarry on the way here.' Every intonated syllable unravelled charisma. This was the voice that bore the authority of a ruler, of a conqueror who would not bend to the will of another.
With that, the figure stepped forward, pulling the hood that had formerly concealed his head. From it, emerged jet-black hair, a pair of amethyst-coloured eyes, high cheekbones, aristocratic nose, and lips curving downwards — the facial features that belonged to a youth in whose hands the hegemony over the nations of the world until yesterday lay. Contrary to the popular belief, the youngest emperor in the Britannian history did not repose in his mausoleum. Instead, he had stealthily travelled to Aberdovey the day before.
More of an instinct than of a deliberation, a smile flickered on C.C.'s face. 'I can't help it. It's the last day I see Britannia at this timeline.'
As though the witch's smile alone had served as enough apology, Lelouch smiled back, albeit the smile itself was cut short by a mixture of his pride and embarrassment. Giving no chance for blush to creep over his cheeks, he quickly altered to the satirical mode. He was perfectly cognisant that she had chosen such a forsaken place purely for convenience rather than hallowedness; yet, he curled his lip in a supercilious sneer and jested, 'I see that you really are a witch, opting for a stone circle to maximize your power.'
C.C. did not mind. This was the man she chose — one would not offer her a wedding ring, but gave her his companionship instead, and to her, this was more precious than all the rings in the world.
She'd had an untested theory that a Code Giver's ability to bestow Geass to more than one person meant that the Code Giver had multiple Geass abilities. In order to gain immortality for Lelouch, all she needed to do was to establish a new pact between them, to turn him into the wielder of two or more Geass powers whilst ensuring that he did not inherit the Code from her, as this would mean her instant death.
C.C.'s brow arched in disbelief when he agreed unconditionally with her proposal. His 'yes' felt like a tornado that swept away her centuries of calamity-forged mask of stoicism.
'If the theory doesn't work…' she managed to force a few words out of her throat.
He answered her unhesitatingly, 'Then I shall die as planned.'
C.C. swallowed. Hard. There had never been a single creature in existence that possessed two Geass powers without wielding the Code itself. Although she was cognisant that a failure in her plan would mean the forfeit of Lelouch's life in the new Zero's hand, she could not grasp how no shred of hesitation had laced his answer. It was, after all, unnatural for a prodigious criminal mastermind of Lelouch's calibre to trust his life in her hand completely.
'While living in the human world, you will live unlike any other — a different providence, a different time, a different life. One Power of the King will condemn you to a life of solitude. Two of such powers … well, no entity alive has ever wielded them, bar the Code Givers.' She cast him a worried look. 'Are you prepared for the unknown outcome of this second contract?'
'I am,' he answered.
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, concentrating with every sinew inside her so as not to make even the most infinitesimal mistake. The Geass symbol on her forehead glowed. Sinewy streams of electric currents connected the giver and the recipient, culminating with a bird-like image taking form in Lelouch's right eye. It was akin to his first one, only differed in colour. In lieu of red, it was blue like the illimitable sky.
Even so, the successful delivery of the second Geass failed to give her a peace of mind. Lelouch being alive and did not seem mentally disturbed were enough proof that one could wield two Geass powers, but there was no actual way to attest his immortality until Suzaku's sword pierced his chest the next day.
With trembling fingers, she cupped his cheeks and pulled his face towards hers in a deep kiss. Reciprocally, he opened himself to her, welcoming, savouring, and claiming all the same. One kiss from him bandaged her wound of loneliness — the one wound that remained fresh within her through the ages.
'You could, at the very least, worry for your safety or intent to make me take some portion of the blame should the plan backfire,' she told him as she severed their lip contact, joy brimming in her eyes of jade. Even now, the witch could never fully unravel the inconceivable mystery concealed in the emperor's thoughts and conducts. But then, it would be more feasible to incorporate three Thursdays within a week than to have someone who was as readable as an open book bear the same identity as Lelouch vi Britannia.
Now, standing face-to-face with the former emperor inside the stone circle, the ageless witch asked, 'Ready?'
He answered her not with words, but with an intense gaze. She understood what those eyes of royal purple meant nevertheless: What was the use of delaying the inevitable?
She took his hands in hers and spewed a few words of warning, 'It's nothing you can't guess, but I'll tell you anyway: It takes no more than one iota of unfocused mind to mess up the teleportation, which will likely result in your organs ending up in different dimensions and timelines.'
The witch guessed correctly that the Ashford Academy student Lelouch Lamperouge would have rolled his eyes, but Emperor Lelouch vi Britannia knew better than allow himself be degraded by such a gesture. 'Look into my eyes,' she said again, 'Follow their guidance.'
As he did so, he shared one mind with her. The grass, rocks, trees and sky all turned into a gigantic drainage that sucked C.C. and himself in a rapidly spinning motion. Together, they passed objects that assumed the shape of nebulous galaxies he frequently saw in astronomy text books. As he squinted, he saw an era of machinery in one hole and an era of primitivism in another, one different civilisation for each 'dimension'. The noises in his ears were no less deafening than the simultaneous hiss of a thousand boiling kettles, only they were multi-lingual. Along with them, a diversity of scents — from freshly baked bread to anaesthetics — filled his nose. He tried to keep his eyes open, but the riotous whirl of the scenery surround him nauseated him. As they shared one mind at that moment, she experienced what he underwent: The teenage boy had to shut his eyes, wishing it would stop, and then…
He became aware of something solid beneath his feet: The ground.
Lelouch reopened his eyes. Never in his life had he been gladder that gravity subjected him to its law once more. (It was an entirely different thing to fly inside a knightmare frame with him in full control of the machinery and to fly devoid of any apparatus with no slightest control of the situation.) Right opposite him stood C.C. in the exact position they had assigned themselves before the teleportation took place. Nonetheless, the landscape had changed. No longer could they find themselves inside the stone circle midmost the Aberdovey meadow.
In its stead, they felt the scorch of the air under the blistering sun. Around them stretched the broad, rocky surface of a valley. In the hollow of which, lay a swamp that filled the great basin of the valley from brim to brim, and reflected the surrounding hills in its bosom with as tranquil an image as if it had been there ever since the primordial time. Too still, in fact. Under the sinister splendour of the bleeding western sky, the swamp remained placid. In the deficiency of any water ripple, it was dark and profound and tar-like. Odourless. Viscous. Stagnant. Dead.
'Let's head to the other side of this valley,' exhorted C.C., pulling back the long tress of her hair as a simoom blew it to cover her face. The brush of the tepid gust against her skin made her mouth curved downwards.
Thus, the two newcomers turned towards the rocky valley. The sides of the valley were uneven but lowest on the eastern part, and hence this became their chosen route. One step after another, they climbed their way over the heap of rocks. Their shoes were not meant for hiking; thus, they had to tread with utmost care lest any of the treacherous stepping rocks should crumble and brought them to the ground — by no means should immortals be deigned invulnerable. The course of the wind opted to oppose them, blowing hard from the top to the bottom of the valley. The challenging height of the heaping rocks and the sweltering air demanded Lelouch to wipe the droplets of perspiration from his temple every few seconds. In the dearth of stamina, he breathed heavily as he toiled over the uneven ground. The power of Geass did nothing to enhance his motoric agility.
At long last, their — or, at least, Lelouch's — laborious climb came to an end. The sky in the west was a much paler gold by the time the other side of the valley came into sight. They observed the lay of the land more thoroughly at the crest of the ridge.
No tree grew there. As far as their eyes could reach, cracks covered the pallid, exsiccated ground where holes were absent. Straight ahead, overshadowed by the bulky range of the valley, stood a sandblasted buff edifice — most likely a guard post or some sort. Along its path, hundreds of people thronged, shimmering like mirages in the sun. Male and female, young and old, marched from the southern part of the valley, beset by unfamiliar fear and upheld by one purpose. Each pair of trembling hands clutched to a lump of iron ore, clinging to the metal like clinging for dear life. With every tread their bare feet made upon the sun-baked ground, a clanking sound filled the air. Their ankles were linked to one another by shackles, and they came covered with dust, with sweat, with rags. In spite of their bulbous heads and distended bellies, they were so lean in stature that their skeletal bones jutted pronouncedly from each pectoral and limb.
C.C. stared disdainfully at the miserable creatures below. It was plain to see that in this world, there was nothing so inextricably perceived as thraldom. Those people possessed no blessing but in the air that filled their lungs. On and on they endured living by the mere exertion of their determination until the day death, like sleep, stole on them and escorted their weary souls to heaven's toil-free hall.
The witch glanced sideways. From the look on Lelouch's dejected expression, it became apparent that this was not a practice he approved. He will do something to abolish slavery from this land, C.C. noted in her mind. Her suspicion was confirmed in a matter of seconds.
Out of the guard shelter, burst two men in umber military uniform, their belts attached with curling whips. Their black boots screeched the pebbles on the ground as they approached, guns poised in their hands. One of them addressed the uninvited visitors with an intimidating voice that boomed across the rocky valley. The guard's speech was no less alien than his attitudinal aspect. Nevertheless, judging from their situation, it was more than likely that he asked who they were and what business they had there.
With a simper on his lips, Lelouch swiped his hand across the breadth of his face. A crimson bird appeared in his left pupil and a lazuline bird in his right was time to test his new Geass.
'Come C.C., we have a new revolution to stir.'