Five Things Lelouch Learned from His Mother…
Women can be heroes.
Marianne often watches Lelouch, Nunnally, and Euphemia play in the gardens. Sometimes they play house, or Emperor and Empress. Other times they play 'Rescue the Princess', where a Prince would come with his loyal knight to free the imprisoned girl. Lelouch never objects when Nunnally or Euphemia wants to be the knight instead of the princess. After all, his mother was a knight - the best knight.
He never worries about Kallen's ability to fight, despite the muttering of some of the Black Knights.
Love is not expressed in words.
Marianne did not tell her children that she loved them. Words are cheap in the imperial court. Instead she makes careful arrangements demonstrating how much she cares. Despite her unpredictable schedule, she sees them on every Christmas without fail. On their birthdays there's a special treat waiting at their bedside when they awaken. She invents new games for them to play and leaves books for them to read. Even when she isn't there, there's something to remind them of her.
He shows his love with his actions: a special meal, a gentle touch - or pushing someone away to save them.
Leaving is sometimes more important than staying.
They had nursemaids and governesses not because they needed to be disciplined, but because Marianne often had to leave. Lelouch grew up seeing his mother for a few days before not seeing her for a week. Her comings and goings were erratic, but a constant part of his routine. It became natural.
He thinks nothing of leaving Nunnally for hours or days to be Zero.
Rules are made to be broken.
Empresses are not meant to be common born, ever. Knights might be, but never the Rounds. Marianne breaks rules into pieces by merely existing. She brings her Knightmare on palace grounds to defend her children and argues with other Empresses in public.
He never worries about breaking the rules to skip class, gamble - or start a revolution.
The path to victory is paved in blood.
Lelouch learns his mother's body count in school, pouring through books when he is supposed to be in class. The Britannia history is carved in his very bones, but looking at it from an outsider's point of view is interesting. It is here that he learns the names of his dead uncles and aunts, cousins both distant and near, killed so that Charles zi Britannia might gain the throne. Many of them were killed by his mother's own hand.
His hand is surprisingly steady when he pulls the trigger to end his brother's life.
…And One Thing He Didn't
When his mother dies, Lelouch is alone. His sister is catatonic; his siblings are silent, awaiting their father's decision on fate of the remaining vi Britannias. He lashes out in rage, only to be sent far from home. There he tries to be brother, father and mother to Nunnally, determined his sister would never be alone. Nunnally would want for nothing. If she were to ask for the moon, her brother would find a way to give it to her.
His final act is to give her Suzaku, to watch over her in his place.
(He never learns that one person cannot take the place of another.)