Late birthday present/early holiday present for Shiro.

Lelouch returned to Tokyo from Narita by train, using the time to plan for the future. He was a little concerned about his cover story holding, but hoped that the events that had happened would distract anyone from asking him detailed questions. Leaving the train station, he turned down a familiar street, only to find that it was under construction. Much to his surprise, he ended up going through a series of detours that eventually brought him to a park that had seen much better days. Even now, years after the invasion had ended, signs of warfare scared the grassy hills. Lelouch shook his head and turned to leave, only to find himself surrounded by darkness.

"I see you have come this way at last." A male voice echoed in the darkness. "You took your time getting here, Zero."

Lelouch stiffened in shock at the address. He turned, looking for the speaker. All he could see was an old tree in bloom, its petals giving off a soft pink light. Lelouch moved towards it, certain that the speaker must be there."Who are you?"

"Someone well acquainted with the true powers of Japan." A figure appeared in the darkness a few steps behind him. Lelouch instinctively turned. The man was dressed in western clothing with a pair of sunglasses despite the darkness. "Your work at Narita was impressive, though not really living up to your potential."

Lelouch glared. "What you want?" He regarded the man carefully. From his coloring he was probably Japanese. Lelouch couldn't imagine why he'd come seeing Zero - unless he intended to join the Black Knights. And how had he discovered Zero's identity?

"I've come to make you an offer." The man advanced, and Lelouch instinctively gave ground until he found himself backed up against the tree. "Your toy is impressive but hardly the most powerful gift. I can offer you much more."

Despite himself Lelouch couldn't help but feel intrigued. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Of course you do. Your little Geass." Lelouch stiffened. The man smirked. "It's obvious to anyone who can see these sorts of things. You've done well enough with it, but you have abilities far beyond it lying untapped."

"And all I have to do is…?"

"Continue as you have. As someone formerly employed by Japan's government, I'll freely admit that having the country free would be beneficial - moreso if it comes with Britannian blood. I believe my abilities would benefit you in your cause and I'm in need of an apprentice to inherit my knowledge. It's a substantial task, and will take years to complete."

"Why choose a Britannian for this?" Lelouch to look at the Japanese man with suspicion

"You're hardly an ordinary Britannian," the man purred. He reached out and captured Lelouch's chin. Lelouch blinked. When the man gotten so close? "Frankly, potential and temperament are far more important to me than blood." His grip tightened and suddenly Lelouch found himself pushed up against the tree, unable to break free. "As well as the approval of my patron." Lelouch struggled, trying to get away, but then–

- The kiss was like fire stealing his breath, overwhelming him with the scent of blood and cigarettes. Against his will, Lelouch felt himself stop fighting, his body going limp from something he couldn't describe; the next thing he knew, his hand was screaming with pain, and then immense pleasure beyond anything he had every felt nearly made him collapse. Without realizing what he was doing, he began to kiss back, pressing up against the strange man without fear or modesty. His assailant chuckled. "You have quite a bit of passion under that façade of yours, Lelouch."

The teen flushed, realizing what he had been doing. At the same time his body was practically vibrating with power, similar to the first time he had ever used Geass. The man released him. Lelouch raised his left hand, surprised to find it bleeding where something - tree root? - had punctured it. It didn't hurt nearly as much as it should have.

"Now. We can't have that." The man grasped Lelouch's hand, running his fingers over the back. As Lelouch watched in shock, the flesh knitted itself back together, leaving only a faint scar, shaped like a star on the back of his hand. This man could heal. Geass could do many things, but it could never give Nunnally back her ability to walk…

"That's all you want? You'll teach me if I free Japan."

"Well. I might want a few other things as well." The man removed his sunglasses, revealing amber eyes. They looked up and down Lelouch's body with pleasure.

Lelouch flushed. He didn't know if he wanted to work with someone who looked at him like a meal to be devoured - but for Nunnally's sake, it would be worth trying.

He stubbornly denied any attraction he felt towards the man. The kiss had been a fluke.

"If you are willing, we will meet tomorrow night to begin your training."

"And what should I call you?" Lelouch asked.

"Seishirou. Seishirou Sakurazuka." Seishirou looked amused. "I'll see you tomorrow night, Lelouch-kun." He vanished.

Lelouch shivered a little, then blinked, realizing that the rest the world had been returned. It was true the man was unnerving, but the power he wielded also made his offer undeniably attractive. He wasn't sure yet if he would come tomorrow, but he would certainly think about it.

Seishirou watched Lelouch vi Britannia leave Ueno Park with amusement. The boy – for he was only a boy, though he had killed more than most men – was confident that he had everything under control. Seishirou knew better. The Sakura had entered his mind within Seishirou's illusion, piercing Lelouch's defenses. Once that seed was planted it was impossible to resist. Lelouch might think of not returning, but his need would call him back.

It was unfortunate that Seishirou had to choose a Britannian to inherit the position, but the invasion had destroyed many of those with the gift. Some had died in combat, others had suffered mental trauma as their land had been defiled. Still others had faded away, unable to bear the oppression of the Empire. The Sumeragi had been particularly hard hit.

Briefly Seishirou wondered what had happened to the young boy he had met years ago. Chances were very likely good that he had already died. A shame, really. The Sakura would have enjoyed feeding on his soul, as powerful as he was, and their little bet would have been an entertaining diversion. Still, one couldn't have everything. At least he had found a successor. Lelouch was old to be starting to study the arts, but he had the most potential of those that Seishirou had found. His sources indicated that Lelouch was something of a genius. If even half of the rumors spoke true, Lelouch would be ready to take over by the time Seishirou was no longer able to service as the Tree's Guardian.

Seishirou lit his cigarette and took a long drag. Besides, there was a certain amount of amusement in using one of Britannia's princes as his successor. Not to mention the seduction - mental, emotional, physical - should be fun as well. By the time they were done with him, Lelouch would be a perfect Sakurazukamori. Or he would be dead. It was that simple.

Couple notes:

- I see the Sakurazukamori position as one that must exist, but one that is not necessarily directly linked to Japan's government. Kiraya and I have a lot of headcanon where the Sakurazukamori and the Sakura are concerned, and it influences how I write Seishirou a lot.
- I can't be the only one wondering how Lelouch managed to sneak off to Narita, get back and not be questioned, right? I mean, that could hardly have all happened in a day.
- Lelouch's hand wasn't actually damaged. What he was seeing was a representation of the Sakura's invasion of his mind. Seishirou was trying to come up with an offer Lelouch "couldn't refuse" and of course he already knows about Nunnally.
- I really, really, really, like Sakurazukamori!Lelouch. It's so much fun to think about. It scares Suzaku though.
- I mostly wrote this so I could practice with my speech recognition software (XD) and to give Shiro something with Seishirou and Lelouch directly interacting. So, uh, sorry if this isn't up to expectations.