Weapons of Mass Destruction

A Code Geass Fanfiction

By Allora Gale

Chapter 1: Shed this Skin

Lelouch was cold. It was a sickening, creeping chill that seeped into the deepest parts of him, freezing his heart in his chest. This was dread. No, this was despair. This was despair and he was finally able to feel it. He didn't have to be strong for anyone now. He could just sink into the misery that had been trying to swallow him up for months.

Nunnally vi Britannia was dead, killed by the soldiers of her own country. And with her, Lelouch vi Britannia died as well. He severed the last clinging ties he'd been keeping with his family. It was over. He was nobody now. Nothing. He might as well just die too.

He closed his hands over Nunnally's delicate little bird-boned fingers, still unable to come completely to terms with the situation. Next to him, Suzaku was crying—big, fat, wet tears staining his cheeks red. Lelouch couldn't tell if he was crying too. He probably was, but the rest of the world felt numb to him, so he couldn't be certain.

Nunnally had been shot by a pair of laughing Britannian soldiers. They'd seen them leaving. Maybe they'd mistaken her as Japanese since she'd had a low-brimmed hat obscuring her face. Maybe they just hadn't cared. It didn't matter. It was his fault anyway. He never should have left her alone.

The only reason he'd left her was because it was faster and safer to go try to scavenge food without carrying Nunnally with him. He and Suzaku had been gone barely a half hour. So much shouldn't have changed in just half an hour.

He didn't bother moving when he heard the first telltale signs of a Knightmare moving their way, the distinctive, heavy rifle fire drawing nearer by the second. He couldn't just leave her here. Better that he die with her than leave her alone again.

"Lelouch, we've got to go." Suzaku said quietly, tugging on his arm.

"You go." He murmured, not tearing his eyes away from Nunnally's face. If he ignored the gaping, bloody wound in her chest, she could almost have been sleeping.

"Lelouch -" Suzaku began.

"I said you go. There's nothing stopping you from leaving." He argued, gaining a little of his usual fire.

"You're stopping me from leaving. I'm not losing you too! Now come on, before it's too late." Suzaku snapped.

When Lelouch still didn't move, Suzaku punched him square in the face before forcibly hauling him up to his feet and away from Nunnally. From what had once been Nunnally. From what had been his little sister and all he had left in the world.

"We can't just leave her like that." He said numbly. She deserved a burial at least. He wasn't going to just leave her here to be trampled on or to rot in the middle of a Tokyo street. She was a princess of Britannia. She needed funeral processions and marble statuary memorials. She needed a national day of mourning.

But Suzaku wasn't listening to him. Suzaku never listened to him. He was always far too concerned with his own stuff and ignored all of Lelouch's stuff, which wasn't right. It wasn't right, but he didn't know how to fix it. Nunnally did though. . Nunnally had been both of their primary concerns.

And now she was gone.

Lelouch didn't know how long he let Suzaku drag him through the city. He was thoroughly disconnected with the rest of the world. It didn't even matter anymore. He was hot and tired and dehydrated, and they never had been able to partake of the food they'd gone out scavenging for. The pair of chocolate bars they'd managed to find behind the shelf in a looted convenience store were probably melting in the backpack Suzaku was wearing.

He didn't know why they were running so hard. They'd probably die within the next couple days just from adverse living conditions, let alone enemy soldiers. And they were all enemies. Suzaku wasn't sure that the Japanese wouldn't shoot a lone Britannian boy-prince, but Lelouch knew for damned sure that Suzaku was too big of a threat for the Britannians to let live.

There wasn't anywhere safe that they could go. And without a destination in mind, they were just running scared, playing perpetual hide-and-seek with armed soldiers who would probably shoot first and ask questions later. They might as well just give up.

He didn't voice his thoughts though, too scared of earning another punch from his friend. Because Suzaku wasn't the type to give up. Not ever. It was one of his best qualities, actually. Suzaku was just too stubborn to quit, which had made all of Lelouch's petty victories in the past all the more satisfying.

But he could already tell that this wasn't an argument he could win. Suzaku had his jaw clenched as he dragged Lelouch through wrecked buildings and body-littered streets. A clenched jaw meant that punches would come long before Lelouch was given the chance to change his friend's mind.

Suzaku had just whipped them around a corner down an alley when a heavy, gloved hand fell on Lelouch's shoulder. He let out startled yelp, more because Suzaku hadn't seen this potential threat than because he hadn't in his grief stricken haze.

Suzaku reacted instantly, automatically lashing out at Lelouch's captor and planting three swift punches in the man's chest and stomach. The force was enough to stagger the man back a step, but the soldier was wearing body armour and the blows did little damage.

"Run, Suzaku!" Lelouch barked, giving up the fight. The least he could accomplish with his death was buying Suzaku enough time to get away.

"Like hell!" Suzaku retorted, about to redirect his efforts to the soldier's more vulnerable knees when another man slipped out of the shadows of the alley and pulled Suzaku away.

"We've found them, Sir." The soldier holding Lelouch said into a radio in flawless Japanese.

"Thank God." Another voice said over the radio.

Less than two minutes later, an armoured jeep pulled up to the mouth of the alley and a man they both recognized jumped out of the vehicle and hurried towards them.

"Tohdoh-sensei!" Suzaku yelped in alarm as the man drew near.

"What are you doing here?" Lelouch demanded. Tohdoh was one of Japan's most capable tacticians. He should have been planning a way to counter the Britannian invasion, not chasing after a couple kids downtown. Unless . . . unless that brilliant plan to turn the Britannians around involved threatening to publicly execute him.

"I was sent by the Prime Minister. He's been worried sick about his son. And about you, Prince Lelouch. Kururugi-sama has promised his protection. We're here to bring you to safety." Tohdoh explained.

Lelouch swallowed hard over the lump in his throat. Here they were, elite Japanese soldiers sent to rescue him. Him, the son of the enemy. It was a feat his own father's soldiers had declined to even attempt. It was the Japanese that were here to protect him. The Japanese who were risking failure in the invasion to ensure that he and Suzaku were safe.

". . . Thank you." He said quietly, thoroughly broken.

"Where is Princess Nunnally?" Tohdoh asked.

"She. . ." Lelouch began, but was unable to put the horrible truth into words. Suzaku grabbed his hand, squeezing tightly and it was enough for Tohdoh to figure it out. It surprised him when the gruff man reached for him, pulling him into an awkwardly comforting hug.

"I'm sorry, your highness."

His father had never hugged him. Not even when his mother had been killed and Nunnally had been crippled. In fact, he wasn't sure if he'd ever even touched his father before. Maybe when he was a baby. He'd seen the Emperor hold some of his younger siblings when they'd still been too young to move on their own. But that was it.

It was strange that Tohdoh could hug him like this when his own father couldn't. But then, he was seeing more and more by the day that his father had a lot of shortcomings.

"Sir, we have reports of four Knightmares closing in on this location from the East. We need to evacuate immediately." One of the soldiers interrupted.

"Take Suzaku-sama." Tohdoh ordered the soldier next to Suzaku, before scooping Lelouch up like he was some kind of toddler instead of a ten year old completely capable of walking on his own. He shifted uncomfortably but didn't argue or flail when the man stood up and turned, running full tilt back towards the still idling vehicle at the end of the alley.

He watched Suzaku over Tohdoh's shoulder, looking a little outraged a being manhandled and like he was about to throw a bit of a tantrum, but his friend was making a good effort at biting his tongue instead.

He was thrown into the jeep next to Suzaku and three other soldiers, watching as the rest scattered into the surrounding ruins while the jeep executed a 180 degree turn and took off away from the impending Knightmare attack.

It was a long drive to wherever it was they were going, made even longer by everyone's unwillingness to speak. There were occasional radio check-ins with the Japanese command post in the area, but conversation within the cab was completely stunted. There were only a few silent signals from Suzaku and his friend's reassuring grasp on his hand as they sat next to each other and wondered if they would ever actually make it to safety, or if they would be blown up before they ever got the chance.

Safety had become a relative term over the last ten days and Lelouch doubted that he would ever truly be safe again.

It was late when the jeep finally stopped, and completely dark until a lone flashlight lit up next to the car and Suzaku breathed a sigh of relief.

"Dad. . ." Suzaku said, scrabbling to get his seat belt off and the door open. It only took a handful of seconds for Suzaku to get out of the vehicle and barrel straight into his father, who hugged him tightly in relief.

Lelouch followed at a more sedate pace, uncertain of his position. He knew he was at this man's mercy and he hated the feeling. But he didn't want to be alone. Suzaku was the only person left in the world that he actually cared about and he couldn't bear the thought of being separated.

"Prince Lelouch," Genbu Kururugi said politely before his gaze travelled back to the jeep, looking for the other half of the Britannian duo he'd been saddled with. When he didn't find her, the man's gaze softened sympathetically. "We'll keep you safe, your highness."

He nodded mutely and allowed Suzaku's father to clasp him comfortingly on the back of his neck before leading him and Suzaku into a small house with blacked out windows, nestled in the far countryside of Japan. He had no idea where he was, but it was probably about as safe as he was going to get.

They hadn't treated him badly—yet. In fact, the Japanese had treated him with all the dignity and respect they would have treated Suzaku. It was an almost startling difference to the way he and Nunnally had been treated before Britannia had started dropping Knightmares on their country.

But then that seemed to have a lot to do with the fact that Suzaku's mother had died in the strike that had separated them and Nunnally from the rest of the Kururugi family. Suzaku had only found out about it when they'd been reunited with the Prime Minister, and it had hit him hard. Lelouch wanted to be sympathetic, but he'd discovered that it was that woman's suggestion that had landed him and Nunnally—his crippled, blind sister—in a ramshackle old out building, more suited to holding rusty gardening equipment than royalty, for the duration of their stay as political hostages.

He'd opted for remaining silently supportive as Suzaku worked through his grief. After all, he knew what it was like to lose a mother, that particular wound still deep and fresh despite the months since his mother had been assassinated at their home back in Pendragon. He hovered in Suzaku's shadow, and his friend knew he was always there if he needed him.

On the first night they had been reunited with the Prime Minister, one of the young women who saw to the house they had commandeered had attempted to separate them. She'd claimed it was just to see Lelouch and Suzaku bathed and put to bed, but Suzaku had flipped his lid and since then no one had attempted to take Lelouch away from him. They slept together, bathed together and ate together; too afraid that being separated once would mean being separated for life. Even Suzaku didn't completely trust the adults not to hold Lelouch up as a sacrificial offering to the Britannians in return for sparing Japan.

But Lelouch knew that wouldn't work. Britannia didn't care enough about him to stop their war just to ensure his safety. If they had, they would have sent a Knight to come rescue him and Nunnally before the invasion had begun. To the Britannians, he was just as disposable as the Japanese.

He sat quietly next to Suzaku in the central command center of the quickly failing Japanese military, tucked in a corner and out of the way. They'd moved three times in the last four days, migrating to a supposedly safer location, or closer to a battle front so that Genbu Kururugi and his most trusted commanders could direct the battle personally.

That was the case this time, and even now soldiers were laying down their lives to try to protect this country from its Britannian invaders. He felt it acutely whenever someone in the command center met his gaze—the stinging, shameful guilt. He was supposed to have been their guarantee that this wouldn't happen, but he'd really been nothing more than a decoy sent to lull the Japanese into a false sense of security. He mostly kept his head down and tried not to stand out too much.

He was staring at one of the monitors showing a real-time schematic of the enemy's position over a map of the local area, thoroughly bored. They'd been told to stay there and be quiet, close enough at hand that they wouldn't be difficult to find and evacuate if the command center was compromised, but he was bored almost beyond belief. He could tell by the slight way that Suzaku was fidgeting that his friend was bored too.

So he decided a quiet commentary was the best thing he could do for his friend. "See there?" He asked quietly, pointing toward the monitors, to which Suzaku nodded. "The Britannian left flank will fall back in a moment."

Suzaku quirked his eyebrow. "How do you know?"

Lelouch shrugged, knowing Suzaku wasn't suspicious of him. "It's called the Garrus Phenk Manoeuvre. My . . . my mother taught me about a lot of Britannian military tactics. They're interesting. . . and can be used in chess."

"You and chess." Suzaku grumbled, turning his eyes back towards the monitor in time to witness the Britannian left flank begin to falter and fall back. There were a couple of excited exclamations from some of the command crew while Suzaku stared back at him in surprise. "You really knew!" He exclaimed, loud enough to earn reproving glances from a few members of the command staff.

Lelouch shrugged. He'd always been good at remembering the lessons his mother had taught him, though he'd primarily demanded the lessons in order to have a fighting chance against Schneizel in their chess matches. His brother understood tactics that he'd never even heard of before, and it had been to his disadvantage. He'd been working on remedying the problem when the rest of his world had wrecked itself.

"Dad," Suzaku called loudly, trying to draw the Prime Minister's attention.

"Not now, Suzaku." Genbu grumbled, not even taking his eyes off of the monitor in front of him.

"But Lelouch . . . he knows what the Britannians are up to. Something called a Garrus Phenk," Suzaku persisted and it was enough to draw not only the Prime Minister's gaze, but that of the rest of the command staff as well. Lelouch slouched down in his chair in an attempt to make himself smaller and draw less of their attention.

"Thanks a lot, Suzaku." He hissed under his breath as he kept his head bowed.

"Is that true, Prince Lelouch?" Tohdoh asked, regarding him with the intensity of a hawk looking at its prey.

He grit his teeth. He'd only told Suzaku because he'd looked bored. Telling the rest of them would be treason. Telling them would be betraying his country. He was Britannian. He was a Britannian prince and his mother had drilled loyalty to his country into him at every opportunity. Her loyalty to the Empire had never wavered and she had served proudly, both as an Empress and as a Knight for most of her life. There probably weren't many who were more loyal to Britannia than his mother had been. . .

And they had killed her for it.

That's right. Britannia had killed her. Britannia killed his mother and crippled Nunnally. As if losing their mother hadn't been enough, they'd both been sent here after the assassination to suffer as hostages. And then Britannia had killed his sister as well. Why was he trying to protect them? Why was he hesitating after seeing all of the carnage the Britannians had left in their wake?

He swallowed nervously and slid off his chair, cautiously closing the distance between himself and the nearest desk. He swiped a handful of pens out of the pen holder and began laying them out across the surface of the desk in a rough replication of the battle positions on the screen. "Japan is blue pens. Britannia is black pens. This is what's going to happen." He explained as he began moving the pieces across the desk. "They'll have a hidden force, probably a small strike team of Knightmares since you don't have much that can counter them, hidden somewhere around here to close in behind the soldiers who go after the collapsing flank."

When he was done with his explanation, Tohdoh squeezed his shoulder encouragingly and went about setting up a counter to the manoeuvre Lelouch had just explained, should it actually be what was happening. Lelouch tried not to throw up.

He was fully aware of what he'd just done. He'd just sealed his fate. He'd betrayed his country. Switched sides. And in doing so, he'd just made himself into a tool for the Japanese to use against Britannia.

He was going to be used as a pawn again. But it was better to be used as a weapon against the nation that had betrayed him than as a mere bargaining chip by his father. And it was better than being alone on the streets fighting for his survival.

He sat back down in his seat, tucking his hands under his legs so he could hide the way they were trembling. Suzaku grinned at him, no doubt pleased that they'd be gaining an advantage on the enemy because of him. But there was no way Suzaku would understand his turmoil right now, or the way he felt about betraying one of the foundations of his upbringing.

So instead he sent Suzaku a grin in return and focused on not giving too much away. He didn't need to burden his friend with any more than what was already on his plate. Suzaku's country was being invaded and his mother had just died, along with Nunnally. He didn't need to worry about Lelouch too.

Suzaku didn't bother knocking before he opened the door to Lelouch's room. He never did and Lelouch hadwas yet to yell at him for it, so he let himself in, making a beeline for the desk chair as Lelouch slammed a sleepy hand down on his alarm clock.

"Morning, Lelouch."

There were tears running down Lelouch's cheeks again, but Suzaku didn't comment on them, instead glancing away to give his friend the time to make himself semi-presentable. He was used to it by now. Lelouch didn't sleep well. He woke up crying about half the time, but it was better than the nights he woke up screaming. That had happened on more than one occasion, drawing frantic bodyguards into the room at the thought of it being an assassination attempt.

They were still on the run, after all. The Japanese government was still in hiding eight years after the initial invasion. It was a long and drawn out affair, but they wouldn't be giving Japan over to the Britannians without a fight. They'd make the Britannians bleed for daring to try to take Japan.

So the possibility of an assassination attempt wasn't completely out of the question. His father was a very wanted man, though Lelouch was not, as his existence had been kept more or less secret over the years. Those who knew of his existence knew him only by the name Kururugi Lelouch, and those who knew the truth of who he really was were either dead or sworn to secrecy.

Kururugi Lelouch. His adopted brother. Lelouch hadn't been able to shed the Britannia name fast enough. When his father had offered to adopt the displaced prince, Lelouch had only been too quick to agree and sever that tie with the people he had once called family.

"Time?" Lelouch grumbled sleepily.

"Five thirty." He answered, knowing that his friend was about to groan and roll over in disgust.

"Another hour." Lelouch groaned, burying his face back in his pillow.

"Dad wants to meet with you."

That was enough to get Lelouch's attention. He cracked open his eyes, violet irises squinting at him in the early morning light. "At this time?" The ex-prince asked disbelievingly.

Suzaku chuckled. "He'll get grumpy if you take too long. He's waiting for you in his office."

Lelouch let out a heavy sigh, half exasperated and half resigned before shoving back the covers of his bed and sitting up, running a hand through his dishevelled hair. "Did he say what it was about?"

"Nope." Suzaku said cheerfully, earning a grimace from his friend.

"You're way too happy for this early in the day." Lelouch grumbled as he reluctantly dragged himself out of bed.

Suzaku got up to give Lelouch the privacy to dress on his own and was almost out the door before he finally relented and revealed the primary purpose to his early morning invasion. "Oh, and Happy Birthday, Lelouch."

Lelouch froze, pajama shirt pulled halfway over his head as he glanced toward the calendar hanging on the wall. Lelouch had forgotten it, but he always did. There were only two birthdays that Lelouch celebrated; Suzaku's and Nunnally's. The latter of which was less of a celebration and more of an excuse for Lelouch to show the grief that still haunted him every day.

"Thank you, Suzaku." Lelouch said quietly enough that he almost missed it before going back to stripping off his sleeping clothes.

Suzaku shook his head but finished closing the door and let the prince have his privacy. He hadn't bought Lelouch a present for his birthday mostly because he knew it would only have infuriated him. The few times that he had bought Lelouch something for his birthday, he'd later found the gift unused and barely unwrapped in the top of Lelouch's closet.

Lelouch preferred if they could just spend the day together instead. Which, this year, they probably could. After Tohdoh-sensei's lessons of course. But Lelouch had those too, so they'd still be doing something together. It just wouldn't be very fun for Lelouch who, despite eight years of Tohdoh's harsh training regime, still hated exercise with a passion. It wasn't like he couldn't do the exercises that Tohdoh assigned to them, it was just that Lelouch would rather not.

Lelouch emerged from the room a few minutes later, dressed in a dark blue hakama over a matching coloured kimono. Suzaku still remembered that when Lelouch had first come to Japan, he'd refused to wear the traditional Japanese clothing, refusing to be seen in public walking around in what he'd called 'nothing more than a glorified bathrobe'. By now, Lelouch had been forced into the clothes so many times that they seemed almost more natural on him than Britannian clothes. However most days, when he didn't have to meet with the Prime Minister, Tohdoh, or anyone that he didn't kind of respect, Lelouch wore western styled dress slacks and a button down shirt.

"Dad really didn't say what he wanted?" Lelouch asked.

Suzaku had long since gotten over how weird it was to hear Lelouch refer to his father as 'Dad'. But it was something the Prime Minister had insisted on and a condition to which Lelouch had complied. Lelouch had once told him that since he hadn't been allowed to address his real father as 'Dad' anyway, he really didn't mind it.

"Probably just to wish you Happy Birthday." Suzaku shrugged.

"At this hour?" Lelouch asked again, still grumpy about the wake up call.

"Your alarm was going off anyway."

"I was going to hit the snooze button until six at the very least." Lelouch griped.

"Well, you're up now. No use dwelling on it." Suzaku shrugged again.

Lelouch scowled but remained silent for the rest of the way to their father's office. Suzaku slipped inside with Lelouch when he was bade to enter, more because he wanted to spend breakfast with his father than because he was curious about what the man wanted to say to Lelouch. His father didn't seem to mind the intrusion, more than used to the fact that they were nigh inseparable and had been since the invasion.

"Good morning." Genbu said, slightly surprised. "I didn't expect you quite so early, Lelouch."

Lelouch sent Suzaku a withering glare. "Good morning, Dad. Someone told me you wanted to see me right away."

Suzaku smothered a chuckle by helping himself to a piece of toast from the platter laid out on one corner of his father's desk.

"You two still know how to push each other's buttons, I see." Genbu said good naturedly.

"It's a talent Suzaku has honed to an art form." Lelouch grumbled. "Was there something you wanted to speak with me about?"

Genbu paused for a moment, eyes meeting for a moment with Suzaku's before turning his attention back to Lelouch. Suzaku tensed; this probably wasn't something he was going to be pleased to hear.

"It is your birthday, Lelouch." Genbu explained as he slid a small velvet box across the desk towards the prince. Suzaku wondered what the hell he was doing. His father knew Lelouch's attitude towards birthday gifts. "And it's an important birthday. You're eighteen now. An adult. I wanted to talk to you about your future."

Lelouch took the gift, gracious enough that he knew how to accept them, if not use them, and bowed his head over it as he went about unwrapping it as a means of avoiding their father's gaze. It was a watch. A pocket watch, to be precise. It was a tradition in their family. Young men on the cusp of adulthood were always given a watch. Lelouch's was shiny and new and clearly expensive. It was markedly different from the family heirloom Suzaku would receive in a few months, but it was still a good gesture. Lelouch was still one of them. Family.

"You've been slowly taking on more and more responsibility over the last three years. You're in charge of your own spy network at the moment, with Britannians you've won over to be sympathetic to our cause, and half-Britannians you've placed in important positions in Britannian society. It's been very good work, Lelouch. And -"

"Dad . . . " Lelouch interrupted. "Kururugi-sama," Lelouch corrected himself, finally looking up from the watch. His jaw was clenched tightly, so Suzaku knew that he didn't really want to say what he was about to say. "I am not your son. I am a tool in your arsenal. One that you've shaped and cultivated over eight long years. You don't need to win me over with gifts and speeches. I owe you my life and you've been nothing but kind to me since you took me in. Just tell me what you want me to do."

Genbu was quiet for a moment, hands clenching into fists briefly before he let them relax. "I don't think of you that way."

"Regardless, it's what I am. I am the son of the enemy. Without your constant protection, it would only have been a matter of time before someone killed me. Your advisers and command staff only went along with you taking me in because they expected me to be useful later. And I'm willing to be useful to you. So tell me what you want me to do." Lelouch explained.

Suzaku shifted awkwardly. He'd always known that Lelouch had held himself slightly apart from the rest of the family, but he'd thought it was because it felt awkward being the only Britannian. He didn't know it was like this. He didn't know that Lelouch had been holding himself apart because he thought he didn't actually belong.

Lelouch was his brother. He didn't care that Lelouch had once been a prince of Britannia. All that mattered was that they had grown up together as brothers. And he knew his father felt the same way about Lelouch. To Genbu, Lelouch was a son, not just some weapon they were waiting to bring to bear on the enemy.

That didn't mean they didn't have great hopes for Lelouch. Lelouch was a genius after all. He could keep up with Tohdoh, even give the General a run for his money, in terms of strategy. He could charm almost anyone into giving him the information he needed. And he always knew just what to say or do in order to get his way.

Lelouch would be an incredible weapon against Britannia. The same way Suzaku would be an incredible weapon against Britannia thanks to his superior piloting skills in the Burais and his martial arts skills. Just because he'd be useful didn't mean they didn't love him.

"You'd better wear that watch, boy." Genbu finally said, leaning back in his chair to level a disapproving frown at Lelouch. "I wouldn't give something like that to just a tool in my arsenal."

"Yes . . . Dad." Lelouch said, their father's steadfast stubbornness enough to put a crack in Lelouch's resolve. Suzaku could understand that. Lelouch wanted to be a part of their family, even if he didn't think he deserved it.

There was a long minute of silence between them as Genbu mutely examined his adopted son. Finally, he sighed. "Tell me what you want, Lelouch. I won't force you to serve if you don't want to."

Lelouch hesitated, toying with the pocket watch in his lap before finally nodding to himself and meeting their father's gaze. "I want to destroy Britannia." He said firmly. "And I'll do whatever you need me to do to make it happen."

"Even if it means leaving here and infiltrating Britannian society?" Genbu asked.

"Yes." Lelouch answered immediately. "You want me to become like one of my spies?"

"Your heritage gives you the unique opportunity to recruit people who wouldn't otherwise be sympathetic to our cause." Their father explained.

"Do you have a particular target in mind?" Lelouch asked. Suddenly it wasn't about whether Lelouch belonged or not, or whether he was being used. Lelouch had regained the scheming spark in his eye that meant he was interested in his work.

Genbu reached inside his desk drawer, pulling out a manila folder which he slid across the desk to Lelouch. Lelouch snatched it up immediately, flipping it open for all of half a second before tossing it back onto the desk. Suzaku cocked his head and glanced at the photo of the man inside the folder. He'd seen him a few times on the television. He was a high ranking military officer in the Britannian army.

"Are you serious?" Lelouch demanded incredulously. "Jeremiah Gottwald? He's the leader of the Purist Faction. He hates the Japanese."

"He used to serve on your mother's Royal Guard. We have intel that he still feels guilty about her death." Genbu explained.

"Good. I hope it eats at him for the rest of his life." Lelouch growled. "Did you forget that he just joined Clovis' Royal Guard last year? Since then, the Purist Faction has gained even more power and has become even bolder. They're practically dictating policy to Clovis now."

"Which is precisely why we need him on our side."

Lelouch huffed before slumping back in his chair and burying his face in his hands for a moment. It was Lelouch's thinking posture. When he didn't need to guard his thoughts, this was how he sat.

"If he recognizes me for who I am, it's likely he'll tell Clovis that I'm still alive. If Clovis finds out I'm alive . . . they'll take me back to Pendragon." Lelouch said slowly.

"So tell him not to tell anyone." Suzaku grumbled. He'd seen Lelouch work on people. By the time he was done with them, they were practically putty in his hands.

"It's still risky." Lelouch countered.

"I know it's risky, Lelouch." Genbu said. "But we really need someone with access to power right now."

"I'll do it, of course." Lelouch said. "But I want the freedom to do it my way."

Several of Lelouch's previous recruitments had been done under the supervision of Mori Akihito, Japan's lead intelligence commander. Mori had never been exactly pleased with having to deal with the Prime Minister's clearly Britannian adopted son, and had butted heads with Lelouch more than once.

"That's fine. I trust you." Their father said.

Lelouch paused, glancing down in embarrassment. "Thank you." He said softly before clearing his throat. "Was there anything else?"

Genbu shook his head and Lelouch nodded stiffly. "Then, if you'll excuse me, I'll go get started on this." Lelouch said, scooping the folder up before heading for the door.

Suzaku watched him go, somewhat in surprise. Lelouch hadn't even eaten anything. But then again, Lelouch ate like a bird, so it probably wouldn't affect him much.

His father sighed. "Lelouch is still as stubborn and distant as always. 'I am not your son.' Che. What the hell does he think I've been raising him for?"

"He's just scared of getting close to people." Suzaku hedged. It had been eight years. Lelouch should at least trust his father by now.

"Not to you."

"That's different. I'm the only one left that was with him before Nunnally . . . " He tried to explain. It was a bit of a heavy burden knowing that he was the only person tying Lelouch to this life. That he was the only person Lelouch cared enough about to fight for.

"Keep an eye on him, Suzaku. I'm willing to let him do things his own way, but Gottwald is dangerous. Especially to Lelouch. I don't want to lose him."

"Sure. Does that mean I'm supposed to help him?" Suzaku asked. Usually they tried to keep him out of Lelouch's official duties. His presence wasn't exactly secret to the Britannians, but they didn't know what he looked like. All they knew was that Genbu Kururugi had a son that they were grooming to become the next leader of Japan.

"I'm sure you'll find a way to weasel your way into his operation. You usually do."

Suzaku laughed sheepishly. His father wasn't exactly supposed to know about that.

AN: So this is the new idea that wouldn't leave me alone. Let me know what you think. ^.~


Beta'd/revised August 27, 2012 by Kasai no Kage