Author's Note: So, while this isn't technically from the Code Geass kinkmeme, I did get the idea from it. Basically, Code Geass Disney based fics were requested and Anastasia was mentioned. After watching the movie myself, I decided to write it anyway because it was too good of an idea to pass up. Just as a warning, I am going to be playing with Marianne's character a bit from what we see in the series.
Warnings: character death, explicit sex
Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass or Anastasia, they both belong to their respective owners.
Until I Find You
Prologue: The End of the Line
Lelouch squirmed as his mother's maid finished straightening his suit, bounding away from her and back over to his mother's side. He glanced up at her, his smile disappearing when he saw that she was too busy talking with his father and Odysseus, his oldest brother. Lelouch pouted, looking around the ballroom. He wanted to go out and dance, but he wanted to dance with his mother first. She had promised that she would dance with him at least once before he was sent to bed.
Marianne hadn't been around lately, Lelouch forced to find ways to entertain Nunnally, Euphemia and himself in her absence. He wasn't able to make up the stories that she could and he didn't know what made a good fairy tale because, in his opinion, they were all quite silly. But he couldn't disappoint his favorite sisters just because he thought that the princesses in the stories were all idiots in the first place.
At a loss of what to do, he'd been listening around the palace. First at the Imperial Palace when they were in Pendragon and, later, at the Aries Villa that had been built in Japan after the first one had burned down in an accidental kitchen fire. Or, that was why he had thought that it had burned down, now Lelouch wasn't so sure.
He had been hearing a lot of rumors, the servants talking about how the empire had finally overreached itself and about how the people were finally striking back. Lelouch would have scoffed at them if he didn't know any better. Britannia was the greatest empire there was, and there was no way that she would fall, not with Schneizel and Cornelia working to assist their father. But the problem was that he did know better. He had snuck looks at pieces of the newspapers and snuck into his mother's office to look at the letters that their father had sent her.
Recently there had been trouble with something called the 'Geass Order', something that Lelouch really didn't understand. The only mention of the group had been in his father's letters and not in the newspapers. The newspapers instead focused on calling the people behind the actions against Britannia terrorists. Either way, people were threatening the stability of the empire and, therefore, Nunnally. For her sake, he had to find out about these people and watch for them.
Unfortunately, he didn't know where to start. Usually he would ask Schneizel, but his older brother was away on business in the EU. Cornelia was busy supporting one of their allies in the Middle Eastern Federation, bringing the countries together after a brutal civil war. Lelouch didn't trust Clovis enough to talk about this, Clovis was too busy chasing after pretty young girls and admiring paintings. Odysseus wasn't much help either; he would just say that it was something that Lelouch shouldn't worry about because it was grown up business. His other sisters were too young or too focused on their upcoming marriages and the adults wouldn't bother to speak with him about the matter.
So that just left him on his own and Lelouch didn't even know where to start.
He sighed, looking out over the people that were dancing as the orchestra played, resisting the urge to bounce impatiently. He was the eleventh prince of Britannia; he was trained to behave perfectly at events like these. He had to or else his mother wouldn't allow them to come. She said it ruined her public image, and that was something they couldn't afford. So, because remaining at home was for little children and Lelouch was far from a child, he was on his best behavior.
Lelouch leaned towards his mother, subtly trying to listen into the conversation. He only paid attention long enough to hear 'Vincent on the move again' when he spotted a familiar face making his way through the crowd. Lelouch smiled and forced himself to walk down the steps to meet the two coming up.
He hid a smile in the sleeve of his jacket before offering his hand to Viceroy Genbu Kururugi, trying to remain serious as he watched Genbu's son.
Suzaku, as usual, looked completely out of place at the party. His suit was too big for him, the sleeves hanging over his hands, and his hair was in its usual ruffled mess. Instead of standing still, Suzaku was nearly bouncing in place, his shoulders slumped forward.
Lelouch shook his head, grabbing his friend's arm and towing him to the side, missing the annoyed look that Genbu shot him. "Suzaku, you look like a mess!"
"Hey, I stayed inside all of today and didn't move from my chair once this…thing was on." Suzaku glared at him.
Lelouch shook his head, reaching out to straighten Suzaku's collar, giving up a moment later as he tried to get the suit to sit right. "As my knight-"
"I'm not your knight yet, Lelouch. I'm too young."
"As my knight to be," Lelouch rolled his eyes, "you have to look the part. You reflect me, remember?"
"Of course I do, Lelouch." Suzaku snatched his hand back as Lelouch went to roll up his sleeves. He glared at Lelouch for a moment more before dropping his gaze to the ground. "I don't like coming to these things. I really don't. The people stare and I feel wrong. Father says that I have to come because I'm his son, the next viceroy of Japan, but I don't want to be viceroy."
Lelouch patted Suzaku's arm, careful not to mess up his own work. "Don't worry about them, they're just stupid."
"Then why do you try to impress them all the time?"
Lelouch sighed, scrambling to find a way to explain politics to Suzaku. He finally settled on a simplistic explanation. "There are more of them then me. So, if I promise to do a few things, then they won't try to hurt me."
Suzaku's eyes widened. "Lie?"
"Not exactly. Promise things that won't hurt you." Lelouch tipped his head to the side. "They're like remora."
"Those fish that hang off of sharks. There's always a bunch of them, but they don't really do anything bad. They're just…annoying."
"Oh." Suzaku didn't seem to be calmed down; he just glanced over his shoulder at the nobles that were milling around before shrugging. "Alright then."
"Good. Now don't let them worry you. As long as you're with me, you're safe."
"At least until we get outside." Lelouch blushed as Suzaku smirked at him, ducking his head. He remembered all too well his first visit to Japan when he had been five. He had managed to get himself lost and hopelessly tangled in bushes. How Suzaku had found him was a mystery, but Suzaku had never left his side since. Despite proving that he could handle himself and that he had matured since he had been childish and naïve, Suzaku still insisted on bringing up that mistake.
"That was one time." Lelouch tried to glare imperiously at Suzaku, disappointed when it didn't work. It certainly worked on him when his father did it. He sighed and turned back to look at the dais where his mother and father were still talking. It looked like they would be at it all night, which meant that Lelouch wouldn't get that dance. And he had been looking forward to showing his mother what he had learned. Lelouch might not be able to ride or fence like Marianne, but he was sure that he was just as graceful as her. And that was something that she would approve of, or so he hoped.
He lowered his gaze to the floor, feeling Suzaku rest a hand on his arm. He smiled back at his friend, quickly grabbing Suzaku's hand before Suzaku had time to react. "Come on. Nunnally and Euphy can only stay up for another hour and Euphy has been asking to dance with you."
Lelouch chuckled at the blush that crossed Suzaku's face, towing his friend over to where his younger sisters waited. He smiled to himself as Suzaku stumbled through a greeting before carefully guiding Euphemia out onto the dance floor, holding her hand like he expected it to break at any moment. Lelouch shook his head, turning and bowing to Nunnally. "May I have this dance?"
His five-year-old sister giggled and took his hand, Lelouch carefully leading her through the complicated steps of the waltz. Every so often, he leaned down to whisper instructions or to explain who the nobles were, watching Nunnally frown in concentration. Their mother was always stressing how they should know the court well, know how to charm the nobles and act like the other royal heirs. Their common blood wasn't an excuse to fail, but an excuse to succeed. Lelouch thought he understood what his mother was trying to say, but more often than not it just meant that they had to try harder to get the few words of praise that Marianne was willing to give them.
Lelouch led Nunnally through two more dances, switching off with Suzaku to help Euphemia through a dance. He begged a rest afterward, escorting Euphemia to the side and glancing up to where his mother was waiting. To his dismay, she didn't seem to have even noticed him, still talking with his father. Lelouch was surprised to see that Bismarck was there was well. It was strange to see the knight anywhere other than behind his father's throne or lurking near the walls with the other knights.
He was distracted from his thoughts as he saw Suzaku walking over with Nunnally. The two had just reached him when a maid rushed over, sweeping Nunnally into her arms and declaring that it was her bed time. Nunnally whined but did not fight, Euphemia trailing after the maid as they headed upstairs. Lelouch watched his sister go, sighing when they disappeared out of the ballroom. Now he had nothing else to do, aside to talk with Suzaku. The rest of the nobles would only coo over him and insult him when they thought that he couldn't hear, which would just get Suzaku mad.
What he really wanted to do was walk in the garden. The maze had grown well since the year before and he wanted to try it out with Suzaku. He had been reading a book about how to navigate by the stars, something that seemed almost useless to him, but Suzaku was interested. He had hoped to be able to test his knowledge soon, but his mother had banned him from going outside without a large guard around him, which ruined the fun completely.
He pouted and leaned back against the wall, temporarily forgetting about acting like a royal prince. He glared at the people dancing until he felt Suzaku tug at his sleeve. "Lelouch?"
He sighed. "I want to go outside, Suzaku, but mother is worried about something."
"So is my dad." Suzaku looked around and lowered his voice. "People keep coming late at night to talk with him. I keep trying to listen in, but they have people watching the meetings."
Lelouch narrowed his eyes, glaring at Genbu Kururugi. He had never liked the man; especially not after Genbu had offered to marry Nunnally off to one of the rich families in Japan or even to himself to cement an alliance. Wasn't Suzaku pledging to be his knight enough? He relaxed as Suzaku tugged at his sleeve again, turning to his friend and letting Suzaku ramble on about his kendo lessons with Tohdoh.
It was easy to just let Suzaku babble about what he was doing in school and with his friends, Lelouch listening with a smile on his face as they kept to their corner. He actually laughed out loud as Suzaku outlined what his training regimen was for getting ready to become Lelouch's knight, Lelouch muffling his laugh at the last minute. It wouldn't do to be seen laughing like that about something that the son of the viceroy had said. It would put Suzaku in danger. Let the others think that he was just hanging around Suzaku because the boy was going to be his knight.
He jumped as the ballroom went quiet, turning to face the doors at the other end of the hall only to have Suzaku pull him back. Lelouch tried to struggle, quickly giving up as Suzaku pulled him back towards the dais and the steps behind it. From there, he would have a good enough view to actually see what was going on. And, as much as he hated to admit it to himself, it would get him closer to his mother, where he felt the safest.
Lelouch reached back to rest his hand on Suzaku's arm, steadying himself against his friend as he turned to look out over the crowd. He frowned as he saw a group of three people walking towards them, not recognizing any one of them. If they were nobles like the rest, then they were just coming to be introduced, but that didn't look like the reason, not if his instinct and Suzaku's grip on his arm were right.
He looked back up at his father, noticing that Charles zi Britannia was glaring at them, a sure sign that something was wrong. Not only that, but Bismarck had already pulled out his sword and his mother was reaching for where hers would have been. He watched her hand close around nothing, Marianne glancing at her hip before looking up at him. Lelouch immediately let go of Suzaku and scurried over to her, grabbing onto her hand and holding on, even when she pushed him behind her.
Lelouch peeked out from behind the ruffles of her dress, watching as Suzaku scurried to his father's side before returning his attention to the ground of people who had stopped at the base of the stairs, tensing when he realized that they weren't bowing. Lelouch swallowed and gripped his mother's skirts more tightly, watching as the man in front gave his father a slow wave. "Hello Charles."
"Vincent." His father's clipped tone was enough to make Lelouch want to scurry off. He had heard it too many times not to react. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, just listening to his father continue to speak. "I thought that you had understood our agreement."
"I wasn't much of an agreement, little brother. You took the throne when father died, after you were sure that I was out of the country. But," Lelouch peeked around his mother to watch as the man gestured, "I admit that I never wanted to rule."
"Then why are you here?"
"Well, it's obviously a celebration so that's one reason. And the other you've already heard about."
"Harsh words, little brother." Vincent shook his head. "I think you're the traitor. You remembered our deal as children, right? To rule the world without lies."
"I've stuck to that."
"Have you?" Lelouch shrunk back as the man looked at him, shaking his head as Vincent gestured him forward. Vincent smiled, lowering his hand. "Sweet. But what do you call him? The last time I checked, your knight was nothing more than your mistress. I suppose that you made an honest woman out of her. Was that before or after the child was conceived?"
"You go too far."
"Have I?" Vincent leaned forward, stepping up onto one of the stairs. "How about the government that you run? It's corrupt, Charles. I bet even the people here can see that. It's built on the promises that you have made to people and countries, ones that you don't intend to keep."
"I know. I know that as well as you do. But it can be changed so very easily." Lelouch watched his father take a step back as Vincent began walking up the stairs. "And all it takes is the removal of a few obstacles. Then the perfect world can exist. Isn't that what you want, brother? The perfect world?"
"Vincent…" Lelouch skittered away from his mother at that, too familiar with the warning tone to not react. He saw Suzaku start to head towards him only to be stopped by Genbu. Lelouch shivered, backing away until he was against the wall, watching Vincent.
The man seemed to have forgotten about him, instead focusing on Charles as he walked closer. "You promised me that once, and I believed you, believed you enough to let you keep the throne. And then you stabbed me in the back, you just went along with whatever you wanted to do."
"You're right." Lelouch shivered at the smile the man gave. "It is enough. And I've come to solve the problem."
Lelouch only had time to gasp as Vincent pulled out a gun and fired it, raising his hands to cover his ears after the shot. Lelouch cautiously looked back at the man in time to see his father falling forward, sprawling out over the stairs as his blood stained the carpet a deeper red.
Then his mother was there, picking him up and holding him close as she backed away, stumbling over her skirts. Lelouch pulled at her arm, wiggling until she let him go. He stumbled when he hit the ground, reaching back for her hand and beginning to pull her down a hallway. He couldn't think of anything other than the need to get out, to find a place to hide, but the only place that was coming to mind was the Kururugi's estate.
He could hear the screams from the ballroom and more gunfire, Lelouch clutching as his mother's hand as they ran through the halls. They had just started on a path to the back door, the one that they could take to where the cars were parked, when his mother gasped and jerked her hand out of his grip. "Nunnally!"
Lelouch stood in the hall a second after his mother had rushed off, his own eyes widening as he dashed after her. Nunnally was asleep in her room, completely defenseless since all of the guards would be helping repel those men..
He put his hands up over his head as he ran up the stairs, hearing the windows shatter behind him, his heart beating quickly. He could hear his mother somewhere ahead of him, managing to out run him despite her dress. And, somewhere back in the ballroom he had lost Suzaku. Lelouch felt horrible for just leaving his friend there, but Suzaku would be safe with the knights and his father. He would find him again after his mother and sister were safe.
Lelouch stumbled over the last stair, forcing himself onto his feet again and running down the hall, his mother already pulling open the door to Nunnally's room and rushing in. Lelouch followed her, catching a glimpse of his sister sitting up in bed before his mother blocked his view. He swallowed and slid into the room, carefully shutting the door behind him and backing away. It probably wouldn't be enough when those men came, but it would serve as protection for now.
He turned to face his mother and sister, watching as his mother coaxed Nunnally into some clothes and her coat, trying to wake up the sleepy girl. Lelouch sidled up to the bed, smiling at his sister and adding his own words of encouragement, all the while listening for the sounds of more gunshots. He didn't think that those men would just leave them alone to escape, not after what Vincent had said.
He shook his head, focusing on the present as his mother stopped speaking in a gentle tone of voice. "Listen Nunnally, you have to be quiet and stay quiet until we're out of danger. I know you're scared, but you have to do this."
Nunnally nodded, keeping her promise the next moment when the door was swung open, covering her mouth to prevent a scream. Lelouch turned around as well; ready to defend his mother and sister with the rudimentary martial arts that Suzaku had been teaching him, only to relax as Suzaku slammed the door shut behind him, panting for breath. "They're coming!"
Suzaku pushed away from the door, walking over to grab Lelouch's arm. "They got past Bismarck and they're coming after everyone." He shook Lelouch's arm. "The soldiers are trying to get the royal family out. Something about cars in the back."
Lelouch looked at his mother, surprised by her resolute nod. Marianne stepped away from the bed and walked over to the wall, carefully pulling a panel out of place before walking back to grab Nunnally.
His sister squirmed in his mother's hold, reaching out for the little table beside her bed. "My necklace."
Lelouch waved them on, snatching up the locket that he had given to Nunnally on her birthday before shoving it into his pocket. He backed towards the panel, listening as the sound of running feet grew louder. He jumped into the passage, grabbing the edge of the secret door as he motioned for Suzaku. "Come on."
His friend hesitated before shaking his head. "My father…"
"They won't hurt him."
"You can't be sure of that." Suzaku shook his head. "My father works for the emperor, they might try to kill him as well."
"It won't do you any good to stay behind!"
"Lelouch, he's all I've got."
He glared at Suzaku, hating that truth. Suzaku's mother had died when he was young and, even though Genbu showed no interest in his son, he was the only family that Suzaku had.
Lelouch bit his lip, coming to a decision. He rooted around in his pocket, the one that didn't have Nunnally's necklace. He pulled out the pin that he had been keeping there, careful to pull it out so the wings wouldn't break. Technically it wasn't his yet, it was something that he had taken from his mother's desk, but he had wanted something to give to Suzaku when they left Japan again. He wanted to remind Suzaku of their promise to each other and make sure that Suzaku didn't forget him. It would be easy to forget one little prince when making friends wasn't a problem.
He reached for Suzaku's hand, dropping the pin into it. Suzaku glanced down at the pin, his eyes widening as he shook his head. "Lelouch, I can't…I'm not a knight."
"I know you're not, but just listen." Lelouch glanced at the door, listening to the shouts as they came closer. "This is a promise to me, alright?"
"What kind of promise?"
"I want this pin back and I want you to be the one to give it to me. I won't accept it otherwise." Lelouch closed Suzaku's fingers around the pin, backing further into the secret passage. "You have to promise that you'll make it out of here alive so you can give that back to me."
Suzaku stared at the pin clutched in his hand for a moment before smiling. "I promise."
Lelouch nodded and pulled the door shut, surprised when it snapped into place as soon as he pulled away. Suzaku must have shut it from his end. Lelouch swallowed, pressing his hand against the door before turning and running. His mother couldn't have gotten too far, not with Nunnally still half asleep and afraid. And she would be worried about him.
He met up with her quickly, Marianne taking one look behind him before grabbing his hand and towing the two of them down the passage. Lelouch didn't have the breath to speak or to comfort Nunnally; it took everything he had to keep up with his mother and not to jump at every strange sound that he heard.
Lelouch was breathing hard when they finally emerged from the passage into the kitchens. He hung onto his mother as she looked around before rushing out of the door and into the yard. Lelouch didn't even have time to look around, Marianne picking Nunnally up and getting a stronger hold of his hand before taking off at a run. Lelouch stumbled but managed to keep up.
He lifted his gaze from the ground, staring at the cars that were being filled and pulling away, the soldiers lined up and firing at the intruders. Lelouch spotted Jeremiah Gottwald, a relatively new guard assigned to his mother, waving at them. He smiled and tried to pick up the pace, his mouth dropping open as he watched the last car begin to pull away slowly.
Marianne didn't seem to notice. She dropped Lelouch's hand to hike up her skirts, sprinting the last few feet to the car before nearly throwing Nunnally in. Then she stepped onto the footboard, crouching low and holding out her hand for Lelouch.
He swallowed and forced himself to run faster, nearly tripping at the screams that came from the line of guards to his right. Lelouch glanced over for a moment, watching as the soldiers were forced back, the line bending until it snapped and the invaders pouring it. That was the only encouragement that he needed to speed up and to grab his mother's hand.
Lelouch yelped at the tight hold that Marianne had on his hand, gritting his teeth as he allowed her to pull him into the car even as it started going faster. He managed to jump up onto the footboard, bracing himself with one hand against the still open door. His mother smiled at him, reaching out to stroke his cheek. "You were really brave, Lelouch."
He beamed at her praise, adjusting his hold as Marianne slid further into the car, waiting until he could slide in and shut the door himself. Lelouch sighed and looked at his sister, smiling at her to help calm her. "I got your necklace."
She brightened, Lelouch shifting his weight to scramble into the car only to lose his balance when the car hit an uneven section of road.
He fell out of the car, hitting his head on the door, hard. His scream of pain was cut off as the bottom of the door slammed against his head, knocking him unconscious and sending him tumbling off the road and into the forest that surrounded the back drive. Lelouch rolled down the slope, finally coming to a stop pressed against a tree and hidden by a screen of bushes.
On the road above him, a screaming Marianne was pulled back into the safety of the car by Jeremiah before the door was slammed shut. The car only slowed a moment before racing off after the others, leaving the villa to the invaders.
Suzaku pressed a hand flat against the secret door, his other hand curled protectively around the pin that Lelouch had given him. He swallowed before taking a step back, he didn't want to give away where Lelouch and his family had escaped from, it was better that they disappeared. Suzaku glanced back towards the door, edging into a corner. All he had to do was to wait until the armed men had gone past, then he could slip out and find his father. After all, Genbu was probably just hiding downstairs and waiting for him. His father would never really leave him behind.
He sucked in a quick breath and held it as he heard the first group rush past, pressing himself back into the corner. He felt the edges of the pin cut into his skin, releasing his tight grip on it a moment later. He didn't want to break this, not when he would be giving it back to Lelouch.
The smile that had briefly crossed his face disappeared as he heard another group of people running down the hall. Suzaku let out his breath slowly, slipping the pin into the pocket of his jacket and edging towards the front of the room. If they searched, he hoped that they wouldn't look behind the door. Then it would be easy to slip out. Lelouch had showed him some of the servants' staircases; maybe he could slip away through those until he reached the ballroom again.
Suzaku froze as he heard a familiar voice, staring at the door from his place against Nunnally's dresser. He frowned, tipping his head to the side as he listened to the man speak. "The princess should be here, and we're sure to find Marianne as well."
His heart started beating faster as he watched the door knob turn. It was one of the men who had come over to his father's house. One of those men was here trying to kill Nunnally and Lelouch.
Suzaku reacted without thinking as the door opened, waiting just long enough for the man to walk into the room before rushing over and punching him in the stomach. The man grunted and doubled over, Suzaku using the reaction to his advantage as he rocked back and kicked the man in the head. He stumbled backwards as the man went down, wincing at the loud thud that the man's head made as it hit the floor.
He spent a moment just staring at the unconscious man and breathing heavily before falling to his knees. The man would have a gun just like the rest of them. His fingers brushed over the end of the gun, Suzaku smiling and pulling it out of its holster. Hopefully the man wouldn't wake up and he could sneak out. Now people would hesitate before shooting him since he was armed as well, or so he hoped.
Suzaku jumped at the sound of someone walking towards the door, quickly getting to his feet and pointing the gun at the door in a manner that he hoped was intimidating. The weapon wavered a bit as Suzaku shivered, Suzaku watching as the door inched open.
"Atsushi? Atsushi are they in-Suzaku!"
He jerked backwards, tripping over the man on the floor as Genbu peered into the room. Suzaku felt his mouth drop open at the sight of the gun in Genbu's hand. "F-father?"
"Suzaku, what are you doing here?" Genbu seemed to realize that he held a gun, hiding it behind his back. "You should be down in the ballroom, where you're safe."
"Was he here?" Genbu looked around, walking into the room and flipping on the lights. Suzaku blinked rapidly to clear his vision, watching as his father blundered around the room. Genbu paused, when he had searched out all of the obvious hiding places. "Where are they Suzaku?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"I don't have time for this. Where are they?"
Suzaku yelped as his father slapped him. He stumbled back a step, pressing one hand against his stinging cheek as he stared at his father with wide eyes. Genbu had never hit him before, even when he was misbehaving. His father had just used stern words and chores as punishment. Suzaku felt tears roll down his cheek, sniffing quickly and wiping his eyes as he father loomed above him.
"Don't question me, Suzaku. Now, where are they?"
Suzaku licked his lips, stalling for time. He would have to answer his father eventually and he wanted to answer with the truth, to prove that he was a good son and not the weakling that Genbu thought he was. But his father had a gun and he had just walked up here without any harm done to him. Suzaku stared up at his father. "A-are you with them?"
He was slapped again, Genbu crouching down at his level to shake his shoulders. "The answer."
"I don't know."
"Of course you do!" Suzaku yelped and dropped the gun as his father shook him. "You're that damn prince's pet, you useless boy."
He was shoved away as Genbu got to his feet, barely keeping his balance as he watched his father walk to the door, only then aware of the other people that had gathered there. He sniffed, falling to his knees and staring at the floor as he listened to his father speak to them, too shocked to do anything else.
"Are they here?"
"They have to be. There's no way to escape from here."
"Does the boy know anything?"
"Of course he knows. He's always hanging around here."
Suzaku flinched backwards as the men turned to look at him, curling further into himself at the disgusted look that his father gave him. He had thought that his father wanted him to be here, that his father wanted him to be friend with Lelouch. Genbu was always talking about freeing Japan from Britannia's rule and Suzaku had thought that this was the way that they were supposed to do it. If they showed the Britannians that they could be trusted or if he just got to know them well enough, then they would figure out that the Japanese weren't so bad and it was better to just let the country go. He was sure that there would be some more politics behind it, but that was what Lelouch was for, Lelouch was smart enough to figure it out.
They were supposed to be making friends with the Britannians, not war. War would just lead to people dying, and Suzaku didn't want people to die. He knew how it felt to lose the important people in his life, his mother had died when he was two and his nurse had died when he was six. He didn't want to inflict that sort of pain on other people.
"Are they even important?" Suzaku looked up, watching as one of the men leaned against the door. "I mean the woman is dangerous, but the kids? They're just bastard children anyway."
"They're not bastards, the emperor had recognized them."
"So, we kill them too?"
Genbu nodded slowly. "Yes."
"No!" Suzaku didn't remember scooping up the gun on the floor or firing it at his father. All he could think about was how easily Genbu had agreed to killing people, to killing his friends.
He only realized what he had done when his father dropped to the floor, Suzaku dropping the gun. He scrambled to his feet, backing up until he hit the wall, staring at his father's body. "F-father?"
"Did you see that?" Suzaku looked up, his eyes wide as he stared at the other men by the door.
"Yeah, the kid just shot him."
"Genbu said he was on our side."
"He was supposed to be our way in."
"Can we still use him? Can't we just send him after the ones that got out? They'll accept him."
"And then what? He just shot his father."
Suzaku shook his head, staring at his father's body. He hadn't meant to shoot, he had just wanted to stop Genbu from doing this. It wasn't right, none of this was right. But that had been no reason to just shoot his father, it made him as bad as the other men.
He reached into his pocket, wrapping his fingers around Lelouch's pin. A prince's knight wouldn't have done this; a knight would have shot to wound first. Even if his prince was in danger, killing would be a last resort. It had to be. Suzaku tightened his grip around the pin, using the pain from where the edges dug into his palm to center himself. He had just been defending Lelouch, but that had been no excuse to kill his own father.
He tried to scoot away from the puddle of blood on the floor, freezing when that drew the men's attention back to him. Suzaku whimpered and tried to curl up on himself, hoping that he would be forgotten again. Maybe, if they all just left, he could rush out of the secret door and go to find Lelouch. Lelouch would know how to handle this, Lelouch would have some justification that he could hold onto while he came to terms with what he had just done.
Unfortunately, the men didn't seem inclined to letting him go. They were all staring at him, the ones closer to him shifting further into the room. He shrunk back, clutching at the pin in his pocket.
"We can't trust him. Sawasaki knew the kid and he was still attacked. Genbu was killed. We can't trust this kid not to report back to his Britannian friends. Besides, wasn't he promised something."
"Yes, we can't trust him."
"Then what do we do?"
Suzaku shivered, trying to edge back to the secret door. Now it didn't matter where he went, he just had to get out of the room.
"No." He stopped at the sound of the familiar voice, his stomach turning as he found himself looking at Taizō Kirihara. Suzaku swallowed, curling up. Kirihara had been one of the men who was over at their house the most. He had worked with Genbu in government, but Kirihara had also been apart of this scheme. Suzaku shivered under the old man's gaze, finding himself staring at the edge of the tattoo that he could just see under the old man's sleeve.
Kirihara smiled at him, carefully stepping around the bodies to walk to his side. Suzaku tried to pull away, but Kirihara just reached down and rested his hand on Suzaku's head. Against his better judgment, he leaned into the touch. He regretted it a moment later when Kirihara's grip tightened painfully in his hair, pulling his head back slightly. "We should keep him. The viceroy's son might be useful as a bargaining tool or as a rallying point. If nothing else, he can serve as an example of what Britannians do to our people."
Suzaku reached up with his free hand, trying to pull away from the old man. All he got for his trouble was a hard shake, Suzaku relenting a moment later, breathing heavily.
"So, what do we do with him?"
"We take him back." Suzaku looked away, trying not to look at Kirihara. He didn't want to see the smile on the old man's face. "We keep him close and see if we can't change his mind. Come on, Suzaku."
Suzaku licked his lips, staring at the group of people that he had known, the group of people who he thought had liked him. They had all seemed proud of his achievements and had always been happy to see him. And it had all been fake. Even his father, who had always told him how they had to work with the Britannians to gain peace, had lied to him. The only ones that hadn't lied to him were the Britannians. He knew that some of them had hated him and most of them didn't care about him. But Euphemia had cared, Nunnally had cared. Lelouch had cared.
None of these people cared.
"No." Suzaku tried to pull himself away, Kirihara refusing to let go. He winced but kept fighting. "No! I'm not going with you! Let me go!"
He struggled harder as the men who had lingered in the door came closer, scratching as Kirihara's hand with his free hand. Suzaku attempted to kick at the others who were coming close, screaming when one of the men grabbed his arm, another man leaning down to grab his legs. Kirihara let go of his hair, Suzaku twisting in the grip of the other men.
They almost dropped him once or twice, Suzaku hoping that he would be able to wiggle away before they walked out into the hallway. He didn't think he would be able to outrun them over a short distance; they all had longer legs than him.
He finally managed to twist out of their grip, twisting so he would land on the side that didn't have the pin. Suzaku didn't waste any time, scrambling up from the floor and rushing back towards the room. He didn't get too far, Suzaku managing a few steps before something hit him on the back of the head.
Suzaku grunted and fell to the floor, his head spinning and aching as he stared at the carpet. He felt the men pick him up again, but he didn't bother to struggle, he was too busy running his fingers over the pin to search for any cracks. When he was sure that it was safe, he got a better hold on the pin and didn't let go, not even feeling the men pick him up and start to carry him away.
Marianne looked up as Jeremiah walked into the plane, not moving from her place beside Nunnally. If she could help it, she wasn't going to leave Nunnally's side again, even with all of this going on. She had already temporarily lost Lelouch. She wouldn't lose Nunnally the same way. Marianne bit her lip, gently brushing Nunnally's hair back from her face before settling the blanket more securely over her.
Only when she was sure that Nunnally was settled did she turn her attention back to Jeremiah. "Report?"
The young man looked shocked for a moment, looking around the plane before clearing his throat. "They've been looking since the orders came in, but there's no sign of him."
Marianne shivered. "They can't have him."
"They don't." Jeremiah took a step forward before bowing, addressing the floor instead of her. "The soldiers managed to clear the villa after the…rebels cleared out. They're laying out the bodies now for easier transport, but Prince Lelouch was not among them."
"So, search the grounds!"
"The rebels are still there." Jeremiah shook his head. "They're sending reports as they clear out sections of the forest and the gardens, but they haven't found the prince. But there are large sections that haven't been checked, the focus is on the safety of the royals who are out here now."
"They're already safe."
"Plans have been made and…" Jeremiah looked up, giving Marianne a soft smile before reaching out to gently touch the tips of his fingers to the back of Marianne's hand. "My lady, no one wants to give up on Prince Lelouch, but there's just so much that we have to do. We're trying to work as fast as we can, but people are still panicking."
Marianne bit back her demand to forget about anything else and find Lelouch. She had once been one of those soldiers and it was impossible to forget about what that had been like. There had been nights where she had wanted to kill the nobles that demanded that they move faster, work harder for some stupid reason. She wouldn't do that to these soldiers. She muttered a curse and shook her head, gesturing with her free hand. "Just work as quickly as you can and get him back here alive."
"Of course, my lady." Jeremiah went to stand, staring at the floor as he backed away. "There is one more thing."
Marianne tensed, not liking the tone of his voice. She knew Jeremiah well; he had replaced her as captain when she had become the Knight of Six. She had personally observed him over a week to make sure that he had been doing his job properly and they had remained close friends since then; aside from the week when she announced her engagement to Charles. She had chosen him as one of her retinue as a form of apology, she knew that he loved her, but she had loved Charles. She still loved Charles.
She bit her lower lip and stared at the floor. "What?"
"Our orders are to clear all of the remaining royals back to Pendragon as soon as they all get here."
Marianne narrowed her eyes. "No."
"I can't argue the orders. They make sense." Jeremiah swayed in place, Marianne gesturing for him to sit before he began to pace. Jeremiah hesitated for a moment before sinking into one of the nearby seats, rubbing his hands over his face. "Marianne, please, don't argue this for your own sake."
"My son is still out there."
"And we're looking for him. Every guard at Aries volunteered when I mentioned what had happened, because they knew you. They all love you, Lelouch and Nunnally. And I can promise that they won't stop until he's found. But they can't focus on their job with you and the others still here." Jeremiah looked up at her, his hands trembling. "The emperor is dead."
"Oh my God."
"We need an emperor on the throne, especially with this. That's why we're sending you all back, Schneizel needs to be crowned and on the throne as soon as possible."
"Schneizel?" Marianne was having trouble wrapping her mind around what Jeremiah was saying. Charles couldn't be dead; he was too big of a presence to just disappear like that. Even when he had just been the crown prince, Charles had been noticeable in public, always out showing himself to the people and gaining the army's trust. The Britannian Empire and Charles zi Britannia had been synonymous for so long. "B-but Odysseus is the crown prince."
"He's dead. Princess Guinevere can't be found. Prince Schneizel is the next in line." Marianne found herself nodding, still processing the list of the dead. She looked up as Jeremiah stood again. "We want to prevent the loss of any more lives, especially if it will throw the empire into a panic."
"We'll return with him as quickly as possible, I can promise you that."
Marianne slumped in her seat, waving Jeremiah away. She was still reeling from losing Lelouch so suddenly, the loss of her husband and some of the royal heirs that she had known was too much. Marianne gave a ragged sigh, pulling Nunnally into her lap and clutching her close. As much as she had hated the other royal wives for their hatred of her and her common upbringing, she found herself sympathizing with a few of them. She was suffering from the loss of a child, but at least she had hope that he would be found again, but the others couldn't be gotten back.
She brushed Nunnally's hair back, looking up. Marianne jerked back in her seat as she saw the person sitting across from her. She pulled Nunnally up against her, automatically reaching for her gun, only for her hand to come up empty. She wasn't allowed to wear a gun at formal events, that had been the agreement between her and Charles, although now she was wishing that she had fought for that right harder.
"I never thought that you would greet me like that Marianne, not after everything we've done together."
"C.C." She relaxed as she recognized the woman sitting across from her. Marianne gently settled Nunnally back down, soothing her when she started to wake up. "Sleep, Nunnally, we're alright."
"He'll be back Nunnally. He's waiting for the others."
She wasn't sure if Nunnally heard her reassurances, the girl settling back to sleep. Marianne resettled the blanket over Nunnally, pausing at the laugh from C.C. "I never thought you would be the motherly type. Especially after the fuss you made when you found out you were pregnant with Lelouch."
Her hand clenched in the blanket. C.C. ignored the obvious sign of annoyance, leaning forward with a smirk. "If I remember correctly, you just enjoyed the emperor's attentions and married him to keep his attentions. Or was it because you had a moment of womanly weakness, I could never get the story straight. My question is if you hated Lelouch so much, why did you have Nunnally?"
"It's not like that."
"Really?" C.C. leaned back in her seat, flipping her hair back over her shoulder. "Then were you lying to me?"
"Were you?" Marianne gestured at the red mark that was on C.C's head, hidden by her bangs.
She reached up to touch the mark, tracing the 'v' shaped with her finger. C.C. shrugged, combing her bangs back over the mark. "At least I'm not like the others. I didn't tattoo it to my skin and I don't believe what they do. I'm inside of the group because they allow me to move around without being seen."
"Then why didn't you tell me about this?"
"Because I'm not trusted. It's a place for me to hide from my family, nothing more." C.C. raised an eyebrow. "I believe we had discussed this. My reasoning hasn't changed, but I think yours has."
Marianne glared at her, but didn't reply. Her reasoning had changed over the years, C.C. was right about that. She had originally just loved being the object of Charles' attentions; it was a heady thing to have the emperor's attention, especially when she was just a common soldier. His attention had given her the position as the Knight of Six, which was something she had always wanted to be. It was something that every soldier wanted to be, a Knight of the Round, recognition for their skills and their loyalty. To be recognized as the emperor's lover as well was just another perk. The only downside had come when she had gotten pregnant.
She had never wanted children; she had never made time for them. But, being a royal wife meant that she had to produce and heir and expected to have a spare just in case the first died. Most of the other royal wives hadn't been able to have a second child, they were just too busy collecting their own lovers or working within the court. She had been the only wife willing to work with Charles outside of the court, which was why she had stayed in his favor for so long.
But she had hated being pregnant and she had passed Lelouch off to a nurse at the first chance that she had gotten. Still, despite how she had wanted to keep away from him, Lelouch had always come to find her. Her first memories of her son had been him toddling after her as she went about her duties, even when she had tried to send him off. She remembered being amazed that he had loved her completely the entire time, since she had tried to get rid of him the entire time. His tenacity was the reason that she had tried a different approach with Nunnally. Lelouch had managed to change her mind.
Marianne sighed, shaking her head. "It has, but I don't regret it. At least I didn't end up like you, cold and still hiding."
To her surprise, C.C. smiled. "That's the Marianne I knew, and perhaps you haven't changed too much." She tipped her head to the side and laughed. "I might have just been jealous. I'm no longer the most important person to you. The emperor I could compete with, your children I can't."
Marianne relaxed, pressing back against the seat. "So, I assume that this means that you're on my side again."
"I never left your side." C.C. stood up, walking to the aisle.
She intended to let C.C. go, but she reached out to grab C.C's arm. C.C. turned to stare at her. "You need to promise me something." Marianne waited for a moment, making sure that C.C. was paying attention before taking a deep breath and finishing her request. "I need you to find Lelouch."
"Soldiers are looking for him."
"Yes, but what if your group has him and what if they don't find him."
C.C. shrugged. "Then they don't."
"You don't understand." Marianne tightened her grip. "I need to know that my son is safe. You might not understand the need, but you can still do this for me."
"I'll see what I can do." C.C. pulled away from her and walked away, Marianne watching her go. She waited until she could no longer see C.C. before sitting back. Now she could allow herself to relax a bit, with the guards and C.C. looking for Lelouch, he would be found, hopefully before they left.
She looked down at her sleeping daughter, hating herself for tearing up. People were searching for him and the rebels were gone. Lelouch would be fine, she was sure of it. But that didn't stop the tears.
Marianne sighed and cuddled Nunnally close, muffling her sobs into the blanket.
Suzaku lay curled up on the floor of the little room that they had shoved him in, gently stroking the skin on his neck. It still hurt even though they had done it to him a long time ago, or what seemed like a long time ago. He couldn't even remember how many days had passed since he had been dragged into the room and left there. There was no light, no clock, no way to mark the passage of time; so he marked out his life by their visits to him.
The first time they had just pulled him out and yelled at him before sending him back, Suzaku still reeling and numb from the realization that he had killed his father. He still couldn't remember what they had accused him of; he had been too busy accusing himself. It was not right to just kill like that, for no other reason than being angry, he realized that now. He should have known better, should have known not to lose his temper, because bad things always happened when he lost his temper.
The second time, they had settled him in a comfortable room and had just talked to him. Suzaku didn't pay attention, so he had been shoved back into his room. The men had waited a long time until they had come back for him. By then, he had stopped caring, because he had failed everyone. He had killed his father, the man who had raised him and who he respected. He had saved Lelouch though, and that was the only reason he was here. These men thought that they could find out where Lelouch had went if they asked him, but they would have to kill him first.
The third time, he had been spoken to again. Suzaku had listened as they explained why they had killed the members of the royal family, not really understanding their reasoning. According to them, they were trying to free all of the countries that Britannia had a hold over and to eliminate all lies. When he had told them that they would just end up lying to the people again, he had gotten slapped. After that, he had remained quiet as they had explained their motives again.
He sat through seven sessions of this, never speaking to them about what they said. They didn't seem to notice that he never agreed with what they said, just that he listened. But he couldn't agree with what they had planned, not after they had tried to kill Lelouch. Then there were his morals to consider, they had all decided to ruin the peace that had already been planned out by attacking the Britannians. War wasn't the way to bring about peace; neither was forcing it on the people by violence. The agreements had been going well before they had resorted to killing.
Suzaku had been sure that he would have been able to sit through their recruitment speech for far longer if they hadn't gotten the news. On the eighth session, a man that Suzaku didn't recognize came rushing in, interrupting Kirihara with good news, at least for the group. The man reported that Lelouch was dead, he had been officially declared as such by Britannia and they were holding a funeral.
He didn't remember much from that day other than rage and pain. When he was brought back in front of Kirihara the next day, he found out that he had tried to strangle the messenger and he had fought back all the way to his cell. He was told this held between two men, Kirihara glaring at him from a place at the table. Then there came the speech about how Kirihara was disappointed with him, because he thought that Suzaku had understood what they were doing, and that it was no good to be friends with Britannians, they were just using everyone. Suzaku had fought and shouted that Lelouch would never use him or betray him, and that they were all wrong.
He had been sent back to his cell after that again and left to sit for a long while. Then, they had dragged him out and held him down while they had marked him.
Suzaku flinched at the memory, his fingers straying from their path and pressing against the inflamed skin. He yelped, quickly pulling his hand away and curling up more tightly on the floor. They wouldn't be coming for him again, he knew that much, they were disappointed with him. All of these men had hoped that he would have decided to turn to their side and then he could be sent back to Britannia as their puppet. But wasn't that what they had accused the Britannians of doing?
He closed his eyes, reaching into the pocket of his ragged jacket, closing his fingers around the pin there. This was the one thing that had kept him sane through the endless talks and some of the beatings that he had been given when he had been dragged back to his cell. Suzaku smiled and traced the outline of the pin.
He never took it out of his pocket, afraid that it would be taken away from him if anyone saw it. If it was taken from him, then how would he get it back to Lelouch? Suzaku didn't believe the man who had brought the news that Lelouch was dead; he had seen Lelouch escape with his own eyes. His friend was safe and waiting for him to come back, which was what Suzaku intended to do. He had promised Lelouch that much and he never broke his promises.
Suzaku shivered, tucking his chin against his chest. It was cold in here; they had taken away his blanket since he had protested too much before. It was likely that he wouldn't get much to eat either, but none of that mattered. He would keep looking for his chance to escape and then devote himself to protecting Lelouch. That had to be enough to make up for killing his father, devoting his entire life to protecting someone, to give his life for someone.
He froze as he heard someone walking down the hall towards him, Suzaku lifting his head and opening his eyes. He swallowed nervously and closed his fingers around the pin in his pocket, trembling. It was too soon for them to come and get him, he wasn't ready. He was still shaken and sore from when they had come before and he couldn't have them thinking that he was giving in.
Suzaku quickly wiped the tears from his cheeks, reluctantly pulling his hand out of his pocket. They could never find his pin; it was the one thing that kept him from just giving in. It was a reminder that he still had people outside of this place waiting for him, a place to go where he could try to make up for what he had done.
The door swung open, Suzaku sucking in a deep breath. It was getting easier to just make himself think about nothing, to just go blank. The men seemed to prefer when he was like that, it looked enough like he was listening to them that he was left alone.
His eyes widened as the saw who was standing in the door, not recognizing the woman. There had never been a woman any of the times they had come for him. He swallowed and stumbled to his feet. He swayed in place, his vision blurring. It must have been longer than he had thought, because he didn't remember being this unsteady the last time he had stood up. Suzaku tried to remember the last time he had been brought food, but drew a blank. He was brought water every day, but food was given to him on the days that he had been good.
The woman remained standing at the door, probably waiting for him to walk out into the hall. Suzaku licked his lips and cautiously took a step, smiling when he didn't fall over. They were just trying to frighten him by changing the schedule, but Suzaku was too tired and hungry to care. It was quickly approaching the point where he didn't care about anything anymore.
He managed to walk out into the hall, bracing himself against the wall. The woman watched him carefully before crouching down. Suzaku flinched back as the woman prodded at his neck, surprised when she pulled back and shook her head.
She grabbed his wrist and began to tug him down the hall. Suzaku didn't resist, trailing after her. When he was sure that she wasn't paying attention to him, he slipped his hand into his pocket, holding the pin again. He would survive this and whatever else they had planned for him. He had to.