Disclaimer: I do not own Code Geass
Shirley's breathing seemed to have stopped in an instant as she stared down the barrel of the gun, pointing the weapon at the man who had killed her father, the very same man who had captured her heart. She stood there, her hands shaking as she watched a trail of blood slip down Lelouch's face before Shirley dropped to her knees, her legs no longer able to sustain her own weight. Tears began to fall from her eyes as Villetta came walking onto the scene, a broad smile implanted upon her face. Here was her ticket back into the social grace that she needed, not only that but she would undoubtedly be given a rank even higher than before.
"Zero is a Britannian," she said in a light hearted chuckle, as if the grace of the world had just fallen on her lap. "A student was leading the terrorist force and what luck, it seems he is still alive. I must hand him over to General Governor Cornelia; I wonder what punishment awaits you." Standing at her full peak again, she turned around to talk to Shirley only to find that the orange haired girl was crying into her hands. Villetta may not have been a comforting person by any regard, however she knew that this girl broken before her needed some manner of reassurance.
"There, there," she said as she knelt beside Shirley, gently resting her hand on the girl's shoulder. Shirley's head lifted slightly, her tear soaked eyes looking deeply into Villetta's. "Learn from this, even those who you think you know most of all may turn out to be somebody completely different. Princess Cornelia will not let you go unrewarded for what you have done tonight."
Once again Shirley's head dropped into her hands, when she raised her head with her eyes red from crying, Lelouch no longer resided within the Knightmare cockpit. She tried to stand up, but her feet buckled beneath her and she crashed to the floor. When she looked up again, she found a pair of feet standing before her. Lifting her head, she found herself looking at a green haired woman with a communicator in her hand.
"Ohgi," she said speaking into the walkie talkie. "Issue the order to retreat and then tell everybody to rendezvous at section 12."
"Section 12? Is something the matter?" asked a voice from the other side.
"Possibly the worst thing which could have happened has occurred," stated the green haired woman. Her focus was now solely on Shirley who seemed to be shaking in fear before CC's foot connected squarely with the side of her head, knocking the schoolgirl out in an instant.
The order of the Black Knights stood around awkwardly, while a great deal of them had managed to escape, even the otherwise useless Tamaki, they had no leader to look up to. There had been no word of the enigmatic leader, which forced many people to fear for the worst. Kallen was the one who seemingly was the most shaken up, having had her belief in Zero so solidified it was as if nothing could possibly go wrong. Yet here they were, and Zero had not made an appearance.
"Kallen," said CC from nearby, forcing the red haired girl to look up. "Come with me." Kallen could only nod slowly as she began to follow her feet, unsure as to where CC was taking her. Out of everybody in the dark knights, the only person she knew less of than Zero was CC. For the longest of time Zero had kept her hidden out of the fray, as if protecting her which caused Kallen to question whether or not CC had any connection to Zero outside of the Black Knights. She didn't voice her opinion however, as now was not the time in which such a thing would be appropriate.
To Kallen, it was almost a surreal feeling. Zero had been her guiding light for what had seemed like an eternity, yet it was not that long ago that he had first contacted her and then met with them upon the train. What had turned into a fable like dream scenario had become a reality, yet the truth of it all was, without their leader...who were the Black Knights?
"We're here," announced CC and it was only then that Kallen realised just how long they had been walking. CC now stood in front of a door, usually reserved for cleaning supplies and the like, yet with a number of brooms and mops throw across the floor it was obvious that it was being used for something different tonight. To what purpose, she feared she was about to find out.
"What's in here?" asked Kallen, looking at the green haired woman expectantly, wondering as to why she alone had been brought over here.
"A person, who had been at the site of Zero being taken away, a person who saw Zero's face," explained CC which caused Kallen's eyes to go wide for a number of reasons. For starters, for somebody to have actually seen the face of Zero was something that could not be taken lightly under any circumstance. The more troubling part was that CC had seen that this person had seen who Zero was and did nothing to prevent him from being taken away, either that or she had already forced the information out of them. "I want you to talk to them Kallen, it would be what Zero would want," said CC as she gripped the handle.
Kallen swallowed, as the door swung open, her imagination running wild with who this person could possibly be. The last person she expected however was a fellow member of the Ashford Student Council. The orange haired girl looked up at her, a small trail of dried blood covering the side of her face from when CC had kicked her. As soon as her eyes made contact, Kallen could instantly see the pleading desperation within them. "K-Kallen?" she said with a quivering voice, unsure whether or not the girl in front of her was her saving grace, or the fact that she was wearing the uniform of one of the Black Knights meant that Villetta had been right in not knowing those close to you. "I-Is that really you?"
Words struggled to come to Kallen's mouth as she took in the situation. If what CC had said was true, that meant that Shirley had seen the face of Zero, not only that but had seen him get taken away. Did the schoolgirl have any part to play in Zero's capture, or was she used as somebody's pawn? Kallen heard the door close behind her, trapping her within the small confines with her babbling schoolmate. Yet what was she meant to say? This person had grown into becoming her friend to the point where they helped each other corner the now famous Arthur in the school building.
"It is me Shirley," she said slowly, unable to make direct eye contact with the fellow student.
"Why are you with the Black Knights?" shouted Shirley, seeming to have gotten back some of her confidence. Kallen took a step back at the harshness within Shirley's words before she resumed her prior stature.
"My name is Kohzuki Kallen, Stadtfeld is my father's name," she said with refreshed composure.
"So you're half eleven?" asked Shirley, already knowing the answer.
"No, I'm half Japanese," stated Kallen and for a moment Shirley smiled at the statement.
"Somehow, this all make sense now," said Shirley. "With you being away sick for days at a time you were really here with Lulu."
"Lulu...What are you talking about?" asked Kallen thinking that Shirley had snapped.
"Don't play dumb with me, I saw him, I saw that Lulu is Zero!" shouted Shirley as tears once again began to stream down her eyes. Kallen's expression dropped as the revelation hit her harder than any bullet could.
"Lelouch...is Zero?" she repeated, unsure whether to believe the words coming out of her mouth. From outside the door, CC had heard the conversation between the two girls and as she looked towards the roof, she knew that everything was about to change.
"Guys, you have to listen to this," said Tamaki, a small transportable radio by his side.
"We're not in the mood for your rock junk," retorted one of the newer members of the Black Knights.
"It's not that," said Tamaki as he turned up the volume.
"...If I Didn't see it for myself I wouldn't believe it," said the broadcasting voice. "To think that I'm only metres away from one who could only be known as one of Britannia's greatest enemies. Kneeling before me ladies and gentlemen...is Zero."
"Someone get a television in here working this instant!" commanded Ohgi and in a single moment the entire warehouse came to life.
For Lelouch, his conscious returned at an incredibly sow rate, due to the fact that a number of drugs had been dumped into his system to prevent him from doing nearly anything. His eyelids were heavy, as if he needed to sleep for hours on end. Lifting his head, even through his mask he could see at least a dozen bright lights shining at him. However it was not the lights that created the seriousness of the situation...but rather the number of camera lenses spaced evenly in front of him. He tried to move but his arms were chained behind him and his feet were shackled to the floor. The position was evident, he was kneeling before the cameras as if to show that Britannia conquered all. He was going to be unmasked on live television!
"Ladies and gentlemen," said a voice from nearby and Lelouch turned his head to see one of Cornelia's knights standing beside him, the name of which eluded him. "I give you, Zero."
From behind, Lelouch could feel a pair of hands grip the base of the helmet and begin to lift. "STOP IT!" shouted Lelouch but to no avail as his face was assaulted by the flashes of what seemed like a thousand cameras, the light blinding as his identity was revealed.
Zero had been unmasked.