Chapter Fifty: Redeemed and Reborn
There was no light at the end of the tunnel. There was only the tunnel he was moving through and a sound. Sharp and loud and growing louder.
"One more push," said a voice.
The sharp sound became its loudest and as he began to mimic the sound, the tunnel ended and then came the light. Though his eyes were closed he could tell it was brighter than the world he had known before.
"It's a boy," the voice from before said.
He felt a sharp pain from his midsection, followed by other sensations attempting to soothe the affected area. Then he felt something wiping gently across his face before he was set down somewhere and covered by something soft. The soft thing warmed him as he suddenly realized he felt cold.
He was then carried into the arms of some other thing. But this thing felt familiar to him.
Using whatever might he had he opened his eyes. The light was so bright it hurt and he wanted to close them again. But a sound held his attention. It was an occasionally pausing, gasping sound. For reasons he could not understand that sound demanded he open his eyes.
He opened his eyes again, braving the light, and within a few moments his vision cleared.
The figure that made the sounds looked down at him with bright blue eyes filled with tears and a face covered in sweat. Her red hair, in the shape of a heart around her face, lay straight with a few strands in her face. Her mouth was open and pointed as she continued to make the sound, which sounded like she was laughing but her eyes made it seem that she was crying.
He made a sound, wanting to know what this figure was doing, why she sounded happy but looked as if she should be sad.
"My baby," the figure said. "Naoto-Julius."
Lelouch's eyes shot open the second Kallen's scream was its loudest. He shot up from the bed and immediately hit the floor.
As he frantically squirmed around attempting to get up he felt a pair of strong hands reach beneath him and place him back on the bed.
"Lelouch...Lelouch," the figure said. "Calm down."
The figure held Lelouch tightly and within seconds reality caught up with him.
"Suzaku?" he asked.
Suzaku smiled as he patted his friend on the shoulders. Lelouch looked around and saw that he was in his and Kallen's bedchamber on New Zero. He put his hands to his face and to his shock he felt a beard.
"Suzaku, what happened? What's going on? Where's Kallen, is she alright? I heard a scream," said Lelouch.
"We won, you've been in a coma for six months, and Kallen's in labor, has been for hours now," said Suzaku. "Hold on and I'll take you to her."
Suzaku put Lelouch's arm over his shoulders and helped him walk out of the room and down the hall. Lelouch could now see that it was morning and in the outside distance he could hear the sound of birds.
"But...but what happened after...after Tokyo?" asked Lelouch.
"You don't remember do you?" asked Suzaku.
"I...I know Bloodbeard is gone," said Lelouch. "He is gone Suzaku. He no longer exists. My plan worked, in C's World once he renounced his existence he ceased to be. He's gone. He's gone."
"I kind of figured that when we couldn't find him after that big golden light died out after he and his Infected Collective closed in on Nunnally and you at the Tower," said Suzaku.
"Golden light?" asked Lelouch.
"Yeah, you were lying on the ground and the tower turned to ash," said Suzaku.
"Is...is Nunnally alright?" asked Lelouch.
"At first we thought she was in a coma too but she woke up not long after we got back on our way to New Zero," said Suzaku. "She...she can walk again Lelouch. Her back is completely healed. Doctors called it a miracle. But that's not all."
"What else?" asked Lelouch.
"We can get you caught up later," said Suzaku. "You have something more important to do."
Suzaku turned into an open room and Lelouch's vision was immediately drawn to the image of his wife, Kallen, looking exhausted but happy, holding a whining newborn in her arms.
"My baby," he heard her say. "Naoto-Julius."
She breathed deeply, reclining her head, closing her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again she saw her husband, whom she had been hovering and worrying over for six months as her belly grew bigger and bigger. Whom she feared she had lost for a second time.
She said nothing as Suzaku carried Lelouch over to her.
As soon as he was close to the bed Lelouch released his friend and crawled to hold his wife, kissing her as long and as deeply as a man would drink from an oasis after a year without water.
Breaking a part from the kiss Lelouch then looked upon the infant in her arms. His son, whom Kallen had christened Julius Naoto. The child's whine silence as it looked at him with curious purple eyes at the giant black haired figure not knowing that it shared the same eyes as he
All the titles Lelouch had carried over the years suddenly came flooding to his mind.
All of those suddenly seemed to give way to the new title he now had. One he had never expected to be called by.
"Father," he said, taking his curious son's tiny hand in his fingers. "I...am your...father."
As the tears began to fall from Lelouch's face, he finally experienced a miracle for himself.
Hours later, after bathing and shaving off his beard, Lelouch sat upon his throne in the great hall of the castle, where change was all abound. Notably next to him was a throne of equal size, where Kallen sat nursing their child.
Before them at the round table sat Suzaku along with the command group that was once the Black Knights in new dress uniform, save for Kaguya and Tianzi as well as Gino and Suzaku who wore their armor. He failed to notice Rivalz, Milly, Guilford, Cornelia, or even Nonette Enneagram and assumed they were with Nunnally in Britannia. He also noticed Kallen's mother, his mother-in-law, awake and well and smiling with tears of joy in her eyes which focused on her newborn grandchild.
But the greatest surprise was the group of soldiers all in uniform colored his usual shade of purple wearing a coat of arms, a golden image of Zero's mask with the mark of Geass over it.
'I go to sleep for six for six months and they completely take over my house,' thought Lelouch.
Ohgi rose from his seat at the table and stood before the thrones before turning to the gathering of soldiers.
"All hail King Zero," he said, crossing his arm over his chest.
"All hail King Zero! All hail King Zero!" roared the soldiers in response, as well as those gathered at the table who stood in salute as well.
Lelouch could only sit bewildered and confused. But once the cheering died down he stood, feeling that was what people expected.
"Thank you," he said. "Thank you all. But...but you're all a little loud and your young prince is not accustomed to loud noises so for now for his sake I am going to have to ask you all to please leave the castle while I privately speak with my...inner circle."
The soldiers saluted and did as they were told and soon enough the hall was empty save for those in command.
"Alright, I'm ready to know what's going on," said Lelouch, flopping down on his throne.
Kallen chuckled and stroked her confused husband's hand affectionately.
"Shouldn't you know?" asked Tamaki. "I mean you were...wherever it was you and Bloodbeard went when that big golden light showed up."
"I...I was in C's World," said Lelouch. "It worked, the plan worked. Then I spoke with God and I used the Eternity Chalice to get what I honestly wanted and then I woke up hearing my wife cry as if she were being tortured to death, missing six months."
Kallen sighed, she was still tired from her delivery but when she looked down at the sweet baby suckling at her nipple she knew it was worth it.
"Well, during those six months we monitored reports of the war against the UFD," said Ohgi. "When we heard about cases of infighting among the various organizations we decided we couldn't wait for you to wake up. Suzaku took command in your stead and we used the Geassed enemy soldiers who survived the attack on Tokyo and committed a series of interventions at areas in which resistance against their original attacks had been strongest. Areas in Europe mostly but we were able to get a foothold there. With Lady Kaguya and Empress Tianzi meeting with the ruling council of the E.U we were able to garner more support."
"After that is was basically just hunting those UFD bastards down like tripping rabbits," said Tamaki. "Hell, half the time those jerks were too busy fighting each other to even notice we had pounced on them."
"Most of the captured territories in Europe and Asia were reclaimed fairly quickly after that," said Chiba, whom Lelouch only now realized had been one of the women who helped Kallen bear their son.
"In about three months the UFD lived up to its name and chose to go underground," said Tohdoh. "But we're monitoring for them should they rise again."
"There is still a significant presence in Britannia but with the return of Empress Nunnally, as well as the efforts of Sir Cardemonde and his Sapphire Crusaders, the situation appears more stable," said Jeremiah. "It may also please your majesty to know that despite a brief delay, Empress Nunnally will be arriving tomorrow to celebrate the birth of your child. Along with Lady Cornelia, Sir Guilford, Sir Cardemonde, and Lady Millicent."
Lelouch nodded in appreciation for the news. He was worried how Nunnally was after the incident.
"We've also begun rebuilding the UFN," said Xingke. "While world armies have been weakened by the attack we are fortunate in that without the Infected, the UFD is thinned as well."
"But for now everything is quiet," said Euphemia.
As she finished that sentence the hall did indeed become quiet, almost too quiet for Lelouch's liking.
"I take it there is still more?" asked Lelouch.
"Well...there's really no easy way to say it," said Euphie. "But..."
She stopped speaking and her right eye shone bright with Geass.
Lelouch gasped at the impossibility that stood before him.
"But...how, without an immortal...Le Fey?" stammered Lelouch.
"We've lost track of Morgan Le Fey, she's in the wind," said Xingke. "However even her vanishing can't account for the sheer sudden number of Geass users that are appearing all over the world."
"What?" gasped Lelouch. "But I...I don' understand. I...I didn't want more Geass users loose in the world."
"Perhaps, perhaps not, either way that's not what's important," said Ohgi. "What's important is that there are numerous new Geass users popping up all over the world. They won't know what their power can do and those who do comprehend will be tempted to use them."
"Average people will want to take action too," said Chiba. "It'll be a disaster."
"Damn it," hissed Lelouch. "I didn't ask for this. This wasn't what I wanted this..."
Lelouch suddenly felt a sensation of calm but he couldn't tell why. He looked over at his half-sister Euphemia and saw her Geass still active. He then remembered seeing Euphie in Kallen's delivery room along with Chiba, Viletta, and Sayoko.
"What is your Geass Euphie?" asked Lelouch.
"Power of the Nerve, Absolute Sensation," said Euphie. "I can induce either excruciating pain or pleasure or relaxation on whomever I focus my intent on. I tried to use this to help Kallen in her deliver, easing her pain, but I don't think I was entirely effective."
"It helped more than you think," said Kallen. "Probably better than if we had any actual pain medicine."
"But...but without a Code Bearer...how did you get Geass?" asked Lelouch.
"About the time you and Bloodbeard vanished in that golden flash in Japan I believe," said Euphie. "A powerful sensation came over me asking if I wished to do something about the pain of those I love. I answered and then I believe something of a contract was made."
"Then it must have been the Collective," said Lelouch. "Another test or...punishment for..."
"Lelouch, it doesn't matter," said Suzaku. "We can deal with these new Geass Users, we've already recruited a few, some of whom were in that group of soldiers you saw."
"Along with several average volunteers," said Viletta.
"The Miracle Order is officially in business," said Tamaki.
"I hope that does not mean while I have been in my coma we are stockpiling C's Metal weapons," said Lelouch.
"Of course not," said Nina. "The Forge is off limits and any Knightmare forces we've built were salvaged from enemy forces."
"However you will be glad to know that the new UFN has officially recognized New Zero as a sovereign nation and has taken the Miracle Order as a global contractor to support international peace," said Ohgi.
Lelouch hummed lightly, surprised that despite some potentially new issues arising, his Order was able to adapt well to the situation. But the topic of the UFN made Lelouch realize what needed to happen. He would have to face justice for his past crimes as the 99th Emperor.
"Then...I suppose you have a duty to do," said Lelouch.
He gently took his hand from Kallen and rose from his throne. He walked towards Ohgi and presented his hands in a manner of surrender.
"An international war criminal stands before you," said Lelouch. "Justice must be served."
Ohgi looked at Lelouch with an unchanged face. He merely held his arms over his chest.
"That would be true...if that war criminal still existed," said Ohgi.
Lelouch smiled slightly but as nice as he found that gesture he could not falter on this.
"Thank you Ohgi but nothing can erase what I have done and I must answer for it," said Lelouch. "I only ask Suzaku be acquitted. He was just following my orders."
"No, I mean you don't exist Lelouch," said Ohgi. "There is absolutely no record of you."
"What?" asked Lelouch.
"No record and no memory," said Ohgi. "As far as humanity is concerned, Lelouch vi Britannia never existed."
"I don't understand," said Lelouch.
"Do you remember how the Sapphire Crusaders would glare at you?" asked Suzaku. "Once we put you aboard the Valhalla, they questioned who you were. And not just you, the Japanese prisoners we freed said they never even heard of Suzaku Kururugi or Euphemia li Britannia, or any of her...other titles."
"Nunnally even sent word that the same thing was true in Britannia," said Ohgi. "We checked and quintuple checked and the end result is obvious, all memory of Lelouch vi Britannia, Euphemia li Britannia, and Suzaku Kururugi has been purged from humanity save for all of us here. So if you wish to be judged for your crimes, the only ones qualified are here in this castle. However...I don't know if my memory is entirely intact so I can't be a reliable juror."
Lelouch looked around and saw the others giving sign that their memories might not be in a proper order but he could see through it all. His eyes eventually locked with Suzaku, who even shrugged as if he couldn't remember anything either.
It slowly seeped into Lelouch's mind, the realization of what was happening. He, Lelouch the Demon, was forgiven.
Several hours later Nunnally finally arrived, with Rivalz, Milly, Guilford, and Cornelia in tow. Mikhail was with her of course but that did not matter to Lelouch at the moment. What mattered to him now was that he got to see his little sister walk for the first time in almost a decade.
Of course he found it odd she chose to walk barefoot all the way from her ship's landing site at the newly built dock. But he figured that it was something personal for her and didn't question it.
"Lelouch, I am glad you are alright," said Nunnally, curtsying respectfully.
"Thank you Nunnally," said Lelouch. "It's...good to see you."
Nunnally's eyes then were immediately drawn to her newborn nephew, by now sound asleep in his mother's arms. Trailing behind her was Mikhail, dressed in the green colored garb of a true Britannian Knight. He wore a green cloak and hood and had his bow slung over his shoulder and his quiver of arrows at his side.
Earlier he had been told Nunnally had given Mikhail high ranking in the reorganized Britannian military and was effectively the captain of a special secret police called the Merry Men.
He was no longer a Britannian citizen so it truly didn't matter to him. However this was an opportunity he could not let slip by.
"Mikhail," he said lightly. "May I speak to you for a moment."
Mikhail glared at Lelouch but softened when he saw Nunnally give him a wave before focusing her fawning attention to her nephew. He thus walked alongside the God-King to the corner of the hall.
"Mikhail, when I fought Bloodbeard in C's World I used his worst memory against him," said Lelouch. "As it turned out his worst memory was when he arranged the death of your mother and abandoned you. I saw genuine misery in the eyes of his past self and absolute fury from his modern self. That is more than my father ever did for Nunnally or I. He...he did love you and your mother. But it was terrible what he did to you. I thought you should know that."
"Well...I suppose that is something," said Mikhail. "If there is nothing else..."
"There is," said Lelouch. "I...I owe you an apology. I judged you for who your father was and that was hypocritical of me to do so. But that's not all. I didn't like how you seemed to be...taking Nunnally from my life. But I realize now that I have more than Nunnally. And she deserves to be happy and should be free to decide her own destiny. If she believes she will find happiness with you than I have no right to stand in her way. I only ask that you treat her well...brother."
Mikhail seemed legitimately surprised by Lelouch's sincere and heartfelt words. He could scarcely think of what to do when Lelouch presented his hand to Mikhail.
"I...I shall...brother," said Mikhail, taking Lelouch's hand.
When they released Mikhail walked back to the side of his beloved Nunnally. This let Lelouch to look over the hall and take in all that he saw.
Rivalz seemed to carry no new scars and seemed to be in better spirits than he was when he first returned from fighting in Britannia. He overheard him and Milly talking about the reconstruction of Ashford Academy where they planned to marry.
Guilford and Cornelia sat close to them and caught word of Guilford acting as Rivalz's best man.
Tamaki had the orphaned boy George, whom he had officially adopted as his son, on his shoulders and he spoke to Cecile about taking a division of the Order to build and secure orphanages for children left devastated by Bloodbeard's attack on humanity.
Lelouch also saw Ohgi speaking with his wife Viletta, catching a glimpse of metal beneath the portion of the uniform Viletta was fiddling with. Lelouch found it odd as Ohgi appeared to not have his Geass active. Lelouch deduced it had something to do with whatever business he had with the Green Knight. He'd be sure to ask it about that later if he was going to be the Chancellor of New Zero.
Tohdoh seemed to be enjoying a peaceful moment with his own wife and son.
Nina seemed to joke around with Lloyd and Rhakshata, the former still probably upset that he couldn't further play with C's Metal until Lelouch gave his permission. Schneizel stood by them closely, holding Nina close and giving her a peck on the cheek before going to see his nephew.
Anya and Gino seemed to slip into a corner although Jeremiah seemed to be close by, Sayoko providing a nice distraction on occasion.
Xingke and Tianzi seemed to be sitting quietly together while Kaguya played with both of their hair, braiding it together in a perfect tie of white and black.
Finally he saw Euphemia and Suzaku, still gawking over the newborn baby.
Suzaku noticed Lelouch looking at them and excused himself from his beloved's side.
"Definitely a better plan than Zero Requiem," said Suzaku. "Neither of us are dead."
"That is a plus isn't it?" said Lelouch. "So, are you still going to go out as this solo vigilante the Archangel Ronin?"
"Yes, I'm sorry but I no longer have faith in the governments of the world, the systems of law," said Suzaku.
"Well I won't judge you," said Lelouch. "I'll never judge you Suzaku. You're always welcome in my home. You and Euphie both."
"I know," said Suzaku.
"You could stop, settle down," said Lelouch. "You have a second chance for a normal life."
"We're not meant for normal lives Lelouch," said Suzaku. "But at least we'll be able to walk down the street without being mobbed. We just need to keep our identities secret."
"So Euphie is going with you?" asked Lelouch.
"Yes," said Suzaku. "She won't budge on that."
"Odd that her Geass allow her to bring pain though," said Lelouch.
"Euphie actually says it fits her," said Suzaku. "She said that her memory caused great pain to both of us and that it only fits her to bring pain."
"I disagree," said Lelouch. "But I wish both of you the best, no matter what path you take."
"Thank you," said Suzaku. "So what exactly happened when you claimed the Eternity Chalice?"
"I was God for a minute," said Lelouch. "And as God I had only one desire."
"What?" asked Suzaku.
"What I've always wanted, a happy ending," said Lelouch.
"Well this may very well be the happiest ending we could get," said Suzaku.
"That's life Suzaku, finding whatever happiness you can," said Lelouch. "The world will never be a gentle place. All we can do is make the best of what fate gives us."
"True," said Suzaku. "So we have to work to get more moments like this."
"No one else will do it for us," said Lelouch. "The Collective actually told me that. It takes no sides save its own to ensure its survival. It would even allow humanity to be ruled by a tyrant so long as the tyrant prevented mankind's demise."
"Planning on taking over the world again?" asked Suzaku.
"Not if I can help it," said Lelouch. "I will do everything in my power to prevent the foolishness and cruelty of mankind from destroying this world. But if a war so great were to break out where it was evident that the only way to save humanity is to conquer it, I will do so with a heavy heart."
"Again," said Suzaku.
"Yes, again," said Lelouch. "What would you do then Suzaku?"
"I guess then I'd be forced to kill you again if you became a cruel ruler," said Suzaku, with a coy smile.
"You truly do have a dark sense of humor Suzaku," said Lelouch, mimicking his friend's smile.
"You've been an influence on me," joked Suzaku.
"As you have been on me Suzaku," said Lelouch.
The two friends looked over at the Round Table where a great feast was spread out. They walked towards the table and took their proper seats. Towards the table and towards an unknown future, together.
"And if I ask you for water, try not to strangle me this time," Lelouch whispered in Suzaku's ear, earning a groan from his friend.
"My son is dead," said Morgan Le Fey, her hand pressed against glass. "Although I cannot say I have any love left in him I do have a naturally vindictive streak in me. Besides, despite it all, my original goal: the Throne of Britannia remains. After centuries of denial from my stepfather, my brother, and even my own son I will finally achieve this goal. The God-King will resist I know. But against you I believe he will be helpless. His love for his wife is too great for his own good. Sleep now, for when you awake a new dawn awaits us all."
The witch turned her back to the glass tube where in slept the blank husk that would soon carry the soul of her new champion. The leader of a new army born from the efforts and mad plots of all the deranged mind of her son brought together.
The herald of her Master Race...Naoto Kozuki.
The End, for now.