A/N: A year and four months later, and I still feel uneasy with posting this. As I revealed at the end of 'Surety,' this is my own adaption of the Code Geass franchise once entitled 'Dormant Ambition.' Of course my mind changed so drastically and frequently over the years, so it does not resemble anything I had brainstormed when I began 'Surety.' Nonetheless, I'd rather have it available than age in my documents. This is pretty low on my priority list, so I will have to ask for your patience with updates.
Official Disclaimer: This author does not own, in any way or manner, any portion or claim to Code Geass and its characters: it is the sole property of Sunshine and CLAMP. Any outside characters of the franchise are unique and created by Eliya Shirwood.
The splatter of her hand against the pool of blood echoed in the cold silence, and Lelouch could do nothing except watch Shirley's life slip away.
"Shirley?" His hands helplessly twitched at her side as the shock tormented his body and sanity. He wished that this sight deceived him; that he wouldn't witness her labored breathing ease towards standstill. She was on the verge of death.
"Shirley…" Her eyes fluttered shut as his hand drew close to her face. His once-maintained demeanor faultered quickly as he slapped at her cheek to gain her attention, but to no avail.
'She can't be dying.' His thought echoed in reckless denial throughout his mind.
"Shirley!" Lelouch's voice boomed with determination. He quickly pulled at her blood-damped blouse to survey her wound: right below her right ribcage bore the gash still seeping life at a rapid speed. The incision was too resembling to a single gunshot, and though he knew who was responsible, he focused his thoughts on how to prevent the blood flow.
"Damn it, it's too deep- she's going to bleed out. Shirley! Shirley! Wake up!"
Lelouch applied as much pressure that his feeble body could muster to the wound while reaching his free hand to her face. His fingers pried open her left eye but felt hesitation; seeing those once vivid emeralds fade away tore at his will. However, he could not allow that to stop him. He had to force her alive.
"Don't die, Shirley! Please! I order you not to die!"
He flicked away at the strain within his mind in rapid succession to activate the Geass. With each hit, the power shot out into her eye to achieve its purpose. Although the symptoms of its presence appeared in place- the red rims glowing on the borders of her iris- the prowess of the Geass diminished as quickly as it became implanted. She was on the verge of death.
"NO! No no no! Not like this Shirley! Don't' give up on me! Don't die!"
Despite the grim results, he continued to unleash the once-powerful trance on Shirley. Lelouch was not willing to lose her, not after all the damnation she had indirectly experienced from his hellish vendetta. That was already enough for this innocent girl.
He dropped his attention down to her chest, which at that moment, heaved its last breath. Sheer panic ripped his demeanor asunder, causing him to plunge his fists onto her chest. He could barely recall the proper procedure for CPR as he pounded at her heart; instinct told him to spark the energy back into her heart to restore circulation.
"Breathe Shirley, breathe! I'm not going to lose you!" Lelouch gasped in agony as his body grew tired. He damned his feeble body for its lack of stamina.
Lelouch followed through on his primal instinct as he frantically pounded at her chest. He leaned in afterward to seal his lips around hers. He blew the most amount of air he could muster to expand her lungs. He continued to provide life in between short deep breaths, ignoring the taste of blood. Although decimated by the nausea, he repeated the cycle while pumping his palms against her chest. He had to thoroughly deceive himself to not give up his futile procedure. She could not be dead.
Lelouch was forced to look upon this soon-to-be corpse rested in front of him as his body submitted to fatigue. His blood-stained hands curled around his face as he panicked. He had no chance to recuperate her; not in this condition. Although the blood flow leaving her body slackened, it only provided evidence that there was not much left to lose. Just the disgusting length and depth of its pool around him gave hint how much remained.
His fingers racked against flesh under his self-torment. Despite the great effort to hold back tears, they poured in strong streams mixed in red and white from the surrounding cut wounds.
He pulled at his hair to restrain himself.
However, no amount of infliction could distract the breakdown.
Instantly, he forced all of his pent-up frustration and sorrow behind a deafening scream that barreled unheard throughout the building. The howl lasted longer once he uncoiled from himself to shout to the heavens, through the grotesque glass piece overhead mocked him in the place of God. His hands took hold of his own hair since they could not grasp the very neck of the cruel deity above.
With little recovery, Lelouch let out a second less-dense scream as hair flew out of his fingers. A million curses fired away in his mind, attempting to place the blame on anyone or anything; particularly, this godhand curse known as the Geass.
No, the Geass was not the true reason for her death. He was the instigator, the conquistador, the executioner.
Without much relent, he crashed his head into the tiled ground, the loud thud popped in and out of existence like the drop of a pin nail. Again, he slammed his head against the tarnished spot stained with his own blood that splattered after the collisions. His hands cringed, ignorant of the throbbing pain above, and Lelouch cried for the fourth time in his life.
"Why? Why does this have to happen to me? All the important ones… Everyone becomes a victim despite how hard I-"
He slammed his fists into the ground with full force.
His attention shot across the room to something- anything that could save this one person in front of him. As unfortunate as his fate seemed, that barren corridor offered nothing: no medical stations, no immediate persons to assist getting Shirley to a nearby hospital. His mind ignored the discarded communicator to his right. That option was useless; no one could reply nor arrive fast enough to revive a dead person.
His sight caught a glimpse of the blissful expression on Shirley's face once more, sending a pang of pain through his spine.
'How could she die like this, satisfied with this shit hand dealt by destiny?' Lelouch fought back another urge to cry as he looked down at his hands. 'No,' he clinched his hands once more to tighten his resolve, 'I won't accept it.'
Lelouch quickly fumbled his fingers to her eyes, prying them open once more without remorse. Despite the horrific dull reflection of himself in those absent mirrors, he stared straight into her eyes and triggered his Geass. This power given to him for a reason; they held a power that exceeded natural phenomenon. He could only rely on them.
"I order you, don't die Shirley! Respond to me! Take one more breath, move an arm, hit me, call me an idiot, kill me, anything! Show me that you're still here!"
In one more very desperate bid, he enforced the full capacity of his Geass, trying any combination of verbal commands that could potentially set off the miracle; any latent plausible exception that could bring her back to life. The rims of its presence flickered in her eyes, but only short-lived. The strong torrent of tears made it harder for Lelouch to maintain eye contact, nonetheless he fought against it.
He knew this was a pointless struggle against time; he could not recall how long she had passed away, and his ability was significantly limited to conditions.
"Please Shirley, come back. I promise," Lelouch whimpered as he vigorously harassed the mental strain of his Geass. He felt his left vision falter as he continually projected the Geass, but that would not stop him.
"I promise that this will be the last time. I won't let you get pulled into my affairs anymore. You've suffered enough."
He gradually increased his effort to project the Geass, even feeling the sensation of its switch becoming worn and torn. He didn't even consider the consequences for progressively activating his Geass, nor if it could permanently remain engaged like Mao after violent exposure, nor if he could lose it in the process; none of this mattered in the wake of his insanity fiercely provoking an act of a god.
"I won't let you- I won't let you die because of me."
Each tug felt more detrimental, as if the ligaments woven into his eyes were being ripped out; as if a knife was being scrapped against his optical nerves and mind. Although the sight in his left eye began to blur further, he felt something estrange at work: some mysterious force so kin to his Geass, yet possessed much more weight began to make itself present. At the same time, it seemed that the trigger for the Geass thickened and pulsed in strong resilience against his tries. He had never experienced this amount of change in his Geass before, albeit its reawakening a few months ago. It felt like this new sensation was a presence of its own- like a fragment of another entity stored away in a spatial pocket of himself.
Despite the enormous pressure building at his left temple, Lelouch pressed on to unravel/unleash this new potential as he would his own Geass. In fact, the two felt relatively similar in summoning that he imagined it like a dual-layered pulley. Essentially, the primary trigger for his Geass existed as a loose rope that could be pulled at any time to activate its effect. However, this second pulley was not so easy to discover or obtain. He would have surmised that the first pulley must be exhausted to some extent in order to get a grasp at the second, and that much more force was necessary to even attempt its use.
Lelouch shifted all of his concentration on bringing out this dormant potential while staring into the eyes of his victim. Her empty husk motivated him beyond mental bounds to seek out its activation. Because of this newfound strength, gripping and harnessing the new switch became somewhat easier.
If he had to describe the experience, he would illustrate that it in comparison to a simple tug of the first pulley, he had to use all of his weight and momentum to even gain an inch against the second's inertia. Even with the confidence boost, it only added on a few pounds to the counterbalance. However, that was more than enough to relay the necessary strength to gain favor. In one more final act of perseverance, he yanked the pulley to its limits and its surreal floodgate burst open with unfathomable pressure, signaling the ability awakened.
Instantly, Lelouch was overwhelmed by everything perceived by his left eye, by the new apprehension presented through the unknown power. It was like seeing the world through a new view, like an invisible gate always centered in his vision suddenly tore away to reveal a different world.
How could he possibly comprehend this new vision presented before him? Although everything seemed unfazed through his right eye, his left eye hinted a sort-of double vision as he switched between sights. However, that could not possibly be because the objects he saw were not blurred and were directly layered above one another even if he shifted from side to side, and his balanced and movement were not affected. In fact, the dueled layer seemed to only exist as a sort of light whose color teased a blend of transparent white and purple; hell, he could have fooled himself into thinking he saw once-invisible particles being molded as a membrane around the objects.
He even noticed a certain subtle effect taking place within the hidden field, like descriptors murmuring within the objects' outline, as if detailing their existence and other suggestions that he could subconsciously understand. Even more, this surreal membrane coating seemed to speak to him, but not through voice yet not through noise vibration. It was as though the recognition only existed in his mind funneled through his eye where Geass presented. Because of this fact, the funnel sensation seemed to carry a significantly large strain on his eye as though a very sharp needle was digging straight through his eye, all the while continually expanding and contrasting with the information. He blinked profusely to better embrace the pain though he could not produce tears in his left eye, though compensated in his right.
He allowed only a moment to recollect himself, then he hurriedly turned his eye to Shirley as he hovered over her. He had already wasted enough time trying to summon this power. He had to utilize it fast if he was going to resurrect her.
'Please work.' As he thought of the command to use to bring her back, he felt his reason being influenced from the hidden field. It seemed to suggest the correct manner at which to harness this new ability, though he could not understand its dialect. He did not hesitate to follow its offer.
"Shirley, listen to me! Obey my order! Live!"
As soon as he spoke, the sensation generating from his eye shifted. Instead of funneling inward the information about the world, everything halted, channeled invert, and poured outward in enormous bursts that strained at his eye like strong winds, like an explosion expanding from within; each pulse felt like his organ would explode and implode simultaneously from the intensity. The severe reaction was so powerful that he was on the verge of passing out.
Nonetheless, Lelouch did not allow his focus to slip away from Shirley. The waves of the enhancement were hard to narrow, let alone specify a target; much as how the funneling affect was being achieved to his eye, it was being directed in the same widespread manner. He fought to minimize the scope at which the bursts flowed from his eye, and found improving success over time.
In increments, he could somewhat sense the hints of what was capable of this power; the nonexistent whispers acted like a vague script fed unwillingly without any purpose or explanation to him, yet he could instinctively understand it.
Returning his attention, he witnessed his miracle about to be conceived. The familiar red rims around her irises flourished in stronger vibrancy than before. In fact, they were so vibrant that they seemed to emit pulses that affected the environment around them; the air phased like evaporation and the underlying muscles in her eye contracted slightly as if life was injected through a syringe. Everything touched by the power was engulfed in a strong version of the aura perceived only through his left eye: the invisible membrane strengthened in brightness until gradually dissipating into itself.
It was a strange phenomenon indeed to Lelouch as he witnessed the coiling ether slighter all along Shirley's body, thoroughly filling the empty veins of her vessel with its presence. Then once the edges traced along to her heart, Lelouch felt it: a unique pulse, a human pulse. Albeit very, very slow and soft, it was a pulse that remained allusive to him and the rest of the world moments ago.
However, it felt so distant- so very distant yet… so near, like miles away and still within finger's reach. If described, the pulse was always there but in another entirely different dimension that could not be theoretically reached- an imaginary plane of existence: a destination that he surmised neither breachable nor understandable until after death.
Through his new power, he imagined himself looking at the pulse through her heart into the new dimension; it was merely lingering in-between the borders, slowly slipping into its new bounds. He willed the power to become tangible, though vaguely understood that it would only exist in an ethereal form. His mind molded a grasp onto it, like reeling in a fish by its body, as it reached into the dimension, reaching for her pulse. Oddly enough, he felt its hold of the pulse and reeled in the soul. The act itself wasn't as taxing as its activation, but he endeavored through the pain until it was removed from the dimension.
Recognizing that he had successfully freed the pulse from the other side, he released the power's grasp and watched as the pulse reside back into its former container. The pulse settled smoothly into Shirley's heart, and caused it to resurrect at its own accord. His eye allowed him to witness her blood being pumped back into working circulation across her body, all throughout to her limbs and head.
His attention was turned to the shot wound, and with the slightest thought his power engulfed around its site and began to suture itself. The pool of blood around her seemed to retract its course of time by reversing back up to her wound and reentering her body. He was amazed that he was able to scan each blood cell individually to observe any foreign particle or molecule picked up during its duration on the floor being erased during the procedure.
Some time along the procedure, Lelouch felt his limit on the power began to slip away, and its prowess over reality gave away. He knew it was gone when he could no longer see that second translucent layer and the remaining blood resumed its course downward. The wound did not completely heal up, but it had shrunk considerably in comparison.
Lelouch jumped back in shock as Shirley coughed up bits of blood and took in several desperate breaths. He started to cry once more and reached his hands around her shoulder and neck to elevate her.
She did not respond nor open her eyes as she frantically breathed, but he didn't care. As long as she was breathing, that was enough. He lowered her down to the ground again, nearly forgetting that her wound had not properly sealed. He pulled his hands up to his face, burying it inside its embrace. The pain in his eye returned in full force once recollected.
"Shit," Lelouch roared out as the pain amplified for several seconds. He rubbed his palm against his left eye, but the act did not seem to relieve the agony. Eventually, the painful sensation died down to bearable limits to allow his eyes to rest.
"Just what the hell was that? C.C. never said anything about the Geass acting in such a way. Urgh, or this painful." He reeled his hands away from his face and looked over to Shirley. His heart raced faster as he watched the blood beginning to pool up at a slower pace.
"Forget about that for now, I have to do something to stop that bleeding." He reached his hand out to grab the communication and dialed in the number to contact Sayoko. "She should still be nearby. I can't let anyone else beside her know that-"
"Onii-san, I found you!"
Lelouch jolted to his feet and swung around. He looked up from the escalator's entrance to see Rolo overhead, waving to him with an innocent smile planted on his face. It chilled and enraged Lelouch to see Shirley's very murderer retaining his naïve persona. He felt his hand tighten around the communicator brought up to his ear, hearing numbers being ringed up in response. Before Rolo was able to reach the start of the escalator, he heard the communicator pick up.
"[*Yes sir, Sayoko reporting. Everything within the perimeter has been locked and monitored.*]"
"…Sayoko, ignore that objective. Hurry over here with some emergency medical supplies; Shirley was caught in the conflict and needs immediate attention. We'll need to board her on the Ikaruga in secrecy. Make sure no one knows that she is being treated or transported there."
"[*Right away, Lelouch-sama. *click*]"
Lelouch closed the communicator and slipped it into his pocket before walking over to Shirley's body, standing in front of her to divert Rolo's sight.
'He probably thinks she's dead. I better make sure that he cannot confirm.' He was slightly thankful that her breathing had slowed down and she was no longer coughing up blood. He wouldn't know what he might have to do if the situation became compromised.
"Onii-san, I'm glad I found you." Without looking back, Lelouch raised his hand to signal Rolo to not approach any farther. Lelouch took a moment to compose himself, to continue deceiving this little tool who could no longer be trusted to continue living He turned around while maintaining a stern expression.
"What's the status, Rolo?"
"Yes, we have guaranteed that the Britannian forces are unaware of our presence here and have successfully quarantined Jeremiah Gottwald in holding."
"That won't be necessary. He's become a part of our cause now."
"Y-Yes Onii-san… Oh, I see you found that traitor."
Lelouch turned his head aside in order to fight back the urge to yell. He even caught a glimpse of the handgun that laid beside Shirley. If it weren't for Rolo's Geass ability to stop time, he would take this chance to kill him off.
"I'm sorry Onii-san, but I had to do it. She came to kill you, I confirmed it." Lelouch blocked out all the nonsense being sold from Rolo's statement. He knew the truth of Rolo's nature and that was enough to constitute his inevitable demise. Hopefully at his own hands, Lelouch schemed.
"I mean, you do see the gun she was carrying, right? I wouldn't doubt she had it with her earlier when you were with her and Suzaku. I bet she was planning something along with him to kill you."
Lelouch bit down on his inner cheek, tasting his blood mixed with the remnant of Shirley's.
"I should have made sure she was dead earlier, Onii-san. She was already a bad influence."
"…Don't worry about that, Rolo. You've done your job. Since the situation called for it, you made the right choice." Lelouch felt his heart strike against his statement after spoting the joyful smile on Rolo's face.
"I'll always protect you, Onii-san! Leave it to me!" Lelouch half-heartedly smiled before turning back around to Shirley.
"Go on ahead. I need to assess the stability and output function of the Gefun Disturber for their next use. I'll return to headquarters in due time."
"Sure thing!" Rolo raised his arm in salute, as if he had completed a fine mission, before excusing himself towards the main entrance. Lelouch released his façade and spit the blood-stained saliva at the ground.
"I'll make you pay for this, Rolo. A million fold," Lelouch mumbled as he placed his hands on the knife wound at Shirley's ribcage. He placed a bit of pressure, earning a groan from her.
"Just hang on Shirley, I've saved you."
Right as he finished his reassurance, he heard a dash and a step from behind him. He didn't need to turn around to know its owner.
"Sayoko, I hope you know a good amount of first-aid. She's been shot at the ribs," Lelouch mentioned as he moved aside so Sayoko could immediately assess the wound.
Sayoko placed the first-aid kit she brought along to the ground as she sprayed some concentrate at the wound. "I'll have to be swift and careful, but I'll be able to get her to the base and in better care. Thankfully she has not bled out too much, otherwise I doubt she could be saved."
Lelouch rubbed his eye as he sorted out the necessary equipment from the kit. "Yeah, thankfully."
Sayoko wasted no time to attend to the wound, sanitizing the wound before attempting to better seal the gash. Her quick and efficient hands managed to help reduce the flow rate while dressing the wound tight. Lelouch helped pick Shirley up despite how tired his body proved to be. Sayoko repositioned Shirley to ensure to minimize agitating the cut.
"I have the escort helicopter awaiting atop the building just in case, Lelouch-sama. I can continue the operation in there," Sayoko informed Lelouch as she prepared to dash off, but Lelouch plopped down and waved her off.
"I need to rest for a bit. Please hurry." Sayoko nodded in recognition and dashed up the escalator within a blink of an eye. Lelouch laid himself across the tile and broke into a painful breath as he took in the damnable situation he had overcome.
"I hope C.C. will have an explanation about this," Lelouch gasped out as he fought to remain awake.