AN Notes: This "second chapter" is nothing more than an extended first chapter, fixing the grammar errors I had missed the first time, and adding some parts I had mistakenly edited out. Pro tip: don't edit for grammar and spelling while drunk, you'll never know what you may have removed the next morning.
Now, to the people that have already reviewed this, and to those that may still, asking for my to continue this story. I will not. Honestly? I only wrote this to get the idea out of my head for now so I can focus on other things. Now, that isn't to say that this will never be revisited, as I have plans to work this scene, albeit, reworked and rewritten, into a full length CG:LotR fanfiction. So keep you eyes out for that, it'll be called Que Sera, Sera.
That being said, I apologize for anyone who's hope I may have raised when they got the e-mail saying that this updated; as it was just me fixing the chapter.
Behind the mask of Zero, Lelouch's eyes narrowed in disgust. Kallen had lead him to the hanger of the Ikagura – only having told him that some of his command level staff were calling for a meeting. Now he found himself at gun point feeling the sting of betrayal for the second time in as many days.
First Suzaku sells me out to the Empire, again! Now even the Black Knights, my own organization, betray me.
"It's over Zero – no, Lelouch!" Tohdoh Kyoshirou shouted while looking down on him.
"How dare you deceive us!" Chiba Nagisa let her voice carry out immediately afterwards.
"We know about your Geass, Lelouch!" Ohgi Kaname, his second in command, said calmly, leveling the rifle at Lelouch.
Lelouch choked. He was screwed here and he knew it. If his command staff knew about his Geass, than they were show to know how he used it – by mistake – on Euphemia to slaughter the Japanese that had gathered for the S.A.Z.. Though he regretted it, and would undo it in a heart beat, he did capitalize on his mistake, here now it would cost him dearly.
"I see..." He responded calmly, as he raised his right hand up to his mask. "Then there isn't any more need for the mask, then is there?" With a click the slide locks were undone, and the face mask, and cloth were removed revealing to everyone assembled his uncovered face. The face of a Britannian prince in exile.
"I can only assume that Kururugi told you about my Geass; either that or Kallen did herself."
"Kallen! You knew about Lelouch's Geass?!" Ohgi practically screamed his questioning disbelief.
"Yes." The red haired half-breed responded dejectedly after a moments hesitation; her voice was quiet and subdued as she turned her head in shame. "Since the end of the Black Rebellion." Answering the when before it could be asked.
The rest of the Black Knights looked stricken at her words. Not only had Zero – no, Lelouch – betrayed them, but Kallen as well?
"How could you not have told us we were being used, Kallen!?"
"It's not like that!" Kallen's voice carried with it defiance. "I just... Ze – Lelouch isn't like that!"
"Well then." Lelouch spoke up, drawing attention away from Kallen. "Shall we go discuss my surrender, or were you seriously just going to execute me unjustly, without having any sort of defense court?" He sneered.
"I thought I taught you all better than that."
By Mine Eyes; Deceived,
By Mine Words; Mislead.
By Your Hands; Betrayed.
By the time everyone relevant had filed into the conference room, Lelouch had already taken a seat at the head of the table with his hands crossed in front of him; alone. One by one the others filed into the room and began to take their own seats at the table; Ohgi, Tohdoh, Chiba, Tamaki, Diethard, along with Schneizel and Cornelia of Britannia – whose presence mildly shocked Lelouch, and Kallen; Q-1.
So it was Schneizel who told them about Geass, and Cornelia was there at the order when I had it destroyed so who knows how much she truly knows.
"So, I take it that it was you that informed them of my power, Schneizel?" Lelouch voiced his thoughts as a question though there was no doubt in his mind.
"Indeed." The second prince answered as he took a seat directly opposite of Lelouch. "Though I must thank Suzaku for giving me such useful information. To think that such a power could possibly exists."
"Oh?" Lelouch drawled out slowly. "Cornelia never informed you as such?" The young man turned his gaze towards his older sister. "Strange thing that, considering you were at the Geass Order when I had it wiped out."
This statement caused everyone at the table to stop and stare at the second princess in shock. She knew about the Geass, well before the others, and had not informed anyone, not even her sibling.
"Schneizel already knew about it by the time I told him." Cornelia gave a slight shrug as she spoke. "So the point was moot."
"But you were missing for a year, dear sister. Couldn't you have contacted Guilford at any point during that time?"
Cornelia's mouth snapped shut. The princess had nothing she could say about that, and so she crossed her arms under her breasts in defiance of her brother.
"And don't you find it odd?"
"Do I find what odd, Lelouch?"
"That you and I should have run into each other there, of all places. And with both of us having the same overall goal as the other. Removing the source of Geass from this world."
"I find that hard to believe considering you used that accursed power to taint Euphy's name." Cornelia spat at him, the venom in her voice clear.
There was a brief pause.
"Just how much do you know about Geass?" Lelouch asked, his question directed towards the gathered crowd. "This will go much faster if I had a starting point to reference."
"Geass lets you control people." Tamaki spoke up for the fist time, drawing all attention to him. "Kinda' like hypnotism. Right?" He felt smug until Lelouch scoffed in response.
"And is that all you know?" Lelouch asked, "what it does – even if incorrectly – but none of its limitations or drawbacks?"
"Limitations?" Ohgi took the reigns.
"I'll get to those soon enough, I guess." Lelouch responded calmly as he leaned back in his chair and relaxed his posture. "I suppose I should start with what Geass is then, shouldn't I?" He got the consensus of the group.
"Geass is, quite simply, a wish."
"Bullshit!" Tamaki shouted.
"I assure you that, Tamaki, that is all that Geass is. How it manifests itself is what differs from person to person. The source of their deepest wish becomes their Geass." He leveled his gaze across the assembled people.
"You mean... there are more people out there with Geass besides just you?" Ohgi asked, once more taking control of the conversation.
"Indeed." Lelouch answered succinctly "The people that I know of that currently have a Geass are myself, Rolo from the Black Knights, and Charles zi Britannia; though I should rather say that the Emperor used to have a Geass. I also encountered a Chinese boy named Mao last year that had a Geass of his own, though he has since been... disposed of."
Lelouch's proclamation was met with stunned silence; even from Schneizel and Cornelia, both of whom were no doubt shaken by the information. Silence stretched over the room for several minutes before anyone spoke up; and Schneizel was the first to break it.
"Father... knew?" His voice was soft, and full of an unreadable emotion.
"Yes. More than just that, he was partially in charge of the Geass Order." Lelouch replied, a small softness in his voice.
"And you said it's different from person to person?"
"What... is father's Geass, Lelouch?"
"Charles zi Britannia could use his Geass to erase and replace someone's memories; stealing from them their very lives as they knew it and to make the person to be whomever he so desired. That is no longer so."
"What do you mean 'no longer so', Lelouch?" Cornelia asked her brother with a distraught face.
"Father has since traded his Geass for V.V's Code; taking away his Geass and granting him immortality instead."
Lelouch's statement hung dead in the air. Something that was beginning to become rather common.
"I find that hard to believe. A supernatural power to manipulate people is one thing - and I still wouldn't believe it without the evidence we have to support it - but immortality? How gullible do you think we are, Lelouch?" Schneizel's statement carried with it the sound of haughty derision.
"What would I gain about lying about such a thing?" Lelouch rebutted. "How about you, Cornelia? What do you think about the concept of immortality?"
"That little blond boy." Cornelia began before pausing to think. "I threw a knife through his skull, but he pulled it out and shrugged it off after only a few minutes."
"So you met him, met V.V." Lelouch stated a short time later. "V.V is one of two immortals that I'm aware of, and he is the one that granted Charles his Geass. My Geass was given to me by C.C, seconds after I thought she had been killed by Clovis' royal guard. Did you know that? The entire Shinjuku ghetto inncident that saw Clovis killed by my hands was caused by his vanity? He couldn't risk the knowledge that he had been experimenting on C.C, more than likely trying to gain her immortality for himself, from reaching the Emperor. He order the destruction of the ghetto, and the execution of the Japanese, simply to control information."
"For only that-" Cornelia began to shout at Lelouch.
"For only that, what? Do you still regard the Japanese as second class citizens? Do you ignore the fact that they've since proven to be just as able as Britannians, only with their humanity intact? But we've digressed. Where were we?"
"You said that Geass is something different for each person, but that we were incorrect to call yours hypnotism." Ohgi spoke up, a certain dryness in his voice. "What is your Geass then, Lelouch?"
"My Geass falls into the realm of Absolute." Lelouch sighed as he shifted in his seat again. "I personally call mine the Geass The Absolute Obedience With it I can give a person any one," they could all hear the emphasis placed on that word, "order that they could not disobey."
"So it is hypnotism!" Tamaki exclaimed as he pointed a finger at Lelouch. "You've hypnotized us!"
"I'd forgotten how much of an idiot you can be, Tamaki." Lelouch replied with a tired sigh.
"Hypnosis has limitations, Tamaki. Borders and ceilings that it can not overcome, no matter how complete it is. For example, you can't be hypnotized to kill yourself, not unless you were already suicidal. My Geass can; and it has. I've ordered people to die with it, and they all did that. Simply, killed themselves."
"Still sounds like hypnosis to me, Lelouch." Ohgi said with that same, dry tone to his voice.
"Hmm, how to explain it to you. Hypnotism isn't absolute, if commanded by the hypnotist to do something you wouldn't normally do, such as killing yourself or committing a crime, you simply wouldn't do it. All hypnotism does is reduce the inhibitions on your actions set by your personality; much the same way as alcohol and psychotropic drugs do, but limited to the suggestions given to you by the hypnotist."
"My Geass will have you do anything I order you to, whether you'd like to do it or not. In the case of Jeramiah Gottwald, he did everything in his power to let myself and Suzaku walk free. Or in the case of unimportant settlement workers, they collapsed the settlement plates."
"And Euphemia ordered the slaughter of the Japanese!" Tohdoh said with force in his voice, realization dawning on him.
"Suzaku Kururugi abandoned his orders to restrain to to save is own life." Schneizel's voice hinted at and odd sort of realization.
"Yes, though in my defense, as poor as it is, the Euphemia incident wasn't exactly intentional." Lelouch said, his voice coming out tighter than he meant it to. "That brings us to the limitations and drawbacks of Geass."
"I'm curious, Lelouch." Schneizel spoke up, drawing the former prince's attention to him. "You said your Geass falls into the realm of Absolute. Are there other types of Geass then?"
"Heh." A small chuckle escaped Lelouch's lips. "I would've known you'd ask about that. I personally classify Geass into two separate realms, based on their powers, of course. The Realm of The Absolute, and The Realm of The Isolated. The former are Geass powers that affect people other than it's user, while the latter affects the user instead. For an example of an Isolated Geass, Mao's Geass allowed him to read the minds of anyone withing 500 meters."
Everyone's eyes widened and a collective gasp was heard.
"I'm sure when he got his Geass it didn't quite work the way it did by the time I met him, but I've taken to calling his Geass the Power of Absolute Understanding – even with the contradiction to its type and name. Rolo's Geass is irony in and of itself as well. The Power of Isolated Existence is from the Realm of The Absolute, and with it he can stop everyone's, within a limited area of effect, sense of time. To the affected, his movements become instantaneous, and for combatants, without defense."
"Like that knightmare in the Tower of Babel." Kallen said, her mouth hung open.
"Yes, actually. That was Rolo while he was still working for the Geass Order." Lelouch smirked.
"Mao's Geass changed over time?" Schneizel drew the conversation back towards its original goal.
"Yes. Geass rampancy is a very real danger to its' users. The more one uses their Geass, the stronger their Geass becomes. Eventually it evolves in one way or another; but ultimately, everyone bows to the same fate." Lelouch spoke, his voice growing more tired as he spoke. "Rampancy, or the loss of control over one's Geass."
"The Geass becomes permanently active, and the user can no longer turn it off. For Mao, he became unable to not read everyone's mind and lost his sanity as a result."
"And yourself?" Schneizel asked, his voice oddly triumphant.
"You're too smart for my own good sometimes, brother." Lelouch answered with a smirk. "But yes, I too have succumbed to my own powers. I lost control over my Geass, ironically enough – for the purposes of this conference – when I was explaining my power to Euphemia and told her I could order her to slaughter the Japanese if I wanted her to."
Silence once more fell over the assembled crowd. No one could believe what they were hearing here. Some supernatural power existed, that could do anything from erase memories to bend a persons will to anothers'. And that Lelouch was rationalizing his involvement in the Euphemia Massacre as an uncontrollable mistake.
"That doesn't absolve you of your crimes against the Japanese, Lelouch." Tohdoh's voice cut the air harshly. "It doesn't matter if you lost control or not, you are still the person directly responsible for that genocide."
"Did I say that it cleared my of all wrong doing, Tohdoh?" Lelouch bite back. "I just said that I didn't mean for it to happen, not that I'm not the one to blame. I fully intended to give my life for my cause as penance."
"Then, Euphy..." Cornelia crumpled to the floor in relief.
"Indeed, sister. Dear Euphemia li Britannia is in no way responsible for that. Though she may have died with blood staining her hands and name, she still died innocent. And for that, I am truly sorry."
"Let's say that we believe that you didn't mean for it to happen, Lelouch. That doesn't take away your guilt in using it on us, on the Black Knights, and making us follow you without our consent." Ohgi replied after a moments hesitation.
"Are you so idiotic to still believe that I used it on you, my own Black Knights, of all people?" Lelouch asked with a sincere look of surprise on his face. "I made you my second in command because I thought you smarter than this, Ohgi."
"What do you mean, Lelouch?"
"Absolute Obedience " Was his only response Everyone in the room just looked towards Lelouch like he had grown a second head. It wasn't until a few moments later, when Schneizel began to laugh, that people tore their attention away from the exiled prince and began to question Schneizel.
"Absolute Obedience indeed." The second prince eventually said after regaining control of himself. "That they could even question his authority is proof that you never used Geass on them, isn't it? Lelouch." Schneizel closed his eyes in thought. "It seems I went into this endeavor with far, far too little information."
The members of The Order of the Black Knights just stared in utter silence, their gazes going back an forth between Lelouch vi Britannia – their, now former, leader – and Schneizel el Britannia; the man who tried to turn their loyalty away from Lelouch.
"Indeed." Lelouch responded, his voice filled with mirth. "If you must know, of the people in this room the only ones whom have ever been under my Geass' effects were Kallen and Cornelia; and both were simply told to answer my questions without reservations."
"What..." Kallen began to ask, but was cut off by Lelouch's answer.
"Kallen, to find out if my classmate was really the pilot of the Glasgow I commanded in the Shinjuku ghetto; and Cornerlia, to answer questions into my mother's murder." Lelouch's voice carried that tone of finality in it.
"That isn't really any guarantee, Lelouch." Ohgi responded after he regained his thoughts. "But we can leave that for now. You said there were limitations to Geass."
"Yes. Influence, range, usage, requirements and so forth. I really only know the full limitations to my Geass, so I'll explain those. I must have direct eye contact with the target and commands must be issued verbally. Also, it can only effect people up to 272 meters away, and it also interrupts the targets' ability to form memories as long as they remain under its effects. Additionally, the victim may be able to resist the command to some degree if they couldn't possibly fathom such an action normally, though they eventually perform the task regardless." Lelouch answered calmly, never taking his eyes off anyone before him, and he smirked.
"Direct eye contact?"
"Yes, my Zero mask prevented my from using my Geass unintentionally on anyone." Lelouch's face twisted into one of victory at that statement. "Though you may feel that point moot now that I'm no longer wearing it."
"How many times can you use it on someone?" Diethard spoke up for the first time.
"Once per person. After that, they become immune to its effects. I can thank Kallen for that little piece of info." The prince turned his gaze towards his ace pilot. "She became defensive, aggressive even, after I ordered her to 'say nothing about Shinjuku', after the effects wore off from the questioning. My commands must be... specific."
"Questioning?" Kallen asked, her voice quivering somewhat.
"Yes. I approached you during school hours to verify my suspicions. I used my Geass to order you to answer my questions, after you did, my Geass wore off as you had carried out its command, and I tried to use it again to make you remain silent. That backfired on me, as it made you suspicious of me."
"Then that phone call..."
"Was a prerecorded message to get you off of my back." Lelouch smirked as he recalled that event. "Still... seeing you in the shower was to my benefit, Q-1."
Kallen's face became indistinguishable from her hair as the collective group turned to face her with mixed looks on their faces. Nobody said a word.
"Now, is this where you execute me, or can I go on my merry way?" Lelouch questioned as he turned back to the group. "Because either way, this conversation is over."
By mine grace and guidance did thou ascend to power in this world, and by mine words and actions didst thine enemies crumble.
By mine hands were their leaders slain, one after another, and by mine majesty did they bow, bent knee before us.
So why now, armed with false knowledge have thou forsaken I, tossing all I had accomplished by the wayside; all by the words of thine enemies.
What fools thou hath been on this morn', to heed another and usurp mine authority unto thineselves. One wouldst hope that thine very lives did hang in the balance, or the actions thou hast taken this day 'been foolish beyond measure.