Fandom: Code GEASS
Characters: Suzaku, Lelouch
Warning: Spoilers to Turn 21 R2. May get in the way of whatever happiness one feels after watching said episode.
Word Count: 1029
Summary: Forgiving each other was the easy part. (Friendship, Gen)
A/N: Written for cg_contest for the theme Sovereignty, and inspired heavily by Turn 21. I want a happy ending for both of them, I really do, just not in the deus-ex-machina-ish way Sunrise has come up with.
Sometimes, Suzaku looks at where he is now – the second most powerful man in the empire, standing before the Emperor himself – and dreams of what could have been.
It has always been easy for him to dream, to pine for wishes dangled from elusive, blinking stars which will always be just a little out of reach. He had his own dreams back then, for his mother country, for his father, for Euphie – grand wishes they were, lots of naïve conviction and pretty words, but in the end just a ghost of some attempted atonement for his tortured soul. And Lelouch had his own share of dreams, darker perhaps, but no less idealistic. Look at where they are now.
It’s a strange feeling to stand on the top of the world, but frighteningly easy to get used to. The whole empire loves them, adores and worships them in a manner not unlike that of a man dying from thirst and praying for a miracle. They seized control, ended the war, and restored order without delay. The tale of ‘The Emperor and His Knight’ filled the front pages of newspapers for months. They were real heroes, not an old picture in the yellowing pages of a history book, not a verse from a song long forgotten.
Amazing what the GEASS can do before madness.
Lelouch was crowned the emperor two months after his return to public, with the blessing of everyone but a sister whom he had originally waged this war for. It took Suzaku another month at his side to realise that they no longer liked each other.
This truth, like its so many predecessors often had, slapped him in the face without warning. Simple, not even surprising – but painful.
They didn’t like each other anymore.
Something had died somewhere along the way and he didn’t even know when it happened. It was one thing to forgive every wrong deed on the basis of an old friendship, but the rest of the road was quite another journey. They had been two boys with their fingers intertwined under the summer sunshine, and then two young men chained to their own ideals, but with eyes still on each other. Somewhere along the road, a rock tumbled and their path swerved, and they found themselves looking at each other from across a gaping chasm.
To put aside differences and grudges was an uphill work. But they were young, passionate, and they had believed that they could save each other. Nothing was impossible if they worked together and Suzaku genuinely believed it. He still does, to some degree.
And yet they had changed. They had grown out of their respective childhood persona, tempered – destroyed – by blood and massacres and hopes ground into silvery dust. He had become a traitor, a man capable of betrayal, someone who could sell his own friend in the name of vengeance and greater good, and in the end a knight who could destroy everything standing on his way.
Lelouch had become a murderer, a man capable of ignorance of his own conscience, someone who killed out of choice, not circumstances, and in the end a king with a sarcastic upturn of mouth and plans greater than that to challenge the gods themselves.
It is no wonder they don’t like each other anymore. Suzaku can hardly like himself and he knows that Lelouch shares the same sentiment toward his throne, his crown, everything he has become. Now it is some kind of a precarious balance between them, the emperor and his most trusted knight. Oh, he remains Lelouch’s most trusted person, the friend he shares his most secret plans with, but it kills him a little inside every time he sees his king and wishes for something just a little more simple, not swathed in purposes and deceits.
He watches Japan freed and finds but little happiness. He watches Lelouch sits on the throne, the most powerful man in the world, and knows he feels the same. Not even this empire, under their thumbs, the deliverer of their hopes and dreams, and theirs to twist and play as they wish, can replace what has been lost.
An empire is not built on happiness, Lelouch said to him one day, a vicious laugh in the undertone of his voice, only blood and tears.
Suzaku acknowledged it only with a cold look. Maybe he was still naïve enough to think the otherwise, still stupid enough, and Lelouch had always been the realistic and the smart one out of the two of them. But neither was happier, and he was disgusted to discover that there was certain malicious pleasure he took from that thought.
So much for a perfect friendship.
“There is an uprising in Area 15,” His Majesty says from the throne.
“Is it bad?” Suzaku asks, informal enough to attest to their old friendship, but as distant as time has drifted them apart.
“Well, since an uprising is a sign of discontent and extreme doubt toward the authority of a monarch, I would say yes, it is quite bad.”
Suzaku ignores the barb in his friend’s answer – he is used to it anyway. “Your Majesty only has to order and I shall go at once,” he replies, utterly without emotion.
Lelouch smirks at him, a crude travesty of their former intimacy. “Oh no, Suzaku, this is nowhere near your scale,” he says blithely, his mocking tone a tempting flash of a knife. “You, the best knight in the empire, have another stage to play.”
Suzaku doesn’t bother to return the courtesy. He lowers his head in a resigned fashion, knowing full well that Lelouch hates it, and excuses himself from the audience chamber.
A mutual dependence. It is all they have left.
Once upon a time, there were two boys dreaming of a world without hatred, hatching a plan under stalks of sunflowers towering over their head. With the blessing of their princess, they would rule together over the land, before the ocean of time, best friends with best intentions at heart.
Suzaku looks up to the clear blue sky, bright and cloudless, and bites his lips.
Some dream, it was.