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Lelouch vi Britannia (
not rakuen related
Here I will post some drabbles from my AU of "What if Shirley survived and joined the Black Knights?" New postings will be added as comments to this entry, so trackify if you like.
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Drabble 1! Lelouch takes the throne
2012-01-04 10:27 am (UTC)
There really hadn’t been anyone else to consider. Lelouch vi Britannia, exiled prince, now come to claim his throne, had three people upon whom he could rely. Suzaku Kururugi; best friend and confidante, serving as his own personal Knight of Zero. C.C.; his notorious accomplice, his shield and the one that he is contracted to. And last, Shirley Fenette; love of his life, reliable comrade, and the one that would be his bride.
Lelouch strode across the stage. The echoed voices of confusion that wafted up from the crowd did not change his expression. Himself, Suzaku, and Shirley were all in their school uniforms. He took his place on the throne, and introduced himself. “I am the 99th emperor of Britannia, Lelouch vi Britannia.” He briefly answered the concerns of a few of his siblings before bringing his attention to Odysseus. He called this a prank? This was far more important. Once Suzaku had made his presence known and dealt with the troublesome guards, Lelouch had a fair bit more to say. Again, Odysseus insists that it is a prank. He made a mild gesture off the side of the stage, where Shirley stood, waiting. At his signal, she began to cross the stage. “And this, is Shirley Fenette. She shall be my Empress,” he stood to meet her. Her cheeks were slightly pink, but she met his eyes anyway. She knew what was to come, and her role in it. She loved Lelouch more than anything, and she would do whatever she could to help his plans come together.
When she reached him, he snaked his arm around her waist, settling it on her opposite hip. It took her a moment, but she demurely nodded to the audience.
“A commoner? Lelouch, honestly, you—“ still, Odysseus persisted.
Lelouch had had enough. If they won’t acknowledge him in this way, there was another means. He swept his free hand across his face to remove his contacts. “I Lelouch vi Britannia command you! Acknowledge me!” A thrill ran up Shirley’s spine when he spoke that way. She knew he was using the power the witch C.C. had given him. And accordingly, all of his brothers and sisters bowed to him. She looked over at him as he prevailed over the room, the picture of satisfaction. After a moment, she pressed herself a little more against him. There was no turning back now.
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Drabble 2! Shirley is safe!
2012-01-04 11:49 am (UTC)
Shirley waited in Lelouch’s room for when he returned from the battle lines. She hadn’t been doing this vigil for very long. She had paid a heavy price to be in this position. Rolo had nearly killed her in that shopping center. Lelouch had used his powers of manipulation to have the doctor rule her dead. He finished off the evidence by leaving Shirley’s cell phone and ID near an utterly unrecognizable body. And he created that body by detonating an improvised explosive. It didn’t sit well with her that someone else had to die and would simply disappear. But she’d been unconscious at the time. By the time she’d awoken, Lelouch had already put the finishing touches on the entire plan. He’d made the decisions for her. Not that she would argue with it. If she had to make the choice, this is the decision she would have made. She just hadn’t expected to spend so much time alone in Lelouch’s room with nothing but a television and pain pills.
She wished she could be out there helping to protect Lelouch. But she was still recovering. She shifted a bit on the couch she laid across. Pain shot through her abdomen and she couldn’t help but let out a grimace. She was lucky, she’d been told. The bullet had gone right through her. A few inches in any direction the bullet would have either hit her liver or her ribcage and ricocheted around her chest, riddling all of her internal organs with holes. Instead, she was left with what was sure to be a scar and a long recovery.
“Hey, you should be more careful!” said a brash and rough voice. It startled her and when her body tensed she was rewarded with more pain. The owner of the voice was one of the Elevens—no, Japanese that had never accepted the occupation of Britannia. Lelouch had recruited this group a long time ago, it seemed. What was his name? Tamaya? Tomogi?
“I thought no one was allowed in here…” she said, carefully sitting up. She didn’t really like this guy, but he didn’t seem dangerous.
“Zero asked me to deliver you a message personally.” He seemed to be rather proud to be given direct orders from Zero himself. What was up with this guy?
“What is it?” she asked, sitting up a bit straighter. She hoped it was something she could do to help.
“This is what he said,” he paused to clear his throat and put on an official kind of tone. Could he get on with it? “’Your problem is gone.’” It was a pretty pathetic imitation of Zero’s voice.
“Problem?” she repeated, confused for a moment. It took a moment for the connections to be made in her mind through the painkiller-induced fog. It clicked. She gasped, and raised her hand to her mouth.
“I hope you know what he’s talking about. Because I sure don’t,” he scratched at the back of his head and yawned. “Time for a nap. I’m beat. That battle was a pain in the ass.” He turned to go.
“Wait!” she stood. It was a painful process but she managed it. “Did everyone…” she trailed off.
“Huh?” It took him a second to get what she meant. “Casualties?” He got a bit more serious. “Zero wanted to tell you himself. But I’ll tell you there wasn’t many. On our side anyway. Zero made it back safe.”
Lelouch was safe. That was good. And Rolo was…
She smiled. “Thank you, er—“
He sighed. He hated being forgotten. “Tamaki Shinichirou,” he said as though he were tired of repeating himself. “Sheesh, Britannians.”
Shirley felt bad for forgetting. “I’m sorry,” she said sheepishly. “It’s the medicine…” Great excuse. “But thank you for informing me, er, Shinichirou-san?” The words felt strange in her mouth but maybe it would help her look less like an outsider. She bowed slightly but that hurt too much, so it ended up kind of crooked.
He smirked a bit. “And don’t you forget it!” He finally left.
She paced a bit around the room, thinking this over. Soon, the news washed over her. She was safe. He wasn’t going to hurt her again. She couldn’t help but cry. It felt horrible to be glad that someone was dead but he had tried to kill her before. She was safe. She had to remind herself of that. Sacrifices will have to be made. That’s what Lelouch had told her after he told her what he’d done to bring her to the Black Knights. Rolo wasn’t really his brother. He’d been an assassin planted at Lelouch’s side to kill him if he’d ever shown signs of rising again as Zero. To protect himself and the rest of the Student Council, he’d convinced Rolo that he loved him. And to protect Shirley, Rolo had to die. She was safe.
Shirley was still mulling this over when the door opened. There he was. Zero. Lelouch. Safe. She turned to fully face him as he removed his helmet. As usual, his eyes were hard to read. She was glad C.C. wasn’t here. They could be alone. She didn’t think that strange woman liked her very much. She closed the distance between them as Lelouch pulled the face mask down from his mouth. His hair was lank and sweaty, his face was flushed. It wasn’t something she expected out of the chronic P.E. ditcher. But it was endearing nonetheless.
She picked up a bottle of water from the table as she crossed the room. She offered it to him. He seemed so much more than the lazy, skinny, vice president she’d fallen in love with time and time again.
After he took a drink from it and wiped his mouth with his gloved hand, he finally spoke. “Rolo is dead,” he said simply.
She nodded. “Shinichirou gave me your message,” she replied around the lump in her throat.
His posture began to relax. That was encouraging. Things were okay, for now. He turned to the keypad next to the door and locked it. When he turned back to Shirley she was throwing her arms around him tightly. “Shirley!”
She looked up at him, tears in her eyes, but smiling. “I’m so glad you’re back safe…” He looked so surprised that she was hugging him. He was still Lelouch under the masks he wore.
He placed his hands gently at her hips. Why did he always end up kissing her when she was crying? At least this time it wasn’t because he had destroyed her life.
Or at least he hoped. This war wasn’t over.
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Number 3! Shirley in the cockpit!
2012-01-04 03:06 pm (UTC)
One day, Shirley had had enough. She wasn’t in as much pain as she had been, and she was tired of just waiting around. So one day when Lelouch was finished conferencing with one of his allies (voice only, of course), he turned to find his girlfriend frowning deeply at him. “Lulu!” she said sharply. She didn’t even mind that C.C. was witness to this. “I’m tired of just waiting. I want to help!”
He considered a moment. “You’re still hurt, Shir—“
She cut him off. “I’m here to help protect you, Lulu. That’s what I’d decided when I went looking for you during that attack. I want to help protect you since C.C. and Kallen can’t. I want to learn how to use a Knightmare Frame. I know I won’t be as good as Kallen, but I hate that I’m sitting here while everyone else is fighting.”
“Ah, are you going to let her, Master? Can I?” C.C. asked around a mouthful of pizza.
Shirley ignored her. Instead, she focused her gaze on Lelouch. C.C.’s memory loss only increased her resolve to be able to protect Lelouch. After a long moment with their eyes focused on each other, Lelouch sighed. “Very well. Go to the hangar and tell Rakshata you’re to start on the simulator. But it’s not as easy as it looks.”
She nodded, looking not as annoyed, but still focused. “Okay.” She leaned over and kissed Lelouch briefly. “I…” she turned a bit pink. Despite everything, she was still getting used to being affectionate with Lelouch. Especially under C.C.’s eye. “I love you,” she whispered into his ear. She started to leave but he caught her wrist.
“Be careful,” he told her. He’d yet to repeat those words to her. But he didn’t need to. She knew. “Don’t push yourself too hard.”
“I will,” she replied. She gave his hand one last squeeze and went to change.
“Are you alright, Master?” C.C. asked Lelouch.
He sighed sadly. “Yes, C.C.” C.C. came to join Lelouch on the couch. Shirley tried not to look at them together like that as she left. That wasn’t really C.C. She needn’t be jealous.
Shirley showed the same dedication to learning the technology as she did on the swim team and for student council activities. She showed quick progress. While she wasn’t going to match Kallen, C.C., or any of the other Zero Squad members, she had an above average sync percentage and she showed steady improvement. She’d all but mastered the piloting part, and the shooting part. She was having some difficulty bringing them together.
The simulator came down to a halt again, and the hatch opened. “Shirley!” Ougi called up to her. She looked over in time to catch a water bottle.
“Ougi, sir!” this was the first time they’d crossed paths in the hangar. Truthfully, she was a little afraid of what he would say about her piloting skills. Shirley started to climb out of the cockpit and down the ladder that led down from the scaffolding. Halfway down, a pain shot through her side. She cried out and lost her grip on the ladder.
Ougi at least reacted quick enough to at least partially catch Shirley in time to prevent her impact into the steel floor. “Shirley! Are you okay?”
Even if she didn’t want to, Shirley whimpered and held her side. Blood seeped onto her grey flight suit and onto the hand she clenched on her side. “Shirley, you’re bleeding!”
“Don’t tell him!” she said desperately. “I know I’m not as good as the others. But I want to help. If this is what I have to deal with to help him… then I have to bear it.”
Ougi was shocked. He hadn’t expected this level of devotion from this high school girl Zero had saved during the attack. It was as though she was standing in for Rolo. Did she know who Zero really was?
“You’re no good if you’re dead, girl,” Rakshata said as she approached the two. “It would be a shame if your potential is wasted because of your own recklessness.”
“Miss Rakshata…” Shirley gasped. “Please don’t tell Zero…”
“I don’t know anything about this. But you better get to the infirmary before there’s a huge mess.”
“Shirley, please, let me help you,” Ougi said. He helped her onto her feet. He got under her arm and helped her limp to the infirmary.
Hours later, Shirley watched as the UFN declared war on Britannia to liberate Japan. Then as Charles challenged Zero for control of the world. She’d always been intimidated by the emperor, but now, she was terrified by him. Terrified for Lulu. Against the wishes of the medical staff, she went to Lelouch’s room.
She wasn’t prepared for what she heard. Lelouch shouting. C.C. screaming. And a crash. She hurried in through the door. It was as though she wasn’t there. Lelouch had to have known, right? Shirley was right there. But with the way he was talking…. No. “Lulu,” she tried. She saw his shoulders freeze up under the cloak. She came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. “I believe in you. Because friends believe in each other,” she was also partly addressing C.C. It was sad that she was so lonely in the past. It explained why she was the way she was now. To see Lelouch like this made her heart ache.
“Yes…” Lelouch released C.C.’s hand and reached up to touch Shirley’s. “Yes, that’s it.” Resolve came into his voice. Shirley smiled slightly. “Friends are always there by your side. You just have to believe in them.” He got back to his feet and threw off his cloak. He strode over toward a command console and pulled out his cell phone. C.C. set to neatly folding the cloak. Shirley collected the helmet from where it had been dropped and set it on top. She left Lelouch to his phone call and changed out of her bloody clothes. She hoped Lelouch was too distracted to notice. What she heard through the door of the side room was painful to listen to. Lelouch and Suzaku had been so close at school. This war tore them apart. They always had been stubborn.
All she could do after that was wait. Wait for Lelouch to return from his meeting with Suzaku. And hope for the best.
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Part 4! Shirley on the mission!
2012-01-08 07:35 am (UTC)
She had probably been kind of mean to Ougi. She’d been awfully demanding. But here she was, back out in the world. She was dressed rather unassumingly, moving through the group of people toward the Tokyo settlement center. She was with Miss Sayoko and a lot of the others. She had a tote bag slung across her body, containing tactical combat gear. This was a lot for her to take on so soon. And she still hadn’t healed completely. She was nervous, but she believed in the other people she was here with, and she knew what they were there to do.
She had insisted on going on the mission because she wanted to make sure there was another familiar face for Nunnally. Or Kallen. Whoever she found first. It would do a lot to make the former feel better about coming with them, she knew. Of course Nunnally would trust Miss Sayoko as well.
Things went smoothly. They went into the city center through the visitor’s entrance, and made like tourists. They were waiting on a phone call. Shirley felt better having a phone on her person again. She felt a bit more normal. She had felt a fleeting urge to call Milly or Rivalz, to let them know she was okay. But she couldn’t. That would ruin so much. “This is only for receiving Zero’s signal,” she’d been told when it was handed to her. As though the individual passing them out knew she might be tempted.
It was a long wait. Was Lulu okay? Did something go wrong with Suzaku? She hoped that everything had been okay. So she sat in the small coffee shop inside the building, there for the workers. She even had a coffee she was nursing, to maintain appearances. She hoped she only looked a normal amount of anxious. Not an amount of anxious that implied she was about to take up arms against her own country. She was fighting to protect the man that was, though indirectly, responsible for her father’s death.
I found another man to marry, Daddy.
She thought idly. She sniffed. She couldn’t think about that now. She had to stay focused.
She jumped when the phone rang. “Hello?”
“I’m ready when you are,” said the voice. It was the cue phrase for them to sneak off and change.
“Great! Thank you so much for the help! I’m really looking forward to it!” she replied brightly. She hoped her voice would carry well enough to reach the others. She allowed a fleeting glance to Sayoko, and they made eye contact. “See you soon!” she added and hung up.
She headed for a utility closet. A quick glance showed that no one was really paying any attention. She changed quickly. She was already wearing a tightly-bound sports bra under her clothes. She just hoped it would keep them out of the way. Pants, jacket, pockets already loaded with more ammunition clips and other supplies. Vest on top. She tied her hair up into a ponytail and stuffed it up under her hat. The final touch was a pair of sunglasses. She hoped that no one here would recognize her from the casualty reports from the incident at the train station.
The last thing she pulled out were the weapons. A semiautomatic rifle and a smaller pistol. Last was a knife with about an 8-inch blade. Just in case. She attached it to the belt. At that moment, the security alarm went off. The battle overhead had begun.
Truth be told, they had absolutely no idea where Nunnally or Kallen would be. But they had to get to them quickly. Nunnally would most likely be ushered away from the building, and Kallen stood a good chance at being killed if the situation looked desperate. All at once, the lights went out. Shirley switched the flashlight on her rifle on. She headed up. Holding the rifle did much to keep people out of her way. But then there was a guard. He reached for his sidearm. Her heart clenched. The next thing she knew there was smoke trailing on the ground and the guard was dead on the floor. She stared. What had she done? She’d never experienced that before. But no. She had to move on.
On her way up, this repeated several times. She couldn’t help but notice it happened every time she wasn’t able to dodge or immobilize guards. Was it because….? No, she had to stay focused. Soon, she found herself standing in front of a door that had been rather heavily guarded. She pushed through it.
It was a large, wide open room. There was a weird bridge with some tube in the middle. Kallen! And what the hell was she
Whatever. “Yoho!~~ Kallen!” she said in her typically cheerful fashion.
Kallen couldn’t help but stare. “Sh-Shirley?!”
She removed the sunglasses and let her hair ponytail fall out of her hat. “Yup!”
Kallen looked her over. Dressed up in that gear,
a gun in her hand?
This was nothing like the Shirley she knew. “I thought you were dead!”
“Yeah, that’s how Zero planned it! But I’m really okay! And I’m busting you out of here! Stand back!” She took her rifle by the muzzle and swung the stock at the door. It cracked. She used her gloved hands to prise it open.
Kallen was smiling. “What’s going on?”
“We’re getting the Guren, then I’m going to find Nunnally. You’re going out to help Zero! The Knights of Rounds are ganging up on him.” She opened her bag with a flourish, and showed her the flight suit. “Now hurry up and change!”
Once Kallen was out of that horrible dress and into the flight suit, they were able to get to the Guren without any further trouble.
Suddenly, there was panic on the radio. “Pull out! All units, pull out!”
“What about Nunnally?”
“Sayoko’s group is almost there. They’ve got some weapon. The G-trains have been disabled. Get in a Knightmare and get out of there!”
Unfortunately, Kallen was long gone. So she climbed into a Knightmare and took off.
Again, she blacked out. She didn’t realize what was going on until she was desperately trying to keep the machine from being blown back by some high-velocity winds.
“Shirley! Shirley!” It was Sayoko’s voice. The communicator was on a private channel.
She scrambled to accept the call. “Yes, Miss Sayoko?” she started. Dully she could hear Lelouch’s frantic voice yelling at Toudou to continue looking for Nunnally.
“We couldn’t get Miss Nunnally out before the FLEIJA detonated. There’s no signs of her having left before either.”
She stared at Sayoko’s face on her console. “No way… Nana…”
“We thought it might be best if you tell Zero.”
Her stomach sank down into her shoes. “A-alright, Miss Sayoko. I-I’ll tell him.” She really couldn’t stop the tears. Her adrenaline was dropping and everything was washing over her at once. He whole body shook.
She slowly hit the buttons to open a private channel to Lelouch. “L-Lulu…” she whispered.
“Shirley! Did you find Nunnally?!”
She sobbed harder. “I-I’m sorry Lulu. We couldn’t get her out…” she was barely able to talk around the rock in her throat.
“I don’t want to hear that! I want to talk to Nunnally!”
She knew how much he loved her. She could see it in his smiles around her at club activities. And she could see it in the lengths he would go to to ensure a peaceful world for her. Her heart ached for him. “Lelouch… She’s dead.”
And then it all set off worse. Lelouch was frantic. He would not accept that Nunnally was dead. Shirley could only cry for a long time. “L-Lord Jeremiah…” she said, after opening a private channel to him.
“Yes, Shirley?” he replied, clearly focused on something else.
“I-I think Lelouch should go back to the Ikaruga. He’s not going to find Nunnally. He needs to calm down.”
“It’s true, then. That Lady Nunnally didn’t make it.”
“Yes, it’s true.”
“I’ll take care of him.”
“Thank you…” she said breathlessly. Get ahold of yourself, Shirley.
She supposed she would allow herself one moment of nostalgia. After making sure all of her comm channels were closed, she took a deep breath. She balled up her fists and pulled her elbows in to her waist. “GUUUUUUUTS!” she screamed. It was a pained yell, but it did help. Somehow. Her head was clear. She focused on escorting Jeremiah and the others with Zero’s Shinkiro in tow.
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Part 5! Shirley makes a decision!
2012-03-21 08:21 am (UTC)
((I promise this is the last one with the "Shirley-isn't-healed-yet" plot device. Also, this one is a little rough.))
The official story had been that he’d been injured in the conflict, though not severely. Once Jeremiah had brought him back to the Ikaruga, Shirley charged herself with getting him safely to his room. She let him lean on her, all of his commanding strength replaced with a limp weakness. His abject panic and denial was over. Who knew what was going through his mind now? If his outward appearance was any indication, not much.
Shirley wondered, were there other times like these, where he had been so completely lost that he couldn’t bear it? Where the Black Knights could only stare, and no one but Kallen and C.C. could even attempt to break through the wall he’d put between himself and those who followed him. But could they ever be a comfort to him now? Or was she the best chance he could have had? Now was the time to find out.
When they got back to their room, she set him on the couch before she went back to lock the door. Then she returned to remove his helmet. “Lulu, it’s me. We’re back in the room. It’s just us and Miss C.C.” Shaking fingers found the release for the back panels of the helmet, and she gently lifted it from his head, and pulled down the balaclava that covered his chin. He didn’t seem to protest at all. She sat beside him on the sofa, and they remained silent together for a long while. Shirley couldn’t help it, really. She had been spending a lot of time going through the memories that Lelouch and then Charles had locked away from her, and most of them had been Nunnally. So she needn’t try to hard to pull up memories of the frail girl, always smiling, always grateful to everyone. She never had anything less than kind words for others. She wondered if she’d even known what had happened when it did. Did she know Suzaku had that weapon?
Suzaku… and Lulu… and Nunnally… they’d become strangers. Nunnally was a princess, Lelouch a terrorist, and Suzaku had destroyed both of them. Lelouch was still here, but only physically. The tragedy of it all was too much for her to bear. Her slow trickle of tears became open sobs. At the first choked cry, Lelouch seemed to look slightly in her direction. But she didn’t care. If he wouldn’t cry, then she would. She could cry enough for Nunnally for him and Suzaku both. For all they’d lost. For the very near miss at Ashford.
She didn’t know how long it had been before one of the Black Knights knocked on the door. She’d curled her arms around her knees and was taking up as little space as possible. But she slowly unraveled herself and went to the intercom. “Yes?”
“Zero is needed in the conference room. A diplomatic envoy from Britannia has arrived. It’s Prince Shniezel .” Shirley felt a lump land in the middle of her gut. The second prince…
She looked back at Lelouch. “Just a moment,” she told the person at the door. She went to Lelouch. “Lulu…” she whispered. “Second Prince Schneizel is here.” No response. She put a hand on his shoulder. Still nothing. He was completely catatonic, even still.
She went back to the door. “He won’t be coming. I will take his place,” she volunteered. She’d said the words before she’d realized what that meant.
“Okay. I’ll wait here for when you’re ready.”
She changed out of the flight suit, and into a dress that had her looking like some kind of princess of the Black Knights. It was similar to C.C.’s dress (if it could be called that) but with a covered midriff and some details were different. She wondered idly at what Lelouch had been thinking when he’d had them made, but she dutifully put it on. She fixed her ponytail, that was still lopsided from the battle, did some light makeup, and finally considered herself ready. She was going to face down Schneizel el Britannia alone.
The individual that led her there was someone else whose name she did not know. But he wasn’t one of the Zero Squad, either. She was sure of that. They were all already in the conference room, glaring down at papers with photos and lots of text. They seemed to have started without her—and without Zero. But she kept up a stern air. There wouldn’t be anything useful in breaking. She looked Schneizel in the eye when she next spoke. “My name is Shirley, I’ll be speaking on Zero’s behalf. He is not available due to injuries suffered during the battle over Tokyo.” While that wasn’t untrue, the kind of wounds Lelouch had were not conventional physical ones.
“So I have been told,” Schneizel said coolly. “And I see you’re not as dead as the official report claims.” He pulled out another folder of papers, and had his retainer hand it to her. She opened it, and what she saw broke her poker face. It was a report detailing all of her history with Lelouch, and how he had used his Geass on her. Twice. So that was the blank portions during the operation to rescue Nunnally. “Ms. Fenette, I understand my brother is very adept at getting people onto his side. I don’t know what your relationship with him is, but I urge you to not allow your own personal feelings to cloud your judgment. What I need from you now is to do what’s right for the country, not just for you.”
She was shocked at what she was hearing. And it seemed he had already told the others about Lelouch’s identity, or as he understood it. “Your brother?” If there was a case of mistaken identity here, then she was not going to correct him.
“Did he not tell you?” he asked idly. “Zero is my younger half-brother. Lelouch vi Britannia, the 16th prince, who had been exiled shortly after the death of his mother.”
“Why?!” how could someone do such a thing to Lelouch as a child?
“I don’t know. I’m sure he had a good reason. Lelouch and Nunnally were sent to Area 11—“ “Japan!” snapped one of the other Black Knights. “Pardon me, Lelouch and Nunnally were sent to Japan as hostages so that there was room negotiate cooperation with Prime Minister Kururugi. They were utilized as best as they could be. So I suppose it’s no small wonder that he uses all of you in much the same way.”
“No! Lulu—Lelouch would not do that! That’s not who he is!” Shirley protested. The others seemed aggravated and impatient with her stubbornness, but she didn’t care. Lelouch was not here to defend himself, so she would.
“Tell, me Shirley. Are you confident that Lelouch hasn’t gotten so used to wearing masks that even he doesn’t know who he is anymore?”
She didn’t know what came over her. Halfway through Schneizel’s sentence, she was storming around the table. His retainer rose to stop her, but stood aside at a light gesture from the prince. That gave Shirley all the opening she needed to slap him. As hard as she could.
The other Black Knights in the room had been shocked out of their anger. They merely stared. She didn’t seem to care about the consequences of what she’d just done when she turned to face them. “Would any of you still be alive, and be this close to victory over Britannia if it weren’t for Zero? So what if he’s lied? Everything he’s done he’s done for the greater good! Britannia was the one that blew up Tokyo and killed Nunnally! Not us! We should be the ones making demands to end this war, not you!”
“Zero knew!” Tamaki finally groaned out. “Zero knew about the damn bomb! He knew what it could do! That Knight of Rounds warned him!”
As if on cue, Schneizel played the audio from before the battle. Lelouch was enraged. He didn’t believe Suzaku. What had happened during their meeting to put such a large rift between them?
Shirley shook her head. Suddenly everything was clear. How the others didn’t see it, she didn’t know. But she wasn’t going to sit here and listen to this guy tell lies about Lelouch. “This meeting is over, Schneizel. We’re not interested in what you’re selling. Please leave this ship.” And that was when she’d made a critical mistake. She simply left the room.
After that, things moved quickly downhill. The group as a whole was more willing to believe Schneizel than Shirley was. And since she really had no official capacity, what she had to say didn’t even matter. She headed back toward their room, when she saw Kallen waiting there for her. “Kallen!” this was a surprise, she hadn’t seen her since the end of the battle over Tokyo. She knew the Guren had survived, but she hadn’t seen its pilot.
“Shirley, you should leave now while you can. Schneizel will protect you.” She didn’t meet her eyes.
But she didn’t answer. The door slid open, and there stood Lelouch, back in his cape and helmet. They left together without another word, despite Shirley’s attempts.
Shirley tried to follow them. Soon, what they were attempting became clear. They were going to kill him. Shoot him like a fish in a barrel. Shirley ran. If Lelouch died, she would never live with herself. She had something she could do. Her legs pumped faster. She arrived in the hangar. Her side screamed, and she was sure she’d popped a stitch. But she couldn’t stop. She climbed into Lelouch’s Knightmare, the Shinkiro. Sure she didn’t know how it worked. But if what Schneizel had said about Lelouch’s power, and how he’d used it on her was true, then she knew she could make it somehow.
Without regard for her own safety or the structural integrity of the Ikaruga, she crashed through to the hangar that was to be Lelouch’s execution. She placed it between the gunmen and Lelouch. “Yo-ho~~” she called. Though she would have no memory of it when she came out from under the effects of the Geass.
She gathered Lelouch up as gently as she could in the hands of the machine. “We’re checking out early! Bye-bye!” And she shot out through the ceiling again, breaking out of the deployment doors.
She didn’t have much time. She moved the hands toward the hatch of the unit so Lelouch could climb in. Already he was launching a barrage of questions at her. Why, why didn’t she just let him die? That it was better for everyone if he had just let them kill him, that there was no more reason to fight. She didn’t answer any of them.
When he came in, her fingers were flying over the keys. Already the Black Knights had sortied other units to shoot them down. He stripped off his helmet, and looked her in the eyes. He could see why she was doing this, why she was managing the shield system with moderate success. His Geass. He’d doomed her to the same fate he had Suzaku.
She missed a panel of the shield, and the whole unit shook. “Lelouch…. I think you need to take over… I can’t do this…” there was pain in her voice. The black dress had hidden the blood, but now it dripped onto the seat.
“Shirley…” But Lelouch still moved her out of the pilot’s seat up onto the side. Her eyes still showed she was not acting of her own volition. She clenched her side with both hands.
“He told me everything… About who you really are. About what you’ve done. But it doesn’t change anything. I still love you. Nothing will ever change that…” her voice was growing weaker.
“Shirley! We’ll be safe soon! Stay with me!” The way he said it, it was an order.
“I miss Nunnally…” her voice cracked. “I hope we can all laugh together soon. All of us, back in the Student Council clubhouse. Pres, Rivalz, Kallen, Nunnally, Suzaku… and you… All of us…” Hearing her go on about the happiness they’d had in the face of near imminent death was more than even he could take. While his fingers flew over the console, and her blood flowed down the side of the pilot’s seat, a battle raged around them. She reached a blood-soaked hand toward him, placing it on his upper arm. “I want you to live on… and be happy… I know you can make the peaceful world Nunnally would want.”
“Shirley…” his voice broke. Shinkirou had taken a lot of damage. But it would make it to his destination. He knew exactly what he had to do to end this war. All of the pain and suffering. Kaminejima. One last battle with the Emperor. With his father. “I love you, Shirley!”
Finally. “I love you too… Lulu… “ Her hand fell limply from his arm.
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Part 6! The end of that battle. On to building the Empire.
2012-04-26 07:54 pm (UTC)
The fact that she had awoken again was far from the biggest shock for her. It was only the first of many. The clock beside her bed told her it was 2 o’ clock in the afternoon. The room was a fairly average hotel room, nothing exceptional about it. Her side seemed nonexistent, like it had been hit with some localized painkillers. Though her arms felt heavy, she lifted the blanket and her gown to inspect the damage. The bandages were bigger, and she had a few other wounds that she couldn’t place the source of. She thought back to the last thing she remembered. Kallen was leading Lelouch to the hangar. And she had been climbing into Lelouch’s Knightmare. “Lulu!” she sat bolt upright but that sent pain through her back.
But the person that came to answer her call was the next shock of the day. Suzaku. “Settle down, Shirley,” he tried one of his stiff smiles. “You don’t want to open your wounds again.”
She just stared at him. “Where’s Lulu?! Please tell me he’s okay!!” Her voice was high-piched and desperate. If she was with Suzaku, then…
“He’s all right. I promise. He’s okay. He’ll be back later,” he reached over to brush some hair out of her face. She flinched and tried to swat him away, but he arms wouldn’t move.
Seeing her distress, he stopped the movement midway. “Shirley, hold still. I’m not going to hurt you. We’re not on different sides of this war anymore. Lelouch will explain when he gets back.”
“What happened, Suzaku? I don’t remember anything…” now that she was at peace, and calm, tears came. She couldn’t help it. She’d gone through so much in the last few weeks, to finally be comfortable, safe, beyond what she’d been able to appreciate since that day in the shopping center was too much to handle. She’d spent so much of that time worried for her life. For Lelouch’s, for Kallen’s, for all of the other Black Knights.
What had she done? She’d killed people. She had pieced that much together from when they’d freed Kallen. But it was fair, because they’d tried to kill her, right? If she hadn’t killed them, she wouldn’t be here today. But did she deserve to be here? The tears continued to flow, and showed little signs of stopping anytime soon. Suzaku dutifully wiped her face, since she couldn’t move well enough.
She cried for some time, never really putting voice to her concerns. An old man came in, and Suzaku seemed to regard him very carefully, watching his every move. He brought a meal on a platter, and there were two plates. One with a more proper meal, and another simply with soup. She didn’t know how long it had been, but the truth was that her body was recovering sensation. So, with Suzaku’s help, she was propped up on pillows, and the two shared some idle talk, about their food (Suzaku’s steak was a little overdone, but he ate it without complaining; they both decided that Shirley had gotten the better meal). Shirley had strength enough to feed herself. It was rather a matter of pride.
As though on cue, once they had finished eating, Lelouch returned. Suzaku seemed to visibly relax when he did. The way Suzaku carried himself had changed so much, she couldn’t even tell when he was tense anymore. Lelouch and Suzaku were each dressed in similar muted hues, in casual clothes. They were clearly looking to not draw attention. Behind Lelouch came C.C., dressed rather incognito. She wore a brown wig and a handkerchief on her head. She threw both off with a flourish when the door snapped closed behind her. “Aah~ The princess is awake!” she’d said. So different than how she’d been when Shirley had last seen her.
She came over to the bed, while the boys—no, they weren’t boys anymore, Shirley decided—had a hushed conversation in the corner. “Forget about what you saw before,” C.C. told her. “The person you met before wasn’t me.” She considered for a moment. “Well, it was. But that was a long time ago.”
She nodded. “Alright. You’re still C.C., though, right? That’s what Lulu told me.”
C.C. giggled at the nickname. “You still call a scary man like that by that name? How interesting! Lulu~~” With that, the strange woman left her alone, and Suzaku and Lelouch had finished their little meeting. Almost as though it had been orchestrated. It probably had.
“You don’t get to use that name,” Lelouch told C.C. sourly. But his tone was distracted. He had bigger things than C.C.’s insolence on his mind.
“So scary, like I said,” she replied. She kicked her prarie boots off and started changing into something more comfortable, as if all of the humans in the room were nothing more than furniture. Shirley rather felt like it.
“Lelouch,” Shirley started. She let her use of his real name stand as showing how serious she was. “I want to know what happened yesterday. I want to know what’s going on now. Don’t leave anything out. Please, Lelouch.” She reached out for his hand. Determination was on her face, despite how pale she was.
“Yesterday, you were asleep,” he replied. “And the day before that, too. We had to ask the doctor to make you sleep for a while so you could heal properly.” He ignored her hand.
“How long was it?” she let her arm rest back on her stomach.
“A week,” he answered. “It’s been approximately 9 days since you rescued me from the Ikaruga.”
“I… Eeeh?!” she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “What did I do? I didn’t do that!”
“You did,” he confirmed. “If you like, I can play the audio from Shinkiro’s data recorder. I expect C.C. might find it entertaining.” He was teasing her. At a time like this!
The tone was suddenly all wrong. “I’m serious, Lelouch!” Shirley brought the conversation back to where she wanted it. Suddenly her cheeks were warm. “Was it your, um. What do you call it?” She pointed vaguely at his left eye.
“Geass,” he replied, suddenly more serious. “It’s quick of you to pick up on it.”
“I noticed something was off when we were rescuing Kallen. On the way, I’d get cornered by some guards, and the next thing I knew they were all dead. And I’ve seen you use it on other people.”
“How much do you remember of when you joined me?” he asked, sitting lightly on the side of her bed. He finally took her hand. His skin was quite warm. He ran her fingers between his thumb and his other fingers to try to warm her hand.
The small gesture brought a smile to her face. “Most of it,” she began. “I was looking for you, and suddenly Rolo was in front of me, and he smiled when he shot me. He said something, but I don’t remember what. Then I was on the ground, and you were there with me. That’s where my memory ends.”
“Rolo had a Geass too. He had the ability to manipulate your perception of time. He could make you think no time had passed, while he has plenty of time to kill you. It was with that skill that he was placed by my side, as my brother. The previous Emperor had modified the memories of the Student Council members to corroborate that story. All of the other students at Ashford that year had been sent to other schools. He was given the duty to kill me if I ever recovered my memory of Zero. I was able to convince him of my love for him, and thus use him. However, he had outlived his usefulness when he turned his gun on you,” his eyes had gotten dark, though his tone remained matter-of-fact.
“The previous Emperor?” Shirley was tired, but not so tired that she hadn’t caught that particular detail.
“I’m going to tell you what happened while you were asleep, Shirley. It’s going to be the full truth, and I’m not going to leave anything out. After I tell you, you’ll have a choice to make. I hope you make your decision with your mind, instead of with your heart.”
And so the story began. Following Shinkiro’s sloppy landing at Kaminejima, with Suzaku supplying his own side of the story, before they came together at the Thought Elevator, and the World of C. C.C. had a couple details to provide, but they were rather ambiguous. She didn’t look at anyone through the whole tale. Lelouch told her the treachery of his mother, and she could see the anger in his eyes. Suzaku was making an effort to look unemotional about it. This had been nearly a week ago. Shirley dabbed at her eyes as Lelouch told her about how he’d eliminated the existence of his parents. The mother he’d thought he loved. The father he’d feared and despised, but had still respected as an adversary. He’d killed them both.
When he finished, Shirley took a long moment to digest and collect herself. “What happens now?” she had a feeling that they hadn’t finished changing their whole world.
“I will become Emperor.”
She just stared. For some reason, memories of some of the ludicrous things Milly had had the Student Council do flashed through her mind. The Valentine’s day event with the hats was especially vivid. This kid, emperor of basically the whole world?
Her being dumbfounded was pretty obvious. So Lelouch elaborated. “I am the 16th Prince of Britannia. I have quite a few siblings to negotiate with before I can achieve the throne.” Shirley was sure that at least some of those negotiations were not going to be completely at the will of the other party. And to hear him speak of such a title so casually… No, he wasn’t her classmate anymore. She wasn’t sure where they stood together. She loved him, yes. But did he feel the same? He surely felt something, or he wouldn’t have her here.
“So that’s what you were doing when I woke up?” she asked. She’d save her ‘whys’ for after the ‘whats’ and ‘whens’.
“Yes.” And his demeanor changed again. His shoulders lowered from their rigid poise, and he turned to look her in the eye. “Shirley, you have killed others out of love for me. You have shot down Knightmares, broken out of what should have been a certain death situation for the both of us. I want you to be my Empress. Before you answer, remember that this means you may be forced to die with me.”
“Will you be my Empress, Shirley?” This was the strangest proposal she had ever heard of.
“Tell me what you mean by die with you, Lelouch,” she was firm. She wouldn’t answer unless she had her own.
“It means he’s sacrificing himself,” C.C. finally said. She didn’t look pleased.
Lelouch made a noise of distaste in his teeth. He hadn’t wanted that bit of information to color her decision, clearly. But he said nothing.
Shirley thought, long and hard. She already knew she could kill for Lulu, and she’d been prepared to die for him too. “I will, Lelouch. I’ve come this far. I’m going to go all the way.”
Suzaku’s normally-square shoulders slumped at her response. Lelouch closed his eyes and nodded. He reached into his jacket high on the zipper and pulled out a gun. All Shirley could do is gasp before he took the muzzle in his hand and held the grip out to her. The large weapon seemed strange compared against Lelouch’s long, thin fingers. But he handled it quite naturally. “Take it.”
Her hand shook, but she did what she was told. When she lowered her hand, Lelouch propped the weapon back up again. At the angle he had it, it was aimed at his heart. “Shirley, by being my Empress, you will be protected above all others. Suzaku will put your safety above everyone else’s but my own. And if, he is unable to fulfill his duty, it will fall to you to complete his mission. Do you understand what you’ve agreed to?”
She only stared for a long moment as all of this sank in. Kill Lulu? She could never. But he was asking her to. And he’d done so much to help her survive… She took a deep breath. “Okay, Lelouch. I’ll be your Empress, even if it means I have to kill you myself.”
Lelouch examined her eyes for a moment before he took the weapon back. He merely set it on the table before he shrugged off his jacket and holster. He started to roll up his shirt sleeves. While she watched him, something occurred to her. “Lelouch, if I’m going to promise you something, you’re going to promise me something,” she decided.
“And what’s that?” he was genuinely curious, and rather surprised.
“I’ve known you well enough to know when you’re keeping something from me. I’m tired, so I’m not going to demand all the answers now. But I want the complete truth from you at all times. If you have to keep secrets for a reaction from me, that’s fine. But I want a whole explanation of what you’re going to do.”
“Oh, she’s settling in to this Empress thing quite quickly,” C.C. said. “What are you going to do, Lulu?”
Lelouch shot her another glare, but looked on Shirley more kindly than he had before. “Yes, your highness,” he said with a light tip of the head. There was affection in his eyes and in his smirk, Shirley could plainly see.
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Everyone loves a royal wedding!
2013-06-24 02:17 am (UTC)
After the long, costly war to secure Lelouch’s rule as Emperor, there came time for the first official event of the 99th Emperor of Britannia: His wedding. He called in some old favors for this. Namely, one Milly Ashford. While the country was footing the bill, Lelouch put the entire affair in the hands of Milly Ashford and Shirley Fenette, soon to be vi Britannia.
Shirley was nervous. This was the first time she was due to see Milly since she’d shown herself to the world as very not-dead. She sat in a palace parlor, dressed better than she’d ever been in her life. While she’d never wanted for anything in her life, she hadn’t had it as well off as some as her classmates. Now, she literally could have anything she wanted. Lelouch’s tyranny had come into full swing. She was being counted on to exude a gentleness that would offset Lelouch’s totalitarianism.
Shirley pushed thoughts of impending war out of her mind in time to hear the clearing of the throat of some member of the house help. “Your guests have arrived, Milady,” said the maid. She had a thick accent from somewhere in Europe Shirley couldn’t place.
“Thank you,” she said, standing. Guests? She thought only Milly was supposed to come.
Her answer came when she saw the other head that peeked around the corner. “Rivalz!” Shirley gasped. They came around the corner so she could see them fully. Milly’s family had once enjoyed the favor of the Emperor, so she felt more at home in the palace, but Rivalz had never been in a place like this before in his life. They both looked nervous, though. Milly was just better at hiding it.
“Come here, you two, I’m still me!” Shirley smiled at them and beckoned them over, while moving to close the gap herself. The three of them came together in a big hug. They all fussed over each other, and shared a few tears (even from Rivalz), each glad the other was safe, and they were all together again. Once that was over (and Rivalz had recovered his senses, since he was the biggest crier of the three), they settled in on the couches, and someone came to serve them some tea. A rather sudden silence fell over the room shortly thereafter. Yes, there was definitely a gorilla in the room. Suzaku had been killed by Kallen during the last battle. But during it, Lelouch had claimed his ultimate victory by securing the Damocles from Nunnally.
“So, uh,” Rivalz began. “How’s Lelouch?”
“He’s well,” Shirley replied. “He's upset Suzaku had to sacrifice himself to ensure victory. He’s still as kind to me as ever, though. Even if he’s not like that in public…” this suddenly became a tricky question to answer. When they appeared together in public, sometimes he seemed cold to her, and there was some whisperings that he was mistreating her. That was one rumor he did not punish the dissemination of. Time to change the subject. “Milly, he told me that the Ashford family was helping shelter him and Nunnally at school. That’s why they lived in the Student Council building. Did you know he was a prince the whole time?”
Milly sighed like a beleaguered mother. “Yes, I did. That’s half of why I repeated my senior year. So I could be there for them at least until Lelouch graduated. The Ashfords were good friends with his mother, and we fell out of favor after his mother was assassinated. Really, though he made it difficult, using his mothers’ name like that. My father says he was almost found out once or twice.”
Shirley choked on her tea after such fond words were spoken of Marianne Lamperouge. But she recovered herself with as much dignity as she could. Her two friends looked ate her strangely. “I’m fine,” she waved a hand dismissively. “Milly, I know you’ve been on TV, but what about you, Rivalz?”
“Still at Ashford. I’m boring. When Milly got the call, she called me and hired me as her assistant so I could come with her,” he said sheepishly.
“Well, I’m glad you’re both here,” Shirley said. “You two are still my friends, okay? When it’s just us, don’t worry about titles or anything like that. Pretend we’re back in the club room.”
“In that case!” Milly announced, standing abruptly. She grinned from ear to ear. She had the same glint in her eyes when she was deciding things in the Student Council. “Could you bring those samples in here please?” She called toward the doorway. Dutifully, several maids wheeled in a few racks packed full of flowing white dresses. “These are the best of the best that all of the best Britannian designers were able to create for you. They’re all to your exact measurements, so you just need to pick the one we like best!” Shirley knew that by “we” Milly meant “I”.
In typical Milly fashion, she took it upon herself to strip her down and try her in several different dresses in short order. With each came a conversation about venue, flowers, décor, cake, and everything. Tradition was considered alongside more personal touches. Lelouch did have a few specific requests, so that the ceremony had the correct tone, but other than that, they had actually nailed down several details.
“Bill everything to my special events secretary, alright?” Shirley told Milly. “Including your own pay, for the both of you. Ask for whatever you need. Rivalz, is your motorcycle running okay?”
“Aaah…” he glanced over to Milly.
That told Shirley enough. “Let me help you take care of it, please.”
After a moment, he nodded. He was one of the few of her classmates that needed to work a side job, and while she expected it was difficult for him to acquiesce, she just hoped it wasn't because he was worried about the repercussions of the gift.
They bid each other good-bye, and when yet another member of the palace help came to escort them out, and closed the door with a light snap behind them, she sank back onto the sofa, letting out a heavy breath. Any poise she'd been maintaining faded, looking more like her common-born self.
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