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The House of Mirrors: Epilogue - The Palace of Silence
author: G.

pairings: Suzalulu, a little C.C./Lulu
rate: T
Spoilers: Yes (24-25)
Disclaimer: Code Geass is not mine.
A/N: The end, really. Read the whole arc before you get here, otherwise you will be confused.
PS: reposted five hours later to edit major plot issue. :D *is a compulsive freak*



"A tsar will be born among you:
Two teeth will he have,
With one he will devour us,
With the other he will devour you."


----
I

The world shifts, the world moves, the world changes to remain the same. The world is a green haired woman dancing in the sand. The world is ghosts remembered by the living. The world is madness with a little girl's name.

Lelouch rarely smiles and Lelouch never laughs. He moves about Kururugi Shrine with the careful steps of a patient who knows he is ill, but is too proud and embarrassed to give in to his illness. He feeds the seven enormous cats religiously and watches over Suzaku like a mother, like a ruler. Recently, he has taken up the habit of reading ancient plays about demented princes and doomed kings, and witches who meddle even when they pretend they don't. He spends most of his time writing words that everybody thinks are gibberish, but Suzaku is certain that they are, in fact, a highly elaborated code. Just one he will never manage to break and maybe should never try. The cell phone never rings and Suzaku makes sure he always takes his medicines, because Lelouch, always so careful, fails completely at being his own nurse. He has never gone missing again and looks, most of the time, completely peaceful. Suzaku doodles him now and then, because he knows it gives him pleasure and, sometimes, makes him smile. Respected , discreet doctors come to see him three times a week. And Suzaku can't help but grin with affection as Lelouch runs circles around their puzzled grey heads.

Except that once in a while they catch him from his blindside, and sometimes they hit a raw nerve. And then Lelouch is a shuddering, hallucinating mess for weeks, his medicines carefully dosed to bring him back for more. They actually suggest he should be committed to a respected, discreet institution but Suzaku, no longer afraid of being selfish, tells them he will never be able to manage through his third term without his Lelouch. And the respected, discreet doctors bow quietly, and do their work even more quietly than before.

But Lelouch, being Lelouch, won't settle down if he can't find some measure of control. Since that night on the porch, he has carried a tiny notebook with him, pages geometrically divided in tiny squares where he strokes each hour with a sharp, certain pencil. Whenever he finds a long empty row of squares he goes directly to Suzaku, confronts him with the tiny notebook and does the most cruel thing he could ever do.

He forces Suzaku to tell the truth.

-----

II

Sometimes Lelouch enters his office and gives him a page or two of reports, which always have some suggestion at the end with a bite of criticism at Suzaku's latest "soft-hearted" policies. Then he strokes the back of Suzaku's hand and leaves to do whatever he does to fill his boring days. Those reports are the last surviving samples of Lelouch vie Britannia's elegant Japanese, which he seems to have completely forgotten and doesn't use in any other occasion. The truth is, he rarely speaks at all, although he seems to be listening more than he used to. But Suzaku is not surprised by the fact that they still fight a lot, and he can't help but wish hair pulling was still an option at this point.

One day, Suzaku asks him angrily how he can handle peace, since he seems so eager to find fault in it. Lelouch raises his head from his writings and gives him a pitying smile. And that's the day Suzaku finds out war is just a matter of time.

Back in Britannia, Shneizel has been assassinated, Cornelia is missing and India has installed a phony Emperor to the throne, sending the whole world into a new state of unrest. Odysseus, who has survived all this by being completely oblivious and terrified of politics, constantly writes letters, in increasing levels of despair, begging Lelouch to come back and wear once again the rightful crown of their ancestors.

Suzaku calmly burns those letters with Kallen's lighter, and she disdainfully takes the ashes away. When India issues an ultimatum to the Chinese Federation, the wise old men - as Lelouch calls them - come to visit Suzaku. Curbing under his wooden cane and the weigh of time, Kihirara enquires about Zero and makes a few suggestions. After listening to the old man politely, Suzaku rises calmly from his chair and sends him packing back to his mines. Also politely. After the old man is gone, Suzaku glimpses an approving smile on Toudou's lips. His former master nods quietly and leaves without a single word, having no further advice to give.

Maybe, Suzaku ponders amusedly, being a grown-up is not so bad.

There is, of course, the terrifying night when Cecile phones him from Scotland and informs the files on the Geass users have been hacked. He can hear Lloyd laughing happily in the background, singing he did it, he did it as Milly tells him to go play somewhere else, pretty please . And then one week later Kallen reports female footprints on the beach, but the sea washes them away. Those are the days when he never lets Lelouch wander too far, and makes sex with him even when he is not aware of his surrounding. But winter comes and goes and Lelouch stays, resting his head on his shoulder as he hums some silly waltz in his sleep. Now he has developed the new quirk of sustaining long conversations with the empty air and shutting up quickly when Suzaku approaches. But that is the only change and, after a piece of eternity, Suzaku finds himself able to breathe again.

---

III

Night advances over the tall mountains of Kururugi Shrine and Sayoko-san has a stroke during sleep, thus dying in the same way she has always lived. Inconspicuously.

With careful respect, Lelouch and Suzaku go through her things after they take the body out, looking for relatives or friends' addresses, or maybe a simple will. Instead, they find old electronic files with state secrets from ten different nations, including their own. They can't resent Sayoko-san for outsmarting them and agree to give her a proper Buddhist funeral.

When they are about to leave her room, Lelouch pauses before Sayoko-san's vanity dresser.

Suzaku watches his friend lean before the vanity dresser's mirror. Two Lelouchs, pale faced and tentative, reach towards each other, black and grey strands touching, delicate eyebrows rising and meeting. And Suzaku realizes with horror what has caught their attention: an origami paper crane.

It's old, so old the once bright violet paper is already yellow at the corners. It no longer holds the warmth of the delicate hands that once folded it, comforting movements executed for the last time, to never be repeated again. For Suzaku knows, deep in his heart, that this must be the thousandth - the blind girl would have saved her brother's eyes for the very last. He watches Lelouch cup the paper crane with his own gentle hands, carefully, very carefully, as if it could turn out to be alive and fly away from him. He watches Lelouch sit down on Sayoko-san's bed as if he could no longer stand on his legs, the weigh of the little origami beast simply too unbearable for him.

Always a soldier, always expecting danger, Suzaku runs, his heart in his throat, and falls on his knees, his hands stroking Lelouch's arms desperately, trying to take Lelouch's attention away from the violet paper. Lelouch looks up, finally, with matching violet eyes, and there is so much pain there Suzaku has to hold still so he won't flinch. When Lelouch speaks his voice is barely a hoarse whisper.

"You are not leaving, are you? You could have years ago, but you didn't."

Suzaku grasps his wrists, but that only makes Lelouch hold the paper crane even tighter.

"Of course not." He says fast, perhaps a little too fast. "Of course not."

And Lelouch looks so relieved Suzaku hates himself for not telling him that more often, as often as he could, no matter if Lelouch could remember or not.

"I'm glad." Lelouch whispers with a forced smile, holding Nunally’s wish to his chest. "I'm glad, Suzaku. I'm really glad, but I miss them so much."

Lelouch's voice breaks a little and he goes back to his silent frowning. The greatest of ironies is that all his life Suzaku has promised himself he would never forgive Lelouch for Euphie, would never love Lelouch more than Euphie. But now here he is, feeling a pang of jealousy at finally realizing that he can't replace Lelouch's lost ones either. And how could he ever begrudge him for that? How could he begrudge Lelouch for being so much different from him, and yet so alike?

Suzaku is a liar, will always be a liar, but there are things he now fails to pretend.

He soothes and he cares, but it takes him forever to realize what is going on before his eyes, for the mind is just too slow to register the impossible. Still holding the paper crane, his head lowered, Lelouch is crying silently, nobody knows for how long, his chest heaving slowly with the strength of his pain, the heavy tears staining his face, his bloated eyes, one real, the other not, telling the very same story for once. Baffled beyond his wits, Suzaku seizes him tightly, as Lelouch cries without any theatricality or fuss, cries as if that was the most natural thing in the world, his lips pressed to Suzaku's neck as he mumbles, sorrow and terror in his half-words, childish, unadulterated, uncanny. And Suzaku can picture them in his mind's eye, brother and sister, tiny and frail and yet so strong, powerful like the children of kings and warriors they were, holding each other through the night, through their nightmares, through everything that wanted to swallow them alive and tear them apart, until the very end - even now, they still stand side by side, on the threshold of dream and life, life and death. And Suzaku doesn't shy away when he hears that little boy, always so proud, always so brave, say the bravest, most grown-up words he can say for himself and for she whose lips are now cealed:

"Help me?"

Help me.Lelouch and Suzaku are both very familiar to this song, yet the melody is never the same. And Suzaku, sheltering the frail paper crane trusted to his hands, supporting Lelouch through that devastating tide of mourning that seems to never end, will never end, feels that he can, at last, be brave too.

-----

My Dear Nunally,

Last night I got this amusing letter from Odysseus. And I thought that it has been a long time since I last brought you flowers.


------

IV

Black is the color of his flags and robes. Black is the color of his armies. Black is his peace over the world, as he walks the checkered floors of his many mirrored chambers, one move after the other after other. Despised by fortune, virtue's favorite, emperor and warlock, madman and genius, cursed and holy, only human - he prefer to think of himself as alive. In the palace named after war itself, East and West entwine and crawl up the stained glass around him like beautiful lovers. He stares down his favorite balcony and heaves a deep sigh over the endless sunflower fields of his dominions, over the impassive lake that took his heart and the royal tombs that took his soul. By his side, a man in white gazes serenely above the very same landscape, at the gentle stars in the sky that belong to no one. Then, exchanging a mysterious, unavoidable look, they wait the sanguinary pendulum of history to swing once more.

It's a long wait. And they have learned to wait in silence.



Owari


---


The useless and not so useless A/Ns:

The epigraph comes from Ivan, the Terrible, by Prokofiev, libretto by Vladimir Lugovsky.

The blind girl would have saved her brother's eyes for last - Of course, she couldn't have known the paper's color, so she either asked Sayoko-san to select the paper or she peeked herself, since we all know she is pretending to be blind to make Lelouch’s life more miserable. (j/k).


And that, my friends, is the end. Thanks a lot for reading this far. You're very patient indeed. I really enjoyed writing this. And I thank Lelouch and Suzaku for being such nice boys and letting me play with them.

Date: 2007-09-29 07:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kill-me-faster.livejournal.com
This was...dear God. fad;fka;dlfkad;fk. I wish never to write again because there is nothing in the world that can top this. I'd be more coherent if it weren't 3AM and I hadn't been staring at a computer screen for the past twelve hours trying to torrent ghei PC dating sims all farking day.

BUT. I just figured that me going kf'akdflkahdlfkdasf in your general direction was better than nothing at all. :D Poke me tomorrow and I'll leave more substantial feedback.

Date: 2007-09-29 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
Thank you for going kf'akdflkahdlfkdasf in my general direction! I feel so loved. XD And I DO poke. *poke*

If you stop writing I will tell Lelouch to take over your bedroom... er wait. That works as an incentive as well, right? :)

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Date: 2007-09-30 04:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nayami.livejournal.com
Overall, I think this fic showed a strong handling of pace, while still toying with its nonlinearity that makes it so unique, and followed a progression that was completely believable.

I love Suzaku still trying to hide the truth about Britannian letters from Lelouch because he's sick of watching himself kill himself over tis war. This, in itself, is a great match to the way Lelouch views Suzaku through most of Season 1 when, just like Suzaku, he interferes because he can do nothing else. In the end, they are both selfish in their own way. I guess Suzaku needs this measure of control all the more since Lelouch will no longer let him pretend about what's going on with Lelouch. Whenever he finds a long empty row of squares he goes directly to Suzaku, confronts him with the tiny notebook and does the most cruel thing he could ever do. He forces Suzaku to tell the truth. This hits so very hard, again on several levels, because telling the truth has always been one of the most difficult things for either boy. It's when they finally have to face themselves and no longer have the protection of their masquerade, their guise. I also like how you point out that Lelouch is both able to get the best out of the professionals who think they know best, but still have his failures because he's not invincible and never was.

I can't tell you how much the scene with the crane affects me, with Lelouch finally reaching out because he can no longer help it, can no longer be strong without the one person he knew he had to be strong for, the person he fought for. I love how Suzaku is so frightened of losing Lelouch just as Lelouch finally shows how frightened he is of losing Suzaku. And Lelouch looks so relieved Suzaku hates himself for not telling him that more often, as often as he could, no matter if Lelouch could remember or not. So beautiful. I love how your most basic lines can have the most meaning. I also appreciate how you never forget Suzaku's feelings for Euphie throughout everything, although I contend they were not quite love as they never had the chance to become so. Euphie was more of a promise to Suzaku, in every sense of the word. A promise of love fits in their as well. The whole scene just captures their raw need for each other so much; it has to be one of my favorite parts of the whole series you've written.

Nice closing of the circle to bring them back to where everything started. I wasn't sure whether or not you meant to imply that they were going to make another attempt to repair what Suzaku always wanted to, but it works either way. And I admit to liking the idea of Lelouch coming back to reclaim the throne because he is, despite everything, still that same willful child who stormed into the throne room and demanded action from his father. It makes me think about that scene from the novel where Suzaku asks Lelouch what he will be when he grows up, and Lelouch replies "I'm a prince, and I will always be a prince." And in his own way, he is.

Again, thanking for breathing such life into the small fandom and doing so without the idealistic, fluffy AU that some have opted for. This is exactly the style of fic Geass deserves and shows just what the series has given us to work with, aside from all the crack and hype. Your writing reminds me why I love this series and its characters, and I'm always all too happy to rec to others.

Date: 2007-10-02 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
Nonlinearity is my precious baby and I kind of think in a non-linear way when it comes to CG - because of the so many CDs and picture dramas and so on and so forth. I'm glad the pace is okay, tho. I was really afraid I was boring the hell out of people.

The notebook came from one of my takes on Lelouch's way of thinking. Unlike Raito, he seems perfectly okay with finding simple solutions to tricky problems and I totally love that in him.

I'm so glad you liked the crane scene, because that was the ONE scene I was really terrified of. If the crane scene didn't work, the fic would be this HUGE unfulfilled promise. It had to reach the deepest feelings in the characters without being too tacky or overdone. I also had to make Lelouch cry! I was completely TERRIFIED of it.

I agree with you about Euphie being a promise. And that's one of the reasons why Suzaku complains in the second bit about Britannia always letting him down. But I thought that Suzaku, being Suzaku, would still think of that fleeting moment as love. Suzaku is that idealistic.

Eh, I was pretending to be Japanese and left that ending as open as possible, so most interpretations would fit, including that they were after their dream. There is also the crane to consider: Nunally wished for a better world. One could wonder what is a "better world" for the characters. And Lelouch planted the sunflowers for himself (even if, in this case, he was returning them to Nana's grave). :)

Yes, I knew I had to give Lelouch's throne back. It was part of his coming-of-age tale to fulfill his "destiny" in spite of/because of his own human frailties.

I’m really, really happy you liked it that much. You have no idea. Thanks a lot for reading, for reviewing and all the kind attention you gave this.



Date: 2007-10-02 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
Oh, one more note about the throne thing: all Lelouch’s personas are Lelouch. But, hatred towards the royal family aside, I’ve always thought that Lelouch,. the Prince, is the one Lelouch regards as his “real” self, probably because that was the one persona he was born with and which was taken from him against his will. He states in the first episode that his life as Lamperouge is a lie. He keeps his and his sister's name. And Zero is not exactly a person. So I do believe Lelouch’s wishes will always lean towards going back his “true self” again and become the person he "should be", hence the ending.

I guess that is part of why he is so connected to people like Suzaku, who really knows where he is coming from.

Date: 2007-10-05 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-x.livejournal.com
I am ... quite dead after this. And it made me teary again, where they found the crane. Two successive tear-ings, congrats!

I also want to say, in the last one, I also loved the continuing "what if I was a person?" part. To me, it really fit with the conversation in episode 25, when Suzaku tells Lelouch he shouldn't exist. All around, this arc was gorgeous and quite touching. Really, I would accept this as canon and be content without season 2!

Do hope the boys inspire again you sometime between now and season 2 though ;)

Date: 2007-10-06 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
I'm glad you liked the crane scene. As I told nayami, I was very worried about it. And yeah, the "what if I was a person?" line is very connected to that wonderful, wonderful moment in episode 25. I can't write Suzalulu without refering back to it now and then. :D

Really, I would accept this as canon and be content without season 2!

That's an amazing compliment. I'm a little bit shocked that you liked it that much, really. :D Thank you! As for me, I really need Season 2.

I want to write more. Well, I have a Hallowen gift to [Bad username or site: @ livejournal.com] to complete. So I guess there will be at least one fic before season 2. :)

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Date: 2007-10-11 12:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] equivalent-t.livejournal.com
Before we plunge into the depths of my reaction to all this, let me make a few statements. First, that I am a horrible reviewer. Second, that the lack of attention to this fic is a complete travesty. Third, that I rather disliked FFn's formatting and have never realized you have a writing LJ lol.

And now for my unestimable reaction :

ASHDAKDHKSAHDKA WOMAN I WANT YOUR BRAIN. NO, I AM NOT A ZOMBIE OR A CANNIBAL.

I love so many things here that I hardly know how to begin, so I'll first echo the sentiments of others. That this entire -thing- makes me want to snap the pen and just give up writing. That this is possibly more the spirit of Code Geass than canon itself, at its lowest moments. That this is such an incredibly strung together pile of words, that it's subtle, that it's mad and beautiful, that something about it is mortal and quantifiable in the way nothing ever lasts. I love how you portray Suzaku and Lelouch's relationship, by my definitions of these terms, less than friends and much more than necessity and tied by so many precarious things it's mathematically firmer than concrete. I love how you write the war by writing so little about it, how you write these two boys at not making history but living history and how well you really pace these, with letters, with anecdotes, and humor because there's too little humor in fics like this. I love how it ended. My favourites are probably tied between Lady of the Lake and Book of Hours, but the Epilogue is very special in its own way. Strangely enough, I'm more satisfied by the descriptions of Being Postwar Lelouch and Suzaku than the crane scene, but that probably is because they smell so nice and the crane scene smells of mirrors. And the last paragraph---you never forget that Lelouch is Zero, that he is Lelouch Vi Britannia. I love you so much for that.

(Coincidentally, I also maintain that among all his identities, 'Lelouch Vi Britannia' is what he considers to be his true self---it's the first one he learns and the only one he truly lost, therefore it's what he wants to be but not become. And it's my favourite part about Lulu, that everything about him that we see is built upon this thing that's only hinted at sporadically, and which we can't truly see because he himself doesn't know concretely enough about what it is. I love characters like that, when the true base of their logic processes is not the base we see in the text.)

Date: 2007-10-12 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
Wow, thanks a lot for reviewing this. :) I'm very happy you liked this fic arc in in spite of the shameful SuzaLuluness of it all. And oh your words made me so happy. I'm glad you caught the "living history" thingie, because that was a really important point in my head when I was writing it. Truth is, I'd love to write a big war epic about their childhood but NOT before I manage to read Stage 0, because ack, their childhood canon is probably the best thing in the show. :) Also, I keep hoping season 2 will give me some really nice ideas. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Yeah, Lelouch wants to be Lelouch Vie Britannia, and Zero is also part of who he is. I totally had to come back to this point in the end of the fic, otherwise it would be very incomplete. The crane scene, as I said before, was very difficult, and yes, it totally smells of mirrors. The postwar scenes were much easier to write by far and maybe that shows in the final product. :)

And DON'T STOP WRITING FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE. I LOVE your brain too. XD

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Date: 2007-10-14 06:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deadums.livejournal.com
That was absolutely beautiful and stunning and emotionally charged and unbearably wonderful to read. I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this fic and will definitely be rereading again and again and again.

Your characterization is to die for - the little things you created for them; Lelouch's secret code for instance, just gave their existing character such a wonderful depth...

I really loved this, enjoyed it thoroughly. OH man, so fantastic. Thanks so much for writing and sharing this!

Date: 2007-10-17 01:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
Thanks a lot. :) I'm very glad you liked the characterization, because I'm always worried about those. And thank you, thank you for reviewing and letting me know. There is lots of good fics around, so don't read mine too many times. XD Please, try [profile] hopechan's The Fool Ascendant. She posted it today and it's probably the best fic I've ever read:

http://community.livejournal.com/caveat__lector/36260.html

Date: 2007-10-17 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] runesque.livejournal.com
Okay, my mode of delivery will be inelegant because you know me and I don't have to impress you XD. First, I'd like to draw a comparison between two things:

1. Maybe, Suzaku ponders amusedly, being a grown-up is not so bad.

2. Anyway, it's really cool to be the ruler of your own life, not having half of the angst you did at 20, and still have a lot of energy to spend. XD 30s are really nice.

Hee, I took that from your MSN message! XD They must come from the same person, right? Anyway, I literally sat up and stuck my chest out proudly at that line. I was going "HELL YEAH!!! FINALLY, argh." THIS is the moment I've been waiting for! I want nothing more than to see an independent-thinking Suzaku in canon. Which is why I also loved, loved, loved the first glimpse of his returning selfishness about not sending Lelouch away to an asylum. Little Suza is growing up at 30!

I loved the complete sense of closure, first carried forth by Toudou's approval and final exit, and then as a previous commenter said, the sense of the story coming to full circle in the last scene. Ooh, and East and West and "beautiful lovers" isn't a reference to Suzaku and Seiryuu??? I totally saw the stained glass there - thank you for firing up my imagination. You have the subtlety of Suzaku wanting his Lancelot key back from Lloyd in throwing that reference BUT I LOVE THE HINTHINTWINKWINK ANYWAY <3. As much as I loved the miniscule hope of LloydMilly.

The revelation about Sayoko... was nothing short of shocking to me. And perhaps only me. I would've tossed her body to the lake and let the frogs have it after I learned of her multiple-agentship. And nicely put about her inconspicuous death being a fitting closure to her inconspicuous life.

I feel that the point you're making here is, where there is chaos there is a saner Lelouch when he's in charge? If the smile Lelouch rewarded him for his "peace" comment meant what I thought it meant. Am I misinterpreting the paragraphs in thinking that Suzaku took him back to Britannia where he'll be emperor once more? He certainly felt... more scattered during tranquil moments back in the Shrine. I guess long periods of rest renders the brain senile XD.

You know I'll keep pimping this suite! We work to each other's favour =D~~~~0

Date: 2007-10-18 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
Oooh, I'm so glad you reviewed. You artists are the most difficult audience. XD

OMG! You've found me out. No, just kidding. This fic is supposed to be - at least partially - about these guys growing up. So yeah, my thoughts about what growing up means ended up as an influence. :)

I'm glad you liked Suzaku growing up, because that was really nice to write. LloydMilly was a tiny gift for you, really. So aren't you glad you read this thing until the end? XD

Haah, the East/West reference was *almost* accidental. I mean, it's one of those things you write and then start attributing 234232 meanings to it. It also refers to the seize and cultural influences in Lelouch's Empire, it's a tiny reference to the British Empire, it refers to Lelouch's past and where his heart is, it refer to Lelouch and Suzaku... you can go on forever. :D

lol. I just wanted Sayoko to show the boys they are NOT in control of every tiny thing. They can't be. They are not Mary Sues (hopefully!) XD And in this world there is people who are actually smarter, sneaker and more bizarre than the two of them together, even if one is an Emperor and the other is a PM . And they will never know and they will never understand their motivations. - Sayoko is my Shakespearean irony there :D They do forgive her, because she was nice to them and really cared (especially Lelouch and Nunnally), and they are not angels themselves. Far from it.

Hey, any interpretation works! That's my thumb-rule. Yours works too. :D

My interpretation is that Lelouch gets "better" whenever he feels the people he loves needs him. That's why he manages to find out what is going on after Suzaku almost dies - he has to get better to protect Suzaku. In other words, he pushes himself harder in situations like that, which is not necessarily smart or healthy. In times of peace, he gets better in the sense that the doctors are treating him and he doesn't have the stress of war on his shoulders, but Lelouch doesn't see peace as the rest of the characters see it. To Lelouch peace is just the continuation of war by other means - it's time to prepare for the next stage. I thought he would be more scattered brained because his disease keeps progressing, no matter what.

Yes, the last paragraph shows Lelouch and Suzaku back in Britannia (either that or Lelouch is delirious, which is not an impossibility. XD). I don't know if Suzaku took him back or he got there by himself. Yup, he becomes Emperor again, but this time of a much vaster, more multi-cultural Britannia, and he is shaping the world according to his rule. Again, lots of interpretations would be possible. It was written open-ended because of that. XD

Date: 2008-03-09 07:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fluffyfledgling.livejournal.com
Bah. Argh. What right did you ever have to tell me my fic was good when you wrote a this brilliant thing, hm? Your nose should be raised toward the sky and you should wear a mask and begin a plan to take over the world. >:

Beautiful lines, favorite lines-- too many of them! Sadly, I wasn't bright enough to copy them down from each chapter as I passed. I stormed through this story far too quickly, so I'm going to come back once I feel that ache of "DAMN I NEED MY GOODFIC TO READ" and slowly savour each section again.

The SuzaLulu was beautifully portrayed. From the start, it was a powerful image, a beautiful mess of contradiction, weakness, and painful love. But I think the most wonderful thing that you've done here is you've made it grow. It didn't sit; the relationship between Suzaku and Lulu changed and grew and morphed and deepened in magnificently interesting ways with each line and each paragraph until it stuck itself into my heart.

Usually, the beginnings, and the endings, are most memorable. But it's the mark of quality when it's the middle that leaves the deepest impression-- then you know what this piece of writing is something with substance. It's driven more by content than by the pretty surface ideas. I loved how you started off talking more with Suzaku's voice and eventually moved into domination with Lelouch's voice-- then made him suddenly realize what was happening. You had complex emotions and complex imagery but the idea and plot was clear, and it showed through. The effect, thus, of having Lelouch suddenly come face to face with his true "reflection" so to speak, was extremely powerful.

I also liked the way C.C. was incorporated into the fic. Is she a facet of Lelouch's mind, or isn't she? It's a fun idea to play with, the way you've opened it up and left it hanging.

The most wonderful, wonderful about this fic that I gained as a reader is the expansion of perspectives. Isn't it easy to see the characters as two-dimensional? CG is already rich fodder indeed, but you took rich fodder and made it richer. You explored characterization in such a way that it seemed as though things had always been that way in the first place, perhaps because you offered so much "proof" of what you were saying laced throughout the fic. That accounts for its unity.

Um. There's more, but I can't think of EVERYTHING off the top of my head. All the characters became extremely interesting in this story, but of course Lelouch and Suzaku were the most mesmerizing. Their dynamics were such a pleasure to read. I am also blown away by the wonderful integration of style and creativity in this story. I love the idea of Lelouch writing in code amidst his battle plans, and his abosolute schizophrenia, and the yet unsolved mystery of Marianne. And-- I kind of have to stop now because I'll just keep going on forever and ever and that might not be very good for your ego. XD;;

Uh, this seems out of place to say now but there were a few grammar mistakes prevalent throughout the piece that can be touched up with no problem. Typos, really. I was too mersmerized to notice anything else. Hm, also, while I enjoyed the imagery throughout, I felt that the way each arc began with abstract imagery had a tendency to get a bit heavy, unless the reader just happened to think along the correct wavelength and instantly understand what you were trying to talk about.

Well, in conclusion: you've inspired me in ways I never thought I could be inspired before. Ah, how I envy your passion!

<3
Fledgling

Chracterization

Date: 2008-03-09 08:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fluffyfledgling.livejournal.com
And no, my comment didn't get cut off. I have no idea why there's a 'Characterization' sitting below my name. O_o;;

Date: 2008-03-09 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
!!!!

This was an epic review! O_O

And nah, world domination is not for me. Look at what happened to Lelouch :D

Anyway, thank you so much for reviewing this fic. MY EGO DOESN'T MIND. Like any ficcer I love getting reviews, but I particularly love when people review this one, because it was also so fun to write. It allowed me to play with some of my favorite themes at the same time: memory, conscience, mourning, hope, isolation, siblings, coming of age... It also allowed me to see how much I could develop SuzaLulu in a post Stage 25 scenario without going OOC, and actually using everything that made any compromise between them unlikely in order to make the outcome more realistic and richer. It was a fun game to play. :)

I can't express how much I love Geass - at least up to Stage 25. It's so rich and so full of subtext. I try to convey the facts and potentialities I see in it. I guess that is what fics are for, aren't they? :) And CG fics have a way of doing that really well. If you liked this fic, then you should try hopechan's Fool Ascendant, which has a similar style and theme to House of Mirror's. I consider Fool Ascendant one of the most painful, powerful things I've ever read in my life.

Grammar and typos are the ban of my existence, because English is not my first language and, as much as I try, they are kind of inevitable. :) But I hope there will be less of them as I improve my skills. The heavy, abstract introductions are very much intentional in House of Mirrors, but I'm currently experiencing with a slightly lighter style to see what happens.

Anyway, thank you SO MUCH. Words like that totally encourage me to keep on writing. And your writing is very, very good as well. I always tell people I like reading much more than I like creating my own stuff (I'm lazy). So please, keep on entertaining me with your really good fics. :)

Date: 2008-05-12 09:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lucid-babbles.livejournal.com
I LOVE THIS FIC. This has got to be the BEST Code Geass fic out there. (I've read all of them several times over...this is just so good!!!)

Write MORE!!!

Date: 2008-09-03 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-fic.livejournal.com
Thanks. And I will. XD

Date: 2008-05-24 02:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragonmists753.livejournal.com
This is just so GOOD. You write beautifully. This whole arc is at once beautiful and painful. I particularly like the disjointed yet together feel of this (if that makes any sense). I also love how you show just how complicated Suzaku and Lelouch's relationship is bound to be. One of the many truly unique aspects of this is how you show the effect that all this has on Lelouch and how you get the reader to really feel it. You show his not-quite-kinda-sorta-already-is madness very well. And so sum it up just ad;fkljdf;djfdjkdfas;. I really really really love this arc and I just wanted to tell you even though I'm a lurker.

Date: 2008-09-03 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-fic.livejournal.com
I love writing in this disjointed fashion. It just happened to fit Lelouch's lunacy. :) And thanks for telling be Lelouch's madness was okay. That was one of the trickiest parts.

Anyway, thank you SO much for letting me know. I write a lot as a form of stress relief. But each comment like yours encourages me to keep going and improving myself.

Date: 2008-07-30 09:22 pm (UTC)
ext_2023: (Default)
From: [identity profile] etrangere.livejournal.com
this is such a gorgeous, gorgeous. Love the writing, the characterisation, the non linearity and the way you capture brokenness. Beautiful stuff.

Date: 2008-09-03 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-fic.livejournal.com
;__; Thank you so much for letting me know. Seriously. You're awesome.

Date: 2008-08-21 07:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrsvelvetears.livejournal.com
*Whimper* This was painful. I can only think of a few stories that have affected me as deeply as your work here, and I know I will return to it again and again. It took me a rather long time to finish this fic, because I kept stopping after every sentence to savor your words. You write with such poetry, and yet I rarely had to struggle to understand your meaning. At least not your concrete meaning, because a million deeper meanings roiled under the surface of everything you wrote.

The scene at the beginning in which Suzaku tears out Lelouch's eye was the perfect introduction to their twisted, dysfunctional, and strangely beautiful relationship. I'm not the biggest fan of Suzaku (mostly because I'm a huge fan of Lelouch), and yet you've taken everything I dislike about him and made it suddenly endearing. For instance: "Suzaku had to take everything so personally." That observation was spot on and absolutely adorable. Maybe I should revise my feelings about Suzaku, because bad qualities can be good qualities (or at least charming ones) when you think about them the right way. You said this best yourself when you wrote: "His conclusions about his only friend are never flattering, but are always made with love."

Like the other people that reviewed, I also really enjoyed the crane scene. In the comments above, you said that you were nervous about making Lelouch cry, and I can understand why. Even though I adore angst, I admit that really emotional, teary scenes are rarely as satisfying as one would hope. But I wouldn't worry in your case. That scene was so quiet and understated, much like Lelouch's tears: "Lelouch cries without any theatricality or fuss, cries as if that was the most natural thing in the world." What a striking and heartbreaking contrast to his normal behavior! And then, when you wrote, "Suzaku doesn't shy away when he hears that little boy, always so proud, always so brave, say the bravest, most grown-up words he can say for himself," I just...it was so inspiring and hopeful and horribly, horribly sad.

Finally, Lelouch's last letter was pretty suspenseful (for me, at least). I thought for a moment that, despite his moving breakthrough in the previous scene, he had gone off alone to Britannia without Suzaku. I was so relieved when Suzaku appeared beside him. It wasn't a happy ending, but at least it was a hopeful one.

That was a really long review. It's just that this fic is exactly what I think CG has failed to be. Don't get me wrong, I love the show, but it tries so hard to be everything to everyone, what with the mecha sequences and the shameless fanservice and the intrigue and the product placement. This, it seems, is the reason it's been so successful. Yet it's also the reason it fails to make any real artistic statement. It's too unfocused, too afraid of taking chances. This fic, on the other hand, *does* make a statement, and even though it hurt to read, I can't be more grateful to you for writing it.

Anyway, sorry for gushing so much :)

Date: 2008-09-03 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-fic.livejournal.com
No, no, gush a little more, please. XD

j/k

Seriously, I should have answered that much sooner, but rl is keeping me so busy. You know, your comments made me so happy I had to show them to my friends. Especially the part about Suzaku. XD It's my opinion that Suzaku and Shirley are probably the most misunderstood characters in fandom, and it is always awesome to find out I'm helping them somehow, since I sincerely believe CG becomes far more interesting when we don't choose sides and just let the characters tell their stories.

And I also loved what you said about exploring canon possibilities. I think that's one of the best things about fanfic. We can always go further and focus on whatever we want. And it's my intention to do the same for R2, which also has a lot of potential, imho. I love CG verse more than I've loved any other verse before, and so far I care too much about the characters to let them go.

Heee, you are the first person who tells me you thought Lelouch would leave. I must confess I considered the possibility - at least as a temporary solution - but one of the fics main themes is about the boys understanding each other's humanity as they grow older. The truth is, I wanted them to finish exactly where they had begun to keep the myth going. Also, deep down I'm a softy, so I decided to let them be. :)

But I'm babbling! Anyway, thank you for paying so much attention to this outdated fic.

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From: [identity profile] mrsvelvetears.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-09-05 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2008-09-03 07:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shinigami-yumi.livejournal.com
Oh My God. I have just read this entire fic in one sitting, and in retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have because I am by this point in a daze, completely blindsided by the sheer brilliance of your writing. I would say that it seems pointless for me to write anything now that such mastery lives, but that would be an insult to the master, since what I really should be doing is seeking to improve my writing in hopes of someday achieving this level and magnitude of literary wonder; after all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

This was so beautifully done - the narrative, the allegories and symbolism, everything. I wish I could tell you in more detail or specifics what I loved so much about it, but my now numb mind is not cooperating, and I couldn't possibly grasp all the wonders of all five chapters to tell you in this moment anyway.

If I never read another Geass fic again as long as I live (which is a likely possibility, since I'm not exactly even in the fandom), I am now satisfied that I've read what is quite possibly, if not certainly, the best it has to offer. And even that seems to understate it; I have not felt so unreservedly positively about a work of fiction in a LONG time, if ever.

Just about the only helpful thing I can suggest is that you edit all five parts for typos and errors, which I found a rather large number of. Although the fic itself was too amazing for it to actually be much of a problem, I think it's something I ought to let you know.

Nevertheless, absolutely fantastic, and thank you for sharing. Now please write (and publish) a book and spare our generation from the likes of Twilight, I beg you.

Date: 2008-09-03 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-fic.livejournal.com
Wow, I never know what to say when I get comments like this. But thanks a lot for all the nice words. They are very welcome since I'm having a particularly hard week. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

And yeah, some people already pointed there are some mistakes. English is not my first language and I'm still trying to improve. I deeply apologize orz.

I do intend to publish a book one of these days. If only real life would let me write faster... XD Still, bills need to be paid. Meanwhile, I'm very glad you enjoy the fanfics.

Again, thank you! Words of encouragement like yours always mean a lot to me.

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Date: 2008-10-15 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lavenderspice.livejournal.com
Ah, wow.

To be honest, I was a little iffy about reading this fic at first, because I am stupid and tend to be put off by grammatical errors, which blip in my mind like a radar. A STUPID REASON, I'M SORRY. /REPENTS

UM. I LOVE YOU? This fic is so mind blowingly lovely. I wish I could point out every little thing I loved about it but that would span several thousand words, I believe, and you already know you are made of love, win, and ten kinds of awesome. But really. I think my head just exploded.

I love these boys because they are so well fitted to each other, and so completely insane, and you made it work and you made it wonderful. I'm also extremely pleased at how much you put the girls in there - Euphie, Nunnaly, C.C., and Karen. Because they are an important part of the boys' lives, too. ( not as important as the boys, though. >.> )

Er. Yes. I would babble on endlessly, but I'm not eloquent and thus spend more time lurking than anything. Your wonderful fic dragged me out of my lurkdom, but I will be returning now. /slinks away

Date: 2008-10-15 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-fic.livejournal.com
orz I'm really sorry about the grammar. English is not my first language. I'm trying to improve.

Thank you for the lovely words. They mean a lot to me. I'm currently working on another arc, so reviews for this old, outdated thing are always welcome and give me a reason to keep on writing. I'm glad you noticed the girls. CG would not be the same without them. :)

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Date: 2008-11-11 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] klytaemnestra.livejournal.com

I'm not usually that fond of AUs, however this was gorgeous. The opening with Suzaku cutting out Lelouch's eye just set the mood for the entire piece -- I've often toyed with the concept of Suzaku doing just that after capturing Zero. It was brutal, yet poetic.

Lelouch's insanity was painful to read and the disjointed way in which this was written really made it feel like you could understand the half crazed ramblings of broken genius.

I enjoyed seeing world wearied young men made much too old before their time.

You basically captured what I've always viewed the series as being. It's like Arthurian legend, mythology, and Greek tragedy. If you could take away the elements that made the series an anime it could be a classic tragedy and this fic just made that all the more apparent.

Lovely piece. I was bored at the office and came across this and spent the last two hours reading it and I am amazed. I'll have to read it again once I get home this evening.

Date: 2009-10-13 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] grendelity.livejournal.com
So I stumbled across this early this morning! Pardon my being late to the party.

This was gorgeous and lovely and sad as hell. I enjoyed reading it a lot--crazy Lelouch is a fantastic thing. I love how you portrayed both sides of his madness as a very real and scary thing, and him and his delusions. The bit about his letters to the dead broke my heart into a million pieces. And oh, Suzaku. He's so responsible and sad. I can't imagine that he'd ever be able to make much of a Prime Minister, though, not in canon Geassverse, what with all those awful trust issues. I love that he cut out Lelouch's eye. Seems like the logical solution, and the repercussions were so realistic and even numb, and augh. Gorgeous.

The nonlinearity was awesome, dude. That was well-played. I appreciated having to puzzle out the universe and how things were working, and it was all just so sad and hard and painful. I think you did lovely things with them all. <3

To be fair, I do feel like the first part of this whole arc was a bit clumsy, and I had a lot of trouble making sense of it, but the later sections with Lelouch living with Suzaku, were just so beautiful.
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