realms_of_fiction: (Default)
[personal profile] realms_of_fiction
A Matter of Scales
By G
Pairing: A little SuzaLulu.
Rate: K +.
Disclaimer: Code Geass is not mine.
Spoilers: 24-25. Inspired on Sound Episode 6.
Summary: Once in a while, they will join in a project destined to failure.
Maybe I should put a warning on this fic for boku! Suzaku. Beware.
[personal profile] runesque asked me for Lelouch singing Art Song as a Halloween present. Here is the slightly cracky result:


When midnight falls over the fateful Area 11 and the moon is tainted with red fumes, Euphemia dreams of a world where she matters, Suzaku dreams of a home of his own, Nunnally dreams of fading colors turned into bright music and Lelouch dreams of high walled gardens where no danger can ever get in.

The truth is, they all have the same dream.



Maybe it takes a bad child to know a bad child, maybe he has known right from the start. He can sense Zero's scent on himself even more than he can sense it on Lelouch. And that's the worst part. This coarse pollution that is completely his own.

But what if Suzaku is wrong. What if he is the white knight of this tragic story. What if Zero is the faceless demon of a Noh play. What if Euphemia is salvation beyond his hopes of salvation, love beyond his hopes of love, goddess ex machina with satin ropes falling from the sky. What if Lelouch has been forgotten behind the curtains- smart, strong and still as he protects his little sister in the shadows, calmly watching the whole world fall down around him in a blizzard of fire - and enjoying it, enjoying it much more than he should.

What if he is wrong.

He holds to his father's broken watch, and makes himself mute, deaf and blind. He makes himself trust like a friend, so everything will be alright. He holds to his father’s broken watch, listening to nothing but this:

A beat, and another, and nothing between.



Suzaku's father didn't believe in music. Music is distracting, he used to say. Music is lazy and corrupts the soul. Music is effeminate, he used to say. Music can be a good man's downfall.

In his father's house, there was only the long silences between the two sharp beats of a clock. The shy maids stepped lightly and the furniture was white with quietness. In his father's house, children should speak with honor and a good son learned how to meditate, and to kill with an elegant sword. A good son learned to be proud, right and proud.

But then they arrived, and their hands, their eyes, their angles, their voices, their steps, their words, their hearts, their wounds, their colors were a blinding symphony of life. They were magnificence, misery, doom; they were the reverse of void. And Suzaku, paralyzed with sound, singing, singing, singing with them in his Secret Base, knew he would love them for the rest of his days, and feared he would never be a good son again. Never again, as he escorted Lelouch's down to the village, the Buriki's footsteps mingling softly with the young mothers' lullabies and the pensive whispers of the sakura trees.



He is a school boy now. This is his new face. A face of happiness after years of military marches, rusty opera files, static-broken songs, ears excruciatingly pressed to old radios. A face of happiness after months and months trying to get rid of the ghostly tic-tac of a broken watch. He is a school boy now, with a school boy’s face, running across the Ashford’s fields with a blue flier clutched in his hand, his steps quick and light as he enters the Club House to meet an old friend.

"A choir?" Lelouch asks in disbelief as he shows him the poor tormented flier. "You want to join the school’s choir?"

"I do! I do!" He says with a hard, exhilarated laugh. "I tried to join this morning, actually. But I was horrible." He laughs even harder, his cheeks flushed with mad glee, mad indeed. "I was really, really horrible. But they say I can join if I learn to sing right."

"I see.” Lelouch says slowly, oddly uncontaminated by his contentment, the orange light of afternoon playing an exquisite geometry on his wary face. "You want singing classes."

"Yes." Suzaku says, allowing himself to collapse in an armchair and to stretch his strong legs with simple pleasure. "And you. You are going to teach me to sing."

Lelouch arches his eyebrows and gives him back the flier as if it was on fire. "No, I won't."

"Yes, you will. Because you love showing how smarter and superior you are. And you are my friend. And Nunnally told me you guys have been taking singing classes since before you were conceived. And she didn't need to tell me anyway because look at you. And I don't want singing classes from some stranger. I want them from you."

"No, I won't." Lelouch says stubbornly, frowning, and he walks into the kitchen with stiff legs, and Suzaku follows him like a puppy, telling himself that no, he is not being selfish, he is not being selfish at all. This is just his way of telling Lelouch how much he has missed him, and he really did.

And as they talk, as Lelouch contorts and complains, and denies, and looks fragile like dry bones in the morning sunlight, Suzaku can hear nothing but this:

A beat, and another, and nothing between.



The princess makes her announcement and Lelouch crumbles to the floor under the weigh of odium distillated through seven years of pain . Nunnally, sensing the magnitude of his discontent, holds his shaking hand and squeezes it, warms it, and the world gives way under then, once again.

But, in the bright sunlight full of expectations, Euphemia's hopeful voice, Lelouch's pale hands and Nunnally's soothing words are nothing compared to the ghost of Suzaku's broken watch, stretching abyssal silences between a beat and another.


When Lelouch finds out the Ashford Choir wants him to sing I vow to thee my country he calls him an idiot, idiot. And he also says: don’t you see this is a trap. And he also says: don’t you see what is at stake. And he also says: you’re going to hurt yourself. And he calls him an idiot, idiot all over again when Suzaku tells him he knows all these things, but he doesn’t care.

And this whole argument sounds exactly, precisely like his first talk with Zero. Distressed, uneasy, he focus on how Lelouch’s hands mark the tempo of his words like music, and how his eyes are melodious when they are that wide, and how he has a infinitesimal Britannian accent when he is really angry, and how Lelouch becomes prestissimo, subito, agitato, con moto. And how Lelouch becomes rubato, stringento, maestoso. But most of all, Lelouch is molto, molto, molto.

"You can't please everybody.” He shouts after another stream of idiot, idiot, and don’t, why, never. “You will just end up being despised by all if you try. Nobody loves a..."

"A slave?"

A pause. He wraps himself in the strained smile of a martyr and Lelouch stares at him, eyes like violet moons of frustration and incomprehension.

"They did this to you." He says with forceful intent. – and something about his strong voice reverberating in the tiny living room is reminiscent of his father's, Lelouch's father, that is.

"They did this to you Suzaku, but you don't have to make their work so much easier."

And he goes on and on, like a mask of nothingness, a mask of nothingness with a soul, to the point Suzaku is running out of excuses to not arrest him, to the point it is getting harder and harder to tell himself he doesn’t, can’t possibly know. Desperate, dodging the cadences of smart words, fierce protection and arguments built up like the Great Wall of China , he reaches out and touches Lelouch's cheek, making him freeze, wide eyed like a doe, his lips slightly open, his aria halted into silence. Suzaku's abyss of silence, stretched between a beat, and another.

"That's not true." Suzaku whispers tensely, brushing the hair off Lelouch's face with the tip of his fingers. “You will never despise me, will you?"

"Of course not." Lelouch squirms away, a hand hovering over the place where Suzaku has touched him."Of course not."

And maybe Suzaku should take his cue from Lelouch, approach him in this angle of quiet light and shadows and confront him with his own little aria. Maybe he should hold his shoulders, his eyes on his eyes, heart in his hand. If you are in trouble you can tell me. If you are doing what I think you are doing there is still time to turn back. You can trust me. You can rely on me. I will keep you and Nunnally safe. I will never let you down, I swear.

But this is not about Zero, he tells himself, this is just about the choir. And Lelouch is gone, and nothing is said or revealed. No promises are made, or kept, or broken. Now Suzaku is alone in the silent room, no song, good or bad. He hesitates between the shadows and sunbeams of the dying morning - the moment of lying, the moment of telling the truth, completely lost for both of them.

Time passes, and finally he walks out, out of the Club House, out through the school gates, finding himself on the streets of Saturday , and it's only later that he realizes he is searching for a place where he can fix his father's watch. But when he finally gets there, the old Japanese clockmaker says it is a very ancient model, and making it work again would cost him a fortune.

Resigned, he crosses Shinjuko, the nagging tic-tac following his exhausted footsteps as the ghetto children stare at his bright uniform.

A beat, and another, and nothing between.


No apologies are conveyed or accepted. But Sunday morning finds them in the living room again, Lelouch reading the score easily as Suzaku peeks from over his shoulder like a boy trying to figure out a magician's trick.

Then Lelouch casts his eyes down, takes a deep breath and becomes music, his voice rising and falling in the empty Club House, echoing like strung out moonlight on the firm masonry, his long fingers touching the piano keys with didactic precision. And Suzaku thinks he can't be happier than here and now, leaning over a good friend's shoulder as he listens to him singing, the bright particles of dust dancing like enamored stars around their black uniforms, shy and alive they dance.

And Lelouch's cheeks, paling and blushing with self-consciousness in perfect rhythm to his voice, tempt Suzaku's fingertips to find out the pulse under that skin. And Lelouch's lips, kissing the notes like water turned into wind, draw attention from his averted eyes. Suzaku listens, and the pristine sound envelops them like a veil, hiding, at the same time that it reveals, the unexpected reality beyond all that Suzaku takes for granted - and that hurts, and that is probably the most terrifying and lovely thing about Lelouch - his talent to teach Suzaku things he wants and doesn't want to learn.

He halts before a verse is finished, his hair covering his violet eyes as he hunches his shoulders, his gaze shifting as he makes himself unreachable like dying rain, raw and exposed. Suzaku realizes Lelouch hates to sing.

"See?" he asks Suzaku gently. "There is no secret to it."



There is somebody else in the house with them, watching like a household spirit, walking on the floor boards with delicate feet. It vanishes like a trick of the eye whenever Suzaku opens a door to a room that should be empty. It fades like a blur of white into the blinding darkness. It dances itself into non existence. From the corner of his eyes, on his sun burnt skin, Suzaku feels it. It figures that the vie Britannia would bring along with them their ghosts. Doesn't Suzaku have his own to deal with, ticking in his wake like a fairytale crocodile?

"There are no ghosts." Lelouch reassures as they prepare snacks in the kitchen, "Why, if there was a ghost, I'm sure Sayoko-san would know how to get rid of it."

Suzaku chuckles softly, snatching cookies behind Lelouch's back.

"I would never guess Lelouch Lamperouge believed in ghosts."

He is rewarded with a smart slap on his hand.

"Well, Lelouch Lamperouge doesn't." His friend says with an awkward smile and a calculated shrug. "But ghosts are about omitted truths and you have those all over the place, just like the omitted verse of the hymn you asked me to teach you."

"Omitted verse?" Suzaku asks surprised. Why should somebody omit a verse from a pretty tune like that?

Lelouch turns off the oven, pulls off his gloves and looks at him with a labored smile.

"It was about war." He explains calmly. "Between the verses about nation and heaven there was a verse about war."

All Suzaku has ever wanted is to protect the weak. But what can he do when the weak don't want protection? What can he do when the weak, instead of cowering and pleading for help, are seething with pure hatred, in their sleeve a dagger as they wait patiently for their tormenter's sleep?

The omitted verse. The hungry crocodile. The patricide and the patricide to be. Lelouch's violet eyes waiting for an answer. Time ticking between them, shorter than they will ever know.

A beat, and another, and nothing between.



Sleep over, they say. Why don’t you sleep over?

Suzaku, the soldier, has a feather-light sleep. When he stays at the Club House, he is always awaken by Sayoko-san's discreet voice, singing in the shower early in the morning, the Japanese words carried like sunrays by the ancient plumbing. And she always sings Edo Komoriuta, always Edo Komoriuta. Soft and gentle and forbidden, when Britannia's eyes are still closed, she sings Edo Komoriuta as if she had forgotten everything else:

Sleep, sleep,
Little one, sleep.
You're a good baby,
Now go to sleep.

Do you know
Where your nurse has gone?
Gone to her village
She won't be long.

What will she bring baby
When she does come?
A flute so lovely
And a thunderous drum.
And a thunderous drum.

He stays wide awake, Sayoko-san’s voice mingling with the silence of Lelouch and Nunnally sleeping in their bedrooms like magic children. And he is painfully reminded that Suzaku, the boy, was never caressed by a lullaby, and yet could sleep like a log.



And one day, at last, Lelouch catches him washing his daily vilified belongings. He is a silhouette at the washroom’s doorstep, a composition of sharp angles and greys. Suzaku knows he is about to be shouted at, and he prepares to shout in return. And so he braces himself for the battle, his hands clutching his soaped uniform as he glares, still like a mountain, solid like a brave warrior, shielding behind the innocently white washbasin from Lelouch's words, for there are few things Lelouch hates more than his way of being good.

But Lelouch just stands on the threshold of silence and sound, not a single word, not even a vow to hunt and destroy the culprits. No blood, no scream, no fury, nothing. He just stands there, with the saddest eyes in the world, looking as if Lelouch had been taken away from Lelouch. And somehow that is much worse than his anger. Why does he have to feel everything so deeply and intensely, why does he have to be a permanent symphony of molto molto molto. Why does he have to be all these things for Suzaku, of all people. It's like a disease. It's like love. And Suzaku, arrested between a beat, and another, is not sure if he can stand it, is not sure if can be a worthy counterpoint to this.

Heaving a deep sigh, he gives him an embarrassed smile.

"Please, don't look like that. I'm used to..."

"If you say that." Lelouch warns quietly. "I'm going to kill you."

Then he steps forward, slowly wraps his arms around Suzaku and hugs him very, very tightly, not letting go, not letting him go at all. The sound of running water their only witness as he whispers very gently in his ear, as he strokes his hair with long, tender fingers. Idiot, he says, and many things else, but the words are lost in the water and Suzaku's missed heartbeats. It is as if they have never existed. And Lelouch's lips, on his lips, are like an oath with a double meaning.

Then he pulls away and he rolls up his sleeves. Eyes cast down, he glares at the cold red water:

"Let's try it from the start, shall we?"

Suzaku nods gratefully, and Lelouch sings, never looking up. Suzaku follows him, tunelessly, as they scrub the uniforms, towels and shoes, until night falls around them with its delayed blessing, their boyish voices echoing on the dark tiles like moths attracted to light. And their hands, soiled with red paint, seem to be drenched in blood as they work, and they remain, and they dream side by side like a beat, and another, and nothing between.


His belongings are never touched again. He finds them everyday, clean and tidy where they were supposed to be. When Suzaku asks, Lelouch replies with a very loud silence.



He calls his determination to join the choir a project destined to failure. Euphie would never do that, his beloved, beloved Euphie with fingers of harmony, different and alike Lelouch like only siblings can be. She would understand that Suzaku wants nothing more than be part of a choir, has always wanted that in one way or another. She would understand that music unites people of all races and continents, and that music is one of the many paths of peace. Lelouch doesn’t. Lelouch can’t bring himself to believe in great achievements without the proportional great sacrifice to the most terrifying gods. The omitted truths, he seems to remind him like an augur holding scales, you must never forget the ghosts of omitted truths.

Still, Lelouch teaches him to sing, a dish heavy with worlds, the other heavy with devastation.

A beat, and another, and nothing between.


When he finally, finally, finally gets I vow to thee my country right, Suzaku snatches Nunnally from her wheelchair and pretends to dance with her, ignoring Lelouch's hypocritical pleas of be careful, be careful as he spins with her around the room, her gown billowing like a blooming yellow flower, as she laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs, and that is the best part, the way she laughs as she gains momentum like a shooting star around him.

Lelouch just smiles, a genuine smile of pleasure, devoted and tired pleasure, for the two of them have worked so hard for this. And Suzaku, looking at him, Nunnaly's hands on his neck as he carefully takes her from his arms, decides to talk to him. Really talk to him for once in his life. Maybe even talk to a mask of nothingness - he doesn't know and wishes he will never find out. Friendship, work together, join us, we can make this happen, together. Maybe if he speaks Lelouch's language he will listen to him. Lelouch's language, after all, is not that different from his own.

Sitting carefully on the sofa, the siblings slide aside in silent agreement. He finds himself squeezed in the middle, like a middle brother, and ends up with Lelouch napping on his shoulder as Nunnally goes on and on excitedly about velvet palaces, and choirs of royal children, and little Lelouch clutching to their mother's long skirts so he wouldn't have to sing, and Euphie tugging him back for an encore, and another, and another.

“That was about the only time you would ever see him crying when he was a child”, Nunnally whispers tenderly, “Onii-sama hated to sing so much you wouldn't believe it.”



When they say he has been approved, he wants to run and tell Lelouch.

When they say they found him so good they will make him sing a solo, he acknowledges that this has been, indeed, a trap all along.

"Think this over." Lelouch says sadly, sounding strangely guilty as he drinks his tea, following up on the discussion that will never end. "If you prevent the people you want to protect from deciding for themselves, are you any better than those who took away their freedom?"

In the end, all Suzaku can think about is the long curtains of silences in his father’s home. In the end, all Suzaku can think about is Lelouch and Nunnally, and their Secret Base, and her laugher as she shot like a star around him.

In the end, all Suzaku wants is to know what a better world sounds like, not because he deserves it, not because he deserves it at all, but because a promise of a better world is like a song to be born, and Suzaku, of all people, understands the importance of promises, for Euphie has taught him that.

He decides for himself, while Lelouch shuts his eyes tightly and clutches his fists on his lap.

Friendship, work together, join us, we can make this happen, together. It is only fair that one day, Suzaku will let Lelouch decide too. Smiling bitterly, he finds himself a new word to add to the language he has stolen from his friend, a contribution of his own:

And the word is miracle.



When he enters the stage of his holocaust he is booed by the Ashford youths right from the start and even the Student Council looks away awkwardly. It is exactly how Lelouch warned him, so many times - derisive laugher, hatred and fear. Pale and hurt, he opens his mouth and sings I vow to thee my country - a small, failing tenor. But that only makes things worse, for now they are outraged. How dare him, how dare him sing that hymn. He thinks if he can sing a little better, maybe they will understand he loves it too, that he wants to sing too, that he believes, truly believes, in all those feelings, in nation, in heaven, and that he would never sing the war in between. And he tries, and he does his best, until his voice becomes truly touching and beautiful with his pain, until they start throwing things at him and the locked tears in his throat renders him voiceless.

He bends his shoulders with the weigh of his misery. He no longer hears the annoying tick tack that has been following him since the day he was shot, just silence stretching like an abysm into infinity, silence with nothing beyond. And he wonders, in his despair, over the shouts of "bloody eleven" and "monkey", if that is a good thing, or if it's just that time has finally caught up with him.

Broken once more, broken like the mute soul of a watch, he is about to leave when a hand holds his shoulder, and a clear baritone’s voice rises over the theatre:

The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

This is not, can’t be, like their innocent classes. The theatre has gone silent around them. And Lelouch is there, singing, singing raw and exposed, mesmerizing as he stands by his side on the dirty stage, with his eyes closed, his back straight, the pale hand shaking on his shoulder, looking taller, deeper, lonelier than he has ever seen him. Like a black sun revealed, before him the audience goes silent and stares in awe. And Suzaku takes forever to understand, until it finally, finally dawns on him, what is so beautiful, irresistible, commanding, so painfully familiar about that scene:

Lelouch sings like the Emperor delivers speeches.

His music is not only a path of peace, but also a path of war and conquest, of truth and illusion, sweet, wonderful music, a means to an end. And Suzaku can’t blame him for being so wounded, the child of Charles and Marianne. Protective like a soldier, like a boy, like a friend, he finds himself singing with him in his own tender way, a counterpoint to that strength that threatens to shatter Lelouch’s frame to pieces, and certainly will.

And Suzaku can't blame them for being so silent, the fair children of Britannia. He can't blame them for looking enlightened in the verge of terrified, for Suzaku, more than anybody else, knows every slave recognizes their master's call.

And Nunnally, wheelchair squeezed in the stage wings, is smiling knowingly, and kindly, for she knows, more than anybody else, exactly how much her brother hates to sing.

Watching, watching, singing with Lelouch, Suzaku also glimpses the shadow of a mask of nothingness, his excuses falling into a hollow gap, ridiculous, absurd and pathetic. But he won’t, can’t think about this. Can’t think about this now. Instead, he marvels at how Lelouch looks so calm, so unassailable, and how his legs shake so badly like he is fighting hard to not flee from the stage, an arm draped across his face.

Like a boy who finally figures out the magician's trick, Suzaku covers the hand on his shoulder with his own and squeezes it tenderly, and Lelouch opens his tightly shut eyes, slits of violet, and smiles at him with nothing short of surprised relief.

“There is no secret to it.” Suzaku tells him gently, between a verse, and another.

Lelouch nods like a human being, the images of great achievements – and great sacrifice – wavering before Suzaku’s very eyes like waves in shifting waters. He is molto molto, molto, but still Lelouch for him. And that’s for the best, for now Lelouch starts singing about heaven.

But the melody, the spirit of the song, is not the same. It is sweeter, mellower, the pauses in all the wrong places. And Suzaku, frowning in confusion, finally realizes what Lelouch is doing, an amused, tentative smile creeping in the corner of his friend’s lips as Suzaku stares at him with something resembling shock.

Suzaku, the honorable Britannian, should be appalled. Suzaku, the brat he once was, has decided to take over and is contorting himself so he won't start laughing his head off at Lelouch’s wickedness. By his side, his friend sings with smiling eyes, that sense of discomfort mostly gone.

Edo Komoriuta - the lullaby and the hymn intertwine so beautifully together, like they have been meant to be like that since they were born: a single melody of the earth, a thin tapestry of life enveloping them like a shroud of stars and tears.

And Suzaku, grinning at what a lovely bastard Lelouch is, has no difficulty to sing it too, the softer, gentler song much easier on his tongue, like coming back home. And his voice becomes a perfect match for Lelouch's, not because he is good, not because he is a black sun in disguise, but because of Euphie’s promises, and because of their hands, their eyes, their angles, their voices, their steps, their words, their hearts, their wounds, their colors - because he loves them, and he loves them so much , and in the end, that's what the best hymns and lullabies are all about.

And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

And the fair children of Britannia, deaf by seven years of ignorance and prejudice, are lulled in real enchantment, never realizing that the joke is on them now, never realizing they are about to applaud, on their feet, the child of a very Japanese song. Applaud with joy and wonder, for Suzaku's delight, and Lelouch's revenge.

Thus together they sing, one made of hope, the other made of despair, one made of tears, the other made of blood, one made of fire, the other made of sea, one made of flowers, the other made of earth, one made of pray, the other made of deeds, one made of joy, the other made of glory, one made of life, the other made of life, one made of the other, one made of the other - Together they sing, they sing while they can.

A beat, and another, united by song. They bow as one with mischievous grins of fate.

And applauded they are, like a thunderous drum.



When midnight falls over the fateful Area 11 and the moon is tainted with red fumes, the ghosts of omitted truths find a home in Mount Fuji, where they wait, patiently, to balance things out.

In the end, sound must always be born from silence, to become silence again.

Like a beat, and another.



This is probably the dorkiest fic I've ever written. And not my best, but still worth the challenge. XD

Lelouch's voice: Since the Geass seem to vary from person to person, I thought they might be related to psychological traits and talents. So there you are. This was also inspired by an early talk with [personal profile] runesque about the fact that we never see the Elevens listening to music. I’m taking wild guesses here, but since Milly thinks curry is Japanese food and we see almost nothing Japanese in the Britannian environments, I’m just assuming the average Britannian teen knows close to nothing about Japanese music.

Suzaku'watch is really broken, according to the fabulous [profile] hopechan's research. I think she plays with refrains better than I do, but I can't write without them and this fic totally needed refrains. :-)

I cheated with Edo Komoriuta by using a modern version of the lyrics. But you know me, I’m all for the pretty.

This [personal profile] runesque's Halloween present. And I SWEAR I will never make Lelouch sing again (he made me promise. :D). They are singing I vow to thee my country, of course. Lyrics by Cecil Spring-Rice. Music based on Gustav Holst's Jupiter, of all things. XD. Edo Komoriuta is a traditional Japanese lullaby.
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


realms_of_fiction: (Default)

March 2008

91011 12131415

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 05:45 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios