Dioscuri

BY : escapeasy
Category: +. to F > Code Geass
Dragon prints: 192
Disclaimer: I do not own anything pertaining/related to Code Geass and I’m not making any profit from this work.

[Original post date: November 2009]

Inspired by the Castor and Pollux myth and Gemini constellation.

Beware of possible OOCness due to Marianne and Charles genuinely caring about their children. Incorrectness regarding issues about conjoined twins – this is a work of fiction, so let's all pretend that "real world facts" don't/can't debunk this story. ;3 A terrible and lackluster use of the myth provided above as a comparison for this pair.


Dioscuri

Choosing which life to take and which to save was never a hard decision for Marianne the Flash.

It wasn’t a thought that came with the pang of doubt, nor were they ones that ever deserved remorse. These decisions never made her falter. When she was forced to choose between her own unborn children, however, she struggled.

She knew she was having twins, since nearly the beginning, but no one knew (or at least, they hadn’t informed her if they did) that her twin boys were conjoined. She had been told that they weren’t sure of the twins’ condition previously because it is common for twins to show signs of false conjunction. (So it couldn’t have been that they were neglecting her children’s welfare because she wasn’t of nobility like they were.)

Craniopagus was the word they had used. Her two boys were connected at the front of their heads, their skulls fused, and their chances of surviving as a duet were minimal. One or both of them could die regardless of separation.

She was outraged, no, wrathful that these so-called physicians hadn’t detected any problems until so close to her due date – she was practically dilating when they had delivered this news to her. But there was nothing she could do. It was too late to abort the pregnancy, too late to attempt a repair, too late to have any choice but give birth with that sour tang on her tongue from the bile that had risen from her belly in rage.

So she had to choose, one or none, not both.

The emperor, her husband, didn’t have much input on the situation – he must have been disappointed that she was giving him faulty children and not the naturally selected, pure-bred perfections they should have been. (A wistful part of her wanted to believe that maybe he couldn’t handle it, so he distanced himself.)

So she was also alone – she felt alone.

All she had were the lives of the two young boys that had been growing inside of her; healthy (as far as she knew) that jerked and kicked inside her swollen tummy like the vibrant and energetic boys she had hoped they would be. Now they were being taken away from her before she could even see their faces. Before they could even hear her voice, before she could coddle their bodies.

She felt cheated – perhaps even betrayed.

She also felt worthless – what kind of mother cannot save her own children? (Her mental anguish kept the insight that her life was also at risk throughout this pregnancy and would be during her delivery – which wouldn’t be by natural birth – from lighting the dark despairing state of her mind.) She thought she felt her heart break in two when they had told her she needed to make a decision quickly; and the irony of that was not missed by her.

(Why could her heart separate into individual entities, but not her own offspring? – Then again, two broken halves of one heart still makes a dead heart.)

Desperation welled in her eyes, making her vision warped and blurred; she consented to the operation that could save at least one of her poor boys.

She didn’t dare decide which child received which name, not while they were being sliced up and dissected like insignificant cadavers splayed out on some biology classroom table.

For moments that faded in and out of her like centuries, she couldn’t breathe – focusing too hard on how, surely, one of her son’s will never make it past this hospital room alive.

Eventually, she was brought back to reality with the sight and sound of two infants squeaking and crying as they were waded over to her.

The smile that trembled on her lips was charged by the reflexes of euphoric relief. It was a smile that not only thanked the heavens for this blessing of two tiny lives, but also frowned at her misplaced belief—

She is Marianne the Flash – Marianne vi Britannia. Fierce and fiery as if she were made of the element, leaving all her enemies in the smoldering smog that trailed behind her wherever she went—

Of course her children would be just as strong, just as tough – they were embers of that same fire she had blazing inside her; and she couldn’t wait to watch them thrive and burn higher and hotter than any would ever expect them to.

She looked down at the two boys vainly wriggling in her arms, melting all the warmth she felt bubbling inside her onto her lips in a smile she was positive would always emerge when she stared down at her twins. Lelouch was in her right arm, he appeared to be the healthier of the two (and she was told that this was true). So the boy in her left arm would be…

.

She named him Zero to mock the chances he had overcome and to prove that nothing would stand in the way of the life that was rightfully his – that he deserved to be breathing the air of this world.

.

.

Zero was a troubling baby – he was never the normal boy he should have been. He slept constantly; so much so that Marianne had to wake him for every feeding, and he often lapsed during changes and baths.

It, at times, felt as if she was slowly watching him perish, dying right before her own eyes, and she couldn’t bare it. The sight of watching his violet eyes (so much like Lelouch’s which were shinning brighter and brighter every day, like their father’s which were hardened by time) dissolve into his own, little, under-stimulated – decaying – brain. He was wasting away and all she could do was watch as a helpless bystander—

She was never a helpless bystander.

Perhaps she had been too bold in naming him Zero; perhaps she had too much faith in this waning life. He certainly seemed to have zero chance of making it to his first birthday.

(And yet, she couldn’t ignore the faint scar spread sharply across his forehead – where he and Lelouch were once connected – that looked startling similar to the emblem that brandished her contractor’s own pale forehead, hiding behind those lively green locks…)

.

.

Zero passed his first birthday – with flying colours.

They had told her that Zero’s mental health might not ever be equal to that of others his age – in other words, they suspected that he would have some levels of retardation due to the fact that when they were fused together, Zero seemed to be very reliant on Lelouch’s larger and more developed brain. She didn’t know if she was being too gullible by believing the information the doctors fed her, or if Zero really was just an unpredictable and miraculous boy.

Either way, she didn’t care as long as Zero continued to impress her – and, more importantly, refute those white-clad, noble quacks.

And he did.

Not only did Zero improve within the next few months, but he also showed to have the utmost intelligence whenever he was engaged by others; showing signs of favoritism and very apparent dislikes – he seemed to be especially fond of Lelouch, the two being practically inseparable (Marianne had wryly noticed). If they were apart for longer than ten minutes, their assaults of wailing screams and flying objects (whatever they could get their little hands on, they surely threw) was carried out without prejudice or compunction. She didn’t know if she was spoiling them (not that she particularly cared) by indulging them every time they unleashed their baby-wrath, but she thought that sooner or later they would want their independence so she should enjoy this voluntary closeness while she could.

He didn’t seem to take much to Charles – much to the emperor’s distaste. She inferred that to be because Charles wasn’t around often enough for Zero to warm up to him. In actuality though, Zero really only behaved the best with Lelouch and often gave even Marianne a hard time. His preferred method, when he wanted nothing to do with another person, was to ignore them completely, turning his undivided attention onto Lelouch and whatever the twin boy was investigating or constructing.

Zero was turning into the normal baby boy she had wished he would be; following in Lelouch’s footsteps – often literally when they began crawling and walking and then it really was impossible to keep them apart. Zero didn’t start speaking as quickly as Lelouch had, nor did he move around as much, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t know how, or wasn’t able to, it just seemed like he chose not to. He was all in all a very quiet baby that only made noise whenever something didn’t go according to what he wanted, or thought. He still slept excessively (and during his many naps, Lelouch was content to just be near him, lying still even if he was wide awake and brimming with energy), and didn’t eat nearly as much as Lelouch, but Marianne never heeded it as a warning sign – it never flared a red light in her mind.

(She will reflect on that in the future and lament her ignorant flippancy to the point that not even days spent tending to her gardens would ease the tension in her chest…)

Zero liked to observe more than he liked to participate. He would sit perfectly still – deathly still – for hours and just watch his surroundings. He liked to watch Lelouch the most. Zero watched as Lelouch learned all his lessons the hard way instead of experiencing it for himself – he never repeated Lelouch’s mistakes, nor did he learn through “trial and error.” It almost seemed like he was using Lelouch (like he was living through his twin brother).

And there were many times when she would catch his gaze in a glance, and the way he stared at her… it was unnerving. It sometimes felt as though he knew everything. Those eyes of his became so sharp and so intimidating that it felt like they were blaming her for a crime she had yet to commit.

.

.

Fate seemed to be very fond of pulling Marianne’s leg – or, it was trying to kill her.

Zero began to take a nose dive towards the end of his second year; like a candle flame running out of rope to burn. He was quickly hooked up to a respirator and various other machines, having so many wires stemming from his little body he began to be more mechanical than human – it was like all those apparatuses were trying to pump into Zero’s body to escape through him rather than to help him.

She hated the sight of it. Her baby boy was losing his humanity while the doctors (all those noblemen that had warned her before) stood around behind glass windows and clipboards, discerning their next moves to save this boy they had already deemed dead before he was removed from his mother’s womb.

But what she hated more was when Lelouch had told her (in his baby language) that if his brother’s brain wouldn’t work anymore, Zero could simply take his own brain to replace the dead one.

And when he suggested that they could share it, after she had explained that his first offer wasn’t possible, her heart practically broke all over again.

.

.

Zero passed away two months after his second birthday.

It had snowed that day. It seemed their entire world was coated in white, as if the heavenly clouds from above had fallen to the Earth in gentle mourning.

Lelouch had wept underneath the gray winter sky, not understanding why the other boy – Zero – wouldn’t respond to his calls. It only made him sob harder and louder.

Marianne, for a very brief and heart-wrenching second, thought she had seen Zero standing beside his distraught twin brother next to the shallow pool where they had lit a white candle with his name etched into the side—

But then she wiped her eyes and found that it was only her tears that distorted her vision. Zero was dead; he would never stand beside Lelouch again.

They held a small service in his honor; most who attended were the staff of the Aries villa, for they had known him better than any of his half-siblings or extended family. Zero was buried with his royal brethren in the imperial tombs – a white marble cherub mounted atop his headstone.

That night, Charles stayed with her and they comforted each other – and Lelouch, who had trouble falling asleep without his double.

.

She would discover weeks later that she was pregnant again…

.

.

Marianne and Charles decided to never speak of Zero, at least never to Lelouch. He wouldn’t understand or remember when he grew older and it would be much too painful to reminisce about the boy that never had a fair chance in this life.

(And Charles reminded her that they would meet with Zero again, when the time was right – as long as his body remained preserved in the tombs.)

Besides, Lelouch seemed to be warming up to his new baby sister faster than she could realize.

Maybe he was trying to fill a void he couldn’t understand – because Zero would always have a place in Lelouch’s heart whether or not Lelouch remembered him. But for now, it seemed that Nunnally was helping her big brother grow and cope in ways she would never know.

(Or maybe she was only suppressing his grief, maybe she was only fertilizing a problem that would soon surface and ravage this world.)

.

.

To say she didn’t have her suspicions about meeting V.V. would be a lie.

But she, Marianne the Flash, was always prepared – or at least as much as she could be.

So when he fired, so did she—

Her red eye swooped into the frightened one of that girl, streaming right into the girl’s heart where Marianne made herself comfortable while V.V. gloated in some ill-conceived victory. He was truly pompous for believing that he could fool Charles, as if the man wouldn’t know his lover better than that.

From then on, their plans had changed. The four of them no longer worked together, or for the same goal, but, Marianne was sure to keep in touch with C.C. so as to stay informed of what that witch was up to…

(She worried, honestly, of the fate of her two children, but once again, Charles pacified her anxiety.

After all, Lelouch and Nunnally would be much safer at the other end of the world where V.V. couldn’t find them.)

.

.

(Years later, when names were jumbling around in Lelouch’s head for the title of his alter ego, there was a pinch to only one of them.

Zero

Lelouch told himself it was because the name was just too ironic, too symbolic, too perfect to be pushed aside by him or the public. No other name could ever compare to Zero, no other name would be good enough to fit this hero wrapped in a mask and cape. The name Zero would be one that every ear will remember long after they have fallen deaf. Still…

Lelouch couldn’t seem to follow the string that tugged on his mind and urged him to feel that Zero was more than just a clever stage name.)

.

.

When a troublemaking masked vigilante declared to fight for the weak against the strong, to defend justice at any cost, dared to decree that he would thwart the almighty nation of Britannia under the guise of Zero

Charles zi Britannia couldn’t help but associate him with his deceased son (both of his “dead” sons) knowing that the irony of the situation would be too perfect. Suspiciously perfect.

However, he knew that his brilliant baby boy had passed long before he could grow to hate his country. He had even seen the lifeless body with his own violet eyes, looking like a limp doll – a meager representation of the power that had emitted from that infant. The sight of that child cushioned in that tiny casket would never leave his memory—

So the feeling that weighed heavily in his chest, nearly suffocating whatever compassion and love he had left in his heart, was surreal and confusing.

Why should he feel saddened by this Zero, when they had no meaning to him at all (even if it was that banished son of his)? This terrorist was just some trifling matter that is only background noise to his concealed plans – an aide at best.

But that thought alone didn’t keep his chest from constricting every time he heard the news that Zero had survived yet another battle…

.

Marianne watched through the walls of her shell, speaking with C.C. about things that only hinted at Lelouch – instead, they spoke of Zero and how he could bring their plan into its final stage. She even teased C.C. instead of inquiring about Lelouch’s welfare – just as she always did (because if C.C. was turning soft… well, that was a problem that needed to be nipped in the bud) – when she was trying to console the boy after he committed a murder he would truly regret.

She knew Lelouch had taken Euphemia’s life in reluctance, but Lelouch was always distracted when he was around her; it’s the girl’s own fault. Marianne had even kept an absent eye on this Helen of Britannia whose existence and actions led to scorching the earth with an unnecessary war—

But this event, this mistake of epic proportions, turned out to be a step forward rather than the many steps backwards as many thought.

Lelouch was caught and tagged, and so, with the bait dangling at the end of the string like a Trojan horse, it was only a matter of time before C.C. would bite…

.

.

She hated the look in Lelouch’s eyes – the assertive amethyst and cruel carnelian – as they glared at her within C’s world. She could feel her chest burn with every word her son spat at her, searing her heart with his derisive sneers. She hated how ruthlessly both Lelouch and Zero stared at her while those shared lips condemned her and Charles to non-existence.

She loved him, them (all three of her children), that’s why she could never tell him… could never tell him so many things that his scarred heart didn’t need to be scratched by.

She still loved him, even as he denied them and their chance at an unprecedented world peace.

When he denied the chance to meet the boy he’d forgotten, who still watched over him from an unconscious world…

Perhaps she loved herself more, perhaps her needs were more important than his safety just as he and C.C. had said… Perhaps Marianne was fooling even herself with a rose-coloured view of her maternal status.

Perhaps Zero was right when he cast his baby glares upon her all those years ago. And perhaps Lelouch was right to banish her away with tears that reflected every lie she’d ever told him – every lie he’d ever believed.

Perhaps their revenge was greater than their blood ties to her.

(Perhaps she really was a weak woman who couldn’t save her own children from anything – especially herself…)

.

.

(It wasn’t fair, Nunnally thought as rapturous sounds exploded around her fallen brother, chanting for a man that had become what he hated for another man who hated what he became. Why did Lelouch have to sacrifice so much – everything – for her? Why couldn’t he understand that all she wanted was her big brother by her side as long as they both shall live? Why did he always feel the need to bear the weight of the world, and its imperfections, just so her faded visions of what the world used to be could stay vibrant as if that was their one true reality?

She would have rather him eat a thousand needles than die with a kept promise – what good was it when she couldn’t be with the one she loved most?

But, perhaps more importantly, what was she to do without her big brother? How would these wounds ever heal if he couldn’t soothe them?

(Who would help her forget…?))

.

.

Although no one else – no one in the living realm – would ever know it, the two brothers, the twins, would live forever in history. Their names written in history books, immortalizing them in time and legacy—

(One a demon and one a knight of justice)

—as if they were stars in the sky that will forever tell their story…

.

(And together, they were Zero: the man of miracles, the man who saved the world from itself – but not from each other.)



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