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The Grand Façade : Suzaku/Lelouch (Code Geass)

Title: The Grand Façade
Author: sapphynashi
Fandom: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Pairing: Suzaku/Lelouch
Spoilers: The entire series thus far, some of the drama CDs, and parts of the Stage 0 novel. I also use the gg fansubs for quotes.
Thanks to: nayami and sephyelysian for their insights and beta reading. ♥



THE GRAND FAÇADE
suzaku/lelouch: lies & hidden faces


Code Geass is a story about princes, princesses, knights, and witches. Oh, and robots on rollerskates.

The scene opens on Japan, now taken over by the Britannian Empire and renamed Area 11. Living here in secret are Lelouch and his blind, disabled sister, Nunnally, who are in truth Britannian royalty. Nunnally was injured during a mysterious attack that also killed their mother, but when Lelouch confronted their father about it he was coldly dismissed. Since then, he has harbored a deep, bitter resentment against Britannia and the emperor. The two siblings were sent to Japan as political hostages, eventually befriending Kururugi Suzaku, the son of the Prime Minister. For a while the children were at ease, but then came the invasion in which Lelouch and Nunnally were thought to have died.

Seven years later his feelings have not changed, but he is powerless to act upon them. He and Nunnally attend Ashford Academy where their true identities unknown to all but the Ashford family. Then comes the fateful encounter with C.C. and his reunion with Suzaku, in which Lelouch is given a power, the Geass, that enables him to give an "ultimate command" to anyone who looks into his left eye. With the Geass at his disposal, Lelouch now has the ability to destroy the Britannian Empire, and find out the reason behind the attack that changed everything. Hiding his identity behind a mask and the name Zero, he creates and leads the Order of the Black Knights against Britannia, though in doing so he and Suzaku become enemies.

Wikipedia has an extensive CG page for more info.



THE BLACK PRINCE
lelouch vi britannia


Lelouch is the main character, but definitely not a hero. There's nothing heroic about him – he's ruthless, calculating, and manipulative. Sure, he's brilliant, but that and everything else makes him more qualified to be a villain. That's what sucks you in after watching the first episode, it's the malicious, downright evil smile he makes after ordering a dozen men to commit suicide. Here is the power he's been starving for since he was ten.

Lelouch has two goals:
1. To discover who killed his mother and why
2. To create a world where Nunnally can be happy

And he will do anything, sacrifice anything, to realize these two desires. The lives of innocent people mean nothing to him (except of course when they do, but I'll get to that) and he'll use whatever underhanded means necessary. One of the first things he does with his new power is question his half-brother Clovis, and kill him afterwards, in part to cement his resolve. It is for the sake of his goals that he commits atrocity after atrocity, but strangely enough, it's for the same goals that he somehow holds onto his humanity ("I swear I won't change.")

Lelouch is not another Light of Death Note. He connects with people and honestly cares for his friends. He doubts himself and his intentions the most after seeing Shirley in distress when her father is killed during one of Zero's battles. When Shirley herself appears unexpectedly during a battle, he freezes up, and later has no idea how to handle the issue. His two personas are kept separate for the most part – he freaks out when Arthur steals Zero's mask and displays none of his level-headed genius when chasing after it. Lelouch clearly wants to keep his friends out of Zero's business. When it's Euphemia's turn to learn about him, he reacts more gracefully, assuring her that he is still the Lelouch she used to know. Later, when the Geass is unintentionally triggered, turning Euphemia's peaceful solution into a massacre of all the Japanese, he recovers from his panic and switches to Plan B. The fact is, he had already planned to make use of her from the start. But he still cries while giving the command to kill her, and delivers the shot in person. Afterwards he grieves for the way things turned out. And if not for the accident, he would have accepted her idealism.

This dedication to his goal is his strength, allowing him to do all the things necessary to achieve power. However, it is also his weakness, making him abandon all his plans and common sense in order to save Nunnally when threatened, because it's for her sake that he does everything. He panics in these instances because along with his hatred and desire for vengeance, he's also a seventeen year old boy looking out for his sister.

He has one selfish wish from the past and one unselfish wish for the future. As he gains power over others, he loses control over the Geass. He has his public identity and his secret one. He questions himself, but ultimately he is decisive. He knows what he wants, and how to get it. He lies to everyone but himself. ...Actually, between the two main characters, Lelouch may be the simpler, straight-forward one.

"Lelouch knows that what he's doing is hurting people, that it's causing destruction, and chaos. He's not kidding himself into thinking that people are going to remember him fondly or even at all. Nor is he out to earn personal glory or assuage a guilty conscience. He's very clear about his objectives and that he wants revenge. He's honest in that he's not a nice person and he doesn't lie to himself and pretend to be. He knows that there are choices that have to be made and he accepts the consequences. He accepts that he will probably not survive this war or be found to be right. There's a personal agenda there but it's acknowledged."
-- sephyelysian




THE WHITE KNIGHT
kururugi suzaku


At a glance, Suzaku is what your typical hero should be, which is everything Lelouch isn't: honest to the world, virtuous, compassionate. It's Suzaku who will go to the extreme to save an innocent life and he absolutely cannot stand for injustice. He's there to save the day, to promote peace and non-violence, to be the knight in shining armor.

Except not.

Suzaku is a mess of contradictions and hypocrisies right from the start – and fans will rag on him about it, but miss the brilliance of his character. He first captures Lelouch under the impression that he's a resistance member, a rule-breaker, someone who's out of line and will cause trouble and needs to be stopped. But then he finds out it's Lelouch, and that changes everything. When a superior officer gives him an order, Suzaku can't go through with it. Granted, the order is to kill his childhood friend, but it's still the first example of his absolute faith in Lelouch. After seven years of no contact, he doesn't even consider the possibility of his friend doing anything wrong (in addition to having this incredibly doofy expression of warm fuzzy love).

Suzaku is impulsive to the extreme. If Lelouch is all about planning and manipulation, Suzaku is all about reaction and passion. Whenever a problem arises, he throws himself into the middle of it, and all the better if it’s dangerous. He has a hero complex, a need to do the right thing and take responsibility. We can tell from flashbacks that he really was a kind-hearted kid, but now he relies on an exterior of compassion to hide a much less noble nature. "At first, I thought he was a truly kind person. But don't you think his reactions towards human lives is a little abnormal?" remarks Cecile in episode 14.

His self-sacrificing is a pretense, to mask and make up for the sin of killing his father. He excuses it when given the chance. His guilt is so tremendous that he is passively suicidal, putting himself in situations where he might die for a good cause. Suzaku lies to himself; on the outside, he's open and friendly and honest, but inside he's nothing but instinct. He doesn't question himself, he just goes through the motions. Suzaku can't acknowledge what he wants because his wish is such a selfish thing, it's better to coat it with illusions of righteousness.

But then Euphemia dies, and Suzaku's idealism shatters to pieces. He finally starts to accept his ill-intentions, not entirely, but he's beginning to be honest with himself. Up until the end, Suzaku has had blind faith in his friend even though he has identified the similarities between Lelouch and Zero. He'll fight for vengeance now. He acknowledges that it's his fault for allowing Lelouch to live, that it was a mistake and he's going to fix it by killing him.

So much for the pure, noble knight.



THE RELATIONSHIP
"we are friends, right?"
"we've always been, ever since seven years ago."


During their brief time together as children, the two formed an extremely strong bond, so that even after seven years they have the utmost faith in each other. Lelouch and Suzaku clashed in the beginning (to say the least), and it wasn't until one day when Nunnally got lost that they came together. This is how they start:

Suzaku: Kururugi Suzaku is a son of Japan! I'll help the ones I want to help, and do the things I want to do! Why should I need a reason to do any of those!?
Lelouch: (annoyed) He's turned on me instead?
Suzaku: I'll look for her because I want to. Stop me, if you can!
Lelouch: Wait, I'll be the one protecting Nunnally! I won't rely on the help of others -- not that of adults, and not that of the Japanese! No one else--
Suzaku: Shut up!
Lelouch: (shocked)
Suzaku: Don't decide on your own, dumbass! If you think you can do everything by yourself then you're a real stuck up snot!

Yeah, not quite on the same page, these two. Suzaku finds Nunnally first, and Lelouch comes upon them when he hears his sister laughing for the first time since their mother's death. They're in Suzaku's 'secret base', and Nunnally has been telling Suzaku all about their family and what happened to Marianne. All of a sudden, Suzaku has nothing but respect for this other kid who tries so hard to handle problems that no mere child should have, and listening to this literally brings him to tears. He forcefully yanks Lelouch into the secret base, and into a friendship.

Lelouch: We huddled together, hesitantly. That was the beginning... of our summer days... For me, and Nunnally... and perhaps Suzaku as well... those were dazzlingly blissful moments.

They sure were cute. Fast forward seven years later.

Lelouch desperately wants Suzaku on his side, adding his friend into his future designs as Nunnally's knight. He expresses resentment (episode 9, "That guy said that he needs to return to the army. Return... Is that where you belong?") or even hurt whenever others appear to steal Suzaku away, be it the Britannian military or Euphemia. This possessiveness towards Suzaku is not quite a desire to dominate though. He trusts no one else to protect Nunnally and even himself when he uses the Geass to outsmart Mao. C.C. asks why he won't simply use the Geass to coerce Suzaku, is it because of stubbornness, friendship, or pride? Lelouch gets this conflicted look on his face and answers, "Everything." Normally he is very specific when it comes to reasons, but the single response he gives is eloquent enough. The most telling scene is when he is forced to do it, and he has no time or thought to spare to say anything except "live". Afterwards, he's even repentant. "Suzaku, I'm sorry. You were the only one I didn't intend to use it on." This demonstrates a weird sort of loyalty when Lelouch has no trouble manipulating him in other ways.

As for Suzaku, his dedication to Lelouch comes in two forms, through action and non-action. The action part is the more obvious, but also the more shallow. He is constantly helping/saving his friend, starting with helping him up the cliff when they were children in the very first episode. When the container of 'poison gas' opens, he shoves his gas mask onto Lelouch and then gets himself shot while defending him. During the cat chase, he once again doesn't hesitate to save Lelouch's life at the risk of his own. And he comes in the nick of time to rescue him from Mao. Throughout the majority of the series, Suzaku is all about self-sacrifice and giving himself up for what he perceives as the greater good. In this, Lelouch is no different from anyone else who Suzaku would give his life to save, except that Lelouch is partly responsible for starting the whole thing. Suzaku admired Lelouch for taking action to protect Nunnally, when previously he had the opinion that children like them were powerless. "This is a matter between countries, between adults. It's not as if we kids can do anything about it." But then he does take matters into his own hands to kill his father and stop the war, though he regrets it deeply afterwards.

But Suzaku's complete and utter trust in Lelouch is demonstrated through non-action. From the start, he refuses to think any ill of his friend. At the end it is revealed that Suzaku has known, or at least suspected, Lelouch for a while. Only his faith in his best friend prevented him from seriously acknowledging it, but somewhere he made the connections. In fact, he comments on the similarity early on when Zero calls him an idiot for returning to face his trial. He questions Lelouch's familiarity with hacking into the school system. He asks Kallen if she knows who Zero is, when the man's identity has never mattered to him before, and this is after Zero pointedly brings up the Prime Minister's murder which Lelouch has just recently discovered. All this time, Suzaku never takes action. He explains to Kallen that he chooses to persuade her at school – perhaps he did the same with Lelouch. Suzaku wants to believe in the goodness of people because it's the only way he can redeem his own crime.

Interestingly, early on Suzaku's life is saved by his father's pocket watch when he is shot for disobeying orders for Lelouch's sake. Suzaku keeps it to remind himself of the consequences of killing his father, but at the end of the series he is faced with the consequences of trusting Lelouch. When Lloyd mentions a local belief about spirits protecting the owners of such keepsakes, Suzaku doesn't even listen and thinks only of his friend's safety.

The irony doesn't stop there. Lelouch, who has so much influence over Suzaku merely by being himself, is never able to sway him when speaking as Zero. He is never honest with him. Lelouch is calculating and secretive by nature, which no doubt keeps Suzaku at a distance, and Suzaku also has his own secrets now. Lelouch notices right away that his friend has changed; he thinks that Suzaku used to be much more selfish in the past during episode 6 as they chase Arthur. "He was different from how he used to be. He shouldn't be like this, placing others ahead of himself," Lelouch also admits in episode 17. This troubles and even angers him a little. There is something in Suzaku that Lelouch does not recognize, and that's not the way it should be. It was all right if it was just the two (three, including Nunnally) of them because they would protect and help each other, but when Lelouch sees Suzaku throwing himself at the mercy of others, he can't stand it. Intellectually, he later realizes it's because of Suzaku killing his father, but the result is still a barrier.

When they can acknowledge they want the same thing, the two work together beautifully. They're practically made for cooperation, with Lelouch providing the brain and Suzaku with all the brawn. When confronting Mao, Lelouch readily accepts Suzaku's help in order to save Nunnally – after all, he's always wanted Suzaku to protect her. And Suzaku once again gives everything for his friends. "There's nothing that can't be achieved if Lelouch and I work together, right?" (episode 16). When the patricide is revealed, Lelouch not only becomes enraged on Suzaku's behalf (issuing another command with no thought or calculation behind it), he also basically absolves him. It's true that Genbu's death did help put a stop to the war, and upon hearing that Suzaku visibly relaxes.

However, this does not deter Suzaku's inclination to die for a good cause. If anything, he's even more determined to make the world a better place by doing whatever he can, including holding Zero captive in order for both of them to die. Shortly after, he freely admits his sin to Kallen, and explains that ever since then he's decided to follow the rules no matter what. In episode 8 when his friends were being held as hostages, he tells Cecile that his duty to the military comes before his personal emotions – though when push comes to shove he disregards orders and leaps to into danger.

Though Lelouch's words put Suzaku at ease regarding his father's murder, as Zero he throws the incident in Suzaku's face. When they confront in episode 18, he tells him, "Do you understand? The will of the people was stolen. Selfishly! By that single culprit who broke the rule!" But try as he might, Lelouch is still unable to make Suzaku accept his selfishness. When given the choice to either side with Zero or go down in a blaze of glory, Suzaku naturally chooses the one that excuses himself from his crime. "What do you want?" Lelouch asks in a final, desperate attempt, but Suzaku outright refuses to acknowledge that he wants anything but to follow orders. Even with all the manipulations, Lelouch has wanted Suzaku to choose for himself.

Suzaku does eventually decide to act upon his desires again, when Euphemia is taken away. He comes to rely on her completely, because she more than anyone else can justify his decision. "I love you, so don't hate yourself," is mutual confession they make, and he is handed another reason to suppress his guilt. She represents idealism, proclaiming her hope from high up in the air with Suzaku up there with her, while Lelouch is crouched low to the ground realizing how impossible her wish is and how far it stands from reality. When Euphemia's idealism fails, so does Suzaku. "Save her," he says, because she's the only one who can save him.

Suzaku leaves his father's watch with Euphemia, casting off the guilt and the unreachable dream, and he has one last conversation with his best friend. He explains his feelings, unnaturally calm but with chilling anger. "If I don't follow the rules during a fight, I'll just be a murderer. However, hatred consumes me right now. I am going into battle to kill someone. That is why..." He almost sounds hesitant, reasoning it out like this, and Lelouch passes up the chance to try and dissuade him. "For Euphie's sake" and "For Nunnally's sake" – Lelouch has always been honest with his reasons, and the ending of episode 23 takes us back to episode 1 as far as his resolution goes. He's not just ready and willing, he's welcoming Suzaku as an enemy, now that they're both selfishly determined. Though whether he can actually bring himself to let go of a seven year friendship remains in question.



THE BETRAYAL
raise your fingers for one last salute
and bleed this skyline dry
your history is mine

- history (funeral for a friend)


Suzaku is not as shocked as we expect him to be when he shoots Zero's mask apart. There's some surprise, but mostly there's sadness and resignation. He admits that he's suspected, but never really believed it. Lelouch is composed and accepting, and also completely unrepentant. Yet somehow, he thinks to ask for Suzaku's help to save Nunnally. "There's nothing we can't do together!" The same words Suzaku said when they went to her rescue before. Nunnally is truly Lelouch's blind spot, causing him to assume that Suzaku would put aside everything for her sake, because Lelouch does just that whenever a problem arises.

But Suzaku refuses him. More than that, he's absolutely disgusted with him. He brings up Euphemia and Lelouch tells him that's all in the past, to Suzaku's shock and outrage. Lelouch is always dismissing such things – here again was a chance to say it was a mistake, to at least clear that much between them, but like always he lets it go. What's done is done. It's hypocritical of him to say this, when he himself has made the past his reason for everything. But Lelouch despises making excuses for himself, whereas Suzaku has lived with excuses for years. "Didn't you kill your father? You can regret as much as you want afterwards!"

Lelouch has always seemed a little bit betrayed by Suzaku, a little bit annoyed that Suzaku puts anybody and everybody before himself, that they're no longer quite the team they used to be. Lelouch saves his life and expects Suzaku to help him in return, or to at least share the same sentiment. They made a deal when they were children. If Suzaku won't use his power for himself, then Lelouch will use his power for Suzaku. It comes as a shock, and even a bit of an insult, when Suzaku consistently refuses and drifts further out of reach. He still wants his friend on his side badly. You could say that he needs him.

"I think for Lelouch, Suzaku is a piece of his past, someone he trusted and for Lelouch who really doesn't trust much of anything, he can't let it go. Lelouch, for all his chastising Suzaku that things are in the past, lives in it. He can't let go of his mother's death or what happened to Nunnally. It's rather opposite of Suzaku who I think lives from moment to moment because he can't bear to look too closely at himself or his actions. He really did want Suzaku to be Nunnally's knight and not just to keep her safe but because I think he knew if he couldn't convince him, he would have to face him and I'm not sure it's something he thinks he can do."
-- sephyelysian


Suzaku sees his own selfishness mirrored in Lelouch, hates it, and needs to put an end to it. He has come to rely on the affirmation that he'd a good person, that everyone can be good, and puts that faith in Lelouch. Killing Euphemia is only the physical aspect of the betrayal, because the essence is that Lelouch shattered his trust and to an extent, destroyed everything Suzaku had built himself to be.

Without any excuses, Suzaku is emotionally driven. He's succumbs to fury and violence without a thought. He beats up Lelouch when they meet, kills his father, he goes berserk with Lancelot when recalling the incident, he punches Lloyd, he kills mercilessly when seeking Zero on the battlefield, and he means to kill his best friend for betraying him. He lashes out with intent to hurt and in a particularly vicious moment, denies Lelouch's very existence. "Your existence is a mistake!" Suzaku, who has always been saving Lelouch and defending him, will take responsibility and he will rescue Nunnally. If the past is to be forgotten, Lelouch should be forgotten along with it. And that's more shocking and hurtful than anything else. Only then does he unthinkingly aim his gun, both of them caught up in their emotions and betrayal and unyielding sense of 'I'm right'.



THE REASONS
the clear sky, an ominous red
the sun, melting its way down
the last smile you left with me
is so transparent, it's distorted

- sky of suzaku (rurutia)


Well, that's all nice and good, but where does the BFF thing turn into a lovey-dovey romance thing?

The answer: it doesn't.

Lelouch could probably charm the pants of most people if he put his mind to it, and the entire knight/princess concept Suzaku has with Euphemia is romantic, but the two boys together? Even if there wasn't so much conflict between them, they just don't have the kind of relationship that invites conventional romance. But that doesn't mean they don't love each other.

And I think my reasoning above can prove that they do indeed love each other very much, even if it's now warring with hatred. It's in their actions and expressions during unguarded moments; the way Suzaku looks so stupidly happy when he sees Lelouch for the first time in seven years, and the way Lelouch cannot describe his reluctance to use the Geass on Suzaku except with a single, all-encompassing word. It's the complete trust they have have in each other. It's why the betrayal runs so deep. Like in any terrible argument, they both let fly words meant to cut. With Lelouch there's blatant shock and he does not freeze up and question like he usually does, he responds impulsively in kind and pulls his own gun. Fighting with someone you love is incomparably worse than fighting with a stranger. It's easier to be rash when you feel hurt. Lelouch and Suzaku are both extremely proud, on top of that.

The difficult thing to admit about this pairing is that there will be no easy happy ending. The basic premise - best friends turned enemies - is not uncommon. But there's something about Lelouch and Suzaku that feels more vicious than usual. In many cases, the friends don't actually want to fight, or there's some misunderstanding, or Good Wins, The End. But with these two, they have passed the point of no return, they are unforgiving, and neither of them are strictly wrong or right. Even if both of them manage to survive the series (questionable), and even if they no longer want to kill each other on sight (given enough time and favorable circumstances, quite likely), things aren't ever going to be the same between them.

I didn't like the pairing in the beginning. There is online evidence of me denying the possibility and saying that if anything, Lelouch was asexual... Then he went and kissed Shirley, so I had to grudgingly revise my opinion. I don't think there was an exact moment when I changed my mind about Suzaku/Lelouch in particular, but it probably started when the patricide was spelled out for us (because I am dense, and did not realize it earlier when C.C. triggered the flashback). I realized, "Oh my god, he's insane. He's just as crazy as Lelouch, but he hides it better. He practically hides it from himself."

Suzaku won me over to everything. I love Suzaku. This manifesto very nearly became a Why Suzaku is Awesome essay. He still sort of dominates it, despite my efforts to even things out. I have a 'what you see is what you get' approach to Lelouch, but with Suzaku I love to dig up every single little thing, particularly if it involves smearing the 'pure white knight' concept. He is passionate and violent and untamable when furious.

Suzaku is named for the vermilion bird of the south, represented by the phoenix. Its common attributes include loyalty, honesty, justice, obedience, fidelity, and the union of yin and yang. Most of those are fairly obvious to connect with him. And the Western version of the phoenix most commonly represents rebirth through self-immolation. Suzaku recreates himself after his father's death to fit an ideal. When that image is destroyed, he changes once more. Now if we could get some dragon association with Lelouch*, I'd be more than pleased - the dragon and phoenix together are portrayed as either mortal enemies or blissful lovers according to Asian mythology. What better way to symbolize the relationship?

*CLAMP agrees with me. The dragon and the phoenix. Thanks to dorkodile for pointing this out!

"Suzaku and Lelouch are opposite sides of the same coin; they both believe that they're doing what's right but their reasons for doing it are vastly different though I think given the last couple of episodes, you could argue that their methods are no longer very different. Suzaku desperately wanted to believe the world was as he was seeing it, not as it was. Which, I think, is the main difference between them. Lelouch /sees/ the world. He doesn't want to, he wishes he could believe things would be better but in the end, he faces reality. Suzaku wants to believe that things can be made better, that if he works within the system rather than wrecking it, he can still find a way to justify everything he's done. He can find a way to give his father's death meaning. He's like Diogenes with his lamp, looking for an honest man, trying to make sense and give meaning to the meaningless and absurd."
-- sephyelysian


Most of the time, Suzaku uses "boku" to refer to himself. It's polite and typical of how he acts around people, but when the murder of his father is revealed, and at the very end when all bets are off, he reverts to "ore". He also used "ore" as a child, so the "boku" came into use after the patricide – the reverse is true of Lelouch, who went from "boku" to "ore". They switch roles as well, Lelouch starting as a Britannian prince and becoming the leader for Japanese independence, and Suzaku starting as the son of the Japanese Prime Minister and becoming a knight of Britannia. They are meant to oppose and reflect each other. They understand one another perfectly, but at the same time they cannot see eye to eye.

So are they doomed? They don't necessarily have to be. It's clear at the end that Lelouch is still reaching out to Suzaku, as he has been doing the whole time. And as much as Suzaku would like to be the hero and destroy the villain, he knows it's not that simple. He's unraveled and conflicted – chances are, if he were to kill Lelouch right now he'd probably kill himself next. He may not even be able to bring himself to kill Lelouch at all.

Unfortunately, we won't find out for sure until the second season.



THE FANDOM
i fall like a fighter when you give me a shot
i'll live like a lover when you're all that i've got.

- my heart is a soldier (the juliana theory)
image is from a doujinshi, colored (badly) by me


Looking at some of the official series artwork, you'd never guess that Code Geass had such an intricate story. But despite all the fanservice, English fandom is horribly lacking in creativity. D: Fanfic in general is not written very often, and the Suzaku/Lelouch side of things is outright sad. Why no love? You have a good range of possibilities – from BFF fluff to angsty hatesex, and the difficult space in between. The Student Council is a wellspring of crack opportunities. J-fandom takes good advantage of all this, at least.

I went through a couple communities and FFN, and picked out a few that I think are well-written representations of the pairing - I am admittedly picky about such things, or I'd just have compiled a list of everything out there.


SITES

code_geass - The general fan community. It's wonderfully organized – check the tags for fan stuff (including doujinshi!)
suzalulu - The pairing community. Sadly, it's not all that active, but it does have fic and some discussion.


FANFICTION

Untitled by 5cmprince
With bonus art! The story itself is short and sometimes awkwardly structured, but it evokes some vivid imagery and Lelouch's characterization is spot-on. When he thinks of Suzaku, there are feelings of friendship and betrayal. That's the best part of the pairing.

Hands & Fingers by deadums
Another brief piece with art, this time illustrating the story. I have a lot of respect for people who can do drabbles since that kind of writing eludes me (I'm too long-winded, as you can probably tell). This takes place during their childhood, like a series of related snapshots. The blood is a bit macabre – to me at least, because while I won't bat an eye at gore, things like torn fingernails give me the willies.

By The Light Divided by calamit0us
As far as I'm aware, this was the first speculative ending written for the pairing back when episode 23 left us hanging. And boy, what an ending. It's the details that pack the most punch, Suzaku's repetition of "I didn't want" and Lelouch not wanting to see Suzaku cry, and finally, Suzaku's act of mercy for his friend despite wanting his enemy to suffer.

The Emperor's Waltz
This happened to pop up after I agonized over the shortage of fic, so you can imagine how happy it made me. Doubly so for Shakespeare references, Lelouch being insane, and Suzaku being vicious. There are some grammar blips, but they don't keep you from appreciating the story.

Untitled by sunsitenthai
I made a point to pester my friends for fic since I knew there was a lack, and this was the first result. ♥ I am of course biased, but with good reason. I don't have much to say about it except for a string of yesyesyesyesyes, because it's gorgeous and hurts in just the right way.

Monuments of Deceit by sephyelysian
If the previous couple of stories were painful, then you should not read this if you are faint of heart. Actually, no, you should read it anyway. Everything I mentioned in my essay can be found here, but described so much better. And with sex. And brutally-violent!Suzaku. And Scottish folklore! Why are you not reading it yet?! Yes, you must join the community to read it. Lelouch Vi Britannia orders you to do so. Do it now.

Good Intentions –White– by lunacrescent
The only reason I'm including my own writing is because my sad little list needs it. I'm not sure how to recommend this because it doesn't have much going for it, except that it's not tragically angsty and maybe after the previous few stories that's a good thing?


FANART

J-fandom is very reliable when it comes to fanart, also sometimes scary. There's your fluff, there's your angst, there's your crossdressing, and then there's your rape smut. I could probably get the Official LJ Porn Ban for those first three links, so keep them on the down-low. Also, good luck trying to stop once you start. I have spent an embarrassing number of hours days looking at fanart. The pretty tends to suck you in, and before you know it, you've memorized all your favorite character/pairing names (スザルル, suzaruru, for the curious or lazy, and it's easy to remember).

百dpi (NSFW)
Cou.com (NSFW)
愛平和青 (NSFW)
数cm除いた地球の外周分
Coltroll
24時
prtcode
HOCHOCO


MUSIC

Here are the three songs I used with the headers throughout the essay. Actually, the third one doesn't suit the pairing at all except for a couple of Suzaku-ish lines, but you can have it anyway.

History // Funeral for a Friend
Sky of Suzaku // RURUTIA
My Heart is a Soldier // The Juliana Theory



THE END
holy shit it's over



Comments

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I look forward to what you'll think at the end, then! :D And I'm glad you're avoiding spoilers - CG has such excellent twists, I feel a little bit bad that I might ruin them for people.

And you can find some other recs here when you're ready.
Great essay. BTW- if this makes you happier, there is this one reference to Lelouch being the dragon.



The wings, the design at the back of their coats (you can make it out from what is shown), and most importantly, the head of the sword/cane that they are holding.
Aaaah, thank you for that scan! The only large one I have is the magazine cover with all the text.

I totally forgot about that, too. XD; But yes, that works out perfectly ♥ Oh CLAMP, this is why I still love you. I think I'll add this as a note into the essay.
Great job. I just spent ... what 1 hour? 2 Hour? reading everything. (including re-reading those drama cd translations. I missed one i think before anyway)

I'm so glad you explained the part how suzaku contradicts himself. People doesn't seem to get that part often (Is suzaku fan ^^;;; ) And explained that Lulu isn't another Raito. (though similar, I've always said that Lulu never lost his humanity as well)

Only part I might not agree is when you said he went ahead and kiss Shirley. The way I see it (as I was talking with runesque ) Shirley stole Lulu's kiss, and lulu more or less reacted and kissed her back. Same with CC's kiss . Lulu seem to get taken advantage of by women when it comes to kisses. Same goes with Suzaku accidentally tripping and falling on top of the girls ( snickers ).

Also when you said that Lulu and suzaku will never be a pairing: I read on the interview by one of the producer/directors after Euphie's death lulu and suzaku will NEVER go back together again. (of course he might change his mind later) but after that event, they aren't suppose to ever work together. (dunno how that'll happen if they continue to go to school... or if Lulu stops going to school, what he do with nanully? i'm guessing we'll find out in second season o.o;; )

I do wish you did some refrence talk from Gundam Seed/Seed Destiny and Gundam. Considering the how heavily influnenced this series is to Gundam. (but it's okies. even i don't think i would have time for watching all those episodes, and technically it can be irrelevant and only a tanget remarks)

Lulu's storyline is very much so Char's story. And of course many scenes parallels Gundam Seed. (That and Gundam seed already did a ton of homage to Gundam to begin with ) However it's only speculation as to if Code Geass will end similar to Gundam or Gundam seed.

Thank you for your essay. It was a good read. I might re-read it when I get back from work (much slowly XD ) and reply with more non-sense talks :P ^^;
Lelouch was asexual... Then he went and kissed Shirley, so I had to grudgingly revise my opinion
Oh yes I wanted to add this part: (again this stems from the talk I had with runesque as well. I can't remember who said what anymore so... might as well give her credit too o.o; ) Lelouch is a gentleman. He's willing to be chivalrous to the ladies in general. As long as they aren't in his way to make Nanully happy. Lulu never seem to have any problem with Euphie until she got in the way of Nanully's happiness (Stealing Suzaku as Nanully's knight for one, stealing their life style by proposing Elevens to be called Japanese for another) For Nanully, he's willing to destroy/kill anything and everything. Including destroying himself in the process.

Personal thought: I've always thought that once Lulu creates this perfect world fit for nanully, he'll probably kill himself. Because he's too tainted to be with her. That's the thought I got when i saw the episode where he wants Suzaku to be Nanully's knight. I believe Lulu says "I can't be with Nanully all the time..." which can mean that he can't be with her 24/7 and wants another body guard... or, in the near future, he believes he wouldn't survive the war? it was just a thought since Lulu obviously doesn't consider himself a knight material for Nanully at all.

and.. anyways. thank you for the read. i really should stop before I keep typing XD
VERY well-written essay. :D:D:D:D I haven't finished watching the entire series (or what it has so far) but I'm not complaining about the spoilers I just got. XD I agree with the lack of activity in the C.G. fandom. D: And to think, CLAMP presents us with a lot of potential (cough-subtext-cough) issues to tackle in fandom. XD
CLAMP only did the character designs, so they're not really responsible for plot/character stuff, but the mere mention of them does tend to go hand-in-hand with subtext and UST. XD

Sorry again for the spoilers. XD; Even if you don't mind them, I still feel like I've deprived you of the 'OH MY GOD NO' factor.
Thank you. ^^ Feel free to link it, I'm honored.

Is there an official date for season two yet? o.o
....oh, Sapphy. XD You're insane. *pets* ♥

Haven't read the manifesto yet, but I'm about halfway through the series and will read after I'm done. And then will make good on the 'arrangement' that we have, since you've been writing DK fic and SI11. Nadil/Lykouleon! .... :x ♥

Anyway, off to watch so that I can read that much sooner. XD
I hope I never write one of these again. XD; Too much soul-sucking went into it.

SI11 is definitely on the in-progress list. I'm not sure about the DK fic though. I might write the middle section I still feel is missing from that one, but I was flipping through the newest volume at the store and canon might be eating my ideas. ._. It looks like there's a better chance for Nadil/Rath, but Rath sort of hates me and won't let me write him. Oh oh, but there's also lots of good stuff for Kharl/Rath, which makes me feel better.

A-anyway, CG, watch, yes.
beautiful summary! XD

I think at the end of the story, either one of them dies or both of them die. I don't see them both surviving. Their friendship is heading down right to disaster and angst. T.T
True, their friendship is in tatters, but it hasn't been obliterated, I don't think. Suzaku says Lelouch shouldn't exist, but I highly doubt he can sever ties that easily. There may be some serious love/hate angst once the blinding rage has passed. And Lelouch, as I explained, only tries to kill Suzaku after being pushed over the edge. I hesitate to guess what their ultimate end will be, but I'm inclined to believe neither of them die during their confrontation there. Who knows what will happen in the second season though.
I won't make any comment about Code Geass, because I do believe you made an AMAZING job with your text/collection. I'm a VERY FAN of the series and I got REALLY happy while reading this. You express a LOT of what I think and feel towards the series and I think it was a really intelligent text, SO, congratualtions ^_________^ I'll recommend to EVERYONE who wants to know deeper about Code Geass.
BY THE WAY, I love Suzaku A LOT and I'm going to cosplay him, and I got happy because you're a very fan of him too T_T HAHAHAHAAH♥
Thanks one more time to sharing this♥
Thank you! ^^ And yes, another Suzaku fan. XD *loves him* Have fun with the cosplay.
I read this earlier and couldn't comment 'cuz I was at work. But now that I'm at home, I just wanted to say that I really admire the work you put into this, even if I don't agree with some of the points, and REEEEEEALLY appreciate the recs list because, like a few other commentors, I just delved into this fandom and had no idea where to start.

But seriously, oh. This was a nice read while I was plowing through my boring night shift. ♥ Thank you.
Glad to be of help. XD Being bored at work is torture.

Heh, I just wish the list was longer. Or that I had more to choose from. *sadface at fandom*
"Suzaku is a mess of contradictions and hypocrisies right from the start – and fans will rag on him about it, but miss the brilliance of his character"

You hit the mark right on the head. That screwed up nature is what makes him such an interesting character in the first place.

unfortunately I can't read too much of your essay because I haven't watch the last 2 eps yet. I'll be sure to read it later :)

That's exactly it. It confuses me how some fans will gladly point out all his faults, and simply hate on him for it. I mean, it's their choice whether they like a character or not, but you can't see all these flaws in him and not acknowledge that he has depth. :\

You and...too many others. XD I feel like I should include a link to the episodes and be like, "WATCH FIRST."
I have to be one of the few who absolutely love Suzaku even with his faults. I think because him and Lelouch are very much a like, and while both have the same ideals, they seem to go about it in a very bad way. There is a connection between them but its sad to see them drift because each are stubborn in their own way.

I did find Lelouchs choice of words interesting when he saved Suzaku from being executed using "Come to me." rather than "join me" or something of that nature. The fact that he got so angry when Suzaku refused him, just further proves what you have so excellently and eloquently stated. You couldnt be more right and more correct about them.

I dont fully understand as to why people hate him just because of his faults, I mean what about Lelouchs faults? I love Suzaku even with his faults, no one is perfect in this serious which is why I love it, as you said, each character has a lot of depth, they arent just simple 2 dimensional personalities that are plastered on a screen.
Another Suzaku fan. :D

He's a lot more internally twisted than Lelouch, and I guess that's uncomfortable for some people to sympathize with? Maybe it's easier to look at all Lelouch has done wrong and feel detached from it, but Suzaku's all focused inward. But I don't know, I love him, I can't think of him from a hater's point of view. XD
Wow...*speechless*.... A really in depth analysis.

The last episode....I really do wonder if they could pull the trigger against one another. They both look capable of it at that moment. However there is that "live" Geass on Suzaku so he may not be able to shoot [to kill] Lelouch because if he did the Sakuradite will trigger and he'd be dead as well. Gosh, can't wait for the new season.

Anyways I loved reading the points you've got on their relationship. I'll be checking out the links later so thanks. ^^
Thank you~ It drove me a little crazy at times, so I'm glad it was worth it.

Their confrontation was bound to be ugly, but they really just kept pushing and pushing each other to the climax. They look capable of doing something rash, both furious and hurt and lashing out without thinking. It's the ultimate fight between friends. I like it for the emotional intensity, not just the physical aspects of them pulling guns on each other.
Firstly, let me just say -- a very, very apt title to your manifesto. ^^

Secondly, I have to say that I enjoyed reading your essay mostly because it was written by someone who loves Suzaku. Suzaku is constantly being bashed as an extremely shallow character with very typical ideals and typical reactions. But he's anything but typical. He is not a Knight in Shining armor -- that's only skin deep. He is not a wussy boy -- he has shown too many instances of bravery to be put under that stereotype. However, he is a hypocrite, and a very, very selfish one at that -- i saw that when he was trying to convinve Karen to stop being a rebel when they were together on the beach, after he had justified his own wrongdoings [Lelouch does the same thing as Zero, after all, and doesn't Suzaku constantly chastise him?] -- and yet despite this he still tries everything to achieve his own ideals, trying to make peace not just in the world but also with himself [or at least that's how i perceive it].
Suzaku is such an interesting character, but Lelouch still gets most of the love, and noticably so. it's nice to see the other side of the coin every once in a while. ^^

And as for the pairing, although not my OTP, and although I'm not as fond of shounen-ai as I am het, i have never blinded myself to the fact the two have shared a very obvious closeness and good basis for shipping. I have also always been interested by the obvious depth and deceit that both Lelouch and Suzaku possess, towards each other and towards themselves [did that make sense?] -- the hypocrital hero versus the antihero [as to who is which, i'll leave to you ^^], and dark mirrors towards each other -- points which you captured very well in your manifesto.
LuluxCC and SuzaxEuphie are all well and good, but when we get right down to the nitty gritty and past all the pretty, these two actually have the most basis to have a relationship anywhere near romantic.

I haven't watched the last two episodes [woe is me...] But your telling of the events near the end have been more intricate than any other site i've been to [complete with pictures!] and for that I thank you. :3

And I love the coloring of your banners. XD

Agh, i'm rambling.
Congratulations on completing your manifesto. It's a great read, and a most insightful one. ^^
I remember him getting a lot of hate for that, but I was hoping it would have lessened recently. D: Because you're right, he's so much more than the ideals he preaches, and he's multifaceted. He has layers - he's got his mask of righteousness, but there are bits and pieces of his true self mixed in, and that's why it's complicated. I'd argue that he's not trying to make peace within himself so much as he's trying to justify himself. He doesn't come to terms with the patricide, but he is constantly seeking to give it meaning, to be able to say "It was worth it." But hopefully that has begun to change now that he's left the watch with Euphemia's failed ideals.

I'm really glad you were able to enjoy the essay even though it's not your OTP. ^^ They are undeniably close, though I'm also well-aware of the relationships between Lelouch and C.C., Suzaku and Euphemia, and even Lelouch and Euphemia. Particularly with Lelouch and C.C., they're developing an interesting bond. I can't see it as romantic in the conventional sense, but the partners/accomplices thing? That's pretty cool.

Man, you people need to watch the ending. XD It's intense.
Oh my GOd! A SuzaLulu manifesto! ^:)^ You're the greatest! I didn't notice that! I have that pic but I didn't notice that!!! Oh and would you pls include the drama cds??? I looove seeing it gettin scrutinized and all juz in case i missed a Suzaluluness!
Thanks~ I nearly made a separate section for their childhood relationship because of the drama CDs. XD; I included the relevant links up at the top! *points*
Thank you for the time, care and effort to do this. That was not only a thorough and well-thought out essay, it was also an enjoyable and very readable one due to the conversational delivery. You get your points across without the need for flourishy sentence structures and vocabulary and I appreciate that. My responses to the content would echo so many of the previous commenters, so I'll just say this: now the ship makes sense to me! Despite being a SuzaLulu (or vice versa) advocate, I have never been articulate when it comes to validating my OTPs (as I pick them by instinct, not by careful analysis of canon). I agreed with most of the points you put forth, but they were hazy at best in my mind, and there were many instances during my read in which I jumped and yelled out "I knew that was it!!" (figuratively, mind). Thank you, again, for having straightened out those mental knots and tangles.

Also, can I say I was amused by "Rurutia" next to "Sky of Suzaku"? XDD A bit of a stretch, I know. Still. Last words? The next time a naysayer demands that I rationalise my preference, I will point them to the direction of your manifesto. If you wouldn't mind that, of course.

And also...

Can I recommend Dalc Rose and Hiyoriya? Both J-fanartists and both unfortunately in mid-construction, but before they closed off the fun parts of their sites I used to read and admire their SuzaLulu webcomics (the latter had a lot of them). Just thought you'd like to take note of them, if you haven't already, whenever they're done reconstructing.
yay :D I totally love that pairing <3
Hooray. XD They're the first (and hopefully last x_x) pairing I'd ever write one of these for.
I must say you 'spot on' through this pairing which makes me love them more than I used to say like and yes, my friend - everything you wrote I can't help but, giggle and as well, agree.
I wouldn't say Lelouch x Suzaku is my OTP or one of my OTP but, probably their odd relationship makes it more special if one were to look closely.

Rurutia ftw!
Thank you! And yes, even those who don't like them as a pairing have to admit that they have an intricate relationship.

Whoo, another Rurutia fan!
You deserve a ♥. Thank you for this. =)
That was an excellent essay - you explained all the complexities of the pairing in a way that was both clear and engaging. Massive kudos. Sadly my knowledge of Code Geass is limited to the first few episodes and some anime blogs (damn downloads), but I've had a soft spot for the Suzaku/Lelouch 'ship since the beginning and it was great to read such a good analysis of it. Also, Suzaku is a great character.
That was lovely. ♥ Especially, as many have said, the Suzaku perpective. I can't even tell you how happy I was when I realized that he wasn't a cookie-cutter Anime Good Guy...haha! Props to you.

(P.S. I'd like to read your fic, so I'm friending you now, if that's okay. :) )
Thank you so much for this!! you've totally converted me.

Here's a little something. Hope you like!!

http://community.livejournal.com/code_geass/460251.html#cutid1

^__^
But with these two, they have passed the point of no return, they are unforgiving, and neither of them are strictly wrong or right.

i think this is a very hard hitting statement. it says everything about what they're going through at the end of season 1.
This absolutely brilliant. I don't think I've ever read anything this indepth before. This is so great it make me want to write some fanfiction (which I've never even done before).

Just amazing, thank you so much for putting this up!!
I know that its been a very long time since you posted this, but I've only recently come across it.

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. Thank you so much!
I know that this is late as hell, but I just wanted to say how much I loved this.
Truthfully, I didn't see this pairing as plausible until after I'd had some time to think about the series. I'm always a latecomer...
But then, the beauty of their dysfunctional relationship struck me. I just hope it won't end up completely doomed.
May I recommend The Fool Ascendant, by Mikomi's Pen? It's truly a magnificent piece of fanfiction, possibly my favorite.
Great work!
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