Lily (lily_lily) wrote in ship_manifesto,

[Code Geass] Suzaku/Kallen

Title: Hide & Seek
Author: Lily (lily_lily
Fandom: Code Geass
Pairing: Kururugi Suzaku/Kouzuki Kallen
Spoilers: Whole series
Disclaimer: I own nothing

H I D E & S E E K
- who is hiding, who is seeking?

i n t r o ;
oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before the takeover,
the sweeping insensitivity of this still life

I don't know exactly when I fell in love with Suzaku/Kallen. Was it during all those times they duked it out in their respective Knightmares? (Which hel-looo just screams sexual tension). How about all those times Kallen tried to assassinate Suzaku with her purse-knife? Maybe it was when Suzaku threatened to shoot Kallen up with drugs and her subsequent 99-hit chain combo that brought him to his knees like James Brown during "Please, Please, Please"? Maybe it was when Suzaku slammed Kallen's naked body to the ground and straddled her like a pro?

Yeah that was probably it.

Whatever your feelings on the Suzaku/Kallen ship or its fandom – or the characters, Suzaku and Kallen themselves – this, my dear readers, is a manifesto of my personal attachment to these characters – and by extension – the Suzaku/Kallen ship itself so please do try and keep an open-mind, and I hope that you can discover at least a little of the affection that I feel for Suzaku, Kallen and their ship.

S u z a k u ;
Mmmm whatcha say,
Mmm that you only meant well?
well of course you did

At first glance, Suzaku is your typical knight in shining armour. Introduced in season 1 as a Soldier of Love and Justice, Suzuku goes out of his way to save lives and fight for peace and unity while looking damn good in spandex (I‘m just saying). He’s a kind person by nature but as the series progresses, we realize that his self-sacrificing tendencies and holier-than-thou righteousness is all just a front to cover-up a murky combination of guilt, deep self-loathing and a daddy issue to end all daddy issues - specifically, the murder of his father by his own hand at the age of ten. Wait, backtrack a second there - what?

Suzaku is the son of Japan's last prime minister who was willing to resist Britannia’s invasion to the bitter end, finding it more preferable than to lose face and surrender. It was the violence and this insistence of fighting to the last that caused Suzaku to attack and accidentally kill his father in a fit of rage after his father refused to change his mind. This event would obviously leave lasting scars on anyone, especially when you take into account that Suzaku was ten years old when this happened. To make it through an event that traumatic at that age unscathed is unheard of. You haven’t even gotten a chance to get to know who you are when you’re that young, how are you supposed to deal with something like that?

Henceforth, Suzaku develops this attitude of following the rules and allowing for no more sacrifices to occur although conflict oftentimes arises between the two ideals which in turn, tends to get him into trouble. He also has no regards for his own well-being, willing to risk his life and put himself in fatal situations. He’s okay with dying as long as the manner of his death can atone him for his crimes.

Suzaku: If I am to be killed, I want to die for the people.

Suzaku’s goal is an honorable one -- to change Britannia from within. With Euphemia, he was full of hope and idealism. Suzaku/Euphemia was everything you could ever want in a highly romanticized relationship. And with her death, we see an integeral part of Suzaku's hopes and dreams die as well. He abandons some of his core ideals and grows to be more ruthless in his actions by season 2. Euphemia’s death was damaging to Suzaku on a long-term scale - in his eyes, she was a sweet, beautiful, flawless princess and in a way, he used Euphemia to actually make him feel better about himself. Not to mention, he learned that his best friend killed his girlfriend. You can never get past something like that, not really. But it’s not until he is forced to use the F.L.E.I.J.A. bomb that Suzaku finally decides that the ends are more important than the means and becomes a willing participant in the Zero Requiem. He realizes that both he and Lelouch have the same wish, which is peace. And no matter the amount of shit and heartache that transpired between them, Suzaku is willing to work with Lelouch to fulfill that wish for Euphie’s sake and his own. Even if it means becoming Zerozaku.

Overall, Suzuki’s a guy trapped by his past and his attempts to mold his instincts into something healthy and functional. He is susceptible to dramatic shifts in his life, first one killing his father, second Euphie’s death, and thirdly the F.L.E.I.J.A. But he’s still a kind person and has an instinct to take care of others. Everything Suzaku does, he has done with the best of intentions, although he is a character that hasn’t been treated very well by the majority of the Code Geass fandom at all, probably because OMG he keeps getting in Lelouch’s way for most of the series. But since I’m getting off topic and defending Suzaku is for another essay, let’s move on shall we?

K a l l e n ;
Mmmm whatcha say,
Mmmm that it's all for the best?
of course it is

And then there’s Kallen. Self-reliant, strong-willed, and proud, Kallen is a fighter in every sense of the word with one hell of a stubborn streak. Her family-life is far from perfect. She’s got an absentee Britannian father that we never see, a step-mother that she doesn’t get along well with, a dead older brother who was a former resistance leader, and a Japanese biological mother who does drugs and has the gall to live under the same roof with them all as a maid. Complicated? Very. Let’s start from the beginning.

Kallen is half Japanese from her biological mother’s side and half Britannian from her father’s side (I’m guessing that Kallen was the result of some sort of fling between the two) but she considers herself a full-blooded Japanese woman, most likely stemming from her close bond with her brother (probably half-brother) who was fighting for the liberation of Japan from Britannian rule before his death prior to the start of the show. Somewhere along the way, she grew estranged from her biological mother and lives with her father and step-mother in a nice mansion. It’s safe to say that Kallen originally grew up with her Japanese mother and brother as Kallen Kouzuki before adopting Kallen Stadtfeld after Japan lost the war. For reasons that are first unknown to Kallen, her mother decides to be employed as a maid in their home, prompting Kallen to look on at her mother in disgust and coming to the conclusion that her mother is weak and unable to stand on her own two feet.

Kallen: My mother is an idiot. In the end she’s being ordered around as a maid. She can’t do any significant work so no matter how much she’s being looked down at, she has no choice but to smile weakly. There’s obviously no reason for her to stay in this house. It’s thick-skinned of her to stay in the residence of her former lover.

Although I think a part of Kallen’s mistreatment of her mother is an attempt to drive her away so she wouldn’t continuing living unhappily in their house, she really does feel a sense of frustration and resentment towards her. Someone with as much pride as Kallen can’t understand why her mother would willingly subject herself to a demeaning job and verbal abuse from both Kallen herself and Kallen’s step-mother. She even resorts to rely on the drug Refrain to remember the good ol’ days, which Kallen finds out eventually.

Kallen: You’re such a weak woman. Depending on Britannia, depending on men, and now drugs?

But the pieces manage to come together for Kallen and she realizes that the reason her mother continued to stay in that house was to watch over her. Realizing what an idiot she’s been, Kallen vows to fight for a new world where she can live happily with her mother and in the epilogue, we in fact, do see them living together in a different less extravagant home.

Kallen has issues with intimacy. She can be defensive and snarky and she tends to push certain people away. But Kallen’s problem isn’t that she doesn’t want to be close to people. It’s that she often can’t bring herself to. Look at her relationship with the Ashford Student Council. She leads a double life as a quiet, weak-bodied Britannian student and as her true self - a loud, hot-blooded member of the Order of the Black Knights. We can see that there are instances where she does genuinely care for her student council friends, but there is also a level of detachment in the way that she holds herself around them. In season 1 she is even prepared to murder Shirley because she thought the latter knew of her double life and I’ve lost count of how many times she’s tried to assassinate Suzaku, for the simple fact that he was against Zero.

The thing with Kallen is - if she feels like you’re an obstacle, she will get rid of you. Her loyalty is first and foremost the liberation of Japan (and the extension of that are the Black Knights and Zero). What’s notable about Kallen is her single-mindedness. When she dedicates herself to something, she doesn’t do it by halves. It’s the reason why she fights so valiantly, so passionately, and with the Lelouch and Kallen relationship, Kallen’s views on Lelouch is so often challenged over and over again that it gets screwy. She’s always attempting to understand his motives and his feelings - to get to the true Lelouch - but when he doesn’t open up, she bids him farewell and continues on her own path. She doesn’t let her love for him blind her to her goals and she doesn’t resent him either for casting her aside. She’s sad and disappointed, yes, but does that stop her from fighting? Never. That’s the paradox with Kallen. She’s vulnerable but assertive, she’s warm and prickly and awkward but can you blame her? Her step-mom‘s a bitch, her father’s permanently off-screen, her brother‘s dead and her mom is holed up in the hospital recovering from the after effects of some serious drug use. Oh and Lelouch, the guy she’s developing feelings for, keeps betraying her trust. Kallen is used to taking care of herself and one of her main priorities is survival.

T o g e t h e r ;
ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut outs
speak no feeling no I don't believe you

So what happens when you take two impulsive, single-minded fighters from two opposing sides of an ongoing war and put them together and ship them? Well... anything.

Epic fighting and hot sex can arise as each will try to get the other to see that their way is the right way before each realizes that the other's methods are really no different than their own. Or not. They could grow close, have someone to relate to. Find someone in whom they could confide, trust, and respect. Maybe it could be a darker scenario where they’re unhappy and feel that they can't go back to their old lives or find a place in their new one so they have no other alternatives but each other. The possibilities are endless.

The romantic potential for these two crazy kids is unconventional at best but it‘s a potential that is phenomenal to me. I think Suzaku and Kallen would have had amazing chemistry and the base I have for Suzaku/Kallen is that they have enough in common to relate to each other but enough in differences to compliment one another. Kallen is the opposite of Suzaku in many ways – she’s offensive where he is defensive, she strikes out and shoves the blame onto others where Suzaku tends to blame and punishes himself. Suzaku hides behind his noble fantasies, which makes him a hell of a lot harder to read than Kallen, who wears everything unabashedly on her sleeve. And what do they have in common? They‘re both hella stubborn and determined and willing to fight for what they believe in. They’re both excellent fighters in a Knightmare and out. They‘re both emotionally driven– but all of that, I’m sure, they could find with other people. The root of what makes them a good pairing is how unafraid they are with showing their true selves to each other.

Now, I'm not going to be listing every single Suzaku/Kallen moment and trying to digest every hidden meaning in them. That's just not me. What I want to do is bring up the ones that really stood out in my mind and go from there. With that being said, I'd like to draw your attention to their time on Kaminejima island.

Kallen: Ahh I can’t eat another bite! Boy am I stuffed.

Suzaku: So is this a glimpse of what you’re really like?

Kallen: Yeah you wanna make something of it?

Suzaku: No I think it’s charming to see you so much livelier than you are at school.

*Kallen blushes*

Suzaku: Kallen... leave the Black Knights. It’s not too late. A captured terrorist never winds up with a happy ending.

Kallen: I thought you weren’t so bad and then you showed your true colors. Well that won’t work. I happen to be the captain of Zero’s elite guard and I fought you in my Knightmare.

Suzaku: Were you that red one?

Kallen: Yeah and even if I lose my life doing it, I’ll beat that Knightmare of yours someday.

Suzaku: Using Zero’s methods offers no future.

Kallen: And what about your future then? To just live the life of a conqueror’s subjugated lapdog, an honorary Britannian? Or to be Knight of the third Princess? Hah! The name of Genbu Kururugi, the last samurai weeps! I’m not you. The world is wrong and I’m trying to change it! If I don’t… if I don’t my brother’s life would’ve been for nothing. That’s my reason for fighting and I’ll do whatever it takes to win.

Suzaku: Kallen... The truth is, I killed my father. My father didn’t commit suicide, I took his life with this hand. Zero is a lot like my father. He firmly believes that the entire world revolves around him. That’s why he’s able to justify spilling the blood of so many people.

Kallen: That’s why you accept the way things are now? You call that peace? Some things are more important than your life you know!

Suzaku: It isn’t that I want you to give up. I just want you to ask yourself, when you gain results the wrong way, what are you left with in the end? Only dark regret and a deep emptiness that have no where to go.

Kallen: Then explain something. What higher purpose did the death of my brother serve? Who gets to say in judgment? Who decides whether it’s right or wrong?

Favorite. Suzaku/Kallen conversation. Ever. Obviously, talking about crappy events (Suzaku killing his father, Kallen’s brother dying) that’s happened in their lives is bound to bring them one step closer together – and immediately cuts away all the bullshit between them. How can you be anything but real with someone who knows your secrets? The other significant thing about this conversation is that Suzaku admits to Kallen that he murdered his father. If you’ve ever had anything that you were ashamed of, you know what a big step that is. And the fact that he did that with Kallen, someone he barely knew? Says a little something about how easily they can be so honest towards each other, doesn’t it? They also divulged in each other their purpose in fighting. Kallen even mentions her brother -- a subject that is extremely close to her heart. Actually, I think this is the first time Kallen explains to anyone, in depth, why and how important fighting against the Britannian empire is to her. By the end of their encounter on the island, they’re no closer to accepting each other’s ideals but they were able to see each other's true colors and have gained an important understanding of what motivates the other to fight on.

And of course, who could forget the scene where Kallen beats Suzaku like a prison bitch? Earlier, Suzaku attempted to force Kallen into telling him who Zero was by threatening her with a vial of Refrain. Naturally, Kallen is seriously against the use of the drug due to what happened to her mom and was seriously ready to cry while Suzaku tried to act all big and tough and mean, punching her in the tummy and holding her down in her chair. At the last minute however, Suzaku has a change of heart once he realized that making Kallen talk to him was similar to how Lelouch uses his Geass to bend people's wills without their consent. Knowing that what he did really shook her, Suzaku comes back later to apologize but by that time, Kallen has mentally recovered and lets both her mouth and her fists do the talking. Suzaku being Suzaku takes the beating without a word of complaint because his guilty conscience is telling him that this is suitable retribution for his lapse in moral judgment.

After the smack-down, Kallen stubbornly refuses to make eye contact with Suzaku and insists that she hates him. You can definitely tell that she's livid with him and part of the reason is that he isn't even fighting back ("Hmpf the fact you don’t resist pisses me off the most."). It's almost as if she can't stand to see him in such a weak state and you know how Kallen reacts to seeing people at their weakest (her mother, Lelouch after finding out Nunnally was governor, etc.) Suzaku, to be blunt, is an unstable individual. He's obsessed, childish to a degree, and severely depressed. In that moment, for the first time, Kallen is seeing Suzaku down in the gutter. Lower than low. Lower than he would want anyone else to see him and yet he's letting her see him in that way - just another display of honesty between the two. There's always something very real about how they interact with each other and that's never been more true than their many scuffles on the battlefield. Rarely do they ever hold back.

We see many times throughout the show how Suzaku has never wanted to hurt Kallen, that he regrets having to be pitied against her all the time but circumstances have always forced them onto opposing sides. And Kallen, for all her hissing and posturing, doesn't actually hate Suzaku. She's frustrated over the fact that he continues to side with the Britannian Empire, despite him being Japanese and sees his submission as a sign of weakness. Being a hard-head, Kallen just doesn't understand Suzaku's intentions and principles and when she doesn't understand something about someone, as evidenced by her encounters with Lelouch, C.C, and her mom, Kallen reacts with anger and belittlement. However, I really do think Kallen got to not only understand Lelouch's motives in the end but Suzaku's as well. I have no doubt she's aware that it's Suzaku masquerading as Zero now and that she's made amends with him in her heart as evidenced by her having a photo of him on her bulletin board.

What else is there to say about Suzaku/Kallen? What I love about them the most is that they posses all the qualities that their other relationships lack. Kallen’s not afraid to stand up to Suzaku and let him pick himself up off the floor. Tough love may be exactly what Suzaku needs and Kallen is anything but a mollycoddler. She is also more emotionally stable than Suzaku and could handle all the dark parts that has happened in his life and bring forth the fire in the relationship that could rattle Suzaku into action. They won't hold back from confiding in each other and aren't afraid to push each others buttons as evidenced by their epic mecha battles and conversations around the campfire. The pair of them have known the darker, tragic, side of life, too, and that creates a sense of empathy - neither of them being strangers to lost loved ones.

Suzaku is kind-hearted, despite all the crap he's been through, and helpful. Strangely enough, he strikes me as someone who could soften others. His friendship with Lelouch warms the student council into accepting him. When he is made Euphie's knight, a party at the school is thrown in his honor with many of the student body attending. Ashford Academy also hosts a festival where many come to see Suzaku who has become an inspiration to them. Suzaku could very well have the potential to bring out Kallen's own charity and underlying gentleness. Actually, both Suzaku and Kallen are caring people until circumstances forced them to harden their exteriors somewhat. And while he's known to fly off the handle at times, Suzaku is less temperamental and reckless than Kallen and can bring the patience needed to handle Kallen's aggressiveness.

Admittedly, Kallen and Suzaku don't immediately strike as kindred spirits, but it's more than possible that by the end of the series they could very well, finally, find some common ground. Ultimately, this is a relationship about a communion of pain, a shared burden and strength, and maybe even an opportunity to pick up the broken pieces.

F a n w o r k s ;
spin me round again
and rub my eyes,
this can't be happening

Below is a list of my favorite Suzaku/Kallen fics I'd like to recommend which admittedly, isn't a whole lot. Maybe my standards are too high? My own fics can be found in my journal or my account.

With Himself At War by puella_nerdii
Suzaku/Kallen (...technically), Lloyd. ~4000 words, R for Suzaku getting off on Kallen kicking the living hell out of him violence and coercion. Spoilers for Code Geass R2 through Episode 16.
“Why?” she interrupts him. “Because it’s wrong, or because you think it’s what he would have done?”

Their new savior shed his reptilian black skin for paled, scarred human weakness. Kallen and Suzaku have a startling encounter after Zero's Requiem.


Another awesome fic rec'd by eucatastrophe

In the Hall of the Philistine King by hopechan
The soldier, the rebel, and the island of the gods.


Tags: #anime/animation, #free month, code geass

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