I was planning to wait until I'd completed a reasonable amount of Season 2 before posting the rest of these, just to give me some breathing space, but what the hell, it's christmas...or it was anyways, you deserve a treat.

So here it is, for all you fans who simply don't want to see this fic die

Merry (better late than never) Christmas.

43. Capture.

"It seems a huge explosion occurred over the Tokyo settlement." Monica Kruszewski, the Knight of Twelve reported, her tone laced with concern "It would appear that a FLEIJA warhead caused it." She turned turning her concerned gaze towards the only other person on the bridge, Emperor Charles zi Britannia himself "Your Majesty, are you certain we should be heading there at this time?"

"Enough!" Charles declared, his harsh, barking tone causing the causing the Knight of Twelve to recoil as if slapped "Let Schniezel worry about mundane affairs, continue our course as scheduled!"

"As you wish, your Highness." Monica submitted, bowing reverently before turning back to the helm, releasing a subtle sigh of relief as she did so. Being alone in the presence of the Emperor was no easy task, the man's sheer presence could make an entire ROOM feel inferior and ant-like, even when he did no more than sit sit very quietly on his throne.

Not that he ever simply SAT on the throne. Unbeknownst to everyone save Bismack Waldstein, every time Charles took his seat of power, he was subtly using his Geass on everyone in the room, manipulating their memories so that they knew nothing but absolute fear and loyalty towards him. It was a tactic that had served him well since his coronation, and even before then, when he and V.V, his elder brother, had turned the court against their own father, executing him before placing Charles on the throne, as V.V had already received, rather stolen, the power of code from his contractor.

'It's been so long since that day…' Charles muttered, recalling still the war-torn, era, fraught with deceit and corruption, that he and his brother had been forced to grow up in 'We swore that day to kill the corrupt 'Gods' that would repeatedly drive men to such a fate, to create a world without lies.'

Then Charles had met Marianne Lamperouge, a commoner who had risen through the ranks to become the Knight of One, through sheer strength and character. She alone had dared to question the sanctity of the plan, citing that what good was a world without deception, if it were bereft of love as well.

Charles, smitten by her strength of character, had taken her as his consort, for he had far too many, hundreds even, to ever take her as his wife, though it was well known, or at least suspected by the other consorts, tat if ever he was to claim just one, it was certain to be HER.

And then V.V, in an act of childish jealousy, tinged with the paranoia that comes from living in a war-torn age, had gunned his beloved down, framing it as a terrorrist attack for the sake of the public, whilst spouting some nonsense that she was a 'threat to the plan'.

'You lied to me, brother…' Charles intoned, his features grim, the anger and betrayal long since reduced to smouldering embers in a dying fire 'You swore that, at least between us, there would be no deceptions…' he closed his eyes 'And now you are gone…and unable to watch as our plan falls to ruins.'

In order to activate the Ragnarok Connection, it was necessary for TWO possessors of the power of Code, the source of Geass that bestows upon the possessor imortality, to be present. With V.V gone, erased so utterly from this world his conciousness could not be detected within the World of C, that left only C.C, the immortal 'witch' whom had been the head of the Geass order prior to Marianne's death, one of Charles and V.V's staunchest supporters.

'And now she sides against us…against ME.' Charles muttered, recalling the reports he'd received from the few surviving members of V.V's personel that the 'Witch' had returned to the Order, subverting their authority, turning the denizens, Geass users and scientists alike, against them 'It would appear my wayward son is not without his allies in this.'

And that was another matter for concern. Just WHAT had happened to Lelouch during the two year since his supposed death after the failed Black Rebellion? Where had he gained that power? A power that not only transcended any technology known to Britannian science, but could even destroy a being that had attained the power of Code?

'I will learn soon enough.' Charles determined; his features settling into their usual, superior scowl as he stared at the approaching island nation of Area Eleven.

Tokyo Settlement...

"ZERO!" Kallen screamed, her eyes looking on in horror as Zero fell, his armour gone, leaving only the vulnerable human within to face the forces of gravity, a battle no man had ever won, not even with all his knowledge.

"YOUR HIGHNESS!" Jeremiah roared, the Sutherland Sieg accelerating past her in a bid to reach the falling teen, the cyborg looking on desperately as he drew ever closer, heedless of the fact he lacked the means by which to rescue his lord.

"Whoopsie-daisy!" Gino called out, the Tristan appearing before the modified Sutherland, twirling it's two-headed spear agiley with its sole remaining arm "Didn't forget about US did you?"

"GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Jeremiah roared, unleashing a storm of missiles at the Knight of Three, only to curse as he was forced to retreat from the Mordred's Stark Hadron Cannons, the Heavy Assault Knightmare having rejoined the battle "BLAST IT!"

"KOUZUKI!" Todoh roared, launching himself at the Tristan, even as the Sutherland Sieg focussed it's attentions on the Mordred "GET ZERO!"

Kallen hadn't waited for the order, the moment she'd seen Zero fall she was already pushing the Gurren's thrusters to their limit, C.C bringing the Shinkiro up alongside the Crimson frame, the two women united in their drive to rescue the man they both cared about. "Reach…" Kallen swore, launching the Gurren's talon towards the falling form, willing the porjectile onwards with all her heart "C'mon Gurren…Reach him!"

A flash of white intervened, lashing out at the claw and swatting it out of the air, Kallen and C.C pulling up short at this newest obstacle. "SUZAKU!" Kallen spat, re-attaching her claw and charging up the Radiant Wave, even as C.C activated the Shinkiro's main cannon "GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR WAY!"

"Hold your fire!" Suzaku ordered, the Lancelot's one remaining hand coming up, the female pilots' anger fading quickly as they saw, rather than a weapon, the Knightmare held Zero's unconcious form in his grip "Or you'll take him out with me!"

"YOU DIRTY NO GOOD-!" Kallen began, her anger getting the better of her, only to blink as the Shinkiro held out its arm, as if to hold the larger Gurren back.

"Calm down," C.C ordered, the witch's tone calm, though her golden eyes were lined with concern as she stared at the redhead over the monitors "you'll hit Zero."

"Indeed…" a calm voice interposed, the women looking up as a familiar face, that of second prince Schniezel, appeared on a separate screen "And what a tremendous loss that would be."

"Schniezel…" Todoh growled, the co-commander's eyes narrowed as he appeared on a separate screen, his features schooled into a mask of professional anger "Taking hostages now are we?"

"Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions, Kyoshiro Todoh." The Prime Minister of the Britannian Empire countered, his usual smile in place "Zero is injured, and enemy though he may be, it would be a tremendous disservice for me to deny medical attention for the man that saved my younger sister."

"From a weapon YOU launched!" Kallen snapped, glaring angrilly at the 2nd prince, recalling his creepy smile and more than passing resemblance to Lelouch with a shudder. On the one hand, she found herself wondering if Lelouch would be that tall fully grown, on the other, she prayed he never developed such an attitude.

"Ah, Miss Stadtfeld." Schniezel greeted, his smile polite, and seemingly amused by the redhead's presence on the battlefield "An amazing performance, as always, Earl Asplund was quite amazed at how well you were able to pilot the Gurren, despite no prior training post-modification."

"You can change the appearance, you can change the system, but it's still MY damn Knightmare." Kallen shot back, her tone decidedly smug, even as she caught a muffled cry of protest somewhere off screen "Though if the Earl's there with you, I think it only fair to warn him that Rakshata's sure to have words with him about this."

"I'll be sure to pass the message on." Schniezel offered, sounding amused, even as the cries of protest were cut off by a squeak of alarm "That being said, the fact that he came to harm BECAUSE of our actions makes it all the more necessary that WE see to his injuries."

"You think we're just going to hand Zero over to you without a fight?" Kallen demanded, gritting her teeth angrilly as she prepared to launch her claw at the Lancelot, only to pause as another screen, this one on a Black Knights only frequency, appeared before her.

"All units fall back!" Kaguya called out, the Lyoto princess' tone tense, as if the very order pained her "Fall back to the Ikaruga immediately!"

"But Kaguya-sama!" Kallen exclaimed, looking at the girl as if she'd gone insane "Zero is…we can't just leave him!"

"I know…" Kaguya muttered, and Kallen saw now that the little girl's shoulders were trembling, her fists clenched at her side "But we just received word from Sayoko that she's touched down with Viceroy Nunnaly…she must have used the opening Zero-sama provided to escape from the consulate before the explosion took out our scanners."

"Sayoko made it?" Kallen exclaimed, marvelling at the shinobi's luck and skill, even as relief flooded through her. When the blast hit, nobody had been able to get ahold of Sayoko's team, and Kallen had felt guilty that, in taking time to rescue her, they reduced their chances to escape before the blast hit "That's a relief."

"Understood." Todoh muttered, though he looked, and sounded, as if someone had pulled his tooth without anaestesia "All Forces, pull back to the Ikaruga for now!"

"Zero…" Kallen muttered, eyeing the unconcious form of the Tekkaman in the Lancelot's remaining hand, before opening a channel, glaring at the Knight of Seven "If ANYTHING happens to him, I'm coming after you PERSONALLY, Kururugi."

"I'll be waiting." Suzaku responded, his tone resolved, even as the Black Kngihts turned about, heading back towards the Ikaruga, leaving behind their savior and comrade in the hands of his enemies.


"Kaguya-sama…" Manabe muttered, the bespectacled captain of the Ikaruga looking at the image of their retreating comrades on the main screen as he stood beside the emerald eyed survivor of the Kyoto houses "Are you sure this is the right thing to do?"

"Yes." Kaguya replied, her tone controlled and her shoulders tense "Zero-sama isn't so weak that he cannot escape under his own power."

So she said, but it didn't take a genius to see that her small, delicate hands were gripping the arms of her chair in a deathgrip, nor that her little shoulders were tensed, like a cornered cat, the and the tight little line of her mouth made it all the more apparent to everyone on the bridge that it was taking every ounce of control she had to keep from giving the order for an all-out assault on the Tokyo settlement to rescue the Tekkaman.

And yet, despite the yearning she must be feeling, despite the pain that had flashed through her eyes when she'd seen her beloved, broken and held captive in the hands of her treacherous cousin's Knightmare, she'd maintained her calm, and given the order for their already battered forces to return and regroup.

'The girl's going to be something else when she's fully grown.' Manabe vowed, wiping a bead of sweat from his brow as he recalled the cool, composed figure on the screen, her face a mask of regal calm that spoke highly of her upbringing as one of the heads of Kyoto, descended from the oldest of Japanese nobility 'I sure as he couldn't keep my cool in this situation.'

"Lady Kaguya," a voice announced, Sayoko's face appearing on screen, the shinobi dressed in her unusual pink outfit "Viceroy Nunnally has been escorted to the guest suite we set aside for her."

"Very well." Kaguya intoned, her tone calm and collected, earning another look of enawaed approval from the bridge crew "I shall be there shortly, Xianglin-san, you have the bridge."

"Very well." Xingke's comrade accepted, the bridge crew of the pyramid fortress saluting the Kyoto princess as she strode out of the room, the door closing behind the Kyoto princess' departure.

Kaguya kept her façade up even as she strode down the hallways of the Ikaruga, the various members of the Black Knights she encountered there stepping out of her side, looking on in wonder as the regal young girl strode past them with barely a word of acknowledgement, pausing only once, outside the door to her own chambers, which opened at her gesture.

"Kaguya!" Tianzi called out, the Chinese empress looking up in relief, having just finished communicating with Xingke "They made it! Everyone's coming back!" she trailed off at the look on her friend's face "Kaguya?"

"Not everyone…" Kaguya countered, and here her voice broke, the tears that she'd been fighting back now pouring from her distraught emerald eyes "Not everyone is coming back…"

"Kaguya…?" Tianzi wondered, the little empress' features lined with concern as she stepped forward, wrapping her arms around her closest, most beloved friend, holding her tight, stroking her ebony locks as the elder girl broke down in tears.

Britannian Consulate, medical wing...

"What's his status?" Schniezel demanded, the Prime Minister standing on the other side of a reflective pane of glass, watching as a team of Britannian Medical experts, the finest in their field, worked round the clock on the comatose form of Zero.

"Stable…for the moment." Kanon Maldini admitted, the aide de camp standing as ever at his lord's side, a medical report in hand "Which in itself is a miracle, NOTHING should have been able to survive that blast, let alone INTACT."

"Nothing WE could create, no." Schniezel corrected, his eyes never leaving Zero's unconcious features, the breathing mask placed over his mouth and nose presenting a pitiable image of fragility, a stark contrast to the young man he'd witnessed back at the Chinese Federation, who had remained tall and proud despite being stabbed in the chest.

"Sir," Kanon called out, knowing that he treaded on dangerous ground, interrupting Schniezel whenever he was lost in thought "The Emperor's personal transport touched down several minutes ago, I believe he is waiting for your report."

"The Emperor can wait." Schneizel muttered, earning a look of shock from his aide de camp, even as he smiled "Or so I would like to believe, but the fact remains that, as interesting as this situation is, there is little more I can do."

Taking one last look at the slumbering form of his brother, Schniezel turned on his heel and walked off, Kanon falling into step two feet behind his lord as they strode out of the infirimary, making their way to where the Emoperor's carrier had touched down, the man having opted to remain there, as the throne room had been partially destroyed by the FLEIJA'S detonation.

"By the way, Kanon," Schniezel spoke up, the 2nd prince not pausing in the slightest as he strode along the corridors"What of Nina?"

"She's been confined to quarters aboard the Albion since Zero's recovery, as per your orders, your Highness." Kanon revealed, a hint of concern in his features as he recalled the state the girl had been in when Zero had apparently survived her masterpiece "She appears to have calmed down, but only just."

"Maintain surveilance for now, but do not oppose her unless she tries to leave the ship." Schniezel ordered, his tone commanding, but not insensitive "After all, I would hate to lose such a…creative individual, simply because her grief caused her to attempt something…suicidal."

'Like attempting to finish the job her FLEIJA started.' Kanon finished, nodding his head in understanding, even as they stepped out of the ruined buildings into the courtyard, where the emperor's flagship was waiting.

Within moments, after the traditional check for concealed weapons, which Schniezel didn't even take offence to, it was certainly a precaution HE would take if he ever made the folly of raising his children like Charles had, the two found themselves standing before the Emperor of Britannia, dressed, as always, in his purple military uniform, his hair done up like a judge's wig, and an expression of stern displeasure on his face.

Around him were assembled the surviving Knights of the Round that had travelled to Area 11, which included Bismark Waldstein, Knight of One, Gino Weinburg, Knight of Three, Anya Alstreim, Knight of Six, Suzaku Kururugi, Knight of Seven, and the newly arrived Monica Kurszewski, the Knight of Twelve.

"You are LATE, Schniezel." The Emperor stated, in a tone that indicated he'd had better men executed for lesser affronts, and that he wasn't particularly fond of his second son to begin with. Nothing new there.

"My apologies, your Highness." Schniezel offered, his tone making it clear that he KNEW he lacked his father's favor, but was hardly afraid of incurring his ire, the 2nd prince bowing respectfully at the waist, a hand over his heart, even as Kanon dropped to one knee before the man "I was delayed whilst overseeing the repairs to the Consulate building, as well as instigating search and rescue protocols for Nunnally."

"Nunnally is missing?" Suzaku called out, the Knight of Seven's head snapping up at this revelation, his emerald eyes wide with horror "Don't tell me-!"

"Viceroy Nunnally was not caught in the blast range of the FLEIJA, Lord Kururugi." Kanon assured the teen, cutting the teen off before the Emperor could rebuke him for speaking out of turn, a rebuke that was NEVER given twice, for obvious reasons "She was in the lower levels, preparing to be evacuated, as per the safety procedures."

Suzaku relaxed, some of the guilt that had filled his emerald eyes vanishing, even as Gino shot his friend a comforting look from where he stood. The Knight of Seven had been kicking himself, literally, for firing the FLEIJA with the consulate building in the line of fire. Sure, it had been the Geass that Lelouch had placed on him that had compelled him to use the damanable weapon, but that still didn't change the fact that it was HIS finger on the firing stud.

"I see." Emperor Charles intoned, snapping the Knight out of his relieved musings in time to see the man's scowl hadn't alleviated in the slightest "While that is fortunate, it does not explain why my daughter's presence remains unknown."

"We have several theories in relation to that, your highness," Kanon called out, still kneeling behind Schniezel, his eyes on the floor and fist over his heart, only rising after Charles had gestured for him to continue "One, the detonation of the FLEIJA has created a dampening field that is interfering with our systems even now, it is estimated that this field will remain for at least another twenty-four hours, which is preventing us from picking up her distress beacon or communicating with the evacuation team."

"I see…" Charles muttered, Suzaku flinching as he caught the look the Emperor had sent him. Clearly the Emperor hadn't been kept in the dark as to WHO fired the FLEIJA in the first place "And the second?"

"Well sir," Kanon muttered, his tone tense "From what we've unconvered upon returning to the consulate, we believe that Viceroy Nunnally may have, in fact, been kidnapped prior to the FLEIJA ever being launched."

"Say what?" Gino exclaimed, the blonde Knight of Three blinking at the aide de camp in confusion, even as the rest of the Knights, with the exception of the normally deadpan Anya and a wide-eyed Suzaku, looked amongst themselves in alarm "How did THAT happen?"

"We're uncertain," Kanon admitted, shaking his head in apology "We only reached this conclusion after locating the bodies of Miss Lohmeyer and those soldiers that were assigned to escort the Viceroy in the hangar bay. From the looks of their corpses, it would appear a small, covert Special Ops Team was responsible."

"Do you suspect the Black Knights were involved?" Bismark asked, though it was clear from his expresion that the question was rhetorical. After all, who the hell else had the stones to attempt something so dangerous as kidnapping a member of the Royalty in the shadows of a raging battle?

"It's unknown." Kanon replied grimly "The enemy used our own access codes, were dressed in our own special-ops armour, and even went so far to recover the casings from their depleted rounds, though autopsy's revealed that they were standard Britannian ammunition."

"Which means it was almost certainly the Black Knights." Bismark muttered, earning a look of confusion from the elder Knights "This fits exactly with Zero's prior tactics; I'd have been more suspicious if they'd stormed the consulate building, rather than use our own codes to gain entry."

"Lord Jeremiah must have given them the codes when he defected." Gino reasoned, a serious expression marring his usually jovial featutes "But why would he do such a thing in the first place? I thought he HATED Zero?"

"Irrelevant." Charles interrupted, his tone making it clear the matter was not to be brought up even outside his earshot "On to more important matters." he glared down at his second son imperiously "Schniezal, have you gathered the informaton regarding this new weapon you saw fit to unleash without my approval?"

"I have, father.' Schniezel replied before gesturing to Kanon, who got to his feet, crossing to the bridge, where he brought up a schematic of the Tokyo Settlelement. "As you requested I had Kanon carry out an examination on the damages we COULD have incurred had Zero not intercepted the FLEIJA blast."

Suzaku flinched, casting a worried look towards the Charles and Schniezal, but the Emperor and 2nd Prince paid the Knight of Seven not even a moments notice, much to his relief. "And the result?" Charles demanded, his tone as imperious as ever, though now it seemed to carry and underlying hint of HUNGER, hunger for the new knowledge that was contained in the report. For knowledge was power, and as the Emperor was so fond of saying, power was everything.

"By our estimate, over Ten Million inhabitants would have been killed by the initial impact of the blast, with a further 25 million expected from secondary damages." Kanon revealed, looking a little unsettled by the sheer number, even as Suzaku visibly recoiled from the sheer size of the potential death's that would've been on his head "Judging by the postion and size of the collapse sphere, all rescue facilities and shelters would have been whiped out, making it impossible to care for the wounded and survivors."

"In short, the Tokyo Settlement would have been wiped off the face of the earth." Schniezel opined, casting an apparently unconcerned gaze towards the group, though his eyes seemed to rest for a moment on the now ashen-faced Knight of Seven the longest.

"I see…" Charles muttered, the Emperor's features unreadable as the display cut off, no doubt already making plans to have the weapon mass produced "And where is Zero now?"

"He's currently recuperating in the consulate's medical wing." Kanon reported dutifully, standing at his prince's side once again "So far he's remained unconcious, though a team of crack marksmen has remained on-site just in case he tries anything…untoward."

"I see…" Charles muttered, and for a moment, had anyone dared to look him in the eyes, they would have seen a flash of some deep, hidden emotion there, so fast it might have been a trick of the light "Schniezel," he called out at length "Continue to search for Nunnally, if the Black Knights are indeed involved in this, remind them we have their leader captive."

"What of Zero, my Lord?" Bismark asked, the Knight of one turning to face his Emperor, even as Schniezel took his leave, taking Gino, Suzaku and Anya with him.

"Have him bound and brought to me the moment he awakens." Charles muttered, his eyes flashing red as his Geass activated "I would have words with him."

Well, you asked for it, hope it was worth the wait.

A little action lite, but then again, Zero just survived a freaking FLEIJA, it'll be a while before he's busting Knightmares again.

Again, I ask you be patient when it comes to updates for this one. I don't want it to end up like my naruto works, which are literally dead in the water to me now.

Damn you Kishimoto...damn you to HECK.