He knows. Even before the mask starts to crack he knows, knows from the searing pain in the middle of his forehead.
Two things that Zero stole from him now.
Because it was Lelouch. Because it had always been Lelouch.
(Anyone but Lelouch, he’d thought fervently every single time he’d been laid up in medical, every time he’d lain awake in someone else’s bed—Euphie’s, others, he can’t keep track the number, but every time it had been a prayer. Please oh please, anyone but Lelouch)
He can’t even say when it shifted from just wishing to not taint his precious friend with his ugly soul into the dying hope of not finding Lelouch under the mask.
The helmet splits. Falls. Clatters to the ground. Kallen gasps at the sight but all he knows is the rivulet of blood running down his own face, like a farewell caress. He doesn’t need to see. He knows.
Suzaku’s hands start to shake.
Hope is a dead thing.
Julius knows. They’re in the middle of an active war zone, of course he knows, he’d have to be an idiot not to and even effectively lobotomized, Lelouch is no idiot.
Suzaku is getting tired of the ghostly echos of Julius’s trailing knives and nails along his inner thighs as he tries to sleep.
One of the marks runs too deep, scabbing and scarring and staying and far too close to the inside of his hip for comfort and he knows what it means. You’re mine, Julius says without words, you will never forget me.
He comes back from a battle once with a scratch on his cheek to see Julius waiting with his infuriating smirk, trickle of blood displayed like a banner long after Suzaku had wiped away his own.
When he finally wraps his hands around Julius’s (Lelouch’s Lelouch’s Lelouch’s) slender neck, Suzaku can feel the strain in his own throat and for one blissful moment, nothing has ever felt this exquisite—but then Lelouch shatters the illusion and the world comes crashing back down around them.
The rawness nearly kills him.
Gino knows. Knows barely anything but knows something all the same, the knowledge that comes from asking too many questions even if he gets no answers because sometimes that is answer enough.
He'd asked once if Suzaku chased after his soulmate the way he does Zero and what could even be said to that?
Nothingness damns him more than anything else.
Gino doesn't ask as many questions after that.
C.C. knows. She probably knew from the beginning just like how Lelouch probably knew the second Suzaku had been shot in that dusty warehouse all that time ago in Shinjuku.
(He knows and yet he still—)
But she knows and she watches and she hates him for it. Hates him for hurting Lelouch.
But not as much as he’d like her to.
She’d shown him once, hiked up her skirt one day without a word or warning to show him the small, raw red scab over her kidney.
Not even an inch long, but she knows sometimes that’s all it takes.
They’re both so tired, so so tired, and Lelouch is like fire, like the Sun; even diminished as he is by the Requiem already, he burns bright and they turn towards him like sunflowers in the light to ease their weary bones.
It’s cruel of the world to take from them the last thing worth living for, loss snapping at their heels for all they have left.
But the fall of the guillotine cuts the threads between them all the same.
Nunnally knows; she had been in the Damocles with Lelouch when the Lancelot fell. Lelouch hadn't told him but it was obvious all the same.
Just another lie for her to lay at their feet.
Nunnally knows and the world does too for she is unsubtle and shameless in how she speaks of the demon and his sword.
Thus the world knows and condemns them both.
Suzaku knows. He knows and he will never forget. The scars on and over his heart will never allow it.
And they will never heal.
He spreads his legs one night to stare at Julius's mark, the only lasting memory of Lelouch save from the final one (the one he can't stand, the one he hides from) and not even a mark left by Lelouch's own hand.
A pitiful memory except as a reminder of his own mistakes. Fitting for him to be the one to have caused his only scars of resonance.
The only signs of his lost soul and the harshest signs of his sins.
Both of them the cruelest of claims.
He treasures them.