By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
Like waking up from one living nightmare to the other, Suzaku stands. And just as all nightmares must have their inevitable conclusions, the world once again shatters to pieces at his feet.
He has died before this moment in time, certainly. But the limbo between life and death pales in comparison to the momentary lapse that comes with true demise, some part of his mind still remembering that dull thud before everything went black just for a moment. Waking then and there and now, nothing changes between the events unfolding. Just another ticking time bomb to when illusion becomes reality, and the dread of what could and shouldn't have - by all accounts - happened takes root and poisons from the inside out.
(Her hand around his as warmth fades away from it, and blood staining everything red as they have to pry him away - )
Never anything more than a murderer through and through and through. No right to even be around her, let alone dare to accept the feelings sharper than needles in his heart. And yet, yet and still, there's no doubt that they still exist in some form of the intensity from before. Some part of Suzaku has known that from the first time he saw her face again, through Zero's eyes and now his own as he follows the familiar path less taken (if only because he has no way of falling back on familiar masks now, given a choice).
"...Euphy?" Barely a sound in the dead of night, especially since he can't afford to be caught shouting now, of all times. But not even Zero himself could stop the way Suzaku's voice trembles to the point of suffocation as he knocks on the door, a dull thud that vanishes into the surroundings in an instant.
@Euphemia li Britannia <3!! so sorry this took awhile to get up, please let me know if you'd like anything changed.
There are silences that words cannot hope to fill and nightmares that one learns to live.
Euphemia sat in the living room. There was a cup of tea that had long gone cold on table before her and she held a book whose words had lost their meaning in her hands. How strange it was, to be home now, back to a world, a life, that looked so familiar and felt unrecognizable. She could still feel it. The memories of the previous month swirled around her, dancing with the fragments of a past she would not recall to the melody of an impossible future.
It seemed long nights had become a familiarity. The stillness was a comfort when time marched ruthlessly forward and even sleep could not save her from the screams of a broken heart.
Useless. Failure. Coward. Wearing the mask of Zero almost made her forget the person at its core. Nothing more than a porcelain doll with blood-stained hands. She had failed him. Failed them.
For a moment, she thought she heard something, a whisper in the wind. Her mind must have been playing tricks on her. Her name, spoken by the voice she longed to hear most of all.
A single knock resonated through the house, through her bones, as she bolted upright, her book clattering to the ground. She ran to the door, fumbling with the lock and yanking it open.
She must have dozed off at some point. She must have been dreaming. If she was, she didn't want to wake up anymore. Through tear-stained eyes, she could see him. She didn't want to move, terrified that if she did the world where Suzaku still breathed, still lived, would shatter into nothingness.
Suzaku. Before Pandora, the last time he heard that name was barely a sound, whispered like the everlasting contract it represented - still represents in many ways, more than one - among a chaos that ground time to a halt at his feet. And when the final word spoken sealed the last part of a pact long since already set into place the sword fell (as he did) away stained red, pieces of moments that were lost falling back into their rightful places all at once.
"I'm..." The name of a dead man walking shouldn't and can't exist. But being thrown into a world where ghosts come back to life breathes new purpose into the fragments that still fester behind the mask, tugging and insistent in their never ending quest to draw out what never deserved living to begin with. "alive. Here. None of it was real." Physically speaking, it's the truth. But memories have a way of lingering especially when unwanted in the first place, the curl of Suzaku's fingers at his side as he feels his eyes narrow with a tension that threatens to break apart at any moment.
"Euphy, are you okay? Are you hurt? Did they...did they do anything to you?" No amount of words in their universe and the next will ever convey the entirety of what he wants to say, but emotions make themselves known regardless of how pointless they may prove to be in the end. "I failed you once again." The tremor of each word as it drags off his tongue like lead, and it is so undeniably Suzaku that he can't help but look at her and then away, towards the ground. "I'm so, so sorry."
The words she spoke left her mouth as an instinct, his name coming as naturally as a heartbeat. 'Welcome home' was a breath of a memory long past, filled with green grass and sunlight. A time when her world felt much like a flower bud on the precipice of spring instead of the cold winter storm that consumed her life.
Her lavender gaze took in his appearance, the rise and fall of his chest and the slight curl to his fingertips. His lips part and words leave them that she doesn't quite register, but the word 'alive' echoes through her and shatters the cloying voices still telling her this was not real.
"I - "
"I failed you once again. I'm so so sorry." Somehow he spoke the words that were caught in her throat, her eyes went up, surprised. She was the one that failed. She failed to protect him, failed to get him back before it was too late, before...She shook her head slowly, she wasn't sure which question it was responding to. All of them, perhaps.
She took a step forward. Then another. If he asked her to stop, it fell on deaf ears. She couldn't waste another moment, not if this truly was a dream and she would awake any second and he would be gone again. Her arms wrapped around him, fingers digging into his shirt, and the tears that she'd been hiding away finally slipped down her face.
"You have nothing to be sorry for. You're home and that is all that matters."
One breath, then two, then three, the shaky and almost wheezing exhale that he once believed to be his last. As far as living goes, Suzaku can't remember the last time he felt so present in his own skin. It's a clawing sensation that starts from the chest to spread outwards and encompass entirely, but it's whole. Complete. Exists just the same.
"That's -" Fingers curled to the breaking point as they card through his hair in a single motion, seconds which feel like an eternity as she draws closer. "That's not true." No matter how hard he tries to keep her at arm's length, no force in the world can stop the inevitable collision brought upon by events past, present, and future. "They targeted you because of me. I promised to protect you and I couldn't do it." What good is a knight's honor when there's no one left to uphold it?
(What good is a promise after it's broken?)
"I can't stay. It's impossible." Even so, despite all protests and insistence, there's purpose in the way he mirrors her movements after a moment's hesitation. "I don't deserve to be here. I know that." Suzaku lowers his voice to barely a whisper, and that in itself to a dead man is as close to tears as he'll likely ever get. "But...I just had to make sure you were okay. I don't...I don't know what I'm meant to do anymore." The tips of his fingers which serve as a point of contact between them wavers slightly, trembles, then stills. Silence is supposed to be empty, but this one deafens in the space left behind.
His clothes smelled faintly damp, but underneath it, he simply smelled like him. Warm, like the sunlight he once brought into her life. Her fingertips were shaking, but still, she clung tighter. Desperate to keep him there. Scared, terrified, that he would disappear, or perhaps that she would and they'd be left with nothing but sad memories and shards of broken hearts.
"it wasn't your choice to be targeted." It wasn't his choice, it wasn't any of their choice. But words would not ease the guilt that strangled their souls, she knew that better than anyone else. Somehow, she wanted him to believe it though. "You did everything you could. None of us - none of us could have stopped it."
'I couldn't stop it'
The tears came harder then. The meaning of "it" was becoming blurred. Thoughts, feelings, that were never able to be said finally broke free into the dim porch light. She leaned forward, her forehead leaning against his shoulder. he corner of her lips turned upwards, a lonely ghost of a smile.
"You're still so stubborn..." She mumbled. She loved that about him, she loved everything that made him Suzaku. She still did. It was a reminder that even after everything had changed, some things never would.
"Suzaku, " She breathed his name, a moment of hesitation before her next words. "I shouldn't be alive right now. I - I've done such terrible things. Even now, I'm still - I'm still no good."
"I don't know why I'm still here, but everything about this world is impossible. Maybe it's our chance...to decide what we're meant to do," She squeezed her eyes shut. Her hands loosened slightly as if exhausted by their desperation. He could leave her grasp if he wanted. "I know it's selfish. But, please stay...with us. Please stay with me"
What are second chances if not meant to be taken? In many ways, Pandora and Euphy have always been that from the very beginning, an opportunity entirely undeserving but wanted all the same. Just as he becomes certain that the last remaining vestiges of Suzaku are all but gone, so too does fate choose to step in and intervene. Possibilities, like a crossroads, sprawl out ahead of him. It's a choice balanced on the edge of a knife, with each end destination some semblance of falling all the same.
"What happened back then wasn't your choice, either." Whether out of frustration or vulnerability, his hold on her tightens subconsciously. When she leans forward, part of him mirrors the gesture to meet halfway. "That's why Lelouch and I did what we did. It isn't your fault." No matter what happens, part of him will never be able to help but be drawn to her - inextricably, undeniably. "It wasn't your fault, Euphy. It never has been."
The last time he shed tears was behind a mask and a guise, sword in hand under a different name. And while Suzaku's face twists and goes through the motions past the cracks that have since formed on the impassive walls he's built up over the years, he can't quite bring himself to cry. Not yet, not here, not now, not ever. Unless the passage of time says otherwise, he's stil an existence that doesn't deserve to be in the context of this world or the last.
Part of him remembers her smile, that laugh, and the pin in his pocket speaks volumes when it comes to the undeniable bond still present between them. "The blame falls entirely on the two of us. Zero is proof of that fact." Breathing and swallowing has never felt so deafening before. Proof that he's still alive by all accounts, and the weight of her words as they settle with all the intensity of a promise several times over. "No matter what you say about yourself, you've always been everything to me, Euphy." The hand that saved him from drowning, and a guiding light to a better and brighter future before it was all taken away.
"...Is that an order?" Back then, love was foreign and new. "If I were to refuse, would you order me once more, your highness?" This time feels more like settling into a routine that never quite left. Coming home.
Strange how their paths had become so intertwined. For a little, she had believed it would always be that way. Before, the concept of Euphemia without Suzaku and vice versa was one that had not donned upon her. It felt like they would forever be walking side by side towards the future they envisioned so dearly. But then, she looked away and found herself standing alone in an unfamiliar world, only to turn her gaze forward and find he was so far ahead of her, nearly out of sight. Out of grasp. They both had been.
A breath escaped her when she felt his arms tighten around her, finding herself doing the same. Funny how she could remember Lelouch telling her something similar, but it sounded so different in his voice. She wanted to believe him, she wanted to trust his words just as she always had. It had not been her fault. But had it truly not been? She had set them down this path. Her choices, her ambitions and dreams. Now, she remained an anomaly, an existence outside of time and space. She had her part to play, a leading role in their tragic tale. What irony there was now, as he claimed Zero to be proof of their blame. The mantle that she, herself had taken up (the mask and clothes hidden away in that very house).
How did a breath hold so much weight? A breath taken in defiance of what the world had ordained her, all of them to. Now she found it being taken away. It seemed to be something of a talent of his. Part of her hesitated, eager to fall back into words she knew so well, a command that still echoed through her heart. 'I hereby command you to love me' and in return, she would love him for the rest of forever.
But things had changed since then, they had changed. She shook her head slowly. "No. I am asking you, to stay by my side. Not as simply your princess, but as Euphy, your Euphy. Allow me to remain true to my promise to you, to love you forever because I have never stopped, Suzaku."
Asking rather than an order, and for a moment, time stands still. There are a million different things he should and could be saying in this situation, Suzaku knows, but nothing in the world could ever have prepared him for everything transpired up until this point. Once upon a time, it was so simple to follow her, to believe that he deserves whatever existed and still does, in many ways, between them even now. Time changes and warps so much, but even in the darkest of nights there remains light. Hope.
"There's no way I could refuse that." Heartbeat like waves as they crash back and forth on shore, and an all-encompassing noise that blurs the surroundings until Euphy and only her remains, nothing more. "It's always been impossible to refuse you, Euphy." Suzaku pulls back just enough to look her in the eyes as he speaks, in hopes of conveying the sincerity through look alone. "Only you."
"And if that is truly you wish, then I...I'll stay at your side. I won't make the same mistakes as last time. I can't." He bites his lip, stares at a point past her before settling back. "My feelings for you...they've never changed. Even after Suzaku died and I became Zero...I've always loved you. That much will never change."