Thank you to Snipperita and Firediva0 for reviewing! I do have a minor OC in here, I hope you all don't mind. I really didn't want to keep referring him to 'the little boy' so I gave him a name! Hey, maybe you guys might even like the lil' runt xD
Allen's mood had it's ups and downs all over that morning. It shifted from grumpiness from his exploding migraine, to cheerfulness about what happened last night, to nervousness also about what happened last night, and then laziness when he realized he had to do work that morning to make up for the information he received last night. He felt his heart overcome with warmth as he checked the town to see what time it was. Thankfully, it hadn't reached eight yet, but it was close. He needed to hurry if he wanted to have a decent breakfast. He walked into a small bakery and sat down on a bench so he'd avoid waiting in line. Once it was clear, he walked to the stand and pointed out different breads in the small variety. The chef served him quickly and Allen paid before walking out and shoving it all in his mouth. It then occurred to him that Neah hadn't really talked to him today...which made him feel nervous again.
"There you are! You're just on time!" Allen stirred out of his daze and looked over to see the barmaid he met last night jogging over to him. He swallowed and followed her. "I almost didn't recognize you because you had your hood down!" She laughed lightly and walked towards her house. Hearing that, Allen made sure to put his hood up and cursed himself for being so careless. His thoughts were so focused on last night that he hadn't been paying enough attention. For all he knew, Marie or Kanda could have seen him by now. She stopped outside a small cabin and pointed to one of the bigger houses next to her own. "The boy lives there, but you can go there after you've finished your work."
Allen almost groaned, but resisted it. He'd rather hurry up and acquire the Innocence before Kanda and Marie did; however, Allen didn't complain. This woman was being nice enough to give him the information that she wouldn't give to the exorcists so he might as well take advantage of it. He did promise that he'd help her, after all, and by the looks of her cabin, she wasn't the richest in town. Allen felt like he should help her, whether she told him to or not. She started off by directing him to pick up a few farm animals to deliver to one of her friends.
Allen couldn't even begin to explain how much hell she put him through.
She really took advantage of his kindness and even went so far as to work him over time for some more information that her neighbor had started spouting off again. She made him do everything. He cleaned her entire house, repainted it, fed her animals, took some of her animals to the butchers (and the livestock was hard to catch, mind you), helped her fill out some forms for her tavern, washed and dried dishes for the tavern, tended to her slow-growing garden, and had even taken some of her pets baths. When this woman said she was going to work him hard, she meant it. Allen found it hard to keep up with all the tasks she had given him. He was immensely relieved when he finally finished his jobs around four. That's an hour past what she said he'd be working. Gambling was easier than this.
"You really know how to push yourself, young man." She complimented and handed him a glass of water. He was definitely thankful that it wasn't alcohol. His head was still aching from his hangover. "I guess this means that our deal is over then?" She asked.
"Not yet..." He panted, wiping the sweat that gathered on his brow. "...you still have to tell me more about that neighbor of yours." Allen reminded as he stood up and gave her and expected look, downing the rest of his water in one go.
"Oh, right. He was saying something about finally finding the jewel, but he said some kind of monsters were blocking his way and he was asking people around town to help out." She informed absentmindedly, receiving the glass that he had drank out of. "He lives over there if you need him. Good luck finding that Innocence of yours!" She cackled as she left. Allen shook his head at the woman's laughter and stood up to go check out the house that the woman had pointed to. He knocked on the door gently. An elderly woman opened the door.
"Excuse me, ma'am, my name is Allen. By any chance, do you have a little boy staying here with you?" He asked kindly. She seemed taken aback by his appearance but recovered quickly. She nodded and walked out of her house slowly. Allen made sure to give the older lady some room as she shakily pointed to the back of the house.
"He's out playing in the backyard with a few friends." She said in a raspy voice. Allen nodded and thanked her before hurrying to the back of the house. There were a few boys from yesterday kicking the ball to each other. He looked around for one that he hadn't seen before and his eyes fell on a dirty kid with bright brown eyes that seemed to light up at everything. I hope he never has to deal with death...he seems so happy...Allen observed with a small smile. He walked towards them and called over.
"Excuse me!" He called out lightly so he wouldn't distract anyone with his shouting. They all looked over and some of them grinned at the sight of him again. The boy with bright eyes looked around before curiously running over.
"What's up, geezer?" He asked casually. Allen cleared his throat at that.
"I'm sixteen." He clarified. "Anyways, I've heard quite a few things...did you say that there was a jewel around here?" Allen asked and the boy's eyes lit up with joy.
"Yeah! There's some monsters trying to get to it though and I can't figure out how to break the barrier, did you come to help?" He asked with a smile. "Maybe...do you know what kind of gem it is...or how much it is?!" He asked excitedly. Allen nodded and crouched down eye-level with the boy.
"That gem is very important to me." Allen started, speaking slowly so he wouldn't say anything he'd regret. "It isn't really valuable. Truthfully, it's used to exorcise those monster that are trying to get to it. They only want to destroy it." Allen explained. He seemed disheartened that it wasn't valuable; but at the same time, he seemed excited for an adventure.
"So you're an exorcist too then? You seem much nicer than those other guys that came here." The shorter boy said with a frown. Allen stiffened a bit.
"They came here too? Did they go after it too?" Allen asked quickly and the boy nodded, dumbfounded.
"I told them to go away, but they were persistent." He said with a growl. Allen stood up quickly. If he didn't hurry in time, he knew that Kanda and Marie would get their hands on it without a doubt. It was obvious that the barrier was set up by finders and since Allen didn't have his exorcist uniform on him, there'd be no way that they'd tell him the password. "Are you going to chase after them?!" Allen nodded and turned to run but felt a tug on his sleeve. "Take me with you!" He insisted.
"It's too dangerous." Allen warned. "If you get hit by one of their bullets, a virus will spread throughout your body and you'll turn to dust." The boy gulped but still seemed to determined anyways.
"I'll stay away, promise! Just take me with you! I don't want them to have it!" He snapped. Allen sighed and nodded his head, offering the boy his back. He seemed delighted and jumped up. "My name is Aren, what's yours?" The boy asked.
"Allen." The ex-exorcist answered as he ran. "Where is the jewel?" Allen asked quickly and Aren didn't hesitate to point in the direction of where he knew it was. As quickly as he could, Allen ran in that direction, checking his surroundings every so often to make sure that Kanda and Marie were nearby. Allen stopped outside of an open space that was surrounded by dead trees. He hid behind one of them and set Aren down.
"This is where it is, I'm sure of it!" Aren informed and walked forward. "Follow me." Allen nodded and followed after the boy, putting up his guard just in case he needed to grab Aren and run. They walked for about ten minutes until Allen could hear steel against steel. "Whoa..." Aren muttered. Allen looked past the shorter boy and saw Kanda and Marie fighting the Akuma. "Those are the monsters I was telling you about! Oh, and the gem is in that huge barrier-looking thing." Aren said, pointing at the finders' barrier. The Akumas paused in fighting and looked away from the exorcists they were currently fighting, catching said exorcists off-guard.
"I smell him!" One of them cackled and headed in their direction. Allen turned to Aren.
"Run!" He instructed and ran the other way. Aren didn't hesitate to run the opposite way. He sent Allen a worried look and looked at the barrier to see that the exorcists were messing with the machines while the Akuma were occupied with chasing after Allen.
"Heehee, the Earl will reward us greatly if we kill him with our Innocence!" The other one cheered, encouraging his comrade on. Allen ignored the stinging in his legs and kept running around, making sure to keep his eye on Kanda and Marie, who were now dissolving the barrier. He just narrowly dodged a bullet and cleared his head so he could focus. Where's a Noah when you need one!? He thought and nearly crashed into a tree when he saw Aren running out into the open towards the two exorcists, who had finally unlocked the barrier.
"Idiot!" Allen muttered as he watched Aren snatch the Innocence right before Kanda's eyes and book it out of there. Allen ran out of the clearing and towards Aren, who was now running away screaming. Allen didn't blame the poor boy, seeing as Kanda was on his tail. Out of nowhere, another Akuma appeared and prepared to fire it's bullet at Aren. Crap! Allen really didn't want to shout out since he knew that Marie would know who he was if he did, but he had no choice. It was either be discovered or let Aren die and he was not about to take a happy boy's life away. "Aren, duck!" Allen shouted and dived. He managed to get a good hold on Aren and they rolled in the dirt.
"Whoa! That was amazing!" Aren gasped. He had no time to celebrate as Allen grabbed him by his stomach and took off running.
"Where the hell do these guys keep coming from?!" Kanda shouted, chasing after the two.
"He's gaining on us, can't you run any faster?!" Aren shouted in a matter of panic.
"Not really!" Allen shouted back.
"You're older than I am and you're running like a girl!" The younger boy taunted.
"Give me a break, I was working all day!" Allen argued back. He let out a strangled cry when a bullet nearly grazed his cheek. "Not to mention I'm getting fired at!" He reasoned. Aren covered his head when they started firing bullets in rapid-fire. Allen panted and quickly ducked into the dead forest, hiding behind a tree and panting like his life depended on it. "This isn't good, they know where I am..." Allen mumbled, trying to think quickly.
"Can't you just use the gem to defeat them? That's what you told me." Aren pointed out. Allen blinked several times. He hadn't even thought about that.
"It's not really that easy though, I have to find some way to get it inside my-" Allen was cut off when the Innocence slammed against the palm of his hand, causing him to let it go. It zoomed around and the two of them stared at it stupidly. "...what the heck...?" Allen muttered as he watched it zoom off.
"You moron, you let it go!" Aren shouted and ran after it. Allen looked to the right of him and saw an Akuma heading for him.
"Aren, watch out!" Allen called and quickly forced himself to run after the boy. Once again, Allen had dived for the boy and managed to shield him in time. However, this time, Allen had gotten hit by a bullet. All fell silent except for the Akuma, who started to bicker at each other about not turning him to dust. Apparently the Earl wanted to see his dead body. Allen's mind was thrown into a frenzy mode and he was sure that Neah was freaking out.
"...Allen, you...you got hit...you're..." Aren stuttered, horrified at what would happen to his new friend.
Black stars appeared on his skin and crowded so much that his entire form was black. It was then that the Innocence spun around and, with a powerful impact, shoved itself inside his hand. The impact was so great that it caused him to fly backwards. Pain flooded through his black hand. It wasn't used to this type of Innocence and was twitching all over. Marie and Kanda were standing there, shocked by what they were seeing. Just then, Allen's wrist had exploded and blood came pouring out. Through the blood, you could see silver stigmata appear around his wrist and he felt the Innocence forming a new cross into the back of his hand. Instead of red, like his last one, it had turned silver.
"Tyki, he's over here!" Road's voice echoed through the dry valley. It all happened so fast that Allen could barely even register being picked off the ground.
"Wh-who are you people?! Let me go!" Aren shouted, kicking and screaming.
"It's okay, we're friends of Allen's." Devit assured and Aren shut up.
"We have to hurry! Allen's hurt!" Aren shouted, pushing his hand against Devit's face, causing a tic mark to appear on the Noah of Bonds' face.
"Shut up, we know!" He snapped and tried to contain the boy. Aren just didn't seem to want to sit still. Allen could feel his eyes slowly closing as his exhaustion had finally caught up with him. His legs felt like they were burning slowly and his left arm ached so much he felt that even cutting it off would make it feel better. Just before he closed his eyes, he saw something gold flutter towards Kanda and Marie.
"What do you two mean you failed?!" Komui barked loudly. Kanda winced at the loud, annoying voice and growled. Marie sighed tiredly and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
"Exactly what you think I mean! We failed to retrieve the Innocence!" Kanda repeated.
"Finders risked their lives to make sure the Akuma couldn't get to that Innocence! How could you be so careless?!" He asked, truly angry. You'd rarely ever see Komui so angry unless someone had been hitting on Lenalee. Then again, these days times were tough. None of them ever expected that Allen's leaving would have such a big impact on all of their lives. Lavi watched curiously as Timcanpy zoomed around like the golem was having a heart attack. He had previously been snickering at Kanda's scolding, but his attention was caught by the anxious golem.
"It's not our fault that stupid beansprout appeared out of nowhere!" Kanda found himself shouting back.
"...beansprout? You don't mean..." Komui trailed off and looked to Marie for confirmation. The blind exorcist nodded. Feeling an explanation coming on, Timcanpy flew over to Komui's desk and opened his mouth to preview what happened with his master.
"Once we had released the barrier, a little boy came running over and grabbed it. He was almost killed by an Akuma twice, but Allen had rescued him before then. The second time that Allen had rescued him, he had been shot by an Akuma's bullet. While the Akuma were arguing, Kanda had exorcised them. The Innocence that the little boy had snatched before is right here. It starting shooting itself around in the sky and before we knew it, it had shot into Allen's arm, just like that." Marie explained as Komui watched the visuals. "Once it had become accustomed to Allen's arm, his wrist had exploded for unknown reasons. Then, as you see here, the Noah appeared and took both of them away."
The room was completely silent.
Timcanpy had closed his mouth and started zooming around anxiously again as if he had no idea what to do about his master's injuries. The poor golem was worried out of his mind. It was then that it occurred to the golem that Cross was still here. He flew out of the room quickly to show his other master about Allen's appearance. The office was silent as everyone tried to absorb the information about their friend. Komui was the first to speak up. "This doesn't make any sense...something fishy is going on here..." He mumbled distractedly.
"What do you mean, brother?" Lenalee asked, expecting him to explain.
"Think about it, do you remember what Tyki said to you and Lavi? He told you that Allen was going to be taken over by the Noah inside him, right? But if Allen knew that, what was the point in going to retrieve another Innocence? The Noah are no longer trying to destroy the Innocence, so he obviously needed it for himself...but if he's going to be taken over by The 14th, why bother even receiving another Innocence? There must be something that Allen isn't telling anyone...he wouldn't just go get the Innocence for nothing..." Komui mumbled to himself. Everyone made sure to listen in to their previous Destroyer of Time's actions.
"So what do you think then?" Lavi asked. "Do you think that Allen is trying to get rid of the Noah inside of him by using the Innocence?" Lavi suggested. Komui shook his head.
"No, otherwise the Noah would've stopped him. I think that maybe if a Noah is born with, or receives an Innocence, it won't hurt them...there's something else that we're missing here..." The scientist gathered.
"What other possibility is there? Maybe the beansprout just wants to free some more Akuma before he goes. Since you said that Noah can have Innocence too, maybe he's giving The 14th that Innocence to help us in the Holy War. We still have a year and a half before we see them again." Kanda reminded.
"Maybe...that might just be it. Perhaps...he's trying to give all the Noah Innocence so they can be accepted to help by the Black Order..." Komui guessed. "We can't know for sure without studying it some more but it'll be a long time before we see Allen again and by the time we see him again..." Komui trailed off, he just couldn't say it...it was Lavi who decided to finish his sentence for him.
"...he might not even be Allen anymore..."