A Big Shadow

A Paint It Black Story - Raven

D.M. Evans

Disclaimer – not mine, all rights belong to Katsura Hoshino, just doing a little nonprofit playing.

Rating – PG-13

Time line – includes spoilers for bound vol #3 (so up to and including ch 26)

Pairing – gen fic with some Allen/Lenali musings

Summary – As he lies in his hospital bed, fears creep into Allen's mind like shadows

Author's Note #1- this was written for colorific's Paint it Black challenge using the prompt "Raven" and being faced with the Ravi/Lavi, Rinali/Lenalee/Linali translation dilemmas I split the difference and went with Lenalee and Ravi (because Lavi just reminds me of the lavatory…)

Author's Note #2 – I only have access to the bound volumes and am not following the series in scanlations on line so any errors in my future speculations are apologized for in advance

Worry gives a small thing a big shadow – Swedish Proverb

It wasn't fair. Allen could barely pry himself out of bed, let alone go on another mission soon. He felt exhausted, aches nesting in his joints like serpents. In fact, he had sent Ravi out of the room on the pretense of not being able to sleep while someone watched, even if that someone was meant as a guardian.

He flexed the fingers on his misshapen hand. They all worked with only a twinge of pain. Komui had apparently done a fine job of repairing all the damage Road had done to Allen's arm. Still, how could Komui think Allen was ready for another mission, no matter how urgent?

Allen sat up and the pain in his head surged. His stomach roiled, his mouth running salt water, and for a moment he thought he'd vomit. Maybe that would prove to Komui that he wasn't fit for duty just yet. Part of Allen's reluctance was his fears and the sense of loss tearing at him. The memory of Road torturing him was as sharp as the stake she had plunge into his eye. Allen shuddered as if feeling the blood and gel weeping down his scarred cheek all over again. What was he going to do now that part of him was so terribly injured? At fifteen, he was already maimed. As if his white hair, scarred face and strange arm with the Innocence embedded in it didn't attract enough attention, now he had this to deal with. Of course, looking at Ravi, Allen couldn't help but wonder if there were a lot of one-eyed Exorcists. Would he lose his special sight? What if he could no longer spot an akuma?

Allen judged the pain in his head, the nausea in his stomach and the urging of his bladder, trying to determine if he could lie in bed or would bodily need force him up. Maybe he shouldn't have been so fast to send Ravi away but Allen didn't think that he could use a bed pan in front of a stranger; worse, Ravi might summon Komui to help.

The room spun as he stood. Allen clamped a hand over his mouth, hoping to hold the flood in should it surge upward. Getting his stomach under control, Allen searched for a water closet. All he found was a thunder pot; that would have to do. One urgent need cared for, Allen crashed into the edge of the dresser after washing his hands, cursing at his loss of depth perception.

He got back under the covers, which stank of his sweat. He wondered how long Komui would let him rest and recover. Allen's fingers brushed the bandage over his eye. Maybe he should be thankful for Komui's assumption that he'd be well enough for action and take it as a hopeful sign that the science officer felt that Allen would heal without infection or other trials.

Bone weary as he was, Allen couldn't sleep. Maybe he should ask to visit Lenalee. If he knew she was healing, could see it with his own eyes…eye, then maybe he could relax. Worrying about her was the other reason Allen didn't want to go away on another extended mission. He had become aware of something when he had been stuck in the repeating day; he was exceedingly attracted to Lenalee. His body occasionally tried slipping his control around her and he didn't mean just in his inexplicable desire to show off around her. Allen couldn't help the stray thoughts about burying his fingers in her raven hair, touching her soft lips.

As sharp and painful as any of the physical wounds he endured was the sting of Lenalee's anger at him for risking his life trying to save the akuma's soul. The slap to his face, the worry in her dark eyes, hurt but it also gave him hope that she felt something for him. Allen had never thought much about girls before; he never had time but now…he couldn't help notice Lenalee, those curves, the way the dark boots hugged her lithe legs.

Then again, if Komui wanted to wait until his sister was awake before explaining the details of the new mission that probably meant he planned to send Lenalee, too. That idea made Allen's heart do a strange skipping thing that was far from unpleasant.

As protective as Komui was, Allen wondered if the science officer would allow his sister to go with Allen, if Komui had a clue that Allen was attracted to her; worse if he knew that she might like him back, the science office might create another robot trained to emasculate Walker. The young exorcist had no intentions of illuminating Komui on his feelings.

The sound of sudden rain kissing the glass made Allen huddle up under the stale sheets. The quilt felt heavy and as warm as a hug. He didn't want to go out in the cold autumn rain. Allen wished Komui had pulled the curtains so he didn't even have to see the gray ugly skies outside. Still, storm or no, sleep dragged the boy down. As Allen slipped into slumber, a cozy dream closed over him; a crackling fire to stave off the autumn chill, Lenalee and him in front of it. After all he'd endured, a pleasant dream was his due.