(A/N): OMG! I'm sooo sorry for the super lateness of this chapter...I really am! -hides- I didnt think AP testing and SAT2s and all those tests and crap could honestly stress me out that much and take so much time...I'm sorry! -bows- Buuuttt this is the longest chapter by far, sooo...that makes up for things, right? At least a little? -hopeful-

Disclaimer: I own nothing, cuz Hoshino-san cant be bribed with anything...poo


What Once Was
14th Night: Alias

Lavi stirred, blinking away the blurriness around him. Sitting up, he felt the cold, uneven dirt and stone floor first. Wait, what? He knew for sure that the floor of the old temple they were in was nothing like this, so then why did he feel it now? Looking around him, the redhead found himself in a dreary alleyway, small puffs of mist hovering just above the ground like ghosts. "Where…?" For a while, he had to blindly grope his way along the ally, hoping for anything that could possibly help him see in this darkness. Finally, as if hearing his silent plea, the clouds overhead parted and allowed the brightness of the full moon to shine along the seemingly deserted town.

And along with the rolling of the clouds, a scream pierced the sky.

Lavi's visible eye widened before he took off, heading to where the scream came from, not noticing the fact that he himself could barely be seen. As soon as he exited the ally, a woman ran past him, her long flame-red hair flowing behind her. It was only for a moment, but he was sure she was carrying something. No, someone.

It was a boy, he was sure, with hair as red as the woman carrying him.

As soon as they passed, they left, as if they never saw the Bookman Apprentice. Lavi didn't have time to register who they really were before a blur sped past him. He cursed once before giving chase to the level one Akuma.

XxX

She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, despite the burning pain in her side, not really knowing where she was going. She could hear the monster coming closer and closer, and at the same time, could hear the boy in her arms whimpering. "Shh," she tried to soothe him, "Don't worry, it won't get you, okay? Don't be afraid…"

"But, Mom! That thing, it…it killed sis! It's coming after us 'cause I made it mad! Just put me down and run, I'll distract it!"

"No!"

The woman held her son tighter against her and turned a sharp corner in an effort to lose the monster. It didn't work. The machine looking contraption was right behind her, destroying several buildings in its way. Several times, she nearly tripped, but continued to run, if only for the boy in her arms. He whimpered, argued, and begged, but she would not let him go. Not to his certain death.

XxX

Lavi growled and muttered a few curses under his breath as he ran. Why was he seeing this? He vaguely remembered this ally, that woman. He gritted his teeth and he knew. He knew he was going to watch her die.

Again.

XxX

"Mom!" the boy cried as his mother tripped against an unseen object, obscured in the blanket of darkness. "Mom, are you okay? Mom, get up, come on!" It was then that he tried to help her up, but winced as a cracking sound pierced through the night, accompanied by a cry of pain.

Slowly, as if purposely creating an ominous aura of suspense and anger, the clouds moved overhead, revealing the ball of light that was the moon. "K-Kai…you have to run." The little boy shook his head violently, his fiery red locks swaying to and fro. His panic began to rise as his mother simply smiled at him and shakily sat up. "I can feel it…my leg's broken. I can't run anymore…so you have to."

"No! I'm not leaving you behind..!"

"Kai! Now is not the time to argue--run! The Akuma is coming, you have to get out of here!"

Kai blinked, causing the tears that were collecting in his eyes to fall down his pale face. "A-Akuma…?"

Everything happened so fast. At first, he couldn't comprehend it, not entirely. It would be days, weeks, months no, years even, to fully grasp what happened and accept it.

His mother's kind, gentle, loving smile.

The crash, the building near them crumbled, and collapsed.

Her tearful eyes as she pushed him away.

Darkness, as it covered his form.

His cries as he watched all that happened.

The turning of the Akuma, and its minute mask of a face smirking.

The rounds of bullets, as they sped towards his mother, cutting through the air like a knife.

Her shining emerald orbs and small smile as she took one last look at him.

"I love you, don't ever forget that."

XxX

"I haven't…"

For a brief second, the Bookman Apprentice wished that the Akuma that had taken his mother's life had also taken his. That way, he would've been with her, even now. But then again, if it did, he would never have met the old man, never decided to become a Bookman, never met those in the Order, and never met Karen.

Gritting his teeth, he clenched his hands into fists, any harder and his nails would've brought out blood. But right now, he didn't care. Why was he seeing this? Of course, he remembered all of this, but that didn't mean that he needed to see his own mother killed, again, right before his eyes. Sure he had done some pretty low and awful things in his short life, but did he really do anything to deserve this?

Lavi watched as the Akuma turned and looked around, searching for what he knew was his former self. He knew it wouldn't find him, though. If it did, he wouldn't be standing here right now. But then again, why was he standing around here? He had to find everyone, but he didn't know where to start. He was in the exact replica of his past. Everything was as he remembered it, not a thing was out of place. Nothing, except for that small, white rabbit.

At first, he thought he was seeing things but after staring at the tiny creature and blinking his eyes a few times, without the rabbit disappearing, he knew that it was there, for sure. He blinked as the rabbit turned to him and seemed to smile at him. That was it, he was losing it. But before he could even have another thought about it, a crash diverted his attention. He looked around him once more but realized that he was no longer in the dark, bloody area where he just was a few moments before.

He was in a fairly small kitchen, dark mahogany cabinets lined the shelves, each weathered over the years in which they were used, a small sink, dirty plates covering most of the sink, and dozens upon dozens of empty or nearly empty bottles of beer, wine, champagne, and other alcoholic beverages that did not need a name, covering the countertop. In the center of the room, he saw himself and a man, who looked to be in his late thirties, maybe early forties. He had short, auburn hair and dark, green eyes, almost to the point of being black. His clothes were a mess and a half empty beer bottle was swaying in his hand, his other was formed into a fist.

"It's all-hic-your fault! You little-hic-If it wasn't for you…Rose would still be here! -hic- and your sister-hic-Kae…why didn't you die instead!?"

"B-but, Papa…"

A hit, a crash.

Lavi winced as he watched, his own hands forming themselves into fists. It wasn't his fault, he knew that. It wasn't him who had called the Akuma and chased after them.

Jacob growled slightly and hit his son once more, not caring that he crashed into the empty bottles and gaining cuts all over his small frame. "It's your fault!"

It had been two days since Rose's death, and two days since Kai had gotten away and returned home. However, instead of a father's welcoming embrace, the first thing Jacob had done was hit his son. He never liked him in the first place, why was he the only one to survive? Why not his obedient daughter, or his wonderful wife? No, it had to be the person that he resented so much.

The stress, the hurt, the loss, everything was becoming too much for him, but he didn't even bother considering what the young redhead was feeling. Grabbing a knife from the messy countertop, he sauntered over to the boy's small form and lifted it over his head.

Emerald orbs widened and a whimper escaped his lips. "P-Papa? What are you…Daddy, what are you doing?" It wasn't his fault his father disliked him so much, he never knew why in the first place. He had tried so hard, ever since he was younger, to please his father, to no avail. Why did he hate him so much? "Papa, please…"

"Shut up, you little-hic-! Rose and Kae would've still been here if they weren't -hic- protecting your sorry little ass!" And with a cry, he thrust the knife downwards, into Kai's right eye.

Kai had been hurt plenty of times in the past, but none of it hurt as much as this; both emotionally, and physically. An agonized scream escaped his throat and he tried to back away, if only to try and pull the knife out of his eye, but it only resulted in the blasted stiletto being driven deeper in.

After for what seemed like an eternity for him, the knife was finally pulled out, but not at all carefully, or gently. Jacob hovered over him like a hawk, his eyes seeming to radiate hate. He looked as if he was going to drive the object into Kai's eye once more, but as soon as that thought came to the young boy's mind, his father's eyes widened, just a bit, and he backed away slightly, horror somewhat apparent on his face.

"What…Kai…" he whispered and looked at his son, who started to back away from his father. "What have I done…" Jacob whimpered, then smiled albeit sadly. "Goodbye.." and with that, he lifted his gaze toward the ceiling, as if he was searching for something, and thrust the already bloodied knife into his own heart. "I'm…sorry…"

There was nothing he could do but watch as his father took his own life. Why did he have to do that? Yes, he was abusive, mean, and a drunkard, but he was still his father. He depended on him, he needed him. Even after all that Jacob had said and done, Kai still loved him.

But now, he was alone. Alone in this harsh world. And only seven years old.

"Damn it!" Lavi yelled, his fist colliding with the wall closest to him. It didn't matter if he wasn't supposed to have any emotions, no connection to anything or anyone of this world. "Come out here and fight, you coward!" He was trained to cut all connections to his family, his friends, to everything, and here was someone who was trying to make the male lose whatever sanity he had left. He didn't need to see the past he had tried so desperately to forget, yet here it was, staring up at him in the face. The pain, the loneliness, everything that had hit him so hard, too fast, everything he suppressed for the sake of becoming a Bookman, resurfaced with new vigor, as if it was angry at its host for keeping it at bay.

And the redhead couldn't stop it from leaking out.

"Come out!" he yelled onto the now misty-filled area of darkness, nothing remaining of his destroyed home, nothing that even remotely reminded him of his past. Nothing that usually would, anyway.

But now, anything he laid his emerald orb upon, he could see a bit of what his life used to be, even if all he laid his eyes upon was nothing but darkness; for his past, his childhood, was mainly that: darkness. Nothing but the cold harshness of the world that housed no loving shoulder to cry upon, nor a caring smile to cease all worries, and not a loving heart to care for a wounded child.

His fingers found themselves onto his fiery flames, his green headband slipping away. "I don't…need to see this…" He could feel something in the back of his eyes, though he knew not what they were, forcing himself to believe that he could no longer cry, that he no longer had any feelings in order to cry.

He had no heart, after all.

"You're funny. I like you."

Lavi's head snapped up, his glaring gaze happening upon anything that could be the source of the voice. It was there, almost right in front of him, that a lone rabbit stood on its hind legs, an unnatural smile on its face. It crouched and hopped over to the exorcist.

Bewildered, his anger forgotten for the time being, Lavi could only stare at the small creature, noticing now that it was partly see-through, just as he was.

Again, that inhuman smile was upon the rabbit's face, its small piercing eyes drilling holes onto the redhead. Eyes as clear and bright as a cloudless sky, though it was because of those seemingly innocent orbs that made it clear to him: this rabbit was a danger to him. To him, and to the mission.

"Who--what the hell are you?!" Lavi demanded, glaring at the creature in front of him. A part of him felt foolish, feeling fear for such a small thing, but another part, a part that was stronger, kept telling him, over and over, to be wary of it.

That smile seemed to widen at the redhead's actions, a malignant glint shining within its depths. "Silly Bookman."

And immediately, scenes flashed toward the redhead, all seemingly coming from the small creature. Scenes of a small, crying, boy, walking aimlessly down crowded streets, his right eye covered by a mass of his too red hair. Scenes of faceless people who seemed to not even notice the boy, and upon the few who did, merely glanced or glared at him, nothing more. Scenes of rainstorms and cold nights out upon the deserted streets, a little body shivering in the dead of night.

The next thing Lavi knew, he was in an ally, the rabbit, and the scenes, gone.

"There once was a little boy who loved to tell stories--"

He turned his head, looking for the source of the voice; he knew it. He sped down the ally, heading toward the bright afternoon light of the crowded streets and business.

"--he would talk about adventures of knights and dragons, and had an imagination as big as the sky--"

Lavi could hear himself repeating the words under his breath. After all, he had known this story for as long as he could remember, especially because it was made for him by someone who he would never see again.

"--he had a kind heart and the biggest smile, all who heard his stories would listen and ignore everything else--"

He never knew an ally could ever be so long, and he was panting slightly by the time the road opened up to him. Lifting his arm to block the bright sunlight, he heard the small voice.

"--he used to tell stories to his older sister, but not anymore. He used to tell stories to his mom, but not anymore. Now he just tells stories to anyone whose gonna listen. Is anyone gonna listen to a story of a knight and princess?"

He was suddenly so hesitant to look. Why did he even want to find the small voice so quickly, if he knew who it belonged to? Clenching his fists, he looked up from the dirt ground and looked toward the small group of children sitting around a stacked pile of boxes, a single figure on top. He was small, probably eight or nine, with wild red hair and ragged clothes. He looked frail; it didn't look like he hadn't eaten anything decent for a while now.

Lavi watched, barely listening to the story weaving forth from the boy's mouth. He could feel himself truly becoming a Bookman, simply watching to record and do nothing to help who or what he saw, no matter what is going on. But a little part of him wanted to go over and reach out toward the boy, to pull him into an embrace that he had long been deprived of. He knew, however, that he couldn't; this was his own past, after all.

"Hey, good job, kid," a man told him, preparing to close down his shop. "You gonna be around here tomorrow?"

The young boy grinned slightly at him, though that smile no longer reached his eyes, "Of course!"

"Here," and the man threw a bag toward the boy, who promptly caught it. "You managed to keep a whole gang of those kids from running around today. Got lots of sales done, you earned it."

The redhead blinked then looked into the bag, to see that a few products had been thrown in there: some bread, fruits, and even some candy. He looked up and smiled once more before bowing slightly. "Thank you."

"Yeah, yeah," the man waved his hand as if it were no big deal, "Go on an' get some rest. Come back tomorrow if ya like."

"I will." And with that, the boy turned and walked down the street. Only when he was sure he could no longer be seen, he retreated into the nearest ally and, immediately upon sitting down, started ravishing through the bag of food. It had been a good while since he had eaten something fresh, and his stomach had almost started eating itself if not for this. For a moment he thought that, if there really was a God, that he was watching over him now. But as soon as that thought came, so did another one. If there really was a God, then why did he allow what happened to him to happen?

Kai managed to stop himself from devouring the entire bag of food and carefully placed what was left within the pocket of his jacket. It was old and worn out but it still worked fine. How long had it been, since he lived this way? A couple weeks? A few months? He sighed, already knowing that it had been past a year. A year since his life had changed, and that he had been reduced to nothing but a little boy on the streets with nothing but the clothes on his back, and a single stuffed animal.

It was a silly thing, if one were to first take a glance at it. It was dirty and raggedy, but it still seemed fairly new, though it looked like it would be fitting for a little girl more than for a little boy. Still, he didn't care. It was the only thing that he kept from his home, the only true remembrance of his beloved sister and caring mother. The rabbit that his mother had sewn by hand for his sister's ninth birthday.

She had barely turned nine when she was killed.

At the thought of the memory, the boy shut his eyes and clamped his hands over his ears, as if to block the sounds and visions of the night that would plague him for many years. He knew he was being cowardly, but he couldn't help it, it wasn't like there was anything he could do to change or help anything. He was only a child in a cold, harsh world, with no one to call family, and nothing that would even be considered to be worth selling, even if his precious bunny really had any other worth other than sentimental value. Even if it did, however, he would never sell it.

After all, even his sister had told him, "I'll give this bunny to you if you really want it, Kai, okay?" He took the small toy out from the protective covering of his jacket and stared at it, recalling his beloved sister's face. The way her dark eyes always shined in the light, her long auburn hair swayed in the breeze, and that kind smile that was always there for him. "Kae…" he whispered and held the bunny close to him.

It was then that he decided.

It didn't matter if the rabbit was gone(though of course he would try to keep it for as long as possible), he would never forget the life he had back then, his sister, his mother, and even his father. Before he knew it, night had fallen and sleep overtook him.

xxx

Lavi closed his eyes, barely listening as the sounds of the night blew past him, as if on fast forward. He felt the warm rays of the sun as it rose and brought another day, heard the quickened sounds of town life as the days sped by and barely a few moments later, felt the heat of the sun's rays slowly disappearing into the horizon, only to repeat the process over and over again.

An emerald jewel slowly opened itself onto the world, and saw that everything had returned to its normal pace, the horses tapping by, pulling carriages along, children running here and there and their mothers yelling at them not to stray too far away, the cries of the sellers as they tried to get the attentions of customers, but the one thing the redhead heard the most the voice of a boy. The same boy who he swore he would never see again.

His past self. His original self.

The part of himself that was supposed to have been sealed away and never to see the light of day again. Lavi's original identity: the one who never existed, sat in front of him, telling stories those who would listen, namely the younger children, earning his meager pay in food to survive.

xxx

"You brat!"

All heads turned to the source of the voice: a middle-aged man came through the crowded streets, chasing after a small child carrying what seemed to be a bag of food in his arms. "Come back here!" the man hollered, closing in on the boy. Both the child and the adult ran past the group of children that were listening to their story-teller but soon those children got up and ran to catch up to the adult. They thought it was a game of tag, and so each and every child soon gave chase. All except one.

The one who had been telling the stories to the children in the first place. His single emerald eye watched the scene but not moving from his spot. He knew he should help the kid, or at least the adult, but he didn't. He merely watched.

"He's gonna get caught, he knows it…why bother trying to run away?" he murmured.

And that was when he met Bookman.

xxx

Lavi watched on as his former self and his mentor got acquainted. He watched as Bookman talked to him, quizzed him, anything that could prove to the old man that he was worthy to become his apprentice. Back then, he thought nothing of the questions, and only answered them to humor the old man that bothered to speak to him. He soon found out though, that that was not the case.

The redhead sighed before a miniscule laugh caught his attention. He turned his head, only to meet the inhuman gaze of that infurious rabbit from before. "You…" he growled but only received a laugh as a response.

"Why are you so annoyed with your past, Bookman?"

"Shut up."

"It's not like you can forget."

"I told you to shut up!"

The apparition--he was sure that's what it was--smiled its human-like smile and laughed, the sound reverberating throughout the now empty area around them. "Silly." And it faded away, along with everything else.

xxx

"The Black Order? What's that?"

"When are you going to get rid of that rabbit?"

"You didn't answer my question."

"I'm not obligated to."

"But Panda-jiji--"

Smack!

The Bookman Apprentice didn't even need to call his mentor the annoying nickname he gave him before he got kicked. He was nearly eleven years old, he didn't need to be kicked around!

"What was that for!?"

"Quiet. You're to be called Junior until we reach England, understand?"

Junior sat up, all traces of silliness erased from his pale face and instead a calm façade sat in its place. "Of course. Now will you tell me what this place is?"

Bookman merely turned and started walking, choosing to ignore his apprentice's question, once again. Junior sighed and followed his mentor into town.

It was just a small town, deep in the heart of Russia, snow burying the once graveled roads and rooftops seemed to almost bend at the weight of the white powder. They hadn't even been there a few hours when a loud sneeze echoed throughout the street. People turned to see the boy stumbling to keep himself upright, rubbing his nose.

"Uh…I'm okay!" he called out, scratching the back of his head in embarrassment. Onlookers laughed, shaking their heads, and returning to whatever they were doing. Junior sniffed, rubbing his nose. "Geez…I think I'm getting a--" Another sneeze.

Bookman sighed, grumbling to himself before walking away, the redhead following at his heels, occasionally sneezing and nearly falling back onto the freezing snow. Junior sniffed once more and he remembered why he had complained so much about coming to Russia. It was always so damn cold.

And the cold weather usually brought about…well, colds.

When they arrived at the hotel, Junior was already starting to get a fever. Why oh why did he have to get sick now, of all times? He made a mental note never to come to a freezing country right after coming from a warm, almost tropical one. As soon as they arrived in their two bed room, Junior collapsed on the nearest bed, cursing the cold in as many languages as he knew. Which, of course, was a lot.

He heard Bookman sigh at his antics, but he didn't care. He didn't get sick often, but when he did, he was never in the best of moods. "You'll have to stay here, I suppose. Just don't get into trouble." Junior almost snorted at that. How was he supposed to cause 'trouble' when he was stuck in bed with a who -knows-how-high fever? "I have to meet someone." That caught his attention.

"Who?" Junior turned his head, just enough to see his mentor through his mess of red hair. "Your girlfriend?"

Bookman glared. It didn't matter to him whether or not the pup was sick or not, he would still kick some sense into him. And Junior knew that, too. "No, you idiot. One of the generals of the Order." Without saying anything more, he turned around and closed the door, leaving his sick apprentice to fend for himself.

xxx

Voices. One…two…maybe three. But he couldn't tell whose they were, everything was so muffled, his brain not registering any of the vibrations that passed through his ear.

A single emerald orb revealed itself onto the world, its potential shine and beauty masked by dulled indifference. The young boy glanced around him; there was no one in the room other than himself, and he knew for a fact there were no neighbors on either side of the room. He stood up, wobbling slightly, and headed for the door, peering out into the hallway. No one was there, it was completely deserted.

'Great,' Junior thought to himself, scowling. 'I'm hearing voices in my head.' He didn't know exactly how long he had been asleep. Long enough, that was for sure. Going back into the room to grab his coat, he knew he probably shouldn't be going outside, especially when he was sick. But then he realized he didn't care, he was bored, and he could walk, more or less. He was fine! And with that thought in mind, the redhead put his boots on his feet and walked out the door and out the inn, right into the snowy streets of Russia.

Oh how he hated himself now. His hands were freezing, his teeth wouldn't stop chattering, and he couldn't feel his feet anymore, much less his toes. He felt like an idiot. And he should, too, especially since he, of all people, was lost. Well not necessarily lost, per se, more like confused. Of course, he already knew the entire layout of the town by heart, every turn, every corner, he even know how many turns he had taken since leaving the inn. But there was one problems: nearly every street layout for more than half the town was the same. They only way to tell each street apart was by the sign, which would have been easy enough, if not for the mounds upon mounds of snow that covered the signs. Junior swore the higher beings above hated him. Not like he wasn't used to it by now.

He wandered aimlessly for a while, not knowing exactly where he was going, the only thought going through his head was to keep going; motion meant warmth, and warmth meant staying alive.

Alive.

He stopped, frowning. If he died here, would anyone really care? Probably Bookman, but only because he was his apprentice. Bookman would have lost his apprentice, not Junior himself. Bookman would only be displeased because he would have to find another apprentice to succeed him. He would have forgotten about the lonesome figure standing alone in the cold.

He had always known he was destined to be alone, even when he was with his family. Family, hah. What a pitiful concept. Family was something that humans cherished. And humans also cherished war and fighting and bloodshed. How could two polar opposites both be important to something? Such was the way humans were. And how pitiful the human race was.

They were all stubborn, naïve, hopeless, and never learned. All throughout history wars have been fought, lives were lost, and what did that accomplish? Peace? Perhaps. But only for a short while. Humans are a pitiful, stupid race, and Junior knew that all too well. Humans were selfish, humans did nothing but look out for themselves, and humans…

How ironic it is for such a young child to understand the cruelties of men and nations even when adults couldn't fathom the idea of humans ever being anything more than kind, respectful beings.

Before he knew it, Junior found himself leaning against the wall of a building; he didn't care much to bother looking at the sign. Despite the persona that he had been given, along with this new name, he still couldn't grasp the thought of being 'happy.'

"Junior" was the youngest grandson of "Alden(1)" and the two of them were traveling through Russia in order to get to Poland, where Junior's parents resided. Junior had stayed with Alden for a few years, to give his parents time to economically stable themselves. Since he was their youngest, he was their most eccentric, bubbly, and the didn't-care-too-much-for-work type. That was "Junior."

But that was not him. "Junior" was a happy person, constantly smiling and laughing. But he was not. He found long ago that he could no longer sustain a smile, a genuine, meaningful smile. Whenever he had tried to smile, he felt awkward, and whenever he saw himself trying again, in front of a mirror, that smile would always look forced, strained, weird. He stopped trying to smile when his persona never called for it. But this Junior was possibly his first eccentric persona, and so far, he hated it.

Hatred. An emotion. Something that he isn't supposed to have.

He could feel his single eye starting to droop, sleep starting to take his small form. It was so inviting, the darkness, it was lulling him to a comfortable slumber, where everything that he once dreamed of lay, where nothing of the harsh reality of the world could reach him. But before he passed out, he saw a pair of boots coming towards him and he lifted his gaze, only slightly, to see the form of a child, possibly younger than himself, and the bluest eyes he had ever seen.

Then came the darkness.

xxx

Lavi didn't move from his spot, even as his 'memories' started to fade back into the ghostly fog. He remembered those thoughts he had, he still believed them, even if now, he wasn't so adamant in his belief about humanity. Maybe…maybe not all humans were like that.

Already, he could hear a part of himself laughing at the very mention of the absurdity of the idea. The Bookman Apprentice closed his eyes, and tried to block out the laughter, his former self. Why was "Lavi" so different? Why was the 49th alias so much different than any of the others? Even he didn't know the answer.

Opening them once more, he took in the remaining images of his past, and realized that the very last thing he had seen that day, before passing out, were those blue eyes. Those striking azure orbs that seemed so similar to his own emerald ones. They were filled with defiance, anger, confusion, and sadness, all masked behind a wall. Almost like a Bookman's eyes would be. He nearly laughed at that; those were the way his eye was supposed to be, not showing all the emotions that seemed to build up in his chest whenever he was with his friends, with Karen.

Karen.

The redhead cursed himself for being so engrossed within the past. Where was Karen? Everyone? Hell, where was he? He could only growl in annoyance as that…that rabbit bounded across his line of vision, opening another field of memories to appear before him.

xxx

The next the child awoke, he was in a bed. A warm, comfortable bed. He wanted to close his eye and drift back to that dreamless slumber. But you can't always have what you want. Especially when the first thing you lay your sights upon were the very things that you last saw before you passed out.

Junior blinked sleep away, curious as to who the newcomer was. That, and who else was in the room accompanying them. One was Bookman, he could already tell, but the other, he didn't know. It was a female, that was all he knew.

"General, he's awake."

The boy turned his attention to the speaker. She was the one who had the blue eyes. And she had a pretty voice. Maybe she sang? Probably not.

She was young, probably younger than himself even, though the expression on her face told otherwise. She…was a lot like though, though how he came to that conclusion he had no idea.

"I'm glad to see you're alright."

Junior turned to the owner of the voice and blinked. He was right about the other being female, and she was a pretty one at that, he had to admit, even though the majority of her blonde locks obscured the left side of her face from being seen, the rest of her hair pulled up into a messy, yet somehow elegant, bun. Her attire was strange, it was entire black, adored with linings of gold, and a golden rose cross embroidered on the front. What was even stranger was the fact that she had a monkey on her shoulder. Without a leash!

"You had us worried, you know," she told him. Junior almost snorted at that, but managed to restrain it and instead scratched the his cheek, smiling sheepishly. He couldn't find his voice.

The general chuckled before returning to her conversation with Bookman. That left him more or less alone with the girl with bright blue eyes. Not that he cared, but he was wondering how her eyes were like that. He had never seen any fair, almost pale-skinned, dark haired girl with eyes as bright, even if seeming dulled, as hers. In fact, he didn't think he ever met someone like her at all.

"You can stop staring, you know." Her voice caught him off guard; he didn't realize he was staring. He smiled sheepishly again, and instead closed his eyes and tried to sleep. Tried to.

His fever was rising, that much was a definite. His breathing was ragged, a coat of sweat forming upon his brow. Why was everything so hot? All he could feel was the searing burn that coursed his body, muffed voices meant nothing to him.

The heat only seemed to burn stronger and stronger, he felt like he was going to burn from the inside out. All of a sudden, a cool sensation washed over him, earning an earnest gasp of relief to escape the redhead. With all he could muster, Junior opened his eyes, just barely enough for light to shine through. Everything was blurry at first, the faintest silhouette of someone beside him blending in with the brightness of the light. As everything became clearer, so did the blurred silhouette.

It was the girl from before.

Her piercing blue eyes gazed at him, but at the same time, gazing at nothing. Junior tried to speak again, but found that his voice was still lost to him, eluding him. "Don't try and talk," she told him, "Your fever's still too high." She reached and took the wet cloth off his sweating forehead, taking along with it the coolness that covered him. He whimpered.

"Hold on," he heard her say, splashes of water dripping reaching his ears. Soon, the coldness was back, and he breathed a sigh of relief. It felt good; it staved off the burning sensations that coursed throughout his body.

Once more he tried talking to her, tried to thank her, but still couldn't speak. An emerald orb followed her movements as she stood, dabbing his face with another wet cloth. "Bookman will be back later," she told him, placing the clothes in a bowl of what he presumed to be cold water. 'General Cloud and I will be leaving now. So, this is goodbye."

Junior looked at her, his gaze silently asking, begging her, to stay with him. It wasn't like him to be so clingy, but that was what he felt right now. He wanted someone to stay by his side, he didn't care if that someone was someone he barely knew, someone he didn't know the name of.

But whether or not she saw the plea in his eyes, she didn't acknowledge it. Taking the cloth from his forehead and dipping it into the water again, she placed it back upon his forehead. "It was nice meeting you, I guess…Goodbye, Bookman Junior." She turned, not seeing the older boy's outstretched hand, silently asking her to stay. He didn't want her to leave him alone.

Even as the thought came, the redhead found himself drifting off to sleep, his eye drooping on its own. 'No…please…' he thought, gazing after her retreating form, 'Don't leave me alone…'

Then the darkness came and took his consciousness away.

xxx

By now, Lavi had grown tired of this little game. He knew what was going to happen, why did he have to endure everything all over again? It wasn't fair!

No. Calm down. Losing control was probably what…that rabbit was trying to get him to do. Scowling, the Bookman Apprentice looked around the misty area, trying to find any trace of the small animal before the next image of the past came to haunt him. He took one step then another, and before he knew it, found himself running through the darkness.

'Kai.'

Lavi hesitated, but did not stop. He wasn't Kai. Not anymore. Kai has long since been dead. He was the apprentice of bookman, nothing more. He was nothing, no one, just one who recorded the hidden history. Lavi repeated the phrase over and over in his mind like a mantra, ignoring what the voice was saying to him while, at the same time, trying to find the source. It wasn't as easy as one would think.

'Kai, come on. It's not fun anymore if you don't react.'

In the distance, the rabbit smiled, pale blue orbs taunting him. All on its own accord, Lavi's body toward the creature, hammer enlarging. With a cry, the redhead swung.

The rabbit blinked and jumped back to avoid the hit. As it moved, its pale brown, almost white, fur disappeared, revealing pale, unblemished skin. It's arms and legs lengthened, its ears shrunk and its smile widened.

When Lavi raised his hammer again, standing before him was no longer a small creature, but a small child, equally as see through as himself, and a ball in her hands. Within the ball the light of innocence shone, the child's cat-like orbs glinting slightly.

"You!" Lavi growled. "What did you do to everyone?!"

The child just smiled and laughed, starting to fade away. "Silly Bookman…" And as she faded, light shone through her, growing brighter and brighter. The exorcist had no choice other than to shield his eye(s), the light too bright for him. "Damn you…"

xxx

Everything was on fire. Flames licked the curtains, the bed sheets, and his small form. But it wasn't like he could get up and run.

Junior had heard the screams, the destruction. He heard the laughter of machines that once took human form, the rounds of bullets echoing through the entire town. He even more screams as the fires started(thanks to the Akuma) and people being burned alive. He didn't really care. Just like the Bookman he was going to become.

The boy kept his eye closed, nose covered by his blanket, not letting any of the smoke to enter his eye of his nose. It didn't help that his fever hadn't gone down all that much. Yes, it went down, but only slightly, still up to a dangerous degree. At the back of his mind, Junior hoped that Bookman was going to come back and save him, but he knew he probably wouldn't. He was his apprentice for only a few years, Bookman could always find another apprentice to fill his place.

But then again, the old man had never met someone with a mind like his, he remembered him telling him. Not anyone could recite an entire speech perfectly after hearing it only once. Bookman told him that no one else could possibly have this ability, except one who was destined to become Bookman. One of the Bookman Clan.

It didn't matter. He was going to die here, wasn't he? Engulfed in angry flames as bright as his hair. But for some reason, he couldn't find it in himself to try and even run away. Not like anyone would care. He could almost feel himself falling into a deep slumber, the flames that licked his face starting to burn less and less, until the only thing he saw was the blue orbs of the girl whose name he didn't know.

:End 14th Night:

(1) Alden: meaning wise one

So...what you think? -sweatdrop- and no, Kai isnt his real name, and i honestly have no idea why he has his eyepatch so..kinda guessed on those parts. heh. I'm sorry the ending was so rushed..and so...bleh. i kinda forced myself to finish this ...hahah. Again, sorry for the loooonnnngggg delay

Does anyone wanna help me with the next chapter? -crosses fingers-