(A D.Gray Man fanfiction)
By P.A. Lovas
The sky blazed in hues of indigo and orange as the sun set over grassy hills. A small Venetian village blinked with lights in cozy, cookie cutter houses, though the occupants were no longer there. The residents had either fled at the first sounds of combat or had crumbled to nothing, only leaving behind clothes and dust, or more gruesomely, become twisted corpses under the ministrations of the invading demonic army. The only signs of life were warm fires still crackling behind the stone hearths and the meats and soups and stews left behind were still giving off swirling puffs of steam.
"It looks like everybody might come back at any moment," Linalee said, wrapping her arms around herself, shivering slightly. No matter how often she came across this scene it never got easier to stumble upon. It was like a still painting of a tragedy, life cut down in its prime.
"They won't," said Allen, his voice holding none of the brightness and love that usually shone around the edges, ringing in a deep, golden timbre. Instead, his normally too wide eyes were narrowed to burning silver slits and his words were edged with anger. "My eye won't activate. They're long gone." He shook his head, running a gloved hand over the restaurant's bar. He eyed one of the glasses, whiskey, most likely. Condensation dripped lazily to pool on the surface of the bar. He ran a finger around the rim before tipping the glass over, watching the liquid spread over the surface before running over the edge and onto the floor. One last drink for all the lost souls.
The pair stepped out into the night, sucking in breath as the cold air filled their lungs. They both pulled their black coats more tightly around themselves, trying to ward off a bit of the chill.
"Let's move to the next town."
"Wait, Allen-kun," said Linalee, taking off after him. "We're not staying here?"
Allen turned to his companion, holding her gaze steadily. "There's too much poison in the air. Me, you, Krowly, and Kanda would be fine, but we also have Lavi and Bookman with us."
"Sorry to be such a drain on the team." Allen looked up to the roof of restaurant, not surprised in the least to see Lavi perching at the end, his scarf wrapped over his nose and mouth. Almost like a vibrant, red bird, Allen thought. Maybe a parakeet? He certainly did talk enough.
"I didn't say that."
Lavi laughed and jumped down, landing gracefully next to Linalee. "You heard him say it, right?"
Linalee giggled. "He did say it, though I think you're being overly sensitive, Lavi."
"Perhaps." Lavi thumbed his nose below his scarf, laughing. "Ok, I'll forgive you, Bean sprout."
"It's Allen!" He glared at Lavi who simply laughed and messed his hair. "Stop that." Allen ducked away, and began combing his fingers through his white hair. The two strands that framed his face were almost down to his shoulders, and the strands in the back tickled at the nape of his neck. It was longer than it had ever been and he made a mental note that he should get it cut when all this was over.
"Che, primping little bean sprout," Kanda said, turning the corner, Krowly in tow. The two were a rather impressive sight, Kanda's smooth looks radiating annoyance and apathy while Krowly loomed over the group, looking foreboding and not quite human. His innocence had activated, most likely as a result of the residual energy left behind from the destruction, causing his appearance to resemble that of a vampire ready to feed. Every since he'd woken from his coma, Krowly's Innocence seemed to be even more sensitive to the Akuma, and this facade was becoming more and more customary.
"Yuu, you're alive!" Lavi cried out happily, throwing his arms out. Kanda threw him a black look, causing the other boy to drop his arms and take a step back. "Well, it's good to know he's unfazed by all this," Lavi whispered to Linalee, who tried to suppress a laugh. Last thing she wanted to do was end up blacklisted along with Lavi and Allen. It was scary enough being on friendly terms with the man.
"You find anything?" Allen asked, already knowing the answer. Kanda and Krowly both shook their heads.
"Not a thing," said Krowly. "It's the same there as it is here. Everybody's missing."
"They're not missing." Kanda seemed to spit his words. "They're dead."
"Forgive me," Krowly said, hanging his head.
It was an amusing site, seeing Krowly yield to smaller, younger Kanda. Allen smiled, and placed a hand on Krowly's shoulder, having to stretch a bit in order to do so.
Linalee followed Allen's lead and tried to sooth her troubled friend. "It's ok, Krowly. Kanda is upset at the situation, not at you."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Linalee gave him a sweet smile and laughed. "Nothing at all." Kanda simply sighed and let it go.
"Look, I don't mean to ruin the fun, but it's really friggin' cold out here," Lavi piped up, rubbing his arms for emphasis. "Gramps already headed to the next town to give our report, so we should head in that direction. Besides, I'm starting to get a little lightheaded here."
The group nodded in agreement and all started moving along the cobblestone roads. Though Linalee wondered over what Lavi had just said. The boy didn't look cold in the slightest. In fact, the way he kept tugging at his scarf and the small uncomfortable breaths he took made him appear overly warm. Allen, on the other hand, was shivering.
"Ow, what the hell, Gramps?" Lavi clutched at his head where it had cracked against the wall as he had recoiled from the kick Bookman imparted.
Bookman simply stood, the shortest of the group, old and a bit withered, but dark and intimidating. At least, he was after publically and violently bashing his student. "The meeting time was over two hours ago, Idiot."
"Yeah, well, we went to the wrong Hotel. There are three of them here. We found the first two alright, but the last one…"
"You got lost." It wasn't a question.
"Yeah," Lavi sighed.
"And that's why you're an Ignorant fool. It's your job to be the cleverest of the group, not lead them to their unknowing deaths." It was an exaggeration, Lavi knew that. But as he looked at his teammates, he still felt incorrigibly bad.
Kanda sat at the table, his coat draped over him, hair undone and streaming over his back and shoulders. He was frowning a little more than usual, but as this was Kanda, Lavi was sure he was fine.
Linalee was fairing about the same as Kanda, evidently less than happy. But she had a mug of tea between her hands, sighing gratefully as she sipped at it. Krowly was also nipping at his tea, though it obviously didn't please him nearly as much as it did Linalee. He was frowning into his mug, probably wishing it was wine, blood, or perhaps even liquid steak.
Allen was definitely in the worst shape. He sat in the darkest corner of the room, where he had wrapped himself in the bed sheet, head buried in his knees. Even from across the room, Lavi could see the boy was shivering almost violently.
Lavi walked over to Allen, and crouched down. He waited until he was sure Allen felt his presence before dropping a hand along the curve of his neck. "Allen, I'm sorry." The white head shook left to right but he didn't look up. A silent "don't be", knowing Allen.
Lavi smoothed back Allen's hair from his forehead, testing. "You don't feel like you have a fever. You want Gramps to take a look at you?" Allen simply shook his head again. "You sure?" A nod.
Lavi caught eyes with Bookman, giving him a significant look. The look was returned, meaning the Old Man understood. Keep an eye on him.
Linalee watched the exchange over the rim of her cup, raising a delicate eyebrow in question. "Is everything alright?" she asked, looking in Allen's direction. Her worry was evident in her face, and Lavi waved it off. No need for everybody to badger him with concern, at least until Lavi was sure there was something to be concerned about.
"He's fine. Just a little hungry so I'm gunna go grab some food for everybody." Lavi was startled as Linalee jumped to her feet and began zipping up her coat.
"I'll come with you." Lavi opened his mouth to protest. "How are you going to carry enough food for both Allen-kun and Krowly?"
Lavi laughed as he tied his scarf on. "True enough. Ok, welcome aboard the team."
Linalee laughed. "Glad to be of service."
Lavi was truly glad to have the girl along, he realized as they laughed and joked as they walked to through the stores. It was easily discovered a long time ago that Allen and Krowly's appetites made it too expensive to eat out when they had a budget. Though, luckily, it seemed that it was quantity, not necessarily quality that satisfied them. So they stocked bags full of breads and fruits and dried meats, as much as they were able to carry comfortably.
"Wait a sec for me, k?" Lavi said as he stopped suddenly. Linalee gave him a questioning look as he dropped his bags at her feet.
"You better not leave me to carry all these!" She shouted after him, and he waved over his shoulder, signifying that he heard. She watched as he entered a store, the sign written in Italian, but it had a small bottle and medicine bowl etched underneath. She gave Lavi a knowing look as he came out a few minutes later.
"What?" he asked, looking genuinely confused. Though this was Lavi, and she knew that look could be forced.
"I thought you said he was fine."
"He is," Lavi said, sliding the purchase into his pocket. "This is for me. You see, I've just had this terrible cough lately."
Linalee raised an eyebrow, her hand on her hip. "Lavi, I haven't seen you cough once since we left. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen you sick."
"Hm, I wonder," he said, picking up the bags he had left at her feet. "Must be all the medicine I take."
Linalee shook her head. As much as she enjoyed him and his company, she always felt he was a bit of an enigma. You never quite knew what he was thinking, and that made her a little nervous. But they had all this food, and Allen had looked awful before they left. So she resigned herself to wondering and followed in Lavi's wake.
"We're back," Lavi called as he fell into the room. The weight of the bags he carried toppled him ungracefully and sent the fruit spilling across the floor in colorful waves. Krowly looked down as an apple rolled to his feet. He picked it up, shining it against his shirt. Once satisfied, he bit into the flesh and ate the apple, core and all.
"Lavi, get out of the door!"
"Yes, yes. Sorry Linalee." Lavi picked himself up, and began gathering the spilled food. "Allen, dinner time!"
"He's not here," Kanda said, catching the pear that was tossed to him.
"Huh? Where is he?"
"Bookman took him into the other room," explained Krowly, pushing Lavi aside to rummage through the bags. "He didn't look very good. Very pale."
"Well, you're certainly one to point out somebody being pale, Kro-chan."
"Hmph. I'll remind you not to call me that. My name is Arystar Krowly III and-"
Lavi threw a hand up, saying "Yeah, yeah, we know, Kro-chan. Look, I'm going to go check on Allen. We'll pick this up another time, right?"
Krowly snorted as Lavi threw him a smile before leaving the room. "So impertinent," he muttered around a mouthful of food. Kanda and Linalee both heaved a sigh, nodding in agreement.
Bookman looked up from his needles as Lavi entered the room. He met his eyes briefly before continuing his ministrations. He was currently holding Allen's arm, placing his needles into what Lavi knew were critical points, though they didn't seem to be helping the boy any. Allen was as pale as Krowly had said, in fact, even more so than he had imagined, though his cheeks were flushed with fever. His breathing was ragged and a sheen of sweat was coating his skin. All in all, he looked bad.
"What's wrong?" Lavi asked, his eyebrows knitting.
"I'm not sure," Bookman replied, slipping his needles back into their case. "I haven't seen a fever this bad in a while. Even Lina-jou's fever from the Akuma poison was not nearly this bad."
"What do you mean? Linalee was half dead by the time I got her to you." Bookman frowned as he heard panic seep into Lavi's voice.
"Yes, however it had taken her a few days to get to this point. Allen Walker has escalated to that point in a few hours."
"Well, so fix him like you did for her." Lavi froze as Bookman shook his head. "Why not, you useless old man! You're telling me that this is it?" Bookman pierced Lavi with a stare, freezing him cold. Lavi hung his head, trying in vain to calm himself, but his fists shook at his sides, giving him away. "So there is seriously nothing we can do?"
"I didn't say that. If you calmed your raging for a moment, and listened, you might have let me explain." Lavi looked up hopefully into Bookman's kohl rimmed eyes. "I've managed to suppress the fever for the moment, which will buy us some time. You keep watch over the boy and let me know if he worsens."
Lavi nodded, looking on as Bookman gathered his equipment, tucking it into his pockets. "Hey, Gramps," Lavi called after him. Bookman stopped, peering over his shoulder at his apprentice. "Buy us time for what?"
He tried to brace himself for what he knew Bookman would say. "To find out what's killing him."
Questions, Comments, Crits and Love are always appreciated. Thanks for reading :3