(A Man fanfiction)
By P.A. Lovas
Pairings: Lavi/Allen, with some Kanda/Linalee.
It felt odd having to control his movements, Lavi discovered. His innocence was built to be rather ostentatious and fighting in such a small, fragile environment was against its very nature. It put him at a large disadvantage, especially with Tyki hovering so close to Allen. It was as if he was daring him to miss or maybe even willing him to bring the whole house to ruins around them; Tyki would survive, at least.
Lavi swore, berating himself for his lack of concentration. This was certainly not the best time to let his mind wander into mundane territories. Lavi forced his efforts back to the situation at hand, keeping his eyes and consciousness on the battle before him.
As soon as the resolution to fight had been reached, the three exorcists had fallen into their proper places, the strategy basic and perhaps a bit more cautious than usual: Marie stood defensively, his unseeing-eyes closed and ears perked. Should Tyki so much as flex a muscle, Marie would know and his threads were ready strike whatever limb offered threat to Allen.
Bookman moved on the offensive, quickly and deliberately in an attempt to push Tyki away. As Tyki faltered in an attempt to avoid the attack, Bookman fell back. Instead, he began focusing his needles on Allen's prone form. One by one the needles stabbed through the floor, tossing splinters and sickening cracks across the room. With Allen now safely incased in Bookman's protective shell, Lavi brought his hammer up. With a thought, he caused it to swell to twice the previous size.
"My turn!" Lavi cried out, lips pulled back from clenched teeth as he swung wildly at Tyki. Miss, miss, miss. Each blunder shook the house painfully, the dilapidated walls seeming to bend and shiver in time. Even with Lavi holding back, he was rather surprised when the walls didn't dissipate into piles of scrap wood. Maybe they had picked a decent place to seek their refuge. Perhaps God is with us, after all.
The stray thought offered Lavi a newfound strength, and he called for his innocence to expand further with each swing. "Grow! Grow! Damn it, stay still!"
Tyki's mouth curved, offering a small, bored smile. He continued to dodge each of Lavi's paltry attacks, puffing infuriatingly on the cigarette dangling from his lips. "Having trouble keeping up, Eyepatch?"
"I thought you wanted to fight," Lavi said. "Not dance."
"No fair, Tyki! You never dance with me!"
Lavi turned toward the new voice with bated breath, his heart plummeting with realization. Hovering precariously before him was the very thing that he had been dreading ever since the puzzle pieces began fitting together. Lavi's heart clenched in his chest as his gaze met the smiling, yellow eyes.
"Have you missed me, Junior?"
He wasn't entirely sure how he had gotten here. Allen faintly remembered something about a shadow. He strained to remember. There was a flash of something in his mind; a dark silhouette, wispy and unnatural, revealing a hidden door in what appeared to be an impenetrable high-rise. He looked behind him, as if trying to ascertain the truth from such a simple act. Everything seemed to be receding from his mind so quickly, and after a moment, even the reason for his action was forgotten. Allen's mind appeared to be retaining nothing, and he was unable to grasp for long anything but the uncomplicated task of moving forward. He would have been worried, if he could even remember to be.
Allen raised his eyes, straining them down the long corridor. The ceiling was high and the walls narrow, covered in red and black pinstripes, and yet, it didn't give the impression of being overwhelming or foreboding. Somehow it emanated a self-satisfied aura, amidst all the madness. A concentration of paintings hung haphazardly along the walls in a sort of deliberate montage to chaos, and he found his steps halted and his gaze stolen more than once. Each picture was different, dark and should have been frightening, and yet, they were childish and comical in their façade; reds shaded in green and yellow, blues with orange and gold. It was dark, and yet, somehow, it felt nostalgic, almost warm. A word flashed in his mind like a memory, small and foreign. He tried to bring the word out, tried to remember. It was like trying to catch smoke with bare hands, and Allen could only sigh as the hopelessness set in. He supposed if it was important, he'd remember it eventually. With that in mind, Allen continued down the long hallway, but it wasn't long before that thought vanished as well.
Allen slowed his movement as the hall came to an abrupt end. A lone picture hung on the wall and he leaned forward, peering at it in the hazy light. The painting was of a clown in what appeared to be a field, dancing beside a withering tree. The composition seemed amateur, all sharp planes and wide lines. But something about this picture was familiar to him, haunting, and a little scary. Allen reached out his hand and ran it down the clown's image, slowly; from the top of his cap, past the wide, toothy grin, all the way down to the toe loop of his elfin shoes. A memory stirred in Allen, unattainable but sincere. He questioned the pain in his heart, as he lowered his hand.
His hand brushed against something smooth and blunt protruding from the wall, and Allen leaned in for a closer look. A doorknob, Allen realized. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that it wasn't a solid wall at all, but a door, in the same black and red pinstripes, with the knob painted black to match the section that it was secured against. It wasn't really surprising that he had nearly missed it, Allen assured himself, reaching out. The knob turned easily in his hand and the door swung open with no resistance. A single step took him inside. The door shut quietly behind him.
Allen walked carefully, peering over his shoulder from time to time, trying to keep an eye on the door. Somewhere deep in the recesses of his mind, something made Allen aware of the possibility of trouble. Should the need arise, Allen knew it would be prudent to remember the door's location. Another look over his shoulder told Allen that everything was still in sight, but his attention was stolen as he felt a soft crunching under his foot.
He couldn't believe it. Out of the darkness before him, nature began to spring to life. Grass sprouted over the rolling hills and the breeze that wrapped around him was warm and spoke of spring. Even in the distance, he could hear birds chirping harmoniously, almost as if in greeting. Allen gaped as he walked along the path that formed beneath each step, with the obvious intent of leading him forward. The importance of the door was forgotten as each step took him further along the path. A bit further, he came across a tree that stood strongly in the center, its powerful roots twisting into the ground, and after a moment, Allen realized that there was a figure beside the tree, crouching over a small mound of packed earth.
He seemed somehow familiar to Allen. He was a tall man, all arms and legs and the top hat that balanced on the crown of his head made him appear even taller. Every curve of the figure, every move the man made, echoed unmistakably in Allen's heart and his steps became heavier the closer Allen came. The man looked up as Allen approached and their eyes met. In that moment, Allen felt the tears well in his eyes and a name, so familiar that he had once uttered so frequently fell past his lips.
The air surrounding the inside the house steadily thickened and Lavi was certain that, soon, he would be unable to breathe. Even now, each breath was labored, burning his chest. Whether it was from the fight or simply the anxiety of what lay before them, he was uncertain. Lavi said nothing, just focused on the slow, steady intake of air into his lung. He raised his face and glared into those smug, yellow eyes that mocked him with their cheer.
"Road Kamelot." Bookman was the first to speak. He was using the tone that Lavi knew he reserved for processing information to be documented later.
Road giggled in response. She began rocking back and forth from her seated position on Lero, her long legs securely locked around the pink length of the umbrella. "Yep! You didn't think I'd let you guys leave me out of all the fun, did you? How mean!" Road crossed her arms in front of her chest, pushing her lips into a pout. "First Lulu takes off after the princess, and now Tyki's here trying to wreck everything."
Tyki rolled his eyes, and spoke easily, in a tone showing reserved patience. "I'm not wrecking anything. This is still your game. I'm just here as a casual observer."
Road crinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out at Tyki. "Boo! You're just here to steal my Allen."
Lavi's his visible eye darkening dangerously. "Princess…? What have you done to Lenalee?!"
"Easy there, Junior," Road said, focusing her attention back onto the group. "You wouldn't want anything to happen to your friends, now would you?"
"What's that hell is that supposed to mean?"
The question was answered as a scream tore its way from the kitchen.
"Krowly!" Miranda called out, panic and tears evident in her voice. "Kr-Kr-Krowly!"
"What the hell did you do?!" Lavi yelled.
"Oops. I slipped." Road giggled, swinging her legs back and forth in an oddly childish gesture. "You guys better not move," she instructed. "Or else I just may slip again."
Lavi's fists clenched as he looked around helplessly. Marie seemed to be visibly shaken, something that Lavi hadn't witnessed too often. Marie's hands were pulling the strings from his innocence so tightly that it drew small drops of blood that began to slowly drip between his fingers.
"Miranda," Lavi called. "Are you guys OK?"
"I-I-I don't k-k-know," Miranda answered back. "H-he's not m-moving. My time record is-isn't affecting him."
"Don't panic," Bookman said.
"Yeah, that's right. It'll take more than whatever these guys can do to bring Kro-chan down. Just…stay put," Lavi told her, from between clenched teeth. He closed his eyes in a moment of hopelessness. Sorry, Kro-chan, I need you to hang in there just a bit longer. We'll try to make this quick. After the silent declaration, Lavi opened his eyes, and returned his focus to the smiling Noah.
"I'm going to beat the absolute shit out of all of you."
Road laughed at the remark, while Tyki simply shrugged his shoulders.
"So you say, Eyepatch."
"You're forgetting one thing, Junior," Road said, leaning over Lavi in a taunting fashion. "You're in my game now. If you don't follow the rules, then it's game over."
"There's only one piece on the board in play," Road said and Lavi felt his blood run cold. He knew Road was looking over his shoulder, at where Allen lay beneath Bookman's protective casing. "You're just going to have to wait your turn."
"What are you planning?"
The cheery smile that spread across Road's face contradicted the words that fell past her lips. "I'm going to break him apart."
AN: I know I know, I'm horrible at getting this story updated, and such a short chapter this time. I'm sorry. There are about 101 excuses as for why this took so long, but I won't bore you all with them. Just know that this will be finished, albeit, slowly. I really do appreciate all the comments and love that you all have shown this story as well as to me, and I promise that we will reach the end. Thanks for hanging in there with me!
Other news…Campaigning for Heretics will be put on hiatus for now, do to having NO idea where I wanted the story to go and Lavi's complexity as a character. I have a couple new stories in mind, and a few pages written for each, so we'll see where those end up. I don't know about you guys, but I'm antsy for Hoshino to get better and give us some new chapters. As I'm sure with all of you, my heart goes out to her and I wish her a speedy speedy SPEEDY recovery. Please? D:
Questions, Comments, Crits and Love are always appreciated. Thanks for the comments and thanks for reading :D