Campaigning for Heretics
(A D.Gray Man fanfiction)
By P.A. Lovas
Pairings: Lavi/Allen, Kanda/Lenalee
Warning: Major spoilers for the current chapters (119+ to be on the safe side).
. . . .
. . .
Lavi frowned and scratched his head as he looked around the dreary grey halls of the Black Order headquarters. Where on earth had Allen gone to?
Lavi placed a hand on his chin, tapping a finger in thought. Obviously, since the missing person was one Allen Walker, the first place Lavi had checked was the dining hall. It hadn't taken Lavi long to figure that he was going to have to look elsewhere. Not that Allen stood out in any major way, even with his small stature and pure white hair. On the contrary, Lavi felt Allen fit in rather well. They were all a little goofy in their own ways, Lavi mused, raising a hand to the patch covering his right eye.
No, it wasn't Allen's looks that would have given him away. When Lavi entered the cafeteria, he had scanned for the one sure sign that Allen was there: a veritable mountain of food and dirty dishes. But since there was no fort of plates and bowls tipping dangerously on any of the long wooden tables, Lavi turned and left the hall almost as soon as he at entered, returning to his search for the illusive boy.
Next on the list had been the Library, which Lavi knew was wrong as soon as he turned down the corridor and there was silence. If Allen was in the Library, it was because he was being forced to fill out mountains of paperwork, a task that seemed to throw the boy into loud, clamoring fits. And since the halls weren't currently filled with shouts of "I'M GOING TO STARVE!" it was fairly obvious that Allen could be found elsewhere.
The last place Allen would be was his room. Since placed under careful watch, Allen was obviously worried about causing trouble to others. Whereas his free time had once been spent assisting the Science Division (which explains their undying affection for the boy), he now could be found napping or generally pacing around his quarters.
"Alleeeeen!" Lavi called sweetly, knocking on his door. "Rise and shine, Allen!" Lavi listened, furrowing his eyebrows. It was oddly quiet. Lavi decided to break out the big guns. "Come out come out, Beansprout!" Silence. There was no way Allen would ignore that particular remark, which meant he wasn't here either.
Lavi sighed as he walked down the hall, trying to figure out where Allen could be hiding. He went over Allen's usual hangouts in his head. Maybe he went to visit Lenalee? The two of them were rather close, so the idea seemed quite plausible. However, if he was wrong, Lavi knew he would only succeed in frightening the girl to the fact that Allen was missing. When it came to Allen, it seemed that everybody was a little on edge.
Rather annoyed with the failed mission and more than a little bored, Lavi reluctantly returned to the control room. Maybe he'd spend the day writing that report that the Old Man's been on his case about. Or maybe not.
As soon as he opened to the door, Lavi immediately knew something was wrong. He looked around and tried to place what was amiss.
All the books were in order and the files were fine. Lavi breathed a bit easier, knowing that Bookman would have his head if something happened to his work. The drawers were as he left them, all closed, save the left one that had been open just a crack due to an earlier raid search for some ink. The bookshelves were the same, still in haphazard alphabetical order. The desk was the pile it had been, and the floor was just as cluttered now as it was before. So what was it? He looked into the corner where his bed was situated, pillows tossed aside and covers thrown back. But Lavi noticed that the covers were pulled down further than they had before and were now brushing against the floor lightly. Lavi smiled. So that was it.
Lavi stepped lightly, moving cautiously toward the bed. He held his breath and controlled his movements. After all, loud, threatening noises tend to scare away small animals. He drew in a deep breath and was about to make his move as the door to the room flew open with a resounding slam, revealing one very out of breath and very angry looking Howard Link.
"Where," Link panted out.
"Huh? What's eating you, Two-spot?"
"Where. IS. he?!"
"Who?" Lavi blinked innocently, before furrowing his eyebrows. "Hey, where's Allen?"
"That's what I want to know," Link fumed, eyes darting around the room.
"You try the cafeteria? That's usually a safe bet. I mean, this is Allen we're talking about."
"Obviously." Link sighed and looked around. He had an expression that seemed to consider searching the control room, but decided against it when he noticed all the piles and general clutter. It really was a mess.
"Why don't you just hang out in the cafeteria," Lavi offered, dropping down to sit at the edge of his bed. He shrugged his shoulders in what he knew was an understanding, yet exasperating manner. "If there's one thing I've learned about Allen is that he'll always come around if there's food involved."
Link seemed to reflect on this. "Hm."
"Well, you could always leave a bowl of food by the door and hope he gets hungry." Lavi smiled as Link glared at him.
"Foolishness," Link muttered and he left the room just as he had entered; angry, flustered, and slamming doors.
Lavi let out a low chuckle. He leaned over, peering between his legs under the bed. Instead of being met with the usual darkness or abandoned clutter, he found himself met by steady, silver eyes. "I think it's safe now."
"Thank you." Allen slid out from under the bed. He took Lavi's offered hand and pulled himself to a standing position. "I thought he would never leave," he said, pulling his arms over his head in a languid stretch.
"This isn't like you," said Lavi, his voice holding a just a hint of scolding.
"Allen, if Rouvelier finds out about this-"
"I know, I know!" Allen yelled, holding his head in frustration. "But I didn't know what else to do! Ah, this is really bad, isn't it?"
Lavi smiled as he watched Allen's tumult. He'd convince Allen to return to Link's side in a moment, but for now, Lavi was just happy that Allen decided to seek his refuge in him. "So," said Lavi as Allen cleared a spot on the floor to sit. "What brings you to my humble abode on penalty of death?"
"I just really, really needed a break."
"A break? From Two-spot? I knew that guy was causing you trouble."
"No, not really," Allen said, crossing his legs. Lavi couldn't help but notice how long they were for such a small boy. "He's actually not that bad."
"Allen, just because somebody feeds you, it doesn't make them nice," Lavi teased.
"He doesn't feed me ALL the time." Allen's shoulders hunched and he stared at his feet while he grumbled.
"How'd you escape?"
Allen looked away, the smallest hint of a blush gracing his features. He raised a finger and scratched at his nose, embarrassed. "I ducked out while he was in the bathroom."
Lavi laughed, imagining Link's face when he found out Allen was missing. "Oh man, I wish I could have seen that."
Allen shrugged. "I do feel a little bad. He sounded pretty mad, huh?"
Lavi slid from the bed to the floor, leaning against Allen for a moment before speaking. "Hey, Beansprout."
"It's Allen." The reply was the same as always, but his voice was steady. He didn't yell, just pushed back. This time, Lavi just let their shoulders touch. Even through Allen's hooded sweater, Lavi could feel his warmth.
"What is it, Idiot Lavi?"
"I'm glad I found you."
"Found me?" Allen looked over at Lavi, his head cocking lightly to the side. "You were looking for me?"
"I was. And then I find you, and save you, and you resort to petty name calling." Lavi leaned into him a bit more. "I'm deeply hurt." Lavi could feel Allen's laugh against his back.
"You are not."
"I am. Your words cut me deep, Beansprout."
"See? Name-calling hurts."
"Yes, but only when it's convenient for you, right?"
The conversation fell into a comfortable silence as they sat, simply leaning into each other. Lavi noticed their hands on the floor, only centimeters away from touching. Lavi stretched out his pinky, bumping into Allen's. He didn't move. Neither did Allen.
"Hmm?" His voice was small and warm, and Lavi wondered if Allen was falling asleep.
"You know we need to get you back, right?"
"You gonna be ok?"
Lavi knew he should force the issue more. This is more than just a simple game of hooky Allen was playing. If Rouvelier was informed of Allen's escape, it could escalate into something truly horrifying. After all, Malcom C. Rouvelier was more terrifying than most of the Akuma Lavi had faced and more underhanded than the Earl. But Allen's body was so warm against his back and their fingers were just barely touching. Somehow, he couldn't bring himself to move. "Allen?"
"What is it?"
Lavi didn't know what he wanted to say. For the first time since he could remember, he was speechless. He just wanted to fill the silence. Whatever was happening here was unnerving him. His training had never prepared him for this, whatever this was.
Lavi never got to finish these thoughts as the door to the control room opened. They both scrambled quickly to their feet.
"It's just me, you fool."
"Huh? Gramps?" asked Lavi.
Bookman watched the scene for a moment, his kohl-rimmed eyes as emotionless and searching as usual. Yet somehow, Lavi felt exposed, as if he had been doing something he shouldn't have. Then again, he was always doing something he shouldn't, so perhaps this wasn't as bad as he thought. Bookman frowned at him. Then again, maybe it was.
"Huh? Oh, yes!" Allen took a step forward, his expression shaky. He was visibly nervous, and Lavi wondered if Allen was remembering all the times in the past where Bookman had punished Allen for, more often than not, something Lavi had done. Or not done. Or broken.
"It seems Inspector Link is looking for you. You are to return to him, apologize, and pray that he decides not to take this higher."
"Oh, um, yes. I'm sorry." Allen bowed to Bookman.
"If you are asked, you have been spending the morning with me, filling out reports on the Ark."
"Really?" Lavi and Allen said in unison. They looked at each other, shock passing between them.
"Really," Bookman said, a small smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. "However, I will expect to see you first thing in the morning for that report."
"Wait, you're making Allen do work?" Lavi asked.
"Before breakfast?!" said Allen.
Bookman pinned them both with a glare and they lowered their heads, accepting. Bookman sighed, wondering over when his position was demoted to "babysitter".
"Let's get you back, huh?" Lavi finally said.
"Alright." Allen nodded his head, his face flush with his embarrassment. Allen never took well to being seriously scolded.
"I'll be back in a bit, Gramps."
Bookman inclined his head slightly and made a small noise at the back of his throat. Lavi took that to mean Bookman understood.
Bookman watched out of the corner of his eye as Lavi placed a hand on Allen's shoulder and pushed him gently toward the door. He frowned. Lavi was already headed down an erroneous path and Bookman knew this was substantially caused by Allen. Bookman had felt it the first time he laid eyes on Allen Walker; that boy was going to destroy a lot more than just time.
. . . .
. . .
Allen had always loved the Order, from Jerry's delicious meals all the way to the dusty, stone halls. He loved the people that lived beside him and the encounters they would have. He even loved those crazy robots Komui would sometimes make, though you'd never hear Allen admit it out loud.
It was this very thought that made the days so hard to get through this past week. Whereas Allen once found comfort within these walls, he suddenly felt as if they were closing in on him. All he wanted now was escape and the feeling ran up his spine to nestle uncomfortably between his shoulder blades. It made him restless and the sensation increased with each step he took toward returning to his captivity.
"Come on, Allen. Cheer up!" Lavi said, tucking his hands behind his head as they made their way through the corridors leading to Allen's room.
Lavi frowned at Allen's expression. "It's not so bad. I mean, Gramps got you off the hook, right?"
Lavi sulked for a moment and tried again. "I'll help with the report, kay? So don't look so upset."
Allen shook his head. "I'm just sick of the paper work. It feels like it'll never end."
Lavi laughed. "Sometimes I feel that way. When I do, I just think of Komui and Reever and the others, and somehow, it makes me feel a whole lot better. I mean, it could be way worse, right?"
Allen seemed to consider this. After a moment, he hung his head, his expression falling even further. "I guess this was pretty selfish of me, huh?"
Lavi shrugged. "A little, but I wouldn't worry about it," he said, honestly. "Besides, we all do it."
"Complaining," Lavi said, throwing an arm around Allen's shoulder. He had to bend a little at the waist to do so, but the result was good: Allen flushed as he always did, and tried to push Lavi away.
"Lavi, let go."
"Hmm? Why?" Lavi draped himself across Allen, letting his weight sag against him.
"Honestly," Allen said, grabbing Lavi's wrist and tossing it aside. "You're worse than a child."
"I'm older than you are," Lavi said, thumbing his nose, grinning impishly. "So what does that make you?"
"Too young to be your guardian," Allen said smartly. He turned away from Lavi in a pout, but not before Lavi took full notice of the blush that was slowly spreading over Allen's face. Lavi just laughed in response, noticing that Allen's shoulders sagged less and his lips were no longer pulled into a deep scowl. Somehow, that alone was enough to make Lavi feel quite good.
. . . .
. . .
Allen took a deep breath and placed his hand on the door that stood between him and his room. He closed his eyes, and squared his shoulders and with every ounce of willpower he could muster, Allen pushed the door open.
"Welcome back," Link said, not bothering to look up. He was seated cross-legged on the floor, having pulled up Allen's clothing trunk to use as a makeshift table. The corners of his mouth were turned down as he flipped through a stack of papers, scratching furiously with his pen at something he obviously found journalistically offensive.
"Uh…I'm back," Allen said, smiling uneasily. Allen shifted from one foot to the other as he stood in the doorway, his gaze flitting around the room.
After a moment, Lavi gave Allen a small push into the room. "I'm returning what we stole," Lavi said, giving Link a careless grin.
Link finally picked up his head, narrowing his eyes at Lavi. "If you knew where he was, you should have said so earlier."
"And where's the fun in that?" Lavi tossed out casually, dropping to sit on Allen's bed. He threw himself backwards, placing his hands behind his head as he sank into the soft mattress. He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. The pillow smelled fresh and clean, like a sunny breeze, and just around the edges was a mild array of food smells. Lavi smiled at his next thought: Allen smelled like summer.
Link just watched Lavi for a moment beneath heavily lidded eyes, before returning to his usual air of indifference and buried himself once again in his paper work. Allen's gaze shifted between the pair, before he sighed and kneeled before the trunk.
Link lifted his eyes briefly. "The next time you have a meeting, you are required to tell me."
"I'm sorry," Allen offered.
"In addition," Link continued as if he hasn't heard Allen, "You will need to fill out these forms for today, in triplicate, and then forms A through G for any other meetings you need to attend."
"Eh?!" Allen's eyes widened at the stack of papers Link pushed under Allen's nose. "You're kidding, right?"
"I don't kid," Link said. He tossed a glare in the direction of the bed as Lavi let out a very obvious snicker.
"More paperwork?" Allen whined, dropping his chin to the surface of the trunk. He poked at the pen that was placed before him, and pushed it off the table. Without missing a beat, Link reached down, picked it up, and placed it back in front of the miserable looking Allen. "Thanks," Allen mumbled, halfheartedly.
Allen picked up the pen and glared at it once before straightening his back and shoulders. He pulled the papers closer and began the mind-numbing task of completing the forms:
Name. He wrote "Allen Walker".
Date of Birth. Allen chewed on the end of the pen, debating what to write. N/A? Unknown? He considered over writing down the 25th of December. After all, that's when Allen's life had truly begun. As he mused over this, the gentle chewing had escalated into a gnashing.
"Skip it," Link instructed.
Allen wondered how Link had known what he was stuck on, before finally concluding it had to be based on how much Link seemed to know about Allen's past. After all, Link had, with-in the first hour of their meeting, revealed an awful lot of speculations about Allen's relationship with Mana. The words had bristled, stroking Allen's already fragile ego, hitting the deepest spots of his insecurity.
Allen shook his head of these thoughts and moved onto the next question. He wanted to be done with this as quickly as possible. As he continued, he found the questions got increasingly harder and increasingly more boring. Allen's writing was small and cramped and messy as he mulled over his answers. This type of task always made him feel stupid and rather self conscious over his lack of education. For the most part, it didn't usually bother Allen and he generally found that he was as worldly as he needed to be. But this, Allen thought as he frowned at what he just wrote, this made him feel like an idiot.
Allen supposed he deserved it, what with his earlier conduct. Still, Allen couldn't help but think of the million and one other things he'd rather be doing right now.
. . . .
. . .
The night was uncomfortably warm to the point of being insufferable. The covers had been thrown off earlier, though Allen still kicked at them repeatedly. They had half fallen to the floor by this point, but no matter how far they receded, it was still too damn hot.
Careful not to wake Link, who was snoring lightly from his futon, Allen slipped from the bed. He padded quietly over to the window and pushed his head against the cool glass. He didn't even think twice about the dark shadow hanging ominously over his shoulder, reflecting in the window's surface. It was just another reason for Allen to worry and he felt too drained to agonize over it tonight. Besides, it wasn't quite as terrifying as the Akuma souls or as real as the Noah. It fell somewhere in between; a silent, smiling wraith.
He hadn't told anybody about the shadow, except during that first moment when he had cried out in initial surprise, demanding to know if Link could see it as well. Link had scoffed, chiding Allen for his childish joke. Later, Allen realized he was glad for it. He didn't know what kind of ammunition it would be for Rouvelier's case against him but he really didn't want to dwell over it. And somehow tonight, the shadow offered a bit of comfort, especially with the absence of Timcanpy.
Whether the golden golem was with Komui in order to study the Ark in more detail or with Rouvelier in some vague attempt to trap both him and Cross, Allen wasn't certain. But at nights like this, when sleep seemed impossible, Allen missed the silent companionship and familiar weight on his head.
His thoughts were interrupted by a small tapping at the door, so light that he almost didn't hear it. He moved as quietly as he could, and opened the door just a crack. What greeted him was a startling green eye and a lopsided grin. Allen had to keep himself from yelling, lowering his voice into a whisper, surprised and a little scolding. "Lavi! What are you doing here?"
Lavi put a finger to his lips and nodded his head. His body language was saying "be quiet and come out here". Allen obliged, closing the door as silently as he could.
"What are you doing here so late?" Allen asked again.
Instead of words, Lavi responded by placing his hands on Allen's shoulders, pushing him against the wall. A questioning sound escaped Allen as he felt the stone on his back, cool and comfortable against his heated flesh. Lavi stared at him, the look in his visible eye searching for something in Allen's, his usual carefree smile replaced with a frown. Allen called his name uncertainly.
"Lavi? Are you ok?"
Lavi gave a bitter laugh and shook his head, dropping it to the crook of Allen's shoulder. "No, I'm really not and it's entirely your fault."
Allen was a bit alarmed at Lavi's actions. He'd never seen Lavi quite like this before. "My fault?" Allen's hands rose to Lavi's shoulders, awkwardly trying to sooth whatever was ailing his friend. He felt Lavi nod. "I'm sorry." Allen wasn't sure what Lavi meant, but he couldn't stop the words from tumbling from his lips.
"You don't even know what you're apologizing for," said Lavi, voice muffled. His breath was hot and wet against Allen's neck and made him shiver.
"You're right, I don't. But whatever I've done to upset you, I'm sorry." Allen was a startled by this change in Lavi. He was afraid that maybe Lavi hadn't come back entirely. That perhaps a vital piece of him was left in the Ark, along with whatever bits remained of Road's burnt, decaying corpse. What if their friendship was irreversibly damaged because Allen had been unable to save him in time?
He put his right hand over Lavi's chest, feeling the dull thumping of his heart. "It's still here," Allen said out loud without realizing it. Allen felt Lavi pull back and repeat the action, his hand warm against his chest.
"You should have told me," Lavi whispered.
"I'm sorry," said Allen again. He wasn't sure what Lavi was referring to, but he supposed there were a lot of things he hadn't told him.
Lavi stepped out of Allen's embrace, and they both sighed a silent relief. Neither was used to or really partial to physical contact, so the prolonged heat was foreign and a little frightening.
"I've been having trouble sleeping," Lavi finally explained. "Nightmares."
"Nightmares about what?"
"You." Lavi was speaking in a matter-of-fact sort of way, as if he was commenting on the weather or what he was going to order for dinner, though more to the wall than to Allen. "I keep seeing that memory over and over again. I never hated my ability to remember every small detail until now. Every night, I've had to watch you die." He turned away from Allen, his usually schooled expression crumbling. He looked more in pain than Allen had ever seen him before.
"How did you-"
"Tim's memories. We watched them, me and Lenalee." Though Lavi had his back to him, Allen could see that his jaw was clenched, his fists shaking with some suppressed emotion. "Over and over I hear you scream, even when I'm awake."
"I'm sorry," whispered Allen, leaning his forehead against Lavi's back. It seemed to be all he was saying tonight. "I didn't know. You should have told me."
Lavi let out a whisper of a laugh as Allen repeated his own words back to him. He turned around, reaching out to keep Allen from moving too far away. He lifted a hand, brushing against Allen's cheek, following the path of his scar. There was no teasing in Lavi's touch this time and Allen just sighed and tilted his face into the contact.
Lavi seized at this opportunity and leaned over, brushing his lips gently against Allen's. It was warm and fleeting and spoke of promises. Allen whimpered both in confusion and irritation as Lavi pulled away.
"Why did you do that?"
Lavi smiled at him, carefree and honest. It was the smile he wore best. "I wanted to make sure I wasn't dreaming."
"Well what? Was I dreaming?" Lavi laughed as Allen nodded. "Sure feels like it, Beansprout."
"Shh," Lavi warned, pressing a finger to Allen's lips. "You don't want to wake up Two-spot, do you?"
Allen shook his head. "Not especially." If Link woke, Allen would have to explain what he was doing. What they were doing. Just thinking about it made his heart race uncomfortably.
"Well, goodnight," Lavi said. Allen flushed darkly as Lavi pressed the fingers that had been touching Allen's lips to his own mouth in an indirect kiss. With that, Lavi tossed a wave casually over his shoulder and he walked away without a backwards glance.
Allen watched after him, and once he could no longer make out Lavi's silhouette down the hall, he turned back toward his room. He held his breath and pushed the door open, stiffening at the small groan the hinges let out. Allen put a hand to his chest as Link's light snoring continued undisturbed and he padded back across the small room.
Allen groused as he flopped back onto his bed with a sigh. His thoughts ran over the events from just moments before, and for some reason he couldn't get the look in Lavi's eye out of his mind. He'd never seen his friend in such a state before and his heart ached when he remembered Lavi's words…It's entirely your fault.
Laying his head against the pillow, Allen ran a finger over his lips. Why had Lavi done that? Did he come over here with that kiss in mind, or was it something that just happened? And why did his chest hurt when he thought about it? Allen sighed again and pulled his knees to his chest, all the while cursing Lavi's name. Now he wasn't going to be able to sleep, and it was entirely Lavi's fault.
. . . .
. . .
AN: I need to start off with… I love Link. He has such amazing promise as a character. I also wanted to write something fun and sappy to offset my other fic. The rating on this is still up for revision, depending on my mood. But we'll see.
Questions, Comments, Crits and Love are always appreciated. Thanks for reading :D