Disclaimer: I do not own D. Gray-Man.

Behind Fake Smiles

Chapter Four: Dr. Melody Rabbit and his Legion of Pats

--

'It's so warm.' Allen elicited a groan. 'Someone is playing with my hair….' He tried to shoo the hand off but ultimately failed in his attempts. He tried once more but this time he heard a light chuckle. Far too lazy to open his eyes, Allen let whoever it was keep doing what they were doing, since, after all it felt good. The sensation of something warm and gentle stroking his hair; the feeling of his head laid on something soft – this was completely different from the hospital beds that were cold, uncomfortable and creepy. No matter how many times people sanitized the place, it still gave birth to an eerie feeling within him.

Allen groaned inwardly, subconsciously wrapping his arms around it only to receive a soft gasp followed by the same titter from before.

Allen grew suspicious. He didn't know if this person was someone he knew or just some random person that somehow gained access to his room. He hesitated to open his eyes yet again and debated in his mind whether he should obey or ignore his curiosity. He concluded that the person had to be either Lenalee or Anne; otherwise, who else would be allowed in his room so easily? It was nearly impossible for any unauthorized persons to enter no matter how hard they tried. Komui Lee made sure of that.

Allen's grip tightened and soon, he heard a sigh. "Looks like cheating boy A is having a good dream."

'Did I hear right? Did he just call me cheating boy A?!' This time Allen made no hesitation to open his eyes.

"Oh you're awake!" He was greeted by a smile coming from a dark-haired man. "Forgive me; I think I woke you up—"

Allen immediately embraced the older man, his eyes tightly shut and arms wrapped around the other's neck.

Tyki blinked, surprised at the gesture.

"I'm sorry!" Allen started to sob. "I'm sorry!"

The older male blinked for a moment and then smiled, embracing Allen back warmly. He gave Allen a warm pat before pulling away in order to face the young star.

He shook his head. "Silly boy, what are you apologizing for? I should be the one saying that." He caressed Allen's cheek lovingly, gently wiping the tears away from his eyes.

"I-It's my fault! It's not— I was stupid— I—" Allen was abruptly cut off with a finger pressed to his lips, which prevented him from speaking any further. The man shook his head once more as Allen blinked in confusion.

"Forgive me for what I did yesterday. I shouldn't have reacted that way. I shouldn't have hurt you. I'm sorry…"

The white-haired teen could not restrain himself anymore. He broke into tears at the same time that he had begun to laugh just a bit; he wanted to be held close by the older man and tell him that it wasn't his fault. He wanted to explain the entire situation to him but his sobs and tears prevented him from doing so.

"Allen?" Tyki somehow panicked. "What's wrong? Why are you crying and laughing at the same time! I'm calling the nurse! Nurse—!"

"Tyki, no… I'm just…" He chuckled. "I'm relieved."

The older man scratched his head. "Relieved? You're making me feel quite guilty, so stop it. I've already apologized!" Tyki snorted.

Allen still continued to laugh and stuck out his tongue. "Apology not accepted."

"What?" The older man stood and placed his arms at his waist. "Fine! What do you want me to do so that you could forgive me?"

Allen thought for a moment and then smirked. "Hmm… Beat me in a game of poker and I'll consider forgiving you."

Tyki immediately raised an eyebrow. The white-haired teen perfectly knew he would win and he always did. Tyki was good when it came to poker but because of Allen's tendency to cheat, he never had a chance. Although Tyki did cheat like Allen, Allen never seemed to call on it.

"No. If there is one thing I learned about you, it's that you're a cheat." He crossed his arms.

"Oh? Do you have any proof that I cheated in any of our poker matches?" Allen cocked an eyebrow, the smirk never leaving his face for a second.

Tyki grew silent and shot Allen a glare. Sighing in defeat, he reached into his pocket and drew out a deck of cards, deftly shuffling it before passing out five cards to each player. "You better not think of cheating this—"

'RING!'

Both were startled by the sound of a ringing phone. Tyki cursed under his breath, trying his best to ignore the damn thing and concentrate on the match. Allen bit his lip when it rang the second time. The sly grin on the teen's face was replaced with a sad smile for he knew perfectly well what was to happen if Tyki answered it.

Allen sighed, placing his hand of cards face-down. "You should answer that…," he told him.

"Ignore it. It's probably Lero trying to get me back to work." He stroked his chin contemplatively, clearly deep in thought.

Allen shook his head. "No, it'd be rude if you don't answer. It might be important."

Tyki sighed, reluctantly pulling out the ringing object in his pocket. He lazily stood up and informed the boy that this would just take a minute or so. He was also able to somehow threaten the teen to not even think about looking under his cards.

Allen nodded, smiling as the older man strolled out of the room.

Tyki quickly searched for a place that could provide him some privacy, and found an empty hallway right across Allen's room. He made his move to answer the ringing phone.

"Tyki-tama, where are you?! Why weren't you answering our calls! Road-tama is looking for you-Lero!" Lero, one of Tyki's henchmen, screeched as soon as Tyki answered.

The dark-haired man anticipated this situation and immediately drew back the mobile phone away from his ear; otherwise, he feared the possibility of losing his sense of hearing would come a lot earlier than he'd anticipated.

"Lero, you don't have to shout." He sighed. "I'm currently with Allen, so make this quick. What is it that my dear cousin wants from me?" he asked.

"Lero-lero… Please wait for a moment; I'll direct your call to her…." Lero whispered.

Tyki cocked an eyebrow, curious as to what the little girl wanted from him.

--

There was a still silence before all the nurses turned to Lavi's direction. They were all curious as to why he had suddenly yelled in the middle of the hallway.

Lavi merely laughed off their stares nervously, scratching the back of his head before apologizing about disrupting the peace.

"Lavi, is there something wrong?" one of the nurses asked, having just approached the flushed individual. She tilted her head to the side, making her long brunette hair fall gracefully over her shoulders.

Realizing she was talking to him, Lavi immediately snapped himself from his thoughts and regained his composure. "Ah, n-nothing! It's nothing, Chomesuke. Well, actually, can I ask you something?"

She nodded.

"Allen Walker and that guy with the beauty mark on the face – a-are they lovers?" he asked in a voice a little above a whisper.

The nurse stared at him for a moment and then nodded. "Hmm, but rumor has it that they're not getting along quite as well as they used to. Trouble in paradise."

"Oh…." He cocked an eyebrow and then sighed, somewhat relieved. "Uh, well, I guess I'll be going. Thanks, Chomesuke." He waved at her and disappeared into the nearest door.

"Lavi... "

--

Lavi panted upon reaching the employee's lounge. He quickly closed the door and collapsed into the couch. An expression mixed with shock and embarrassment lay written all over his face. He was rather surprised with the way he had reacted; he usually was the one who liked to joke around, rarely paying much mind to what people had to say about others, especially the little gossips that nurses liked to make.

As he finally caught up with his breath, the redhead unzipped the upper half of the rabbit costume. Underneath, he revealed a black t-shirt and a bracelet made of ribbon that wound around his left wrist. He took off the rabbit-ear headpiece and laid it on the table by his side. He took out a clean cloth and hastily wiped the paint off his face. Then, and only then did he sigh loudly, recalling some of the incidents that had occurred earlier.

Underneath his breath, he mumbled something about how the day turned out so horrible and that all he wanted to do was to get home ASAP so he could rock himself to sleep. He pondered during this time about how some events could happen so fast that one could not keep up with them anymore. His precarious thoughts, though, were interrupted by the door creaking open to reveal none other than the silhouette of a young girl.

"Lavi-nii-chan, I've brought out our snack!" Mei Ling quickly ran towards her dazed brother with two lunchboxes in tow. The redhead stared at her blankly, giving her the impression that he had just woken up.

"Nii-chan, are you okay?" Mei Ling asked.

"…Yeah," he replied softly, a small smile forming upon his lips. He patted his sister's short, brunette head. "I'm just tired, I guess."

The girl nodded sympathetically, returning the smile with one of her own that was bigger and broader than Lavi's.

"Nii-chan, is it okay if I share my snack with Jean and Leo?" she asked, taking a seat next to Lavi.

"Sure, just as long as you don't make a mess. You know how the head nurse will kill us if we did…."

Both gulped.

"I won't; I promise!" She held up her hand in vow and the redhead gave her his permission.

"Lavi!" Chomesuke suddenly burst through the door, panting heavily and hard. Lavi almost jumped from the sheer volume of her voice, turning to her confused and somewhat worried. "Lavi, you have to come! Allen Walker, he's—"

--

Tyki reluctantly leaned against the wall, debating whether he should just hang up or wait for an answer. His patience was slowly wearing thin just by waiting for Road. He already had so little time to be with his adorable little toy and yet here he was wasting it waiting for Road to speak to him.

'Well, so much for an important thing to say.' He frowned.

He was just about to hang up when he heard a voice finally come from the other end.

"Yo, Tyki, sorry about that!"

"Road," the man sighed. "What took you so long? Ah, you know what, never mind. So? What is it that you wanted to say to me?"

"I got caught up with something; my bad. Huh? I had something to say to you?"

Tyki rolled his eyes.

"I don't recall—"

"Road, honestly, what is it?" he cut in, growing frustrated as the seconds ticked away.

"Okay!" She giggled.

Tyki raised an eyebrow. Road Kamelot was the daughter of one of his uncle's business friends. Definitely a spoiled little girl, Tyki saw.

Tyki held no grudge against Road since she was a decent friend— well, once you got to know her. Though, there were times she could really be annoying; take the phone call with him for an example. Plus, she held an important role in terms of business so it was best not to mess with her.

The dark-haired man sighed in thought.

"You sure are impatient!" She chuckled."Hmm, I bet you're with Allen again. That would probably explain why you're in such a hurry to hang up. You know, you should treat him better; otherwise, he'll get angry with you."

Tyki laughed. "Allen? Get angry? You've got to be kidding me!"

"Tyki… you really are a cold person, you know that?" She sounded amused.

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"Don't you have any genuine feelings for him? I mean, he's doing everything just to make you happy."

"Have feelings for him?" He paused, deep in thought. "Hmm…I suppose it's only lust. Allen is just like all the other people I've played with before, but then again he's a lot more fun to toy with than any other person I've met." He smirked and Road chuckled into the receiver once more.

"Oh! Well, in that case, I won't have to worry about anything anymore!" she cheered while Tyki cocked an eyebrow.

"Worry about what, Road?"

"Well, I was afraid you'd get upset once I told you that your uncle doesn't want you to associate with Allen anymore." Tyki remained silent. "I have a feeling that he still holds a grudge against those two; it's been, like, two years since Mana Walker died and he still can't get over it!"

Tyki's eyes narrowed in thought at the spoken name. He was surprised how abruptly the name was brought up into the conversation. Mana Walker was already dead for two years. Even if he admittedly confessed that he was a cruel man, he knew it was rude to dig something up that had already been buried. His mind had raised questions about this man many a time. There were several moments when Tyki ended up recalling things he thought were of needless regard since his uncle had changed so much after this man's death. For all he could remember, Mana Walker was Allen's foster father, mentor, and a famous pianist. He was also a close friend of Duke Millennium, well, before he became the crazy man he was now. They were particularly good friends. Thinking about it closely, it was probably because of his uncle that sealed Allen's fate.

"I had a feeling he didn't approve of my relations with Allen, too, but no worries. I won't regret anything if I do get separated from cheating boy A." Both chuckled. "After all he is becoming quite a pain nowadays. I could always get a new toy to play with—"

Tyki never got to finish his sentence as screams erupted from behind him, taking away his attention from Road. He abruptly turned and drew away from his phone, leaving a puzzled Road on the other end. Recognizing where the screams were coming from, he rushed to where the sound came from only to catch sight of two security guards chasing after a young man with white hair. Tyki overcame his surprise when both suddenly yelled:

"Sir Walker, wait!"

In an instant, Tyki cursed under his breath.

--

Lavi ran from hallway to hallway; everyone was in distress. Allen Walker was missing and security had just lost him. The head nurse ordered every free hospital employee to search for the boy. Lavi really thought she was overreacting. But then again, the head nurse was a close friend of the boy so why wouldn't she worry like that?

"Allen Walker, where are you?" he asked himself as he ran outside the hospital.

The redhead quickly came to an area where no other person seemed to look. He had thought twice of going inside; after all, it was a restricted area.

The area was a garden that was under renovation, and it looked quite dangerous to tread inside. He was about to turn back when he heard a sound come from the other side of the fence. Without hesitation, he kicked it open, creating a small hole that allowed him to see the other side.

Lavi immediately recognized the figure inside and jumped in without another thought.

The person was Allen.

--

Allen ran despite the stares, gasps and the calls of the two security guards that came behind him. He didn't dare look back. He did not want to face him again.

Every single word that came from him; every bitter truth that he had spoken – Allen heard it all. The white-haired teen could not explain how he felt; he just wanted to run, to shout, to cry, to laugh at himself for being such a fool for all those years. Sorrow was most certainly not the emotion that bubbled inside of him. It was more self-pity and shame.

It wasn't too long before he found himself standing in some sort of garden outside the hospital building. He had lost the two security guards not too long ago. The white-haired teen felt his legs slowly give up on him as the coldness of the wind forced a shiver down his spine. He raised his head a bit and burst into laughter though tears were still present.

"Lenalee…forgive me; you were right. He was just using me… He's not the person I had first met in London; he isn't that Tyki."

Allen could remember it clearly: that sweet and gentle smile of his; those strong and warm hands; and those fruitful words of love from him. He was completely different from what he was before. Allen didn't want to admit it but he had noticed changes in the man. However, he didn't want to doubt or press Tyki for answers. Even the questions he asked of the man, if they were evaded (as they always were), Allen wouldn't push for them. But that was the problem.

"How could I be such a fool?" He clenched his fists. "I ignored the countless warnings of my friends and now what? Damn it!" Allen let out a bitter smile. "What am I talking about? 'Friends'? No, I don't even deserve to call them my friends. I ignored them and shut them out just to be with someone who only valued me as a toy. I'm the worst kind of person there is! "

Allen could not feel his legs anymore and his sight slowly blurred. He was cold and scared. But he didn't care. He stood there, motionless, as tears continued to stream down from his eyes.

"You know, for someone who looks so strong on TV, you sure don't act like one. Honestly, what makes you think they hate just because you've ignored what they've said?" It came from a voice behind Allen, though the young man did not bother to turn away from the scenery before his eyes.

"Of course, they hate me… I chose something stupid over them," he spoke in almost a whisper.

"Nah! They don't. If they did hate you, they would have abandoned you a long, long time ago. You sure have changed since that day in the park, Moyashi-chan." A gentle pat in the head made him snap from his dazed state, forcing him to turn around to greet his visitor. However, he was only met with a pair of emerald green eyes before the world was enveloped by darkness.

--

Lavi caught the unconscious figure just before he fell onto the asphalt below. Carrying him in his arms, he brought him to a nearby shed as the rain began to pour. He hurried to check if the white-haired teen was all right and, with a sigh, felt a rush of relief run over him.

Lavi had heard it all. Everything the young teen had spoken. He watched him cry and blame himself for whatever happened between that Tyki person and him. He knew it was wrong to eavesdrop but he couldn't help it. The way the teen spoke, the way he acted, the way those eyes looked – he seemed ready to commit suicide at any moment and he had to stop that.

Lavi noted that the young artist was deeply and hopelessly in love with said man. He was surprised that a person like Allen could honestly love a heartless man like Tyki Mikk and he was more than willing to turn his back on his friends just to be with this man. It was romantic but at the same time absurd and stupid.

"So it was true, huh? Tyki Mikk and you…." He brushed away a stray strand of hair covering his face and wiped the visible tears. "Fate seems to be cruel to you, too. Man, I was thinking your life was already perfect. You certainly started well enough when I spoke to you two years ago. Guess I was wrong." Lavi heard a slight whimper from the sleeping teen as he rested his head on Lavi's shoulder.

"I'm sorry… I'm… sorry," Allen sobbed in his sleep.

"Even in sleep your problems still haunt you… Poor kid." Lavi sighed and continued to gaze upon him. He raised a hand to stroke the teen's hair, thinking that maybe it could provide him some sense of comfort. 'Hmm, I wonder if this would work for him. My pats always work on Mei-chan. Let's just hope that it can stop him from crying.' Though hesitant at first, he decided to proceed with his actions, though in mind he could be branded a maniac for what he was about to do.

"Shh… it's okay. Don't cry; it's okay," he spoke in a calm, serene voice as he patted Allen on the head. Lavi felt the teen huddle closer to his arm as he continued to pat his head. A small smile formed on the redhead's lips as he sustained his actions. To think that the one clinging to him right now was a person who seemed to live the perfect life – a life free from problems, suffering, and loneliness.

'Fake smiles… I knew it.' Lavi watched silently as the sleeping figure beside him ceased his sobs.

"Mana…" Allen groaned.

"Mana?" Lavi scratched his head. 'Is he talking about Mana Walker, the famous pianist?' Lavi asked himself. 'You really have changed. You used to be so full of hope and determination. I can't believe it turned into this. That day I met you, you were completely a different person from who you are now.'

Lavi could remember it as if it were yesterday. It all began on the day of Allen's first concert – a day he could never forget.

Lavi rubbed his hands together furiously as he tried to generate some much needed heat. It was almost the season of winter back then and it was practically freezing. He was on his way to work and decided to take a shortcut through the park.

"Brr… So cold." He shivered.

Lavi saw a stage set up in the center of the park, noticing the large number of people starting to gather. The Green Meadows Park was the largest park in the city and was a venue of events such as concerts, weddings, and performances. Lavi had to admit that the stage was absolutely stunning. The one performing must be someone huge, judging from the number of people gathering (though it was free admission).

"Gosh, I can't wait to see Allen Walker sing! I've been, like, waiting for this concert for the past two months! In England, they say he's a god," a girl not too far from Lavi spoke.

"Yeah! He's only fifteen and he's totally sizzling HOT. Too bad his producer died a month ago, just around the time he was starting to shine."

"Yeah; Mana Walker. They say this concert is dedicated to him. I heard them say Allen made a new song for— Oh my god, it's him!" the girl screamed as Lavi saw the singer, most likely Allen, emerge from the vehicle.

"Oh my god! It really IS him!" another shouted.

Lavi immediately turned and caught sight of a white-haired boy wearing an ivory-colored coat. Lavi marveled the boy's features. Even from afar, he saw how well he suited the coming season. Those silvery locks matched the first fall of snow that was so pure and gentle, and that smile, so comforting that it left you warm inside.

A gust of wind made the redhead snap from his trance and at the same time, his eyes locked with the white-haired teen's. He averted his gaze and decided to hurry out of the park, thinking that he was merely wasting time.

That was the first time he saw Allen Walker.

-

By the time Lavi got to work, he was sent back, his boss telling him that he could take the day off since he had to work the following Sunday. Lavi did what he was told, finding himself far too distracted from thinking about the white-haired teen known as Allen Walker.

"It would have been nice if I could have watched his performance." He smiled. "It must have been awesome!"

Suddenly, a strong gust of wind blew, picking up speed and chill. In response, the redhead placed a hand over his eyes to protect them only to have a sheet of paper caught in the updraft slap him against his arm. As fast as the wind had come, it had gone, the paper cascading down to the ground before Lavi in a graceful manner. Curiosity getting the better of him, he slowly bent down to pick it up, reading its contents on the spot.

He cocked an eyebrow. "Moving… On… by Allen Walker. I dedicate this song… to my beloved father, Mana Walker. Keep walking… Keep moving on."

"My lyrics! I can't believe I lost it!"

Lavi turned and to his surprise, it was the boy from earlier. He could tell that he was worried and had been chasing the piece of paper for quite some time.

"Excuse me, have you seen a piece of paper flying somewhere?" the younger boy panted as he asked the redhead.

Lavi stood dumbstruck but regained himself quickly, offering a quick smile. "You mean this?" He handed the piece of paper to the young teen. The boy's eyes immediately widened and, out of the blue, he hugged Lavi.

The redhead was left speechless. That piece of paper must've contained something very important to him, Lavi assumed.

"Thank you! Thank you so much, uh-" The white-haired boy noticed that he was hugging the redhead and flushed from embarrassment. "Oh I'm sorry!" He laughed nervously, pulling away with swift speed.

"No problem and you're welcome, Allen Walker." Lavi smiled and patted the young boy's head. He turned to walk away but something pulling from behind made him stop in his tracks.

"You know who I am?" Allen asked.

"Well, noticing the stage earlier had your name on it and that I sort of read your lyrics, it seems pretty logical to conclude that you're Allen Walker." Lavi chuckled.

"Oh, the lyrics aren't mine. Well, they are, but only half of them. The other half belongs to my late… father…"

"I see; I'm sorry…."

Allen gripped the piece of paper. There was a brief moment of silence. The redhead noticed traces of worry in the boy's face. He could tell he was nervous and scared, but nevertheless, there was a spark of determination that lay within his eyes.

"Allen! Come on!" a tall and dark-haired man shouted as he spotted the white-haired teen.

"I'm coming, Tyki!" Allen called back and faced the redhead again.

"Looks like he's calling for you."

Allen nodded.

Lavi gave him a gentle pat on the head and smiled. "I know you're nervous but whatever happens, do your best and if ever you fall, never give up and move on. Be sure to make Mana Walker proud." In an instant, all trances of worry disappeared and for the first time, Lavi saw a very warm smile came from the young teen. A smile so different from the ones he saw earlier.

Allen Walker bade goodbye to Lavi and a few minutes later, he stood up on the stage and sang. What Lavi saw was not the worried teen a while ago but a singer who performed with grace and confidence. He would have made Mana Walker proud.

--

When I think about my life
I wonder if I will survive
To live to see 25
Or will I just fall?
Like all my friends
They just keep dying
People round me
Always crying
In this place that I like to
Call my home

But not everybody knows
That everybody goes
To a better place
And not everybody knows
That everybody could be living their last days
But the hard times will come
and we'll keep movin' on

We're moving on…

Keep movin' on…

"Keep movin' on…." Lavi sang softly.

"Mana…"

Lavi promptly ceased his singing as he heard the soft whisper of the figure beside him. Allen was awake, eyes full of tears though he still hugged Lavi's arm.

'Did he just hear me sing? I probably woke him for being off tune. Crap!''

"Uh… hello. D-Did I just wake you up?" Lavi asked. He felt the teen slowly sit up, wiping his tears away. He smiled at Lavi and nodded. "Sorry."

"No, don't apologize. I like the way you sing." It took a moment to register what Allen said to Lavi and when it did, he turned pale.

"Are you all right?" Allen asked worriedly.

"Y-yes, I'm fine. You don't have to lie. I seriously sing like a toad!"

Allen chuckled.

"I guess it's nice to hear someone else sing other than myself. Well…actually, the way you sing, it reminds me of someone." He brought his legs to his chest and hugged them.

"A close friend of yours?" Lavi saw the white-haired teen grip his hands and force a smile.

"…Yes."

Lavi quickly noticed the sudden change in Allen. From the being that clung to him a while ago, crying in pain, to a being who wore the 'perfect mask'. He never thought he would meet someone who wore the same mask as he did before.

Lavi bit his lip and gripped his left wrist, memories from the past beginning to cloud his mind. He hated remembering it or even thinking about it. He swore to God that he would never go back to that lonely path, and if he ever met someone similar to what he experienced, Lavi would do whatever it took to save that person from that same cold world.

"Is it okay if I ask you a question?" Lavi asked, staring at the cloudy sky.

Allen looked at him and nodded.

"Have you ever heard of… the perfect mask?"

"The Perfect Mask? No, I'm sorry. I haven't heard of such a thing."

"Would you like to know what it is?"

"Sure," he replied.

Lavi immediately grinned at Allen. "It's a mask people usually create to hide what they truly feel – a mask that a person wears when they are simply too afraid to face reality."

Allen's eyes immediately widened.

"Well, to say it simply, it's a disguise meant to make people believe what the bearer wishes for them to believe; it's usually associated with smiles." Lavi patted the teen's head.

Allen brought his eyes down and started to tremble. He hugged his knees tighter and turned away from the redhead. Allen heard the other sigh, standing up.

"Y-you could… see right through me…." Allen said almost in a whisper though Lavi heard it clearly.

"Yep. I kinda heard everything you said a while ago and you honestly have to stop it unless—"

"What the hell do you know!?" Allen snapped. "Didn't anyone tell you not to interfere with other people's liv—" Allen never got to finish his sentence as he felt warm arms wrap around him comfortingly, embracing him close. Tears quickly formed and before Allen knew it, he was crying again.

"It hurts, doesn't it?" Lavi spoke in a soothing voice. "Keeping everything behind that mask and wearing a smile. To never allowing people to know what you really want to say simply because you're scared of what they will think of you." Lavi felt Allen calm down and return his embrace. "I know I'm just a stranger who just happened to pass by, and I seriously know I'm interfering in your life, and I really don't give a damn about what you think of me but… but just do me one favor, okay? Take off that annoying mask and never wear it again unless you want to suffer even more." Lavi faced the white-haired teen and wiped the tears that rolled down his cheeks.

"Why… how come… you?" Allen said in between sobs.

Lavi chuckled.

"How do I know? I used to be like you, actually. Wearing a fake persona and all that. Where I grew up, you had to fight in order to survive; there are no friends or family, only you and yourself; it's either kill or be killed."

Lavi sighed and pulled away from the shocked Allen. "I trusted no one but myself. I smiled to everyone and deceived them. Before I knew it, the mask itself ate me and the more I chose to wear it, the more I hurt myself. I plunged myself into the deepest despair possible. When I learned I couldn't escape from it anymore, I resorted to something drastic. Funny thing is that it made sense to me at the time." He laughed nervously and raised his left wrist to take off his bracelet. Allen immediately saw scars and covered his mouth.

"Then," Lavi continued, "I met this old man who kinda looks like a panda and he told me to stop. He told me that whatever happens I shouldn't resort to this kind of thinking and I just had to keep moving on no matter what happens." Lavi scratched his head while Allen caught every word that spilled from his lips; his sobs having long stopped. "He took me in and taught me everything I know."

"He… He must have been a nice person," Allen spoke.

"Yeah."

"'Move on', huh." Allen smiled. "My father used to say, 'Never stop'; 'Do not give up'; and 'Keep walking until the end'."

Lavi smiled.

"I can't believe I forgot all about that. Movin' On is a song he made for me in order to cheer me on if I ever got confused with the path I've chosen. I remember during my first concert I had almost lost the lyrics; fortunately, there was this person who helped me find them and he told me I should do my best and that if I ever fell down, I should always get back up again. If he were here right now, he'd probably get angry at me." Allen chuckled.

Lavi almost lost his balance when he heard what Allen had just said. He didn't really expect Allen to remember that moment but somehow he was happy that he did. It just showed that Allen was different from other stars.

"Well, maybe he will, and maybe he won't." Lavi shrugged. "But I'm sure he's not the only one who would be happy now that you've remembered it."

Allen nodded. "Mana would be happy, too."

Both Lavi and Allen smiled.

It did not take long until the sky finally cleared and the sun appeared. Allen then noticed the pink costume the redhead wore and the traces of paint in his face. He grew curious though hesitated to ask. Lavi noticed the teen staring at him and grinned.

"I'm sure you're wondering why I'm in this fluffy outfit."

Allen stared at him then nodded.

"I work at the hospital. I'm usually in the children's ward playing with the patients; part of the job is to be this sort of undercover counselor while wearing a rabbit costume. I'm also known as Dr. Melody Rabbit to the kids." He turned and wiggled his fluffy tail.

Allen laughed.

"I suppose you got your name from the Sanrio character, My Melody?" Allen smirked.

"Well, it used to be Dr. Rabi Rabbit, but the nurses thought Dr. Melody Rabbit suits me better." He laughed nervously.

"I see! Oh, I'm sorry; I forgot to ask your name."

"Oh, it's Lavi. Lavi Bookman." Lavi smiled, outstretching his hand to Allen.

"Lavi," Allen repeated with a warm voice. "To tell you the truth, I've never really opened up to anyone until now…."

"Feels good inside, doesn't it?" Allen nodded. "Though… I guess it's kinda weird to have to open up to a strange-looking guy wearing a rabbit costume." Lavi scratched his head.

Allen immediately laughed.

"Your hand…." Allen slowly pulled Lavi's right hand and gently placed it in his cheek. Lavi could swear his heart skipped a beat when he felt his hand against Allen's cheek.

"W-What about it?" He asked, trying to stay calm.

"It's… similar to Mana's. I remember it being as warm and soft, just like yours," Allen said, still holding Lavi's right hand. "Whenever I would feel upset he'll always pat me on the head and for some reason my problems seemed to disappear."

"O-Oh." Lavi immediately grinned and patted Allen on the head. "In that case, if you ever feel you need a pat, just call Dr. Melody Rabbit and I'll come running over, patting you with all my legion of pats!"

A smile quickly spread to the teen's face and he burst out laughing once more.

'Phew, finally a true smile! Yeah! Mission Accomplished!' he told himself, finally noticing the rain had ceased. "Hmm, looks like the rain stopped; we'd better get you inside then. I'm sure everyone is worried sick about you. I'll certainly be killed if I don't get you back safely. Come on."

Allen gripped his hands, his eyes staring on the floor and he bit his lip. Lavi sighed and patted his head once again. The boy immediately looked up at him.

"Uh-"

"Don't want to face your fucked up boyfriend, right?" Lavi cocked an eyebrow.

"Yes," Allen spoke softly.

Lavi sighed and rolled his eyes.

"Allen, do you remember the last four lines of the song Movin' On?"

Allen nodded.

"Then say it."

"But the hard times will come/and we'll keep movin' on./We're moving on./Keep movin' on." Allen immediately smiled and looked at Lavi with eyes full of determination. Those same eyes that Lavi remembered he had on the day of his first concert: strong and confident.

--

When Allen and Lavi got back, Anne and Lenalee came crying to Allen as they saw him approach the steps of the hospital. And then came a team of medics, and then a crowd of reporters. Allen quickly eased the worries of the medics by assuring that he was fine before searching for a familiar face in the crowd. It didn't take him long to notice a man with dark hair emerge from the mass of people, rushing over to Allen to hug him.

"Allen, oh God, I was so worried about you! Are you hurt anywhere?" Tyki asked.

Allen remained silent, glancing over at Lavi who seemed to be restraining himself from beating the man unconscious right then and there. The white-haired teen gave a reassuring smile to the redhead and told him not to worry. Lavi blinked in response and nodded.

"Tyki," Allen called, a smile spread across his face. Tyki faced him and in a split second, Allen punched Tyki square in the face.

"Tyki Mikk, I'm breaking up with you!" he yelled.

Lavi covered his mouth, preventing himself from speaking but found out hold it back for some reason. He just did not expect this at all, especially from Allen Walker and before he knew it, he found himself yelling…

"STRIKE!"

End of Chapter

--

My thanks again to ritachi-san for spending her precious time beta-reading this fanfiction. I'm very much sure I gave her another awful headache for my grammar and bad timing (Argh!). Forgive me! DX

I hope that covers up for my lack of Laven. I'll do more in the future chapters now that they've met. X3

Oh, the song I used is named, Movin' On by Good Charlotte.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

Oh and I hope they do continue the anime… they just have to end it when the twist started to appear! Thanks again! XD