I knew he was there

1. I knew he was there. I knew he was just around the corner, waiting, with his snakelike eyes scanning the halls for me, trying to find the next way to torment me. This time, I wouldn't give him the chance. I ran as fast as I could on my weak legs without making a sound in the opposite direction.

Ever since I first met Leverrier, he had been an object of fear for me, and no matter how long ago it was, that fear was going to stick with me forever. Why, just the other day in my brother's office, just one glance in my direction and I was already shaking. Luckily, my older brother had had Reever get me out of there immediately, but they wouldn't always be around to help. Someday, I was going to be alone, and he would start talking to me – maybe asking more questions about Allen – and I would have no choice but to stand there, with him, and talk, praying that someone would come down the hall and say that they needed one of us.

I had my escapes from him, of course. My room was always a safe Haden, and so was Kanda. I couldn't stay locked in my room all day, though, and eventually Kanda would get aggravated with me hanging around and tell me to suck it up and stop hiding.

I could hear him behind me as I scurried off, calling out to someone else they had seen roaming the halls. As much as I felt bad for whoever it was, I also felt relief to have a chance to run back to my room. It was getting late, anyway.

I dashed into my room, slamming my door behind me. I leaned against it until I sank to the floor, trying to even my breathing. One person shouldn't have so much control over me. This was something I knew to be true, but somehow it didn't change the fact that my childhood scars would be with me forever.

He can't do anything to you now, I promised myself, back then, I was alone. Now I have my brother and all my friends. He can't do anything…can he?

Of course I'm wasn't alone, but Leverrier had a lot of power over everyone in the Order. Even if they wanted to, no one could stop him, really. They could keep breaking up conversations and sneaking me out of rooms, but that would only go so far. I shuddered once more and went to my bed, slipping under the covers without bothering to undress. I held my legs tightly to my chest, squinting my eyes, trying to block out the images of him that I couldn't get of my head. His haunting glare, that long smirk, the dark, hovering shadow…it was all engrained in my mind, with no way to get it out. Sleep was useless, because I knew the moment I drifted off, I would probably be enveloped in nightmares of him. My hands slinked away from my legs and up to my short, choppy hair. I held my head, trying to push out the images of Leverrier so that I could have a dreamless sleep for once.

I came to the conclusion that thinking of good times would make me feel a little better. The things in my life that made me willing to keep moving on, no matter what happened. I thought back to our most recent mission to find General Cross. There weren't many good things to look back at there. I had lost my Innocence and been a burden to all of my friends. Scanning further into my memory, I found my success in beating a level 3 akuma. That was something to be proud of, but I had lost my hair, my Innocence, and our ship crew, including Miss Anita, a very kind and dear woman how had lent me her hair band.

Maybe the events at the Rewinding Town were something to be happy about. Things weren't as bad back then, were they? I had become close to the new exorcist, Allen, and helped out Miranda Lotto. Now she was an exorcist, too, with a great power over time. There. Something to be proud of. It wasn't enough to save me from my dreadful fear of Leverrier, though.

I tried to remember when my brother had first entered the Order. That was a happy memory. I tried to concentrate on that, but it just reminded me of why he had joined the Order – for me, because I was struggling due to Leverrier and the others. I cringed, sitting up in my bed. If that memory couldn't comfort me, nothing could.

Standing up, I slipped into my shoes and headed to the door. Hopefully he wouldn't be out there any more. It was too late for him to be wandering around, anyway. I would go on a walk, and maybe meet up with someone in the halls.

It was almost completely dark other than the dim moonlight slipping in by the windows. Black clouds crowded the sky, hiding the stars. I stared out the window, wishing I were somewhere other than here, with the threat of Leverrier hanging at every corner. I felt a familiar sting of pain in my chest, and soon enough tears were spilling down my cheeks. They were tears of longing for a place to hide and of fear for what could happen with him here. Wiping my cheeks with my sleeve, I wished I wasn't the weakest exorcist. Every time something went wrong, I was the first to cry. I never gave anyone else a chance to get sad because, the great friends they were, they were too busy trying to make me feel better. I wish that I could have the chance to comfort one of them for once. I wanted to be there for one of them instead of the other way around. But in this condition, I knew it was impossible. I was far too weak, not only emotionally, but physically, too. I was healing from my battle still.

Footsteps in the hall made me jump violently. I spun around, fright gleaming in my eyes. I let out a sigh of relief as I saw Allen and Lavi walking down the hall towards me.

"What are you doing up so late, Lenalee?" Allen asked, his large, innocent eyes glancing over at me.

"I could ask you the same thing," I laughed, trying to keep my voice solid.

Lavi elbowed Allen. "This nut was hungry, so we went to find some leftovers. I was awake, so I figured, what the hell?"

It pained me a little, but I smiled over at the boys. "I should have guessed."

More footsteps came, and I spun around in the other direction, the same terror growing inside of me. At least I wasn't alone this time…

Two finders walked by, whispering lightly as they headed back to their rooms. I let out another sigh, leaning against the wall, trying to find strength in my legs again.

Lavi looked at me, curiously gleaming in his green eye. "You seem a little…I don't know…jumpy."

"Are you hungry?" Allen asked. "When I'm hungry, I can get jumpy, too!"

"You're always hungry!" Lavi pointed out. He was smiling, but somehow, there still seemed to be worry in his eye as he looked over at me.

I smiled reassuringly at them – or at least I tried to. "Don't worry about me. I was just having trouble sleeping, so I decided to take a walk. I must be jumpy from being overtired!"

He wasn't buying it.

Neither of them was, apparently. "It's got to be hunger, Lenalee, that's keeping you up! Even if it isn't, I always find that large helpings of various vegetables can get you to sleep quickly!"

I wanted to laugh, Allen could be so silly sometimes, but I couldn't. I didn't bother forcing myself too, because I knew it would blow my cover.

Lavi raised an eyebrow. "Leverrier?"

I gasped, whispering, "Where? Is he watching me?"

Lavi exchanged a look with Allen before turning back to me. "No, Lenalee, he's not here. I was wondering if he was the reason you're so upset, but now I guess I've confirmed it. Look, there are even dried tears on your cheeks." He reached out, running his hand down my arm until he took hold of my hand. "You're a mess, Lenalee. Don't let him have this much power over you!"

"It's easy for you to say!" I gasped, feeling the tears falling down my cheeks again. "You didn't spend your childhood running away from him!" I didn't mean to take it out on him, but I needed to express my feelings somehow.

Allen became frantic. "Lenalee? Are you crying? You're crying again, right? Pie! We need pie, Lavi! PIE!"

Lavi rolled his eye before turning back to me. "Do you want pie, Lenalee?" he asked, humoring Allen.

"I'll go get pie…for all of us, of course…Lenalee shouldn't eat it all by herself…it would make her sick!" Allen babbled on, trying to find an excuse to eat some more.

Lavi stepped on his foot. "Don't be an idiot, Allen! You've already eaten every leftover Jerry had in the kitchen! There isn't any pie left!"

Allen smiled over at me. "We can bake some, then. It will get your mind off of everything, and we can have some fun for once!"

"Allen, you can be such a child," Lavi teased. "Pie isn't the solution. Besides, you should go back to your room before Link realizes you're gone."

"Link can bake us a pie," he suggested.

Listening to the two of them banter, I was able to calm down a bit. Lavi still held my hand, and Allen was smiling at me so cheerfully that he made it seem like there was nothing in the world to be afraid of…other than the threat of not being able to find pie.

I was able to crack a grin at him. "Don't worry about me, Allen. You either, Lavi. I know I seem like a wreck, but I don't want you two wasting your time trying to cheer me up. Besides, I don't think I could eat anything right now."

Allen merely shrugged. "Just keep it in mind, alright? I don't know if it'll work for you or not, but I find that you can never escape your troubles without some sugar to keep you upbeat!"

I saw Lavi turn to shoot a sarcastic comment at him, and his mouth was moving, though I couldn't hear a thing. Allen's words you can never escape sent a chill through my body, and I began trembling. Once again, memories of Leverrier flooding back to me, consuming my mind completely.

I was on the ground, crying. I had failed once again to run away from the Order. He was towering over me, smiling menacingly. Tears streamed down my dirty face as he-

"Lenalee!" I felt Lavi's grip tighten around my shaking hand. My trembling stopped nearly immediately. He examined my face as I snapped out of daydream and looked back at him. I realized I was beginning to sweat and that my legs were growing even weaker. I slipped off the wall, finding that I was becoming a little dizzy. Lavi caught me and I leaned against his shoulder.

"Lenalee," he repeated in a firmer voice. "Tell us what's wrong. How can you let him make you feel like this? He's just a stupid inspector!"

Instead of arguing, I shook my head against his shoulder. "I'm overtired, Lavi. Everything's worse when you're tired. I just need to go to sleep."

My eyes were shut, so I couldn't see his expression. He was silent for a moment before offering, "We'll help you get to your room. Can you walk?"

I leaned against him, forcing myself to walk down the hall. Allen stood on the other side of me, one of his hands on my back. As we walked down the hall, I kept my eyes open for any sign of Leverrier.

Allen opened my door and stepped inside my room, holding it wide open for us. Just as I was walking in with Lavi, I heard a shout come down the hall.


I groaned slightly. "Brother, he's just helping me get in. I'm overtired. Why are you up, anyhow?"

Komui was standing next to me now. Allen peeked out of the room over at him.

"I was going to go check on you, but you weren't in your room!" he explained. "You worried me, Lenalee!"

I've been worrying a lot of people lately, I thought sadly. "I'm sorry, older brother. I didn't mean to worry you." I felt my voice shaking again, but this time my determination not to cry overpowered my tiredness, which was probably causing my emotional outbursts. I knew that if I cried, he'd probably stop spazzing, and I had worried him enough tonight. "I just went for a walk and met up with Lavi and Allen, and since I was so tired, they offered to help me get back to my room."

Komui didn't look completely convinced. Of course he wasn't. He knew me well enough to know when I was upset. Despite this, he somehow nodded and pretended to buy that I was all right. "Good night, then. I'm trusting you boys to leave right after she's in the room."

Lavi and Allen exchanged annoyed glances and nodded. "Yes, sir!"

He turned and walked away. I was grateful that he had let it go for now at the same time I hated pretending I was fine. It was almost like lying to him. The tears began to well up in my eyes, but I kept my head down so no one could see.

Lavi led me into the room and over to my bed. I sat down and he sat next to me. Allen scanned the hall and shut the door quietly.

"Do you need to talk about it?" he asked politely.

I shook my head. "All I need is sleep so that I stop acting so silly and worrying everyone!" I grinned lightly, kicking off my shoes. "You two better get out, though, before either my brother or Link catches you out of your rooms!"

Allen laughed half-heartedly, probably picturing Link searching for them. Lavi was just watching me, not buying it.

I rested a hand on his shoulder. "Honestly, I'm fine! You two go get some sleep. We all need as much rest as we can, trying to heal from our wounds!" I smiled. "Now go!"

Allen turned the doorknob and opened the door, watching me as he drifted into the hall. Lavi gave me one last worried glance. "Hang in there, OK, Lenalee? We hate seeing you worked up like this." He caught a tear I hadn't even felt coming with his finger and wiped it off before standing up and following Allen out of the room. He shut the door gently as I climbed back under my covers, cringing. I wish I hadn't had to lie to everyone like that. But I couldn't worry them! It was better this way.

I forced away my tears and drifted into sleep.