AN: I can't get this out of my mind and had to type this out so I can clear my brain and do my homework. But in the end, I didn't do my homework and only typed this instead for 5 straight hours. (I know. I'm a bad girl. XD) Anyway, I'm already apologizing for any mistakes you may find. I only typed this out of impulse and didn't have any drafts so…it's just raw with no revisions. I still hope you'll enjoy this though. ;)
Warning: major OOC-ness, VERY long, HEAVY text, and CLICHED scenes.
Disclaimer: D.Gray-Man and its characters are all Hoshino-sensei's properties.
She was the unexpected new student who appeared at the class' doorstep in that fine sunny August day of their 2nd semester in their 1st year of high school, a girl of oriental origin with long silky teal hair and deep captivating violet eyes that seemed to see ahead of them. The addition of someone as beautiful as her to the class had pleased both male and female classmates as they were all mesmerized by those violet eyes. Girls excitedly whispered to seatmates of their want to be friends with her, while boys expressed their desire to date the new student by stealing glances at her pretty face now and then.
But he was different. He was unlike those boys who casually walked up to her and try to strike a conversation during lunch period. He's not like those girls either, those girls who dragged their seats beside her own to have lunch together in hopes of getting her friendship. Unlike them, he had only stayed on his seat at the last row beside the window, where the cool air gently blew his white hair as if comforting him.
It's not because he disliked her. He had seen her enter their classroom with her long hair tied into two pigtails and her eyes staring at nothing in particular. It was only a glance, a short-lived observation he had of her before he diverted his gaze to the white clouds outside. He had thought she was pretty, yes. But that's all there was to it, a simple recognition of the obvious. He needed not pay any attention to her. His classmates would gladly do that even without him asking. He didn't need to associate with her also. Of course, he would be civilized and would greet her if their paths crossed and would answer if she asked something. But besides that, there would be no more. She was just another classmate, another person who thought she knew everything, another person who wouldn't understand.
He was the one her eyes caught sight of the moment she entered the classroom. His hair was white – a very unusual color indeed while his eyes showed the shade of silvery gray, then on his left eye was a long scar that ran from the side of his forehead to his left cheek. He was already looking away from her when her eyes landed on him. But that moment, those mere seconds that seemed to expand like hours, was enough to strike her with unexplained feelings building up in her chest telling her that she and the boy were connected.
But she dismissed those feelings. How can someone like him, a new face who showed no interest in associating with her unlike their other classmates, could possibly understand the burden she had been carrying deep within her heart? The memories of long ago that she desperately tried to forget were still haunting her, shutting her heart inside a thick wall that no one can break down. It was a very tall wall she willingly built around her. And no one, not even him like what the inner voice said, could destroy it.
Even the boys who continuously went to her and ask what kind of guy she liked, even the girls who sat beside her uninvited with hopes of being friends with her…all of them. They were just like the other people for her. She only thought of them as no one, just like the ones she thought were her friends but had left her when she already had nothing. They were just going to be like them - fake and deceitful.
She tried to think otherwise, though. There was a time in her life when she had convinced herself that not all the people in this world were like that. She made friends, smiled and laughed with them like she was happy. She helped them with everything, had been there for them when they needed her. But when the time came when she was the one who needed help, when she was the one put at a tight spot, no one came. Not even one of them had turned around and ran to her to say "It's alright, I'm here." They all just disappeared from her life, as if they had just passed by and when they got what they wanted, they left her there with nothing but broken promises and false memories.
And she was already tired of it. She may flash a smile once in awhile and speak with a few, but that's only to be civilized. She will never accept anyone in her heart again. No one will understand anyway. No one knew what she went through and the pain she had experienced. School was just a place to study, nothing more.
Her name was Lenalee Lee, she said, a few weeks later when she showed up at soccer practice and introduced herself as the team's new manager. The regular players were grinning like mad upon seeing her there while the still-in-training others can only glance and blush then whisper with fellow trainees. After all, it's been a long time since they had a pretty girl as the manager. The last girl didn't match even a fourth of her beauty.
He had to admit, he was a bit surprised to see her standing there watching the team play and doing her best to be a good manager. He had expected her to join a club more fit for girls, like the sewing club at the second floor or the Ikebana class beside the greenhouse. But he guess, not all girls were "girly" anyway. And it's not as if her presence did any difference to his soccer career. She can be their manager forever if she wanted for all he cared. And he would still continue to play as the team's striker.
"Guys, be nice to our new manager ok? It took me a pretty hard time to convince her!"
Ah, Lavi. Of course, who else would go all the way to the freshmen building to catch a glimpse of the rumored pretty new student and ask her to be the soccer team's new manager? He should have known. Their captain likes pretty, exotic beauties after all. Whether the girl was only 10 or a woman of 40 years, as long as his judgment deemed their beauty as rare, he would quickly pursue them. And Lenalee, a Chinese girl, was rare. There were only a few oriental kids in their school and most of them were boys, so to have a cute Chinese girl walking around the school halls would of course, please Lavi. Add the fact that their captain was very popular among the ladies. He shouldn't have wondered why his new classmate was there introducing herself as the new manager.
"Allen! Lenalee is your classmate right? Why don't you tell her the things she needed to remember as the manager, ne?"
He kicked the soccer ball to the goal as he stared at his captain in disbelief. Lavi only grinned back at him, as if saying there's nothing he can do about it and should do what he was ordered to do. He inwardly scowled at that. Although he was already a regular player, he was still a freshman after all. He had no choice but to obey everything his seniors said, whether he liked it or not. And the fact that Lavi was their captain had only made it worse.
So he approached Lenalee, who was sitting on the benches by herself. Her eyes that were formerly focused on the practice slowly diverted to him, a smile formed on her lips as he neared her step by step.
He blinked in surprise for a moment, wondering how she knew his name when he didn't remember telling her at all. He glanced at his left and saw Lavi waving a hand to him as if saying "good luck!". He sweatdropped at the scene. Maybe their captain had mentioned the players' names to her earlier.
He greeted back and managed to let a smile form on his lips too, mimicking the gesture she did a moment ago then he told her his purpose. She suddenly fussed on her things and had grabbed a notebook and a pen, taking down everything that he had said regarding the team and its players. He watched her wrote down every information in her notebook, her eyes concentrated on what she was writing. She would look up to him now and then as she listened then proceed to writing.
When they finally finished, she had offered to bring him a bottle of water from the canteen. He had said there was no need to but she insisted and said it was to thank him for taking the time to explain things to her. He didn't have a chance to decline further since she already turned around and ran towards the canteen, leaving him alone there by the benches.
And then it happened. Lenalee didn't notice that a ball had bounced off the wall towards her direction and was nearing her fast. If she didn't dodge it, she would definitely get hurt. At the span of a few seconds, he did the only thing his mind had processed and had ran to her. He reached her in the nick of time, wrapped his arms around her, and swiveled their positions so he was the one to be hit.
He heard a gasp from her at his sudden move and another few gasps from the players on the field. The ball had hit him hard on the shoulder. He felt pain shot through the spot where the ball made contact, but he stopped himself from crying out and had only managed a groan. The ball bounced back to the field after that but no one received it.
"A-Allen!! Are you ok?!"
He heard his teammates call out to him and looked at them but eyes searching a particular person from the field. He gritted his teeth upon seeing the person as he pulled away from Lenalee.
"Kanda, you baka!! Watch where you're kicking that ball!!"
Said person only snorted and ignored him, facing Lenalee instead before bowing slightly in apology. After that, the forward glared at him again then resumed playing with the ball.
"Call me sempai, moyashi! And don't you order me around!"
She hadn't realized right away what had happened. All she knew was she was there to be the soccer team's new manager. The next thing she knew, there was a ball accelerating towards her and strong yet gentle arms wrapped around her body in protection.
She didn't plan to be an athletic team's manager when she entered her new high school. But Lavi and Kanda were part of the team and since they were pretty close, she accepted when Lavi offered her the position.
One of the main reasons why she transferred to that school was because Lavi and Kanda were there. From all the people she had associated and made friends with, they were the only ones who stayed by her side. They were true people, true friends who didn't leave her when she needed someone to lean on. They were older but their ages didn't hinder them to be friends. They were one of the few people who she let through the wall and inside her heart.
So she became the manager of the soccer team. She learned that the team was the one the school prided since they always win and had even managed to enter the nationals, meaning the regular players where really skillful. She expected the players to be serious people who concentrated constantly in their play, so she was pretty surprised to see normal and goofy characters filling out the important positions in the team.
And then there he was, Allen Walker, as what Lavi told when he pointed each regular player to her. Allen was playing the ball with his legs when Lavi pointed him out. His eyes were concentrated on the soccer ball, his white hair bouncing with his movements and sweat falling down his temples then his neck. His left arm and hand were bandaged. She heard Lavi telling her that Allen was the team's striker, and they were very lucky to have him playing for the team. That fact had surprised her a little. The first time she saw him, she thought he was a quiet boy who didn't like athletics and would prefer reading at a corner instead. Seeing him there playing on the field, gray eyes focused and body moving, had crossed out her first impression of him.
Her other impressions of him were each dismissed when he had approached her and had said that the captain wanted him to explain everything about the team to her. She found out he was not as indifferent as what he looked like on her first day of school. He was polite with speaking with her, even apologizing of having to entrust to her a big responsibility. He was even kind enough to slow down the way he talked. He would pause after each data and wait for her to finish writing. Then he would smile at her once in awhile.
That was what had struck her the most about him. There was something different about the way he smiled. His lips would curl up, yes. But the feelings infused in that simple gesture was not the cheery one that should have been there. The smile wasn't real. It was a mask to hide something…something that he had no intention of letting others see. Seeing his smiles had reminded her of the inner voice in her head that day she first entered their classroom, the voice that said that she and him are connected together with the new feelings that stirred up in her chest the moment she laid eyes on him. Could the voice be right?
She had volunteered to buy him a drink at the canteen after their conversation had ended. He had refused profusely, saying that she need not spend her money for something as simple as what he did. She chuckled at how he's taking her offer seriously and told him that it was nothing to her and she didn't mind spending a few coins for bottled water. She left him there after their brief exchange, a small smile on her face and not expecting what would happen next.
It was too late when she saw the ball flying towards her direction. It was sure to hit her any moment and she didn't have the fast reflexes the players have to dodge something as fast at the soccer ball. The only thing that entered her mind then was to raise her arms up in front to be a somewhat shield. But before she could even do that, a flash appeared and a pair of arms was around her, tight but gentle. Then she heard a groan.
She had looked up at the sound of pain and her eyes had widened when she realized it was Allen who was embracing her and had switched their places so that he was the one hit by the ball. He was not looking at her. His eyes instead were searching through the players on the team. She noticed his brows furrowed after a few seconds then he released her gently, his right hand on her back as if still protecting her.
"Are you alright?"
She heard him ask her condition after a short exchange of angry curses with Kanda – the culprit of the near tragedy. She looked up to him again and saw that his brows were still furrowed but not from the anger he showed a while ago, but from concern thrown directly towards her.
She managed a low "I'm fine. Thank you very much." after that as she watched him sigh as if relieved and gave her a small smile. That smile, she noticed, was not like the ones she observed during their conversation at the benches. It was not fake. Although small, it exhibited a sincerity she thought she would never see, a sincerity she thought a man can never produce.
And when he left her there as the others ask his condition, she remained standing on the spot. She would occasionally nod when the team asked if she was ok but her gaze remained fixated on the white-haired striker a few meters away from her. She felt it, the feelings that stirred not long before. And somehow, she found herself agreeing with them.
Maybe the inner voice was right.
He was relieved when the nurse at the clinic said that his bones were fine. But his shoulder was swollen, so he was given an ointment to apply on the swollen part. His shoulder was supposed to be bandaged but he told the nurse that he could do it himself. The nurse didn't let him at first but he showed her his bandaged left arm, telling her that he's used to bandaging already so there's no need to worry. The nurse didn't argue any further after seeing the arm and left him there in the small clinic so he could bandage privately.
The moment the nurse left, he turned his gaze to his shoulder then to his left arm. His eyes narrowed in depression. It was true when he said that he was already an expert in bandaging, but the reason behind it was not because he had an injury. It was because of that.
He untied the knot on his shoulder blade. To bandage the swollen part, he had to take off the whole bandage on his left arm then do it again. After untying the knot, he carefully took off the cloth that spiraled around his arm. He smiled bitterly when reddish flesh greeted him, a hideous red that colored his limb and a disfigured hand.
That was what he was bandaging. He was hiding his deformity from the public's eyes, away from their judgmental and unmerciful eyes. His left arm had been the cause of many painful memories in his life, the tragedies he experienced that will be forever etched in his mind. He didn't like experiencing them once again so he covered his left arm with bandages. He would never let anyone see this arm again.
For as long as he remembered, his left arm had been that way. It was something that stuck to him since he was born, a deformity that can never be removed. He did not mind having that kind of arm when he was a child but when his parents started treating him differently, he realized there was something wrong.
He can't remember his parents' faces anymore. After all, he had only been with them for a few years in his childhood. He also didn't have any good memories with them since most of them involved hitting and verbal abuse. When he had turned five, his parents suddenly brought him to the park. They said it was because it's his birthday and for once he felt that somehow, his parents really do love him. But he should have known that not all parents love their children. When they had left him on a bench and said that they were only going to buy food, he shouldn't have waited there in faith and should have ran to them and never left their side. But it was not the case. He had waited just like what he was told. He waited and waited, until no one was already at the park and the moon was already high up in the night sky. He had cried then like a hurt child when he realized he was abandoned, blamed his left disfigured hand and arm for his misery, and then walked away.
"Walker-san! Are you…"
Then she appeared at the clinic's doorstep.
She had stayed with the team after he rejected her offer to help him go to the clinic and told her that she should stay with the team since it was her job as the manager. He didn't let her argue further when he quickly left her there to go to the clinic. She tried to follow him by asking Lavi's permission, but the captain told her there was nothing to worry about Allen and she should just let him be, because that's the way he was.
Yet her mind continued to think about him. She admitted she was worried about him and felt guilty for the pain he'd been feeling. He had been trying to mask the pain when the team asked if he was hurt but she knew otherwise. She heard his groan that moment he shielded her from the ball. The hit was definitely painful.
So when practice finally ended and Lavi requested her to check up on Allen, she willingly obliged and hurriedly went to the clinic to see if there was something she could do to help the boy. What she saw though, was not what she had expected.
The look on his face told her that he was shocked also. The shock from her sudden appearance or the shock from her finding out something that he didn't have any intention of showing, she didn't know. Either which, they had both frozen from the spot the moment their eyes locked gazes.
He quickly turned away from her after recovering from the shock and had spoke a hurried "What are you doing here?" while he desperately tried to cover what she saw. She didn't move for a moment, just staring at his form – at his back. She didn't utter anything either, with only the sound of shuffling hands and ruffled sheets breaking the silence.
"I'm fine, really. Please go home now. I can take care of myself."
He might have realized her intentions for going there after practice hours and had muttered that statement. His voice was low but she traced a hint of nervousness from his tone, as if he wanted her out of there as soon as possible.
She considered walking out like what he had wanted her to do. But the inner voice was nagging at her again, telling her to disregard what he wanted and stay. She tried to ignore the voice again and would follow her logical part that told her Allen wanted to be alone, if only those weird feelings didn't rose up in her chest again. She was intrigued by him since the first time she saw his face. Who wouldn't be? He had such a mysterious appearance…such a mysterious smile. But what she's feeling was definitely different. It was not the usual curiosity, it was something more. There was something about that boy, something that she wanted to see.
So instead of saying goodbye, she took a deep breath and approached him. The sound of her nearing footsteps had surprised him, making him stop his hurried bandaging and take a careful glance at her. His brows were knitted in a confused way, with his eyes showing half curiosity and disbelief.
She smiled at him before asking if she may sit with him on the bed. His eyes widen more in deepening surprise and she can see he was dying to ask she had stayed. But his politeness had overcome his curiosity so he slowly nodded at her request and had moved over to give her space.
He was nervous, she noticed, as she sat on the soft white sheets beside him. He didn't look at her either after that and hadn't voiced what she thought he wanted to ask. He just sat there, not moving and staring at everything but her.
She figured he had been hiding his left arm for a very long time, not wanting anyone to have a look at it. She remembered since she entered the school, he had always worn the school coat even if it's not compulsory. Then at practice, she noticed the thick bandage around his left arm. She thought it was just an injury from soccer. But it was not an injury as what she saw. It might be something that's been with him for a very long time.
She admitted she felt a sense of fear the second her eyes caught sight of his left arm, a fear that was enough to make her dash out of the clinic and ran away. But she saw his eyes. They had locked gazes and she saw it. The familiar look his eyes had shown, the familiar emotions collected in that one glance. He was also afraid. It was the same fear she had felt every now and then. It was the fear of what other people might say or do, of what she might think of him.
They were the same. They felt the same emotions, the same look in their eyes. Maybe they went through the same thing. Maybe they were both alone. Maybe he can understand…because she did know. She knew those emotions. And she shouldn't fear. She and he are on the same side. There's nothing to be afraid of.
"I'm not afraid."
He was utterly shocked when she asked if she wanted to sit with him there, with that smile (the cute one) on her face as she awaited his answer. He didn't want her to sit with him. He wanted to demand why she had stayed and hadn't ran away in fear like what other people did when they caught a glimpse of his arm. Yet she was smiling there, she was smiling at him with violet eyes telling him that she really wanted to sit together.
He didn't know why he had said yes and even moved at the side to give her some space. He had moved to the left so there's more space to his right side. But instead of sitting there, she went to his left side and claimed a seat…a seat very near to his left arm. He covered his left arm with his right then, momentarily thinking what was going on her mind and what had made her sit beside him and his "unique" arm.
As the silence rang through the room, a thought had crossed his mind. Maybe she was just curious, or maybe she wanted to find out what happened then after satisfying herself she would leave him there and not socialize with him anymore – just like what those people did. Or much worse, maybe she pitied him.
He didn't like that feeling. He didn't want to gain pity from people. It was an empty feeling, an emotion that won't do any good to anyone. He was very familiar with that feeling, but not because he was the one feeling it. Many people had expressed it towards him. They would stare at him from head to toe, eyes narrowed upon seeing his left arm, then they would shake their heads. They would mutter a small "Poor child…" then leave him there alone. Did they do anything? Had they stopped and smiled and took his hand? No. They just gave him a small glance of false sympathy then after that, they're gone. In the end, he was still alone.
But those people were the more civilized ones. The others would react according to their instincts. Little girls would scream, playful boys would point a finger and shout "Monster!", babies would cry while mothers would quickly turn away from him. Different reactions, yes. But all of them pointed to the same thing: fear. They feared him. They didn't want him near them or their children. He was a different creature for them. He was a "monster" – a being that should be feared and left out. That's why his parents left him. They had feared him; they didn't want a "monster" for a son.
Then he came…Mana Walker, his savior. He was the only person who truly cared for him, the only one who had stopped and smiled and took his hand – his left disfigured hand. Mana had taken him in after finding him at the streets. He had asked if he had a home, to which he shook his head in a sad manner. Then without further ado, he took his left hand and held it gently with a smile on his face as he mumbled, "I'll give you a home." He took him at his house immediately after that, fed him with the most delicious bread and the sweetest milk he had ever tasted, washed and gave him clean clothes, then tucked him to bed. At first he thought all that happened was just a dream, yet when morning came, Mana was there greeting him a "Good morning." and offering breakfast. It was the first time he felt happy.
But happiness wasn't for forever. Mana was a doctor, a pretty well-known doctor who often went to poor patients to cure them. But not even a doctor as good as Mana can prevent tragedies. He had a woman patient who had lung cancer and she was the one he had spent most of his time on. Yet after all the time and work he spent to save her, the woman still died. The woman's husband can't accept that fact that his wife was already dead and had blamed Mana for the death. One night, someone broke in their house and had tried to kill him as revenge. Mana tried to save him and the suspect had only managed to slash his left eye. In the end, his surrogate father had been killed. The suspect was the husband.
Gone was the only one who cared for him. His only "father" had left him in the world, and he was alone again. His home had disappeared also. Mana was also a poor man so his house was confiscated to serve as pay for his debts. Since then, he had done everything by himself. He worked as a newspaper boy to earn a living, then one day a man with long crimson hair had approached him. He offered food, shelter and education – an offer he couldn't resist, so he went with that man. But as soon as he went with him, he regretted it.
Cross Marian was an excellent businessman. He was known around to be the "traveling tycoon" because he loved to travel. He also had another nickname, "lady killer"…anyone should get a drift what that name means. Cross did give him what he promised but all of them were not for free. That man had loads of debts despite being a known businessman aside from being sadistic. He addressed all of his receipts to him so he was forced to work his ass off to pay all of his debts. Cross had said that he would leave his businesses to him when the time came so he better work hard. But he did not buy it. That guy just wanted to trick a poor innocent boy to do the work for him. How lovely.
Lavi had also been kind to him. There was a medical examination before he can join the soccer team and the captain had seen his left arm. Lavi told him that arms were not needed in soccer anyway so he did not care about his deformity, as long as he played the kind of striker that he wanted, that's all that mattered. He was grateful to him for that. Then there's girly-face Kanda Yuu. He had also seen his left arm and although they hated each other's guts, Kanda still respected him as the team's striker. They would bicker endlessly when it came to practices but when it came to the tournaments, he would willingly cooperate with him. At least he had reliable teammates.
But aside from them, no one had ever treated him equally upon seeing his left arm. Even his classmates – who all had seen it, had distanced themselves from him. That's why even if he was the ace striker, he wasn't popular and celebrated unlike the other players (not that it bothered him). They had all judged him just because his appearance was a bit different from others. They can't accept someone like him.
So what was she doing sitting beside him, touching his left hand and mutter a gentle "I'm not afraid." with that smile again? Didn't she pity him? She shouldn't be smiling while she ran her smooth hand along his arm then stop on top of his disfigured hand!
But there she was, the light from the setting sun illuminating her face with serenity, deep violet eyes holding his image without pity, and the warmness her touch radiates throughout his body. Slowly, the fear inside of him was gone, the doubt vanished, and he could only stare back at her with his lips curling up to a smile. New feelings started building up in his chest, emotions that told him he can trust the girl. The inner voice told him that there's nothing to worry about. She was sincere, and it's ok to lower his defenses for awhile.
And he did.
She was from a pretty well-known family from China. Her father was a prominent businessman specializing in medicine while her mother was a famous folk dance performer. The love story of her parents was also known throughout their hometown. They said that her parents had known each other since they were children. But when they reached the age of puberty, her father was forced to go away because of their business. Her mother, deeply saddened by the loss of a best friend, vowed to follow him. In order to do that, she became a dancer at a traveling performance group. The group was the most popular that time and they frequently went to different places, granting her the chance to look for him. They finally met at a festival and had fallen in love.
But that's not where it all ended. Her father's family disapproved of their love because her mother was just a lowly performer. Her parents eloped to a faraway place where her father started his own business and her mother continued performing at festive occasions. Their first years of marriage had been hard for them but after her older brother had been born, their life had improved dramatically. They became one happy family.
Yet, it was only for a moment. A jealous business partner had been harboring secret feelings for her mother and had wanted the company for himself. This partner teamed up with the company's enemies and had successfully taken over the company. Her father died in an accident after that. Her mother, due to some debts, was forced to marry the business partner. The man was merciful enough, though, to take her and her brother in. he gave them a proper education like other children. But after several years when their mother died of depression, she and her brother moved out and lived their life away from the deceitful man.
Komui Lee, her older brother, was the one who had given her the love her parents failed to give. When they left their surrogate father's house, he continued his studies at a university while working at part time jobs. When he graduated from college, he was immediately called to work as a national scientist – a job that can make them rich. Her brother had given everything she had wanted and needed, all the luxuries a girl can imagine even if he didn't have to. But being a national scientist had taken a lot of time from him and soon, she was frequently left alone with Miranda – her governess.
She didn't care if they lived a poor life as long as they're together, but her brother wanted to give her an easy life without any suffering so he continued working with the government. He had no time to be with her and in the end, she seek comfort from friends…friends that she thought were true. Apparently, since they were rich, everyone in her class would always cling to her in hopes of getting a whiff of their wealth. She was naïve enough not to notice their motives and had given her trust to them. She had granted their requests, bought them the clothes she was wearing, fed them with her food and did everything they wanted. Then when that happened, they all left her in the air without any warning. The friends she thought she had started to vanish from her life.
Her brother had been a part of a very dangerous experiment. Even if the scientists who worked on it were the best of the best, the experiment still failed and had killed everyone there…including her brother. The government took away all their properties and wealth, leaving her with Miranda who was loyal enough to stay with her. She was 12 that time.
Her brother was the center of her world, the biggest piece in her puzzle. So when he died in that awful accident, she felt that half of her existence had vanished. Her brother was the reason she wanted to live. She wanted to repay him for everything he had done. She wanted to be the one to take care of him when the time comes that he can no longer work anymore. But he already died. He left her alone in a world full of lies and deceit. For a long time, she lost the will to live.
But she was not really alone as what she thought. Miranda never left her side even after her brother's death. She had stayed by her side and had even offered her home to a girl like her. Then there was Lavi and Kanda. Those two also lost someone precious in that experiment. Lavi lost his sister while Kanda lost his mother. But unlike her who doesn't have anyone anymore, they had relatives who were sympathetic enough to take them in. Lavi went with his grandpa and Kanda with a weird uncle. The three of them were also part of her puzzle…the only remaining piece of her world. Aside from them, there was no one else. They were the ones who gave her the strength to keep living.
That was a year ago. Now, in a new school and a new life, she found herself welcoming another person inside her heart – a new part of her world, another piece of her puzzle. She should have listened to the inner voice much sooner if she knew they went through the same thing. She shouldn't have doubted the connection she felt she had with him. She was glad she had barged at the clinic that moment. She was glad she hadn't ran away because if she did, she wouldn't have known him.
They were both lonely. They both experienced the pain of losing someone they love. And although they were different circumstances, they had both hated the world they're living in. Misery loved company, she found a company with him – Allen Walker, her classmate and the ace striker of the soccer team.
And as he showed her the truest of his smiles, the way his white hair fell on his face, and the deepness his gray eyes had, another foreign feeling began to grow inside of her. It was an emotion she had never felt before, a feeling that both pained and comforted her at the same time. And the interesting thing was, she knew he felt the same thing too.
The taste of victory was very sweet. It reminded him of the cake he had eaten during the first Christmas with Mana, his birthday. The taste had lingered in his mouth even after he drank water and he was overwhelmed with how good the cake tasted. The same went with their victory. They had won the final game in the district tournament, making them qualified to enter the nationals. Lavi said it was because he was there as their striker, but he quickly dismissed it. It was because they all worked hard in their play. They had deserved their win.
The first person he looked at after his kick entered the opponent's side that deciding moment was Lenalee. She was clapping her hands and had jumped a few times in excitement. And when he had kicked the victory ball, she waved her arms to him and shouted an excited, "Yes! Go Allen-kun!" to him the same time he glanced at her. She was laughing at him, eyes congratulating at his achievement as the crowd went wild with their win. He had smiled at the happiness shown in her face. She was happy for the team, for him.
It's been a whole month since that fateful incident at the clinic. It was the day they both broke down away from the shield they had placed around themselves and had let someone see a part of them for the first time after many years. The scenes had been drawn in his mind as if it was just yesterday – the way she sat beside him, her eyes, her smile…her touch. And when she said that she wasn't afraid of him, the feelings that overflowed from within his heart…he can still remember everything.
It was as if everything was planned by someone out there. The moment their eyes met each other after that seemingly simple statement, he felt the unseen connection between them. It was a connection that washed away all the fears and doubts he's been hiding in his chest.
He didn't know who started but suddenly, they were talking about their lives. He was talking to her about his left arm, his scar, about Mana, Cross, about everything. And the weird part was, she's listening. She had digested every word that he said and felt every feeling he put on his story. Her eyes were solely glued to him the whole time while her hand remained holding his left one. Her touch had sent warmth and comfort through him, the same warmness he felt with Mana.
She relayed her story too: how her parents died and the failed experiment that killed her beloved brother. She also told him her bad experiences with friendship, the pain she felt with betrayal, her meeting with Miranda, Lavi and Kanda, and everything she went through before she transferred to their school. He was surprised to know that they felt and experienced almost the same thing. They're both still recovering from their loss and feared the bitterness of mankind. Everything was all too exact and coincidental that he had a hard time convincing himself that her barging in the clinic was an accident. It must have been fate.
Their talk had lasted for hours and before they knew it, it was already late at night. He offered to take her to her home then – to which she happily agreed. On the way to her house, they were still talking and sharing non-stop as if they were long separated friends who met again after many, many years. And when he arrived at his apartment after taking her home, he felt an overwhelming sense of freedom. He felt so light, as if he wasn't carrying a burden from the beginning. He immediately fell asleep after that and for the first time, there were no nightmares of Mana's death or Cross' debts. It was a peaceful and dreamless sleep that made him feel invigorated the next morning.
They became friendlier in the next days. They stopped their formalities when she called him "Allen-kun" the next day and he replied with a slightly embarrassed "Lenalee". They would eat their lunch together at the rooftop and chat more during soccer practice breaks. They would smile and laugh together as if they had been doing that since elementary school. It was so natural that it was hard to believe they had only met weeks ago.
He enjoyed their talks very much and he was hoping she was enjoying his presence too because if she didn't, he wouldn't want to end their talking sessions. Fortunately for him, she voiced out her opinion of wanting to continue talking with him since it made her feel comforted for once. So they continued being with each other – talking, studying, and eating together. They did that always and didn't care for anything else. They were so caught up that they didn't notice everybody's already talking about them.
He didn't know started the rumor but suddenly wherever he goes, students would glance at him and whisper something to their friends. It bothered him a bit since he's not used to being the center of attention (because he's practically being ignored by the whole campus), especially being talked about by others who don't even know him. It continued for a few days until at soccer practice Lavi suddenly called him for a talk.
"I heard Allen."
His captain's facial expression was serious that for a moment, he feared he had done something he shouldn't have. Not that he was afraid of Lavi. It's just that he had never seen the guy so serious before. He asked what the captain had heard that concerned him after a few seconds of silence. What Lavi said had shocked him.
"They say you and Lenalee are now a couple."
His first response to the redhead were raised eyebrows and a suppressed but shocked "What?!" His reaction seemed to surprise the captain too and soon his serious expression was temporarily lifted.
"Was that not true?"
"Of course you baka captain! They're just rumors."
"But they say you two are always together!"
The situation made him sigh. He should have known that the people around him are really judgmental. He should have explained things to Lavi earlier so he wouldn't be bothered to such troublesome matters. He told Lavi everything then, from the confrontation at the clinic to the last conversation he and Lenalee had. By the end of the explanation, the captain was already laughing without any clear reason. He apologized for accusing him of something he just heard and had sworn that he really didn't believe the rumors form the beginning – to which he raised his eyebrow, unconvinced.
Then before he can excuse himself to resume practice, Lavi called his name – this time in the same serious manner that he used at the start of their talk. He faced the captain again, asking if there's something he wanted to add.
"Don't hurt her."
That single statement made him remember Lenalee's connection with Lavi and what the two had went through. And he understood him. He understood the reason behind his seriousness when it came to the girl and the slight warning that came with the follow-up statement. Lenalee was important to Lavi too.
There was no hesitation in his answer as he let a small but true smile form on his lips. Lavi widened his eyes slightly at the sight of the boy's smile. It was obvious that it's different from the others that he usually let out. And then the redhead understood too. He saw the feelings brought about by that smile. He leaned on his chair after the younger boy's leave and let out also a smile.
"I shouldn't have doubted him."
Unlike Allen, she was pretty much aware of the rumor that went through the campus like a tidal wave and she had to admit, it made her feel embarrassed. Well, who wouldn't be? It was normal for people to assume things when a boy and a girl suddenly acted close with each other and she understood that. But it doesn't bother her at all. She was just a bit embarrassed that she and Allen looked like a couple. She was even giggling at the comfort room after she overheard two girls talking about her and the boy dating. She didn't know why but it made her feel butterflies in her stomach.
But when she heard the whole of the rumor…
It was the afternoon when she's on class duty and she had excused herself from most of the soccer practice to attend to her duties. She was busy arranging the papers supposed to be handed out the next day when her female classmates suddenly entered the quiet classroom and immediately approached her. She wanted to finish the papers and return to the soccer field so she quickly asked the purpose of her classmates' intrusion to her duty.
She was half paying attention to them as they told her that they're there out of concern and wanted what's best for her. She absentmindedly asked the reason of their concern when they muttered a particular name that picked her interest.
She abandoned the papers for a moment when she heard Allen's name slide off their tongues. She told them to continue and had asked them the connection of Allen with their problem. She listened attentively to their every word. But when she finally understood their intentions, she regretted listening to them and felt something rising in her chest.
"You should stay away from him Lenalee-san!"
Apparently, the rumor was not all about her and Allen being a couple. It also included nasty things like Allen using her to get a social status or deceiving a transferee like her to be his girlfriend. They even told her how horrible his left arm was, saying that he might have some sort of disease and might infect her. They thought she didn't know about it – but she did know. She did know about Allen's left arm, she knew about his sufferings, his loss…everything. And it made her mad that some people can even judge him without knowing everything.
She was mad, really. It showed from the way her lips curved into a deep frown and how her eyebrows narrowed in dangerous warning. Her classmates didn't seem to notice though and kept talking without pausing. Each one of them would add an affirmation to an allegation to Allen, saying that the boy was not the right person to be with.
She didn't know when she got the courage to yell at people. Normally, she would just voice out her opinion in a still polite manner especially if the people involved were not that close to her. But they were talking about someone important to her. They were talking about Allen horridly and just telling them off politely won't do. She had to yell at them, shout at them on how wrong they were and how judgmental of them to accuse things to her friend.
The other girls were obviously shocked at her outburst and instantly stopped their rambles, eyes wide and glued at the angry face of the Chinese girl. She took that chance and started speaking her mind. She yelled at them in fury and didn't stop until she's out of breath and somehow in her right senses. Her classmates unconsciously stepped back at her yells but eyes still focused on her form. A tense silence reigned over them after her outburst.
"…Did you even ask him about his arm?"
"Did he tell you that he had a disease?"
"Did you ask him to explain?"
Her voice came gentle with her follow-up questions but her eyes still showed the anger that rose up the moment they spoke of her friend in an unspeakable way. At the end of her questions, her classmates were already silent. Silent with shame or lack of words to say, she didn't know. But she did know that they had gotten the point she wanted them to know. She had told them that she saw Allen's arm and knew almost everything about him. She told her classmates that she trusted him without a doubt and would not believe anything they say against him. Whatever they do or say, she will always stay by his side.
She expected their frowns and scoffs after her speech about Allen. After all, they were the fake type of people she had grown to either hate or ignore. She wouldn't expect them to understand. She heard them mumble to themselves how they'd wasted their time worrying for a person like her and had even caught them glance at her with a half disappointed-half tuned off look. They probably won't be speaking with her for the next days.
They left her after that without even as much as a simple goodbye. It did not bother her though. It's their own problem if they refused to understand. She remained standing there after a few seconds of her classmates' leave. She didn't say anything. She just stood there, staring into nothing in particular until the pen she left on her desk rolled off to the floor. Her thoughts stopped at the sound of hard plastic clashing with cement then she shook her head and sighed. She should continue her duties now that the confrontation's over. She kneeled to the floor to pick up her pen when…
There he was, Allen Walker, standing at the room's entrance with a sport's bag slung around his shoulder. By the looks of him, it seemed that soccer practice was over. She smiled at him and quickly took the pen from the floor. She stood up from her position then faced him, the pen still held by her hand.
"Practice's already over Allen-kun? Why don't we-
"I heard everything."
She closed her mouth shut after his sudden statement as a pink blush colored her cheeks. She opened her mouth to say something but noting came so she cleared her throat instead. She carelessly threw the pen to her desk, to which the object fortunately landed on a secured spot on top of the papers.
"O-Oh…I…was there something I said that made you-
She didn't even notice that Allen was already in front of her, bag dropping on the floor with a hard thud and arms around her body tightly. One hand rested on her waist while the other on her nape, his eyes closed and chin gently pressed on top of her teal hair. She swore she had frozen at that moment.
Her heart was beating like a drum with her cheeks burning crimson. Her body stood tense and for a moment, she quarreled in her mind whether she should hug back or not. And then there's the part of her wanting to know the reason behind his sudden embrace. Allen shifted his head from her head then leaned downward until he reached her shoulder. He rested his head there as he turned to her ear and whisper.
Those two words explained everything as her eyes widened at the heartfelt words of gratitude that came out from his pale lips. He repeated those words again, this time adding her name at the end of his gentle whisper. Warmth suddenly overwhelmed her body, but not the hot feeling that usually makes you break free from whatever that's causing that warmness. The warmth coming from Allen's body was the kind that brought peace and assurance, the feeling that made her comfortable more than anything else.
She raised her arms up and gently wrapped them around him also. A smile formed on her lips as a blush remained on her cheeks with a newly formed thought in her head. She liked the feeling of Allen's arms wrapped around her.
"Don't mention it. I did it for a friend."
He knew for a certain amount of time that Lenalee was a special girl. She was unlike those other females who would admire his outward appearance for a moment then after hearing about his arm, would deny any admiration and will join the merciless crowd. Lenalee was different. She was not judgmental as the others. After seeing his arm, she didn't run away. She stayed with him and understood everything that he felt.
So it didn't really surprise him that one day, when he greeted her at school and saw her smile, he felt something different at the pit of his stomach. It was an emotion that gnawed at his heart at the sight of her, a feeling that made him hear melodies at her voice and his mind to process nothing but her image. It happened some time after he overheard her speak for him to their female classmates. He was so overwhelmed with joy and relief after hearing her say that she would stay by his side no matter what. Then after that encounter, he started feeling those unique emotions.
It was after a few days of thinking that he had finally found out what those emotions were. After all, the last time he felt similar feelings was when he's with Mana. It had been so long it was hard for him to figure everything out. Mana was a very important person for him because he was the one who first showed him how to live. He would forever remember Mana and will never erase him from his heart. The same also went with Lenalee. She was like an angel that pulled him out of the edge of an abyssal cliff, which made her a very important person for him also. But it was a different importance from how it went with Mana. He had accepted Mana's death some time after that tragedy, but if it was Lenalee…he didn't know if he would be able to accept it. He wanted her to be always there, just like what she had claimed in the confrontation that afternoon. Without him realizing it, she had already taken the majority of his heart's empty spaces. All he had ever thought about was her – consciously or not and whatever he did, she would always be there – her voice, her smile, her…everything. And he liked it. He liked the feeling of her within his reach.
It was ironic that he would be the one to leave…
As much as he wanted to be with her, even his heart called out to her, he can't do anything about the inevitable. He was destined to leave sooner or later. If only he knew she would be entering his life, then he wouldn't have went with Cross. Then again, if he didn't take that man's hand, then he might not have the chance to even meet her. It was unfortunate for him, but he had no choice. He was indebted to Cross and the two of them had an agreement. If he didn't go with his terms, there won't be any Allen Walker in the future.
But what was he supposed to do now? What should he do now that he can't stop those emotions from growing? That she's already the one holding his heart? He had tried to suppress those feelings, to maintain a limited relationship with her. But it was too late. He can't turn back the time and reverse the events. He can't do anything.
"Ne Allen-kun, you'll always be here with me right?"
He didn't know why he had answered "Yes" when she had asked that question. He should have told her the truth immediately. Maybe it was because the way her eyes stared into his own. Her lovely violet eyes were asking for an assurance, they were expecting that he would respond with the answer she wanted. And he can't bear to answer otherwise. He can't bear to hurt her. He knew what she went through and her thirst for someone trustworthy and can be depended upon. He understood that. Maybe that's why he can't bring himself to tell her. He can't tell her that he's not going to be around for her anymore.
His feelings were to be considered also. He wanted to show how he felt, how he had wished their bond would last forever. But he can't…he just can't. He might tell her, then what? Was she even feeling the same way? Will it change everything? No. It can't. So what's the point of telling her?
If only he found out sooner that he will be feeling those unique emotions towards her, he would have avoided any bonds with her. If that had happened, he wouldn't be this confused and heartbroken. He wouldn't feel so hurt. He was tired of pain as he had a taste of it all his life. Then she came, bringing in comfort through his life and a constricting pain through his chest. She was both a blessing and a curse to him.
But if she hadn't entered his life, he wouldn't have the chance to feel life again, to truly smile and laugh as if he hadn't went through such suffering. Of course, he wouldn't be feeling the warmth that radiated from her. He wouldn't be witnessing the smiles she reserved for him and feel her soothing touch. And he didn't want to let go of those wonderful feelings he felt since he met her. They were the only things that made his life worth living. She was the one who made his life worth living.
So he settled with a gamble – a sort of agreement with fate and the one controlling it. He would go with its flow, follow whatever fate had planned for him. If it dictated that he would go through hell, he would go. He wouldn't contradict whatever it said.
Then if she was part of his fate, if she and he were really destined to be with each other, they will. He would let things go with its flow. He will follow its pace until his road and hers would cross again. And when it happens, he will never let go of her anymore. He'll have a good grip around her so fate wouldn't tear them apart again…if she's really meant for him.
"Idiot apprentice, I assume you already know the reason for my call?"
"Of course master. Everything's wrapped up now. I'll leave tomorrow."
"Good! Your new school's ready for your transfer. Maria will be waiting at the airport."
"How about my apartment?"
"I sold it already so you really have no choice but to leave. You'll be living with me for the meantime."
"What?! But I –
"Disappointed are you, idiot? I don't like the arrangement either but I need you to pay for those credit cards so you better come ok?! You know what will happen if you don't…"
"You don't have to remind me. I didn't forget our agreement."
Yes. He will do whatever Cross said. He will follow without hesitation. It was a stupid gamble, and Lenalee might hate him for it. But if the connection he felt he had with her was real, they will eventually meet again.
And if he had to wait for eternity, he will. As long as he could be with her again, he wouldn't mind the years.
She didn't know how to exactly explain the feelings that rose up within her every time she saw his smile. It was a mixture of joy, warmth, and a lot more emotions she didn't know she had the capability to feel at the same time. All she knew was, those feelings were felt towards Allen.
She's not ignorant to fail to realize what those feelings were. She had read about it in pocket books stored in libraries, and heard stories of them from random people who wanted to share. She can't understand them before. She can't understand why the lady in the story felt insanely happy when her love returned. She didn't know the logic behind the tears women shed when their husbands proposed to them. But now she knew. She can finally understand.
Everything of Allen made her heart flutter in a very light way. His smile – the true one, was enough to make her feel the butterflies especially since they were shown only to her. Then when he embraced her that time…
His arms around her, the feel of his soft hair tickling her cheeks, his warm breath on her neck and his scent…she can't forget about them. It was etched on her mind so clearly that she even dreamed of that moment again and again every night. It may sound exaggerated, but what can she do? It was sort of automatic. The deepness of his silver eyes would make her stop in her tracks and his smile to make her dream of feeling those lips with hers one day…
Yet, it kind of hurt. She knew how strong her feelings were, but how about him? How did he feel about her? Did he dream about her too? She was anxious to know but at the same time, she was scared. What if he never felt that way for her? That he did care for her…but only as a dear friend? Those possibilities frightened her for the next days since that confrontation with their classmates. She had been thinking about that all the time that every smile of his would send a desperate question inside her head.
"Do you love me?"
And she would wish he had heard and say that he does. Then she would wrap her arms around him as tears fell from her eyes while he pull her face to him for a long passionate kiss. It was a secret fantasy of hers whenever they were together that would play automatically. It embarrassed her that she had actually hoped for something cheesy, but at the same time, she wanted to experience it. She wanted to do all of those with him…with Allen. She wouldn't settle for anyone else.
"You won't get what you want if you won't ask."
Thus quoted Lavi. He had said that particular statement when he was defending his reasons for not appointing a training second year as a regular player. At first she had been confused with that saying and didn't concern herself with it any longer, but it somehow stuck in her mind. And now in her current situation, she kink of understood already. If she wanted her and Allen to be more, then she would have to make the move. She mustn't wait anymore. And if he didn't feel the same way, she would just have to move on…if she can forget him, that is.
So she decided she would tell her feelings for him as soon as she got the chance. But as much as she wanted to do that, she didn't. She was given a dozen chances here and there yet when the time came when he's all ears to her, she would back out and blurt out a completely different thing. It's not that she can't do it. It's just that her mouth suddenly became dry during those moments as her heart beat so hard it hurt her. She didn't know it was so hard just to say three simple words.
It was the same as that time. Practice had been dismissed unexpectedly late and Allen offered to take her home. She agreed of course and inwardly vowed she would tell him while they walk. But she was cut off by him when he said he wanted to show her something. So she followed him through the park and into the trees, only to end up on a small hill that overlooked the city.
But what caught her attention was the vast curtain of dark sky and shiny stars above them with the luminescent moon in the middle. The scenery was so magnificent that for a moment, she forgot what she was supposed to say.
He told her he had been stargazing at that spot for awhile now and wanted to show her the stars he had been admiring too. She thanked him then, marveling at nature's beauty as they both sat on the grassy hill.
Silence had befallen them after that. And after a few more minutes of staring at the stars, the inner voice finally told her what she was supposed to do. She had glanced at him then, catching her breath when she took sight on how handsome he was under the moonlight.
He had noticed that she was staring at him and asked her if there was something she wanted to say, with that smile on his lips again. She gulped as she took note that it was her chance. He was waiting for her to speak while she took a deep breath and prepared to tell him.
Yet, fate seemed to want to play with her. Because when she was about to tell him, a loud jet suddenly buzzed through the night sky. The loud noise caught Allen's attention as he diverted his gaze to the jet, muttering something under his breath before turning his attention back to her. It was too late though. Her focus and concentration broke down the moment he looked away from her. The only thing she could do was to blush and mutter something different.
"Ne Allen-kun, you'll always be here with me right?"
His pause after her question frightened her for a moment, as if he would tell her something she didn't want to hear. But he suddenly smiled before she could doubt any longer and answered a small "Yes" before returning to stargazing again.
His answer somehow comforted her from her disappointment. She smiled too after that, taking note that whatever happened, he will always be there. She didn't have to hurry herself. Time will come and she will be able to express her feelings. He will always be there anyway and she will continue to hope he had the same emotions.
She didn't know when she fell asleep on the grass, maybe it was the slightly cold breeze and the vastness of the divine sky above them that made her realize how tired she was. She had closed her eyes suddenly and let herself drift into a deep sleep.
But before she could really fall into slumber, she remembered something somewhat significant. She remembered seeing Allen leaning to her before she completely close her eyes, and the feeling of something soft and warm on her forehead. Whether it's a dream or something real, she didn't know. All that's important at that time was slumber after all. And tomorrow, she managed to vow, will be the day she confess her feelings.
What she didn't know was, the scene she saw and the feeling of a ghost of a kiss on her forehead were all true. It was a simple gesture from him that told her all the things that he wanted to tell her and the confirmation of his feelings that she wished to know. And perhaps, the goodbye that he didn't want to tell with the hope that he desperately clung to.
The next day, he left.
She screamed. She yelled. She ran away. She cried.
What he left was a letter addressed to her. Her name was written neatly outside the envelope with obviously careful strokes, but that was not what she paid attention to. She quickly read the contents of the white parchment. Her expression was changing with each sentence that she read.
She was even excited the morning after and went to school earlier than her usual time. She was anxious about telling Allen her feelings because it was the time she finally got the confidence to confess. But then, the whole morning passed and Allen was still not there. She was tense for the whole day and kept asking where the white-haired boy was but no one answered her. Then when practice came…
"He moved away."
Lavi's expression was of disappointment and loss. He didn't explain further and only left her there after giving her the letter. She, on the other hand, had stared unto space after the team captain muttered that cursed statement. It was only after a few seconds from when he left that she somehow went back to her senses and slowly turned to the white envelope clasped in her grip.
She read it once. Then twice. Then three times. But the thought was still the same. He left. He left her, just like that. A few months of knowing each other…then nothing. She can't believe it, rather, she refused to believe. It wasn't like him to leave. He wasn't the kind to break a promise.
That's what hurt the most. He had promised her! He said he's not leaving, that he'll always be by her side. It was the assurance that she wanted to hear all her life. Then out of a sudden, she'd found out it was fake. How could he?!
She went straight home after that. Miranda was worried sick when she came home and didn't come out of her room ever since. She just laid on her bed, a part of her blanket damp with tears and eyes red from crying. She can't accept it no matter what she did. It was too painful and she can't understand. Why would he leave? Why would he leave her?!
He had said in the letter that he had no choice, and he didn't want to leave. But he still did. He could have made a way to stay right? He could have thought of some ways to have another choice.
But he didn't. He went with whatever the choice was and never even bothered to tell her. Wasn't she important to him? Wasn't she deserving enough to know?
Her depression went on for a few days. She didn't attend her classes the following day, but when she came to her class the next, she was still out of it. She didn't talk to anyone and had spent breaks on thinking, but she didn't cry anymore. She had enough crying. Then during soccer practice, it was still the same. She just sat on the benches, staring at particularly nothing with eyes void of any emotion. The team became worried for her and asked if there was something they could do. They were also sad about their ace striker's sudden disappearance and they can't afford to lose their team manager too. But she didn't pay any attention to their concern and only mumbled the same thing over and over again.
"If you want to help me, give me back Allen-kun."
On the fifth day of her depression, Lavi finally had enough. He cornered her in the hallways and dragged her to an empty classroom, locking the doors and making sure no one's there to listen. When he was sure, he faced her then started talking her back to reality.
She shouted at him then he shouted back. They exchanged yells without admitting defeat and tried to convince the other that they were the one who's right. Lavi's temper was quickly slipping and before she can comprehend it, he was already shaking her from her shoulders.
She was surprised to see small tears on his eyes as he yelled that it was painful seeing her in a state of hopelessness when there was really nothing to be hopeless about. That statement also made her angry so she defended herself. She can't help but to be hopeless. She had fallen in love with Allen then suddenly he'd left her.
Lavi released her after that, looking away with an unreadable expression and only muttering a low and weak "I know." But he's still not giving up. He faced her again after a few moments of gathering himself and continued convincing her. He told her that he was sad also and he didn't want Allen to go, not because he was the ace of the team but due to the fact that Allen was one of his few close friends after all.
Then he went on with defending Allen to her. He told her that the white-haired boy talked to him before leaving. He relayed how Allen bowed down and begged him to look after her, make sure that she continue her life even without him and see to it that she won't return back to the lonely Lenalee.
He continued telling her what had happened, even the exact words that Allen had said before leaving them. And slowly tears fell down from her eyes. She knew Lavi wouldn't lie and he had a very sharp memory so all that he said must be true. Hearing his words about Allen suddenly made her cry again, but not from sadness and anger. It was because of a realization.
She realized that Allen really cared about her, and what they had shared was true. He didn't mean to leave and if given a choice, he would surely choose to stay. He was trapped in circumstances that were inescapable, a scenery where there was only one way out – and that was to leave. Allen was a true friend. And despite trying to hate him because of breaking his promise, she found herself falling deeper for him after Lavi's story.
And so she cried her heart out, released all her frustrations on herself and called for Allen. Lavi only crouched down in front of her as she released her feelings on the floor. He didn't say anything while he watched her there. He understood what she was going through and knew that after her cries, she will definitely return to how she was. She would definitely move on.
The wind that blows the dove is the wind that blows my love. I hope it can find its way to you, wherever you are…
She still can't believe how everything happened. One day, she was forced to be the class' representative for a beauty contest. Then suddenly, she was the country's idol.
It happened so fast. They didn't know she had an innate singing talent. She had no idea about it either and had only discovered it when she was trying to think what to present at the talent portion. What they didn't know was a well-known manager took a peek at the contest. After seeing her go up on the stage, the manager found himself mesmerized by her voice that he immediately followed her backstage and offered to make her a singer.
She had won that contest too (though she still thought it was only due to popular demand). But she didn't feel her victory since her mind was full of thoughts on the offer she had been given. After some time of thinking, she finally made up her mind and accepted.
The road to stardom was very difficult. Despite her talent, she still had a lot of things to do before she can become of "star quality". It was also a race to the top since she's not the only one who wanted to be the center of attention. But she painstakingly took a step at a time and had eventually conquered them all. Now she was known all throughout the country as THE Lenalee Lee – country's most beloved singer and model.
"It's been 8 years since you entered the entertainment world, Miss Lee. How does it feel that the people still want you?"
"I feel very flattered. I mean, not all singers still had fans when so many years had passed. And I didn't think I would be one of the few to still have an audience in a very competitive world such as showbiz."
"They say it was not only because of your beauty and voice, but also because of a driving force that made you to where you are now. Is that true?"
"(laughs) Well, there's no use hiding it so I'll admit it now. I have a very deep reason for wanting to stay where I am now."
She took a moment to reminisce the events that took place when she was a teen. The unforgettable August of her 16th year when she had opened up her world…when she met him. She can still remember everything as if it was a movie played so many times. She can still see the expressions in his eyes the first time she made eye contact with him, the feel of his skin when she touched his left arm at the clinic, and the curve of his lips when he smiled.
"Really? May we ask what that driving force is?"
"…Hmm…let's just say, I want to find a very important person. And the only way to meet him was to be known everywhere."
Yes. That was the only reason she had been giving her best to be popular. If he can't see her, then she will be the one to go see him. It was a sort of gamble she made with fate. She will follow what it had laid out for her. Showbiz was not the way she visualized her life, but if it can give her a way to see him, to let him know that she's still waiting, then she should grab the opportunity. And that's what she did. She made sure her voice was heard all the time, and her face in every poster throughout the country. She knew it was ambitious, but she did it anyways. If he can hear a lyric of her songs or see a glimpse of her face in those billboards, then she will be very happy.
"Oh, so it's a person! Is that person someone special and holds your heart?"
"(giggles) Yes he is!"
"Wow! This is bad news for the fans! Someone already claimed Lenalee-san's heart!"
"Well, that's not exactly the situation. See, I still hadn't found him."
But after all she had done, there was still no sign of him. She didn't even know where he was now, what's he doing or if he already has a family or not (she desperately hoped that he hadn't). She had asked Lavi and Kanda, who were business partners, about him but they also had no news about his whereabouts. It was kind of depressing and there was a time when she wanted to quit, but she got a tip from someone that he was overseas and doing well so she continued her work. If being the continent's idol was not enough, then she would have to make it global.
"So you still hadn't met him…how sad for you Lenalee-san!"
"It's alright. I know that one day we will eventually meet. If it's our destiny to be with each other then I don't have to worry."
"That's so beautiful Lenalee-san! How about this: we will allow you to talk to him through this show. That way, he may hear what you want to say."
"Oh my, can I really?"
"Yes you may! Right director?...Alright! We have plenty of time Lenalee-san! Please say everything you want! That person might be listening."
She faced the screen with a careful glance.
"If you are there watching this show…"
I miss you so much…
"I want you to know that I forgive you…"
I dream about you every night...
"I understand why you left, and I'm not angry about it…"
You're the only one I think about…
"But I want to see you…"
I want to be with you…
"So please, let me. I want to tell you something all these years."
All the songs I've sung are for you…
"I've been waiting…"
"And I'll still wait until you come back. I won't stop until you come home."
"I'll be here to welcome you."
He only smiled as he watched the very beautiful woman with short teal hair and lovely violet eyes. The woman was already sobbing after her "speech" in front of national television while the lady host tried to console her. The singer in the show was asking for someone to meet up with her, she told that person she will be welcoming him when he comes back.
"Sir, your meeting with the Black Order is soon."
"Just a few more minutes Tyki."
"Alright Sir. The car will be waiting."
His all-around right hand man left him there after their conversation. He remained standing there, in the middle of a sidewalk where people walked briskly to attend to whatever business they had to do. But many would stop in their tracks though, and stare at the giant screen across the street. It was not because the show was good, it was because the most famous and sought-after singer was on an interview in that show.
He inwardly chuckled when he heard a group of school girls squealing upon seeing their idol showed on the large screen. He realized that she and he were already on two different worlds. She – at the grand world of entertainment, and him – at the bustling and serious world of business.
But that did not stop him from thinking about her now and then and dreaming of life with her by his side. He can still remember the decision that he made 8 years ago. It was a gamble with fate that led him to leave her. But he did not regret it. Although he had fears and what-if's traveling in his mind for a long time, he knew that everything was for the best. And now, as he stared at her face from the screen, he can't help but feel happy for his victory with destiny. He knew it was his win. He was home at last. All that he had to do was to go to her.
"Is Mr. Bookman and Mr. Kanda already there Tyki?"
"Yes sir. They're now waiting for your arrival."
"We'll go now then. We can't let them wait long."
"Got it sir. I'll call the car."
As Tyki turned to call on a cellphone, he took another glance at the singer on television; his eyes narrowing in tenderness and a silent wish that he never let go even after years apart.
I still love you, Lenalee…
"Lenalee-chan, Lavi and Kanda are here."
She turned around from her position at the kitchen at the mention of those two names. She took her apron and wiped her hands at a towel.
"Tell them to come in!"
Miranda smiled then nodded as she went on her way to the door. She, on the other hand, stared at the would-be-cake on the counter table. She sighed as she took it and placed the pan in a safer place. She would have to continue baking it later. She heard two male voices from her lounge area so she smoothened out her skirt and tucked a strand of her hair on her ear. She's ready to face them now.
Lavi waved a hand to her upon her entrance while Kanda only nodded and smiled a bit when he saw her. She smiled and greeted back. Those two never really changed. She sat across them on a green couch while Miranda came to bring in tea.
"Hey, I saw your interview last night."
She sweatdropped. That's what she had been avoiding. Ever since she had that interview in one of the nation's longest running show, issues never stopped and reporters would be asking who the mystery person was that she wanted to meet. She never said anything about it and would often reject their questions kindly. But she was growing tired of saying "It's something private" and didn't want to answer more questions. But unfortunately, she forgot that Lavi always watched her shows so he would definitely see her interview. And now that he opened that topic, a barrage of questions will surely start again.
She sighed and took a sip from her tea.
"I said what I wanted to say, and I don't regret it."
Lavi chuckled and patted Kanda's shoulder, as if signifying something. Kanda only stared back.
"Don't worry, we won't ask. We're here for a different purpose."
She returned the tea cup to the table. "Really? What's that 'purpose' then?"
At her question, the two men glanced at each other and exchanged a small smirk. They stood from their seats after taking a sip form the tea. She became confused and had stood also.
"You're going now? What's that purpose you're talking about anyway?"
"We recently made a huge deal with a very well known company abroad. That company's president was an avid fan of yours so he wanted to meet you."
"Che. If you put it correctly he's obsessed with her."
"What are you saying ba-kanda? Don't ruin my image in front of her."
She froze at the voice. She had heard it before and was very familiar. Where had she heard it? Lavi grinned while Kanda smirked more, the guest of honor finally arrived.
"Oh, he's here already."
"Let's leave usagi. I don't want to be caught up with them."
"Yeah you're right."
She narrowed her brows. "Wait! What are you talking about! Who's –
"Don't worry too much Lenalee."
As her two friends turned their backs on her, she didn't fail to notice how Miranda came from her apartment's entrance with a shocked albeit happy expression. She was about to ask what had happened but suddenly, her voice had gone at the appearance of the newcomer in her lounge – his now long white hair tied at the back of his head and lips curved into a smile…the smile that haunted her dreams every night.
She recognized him immediately, and she can't believe it. It's him. It's got to be him! There's no other person with the same white hair and silvery eyes as him. There's no doubt about it. He's there, standing a few feet from her, talking to Lavi and Kanda.
She managed a small whisper to escape from her lips. The other two finally went on their way, leaving him there as she stood and slowly turned his gaze on her.
As she watched him smile and locked gazes with her eyes, she tried to mutter out a word but nothing came. She was too shocked, too captivated at his form and unbelieving that he's already there. The person she had been waiting for was there in a reachable distance. It was not a dream. He was really in front of her.
And as he closed their distance with steady steps, she didn't know that destiny still had a lot in store for the two of them. She didn't know that it's her last active year in showbiz already, as she will be married within that year. She didn't know that she will be moving out of her apartment, that she will be taking Miranda with her in their new home. She didn't know that she will be pregnant next year. She didn't know that her first child will be a lovely baby girl – a girl that would grow up to be the one who'll follow her footsteps. She didn't know how much happiness she will be experiencing for the next years.
But that was for later. Right now, as she was still oblivious with the future, all that's important was the man in front of her. He had stopped walking already, their faces inches from one another. He reached out using his gloved left hand, gently took a stubborn strand of her silky teal hair and tucked it on her ear. He smiled more as his hand rested on her cheek.
"I'm back, Lenalee."
Once upon an August romance…
AN: Thank you very much for the patience of reading this ridiculously long one-shot. I'm so sorry for the length because I was carried away and…-sigh-. Again, many thanks for reading this. And if you can, please leave a review!
That's all! Good day to y'all! ;)