Chapter Thirty Two- Epilogue
Lavi wasn't sure how much longer he could wait. It had already been nearly two hours since he'd left Kanda behind to deal with the Noah Allen had surely become after the battle was finally over and the Earl defeated. He only hoped that Kanda had finished him off before he woke up, and so would come striding out from between those distant pillars, beaten, bloody, impossibly depressed, but alive. He was losing hope with each passing second.
Everyone was tired, but Danny's water had done its job and all their injuries were healed.
He heard the remaining generals talking a few feet away, the only other people other than Komui and Allen's closest friends who knew about the Noah lurking within Allen Walker's body.
"We have to get everyone back to the Order now" Cross was saying. "If the girly general fails then we'll loose control of the Ark."
"What's going on?" whispered Lenalee beside him. He hadn't heard her approach.
"They want to get through the Ark and back to the Order in case Yuu can't stop the Noah."
She swallowed convulsively. "He won't fail though, right?"
"Of course not, this is the Kanda Yuu we're talking about here. And he promised Allen."
She sniffed and nodded, watching the generals shepherd the exhausted exorcists and finders towards the gateway that Allen's team had come through earlier.
Then Cross and Jim were at their side. "Ready?" the general asked
"What for?" she asked
Lavi looked at her seriously, a saddened expression in his eye. "We need to collect their innocence, and" he cleared his throat, blinking rapidly "bring their bodies back to the Order."
Lenalee flinched at that, and the men knew she had been hanging onto an impossible hope that miracles happened.
"Come on" the general directed, leading the way back across the field, towards the distant pillars of the ancient pavilion.
The first thing Jim was struck by was the mess. When they'd left the battlefield nearly three hours before he'd hardly noticed the destruction, but now it was evident in every crack on the floor and crumbled fragment of masonry just what a tremendous battle had taken place here- the unspeakable magnitude of the attack that had brought this war to an end.
Cross moved to the body of the Earl and kicked it disinterestedly. "Doesn't look like much any more does he?" he said. "We should take him with us."
Jim made face at the thought, but created a box, nothing more than a crate on wheels in which to transport the body of their defeated enemy.
Then they turned their attention to more important matters.
They almost didn't see them, surrounded as they were by rubble and debris, but the faint glow of innocence attracted their attention like a beacon. The glow was coming from the fragment of innocence lying on the ground. It was larger than usual, green, with twin bands of white running around it. They concentrated on the unusual innocence cube, not ready to look at the bodies, not yet.
Cross lifted it from the ground, examining it curiously. "This was Mugen… and Crown Clown" he said slowly, as though he didn't quite believe it himself. "Mainly Kanda's, but some of Allen's too- like they melded…"
They finally looked down at the bodies.
They were lying on their sides, facing each other. Kanda's right hand was pressed on Allen's chest, over his heart, and Allen's right was curled around the back of Kanda's head. Their eyes were half open and glazed, but the last thing they had seen was each other.
Cross looked around and spotted what he was looking for. "Tim!" he called, his voice uncharacteristically thick. The golem fluttered closer, and even the machine seemed to be in mourning. "Show us" Cross commanded.
Lavi shifted uneasily, not sure if he wanted to watch his two friends kill each other.
"He wasn't here for all of it, I sent him back when I remembered to" Cross explained.
Lenalee wiped her eyes to better watch the holographic projection, slipping her hands into those of the two exorcists at her side as the image flickered to life.
"Yuu…I'm so sorry…" Allen reached out, running his hand over Kanda's face as he knelt before him, tangling his once-innocence imbued hand in the other man's long dark hair.
"Sorry" Kanda whispered, leaning into the gentle caress of the right hand and staring into pain-clouded and tear-filled silver eyes.
"What for?" Allen asked, sounding genuinely confused, as if he couldn't think of anything for Kanda to apologise for.
"I don't think I'll be able to keep my promise."
The image flickered at little as though Tim had suddenly shifted position.
"What promise?" Jim asked curiously, not having heard this before.
"Allen made Yuu promise to kill him if the Noah came to he surface" Lavi shook his head." And I'd say by the state Yuu's in the Noah came out to play before he got that chance."
"But that's Allen" said Lenalee, pointing at the screen.
"He's always been full of surprises" Cross said. "I'd say he managed to beat the dark back for a minute or two, just to make sure Kanda followed through."
"Don't be an idiot, of course you will" Allen said, brushing some dark hair off Kanda's face tenderly. "You swore you would, but you'll need to hurry, I don't think I can hold my other side back for much longer."
Kanda shook his head drunkenly. "I can't even hold Mugen, never mind move my arm."
Allen smiled sadly, his left hand over the gaping wound on Kanda's chest, as though he could hold Kanda's rapidly escaping life in with his flesh. "I'll help you, but you have to promise me something else."
The older man looked faintly annoyed that his dying was being interrupted. "What?" he snapped, sounding a little like his normal self and making Allen's strained smile widen slightly.
"Come with me."
They watched as Allen moved the jagged end of Kanda's ruined innocence blade to his own chest, placing the broken tip over his heart and steadying the arm that held it with his left hand, pressing their foreheads together so he wouldn't have to watch the moment that he helped his lover to kill him.
Allen kissed him, and murmured "Love you", lifting Kanda's hand which still clung to the sword.
"You too, Allen," Kanda said quietly, his eyes unfocussed and a fresh wave of blood spilling from his mouth as he coughed brokenly. His eyes slid closed and his breath rattled in his ruined chest.
Positioning the jagged, shattered tip of the blade against his chest over his heart, Allen smile faintly, shifting his left hand's grip to Kanda's elbow, pressing lightly to hold the tip of the sword in place. "It's Moyashi, remember?" And he pushed the blade forward.
Lenalee's breaths became sobs and she could no longer bear to watch, freeing her hands from Jim's and Lavi's and turning into Lavi's chest, feeling his arms around her and his tears in her hair.
Allen's eyes slide half closed and a small happy smile, a small stream of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth as he coughed once, twice, then was still, his hand falling away from Kanda's arm and his head lolling forward as he slid forward an inch or so down the blade. The hand holding Kanda upright at the back of his head remained where it was, trapped in the tangled hair.
Kanda choked a little as Allen's forehead rolled off his own and came to rest on his shoulder, the blood running from his slack mouth joining the darkening splashes that already coated the other man.
"Moyashi…" he breathed, opening his eyes as much as he could. "…wait for me…" he coughed again and there was a sound like something ripping, and there was suddenly so much blood. The Japanese man shuddered and the hand that had still been clenched around Mugen fell slack and unfeeling to the floor with a dull slap. Slowly, painfully, as though he wasn't really able to do it but wouldn't let himself rest until he had, he moved his legs from under him and fell to his right, taking Allen's body down with him. He couldn't really see, but he didn't want his Moyashi to lie there with the sword that had taken his life still sticking out of his heart, so he pulled it free with clumsy movements, the blade coming free with a wet sucking sound and a flash of white light before he dropped it behind him. He pressed his hand over the hole it had left in his lover's chest and sighed, finally content.
Behind him, as his life finally slipped form his grasp, the remains of the sword disintegrated, forming the innocence cube. From the area at the end of the blade, the white scurried along the metal as it disappeared and formed the two revolving white bands of light around the green core.
"Allen had innocence in his heart, it's what kept him alive after Tyki Mikk had a tease eat through it, remember?" Lavi suddenly said, cuffing the tears from his face as Tim's projection ended. "What if not all of his innocence was used up in the battle?"
Cross looked thoughtful. "It would explain why the Noah couldn't take complete control of his body, if the innocence was part of what kept him alive." He rubbed his chin. "You think this white is the part of his innocence from his heart?"
Lavi shrugged, "I'm not expert, but if there was still some innocence left in his body, it wouldn't have been enough to form a complete fragment by itself, and Mugen wasn't whole either…"
Tim swallowed the unusual fragment as Cross bent down and carefully untangled Allen's hand from Kanda's hair and brushed his hand over Allen's eyelids, closing his eyes forever before picking him up carefully. "You get the other one?" he asked Lavi, who nodded tightly and closed Kanda's eyes gently before lifting him into his arms.
"I've got the Earl" said Jim, walking back over to the waiting crate. "Let's get out of here."
Komui studied the cube curiously, before looking between Cross and his sister. "I agree with Lavi, it certainly seems the most probable theory at least." He smiled sadly at Lenalee. "How are you coping?"
She smiled back, but it was weak and watery. "I'll be okay. Are they still going to be cremated?"
Komui nodded, leaning back in his chair. "The Earl may be gone, but there's no point breaking with tradition."
Lenalee bit her lip. "Are you… can you, um… do them together? I'm sure that's what they would have wanted."
Komui nodded gently. "Lavi said the same thing."
"Where is Lavi? And Jim? I haven't seen them since we got back."
"They went to… clean them up… ready for those who want to pay their respects."
Lenalee understood that, remembering the mess that the two generals had been in. "And the Earl? What's happening to him?"
Komui scowled. "Well he's certainly not being cremated in the same furnace as we burn our exorcists. He can go to Central Administration, and they can deal with him."
Cross lit a cigarette. "Well, I've got some serious drinking to do" he said as he stood, then seemed to freeze. "Who the hell is going to pay my debts now? Idiot apprentice."
Quine stood as soon as Lanel walked through the door, almost gaping in surprise, which would have been most unbefitting for someone of her status.
"Lanel, what are you doing here? You are banished from this place!"
"No my lady, I was banished until the end of the war. The war is now over, and I am home." Though as he said it there was something distant in his purple eyes that she couldn't identify.
"Over?" she asked weakly. "I see.
"I have come back to say good bye."
"Eh?" Quine said, dropping her manners completely and grateful it was only her brother in the room at the moment.
"I no longer wish to remain here on Avira, watching from afar. I want to experience life. I want to truly live!"
Quine shook her head. "You want to be human, but you are Aviran."
"I am happy to remain as I am, on Earth, with my friends, who have become like family to me."
Quine didn't understand at all, but it seemed her brother's mind was made up. "Then go from this place, and do not return. But before you go, I give you a gift, as your sister, your blood, your last true family." And she kissed him on the forehead, before stepping back and smiling sadly. "Now you can never return, Lanel. You are truly human, and like them you shall have to be content to live out your short life on Earth."
He turned and looked at his reflection, gasping in shock and reaching his hand to his face. His lilac eyes had darkened, becoming a deep blue, tinged with violet, and his shoulder length hair was a rich brown. She had made him human, not changed his appearance like he had been able to before. He frowned. "My powers?"
"Humans cannot have the powers of the Avira" she said, holding up her hand to stall his protests that just because the war was over he would not need any sort of power. "But humans can wield innocence, go, and become a true exorcist Lanel, my brother. And may you live as long a life as the human's God deems you fit."
The two open coffins stood at the front of the chapel as it filled with people who wanted to say good bye to the people who were responsible for the end of the war and had essentially saved their lives. Now that the blood had been washed away and they were once more clad in the black and gold coats, they no longer looked like their last moments had been filled with pain and suffering, and for that Lavi was glad. Nobody deserved happiness more than those two.
He squeezed Lenalee's hand in his own and when she looked at him, he smiled gently and laid his other hand over her still flat stomach. She didn't smile back, but her eyes softened slightly and she put her own hand on top of hers.
"Well, it's finally over. I feel better about bringing a child into the world now that the Earl's gone" he said. "We'll still need exorcists of course, there's still innocence out there, and Akuma. Maybe even Noah. But…" he turned to her, face very serious. "We have to tell people about this now. I need to tell gramps to find a new apprentice before he dies."
Lenalee frowned at him. "But what about you?"
"I have more important duties now" he said, rubbing her stomach meaningfully. "And bookmen can't have relationships, it's forbidden. But I don't regret anything" he said earnestly "and I can honestly say I'll be happy being 'Lavi' for the rest of my life, if that life includes you and this little one."
She wrinkled up her nose at the rather soppy confession, but it was obvious she was pleased all the same. "That's assuming you're still alive after we tell my brother" she said with a small, but genuine and bright smile.
They turned to watch as the last off the long line of mourners passed the coffins, nodding to Lanel, who they still had trouble recognising now his eyes and hair had changed colour and he was human. He'd cut his hair as well, and by all appearances was a neat and well dressed young man. Though he was still oddly tall and thin. The lids were closed over the two exorcist generals, the heroes of the war. Lavi patted the lid of Allen's coffin gently. "Thank you Moyashi, Yuu, for giving us our future. And if we have a boy, I swear on my life that I will not allow Lenalee to name him after you" he laughed, raising his hand like he was swearing an oath. He grinned a little. "Though if we have a girl, Yuu-chan… I'm sure there's something we can work out…"
So here it is, really the end. Thank you to everybody who's ever commented and reviewed my story, I would never have finished this if it wasn't for you! Much Lovage to all of you. X