The Sinful Touch
Disclaimer: This is probably not something DGM should be like…
Another 2007 relic! Generic and angsty and I didn't post this before because I was ashamed of it, but after some random prodding... This has NOT been updated since August 4, 2007, by the way! Original notes below:
This came from my old-fashioned and conservative ideas that fifteen-year-olds are children who should be enjoying their childhood, not acting like adults. But then, most of them don't really face life-threatening issues every day, either. He really is so naïve and cute, though. :)
"Why did you bring me here?"
The Earl smiled deviously, meeting her cold violet gaze with a laugh.
"Killing you would be too easy, wouldn't it? Not fun at all!"
She glared at him – it was only because of her nice nature that her disgust wasn't any stronger. It amused him.
"I didn't ask that."
"No patience," he sighed, pacing in front of her. "I think there is something you need to know. That's it." He grinned at her again, and she snarled back – ah, there was attitude!
"You'll only speak lies," she hissed. "I won't listen to you! You want to destroy us all! My friends, my family, you've killed so many already – and…" She became silent, eyes reflecting her thoughts as surely as if she had spoken them aloud. Her new friends…
"Not a lie, but a prophecy. One that hasn't been spoken before." He moved closer to her, and she backed away from his impossibly wide smile. "Concerning you."
"There's nothing about an individual in any prophecy that I've heard of. Not me, anyway." Yet she couldn't hide her curiosity – even now, she looked torn between complete rejection and staying to hear about herself. He chuckled. So human.
"That boy you care for so much… Allen Walker." He wasn't looking at her anymore, but he heard her gasp. "He won't be able to save humanity as long as you are by his side." And then the Earl turned to watch her reaction.
"That's…" She was visibly shaken, her hands clenched into fists and trembling. "That's not true." She would not look at him. It couldn't be true. He must be lying.
"I know what you're thinking," he added. "But it's absolutely true. Watch and see. You will cause him to shed the blood of an innocent."
"I won't let that happen!"
"Ah, you won't realise it, but it will happen as long as you are there. And once he takes that step, humanity will never be salvaged from the darkness into which it will be plunged…"
"…once you gain power," she whispered. "I'll stop that from happening. Allen-kun would never hurt an innocent human, just as he can't kill even a Noah."
The Earl's smile never wavered. "Ah, but he will. Because you are there."
She wouldn't believe him. But he knew she would be wrong, for she was human.
"Eh?" He turned around. "Lenalee…?"
"Ah…" She paused, not expecting him to have heard her that first time. "I…"
"Is something wrong?" She looked troubled, he thought. Her eyes were darting around the corridor that surrounded them, yet never focused on his own, and they looked reddened. Lenalee stepped forward, reaching out as if about to touch him, then shook her head and backed away. He frowned. "Are you all right, Lenalee?"
"Yes, I'm-" She swallowed nervously. "Fine."
"Lenalee, you're-" He touched her shoulder, but she shrugged his hand away and stepped back again. "Did I do something wrong?"
She couldn't bear to see that sad, betrayed look on his face. She shook her head, and, saying nothing, turned and nearly ran back down the hall. Allen just stood there, hand reaching towards her, and shocked.
"What did I do," he whispered to himself, letting his hand fall.
And so it continued for nearly a week before he finally found the courage to confront her as she was leaving the cafeteria.
"Why are you avoiding me, Lenalee?"
It was only his voice that prevented her from walking straight into him. She met his hurt and confused look before turning away and preparing to walk around him. He rested his hand on her arm, using just enough pressure to push her back to her original position, and touching her chin with the other.
"Won't you answer me?"
"It's nothing," she murmured, turning her face away again. "Could you please let me go, Allen-kun."
He looked conflicted – should he do as she asked, or confront her? – and finally decided on the latter. His hand slipped down her arm and met hers, clutching it tightly as he pulled her down the hall to a place where they would be able to talk.
"Allen-kun, what are you-" She struggled, pulling against his grip, but he was too strong. Even if he didn't have Innocence in that hand –
Finally, she gave in and allowed herself to be dragged into his room, where he closed the door behind them and turned to face her once more. Again, she would not look at him. There was a momentary silence before he spoke again.
"Why won't you tell me what you're upset about, Lenalee?" And now he was staring at the floor, not even trying to meet a gaze that would not be there. His hair had fallen in front of his eyes, creating a shadow over them. "Aren't we… friends?"
She looked up, surprised. Where were his eyes, she wondered. Why were those shining silver mirrors, usually full of hope, covered with darkness?
"We are," she answered. It wasn't what she wanted to say, but he hadn't said what he was thinking, either.
"And don't you trust me at all?"
"I do." He smiled at the fast response. So she didn't need to think.
"Then can't you tell me what's wrong?" When she didn't say anything, he continued. "You've been so quiet recently, avoiding me – everyone, I mean – and it hurts to see you like this." There was a flash of silver, and she noticed that he was looking at her from under his bangs. "You won't even tell me why."
"Allen-kun…" How could she have failed to notice that she'd ignored everyone like that? "I was just… thinking, that's all."
"You've been crying, though." A piece of his hair fell back to the side of his face, revealing a slash of red across his face. She never really noticed his scar anymore, she thought. It was just a part of him.
"It's a worrying thought." Lenalee didn't want to continue, but Allen wasn't satisfied with that answer.
"Then can't you tell me?" He straightened up and walked towards her; she flinched away unconsciously. "You don't…"
"That's not it!" she whispered, eyes filling with tears that would not fall. "It isn't that I don't want to tell you, because I do trust you, and you are… you are my friend, but…"
"But?" he repeated.
"I'm worried about you," she said softly. "That's why."
He didn't seem to believe it. "Lenalee, you're always worried about all of us. You've told me about your dreams – you didn't avoid me after those – and how could anything be more depressing than the destruction of the world?" He smiled weakly, and reassuringly. "It's all right, isn't it?"
"This isn't a dream!" she protested, turning back to him. "I don't even know if it's true or not, but-"
"Then why believe it?"
His words silenced her; she had never thought of that. Finally, she whispered, "If it's true, you'll be hurt."
"I'm already hurt," he told her. "When you avoid me like this…"
"This will hurt more," she assured him. "More than if I didn't speak to you."
"But I'm not going to die." She nodded. "And," he added, "how will avoiding all of us help with anything? If I'm going to be hurt…"
If I'm not with you, you won't be hurt. But you said you already are, by what I'm doing. And what if it wasn't true anyway? She opened her mouth to speak, but his finger was against her lips and he shook his head.
"Don't think about that kind of thing anymore," he murmured, leaning closer to her, "if it isn't going to happen. Someone like Lenalee shouldn't ever be sad."
"I don't want to hurt you, Allen-kun." Her arms were wrapped around his shoulders, and she could feel the warmth of his around her. She had clung to him before, in her distress. Maybe this was the natural way of things.
If I can hold onto him forever, I can protect him from everything that would hurt him.
That's what I want to do.
"I'm sorry," she breathed, and he turned his head to face her.
"You don't need to apologize."
"I need to." And she leaned forward, preventing him from answering her. His eyes widened in surprise, then fluttered shut; his grip on her tightened in a non-verbal response, the only kind he could give, but it was enough. He wasn't hurt. And she'd make sure he would never be.
When she finally let him breathe, he tried to speak again. "Lenalee-"
She shook her head. "I want to protect you, Allen-kun," she interrupted. "I want you to pursue your goals, and meet them – to save everyone – everything that you're meant to do."
"I want you to be happy, too," he added. "I haven't been able to do that."
"You can!" she exclaimed. "Just let me protect you, that's all." She pulled herself closer to him and lightly brushed her lips against his. "And stay with me tonight."
"Stay…" A red flush crossed his face. "You mean…" She nodded, and whatever sadness and worry had been in his eyes were quickly replaced by embarrassment and panic. "But I don't – I've never – I don't know-"
Lenalee silenced him with another, longer kiss. "That doesn't matter," she whispered. "If you don't want to…" He shook his head and opened his mouth to protest, but she cut him off by continuing. "I'm not asking for that. I just don't want you to leave me, all right?"
"I won't leave you," Allen assured her. "I don't want anything to break your world, Lenalee."
She smiled warmly at him, the unshed tears finally falling. "Thank you, Allen-kun."
What was there to worry about? When he was in her arms, she could protect him from anything that would come, that would try to break him. As long as his world was intact, hers would be safe, too. Because he was a part of her world.
She didn't sleep that night, lying awake under cold white sheets and holding him tightly against her. His slow breathing echoed in her ear, and occasionally she felt the turning of his head against her shoulder, his hair brushing her bare skin. He was so warm…
She couldn't sleep, not right now. It wasn't out of worry, though, but because she just liked making sure that he was here, and not out there where he could be – where he wouldn't be with her, anyway.
Her arms pulled him closer and she kissed the top of his head gently; he stirred, but didn't wake up. She smiled.
And then she saw it.
At the end of his bed – how could anyone have entered? He'd locked the door and the window was so tiny – was a dark figure. It wasn't human-shaped, but she knew what it was. With a soft cry, she sat up, still holding the sleeping figure in her arms. Subconsciously, she had taken the cover with her, almost as if it could protect them even for a little while.
The figure grinned and spoke in a chilling tone. "I told you so."
"You didn't tell me anything," Lenalee hissed in a low tone, hoping desperately that Allen would not awaken. "Nothing's happened! He's still…" With her free hand, she ran a hand through his pale hair; he snuggled closer to her, content. "He hasn't hurt anyone."
"Really?" That smile was too devious…
"I know! He hasn't been out on a mission since then, and I'd have heard if anything had happened since – he's followed me around, that's all. Besides, I told you, he could never kill anyone." She smiled warmly at the sleeping boy. "That's just who he is."
"He didn't have to kill anyone," the figure reminded her. "Merely… hurt. Don't you remember my exact words?"
"Shed the blood of an innocent," she muttered irritably. "And he hasn't done that, either. Allen-kun could never-"
"But he has already." She shivered at the confidence in his tone.
"Not since you told me! And anyway, I haven't had contact with him until tonight – he couldn't have-"
"He's been with me all night," she explained. "He couldn't have harmed anyone then, and I wasn't with him before." Even so, fear had started to penetrate her mind; her grip tightened, and Allen, still sleeping, gave a soft cry at the increased pressure. "So it can't be true."
"But it is." The figure nodded, and turned away from her. "And now he'll never be able to save humanity, all thanks to you."
"No, that's – that's not true!"
But the Earl was gone. Muttering to herself about how he couldn't possibly have been telling the truth, Lenalee was about to make a real attempt at sleep when she stopped, having had a sudden realization that maybe he hadn't been lying after all.
Innocent. That's… someone who hasn't done anything wrong. I don't think he meant an Exorcist, although if he had – or maybe it's both – well, Allen himself is innocent, both having it – no, had it, both ways, he's still got Innocence, but not small-i innocence… he did before tonight-
-but so did I-
Her fingernails dug into his arm and he whimpered, never waking up, even as the blood seeped down into the white of the sheets and staining the corner crimson.
He couldn't have meant that…
Yet even as she thought that, to her eyes, the white had darkened to a deep red.
And I asked him to. I made him.
It was me, after all.
Her tears could not hide the evidence of what she'd done. And Allen still did not wake.
And it was the end of it all and she knew he wouldn't be able to save everyone.
But he had.
The Earl had burst into a million pieces and faded, leaving no evidence but falling sand that he had ever existed in the first place. Lero was hovering over the small pile and wailing. And Allen was surveying the land around him, the bodies piled around him and crying, as she knew he would be. He hadn't been able to save everyone.
Yet humanity itself was safe, and there would be a future.
So he began to smile.
And now Lavi and Kanda and Miranda and Crowley and Chaoji and Mari and all the other Exorcists were rising and greeting him, congratulating him, even hugging him to express their appreciation. There were even a number of others – Finders among them – who had risen from the dead. They were all overjoyed that this one amazing boy had saved the world from a dark fate, that he'd always believed in it.
Lenalee wanted to join them, too. She wanted to hold Allen in her arms again and whisper her gratitude in his ear, she wanted to feel the warmth of his skin against her cheek to know that this was really true and that he was there-
-but she couldn't move. She only watched as his silvery eyes widened with a realization and he began to push through the crowd, looking frantically and calling out to someone. Who was he looking for?
But that wasn't important. He'd saved everyone… it hadn't come true after all…
So she smiled.
There hadn't been anything to worry about after all.
How she loved him.
Thinking that, she failed to notice when his eyes finally fell upon her and, with a strangled cry, he ran towards her. She didn't hear his footsteps pounding on the ground or see his desperation until he was holding her in his arms and his tears were falling onto her, touching her skin. They felt cool.
"Lenalee," he was whispering, "this isn't right, just hold on, okay, Lenalee, everything will be all right, won't it…"
She opened her mouth to whisper his name but coughed instead, blood pouring onto her pale skin. He shook his head and placed a finger to her lips – he wouldn't have her move if it meant losing even more hope. But she knew there wasn't any more…
Her fingers twitched, and finally she found the effort to touch his cheek gently, wiping away his tears with her thumb as she'd done once before at their meeting.
And that time, they were separated, too, even if only for a little while.
"Allen-kun," she whispered hoarsely. "I'm sorry."
"There's nothing to apologize for," he murmured, moving his left hand away from her and covering the hand she had placed on his cheek. That was a familiar gesture, too. "You shouldn't be speaking – wasting energy – you have to get better, don't you?"
She shook her head furiously, wincing at the pain she felt. With her free hand, she touched the blood-soaked material of her coat, and then the steel that pierced her abdomen right in the centre of her body. If she hadn't moved since that moment, it would have sealed her wounds temporarily, acting as a part of her… but with every shift she made, her remaining time was minimized. And before then, she had to tell him.
"Allen-kun," Lenalee breathed again. "I have to… tell you this."
"No, don't, you can tell me when you get better." Tears were pouring down his face now; was he losing hope, too?
She'd never stopped believing that he was alive. But then, he had been, and she hadn't even had a chance to hold him one last time…
At least he would have that.
"Do you remember? When I was worried and wouldn't speak to you, and... and you were hurt, and made me tell you, and…" She trailed off; they both remembered what had happened. He nodded, and she continued. "It was something that someone told me."
"That's not important now, Lenalee! You're-"
"It is!" she interrupted. A coughing fit overtook her and she felt even weaker when it ended. "The Earl told me, Allen-kun! And I didn't want to believe him – he said that I would cause you to shed the blood of an innocent, those were his words…"
"I didn't," he whispered. "You know I'd never hurt anyone!"
"I know," she murmured, stroking his cheek gently. He smiled down at her sadly. "And if you did, you'd never be able to save humanity."
"I did that," he told her, a hint of pride in his voice. "We're all safe, Lenalee, and that's why you have to save your energy and get better. We can all go home together, right?"
"Allen-kun…" He looked so hopeful when he said that, so happy. Maybe she hadn't really tainted him, after all. Even now, he was so innocent, even after… "I wanted to believe in you, that's why. I needed your assurance that you could do that, even with me nearby."
"I couldn't do it without you." He squeezed her hand, and she smiled back for a brief moment.
"That's what I meant by… hurting you. If you couldn't achieve that dream…"
"But you were with me, and everything went all right, Lenalee!" She laughed softly at the double meaning of that, but he obviously didn't see it. More innocent than she was, definitely...
You're dying, and all you can think of is sexual double entendres?! You have to tell him!
"He must have lied," she muttered, turning her head away; she couldn't meet his eyes anymore. "You saved the world even though he was right about the… other parts."
"What?" His grip loosened on her hand, and she withdrew it, disappointed. "When did I ever hurt anyone?" She could hear the confusion in his voice, layered with pain and betrayal.
"That night. Allen-kun, you know what happens when… well, he meant me."
"You were hurt?" But he was probably in more pain with that thought than she had been…
"No – well, I was, but – that's the way things are – that's not important, Allen-kun! That's what I was worried about, and up until now, I couldn't believe that you would ever manage to save everyone." Time was running out, she realized. This would have to be quick. "And even then, I hid it from you… what I'd done."
"You didn't do anything!" he told her fiercely, finding her hand and holding it tightly now. He knew there wasn't much time, either. "Even now, I wouldn't change anything! And it wasn't true, right? I saved everyone, and – and I didn't really hurt you, did I?" She could hear the pleading note in his voice, to assure him that she was all right.
She couldn't tell him that…
"No, you didn't hurt me," she whispered. "I hurt myself. And-" She nodded to the blade through her body- "this wasn't either of us. You are not to blame for anything bad."
How warm his smile was, she thought. If that was the last thing she could see…
But it wasn't over yet.
"And I'm so happy that I didn't corrupt your soul," Lenalee murmured, squeezing his hand. He returned the gesture, but gave her a puzzled look. "You're so innocent, Allen-kun. That's such a good quality in you. I hope that doesn't change when you grow up…" Her violet eyes took on a sad quality when she paused before speaking again. "I'm not going to be able to see you become an adult, am I."
"What are you talking about?" he asked – no, pleaded. As her life was slipping away, his desperation was growing. "You're going to be with me, aren't you? You're going to see…"
"You're still a child," she murmured, smiling sadly at him. "And I ignored that and tainted you."
"Lenalee, you didn't-"
"I'm just happy that I didn't shatter your world, Allen-kun. Keep it safe, all right?"
"Lenalee, don't close your eyes! You have to be strong, don't you; stay awake until one of the medical staff comes, they're going to heal you…"
"It's too late, Allen-kun," she whispered. "I can't stay here any more."
"You're – at least – Lenalee, I can't stay here like this without you! You're a part of my world too, aren't you?"
Her smile faded. "That's too dependant, Allen-kun. Maybe I did taint you after all."
"No, you didn't… You said you don't want me to leave you, right? I'm not going to leave you!"
"You have to. You're still here…"
"I won't be forever!"
"No, but… Allen-kun is such a good person, he's sure to go to Heaven, right? I can't think of anyone more perfect."
"But you'll be there too, right, Lenalee?"
"After what I did to you, Allen-kun? Something as dirty as me shouldn't be allowed to corrupt such a wonderful being like you…"
"You're not dirty, you're kind and caring and beautiful, you're perfect too…"
He had stopped his pleas for her life, now. This was reality now…
A child shouldn't face reality.
"Be happy, all right, Allen-kun?"
Her hand went limp in his.
Was it really childish and immature to cry, then? Was that what everyone would think when they found him clutching her cold body tightly and crying as if flooding the earth would bring her back?
It mixed with her blood and sank into the ground.
Even in eternity, they would be separated.
A/N: Happy ending to follow (it's half-written - also from LAST YEAR). It's not great, though; I just hate character death so here you go! Standalone angst.
As always, please review with whatever you had to say, and keep in mind this is also from an era of things I'm not very proud of and wish they never existed - so if it's bad, um, don't hold that against my fics in general!