Chapter 1: Receiving Orders
Allen's eye reacted as soon as he and Lavi had entered the abandoned building. There was an Akuma hanging around.
He signaled for quiet as he glanced around the dilapidated room. The dim light didn't help, but his eye told him that the Akuma was upstairs. There had to be a someway to get up there.
Lavi tapped his shoulder and pointed to the rusted ladder that led to the balcony of the rundown factory. "Think it'll hold?" the future Bookman asked.
Allen shrugged. "It's worth a shot," he replied.
They didn't want to activate their Innocence yet. The light would give them away if their footsteps hadn't already. If there was one thing Allen had learned in his time as an exorcist, it was to always assume you hadn't been seen until you were positive you were.
The ladder, though old, was able to support their weight. They climbed soundlessly. Allen peeked over the top, hoping the top of his white head would only look like dust or a rat to the Akuma.
The Akuma they were after was a few feet from them. Its grotesque, almost human-like body shone bright white in the gloom, amplified by its glowing halos. It was busy killing some of the rats scurrying around, so it didn't notice Allen or Lavi's presence, even as they climbed all the way up.
Both exorcists nodded to each other and invoked their Innocence at the same time. The Akuma only had enough time to look up as they slammed their weapons into it. Still, it somehow managed to block without receiving much damage.
"So the exorcists finally arrive!" it laughed, blasting both of them with a bright purple light.
The fight continued with neither making much headway. The Akuma was getting damaged, but Allen and Lavi were getting exhausted. If it continued much longer, both wouldn't be able to keep fighting.
The Akuma seemed to realize this as well. It stepped up its attacks, desperately trying to finish the two exorcists. It dodged another swing of Lavi's hammer and ducked Allen's sword. It launched itself away from the two, widening the distance. "I'm getting bored," it said, "so I guess I'll be leaving. But just so you both don't miss me," it flicked something so quickly at Allen that the boy couldn't avoid whatever it was, "I'll leave you with a present!" With that, it broke through the roof and flew off into the distance.
"Damn it!" Lavi cursed. "It got away!" He turned when he heard Allen grunt in pain. "What's wrong?" he asked, rushing to his friend's aid.
"Whatever that Akuma threw ended up in my eye!" Allen grumbled, rubbing at it fiercely.
"You serious?" Lavi pulled his friend's hand away. It was true Allen's cursed eye was red, but the cause was more likely Allen's rubbing it rather than something actually being in it. "I don't see anything, Allen. Sure you didn't just get some dust in your eye during the fight?"
"Lavi, I'm serious!" Allen pulled back and started rubbing his eye again. "There's something in my eye, and it won't come out!"
"Well, I'm no eye doctor," Lavi admitted. He hadn't seen anything, but that didn't mean there wasn't something there. "Let's head back and have someone at the Order take a look."
Allen nodded, and they headed to back to Headquarters.
"Allen! Lavi!" Lenalee said happily when she saw them leave the Ark. "How was the mission? No one got hurt?"
"I'm a little worse for wear, but I'll live," Lavi replied with a gin. "Allen, on the other hand, swears he has something in his eye and won't stop rubbing it." He smacked Allen's hand away from it for the fifth time since they started back. "You're just making it worse," he scolded.
Allen was about to rub it again, but Lavi and Lenalee gave him a threatening look that stopped him in his tracks. He forced his hand to remain at his side and said, "There is something in my eye, and it's really starting to bother me." He looked helplessly at Lenalee.
Confused, Lenalee went closer to Allen. Their faces were inches apart, but Allen knew that this was not the time to feel awkward about the situation. She was just looking at his eye, after all. "I don't see anything," she said, "but that doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with it... Why don't you go to the Head Nurse and see if she has anything that might help?"
Nodding, Allen did as Lenalee suggested. Of course, Lenalee came too to make sure his hand was nowhere near his eye. It was already red and irritated, and if he kept messing with it, it would only make things worse.
"Head Nurse!" Lenalee called into the nurse's office. No one was injured at the moment or in urgent need of care, so she was sitting at her desk.
"Lenalee, what can I do for you?" the nurse asked, standing. "Are you feeling ill?"
"No," Lenalee replied. She gestured to Allen. "Something's up with Allen's eye, and he won't stop touching it."
The nurse frowned at Allen, who was just about to start rubbing at it again. The look made Allen drop his hand to his side.
After a brief eye roll and a shake of her head, the nurse told Allen to sit down in a chair. Once he'd complied, she took a closer look. "It's just a little irritated. Some dust or an eyelash probably fell into your eye and you rubbed it out. Any pain you're feeling now because of it is your own fault."
The nurse then went to a drawer and pulled out a small bottle. "Hold still, Walker, and don't blink." She took an eyedropper and put a small amount of the solution in Allen's eye.
Allen blinked furiously and was about to rub the liquid out, but once again froze when he received cold looks from both Lenalee and the nurse. He smiled sheepishly as he put his hands in his pockets.
"Thank you," he said, still blinking out the excess medicine. "It's already feeling better." It was true, too. Allen didn't know if it was still red, but he did know that it had stopped hurting and itching. He stood to leave, but paused. "Um... Is it normal that I can't see out of it?"
"You can't see out of your eye?" Lenalee asked, surprised. The last time he'd been blind in his cursed eye was when Road had gouged it out, and it had regenerated relatively quickly. "That can't be good..."
The nurse thought a moment. "I'm sure it will be fine, Walker. The last time your eye was damaged, it healed itself completely. In fact, I'm sure it will be fine, considering you probably did it to yourself."
Allen glared a minute, then sighed. The nurse was probably right. He had been rubbing at it pretty hard. With a quick bow, he and Lenalee walked out of the office.
"Are we still on for tonight?" Lenalee said in a low whisper. Allen had to strain his ears just to catch it. She leaned against him and kissed him on the cheek gently. "I'd be disappointed if you didn't keep your promise."
Blushing, Allen said, "Of course we're still on!" He was just as quiet as Lenalee. He didn't want anyone overhearing and telling Komui about their discussion. After all, they'd been together four nights in the past two months they'd been secretly dating. If Komui found out now, Allen would be six feet under before anyone could even attempt to stop Komui's murderous rampage.
"I'm looking forward to it," Lenalee replied as she walked away.
It took all of five minutes for Allen to calm his speeding heart and stop blushing. Four nights together or not, Allen was still not used to having Lenalee as his lover nor being hers. It was a wonderfully electrifying feeling, but at the same time it was strange and uncomfortable sneaking around. He wished they could just tell her brother and have him understand, but they knew Komui would never allow it.
Smiling, he went to dinner. Even if it was risky, he wanted to see Lenalee again. He wanted to tell her again and again he loved her and be able to squeeze her tight and not have to let go.
The next morning, Allen and Lenalee walked to Komui's office. Allen was still amazed by how Lenalee could be so energetic despite their long night. He knew he was exhausted.
"Good morning, Allen!" Komui said brightly. "Didja sleep well?"
It must be in the family, Allen decided. "You said there was a mission for me?"
"Yes!" Komui pulled out a book with the briefing for Allen to follow along with. "You are going to go to Genevieve Lambert's coming out ball. According to—" he stopped. "Allen, is something wrong with your eye?"
Allen had been rubbing at his eye again. Lenalee smacked his hand. "There's something in it..." Allen began, but Lenalee interrupted.
"He keeps saying there's something in his eye, but Lavi, the head nurse, and I can't seem to find anything. He's been rubbing it so much that he's making it hurt himself." Lenalee gave Allen a cold look that sent shivers down his spine when he tried to rub his eye without her noticing. "We'll stop by the infirmary and see if she can do anything about it."
"So uh..." Allen said, trying hard not to think about his eye, "what's a coming out party anyway?"
"It's when a rich girl becomes of marrying age. It's a way to show that she's old enough for men to make offers for her hand." Komui adjusted his glasses. "You're going to go and keep an eye out for anything strange or out of the ordinary."
"There are a lot of rumors about the family, the biggest being that there are 'monsters' living in her house. Supposedly, you're able to hear screams in the night and see 'angels of death' coming and going." Allen knew from how Komui said it that the angels of death in question were probably Akuma. "We sent a couple Finders, but needless to say, they didn't return."
Allen swallowed the lump forming in his throat. "But why me?"
"Well, the biggest reason is that you're also of marrying age," Komui replied. He acted as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"Then why not Lavi or Kanda?"
"Kanda's on a mission right now, and Lavi would be too busy hitting on Miss Lambert to concentrate on the mission." Komui picked up his coffee mug with the pink rabbit on it. "You also can tell Akuma apart from normal humans, which is a major advantage."
Allen didn't want to say it, but he had to. "I've gone temporarily blind in my eye."
Komui choked on his coffee. He coughed and spluttered for a few minutes before saying hoarsely, "You can't see Akuma anymore?"
"Not until my eye heals." Allen felt useless. This was the second time his eye had failed him, but this time Komui had been counting on it for the mission.
"I'll go too," Lenalee said simply.
"How does that solve anything?" Komui asked. Apparently, Allen had missed some conversation.
"If there are two of us, it'll be less likely for an Akuma to sneak up behind one of us. We'll watch each other's backs."
"Wait, two of us?" Allen repeated. "What about Inspector Link?"
Komui sighed and rubbing the bridge of his nose in minor frustration. "I'm afraid Lvellie is still detaining him with something or another. He'd be useful right now, I think." He glanced up and noticed that Allen was crestfallen. "What's this? Do you miss him?"
"No!" Allen replied. The truth was, though, that he'd become fond of the sweet-toothed inspector. It felt strange not having Link following him everywhere or yelling at him to eat healthier while he ate his weight in sweets. "I just thought he'd be good to have around, since he's good at spotting things before I do."
"I guess you guys were thinking the same thing!" Lenalee said, breaking up the sidetracked conversation. "So, Komui, can I go on the mission too?"
"Well..." Komui didn't seem convinced.
"Allen's never been to a party like this before," she pointed out. Allen nodded in agreement. "He won't know what to do or how to act around all the rich people."
"If a dress is an issue, I'll wear the one you got me for my birthday that I haven't worn anywhere yet. It's so pretty, it'll be perfect for the occasion." Lenalee smiled a heart-melting smile, which forced Komui to agree.
"Great! I'll see you in a few minutes, Allen!" she said before leaving the room.
Komui handed Allen a bag. "Put that on. You both will be taking a coach to the party so as not to draw too much attention by just appearing out of nowhere."
Allen accepted the bag. What have I gotten myself into...?
Woot! End of chapter one! I hope you all like it so far! I put a lot of effort into this one.
Like always, please point out any errors I might have made in the fic. All help is greatly appreciated.