Smile Like Broken Glass

Lt. Commander Richie

Disclaimer: If I was Hoshino, this would be canon. With that said, I am not Hoshino but I kinda wish I was because her cat sounds really cool. With that said, onwards to fandom!

Chapter 1

Akuma swarmed through the air, the groan of their guns and the cackle of those evolved enough to speak drowning out any attempt at communication. Rain had begun to fall at some point, and the red and black uniform he wore was soaked through with that and so much blood and mud that in the end the only things that still shone on him were his Rose Cross and the chain across his chest. His headband had been torn away at one point, and a Level Three he had taken on what seemed like an hour before had burned his red scarf to nothing but ashes.

With a yell, Lavi threw himself back into the fray. His hammer swung, and a group of five Level Ones were smashed into the ground. The hammer swung again, and several trees were smashed in the process of utterly destroying a handful of Level Twos. But even though he killed them and smashed them and burned them, they still came. A brilliant flash of light came from the sky, but it wasn't lightning. The blackened corpses of several Level Threes, still sparking with the green energy of one of Lenalee's evolved attacks, crashed to the ground and sent sprays of mud in every direction.

"Gōka Kaijin: Hiban!" The familiar ghostly seals wisped into existence, and the hammer was thrown to the ground in a barrage of flame. The signature snake arched high into the sky, weaving through groups of floating Akuma and utterly destroying them like so many flies. The ground around the Exorcist was quickly hardening from the heat, and the hammer sizzled as the rain hit it.

A sudden scream came from the sky, and Lavi's concentration was broken. He looked, watching with wide eyes as a Level Three barreled into Lenalee's back and sent her flying towards the ground. But in a heartbeat she was safe again, butterflies sprouting from her heels and rings of light forming around them so as to catch her. She was safe… But he wasn't. His one lack in concentration had lent to this new predicament, four Level Threes and seven Level Twos in a circle around him. In a flash Tessai was a more manageable size, and Lavi swung it like a Baseball bat in a wide arc towards the Akuma.

This was supposed to be routine. He and Lenalee, along with a team of four Finders, would go to Germany to find an Innocence supposedly taking the form of a glass coffin. Of course there were dangers, of course there were Akuma. But they were down two Generals and needed more Exorcists; they had to take the chance. But this was so much more than chance, the Finders were all dead and they were fighting for their lives against a force they had never seen for a single Innocence. Lavi's hammer stopped with a force that almost made his shoulders dislocate, a single figure using only one hand to hold the amazingly proportioned hammer at bay.

With a crunch, Tessai sunk a little farther down the figure's arm. In unison the Level Threes began to cackle, a sound so foreboding that the teen Exorcist couldn't help but shiver from anything other than the cold, and the blood, and the rain, and the mud he was so coated in. In a sudden explosion, a chunk was taken out of the face of his Innocence. The hammer was quickly shrunk back down, and Lavi took a fighting stance. His legs were tired, every bit of him was tired, but he had to survive.

"Well, well, well. The little Bookman that couldn't." Once again Lenalee lit up the sky in a display of raw green power, and a row of crosses and bright yellow eyes became visible. The Exorcist froze, his one eye widening as the figure walked out of the shadow of the trees. The man's black suit was impeccable, hardly even wet in fact, and a few small black butterflies flitted around the top hat situated nicely on his head. Quite the stark contrast to the haggard Exorcist's muddy and torn red and black uniform, one epaulette and part of his sleeve missing and burnt spots speckling his once white pants. As if only just noticing that it was raining, the aristocratic-looking man looked up at the sky and held out a hand. "Oh dear." He said, putting on an apologetic face. "It appears the sky is already crying for you."

"I'm not the one that's going to die." How he wished that his strength would live up to his words, but as Lavi settled his boots into the mud and surveyed the damage done to his Innocence, he wasn't too sure if he could fight a Noah on par. Tyki Mikk smiled, but it wasn't the kind sort of smile one would expect from someone with his silhouette. The smile stretched his features to gruesome proportions, his mouth filled with sharp and predatory teeth. His eyes watched a small figure high above them, bouncing from Akuma to Akuma in a deadly midair dance laced with green.

"You're absolutely right." In a split second the manic grin was gone, replaced with one that assured nothing but kindness. "Kill her." Before Lavi could act, a flurry of black and purple butterflies barreled out of the treetops in what seemed like an endless column. The few Akuma left watching lifted off as well, cackling dementedly in a frenzy of bloodlust.

"No!" He yelled, and jumped at the Noah with his hammer swinging. In a split second it was the size of a carriage, and he jumped in the air to swing it down… But suddenly Tyki was no longer there.

"Why are you so angry, Bookman Junior?" There he was, standing on the top of Tessai as though he had been there all along. "It's just another page in a history book. You shouldn't care so much about ink." With a yell, Lavi flung Tyki from his hammer and hit the ground in a roll. It hurt when he finally came to a stop by impacting a tree, but it would have hurt even more if he hadn't jumped out of the way of the punch aimed for his head. The Exorcist jumped away, his hammer miniaturized in his hand.

"Only Bookman can talk about Bookman, and I never told you any of this." The redheaded teen managed a weak smirk, his hammer growing as he held it in a ready stance and watching his opponent carefully. "But since you know so much, I want to know something about the current situation. Why so many high-level Akuma for a single Innocence? Why send a Noah?"

"Why aren't you more worried about your fellow Exorcist?" Lavi's smirk fell from his face, and in the swiftest movement he could muster he swung Tessei above his head and bade the attack symbols appear. As soon as the hammer hit the symbol for Raitei Kaiten, however, the weapon was stopped. The Exorcist's one eye widened, he hadn't even seen the Noah move. How was he in front of him? The redhead jumped backwards and took his hammer with him, and summoned his seals again.

"Lenalee can take care of herself!" He yelled, his voice as confident as he could muster as he picked Raitei Kaiten again and slammed the symbol to the muddy ground. "Raitei Kaiten: Tenban!" Electricity crackled through the ground and air, impacting anything and everything in its path. The earth was scorched in patches as the lightning receded, but the Noah was nowhere to be seen.

"The Crystal Coffin Innocence has the ability to heal any injury… Possibly to the point of bringing people back from the dead, without strings attached." Tyki's voice came from behind him, and Lavi spun around and swung his hammer as hard as he could. Once again it impacted the Noah with a solid crunch that nearly pulled the redhead's arms from their sockets, but would go no further. Cracks appeared all along the head of the hammer, but this time it didn't explode. "We are going to destroy it before you can do anything with it." Then, in a cloud of rubble and dust, Tessei's head was turned to so many chunks.

Lavi felt it before he saw it. There was something foreign, something not right with his body. The rain began to fall harder, lit bright green by the more numerous attacks Lenalee was using so high in the sky. The first pieces of broken black butterfly began to flutter gently to the ground, sparking occasionally with green. The rain quickly bore the dust from the hammer's destruction to the ground, revealing something less than pleasant. Tyki stood in front of him, the grin that distorted his features so disgustingly present once again… And thrust through Lavi's chest was the Noah's right hand.

"As you can see, we would kill to get it. To destroy it." The Exorcist coughed twice, blood dripping down his lower lip as he felt something tear inside his chest. "You're in our way, little Bookman that couldn't." Tyki's hand slid from the center of the redhead's chest towards his heart, a most unpleasant sensation that made him cough up more blood and fix the Noah with a glare.

"How do… You know?" A sudden spasm of pain wracked the Junior Bookman's body, and he dropped Tessei's handle and gritted his teeth. Tyki smiled once again, and squeezed his hand once more.

"Road told me. She told all of us." Again he squeezed, and Lavi bit his lip in an effort to keep from yelling out. "How you have a dark little side… A side that doesn't care. Not about anything but history, and especially not about ink on paper."

"What's it… To you?" Again Lavi coughed, and another trickle of blood made its way down his chin to slide down his neck and into the collar of his dirty uniform.

"It concerns me. After all, even we Noah care about some things." Tyki's face turned into a mockingly concerned frown, and he held up his free left hand with one finger pointed towards the sky. A single black and purple Tease unfurled itself from the tip of his gloved finger, flapping its wings several times before sitting perfectly still. "I care about our goals, I care about my family. I care about all my little pets… But in the end, you don't care about anything, now do you?"

"That's not true." The Exorcist's one eye narrowed dangerously, and he balled up a fist and took a swing at the Noah. His fist passed through the older man's head, and a lancing pain hit him so hard that he couldn't help but yell.

"But it is, isn't it?" The happy, misleading smile was back on Tyki's face, and he looked up at the sky. The rain continued to fall, steadily getting harder. "Hmm, finally."

"What do you-" Lavi's one eye widened in shock as he heard a heart-wrenching scream, and a massive explosion rocked the air and made what few birds that hadn't already gone alight into the rain. In a splash of mud and ash, a few Tease still clinging to her clothes and legs, Lenalee hit the ground. "Lenalee!"

"As soon as I've destroyed your Innocence, I will kill her." Once again, the manic grin was back. "And I'll make you watch." With a sudden shove, Lavi was forced to the ground. A sharp rock impacted his back, and when he tried to breathe deep he was wracked with coughing. Blood trickled out of the side of the Exorcist's mouth, but he kept his one eye open if only to make sure that Lenalee was all right. Tyki walked away for just a moment, but was back soon enough. An expensive mud-spattered shoe nudged the teen onto his back, and it made it even harder for the redhead to breathe.

"And once all this is done, we will take the Crystal Coffin and destroy it as well. That's three Innocence gone, and two more Exorcists dead." Above the young Bookman's head, Tyki held a large lump of what was left of the destroyed hammer's head. He used his free hand and reached inside the lump, producing the shining green and silver Innocence that was its power.

"Don't-" Lavi began, but coughed again. Still more blood trickled from his mouth, now beginning to pool on the ground. His chest hurt terribly, and he wanted to grasp at it in pain, but his arms hurt too much and felt like lead. Tyki unceremoniously threw the black lump of hammer over his shoulder, and put on a kind smile as he held the Innocence over its owner's chest.

"Don't what?" He asked calmly, slowly beginning to squeeze on the green and white glow.

"Don't… Don't destroy it." He didn't want it gone. If Tessei was gone, then Lavi was gone. If Lavi was gone… Did that mean that he would have to move on? The fiftieth log, if he survived, wouldn't be allowed to care about the war. He couldn't care about his friends. Not about the Order, or about his friends he had so tentatively made. Not about Lenalee, or Yuu, or Allen…

"Now you know I cant do that." Tyki's grin was manic once more, and if the redheaded Exorcist had been more coherent he would have wondered if the Noah had something wrong with him. The gray-skinned aristocrat began to squeeze harder on the glowing Innocence, and a fine dust fell from his hands. With a sudden crunch like a glass being broken, sharp shards fell from his hands and into the blood and grime-soaked red and black uniform the redhead wore. Then the still smiling Noah reached down and patted the teen on the cheek, turning his head towards the still form of Lenalee. She still had Tease clinging to her, and blood was running from the wounds they were inflicting.

"You… Bastard! Don't you… Don't touch her!" Lavi tried to yell, but the pain in his chest was getting worse. The shards of Innocence were incredibly sharp; they had cut through his uniform and the shirt he wore underneath before piercing skin. Judging by the amount of blood that came out every time he coughed, and how hard it was getting to breathe, that tearing he had felt when Tyki had first thrust his hand into his chest was one of his lungs being punctured. All he could do was watch as the Noah advanced towards Lenalee.

Suddenly, the pain in his chest worsened. It felt like he was being stabbed over and over again with hundreds of knives, the tips piercing flesh and sticking. He couldn't help but yell out, what strength was left in his body going to breathing deep enough to survive. Wait… Breathing? The terrible pain deep in his chest was gone, as was the nagging urge to cough out the blood from his lungs so as to keep from drowning. Tyki had paused for a moment, looking back at the defeated Exorcist, but then continued towards Lenalee.

The trickling sensation on the redhead's chin was a curious one; it almost felt like what blood was left on his face that hadn't been washed away by the rain was being pulled towards his chest. In fact, the puddle of blood that had been next to him at one point was gone as well. There weren't any more dark red spots on his uniform, only mud and rainwater as he lay there soaking.

"Leave her alone!" Lavi yelled out, watching helplessly with his slowly recovering leaden limbs that simply refused to work. Tyki reached down and grabbed Lenalee by the throat, pulling her off the ground out of the hole she had made in the mud. The Tease still clung to her, eating through exposed flesh and making the bleeding on her legs and all across her body even worse.

"An Equipment-type doesn't have to die when their Innocence is destroyed." Tyki called out, making sure that Lavi could hear him. "But she's not just an Equipment-type, is she? I had better be safe and simply kill her outright."

"No! Lenalee! I'll kill you, you sonnuva-" A sudden pain even worse than the one that had been so deep-rooted in his chest struck Lavi all across his upper body, and he rolled onto his side and gripped at his head in an effort to make it stop. The pain seemed to be traveling, too. Like knives or broken glass pulling their way through his system, they made their way slowly from his chest down his arms to his wrists. It must have been a Tease. It burned like something was eating him alive, and finally the redhead yelled out in pain. Tyki paused his work on slowly but surely strangling the life out of the girl suspended by his hand, looking over towards the Junior Bookman with a slight frown.

"I thought I told you to watch?" His frown deepening, the Noah dropped Lenalee to the ground. He raised a hand and snapped his fingers, the Tease still attached to the girl's body halting their attack and flitting gently upwards. "I want your hope to be gone, Bookman Junior." In what seemed like a single step, Tyki stood over the redheaded teen. He swiftly kicked the boy in the stomach, sending him rolling across the muddy ground and over the broken chunks of what had once been Tessei. Lavi's hand alighted on the handle of his destroyed Innocence, and grasped it with what strength he could muster.

"As long as I can fight for my friends, I can have hope." With a heave that made his arms scream as though they were being sliced to ribbons, a pain terrible enough to make the Exorcist gasp out, he pulled himself to his feet. Tyki watched, a small smirk making its way across his features as he waited for the redhead to make a move. Once he had gained a footing, Lavi's legs could hold him up. It was his arms, which felt full of broken glass and knife blades and small chewing mouths that refused to simply work properly.

"As long as you can fight for her, right?" The smirk turned into a kindly smile, before the Noah lunged like a predatory cat. Lavi pulled Tessei's handle up in front of him, surprisingly blocking the blow. He did so again, flipping the handle around and attempting to retaliate. But his arms screamed out in protest, and a sudden lancing pain nearly made the Exorcist drop his only weapon. Tyki laughed, looking up at the dark sky that still poured water by the bucket-full. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The sky is already crying for you, so why don't you give it something to grieve for?"

"I'm not someone to grieve for." With a yell, Lavi lunged at the Noah. He swung his weapon with what strength he had left, but the aristocrat didn't even take his eyes off the sky as he blocked with one arm. A painful tremor made its way up the Exorcist's arms, and blood began to run from his wrists down his hands. What wasn't washed away by the rain as quickly as it came dripped steadily to the ground.

"Oh my, that looks painful." Tyki pushed the redhead away and he stumbled back several steps, the aristocrat looking at the dark red splotches on the sleeve of his suit with distaste. Blood began to thoroughly soak the fingerless gloves the Exorcist wore, dripping steadily down to mingle with the mud and the chunks of Tessei's head that littered the ground. "Now stay put, little Bookman that couldn't," Tyki began, lunging forward and throwing Lavi bodily into a tree several feet away, "and watch while I kill that other Exorcist."

"Kill me first." The words came unbidden to the Exorcist's mouth as he reaffirmed his grip on Tessei's handle. Blood flowed even more freely from his wrists at the tightened grip, running from his hands in much larger drips and much faster. The Noah paused, blinking his golden eyes at the teen before smiling and turning back towards Lenalee. He looked over his shoulder, and shook his head.

"Making you watch, I think, would be worse than death." With a tip of his hat, Tyki began walking towards the still unconscious female Exorcist. Lavi snarled, and attempted to get to his feet. He stumbled, though, and as he managed to gain footing his head swam from blood loss. He could only watch once again as Tyki picked Lenalee up off the ground by her throat, and one of the girl's small red kitten-heeled shoes fell from her foot and into the mud. One of Lenalee's eyes slowly opened, and her hands twitched slightly as she began to realize what position she was in. Both her eyes shot open, and her sudden scream was turned into a strangled choke as Tyki began to squeeze.

"Lenalee!" Lavi yelled, nearly immediately regretting the action as his vision swam. It wasn't fair. The Noah had taken his weapon, destroyed the Innocence inside, but hadn't killed him. Now he was going to slowly strangle Lenalee until she was nothing more than a limp rag doll in the man's hand? The black-haired girl weakly reached for him, kicking at her captor with both feet only to have them pass right through his torso like he wasn't even there. What light in her eyes that the redhead could see through the rain was almost gone, her movements becoming weaker and weaker as Tyki squeezed harder.

Blood still seeped through Lavi's gloves and down his hands, staining the mud and chunks of hammer around him a grisly shade of dark red. Every time he moved, though, it felt as though he was going to fall over. There was no willpower left to power him forward, he was using all he had to keep himself standing upright. When his vision began to become hazy from blood loss, he took a step forward. The sudden lurch made him nearly fall to the ground, and he wove in place as though he was drunk in a valiant attempt to stay upright. He had to. He had to save her.

"Goodbye, Exorcist." With a final squeeze, Lenalee's hand fell to her side and her legs went still. The red anklets hanging around her legs, her Dark Boots, began to slowly crumble away. In their place floated a small green and white glow, and Tyki threw the teen girl's body to the mud and reached down to pick it up. Lavi fell to his knees, Tessei's handle falling next to him. His hands fell to his lap, and blood began to stain his already dirty white pants and the tops of his boots.

She was gone. Dead. Lenalee was gone, and Tyki had killed her. It wasn't fair. But of course it wasn't fair, he argued to himself. He shouldn't care anyway. After all, she was ink, and he wasn't allowed to care about ink. If he survived, he would have to simply record her death at the hands of the Noah of Pleasure and move on to the next Log. But in the end, he knew, he couldn't. A tear escaped his green eye, followed by another. She didn't deserve to die. No, she didn't… But he did. He wasn't allowed to care, but he did anyway. He broke the rules, and now he was breaking up inside like so much glass.

A sudden bright flash came from Lavi's wrists, and he shut his eye at the bright light. Tyki looked over from his place in the mud, his expensive shoes now completely coated in the muck. A sensation spread down the redhead's arms like a shiver, and the blood-soaked gloves he wore began to harden and shift. The teen opened his eye and looked at his hands carefully; they were no longer covered in blood and grime but instead were encased in a pair of dark red gloves. His wrists were no longer bleeding as well, but bore identical black crosses on them much like Lenalee had had on her ankles. His arms no longer hurt, but his head still swam quite a bit. Still, Lavi pushed himself to his feet with Tessei's handle in one hand.

The Exorcist's gaze was a blank stony one as he made his way through the mud, and the blood, and the puddles that separated him from the Noah that had killed Lenalee. The gray-skinned man watched in curiosity, his hand going slack around the Innocence he held as the battered teen made his way towards him. Suddenly, the boy stopped and raised his free hand. He didn't point, he didn't make a fist. He simply held it out, and in front of his hand his array of attack symbols appeared like a typewriter's keyboard.

"Hiban." With one finger, the teen tapped the seal for Gōka Kaijin. It flashed red and the other seals disappeared in wisps of smoke that were quickly carried away by the rain. A sudden sparking began in a circle around the redhead's feet, and without warning the gigantic fire snake reared up from the ground around the Exorcist and lunged straight for the aristocratic Noah. The keyboard appeared once again, and this time the seal for Raitei Kaiten was selected. "Tenban." The Exorcist continued, and lightning arched through the sky in an impressive and deadly display.

Tyki jumped out of the way of the Hiban attack, Lenalee's Innocence falling from his hand as he did so. He paused once, but it was just enough time for the Tenban attack to come raining down on him. The Noah didn't expect it to hurt, after all if he didn't want it to it wouldn't. But when the surge of pure electricity hit with a force that made his teeth click together and his hair stand on end, he knew that something was wrong. Once again the teen's keyboard appeared, and this time he used two fingers to drag the Raitei Kaiten symbol to overlap the Gōka Kaijin symbol before pressing the combined seals.

"Komboban." The snake that reared its head from the ground, all twisting fire and crackling electricity that should have scorched the Exorcist summoning it, lunged for the Noah with the speed of the lightning it was partially made of. Tyki threw himself out of the way, skidding through the mud backwards before nimbly coming to a stop without so much as falling over. But he certainly wasn't fine, and the Noah blinked his gold eyes a few times before wiping the small trickle of blood coming from the side of his mouth onto his sleeve.

Lavi turned towards the Noah, walking slowly with Tessei's handle dragging on the ground behind him. As he walked, all his blood and what was once the hammer's head slowly followed, flowing behind him in a dark red soupy mess. The Exorcist suddenly flicked the hammer's handle upwards so that it rested over his shoulder, and the substance trailing along behind him arched up into the air as though it was sentient and attached itself to the handle. It continued to flow in a massive quantity, growing larger and larger, but the Exorcist carrying it never faltered. Finally, both the flow of Innocence and blood and the Exorcist himself stopped.

Tyki straightened his back, pulling off his gloves and putting them in a pocket. He waited patiently for an attack, and it came. The redhead's hammer suddenly shrunk to a manageable size, and he spun it between two fingers by his side. The teen's one visible eye, at one point vacant and hopeless, was now filled with so much anger and hatred that the Noah couldn't help but grin his feral grin. Finally, a fight worth fighting.

With twin yells, the two leapt at each other. Lavi swung first, his hammer growing to double its size as he swung fast and hard towards the Noah. Tyki dodged, before coming up behind the Exorcist in a surprise attack. But Lavi whipped around with his hammer following quickly behind, and in a bone-crunching blow the gray-skinned aristocrat was hurled into a tree. The wood splintered terribly and the tree began to lean, and Tyki pulled himself from the bark. His hat had been lost at some point while he was flying through the air, the rain that fell as hard as ever now quickly soaking the man's hair.

"Did I touch a nerve?" The Noah asked, holding up both hands in a platonic gesture. Tease began to swarm from his palms, but instead of flitting into the sky only to fall back down towards their quarry, they began to compact and warp. Lavi said nothing, only glared as he squared his shoulders and held Tessei out in front of him. The hammer's form began to change, the entirety of the weapon becoming more compact as the handle grew wider and the head more square. As both combatants' weapons finished their changes, they faced each other with renewed strength.

In Tyki's hands, two large purple and white-striped Tease sat. In their centers were grinning skull-like faces, the mouths lined with razor-like teeth. In Lavi's left hand sat a large hammer, its likeness akin to that of Thor's mighty Mjolnir of legend. From the sides sprouted two spikes, and from the top came a halberd spike. The two once again leapt at each other, the teen's keyboard appearing as he moved and selected the Gōka Kaijin symbol once more. His hammer erupted into flames and he gripped it with both hands, the head growing much larger as he swung it down at the Noah. Tyki dodged once more, and one of his snarling and advanced carnivorous Tease darted towards the Exorcist.

Lavi swung at the butterfly, his feet sinking into the mud as he gained purchase. He would destroy the Noah like the Noah destroyed him, like the Noah destroyed Lenalee, like he had almost destroyed Allen. In a shattering sound like broken glass, the Tease broke into two halves. Tyki's gold eyes visibly widened in shock, his raised eyebrows making his crown of crosses disappear into the wavy hair that was coming loose from its ponytail. The Noah almost didn't have time to act, the teen was in front of him in a flash of red and black and a shining Rose Cross and his hammer was once again impacting the side of his head to send him crashing into yet another tree.

"I did hit a nerve, didn't I?" Tyki pulled himself from the trunk of the old Poplar, wincing slightly as he extracted a large splinter from his arm. "Killing her, I mean?" The Noah wiped the blood from his face once more, but it was taking much longer for him to do so. A cut laced its way across his forehead and it was oozing blood almost faster than he could rid himself of it.

"Shut up." Lavi commanded, and moved in to attack once more. He swung at the Noah but missed, instead completely obliterating the tree he had last thrown the man into. Tyki laughed, and the teen spun around to glare.

"You're so sensitive for a Bookman. Was Road wrong about your not being allowed to have feelings?" Tyki smiled his innocent smile, the carnivorous butterfly in his hand gnashing its teeth in anticipation. The redhead curled his lip in distaste, once again gripping his hammer in both hands as he ran forward.

"I said shut up, so just shut up!" At the last moment, Tyki thrust his hand forward in a gathering of purple energy that seemed to be made up of thousands of Tease. The two met in a flash of light before the Noah was thrown backwards, hitting yet another tree. Its teeth still gnashing, the purple and white-striped Tease that had been in his hand flitted towards the Exorcist. The teen angrily swiped at the butterfly, and as it impacted his hammer it shattered into two perfect halves.

"Was it because you loved her?" Lavi froze, his one eye widening at the Noah's words. "I still had my hand around your heart when she hit the ground, it felt like you were going to have a heart attack." Tyki once again picked himself out of the remains of a tree, this time discarding his shredded suit jacket before fixing his cufflinks and cravat. "What a shame. That was a Maison Couture, too."

"I have very few friends, and she was one of them. You're going to pay for her life with your own." Lavi's eye narrowed, and he called up his keyboard of symbols once more. With a violent move, the redhead slammed his hand onto the first two symbols and drug it across the entirety of both rows. The Exorcist didn't even name the attack as he swung his hammer, fire lighting on the head and metal spikes protruding from every flat surface. Lightning crashed down from the sky as the storm turned violent, electricity crackling across the surface of the puddles that suddenly seemed quite a bit larger.

Tyki dodged the first swing, but didn't manage to dodge the second. The metal spikes tore into his side with a surprising force, ripping fabric and flesh while charring the gray skin to an ugly black. Again the teen swung and again his hammer impacted the aristocrat, this time taking a chunk out of the Noah's shoulder. With an angry yell, Lavi swung yet again. This time he impacted the Noah straight in the stomach, ripping flesh and fabric even further with his spikes. The storm sent huge bolts of lightning arching across the sky, the water coming down so hard it was almost as though the Exorcist could cause a new flood. Tyki was sent flying into one of the deeper puddles, bleeding from the wounds inflicted that weren't completely cauterized. Then the water was sucking him down, deepening around him and crushing air from his lungs.

"I would say that the sky was crying for you, Noah, and that you should give it something to grieve for, but it's not true. The tears aren't for you!" Lavi leaned heavily on his hammer, his breathing labored. That final attack had taken most of the strength he had left, but that certainly wasn't saying much. His hammer felt heavy in his hands, but the armored gloves he wore were certainly lighter. "Die, Noah." The Exorcist held his hand out at the puddle, now a small but deep pond that was being controlled by his activated Water Seal. His hand clenched, and the water suddenly went still. Not even the rain broke the surface tension, and from Tyki's mouth came one last bubble. But the Noah wasn't gone, certainly not yet. Without a word he sunk into the ground he was being compacted into, and Lavi tensed and put both hands on his hammer. The Noah rose from the mud as clean as could be, clutching his stomach and shoulder with both hands. He looked thoroughly beaten, but he still managed to give the Exorcist a lopsided grin.

"You're ruthless." The gray-skinned man said, coughing twice to rid his windpipe of water. "Maybe if you weren't an Exorcist, you could have been family." With that, the Noah dissolved into a flutter of Tease. Lavi yelled, his keyboard appearing again and Gōka Kaijin was pressed in an instant. The fire snake barreled forward towards the Tease, but they were too numerous to all be burned. With an angry yell, the Exorcist threw his hammer to the ground. Mud splashed around him as he fell to his knees, slamming a fist into the ground.

"No, dammit!" The redhead sat back on his heels, looking up towards the roiling clouds that flashed bright white and still poured water on the ground. "No…" His gloved hands drifted limply to his sides, mud soaking between his fingers. Lavi couldn't tell if he was crying anymore, the rain soaked him so thoroughly that he was surprised he wasn't colder. In a numb state, the teen reached for his hammer. The metal spikes had receded, but it hadn't reverted back to its original form yet and still sat in the mud like a dark red hammer of a god. His fingers wrapped around the cold handle and he drug it towards himself, threading his hand through the strap that had manifested itself at the end.

Spattered with mud and grime and all sorts of other things, the redhead stood. His eye swept the battlefield, and he began the trek through the puddles and scorched places and splintered wood towards Lenalee. The hammer drug behind him, making a rut in the mud that quickly filled with water. He was sorry, so sorry, that this had happened. This was supposed to be routine, it was supposed to be easy. They didn't know what that coffin could do, they didn't expect Level Threes and a Noah, and now she was gone. Lenalee Lee was gone.

The cuts and bites on her legs and torso were dark and imperfect splotches that marred her otherwise perfect form. Without them, without the hand-shaped bruise that encircled her neck completely and the angle her head tilted at, she looked like she was asleep. One of her small red heels was on the ground a little ways away, the other just barely on her foot. Her light blue stockings were stained with mud and dirt and her own blood, and the anklets that had once been a perfect, powerful, terrifying messenger of death to the Akuma that so threatened humankind were now no more than red dust in the mud that surrounded the little glowing orb by her feet.

Without a word, Lavi sunk to his knees by his comrade and picked her up into his arms. Her skin was cold, so cold, like ice and the rainwater that poured down on the two of them. It just wasn't the kind of natural that the Bookman Junior was used to. He was used to blood, to death, he had recorded a thousand wars in his short eighteen years. But he hadn't ever been on the front lines; he had never had to experience a death of a comrade himself. Lenalee was more than a comrade though; she was his friend, an ally, and a confidant. This wasn't natural, natural was her smiling and her laughing because he said something funny, or because Allen was setting a record for the amount of Mitarashi Dango that could be eaten in a single sitting. Natural was Lenalee flying, spinning and twisting through the air in a dance that rained destruction onto her enemies. Natural was her breathing, for God's sake, not this.

"I'm sorry..." The redhead breathed, gathering Lenalee's body close to his chest in a tight squeeze. Her blood rubbed off onto his uniform, red smearing across the silver Rose Cross on his chest but refusing to be washed away by the rain. "So sorry." No matter how hard he squeezed, no matter how cold she was, her lips stayed blue and her eyes stayed shut. Lavi closed his one eye and bowed his head, his wet hair sliding down to become a wet red curtain lit occasionally by the lightning.

It was a while before the teen moved. With shaking fingers, the Exorcist finally reached over and picked up Lenalee's Innocence. In its raw form, a small shining green and white light that wavered uncertainly as though it wasn't quite sure what to make of the current predicament, it looked so fragile. It was hard to imagine that this one little light had been the cause of so much pain for the Exorcist in his arms, and a weapon of such amazing destruction. But it was true, as true as the body in his arms that was cold like the death that had taken it. Finally Lavi closed his hand in a fist around the small orb and shifted Lenalee's weight in his arms, cradling her against his chest as he stood. The storm began to calm down, lightning only ever flashing once in a while. The rain didn't let up, though, and it was silently that the Exorcist made his way into the tree cover.

He still had a job to do, and while he despised himself for it he would still do it.

Why must I do things such as this? My test audience was totally like "Oh no, that had to hurt. Oh ouch, that couldn't be good... Oh no- OH MY GOD IS HE OKAY?" and so I had to post it.

Totally not done. But that's okay! Second chapter is just getting good, if I keep working it should be done by tomorrow and be out by the time I'm about halfway done with the third (possibly final) chapter.

And yes, all those lines about the sky crying for a death were totally paraphrased from FullMetal Alchemist. They were stuck in my head when I wrote it and it seemed so Tyki-ish to say!

Ja ne until further notice!