Smile Like Broken Glass

Lt. Commander Richie

Disclaimer: Don't own it, even though a few people have jokingly called me Hoshino because I can accurately predict the manga plot devices.

Chapter 3

The library, which had once held a sort of mystery and warmth, was now cold and calculating. It was as though every spine of every book, every shelf of every bookcase, was turned against him. Across from him, Bookman sat with his pipe clenched between his teeth and the metal finger caps of his Innocence in a pile on the table in front of him. The cold steel reflected the little natural light that came into the library, glinting dully and inconspicuously.

"You understand what this means, don't you?" Of course he knew what it meant. It meant that the black cloak with white stripes on it he currently wore around his shoulders would be his best friend besides history books until they decided to join another war. Another side. Another way of life. He pulled his armored red gloves from his hands and sat them on the table, then took Tessei from its place hanging from his wrist like a charm on a bracelet and dropped that on the table as well. Next to Bookman's Innocence, next to the silver of Heaven's Compass, the dark and bloody red of the newly-evolved hammer looked sinister. Like it knew what it had done was the reason for all this. Why he had to leave the Black Order, and why he could never look back.

"Where will we be going?" There were so many wars being fought right now, so many places to go. "Burma? Britain is engaged in a conflict there."

"We will be going to France." Lavi's one eye widened slightly. This was an unexpected move. For so long he had been going to the centers of wars, to the centers of loss and tragedy that it was just second nature for him to assume that he would be shipped off once more to fight. "And we will watch President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte's political campaign as he will most likely follow in his father's footsteps."

"Well that's kinda boring." The redhead leaned back and ran a bare hand through his hair, all tied back messily with a new headband. Bookman gave it a disapproving look, but remained silent otherwise. Who was he to argue the need for a practical article of clothing, after all.

"We're really going." And Lavi knew he meant it. There was something disheartening about seeing the old man sitting across from him pull his even older hat from his pocket and slide it over what hair he had. He was all wrapped up in his old green cloak, the edges tattered and frayed from years upon years of use. "You knew this was only temporary."

"Yeah. I've just grown a bit accustomed is all." How he wanted to pick that hammer back up. He wanted to take his hammer and his gloves and make a break for it, to go hide where nobody could find him and stay with his friends. But he couldn't. He had thrown away his original life to be Bookman Jr., and he wasn't about to destroy the life he had worked so hard at perfecting. It would only take a little time, he reasoned, to return to the swing of only watching. To the exciting monotony of never interfering, only recording.

The light reflecting from Heaven's Compass slowly faded as the two Bookmen sat in silence, the library around them offering little to no comfort to the younger one as he drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. His fingers were cold without the comforting dull feel of metal around them, but he didn't reach for his gloves or make to get up to get a different pair from his room just down the hall. They sat in silence, watching the glint of natural light on the finger caps get weaker and weaker until it was gone altogether.

"Bayard." At first, it didn't register in the redhead's mind that Bookman had even spoken. "Bayard!" Lavi looked up, a sad half-smile on his face as his legs unfolded from his chest with the tingle of blood rushing back through them. "We're leaving."

"Got it, Gramps. Lemme go get my stuff. I'll meet you at the door." Bookman Jr., no longer really Lavi, stood. His dark blue duster fell about his knees as he walked out of the library, leaving his Innocence on the table. Leaving his life behind.

Idly, the redhead realized that he had just turned fifty. As he opened the door to his room for what really would be the last time, he chuckled to himself. His carpetbag was already on his bed, several books and a few fountain pens in the bottom. A comb and a different pair of earrings sat with them, and hastily the teen pulled clothes up off the floor and smelled them to gauge their freshness before stuffing them in the bag haphazardly.

His bare fingers met leather, and he paused before picking the coat up and holding it out at arm's length. His uniform from the fiasco with Japan, or at least what was left of it. Bookman Jr. threw the coat over his shoulder and continued to stuff his bag while making as little noise as possible so as to not wake the people in the rooms around him. Lavi smiled at the coat, then draped it over the back of a chair. In reality, it was more of a little of both. There was no smile, and the coat was thrown, albeit carefully, to drape over the back of the desk chair.

His bag stuffed, the redhead slung it over his shoulder and went to turn out the lights. He paused, though, at his bedside table as he was about to pull the cord on his lamp. In a frame was a group picture that seemed too old to be true. Lenalee's hair was still long, Allen had his warped red hand, Yuu's Mugen was still the guardless black stick it had been until only just recently... Bookman Jr. walked right of the room, pulling the lamp cord before he closed the door. Lavi sat his carpetbag down, pulled the picture from the frame, folded it up and hid it under his headband.

The halls were cold and dark in the Order's new headquarters. Then again, it was England. Most everything was dark and cold on the miserable spit of land. A few electric lights graced the ceiling of the hallway, but they only provided a minor comfort against the dark, and the cold, and the biting sense that maybe, just maybe if Lavi ever saw his friends again they would never forgive him for this. At the spot where the hallway bled out into the main cathedral of the Order, the redhead looked up at the massive gold Rose Cross that adorned the wall.

"Sorry..." He muttered, otherwise emotionless save for the slightest of trembles in his voice. "Sorry I didn't say goodbye to anyone." If he could have written a note, he would have. But he couldn't, not without Bookman knowing. "I've gotta go now, though. Hope you don't hate me too much." They would find his and Gramps' Innocence in the library tomorrow, abandoned like an unwanted trinket or pet. Lavi scratched at the blackened crosses on his wrists, relieving the itch that had begun to blossom there over the past few minutes. Sighing, he continued on his way.

"Allen... I won't be there to watch your back any longer." As he walked, the redhead began to muse to himself. "Yuu might do it, but just because there'll be one less of us." He turned a corner, his eye downcast as he watched the black and white diamond pattern of the floor go by. "Kuro-chan, you're a great Exorcist. You too, Miranda." He continued to talk to himself as he turned the final corner, looking up at the large front doors of the Order with his eye clouded over. He blinked, and something slid down his cheek. Bookman Jr. wiped the tear away with one hand, then wiped his hand on his pants before continuing onward. Lavi paused, throwing a look over his shoulder down the hallway he had just come from. He let the tear drip down onto the rough black wool of his cloak, then looked back at the front doors. Again he scratched at the itch in the crosses on his wrists, but it was more persistent that time.

"This is all the Innocence's fault." Now he truly believed it when Lenalee had said that the Innocence, mankind's only hope against the Earl, only created suffering. Because of his weapon's evolution he had to leave the first life he had truly loved. He was supposed to be ready for this, ready to leave as soon as Bookman gave the word, but to him it only seemed horribly wrong to leave his friends in the dead of night without so much as a note. Again the itch appeared in the redhead's wrists, but this time it was accompanied by a burning. Lavi itched it, but it came back. He gave up after a while of sitting and itching in the silence, waiting for Bookman to come.

It was only natural that his mind began to wander, going over every page after page of the guides to the Innocence that he had discovered in the ancient library in the Black Forest of Germany. 'On the Weapons of God Upon Earth' went slowly through his mind, each page read individually as he tried desperately to ignore the itching and burning radiating outwards from his wrists. After twenty or so minutes of nothing but silence, though, the teen began to wonder just how long it would be before Bookman came.

"How long do you plan on sitting there, Bayard?" Lavi jumped, his carpetbag falling to the floor with a dull thunk as Bookman walked up next to him. The old man carried his own bag over his shoulder, his pipe still clenched between his teeth and reeking of tobacco.

"Until we have to leave." The redhead retorted, standing up and picking up his carpetbag before slinging it over his shoulder with a heave. His wrist brushed against the scratchy black and white wool of his cloak, and the itch returned full-force. He began to scratch it as Bookman pushed the order's front door open, but something occurred to the former Exorcist just as a loud creak rent the air. His one green eye widened in horror, and he froze in his place. Bookman continued on his way, but then paused as he realized his apprentice wasn't behind him.

"You're coming. This isn't optional." The old man turned to look at the teen with a level glare, but Lavi didn't return it.

"Gramps, I'm betraying the Order." He had never really pondered the idea that an Equipment-type user could leave behind their Innocence, but now that he was a Crystal type... Would the results be the same as a parasite-type? "I'm leaving behind my Innocence."

"That's the point, yes." Bookman looked fed up with his apprentice, but didn't voice any other opinion on the subject. Lavi dropped his carpetbag at his feet and showed the old man his wrists, red from his constant scratching. The old man furrowed his brow, unsure as to what the teen was getting at.

"Suman Dark did the same thing." Bookman's eyes widened. He hadn't thought of the consequences of their actions, of what happened when an Exorcist forsook their Innocence. The old man looked torn, unsure as to how to proceed. "He was a Parasite-type, and I'm a Crystal-type. They behave almost the same way... Will the results be the same?"

"I don't know. You and miss Lena are the only two Crystal-types so far. The consequences of leaving behind your Innocence cannot be forseen." Lavi's hands clenched into fists, and the deepest scratches his short fingernails had inflicted on his wrists began to bleed just the tiniest bit. This wasn't just sitting on a hill and watching two sides fire cannons at each other, or watching from the snow-covered treetops as people were slaughtered, no. This was his life, not just another page in a history book!

"I don't want to become a Fallen One, Gramps!" Though he hadn't meant to yell, Lavi's voice echoed through the Order's headquarters. Bookman's gaze lowered to the ground, and he turned back to the open front door.

"You do not exist. Not in the recorded sense. In the end you will be forgotten, just like I will. Your Innocence isn't a true part of you. The actual fragment is inside your hammer. You'll be fine." The Bookman's solemn statement was accompanied only by the soft sound of his shoes as she walked out the front door. Lavi closed his eye and sighed, then picked his carpetbag back up from the floor and began walking out the door. The itching and burning in his wrists only got worse the farther away he got, but he bit his lip as she walked out onto the London sidewalk and looked up at the sky.

This really was goodbye.

"...Lavi?" Both Bookmen stiffened, but neither of them turned. Lavi's yell had woken someone... And it certainly wasn't someone that he wanted woken. Not to see him leave. He didn't want to say goodbye. The two continued walking, but the redhead could hear the soft sound of bare feet on cobblestones as she ran to the front gate that they had already passed through. Bookman waved down a carriage whose driver was half-asleep and the horses were leaning against each other for support as they too nodded off, and the feet stopped. "Lavi!"

The street was utterly silent besides the hushed voices of Bookman and the carriage driver. Neither teen spoke, and the street lamps flickered woefully low as a chill wind swept down the street.

"Lavi... Where are you going?" Lenalee sounded terribly, horribly hurt as she spoke, but the redhead refrained from turning around. From running back to her and holding her close and probably giving her his shoes because she had forgotten her slippers in her room. From telling her that everything was alright and that he and Bookman were just going on a mission, and that they'd be back soon, don't you worry your pretty head over it. Bookman climbed up into the carriage, but Lavi still stood on the sidewalk.

"Bayard!" Bookman snapped, and the redhead looked up at the carriage before throwing his carpetbag in the open door and pulling himself up onto the step to get inside. A muffled sob came from behind the teen, and he stopped again. Bookman looked far too tired for his own good, but said nothing.

"Lavi-" Lenalee began, her words broken by sobs. "The whole Order is part of my heart." Lavi closed his eye and tilted his head upward, still holding on to the luggage rack above the carriage but not getting in. This was the last time he would ever get to hear her. Not unless someday they crossed paths, he would never know the sound of Lenalee Lee's voice again. "Lavi! You're breaking it! You're breaking my heart!"

The redhead opened his green eye and gave a halfhearted apologetic smile to Bookman, before letting go of the luggage rack and jumping back down to the cobblestones. He turned, intent on giving the apology he hoped he would never have to, but instead stopped short.

Lenalee stood in a spot of light created by the second street lamp from the corner that he stood on, tears running down her cheeks and making spots on her white nightgown. Her feet were bare, and the red anklets she wore clicked just barely together as she stood clutching herself against the cold. She looked like she had been expecting this day for a very long time... It just didn't seem like she had really realized how badly it would impact her.

"I have to go." Lavi took a step forward, away from the carriage, and opened his arms in a gesture of surrender. "My time as Lavi is over." He took another step, and then another until he stood under the first street lamp from the corner. "Lenalee... I'm sorry. I should've written a note, should've woke you and told you. But any way I could have done it, this was easier on me."

"What about the Order?" Her voice was accusing, and it made Lavi cast his gaze downward and drop his arms to his sides. "What about your friends?" It hurt to hear that level of anger in her voice, to have it directed at him was even worse.

"I'm Bookman Jr., I don't have any friends. Lavi, as he was, had friends. I'm not allowed to interfere." Lenalee tried and failed to choke back a sob, and buried her face into her hands. "Now I'm sorry miss Lena, but I have to go." It hurt so much, so much to say that to her. To cut a bond of friendship that had lasted for years with one swift and terrible blow. In the yellow light of the street lamp, Bookman Jr. turned to leave.

Before he had gotten more that a few steps, the sound of running feet reached the redhead's ears. He turned, but just barely fast enough to catch the slight girl that barreled into him and nearly sent him sprawling backwards. His broken ribs from the fight with Tyki moaned in protest, but the burn of his arms and the feel of the girl in them drowned it out. She held on tightly to the front of his cloak, her knuckles white in the barely-there light as she sobbed into his chest. Bookman Jr. pushed her away and continued back to the carriage.

Lavi wrapped his arms around her and held her close, his forehead resting on the top of her head as she continued to cry. She smelled lightly of flowers and tears.

"You said that-" she began, sobs still punctuating her words. "That you weren't al-allowed to interfere." The redhead leaned his head back so that Lenalee could look up at him. Her eyes were puffy and red, and the violet orbs were painted a dull shade with sadness. "Then... Then why did you bring me back?"

At first, the redhead didn't answer. He had hoped that it would never come to this, but he was loathe to even so much as let Lenalee go for fear that she would be gone. Just like Lavi. Just like all his other attachments. "Because..." He finally began after a silence long enough that the girl in his arms had begun to wonder if she would ever get an answer. "Because that was Lavi."

"Then be Lavi for me. Just for a little longer." Her answer was immediate, and Bookman Jr. couldn't help but give her a slight smile. Nothing too terrible, only an upturn of one corner of his mouth. But it was a start.

"Impulsive, cheerful and aloof? I guess I can do that." And he forced the sparkle he usually had into his visible eye and gave the girl in his arms a dazzling cocky grin that spoke of easier times and weaker Akuma. She smiled up at him, but now that she knew it was only a facade it seemed like her smile was lacking in some way.

"Lavi." His grin faded, and he cocked his head to one side as he looked at Lenalee. "If you can't interfere, why did you bring me back?" That question again. That ruthless, horrible question that Lavi knew the answer to but hell if he was going to tell her. Hell if he was going to tell anyone except himself. Hell if he would even admit it to himself. But this would be the last time he could ever be Lavi, could ever really talk to Lenalee like they had been friends for so long. Really talk to her like she was the girl he had fallen in love with somewhere along the way, even if he didn't know when, how or even when he had come to terms with it.

And he decided, as Lavi, that he would end his forty-ninth life with a bang.

"I brought you back..." The redhead began, one hand moving from the girl's back to her cheek, "because at some point in the three years I've lived as Lavi, I fell in love with you. And people in love do crazy stuff, even when they're not allowed to."

And he kissed her. She tasted like tears and mint toothpaste, but he was way past caring. Even if Komui caught him, he wouldn't have stopped for all the Komurins and assault missiles in the Order. Her lips were soft and everything about her was driving him up the wall. He pulled her closer, bare fingers entwining in her hair before he realized just what the hell he was doing. Then he let her go, stepping away and sorely missing the contact he had had for that little amount of time.

"I'm sorry." Her fingers were on her lips, brushing them gently as though she didn't know quite what to make of what had happened. "I shouldn't have done that." Lavi tried to fake a smile, and he supposed that it turned out okay. "Hell of a goodbye though, huh?" And he turned his back to her, and started back towards the carriage that only held the promise of a future as Bayard, a future of watching from the background as one of the sons of Napoleon made his bid for power. He told himself he liked the prospect, maybe even loved it. But probably not as much as he loved the girl he was leaving behind. It was a pity it had taken her death before he realized that that was how he felt.

"Lavi... Bookman Jr.?" The redhead paused, one hand up on the carriage and one foot on the step up. He knew he shouldn't have, but he simply couldn't help himself. He looked back, back at the girl he would be leaving behind. Tears were falling from her eyes and she was hugging herself against the cold again. But she wore a smile on her face like he had never seen before. It was full of sorrow, terribly masked behind faux happiness. She had never been very good at hiding her sadness, at least not to him. But that smile, that smile was like broken glass to his insides that cut at the heart he had painstakingly grown and tried to hide for the past three years.

"Yeah?" He asked, even though he knew he shouldn't. Even though he, Bookman, Bookman Jr. and every other person on this street corner knew he was just stalling. The carriage driver was falling asleep again. Bookman Jr. got in the carriage and didn't look back. Lavi stayed and listened.

"Do what you have to do. Maybe..." The girl paused, and her smile really lit up again. It was with hope, with happiness and joy. "Maybe someday I'll see you again!" And somehow, this smile hurt more than her broken glass smile full of thinly-masked sorrow.

"Sorry miss Lena... I don't think so." He offered her a smile, but it was bittersweet. The breath she drew in was shaky, and her arms fell to her sides in what seemed like defeat. She sunk to her soles from her toes, no longer caring that the cobblestone sidewalk was terribly and horribly cold on her bare feet. The broken glass smile was back again, cutting at the redhead on the inside and making him feel even worse than he had before. It seemed almost as though if he left, he would be hurting her worse than dying had. In a way, that made what little heart Lavi had left intact break. He turned back to the carriage, and met Bookman's heavy-lidded eyes with his own green one. This was really goodbye. No more Exorcist duties, no matter how terrible the situation would ever become.

"Stop calling me that, Lavi. You haven't called me that for a long time, and you shouldn't start now." Lenalee sounded heartbroken, much like she had when he had first met her. Like she had after the deaths of her teammates, after the deaths of her friends and of almost half her surrogate family that was the Order. He knew what this was doing to her, and it was better for him if he didn't look back. Bookman Jr. got in the carriage and didn't look back. Lavi, though he was supposed to be dead and gone, gave Bookman a terrible, terrible smile and looked back at her again.

"My name is Bayard now." He knew he was bringing all this hurt onto himself, with every look, every tear that she shed that he watched. But it was like he deserved it, like he deserved the burn in his arms and the hurt he felt as he watched Lenalee look at him with so much sorrow in her eyes.

"Please don't go. Lavi." She bit her lower lip, her fingers brushing across both as she looked to the ground for a moment. "You brought me back because nobody would be the same without me. I can't let you leave!" She looked back up, her fingers still splayed across her lips. "We wouldn't be the same. I wouldn't be the same!"

Bookman Jr. turned and got in the carriage. Bayard did the same. Lavi turned, closing his visible eye as he bit his lip and tried not to do anything too rash. But he didn't move.

"Sorry Lenalee. My time as Lavi is up, I've told you that." However, while he seemed to be finished he couldn't bring himself to get in that carriage. The driver was asleep again and the horses were nickering softly in their sleep. The street lamps were the only light besides the stars and the few windows still lit on the street. The pattering of feet reached the redhead's ears, and he turned around just in time to be pulled down from the carriage and into the arms of the girl he was trying so hard to forget. She held him tightly, unwilling to let go as she buried her face into his shoulder.

"I don't want it to be! You're breaking apart my family, Lavi. You're breaking apart my heart." And she let him go just long enough to grab his face in both hands and bring his lips to hers. Her fingers laced into his hair in a desperate bid to keep him there, and she stepped closer in an effort to get him to do something, anything. She still tasted like tears and mint, but now the kiss was tinted with desperation as she tried furiously to get him to just stay.

Lavi couldn't think. His mind reeled as he attempted to come to terms with what exactly was happening. Lenalee was kissing him. Lenalee was kissing him. Lenalee was kissing him. At some point he managed to respond, his arms coming up to wrap around the girl that was trying with all her might to keep him with her. His kiss quickly became just as aggressive as hers, one hand coming up to run his fingers into her hair and grasp tightly. With the other he clutched her closer, reveling in the touch he thought he would never have. Somewhere in all the madness his leg ended up between hers, and her fingernails scratched along the back of his neck.

Behind them, Bookman sighed. He stood from his seat in the carriage, and grabbed his apprentice's carpetbag. The old man opened the opposite door of the carriage, and he threw it out onto the street. It bounced once, rolled a little way, and then came to a stop. He closed the door, and then carefully closed the other one before knocking on the grate next to the driver. He started awake and snapped the reigns, and the horses clopped forward and left the two teens on the street corner.

In between the scratches on his neck and the bare leg that was slowly beginning to wrap around one of his and the sheer desperation of her kiss, Lavi came to a realization that made what little mending his heart had done come completely undone. She didn't feel this way, not really. She had latched onto a way to get him to stay, and was using it to the best of her ability. Lavi's kiss slowed, losing all its enthusiasm fueled by pure passion. His hands in her dark hair lost their strength, sliding around to cup her face in his palms and pull her slowly away. Her lips were a swollen red that looked beautiful, so beautiful on her in what little light there was, a faint pink gracing her cheeks to accompany it. Carefully, her purple eyes fluttered open with a tinge of hurt in them.

"Lavi...?" Lenalee began, and the breathless pant of a name was almost enough to make the redhead want to throw away his reason for stopping and begin all over again.

"Lenalee," he began, neither of them moving besides to breathe and for her to press only a little closer to him in a way that made the Junior Bookman decidedly uncomfortable. "Do you mean it?"

Lenalee sucked her lower lip into her mouth, biting on it with her two front teeth as her eyes became downcast. A tear welled up in her eyes, and she blinked so that it rolled down her pink cheeks and was absorbed into his cloak. "I... I don't know." Her eyes were tragic as she looked back up at him, her lips slightly parted for a moment before she spoke again. "I don't know what I feel. Bu-but please, don't leave."

"I probably couldn't even if I wanted to. Not anymore." His voice was only a whisper before he brought his lips to hers again, in a kiss sweeter and more heartfelt than the two much more aggressive ones before. It still held a passion that quite frankly scared him like nothing else, but this time it was more like the slow burn of embers and less like the sudden and fearful blaze of Gōka Kaijin. Lenalee sighed into the kiss and reciprocated, one hand coming down from his hair to fist in the front of his cloak. One of his hands slid from her face down her side, savoring every curve through the white nightgown she wore before tracing the curve of her leg that was slowly making its way up his thigh and hitching it a bit higher before holding it steady. He didn't care if it was a street corner, it was the dead of night. Nobody but the alley cats and maybe a few people that were still awake at the ungodly hour would even so much as get a glimpse of them.

At this point, he didn't mind no longer traveling to new places and living new lives. He didn't mind never having a constant name. He didn't mind not turning fifty for a very, very long time. All that really mattered was the moment, the girl in his arms and everywhere else around him. He abandoned logic, didn't care if she wasn't really sure if this was what she wanted. All he knew was the sweet taste of his lips on her soft ones, slow and beautiful but so far from chaste that it wasn't the most dignified of things to be doing outdoors. He would cross the bridge of what she decided her feelings were about him when he got to it, but until then he would keep himself under control in an effort to not do anything too terribly rash.

"Aren't you cold?" Lavi asked, breaking the kiss slowly. Lenalee shook her head, her cheeks flushed and her hair falling gently in her face.

"Bookman left." She observed, detaching her leg from the redhead's grasp and setting her other foot on the ground. She stood on tip-toe once again because of the cold cobblestones as Lavi turned around, greeted only with the sight of his carpetbag laying forlornly alone in the middle of the street. With a sigh he walked out onto the dark cobblestones and picked it up, slinging it over his shoulder and wrapping the drawstring around his bare fingers. He turned back to the girl in the white nightgown who had gone back to wrapping her arms around herself at the sudden loss of warmth and gave her a cocky grin before walking back to her and pulling his cloak from around his shoulders and wrapping it around her.

"I don't suppose I'll ever be going now." He said, leaning down and kissing her once more, this time only on the cheek, before suddenly scooping her up into his arms. She squeaked with surprise, grasping quickly at the short hem of her nightgown to keep it from riding up too high.

"What are you-" She began, but quieted with a blush as Lavi smiled and shifted his grip so that she sat closer to his chest.

"You're not wearing any shoes and the ground is cold. I may as well do one gentlemanly thing tonight and carry you." He passed through the wrought-iron gate Lenalee had left open in her haste, careful not to hit her on anything before kicking the gate closed behind him and continuing down the front walk of the order's headquarters. The front door was open as well, and it was with the slightest trepidation that the redhead sat her down on her feet on the ground and closed that door behind him as well. He started when Lenalee put her hand in his, twining her fingers through his and tugging lightly in the direction of the residential rooms.

"Keep being chivalrous and walk me back to my room." She said, her face lighting up into a smile that was as sweet as her disposition at that moment, sweet as the last kiss they had shared. Lavi blinked, but followed her with his carpetbag slung over his shoulder. He didn't quite know how this was going to end, but if there was any sort of repeat of what had happened outside he wasn't so sure that being anywhere near her room was the greatest of ideas. Then again, deciding to stay as Lavi could be considered one of his more harebrained ideas as well. Hallways passed by in a blur of black and white, her bare feet hardly making any noise except when her careful steps made her ruby red anklets clink together. His own clomping boots sounded terribly loud in comparison, and he attempted to quiet his steps but those attempts were in vain.

Idly, the redhead wondered what this would look like to someone watching. Decidedly uncouth, he figured as they rounded the last corner. Lenalee opened her door and slowly let go of Lavi's hand, pulling his cloak from around her shoulders and offering it back. He took it with a smile, the gap between them slowly but surely closing.

"If we keep doing this, I might end up doing something decidedly unchivalrous." The redhead couldn't help but smirk at the blush that appeared on Lenalee's cheeks, and it was all the better because he had put it there.

"I don't know what my feelings are quite yet, but..." She began, biting her lip again until Lavi put a hand to her chin and teased the lip out of her teeth with his thumb.

"If you keep doing that, you'll wear a hole in your lip." The girl that he had at some point begun to hold with his free arm blushed an even deeper shade of red when he didn't remove his hand from her face.

"S-stay with me. Just tonight." The black-haired girl blushed again as the connotations of what she had said sunk in, but she quickly sobered. "I... I don't trust you not to leave." Lavi's face fell from its mischievous smirk to a sorrowful frown as she spoke, and he closed his one visible eye and looked away. "I'm sorry!" She cried, realizing what she had said.

"I understand." Lavi murmured, "I shouldn't have tried to leave without saying goodbye."

"You shouldn't leave at all!" Lenalee pulled herself from his arms with little resistance, and laid one hand over the one he still had on her face so as to lead him onto the dull black carpet of her room. She shut the door behind the both of them, the latch closing with a click as Lavi dropped his carpetbag next to her laundry hamper. Everything in her room was so... Clean. So organized and taken care of.

"What are you trying to do?" The redhead asked, reminded of the desperate kisses she had given him at first simply to get him to stay without any concern for her own feelings.

"I don't know." Lenalee muttered, squeezing his hand with her own. "I told you that I don't know what my feelings are yet..." She trailed off, once again nibbling on her lower lip. Lavi fixed her with a look, but she only stopped long enough to speak. "But I'm willing to find out." Again she chewed on her lip, and finally the redhead reached out and pulled her close, resting a hand on her face to pull her lip from her teeth.

"Stop that." He said, eying the red tooth marks with disdain. "It doesn't look good, especially not on you." Without another word, he kissed her again. And again. And again in a line across her cheek, and all down her neck until he got to the collar of her nightgown. At some point her thigh ended up halfway up his leg and in his hand again, and she ripped the headband from his forehead without even watching the folded picture he had put there flutter to the ground. She bit his ears, he bit her collarbone just behind where most of the collars of her shirts ended. Their lips locked again, and she managed, though only on one foot and with a thigh between her own two, to back Lavi into the edge of her bed and make them both fall over onto the sheets.

"What happened to decidedly unchivalrous?" Lenalee asked between pants for air as she straddled the redhead and threaded her fingers through his hairline.

"I'm Lavi, remember?" He asked, one hand making its way up her thigh and under the hem of her nightgown. "Impulsive was one of those things you wanted me to be."


Lieksrsly. No more chapters after this, though I may have to give in to my carnal fangirl urges and write the lemon after this that begs and pleads on bended knee to please please be written. I've totally had to stop myself from writing one in this chapter about a grand total of... Three times today.

Now imagine WTFH Komui will do when he finds them in the morning.

Okay, it's three thirty in the morning and I've just now finished this. I'll write the lemon tomorrow. Maybe. Possibly after I write the one-shot sequel that's been plaguing me like T-virus in Raccoon City or the cancer that's killing /b/.

Ja ne, and don't forget to review. Or I'll hunt you down and mount your pelts above my fireplace.