Just a Good Book

Lt. Commander Richie

Disclaimer: This is a ONE-SHOT. NO MORE, NO LESS. So of course I don't own Lavi or the New York Public Library, or anything else recognizeable in here. But Rachel is mine brainchild, so please to not being touching.

Rachel Leon was tired. Tired tired tired, ready to go flop down in a seat somewhere and konk out for a good four hours. But she couldn't, she wouldn't dare, and she loved what she was doing even more than sleeping. Carefully, the nineteen-year-old college student slid a book older than her Grandfather and worth more than her apartment back into its place on the shelf in the Historic Books section of the New York Public Library. Yes, the smell of old paper and the look of old books made her energetic beyond belief.

But that didn't mean she wasn't still ready to drop.

The poor girl had had three tests that day, one after the other after the other in her three major credit courses. The Trig one had been easy enough with the help of her handy-dandy calculator, and the Biochemistry one was carefully studied for until she couldn't remember a single thing more. Her European History test, however, had needed no studying. Since she had landed her job at the Public Library she had done nothing but absorb the information in the history section until she could tell you any part of history from any point of view. Needless to say, her History grade was what was nearly guaranteeing her place as Valedictorian… If she survived until Senior year.

"How many books do you have left, honey?" A portly old wrinkled woman, barely tall enough to push the book carts, peeked around the end corner of the bookshelf. Her glasses were studded with rhinestones today, and sparkled in the overhead lights.

"Not too many, Ma'am." Rachel replied, smiling kindly to the old woman before picking up the library's original Gutenberg Bible and carefully placing it in its specific place. With that done, the teen pulled off one latex glove and brushed short red hair behind her ear. "I should be done in a few minutes."

"You can take your break when you're done then, you should have taken it an hour ago." With a dentured grin, the old woman had toddled off towards the Tax Law section. Rachel burst into a grin and quickly pulled her glove back on, carefully but quickly grabbing up an original copy of Dracula and setting it in its place before continuing down the aisle to put away a script of Othello and volumes four and seven of an ancient Pope's detailing of demons and where they had been bound. She continued on to put away the other books before stowing the empty cart away by the front desk and breaking into a dance. Several library patrons looked at her funny, but Rachel didn't care.

In a heartbeat the latex gloves were in the trash, their former wearer speed-walking towards her favorite section of the Historic Books section, the history books. It seemed a bit redundant or even futile to be reading ancient history books about ancient history, but to Rachel the floppy leather covers of the best accounts and their simple script were well worth it. With a smile the redhead turned down an aisle and made her way to the solid bookshelf of plain brown leather covers that she loved so much. Her grin didn't falter as she bent down and selected one, a small 49 stamped onto the very bottom of the spine by the original writer. She hugged the book to her chest and sat down against the bookshelf across from the row of plain history books, crossing her legs with a squeak of her Converse soles against the linoleum. With steady fingers Rachel opened the book to the very back, and carefully opened the back cover to pull out a long folded piece of paper.

Rachel had discovered the secret of the history books marked with a 49 about three months previous… That after number four they all had secret backs to them and that each one had small mementos of a previous life and an account of the same happenings in the book they were hidden in that had so much more life, and depth, and personality to them. It was almost as though whoever was writing had had two things to uphold… A record that remained impassive and a duty to friends that didn't want to be broken.

Gramps almost caught me writing this, but I managed to keep it hidden. He doesn't think it's right that a real record should be kept of any part of a person's life, only the things that they do that can affect history. I don't care, though. Doing this is like proving that I can be myself. Like I am not just Bookman, but that I'm also Lavi. I'm also myself. Being with the Exorcists has taught me that I'm human. That I'm just like everyone else and that it doesn't matter if I've only got one eye or that I'm a stupid rabbit.

Rachel's smile waned from one of anticipation to one of kindness, one of total contentment as she continued to read.

Allen's changed recently. His hair's longer, he's much more serious even though he's constantly being shadowed by Central, and it's almost as though he's trying to take the world on his shoulders. But he shouldn't have to, after all we're all buddies! We have to deal with him, so he should have to deal with us... Even if his hair looks like a duck's ass when he releases Crowned Clown. Miranda and Krory are fine like always, but Marie's too scared to say just about anything to Miranda. I'd think the two would be happily snuggling and jumping in front of bullets for each other by now, what with all the glances she's been giving him behind his back. But nooooo, they both have to be moore stuck up than Yuu.

In a way, Rachel knew that nothing on these secret pages was forced. Quite the contrary, actually. When she had first read through all the old history books she had loved them, finding the easy-to-understand words as interesting as the things that the books said.

Speaking of Yuu... I wonder how many petals he has left. Guy like him... Just because he can't get hurt doesn't mean he shouldn't fix the hole in his window! Dammit Kanda, I'll draw all over your face if you don't replace that window pane! Your girly looks will be forever marred with the Bookman's permanent ink!

Bookman... That was a term that confused Rachel to no end. It didn't matter how many of the old history books she read, there were no references to bookmen or anyone named Bookman. She had searched online, she had searched the college's reference library... She had even tried asking. But there were no answers.

Pages 47 through 51 in the log book, the mission to the Alps? Disregard everything I wrote there. It's not fair to anyone, it's only fair to the truth. The truth is all fine and dandy, but it isn't the same as a human account. A truthful account of facts and reason doesn't tell stories, doesn't record injuries or feelings... Lenalee almost got killed on that mission. Almost isn't good enough for a log book, though. She either died or she didn't. No gray area between the two.

Carefully, Rachel leaned forward without letting the paper hit the ground and pulled the fifth in the series with 49 on the spine out of the bookshelf and opened it to the back cover. She carefully reached inside and pulled out a very, very old photo. It was an overexposed sepia with a torn corner and punched edges, careful creases marring it as tough the original owner had kept it close at all times. From what Rachel knew of Lavi, the writer of the series with the 49 on it... That was probably true.

From the page the smiling faces of Allen, Lavi, Lenalee and Krory beamed up, along with the frowns of Miranda andGramps and the scowl of Yuu Kanda. They all looked so happy, their black and white uniforms so well-kept and the Rose Cross on their chests all shining in the light at the time. They were all happy kids, all happy Exorcists.

With Lenalee in mind, I gotta say this: Man is she ever pretty. I mean, she was pretty before with the pigtails and the adorable and the definite unattainability that came with Komui being a crazy older sibling... But now she's gorgeous. If the face of Helen of Troy launched a thousand ships, then Lenalee's could launch every navy in the world. Her hair's longer now, just about as long as mine and makes her eyes looks so pretty it's just... Er, This is totally a private journal but that's too much of a run-on tangent even for me.

Rachel smiled and laughed in happiness, and carefullyhid the picture in the back of book five before sliding the book back into its proper place. Then she grabbed book seventeen, the final one in the series with 49 on the spine, and opened it to the back. From the secret cover she drew a large photo that was pristine save for a single crease down the middle, everyone's faces a little haggard looking but nonetheless still happy. In the bottom corner, in careful script matching the handwriting in the the long books, was a simple sentence.

We Won.

On the back of the picture was a series of signatures, each accompanied by a single wish. There was Allen's haphazard scrawl, saying that he wanted everyone happy. Kanda's angry-looking Japanese in the corner was illegible to Rachel since she had only ever taken Spanish as a foreign language, but it was accompanied by someone's script saying "Whine Whine Whine, Yuu-chan, you need to find yourself a girl!"

Carefully, so as to not rip anything, Rachel folded the long piece of paper back up and put it back into the hidden back of the first book she had picked out. She put the book away and focused her attention on book seventeen, laying the picture on the cover with precision before placing both hands on top. In her lap, the book began to glow and emit a green smoke that quickly got thicker but didn't rise above her head height.

This was her secret, why it was she was getting such good grades in History. Because of a little cross-shaped mark she had on the tip of each finger, she could make anything in a book come to life. During her History Class' unit on the Roman Emperors, she had brought back Julius Caesar and had conversed with him in broken Latin until she knew everything she had ever needed to know about the time period.

In front of her, a shape began to form. A torso came first, followed by arms and legs all sprawled about like a typical teen without a care. The smoke flowed upwards to create a head of unruly hair bound back by a headband with a large X on it, and as finer features were crafted hoop earrings, a scarf and an eyepatch came into being.

Rachel smiled... He was her favorite person to talk to.

"Hello, Lavi." She grinned, and rested her hands carefully by her sides. "What do you want to talk about today?"

Terp was complaining about a lack of good D.Gray-Man fiction to read yesterday, so I wrote her this in a sudden bout of inspiration that's actually been cooking like Meningitis for about two weeks.

So yeah... Fun tiem b nao? Review tiem b nao?