Author's Note: After a long hiatus, I have returned. I decided to finish this story up, as it only has a few chapters left, before I move on to another. Thanks for being so patient! I gave you some beautiful smex to make up for the long wait.

Thank you to my awesome reviewers: NellaXIval, Nusku, Siry Pop, Sungoddess64, Dreaming-Of-A-Nightmare, Aion Laven Walker, MitarashiiDango, Tana Walker, knux33, xbleedinglotusx, DGMfreak5, fotoshop-cutout, Sazuka-Chan, heaven-angel-15, I'm Defective, MonElisa, aylbro, glon morski, Smori, lee-uhm, the-ice-cold-alchemist, weaverofstars, RuneNeko, setsuko teshiba, beautiful000enigma, Chiaki Saruwatari, DevilWorshipper, microwave-very-nice, mooncat011, pamellka, Saltyeyes, plasticfries, dgm-mega fan, Allen, DevilChile, and everyone else who favorited/alerted this story while I've been away.

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Lavi's head was pounding.

He realized this as they got into a cab and began driving through heavy traffic on the snowy streets in the direction of the Plaza. His grandfather had stayed behind after the conference, most likely to come up with other inventive ways he and Cross could torment him. The rest of the Board members were probably treating themselves to drinks for a discovery well made; perhaps only a few of them felt guilty for the events that had transpired. In the back of the cramped cab, he held the back of his head as he leaned against the seat, grumbling nonsense to himself. The large flakes left moisture droplets on the windows, causing all the lights of the city to be captured into bubbles where colors shone with radiant, copper colored tints. He closed his eyes, feeling dizzy.

"Are you okay?" Allen asked, very close to his ear. A warm hand placed itself over his, giving it a gentle squeeze of reassurance. After everything that had just happened, Lavi's bump on the head was nothing. He should have been trying to make Allen feel better, because that interrogation had been quite brutal. But then he remembered that if they cooperated, then they could go home. Lavi had to keep telling himself that that would be the result. When it was all said and done, they could go home and...

Then what?

He had made a promise, but what did that mean? They would return to Columbus and everything would carry on like it had been? Lavi's life had been nothing remarkable until Allen came and turned everything upside down. The past few days had been a whirlwind that left him unable to catch his balance. Calming down from that and really settling down, what would that be like? Could he and Allen even live in the same place without negative results? Recalling all of their previous rocky moments, Lavi wondered if they would be able to survive each other. But then he thought of the past twenty-four hours and let something settle in him like hope. He and Allen had been developing something, though what, he wasn't quite sure of. Lavi wondered if they could be something more than the Boy Who Came Back to Life and the Boy Who Looked Like the Dead Lover of the Boy Who Came Back to Life.

Could they ever be...?

"Hey? Lavi?" Allen said, trying to capture his fading attention that was being swallowed by his thoughts. If he opened his eyes, he probably would see all of his preoccupations being held prisoner inside the drops of condensation on the windows. But he kept them closed and instead focused on speech, nudging that part of his brain into action to answer.

"Yeah," Lavi replied, voice somewhat thick. "Yeah, I'm okay."

"Are you sure?" Allen asked, and then Lavi felt gentle fingertips against his cheek. If Allen were to press a bit harder, Lavi knew he would feel cool silver slide over his skin. It made him swallow back his guilt. If Rabi were there instead of Lavi, Rabi wouldn't have let Allen go through all of that. He hated himself at that moment for not being Rabi and wished momentarily that the boy from the past would take over him completely. After all, it wasn't like his life was something that was worth being Lavi. His mind raced as it pulled together information, like he usually did when doing research for his projects as an undergrad. When it was compiled, it read almost like a grocery list in his mind: his relatives ranged from non-existent to apathetic, his ex-boyfriend thought he had been cheating and so dumped him to get engaged to Lenalee, he wasn't welcomed into the Society despite his best efforts, he had only a few close friends to socialize with (the main two being his ex-boyfriend and ex-boyfriend's fiance), and then there was Allen... Lavi immediately presumed that he would want to be with Rabi over him any day. Looking at it in a nutshell, Lavi wanted to laugh. He had reduced his life into a simple, bulleted list of failures. His life was nothing at all.

"Yeah," Lavi said, though he once the urge to laugh passed, he wanted to cry.

"Positive?" Allen inquired, fingers dropping from Lavi's jaw to press against his chest. Lavi hoped he couldn't hear his heart hammering, or feel the way his chest was trying so desperately to keep from sobbing.

Maybe it would be better to not be Me anymore. Everyone would be a lot happier. And I wouldn't be alone...He thought these thoughts, leaning against the seat as they turned a corner. The droplets had probably streamed down the window by now, letting loose their colors in streams along the glass. In his head, he managed to recall a few seconds during the night where Allen had held onto him so tightly back in his apartment and whispered Rabi's name so passionately in his ear. He remembered the disappointment on Allen's face the next morning, when Rabi had been replaced by a person with his matching face.

It wasn't fair.

Yeah. Maybe it would be better...if I never existed...He wondered if anyone would miss him: Lavi. His grandfather would be inconvenienced for perhaps forty-eight hours and perhaps on those days when he was too cheap to call a taxi at the airport. Cross, on the other hand, would feel glad that his mongrel mistake was no longer in this world. Lenalee might feel sad and paint a picture or something, but she would use his absence artistically. Yuu would mope for a day and then get over it. Tyki would forget about him, as would the members of his department. Bak would question where his research was and that was about it. It gave him a little bit of happiness to know that Allen would miss him, even if was only in passing thought. That's all he would be, in all of their minds, because that was all he was.

A passing thought.

"Lavi?" Allen said, and Lavi had to resist telling him to call him by a different name. If he were to call him "Rabi" would his tone deviate from its current tenor? Would his touch soften with adoration? Would he kiss with fewer inhibitions? In that moment, Lavi wanted to know. He wanted to be the whore that Yuu had accused him of being. He wanted to pretend to be that boy who Allen loved with all his heart.

He wanted to be more than just a passing thought.

"Lavi?" Allen said again.

"Yeah, I'm okay," Lavi replied again, not even knowing if he had been asked another question or not. His tongue was too busy trying to figure out the knots that had formed trying to say It's okay to call me Rabi. Please, call me Rabi? Please just tell me you love me.

His eyes felt hot beneath the lids.

"No you're not," Allen said, and his fingers ran through Lavi's hair, brushing over his own digits that were pressed firmly against the lump on his head. "I've been telling you we're here for a few minutes now..." Lavi cracked his eyes and could see the yellow light of the Plaza's pavilion beyond the wet window. A fare price blinked in an annoying manner at him: $45.03, $45.03, $45.03, over and over and over again.

"Yeah," Lavi said, because he couldn't think of anything else to say. He pulled away from Allen's hands that he couldn't bear and removed the card that he had been given earlier that day. Swiping it, the fare was paid and Lavi opened his door to step out into the cold night. The snow had given way to light rain. Each raindrop looked like a ruby falling as brake lights and stop lights stretched on into the night.

"Lavi?" Allen asked, reaching for his hand as they stepped inside. Lavi let him take it, though it brought no comfort to his pounding head or reeling thoughts. They only increased tenfold with each step across the marble floored lobby and every moment in the elevator with the brass rails destined for floor seventeen.

"Lavi?" Allen tried again, and was suddenly so close that Lavi could see every detail of his eyes right down to the different shades of gray that appeared within the irises. Lavi could only look at the color and listen to the soft ding as they passed each floor. Ten, eleven, twelve...

"Rabi?" Allen said softly, breath moving across Lavi's lips. He watched as the gray sparked a lighter hue with hope, turning glassier with a quiet desperation. And yet, Lavi couldn't lie, even though he wanted to; even though he wanted to pretend like the kiss pressed against his lips was for him—for Lavi—and not for someone else. What occurred inside of him was like a memory from a distant past, when his mother had still been alive. It was a distorted reel of film that played in his mind, where it was Christmas and the decorations were hanging, smelling like cinnamon and ringing with bells, and they put up a tree and covered it with ornaments, white and silver and blue and red and there was a box with the Christmas angel for the top of the tree resting on the chair, very close, very close, but he didn't notice and it fell to the floor before he could stop it from breaking. He remembered that because it had not made a loud shattering noise despite being made of glass. It was just a thump upon the floor and the sound of crystal crunching within it. The reason it was important was because that was what felt like happened. His heart had been in a box on a high shelf and that name, with that single kiss not intended for him, pushed it over the edge. And when it fell, the result was the same as that Christmas angel from so long ago. Completely crushed.

I really do mean nothing at all...

"Lavi?" Allen said, and his expression was filled with regret. He reached a hand towards Lavi's face and used his thumb to wipe something away. The flesh of the thumb shone in the light with wetness. Lavi hadn't even realized he was crying. "Lavi, say something."

"I..." he managed to say, voice pinched with the pain he had not been aware of showing. He wanted to say I'm Rabi. I'm Rabi. I am. I am Rabi. But just thinking about it froze his throat. It felt like someone took the heel of their boot and rubbed the already crushed pieces of his heart in the dirt. His body felt cold.

"You...?" Allen asked, and Lavi realized that he was waiting anxiously for his response. Luckily he was spared from having to answer when the elevator doors opened on their floor.

"I'm...going to take a shower," Lavi said, and walked out. He heard Allen's scrambling footsteps behind him as he neared their room. He was on autopilot: card key in, turn knob, enter inside, turn on lights, take off jacket and shoes, go into the bedroom, go into the bathroom, turn the water on...

"Lavi," Allen said from behind him. It wasn't a question.

"Yeah," he answered. Lavi couldn't look at him and instead focused hard on the buttons of his shirt. The tears had dried on his cheeks, leaving them red and itchy.

"What's wrong?" Allen inquired. His reflection in the mirror met Lavi's eyes, and he hastily looked down to avoid them.

"My head hurts," Lavi lied.

"Let me look at it."

"No, it's fine."

"Lavi..."

"Please, just leave it."

"Are you mad at me...?"

The way Allen asked it, Lavi couldn't help but look up at him. His expression was so damned sad that Lavi wanted to take back his callous phrase and say something in its place. But time was a cruel thing and he could not turn back what had already happened. Or redo things that had already been done.

"No," he said, because he wasn't. Lavi didn't know what he was.

"Are you lying?" Allen asked.

"No," Lavi said again. His buttons were undone, but he didn't remove his shirt. The mark on his collarbone stopped him, a reminder of what had occurred between them. Lavi's eyes grew darker as he touched the hickey. Every testament of their lovemaking, every affectionate touch to his hands, every kiss was not his. Nothing was his, except the bruises on his back and wrists and the word whore ringing in his ears. He wanted badly to be Rabi, but he couldn't pretend because it just hurt too damn much.

He rubbed at his eyes stubbornly to keep from crying in frustration.

"Lavi?" Allen said, for the millionth time. Lavi wanted to snap. He wanted to pick up everything and throw it onto the ground. He wanted to break things and listen to them shatter. He wanted to crunch glass beneath his shoes. He wanted to destroy everything to see how it felt. He'd always been on the receiving end, never the giving, and once, just once, he wanted that control.

"Can you...leave? I want to shower," Lavi said, feeling his rage dissipate as he watched Allen's expression in the mirror. He added a sincere: "I'm sorry" to try to repair what had been done, but he seemed to be on a train destined for an accident, as he kept making the same mistakes over and over again.

"I'm sorry," Allen replied, eyes on the floor as he backed out of the room and left Lavi to his shower. It left him with a guilty, bitter taste in his throat. When he undressed, Lavi caught sight of himself and quickly turned away. His life had culminated into a concussion, severe bruises, and a collection of love bites, all of which he did not deserve. As he stepped under the spray and the injuries stung, he wondered if maybe he did deserve them.

He heard Yuu's words in his ears accusing him: slut.

Closing his eyes, Lavi let the water beat down on him, turning his body red with heat. He had calmed down, but there was still a stormy sea inside. Was there anything he could do? Could he pretend like everything was alright?

Could he be Rabi if Allen needed him to be?

Rabi, if you're inside me somewhere, please, just...He didn't know what to ask. What do you say to the other presence inside of you? How do you tell it that you want it to take over your body, your thoughts, and everything else about you? He clutched at the railing in the shower and thought hard about it, bringing Allen's saddened expression to his mind. For Allen.

A warm feeling rose in his chest, but nothing else. Lavi weakly pounded his fist against the tiled shower wall, not understanding. All the times that he had wanted to be him and he had been Rabi, now he was begging to be Rabi and he could only be himself.

When he turned off the shower, he felt like a failure.

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After drying off, Lavi went out into the bedroom. There was a long-sleeved flannel shirt and a pair of sweats lying folded on the end of the bed for him to take. Before him, Allen sat on the window ledge in only one of Lavi's t-shirts, staring out beyond the curtains as the redhead pulled the clothes on. Tossing the towel back into the bathroom, Lavi neared Allen, his footsteps light against the plush carpet. He felt like a hunter nearing a precious creature, such as a unicorn or faerie: something that would run away or disappear the moment he got too close...And when Allen's eyes turned to him, Lavi felt the overwhelming urge to put his arms around the boy. He wanted to ask him to stay.

Because a life pretending to be Rabi wouldn't hurt as badly as living a life without Allen.

"I'm sorry," was all Lavi could get out, sitting down on the ledge across from Allen. He rested his aching head against the cool glass, looking down at the lights from cars down below. Time Square bustled with activity down the street. Across from them, the stock market flashed red figures; numbers that were irrelevant to Lavi except for the way the light moved across Allen's face. He could only watch, silent and captivated, like he was back inside one of the droplets upon the window of the taxi. He knew in that moment that he could not return to his apartment and pick up his old routine again. He couldn't read his books or watch the Discovery channel or do his laundry or drink red wine again.

Not without Allen.

"I'm sorry," Allen said, pulling his knees to his chest. Lavi's bubble of thought burst and bled out, like the condensation on the window, dripping down, down, down…

"Why?" Lavi asked quietly, swallowing as he looked at the lines on Allen's shirt, the way his silver hair fell against his shoulders. He stared at Allen's hands: red over white and thought how much he wanted to make love to the boy across from him. "Nothing is your fault. It's mine."

"You don't have to keep shouldering all the blame, Lavi," Allen said. The way it rolled off Allen's tongue so perfectly made him wonder how many times he had said it before to Rabi. A memory that did not belong to him came to mind of a white room and pale sheets are around him and they match, match the hair and the bandages and everything except the pink lips that smile as the hand touches me and his words truly say you don't have to keep shouldering all the blame, Rabi and they are carried on the warm breeze through the window to move over him like waves, his hand moving to touch his and he says:

"But Allen, it is my fault."

"No, it's not," Allen replied and he meant it, just as he had meant it that time and every time before. He meant it.

Lavi couldn't live without that.

"Allen," Lavi said, looking out at the city again and the lights of the buildings around them, yellow and white squares down narrow streets that stretched as far as the eye could see. In front of him, Allen's reflection looked at him with a searching gaze. Lavi could feel it on his body, even when he closed his eyes. If he strained his ears enough, he could hear jazz playing from Roxy down below. "If there were any way to bring Rabi back, would you do it?"

"Yes," Allen replied, his voice quiet before they lapsed into silence.

That was all he needed to hear.

"Okay," Lavi said, preparing himself calmly. He began picking up the pieces of himself and putting them away, numbed with acceptance. With all his might, he tried to reach inside of his very soul to grasp at Rabi, who resided there, he knew for sure. But no matter how he tried, he felt nothing to grab onto.

"Lavi?" Allen asked, and Lavi heard him move closer. It was the rustle of fabric and the sweeping of silken hair against cotton. Allen smelled like the cool mountain air guiding pure water over a towering falls.

"Shh…" Lavi replied, opening his eyes to look at Allen. The gray was liquid, shining in the evening lights with concern. It wasn't for him, Lavi knew, and somehow he managed to smile. He traced his fingers over Allen's face in a slow manner, committing everything to memory. Even though he would be forgotten, he did not want to forget. In a mere few seconds of time, he wanted to touch Allen as Lavi, one last time.

"What are you—" Allen tried to ask, but Lavi silenced him with a finger against his lips. The lips he wanted to kiss, but could not.

"Don't say anything," Lavi whispered, holding that liquid silver gaze. "I'm going to disappear, I promise."

"What?" asked Allen, and Lavi watched as his forehead creased in questioning, the brow furrowing with confusion. "What do you mean, Lavi? What are you talking about?"

"Rabi is more valuable to everyone than I am. Especially to you," Lavi said, and the words came easier than he thought. The smile came even easier, despite the way he felt his chest aching with agony. "I just want to make you happy, Allen."

"Lavi…?" Allen said, so close again, like in the elevator, where Lavi could see every detail up close and feel the warmth radiating from Allen's skin. Those eyes seemed to ask Why would you make that sacrifice?

"I'm nothing, Allen. Nothing at all," Lavi told him, because it was true. He could only feel the vestiges of pain on his back and the pounding in his head. There in his mind were Yuu's cold eyes and Lenalee's engagement ring and the way Cross sneered when he looked at him. There were the images of his empty bed and piles of notes that had no meaning and the box in the closet of memories that he could not forget. Everything that had kept his life together, Lavi realized, meant nothing. He was just a ghost among it and nothing beyond that. Because no one could see him beyond that. "Let me be something for you. Let me be Rabi."

"No, Lavi," Allen said and touched his hand. His heart contracted at the name, stopping the organ before it could bleed hope throughout the rest of his body.

"It's the only way to make you happy," Lavi replied, closing his eyes as he felt the chill creep into his bones from leaning against the glass. "It's the only way to have Rabi back."

"Lavi, that's not true," Allen said and his voice had that soft, understanding tone to it that nearly cracked his resolve.

"No one will ever compare to him in your eyes," Lavi murmured, his intonation clear. I can never compare to him.

"Stop it, Lavi," Allen said, his commanding tone not fooling Lavi in the slightest. He'd tapped into it: the source of Allen's own internal conflict. Since he'd been awoken, Lavi had seen that struggle in Allen's gaze to differentiate between him and Rabi. He had watched and accepted, until now. He dug at it—that tiny cavity he'd created—wanting to know, desperately wanting to know, if there was any room in Allen's heart for him.

"You know it's true," the redhead replied, unable to keep the bitterness from tingeing his voice. "You know it."

"Don't do this, Lavi," Allen said, putting both his hands on top of Lavi's. He felt the smoothness of the right and the calloused left. Both were warm, grasping on to him, as if Allen's begging eyes and hands truly were imploring him not to do this.

Lavi felt himself break.

With trembling hands, he slid beneath Allen's palms, reaching for the other boy's sleeves. He gripped onto the fabric, clenching his eyes shut as he tried to fight the overwhelming urge to cry. He wanted to mourn for the self that no one would miss.

"Please, Allen…" he begged quietly, arms shaking. "Please let me do it…"

"Why?" Allen asked, and his calm voice had raised an octave with distress. Lavi felt Allen reaching for his cheeks, wanting to force him to look up. But the redhead kept his face averted, as he didn't have the strength to meet that gray gaze again. "Lavi, why do you want to?"

"Because…" Lavi said, and struggled with the words like they were advanced calculus. He felt tears coming again and hated himself for letting them fall. "Because…"

"Why?" Allen asked. His voice became lower, calm again, but when his hands took hold of Lavi's cheeks, he could feel them trembling. The thumbs smoothed over his cheeks, brushing the tears away and Lavi felt so damned weak that he wanted to hide where no one could ever find him again. "Why, Lavi?"

"Because I just want you to love me," Lavi whispered, fingers clenching the fabric like it were the only thing keeping him there, attached to the current reality in the room on the seventeenth floor of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

"Lavi…" Allen said, the name making Lavi want to cry even harder.

"Please, call me Rabi," he begged. The words desperate whore ran though his mind like a mantra, but he could not stop the neediness that coursed through his veins like a poison. He just needed Allen to say it one more time. He just needed to hear him say Rabi one more time and then he felt like he could disappear without another thought.

"No, Lavi," Allen replied, and his voice was stern. "Look at me."

"Please, just say it," Lavi wept, but could not open his eyes to look at Allen. He couldn't bear to see him looking again. Not when he was like this.

"No, Lavi. I'm not going to do that," Allen told him, and his tone was steadfast. Lavi let out a wry laugh, feeling the hot tears soaking through in small circles on his sweats. He could only think of the angel that had been crushed in the box that had fallen from the chair in his memory. It was that feeling of trepidation that one felt after such an accident. It was something that no one wanted to clean up because it was so painful to see what had been done. What had been ruined.

"Fuck, I'm begging and even then...no one..." Lavi felt like he was choking, unable to complete the thought that screamed over and over in his throbbing head. I'm begging and even then, no one wants me.

Pathetic.

"Lavi..." It was that understanding, calming tone again; the same that doctors used on unruly, childish patients. Lavi felt the pain increase at that sound, even more so when Allen's hands dropped from his face. His cheeks felt cold despite the heated trails that remained upon them where his tears continued to fall. "Please look at me?" Allen asked, but Lavi wouldn't look up, not even when the other boy put his arms around his shoulders and embraced him. He thought of the statue back in the museum and recalled the way Allen's marble form had solidified holding Rabi against his chest, like he was pressed there now. He wanted so desperately to hear Allen's heartbeat, but he couldn't hear it over the pounding in his eardrums.

He suddenly felt very, very stupid.

"No, please, don't touch me. Just don't touch me and don't look at me," Lavi said, trying to pull away. Allen held him firmly and he was unable to escape. "Please, just…just don't. I can't stand it…I just can't fucking stand it…"

"Lavi, it's okay," Allen said, trying to soothe him.

"Call me Rabi," Lavi begged in a ragged, hoarse whisper.

"No. Your name is Lavi," Allen told him, as if it was as easy as that.

"Rabi," Lavi insisted.

"Lavi," Allen retorted.

"Stop," said Lavi, and tried to push Allen away. But Allen wouldn't let him go, clutching him close to his chest.

"Why?" Allen asked, and his tone wa so sad that Lavi had to tell him.

"Because…you'll just break my heart pretending like you love me," Lavi said, still unable to escape the hold Allen had on him. His tears had stopped, thankfully, but it was replaced by a heaviness that Lavi could only justify from his words. Allen would always be searching for Rabi behind his eyes. That's who he would love, not Lavi.

Never, ever Lavi.

"Lavi, I do love you," Allen said. Lavi, for a mere second, believed him. He wanted to so badly and imagined in that pocket of time that every touch and smile and kiss had been for him: for Lavi. But then, that hope withered and died. It died like Rabi had died over one hundred years ago.

"No," Lavi replied quietly, shaking his head against Allen. "You love Rabi."

"I love Lavi, too," Allen said, and pulled back, holding Lavi's face in his hands. When Lavi met his eyes, finally met them, he saw the purest sincerity there deep within the gray, swirling silver. "Can't I love both?"

"Will you…ever see 'me'?" Lavi asked, holding onto Allen's hands. If he clung to them hard enough, he wondered if there would ever be a chance. Would there be room in someone's heart for him? For Lavi?

"Of course," Allen answered. It looked like he was the one trying not to cry. "I'm sorry…I know it seems like I've not been seeing you. But you and Rabi are different. For all your likenesses, you are different people. I see that now…"

With those words, Lavi suddenly felt very selfish. He was crying over something stupid, wanting Allen to tell him that he loved him when he barely knew him. The boy across from him had gone through so much in the past few days: he was trying to deal with being in a new time, with the knowledge that his lover had been killed along with the rest of his friends. In retrospect, Lavi was a pathetic, needy individual. Allen hadn't asked for any of those hardships and Lavi was just throwing more on his plate. His intentions had been to make Allen happy, but now, Lavi was worried that he'd just made him feel more conflicted than ever.

"I'm sorry," Lavi said, and hastily pulled away, rubbing at his eyes with his sleeve. His own pain could continue. He just didn't want to see Allen sad. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said all of that…"

"Lavi," Allen said, his hands resting on Lavi's arms, pulling them down so that they were looking at each other once again. His cheeks burned with shame when Allen didn't say anything for a moment, holding his gaze in a long, intense stare.

"I'm sorry. Please forget about everything…" .

"I can't forget," Allen said. "You wanted me to be happy."

"I do," Lavi answered.

"Even if it meant not being you," Allen said, and the redhead swallowed before nodding.

"Yeah."

Allen looked at him seriously, moving his fingers along Lavi's arms, up over the places where he'd bruised; skirting over the love bites that still ached. The mismatched palms brushed along his neck as they moved to cup his face gently.

"You wanted to give up everything for me. You wanted to give up yourself, Lavi," Allen said and smiled. His eyes looked wet in the lights from Time Square. A tear fell and it shimmered, like all the illumination that the droplets on the window had captured, trailing down his face to leave beautiful slants of rainbow colored light in their wake. "How could I ever forget that?"

"Allen…?" Lavi murmured, not knowing what to do. He'd made Allen cry. That was the one thing he hadn't wanted to do in the first place.

"There was Rabi," Allen said, closing his eyes. More tears gathered in the lashes before dripping down, falling onto Allen's bare knees. "And I miss Rabi. I loved him with all my heart. He can't ever be replaced and I don't want him to be." When Allen opened his eyes again, they were like glass, reflecting everything so that Lavi once again found himself captivated by their profound depths. "And then there's you, Lavi. You're just like him, but you're so different too." Allen smiled, and it was so beautiful that Lavi's chest actually hurt. "I can't ever replace my love for Rabi, but that doesn't mean…that doesn't mean I can't ever love again."

"I…" Lavi wanted to tell Allen all kinds of things, but couldn't get any of them to come out. Allen just smiled and moved closer to him. He was still sad, Lavi knew, missing Rabi with all his heart, but the redhead also knew that there was a place for him—Lavi—as well. He had seen it in the multi-colored hues in Allen's tears. I'm not worthy he wanted to say, but could not get any words to form against the lips that pressed softly against his.

"You wanted to make me happy, Lavi," Allen said when they parted. His legs shifted over Lavi's so that the smaller boy was sitting on his lap, arms around his neck. Behind him, Lavi could see the lights of the city pale in comparison to his glow. "And I want to be happy with you."

It was there on the marble ledge of room 1708 overlooking Manhattan that Lavi finally received what he had been looking for all along. When Allen kissed him again, he felt it inside of him: blossoming with warmth from his core and then sprawling outwards like the petals of a blooming flower. It reached every nerve ending when he touched Allen's skin, fingers sliding beneath the shirt to touch every inch of flesh he could reach. The feeling extended to every muscle when Allen took all of him in and began moving so desperately against his body. It was in the sweat and the tears that glistened in the lights of night upon their skin. That feeling burned through every part of his body like the sweetest rush of euphoria when Allen whispered Lavi, Lavi, Lavi into his ear. And the sensation continued to warm him long after they had finished and lay there against one another, doing nothing but breathing against the cool glass as the weak dawn sunlight filtered in through the gray, November skies.

"Lavi…" Allen murmured sleepily against his shoulder, but did not wake. Listening, Lavi could hear each intake of breath and the light flutter of Allen's eyelashes against his neck as he dreamed. He smiled and looked out over the rooftops, enjoying the pleasant warmth against him as much as he had been filled with joy to hear his name spoken so lovingly. In this world, there was one person who had room in their heart for him. For the first time in a long time, he felt wanted. Pressing a kiss against Allen's temple, Lavi closed his eyes and let out a calming breath. He realized that, when he and Allen had joined and Allen had kissed him like he had never been kissed before. It wasn't like the last time, where Lavi's judgment had been clouded by that bitter red wine and he had tasted Allen, like sweetness against his tongue. That kiss had been for Rabi. This kiss had been for him.

What Allen said was true. They were both different: he and Rabi. Although he felt that flitting presence inside of him, Lavi was not Rabi and could never be him, no matter how hard he tried. He would never be able to take Rabi's place, just as Rabi would never be able to take his. Their souls—or was it soul—shared a body, and they also now shared Allen. Inside him, Lavi was surprised that Rabi was not jealous like he had first thought he would be. The feeling was not one of animosity, but of love. In Lavi's world, something had finally gone right.

And this time, he smiled when he thought about the two of them going home.

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Angst was necessary. Believe it.

I totally enjoyed this. I have the next two chapters planned and then the final as well, so it's sure to be an amazing ride. Hope you're all on board. Also, I'm going to be a whore and say, the more reviews you give me, the faster I'll update, as I'm a total feedback slut XD

Love,

Dhampir72