Title: Secrets and Sacrifices
Disclaimers: will you believe if we say they're ours? You're not stupid, right? So what use of the disclaimer anyway, it just makes us sick… right?
Warning: OOCness and super sappy and over-romantic and… well… you can say it's a modified soap opera… duh… and it's post Mpreg.
Note: This is the sequel to our story titled 'Shattered Innocence' so we suggest you read that first since none of this will make any sense without understanding what event formerly took place. Oh, and this story is AU based on the manga…
Chapter 1 - Unexpected Meeting
The scene that time was best to be described as hell. Fire raging everywhere, thick black smoke filled the air, and with the passing of wind, one could vividly smell the scent of death hanging in every corner. The purple sky seemed to blaze with the glow of fire that was consuming the earth below. The buildings that once stood proudly now were only clusters of blackened ruins, dying under the power of the fire and the battle that had befallen over them. And amidst those ruins, there could be seen some shadows leaping and fighting in a sight far too cruel yet nonetheless mesmerizing.
Allen Walker was one of those shadows and this battle was also his battle. Numerous times had he found himself in a battle like what he had that time–a battle between them, exorcists, and Akuma. Numerous times indeed had he been involved in such scene where a village was destroyed and people were killed and hope was diminished. Still, the ache those scenes brought to him did not lessen even a bit.
"Watch behind you!"
Allen snapped from his musing at the shouting. With reflex he developed after years in battle he turned his body and readily slashed the Akuma that was trying to get to him from his blind spot. One down, yet there was still many of them swarming there in the shadow, hidden from their view.
A sound of someone landing on his side made him turn his face. He then met the sight of Kanda Yuu, his partner in the mission, as well as his partner in life.
"How's the situation?" Kanda asked him while his eyes kept alert of their surrounding.
"I sense an amount of fifty or so behind those ruins, but else than that, none." he answered, his head made a vague gesture to a certain direction. "How's the innocence?"
"I have a finder take care of that," Kanda answered. "You go; I'll take those bloody Akuma myself."
Allen frowned, "What do you mean by 'take those bloody Akuma myself'… hey, Yuu!"
He could only watch as Kanda's image became a blur of dark shadow flying in the air. Within minutes he also saw how his partner faced the largest group of Akuma with his sword poised ready in his hands, eliminating them with such determinacy.
Allen sighed. It had happened far too often lately; Kanda would take care in handling most of the battle by his own, no matter that it was their mission and not only his. He knew even if he came there to help, Kanda would surely just shove him away as if he was getting on the other's way.
When the last of the Akuma met its fate on the tip of Kanda's sword, Allen was still standing on his original place, never moving even for an inch. He did not move even when Kanda approached him with his body all bloody and battered. He just watched with an unexplainable expression in his eyes as Kanda cleaned his bloodied sword with a piece of rag before sheathing it back.
"The coast is clear, let's go before they begin attacking again," he heard Kanda say.
"I won't do that next time, you know…" Allen said softly.
He turned his face to Kanda's direction, "You think I never notice? Yuu, you always do the fighting by yourself. You never let me help. Once I told you the location of the Akuma you'd run head first and eliminate all the enemy without letting me do as much as lifting my hand. We're partners here and I want to be regarded as one so if you can't do that, well, let me tell you this: don't you hope I'll tell you those Akuma's location next time!"
He could see Kanda frowning, "You're being ridiculous."
"Am I?" he sneered. "Well, maybe I am. Maybe everyone will be ridiculous if they are denied of their duties and rights."
"What now, are you starting to turn into a bloodlust idiot who think of nothing but fighting the Akuma?" Kanda snapped back at him and Allen could feel the tension rising between them. But he wouldn't back off. It was never his fault, he reasoned. He only wanted Kanda to see things from his perspective; he just wanted Kanda to know how bad he felt every time he watched him in battle without being allowed to offer any help.
"I can say pretty much the same to you seeing how you always insist that I should 'back off' while you deal in killing those Akuma yourself," Allen glared at Kanda. "I'm sick of watching you without doing anything. If you find my presence a nuisance, just say and I'll find myself another mission where I won't disturb you."
"I won't let that."
"And why won't you let that?"
"Because I want to protect you, dammit!" Kanda all but shouted. A gust of cold harsh wind passed and his long black hair that had come loose from its usual ponytail seemed to flow around his face which showed great concern. "I still can't forget how you came back dying from your mission back then. I thought I'd lose you. I just don't want to lose you so I protect you, can't you understand that?!"
Allen shuddered, not only because of the cold wind but also because of the memory that Kanda's words invoked within him. He too still remembered that mission some previous months back that almost took his life. He remembered how he led the squad of ten finders only to have them being brutally massacred before his very own eyes. Even he did not come back unharmed. He knew it was a miracle that he could live, judging from how bad his condition was when finally the back up squad fetched him.
"But Yuu, that was months ago, I can say I'm fine now," he said with a sigh.
"It doesn't concern whether you're fine or not. The point is, that event made me realize that you can get killed anytime so I just want to make sure to protect you the best I can," Kanda explained.
"That's not how you're supposed to protect someone!" Allen snapped in desperation. "You might protect my body but you hurt my pride and feelings by doing that. I've sworn myself to you, Yuu. I've sworn myself to be with you through everything but if you never let me help you that would mean you reject me."
Silence was the thing that followed after he said those words. Kanda said none as his response to Allen's words. And Allen himself only stood there, offering nothing more to be said.
He could understand Kanda's act. He even could say that he might be doing the same if their positions were reversed. But it was not right. He wished to stand in equal with Kanda; he did not want to always be protected.
A sound of breath being released was heard then coming from Kanda's lips. Allen saw how Kanda's face straightened when he said, "Am I wrong in wanting to do my duty as your spouse?"
Allen gave Kanda Yuu, his spouse, a sad smile as he replied, "Am I wrong in wanting to do my duty as an exorcist?"
"No, Yuu, please…" he said, turning his back to the other. "I'm sorry, but could you please give me some time alone? My feelings are not in their very best right now and I don't want to have any argument with you."
Even though he could not see it, Allen noticed how Kanda tensed at his words. It was brief though and before long he could hear again Kanda's calm voice saying, "Fine… I'll take care of the innocence. Meet me at the inn tonight."
"Thank you," Allen whispered though he doubted Kanda would hear that for he could sense Kanda's presence diminishing after he finished his sentence. He knew from it that Kanda had left him and it only made his feeling of regret grow. It hurt him too, moreover so when he fully realized that what he had said also hurt his spouse. But still, it had to be said. He told the truth when he said about the feeling of rejection he felt every time Kanda denied his help. It hurt indeed, but it was the truth.
With a final sigh Allen took his depart. Jumping from the building he was currently standing, his feet landed on the blackened soil. He did not have any particular place in his mind to head to so he just let his feet lead him. The feeling of wind against his face as he ran through calmed him and the sense of freedom he experienced soothed his heart.
It was not until he could hear the roaring of the sea that Allen stopped his step. Trying to regain his breath, he observed his surrounding and noticed that he had somehow reached the harbour though it was not really a lovely sight. The sky that time was heavily overcast and the waves rolled so high. Heavy dark clouds promised the coming of an intense rain and he could even felt the tension on his skin.
He could sense a heavy storm coming.
A storm, Allen thought with a smile. His memory wandered off to that certain storm he experienced years back. He could still recall that storm and the series of events that followed. How many years had it been, he wondered. Ten? Fifteen?
No, thirteen… yes, it had been thirteen years since that time.
His smile widened as he remembered every memory imprinted into his mind for the past thirteen years. Happy days as well as sad times, he remembered all. Every coming of a new friend, every falling of another. Every fight he ever had with Kanda and every loving moment they shared. And by remembering them, somehow, he could calm that raging part in him that was evoked by–in his opinion–Kanda's act of betrayal. Sure, he thought, they fought a lot. Sure, he thought, they still annoyed each other sometimes. And sure, he thought with a chuckle, no matter what Kanda would always be a pissed-off sneaky idiotic being.
But he loved that pissed-off sneaky idiotic spouse of his. And he knew no matter how annoyed he sometimes felt toward Kanda, he could not get angry at him. After all, it was the thoughts that count, right? He knew Kanda never meant to do him harm, though maybe he would appreciate it more if his spouse tried to protect him in not so extreme way.
Feeling much better already, Allen turned his face from the roaring sea. He knew he still had to talk with Kanda but he felt that he could do it better now that his feelings were already sorted out. That was what he had in mind when he made his way out of the harbour to the inn, but in the middle of his short trip, he was forced to reconsider it.
Sometimes, he really hated having his left eye.
Cursing slightly, Allen activated his innocence and changed his direction. He sensed the coming of a group of Akuma. Maybe they still did not give up on that piece of innocence, he thought. But soon he found out that his thought was nowhere near the truth.
Allen frowned when he came nearer to those Akuma he spotted earlier. Now that he could see them with his own eyes, he became aware that they were in pursuit of a human girl. The girl he saw was running frantically but Allen knew it wouldn't be long before those nasty creatures could lay their hands on her. So without any time he spared to think, Allen flung himself into the battle. His high adrenaline that had not been by any means satiated by his denied battle earlier added up to his power and within minutes he finished his battle.
When the last of the Akuma had been eliminated, Allen deactivated his innocence and his eyes wildly searched for another enemy that might still be lurking in the shadow. Finding none, he then focused his mind to the human girl he had seen earlier. The girl, he noticed, was curling up in a corner during the battle and Allen was glad seeing that she seemed to be unharmed. His mind gave him some worries, though, like who that girl might be and why she had Akuma chasing after her but at that moment, he gave them no heed and knelt before the girl.
"Are you okay?" he asked the girl who had her face hidden from his view. He observed as the little girl slowly raised her face and without warning, he felt his breath caught in his throat.
A pair of brilliant grey eyes stared back at him and Allen found himself lost within those clear orbs. His mind seemed to stop functioning as time, too, for a moment seemed to halt its step. He could only stare somewhat blankly at the girl, forgetting that there might be more Akuma to come and attack them.
After all, how could he think of something like Akuma if he had his very own little daughter suddenly appear before him?
He did not know how long of a time he spent staring at his Lucy. Yes, she was his little Lucy, no doubt about it. She was his little Lucy whom once he held so dear within his arms. She was his little Lucy who was once taken away from him. She was his little Lucy, that beautiful girl who asked him and with her soft, somewhat quivering voice, "Are you… an exorcist… Sir?"
Allen snapped at her question. That simple question brought him back into reality. He realized then that he had not yet known the reason why she had Akuma chasing her.
"Well, yes, I am… I… maybe you've forgotten me but we've met before, and…" Allen stuttered, already in his heart he was cursing his mouth for its inability to form words right.
"We have…?" Lucy asked and then her eyes grew wide as realization dawned in her. A little smile was appearing on her face as she exclaimed, "Uncle Allen!"
"Yes, Lucy, I'm glad you remember," Allen smiled back at her, trying his very best to control his intense emotions. "And I'm glad to meet you again, though I prefer not with those Akuma chasing you…"
He saw how some shadow passed over Lucy's face after he said those words. He frowned. He did not like the look of it.
"Lucy?" he addressed the girl. His hand reached forward tentatively to touch her arm and he was glad that she did not reject the contact. "I know it's scary for you but I need to know… if you have any guess of why those Akuma chasing after you."
He saw as Lucy bit his lips. He found sadness shown on her face but he did not expect to see so much anger also being displayed there.
"I don't…know!" he heard Lucy said in choked sobs. "They just ruin everything… they just… suddenly came… and they… killed… my family!"
Allen suddenly found himself a lapful of crying girl when Lucy threw herself into his lap and started crying her heart out. He was dumbfounded as his mind trying to process what had been told to him. Those Akuma had killed Lucy's family. Though he never really met the couple that had raised Lucy but his heart ached for them. They were the ones that had raised his child. They were the ones that Lucy had been regarding so long as her parents and he knew the hurt caused by losing someone he loved. He remembered his foster father, Mana, may God rest him in peace. True, they had no real blood relation, but Mana was a father for him and it hurt a lot when he realized he would see his foster father no more.
He wrapped his arms around Lucy's small frame and held her close to his heart. He knew that during the moment like that, word meant nothing. For some pains, only tear could heal.
After some time passed, he sensed Lucy's sobs receding. When he felt that the girl was calm enough, he loosened his embrace and ever so gently he wiped the remnants of tears on her cheeks.
"Are you okay now?' he asked.
Lucy snorted, "No."
He almost snorted back seeing how similar her trait was with Kanda's. "Well, maybe a warm super and a good rest can make you feel better. I know it looks like a cheap consolation considering what you've been through but it's better to mourn with a full stomach… believe me, I've been there…"
He was relieved when he spotted a very thin smile appearing on Lucy's lips. Gently then he helped the girl onto her feet. He was a bit taken aback when, instead of releasing her hold on his hand, Lucy held it even tighter as if afraid that she might lose him. She looked so lost and confused, and all that Allen wanted was to hug her and promise her that everything would be alright, that he would protect her. But, Allen thought, how could he protect her when he himself did not know the full story behind her sudden appearance? He still did not know the reason behind the act of those Akuma. Why they chased after Lucy? Why they killed her family? And more importantly, why was Lucy there? How she could get there? What was she doing there?
So many unanswered questions he had in his mind yet he had no time to think over them since Lucy's voice broke his musing when she asked, "Where are we going to go to?"
Allen thought about it. He knew there was only one place that could offer Lucy total protection.
"Main Headquarters," he said firmly and was surprised when Lucy abruptly tensed. He eyed the girl warily, noticing the sudden fear that was apparent on her face and asked, "Is there something wrong?"
"Don't," Lucy said shortly.
"Don't what?" he asked, confused.
"Don't, please," Lucy now bit her lip, a clear sign of distress. "I… please don't take me to The Headquarters… anywhere but there…"
"But, Lucy, you've been there before… remember the place we first met?" Allen said, he could not understand why Lucy seemed so afraid at the mention of 'headquarters'.
Lucy only shook her head and again repeated with firmer voice that left no argument, "Don't."
Allen sighed. He might not know what her reason was but he knew he would not be able to take Lucy to any place without her consent. And this firm rejection toward the headquarters that Lucy showed worried him.
Yet another question for him to ponder.
"Okay then, I won't bring you to the Main Headquarters," Allen said to the girl and again he felt confusion as the girl visibly relaxed. "Instead I'll take you to some inn where you can have your much needed rest and meal like what I've said. How does that sound?"
Lucy did no answer him but she too did not reject him when he led her walking to the inn where he and Kanda had been staying in over the past few days. As he walked with his daughter, hand in hand, his mind couldn't stop thinking over the numerous why's and how's and what's that he got that day. So many unanswered questions, yet he knew his daughter, his Lucy could give him the answers to those questions. She could, indeed, but would she?
Allen bit his lip. It was yet another question for him to ponder.
- end chapter 1 –
(A/N: So… is there anyone out there still remember our dear old fic, Shattered Innocence? This is the (not so) much awaited sequel… er… yay? Truth be told, we have wanted to write this sequel from ages ago but our thesis forbade the notion. Yet now that we have finished that dreaded thing called university, finally we can write this down and post it. We do hope you have a good reading time with this fic. As always, reviews would be much appreciated. Other things, for instances trashes or flames, would be appreciated too, if only with less enthusiasm. We bid you good bye for now and surely, it is our greatest hope to see you again in the following chapters.)