Hide and Seek
Disclaimer: I don't own DGM. Song is "If U Seek Amy" by Britney Spears.
La la la – la la la la la
The crowds were thinner at the edges of the room, although the club was still packed full of people. It stank of human sweat mixed with sickly-sweet perfume, poured over the tanned bodies of men and women hoping to appeal to someone else that night. The music blared over the dance floor from a set of enormous speakers, and it still echoed in his ears a few levels up and a few metres away. The rhythmic, heavy beats pounded in his skull as he skirted around a cluster of scantily-clad girls and pushed through a row of guys, their jewellery clanking loudly against other pieces of hard metal.
"Oi!" One of them turned around to yell at him. "What the fuck do you think you're-"
He didn't respond. With any luck, the group wouldn't have noticed exactly which person had shoved past them, and didn't care enough to go after anyone in the vicinity. He was a rather conspicuous figure, after all, with his unusually pale hair and the red scar that ran down the left side of his face. Here, no one would notice any of that. In this club, everyone cared about their own enjoyment only, and it didn't matter who gave it as long as they could.
The thought made him nauseous, and he paused for a moment, placing one hand on a rail to steady himself from the sudden wave of illness. This wasn't the place for him. Oh, sure, he liked to dance as much as anyone else, and the anonymity and casualness of interacting with others was the reason why he could, but he could never forget the ever-present atmosphere of something much deeper.
Lust. Pleasure. Sex. It was everywhere, and he hated it.
But tonight, he couldn't be anywhere else.
"Excuse me," he murmured, pushing himself away from the handrail and wandering back into the crowds. Thirty minutes already, and he still hadn't found what he was looking for.
Who he was looking for.
Oh baby, baby, have you seen Amy tonight
Is she in the bathroom, is she smokin' up outside, oh
Grey eyes fell upon a familiar face. It wasn't the object of his search, but it was his best bet for a lead.
"Lavi!" he called, stumbling over an abandoned pop can strewn carelessly on the floor. "Lavi!"
The redhead continued chatting to his companion, giving no sign that he'd heard the call.
"Lavi!" He shouted now, hoping to be heard over the loud music. This time, Lavi gave a start and began to look around wildly. It was not long before the single visible green eye noticed the flash of white making its way towards him.
"Allen?" Lavi cocked his head. "What're you doing here? I didn't think this was your kinda… you know…" He gestured at the dance floor with one hand; the other held a cigarette tightly between his index and middle fingers. "Didn't expect to see ya."
"I know; it's not my first choice, either." Allen gave a sheepish laugh, stopping in front of the table at which the pair were sitting. The surface was covered in food wrappers and empty glasses; they'd probably been here for a while. "But I'm meeting- what?!" He'd just gotten a good look at the "companion" for the first time and done a double-take. "You?!"
"What's it to ya?" The dark-haired man snorted, pointedly refusing to make eye contact with Allen. "Dumbass."
"I just didn't expect to see you here," Allen said evenly, suppressing the disdain that was sure to arise in his voice otherwise. "I didn't want to see you here, either."
"Che." He reached for another glass, this one half-full of a clear liquid. At least, it looked clear from this angle; the darkness broken by bright, flashing lights made it hard to tell at times.
How many has he had so far? I thought he had a low tolerance. Guess Lavi's driving. "Or with Lavi, of all people…" Allen's gaze slid back to Lavi. "Something you're not telling me?"
"Nothing you couldn't figure out yourself," Lavi said cheerfully. He reached out and smacked the other man's hand away from the glass playfully. "Hey, now, that's enough. You're gonna pass out with much more."
"Che." But he didn't even so much as scowl at Lavi. Yes, something was definitely going on there, and Allen was quite sure he didn't want to know what. Time to change the topic.
"So…" Allen cleared his throat nervously, and the two men turned to look at him. "Have either of you seen Lenalee?"
"Lenalee?" Lavi shrugged. "You mean tonight?"
"Yeah, she stopped by once at the beginning of the night. Few hours ago." Lavi licked his lips unconsciously; was that from nerves? "Said she'd be hanging around, though. You've been looking for her?"
"Che. What do you want with Lenalee, beansprout?"
"Fuck you, Kanda." Allen turned back to Lavi. "Thanks. Any idea where she might be now?"
"Dance floor?" Lavi shrugged. "Bathroom? Outside? Nah, probably not there," he corrected himself. "She wouldn't go out there alone. Could have a guy by now, I guess, but…"
"Lenalee's not the type," Allen said slowly.
"No, she's not." Lavi exhaled loudly and leaned back. "Most guys here'd only go with her for the sex. And would they ever go with Lenalee. If she asked."
"Which she wouldn't." Kanda cracked his knuckles threateningly… or attempted to. In his current intoxicated state, it looked more pathetic than anything else. Of course, Allen would still be wary around the man; while he and Kanda were evenly matched, being drunk didn't make him any less dangerous. "Or he'd have someone to deal with."
"Yeah, yeah," Lavi said patronisingly, "her two big brothers. With the non-biological one being right here to keep a close watch over here."
"Ain't no guy takin' advantage of Lenalee," Kanda murmured, seemingly ignoring the big word Lavi had just used. It was barely audible to Allen's ears in this noisy club.
"Well…" Allen took a step back, ready to continue his search. "Thanks, guys. Are you going to be here for the rest of the night?"
"Until Kanda passes out, probably," Lavi answered. "Or until this place closes. We gonna see you around later?"
"Maybe. I can't promise anything." Allen waved to them and turned back to the crowds. "If Kanda does anything compromising, take a picture for me!"
"For your personal viewing pleasure!" Lavi hooted.
"Fuck you too!" Allen called over his shoulder, a little more cheerfully.
"Yeah, I know, I know, blackmail!" In a lower tone, too soft for Allen to hear at that distance, he added, "Not gonna happen, buddy. Yuu would kill me, wouldn't you?"
"Not that I'd do it anyway." Lavi sighed, tapping his fingers on the tabletop for a moment before turning to Kanda again. "Hey, Yuu…"
"One of these days, I'm gonna get you in leather pants. One day."
"In your dreams." Kanda snorted. "If beansprout sees, I will kill you."
"Deal." Lavi grinned. He hadn't said no…
Oh baby, baby, does she take a piece of lime
For the drink that I'mma buy her, do you know just what she likes, oh
Allen glanced up as the dark-haired woman slid onto the seat next to him. She flashed a bright smile his way, then turned to the bartender, a young man with pink stripes in his black hair with his back to them. Shrugging, Allen went back to examining his empty glass.
"I'll have what he's having."
The corners of her mouth turned up in a smile when Allen gave a start and began to splutter incoherently.
"One orange juice. Got it." The bartender gave them an amused glance, eyebrow piercings shaking slightly at the raise of his slender eyebrow. He promptly reached for a free glass underneath the counter.
"Orange juice?" She'd turned to face Allen again, her entire upper body twisted on a ninety-degree angle. "That's all?"
"I don't care much for alcohol," Allen admitted stiffly, his nervousness at speaking to a stranger making him sound colder than he intended.
"I see…" She turned back to the bar again, stretching one pale hand out to tap her manicured fingers lightly on the counter. They were purple, Allen noticed, with tiny black swirls near the edges. They didn't look very long; were those her real nails?
He didn't realise he'd been staring until her melodic voice sounded in his ears again.
"I got them done today. You know, you must be the first guy to notice these…"
"Huh?" He blinked, startled. She smiled at him again, not even a trace of something sinister in her expression. Wouldn't anyone feel at least a bit smug after noticing what she had? And yet…
"Girls really only do their nails for themselves, and each other. They're not something guys usually look at. Not the ones we're interested in, anyway."
"Ah." Allen ducked his head, feeling his cheeks flush with embarrassment. "Well, you were… tapping, and…"
"It is a bit dead around here," she admitted, gesturing with one manicured hand to the empty tables behind them. It was eight-o'clock in the evening on a Thursday night, in a decent bar, and the only noises were a few murmured conversations and the sound of the bartender tending to the drinks. "Although most people would come here to drink and become lost in thought."
"Yeah." Allen shrugged again, unsure of what to say to continue the conversation. To his surprise, he actually wanted to.
"Not you, I guess." She laughed again at his sheepish expression. As before, it was a pure and innocent gesture; she was not mocking him in the slightest. "Nor me, either."
"Then…" Allen hesitated, wondering if it would be rude to ask why. It sounded as if she were setting the conversation up for that, but that might just have been his imagination.
The soft clink of ice drew their attention as the bartender set down the filled glass in front of her. "Your juice, ma'am."
"Thank you," she murmured, and pulled it closer.
"Not what you were expecting?" Allen asked weakly. Most people didn't come into a bar to order orange juice, after all.
"Not at all." Those pale fingers wrapped around the glass and she raised it to her lips, but did not drink. Instead, she murmured against the cool glass. "Although I can't say I'm disappointed."
"Hm?" He directed a surprised glance towards her without turning his head.
"Well…" She paused to take a sip, lowering the glass down to the table a moment later. "I wasn't really in the mood for alcohol…"
"Then why did you ask…" Allen shook his head. "What if I'd been…"
"I don't know."
He turned his body to face her as she had done before; she looked troubled, violet eyes full of emotion. Somehow, even though they barely knew each other, Allen felt as if he should – could – do something about that. He didn't want to see her look that way.
"Even though I've never met you before, somehow… I knew…"
"You're psychic?" he murmured wryly, but she just shook her head. Allen winced at the failure of his attempt at a joke.
"No, not that, but… I just knew you weren't that kind of person. And after speaking to you like this…"
"You know?" Allen finished. She gave a half-shrug and a nervous smile formed on her lips – not quite as honest and happy as her previous ones.
That troubled look was back, if it had faded a bit after his joke. Allen thought his chest tightened at the sight of it, although that might have been from the cringe-worthy memory instead.
"I don't usually open up like this to strangers, either…"
Allen almost choked at that. This last part was a bit strange, sure, but did she mean… No, she had to be referring just to these last few minutes. She seemed friendly enough to be the talkative type.
Of course, that theory was promptly shot down as she continued.
"I just came in here for a moment of peace and quiet!" She shook her head incredulously, almost as if she were talking to herself now. "I don't usually… just start… oh my god," she murmured, running one hand through her short, dark hair as she turned towards him ever so slightly, "I'm so sorry; this isn't like me at all… You must've been…"
Allen blinked again, too shocked to do anything but stare.
"Oh god," she repeated, one hand going to the tiny purse that he peripherally noticed on her lap, "I'm sorry…"
She raised her wide-eyed gaze to meet his.
"…It's all right?" Allen said hesitantly. Her sudden change of demeanour had completely taken him off-guard; it was certainly strange, yet somehow… Somehow, he actually felt intrigued by her.
He'd only come into the bar for the same thing as she had, and would never have continued a conversation past the point where the other person wasn't willing to, and yet…
She didn't even so much as twitch.
Allen's hand trembled as he raised it, then, jerkily, patted the table.
The words were out of his mouth before he'd even had the chance to think about them, and once they left his lips he knew he couldn't take them back. Not that he really wanted to except to save face, of course.
Nodding, with a dazed expression on her face, she let her hand slip away from the purse.
Of course, the mood had become so awkward by this point that the next few moments were spent in total silence. Allen nearly kicked himself as he became aware of this. Why say anything at all if the outcome was going to be the same? Either way, their pleasant conversation had ended!
Still, she was here, sitting next to him, and perhaps he might have made her feel a little less embarrassed with his attempt at reassurance… He hoped so, anyway.
Allen's head snapped around to the bar again. The bartender was nodding at his empty glass.
"S-sure," he stammered, letting his gaze drop to the counter as the man lazily reached for another glass. Slowly, it rose again as he tried to look at the woman sitting next to him without being too obvious. What was she doing? What was her reaction?
To his utter shock, he found a pair of violet eyes watching him in the exact same manner.
In unison, the two turned away with soft gasps, blushing madly. They'd been caught!
"W-well…" Allen muttered, attempting a weak grin, "seems we're a bit alike somehow."
She nodded stiffly. "That's true…"
"I…" Allen took a deep breath. He had to improve the mood of the conversation somehow. Maybe this would backfire completely, but it was worth a try, and it was something he'd wanted to admit anyway. "Me too."
She made a soft, inquisitive noise in the back of her throat. Out of the corner of his eye, Allen noticed that she was facing him again, although he was too embarrassed to look anywhere but at the grain of the bar counter.
"I'm not usually like this, either," he admitted softly, barely loud enough to be heard even over the gentle background conversations.
"Shy and anxious, you mean?"
He glanced up, surprised, to find her smiling again. The realisation that he might have fallen into the trap she'd laid only made his blush deepen.
"N…" He shook his head, attempting to regain some dignity. "I wouldn't usually ask someone to stay."
He also wouldn't have admitted that to anyone before that night.
She exhaled, shoulders relaxing slightly at the motion. "Both of us acting oddly. I wonder why…"
"Maybe it's a full moon," Allen suggested. She laughed, and he couldn't help but realise how beautiful that laugh was. It sounded as if she truly believed his comment to be funny, that her reaction was genuine; he hadn't realised how rare those laughs were until now. "Then we'd better watch out tonight…"
"Assuming we're not crazies ourselves?"
This time, it was Allen's turn to laugh – although it came out more as a muffled snort from his attempt to remain stoic.
"I'm Lenalee," she told him, reaching out with one hand across the space between them. The purple and black of her nails reflected the light as she moved.
"I'm Allen," he answered, reaching out with his own, far less perfect one. Yet somehow, she didn't seem to notice that fact at all when she took it. He thought he could see it in her eyes.
Oh, oh, tell me have you seen her 'cause I'm so, oh
I can't get her off of my brain
The crowds thickened as he walked around the edge of the club, making him look around for any potential cause. A few metres away, a pair of signs proclaimed the presence of bathrooms; Allen quickly realised they must have been the doors, although the walls were too dark for him to see their outlines. A small space had opened up around the entrances. If he pushed his way through…
To his surprise, the people gave way with little resistance, and Allen stumbled into the small space before the pair of doors. He swallowed, looking up at them. Lenalee might be inside one of them… but he had no way of finding out. There was always the option of waiting for her, but if she wasn't inside, then he could be there all night and miss her. He wouldn't even have had the small satisfaction of knowing he'd tried.
Allen was about to turn around and push his way out the other side, but he paused in mid-turn. Wouldn't it look awfully foolish of him? He'd come all this way and shoved into this tiny space; surely there must be a reason for it.
He was probably just paranoid. Then again, with his unusual looks, was it really all that strange.
"Lenalee never noticed," he breathed as he made his way to the door marked with the male figure. Not once in their initial meeting had she given any sign of being surprised at his hair, his scar, or the hand she may or may not have seen. She'd just seen him.
Damnit, Allen thought, scrubbing a hand through his white hair as he stood in front of a grubby mirror a minute later, he really needed a life. Stumbling around a club that was only vaguely familiar and possibly spending the whole night looking for her: was that really how he wanted to spend his life? Yet from the moment he'd met her, she'd taken over his mind. Whenever he found himself daydreaming during a particularly boring lecture, or while on his way to or from some place or another, it was Lenalee who came into his mind.
With a muttered curse, he roughly turned one of the rusted taps of the grimy sink beneath him. The water that exited in a thin stream was cool and clear enough. Allen let some of it pool in his hands and then splashed it over his face, letting his fingers tug at his skin as he drew them back down. Even the shock of the cold wasn't enough to snap him to his senses.
It was too soon to be in love, but he knew her just well enough to know he was falling head over heels for her.
"Damnit," Allen hissed again, and stuck his hands under the water again.
I just wanna go to the party she gonna go
Can somebody take me home
It had been a mistake to come here, it really had. Allen wasn't normally an impulsive person, as he'd told Lenalee that night they'd first met, but she'd awakened this strange behaviour within him. He hadn't gone so far as to dress up to blend in here, not that he would have known how, but he'd shown up that night with nothing but ten dollars and some ID. It probably wouldn't even be enough to take a taxi home.
Shit… He hadn't even thought about how he was going to get back home after this. He'd taken just the smallest bill he had to avoid great losses in case it was stolen, but he hadn't considered what he might actually need it for. 'Just in case', he'd said. Just in case he might need to buy Lenalee a drink. An orange juice, probably.
It would be a half-hour walk home, and no doubt the buses would have stopped running by the time he left. Whether that would be when the club closed or if he went out for a coffee with Lenalee afterwards remained to be seen. He hoped it was the latter.
"I shouldn't have done this," Allen muttered, splashing his face again. This time, his combing fingers made wet spikes of his normally loose bangs, making him cringe when he glanced into the mirror again. At least they'd dry out fairly quickly in the heat of the club. He could already feel the sweat trickling uncomfortably down his neck, slicking the fine white hairs to his skin.
They need a fan in here.
A loud cackle came from one of the stalls and as Allen looked over his shoulder curiously, the door banged open, slamming against the edge of the cubicle. A pair of young men barely older than himself emerged, both making that strange cackle as they stumbled over to the sink next to him.
"H-hey…" one of them slurred, cocking his head at the white-haired youth. His dark bangs fell around his closer eye, emphasizing the madness Allen almost thought he saw within it. "What'chu lookin' at?"
Allen murmured an apology and went back to splashing water on his face, careful to avoid touching the edges of the sink or looking at the men beside him.
"Hey…" The man leaned closer, evidently not satisfied by the response. "I said hey…"
"Yes?" Allen gulped and turned around. Was that… on the man's shirt… powder?
Oh god, what have I gotten myself into? He'd known clubs were infamous for this sort of thing, but somehow, Allen had never suspected he'd actually run into something like this. Drunks, he could handle, but… this was illegal!
He really didn't want to be involved in this kind of trouble. He'd just come for Lenalee!
"Whaddya mean?" The man gestured with his nose, half-sneering at Allen.
"Done… done what? You got anything on ya?" Those dark eyes drifted down to Allen's pockets greedily.
It took Allen a moment to realise what the man was thinking. "Oh! N-no, sorry, I was thinking of something else. I don't have anything like that." He was almost surprised at how well he was taking this. It was his first encounter with drugs, after all!
"Oh…" He looked crestfallen, but merely turned to his partner, a wide-eyed man with long, golden hair falling down his back. "C'mon, Dero. We'll go… summere else."
With a happy chirp, "Dero" followed the first man out of the bathroom, leaving a wide-eyed Allen standing in front of a still-running tap.
"Well," he said to himself, still staring dumbly at the door, "I think that went surprisingly well."
Love me, hate me, say what you want about me
But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if u seek Amy
"Hey…" Lavi ran a finger along the rim of one empty glass. At this point in the night, he wasn't sure if it had originally contained a drink for him or Kanda. "Allen didn't answer why he was lookin' for Lenalee, did he?"
"Huh?" Kanda simply stared off into space, chin propped up in one hand.
"Think it's a bit weird?"
"What, that he's after her?" Kanda shrugged. "Doesn't matter. I'll kill him."
"If he tries anything," Lavi said warily, hoping the animosity between the two wasn't so strong that Kanda would normally feel that way. "But Allen wouldn't do that."
Kanda snorted. "He's a guy. 'Course he will."
"Not until the…" Lavi's gaze unconsciously wandered to his fingers. "Sixth date?"
"Not gonna happen."
"Aww, come on, Yuu…" Lavi flicked a full glass the way of his drunken partner. As much as he'd prefer to keep Kanda alert that night, Kanda wasn't drunk enough to be honest about his feelings just yet. The feelings that weren't murderous irritation, anyway. Only Kanda could be murderous in simple irritation. "You know what they're like. They'll get along just fine."
Kanda downed the glass. "Too well."
Still not drunk enough yet. Ah well. "But I'm kinda worried about him…"
"Don't be. Beansprout's a guy."
"Not like that…" Lavi inhaled in a sharp hiss. "About what'll happen here. About Lenalee. He's naïve; what if…"
"I said…" Kanda drawled.
"I just don't know if it's the best idea," Lavi finished.
"Thank you!" Kanda slammed the glass back down on the table, although not hard enough to produce a satisfying thump. "I just said…"
"For Allen." Lavi met Kanda's glare with one of his own. Neither was actually hostile or intimidating, and Kanda soon turned away with a trademark 'che'. "Someone could take advantage of him here. And Lenalee… We saw her hours ago. She could be anywhere by now. Maybe she's even gone home."
"Lenalee likes to dance," Kanda pointed out.
"Yeah, but…" Lavi shook his head. "I know she's not the type to intentionally lead someone on, but what if…"
"…It's nothing." Lavi settled back into his seat, visibly unsettled. "I just hope Allen isn't setting himself up for serious heartbreak in the future."
"Che. Nothing's even happened. How can he be…"
"True." Lavi went back to tracing the rim of the glass again. "Who knows. Maybe they'll even hit it off and be engaged by this time next year."
"Don't say shit like that," Kanda warned in a mildly threatening tone.
"Well, they must've already met. Maybe she's gonna reciprocate this time and he sees that." Lavi sighed again. "I hope so, anyway."
"Think it'll happen?"
Kanda snorted again. "No."
"Then…" Lavi leaned across the table, a sly smirk on his lips. "If I win, you gotta wear the leather pants."
"And if you lose?" Kanda attempted a smug grin, weakened by the alcohol running through his body.
"Fuck me, just like you said."
Love me, hate me, but can't you see what I see
All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if u seek Amy
Treading the stairs was a precarious activity when Allen's couldn't even see his own feet for the crowds of people leisurely leaning against the sides and chatting, or making their way up and down the levels. More than once, he nearly tripped over what he suspected was an empty bottle of pop, or perhaps even his own feet. The warmth of human bodies surrounded him, and the buzz of their conversation, their raucous laughter, and their sultry flirtations filled his ears even above the blaring music.
Allen continued to make his way down to the dance floor, stumbling at the end when solid ground met his foot much sooner than expected. His face slammed into a warm shoulder, the black fabric covering it soaked in sweat yet still dry enough that Allen was momentarily grateful for its presence.
"Watch it," came the faint mumble, but Allen couldn't detect any irritation in the voice. In this atmosphere, even accidental body contact was desired rather than scorned.
"Pardon me," he murmured in response, edging past the man and moving further into the mass of people on the dance floor. He would have preferred to stay on the edges for the time being, but if Lenalee was in the centre of the crowd, he'd have no way of finding her before the night ended. Perhaps he'd even get the chance to dance with her.
Allen flushed a dark red at the thought. In this place, the sexual undertones of dancing were brought to the surface. No longer was the tension revealed and intensified by the movement of human bodies in close proximity; here, that desire was brought to the surface and even satisfied, the rhythmic motions of body on body closely resembling something much more intimate and satisfying. Had it not been for clothing – and some of the women didn't even have much of that – he might not have been able to tell the difference. Sex permeated the air, sinking into his clothes, his skin, even filling his lungs whenever he took a breath of that hot, heavy air.
Every breath made his stomach turn. Allen clamped his mouth shut, hoping he would find Lenalee before he'd need to either make a mad dash for the nearest trash can or risk being sick on unsuspecting club patrons. He couldn't take this anymore. It was too hot, too humid, too invasive. He could barely move without brushing past damp, heated skin. The only fortunate part, Allen realised in a brief flicker of thought, was that the claustrophobia clouded his mind, making him momentarily forget all his morality-based reasons for hating the world around him. Not that the atmosphere itself didn't make the bile rise in his throat, but at this point, it was purely instinctive.
I have to get out of here… Lenalee, where are you?
He ducked under a protruding arm, leaned away from a pair of wildly swinging hips, and finally raised himself up on the tips of his toes, hoping to catch a glimpse of where he was relative to the centre of the people. To his surprise, he was farther from the walls than he had thought, just a few metres away from the DJ himself. Somehow, the music didn't seem any louder than it had before; had it reached that point where his injured ears could no longer tell the difference?
The swaying bodies had been enough to steady him for a moment, but it was not long before Allen's balance failed him and he stumbled again, barely catching himself from falling straight onto a scantily clad young woman. Allen held his breath as he pulled away and turned to move in another direction. Even on tiptoe he wasn't tall enough to have met many of the dancers face to face, much less peer over their heads entirely. He'd just have to continue searching.
His head often turned, scanning the faces of women around or just above his eye level, Allen failed to notice the obstacle until he'd walked straight into it. With a soft 'oof', Allen rebounded backwards, giving a start when he noticed the nature of it and why it had felt so soft.
"Hey there," came a husky purr. Allen raised his eyes off the ground – those must be painful, he'd been thinking, staring at silver stilettos that must have been at least four or five inches high – and met the amber ones of the girl standing unmoving in front of him.
"I'm sorry," Allen murmured with a sheepish smile, ducking his head in a quick nod. "Pardon me-"
When he tried to move around her, though, she only shifted to impede his path again.
"Where are you going, sexy?" She gave him a gentle smirk, thin eyebrows raising in amused surprise. One pale hand was raised next to her head, twirling a lock of short, dark hair – was it sticking out in back?! Allen gave a double-take at the unusual style – around her index finger. "Stay and dance a little. We've got all night."
Allen gulped. Was she proposing what he thought she was?
"Uh… Um…" he stuttered, mind racing as he tried to think of a way out, yet the heavy atmosphere still threatened to make conscious thought impossible altogether. The added panic didn't help, either. "S-Sorry… I'm sorry, but…"
"Oh, is it your first time?" That smirk turned into a sly grin as she lowered her hand. "Don't worry; it isn't hard to dance here."
"N-no, it's… well, it is, but…" Allen nearly choked when he felt bare arms wrap around his neck, pulling him downward. Even with heels, she was shorter than he was. "E-excuse me?!"
"Come closer," she purred, painted lips moving against his ear. "Just move to the rhythm."
Too close; she was too close. He could practically feel every line of her body pressed tightly against him. Allen swallowed the rising bile and clenched his eyes shut; he was beginning to feel feverish, and it wasn't all from the heat of the club. This girl's proximity made him outright uncomfortable, and not in the way she probably wanted.
"I have to meet… someone…" he panted, trying to calm himself with deep breaths. He couldn't throw up on her; he couldn't. He had to leave now before that possibility became any more real than it already was. He could already feel the sour taste in his mouth.
"Forget about her," the girl purred, pressing even closer to him. "Spend the night with me instead. We can go back to my place afterward," she added, trailing her fingers along his neck and down to the neck of his shirt, "or yours, if you want…"
My place? Oh god, I don't want to think about- "No," he forced out, quickly raising his hands to pry hers away from him, "I can't. S… sorry."
She shot him a hurt look, but didn't move as he dropped her arms in front of him. "Are you sure? It'd be so much fun…"
Allen could have sworn she was trying to seduce him with the way she had begun to play with the top of her already low-cut dress. Whatever her motive was, it wasn't working. Every moment spent on the crowded dance floor made him feel fainter and fainter. "I need a drink of water," he murmured, and without a further glance at the girl, continued to struggle through the crowds.
He'd have to find another way of locating Lenalee. Her dark-haired head wouldn't easily be spied from a distance, but it would have to do. Allen couldn't take another minute surrounded by warmth, sweat, and sex – especially the sex. The impulse to go straight home and duck under the shower was almost stronger than his desire to find Lenalee. He needed to cleanse himself of everything other people had left behind, things he thought should have been left to the privacy of their own bedrooms. But he couldn't afford to let himself indulge in the disgust at being treated as a partner for a single night, used and thrown away, a sex toy. He had to find Lenalee.
Lenalee was different.
Amy told me that she's gonna meet me up
I don't know where or when and now they're closin' up the club, oh
Allen pounded the wall with his clenched left fist, blackened fingernails digging into his skin painfully.
Two-thirty. He'd spent five and a half hours wandering through this place, getting himself covered in the stench of humanity and his own salty sweat. By now, his shirt was sticking to his torso in patches, his throat was dry, and his ears were pounding with the remnants of the fading music. He'd wandered around the entire place three times, and spent at least three hours back on the dance floor, shoving through grinding bodies and probing hips and pushing his tolerance to the limit each time, then being sick in the nearest garbage can at least twice. Not once had he seen even the slightest hint of Lenalee's presence.
Now, he leaned against the wall across from the table where Lavi and Kanda had once sat. Empty glasses littered the surface, but the pair had left hours ago. Where, Allen didn't know, and he wasn't sure he wanted to.
"Lenalee," he murmured, idly scrubbing his bottom lip with the back of his hand, "where are you?"
Eight-thirty, right, Allen? Will I see you there?
She hadn't really asked him, not in so many words. The moment she mentioned her plans for the night, he'd piped up asking to go, too. They'd arranged this, even exchanged cell phone numbers, but whenever he'd tried to call her, it wouldn't connect.
Had he been stood up?
Allen shook his head furiously at the thought, attracting a curious stare or two from the crowd of people exiting the club in a thick stream. No, Lenalee wouldn't do that. She might have been sick, or had to go home early, or maybe he'd just missed her… or perhaps… something worse…
Best not to think of that. With a sigh, Allen dragged himself away from the wall and trudged to the end of the line. The night may have been a failure, but it wouldn't be the last he'd see of Lenalee. Another day. Maybe she'd phone tomorrow.
Right now, he was too exhausted to do anything but make his way home. The half-hour walk was not very appealing to the bone-weary young man, but at least it would give him some solitude and time to think.
I've seen her once or twice but boy she knows my face
But it's hard to see with all the people standin' in the way, oh
What if she were here right now?
The thought struck Allen as he was slumped in place, feet shuffling towards the open door with young, tired partygoers bustling at his shoulders. He nearly stopped in place, only pushed along by the mindless movements of the people behind him. What if Lenalee was in line right now, following everyone outside? What if he saw her there?
Forget the tiredness; he'd gladly jump at the opportunity to go for a cup of coffee, even at this time of night. If Lenalee wanted that, anyway. If she wasn't too tired. He'd still ask her.
Would he even see her, though? There must have been hundreds of people in the club, all leaving at the exact same time. Could he find her in the crowd if she was there? Could she find him? Would they be able to hear each other over the racket of conversation that filled his ears as a substitution for the pounding music?
It was almost too depressing a thought. Allen thought he might really prefer to believe she wasn't there at all than think he might have missed her at the last chance he had that night.
But he did want to meet her…
So tell me if you see her
'Cause I've been waiting here forever
"I wonder if he ever did find Lenalee," Lavi mused, staring through half-lidded eyes at the shadows on the ceiling.
"Mmph. Hope not." Kanda rolled over, taking the blanket with him.
Oh baby, baby, if you seek Amy tonight
Oh baby, baby, we'll do whatever you like
The cool night air hit Allen suddenly as he emerged from the club. He took a deep breath, inhaling all the smog and pollution as if it were the clearest, most pure air he'd ever tasted. After the sweat and cologne of the club, it certainly felt that way.
His relief at being outside almost made him forget about the loss, if only for a moment. Even then, it gave him a strange sense of calm and satisfaction. He inhaled again, feeling his tense muscles relax in the comparatively open space.
It's all right…
I'll call her tomorrow.
A warm hand touched his arm.
Allen whirled around, half-expecting to see Lavi, or that girl who'd tried to dance with him earlier – he really hoped it wasn't her; he was too exhausted to deal with her again - only to find himself face to face with a pair of worried violet eyes that he'd spent the entire night longing for.
"Allen! You really came!"
Allen nodded numbly, unable to form words in his state of shocked delight. Lenalee really was here; she'd been here all along, and she'd found him just now… He'd never believed it would really happen, and yet the miracle had really occurred.
"I didn't see you all night, so I thought…" Lenalee trailed off, although he understood exactly what she had meant.
"Me too," Allen managed to say through the lump in his throat. "I was looking for you all night…"
"I'm so sorry… We must have just missed each other." Lenalee let her fingers run down his bare left arm again – so she had seen it – and stopped at the palm of his hand, where she curled them into a ball. "All this time, you…"
"It's all right," Allen reassured her. "I had… an interesting experience."
"Wandering around all night?!"
"…Sure." Allen shrugged sheepishly. "So… do you… want to get a cup of coffee or something?"
"I'd like that." Lenalee beamed at him and opened her fingers, slipping them through his own. "You're not too tired, are you?"
"For you? Never."
Lenalee shoved against him playfully as they strolled down the emptying street. "That was bad."
At that moment, Allen's smile was just as honest and happy as Lenalee's had always been.
There was something different between them.
Authour's Notes: Incidentally, Kanda lost that bet. Naturally.
I originally posted this back in February, but took it down to add another scene to it (it felt too short and the transition was too abrupt). See if you can tell which one it is. Also, at the time, I wasn't aware of the double-entendre of the chorus, and… actually, it was a coincidence that part of the theme was already there. Not that I didn't take the opportunity to add a little more. I was also under the impression that songfics weren't allowed, hmm... maybe it's been so long no longer cares? At any rate...
Anyway. Plotless fic: how was it? Please review with your criticism and whatever praise you might actually have for this (:P), as always. Thank you for reading!
Hmm… I feel like I should have added more, actually… but this is satisfactory…