It was one of those typical days, being stuck inside the exorcist headquarters. Winter was coming soon, and the chill hung in the air, making the late afternoon seem even colder than before. Of course, everyone was in their well-heated rooms, but Lenalee was different. She chose to stand at the balcony of her room, looking outside. It was so high up there that the sky looked seemingly endless, stretching ahead. They'd all just finished a tough battle once again with the Noahs. She wondered when they'd ever be done, where they can finally stop fighting and call it the end.
A strong smell of aftershave had weaved in while she was thinking. She took the smell in, its sweetness and everything, and she didn't even have to turn around to know that it was Lavi. He had his own unique smell, one she'd learned to recognize oh so well by now. Lavi wrapped his arms around Lenalee's waist, taking her soft hands in his bigger ones without any hint of hesitation. They stood there like that for awhile, while letting the wind blow their hair.
He's having his hair down again, Lenalee thought. She loved it when he did that, for no apparent reason, but he'd hated it terribly especially when he was reading. But she'd always thought he looked way better that way. Always.
Two years ago…
" Lenalee, I want you to meet someone tonight." Komui's voice sounded loud and clear in her head. She looked up from the documents in her hand that she'd agreed to proofread for the guys in the Science department at her brother, "Who is it? Or, what is it?" She added hesitantly. Her brother had the knack of sudden surprises, and not all are pleasant.
Komui smiled and beckoned her over, which she'd followed without giving it a second thought. Coming face to face with her was an elderly man. He had an extremely stern face, lined with wrinkles and weirdly long hair that actually stood up on its own. And right behind him followed a boy, obviously older than she was but he had his head down.
The old man introduced himself as Bookman, because he didn't have a name. Oh well, thought Lenalee, as she politely shook his hand, which was firm, for such an elderly person. Instantaneously, to be polite like she always was, she looked up the taller boy. He had looked up by now, without as much as half a smile or nod.
But the moment she reached out her hand to introduce herself, he took it earnestly, the lips that were pressed tightly together before, now breaking into a wide grin. "Lavi's the name," he said, still keeping a firm grasp on her hand. It was strangely warm, but in such a comforting way that Lenalee could only smile and blush at him like a fool.
"Lenalee," she replied quickly. She didn't want to ruin the part on first impressions, in case he thought she was a freak for standing there and gaping at him as her only response. Lavi smiled, his hand letting go of hers and running through his flame-red hair with it.
"Awesome." He'd replied, not tearing his eyes away from hers for one second.
"Your hands are so warm," Lenalee remarked as Lavi buried his face in the ark on her slim shoulders, smelling the sweet smell of her shampoo from her long, dark hair. He loved it, to be like this. But really, what does he not love so long it was to be with Lenalee?
He kissed her neck softly, "And yours are cold."
She sighed. Lavi probably didn't have a clue on the effect he had her, or how blessed she was feeling at that moment. He kissed her on her ear this time, breathing in heavily. Yes, Lenalee remembered all of a sudden.
"How are your wounds, Lavi?" She asked quietly, but her voice filled with concern, sadness and maybe even a hint of self-guilt. In their last battle, he'd gotten pretty badly injured, especially when he threw himself on her when the Noah Road Camelot had tried to get her with a bunch of those annoying pointy-tipped candles she always used. Lavi had bled a lot for her, she remembered, but he made it back to the headquarters, without even as much as half a whine. While she felt her heart bleed for him instead.
He stayed silent for awhile, which was so unlike him. It seems like he was talking less these few days, ever since he came back from the battlefield. And seeing him like this made Lenalee feel worse, the guilt gnawing away at her heart, especially when she'd thought of all the injuries he'd suffered.
"All better already, now that I'm right here with you," he mumbled hoarsely, not letting the grasp he had on her go. Lenalee giggled, "Sweet talking gets you nowhere, silly."
"Well, it worked on you." He grinned at her, and she felt like she could just kiss him there and then.
One and a half years ago…
Lenalee and Lavi sat on top of the roof. It was pretty cold up there, despite the fact that it was supposed to be summer. No other night had looked better than tonight actually, with the stars shining so brightly in the dark sky. I guess this is what they mean by a magical night, Lenalee wondered to herself as she hugged her knees. It felt like it was straight out of a fairy tale. Everything was perfect.
Then she felt Lavi snuggle up a little closer to her, his eyes wandering along the sky as well. They had gotten so close together, despite it being just four months since his arrival. He was always fun, bubbly and entertaining to everyone but to her, he was more. He showed her how sweet, caring and gentle he could be, that she wondered if he's found any wonderful ones in her too.
Lavi smiled when spotted a really huge star. "See that?" he pointed to one particularly large one in the sky. It almost looked more like a flaming ball instead to her. "That's the Mira I think. One of those huge variable stars."
Ah, of course. He was a bookman. Most of the time, he walked around with a book of any title, but which mostly consisted events in history. He probably knew everything about anything in the world, because he never forgot what he'd read, came across or seen. Lenalee nodded, "It's really big from here."
"Yeah, it is, isn't it?" He turned to face her, with a silly grin plastered on his face that she couldn't resist. She had no idea what was going on with her either, when she just leaned her head on his shoulder, and feeling the comfort wash over her. Lavi kept quiet, not objecting, not saying anything. Lenalee wondered if he was uncomfortable in any way, and was even about to sit straight up again when he said, "You look really pretty tonight, Lenalee."
She was shocked, but not in a bad way. It was just that even though they'd been such great friends in the past four months, she never heard something like this from him about her before, especially not when he was going a bit girl-crazed for the superstars on cable TV Sure, they shared a couple of hugs and plenty of teasing, but this was not what she was prepared for. And neither was she wearing anything special tonight.
"Thanks." She heard herself mumble. She hoped she sounded oblivious enough.
Lavi nodded, "Can I ask you a question, Lenalee?"
"Can I kiss you?"
Lenalee really sat upright this time. He was only sixteen, and she was fourteen going on fifteen. If she was going to kiss him, it would mean that she was giving her first kiss to him. To Lavi.
He was gazing so intently into her eyes that she never saw this in him before. She could feel her heart pounding hard against her chest and wondered if Lavi felt this way too. But still, she couldn't tear herself away from his beautiful green eyes, the ones that looked so deep, drawing her in. Lavi never waited for an answer, which was the only flaw in him that she found. Being Impulsive.
But right now, it felt like it wasn't such a bad quality after all. At first, she was skeptical about the idea but he had thrown all her doubts away. He leaned in swiftly, closing the space between them when he pressed his lips to hers. He was slow, but sweet and eager, along with all those things she read about first kisses in storybooks. She wish he wouldn't stop, in truth, when he did.
She looked up at him, realizing at that moment, was when she would fall head over heels in love with him. Her first true love, Lavi. She knew she would never stop loving him already.
Lenalee turned to face Lavi, placing her arms around his neck. She looked into the eyes that she had always been in love with and then tiptoed to kiss him on the lips gently. "I wish you'd hurry up and get well, Lavi. It…hurts to see you like this."
Lavi smiled at her, placing his forehead against hers, "Don't be. I'll get well ASAP, and then," he gave her a kiss on the forehead, "we can go to China and visit your hometown. You'd like that right?"
"Yes, of course. Definitely."
"And then when we get old enough, and when we feel we're done with our exorcist duties, we can go to somewhere far together, just the two of us. You like the quiet stuff right, so we can go there. Wherever there is."
Lenalee looked up at him, running a finger along the side of his handsomely chiseled face. "Lavi, you can't give up the city life. And don't you dare make this about me! Plus…what about my brother?" She knew she's going to miss Komui, no matter how psychotic and sister-obsessive he is.
"He can visit. And we'll visit him constantly too, I promise. And…" Lavi mumbled, "I want you to be happy, my sweet. No matter where you are. I said that before."
Lenalee sighed, "You're such an idiot sometimes, Lavi. Why do you always have to go along with me?"
He smirked, "Come on, we both know you love me that way." He bent down to kiss her again lazily, his hands running through her long hair. Then he pulled away again, hugging her eagerly. "I love you so much, Lenalee. I really do want you to be happy."
She ruffled his hair back into place, "Bookman Junior. Since when were you this serious?"
He kept his firm hold on her, hugging her till she felt like she could hardly breathe, "Only since I met you. You drive me nuts, Lenalee."
"You sound like you're dying, stupid," Lenalee laughed.
One year ago…
Lavi and Lenalee stood side by side in the central park, their breaths heavy because it was still in the middle of winter. The hot coffees in their hands were unable to satisfy but at least, they had each other for comfort.
"The birthday party was pretty cool isn't it?" Lavi said, sipping at the coffee carefully. It was easy to get a burnt tongue in weather like this. Especially when you're too eager for a hot drink.
Lenalee had just turned fifteen, while he was already seventeen. Earlier in the evening, the entire staff in the exorcist headquarters, including all finders and exorcists, had turned up to celebrate Lenalee's birthday, throwing a massive party just for her. Komui was so excited that he'd practically cried tears of joy. He didn't even mind when Lavi hugged her in front of everyone when they'd finished singing her birthday song.
Personally, Lenalee felt it was an amazing feat that Lavi had managed to get pass her elder brother. Komui had seemed reluctant to know that his precious sister was dating Bookman Junior, but after about two weeks of intensive speculation, Lavi seemed to have passed well.
"Yes," Lenalee replied with a sigh and a smile to his earlier question.
After the party, when everyone begun getting back to doing their own things, Lenalee allowed Lavi to pull her out for a quick walk in the park. He didn't want to be cooped up any longer in the old building and truthfully, she agreed with him.
But now that they're here, where she was joining him in staring into the open, she couldn't help but feel the closeness between them. She tilted her head to an angle, to take a better look at Lavi, when she was sure he wouldn't notice because he seemed more fascinated with the reflection of the moon in the lake. Funny. She had never noticed how well-proportioned his face was, or how his hair fell down in just the right places. She couldn't resist, thinking about how he was actually her boyfriend, before planting a gentle kiss on the side of his cheek.
Lavi turned to look at her, a skeptical look in his eyes. "What was that for?" He placed a protective arm around her shoulders. She was shivering, he noticed. But then again, it was an extremely cold night.
"I want to thank you for being here with me." She said.
"Silly," he said quietly. "I should be thanking you."
He dropped the coffee cup conveniently into the nearby trash can. "Because with you, I got to experience something else… other than wars and seeing people fight one another for idiotic reasons."
"And what kind of experience is that?"
He leaned in to be closer to Lenalee, locking his eyes with hers. Ignoring her question, he asked her another, "Do you love me?"
A little taken aback, Lenalee looked away, throwing her coffee cup into the bin as well. What kind of sudden question was that? It came without any warning at all. But she didn't know what to say to him.
Lavi laughed, looking at her blush. Then he begun to shout extremely loudly, "I love Lenalee!"
Lenalee looked around. The people strolling about nearby were turning their heads to stare at him as he did that. While she thought he was just insane. "Are you crazy? What are you doing?"
"If you won't say you love me, I won't stop," he said, before rushing around the park, shouting, "I love Lenalee! I love Lenalee!" And Lenalee didn't know what to do but run after the crazy person which was her boyfriend. "Lavi! Stop it! Stop this now!"
"I won't. Not till you tell me what I want to hear." He ran around, sometimes jumping on railings and empty benches to yell the same thing into the cold air. As embarrassed as Lenalee felt, because now that Lavi had the attention of every living thing in the park, she really thought he had lost his marbles.
"Lavi, come on, stop that!"
"I won't!" He said, then jumping swiftly on a random statue in the park. He shouted into the sky, "Lavi loves Lenalee lee! .YOU,LENALEE!"
"Get down from there," Lenalee pleaded, as she stood below the statue. "You'd fall if you carry on like this. And it's probably freezing up there."
"I don't care. I love you, Lenalee!" He continued.
"All right, all right. I love you too, Lavi! Please get down from up there," she said loudly. It was weird screaming out for the first time in her life that she loved someone. And in the open too.
Lavi hopped down almost immediately, his arms wrapping around her and pulling her into one of his warm hugs. "I knew it all along, Lenalee," he said softly into her ear, as Lenalee smiled at his words, "I just wanted to hear them from you."
Lenalee laughed, "You're really crazy, Lavi."
"And you're freezing, stupid," Lavi took off his jacket to let the petite girl slip into it. Strangely, it was so warm the second Lenalee had it on. She said, "It's really cold. Will you be okay?"
"Sure," he assured her, pushing her hands into the depths of the pockets of the jacket. "There. Keep your hands warm in them."
She felt something at the end of the pocket on the left. Pulling it out, she found herself staring at a silver oval locket in her hands. "What is this?" She asked him.
Lavi grinned, "Open it."
She did as she was told. It was such a beautiful locket, with a picture of a smiling Lavi alone in one side, and a picture of them together on the other. Lavi had it made specially, even going to the extent of carving the words 'together forever' on the back on his own.
"I kinda have one too," he remarked. She looked up from the locket, seeing a dog tag styled necklace round his neck as well. He turned it over and she saw that he'd carved her name on the back, placing a heart shape at the end and the date they'd gotten together officially."It's pretty corny, I know, but people do stupid things when they're in love," he said.
Then he took the locket from her hands, proceeding to help her put it on. It felt so cool and beautiful against her bare skin. Lavi smiled warmly at her when he was done, "Happy birthday, Lenalee."
The moment was too overwhelming, at least for her, to handle, that she didn't even realize she'd been tearing a little. Lavi reached over to wipe the stray tears away with his thumb, his eyes never leaving hers. "Hey, pretty girls don't cry like this on their birthdays."
"They do when they're too happy." Lenalee said softly, her voice barely audible.
Lavi swept her into a hug again, laughing. "Silly you," he said. "I told you people do stupid things when they're in love. But you're all worth it."
Lavi was looking too sad for Lenalee today. It was as if the spirit in him that she'd always knew and loved was somewhat amiss. "Lavi, is there a problem?"
He shook his head while bending over the railing to look at the misty view. "No. Why would there be?"
So Lavi didn't want to tell her. She felt a sudden sadness, but ignored the urge in her to ask why. Instead she joined him, staring into the open. She thought about how he'd always said he loved her, said he wanted to spend all the time in the world being with her, and said he would never leave her no matter what. The times in which he'd kiss her softly before leaving her to go on a mission with Yu Kanda or Bookman, and grabbing her into a huge bear hug upon returning.
But she simply couldn't stand not being able to understand what was wrong with him. "Lavi, if there's a problem, I want you tell me. Don't push me away and leave me alone to guess. I hate it. I hate this!"
She didn't know the where the sudden anger came about, but she didn't want to keep it within her for any longer. She realized she was crying and she wanted to hide the tears but Lavi was quicker than she was. He cupped her face in his hands, his thumb running over her cheeks to brush away the tears.
"Lenalee, I'm sorry for this. But…I…I'm scared." Hearing this made Lenalee perk up a little. The brave and almighty Lavi; afraid? This was wrong. "What of?" she asked.
"That stab in the back really hurts like hell, Lenalee. But I didn't want to tell you. I didn't want you to go around blaming yourself because I'm just hurting physically."
And already, Lenalee felt bad, her mind flashing back to how he'd saved her. If not for him, the one being in real pain now would be her. And the more she looked at Lavi, the worse she felt for being the cause of it all. "You'll get better, Lavi. You always do."
The chilly wind was beginning to get to her again, as she bowed her head down to avoid it. And to avoid letting Lavi's eyes penetrate into her very soul, like he always seemed capable of doing. He tilted her head up with his hand, while he bent down to kiss her on the lips. She closed her eyes, letting him, and they kissed like they did when he first asked her to kiss him. Those lips are still as warm as ever, she thought.
After quite some time, they broke apart for some air and he whispered so quietly that she could barely hear, "I love you so much, Lenalee. Always have, always will."
Never had she felt him say those words with this amount of sincerity or heaviness in them. Still, she felt so blissful that it seems like nothing would ever go wrong, so long he was with her. He could protect her, bring her joy, but most importantly, be there to love her more than anyone else could.
She nodded, smiling up at him, "I love you too, Lavi. More than you'll ever know."
Three months ago…
Lenalee had looked everywhere for Lavi, with no sign of him. She hated having to find him like this, because it made her worry. He wasn't in the library, the cafeteria or even out in the courtyard. So, where could he be?
She scanned around, trying not to look too desperate in case any of the staff wandering around thought she'd lost her marbles. And then she saw him, slumped against the side of a pillar on the ground, completely fast asleep. He had a book in his hand as usual, but he'd probably already lost his page. How still and different he looked, when he was asleep.
She squatted down next to him, not having the heart to wake him up. He was always doing this, sleeping at irregular hours, reading whenever and wherever he wanted, and when he didn't spend his time doing that, he loved her.
She fingered the little locket he had given her. She loved to wear it, which she did all the time except for when she bathed, and thank goodness for the high collar uniforms she got, she could hide it without Komui bothering her about 'public displays of affection'. She giggled just at the thought of it.
Lenalee sat down next to him, careful not to wake the sleeping boy. She liked how the afternoon sun seemed to be settling quietly upon his facial features, making her notice him even better. His tired eyes, wonderfully chiseled chin and falling hair; every detail of his. She leaned across to push his fringe away from his closed eyes.
He didn't even stir. Feeling even bolder, she slowly slipped her hand in his, taking it. She wish she could sit like this with him for all afternoon and not give a damn about anything but his presence. Then she felt him flinch a little, before placing the weight of his head on her shoulders, moving himself even closer.
"You found me, Lenalee," he mumbled.
She blushed but tilted her head downwards so he wouldn't see. Lavi chuckled when he saw her do that. "You meant to do that didn't you?" he asked.
Lenalee felt the need to focus on something, other than Lavi focusing on her. She let go of his hand, grabbing his book. "What are you reading about this time? Not the German war again I hope."
"No, I was reading on China's wars instead. So you guessed half right."
"Why that?" Lenalee asked.
"I wanted to know more about China. Where you told me you and Komui came from."
Lenalee smiled, "Why the sudden interest?" She closed the book, running her fingers along the bold title of the old book. "I haven't been there since years and years ago."
"I just felt like it. You know I don't do things unless the feel's there." Lavi leaned back on the pillar lazily. "And anyway…would you want to go back there again?"
"Yeah, but there's never the time. And Asia has fewer problems than the Eurpoean countries, I wonder why. So I don't get the chance to even step near there."
"Then we'll go there together one day."
"With my heart."
Lenalee opened her eyes, taking in the darkness about her. Her back was against the wall and she understood that she was in the balcony of her own room. Her head was hurting slightly, but mainly, she wondered what on Earth she was doing here. How did she end up here in the first place, especially if the weather was like minus a hundred degrees out here now, she had no clue.
Then, as she wiped her face, she realized she'd been crying. Her cheeks were tear-stained, her hair a mess and her legs felt numb, as she helped herself stand up by gripping on the railing for support. The weather had turned so cold that the scarf she had on alone with her usual clothing was not going to be enough to keep her warm.
How long had she been out here? What was she doing crying? And why was she here all alone? As she thought, she felt a pair of gentle hands on her shoulders, turning her around. Almost instantaneously, she found herself looking at Allen, one of the newest exorcist around, and whom she's quickly become great friends and partners with. She wondered why he looked so sad to her and that as if a dark shadow was looming over him but she couldn't find the voice to say it out loud.
"Lenalee, you'd freeze to death if you continue standing out here. What do you think you're doing?" Allen asked, his voice hard but filled with concern.
She ignored the statement because she had no answer for it. Instead, she held onto Allen's arm for support, asking, "Where's Lavi? Where'd he go?"
Allen sighed, his eyes low. Then he spoke, "Lenalee, he passed away two days ago. You knew that and so did all of us. Are you alright?"
Lenalee felt like her world was collapsing, and that God must be playing one huge joke on her. How is it even possible that what Allen just said was going to make any sense? She couldn't believe it. She wouldn't believe it. She shook her head at him, as Allen helped lead her back into the comfort of her own room.
"It's impossible. How could he be gone? Did he leave on a mission?"
Allen's face was all scrunched up, as if in pain. "Lenalee, you have to accept it." He watched her expression change from doubt to hurt. He added more quietly, "He won't come back, no matter how much we would all want that to happen."
Lenalee sat at the edge of her bed. It was all coming back to her right now, but she wished with all her heart that it wasn't true. She bent down, her face in her hands, where she sat crying again, for the umpteenth time. She cried till her eyes were sore, her throat hurting and her hands and face wet, but the tears won't stop. She remembered Lavi's last moments, where he was said to be suffering from a lot of bleeding in his internal organs. She had been there, holding his hand, screaming his name, wishing he's come back well and alive to her. She had never been hurt this badly before in her entire life, but the hot tears wouldn't stop flowing downwards.
Allen placed his arm around her in an attempt to be of comfort to her. "Please be strong, Lenalee. Lavi would've loved you that way."
She turned her face away, as her fingers found the locket around her neck. She rubbed it slowly, feeling its solidness under her fingers, before opening it to see his face, smiling so sweetly up at her. It made her miss him even more. She wanted to see him like this again, where they'd be together laughing over something he'd said. But now, she'd never felt more tired.
"He…he promised me that we'll go away together when we were old enough. He said he wanted to go somewhere quiet where I'll be happy. He told me he wouldn't leave me, no matter what!" Her voice grew louder and she punched the pillow that sat next to her.
She begun to sob again, "What is wrong with him? How could just being together for two years be enough? Always making stupid decisions on his own like protecting me and trying to be a good bookman, exorcist, and grandson and my boyfriend? How could someone do that much? And all those times when he wasn't busy being all those things…he loved me."
"But how's he going to tell me how much he loved me if he's not here anymore?"
Her hands gripped without much strength on Lavi's orange scarf, the one that had been around her neck all along. The one item that still smelled so much like him, and that still held his warmth. She knew she needed him. But he was already gone.