(A/N): A quick one-shot that HAD to get written because it wouldn't leave my head. Reallllly fluffy. Just a warning. HAH.
Summer heat in mid-July. It was slow and hot and unbearably humid.
The Order was smoldering. And coupled with the fact that there was very little Innocence/Akuma/The-Earl-attempting-to-take-over-the-world activities, headquarters was also stifling with too many people.
Everyone from Finders to Exorcists searched for a means to cool off.
Lavi had resorted to walking about the place with his shirt off. To which accordingly resulted in Komui threatening the redhead with a Komurina 3.0. (" Komurina?" "It's a female version." Lavi was skeptical. "Do you even have a 3.0 version?" The evil gleam of Komui's eyes were enough to send chills down the Science Division. "Would you risk it?") But instead, he settled for making sure his dear sister never ran into the boy en route of her coffee delivery. Iced coffee, to be specific.
Allen, though incredibly tempted to follow in Lavi's shoes, did not want to suffer the consequences of another false attack on himself by a gigantic robot. So he suffered with everyone else. And left the window of his room wide open, day and night.
A knock came on the cursed boy's door one late afternoon, arousing him from his heat-induced nap. Quickly pulling on his training shirt - the coolest shirt he had - he hastily opened it.
Lenalee stood in front of him, her short hair tied up with a ribbon to keep away from her face and neck, and she was dressed in a rather becoming short, flowing dress…with long sleeves.
"Hi, Allen-kun!" Her voice was bright and jovial. And he could see a light sheen of sweat collecting on the bridge of her nose. "Jerry made some lemonade to combat this high temperature, so I volunteered to take them around to everyone."
She practically shoved the tray she was carrying in his face. "Have a glass."
Several small glasses were piled on top of one another, accompanied by a rather large pitcher of the lemon drink.
He smiled gratefully. "Thank you, Lenalee."
Pouring himself a cup, he gave another glance at the sleeves of her dress. Although the material was light and airy, he could tell it was unnecessary.
Particularly in this type of weather.
As she set the tray down to stretch out her arms, Allen once again noticed a bit of perspiration. This time around her neck.
She glanced at him, having picked up the tray again. "Hmm?"
"Wouldn't it be cooler if you wore short sleeves?"
The surprised look on her face told him she was not expecting the inquiry.
"O-Oh, um…" Her cheeks suddenly colored, and her speech flustered. "I suppose it would be…"
Allen tugged on her sleeve curiously. "You're used to having your legs exposed, so why not your arms?"
A nervous laughter was her response. "You make a very good point, Allen-kun."
Turning around, Lenalee started to head down the hall. "I really should deliver this to everyone else." Tossing a forced smile over her shoulder, she dropped the subject with strained ease. "I'll see you at dinner, Allen-kun!"
Allen could only stare after her as she ran off, at a loss for words.
Lavi popped up out of nowhere, his typical carefree and no-shirt-wearing self.
The Bookman Jr. grinned mischievously, also cradling a cup of iced lemonade. "I take it Lenalee was just here?"
"Ah, yeah," Allen nodded distractedly. "Say, Lavi…"
Lavi arched an eyebrow at his comrade's funny expression, silently urging him to continue.
"Why do you suppose Lenalee doesn't like wearing long sleeves?"
The surprised expression on Lavi's face was quickly replaced with a shrewd one.
He smirked - sad, yet detached. It was a unique manifestation on his face that Allen had never seen before. "A young lady never displays her blemishes."
Pucker browed, the poor boy could only stare at Lavi in confusion. "Huh?"
Chuckling, Lavi patted him on the back. "Why don't you ask her, Allen?"
'Maybe I will…'
Thinking about it, Allen could only recall twice that he seen her in short sleeves.
And of course, during both times, he was a bit too preoccupied fighting for his life. The first time, he was batting their Supervisor's homemade robot from killing Lenalee's 'date', and the second time, he woke up to a level four Akuma in the Order. Relatively distracting situations.
It just made the situation all the more intriguing for him. Therefore, Allen even surprised himself when he questioned a certain sword-wielding exorcist about the topic.
Though annoyed at first, Kanda allowed Allen to ask his question with the promise that he would leave him alone for the rest of the month.
"Long sleeves?" Kanda repeated.
He looked ahead, the usual scowl on his face completely dissipated. "Probably because her scars are still there," he muttered.
Allen blinked. "Her…scars…?"
The glare returned full force. "Why don't you ask her yourself, you dimwitted beansprout?"
D. GRAY MAN
Allen had located Lenalee in the kitchen with Jerry, about to deliver another fresh batch of lemonade, when he stopped her.
They found themselves alone in the cafeteria, sitting across from one another. Allen very determined and Lenalee very timorous.
Her violet eyes darted back and forth, refusing to meet his. "Why do you want to see my arms?"
"I think the better question is why don't you want me to see your arms." Allen frowned. "Don't you trust me, Lenalee?
Silence reigned amid them, and Lenalee's deep breathing could be heard.
Eyes currently hidden behind her silky bangs, she bit her lips in fretfulness. "Have you ever done something you regretted, Allen-kun?"
He leaned in cautiously. "What do you mean?"
Hands quivering with fear and wariness, Lenalee began to un-cuff the links of her sleeves. "I did something horrible once, when I was very young. It was after I'd arrived at the Order. After they ran their…tests on me." Her fingers began rolling up the soft material of her sleeves. "I just couldn't handle it. I didn't understand what was happening. I-I just wanted to go home. Home to my brother. Away from these strange men who were trying to make me do something I didn't want to do." She twittered suddenly with a short, harsh laugh. "Come to think of it, it was about this time when I..."
Allen stared unabashedly as he felt his heart drop.
Imperfect, rigged and white.
It looked like a skin design on her wrists.
She fiddled with the wounds, trailing them with the tips of her fingers like they were the paths of a map.
"Every time I see them, I'm reminded of…" She paused to look at him. "Everything."
Allen reached over, taking her hands in his. He thumbed one scar that was particularly sharp and jagged. A small, electrifying spark went up her left arm from the touch.
"Did it hurt?"
Lenalee was solemn. "Not nearly as much as the restraints that were put on me afterwards."
"You hid them because you were ashamed, then?"
"I'm not ashamed," she sighed. "It's just…they're not pretty to look at."
Allen smiled softly. "They're on you though, aren't they?"
Something inside Lenalee melted at his stimulation, and she laughed quietly.
He regarded her in a kind manner. "Please don't feel that you need to hide something like this from me, Lenalee."
Somehow, their fingers became entangled.
"You should wear your battle scars with pride." Allen squeezed her hand. "Even if they're self-inflicted."
A giggle escaped through her lips at the proud statement. "That sounds like something Kanda would say…followed by something Lavi would say."
"Those scars don't prove that you're weak. They prove you're a survivor."
"But they're so ugly."
Realization dawned upon the white-haired exorcist. "You live in fear of your past, don't you Lenalee?"
Lenalee's breath hitched and she remained still.
He took the initiative and untangled his fingers from hers, and instead, he enveloped her wrists in his hands. Warmth surged through her, and a feeling akin to fluttering butterflies filled her lower belly.
"Are you perfect?…No." A tear escaped her welled up eyes. His face softened. "Are you beautiful?…Yes."
He reached across, wiping the lone tear away from her smooth cheek.
"For what it's worth, I'm glad you did it."
Allen's expression was gentle and calming. "You wouldn't be as strong as you are now if you hadn't come to blows with your flaws back then."
The heat emitted from his hands bristled and burned through her skin and into her very veins. Suddenly, the temperature wasn't the only heat that surrounded her.
Her gaze met his with a full-blown grin. "You always have the ability to make me happy, Allen-kun."
Not a hair's width of space stood between their noses.
"I am a clown, after all."
Their foreheads met in sticky sweat and stimulating skin contact. His spiky hair tickled her temples. And upon closer inspection, Allen could see the gold flecks of her dark purple irises, along with the light pink tinges of her cheeks - whether it was from their close proximity or the heat was the real question.
Lenalee laughed wholeheartedly.
D. GRAY MAN
The next day, Lenalee fluttered about the Order in a thick-strapped sundress, going door-to-door once again to deliver a fresh batch of Jerry's lemonade.
Her smile was contagious, and even Kanda took the drink without argument. His eyes skimmed over her choice of outfit, and he briefly noted to her that she 'needs to wear more clothes like that…in this weather, of course'.
"You're certainly spirited today," Lavi commented.
The sleeveless ensemble did not go unnoticed by him, either. Nor did the obvious scars, now dressed with pretty bangles that match the Innocence enveloped around her ankles.
"Why wouldn't I be?"
Lavi smirked as he watched her practically skip off to Allen's room. "That's right princess, why wouldn't you be?"
(A/N): Just something I had in my head that wanted to get out. Not my best piece, nor my most dramatic one, but I wanted to write this without being super angst-y because apparently, I have knack for that…LOL. I just needed something light and sweet that would leave readers feeling, 'Aww. Okay. That was solid.' Let me know what you think!