He ground his wrists together, noting the harsh squeal the metal cuffs made. The links of chain had a way of burning and freezing his skin at the same time, transforming soft and pale into chafed and inflamed. He had already tried to sever the chains with Innocence-reinforced claws, but the metal wasn't even scratched, which he supposed was due to the purple sheen that gleamed across the links. Magic, he thought.
Plans of escape were long forgotten, replaced by thoughts of thirsty, hungry, and chains hurt. It was a struggle to stay conscious, let alone coherent. His eyes had trouble locking on to a certain point with his vision constantly blurring and wavering, so it took him awhile to realize someone had entered his cell. He jerked when a voice cut through the deathly silence.
Sharp and sweet and dangerous. Why was that voice so familiar? He shouldered his back against the wall, momentarily grateful for something stable behind him. He wanted so badly to look at his captor, to see who had imprisoned him, but he couldn't get his eyes to focus and settled on staring at the shaft of light coming from the open doorway.
"Why…" his voice rattled in his parched throat. Why have you brought me here? Why have you imprisoned me? His visitor cleared her throat with a delicate cough.
"Ever since the first Fourteenth betrayed the Earl for God, the Noah of Music has been disgraced and exiled from the ranks of the Noah Clan," the voice said. "But I guess Millennie thought you were different, deserved another chance, whatever."
Footsteps came toward him and polished boots stepped into his line of vision. A shadow fell over him and he screamed at his body, begging it to cooperate, but he seemed to be completely helpless and paralyzed. A kiss on his forehead, light but lasting, was like the chains that bit into his wrists, fire and ice.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Allen Walker." The boots retreated, and he saw the light from the door thinning until, with a thud, the cell door closed. He was aware of the phantom kiss on his forehead, still stinging. It felt like poison. Struggling with the chains, he tried to claw the itch, rip the skin off, anything just to get rid that horrible imprint of lips. It felt like it had bored into his mind.
He heard laughter from the hall.
With a sharp crack, his forehead exploded in paralyzing agony and his responding scream lasted only a second before he slumped, his eyes rolling back in his head.
As he fell unconscious, a small cross, like a star, materialized in the center of his forehead.
"Ugh…Oh God." Allen pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to smother the incessant pounding in his head. He was half-startled by the chains that bound his wrists, which clanked and clanged like Marley's ghost.
"Oh, He can't help you now."
Allen whipped around, sending the chains flying and skittering across the stone. Road laughed at him. She was lying on her stomach with her chin in her hands, kicking her legs back and forth. He narrowed his eyes but instantly regretted it as bursts of pain shot through his forehead.
"You," he spat, glaring through lank strands of hair. "WHY DID YOU BRING ME HERE?" Road gazed at him with half-lidded eyes, looking completely unconcerned at his shouting.
"I didn't do shit, exorcist," she said. "Though I wouldn't have minded. Don't you remember who brought you here?"
His eyes widened.
He had been in his room at the Dark Order, deep within the oblivion of sleep. He remembered having sickly dreams, though he couldn't recall what any of them were about. A tentative knock at his door had roused him, and he thought he heard Lenalee's soft voice, asking if she could come in. They'd needed to talk about something, he remembered, something important. Bleary eyed, he sat up in bed.
Then a gloved hand had reached through his wall, seized the back of his shirt, and yanked him backwards; his back slammed against the wall where he stuck like he was nailed to the stone. Another hand wrapped around his throat in a crushing grip, cutting off his breath. He felt hot breath on his neck and lips against his ear, and then, in a venomous whisper, "Come with me, boy." Then his body was pulled through the wall and flung into the night, dropping the thousands of feet from his room in the Dark Order, his last glimpse of a manic grin before he passed out. Only one person had a power like that…
"Tyki," he whispered. That wasn't possible. He had exorcised the Noah of Pleasure for good with the activated Crown Clown. He couldn't have his Noah powers. Road kicked her feet in affirmation.
"Yep!" Her lazy grin put him on edge, and he thought it was stupid since the whole chained up in a cell thing should have put him on edge already.
"Now lets be serious," she said, like he was the one sitting there chuckling and swinging his legs. "As much as I adore you being here, especially in the long-term, Jasdebi and Skinn are a bit pissed off about all of this."
Jasdebi? The Noah twins? Hadn't Krory taken care of them in the Arc? And he was sure Kanda said he killed the Noah, Skinn.
"Wait, did you say long-term?Ugh—why am I discussing this with you? WHY THE HELL AM I HERE?" He had the satisfaction of seeing her face awash in surprise at his booming accusations.
"Didn't I tell you last night? Millennie's adopting you, exorcist. You're a Noah Clansman now."
"I'm an exorcist! I'm not a Noah! I—"
Road held up a heart shaped mirror conjured out of nowhere, reflecting his face back at him. He looked in horror at his appearance.
Huge, panicked eyes stared back at him. Stark white hair, pale eyes, and a jagged scar running the length of his face. But that wasn't what made him so frightened.
In the middle of his forehead was the Mark of the Noah. It was small, nowhere near the size of the band of crosses on Road's forehead, but it was there. The pounding in his head increased, and he had an image of Road smacking the backs of his eyes. And then in his head, past the horrible ache, yes, there. Humming. A tiny song in his mind, like the one from the Arc.
"You are now," Road said, laughter like tinkling bells as his skin changed to the dark charcoal of a Noah for the first time.
The music was deafening. Every pitch, every cadence, every instrument and song rang in his head. He couldn't see anymore. He couldn't taste or feel or breathe. All his mind would register was the cacophonous blasting that resonated through his skull. He started to scream, then louder and louder because he couldn't hear it himself. It was horrible, terrible, unbearable, make it stopstopstop. He thrashed around wildly and nearly tore his shoulder out of his socket when the chains pulled tight around him.
"Allen! Allen! SHUT UP!" The voice was faint, but pierced through the endless discordance. Yes, please, make it stop. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. His nose started to bleed, but it clotted instantly, the tissue regenerating at an inhuman pace.
"Allen! Shut the hell up!" It was louder now, or maybe the music was fainter. He felt someone shaking his shoulders and then a sharp slap to his cheek. He barely felt it, still screaming, now frothing at the mouth. Suddenly a weight pressed down on him. It wasn't substantial, but in his head, searing away the sounds of the music and crushing him down with a huge, authoritative aura.
'SILENCE!' a voice boomed, much deeper and harsher than Road's voice. He gasped, his scream choked in his throat. The First Noah. The order was undeniable and he froze, shedding the charcoal skin for his normal pale and converted completely from his black form. All his senses flooded back to him and the mark on his forehead dulled to its normal black, ceasing its burning white glow.
Road was panting in front of him, hands on his shoulders and a drop of sweat running down her face. Her fingers were digging into his shoulders, and she was staring at him with burning eyes. He had never seen her look so tense, so enraged.
"I..." he stuttered. He no longer knew what to think. What the hell just happened to him?
Road turned away and gave a long, shuddering sigh, like she was trying to contain herself.
"You see?" she said, voice calm but a little hoarse. "You're a Noah, Allen Walker. There's no going back." She hissed the last part at him and, with a flick of her wrist, released the chains he now realized were constricted around him, fully ablaze with purple light.
The door slammed shut, leaving Allen in darkness. He could only stare in front of him where Road had been a second ago, shocked. His shoulder ached, his head ached, and his Innocence felt numb. What did she mean 'no going back'? He caught his reflection again in the mirror Road left lying on the floor.
A complete band of crosses stretched across his forehead now, inky black against his pale skin. What was he? Half Noah, half exorcist? Didn't both sides exist to destroy one another? The mirror fell from his hands with a clatter, a crack going down the middle. What was he going to tell the Order?
There's no going back.
That's right, even though he was an Innocence-adapter the Dark Order would never take him back now. He had been accused of heresy just on the suspicion that he could control the Arc, what would they say about him having the Mark of the Noah?
Allen couldn't feel his Innocence, although it was plainly still attached to him. Had it been damaged by the glowing chains, or Road? Either way, he couldn't shift it to its clawed form or its activated state. Maybe it was dead, rejecting his new Noah state. He clenched his fists, wishing it didn't have to be this way. But it was, he thought, eyes hardening with resolve. Yes, there was no going back.
He was a Clansman now.
Road dragged a frazzled hand through her hair as she stomped up the stairs leading up from the cell. She never would have imagined a newborn Noah could be so strong and defy her for so long. She'd needed to pull rank and use her position as the First to finally suppress Allen, and even then she had to use quite a bit of power. Of course, the Fourteenth was strong enough to flee the Noah Clan in the first place, so bringing him back under control was bound to be a struggle. Still...
She unbuttoned her coat and opened the side pocket, allowing the glittering green dust within to drift to the floor. She had acquired two Innocence fragments that morning and recalled the dread and delight she felt when they shuddered to dust under the pressure of Allen's musical scream. There was no telling if either of them was the Heart—she doubted they were anyway—since they were both destroyed at the same time. What a powerful gift. She did need to consider that every Noah's power was most potent when first released, but that didn't mean that Allen couldn't tap into that power eventually. Now she grasped what the Earl saw in him, regardless of his exorcist origins. He would be a key asset to the Earl's plans.
And maybe, she thought, smirking, even in a few of her own.
The next morning, Allen woke to keys jangling as his cell door was unlocked. The clockwork around his eye convulsed as he realized it was not Road, but two Level Three demons behind the door, one of them holding more cuffs and chains. He grimaced, having an image of demons coming in to sedate him like a rabid dog. They didn't say a word as they shuffled in and unwrapped the chains from his waist and legs, but their contempt was evident. One gripped his arms and forced them together as the other removed the burning-freezing chains from his wrists and placed another set of cuffs on him, which were attached to a leash-like chain. Were they afraid he was going to escape?
The demon holding his arms had a painfully hard grip on them, and a bone in his right forearm started to groan. He stifled the urge to release his Innocence, although, in his weakened state, it would have been hard to take both of them out anyway.
They walked up the stairs, one in front and one behind, into a dimly lit corridor. They reached the end of the hallway and a set of double-doors opened before them. He glanced around as they stepped into a huge room, clearly a ballroom, though Allen had never been in one. Candles flickered in the corners of the room, but it was otherwise dark like the corridor. The Level Three demons pushed him forward and flung his chain to the carpet.
"Next time," the demon growled, addressing the center of the room. "Get one of your zombies to play escort." It jerked its head toward a humanoid demon with charcoal skin and a star on its forehead. There were several of these demons flitting around a large table, all dressed in maid and servant clothes.
Allen couldn't see their souls.
He heard the demons stalk away as he strained his eyes towards the center of the room. As his vision slowly adjusted, he could make out a dining table, huge and heavily shadowed. Allen couldn't make out the faces of those who sat there, but he instinctively felt their presence. The Noah.
"Allen!" A petite shadow sat up and waved.
Was this his new family? His hands were still cuffed, but the chain lay untouched on the floor. He walked over to the table. Road came into view as he approached, her heart-shaped face illuminated like a jack-o-lantern in the candlelight. And there was Tyki, Skinn, Lulubell and Jasdebi, all seated around the table, their expressions still hidden in the shadows. He caught sight of the food a few seconds after he smelled it and almost started drooling. He ran the rest of the way to an empty seat, only decorum and his still-chained hands keeping him from digging into the feast.
He was just about to say, Screw it and stick his face in his food when a familiar chuckle made his blood run cold. He raised his eyes to the head of the table slowly, as if he was hoping the person would disappear if he took long enough.
But there he was: the same rotund figure and perpetual sneer, glasses and top hat shrouding his demonic eyes. This man was neither human, nor demon, and both his hands quivered in disgust. He couldn't believe he was so careless. The weight of his betrayal hit him hard, and it twisted his gut to think of how unexpected it was. He shouldn't have thought it was so simple: just walk up and join the Noah Clan. No, he was joining forces with the very being he lived to destroy.
"Good evening, Allen Walker."
The Millennium Earl.
A/N: This takes place about a couple of months after the end of the anime (a.k.a red exorcist coats, Lenalee with short hair, Crystal-type Innocence, and post 'Noah's' Arc). If anyone who reads the manga has any corrections or info relevant to the story, it would be awesome if you could message me or whatever to give me some insight. This isn't a oneshort, so if I get enough reviews I'll post the next chapter as soon as I can. Please critique!