ActV: All's Well That Ends Well
Summary: We learn about love and life everywhere. That holds true for our stalkers as well. Join them in the end of their journeys – this is more than the story of two boys.
Speaking of which, what will happen to our favourite duo? Will the boys reach the top of the world in a conveniently situated Ferris Wheel, kiss with the backdrop of fireworks, and finally get their happy ending? Will they kill our dear audience with romantic realizations of how sweet each other's mouth tastes (like fruit, and sweet wine, throw in a flower or two on top of that)? Will your director be lobbed at with rotten tomatoes for not fulfilling every fangirl's desire?
Read on, dear friends, the stage for the final act is set.
6.15pm, Outside The Performance Tent
When the two boys came out from the tent chattering excitedly, Lou Fa had to swallow the lump in her throat. Beside her, Bak placed a hand on her shoulder, offering some form of comfort. They stood where they couldn't be seen by the boys but from where they could catch snatches of their conversation.
"…and the acrobats…stunts…" Lavi looked amazed, while Allen just flapped his hands dismissively.
"…nothing…see the…lions? That was…" Allen said with shining eyes.
At Bak's nudging, they moved a little closer to the boys.
"Seriously, the clowns are still scary. The twins? My god, the way they bent," Lavi shuddered dramatically and Allen snickered.
"I can't believe you screamed when they sprinkled water on us. Honestly. You never saw it on the TV before?"
"Hey!" Lavi protested. "How was I to know it was part of the show! Oh," he narrowed his eye, "you're laughing, are you?" Allen shook his head even while he muffled his laughter with his hand. "Oh, I'll get you for this."
When Allen tossed his head back and laughed, Lou Fa looked at the ground. Bak drew her away and wordlessly invited her on a walk in the opposite direction from the way the boys were headed. When they were a sufficient distance away, in a quieter part of the grounds where there was a fountain and benches scattered around, Bak spoke up softly.
"Be honest with yourself. Have you seen Walker like that before, with your group?"
Lou Fa sighed and shook her head. Bak smiled a little.
"When you really like someone, uh, I'm not sure how to put it…that's how Walker was. I'm sure he thinks of all of you as good friends, but you'll have to give up on him. Hey, you'll find a much better person next time who likes you back as much as you like him. Honestly," Bak said a silent apology to the boy he was talking about, "you deserve better."
Lou Fa shot him a weak glare. "Allen's a great person, Mr. Chang."
"And while it hurts my manly heart to say this, you're a good girl too, Lou Fa," Bak said with utmost sincerity despite the theatrical grasp he made at his chest, as though he was hurt at such sentimentality. Lou Fa giggled.
"Alright…I'll try, Mr. Chang," she said with a brave smile on her face. "Thank you…oh, Mr. Chang, do you have the time with you?"
Bak glanced at his watch. "Nearly six-thirty, why?"
Lou Fa smiled. "Shall we go meet Ri Kei and Shi Fu, Mr. Chang? I'm sure they'll be happy to talk to you too."
Bak grinned. "Sure thing, Lou Fa. Lead the way, lead the way."
And with a smile that was not entirely bright, but which was sincere and contented, Lou Fa led the way back to where her two friends must be worrying about her.
6.32pm, The Shooting Stall
Two roller coaster rides later, Allen was sufficiently convinced that they had fallen back into the easy camaraderie of before, and if he was lucky Lavi had forgotten all about the stupid hand-holding thing. Lavi was currently eyeing the shooting stall, obviously calculating the probabilities of actually being able to win something.
"Don't you have terrible depth perception?" Allen asked, eyebrows raised. Lavi glared at him in mock hurt.
"I can shoot better than you any day, you arrogant sprout," Lavi said with a sniff. Allen's eyes narrowed at the challenge.
"Oh, will you? I accept this challenge then," Allen said, placing his money down on the table. The stall owner then looked at Lavi who placed his own coins down with a grin.
"I'll go first then, sprout?"
"Be my guest," Allen said, smiling. He stepped back to give Lavi space.
To his dismay, Lavi proceeded to shoot all the cups down effortlessly, incurring an audible groan from the owner. He thought he caught something like "second time today" from him but ignored it, focusing instead on the wide grin Lavi was sporting. He narrowed his eyes.
"Well then, Al-len, be my guest," Lavi said, throwing Allen's words back at him. Allen huffed and after loading the gun with foam bullets, he took aim.
To his embarrassment, his first shot didn't succeed in tumbling even a single cup. As he cursed and took careful aim with his second, he felt a hand on his, another one coming up to adjust the gun.
"Not like that, sprout." Allen, caught off guard, flushed at the sound of Lavi's voice near his ear. "You need to aim a little higher with these cheater stalls…there we go." And was it his imagination, or did Lavi move away a little slower than he should have?
Despite his thumping heart, Allen did manage to shoot the cups this time, winning a prize that was only a rung lower than Lavi's. He lowered his head in slight embarrassment.
"Hey," Lavi's hand clapped onto his shoulder warmly. "First time for everything, eh? Here," he pushed a rather adorable stuffed toy whale into Allen's arms, nudging the butterfly to the side as though by accident. "I've always liked rabbits better. My namesake, you know," Lavi said with a shrug as he plucked the stuffed toy rabbit from Allen's arms.
Allen huffed. "Don't be condescending, Lavi." He glared at the whale's innocent smile, though it was evident his heart wasn't in it. Lavi grinned and spun around to walk backwards, ignoring the grumbles of the people he knocked into. Allen gave them an apologetic smile on Lavi's behalf.
"But you've had this secret love of whales ever since 'Finding Nemo'! Don't deny it," he said when Allen glared at him, "you were forever making Dory's whale noises."
"Was not!" Allen retorted in a very mature manner. Lavi raised an eyebrow. Grinning, he shot out a hand, grabbing Allen's. Without giving himself a chance to regret the action, he turned and pulled Allen with him, settling into a jog.
"Come on, sprout, there's something I want to do before it gets dark!" Lavi called to Allen as they weaved in and out of the crowd. Allen just turned his head away, willing Lavi not to see how happy he was when Lavi grabbed onto his hand.
"Wait, are you changing the topic, Lavi? Lavi!" Allen said with narrowed eyes as Lavi hummed louder to drown out his voice.
6.57pm, Near The Children's Rides
"I – " Lenalee closed her mouth and swallowed. She looked down and started again, her voice low. "I guess I was wishing I was with someone I liked myself."
On a patch of grass near the kiddy rides, they observed two boys who had just entered one of those spinning tea cups. Lavi took control of the wheel while waiting for the ride to start. Instead of looking at him, Fou glanced at her.
"That why you suggested this?" She asked. Her eyes crinkled up as she smirked. The ride had started with Lavi spinning as fast as he could, cheerfully ignoring Allen's green face.
"Maybe…" Lenalee played with a blade of grass. "I used to have a little crush on Lavi, but I never dared to act on it. Now, well, I don't anymore, I'm glad he found someone. In my freshman year he was kinda…cold. I don't know. But yeah, he's been a lot happier since he met Allen."
Fou hummed. She brought a thumb up to her lips and chewed on it lightly.
She nodded in response. Lenalee drew another breath. "Fou, do you have anyone you…like?"
To her surprise, Fou smirked and nodded again without any hesitation. Lenalee's mouth dropped open. She honestly thought Fou would have been the last one among their group of friends to have a romantic relationship!
She leaned forward, curious. "Who? Do I know him?"
Fou laughed. "If I told you it's someone twelve years older than I am, what would you think?"
Lenalee blinked at the unexpected answer. "Well, I, uh…" She floundered around for something to say. "That's…unexpected…"
Fou laughed again, though it was kind. "Lena, don't get your head into a spin over this. We were childhood friends."
"Huh…what's he like?" Lenalee suppressed a giggle as the two boys climbed out of the tea cup, Allen on wobbly legs and Lavi not bothering to smother his laughter.
"He's an idiot."
Lenalee blinked. "I thought you hate idiots."
"Yeah, he's a bigger idiot than anyone else. It's so fun to tease him," Fou rubbed her hands together in glee. "He breaks out into the worst hives ever if he thinks of a pretty lady."
"Wait, you're not jealous of that?" Lenalee asked, looking incredulous. Fou snickered.
"What's there to be jealous of?" She said in such a matter-of-fact tone that Lenalee was taken aback. The idea that two people could like each other so much that they didn't even suspect each other of infidelity…she wondered with not a little envy whether she could have that with somebody else.
"Lena," Fou said with a sigh in her voice. "Lena, don't rush it. Look at them. They're blundering everything up, but they'll do it on their own time."
Lenalee's smile was tremulous. She clasped her hands together in her lap. "It's just, it seems like everyone else, except me…"
Fou scoffed. "You're an idiot too," she waved her hand dismissively at the weak glare Lenalee sent her. "There's no point rushing this. Some people fall in love at ten, some at fifty, so what? You're an idiot for thinking that you need to be in love. Bullshit. Some don't even fall in love, at least you've had a crush."
"But that's easy for you to say, you have that someone, you can do this," she gestured in the general direction of the rides, from which the two boys have already disappeared. "I…I don't even know what I want to do…I'm a senior already, I'll have to move out into the world soon!"
"You think it's that easy? Lena, think a little. He's twelve years older than me, he has a job, I have school, you think we meet up every weekend? You think we live so close to each other that we can see each other anytime we want? We had a date a month ago, and today when he wanted to ask me out his stupid friend had to go drag him somewhere important! Lena, it's not easy, it's not all peaches and roses! Look at them!" As Lenalee did so a moment ago, she gestured at the rides. "It's not easy for them either! See how long it took them to even hold hands!"
Lenalee recoiled as if she had been hit. Fou sighed, lowering her voice a little.
"Look, Lena, all I'm saying is, let things take their course. Don't listen to what your brother says about men," she said with a snort, "anyway, I'm pretty sure he has accepted the fact that one day you'll find someone."
Lenalee's lips twitched up into a small smile then, and she ducked her head. The darkness settling around them made it easier to hide the embarrassed flush she had when Fou gave her little lecture. And in a way…
She felt better. She felt lighter, somehow, the tight feeling she had in her shoulders having been somehow released.
"Thanks, Fou…" She murmured.
"Hmph, whatever," Fou muttered, looking away. She proceeded to stand up, taking her time as she did so, and brushing the grass off the seat of her jeans once she was on her feet. "Come on, let's see if they've finally got their act together."
With a chuckle, Lenalee nodded and stood up as well, heading with Fou back to the bright lights of the carnival.
7.27pm, Hillside Picnic Table
When Lavi returned with the huge load of food (what he saw as undeserved punishment for exacting his own revenge on Allen with the teacup ride), it was to find the boy sitting at a picnic table toying with the fur of his whale, eyes glazed over as he watched the dancers around the huge bonfire. He placed the food on the table and settled beside Allen, watching what he found so fascinating.
The performers were there too, mingling with the general crowd and dancing one of the more traditional folk dances. Lavi thought he caught sight of what looked suspiciously like one of his professors dancing with a short girl with spiky hair. He dismissed that and turned his gaze around the fire, smiling when he saw the twin clowns goofing around by inventing their own dance steps. Some children were even pulling their parents into the dance. It was almost surreal from afar, though Lavi knew that if they were there they would have felt the heat from the fire, the sweat collecting on the back of their shirts. But as it was, far from the midst of the dance, it could have been a scene straight out of the movies.
Well, Lavi slapped at a mosquito that landed on his neck, if there weren't creepy crawlies that spoiled the scene. He heard the rustle of food wrappers being pushed aside and Allen munching on a sandwich, gaze still on the dance.
"Must be your blood type," was the murmur that came in between bites of food. Lavi blinked.
"Mine's O…the mosquitoes leave me well alone then."
Lavi chuckled. "Doesn't hold, sprout. I'm type O as well."
"Ah," was the simple reply as Allen resumed eating his food. Lavi glanced at Allen, noting his dazed conversation and now his uncharacteristic silence. Then he reached for his own food as well, eating his own smaller sandwich steadily while Allen started on his third.
Now, without the distraction of the rides, Lavi thought of what he now dubbed the hand-holding incident and played it through his mind again. He combined that with several other incidents throughout the day – testing Allen at the shooting booth – and later holding his hand to pull him to the teacups...
Perhaps it was foolish, thinking that he had a chance with Allen. After all, Allen did hesitate when they were on the bench…but he did not seem uneasy after that. He didn't push away Lavi's hand or arm or any of the other hundred small touches they had after that. And now, as Allen finished his food and remained staring at the dancers, maybe he wanted to participate in the dance too.
Could he? Would he have the courage?
Swallowing, Lavi bunched up his wrapper and tossed it into the paper bag with the rest of the rubbish. Taking a deep breath, he looked at Allen, who seemed to have finally noticed him and had turned away from looking at the dance, a smile on his face which faltered when he saw Lavi's intense gaze.
"Allen – would you like to join me, at the bonfire?"
Allen's mouth worked, searching for words. His mind started whirring, jolted awake from the peaceful doze it had been in when he mindlessly watched the dancers. Maybe…Lavi could have been asking him to dance as friends, but…maybe it was something more. Well, he could also have this chance to touch Lavi for a longer time than usual, so…
He gulped then looked up, nodding. With a grin, Lavi reached for Allen's hand and pulled him up from the bench. Allen half expected Lavi to drop his hand once they had stood up but it remained there, slightly grimy from the day's sweat and the food they ate, but warm and with quite the reassuring grip. With a pull, they were on their way down the hillside to join the messy congregation of people around the fire.
7.54pm, Near The Bonfire
"I didn't know you're a professor at Cartes' too, I never saw you around…" Doug said thoughtfully. He was standing with Kanda and Komui near one of the hot food stalls, watching the dance with interest. Kanda, in spite of himself, was curious about the Physics and Math professor. He had to grudgingly admit that it was an incredible act of genius to be able to be a professor in two disciplines at his young age.
Komui chuckled, cupping his hands around a Styrofoam cup of warm coffee. "You'll probably have me in your classes in your second year, I teach level 2000 and above."
Doug hummed. It was surprisingly fun talking to Komui once they got past the whole overprotective brother act and found out that he was actually their university professor. "Oh, Mr. Komui, look," he pointed out a conspicuous head of white and a redhead at the bonfire. "That's them, see how they're dancing with only each other?" Komui watched closely, still clinging on to the last vestiges of suspicion that the two of them were after his sister. However, all he could see was Allen stumbling over the dance steps, sending both him and Lavi into fits of giggles as they tried to keep up with the music. Lavi's arm was twisted awkwardly as Allen took the wrong left turn again, making him squawk and Allen release his arm with an apologetic look.
Kanda smiled and turned away from the sight of them, well, flirting, for lack of a better word. Doug laughed when he saw Tyki as well. "And that's Lavi's history professor…do you know him, Mr. Komui?"
Komui's eyes followed the direction he was pointing at and he hummed a little, recognizing the university professor.
Kanda let out a small sound of frustration. "Idiot, Lenalee's there with another girl. Unless you're worried she likes girls, stop your damn panicking."
Komui whipped his head around to see Lenalee and Fou eating ice cream, Lenalee giggling while Fou just sighed and ate the ice cream quickly before it melted. He smiled in relief at how his sweet, innocent, pure and virtuous Lenalee wasn't getting chased at by unworthy men.
"Oh, they're moving off," Doug observed as the crowd cheered and threw the last pieces of wood into the fire, the music settling into lively tunes for those who wanted to stay behind and continue dancing. Allen had grabbed Lavi's arm and was saying something to him. The two of them moved off after that.
"Well," Komui pushed his spectacles up. "I can't deny being interested myself in what happens in the end. Let's go, Kanda, Doug!" Komui said with an all too childish glee in his voice, now that he had ascertained neither of the boys was after Lenalee. Kanda, to his dismay, found himself being pulled along by Komui, unable to shake off the firm grip on his elbow.
8.20pm, Near The Ferris Wheel
"Oh," Lou Fa said as they stopped near the Ferris Wheel, watching the boys join the long queue to get in. "This…it's like from the movies."
Ri Kei gaped in shock before he recovered his senses. "Wait, Walker's gonna confess there? How much more clichéd can it get!"
Shi Fu shook his head. "Calm down, you two. It could just be an innocent ride – " He blinked at the three looks shot his way. "Right. You agree with them, Mr. Chang?"
"Well," Bak looked up at the contraption. "You have to admit this is awfully reminiscent of the movies. Couple gets to the top, couple kisses, fireworks go off, and when they come down they're suddenly all blushing and not looking at each other. Yeah, I'd say this is it."
"Lou Fa?" Ri Kei said quietly, bending down nearer to the girl's face. She shook her head.
"I'm okay…I hope Allen will confess. I hope Lavi returns his feelings…"
Shi Fu sighed and placed his hand on top of her head, patting lightly. "You don't have to force it, you know."
Lou Fa ducked her head. "I know…but I do hope he's happy."
8.35pm, The Ferris Wheel
When they had settled into their compartment and the usher closed their door, the click signaling it was locked, Lavi became hyper-aware of the silence. Allen looked out the window as their cabin started moving slowly into the night sky.
"It's…" Lavi then shook his head, deciding not to stoop to making small talk. "You said you wanted to say something, sprout?"
Allen jumped a little as he turned from his contemplation of the scenery to Lavi. He blinked and looked down at his lap, suddenly hesitant on what to say. He half wondered why Lavi had suggested the Ferris Wheel as a good place to talk and end their day out.
Their cabin moved upwards, soon giving them a view of the whole carnival, the colourful lights around the center performance tent almost mesmerizing.
Yet Lavi found himself unable to appreciate the outside view. His heart was thumping, faster than usual, and he found himself clenching and unclenching fistfuls of his shirt material. He wondered what Allen had to say. The hand-holding…and Allen perhaps now telling him he didn't feel the same.
Allen swallowed. "When you held my hand just now…"
Lavi breathed shakily, almost relieved that the topic finally came up. At least they could settle this once and for all.
Allen looked to the side, eyes vaguely taking in the scenery. "You let go of it, so I don't quite know now and…ah," he rubbed his palm over his face, "damn it, that's not what I wanted to say."
For a moment, he was scared that Allen was crying, then realized that Allen was just frustrated. He attempted a smile but when that failed, he settled for a little quirk of his lips. "Sprout?"
"Right, right," Allen said, breathing heavily out. He closed his eyes, collecting his thoughts. In the strained silence, Lavi cast about for something to concentrate on, to distract him from the thoughts clouding his head and making his heart beat so damn hard. He nearly jumped when Allen spoke again. Their cabin was then lowering to the ground and preparing to go on the final round before they had to get off.
"I…I don't know when it started, or how, or whether I should be…" Allen shifted in his seat, smiling faintly. "Mana and I even quarreled about this a little, in my sophomore year." Lavi blinked, remembering the day when he had found Allen subdued on the spectator's stands during lunch period. "We've come to terms with it and…I must be irritating the hell out of you now," Allen observed. He blinked up at Lavi.
Lavi shook his head, gesturing for him to go on, almost desperate for him to go on.
Allen breathed out and then, with a sudden resolve, he looked at Lavi straight in the eye, his own eyes wide and frightened but determined.
"I like you, Lavi."
When Lavi let his breath out in a whoosh, he didn't even realize that he had been holding it all the while. The worst seemingly over with, Allen smiled and went on.
"When you asked me whether I like anybody…it's you, Lavi. It has been for a while. I…I guess I rather fancy you, and…"
Allen registered the faint sounds of laughter and shrieks coming from outside the cabin, the world finally intelligible to his previously fear-gripped mind. "And I guess…that's all I wanted to say."
Silence reigned once more in their cabin. It passed the tallest point and made its way back to the ground, both of them knowing they'd have to get out soon. Slightly nervous, but much calmer than he was before he had admitted it, Allen looked at Lavi's unreadable face.
"Well…I suppose I'd like you to say something now. Even if it's a rejection," he said, trying to make light of the fact that he'd be devastated – well, okay, maybe not so bad, but he'd definitely be a little crushed – if Lavi were to reject him.
And yet, like a really failed movie scene, the cabin touched down and the same usher opened the door, gesturing for them to step down for the next batch of passengers. Feeling a lot more subdued than when he went onto the ride, Allen stood up and was about to make his way out of the cabin when a hand grabbed his. Frozen in shock, he did not dare turn to look at Lavi.
"Come with me, sprout," Lavi said quietly before he tugged Allen out of the cabin, the usher taking a startled glance at their clasped hands before politely averting his eyes. Allen, able to see only Lavi's blind side, swallowed and just followed, not knowing what Lavi wanted.
"I don't think they did it," Fou said. She looked grumpy. Lenalee's face echoed her disappointment.
"Well, let's follow them anyway," she said.
Unknown to her, several other groups of people made the same decision, heading down paths that all led away from the main carnival area.
8.51pm, A Small Clearing
"Lavi?" Allen finally dared to question after they stopped at a small patch of field, still within sight of the carnival but far from the mass of people. Lavi let go of his hand and Allen bowed his head, resigned to the fact that Lavi was probably about to reject him in the kindest way possible.
Then, inexplicably, Lavi started chuckling, hand covering his eye and body shaking. Allen stared at him, mind blank.
Lavi didn't show any signs of stopping. Allen's jaw slowly clicked back close, a flush coming to his cheeks when he thought Lavi was making fun of him for his feelings.
"What are you laughing for! If you don't like me that way, that's fine, just say so!" He cried, astonished when his words only made Lavi chuckle harder. Finally, after enduring his laughter for a few more seconds, Lavi turned to face him, the guy shaking his head in slight awe.
"It's just…do you know how ironic your words are, beansprout?" Lavi said, his eye twinkling. Allen frowned even as his shoulders sagged at the thought that at least, at the very least, Lavi did not seem disgusted.
"What…what do you mean?"
"I thought it was obvious enough, sprout," Lavi sighed and took a step forward, looking Allen in the eyes. Allen allowed himself to hope for a moment that Lavi was…
"I'm not sure if I want to pay back by making you wait, for as long as you made me wait while you rambled…" Lavi mused, a hand coming up to rub his chin.
"Just…what? What is it, Lavi?"
"I meant that you, Allen Walker, are as silly as I am. I like you too, beansprout, and I have for a while, and I thought you hated me when I held your hand."
Amazingly, for all that, Allen's brain stuttered and chose to respond only to the last part.
"What, but, I don't hate you!"
"Huh? Oh, oh man," Lavi bowed his head down, chuckles turning into full-blown laughter now. "All that, and you can only say you don't hate me! Well duh, I was hoping that you like me instead, as you said you do."
"I do! I, wait, Lavi, this is…" Allen shook his head, attempting to clear it. "You…I…huh?"
"Very eloquent, sprout. Let me put it plainly for you," Lavi took a step closer again. "You like me," he poked Allen's forehead, "and I like you," he poked it again, enjoying the sight of Allen's eye twitching, "and we were both idiots to take so long to say that." Allen finally succeeded in batting his hand away. Then, in the pause that followed, he looked up at Lavi's eye that was soft, twinkling in the small amount of light they were getting from the carnival lights.
"You do?" Allen asked, not daring to believe.
"What's this, a marriage proposal? Fine then, I do, I solemnly take you to be my boyfriend in arms against the whole wide world," Lavi said, eye twinkling. Allen's breath came out shakily – his eyes were wide. He proceeded to laugh in gasping breaths. Lavi looked very amused.
"Oh god. You're such an idiot, even now."
"I am, aren't I?"
With a jolt, Allen realized that Lavi had breathed those words very near him. Looking up, he swallowed when he saw that Lavi was very close to him now. His hands had reached down to take both of Allen's. Allen looked down, up, down again, not quite sure where to focus his gaze.
"Well…I'm not quite sure what the next step is, sprout...though I do have some idea."
"I, um…just…whatever you were thinking of doing?"
"Hmm, yeah, I guess, since I've been thinking about this for a while…"
He looked up again, realizing that Lavi was so very near, and that, oh, oh god, they were going to…
"Oh for freak's sake, hurry up already," Fou whispered, swiping at her face where the bushes scratched her. Lenalee was equally impatient.
"I can't believe they are finally doing this."
"Me neither…" Lenalee whispered. Then she frowned at the unfamiliar voice and turned around, just preventing herself from screaming. "Who are you!"
"Oh, I'm sorry!" Doug scrambled back and nodded in apology. "I'm a friend of Lavi's, I assume you know those two? I'm very sorry, I was addressing someone else…"
"That's…that's alright," Lenalee said, taking care to whisper. "But if that's the case, then…"
"Lenalee?" Said a quiet, gruff voice. Lenalee turned and gaped.
"Kanda! What, oh my, what…I haven't seen you in forever – "
"Shh! All of you idiots, shut up!" Fou hissed. Lenalee made her way over to the tree which Kanda was leaning against.
"Kanda, oh, oh my!" She held herself back from hugging the man, wondering if he still hated physical contact even after all these years. "You're…"
Kanda looked off to the side and before Lenalee could react, a blur rushed at her. "Brother!"
"Lenalee! I've been so worried, you were out here, and I thought those two were after you!"
"Allen and Lavi? What? But they're both – "
"Seems like a party here," an amused voice floated over from the bushes, Ri Kei having chosen to scramble into the same bush where Fou was hiding. Fou grinned.
"Haven't seen you three since the afternoon – Bak!" Fou looked astonished. "I thought you were – "
"Fou! Listen, I really wanted to, but Komui – "
"Shit," Ri Kei muttered as he lost his balance when Lou Fa leaned against him. "Lou Fa, don't, shit!"
"What the hell – " Fou squawked.
Back in the clearing, Lavi was about to realize his trashy romance novels scene when there was a loud disturbance from behind Allen. Allen jumped and spun around. Then his jaw dropped for the umpteenth time that day.
"Fou! What, what are you – is that Ri Kei with you?"
"Oh shit, sprout, uh, don't mind us, just go on with your kis – "
"Wait, what the hell, why are you guys there – "
"Fou!" Allen gaped as Lenalee pulled at Fou. "You interrupted the best part! Oh, oh no, Allen, Lavi, don't mind us, okay, we're just going to go back to watch – I mean, uh, go back to, uh – "
"I think that's rather too late," someone said in an amused voice and this time it was Lavi's turn to gape.
"Doug! Wait, what, if you're here, does that mean-"
"Since we've blown our cover anyway!" Komui said cheerfully. "Hello, you heathens, thank you for being gay and therefore not chasing after Lenalee."
"Hold on, were you the one who attacked us in the bathroom – "
"Um, I think you guys need to calm down," Shi Fu interjected much too late.
"Oh my, what a party here." Allen spun around at the voice.
"Mana! And, Maria, are you Maria?" Poor Allen looked dumbfounded. Lavi couldn't say he blamed him.
"Pleasure to meet you, Allen Walker, only I wish it weren't under such chaotic circumstances," Maria gave a polite bow which Allen returned in reflex.
"Since it's all such a mess anyway – Bak! Explain! What the hell did you have to do that was so important?"
"I told you already, it was all that idiot Komui's – "
"Don't blame things with your girlfriend on me just because – "
"Kanda, I really think you should give up trying to escape, since we're here already – "
"Alright, okay, STOP!"
It was a miracle that everyone quieted down at Lavi's shout. Then there was an awful lot of fidgeting and guilty glances thrown around. Allen rubbed his temples.
"Okay…" Lavi breathed out. "Doug?"
"Um, well," Doug laughed sheepishly. "See, we thought it'd be interesting to see what happened and um, Prof. Tyki insisted and so we just came along-"
"Prof. Tyki?" Lavi looked scared now. Doug shook his head frantically.
"He went away somewhere else!"
"Don't drag my name into this, stupid rabbit. I came only because – "
"Actually, Kanda here was rather curious as well," Doug said brightly.
"What the f – "
"I sense we're going nowhere with this," Allen said, tone dry. He turned to Lenalee. "Lenalee? Care to explain?"
Lenalee laughed nervously. "Well, see, we were just, um, rather curious you see! And, you know, you were blushing an awful lot, so we figured it must be a date you're going on even though you denied it…"
"Sprout, we were curious. Get over it. Anyway, we weren't there the whole time – well, most of the time. Bak?"
"I told you, Komui got it into his head that the two of you were after Lenalee and so he had to come protect her – "
"Wait, in my defense, it was very suspicious. Lenalee, you never told your dear brother what you were doing," Komui sniffled. Lenalee sighed, exasperated.
"Please take my word for it when I say I'm going out with friends, alright, brother?"
"Okay…" Allen breathed out and turned, face with an embarrassed flush, to his father. "Dad?"
Mana had the grace to look sheepish. "I was curious, son, so, well, I came here to see how you were doing. In my defense," he said quickly as Allen's eyes narrowed, "it turned into a real date along the way." At that, Maria looked away, humming. Mana had an identical pleased look on his face. Allen blinked. He couldn't help his lips twitching up before he turned back to face the whole group.
"In a sentence," Lavi summed up, "you guys were all stalking us – including my professor – because you were interested in our love lives."
"Something like that," Doug shrugged.
"Well, if you put it that way," Lenalee acquiesced.
"Right to be overprotective?" Mana suggested.
"Oh my god," Allen put his face in his hand. "How am I ever gonna face you guys again?"
"Well, you guys could just kindly scram – " Lavi gave Mana a politely apologetic look. "And we can…aw, shit, the mood is completely gone."
Lenalee looked desperately sorry. "We're really sorry, Lavi, we'll just – "
And just as it was a few minutes ago, everyone quieted down, looking at Lou Fa. Lou Fa smiled sincerely. "I'm glad you got the courage to confess, Allen."
"Lou Fa…" Shi Fu patted her back proudly and Ri Kei grinned, grabbing her into a noogie. Lou Fa squeaked and laughed lightly, looking down at the ground.
"I…I think that sums it up in a word, Allen, Lavi," Lenalee said, smiling. "We were all concerned, and now we're just…glad."
Allen looked like he was caught between being touched and being embarrassed. In the end he chose to smile. "Well…I'm," his smile widened when Lavi took his hand, giving it a squeeze, "I guess I, uh, thank you all for your concern." Lavi sighed and nodded, agreeing.
In the brief silence after that, punctuated by much giggling and whispered conversation within a few groups of people, Lavi and Allen looked at each other with embarrassed grins. And just to complete the scene, there was a crackling over the public announcement system, then a smooth voice broke into their clearing.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. We are glad to have had you with us today. Please take note that we will be closing in thirty minutes. We hope you had a wonderful time with us today, and will visit The White Ark again."
In the lively music that followed, Mana coughed and took Maria's hand. "Allen?"
Allen smiled at Mana. "Yes, dad?"
"I'll meet you at the entrance in thirty minutes. You do want to get home by car, don't you?"
Allen nodded. "Yeah, thanks."
"Okay, well," Mana nodded and Maria smiled at Allen once more. "We'll be off, then. Goodnight, Lavi."
"Ah, right!" Lavi grinned. "Goodnight, sir."
"It really was a pleasure," Maria said fondly, before she turned and left with Mana, the two of them meandering back to where the main street was, presumably to take a slow walk back to the entrance.
Fou cleared her throat. "Right, let's go, Bak."
Bak jumped. "Uh, yeah, I'll see you around, Walker, Lavi?"
"Yeah," Lavi grinned at the nervous man. "Good luck, Mr. Chang."
"What do you mean by that, red?" Fou snorted. "I'll see you in school, Walker." With a tug at his arm, Fou dragged Bak down the same path Mana and Maria took.
Then, catching onto what they were up to, Doug grinned at Lavi and nodded in the general direction of the carnival's exit, silently indicating that he and Kanda – well, at least he would, Kanda remained an unknown – would be waiting for them to head back to the dorms together.
Lenalee by then had a firm grasp on Kanda's arm, and Komui seemed to agree that there was bit of catching up for them to do. Lou Fa, Ri Kei and Shi Fu simply smiled and walked down the path, with Lou Fa's eyes softening when she looked at Allen. And finally, finally, the two of them were left truly alone in the clearing, the carnival lights starting to give barely enough light to the area.
"Well," Lavi started.
Allen chuckled. "You could say that again."
"Did you…" Lavi gestured vaguely. Allen somehow caught his meaning.
"No, I didn't expect that at all…how did we not notice them?"
"We were too blind to everything else except each other?"
"Lavi," Allen groaned and shook his head, a smile pulling at his lips. "You can't actually say things like that in real life."
"What, you mean I can't make 'did you fall from heaven' jokes?" Lavi said and laughed when Allen groaned again.
"You definitely can't. You will surrender to me your stash of romance novels."
"I will," Lavi said firmly. Allen looked shocked.
"I meant that as a joke. You will?"
"Yeah, because I have something better than fantasy now."
"Lavi!" Allen felt his insides die a little at the corny line. "Stop, alright, just…"
"Alright," Lavi whispered. Allen swallowed at the sudden change in tone. "Take two, okay?"
With a shaky turn, Lavi was facing Allen once more, both their hearts beating fast. Lavi took Allen's hands in his again, the two of them looking down and blushing a little, very aware of the silence now that they weren't driven on by momentum. Then, determined, Lavi leaned their foreheads against each other, and at that move, Allen gulped and closed his eyes in anticipation. Lavi licked his lips, praying that they weren't too chapped to scare Allen off but well, there they were.
And when they finally kissed, it was, well…
Allen certainly felt his heart beat faster, and Lavi did as well. To Lavi's amusement, while he definitely did not see fireworks exploding in his mind's eye, he did feel something rather like butterflies in his stomach as he pressed his lips against Allen's. They were kinda…dry, and warm, and a little weird with how soft it was, but.
Allen pulled away and looked at Lavi. Then he laughed a little.
"That was kinda unimpressive, huh? Still, I like it. Again."
This time, when they kissed again, they moved their lips a little bit, experimentally, Lavi daring to lick at Allen's lips. And when their tongues touched, with a little bit too much saliva and the two of them tasting much too much like the sandwiches they ate for dinner, Allen still felt his heart jump a little and he pressed closer to Lavi.
They pulled away, but still remained standing close to each other. Lavi smiled.
"I'm sure we'll be better this time," Allen said with a grin.
And so again, and again, and again.
Um, I don't think there's any excuse for how long it took to update. This had been written since a while back. There were confidence issues in the way. Until I went, "Ah, what the heck, I'm happy with this, let's finish it." :)
So, this is the end of Carnival Days :) I really did hope and wish that there was a carnival fic for this pairing, and in the end, while it may not be that good, I'm glad I fulfilled the wish myself by writing it.
Thank you so much to those who never gave up on me and waited for this final chapter. I'm very happy to have brought smiles to your faces! I'm thinking of working on a universe that expands from this into a full blown high school fic, if I can finish my two other main WIPs. Yes, no, maybe? If you're interested, I hope you check it out whenever I do get to post it. And if you're not, I really hope that you enjoyed this fic at any rate!
I loved reading every single review that came in. Keep them coming in, they are much loved! I hope you had as much fun on this journey as I did! Bye, Allen and Lavi, have a great time smooching and getting to know one another! Your player will quietly switch off the stage lights now…