This was written in the midst of a True Blood blood obsession...so if there are any similarities...this is why haha.
Disclaimer: I don't own DGM!
"One more stop," Lenalee Lee breathed to herself, wringing her hands nervously in her lap and staring at the blur of rich golden trees outside of the train window. The further the train pulled her from civilization the more violently her stomach churned; after twenty-six years of living in one of California's busiest areas this change of scenery was hardly easy to adapt to. Lenalee thought that the lack of buildings and congested roads would make her feel less trapped, but just after mere hours sitting in a booth by herself and watching the passing towns grow smaller and scarcer she found herself feeling exactly the opposite. Stripped of all distractions that normally plagued her, Lenalee had nothing else to concentrate on except her own self, and this was a very uncomfortable feeling.
Maybe this was a bad idea…she thought to herself for the hundredth time that day, wondering why she couldn't have been satisfied with the internship she had been offered back in San Francisco. The hospitals in that area had no shortage of ravenous new doctors looking for jobs, and she was beyond lucky to have secured a position for herself. But Lenalee felt weighed down, exhausted by the time that always seemed to pass so quickly around her. If she'd already begun to wear down before her life as a working woman even began how could she hope to make it through her residency? And her entire career?
The scenery began to come into sharper focus as the train slowed, eventually whining to a stop. Lenalee stood up, her legs trembling slightly as her unused muscles extended for the first time in the hours she had sat in unintentional rigidity. Her heart pounded in her ears as she grabbed her luggage from the overhead bin and clumsily dragged it off onto the platform. She shivered as the cold air bit her pale skin, her lightweight white blouse tucked into black dress trousers wrinkled from hours of travel immediately gave her away as someone not used to an actual change of seasons.
After scanning the crowd for a moment for her escort into town Lenalee's eyes rested on a man who, although appearing no older than her, had very pale whitish hair hanging in layers around his forehead. He held up a sign donning her name, his large, grey eyes engaged in a warm smile. Lenalee noticed that he had a thin, red mark beginning on his left cheek and tracing itself over his eye before ending in a strange star pattern on his forehead. What an oddly shaped scar, she thought to herself, wondering what type of injury could possibly leave such a distinct impression. She walked towards the man, some of her nervousness easing as he noticed her. She liked him already.
"Dr. Lee, I take it?" he asked, extending his hand. Lenalee nodded, fumbling to place her luggage down before returning the handshake. "My name is Allen Walker," the man said, placing the sign under his arm and grabbing two of her suitcases. "Welcome to Maine!"
"Thank you," Lenalee replied, following Allen as he led her out of the train station and into a small parking lot. He stopped in front of a large SUV, carefully placing Lenalee's luggage into the trunk before opening the door for her. Lenalee winced as she climbed into the oversized vehicle, still not completely devoid of her San Francisco values. However, she supposed that it wouldn't do the locals much good to drive a small Prius over such rugged territory. And, she reminded herself, this small town surrounding the train station was much more developed than where she was headed.
Lenalee glanced at herself in the side view mirror, dismayed to find her dark, shoulder length hair sporting an awkward wave from where she had tied it back earlier that day. Her face looked tired; the makeup framing her deep, almost blackish-brown eyes beginning to smudge. She frowned, rolling her hair tie off of her wrist and quickly spinning her hair into a makeshift bun. Allen pretended not to notice her efforts, instead making pleasant conversation as he navigated the narrow roads out of the town.
"I'll be working with you as a nurse in the clinic," he explained, much to Lenalee's delight. "I used to work as a travel nurse, but I loved it so much in Sacré that I decided to stay."
"That's great," she replied. "I hope that I'll have a similar experience."
"What brought you out here, if you don't mind my asking?" Allen inquired, glancing over at her briefly.
"I don't mind," Lenalee answered, shrugging. "I suppose I just wanted a change of pace…I got tired of living in the city for so long. I thought it'd be nice to take a break from all that."
"You're from San Francisco, right?"
"Yes," Lenalee said, nodding. "I grew up there…I did my undergrad at Berkeley and went to med school at UCSF."
"Impressive," Allen said. Lenalee rolled her eyes, a reflex from years of similar reactions from, well, everyone she met.
"Sorry," chuckled Allen. "You probably get that all the time. But get used to it…the people out here aren't used to such a prestigious background."
Lenalee blushed, ashamed at her impolite response.
"Well," Allen continued, "everyone's really excited to have you. After Dr. Delaney decided to quit the county was just beside itself wondering how we'd ever get someone to fill his position."
"Why did he quit?"
Allen frowned. "No one really knows…I went in to work one day and he was just…gone. He left a note, but it really didn't give us any reasons why."
"Hmm." Lenalee sat quietly to herself, digesting what Allen had just told her about the previous doctor's hasty withdrawal from the program. She wondered if she'd have a similar fate; could she handle such a drastic change to her way of life? Her overly concerned elder brother certainly didn't seem to think so at first, although Komui did change his tune once she let him know she was serious about accepting the offer to be the sole health care provider for a tiny population in northern Maine.
"Shit!" she suddenly burst out, furiously digging through her purse for her cell phone. "I was supposed to call him…"
"Huh?" Allen responded, his brow furrowed in concern. "Is everything all right?"
"Yes," Lenalee sighed, pulling out her Blackberry and checking the screen, dismayed to find three missed calls and six new text messages. "I just promised my brother I'd give him a ring once I got off the plane…he's probably called the police by now," she groaned, holding the phone every which way to see if she could get reception.
"I see…well, good luck with that," Allen laughed.
"Do you have any siblings?"
Allen shook his head. "No…well, actually, I'm not sure," he admitted. "I never actually knew my biological parents…I was adopted at a young age. But my adoptive father was great…"
"Was?" Lenalee asked, crossing her legs and turning towards Allen.
"He passed away some time ago."
"I'm sorry," Lenalee said quietly, shifting her body back to face forward.
"Don't be," Allen replied, smiling as sincerely as ever. "He wouldn't have wanted it to get me down. All I can really do is keep going forward," he said, shrugging casually.
"I suppose you're right."
Allen and Lenalee sat in comfortable silence for a while as the paved road tapered off into a makeshift dirt path through the forest.
"Let me know of you feel sick," Allen warned as the ride grew increasingly turbulent.
Lenalee nodded, keeping her jaw clenched as she stared straight ahead. Normally her stomach could take much more than this, but after hours of planes and trains it had taken just about all it could handle. Luckily the ride didn't last for very long; after about twenty minutes dark brown houses and small stores started appearing amongst the increasingly dense forest. Overcome with a sudden wave of energy, Lenalee perked up, straightening her posture and leaning against the window to get a better look at the town.
They seemed to be following the main road, as it looked a bit better maintained than the small streets branching off on either side and disappearing into the trees. Allen pointed out various establishments that might be useful to Lenalee; the general store with a pharmacy and hardware section, the post office, the Sacré town hall, and, finally, the clinic where she would spend most of her time. It didn't stand out much from the other buildings in the area; constructed out of chocolate brown wood and perched atop a porch that seemed to encircle around to the back. Lenalee rolled down the window and leaned out, trying to get a better look inside. She let her eyes travel up to the roof, surprised to see what looked like a small cluster of apartments in the second story.
"We're stopping?" she asked, suddenly aware that Allen was turning the car off and unbuckling his seat belt.
"Yeah," he nodded, hopping out onto the ground and jogging around to open the door for her before she had a chance to do it herself. "Do you see those windows up there?" he asked, pointing to the apartments Lenalee had noticed earlier. "That's your new home," he explained, smiling. "I'm just next door."
Lenalee brought her hand to her mouth, staring in stunned silence. The program promised to provide her with housing, but this was better than she could have imagined. I'll never have to take public transportation to get to work again! she thought, thrilled that her days of waiting for busses in less than favorable weather at less than favorable hours of the day (or night) had finally come to an end.
"It's perfect!" she exclaimed, turning to Allen and trapping him in a hug.
"I-I'm glad you like it," he laughed nervously, hesitantly patting her on the back. "Shall we?" he asked once she'd freed him, reaching into his pocket and tossing Lenalee a set of keys.
Lenalee followed Allen around the porch to a side door, in front of which he stopped and gestured towards the doorknob.
Lenalee fidgeted with her keys, taking a few seconds to correctly slide the key into the lock and turn it open, revealing a narrow staircase leading up to what she assumed could only be the door to her apartment.
"That's yours," Allen said, pointing to the door closest to the staircase once they'd reached the top, "and that one's mine," he said, nodding towards the only other door in the small hallway. "Go on inside; I'll bring your luggage up," he offered, already halfway out the door before Lenalee could argue.
Lenalee opened the door, her door, and stepped into her apartment for the first time. The air inside seemed clean and untouched; as if someone had left a window open by mistake. She flipped on the light, looking around at the modest furnishings the program had provided her with. Everything seemed to match the air; sharp and cold. A small, light colored table sat in the center of her small kitchen, surrounded by a few matching chairs. She ran her hand over the top as she examined the barren countertops, still able to detect the lingering smell of packing materials. She'd been supplied with (somewhat dated) essentials; a microwave, toaster, oven, and refrigerator. No dishwasher, she thought with a sigh, mentally taking note that she'd have to buy a drying rack.
The kitchen segued into a tiny living room, complete with a white couch and glass coffee table. Lenalee cringed, already thinking of how often she'd be forced to bleach stains out of the snowy fabric. However, she was pleasantly surprised to find a television resting against the far wall. A crowded bathroom with a shower stood off to the side, which meant that the only door left in the apartment had to be her bedroom. Upon inspection it proved to be nothing fancy; just a plainly dressed queen-sized bed with a small wooden nightstand and a crisp white dresser. There was, however, a rather sizeable closet, which would easily accommodate all of her clothes and shoes. Although, she thought rather bitterly, she probably wouldn't be using about seventy-five percent of them during these colder months.
"Lenalee?" Allen called, gently knocking on her open front door. "I've got all of your suitcases."
"Thank you!" answered Lenalee, running to greet him.
"It's no problem at all," he assured her, casually waving his hand. "I'll leave you to unpack…let me know if you need anything."
"Okay…oh! Are there any good places to go for dinner?" she added almost as an afterthought, remembering that while she did have a functioning refrigerator, it was completely empty.
"Sure! Well, there's really only one place," he said thoughtfully, "but they have great food there…" Allen paused for a moment, gazing blankly into the distance.
"Sorry," he said, regaining his focus. "The place is called Spencer's Bar and Grill. There's no way you can miss it…just follow the main road back the way we came. There's a key to the SUV on your ring."
Lenalee glanced down at her keys, surprised that she didn't notice it before. "Oh! Thanks, but I think I'll just walk…it's not that far, is it?"
Allen sighed, shaking his head. "No…but you'd be better off taking the car. Lately there've been…" he stopped, letting his eyes fall to the floor.
"Lately there've been…what?"
"Nothing," responded Allen, quickly regaining his cheerful energy. "It's just cold out right now! Just take my word for it," he said with feigned casualty.
"…All right then," said Lenalee, forcing herself not to press Allen further. She'd find out whatever was going on in town soon enough, she told herself.
"Don't forget to call your brother," Allen reminded her on his way out the door.
Spencer's Bar and Grill was exactly how Lenalee had imagined it to be. The place was warm and lively; Lenalee couldn't quite place where all of the people had come from. There were a few booths and tables off to one side, while the other contained a pool table and what looked to be a fully stocked bar.
As soon as Lenalee opened the door a young waitress stuffed into tight fitting jeans and a plain white shirt greeted her. "Just one?" she asked, a hint of some sort of accent barely detectable. Lenalee nodded. "Is a seat at the bar okay?" the waitress asked, to which Lenalee again nodded (perhaps a bit too enthusiastically).
"The bar would be perfect," she answered, especially after spending an hour trying to assure her brother that she hadn't been abducted, arrested, injured, or anything else that would have kept her from calling him the moment she'd stepped off the plane.
Once she'd sat down Lenalee turned around on her barstool, taking in all the other diners. She didn't understand why Allen had been so opposed to her walking here; the only other guests seemed to be families with young children and elderly couples. Perhaps he really was just concerned about the cold.
"I haven't seen you here before," someone said over her shoulder, making no effort to hide the amusement in his voice. Lenalee spun around to see the bartender leaning over the bar and staring back at her. She jumped, his face much closer to hers than she'd anticipated. "I didn't mean to scare you," he said, laughing at her reaction. "Can I start you off with a drink?"
"J-just a glass of Merlot," she said, watching the bartender as he nodded and pulled out a bottle of wine. He had the reddest hair she had ever seen; it seemed to blaze even under the soft lights that illuminated the bar. A light green headband worn across his forehead accentuated it even more, although the colors didn't clash as horribly as Lenalee might have thought. In fact, it seemed to bring out the bright emerald color of his left eye. I wonder what happened to his other one, she wondered, noticing a black patch covering his right. Although, she noted, the fact that he only had one eye visible didn't keep him from showing more expression than most people with two perfectly functioning eyes could.
"My name's Lavi," he said with a somewhat sideways smile as he placed the glass of wine down in front of her. "Who are you?"
"Really," Lavi said, leaning over the bar. "You wouldn't happen to be that new doctor, would you? Because she's supposedly named Lenalee too, and that's not exactly the most common name."
"Well, neither is Lavi," Lenalee replied, beginning to lean across the bar a bit herself. "And yes, I am." She couldn't quite place it, but something about Lavi seemed to draw her in. He was definitely very attractive in an unconventional, rebellious sort of way, but that wasn't it, although it certainly didn't help.
"So it is you!" Lavi exclaimed, drying off a glass with a dishtowel. "You must know what that means, then."
Lenalee took a sip of wine. "I'm not sure that I do."
"It means that the next drink is on me."
"That's very kind of you," said Lenalee, a little disappointed to have to reject his offer, "but I'm afraid this will be my only glass…I'm driving home tonight."
"Well, in that case I'll just have to give you a ride," replied Lavi, grinning.
Lenalee ran her finger down the stem of the wine glass. "I'll think about it," she teased, although she had no intention of following through.
Two glasses of wine later; however, this was not the case. Lavi proved to be excellent company, and as the restaurant began to empty out of all its customers she was able to command much more of his attention. He explained how he'd come to take over ownership of the bar after his wealthy grandfather, fed up with his habitual laziness and dead-end trysts with similarly minded heiresses, forced him to get a degree and live on his own.
"It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me," he admitted, clearing away Lenalee's empty dishes. "If I hadn't gone to school I never would have come out here to run this place. And I never would have met such a cute doctor."
Lenalee rolled her eyes; even after three glasses of wine she was smart enough not to be swept off her feet by a man she'd just met; although, she couldn't deny that she liked the attention.
"Who are they?" she asked, lowering her voice as two men walked into the bar. They looked different from the harmless clientele that she'd observed earlier; they seemed less carefree, more calculated; almost sinister.
"The taller one's Tyki," Lavi answered, resting an elbow on the bar. Tyki looked slightly more relaxed than the other; he ran his hand back through his wavy, almost-black hair, causing it to fall gracefully over his very light hazel eyes as it resettled. His skin seemed to glow under the lighting in the bar; it shone the sort of bronze color that celebrities always seemed to try to mimic but never quite achieve. He smiled in Lenalee's direction, nudging his companion and alerting him to her presence. His smile seemed cold as opposed to the heat in the rest of his features; Lenalee shivered despite the warmth of the alcohol circulating through her body.
"And the other one…?" she asked, turning her attention to the shorter of the two. His skin looked pale and icy, especially when compared to that of his friend. His narrow, grey eyes darted to look at Lenalee from underneath choppy black bangs, and, although shifting uncomfortably in her chair, she found herself unable to break eye contact. His eyes seemed to widen a bit, softening the severity of the rest of his sharp features. He quickly turned his head away, causing the long, black hair he had tied into a high ponytail to sway slightly before falling neatly into place.
"Ah," Lavi mused, his sideways grin creeping back onto his face, "that one's YUU," he said much more loudly than necessary, causing the shorter man to whip his head around to face Lavi.
"It's Kanda," he hissed, his lip curling in disgust. Even his voice sounded sharp and directed, Lenalee thought, her ears resonating with the way the syllables snapped when he said his name. "I've told you that many times now."
"Sorry, sorry," Lavi sighed, although the traces of a smirk were still apparent on his face. "Tyki, Kanda," he said, over exaggerating the latter name, "this is Lenalee. She's the new doctor here," he explained. Lenalee nodded at them, the bold attitude she'd been sporting earlier completely gone. Her eyes followed Kanda as he took a seat at the bar.
"Is that so?" Tyki said, his voice laced with boredom. He sauntered over to the pool table, picking up the cue and running it through his fingers before taking aim and shooting.
"Yuu," Lavi said, ignoring Kanda's deepening scowl, "aren't you going to say hello to the doctor?"
Lenalee ran her finger nervously around the rim of the now empty wine glass, glancing to the side to see if Kanda would respond.
Kanda sighed, shooting a nasty look at Lavi before just barely tilting his head in Lenalee's direction.
"It's nice to meet you," Lenalee said quickly, pouncing on the chance to engage in conversation. She extended her hand, leaving it suspended for what seemed like impossibly long seconds before Kanda returned the gesture. His skin felt exactly the same as it looked; but cold couldn't even begin to describe it. It felt devoid of all traces of warmth, and even as Lenalee unintentionally tightened her grip she couldn't detect any change in temperature.
Kanda mumbled something incoherent as he retracted his hand, folding it into a tight fist before gently placing it into his jacket pocket. "…Tyki," he said, his tone soft but powerful, "have you had enough?"
"But we've only just got here," Tyki argued, crossing his arms and leaning back against the pool table.
"Stay, then," Kanda snapped, standing up and striding towards the door.
"Wait, wait…" Tyki sighed, setting down the pool cue and jogging after him. "You're no fun at all…"
Lavi and Lenalee both stared at the exit for a moment before resuming conversation.
"That was strange," Lenalee remarked.
"You're telling me," Lavi scoffed, putting away the last of the dishes. "I've never seen him so worked up before."
"Kanda," replied Lavi. "I think he likes you," he teased.
Lenalee rolled her eyes, standing up to put on her coat as Lavi began to switch off the lights.
"Not exactly the best way to end your first night here," he said as he guided Lenalee to his car.
She shrugged and flexed her fingers inside of her pocket, her hand still burning from where Kanda's skin made contact with her own.
"I wouldn't say so."
I'm told by freetranslation(dot)com that sacré means sacred in French...so hopefully that was accurate. They've never failed me in all my years of taking Spanish, at least XD
Well...I hope you enjoyed! Please drop a review to let me know how I'm doing :3