Obeisance

A/N: Something I thought up while watching Darker than Black.

Edit: I edited this chapter a bit, added some more conversations, but nothing really changed so you don't have to reread it if you've seen it before. ^^

Disclaimer: I don't own –Man or any of its characters. I also have no claim over the concept of 'Obeisance,' which I only borrowed from another anime called 'Darker than Black.'

Chapter 1: A Madman's Pride, a Brother's Failure

'Thanks for the meal, Jerry-san!'

Allen called out to the head cook as he made his way out of the dining hall. Jerry returned his compliment with a wink and a big wave from the counter, and Allen bowed his head once more to thank him for the good meal.

'Come back soon, Allen- sweetie!'

The young exorcist smiled shyly at the Asian before setting off to find his other friends. He woke up really late this morning, after days spent in the Arabian deserts to recover an Innocence fragment, and he hasn't seen any of his friends yet since he came back late last night. He walked aimlessly down the deserted corridors before finally deciding that the supervisor's office would be the best place to start with.

Lenalee will surely be there. The boy thought, feeling his cheeks burn at the prospect of finding the female exorcist at her brother's office. He shook his head to get rid of any silly thoughts. Lately, he was starting to feel jittery and tongue-tied every time he's face to face with Lenalee. It's a fact that he was carefully trying to hide from others especially from Komui.

If Allen learned anything from his long stay with his idiot master, it was the mighty concept of self-preservation. And voicing out his feelings for Lenalee Lee would strongly go against that golden rule. So he really has no intention of confessing his love for the female exorcist or to tell other people about it…for now.

Allen really wants to be with Lenalee and so always tries his best to do her brother's biddings, hoping that someday, the man might see him as someone befitting his precious little sister. His lips curved into a small smile at the happy thought. He turned on his heels then started for Komui's office but before he could take five paces towards his destination, Lenalee popped in front of him out of nowhere.

Luckily, Allen was quick enough to avoid the impact.

'Le…Lenalee?'

'Get away from me, Allen- kun!' the female exorcist commanded, her hands shaky as she wrapped them protectively against herself as if from the cold. Her gaze is fixed on the blank stone floor, raven bangs effectively blocking her face from Allen's view.

'Please…' she pleaded.

Allen's eyes widened in shock at Lenalee's sudden outburst, but then his gaze softened after a while when he heard the hurt in her pleading voice. The other exorcist doesn't look well at all and Allen decided it would be best to take her to the infirmary at once. He held out his hand to her, and then carefully chose the words to say.

'Lenalee, I'll take you to the infirmary, ok? Don't worry, I won't catch------'

CRAAAAAASSSSSHHHH!!!!!

All of a sudden, the walls at the far end of the corridor crumbled into pieces, leaving a gaping hole on the thick medieval masonry. A thick cloud of dust was covering the scene.

'---- your cold….'

Allen can't feel the presence of any akuma around, but then his left eye doesn't have the ability to detect Noahs because they are basically humans. And so, throwing a quick worried glance to the 'sick' Lenalee, the young exorcist removed the glove covering his blood- red left and prepared himself to activate his weapon. But before he could do so, someone called out from the thick of the dust and smoke.

'Allen, don't activate your weapon, dammit!!!!'

xxx

'Reever-san? Johnny? Everyone, what happened?' Allen hurried at once when he saw the white- clothed scientists walking through the rubble.

The people from the science crew look worn-out and tattered, and it seems to Allen as if they're on the run for a time now. He met the scientists halfway and for the first time, noticed that they were carrying two unconscious people.

'Kanda?!Lavi?! Reever-san, what happened to them?!'

'No time to explain Allen! Is Lenalee with you? We need to get out of here now, before Komui sees Kanda!!!!!' the science head said in a rush.

'Yes, Reever-san, Lenalee's with me. Why do you ask?'

'Later Allen! Let's just get the hell out of here, quick! It's that curly- haired jerk again. Get Lenalee and follow us immediately!!!'

'But Lenalee looks sick!' Allen called out to the scientists' retreating backs.

'Now!!!'

Allen, sensing the urgency in Reever's voice, hurried back to the female exorcist and led her to follow the science team.

xxx

'Obeisance?!' Allen felt the strange word leave his mouth.

'Yes, obeisance,' the science section chief breathed in heavily. 'It's an act of obeying something, that is.' Reever waited for Allen to ask questions but seeing that he's not about to ask any, continued with the explanation.

'You see, the supe wants to find out for himself to what extents Hevlaska can affect Innocence fragments she has with her. If they...somehow respond to her emotions.' Allen seems to be following what he is saying, the young man is nodding his head slowly.

'And so, Komui devised a simple experiment of injecting Hevi with a certain drug just to observe if the Innocence fragments would react to her or not. Unfortunately, the fragments reacted.'

Allen stared blankly at the science chief. He understood what most of Reever said, but he can't connect the things he's saying so as to why Komui wants Kanda dead. Nor why they are not allowed to invocate their Innocences.

'Ano, Reever-san, what does it have to do with not being allowed to invocate our weapons?' Allen tried to clarify.

'Because Hevlaska affects the Innocences in our weapons too, baka moyashi!' Kanda cut in gruffly.

If not for Kanda's current condition, Allen would have gladly kicked the idiot samurai who was currently lying at the floor on his back. He seems to have injured himself earlier due to Komui, and most probably, Komurin's doing, if the sickly purple bruises and some cuts on his side were to tell the story. The injuries were almost healed and most of the wounds have closed but Allen merely contented himself with a glare. And an insult. Kanda's such a jerk zombie in his opinion.

'It's A-L-L-E-N, BA-KANDA!!! How many times do I have to say that?!'

'Tsch, dumb bastard.'

'Grrrr…'

'Oh, will ya stay quiet moyashi- chan!!!! My head's splitting!!!' the red haired bookman complained from a corner.

'It's Ba-Kanda's fault, Lavi!!! And it's A-L-L-E-N! Geez, I was trying to understand what's happening and then this idiot Kanda just have to butt in!!!' Allen said through gritted teeth. If not for the dark, Lavi could have sworn there's a dark aura swirling around the younger exorcist. This dark side of Allen never fails to make Lavi shiver.

'Oh, calm down Allen, you see, what Yuu- chan is trying to say is that, we are also affected by the drug injected to Hevi- san.' the bookman said groggily.

The glare that Kanda was throwing Lavi at the moment could kill any ordinary man at any given day. The bookman didn't seem to mind though.

'Ya see, Allen, what Komui injected Hevi was actually a drug that forces a certain compulsory action every time she connects with the cube.' Allen leaned closer, totally interested now. 'And like what Reever here said, the raw Innocence fragments were affected by Hevi's emotions. But the interesting part is, even the Innocence we have in our anti- akuma weapons reacted with her, and so these,' Lavi raised his little hammer, pointing the tip of it to the younger man's deformed left arm, 'will also experience what Hevlaska is experiencing right now. Our Innocence weapons will force us to do something every time we use their power.'

The entire science section was nodding their heads in acquiescence. Lavi then continued.

'Komui said the drug he gave Hevlaska would wear off after a while, so for now, we just have to wait until she gets back to normal.'

Allen raised an inquisitive eyebrow. Lavi noticed the reaction.

'As of the moment, Allen, Hevlaska is paying her obeisance of neatly arranging wooden sticks of length 98.35 cm. each in rows of eight at an exact interval of 10.78 centimeters in between, center to center.'

The white-haired youth rolled his eyes in disbelief. He can't imagine the white creature doing such a thing.

'So all of us will be lining sticks once we use our weapons? What will happen if we don't pay our obeisance?'

'Nope, it seems like it's different with each individual, Allen. We have now an exorcist who was paying the obeisance of the Innocence and it's a totally different thing from what's happening to Hevlaska,' Reever clarified.

'You mean, there's someone who is already paying off an Obei---?!'

'And as for the second question…' Lavi cut off. He turned his gaze to Lenalee who was sitting a little ways off from the group. 'we're not really sure yet, but it could be different with each one of us as well.'

Now, Allen is totally curious. Who could this unlucky exorcist be and what sort of Obeisance could he be paying? With the four of them here now, no one seems to be doing anything ridiculous. Even Kanda whom Komui wants dead, doesn't seem to be acting strange. He's completely picky and harsh and foul-mouthed as usual. Maybe it's the other exorcists of the Order?

With a sigh, Lavi got up on his feet and pulled Yuu Kanda to where Lenalee is sitting. To Allen's surprise, Kanda wasn't resisting the bookman. And for some unknown reason, it seems like the annoying man looks…uneasy.

Allen followed the two other exorcists to Lenalee's lonely perch. The female exorcist seems to be getting worse by the moment, but no matter how much he tried to convince Reever to take her to the infirmary, the science chief insisted she stays here. And that they leave her alone for a while.

Lavi sat in front of his female comrade then said seriously, 'No need to suffer the consequences now, Lenalee. Please, give up.'

xxx

Lenalee raised her head at the sound of Lavi's voice.

'No, get away…'

The shaking woman wrapped her arms tightly around her knees. She was again feeling the strong urge to be close with the raven- haired man standing beside her. But she does not want him, or any of her friends to get hurt any further. She resisted the urge, and she felt as if her head is going to explode at any moment because of the effort.

The pony tailed man was giving her a stoic look. But somehow, his wary eyes betrayed the act. He walked closer.

Then closer.

Lavi got on his feet and nudged the raven-haired guy at the side. Kanda hissed a curse promising a painful death to the rabbit, before kneeling down in front of Lenalee. He hesitated for a moment.

'It's really ok.' Kanda said flatly.

'…'

Lenalee lifted her eyes once more to look at the kneeling man. Her skin felt as if it was being pricked by a thousand burning needles at once. She knows she doesn't want to give in, but her heart cries out to be unburdened of the pain she's feeling.

If she gives in, all these pain would go away.

At once.

And so with a muffled sob, Lenalee Lee threw herself in the arms of Yuu Kanda.

xxx

A/N: thanks for reading and I hope this story was interesting enough to make you read the next chapter! ",