Point out any spelling errors, grammar mistakes or awkward wordings, kay? ;D (I'm not sure I got everything I wanted across here, oh well) Enjoy~
Part 2: Love is Not
Well I heard there was a secret cord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music do ya
Children were laughing, clapping, jumping, dancing around wildly in circles until they lost their balance and fell. The crowd was loud, it nearly overpowered the music, but the performers didn't seem to mind at all. They were laughing, grinning and spinning on their spots as they played the up-beat melody, the heels of their shoes clacking loudly against the stone street. They were dressed in dirty clothes, really, but they were happy anyway. And thus the crowd was happy too.
The atmoshphere pulled Allen in. He could relate to them, because he had been a street performer himself once.
"Isn't it amazing, Lenalee?" he asked and smiled widely as he turned towards the woman he loved.
Whose expression, at the moment, was very distant... "I guess so..." she mumbled absently.
Allen's mood fell like a stone. "But... look at all these happy people, and listen to the music, and look at the performers! It truly is amazing, what humans can do when they get together," he said in another attempt at getting through to her. Why were her eyes so dead? It was wrong, wrong wrong wrong.
"Maybe," she said and effectively crushed said attempt. With a sad smile, she turned towards him. "It's okay, Allen, but I can't really agree with you, I'm sorry."
Allen's eyes fell to the ground and he shuffled his feet a little. What did she mean by "it's okay"? "Don't worry about it," he said silently and sighed. "We should get back to work... There are Akuma here. They just haven't attacked yet."
Lenalee nodded and lifted his chin with her hand. "You don't want to interrupt this," she said, her voice as warm as a summer day. "But we have to, before they do."
"Yeah..." Allen sighed and activated his Innocence, the white cloak draping over his shoulder and his hand growing into the menacing claw. He made the first attack, cutting through the torso of an Akuma, ignoring the cries of "murderer".
Chaos broke out.
And Lenalee's hope was dying.
Well it goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing hallelujah
Explosions. They were everywhere. In the sky, on the ground, on the walls, on the streets, on the roofs... Everywhere humans turned into dust, covering them in a thick cloud of it, and smoke, as the explosions threw them about. The music the entertainers, that were now dead, had played was still echoing in her ears, the calm pace that they hummed along to and the quick ones that made everyone laugh and dance.
Laugh and dance like she couldn't anymore, and couldn't remember when she could.
Her Innocence made it look like she danced, danced through the sky. But no, she didn't.
She hated when people explained her power like that. She was fighting, not dancing, not flying. And it was tough.
She flew backwards as Allen collided into her, pulling her breath from her lungs. Gasping for air, she grabbed the first thing she could on him and held on tightly as she spun around to soften their collision into the wall. When they hit the ground, they ducked as the roof exploded, panting. She breathed in the dust, and coughed, covering her nose and mouth. It was too much dust, too much smoke. They couldn't see anything.
Allen's Innocence glowed brightly as it it pushed the dust and smoke away, enveloping them both in a white sheet. He wrapped his arms around her, tightly, really tightly, his weight heavy but familiar and very welcome against her back. She put her hands down on the ground as she kneeled and spit out some of the dust. The explosions were still out there. At least the air in here was clear.
"Are you alright, Lenalee?" Allen breathed and loosened his grip on her. She could feel him flinching when there were explosions close by. They were burning his cloak, obviously.
"Yes," she muttered hoarsely. "They'll die, Allen, they'll die. Tevak, Link, Narou, they'll die. It's too much." She was choking, her breath coming out in strained gasps.
"They won't die. Have faith, Lenalee."
"Faith in what? God isn't on our side, I hate God. What am I supposed to have faith in? Just look. The explosions, they're--"
"Have faith in them, in us, in their skill. They're Crow, they won't die in the first place."
She trembled, her eyes filling up with tears. She didn't let them fall. "They're so many..." she whispered.
But Allen... Allen was crying. His tears hit her cheek and dripped down onto the ground, sinking into the earth and dust. He was crying for the people, he was. And praying. She could see his lips moving in the corner of her vision. From his left eye, blood fell. Tears for the humans, blood for the Akuma... She could cry blood for him.
Blood is thicker than water.
Why did he cry blood for the Akuma?
"Lenalee..." he mumbled tearfully. "If we can't believe in God, and if we can't believe in ourselves, then what are we supposed to be believe in?"
"Walker!" Link's voice came from his earring. "Where are you two?"
"Catching some air," he said. Link must have noticed how strained his voice was, but he didn't say anything.
Lenalee stared at the blood on the ground, the blood from Allen's eye. Could they believe in anything anymore? "Let's go, Allen. It's enough now."
He let her go, and she dug her feet into the ground. They glanced at each other, and she grabbed his arm. They had to work together.
The moment the cloak disappeared from around them, she shot into the air, high into the air, through all the explosions and the clouds left over from them until she was under the clear sky. There she turned around, holding onto Allen as she eyed the smoke and dust below them. He was heavy, but nothing she couldn't handle.
"Where are they?" she asked silently.
He pointed with his sword and gave her a general direction. She flipped around, feeling the solid air under her feet, and narrowed her eyes. As she shot towards the Akuma, she felt Crown Belt wrap around her, steering her. Moments later, she felt the familiar collision of her heel penetrating the armor of an Akuma, Allen's sword adding to the power. White whips shot out in all directions, piercing and wrapping around Akuma.
Allen gave the positions, pulled the machines towards them every now and then, they destroyed them together. Allen kept praying. Lenalee kept struggling to believe in anything at all.
They were winning the battle. This small battle. But the city had since long lost.
God didn't smile upon them that day. A Crow died, and when the dust finally settled there was no life left.
Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew ya
The mission was a success. But the town was dead. The wind cast up the dust and ashes from the empty streets when it passed, it whizzled through the holes in the walls and windows, painfully loud in the overwhelming silence. The silence of death, the silence that made a biting cold run up Allen's spine. But it wasn't only that. It was too empty...
"Link... where is Lenalee?" he asked quietly, afraid of breaking the silence too much, afraid of the question, afraid of the answer.
Link's feet kicked up more dust when he approached, brushing off his clothes despite that they were bloody from a deep wound on his shoulder, Tevak on his trail. His eyebrows were drawn together in the usual scowl, her eyes were sharp as she inspected the damage. Answer, damn it, answer.
"Miss Lee is up on the roof," he finally answered, as the clouds in the sky seperated to reveal the nearly full moon.
Which roof, Allen was about to ask, but then he saw her. Lenalee, that is. Her hair was a bit lighter in the moonlight, not so dark, but not glowing, definitely not glowing. He took off towards her, ignoring Link's words that they still had things to do. He knew that, but Lenalee was more important at the moment. They had time, Link, they had time.
He gripped the ledge with white ropes and heaved himself up. Lenalee was standing with her feet on each side of the saddle roof's ridge. Allen had to struggle to walk up to her, because the roof was sloping quite impressively. When he got close, when he could see her properly, he had to wait with talking for a moment. Because, like that, she looked beautiful. Staring off into the distance, her eyes blank, unreadable, her cheeks nearly white. The moonlight sure was strong that night... It made her much more beautiful than she already was.
"Lenalee," he spoke up as he climbed the last bit and stopped behind her, hesitatingly putting an arm around her as he rested his chin on her shoulder.
She didn't move. Just barely whispered his name in reply. He put his other arm around her too. "Are you alright?" he asked silently.
"We could have done more..." she replied, her voice sounding thick.
There had been two Thirds with them today. One had died. Lenalee never really approved of the idea, neither did Allen, but the Thirds had grown to be considered their family. Another one had fallen to the enemy's hands... No citizen had lived, either. The mission was a success, but the loss was great. The Third had been a new one too... Tevak mourned, he could see it from where he stood.
"Yes," he agreed and frowned sadly, looking down, supposedly at the roof though not seeing it. "But it's too late now. But it's okay. Lenalee, it's okay."
He wanted to believe that too. He really did. But this wasn't okay. Lenalee just needed to hear it, that was all... He pressed his lips to her jaw, closing his eyes, breathing in her scent. It was calming.
"We need to finish up," he told her. "We need to finish up and get back to the Order."
'Your brother needs you.'
And she tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah
Lavi limped into the cafeteria that morning - meaning, the morning they had gotten back from the mission (Link was in the infirmary. He had gotten quite a nasty wound after all and Matron refused to let him go despite his protests that he "had to watch Walker"). What was strange, because seemingly he was unharmed and as far as Allen knew he hadn't had a mission all that recently. That should probably be considered lucky, but staying at Home too much tended to make every Exorcist jumpy.
"Hey, Allen," Lavi hummed as he stopped behind Allen in the line in front of Jeryy's window. "Did the mission go well?"
Allen sighed heavily and shook his head. "Well, we succeeded, but Narou died, and no citizen survived," he said, eyeing Lavi for a moment. "But surely you know that already."
"Yep," Lavi nodded ('Then why did you ask?' Allen thought) and tilted his head a little. "But hey, don't let that get to you. This is war. Not much can be done 'bout it, yeah?"
"Yeah, I'll be alright," Allen muttered and frowned. "Lavi, why are you limping? You're not wounded or anything?" It didn't look like a normal limp, either. It didn't look like Lavi had injured a leg or something. He couldn't put his finger on what it was.
Lavi laughed in the kind of way he did when laughing something off and waved his hand a little. "It's nothing, nothing at all, don't worry 'bout it, hm?" he said, speaking quickly as if wanting to avoid the subject. The British narrowed his eyes. "How's Lenalee doin'?"
Allen swallowed and looked down at the floor, taking a step forward as the line moved. "I'm not sure," he sighed and looked back up, frowning sadly. "She's falling. And she's changing. I... don't know what it is. I'm worried about her. The war, I think it's getting to her." There was a rustling from one of his pockets and Timcanpy fluttered out, sitting down on his shoulder, as a sort of comfort. "I mean, worse than before... There's something that... I wish I knew how to help her."
"Maybe you should talk to Yu." Allen opened his mouth. "Before ya say anything, think a little. You both care about her. You two are the ones closest to her aside from Komui. You two've a better chance of figuring out what's wrong than I do. And Komui is busy with his job, so taking his time may not be the best idea."
Allen sighed heavily and scratched the back of his neck. "Yeah... You're right. I guess..."
"Allen dear~" Jeryy cooed. "Don't hold up the line now and give me your order."
. . .
Talk to Kanda... Allen didn't like to talk to Kanda. Obviously. But he must have something to say about this, right? Didn't he and Lenalee talk all the time? Didn't they share things that she didn't share with Allen, her boyfriend? He probably knew things too. Things that Allen pretty much thought Lenalee didn't want to tell anyone, but if Kanda really was so special, then maybe she told him all that.
Allen placed his tray down opposite of Kanda and sat down violently, glaring at the Japanese for a moment while shoving in a little bit of his food into his mouth. Kanda cocked an eyebrow. And it was mocking him.
"What the fuck do you want, Bean Sprout?" Kanda asked while pulling up some noodles with his chopstick. "Why aren't you sitting over with the idiot rabbit?" He nudged his head in Lavi's direction and snarled. "I don't like pests at my table."
"The name is Allen," Allen snapped. "And the idiot rabbit insisted that I talk to you now before I change my mind." Kanda grunted to show he was listening as he stared into nowhere. "Lenalee. She's not alright. I was wondering if you know anything about it, since you apparently share every little thing."
Kanda rolled his eyes and calmly sipped his tea. Allen twitched again, a vein popping in his forehead. That eyeroll... That was really it! They did really share everything! Such a daring reaction. It was a challenge, wasn't it? A--
Hold it right there. This was about Lenalee, not the time to start a fight. That could wait for later. Yes, later.
"Tch. She's worrying of course," Kanda replied dryly, like it was so damn obvious.
Allen wasn't a master at reading people and if Lenalee wouldn't tell him but told Kanda then how the hell could he know?
"Worrying?" he asked, damaging his pride. Just for her.
"Yes. Worrying for her world. Moron, aren't you supposed to know her?" Yes, yes he was. But he didn't anymore. For a reason he wasn't sure of. She just... didn't want him to know her... did she? "A lot of her world has been destroyed lately. Of course she's... lost."
"Lost..." he muttered and Kanda simply continued to eat.
Was Lenalee... getting lost within herself?
A cold silence settled between them as they ate. That is, until Kanda finished and insisted on saying:
"You're disgusting, you know that, Bean Sprout?"
"I'll acknowledge your name when you grow some balls."
"Didn't you tell Lenalee you'd cut them off if she asked you to? That means I have them, doesn't it, you muppet?!"
"What the fuck is a muppet?"
"That means you're an idiot, idiot!"
And so they were off again.
. . .
"Well, you can't hear any bad news without blaming them on yourself somehow, can you?!"
Allen flinched back as Lenalee finally whirled around after refusing to look at him for a long time, her eyes narrowed and glowing with anger and...reproach. The words had been so sharp and trembling with suppressed... well, anger, and seeing those eyes just made it hurt all the more.
It wasn't the first time she had said something like that, but... never like this.
He had been hoping to find out what was wrong. But she didn't answer. And he didn't understand what he had done wrong. He was just... he just took responsibility, what was so wrong with that? He didn't want to say that it wasn't his fault, because it didn't feel right. What was so wrong with that?
"I don't NEED someone who apologises and comes with excuses for everything bad that happens in this war!" she interrupted. "You don't HAVE to apologise because it's never your fault, Allen! This is war, people DIE! I don't need someone to tell me it's okay, because it's NOT! I just need someone who can listen and understand, without apologising or blaming himself or thinking there was something that could've been done! If someone dies it's no one's fault but the Earl's, if someone dies the only one to blame is the Earl, if someone dies there is nothing that could've been done to prevent it because we're in a war and the Earl is trying to eliminate every force we have!"
"There's always something that could've been done, Lenalee!" Allen snapped. This wasn't like Lenalee. It wasn't like Lenalee to say that there was nothing that could be done to prevent death. That was just stupid. "And sometimes you do need to hear someone say that it's okay, even if it's not, because it gives you strength! Doesn't it?"
Allen swallowed and pressed his lips together. His throat was aching something terribly. It had spread from his chest, and it was just continuing to spread, up his face. But he wasn't going to cry, damn it.
It used to help. Telling Lenalee that it was okay used to help. And he said so.
"It used to."
Lenalee stared at him, mouth open, prepared to say something. Timcanpy hovered beside them, his wings swooshing quietly in the silence. He was anxious.
"But it's not okay," Lenalee finally said, hands clenched, legs tense, eyes still narrowed, in a glare. "I hate this war. We're losing it, aren't we?"
"The truth, Allen!"
"...it's not going well..."
"Then stop talking as if we can win."
Lenalee dared him to object to her. She wasn't going to change her mind, was she? It was--
Something pulsated and stirred, pain shot through his whole body and he tensed, teeth clenching together and eyes shutting tightly. Not now! Damn it damn it damn it. He was Allen Walker, an Exorcist of the Black Order who fought for both Akuma and humans, and he loved Lenalee Lee very very much. His goal was to defeat the Millenium Earl and save the world from its demise. He was not a mad Noah who wanted to take over the Millenium Earl's position for whatever reasons. And no matter what anyone said that wasn't goddamn changing.
He took a deep breath as the pain disappeared and he opened his eyes again. Lenalee was looking at him with wide (oh thank God they weren't narrowed anymore) and concerned eyes.
"I'm fine," he breathed and swallowed blood, removed his hands from his head, reaching out one of them to pet Timcanpy, who had flown over to him and was watching him intently.
"Don't disappear, Allen," she whispered.
He smiled sadly. "I won't."
She swallowed and looked away. "I have things I need to do," she mumbled and frowned. "I'll... see you around."
Allen reached out for her hand, but she turned and walked away before he managed to grab it. It was suddenly hard to swallow.
'Why does it have to be this way?'
. . .
"Y'know, Allen, kisses are pretty damn amazing," Lavi stated and flopped down next to him with a snicker, putting an arm around him.
"Ack! Lavi, I'm trying to think here," Allen said testily and dropped the king.
"Hey, Johnny, Timothy," Lavi greeted the others happily and practically clung to Allen. "Seriously. Kissing is awesome, don'tcha think?"
"Yes, yes, it's absolutely incredible," he sighed and put the king back, picking up the bishop instead.
He didn't really want to talk about such things right now, because after all he had just had a bit of a fight with Lenalee and he didn't need the reminder of their good days. It just hurt. But he tried to act like his normal self anyway.
Timothy raised an eyebrow at Lavi and stuck his face in front of the redhead's. "Kissing sounds gross," he said simply before flopping back down next to Johnny and grabbing his feet with his hands, smiling widely.
"You say that now, but that's just because you're a brat," Lavi stated and stuck out his tongue at the youngest Exorcist currently in the Order.
Johnny sweatdropped and looked between the two of them with raised eyebrows. Allen could almost read his mind. 'Timothy isn't the only brat around here.'
"Who did you kiss anyway?" Allen asked blankly after he had made his move. Not that he was all that curious to know, not really, but... meh. Might as well ask anyway.
"I'll tell ya another time, when we can talk in private," Lavi answered mysteriously.
Allen frowned at him, but then just shook his head a little as the redhead walked off humming. He didn't understand that guy most of the time...
Well baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
You know I used to live alone before I knew ya
There was something about Lavi and Kanda that was strange where they sat on a couch further away in the lounge. Strange in the way that it somehow gave off the same vibe that Allen had when he was together with Lenalee. Well... Like he and Lenalee mostly were when it was the two of them that seemed to be the only thing in focus. They were talking silently, more silently than they usually did, in the kind of silent way that... couples did. Almost. And Link was sending them very suspicious glances.
And Lavi's smile was very odd. It was so... small, but so very soft and genuine and... warm.
"Lenalee, what's going on between those two?" he mumbled, leaning towards her and eyeing her, ignoring Timcanpy's tugs on his hair in a quest for attention.
Lenalee smiled at him. "They're close," she said simply.
And that was obviously all she was going to say. Allen sighed and accepted it. He didn't want to anger her now that they were having one of their better times. The atmosphere in the room was just overall relaxed.
Did Lenalee understand that he had given himself to her? That he had opened his soul to her, that he didn't walk his path alone anymore like she seemed to think? That belief was what caused all of the trouble they had with their relationship... He didn't walk alone anymore, he had allowed her inside. But he couldn't help questioning if there was anything he could have done to prevent things. She kept accusing him of shutting himself in and putting it all on himself. She kept saying that was why she didn't tell him things anymore.
He didn't understand... He loved her more than anything. If she just wanted someone to listen, then he could do that. He could. But she didn't give him the chance now. She only talked to Kanda.
He glared at the Japanese, who was pulled to his feet by Lavi and dragged out of the room.
Link scoffed and kept scowling after them.
Allen finally grabbed Timcanpy from the air and absent-mindedly stroked his fingers over his wings.
"I love you, Lenalee," he said.
The look she gave him was dark. He was getting much more used to that than he wanted to be. Than he should be. It was familiar now, that she looked at him like that.
It was beginning to anger him.
He pressed his lips together and looked away as Timcanpy affectionately nibbled on his finger. Yes, Timcanpy did know how to do that without injuring anything.
And that was when it hit him. The one that Lavi had kissed was... Kanda.
And I've seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
"I told you that brat wouldn't last long."
Allen gritted his teeth and clenched his fists, glaring at the coffin. Kanda's words cut into him like a big knife in his open wound, twisting and turning and digging deeper. "But it could have been prevented," he wanted to say, because Kanda would just brush it off as stupid naïveness. If they had paid more attention, if Allen had paid more attention, it could have been prevented. Would Kanda have cared even if he had been paying attention? Allen didn't know anymore.
Timothy was just a kid. A kid, dragged into a war like this. He didn't deserve this fate. He didn't deserve it...
Suddenly there was a hand clenching his shoulder, so very painfully. He didn't need to look to know whose hand it was. "Who... is that?" Lenalee asked. Allen could see her face inside his mind; her wide eyes, the moisture in them, her mouth open in shock, her lower lip quivering, her forehead drawn together in a worried frown.
He didn't want to say it.
He didn't have to.
"Timothy," Kanda answered for him.
He actually felt thankful for Kanda's ability to be so damn blunt.
Lenalee drew a wheezing breath, let out a long whimper, and dragged Allen with her as she sunk to her knees. Kanda looked at her for a moment, then turned on his heel and walked off with his head lowered. The bastard. Allen glared after him as he pulled Lenalee against him, holding her tightly, burying his nose in her hair. Lenalee didn't sob. She cried silently. The only time he had seen her not do so was in that dream he had when he had nearly died, but how much could he rely on that...?
No, Lenalee Lee cried silently with her head lowered, allowing the tears to fall onto Allen's sleeve.
He looked up at the sound of footsteps and spotted Komui and Reever. Their expressions were concerned and the black lines under their eyes were clearly visible. They were both stressed, barely slept anymore and had one hell of a workload. Allen didn't understand how they managed, he really didn't. Not that being an Exorcist was any better, was it?
What was worse... Facing death daily, or watching people face death, and sometimes dying, daily?
The scientists stopped in front of the row of coffins that were, thankfully, not many, not as they usually were.
"Timothy Hearst, Toma Ayre, Julian Hirsch, Gervaso de Souza, Adela Backhaus and Leander Moore: Killed in action," Reever said with a blank tone, reading off a paper from a clipboard.
Wait... Allen's eyes widened. Toma? Toma was... dead...?
Maybe it was a surprise he had stayed alive for so long... He was a real survivor, wasn't he?
Allen squeezed his eyes shut and buried his nose in Lenalee's hair again.
He heard Komui say:
. . .
"Kanda... How did Timothy die?"
Lenalee fingered on the mattress of Kanda's bed, her knees pulled up against her chest. She liked to be in Kanda's room. It was always quiet, even if it wasn't very welcoming. Aside from the few plants that were in there, that is, which Kanda was actually watering right now. Lenalee liked to look when he took care of his plants, too. It made him show another sort of calm than when he meditated. Somehow, she preferred that calm. It felt more... real.
"He got caught off-guard because he lost his focus," Kanda said blankly as he inspected one of the plants, lightly brushing his fingers over its green leaves. "And he got over-confident. A brat like him had no place on the battlefield."
She bit her lip. She knew Kanda would answer in that kind of way, he always did, but it still hurt a little to hear him say that about someone who was no longer with them. Wonder if Allen had something to add... and if it had been possible to save Timothy. But then, they would have done that, right? Allen surely would and Kanda wasn't that bad of a person. He would protect his comrades... He would.
"I see," she said silently. "But Kanda, weren't you out on the battlefield at his age? And I was... At least I was just a child..." She wasn't sure if the age she recalled was correct.
Kanda put his watering can in the corner where he always had it, turning away abruptly so that she wouldn't see his face. But she managed to see it briefly, and she knew that expression very well. It was the kind of frown he wore when something angered him more deeply than any teasing or taunting from Lavi or Allen did, because teasing and taunting were just pesky small fry that didn't matter, not really, not in the long run. This mattered. In one way or another, this mattered.
But it wasn't Timothy. Kanda hadn't been close to Timothy, so he wouldn't care about the boy. No... It was something else.
"Kanda?" she asked softly. "Are you okay?"
He snorted and crossed his arms. She was pretty sure he was glaring at the wall. "Of course I am," he grumbled. "I don't care about that brat." But it's something else, Kanda, Lenalee wanted to say, but she didn't get the time, because he continued talking. "Are you okay?"
She swallowed and looked down at her arms where they now lay across her knees. "I don't know..." she said slowly. "Tell me, Kanda... It's something else. Tell me." She wasn't dropping the topic. She wanted an answer for her question before he got a proper one for his.
You couldn't just change topics on her, no sir.
"It pisses me off," Kanda growled angrily.
Well, that much was clear. But he didn't say anything more. It was usually like that; Kanda was a man of few words, very few, so asking questions that normally shouldn't need to be asked were usually necessary to ask.
"Fuck..." he muttered, barely audibly from where she was sitting. She eyed him worriedly. Swearing was always bad, because Kanda didn't really swear that much. Actually, it was more like he didn't often say that particular word... But there was still times when he could swear so badly that-- okay, Kanda swore a lot.
What he said next was said very quickly, and very angrily.
"The Order are a bunch of bastards who think everything they do is right even when it comes back to bite them in the ass later on. Experimenting on people who hasn't done shit to them, putting the Sprout under fucking watch for suspecting he's a fucking traitor when what he lives for is destroying the Akuma - the idiot - and now sending off a fucking brat into the field when he wasn't ready."
Lenalee knew there was something left unsaid, but it didn't need to be said.
Forcing people away, forcing her away, and manipulating them until they either caved in or were left as dead shells, tied up to a bed in a dark and lonely room...
"I know," she mumbled. "I know..." And that was all she could say...
Kanda hated the Order.
"Are you okay?" he asked again.
"I'll be alright," she answered.
She gave him a small sad smile as he turned back around.
She hadn't said she was okay. She wasn't really. A part of her world had disappeared. She and Timothy hadn't been close, but still... she cared about him. Because he was, after all, family.
But she would be alright.
. . .
"I'm so sorry, Lenalee."
Allen was bowing in front of her, in that kind of way that he had done in the beginning when he apologised for something but usually didn't anymore. So then why did he do it now? What was it supposed to mean? She personally thought they were past that.
Lenalee frowned. "For what?"
"For Timothy... I failed, Lenalee, I failed. I didn't pay attention and he--"
"It's not your fault, Allen." She scowled, speaking the words in a sharp tone that was supposed to give no room for protests.
There he was again, putting everything on his own shoulders, blaming it all on himself, thinking that he could have done something to prevent it when he couldn't have. A part of her world might have disappeared, but she wasn't looking for someone to blame it on, she wasn't looking for someone to apologise to her because it happened, she wasn't looking for someone to tell her why. Because she knew who was at fault, she knew who should feel regret enough to apologise, she knew why.
It was the reason that this war even existed.
"Stop carrying the whole world on your shoulders. Let us carry it together with you. And raise your head."
And this was why she didn't tell him everything.
She knew she was breaking a promise, but she was so tired of him taking it all on himself like that when they were supposed to deal with it together.
She walked away without another word.
Because she had important things that she had to do.
Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya
It was only a few months ago that Lenalee told Allen everything. Everything that troubled her, everything she thought about. Like they had promised. Back when things seemed so great, when things were so new.
A while ago, she stopped doing that.
A while ago; more precisely when Timothy died.
But maybe a little bit before that too. The hints had been there for a while. The flickering gazes, the half truths, the occasional avoidance of a subject.
Where did their promise, that she initiated, go? Didn't it matter anymore? Didn't she want to share things with him anymore? It hurt him, and he finally realised just why she hated it so much when he kept things from her. It really, really really, hurt. It made him wonder if he even mattered to her now. It was as if she threw him away, as if she didn't care about him.
She always told him not to be selfish.
Well, Lenalee, what about you, he wanted to tell her. What about you. What about me.
He didn't want to ask her. He wanted to tell her.
But she avoided the subject like the plague.
And that left him at a loss of what to do. Because he couldn't keep pushing at it. He wasn't as forceful as her. He couldn't just continue to press the matter until she caved in. Because she was... breaking as it was. He was afraid to make it worse, so damn afraid. He just prayed that it wasn't like it seemed, or that she would change her mind. She felt so far away, further away than ever before. And they should be closer, not further away, shouldn't they?
It was the war. It was the goddamned war.
"I think I can understand," he mumbled, pulling at Timcanpy's wings and stretching them, and the golem, like they were rubber (this had become quite a bad habit... and he was never in a good mood while doing it) where he sat cross-legged on his bed. He, Link and Tevak hadn't returned to the Order for a long while. Lenalee had gone home a day or so ago from assisting them in a mission, but they were on a new one.
No rest. They had been out on the field for three weeks.
"Understand what, Walker?" Link asked from where he was writing his reports. Like always.
"Why the Order goes to such extent to win the war... Even if I don't agree with it..." Allen replied silently, forehead furrowing into a frown.
"That's good to hear, Walker. You're growing," Link said with the kind of blank bluntness that only he could use. It was like a hammer hit you square in the head.
Allen huffed and pulled a bit too hard, causing Timcanpy to snap at his hand so that he was forced to let the poor golem go, watching as he angrily flew over to occupy Link's head.
"At least I can think for myself," he muttered.
Link glanced up at Timcanpy, looking a bit irritated, but Timcanpy usually did more annoying things than that so he seemed to accept it. Well, had to accept it because Timcanpy was too stubborn to listen to any complaints.
"Is there something you are trying to tell me?" the Crow inquired, speaking slowly and clearly as if Allen wouldn't understand it. How dared he?
Allen scowled, his lips pursing into a pout without him really wanting them to (it didn't exactly make it look like he was "growing", did it?). But then, he just smiled sweetly and hopped off the bed to change and go to sleep. They had a long day ahead of them.
"Nothing, nothing at all," he said in a tone that told the opposite. Yes, yes, he was trying to tell Link something. But Link knew, he could see that from the expression on the blond's face.
. . .
Allen was searching. Searching for Lenalee. Because they had to talk. They really did. Even if he didn't particularly like talking... Sometimes it had to be done, didn't it? Lenalee always said that she was there if you wanted to talk, she always did, to everyone. To Kanda, who would snort, to Lavi, who would grin and say thanks but that it wasn't needed, to Komui, who would smile and say that he knew that, to Allen, who would smile too widely and say that he would keep it in mind. She had even said so to Link. He had snorted too.
And she had told Timothy. Because she knew how it was to be a small child stuck in a war.
Timothy had said thanks, grinned and run off to chase Timcanpy around the room.
The memories stung.
Allen normally didn't talk about things. He preferred to smile and say it was nothing, nothing at all. And it made Lenalee mad.
He still did it. Until she eased it out of him.
He didn't know how to ease things out of her. Because usually, she eventually said things on her own. He had never had to. Now she hid things, she told half the truth, or decided to say something else instead of the truth.
Well... at least he thought it was something like that. He wasn't a people expert. He was supposed to understand Lenalee, though, wasn't he?
Speaking of Lenalee, there she was, up ahead in the corridoor, heading in the same direction as him. Her hips swayed elegantly like only her hips did, her skirt rustling silently with the movements of her legs, her long legs. Her hair had grown out a long time ago and was back in its usual pigtails. He could clearly see her neck even from this distance, clearly remember the feel of stroking his fingers and brushing his lips over it. He always did love touching it, and kissing it.
He increased his pace and raised his hand. "Lenalee!" he called out.
She stopped, turned around, the pigtails swishing, and smiled at him. Smiled with a hint of sadness. "Hey, Allen," she said and pecked his lips when he stopped in front of her. "You're finally back. Welcome home."
"Yes, I'm home, finally," he said tiredly and sighed, grabbing her hand. "And... I want to talk to you."
Her expression changed in a second. Wariness flickered in her eyes, her smile fell just slightly though it was still there and her eyebrows drew together just a little bit. But mostly she looked curious. Allen didn't say "I want to talk", he didn't.
They continued down the hallway, holding hands despite the invisible wall that was between them. Allen didn't know when it had gotten there, he really didn't, but it was there now, and he hated it.
"Are we alright, Lenalee?" he began, in a mumble. "Are we alright? Things aren't the same anymore."
Lenalee squeezed his hand. He squeezed back. "I don't know... I don't know, Allen," she muttered, and for a moment the wall between them disappeared as she leaned towards him, their feet knocking against each other so that they could trip any moment. There was something that grew in them both, but something that died at the same time. Particularly in Lenalee. "We're... hanging on."
Somehow, they were hanging on. She got that one right.
Two words hung above their heads, unspoken.
They had to keep doing that.
Lenalee suddenly leaned very heavily against him and he stumbled to the side, nearly fell. She clenched his hand painfully, and the other one she raised to grip his shirt, just as hard. He didn't have time to ask what was wrong before the weight was gone just as suddenly and he was pulled to the side and into Lenalee's room. When had they gotten there?
She kicked the door closed and locked it. And then she tugged him further in until she could sit on the bed.
"Lenalee?" he asked.
"Allen," she muttered and tugged at his tie, her hands trembling. Her breath was growing heavier. "I... don't know if it's wise... But I need you."
She threw the tie away, her cheeks burning red, and his probably was too. Had he heard correctly? Her hands moved to the back of his neck and tugged him down, his lips crashing down on hers. Her tongue was in his mouth the moment they did.
And there was so much emotion.
She was in pain. She wanted-- no, she needed something to get her mind off it. Her heart was aching, he could feel it, in her kiss. Somehow, he could feel it.
She didn't want to talk.
She wanted to do.
Kanda and Lavi style, more precisely.
She tugged his hands down to her hips and pressed them down, before she got to work on removing his vest, shakily and slowly. His heart was already racing, out of nervousness mostly. This would be their first time... He had yet to turn eighteen, but he didn't know exactly when his birthday was, did he? Maybe he was already eighteen without knowing it... It was this year he was turning eighteen after all... It didn't matter. If Lenalee needed it, he would give it to her.
She tugged him down.
And it was all one big mess as they struggled with removing the clothes. The room got very hot, overwhelmingly so, their breaths very heavy, their cheeks deeply flushed and their skins very sweaty. And there were moans and cries and pants when he entered her and moved inside of her, slowly and carefully, afraid to hurt her. But she told him it was okay, so the pace increased eventually.
And when they finished, the magic disappeared. The atmosphere became suffocating. Allen had to excuse himself and leave. Lenalee seemed to understand. He thanked God for that.
And yet it happened more times after that. For some reason, they continued doing it, even if it obviously wasn't good for their relationship.
Allen had no idea.
But remember when I moved in you
And the Holy Dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah
Allen thought that the biggest move they did might just have been what began to destroy them in the end. It had seemed so wonderful at the time. Actually, it had been wonderful, truly. But it was a bad idea. There was something that changed after that. After they had been moving together, sweaty skin slipping against sweaty skin, trembling hands gripping him tightly...
When he had been sliding in and out of her, hot breaths mingling together, and everything had been so amazing and the only thing he had been able to say had been "Oh God, Lenalee, oh God". It had been so hot and she had been moaning his name and it had driven him crazy and it had just been so damn overwhelming.
After they had been doing all that, something died each time.
If things could just be like when they were... doing it... then things would be great.
But it wasn't like that.
Maybe there is a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
Allen used to believe in God. He really did. And still, now that he didn't anymore, not really, he kept praying. He didn't know why, but it felt good, somehow. Maybe it was because there was some part of him that said that maybe there actually is a God, and that in that case he shouldn't just throw Him away because things were bad.
Still, when Lavi was sitting in front of you and looked practically miserable, you had to wonder. Because if Lavi looked miserable - and sure, he could look sad, but not miserable - then could there really be a God that watched out for them somewhere out there? Allen was really beginning to doubt it. He didn't pray to a God, he prayed to something else. Hope, maybe. Mana, maybe. But not God.
"Love is painful, isn't it, Lavi?" he sighed and patted Lavi on the back.
"Yeah, no kidding..." the redhead muttered, face buried in his arms, arms resting on his knees. "What was I thinking? Tell me that, Allen. What was I thinking?"
"I don't know," Allen said and grimaced. "If you can't answer, then how do you expect me to? I don't understand you at all." And how it was possible to fall for Kanda he really couldn't grasp. He lowered his voice to a whisper. "Don't you just want to hurt them, sometimes? When they talk as if they know everything, when they yell at you for things you don't understand, when they rip out your heart and step on it over and over again, don't you just want to hurt them?"
Lavi slowly raised his head and eyed Allen, who was breathing heavily by now, teeth bared, eyes and hands twitching, blood boiling. Allen saw the slight surprise slowly change into understanding. Then, the Bookman Apprentice finally nodded, slowly, and smiled just a little.
"So badly," he agreed.
Allen took a few deep breaths and closed his eyes, allowing himself to calm down, so that his blood was only bubbling a little. "And yet you still love them," he mumbled and opened his eyes again, returning the smile. "Because even so, they matter too much to your life. It's like the air you breathe. You can't live without them."
Lavi snorted a little. "Yeah? I'll have to eventually."
Allen squeezed his shoulder and leaned back a little in the couch. "You can't think about that now, though. And if you really love him, then you can fight for him. I'm not giving up with Lenalee. I'll get through to her."
Suddenly it didn't seem all that impossible anymore. Maybe he could actually manage that, maybe it was possible.
All of a sudden there was the sound of an explosion and the alarm activated.
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
The very pillars of Lenalee's world were falling apart. She screamed and protested and kicked and bit when the guards pulled her away. She wanted to cry blood, but she could only cry tears. Her throat was aching, but that didn't matter. Nothing compared to the pain of a broken heart. It wasn't happening. It was not happening. It was not happening.
"DON'T TAKE HIM AWAY FROM ME!" she shrieked, her voice bouncing off the walls, ringing in her ears. The weight of the talismans around her legs were unbearable. "I'M NOT LEAVING HIM!"
"Miss Lee! Calm down! Let them try to save him the best they can!" one of the guards snapped, trying to overpower her cries.
"LET ME GO!"
They stopped dragging her and held her arms tightly as she tried to follow the stretcher that disappeared around the corner. Her tears dripped to the floor as she kicked at the guards, sobbing and choking on the air. She wanted to tear out her heart, because it hurt so damn much. And she couldn't stop it. And she couldn't stop this. And she could do nothing. She was powerless.
With a last, drawn out, sorrowful whine she slumped in the guards' grip on her arms, her head falling forward. The scene kept playing in her mind as she shook, her vision blurred from the tears. The level 4's hands getting a firm grip on Komui's coat. Komui crashing into the wall with blood gushing out of his side. The level 3's blade falling down and... and... Komui's left leg left on the ground as the level 4 grabbed him again...
Komui was dying and they didn't allow her near him. He was her brother!
"Let me be with him... please..." she mouthed, barely whispered, another sob escaping past her lips.
"Let her go."
That was Kanda. Ohh, Kanda...
"We can't do that. The orders were not to let Miss Lee near the medical ward."
"And why the fuck not?"
That was a very good question. She had every right to be there. Every right. She needed to be there. She wanted to know if her brother was going to be alright, if he was going to live, if he... if they couldn't save him.
"Those were the orders. We don't know how she'll react if--"
"If Komui dies?"
She flinched and choked on another sob. She didn't know what she would do if he died... Kanda just had to be so blunt. It hurt, it hurt so much and the scene kept playing. Komui's wide eyes and his cries of pain. He wasn't used to pain, damn it, he wasn't used to it. He had to be in so much pain. Dear, dear Komui...
"Don't just say--"
"I'll say it if I damn well want to. And you can bet she'll be much more violent if she's not allowed to be there with him if it happens. He's her brother. Does Lvellie really have that little of a heart? What gave him the stupid idea that keeping her away from Komui is the better way to go?"
Kanda's voice was dark, low and threatening. She hadn't felt as grateful towards him as she did now for a long time. Not since he protected Komui during the first invasion of HQ. She tugged against the grip on her arms again, standing back on her feet. She couldn't just give up like this, could she? No, definitely not. She was stronger than this, she was stronger. She was going to be there. No. matter. what.
"We don't have the right to question--"
"Fucking mindless puppets!"
Kanda growled it out this time - it sounded like it was between his teeth - rapidly.
There was the sound of a sword being drawn.
"Yu Kanda, if you don't put that away this instance we will have to resort to drastic measures."
"I don't give a fuck what you do. Central can't do worse than what has already been done. Let her go, or she will have to carry you to the medical ward soon enough."
Lenalee somehow managed to get in a good kick in one of the guards' crotches. With the heel on her shoe. And Kanda wasn't joking. When the other guard refused to let her go and had to occupy himself with keeping her from escaping, Kanda knocked them both unconscious.
Not that it meant they would have to be brought to the infirmary.
"They won't let you get away with that," she whispered and wiped her eyes.
"I don't care. I'm not loyal to them," he muttered bitterly.
She somehow managed to smile at him.
He allowed her to lean against him as they walked towards the ward in silence; there was nothing to be said. She didn't need it, not really, but it felt solid. Something she could still grip, something that stopped the pillars from crumbling, even if just for a moment.
It was enough.
. . .
Komui was stable. For now. His wounds had been taken care of and were bandaged up. It hurt to see the blanket over him lie on the mattress where it should be lying on a leg...
Lenalee bit her lip and grabbed his hand, squeezing it. "Don't die, brother," she whispered and a knife struck her heart. She swallowed. She wanted to cry blood again. "Please don't die."
Matron said he might not survive. She had hugged Lenalee and apologised and said that she couldn't lose hope. Lenalee hadn't said anything. Because she wasn't sure she could promise anything. Because she didn't know if she would be fine if Komui died. She began to cry again. The tears rolled down her cheeks slowly, falling down into her lap on the bare skin just beneath her skirt. This time she cried silently.
The door to the medical ward opened and she spared it a quick glance. There stood Link, and Allen, who spared the Kanda leaning against the wall a quick glance before grabbing a chair and sitting down next to Lenalee (Link stood a little bit away from Kanda and watched). She could see a hint of worry in his eyes, but he still smiled. But at least it wasn't wide, and at least it didn't hide anything. Good. She would have hit him otherwise.
"How is he?" he asked and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Matron says he's stable, but... he might not survive," she said silently. The hand clenched a little.
They didn't move or talk. Kanda left the room eventually, without a word. Allen glared at him, but she didn't care. It was fine, he was allowed to do that. Finally, she let go of Komui's hand and turned a little towards Allen, eyeing him.
"Tell me what you think, Allen," she said silently. "Do you think my brother will survive?"
She could see the hesitation flicker in his eyes. He was going to lie, she knew it.
"Yes. Definitely," he said with a quick nod and an all too wide smile. "He wouldn't leave you behind, would he?"
Lenalee glared at him. "No!" she said sharply and he flinched, the smile falling immediately. "That's not what I want to hear. What do you really believe, Allen? You're not as naïve as Kanda always says. Tell me the truth, don't try to soften the blow. Do you think my brother will survive?"
Allen's gaze flickered and he looked at the empty space where Komui's leg should be. Couldn't he look somewhere else?
He was thinking intensily. His frown was deep and uncertain. Even when she said that he wasn't sure if he wanted to tell her the truth... Damn it, he was so damn stupid. She didn't need anyone to give her false hopes. Her hope was dead already, she thought that much was obvious. She didn't want people to baby her. She was trying to be realistic. At least Kanda supported her. He had always done that. No matter what. Even when she was more naïve than he personally liked, he supported her. But she had grown now. She had changed.
Her world was crumbling and there was nothing she could do about it.
That was fact.
She could only wait and see if it changed, if her world was going to survive for a little longer.
"I... believe in what Matron said," Allen mumbled after a while. "If she says he might not survive, then he might not survive."
She smiled and put her hand under his chin, tilting his head to make him look at her. "Thank you," she said softly.
"But I believe," he added, putting something special into the word "believe", something that made it mean something else, something bigger, something... hopeful.
And his eyes were determined.
She flinched back a little, because that gaze was so intense. Too intense. It was as if it tore straight through her soul.
And he continued talking.
"Lenalee. Komui's not the one dying. You are."
She frowned, her lips parting slightly. She wasn't dying. She was changing.
Allen put a finger to her lips. She blinked. "Don't interrupt me, Lenalee," he said and smiled a little. "You're not Lenalee anymore. You're different. Kanda told you the same thing, didn't he? We've talked and we're worried about you. Kanda said you're changing a lot now, the way you view the world is changing. Isn't it? But you can't lose yourself, Lenalee. Please don't lose yourself. And at least try to hope. Without hope, what are we?
"Allen... We're in a war," Lenalee muttered and grabbed his hand with both of her own, squeezing it lightly. "People die every week... The Earl's forces are getting stronger... Hoping is..." She widened her eyes slightly, a sudden thought hitting her, and then she swallowed, bit her lip and pulled his hand to her chest, squeezing it harder, her voice lowering to a whisper. "Hoping scares me."
Allen put his other hand over one of hers and squeezed too. "You've been able to do it once," he said and smiled reassuringly, but not too widely. Her heart fluttered like it hadn't done in a while, even as it was; in pieces. "You can do it again. You want Komui to live. Then hope. For him. Believe in him."
She took a deep breath and returned the smile. "You're right," she said silently. "I'll believe." She moved her hands to bury her fingers in his hair.
She hadn't done it for so long.
God, she loved his hair.
She tugged him closer. "I love you, Allen," she whispered against his lips before pressing her own against them. A few pieces of her heart seemed to glue back together.
When Matron came with the message that the danger was over, Lenalee had to sit down and just breathe as tears of relief began to fall. Komui had woken up a few times, and every time he had insisted on saying...
"I love you, Lenalee."
And everytime more of her heart glued back together.
And at the same time it hurt because it made her fear that maybe he was expecting to die and just wanted to tell her as often as possible before it happened.
But he survived. And when he woke up again he said it again. This time she could reply.
"I love you too, Komui," she said and smiled widely, squeezing his hand.
She didn't say it enough, did she?
. . .
The recovery took a painfully long time. Even after Matron had said the danger was over Lenalee found herself worrying. But there was one thing that made it easier to get through it all. Her and Allen were finally alright again, or at least working on getting there. Komui's replacement was a decent Supervisor, but everyone agreed that no one could replace Komui. Even Kanda did it whole-heartedly, not with just a silent grunt or anything like that. It was with a "what he said" after Lavi's "hell yeah".
Yes, that was whole-heartedly. In Kanda standards it was.
Komui laughed where he sat in his wheelchair, practicing to move around without someone pushing him. Timcanpy busied himself with chasing the wheels with bared teeth.
"Now now, he's doing a good job, be nice," he smiled and pushed at the wheels a bit too hard. "This is hard getting used to..."
"Hey, we didn't say he's bad or anythin', we just said you're much better," Lavi said and smirked a little. "Though if anyone should replace you it should be Reever. But they said he 'has too much to do as it is'."
Allen coughed a little. Reever already did half of Komui's job... What he could do, that is. Some things strictly had to be done by the Supervisor.
"At least he's different from the other Central bastards," Kanda muttered.
"I heard that, Kanda," Link said bitterly and scowled. "Watch your words."
Kanda snarled at him.
Komui was busy recovering. The rest of the Order was busy repairing. Still repairing, even after a couple of months. This invasion had been worse. They had lost a lot of manpower, but still, somehow, the Headquarters was whole enough for them to still be able to use it. It just took a while to repair it, because they had a lot of other things to do with the war being as it was. The attack had been more of a sneak attack. Most level 4's were just plain destructive, but these ones hadn't had as widespread attacks. That didn't make them any less deadly. And this time, despite all the protection, one managed to get its hands on Komui.
Komui had said that the only time he had felt more scared in his whole life was when he lost Lenalee.
She absently ran her fingers through his hair as he took a break from driving the wheelchair around the room. Allen had an arm wrapped around her, giving her some comfort, just in case she needed it. She didn't, really, she felt quite calm like this. Then again, that might have been because he had his arm around her.
She was beginning to get used to the image of Komui missing a leg now. Slowly and steadily.
"I think you need a haircut soon, brother," she mused silently.
"I'm going to create a leg," Komui said out of the blue, patting one of the wheels. "Because this is an absolute pain."
Everyone else in the room shared a glance - aside from Allen and Kanda who didn't even begin to look in the other's direction. No surprise there. They all obviously thought the same thing.
'If he does that, will he be alright?'
"Why so silent?" Komui asked and blinked at them.
Lavi burst into laughter. Lenalee and Allen raised an eyebrow at him before joining in silently, while Kanda just rolled his eyes and shrugged at the Supervisor's questioning glance. Oh, Kanda knew what it was, why he didn't say it... Lenalee couldn't answer that. He usually didn't hesitate in being blunt.
Maybe because it was a leg they were talking about.
Link just scoffed at the stupidity of it all.
As Komui began to move around the room again, Lenalee leaned against Allen and watched her brother. It was such a relief seeing him thinking about his future inventions already and that the loss of his leg didn't affect him that much. He had gotten used to it by now, mostly, just like her, though the first month had been hard on him. Of course anyone who lost a limb would be shocked for a while...
Lavi grinned and held out his arms towards Kanda with a questioning look. And Kanda happily gave him the finger.
Lenalee sighed at the two of them and glanced up at Allen, who rolled his eyes.
She was learning to believe again. Komui had survived the attack of a level 4. That had to mean they still had a chance, right? Or, well, maybe not. But that had to mean that maybe believing worked.
Or maybe it was Allen's prayers to a God none of them believed in.