AN: Guess what, I'm still alive! I really shouldn't pick up multi-chapters, haha. Well. Better later than never, yes? I hope.

And now.. meet Lavi, the bastard! 8D

Comments are always welcomed~ It's what makes me continue despite of occasionally dying off the net. Ahahaha... sorry 'bout that.

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Chapter 3 : Colourful Lies

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...Wasn't it Exorcists' common realization to keep a low profile?

Well, apparently not anymore. Here one was, probably earning his living by having his face transmitted as a bait to buy local products for hundreds of fools. After seeing the same thing over again, there was no doubt left. It was definitely everyone's favourite immature brat of an Exorcist and nonsense of a Bookman, also known as simply Lavi. And just how did he manage to be.. seen without even having a surname? Had he learned to lie again? Back in the day, he had trouble with that, especially around his friends. But surely, people change...

Not that it really mattered at the moment. Allen had finally found a decent lead directly to the others, and damn he was going to follow it, even if his lack of luck still made sure it wasn't Lenalee he found first. Well, whatever. He was still lucky to find one of them, plus Lavi was sort of his best buddy back in the day, so it could have been worse. They hopefully had better luck and maybe have even stayed together. Lavi would definitely know where to find Lenalee, too.

Allen Walker barely avoided being run over by a truck as he ran across the street into the nearest media office.

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"What do you mean you can't tell me?"

The secretary sighed in a rather annoying manner which couldn't be translated as anything else but an encouragement to go away. "Look, boy, do you have any idea how many people come here and ask us where this or that person lives? The fans, the stalkers, the terrorists, you name it. It is against our policy to provide such information. And especially if the person has appeared on the screens. I'm not even talking about the stars."

Allen barely kept himself from groaning. He tried to keep up the polite expression despite of starting to get frustrated, making sure his tone had the needed amount of pleading and firmness in it. "Come on, it's just a mediocre commercial! It's not like he's anything important or anything. I already told you I know the guy! His name is Lavi and -"

"If you know him, then you should know where he lives," the secretary stated and turned sideways from him, picking up the phone and starting to talk really fast into the horn.

Allen's cheek twitched.

This - this - this duffer! He wasn't used to this much of bureaucracy, not at all, he didn't even know what it is until he met it, and.. This was bad. Just what harm was sharing a tiny little bit of information about the living place of a red-haired idiot who advertised shaving cream of all things?

No, he wasn't going to leave it at that.

A grin slowly spread on his face.

"WHAT IS YOUR PRICE, THEN?" he asked in a low, dark tone as soon as the secretary put the phone down. Not quite the same polite and distressed boy that was here just moments ago, now he seemed to practically be looming over the desk while emitting evil aura, and that was a little scary.

The secretary blinked, gaped, and leaned back in her chair for more distance from the strange and scary young man. "Excuse me?"

"I NEED THAT INFORMATION," the strange and scary young man explained hollowly, not moving by an inch. "I WILL PAY FOR IT."

"What - you - you - you can't just buy the free media! Please... leave, this instant!"

The strange and scary young man thought otherwise. "ALL PEOPLE CAN BE BOUGHT. IT'S JUST THE PRICE THAT VARIES."

"..."

"So..." The young man was suddenly not all so strange nor scary again and stepped back a little, tilting his head with a lovely, sweet beaming smile. "How much?"

The woman just stared at him for a moment, then quickly looked around before turning back to him. "He really is a small fry," she hissed. "So just five hundred and complete anonymity, and then please just leave."

Allen nodded with the kindness of deeply understanding person, never ceasing to smile. "Most certainly~" He's emptied plenty of gambling spots' pockets by now, and yes, he did have the money right now, so he simply dug it out while the secretary scribbled something on a small piece of paper. Then she handed it to him, and he handed her the money, saluted with a very polite "Thank you" and left.

::

Back in the street, he folded out the paper and read the address with a small frown which disappeared as soon as he realized it was here in New York. His heart almost fluttered. Here he is, and just in a few hours he's going to see Lavi, good old bratty Lavi, and he is ought to at least have information on the others, if they're not all in the same place, that is.

And they should be. Unless something happened, but they weren't really the type to quarrel between themselves, though of course it sometimes happened. Not quite on the scale of how Allen and Kanda fought, at least. He was always surprised and a little irked at how well Lenalee got along with that grumpy bastard, but they had known each other for the longest time out of the four, so it made sense. Besides.. it's not like it was a threat to him, though back in the day he used to get a bit jealous of Lenalee's attention. She wasn't really that close to Lavi, but they didn't fight, either, other than an occasional slap for certain comments. And Lavi and Kanda.. well, they had something weird about themselves, but most of the time they seemed to be on good terms too, with a bit of trashing and inanimate object abuse at Lavi's head every now and then.

Yes, they most likely stuck together like peanut butter on the brain.

Lucky day.

::

Or maybe not, Allen recalled as he knocked on the door for who knows which time. Maybe he wasn't home? That hope faded as soon as the door finally opened, a little bit due to whoever-was-behind-it carefulness, and an aged female face with glasses and gray hair in curls that clearly (and hopefully) didn't belong to Lavi showed.

"Yes?" she asked a bit business-like and at the same time as if she was going to pinch Allen's cheeks. "How can I help you, young man?"

The young man blinked a little and cleared his throat a bit awkwardly. Was this yet another example of how Lavi managed to talk old people into taking care of him? Wouldn't be all that surprising, really. But something just didn't seem right. "Uhm, good day, ma'am," he greeted, manufacturing his signature sweet smile just in case. "Is Lavi home?"

The woman eyed him a little suspiciously, and the next moment his worst fears got confirmed, as her reply was, "Who?"

Allen flailed a little bit. "I was told he lives here," he explained quickly as he sensed the door might close any moment now. "A red-haired guy about this height," he raised his hand over his head hopefully, "hides one eye and talks nonsensical things a lot. Don't you know him?"

Old lady seemed thoughtful for a moment. "Oh!" she cooed, lighting up as if just remembering something, "Yes, it might ring a bell. Plenty of students and artists have rented this apartment, you see, but now that you mention it... There was this.. eccentric young man not too long ago, but he no longer lives here."

Allen's gradually more hopeful look - yeah, 'eccentric' now sounded like Lavi alright - died with the last four words. Huh? He moved out? So where was he now? He shook his head a little. "When did he leave?"

"Just a few days ago. See, my memory isn't what it used to be, young man."

Allen groaned. So he was just days late to finding Lavi right here. Why was it always his luck messing things up? "You wouldn't happen to know where he is now, would you?"

The woman shook her head, "I'm sorry, I have no idea, young man." She smiled reassuringly and raised a plate, "But here, have a cookie?"

Even in a situation like this, Allen Walker simply could not refuse such an offer, so when he had thanked the lady for her time and got back out into the street, he was carrying a full pocket of bisquit good. Surely, at the moment it wasn't really enough to cheer him up, but it was something, so he continued munching on it as he walked down the street aimlessly, pondering what to do next.

As he reached a corner, he stopped to toss another cookie into his mouth and grimaced a bit at the taste. It felt like he was chewing paper, really - wait.

Could it be?

He spat what had to be the paper out. No doubt, there was a fortune cookie mixed in between the old lady's bakings. And the paper, even though blended with crumbles rather neatly, was still readable.

And it said, "Trust your intuition. The universe is guiding your life."

Allen blinked. It didn't even make sense, not that fortune cookies were always meant to made sense anyway. He sighed and continued walking. Just in case though, he looked around, and then back at the paper, noticing there was also something on the other side of the paper and turning it over, not stopping.

It said, "Changes are afoot."

He scoffed a little bit, "Wha-" he started confusedly, before realizing there was nothing under his feet. "-aaaAAAAAAAH!" he finished as he flied down what just had to be a sewer left open, and crashed into a pile of trash on a platform right next to a river of waste.

He managed to grip into the trash just enough to stop himself from tumbling into the stinking liquid, and sighed with relief.

And then he realized his nose was embedded into an open colourful magazine, a small paragraph about moving in and... that's right, Lavi's face next to a rather nicely looking building.

Allen jumped up, barely not falling backwards, and stared at the magazine, quickly reading. It seemed to be some useless local celebrity gossip journal, and this was a small section in one of the last pages that also accommodated a list of best poodel hairdressers and the magazine's editor's holiday photos, but nonetheless, it was there, announcing that "Lavi, the well-liked commercial face, has revealed his new quarters as No.27 Glamour Lane, an apartment block favoured by promising actors and artists."

Maybe it was a rather lucky day after all.

::

Allen took a deep breath as he stopped in front of the intercom, fixed into the massive fence surrounding the building. It was.. similar to a phone and golems, was it not? Nothing too hard about that~ He frowned a bit, he didn't know what number Lavi was staying on so he might as well try all of them. He had time to waste, after all. Especially when being this close.

The first few calls were either not answered or answered by someone else, but finally the someone on the other line apparently got tired and finally told him where a 'redheaded rascal' lived, and so, Allen finally pressed the right call and waited.

It seemed to take ages, but finally there was a click on the other line and an all too familiar voice spoke, "Yeah?"

Allen practically jumped, a wide smile appearing on his face. "Hey, Lavi," he greeted. Finally. "Do you have a moment? It's me, Allen."

There was a long pause, and it made the warm bubbly feeling of friendship cool off just a little bit. Finally there was an answer, and, surprising as it was, it was a single word again. "Who?"

The white-haired boy scoffed a little. There was just no way Lavi would forget him, because, well, he didn't forget anything. Did he acquaintance more Allens during the year he's spent here? "Lavi, quit joking around," he said with a small laugh, though really he didn't find this funny. "It's Allen, Allen Walker." He grimaced a bit. "Beansprout." If it just helps Lavi recognize him, he can even tolerate that name, too.

The pause was even longer this time, and it definitely had to mean something was wrong. "Allen?" Lavi's voice finally repeated, sounding so disbelieving it almost hurt. "There's no - look, this ain't funny, 'lright? Who are you?"

Not as planned. Allen frowned more, was this some sort of a horrible joke or did his friend really not manage to comprehend he was there? Surely, they haven't seen each other for a whole year, but.. It wasn't that long of a time, was it? "What do you mean? I'm not joking." He stepped back from the fence and looked up at the building. "If you don't believe me, look through the window and see for yourself. It's me."

The other line didn't reply, and in a few moments Allen spotted a window on the fourth floor open and a very familiarly looking redhead peek down at the street. And, surely, the next moment he did spot the guy with shining white hair, and seemed to gape a bit, though it was hard to tell from this distance. "Allen?.." the redhead called out as if needing one final confirmation, but as soon as Allen raised his hand to wave at the other Exorcist, he was suddenly gone from the window.

And if that wasn't enough, the window slammed shut, and the next moment the curtains were drawn, while Allen just stood there, staring up and blinking. Talk about a warm welcome.. if it was Kanda, it would maybe make the tiniest bit of sense, but this was Lavi, everyone's self-proclaimed best buddy, and this wasn't at all what buddies did.

No, Allen was not having that.

He twitched a little, his look darkening, looked around to make sure nobody's attention was on him, and then Clown Belt latched at the just-closed window frame on the fourth floor.

The situation called for it, he thought bitterly, trying not to think this sort of a rash thing was more of a certain grouchy samurai's cup of tea, as he crashed into the apartment, the window obviously in need of a quick replacement. Someone needs to explain some things, and oh! there he is, dragging furniture towards the door leading to the stairs.

"Aieee!" Lavi shrieked, jumping up and letting go of a coffee table which he had just pushed at the door, it definitely looked like he was trying to barricade himself in the apartment before Allen broke in. Right now though, he just trotted past the white haired boy and stopped in front of the shattered glass, huffing, pouting, pulling at his hair and otherwise expressing deepest frustration. "I'll have to pay for that!" he finally whined. Allen's look turned slightly dumbfounded, but then Lavi finally noticed him as well and headed towards him, plastering on a wide smile though corners of his lips were still twitching. "So it really is you, huh, ya could've at least warned me or somethin', not fly crashin' through, yeah!"

Allen looked at him a little blankly, then slowly pointed at the table at the door with the same expression. "Lavi... what were you doing?"

Lavi's eyes darted to the table and then back to his fellow Exorcist. He really seemed nervous for some reason, and that was strange. "Oh, that." He gave a limp-wristed wave and rubbed his hands, grinning a little. "See, there's this guy who pretends ta be you, hair 'nd all, and he's stalked me for a while now, so I thought it was him again and just, ya know, freaked out a bit, so-"

Allen's suspicion kept rising. Something was not right, and Lavi definitely wasn't happy to see him, judging from earlier, and now this nonsensical babbling. But.. it all had to have a reason, right? He sighed. "Do you even believe what you're saying?" he asked and shook his head, frowning a little. Someone impersonating him would make no sense, but Lavi did seem somewhat tired, almost.. older than he should be, at that, so maybe indeed something was bothering him greatly. "What happened?"

Lavi paused, blinking a bit and pouting again at being caught like that, seems he's still kept his childish reactions to some things, despite of definitely looking more grown-up. His hair was spiked and fluffy, but some strands were brushed onto his face to hide his right eye completely. He was wearing a ridiculous pink sleeveless shirt and seemingly ball-crushingly-tight white jeans, had some bracelets and rings on, and generally looked a little more.. licked up than usual. Well, starring at commercials probably do that for you. The redhead shook his head a bit. (Even his hair seemed spikier and fluffier than before, what.) "Fine, fine," he grumbled, sighing, then smiled a bit again. "Really, sorry. I dunno what came over me. I guess I just thought Akuma would start crawling out of all corners the moment I saw you, yeah, haven't fought in a while and all that you see, not since we.. got here, and not too eager to either, so seeing ya made some memories return. No hard feelings?" He grinned a wide, sparkly smile which just had to buy all forgiveness and held his hand out.

Allen blinked. Oh, so he was considered to be the messenger of bad news and war now. So... not nice. But it kind of made sense in the context, so as long as it was past them, he figured there was no harm in forgiving it. No need to tell Lavi right away that they're still supposed to finish the war remains from like two hundred years ago, nope. "Sure," he said, smiling brightly like the true prophet of peace, love and muffins, and shook the offered hand.

And was pulled into a surprise hug, letting out a small surprised squeak.

Lavi snickered lightly, squeezing Allen a bit before finally letting go of him but keeping his hands on his shoulders. "Missed you, squirt," he cooed, eyeing him up and down. "Wow, you sure haven't changed, so young and all."

The white-haired boy blinked again. "It's just been a year," he reminded carefully. Well, that was definitely more like the redhead he knew, but.. it was a little sudden. As if it had taken Lavi some time to.. get back into the way he normally acted, however that was possible. Somehow, it still wasn't comfortable like it should be if everything was just back on track.

Maybe it was just his imagination, but before answering, the redhead's eye seemed to stiffen for a moment, almost as if coldly weighting and calculating his options of whatever it was, right before reverting to normal. "Yeah, right," he agreed cheerfully. "Felt longer ta me, tho' I guess shit happens, ya know, I missed ya so much it felt like aaaaages passin' by, yeah?" He continued smiling, and for a moment Allen wondered if his own fake smiles were this obvious, too. "At least we're here now, aren't we! I'll get some coffee." He all too eagerly trotted towards where the kitchen supposedly was, glancing over his shoulder as he probably figured it was no reason to stop the conversation. "So what you've been up to?"

"Not much," Allen mumbled as he took a seat on a checked couch which smelled of second-hand shops and catnip. "Looking for you guys, mostly. Odd jobs here and there, you know the drill." He smiled reassuringly, something in the back of his mind insisting that Lavi was skilfully and subtly steering the conversation away from himself for some reason. "What about you?"

"Ah, not much either," Lavi cooed from the kitchen with a small handflail towards him that reminded of Jerry's manners a bit too much. "Tryin' ta earn some cash using m'talents, 's'all.~"

He poured two cups of coffee and returned to the living room, wearing a practically shining smile, sparkles of magnificence included.

"But ain't that mostly what you do too, kiddo?"

The something in the back of Allen's mind got louder. He tried to return the smile by beaming back at the redhead. "Certainly, I do have talents of my own, Lavi," he reassured innocently, but Lavi seemed to nervously lean backwards a bit for a moment. "I can't help but wonder though, just by what means did you manage to make your face known this quickly?"

Lavi's expression never changed, "My, not tha' quickly at all, but I do admit I've... superior powers of adapting, yeah. Me got no problem bein' stuck here, y'know? Felt a'home after a few weeks at most, yeah, marvellous, isn't it?" He twirled his dessert spoon in his coffee, holding it with two fingers while stretching the others up as if showing off his rings, then licked it off and almost gallantly placed it on the plate before picking up the cup, his pinky finger sticking out in a manner that wouldn't shame any old British lady, and took a sip. "Just look here, nice apartment, friendly people, fabulous fame n' all that, doesn't come to just anyone, yeah?"

Allen decided to try and not focus on the strange little quirks too much, but he still kept in mind that it looked a bit off. For now though, he just nodded politely as a thanks for the offered cup and focused on it instead. For a while. It was strangely sweet, not that he complained, but he had to wonder if there was more sugar or actual coffee in the drink. "You don't happen to have something to eat, do you?" he asked soon enough, looking a little concerned. Lavi's smile fell a little.

"Ah, about that. Yeah. 'm afraid I don't really have anythin' you'd like, unless, you know, you're into meat salad and diet coke 'cause that's it for m'belongings in the fridge."

The white haired boy already opened his mouth to say that he'd accept just about any kind of food, but then realized that he in fact had enough money to get something decent without having to empty Lavi's resources that from the looks of it would have to last him for a while. So he shook his head. "Ah- don't worry about it." He looked puzzled for a moment. "What I really want to ask.. how are the others doing?"

Lavi's smile took a bit longer than could be expected to appear again. "Oh, they're... fine," he reassured and leaned back into the couch. "You know how Yu's like, and Lenalee's been faring surprisingly well given that, you know, you weren't here." He waved a bit. "I haven't talked with either of them in a while though, y'know, this place makes ya grow apart a bit. Not like we need to fight anymore or anythin'." His look turned almost inspecting for a moment, as if he expected Allen to jump up and announce a war, but as nothing happened he seemed relieved.

"But.. you still know where to find them, right?" Allen inquired with a small frown. It didn't make sense for them to just go their own merry ways upon popping up in an unfamiliar place and time, after all. Why would they? Well, at least hearing they were 'fine' was a bit of a relief. "I- I really need to see Lenalee, she's probably worried, don't you know where she lives?"

"I'm afraid not," Lavi said almost regretfully and smiled guiltly at Allen. "Yeah, we stuck together at first, but things change, you know? Do meet up sometimes, I think they still do, but I haven't seen her in a while now. Busy n' all."

"But -"

"Really, Allen, I have no idea where you can find Lenalee," Lavi persuaded, widening his eyes a bit with fake genuinity and waving his hands. "Haven't heard from her in months. We were never exactly close, anyway."

Right then, his cellphone rang, and he sweatdropped a little.

"Your trousers are ringing," Allen stated blankly.

Lavi blinked. "Oh. Yeah, it's my mobile. ..A kind of a modern phone," he explained. "Excuse me..." He took it out and put it to his ear, grinning widely. "Yes! Lavi the Adorable Sexbomb is liste -"

"YOU SELFISH BUM!" Quite positively furious female voice exploded from the mobile and echoed in the room, she was clearly shouting into the phone on her end. Lavi grimaced, nearly dropping his cellphone and now holding it away by his arm's length as if it was poisonous. "YOU CALL YOURSELF HIS CLOSEST PERSON? AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO LOOK AFTER HIM? DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE DID THIS TIME?"

"Geez- I'm not calling myself anything anymore! Calm down, Lenalee, I just -"

Allen widened his eyes, freezing for a moment in shock. Lenalee?.. That voice... It was more mature now, and the words were rather harsh and the tone angry, but there was no doubt. He wouldn't mistake that voice for anything, that lovely, lovely voice ringing in his ears ever since they were forced to part... What was she talking about, though?

Meanwhile, the verbal battle continued. "WELL, GUESS WHAT, HE ASKED ME TO KEEP A HOLD ON THE SWORD, BECAUSE HE ALMOST SOLD IT TO AN IRON MERCHANT YESTERDAY. MUGEN, LAVI. HIS MOST PRECIOUS THING. WHERE WERE YOU, LETTING HIM REACH SUCH A STATE?"

"Look, I haven't even seen him for weeks -"

"WELL, THAT EXPLAINS SO MUCH! IT'S YOUR FAULT HE'S GOTTEN LIKE THIS. THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY AND TAKE CARE OF HIM! ... ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING?"

Lavi grimaced, glancing at Allen, then cooed "Sorry, love, must be wrong number but call me once you calm down" at the mobile before frustratedly looking for the button to end the call.

"LAVI, DON'T YOU DARE -"

"Wait, Lavi, is it really Lenalee -"

Too late, Lavi had already hung up. Now he was scratching his head rather awkwardly and looking like he'd gladly disappear right through the floor.

"Uhm... there actually is a very good explanation..."

Allen, however, despite of utter confusion on what was going on, couldn't help but feel his evil side bubblingly emerge into the surface.

"HAVEN'T HEARD FROM HER IN MONTHS, HUH?" he chuckled darkly, giving Lavi a glare and causing him to start backing off with a small squeak. "NO IDEA WHERE TO FIND HER?"

"Calm down, Allen!" Lavi cried, waving his hands a bit. "So, um, yeah, she calls me, but I didn't want to tell you because we kind of had a.. falling out... and I really don't know where she lives!"

"HOW WOULD I KNOW? WHY DON'T WE COUNT HOW MANY TIMES YOU'VE LIED IN THE PAST COUPLE OF HOURS?"

Lavi rubbed his head and raised his hands in surrender. "It was innocent!" he insisted. "Come on, Allen, stop creepin' me out."

The devil named Allen beamed sweetly however continued approaching. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you," he reassured, pulling his gloves on more firmly, "That is, as long as you tell me- " suddenly he silenced and blinked, turning his head towards the hallway as there was a click in the lock.

Then a crash and some swearing.

"Lavi, you maggot, what the hell do you think you're doing? Why is there a fucking table on the door? I pay half of your fucking rent and you try to barricade me outside?"

Lavi jumped up with his eyes widened and sprinted into the hallway. "I'm sorry!" he cried. "I didn't know you'd come back early!"

"Were you hiding? Don't pull the flying spaghetti monster coming to take away your libido excuse again, or I'll cut it off myself and feed it to the piranha!"

"Eeep! Hey! Calm down, will ya? I said I'm sorry!"

Allen frowned a bit and sneaked towards the hallway as well. The voice seemed a little higher, but the manner of speech and threats seemed awfully familiar. Not to mention... it didn't sound all as fancy and friendly as Lavi had portrayed his surrounding people at all.

Or maybe the redhead was just forever cursed to be the bitch.

Oh, and there was someone with long black hair shaking Lavi by the collar before planting a shoe in his gut and sending him crashing onto the floor in a rather comical manner. Could it be -

"Ka-"

"And you are?" the person cut him off, turning back towards Allen, and he blinked a bit, taking a step back. No, it wasn't Kanda. Not even close. In fact, it was a woman, no mistake about it. Green eyes, long black and now that he looked at it, slightly wavy hair. That explained the voice, though it was a bit lower than most females'. And her clothes weren't feminine at all, that was probably what confused him the most.

"Ah, I'm sorry, I thought you were - someone else."

"Answer the damn question, shrimp." Well, that was friendly.

Lavi weakly lifted a hand and pointed at Allen. "He's just my old friend," he explained in a somewhat trembling tone and then motioned at the woman. "Allen, this is Samantha, one of my flatmates and friends."

Samantha eyed Allen skeptically for a few moments with her arms crossed. "Wow, your taste sure changes quickly," she decided, then turned and glared down at Lavi, him cowering a little under that scary look. "My girlfriend's coming over tonight, and I don't want to be interrupted." With that, she was gone behind one of the doors, slamming it shut after her.

There was a silence.

"Your... taste?" Allen finally repeated blankly, giving Lavi an explain-this-please look, because he honestly wasn't going to break his brain over personal lives of Lavi's roommates. For the moment he seemed to forget their own quarrel though. "Are your other friends like this, too?" There were two more rooms, one probably Lavi's; one's door decorated with pink ornaments and some guy's photos and the other's had a poster on, displaying what was, supposedly, a man in a ridiculous leather attire. No, Allen really didn't want to know just what kind of people were living here. Lavi picked himself up from the floor and waved a little.

"Oh, don't mind her, she didn't mean anything by that. She's had a rough week at work." It was clearly a lie. He always said that when Kanda beat him up, too.

Allen gave him a meaning look. And I think you have a craving to be abused because you always stick around this kind of people, he wanted to say but decided against it. "So the money's tight?" he asked instead and motioned around aimlessly. "I mean, sharing the apartment and all. You lied, haven't you?" Apparently he couldn't even pay his rent. That was.. sad.

Lavi blinked a bit at him then sighed, his smile finally disappearing. He actually looked tired, even his full-of-gel hair seemed to droop down a little. "Yes," he finally mumbled and slowly headed back towards the couch, Allen following and looking concerned about the sudden display of depression. "Yes, it is. I'm not really doing that well." He sat down and layed his head on the back of the couch, running his hand through his hair a bit exasperatedly. "Sorry. I wanted you to believe I was successful."

Allen frowned and sat down next to him. "Lavi, I don't care how successful you are, you're still my friend," he reassured. This was.. practically a sad sight, really. Did this time really get to him this much? During the year, Allen managed to grasp that here most people's value was based on how much they earned a month, but he didn't think that was all there was to it.

Lavi nodded a bit, his look remaining somewhat blank. "And you're still you," he mumbled, smiling a little bit, this time genuinely. "You're actually making me feel bad." He laughed silently.

"So no more lies, alright?" Voice firm but gentle, exactly the way when you want to persuade someone about something they're against. Oh, he had experience with this. Even robots. "We all need to be in one place again, I'm sure you understand that."

The redhead nodded again. Oh, he understood it. That was how similar things were believed to work, and there was no reason for it to be otherwise. They got spiralled through time all together, so whatever it was that needed completing had to be done by all four of them, as well. Oh, but that was a different task whatsoever. The war might never start again. He barely kept himself from grinning a bit at the thought, but Allen didn't seem to notice.

"Where is Lenalee?" Silent but meaning.

"I already told you, I don't know," Lavi mumbled and looked right at Allen's eyes, though his right one seemed to be closed under the hair. He smiled a little bit. "But Yu does."

Well, isn't this a surprise. "Kanda?"

"Yup. And I know where to find Yu, so it's all good, right?" The wide, toothy, Lavi-ish smile was back in place. With extra sparkles, even. You could really believe everything was just peachy. "You're gonna gather us all in no time, squirt.~"

"It's Allen." Something about it seemed fishy, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. "Are you keeping anything else from me?"

"Nope~ Completely honest this time 'round, squirt."

::

As Allen headed back into the street after gracing Lavi with some money to at least manage his own expenses, he felt somewhat saddened. Surely, it was great. He saw the redhead again, got a track on others, yet... yet he hadn't expected they would change this much. All those little things, that pretending, that chase for glamour, it just didn't sit in right.

Lavi had always struggled for the right to be honest with those he cared about the most. In the end, he didn't even manage to be honest with himself.

It was sad.

Maybe all of them getting together again would fix that, too?

::

He stopped and checked the address in the sheet of paper again. Yes, that was right. According to Lavi, this was where he was supposed to find Kanda, 'especially between six PM and one AM', but it made no sense. It made absolutely no sense for someone like Kanda to ever be in a place like this, unless he was on a task to cut someone up. So for a few moments, he just stood there in front of the door and stared at the signboard which implied this was the most horrible hole in several mile radius, trying to connect the ends but failing.

No.19 Dunger Alley was a bar.

::


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End Chapter

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