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You were on your way to the third stage of syphilis when I finally made up my mind. Everything seemed to flash past for you – you took the shortest period of time possible to actually enter each new stage. Your regressive progress was fast. The only thing I could think of to comfort my grieving heart was that the faster your health declined, the shorter the period of time you would have to suffer.

I approached Komui first. I knew I wouldn't be able to get you to do it without his approval, and anyway, I thought that he would agree, seeing the way things were.

"Komui-san, I have something to discuss with you." I walked up to him. His eyes were circled with dark shadows that spoke of intermingled grief and insomnia. I had the feeling that Komui was throwing himself into work so that he could keep his mind off your condition.

"Yes, Allen-kun?"

"Can I please have your permission to marry Lenalee?"

He looked at me, dumbfounded. I could guess at his thoughts. On one hand he was struggling with his sister complex; on the other hand, he was greatly moved by my decision to marry you even when your life was flickering out like a candle in its last seconds of glory.

"Why do you want to do such a thing?" He asked me quietly, without a hint of is usual insanity in his eyes.

"Lenalee told me that she would have liked a wedding one day, with you there to give her away. It's a pity for a girl who is dying to not be able to realise her wishes. And you know Lenalee isn't any normal girl; she has been fighting against the darkness for so long now. I think she deserves to get her wish fulfilled."

"Look, Allen-kun, I know you care for her. But if fulfilling her wish is the reason why you want to marry her, then I cannot agree. I love you too, Allen-kun, and I don't want to see you do something like that. Besides, as far as I know, you two will be unable to consummate your union."

"Komui-san, I want to fulfil her wish because I love her."

"I know. I've noticed that… why did you think I've let you get so close to her? But I don't want you hurt, Allen-kun. You're the Destroyer of Time, after all. Who will take the Earl down and help us win the war if you spend all your time grieving for Lenalee?"

"Komui-san, I love her, and I want her to be happy before she dies. I won't neglect my official duties, I promise. And as for the consummation thing, well, it doesn't really matter to me. I'm not marrying her out of lust."

"I see." Your brother leant forward, fixing his glasses which had slid down his nose. "So you say you're willing to wed Lenalee? Without… without the usual trappings of a marriage?"

"Yes."

"If you say so." He turned away from me, staring at the back of his room. When he next spoke, his voice was wispy, like a voice that had been marinated in tears and grief for too long.

"I give you my approval. Treat Lenalee well."

He then waved me out of his room, and I went to town to get the necessary stuff. You must have wondered where I was, gone all day without coming to check in on you like I usually did. I bought a lot of things when I was in town – a floral bouquet, a ring, and of course, enough food to replenish my energy.

When I got back, I made my way to your room. You were surprised to see me, but happy too, I think. You must have missed me, all alone in your quiet room, with sad tears on your lap, wasted body unable to fully enjoy your loving world. I have never been happier than I was at that moment, knowing that I had the power and the ability to make you happy for once.

"Lenalee, how are you feeling? Not too poorly, I hope?" I asked, concerned.

You smiled again; how I hated your resolve to be cheerful around your friends and family! I wanted to share some of your sad burden with you. But I think you finally understood why I rarely shared my own burdens with you then; you could understand the strong negative emotions within, rising to the point of capsizing your little boat, with a strong undercurrent of strength somewhere, though, that kept you buoyant all the same.

"I'm fine", was all you said.

I could see the effort it took you to say these two simple words; your eyes speckled with fresh tears again, and I could have sunk down right there. But I didn't.

I walked to your side, my expression normal and smiling. Kneeling beside you, I took your soft, thin hand in mine. You looked at me, somewhat amazed.

"Lenalee." My left arm, for the akuma, went up to your face, where it brushed your fringe to the side. My other hand tightened around your slowly crumbling palm.

"Lenalee." I released your hand and moved my own to my pocket. From my back I whipped out the bouquet and in my left arm I held a single silver band. "Will you marry me?"

"Allen-kun!" You were startled and speechless. "I –"

"Komui-san has given his permission."

"You asked him already?"

"Yes, Lenalee. Will you marry me?"

"Yes." There was a sudden glimmer in your eyes. Tears starting gathering in my own eyes too, and in that moment, I drew you into a hug. It was by no means our first hug, nor our last one, but it was a moment I will never forget. Holding your thin body to my own, feeling that soft pulse throughout your body, I was overcome.

......

Sitting at the piano, Noise Marie played the wedding march. The seated guests heard a loud sniffling outside the chapel, which soon subsided, giving way to the click-clack of heels and the tap-tap of boots. Into the chapel came Lenalee on Komui's arm, the latter with bloodshot and swollen eyes.

Everyone watched as Lenalee glided down the aisle on Komui's arm. She looked wonderful; it might have been the wintry sunlight that pooled about her, or it might have been the cosmetics she used, but the thin, dying bride was radiant. She did look a trifle emancipated in her tight-fitting wedding gown, but she was beautiful nonetheless, looking more like the Lenalee of old than she had for a year or so. At the front, near the priest stood one Allen Walker, clad in a new suit. He was beaming, and for once, no one spared a thought on his height or his young age.

They reached the aisle, and Komui handed Lenalee over to Allen. With another sniffle, he took his seat beside Reever, rubbing at his eyes with his clean cuffs. The priest smiled, and led the two through the wedding rituals.

"Now I pronounce you man and wife." He finally said.

At that moment, the whole Black Order rose and clapped, the members throwing their hats and scarves into the gleaming air. More than one eye was watery, and Lenalee herself was tearing at the altar.

......

Well, Lenalee, you've gone at long last. And I've defeated the earl, as I should have. The sun has now set, and nothing can be seen from my window but a handful of adamant lights in the dark, eyeless curtains of night. The wind blows though, and I fancy I can smell your fragrance in her autumnal embrace.

I miss you.

Perhaps you miss me, too, but it's hard to tell, really. I'm an old man now, and old men are apt to hallucinations, weaving their own wishes into once-memories. I can't really recall much about the past, except those excerpts that are now my memories.

I cannot ask for confirmation, for many of our comrades of old are in no better state. Kanda has left to where souls go when night falls and the tide shrinks, and Lavi I seldom see now, for he has another post at another organization in another continent. For all I know, it might be another universe. Komui I am loath to upset with talk about you, for he still weeps unabashedly whenever you surface in his mind. Reever has gone I know not where, and the rest of the science department have vanished, decayed, or are declining.

But where I am now, I miss you, that's for sure. The ring; that silver band, still sits on my finger. I twirl it, and it glimmers against the darkness without.

One day, my mortal body will crumble, too, and I will join you in the land where no birds fly. Then we will reunite, and be glad after many hard years of labour and waiting.

......

The tears fell as the old man kissed the ring. The few stars above glittered, as if with crumbling tears, and the wind blew again, snuffing the guttering candle out.


Should the world of love

end in darkness,

without our glimpsing

that cloud gap

where the moon's light fills the sky?

(Ono no Komachi)


A/N: And this is the end. I'm not particularly fond of doing anything longer than a twoshot, so I'm actually glad this is over. Whatever.

It's annoying how I can't download photos from the camera into my computer :X

Ohhh well. I hope you enjoyed this heh (: