Ch. 14: New and Old
In the bustling streets of Paris, a voluptuous woman with pouty red lips, desirable curves, and fiery red hair entered her hotel room. Having just finished her day at a prestigious restaurant as a well received pianist and singer, she was ready to take a nice bubble bath before going to bed. And hopefully it would relieve her god awful headache that had persisted ever since yesterday.
She had visited the closest physicians she could find, but no one could tell her exactly what was wrong with her. All they ever told her was to relax and try to get a proper night's sleep. But how could she do that when she's been having nightmares that would chill even the bravest of men? These nightmares had persisted quite some time before the headaches had initially started, all of which having depicted a rather grotesque and apocalyptic world, where strange demons reigned and the people were all dead or dying. At first, the nightmares had deeply disturbed her but as time went on, she couldn't help but take pleasure in them. And that, of course, disturbed her more.
Walking into the adjoining bathroom, she drew a bath and waited for the water to reach its desirable height as well as heat. She wasn't going to be satisfied unless the water was at least near blistering hot. Giving a sigh, she sat down on the cool floor and watched while leaning against the porcelain frame as the water steadily rose. One of her fingers lazily dipped into the water and she began twirling it around in boredom. As she did this though, her headache suddenly spiked and something unexpectedly dripped into the water.
Confused, she brought a hand up to her forehead in hopes of maybe massaging the headache away, only to draw back her hand and see blood coating the tips of her fingers. "What the…" she trailed, only to have another spike of pain interrupt her train of thought. This one though, sent her groaning. Instinctively her hands went up to the sides of her head, her eyes scrunching shut as she fought the pain. But all it would do was get steadily and steadily worse.
She tried hard but she couldn't fight the urge to scream as she fell forward into the filling tub, uncaring of the fact that she was still fully dressed. Whole body slipping into the tub, it didn't take her long to realize that hot water wasn't going to help matters any. So, as soon as she broke the surface of the water, a scream split the air, soon to be replaced by uncontrollable sobs. Her whole body felt like it was…for lack of a better word, disintegrating away slowly, bit by bit.
Whimpering and moaning out in distress, she eventually wore herself out, soon lying out in the now filled bathtub, her half-lidded gaze focused on nothing in particular as water soon began spilling out. Blood streamed down on her forehead, seven strange cuts responsible for this. Terrible thoughts filled her, thoughts of the world ending and the world crumbling all around her. But instead of being afraid, like any normal person would've been, she was sensual and pleasurable. She was enthralled, overjoyed with this carnage and occasionally, it would register onto her face as a ghost of smile.
It made her feel so terrible yet so happy.
"Why, whatever are you doing in a tub with your clothes still on, my dear?" came a charming voice that held a underlying chuckle to it.
Her tired eyes flickered over to the door as she gave another hiccup, she watched as a clownish looking man with an ever present smile on his face came walking in. Lightly stepping on the water covered floor, the strange man came walking forward with a towel in his hands, his eyes focused on her. The woman looked to him confusedly; she had a strange feeling she had met him before, nostalgia hitting her in waves.
Chuckling heartedly, he wordlessly handed her the towel, which she kindly accepted as she pulled herself out of the overfilling tub. Clothes clinging to her body and weighing her down somewhat, she swayed on her feet as she stared at the stranger, waiting for him to catch the drift and leave. Giggling when realization soon dawned on him, with a flurry of his hand a pile of clothes appeared. Handing them to her as well, the man quickly stepped out, closing the door behind him.
Staring at the door for a moment, the woman began both drying herself and stripping, no given thought crossing her mind as she did so. Wiping away her smeared makeup and resting the towel on her soaking hair, she soon slipped into the short dress that had been presented to her, slowly pulling the straps over her shoulders. Once that was accomplished, she slowly pulled away the towel, her eyes widening at what she saw reflected back to her.
The Millennium Earl listened with satisfaction as a scream filled the air while he sat upon the girl's temporary bed. Legs crossed and his hands resting on his lap, he watched as the girl pushed the door open, a stricken expression on her face as she hastily said, "What's happening to me? What did you do to me?" So far her eyes had changed color and her skin was steadily becoming an ashen color as time persisted, her hair remaining surprisingly red. The Earl chuckled for a moment before he replied easily, "This isn't of my doing, my sister. You are a Noah now, and you must come with me."
"What? Why?" she cried, her French accent becoming much more noticeable.
"Because family needs to stick together, and I'm going to need your help my dear."
"Espèce de salaud…" she growled, her words turning into French. But the Earl didn't need a translator; he could tell just by looking at her that the word was an obvious insult.
"It will do you no good to insult me, my dear. And it won't change the fact that you are a Noah now."
She looked startled by this remark, her eyes widening until tears began streaming down her face as she crumpled to the floor in defeat. Covering her eyes with her hands she began sobbing into them, unable to deal with all this at once. She only looked up when she felt a hand rest upon her shoulder in a comforting gesture. Looking to him with watery eyes, she watched as he outstretched a hand and said, "I'm called may things, but you may call me the Millennium Earl. Now tell me, dear girl, what is your name?"
She stared at his offered hand in defeat, knowing full and well that there was nothing anyone could do that would fix her. The stranger had made it painfully clear. "Joyanna…" she whispered as she grasped his hand slowly, the Millennium Earl soon graciously pulling her to feet. Giggling in glee, he asked as he began escorting her out, "Do you mind if I call you Joyd?"
"I think I've found a lead!" cried Reever jubilantly, grabbing Lavi's attention. Rushing over to the Australian's side, the Bookman looked to him expectantly before the older man continued. "I think I've found information about an exorcist currently living in Moscow, Russia. Who it is though, I don't have the faintest clue."
Reever was a little anxious in telling the Bookman. He wasn't sure how the man would react after all. But to his amazement, the Bookman continued to harbor the broad grin that had presented itself when the Australian had mentioned finding a lead. "This is great! We've finally caught our first real break! I'll set off right away!" Lavi replied enthusiastically, only to earn a pensive look from Reever beside him.
"Should you really be going on your own?" he asked out of concern. "Don't you think you should reconcile with little Allen at least, before you go?"
Lavi looked away at the question. Sighing, he softly replied, "He doesn't want to have anything to do with me. Why even push my luck?"
"If you don't, Lavi, then you could lose him forever."
"Don't you think I know that?" he snapped, startling the scientist.
Realizing he had been out of line, he moved a little ways away, keeping his back to him as he leaned against a table. For a moment there was silence between them and soon it became suffocating for the poor Australian. Running a hand through his hair, Reever made his way over to Lavi before saying, "I think Allen is a little more important than collecting an exorcist. Both of them are." Lavi suddenly looked over his shoulder at the comment. "What do you mean both of them?" he asked.
"I mean, I think that the only way you'll be able to reconcile the boy is if you bring him to see his father. And I'm sure you'll be a lot better as well."
"But, what about—"
"Don't worry about the exorcist. We'll send Kanda to retrieve the person. You just worry about how you'll get to the Vatican." Reever said.
For a moment Lavi just stared at the Australian as he turned to face him before hesitantly saying, "You think it'll work?" Reever gave a smile in response. "Well, it wouldn't hurt to try." Thinking over the scientist's words, a soft smile returned on the Bookman's face. Sighing as he fingered the choker lightly, he softly murmured, "You're right. It'll probably be good for the both of us."
"That's the spirit!" Reever said as he clamped the younger man on the shoulder.
Telling him his thanks, the two were off in collecting the other exorcists as well as the Chief to inform him of their findings. As soon as they had gathered them together, Reever was first to give out the news. Standing in front of the amassed group, the Australian cleared his throat before he began to speak. "Alright, everyone, I have some good news and a little smudge of bad news. The good news is that we've managed to locate an exorcist in Moscow, Russia. The only bad news is that we don't know who the exorcist is or where in the city they're at. So the group sent to Moscow will have to keep an open ear out."
"And who exactly is going to Moscow?" asked Tyki, eager to leave this place for somewhere much more exciting. It was Lavi who answered his question. Stepping up beside Reever, he responded, "Kanda, Mizuki and Reever will go." The Australian turned to him with a look of alarm. He hadn't been expecting this.
Ignoring the look by giving one of amusement, the Bookman watched as a sour look came onto Tyki's face. Ignoring that as well, his eye turned to Allen, who stood in the back beside Komui. The boy's face was downcast as he looked to the ground. It tore at Lavi's heart and so, while taking in a shaky breath he added, "And Allen and I shall go to the Vatican on business."
It instantly fell silent with this remark, all of their gazes returning to the Bookman standing before them. Meanwhile, Tyki's eyes narrowed. Ok, he could get over the fact that two exorcists were getting to go and leave this place but now this was downright unfair. Everyone seemed to be going but him! Well, not this time. This time he was going to go somewhere as well and he really didn't care where it was.
"I'm going with you." He declared, gaining all of the attention this time.
"I appreciate it, Tyki, I really do. But we don't need your help." Replied Lavi, earning an enraged look from the former Noah.
"But you could use my help! I'm—"
"I said no, Tyki." Interrupted Lavi before he moved passed the small group, only to stop when he heard a soft male's voice say, "He's coming with us."
Pausing, Lavi turned to see Allen gazing back at him adamantly, his silver eyes fierce. Mouth hanging slightly open, the Bookman turned to the young boy, flabbergasted. "What?" he question in disbelief. Allen simply glared as he repeated himself. "I said Tyki is coming with us. I don't want to be stuck with you all by myself."
"Allen…" came Komui's voice, somewhat stunned by the harshness of the tone. Turning to the Chief, Allen murmured, "Please don't cut in, uncle Komui. I don't want to be alone with this man, much less have to go somewhere with him."
Komui instantly dropped it, his eyes turning to Lavi before he gave a sigh and walked off. Now that he was aware of the plans, his presence wasn't needed. So he might as well go see his sister again, seeing as how there was nothing else he could do. He didn't actually have the drive or motivation to argue anymore anyways. He was just a shadow of the former glory that was Chief Komui Lee. Now he just plain old Komui Lee, a man who lived at a former Order Branch with a sister who was in some kind of other world at the moment, seeing as how she hardly responded. Oh how he hated the direction his life had taken.
Watching the Chief go, Lavi turned back to Allen before he harshly murmured, "Fine. Have it your way. See if I care." Gnashing his teeth, the Bookman stormed off, leaving just Allen and Tyki, seeing as how the others had disbanded. Releasing a breath that he had been holding, Allen turned to the older man and said, "You better thank me, Tyki. That wasn't easy."
"Well, I owe you one shortstack," he said as he clamped the boy on the shoulder. "I've been stuck here for far too long. I need to see a bit of action before I die of boredom. I wonder why he wants to go to the Vatican."
"Yeah, me too…" Allen murmured as he began rubbing his temple. Drawing back his hand upon feeling a wetness, he looked down in dismay at the sight of blood coating his fingers. Strange…he wondered where it came from, seeing as how he hadn't felt any pain. Maybe it was just the scratch above his eyebrow reopening, nothing more. There was nothing to worry about…right?
Lavi and Allen stood at the front entrance of the Order, the two of them not looking at each other as they awaited for their third member to appear. But when he did, they found him accompanied by two others, a sheepish grin on his face. The Bookman looked at him enraged. "We're not bringing anyone else!" he snapped, his temper already having been at a high level due to the just permissible acceptance of Tyki into the group. But he'd be damned if another was added.
"Relax Bookman, I came to see Allen." Replied Bak, a bundle in his arms. This diffused some of his anger but that still didn't explain the other being that had accompanied Tyki. "Then what's that?" he accused as he pointed at the white, old dog at Tyki's heels, the creature now rubbing up against Allen's legs.
"I couldn't just leave the old fellow behind, he's come to be my only friend in this dump. He wants to come with me." Explained Tyki as the dog went back to him, sitting patiently beside him.
Lavi gave a heavy groan as he ran a hand down his face. This wasn't exactly what he had envisioned when Reever had proposed that he and Allen go to Central. "Alright fine, but you're taking care of it. You feed it with what you can find, not with what we're bringing." Lavi relented.
"Naturally," Tyki replied before his tone dropped as he added to himself, "Jeez, someone's sure got his pants in a bunch."
Pretending he hadn't heard that, Lavi turned to the other two and watched as Bak handed him something folded. "Here," he said as Allen took it out of his hands and unfolded it, outstretching it in front of him. His eyes went wide at the sight. "This was your father's, a long time ago. It was his first official Black Order exorcist coat. I figured you'd might want to wear it until Johnny can make new exorcist coats, especially one for you." Allen looked at it in awe. This coat, this faded black and silver hooded coat that was ripped and frayed in several places had once belonged to his father. He didn't know why but he thought the sight of the ripped thing was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen before.
"Thank you…" he murmured softly as he slipped the coat on, leaving it open and unbuttoned. He noticed with dissatisfaction that one of the silver buttons was missing.
Tyki looked away upon noticing that the boy was eyeing the spot where a button should've been, whistling nervously. He knew why there was a missing button, but he rather not tell the boy why. It probably would be better if he didn't know, seeing as how it was because of him. "Let's go Bai." Tyki murmured as he began leading the way, leaving behind the Bookman and Allen as he went ahead.
"I can't believe you saved that thing." Remarked Lavi in awe, fond memories stirring up at the sight of the familiar black coat.
"I just stashed it away somewhere and kind of forgot about it. It was supposed to have been thrown away long ago but as I said, I forgot about it. So I figured little Allen might want it, seeing as how it was his father's." Bak explained, a small smile on his face as he shared his goodbyes and watched them go.
With Tyki ahead of them, this only left Lavi and Allen alone together, their silence making the atmosphere extremely uncomfortable. Walking in silence, Allen continuously fingered the tattered coat, gazing at all the rips, the tears, the dirt stains, and the blood stains. Whatever his father had been doing at the time must have been dangerous. He wondered what had happened to cause the coat to become so disheveled; it appeared to be made of durable material after all.
"If you wish to know, then you should ask Tyki some time. He'll tell you what happened." Lavi said, causing the boy to realize that he had said his thoughts aloud. Jumping slightly, he looked to the Bookman out of the corner of his eye as they made it outside. Quiet for a moment, Allen soon asked, "Why are we going to the Vatican, Bookman?" It took all of his will power not to call him by name, seeing as how he wasn't quite ready to forgive him yet. He had lied to him after all.
Pretending that that hadn't hurt, Lavi looked to Allen for a moment before turning his gaze back forward before he spoke. His words caused Allen's heart to leap with joy. "We're going there because I want you to see your father."
Within the streets of Moscow, a stealthy figure could be seen rushing across the rooftops with practiced ease. A mischievous smirk was on his face as he hid within the shadows, his eyes focused on the precious jewel that was being heavily guarded. "Oh, come on! What kind of challenge is this?" the figure mumbled as he invoked his power easily, all the guards walking away from their posts soon after. Smirking triumphantly, the man fell to the ground and silently skulked over to where the gemstone laid.
Rubbing his hands expectantly, the man sent a fist through the glass container and, while ignoring the alarm that had went off, he pulled it out. Eyeing it with interest, he shoved it into the back pocket of his pants before pulling out an object to replace the jewel. Resting the object in the jewel's place, he stared at it for a moment before rushing off before he was caught. But by the time the guards made it to the spot, they would've already known who had stolen the expensive jewel. After all, there was only one person who left behind a large letter G.
The Phantom Thief G.
Author's Note: 'Espèce de salaud' is a way of saying 'you bastard' in French.