Entry VI: Light Up The Sky
…which finally led to Komui trying to kill Yuu.
But that wasn't so important.
The more important thing was, it finally led to the most seriously awkward confession I've ever heard of in my life. The trashy romance novels are false, I tell you, false. We did it on the dustiest balcony in the history of dusty balconies, I didn't understand Allen, Allen didn't understand me, we spent the better part of an hour in fidgety silence, and did I tell you we did it on a dusty balcony?
As to whether we did get things through in the end…
Lenalee would have been worried about Lavi dashing out and Allen subsequently chasing after him –
"LENALEEEEEEE! Why didn't you tell me you were participating too!"
– if she didn't have her own problems to worry about. She looked at the teary and clingy Komui.
"Brother," she sighed, "I have my own reasons for doing it, okay?"
"NOOO, it's not okay!" Komui stomped his foot. "And I'm going to KILL Kanda Yuu for this!" There was a truly mad glint in his eyes as he scanned the hall, looking for the long gone Kanda.
"Brother!" She tugged on his coat and glared. Komui wilted in the face of her glare. He sniffled.
"But, but, but, Lenalee…you're my precious, precious Lenalee! I can't let some man take you like that! I won't let him!"
Lenalee's rolled her eyes, but her expression softened and she smiled kindly.
"I can take care of myself, okay, Brother?"
Komui shook his head wildly, in apparent disagreement. She sighed.
"Look – Kanda is perfectly gentlemanly to women when he wants to be, I'm sure he won't do anything – "
"But you don't know that! He just might! Oh…I know!" Komui gasped and hit a fist into the palm of his other hand, in the classic 'I've just got an insane idea' pose.
"Let me go with you! Then I will make sure to protect your virtue and that dirty man cannot do anything – "
Surprisingly, the answer did not come from Lenalee herself, though she did look a second away from just knocking the daylights out of Komui. Spinning around, Komui came face to face with a grinning Reever and the posse of smiling scientists behind him.
"We are using the coupon for you to stamp your documents. Tomorrow."
Komui gaped at his previously trustworthy underlings.
"YOU CAN'T! I won't let you I won't let you!"
"Promises are promises, Brother," Lenalee smiled, very sweetly. "You did say the coupon can be used any day…"
"Oh?" Reever raised an eyebrow. "Tomorrow. It's been unanimously agreed upon."
"BUT – "
"We will see you at eight o'clock tomorrow, right, Chief?" Reever channeled Komui's manic grin and used that against him. "Because if we don't, there's no assuring what will happen to all your Komurins…"
Komui gasped. "You wouldn't – "
Reever narrowed his eyes and hissed, "Watch us."
Lenalee nearly felt sorry for her brother. Nearly. She shot a grateful look at Reever, receiving a wink in return.
"B-b-but, are you sure I can't – "
Reever took a menacing step forward.
In the space of Komui's attention being diverted, Johnny shooed her away, flapping his hand in the direction of where Kanda had been accosted by General Tiedoll.
She didn't need anymore prompting. Turning around, she headed straight for her long-time friend, heart beating a little faster than usual.
As she finally made eye contact with Kanda, she hoped, vaguely, that Lavi and Allen were doing alright as well.
If there was one thing Lavi didn't like about Allen, it was that he had actually picked up the ability to know what people wanted. In this case, Lavi just wanted to be left alone.
Which led to the next thing Lavi didn't like. Even if Allen knew perfectly well what other people wanted, he still insisted on going against it.
Shit, shit, shit. Lavi nearly groaned as he turned another corner, running through the empty corridors in an attempt to find a hiding spot. His room wouldn't do – Allen would just somehow pick the lock and invade his space. The library was out of the question. He could always go back to the busy hall, where Allen couldn't talk to him privately. But that would just invite more stares.
His best bet was to just keep running and hope that Allen gave up.
"Lavi, damn it! Stop right there!"
As if he would. Lavi cursed and narrowly caught himself from crashing into a wall. He ran down the new corridor and spied a flight of stairs, quickly turning into it and hoping it led him somewhere to hide.
When it only led to a small unused room with a dusty balcony, Lavi just groaned and slowed down, flopping onto the floor of the balcony when he reached it, surrendering to his fate. He continued breathing heavily, feeling his clothes stick to his skin. But there was hardly any time to recover just as he heard the first echo of footsteps on the stairs.
He closed his eye, hearing the steps slow then stop completely, replaced by the sound of Allen huffing. When he chanced to peek, Allen was bracing his hands on slightly bent knees, clothes no longer hanging on him as well as it did when he was cool and collected on the stage. Seeing him upfront dispelled the illusion that the boy was immune to sweat and dishevelment.
Well, at least that did make it easier to talk. Lavi sighed and stretched out, bumping his hand against Allen's shin.
"Ah hah…take a seat then, Al-len," he managed to say with a wheeze.
Allen looked at him, eyes unreadable, before he flopped gracelessly onto the ground, all sweaty hair and still panting. Lavi chuckled, breathless.
"Oh man, what a, what a mess…what on earth just happened, tonight?"
Allen gulped in another breath of air, nearly choking on the dust. He did manage to glance at Lavi out of the corner of his eyes and squeeze out, "that's what I'd like to ask. Why on earth did you run?"
Lavi did not answer for a while, the only sounds from him that of heavy breathing. He looked at the clear sky, the railing that ran from his left peripheral vision to where it stopped at his eyepatch, his boots – anywhere but actually at Allen. Allen noticed his stalling tactic and bonked him on the forehead, glaring.
"Oww, geez." He rubbed his head, still not catching the boy's eyes.
Lavi continued rubbing in slow circles. Allen was making a move, as if he was about to lean over Lavi just to be able to catch his eye. Panicking, he sat upright, immediately increasing the distance between himself and his friend. Undeterred Allen shifted forward, heedless of the fact that the seat of his pants was simply gathering more dust with that plan of action.
Lavi could only thank the stars that Allen was on his right and so unable to actually look into his eye.
Allen cleared his throat and placed a hand on Lavi's shoulder, making him stiffen at the unexpected touch.
"Lavi. Do you…why did you do that?"
"Do what?" He hated how his voice was tinny and falsely bright and how Allen would be able to see right through it in an instant. He could feel Allen's gaze on his back.
"Bid for me," Allen said simply.
Lavi didn't answer. He drew a knee up and rested his chin on it, scraping the floor and sending a flurry of dust into the air in the meanwhile, staring out into the bright, distant London lights.
He actually did have to think for a while. Why did he bid for Allen? It was almost as if a gauzy film had been placed over that part of the evening – everything had passed by so fast, and before he knew it the night was over and everyone was looking at him and whispering with their partner, evidently talking about the auction, their eyes following his figure. But as to why he had casted a bid for Allen –
"Were you just…being a friend?" Allen said. His words nearly faltered.
That…might have been part of it. Lavi started nodding. Then he shook his head. He was about to nod again when he just raked a hand through his hair, frustrated.
"I don't know," he could only say.
Allen was silent. The warmth on his shoulder withdrew slowly and Lavi hunched over, not knowing what Allen must be thinking.
He could be angry – if he does like Lavi, as Lavi hoped, then such an answer would only irritate the boy further since it would seem like he was playing with his feelings. But if it turned out Lavi had all along been reading him wrongly, then maybe Allen would be uncomfortable instead, and he would try to hide it by being a considerate friend. Lavi would lose the comfortable physical familiarity with him, Allen would withdraw from him and be a little more like his distant polite self when they had first met.
Lavi choked a little on his own shaky chuckle and pressed his eye into his arm, wishing all these were just a nightmare that daylight would dispel.
Allen, having been silent for the most part, finally huffed and reached his hand out, swatting Lavi on the back of his head this time.
Lavi shot up and grabbed at his head, rubbing at the sore spot. He turned to glare at Allen for the first time in their conversation.
"Whatcha do that for, Allen!" He nearly whined.
"Because you were being an idiot," Allen said with a placid smile on his face. The smile softened when Lavi mumbled something and looked back at the ground, still rubbing his head.
Allen took a deep breath, gripping his own knee tightly.
"Because I like you, you dolt."
The wind whistled in the night air and far below, the leaves on the trees rustled.
In that serene lull, Lavi stopped breathing as his mind caught up with his ears.
Wait what –
"What?" He managed to croak out. Allen shook his head, his hair flopping limply against his forehead. He frowned and pushed it out of his eyes.
"Said I like you, idiot rabbit."
He did hear that right. He gaped at Allen for a while.
Allen leaned forward to push his jaw up, closing it with a soft click.
His fingers lingered a little on Lavi's jaw before he pulled back with a slight flush on his cheeks, his heart beating a little fast at Lavi's response.
Or lack thereof, and he wondered if he and Lenalee had been doing this all wrong this whole time. It was a daring plan, Lenalee had admitted, too daring, perhaps – hoping they'd be able to kill two birds with this one stone – but it has been said and done, and now they'd both have to deal with the consequences.
He clenched his shaking fingers into a fist and looked away, back to where the distant city lights made a fuzzy yellow line.
Then Lavi's head bowed down, his shoulders started shaking and…he started laughing.
Allen turned his head back around. He looked at him in shock for a while as Lavi laughed softly, a hand over his mouth and his eye crinkling shut. It was a – well, it wasn't exactly the most positive response ever, but it was still better than that awkward silence they had fallen into before he had confessed. Allen fidgeted, waiting for the laughter to subside.
When Lavi finally lifted his head up, he blinked and shook his head at Allen's unhappy scowl, something in his eye making Allen's heart twinge. Allen's scowl subsided and he looked on, concerned.
"Why'd you have to do it…that way?"
Lavi's voice was high and almost scared, Allen thought. Lavi's hand reached up to grip his bandana. He rested his forehead against that hand, fingers gripping spasmodically at the material.
"…Lavi?" Allen dared to ask. He didn't quite understand what Lavi was saying.
"Gramp's gonna have my head – I'm done for – god, why'd you have to, why…"
Something flared in Allen's chest, parts furious, parts pitying.
"If you're regretting it so much now, then you shouldn't have bidded in the first place, Lavi!" He growled.
It hurt. It hurt more than he would have thought – here he was, having confessed, and Lavi just wouldn't even grace him with a proper rejection. Yes, fine, joining in the auction might have been the most colossally stupid idea in the first place – that didn't mean Lavi had the right to –
"If you don't like me that much, then why the hell did you do that!"
Allen glared. His face was flushed, hot. Lavi hadn't even moved from his position, hadn't even moved to look at him.
"Answer me, damnit! I didn't go through all these just to have you – "
He broke off. He didn't know what he had expected. In his happier thoughts he had imagined that maybe Lavi likes him, too. Then they would be able to figure out where to go from there. Maybe he could even imagine a little romance for the two of them. They wouldn't go on dates, but they could probably go on missions together – that was as close as it got, after all.
But on the days when the world was wearier and Link just wouldn't stop fretting over the fact that just liking somebody else was breaking the law, he allowed himself to prepare a contingency plan. If Lavi rejected him, fine, life would go on – maybe he'd avoid the man for a while, and they'd see how it went from there as well.
But now everything was falling apart and he had no idea where to even begin grasping at to repair the fabric.
He gripped at his left elbow, feeling it start to hurt. A stinging sensation, nothing he couldn't deal with.
Lavi finally glanced at him, taking in the grip he had on his Innocence.
"Does it hurt?" He asked, quietly and flatly.
Allen shook his head. He laughed, closing his eyes.
"Yes it does, Lavi. Does it matter?"
Lavi sighed. "Course it matters – "
"Because I'm an Exorcist? Because they can't afford to lose me?"
Lavi looked like he had just taken a slap to the face. He didn't look at Allen.
"Are you going to record this down? The Life of Allen Walker, Exorcist Extraordinaire – all for the records, the boy prophesized to end this war, The Destroyer of Time – and his damned problem with his own Innocence."
He laughed, bending over a little. Deep down he knew it was below the belt – he knew it'd hurt Lavi. That was why he said it. He couldn't stop himself.
Lavi hunched in on himself. He drew his arm around his knee, fingers dangling awkwardly, gripping at the air.
Allen deflated, exhausted. His shoulders released the tension he held in them and now he just looked like a defeated clown. The pain in his elbow was a dull ache. If Lavi wouldn't say anything, he'd just leave, he couldn't take this silence anymore.
Allen froze. He didn't even dare to look up.
Lavi shook his head and resumed, quietly.
"I didn't want anyone else to bid for you – I didn't, I didn't want…yeah, didn't want Emmy and the others to have you, that's why – "
Allen blinked down at his lap. He drew his hands in and clasped them together.
"As friends?" He breathed out.
"…I don't know."
"…I like you, Allen. A lot."
Allen's eyes widened. He lifted his head, slowly, turning to face Lavi. Lavi had also turned to look at him, a little sad half smile on his face.
"Think you gathered that, in the past week. Or two."
Allen blinked. A shaky smile began to stretch his lips. "Yeah…maybe."
Then Lavi turned back to face the front, looking out into the dark night. Allen fidgeted – the silence was not so awkward now, but it was still a little uncomfortable. Not all was solved, he was wondering what to say next.
So what now? Set a time and place for tomorrow? Drop it, and go on with their lives? How –
"I think – "
Allen stopped himself from jumping. He nodded, encouraging Lavi to go on.
"Gramps is gonna get mad at me. Not supposed to like anyone, not supposed to fall in – fall in love."
Allen had to admit, he hadn't thought so far ahead – it was as if everything could be magically solved if they, well, if they said they like each other. But being a Bookman meant something to Lavi, who liked his books, his histories, his explorations. Would this really take all that away from him?
Allen blinked. He didn't think he had said that out loud.
Lavi grinned. "Could read it off your face, sprout."
"But," he was sure it couldn't be the be-all and end-all of it, "Bookman is – he's old. There's no time for him to train another apprentice."
Lavi rested his chin on his arm, thinking.
"Right…he can't. I don't know. I never know what Gramps is thinking – he might just take us away, for all I know."
Allen paled slightly at the thought. He certainly did not want that outcome. Romance or no – Lavi was his friend. His best friend in the Order. He didn't want Lavi to go.
Crowned Clown hummed a little, making him startle at the sudden sensation.
Lavi frowned, really worried now. "Allen, if it's hurting – "
Lavi rolled his eye. "Allen – "
He shook his head. "No, really – Hevlaska said it's not threatening or anything."
Lavi hesitated. Then, as if throwing all caution to the wind, his eye gleamed in the small sliver of moonlight and he reached out, tugging Allen's left arm out of his hold.
Allen jumped and looked at him, mouth dry. But why would – why would Lavi –
Lavi had his left hand in a firm grasp, his hold warm and a little sticky from the hot, humid day they had had. He looked down and touched the back where the cross was embedded.
"Why – did she say, why?"
Allen flushed. "She said…she said something's been troubling me, something that's causing my rate to fluctuate."
Lavi's lips quirked up. He clasped Allen's hand between both of his.
"Is that something me?" He asked softly, a weaker version of his teasing tone coming back into play.
"Full of yourself, aren't you?" Allen huffed.
Lavi smiled, but his voice was sober. "I mean it, Allen – I, I don't know what'll happen. I like you. But – "
"I'm not asking for a deep, soul-abiding love or something, Lavi," Allen said, patiently, daring to hope.
Lavi chuckled. "I know – but I think I might really…I don't know."
"…fall for me?"
"Now who's full of themselves?" Lavi grinned.
Allen smiled, a little happy for the first time in their whole conversation.
"Do you – do you want to?"
Lavi swallowed, grip tightening on Allen's hand. "Want to…what?"
"Give it a try? Maybe the auction was weird and all…but you did win my company, for tomorrow." Allen was nervous as he asked this question. He knew Lavi likes him – at least, he thought he knew, and if they weren't going to try it out, he didn't know what their next step would be.
Lavi ran a hand through his hair, a little nervous himself.
"You know…it's not gonna be easy, yeah?"
Allen chuckled a little, the sound low and amused, making Lavi's heart skip a little.
"Not like I'm the most popular guy ever in the first place. Noah, heresy and all, remember?"
"Yeah, s'not like I can't continue recording history, I guess…"
It was a lie. They both knew it was – Lavi had to fit in, effortlessly, and he'd done so well up till now when he pretty much bared his soul in front of near everyone. Bookman would definitely get on his hide for this.
But for now – it was a lie they were willing to try and believe in.
"Okay. I will see you tomorrow" – Lavi grinned – "my prize."
Allen laughed, lacing his fingers through Lavi's, feeling the pain in his left arm slowly ebb away until he could feel nothing but his own cooling sweat and the warmth of Lavi's palm against his.
…it was long, it was twisted, it was strangely simple in the end.
But I guess we did, sorta. Get things through, that is.
And for now, I couldn't ask for more.
- 10 August, 1895
Thank you to all who followed and enjoyed this story :) This was written for the DGM Big Bang Round 1. And since it's a Big Bang... *g*
A wonderful cover and scene art by tsuzusushi here! (http:/ /dgmbb-admin. dreamwidth. org/3524. html)
And a lovely scene art (of the Auction itself!) by behaxeltzi here! (http:/ /dgmbb-admin. dreamwidth. org/3176. html)
Hope you enjoy the art as much as I did, and the story too! Till next time then.