Innocence and Instinct: Chapter One
"Allen, if you want to eat I suggest you get your hiney over here!"
Fifteen year-old Allen Walker ran over to his foster father, Mana Walker. His feet made a thump-thump kind of sound that soon had him humming along. He lunged at his father and gave him a bear hug.
"Great!" he said cheerfully, "Whats for dinner?"
Mana smiled and motioned to a picture sitting on the windowsill. "The Kozoku's invited us over for dinner; they also said something about a job…" Before he could finish Allen began to rant, "A job! Really, a job! For who? Me? You? If it's for me I hope it's not too boring 'cause I get antsy when I have to sit still, but if it's for you I hope it's boring 'cause I don't want you to get a back-ache..." his voice trailed off. He looked at Mana. "Who's the job for?"
Mana tapped his chin. "Well… He didn't say… All he said is that his family's bar has an open spot and he's looking for an extra worker." He looked at Allen with a smile. "Better you than me. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm getting old. Bars get a bit wild if the "wrong" person comes in, and you also have to deal with the drunks…"
Allen frowned, "A bar?"
Mana put a hand on his shoulder. "Look, I know you don't like bars… That night... I know it scared you but one of us has to get a job. We're poor Allen, poor." He sighed. "We should've stayed at the circus."
Allen nodded. "I guess so."
Allen looked at him.
"…if we did stay, they probably would've found out about your arm. Who knows how they would've reacted."
Suddenly feeling self-conscious, Allen clutched his left arm and gave it a soft squeeze. His short-sleeved shirt allowed him to feel the rough skin, its texture a strange mix between scaly and wrinkled. "Yeah… I'm glad they never found out."
Mana turned around and walked to his room. "Hey," he called over his shoulder. "Go get ready. We're leaving in thirty minutes."
Allen nodded and walked to his own room. Once inside, he changed out of his t-shirt and jeans. He paused and looked at his reflection. Brown hair. Brown eyes. Pale skin. Deformed arm. His gaze fell on his reddish left arm. He had been born with it. Red in color, rough to the touch—a horrifying limb. It wasn't just his arm that was deformed either, his hand, shoulder, even his fingernails were messed up. They were a deep black, reminding Allen of ink. On the top of his hand was a cross-like marking that gave off an eerie green glow. In a nutshell, the whole thing was jacked up.
With a sigh, he put on a nicer shirt and folded the collar up. He tied a thin piece of ribbon around his neck and slipped a pair of gloves on. His confidence went up due to his hand being covered. He marched out of the room, ready to take on the world.
Allen and Mana set off to town on foot.
"Hey Mana, do you think Bella still remembers us?"
"Of course she does. It hasn't been that long."
Allen huffed. "I don't know… It's been pretty long."
The Kozoku family was one of the wealthier families in the town. They owned several different buildings: a hospital, a restaurant and, of course, the bar. The parents, Hana and Reed Kozoku, had seven children—the youngest being Bella, who was three years-old. A few of the older ones picked on Allen for his height; they were the same age as him but taller. Mana trusted the family greatly, he hardly kept any secrets from them, heck, they even knew about Allen's arm!
The thought of them knowing made Allen feel a bit exposed. He clutched his arm and began to breathe roughly. Mana noticed the action and leaned over. "Is something wrong?"
"No," said Allen. "It's just… I haven't gotten used to them knowing about…" He looked down at his arm. "…my arm." He said sheepishly.
After falling out of a tree, Allen injured himself. He had been taken to the hospital by the eldest child of the Kozoku's and was waiting for examination. When the time came, he freaked out and refused to let anyone remove his bloody shirt.
"No!" he pleaded. "Please don't!"
The doctor did his best to calm Allen down. "Now, now, settle down, we only want to help you feel better! Just let we take a look at the wound…"
"NO!" Allen backed up into a corner. He crouched down and began to shake his head. "No! Please no! Y-you can't!" His eyes wandered around the room with frantic speed. "I-I don't want you to…" His voice trailed off.
The doctor crouched down at eyelevel and gestured for him to continue. "Yes? You don't want me to what?"
"I-I don't want you to…look. Don't look. Don't look at it. Its scares me." Allen began to whimper.
The doctor slowly scooted over to the cowering boy. "What scares you? What do you not want me to look at?"
Allen looked down at his left arm. He clutched it to his chest and held it there. "This. It scares me… It scares them… They looked, they ran away and they never came back…" A tear rolled down his cheek. "They looked and now they hate me..."
The doctor felt sympathy overwhelm his other emotions. The boy had obviously gone through something terrible.
"They all run away…They all run away…" He continued to go on. "They…all…ran…"
The doctor gasped. His patient had gone into unconsciousness. "Hey!" He yelled, "Nurse!"
She arrived. Her name was Maria Kozoku. She was the one who had brought him to the hospital; she would also be the first one to see.
"Okay," Said the doctor. "I'll hold him down; you pull that shirt off so we can see the injury." He instructed.
"Yes sir." She walked over to them and kneeled down. She grabbed the corner of his shirt and slowly peeled it off. The blood had made it stick to his body in a rather gruesome fashion.
"Okay, now peel the left sleeve off and we'll be able to examine him."
She obeyed, going in for the final action. Slowly, but carefully she began to peel it off his left shoulder. A red spot caught her eye. "Huh?" She pulled it farther and to her horror, half of his shoulder was half red. She began to work faster, each second feeling like an hour. She choked in surprise once the whole thing came off.
It was shredded.
It was deformed.
It was simply revolting and gruesome. It was shaped like arm, but everything about it… The whole limb was soaked in blood, adding onto the appearance.
A scream tore from her lips as realization hit her. This was the reason. She had always questioned his gloves, especially in the summer. Now she knew.
The doctor was equally horrified. Being the older one, he tried to keep it together but the sight was just…gross. Wrong. Demonic. Evil.
So that was why they ran. They ran from that demonic arm.
Allen shuddered. Even though he had been out of it, he still heard everything. Their screams, their cries—they had been scared of him. Reed and Hana ran in and freaked out too. It took a lot of explaining from Mana to clear things up, but his relationship with them would never be the same. Oh yes, he was expecting stares. He knew that the news of his deformity had traveled to the younger siblings without a doubt.
Crap, he thought. Crap.
His hand twitched, sending a shiver up his arm. "Ah…ow…" He peeled the glove off his left hand and inspected it.
"Allen, we need to go."
He looked at Mana with pain in his eyes.
"Come one…" The older man's voice trailed off. He looked at Allen with a frown. "It's hurting again?"
Allen began to nurse his hand. "Yeah…I don't know why… The weather hasn't changed at all; normally it only hurts on rainy days."
Allen's hand would react to the weather. If it was hot, the cross mark would begin to burn. If it snowed, his hand would itch. And if it was raining, his arm would twitch. It wasn't raining, yet his arm was twitching.
"I don't understand," mumbled Allen. He put the glove back on and looked at Mana. "I'll bear will it, let's go."
When they finally arrived at the Kozoku's home it was sunset.
A loud growl came from Allen's stomach. He gave a soft chuckle and began to think about food. Oh food… Glorious food! Mouthwatering food! Wow he was hungry. Really, really hungry.
He began to rub his hands together. Mmmmm… As rich as they are, they must eat like kings. Fat happy kings…
Mana chuckled when he saw Allen. "Scheming?"
Mana knocked on the door. It was opened by a chubby boy with blond hair. A jack-o'-lantern grin spread across the boys face. He ran into another room and came back with a woman. She smiled and reached out for hug.
After being greeted by the woman and child, He and Allen were led into the family room.
Bella was sitting on the ground playing blocks, the boy with the jack-o'-lantern grin was petting a dog, several other kids were scattered around the house, but he didn't see Maria.
Mana looked at Allen, searching for fear. The boys face was still. Eyes positioned straight ahead, mouth in a half-smile. He spoke up, "Um, er, Allen?"
Allen nodded slowly.
"I see… Just don't worry. Maria isn't mad at you for keeping your arm a secret."
The okay was somewhat unsure, but a bit of confidence edged around it, giving Mana a little relief. "Yeah…. Just don't worry, and if you can, try to have a little fun." With those words, he gave a big smile and ruffled Allen's hair.
Shortly after they arrived dinnertime came.
Allen looked down at his hands, shuffling them nervously. He hadn't expected to be so…nervous. The Kozoku's were friends. Not judges. Friends. He looked at Mana.
The older man seemed to be fine—his normal jokey self, but Allen wasn't feeling that good. His left hand began to twitch, sending shivers up his arm and ending at his shoulder. The twitching grew faster, until it became very noticeable.
Allen looked at Mana, his twitching continuing. "Y-y-yes?"
"Is it acting up again?"
"Y-y-yeah," He said. He pressed his arm to his chest in order to control the twitching. His action hardly helped. It also didn't help that Reed Kozoku noticed.
"Allen, is something wrong?"
"I-its th-the air!"
Reed frowned, his brow furrowing deeply. He stood and walked over to Mana. He leaned down and whispered something in the other man's ear.
Allen frowned. They're talking about me. I hate that.
After a minute of talking, Reed walker over to Allen and nudged him. "Hey."
Allen looked at him, "Hm?"
"Come with me, we're going to take a look at that arm of yours."
Oh crap… Allen frowned, instantly glancing at Mana. His foster father was calm, almost too calm… Realization hit Allen like a Frisbee. Mana had asked Reed to do it. Darn him…. He….
"I'm coming, hold on a sec." Allen jumped out of his seat and followed the man to his office. Once inside, he took a seat in front of the desk and gave a nod. "Uh…"
"Your arm. Let me see."
Allen held his twitching arm out and allowed Reed to remove the glove. After a few minutes of touching and mumbling to himself, Reed asked Allen a question: "How long have you had this….."
"My whole life," Allen said matter-o-factly. "I was born with it." He sighed. "My whole life I've lived with this thing… I really am sorry for the scare I gave Maria. We had been good friends…." Maybe more…
Allen grinned, the corners of his mouth stretching up. The boy was playing with his best friend—Maria. He rounded a corner and found himself staring at one of the biggest trees he had ever seen. And perched on the top branch was Maria herself.
"Wow," he breathed. With a grunt, he boosted himself onto a branch, then another, then another. Soon, he was at the top with her.
"Allen," said the girl. Her hand slowly slid closer to his. "I think…we're best, best friends… Ya' know?"
Allen eyed her hand and slowly began to slide his over. "Yeah… I think so too."
Their hands met.
"I think I'm gunna miss you when I go to medical school."
"Oh, I'll miss you too Maria."
For a while there was nothing but the sound of wind rocking the tree gently.
"I… Never mind."
"It's nothing… I gotta go. See you, well, once I finish."
Allen nodded and watched her climb down. He was going to miss her.
Allen sighed. He had severed the relationship that they had worked so hard to build. It was his fault. That stupid arm…
A sharp pain in his hand brought Allen back. He looked up and saw Reed tapping the center of his cross-shaped scar.
"Ow," he mumbled.
Reed froze. "Uh, I'm not hurting you, am I?"
"Actually, you are." Allen snatched his hand away and shoved the glove back on. He stood up and walked away, leaving Reed to ponder his condition.
Allen looked at Mana with a smug expression.
"Don't ever let another person prod me again."
Mana looked at him, surprised. "He prodded you?"
"Yes, he prodded me." Allen slumped down into his seat and crossed his arms over his chest. "I feel like a guinea pig."
"Oh come on, it couldn't have been that bad!"
Allen began to rub his hand. "Well, I guess not…but it still hurt….bad."
Hana walked into the room, earning angry glares from her family.
"Geeze!" exclaimed Reed. "You really kept us waiting, didn't you honey!"
"Oh shuh'tup. It's not like you all haven't eaten today."
"We have," he motioned to Mana and Allen, "but they haven't."
Hana gasped. Apparently she hadn't been informed that the Walkers were joining them. She ran over and gave Mana a big handshake, which left the man groaning.
"Ow… She's stronger than a grown man… Oh ow…."
Allen gulped when her eyes landed on him. Oh no…
Hana grabbed his hand, the wrong one, and shook it franticly. "Oh Allen! Look how much you've grown!"
"It's been three months!"
"I know, but-"
Allen began to tremble. His eyes wandered down to his deformed hand. It had changed, bursting out of the glove.
Hana immediately let go and began to back away. She opened her mouth in a silent scream.
Allen held his hand up in front of his face—which was also in everyone's view. He gasped. The change was alarming.
The skin had changed color and texture, becoming silver and smooth like metal. Wicked curved claws replaced his fingers, each one sharp and deadly. The fingernails disappeared, it looked unnatural. A small blood red cross was printed on the top. And to add onto all that his shoulder felt really weird too.
His jaw dropped as he inspected farther. It was all just so…wrong. So, so wrong.
He looked at Mana with his eyes pleading for an answer. Please don't freak out. Please Mana, what do I do?
To his surprise, Mana stood up and walked over to him with a calm expression. "Hey," he said. "We should probably leave."
Allen nodded dumbly and allowed Mana to help him up.
The two former clowns padded out of the room silently, leaving the Kozoku family without an answer for Allen's sudden transformation.
Before going through the door, Allen turned his head and looked over his shoulder. A sudden flash blinded him for a brief moment. Once the light cleared, he was able to recognize the figure.
Blond hair… Brown eyes… Light skin… It was… Oh.
Much to Allen's surprise, it was Maria. She was holding a camera, her eyes glued to his transformed limb. For a second Allen could almost hear her voice.
"Allen… I think we're best, best friends… Ya' know?"
His eyelids began to droop. The background began to fade.
"I think I'm gunna miss you when I go to medical school."
Everything around him turned gray, but that didn't matter—his eyes were already closed.
"I… Never mind."
What is it?
"It's nothing… I gotta go. See you, well, once I finish."
No Maria. Don't go.
Maria… Don't leave just yet…
A bucket of ice-cold water was dumped on Allen.
He rolled off the couch, choking. What the… Who did that? He looked up and saw Mana. He rubbed his eyes and squinted. "Mana?"
"Feeling any better?" asked Mana. "You passed out when we left the Kozoku's house."
Allen tried to stand up. His actions didn't help, he fell on his butt. "Ow…"
"Don't try to stand," said Mana. He helped Allen back on the couch. "You should rest. Your arms transformation seems to have drained a bunch of your energy."
Transformation… Whats he talking abou- OH YEAH! Allen threw his left hand in front of his face and stared at it with wide eyes. The claws had gotten sharper and grown longer, the whole arms size had increased as well. Just looking at it Allen could tell that he wouldn't be able to fit gloves on anymore.
"Yeah," agreed Mana. He tossed something to Allen.
Allen caught it and held it up. It was a white button-up shirt. What do I…? He realized that he was shirtless. Oh…I see.
He stuffed his right arm into a sleeve and carefully began to inch the other sleeve over his left arm. Steady… Steady… Good. He grinned over his victory, then thought of his uncovered hand. Aw crap.
Mana spoke after Allen had put the shirt on, "You know, I think there might be someone who can help you."
Allen perked. "Really?"
"Yeah… She lives far away, but she'd defiantly be able to help you get your arm back to the way it was." Mana began to tap his chin. "Let's see… Her name is…"
Allen leaned forward. "Her name is…"
"Darn it, it's on the tip of my tongue! Oh yeah!" Mana snapped his fingers. "Her name is Kusuri Busshu; she's a skilled Medicine woman and has a great understanding of the spiritual realm."
"Whats spiritual have to do with anything?" piped Allen.
"Well, ya' know… Just a feeling."
Allen thought hard. Okay… She might be able to change my arm back…that's good. Wait a minute… Mana should be freaking out right now. He carried me out of the Kozoku's house as if it were normal. Did he expect something to happen?
"When my arm changed… Why didn't you freak out?"
Mana tapped his foot in a thoughtful sort of way. "Well, I lived in a circus for more than half of my life. I saw some strange things in that time. Some even stranger than your arm. I didn't freak out when I saw your arm after I met you, did I? This is nothing."
Allen thought back at his time in the circus.
A few days after accepting Mana's offer, Allen was attempting to do cartwheels. He slammed into a crate, tearing his shirts sleeve off and revealing his arm. Mana had run over, thinking it was blood and knelt down to clean it up. He tried to wipe the "blood" off, eventually realizing that there was no blood. It was flesh. Red flesh. Only a bit of surprise showed in the man's eyes. He didn't flip out or do anything like that. The only thing he did after discovering that the boy had a deformity was telling him to put on a clean shirt.
Allen smiled, thinking about his circus days. They had been pleasant days, sure he and Mana had fights and ran into trouble, but when it came down to things—it had truly been pleasant.
Mana gave a nod and turned to leave. "I'll fetch you a pair of mittens and maybe a coat. That shirts a little see-through, we don't want to take any chances."
Allen nodded and asked, "Then can we leave?"
"Eh?" Mana frowned and closed his eyes in thought. "Well… Let's wait until you're completely healed."
"Healed?" Allen jumped up. "I am completely healed!"
Mana shook his head. "No, not quite. We'll leave in the morning. That will give you plenty of time to rest."
Allen pouted. "Fine."
"Good. Now I'll get those."
Wait… Why do I need mittens? Can't I just wear my… oh yeah. Allen held his arm up and stared at it dumbly. It got bigger.
Footsteps echoed through the large church.
A girl slowly walked over to three figures standing at the front. She looked at the tallest with a frown. Tears formed in the corners of her eyes and began to stream down her cheeks.
"P-please help him!"
She held a picture out to the tall figure. It snatched the photo and examined it.
"Parasitic," said a rough male voice. "He's a parasitic type."
"Alright," agreed a softer, more cheerful male voice. "We've gotten closer to getting the innocence!"
"Good," said the softest, it was clearly female. "Could you tell us more about your friend? We know how to help him."
"O-okay… I found out a while ago and I think I scared him or made him upset." The girl looked down at her feet. "I-I screamed. It was hideous. I didn't know what else to do, an-and he just sat there…dazed." Her crying got louder, "Oh- *hic* I- *hic* I… *hic* I…" She reached up and rubbed her eyes. "I really am sorry, just can't get a grip on myself. Oh I- *hic* Oh no, not again…"
The rough male growled, "Hey! Are you going to cry or are you going to tell us about your boyfriend's innocence?"
"Boyfriend?" The girl blushed. "Well, he is cute, but that doesn't matter now. I'm engaged."
The softer male's mouth dropped. "E-engaged! A girl as young as you are!"
"That's still pretty young."
The rough male growled; it was much louder than the last. "Can we just get the innocence and go?"
"Alright, no need to get so touchy."
The soft-voiced male leaned over and patted the girl on the back. "Thanks for the picture. That should make things easier for us!"
"O-okay… Good luck!"
She waved until they were out of sight.
Millions of stars filled the sky, each one glowed brightly.
God…you have patience and love to take care of every single star… Could you help him? Chould you help me? I'm scared. I'm confused. I don't understand any of it. I'm smart, God, but not enough to understand what happened to my own friend… Please keep him safe… Please! Hold onto him tight and don't let go. For once God, for once…
I will child.
Please help him…
He is loved by God.
Please help…Allen Walker.
A/N: Well, this has been in my documents for a while! I'm glad that I finally posted it! Yeah, here's some info: I mentioned allen wearing jeans, we'll pretend that they had jeans back then. The Kozoku family and Maria will make more appearences. Allen's transformed arm looks like a smaller version of his anti-akuma weapon. If you see a fic similer to this one, please note that this is based on one of my strange dreams. My dream was really weird... Thats all I'm gunna say. Please feel free to point out grammar and spelling mistakes! And be sure to review!