Revelations Chapter 13
Oct 11, 2011 - Aug 2, 2012 (Friggin' 10 months?!)
*Allen Walker, Lenalee Lee, and all characters in the DGM Universe do not belong to me. I am merely borrowing them for a while to suit my purpose. If it wasn't clear before, I will reiterate that this is an Allen Walker X Lenalee Lee story. Nothing super lemony….just some overdue conversations.
*This story takes place a little bit after the anime ends and way before the whole Kanda-Alma arc/craziness. So, this starts a couple of months after the Level 4 is defeated at HQ and General Cross is able to speak with Allen for a moment wherein he lets him know that Allen is the vessel from which the 14th will be reborn.
Asia Branch - Branch Chief Bak's Office
Lenalee was already waiting in Bak's office, having numbly and methodically packed what little belongings she had originally brought with her several months ago. She sat silently in one of the two chairs facing Bak's desk as he scribbled harshly on the last of his paperwork, signing them so severely that he almost cut through to the paper underneath. No matter - whatever it took for him not to look directly at Lenalee as she sat before him was what he would set his task on. This was her last day there and he was not going to have the image of his breaking into a cold sweat and floundering for words be the last thing she remembered of him. He cleared his throat if only to break the heavy silence that hung in the air between them. In his periphery, he noticed that Lenalee finally looked up from having stared down at her lap the entire time.
"I can't thank you enough, Bak-san, for allowing me to be here," started Lenalee. "I owe you and the Asia Branch more than I can repay."
"Whatever helps you get stronger helps the Order get stronger, which is ultimately my job. So, no need to feel obligated...however..." Bak said, trailing off.
"However...?" repeated Lenalee, puzzled as to what he might say next.
"...Maybe we can have some tea together in the lounge the next time I come to visit Headquarters," suggested Bak rather quickly as he scribbled even more fervently on what seemed to be the same page he had been writing on for the last half hour she had been sitting there.
"Of course..." Lenalee happily replied.
Bak smiled inwardly as he did somersaults in his head.
"...I just hope my brother won't occupy every minute of your time like he has before. There always seems to be so much work for you to do when you're there," she finished saying.
Bak's smile deflated and his mental somersaults quickly came to a screeching halt. No doubt Komui would try to foil any chance of him meeting up alone with Lenalee.
"Before I forget, here, take this for later. I have a feeling you'll need it," advised Bak evenly.
Lenalee took the pouch he handed her, peered inside, and smiled.
Before his mind started to generate various preemptive plans to escape Komui's grasp, both he and Lenalee heard the strains of Link's irked voice and Allen's intermittent protests as they were rounding the corner, approaching the office. Bak noticed Lenalee stiffen immediately as she resumed looking down on her hands that were now neatly folded over the pouch.
"You're not a child, Walker, I shouldn't have to retrieve you in order to keep to schedule!" cried Link as he finally pulled Allen in having reached their destination.
"I TOLD you I just lost track of time, I didn't mean to..."
"Losing track of time is no excuse, much less losing track of time due to your flirtatious endeavors," accused Link.
"What? I wasn't...what are you talking about?!" Allen exclaimed.
"And now look, you've made Lenalee sit here and wait all this time," sighed Link, after having noticed her already sitting there, unmoving.
Allen's voice changed from indignation to sheepishness after noticing that Link was right.
"S-sorry, Lenalee. I hope you weren't waiting too long," said Allen, scratching the back of his head, feeling small.
"It's all right, Allen-kun. " replied Lenalee, softly, without turning to address him, afraid that looking at him might break her resolve.
"Where's Lavi? Don't tell me I have to collect him as well? Heaven knows what he's up to," Link said, reproachfully.
"He's already at the coach," answered Bak, "I told him to go ahead with Lenalee's belongings and to give the driver the coordinates to Guangzhou and a few stops along the way. He knows we'd be there straight away as soon as Walker joined us. I have the last of the travel documents here so you're all set to go. Shall we?" Bak stood up and handed each of them their affidavits guaranteeing entry into the Chinese provinces.
Having donned her Exorcist uniform for the trip home, Lenalee neatly folded and tucked the documents into her belt compartment. Bak and Link had already left the room by then but Allen was waiting for her, holding the door open, ushering her out to the hallway. He was smiling.
"You look happy, Allen-kun. I'm glad," she managed to eke out as she passed him and out through the door. How much she really meant it, she was not really sure. But she wanted to mean it.
" I do?" Allen replied, quizzically. When he thought about it, he couldn't really explain it. But even now, his mood did seem to lift whenever he was around Lenalee.
Walking well behind Bak and Link, they headed toward the barracks where the coach waited; their footfalls slow and reluctant.
Lenalee couldn't help herself. Her curiosity overwhelmed the fortifications she thought she carefully built around herself since that morning.
"Did everything go all right with Lou Fa-chan?" she asked, as nonchalantly as possible.
"I am not sure, actually," replied Allen, "I THINK so."
"You THINK so?" That was not the answer she was expecting.
Allen scratched his forehead and looked up toward the ceiling as he spoke. "Well, I thought I knew what I needed to say...and from the way she acted, I think I said it. I don't know..."
Lenalee's eyebrows furrowed then twitched slightly in annoyance. Even though she wished she was in Lou Fa's position, she didn't envy being on the receiving end of Allen's ambiguity when it came to these matters. She knew how he could be, shy as he was, unable to articulate how he felt. Much of Allen's past was unknown to her, but based on how well she knew him now, she imagined that he never learned or had a chance to express himself when he was a child. Thinking about that softened her expression a little and she let her own frustration subside. It took so much for him to reveal as much as he had to her in the night. She knew his childhood didn't afford him opportunity to do a lot of things to help him with this. His childhood was just full of hard things. Lenalee exhaled audibly.
"Allen-kun, I know it must have been...awkward...but Lou Fa-chan deserves to know your heart and mind, don't you think? If it were me, I wouldn't want to keep guessing..." she said, trying not to betray too much of her own feelings.
Allen looked at Lenalee as they continued to walk. She was looking forward herself but she seemed distracted, that much he could tell.
"But she told me she knew. She seemed so sure."
So then it did happen. Crestfallen, Lenalee focused on what her next words should be. She still could not navigate the desire for his and Lou Fa's happiness without the disappointment of her own shattered hopes getting in the way.
"Then you must have told her everything the right way," Lenalee prompted, both as a confirmation and a conclusion.
"That's the thing...I'm not sure I said much at all."
Lenalee stopped in her tracks, frustration and loss welling up again from the pit of her stomach. She looked at Allen, who had stopped along-side her, seemingly as lost as she was as to where this was heading. She still had fight left in her but wasn't the battle already over? Before she could speak, he continued:
"She just asked me questions about you but I don't think I answered them well enough. At least, not well enough for me. But she seemed to know..."
"She asked you questions...about me?" Lenalee asked, her mind reeling.
"Yes, it was very direct. I wasn't really ready for it."
Of course, coming from Lou Fa, Lenalee expected no less.
"But why would she...?" she wondered aloud.
"Well, I tried to say I was sorry if I made things seem strange between us," Allen continued.
"Between Lou Fa and me," clarified Allen, "and that you and I would never do anything to intentionally hurt her."
"I hope she knows it's true."
"She does. But then she asked me..." Allen trailed off.
Allen's eyes left Lenalee's and wandered off somewhere in the direction of his boots. She noticed. Placing her right hand on his opposite shoulder, she gently prodded him on, belying her own wracked anticipation of Allen's next words. Nothing was as it appeared. If he had told Lou Fa how he felt, then what was with his own confusion? Why did Lou Fa talk about Lenalee and not her own feelings for Allen? Why was Allen acting so strangely, after everything?
"She asked me if you and I were..." he tried to say without mumbling.
Lenalee wanted to explode. But she never got the chance. Lavi's voice filled the gap in the silence.
"Allen, Lenalee, I cannot stall Link any longer. He's throwing a fit from waiting. I think those dots are going to shoot off his forehead if we don't leave now," interjected Lavi as light-heartedly as possible. Neither Lenalee nor Allen knew how long he had been standing there. Stealth befitted the Bookman well. "You'll have to finish your conversation in the coach. We have a long day of traveling ahead of us."
Allen and Lenalee nodded at Lavi and followed him the last hundred paces to the high-ceilinged barracks that were capable of holding everything from a horse coach to a small-passenger zeppelin. Having headquarters underground provided almost limitless estate.
"Where's Branch Chief Bak?" asked Allen.
"He checked the last details and went up to the research floors. Said he didn't feel the need to say goodbye in-person or something," answered Lavi.
"He has certainly done more than enough," added Lenalee.
"Everything's ready to go, just get in. Link will signal for the gate to open," assured Lavi as Lenalee and Allen climbed inside, Lavi ahead of them. Link looked at Allen narrowly from the rear boot of the coach, fuming, causing him and Lenalee to sit hurriedly next to each other, leaving the only other open spot next to Lavi.
"There's more room here if you want to change seats, Lenalee," said Lavi a little loudly, patting the seat next to him in obvious, exaggerated motions. Before Lenalee could politely decline, Link chimed in.
"Do you think you could leave Lenalee-san alone for one moment?!" came the exasperated cry from just outside the door.
"You need to relax, Two-dots," Lavi said, in Link's general direction, smirking.
A fist slammed into the panel near Lavi's head from the outside, causing a loud noise and a small crack to appear on the inside. It was a certainty that the outside looked worse by far.
Lavi chuckled quietly and shrugged, "I guess he wants me to move over more."
Link gave the signal with his hands, a sequence of code for the gatekeeper to start the chain of events that would begin uncoiling the road that would lead them upward this time. As the morning sunlight began to stream in from high above, Link hopped into the coach and took his seat next to Lavi. The driver started the horses up and they ascended.
The driver said that if they held their average speed heading southeast without pushing the horses too hard, they would reach Guangzhou in less than one day, including a few rest stops. Lavi figured the Asian Branch must be near Fuzhou since they were traveling closely to the coast. He still couldn't fathom how large and cavernous the branch office would actually stretch underground.
After the usual bickering, Link and Lavi managed to lean against the supports on the opposite ends of their seats and fall asleep, waking briefly at the more turbulent points in the ride, only to fall back into a restless slumber.
The other two were not so lucky. Though they hadn't spoken a word since they boarded the coach, neither could fall asleep or relax. Allen would nervously ball his fist closed and open again atop his lap or look out the window at the passing landscape. Lenalee would look out the opposite window or fidget in her seat or with her uniform which seemed to become more restrictive with each passing hour. The ridiculousness of the situation was not lost on her. So much to say but no words to speak.
Allen's mind would not settle, try as he might. His thoughts went back to Lou Fa in the library and the feelings her question brought to light. He was so close to something; to identifying something he felt was out of his grasp but never really knowing what it was.
In a few more hours, they would reach their first rest stop in Xiamen so they could eat and stretch their legs. Lenalee then remembered that Allen hadn't had a chance to eat anything all day with all the activity in the morning and then Link rushing them out. No sooner had she finished this thought, she heard the familiar rumbling from Allen's stomach.
"Sorry..." Allen said, quietly.
Lenalee's tension seemed to evaporate with the protest from Allen's stomach. She felt as if things shifted back into their place just then. This was how it had been. This was how it was. This was how it would be and she would have to be okay with that. With a faint smile, she reached into the small pouch Bak had handed her in his office earlier that morning.
"He really does think of everything," she said as she handed Allen some hardboiled eggs, followed by bread and slices of fruit, each separated in small containers.
Allen's eyes grew large at the sight of the spare but filling meal emerging from the pouch.
"I'm sorry, Allen-kun. I had forgotten about it until now. There was so much going on this morning," Lenalee explained.
"No, no, don't apologize. It was...busy. Won't you have some?" he asked as he offered her an egg.
"I don't have much of an appetite right now but maybe I'll have a slice of an apple," she replied, smiling. Sharing a meal with Allen felt so natural and easy. It reminded her of the reasons she cared about him. His polite demeanor, his easy but sad smile, his genuine care for his loved ones...
"Allen-kun, I am glad we're friends. I hope you know that," Lenalee said, wanting to reassure him as well as herself. In the end, she still had his friendship and it was dear and invaluable to her.
"Can there be more?" he asked.
"Mmm, I don't think so. I think that's all he packed. It's not a very big pouch," replied Lenalee, ever trying to understand his current focus of appeasing his stomach.
"No, Lenalee. Can there be more with us?"
It was her turn for her eyes to grow large. "I...I..what?" was all she could muster, looking straight at him.
Just then, Allen suddenly jerked back and grunted loudly, covering his left eye. Lavi and Link woke up to the noise.
"Allen-kun, what's wrong?!" Lenalee asked.
"How close?!" demanded Link.
They heard an inhuman shriek echo above them and then a blood-curdling scream. Link looked out the window in time to see their driver, a long-time supporter of the Black Order, being scooped away by a winged demon the size of the coach they rode in. The speed at which the driver was being carried off made Link realize that he would not be reached in time.
"Lavi, get out there and stop the horses. We're just sitting ducks in here. We need to get out and take them in the open! I'll try to bind the coach in a protection ward..."
"Right!" answered Lavi, already in action, reaching to swing the door open.
"Wait..!" cried Allen.
Something exploded underneath the coach and sent it crashing on its side, wood splintering and flying everywhere from speed with which it had been pitched to the ground. The momentum threw the coach over itself again and again, the horses having been cut from their reins by an unseen hand.
When the coach finally slowed to a halt, it was a massive heap of bent and broken wood, steaming from the heat of friction and dirt; it's frame barely holding together.
TO BE CONTINUED
Good lord, I started this chapter 10 months ago! I suck! I do apologize for everything that has caused me to delay this, including my own massive procrastination. Please know that I intend to finish this fic and now that the ball is rolling again, I certainly won't wait 10 months again for the next chapter. I know how it will end :-)