Visitations in the Night
Part 1 of 2
Allen X Lenalee. 1/15/11. All DGM characters and rights belong to Katsura Hoshino.
I am writing this in between a fan-fiction still in progress ("Revelations") because the last page of Chapter 201 of the manga really moved me. I wanted so much for Lenalee to find Allen and comfort him after seeing that page. Then I read Chapter 202 and was very disappointed and frustrated that she hadn't. As a matter of fact (MANGA SPOILER AHEAD), while Allen is locked up, chained, and refuses to eat or talk, Lenalee is in the dining hall with the others, not making any effort to find Allen. She is, albeit, very torn and concerned about what's happening in general, but I was very unhappy with her for not making any effort to get to Allen or find out what's going on with him. What happened to her uber-concern for him? This is a different Lenalee than the one I've come to know, especially when it comes to Allen. SO! I am going to rectify it somehow, at least for myself in my own mind, by writing what I would like to have seen happen.
It's best to see the page that pushed me to write this so, if you can, before reading, please go to mangareader dot net and find the DGM manga and go to Chapter 201, page 22 and you'll see what I mean. However, I'm setting this fiction to take place immediately after Chapter 202, page 18, where Lenalee and all the other Exorcists and staff are in the dining hall, being made to eat so as to keep up their strength. I'm just slipping this little scene in there as an interlude, regardless of what happens on page 19 and onward, though I hope it will fit in there without disturbing the actual content of the manga. All right, now with all the addendums put out there, let's do this thing….
The Black Order Headquarters – Dining Hall
The place was in upheaval. Plates were clattering loudly on tables and eventually the floor. Food was being served, eaten, or thrown; all the while constant chatter was ever-elevating in volume. Fear, anger, and confusion were the pervasive sentiments as the noise grew, each trying to top the other. Lenalee looked over at Marie, wondering how his sensitivity was handling this scene. His head was bowed as he ate, and she could tell he was concentrating on catching any important tidbits of information while wading out into the sea of screaming and yelling voices. The din quickly became a cacophony and Lenalee bowed her head where she sat as well, trying to focus as best she could; zoning out everything else into a dull white noise…except when she heard the snippets of his name being spoken…
"Did you hear about Allen? He's bound and chained in the detention cells downstairs. I can't believe it…"
"Inspector Link put Allen in his place, they said. He got to him before he could attack the others and now that arm of his is sealed…"
"I don't even think they've tended to Allen's wounds yet just to wear him down. Isn't that torture or something? Central is resorting to some dirty tactics…"
"I heard Allen isn't saying a word! Who knows if he's trying to protect us or the Noah…?"
"Allen won't even eat! He's thinks they're going to slip him something in his food! It's so unfair. No one trusts anyone anymore…."
Lenalee found herself oscillating between desperate anger and sadness. How could they do this to him; after all he's done for the Order, for his fellow Exorcists…? She was no fool. She knew very well the dire situation they were in with the 14th pushing himself closer into being. But she knew Allen wouldn't allow himself to be swallowed up if he could help it. She wasn't going to sit there and let him do it alone. But what could she do for him? The sense of creeping doom seemed overwhelming no matter how many times she told herself that Allen couldn't possibly just fade away into nothing.
Suddenly, a pork bun was thrust into her field of vision. Section Chief Reever was holding the steaming roll out for her to take, a fierce look of equal parts concern and determination on his face. He had been watching Lenalee and had no doubt that she had very little appetite. He certainly didn't have any. But they had to keep up their strength and energy. The Exorcists had sustained heavy losses and injuries on every front and, appetite or no, they had to replenish themselves before the next inevitable battle.
"Eat," he said simply, still holding the pork bun out for her."
Lenalee stared at it blankly, listless.
"If you don't gain strength, you won't be able to fight," he continued. "And we have a lot of enemies to fight, remember?"
She took the bun from him and held it in her lap, almost as if it was a foreign object.
"We are responsible for his awakening, too," he stated matter-of-factly.
She startled at his words but before she could ask him to explain, Johnny and Didi LeJeune joined in on Chief Reever's statement with such fervor that they were yelling over one another to make their points.
"It's too cruel for them to lock up Allen like that!" cried Johnny through tears of frustration.
"Exactly! Now we have to do something!" exhorted Didi.
On the outskirts of the fray, Cash Dopp saw Lenalee's confused expression and approached her to offer a brief aside.
"Chief Reever had requested that Allen be looked over by the Science Division," explained Cash.
"Eh?" was all Lenalee could utter, still mortified by everything she was hearing.
"He thought, if they looked closely, they might be able to find a way to remove the memory of the 14th from Allen. But because of that, the First Division is now under scrutiny and also a target of blame."
Lenalee had heard enough. She stood up so quickly and with such force that Cash nearly fell over backwards. She headed straight for Jerry's kitchen. She didn't know how she could help Allen with something she knew was beyond her control or understanding but she wasn't about to sit on her laurels either. The last thing she wanted to do was listen to anymore judgments unfairly cast on a person she knew was innocent.
"I'm glad to see that you are appeasing your appetite, Miss Lenalee. You can't fight on an empty stomach," said Jerry as Lenalee approached the order window. "What else can I get for you?"
"I'll start with twenty mitarashi dango, please."
Jerry looked at her with surprise. "You don't want any chocolate cake?" he asked.
"No, thank you."
He nodded, knowingly. "Then how about some lasagna, ma-po tofu, chicken, and some mango pudding as well?"
"That sounds great, Jerry. To go."
The Black Order Headquarters – Cell Block F
The wheels on the food cart squeaked noisily as she pushed it down the hall. The Black Order didn't keep many prisoners, if at all, but the cells were built nonetheless for incidentals. Lenalee knew no one at the time would have ever thought it would hold one of their own someday. The cart's wheels and Lenalee's heel clicks echoed off of the cold stone walls as she made her way down the long corridor toward the last cell. The guards heard her coming long before they saw her.
"Can I help you, Miss Lee?" asked a uniformed officer, clearly from Central.
Though not entirely comfortable having a stranger know her by name, she continued on with her professional demeanor. "I'm here to give Allen Walker his meal," she replied curtly.
"No one is to give provisions to the prisoner other than Inspector Rouvelier, Inspector Link, or myself," he replied, sternly.
He has a name! she thought at him, fiercely. Quickly stamping out her anger for the task at hand, Lenalee closed the distance between herself and the officer and lowered her voice. She would try to use the same lingo, then.
"He was going to come down himself but Inspector Link realized that the prisoner might be more open to taking food from someone he knows and trusts. This meal," she said, referring pointedly at the cart," was prepared under Inspector Link's …supervision. He will be down shortly to follow up on this, he told me to relay to you."
"I see," he replied in understanding. He could smell the sweet and savory fragrance of several different dishes wafting out from under the cart cover. "I hope you have better luck than we've had. But I see the wisdom in Inspector Link's plan. "
The guard unlocked the door and Lenalee pushed the cart in slowly, nodding to him as she entered. She didn't dare look up from the cart until she heard the door close and the click of the lock behind her.
When she did look up, it took her eyes some time to adjust. There was an intense, pulsating illumination in the center of the room that almost blinded her. Was this another form of torture to keep Allen awake? She shielded her eyes for a few moments and looked incrementally up to see the base of the light source. It was a huge, golden orb the likes of which she'd never seen. She raised her eyes further as they adapted to the light, then she saw the tell-tale cross shape on the face of the orb. She didn't need to see the rest.
A gnawing grunt emanated from the face of an overgrown Timcanpy and she could now see his mouth, wings, and tail. He was strapped down with reinforced ground markers and steel cables and what seemed a strategically placed seal over his face. Timcanpy shifted in vain under the weight of the straps then grunted again, resigned.
Lenalee looked over into the far back corner of the cell. The cell was longer than it was wide and even though the light radiating from Timcanpy was intense, it seemed to stay within a short radius of Timcanpy's form. It didn't reach the end corners of the room. When her eyes adjusted again to see objects just outside of the light's reach, she finally saw him.
"Allen…kun…" she eked out, as she covered her mouth, aghast at the sight.
Allen Walker was sitting propped up in the far back corner of the cell; the shadow of the room's natural darkness just barely hiding him from exposure. Both of his legs were chained with double thick links and his left hand was bound and sealed, rendered impotent. There was some blood on the floor and on his clothes and he was wounded and bruised all over. This was almost too much to take in when she finally rested her eyes on his face. She couldn't recall the last time he looked so weary. His eyes were hidden from view behind his unkempt and disheveled hair but he managed to smile weakly at her even still.
"Lenalee…how did you…why…?"
She braced herself on the handle of the food cart to keep her balance initially. Whatever she had imagined, it was worse, by tenfold. She pushed the cart forward and hoped he couldn't see her shaking; that it was just the cart's wheels reacting to the uneven floor of the cell that was causing it. She was indignant and furious, but mostly her heart was breaking from the dishonored state of her dear friend and comrade before her.
Be strong. For him. "It doesn't really matter how, does it, Allen-kun? As to why…I've told you before…because you're my friend, that's why."
Allen's cheeks turned red for a brief moment. It made her smile to know that he still recalled and was embarrassed by that time he received a resounding slap from her for questioning her motives in pushing him out of the way of an exploding akuma. He was still the Allen she knew and this Allen was being persecuted and imprisoned unfairly.
"You must be starving. Jerry made you some of your favorites. I brought these straight from him so you don't have to worry about anything," Lenalee said reassuringly, in a lowered voice.
At a time like this, offering Allen food seemed so trivial. But she also knew that in the midst of such complications, simple things were sometimes the most comforting. Parking the cart length-wise as she crouched down in front of him, she maneuvered it between herself and the entrance so that it blocked a clear view of them from the cell windows. Timcanpy's large mass also helped to obscure them. She lifted up the cover from her side and brought out the first couple of dishes from the top tray.
With his free right hand, Allen slowly but graciously took the first bite of food he had had in days. His favorite: mitarashi dango. Jerry's cooking felt like home to him, even down in this dank cell. And of all things he hadn't expected was to see Lenalee and have her share this nightmarish space with him. He was relieved when they had been assigned to different countries for the last few missions. As much as he missed being near her, he didn't want her to see him struggling or see him falter. Whenever he came back to headquarters, she was by his side, inquiring and concerned, but supportive. And here she was again, just a breath away from him. Her presence was a welcome change from the darkness of this room; her fragrance like the warm open fields of summer rather than the moldy stillness of this place. He wanted to let go of whatever he had in his hand, he had forgotten what is was by now, and just feel her warmth, maybe even reach out and touch the reality of her nearness...
"Just keep eating, Allen-kun…"
He swallowed and nodded gratefully as she seemed to be uncovering more items from the lower tray of the cart. Once she pulled it out, he saw it wasn't food but washcloths and bandages.
"I can't do much with this but the nurse gave me some supplies and told me what I should do to at least help stop the bleeding and some of the pain. I don't have too much time but keep eating while I do this so they don't get too suspicious."
"Lenalee, you will get into serious trouble if they find out what you're doing."
"I know that. Keep eating."
She knew she had to work on his worst wound first. The nurse said triage was the most important.
"Allen-kun, where is most of the blood coming from?"
He stopped mid-chew and looked at her. Kanda…
"Is it here…?" she asked as she pointed to his flank. She could see some blood pooling there on his garment but she didn't want to assume or miss a bigger injury somewhere else.
"This might sting a little so…"
Lenalee unzipped his tunic and gingerly peeled the material away from his skin around the injured area. Having been on the receiving end herself, she knew first hand that the first pain outside of the injury itself often came with clothing sticking to the wound due to coagulating blood. She noticed Allen grimace once but he was onto another dish and he played it off as he chewed. She took the washcloth and wrung it out in the water bowl on the bottom tray and began to gently cleanse the area of dried blood and sweat. It was a deep puncture from a sharp object and she could tell that it went clean through him to the other side. Just a few inches to the left or right and it would have cut through a major organ. She shivered at the thought.
She took a fresh washcloth and poured a mixture of alcohol and iodine to swath over the wound. Allen grunted inwardly and flinched as she knew he would. But she kept at it so that his discomfort would end quickly. She then repeated the process around the exit wound in his back, carefully reaching around him so that he didn't have to shift too much from his original position, thereby calling any attention. She warmed some ointment by rubbing it in her own hands before applying it around the wound as a sealant and a way for the bandages to keep from sticking too much when it came time to change them. That is, if they could be changed. The worst of the wounds was finally cleaned and bandaged. She had noticed halfway through that Allen had stopped eating. He most likely had to concentrate on not passing out from her painful ministrations.
"I'm sorry, Allen-kun. I'm not very good at this but the hardest part is over. Are you all right?" she asked as she pulled away from taping up the last bandage.
"You care for this boy quite a bit, don't you, young lady?" said Allen, with an amused lilt.
Lenalee looked up into Allen's face – an unfamiliar face – whose skin was ashen gray.
TO BE CONTINUED