Twenty Years

Epilogue

*Just a tidbit of exposition on how things had come to pass in part 3 regarding Allen's return and what he and Lenalee are up to post-reunion.

Note to Klawnella – thanks always, for your support. I understand why you think Leverrier wouldn't give up so easily on questioning Lenalee (part 3). I went back and added a few more of his own thought as to why he would wait to pursue it further. As much as Leverrier is a douche and we hates him, he IS also a politician who enjoys his job and does it well. He is someone who plays it close between the Order and the Vatican when it comes to his goals. It's not such a far-fetched idea to me that he wouldn't want the infrastructure to break down during the most perilous time (declaring Allen as a Noah) without coordinating with the Pope first. I hope it better explains his actions Thanks for your great feedback.

Requisite Disclaimer: 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.


Hatfield House – Hertfordshire, England

Lenalee waited. The birds had just begun to sing as the dawn's light breached the surface of the world and announced another beginning. The subdued tones of the early morning painted the trees and grass into a sepia landscape, slowly brightening and becoming distinct with each passing minute. Allen would be there soon to spend a few moments with her before they went about their day – she heading back to Headquarters before most had awoken and he returning to the circus across town to make his humble living. They couldn't do this every day. Often times, Allen would end up being here alone when circumstances at Headquarters would bring too much suspicion if Lenalee left to come meet him….and he understood those times fully. He would just come back late in the evening and hope she could make their evening rendezvous instead.

She didn't ever want to part with him again when she had laid eyes upon him for the first time in 10 years at Brockwell Park. But she and Allen both knew they had to be careful or they may never have that freedom again. So, they agreed to meet secretly as many times as circumstances would allow here at the Hatfield House Promenade early in the morning and late at night.

When they had met each other at Brockwell Park, Lenalee had very little to say. She spent most of that night memorizing his face all over again to fill in the holes that time and memory had failed to prevent. Allen had changed so much and so little. He had grown and into a taller, lithe, broad-shouldered frame, but was still wiry all around, reminding her of his first days. He had let his thick white hair grow long enough to tie back, though she never knew whether he actually liked it or not. She had always gotten the sense that he never appreciated it on Kanda but perhaps there was a use for the length in the circus. It was something she would ask about later. At that time, all she wanted to do was let him hold her, cry on his shoulder as she used to do, breathe him in, rest her head against his chest, hear and feel his heart beating, and welcome his warmth. She marveled at his face, which hadn't changed much. He still had that boyish look about him though his eyes were deeper and more weary. He had smiled down at her. This was the smile she wanted to see…the one that didn't have to save anyone from pain…the one that only held and gave joy. The mark of his cursed eye was still there but, in the circus, it didn't stand out much; it just looked like face paint. He was wearing a long-sleeved jacket and gloves which made her assume he was still in possession of his Innocence. But, again, all of that didn't matter at the moment. What mattered was he was there with her, alive.

"I have been here every day at five o'clock since I came back, imagining what it would be like to actually see you sitting here," he had told her that day. "I don't have to imagine anymore…"

After a long silence of just taking each other in, it took everything they had to tear themselves away for the night. But they knew they had to return to their respective lives if they wanted to see each other gain. And so they made a pact: To meet at Allen's favorite historical grounds where a friend and benefactor of the circus could allow for privacy and a modicum of security. And so they came here to Hatfield House the next morning to meet again.

It was then that all the questions came flooding out and Allen was eager to answer them.

The first year he had been gone, he had spent warring with the 14th inwardly. Even though he was losing himself more and more physically, in his heart and mind, they combated each other continuously, each not losing or gaining ground. It was exhausting and it made him lose to the Noah physically quickly.

"Even though outwardly, The Earl and the other Noah saw the 14th, I was still there," Allen had explained to Lenalee. "I hadn't been lost yet. After a while, the 14th and I stopped arguing. Instead we began communicating. We had the same goals but not the means to accomplish them. He needed me to help him destroy the Earl. Without Innocence, he believed he would fail again as he did last time. That's why he chose me as his host, he said. And I needed his power as the Noah of Destruction to even reach the level necessary to dispatch the Earl, the first Disciple and head of the Noah family. My Innocence alone wouldn't ever be enough. Soon, we came to an agreement. He didn't want to destroy his family but he knew had little time to win them over to his side. I relinquished myself to the recesses of his mind to prepare for the inevitable battle. The family needed to believe that the 14th was finally in control and we led then to believe this."

"But why did the 14th even want to kill the Earl? Why did he betray his family?" asked Lenalee, finally able to ask the question even the Vatican couldn't ask.

"You see, to him, he wasn't betraying his family, he was trying to save it," Allen had said.

Off of Lenalee's confused look, he continued on.

"Every Noah is born as a human. Usually, at a young age, the Noah take over their host and leave their family, only turning to each other and nurturing the age old idea of humans needing to be judged and erased from existence. Somehow, they had taken God's old and singular judgment in man's history and decided it was theirs to carry out because they were the only ones worthy of being saved from the Great Flood. Instead of being grateful for being the only family God deemed salvageable, the seed of corruption slowly began to fester and grow within some of Noah's family. They did have power bestowed upon them as a blessing so that they could proliferate on the earth with that same goodness. But, over time, it was twisted into a hatred for humans who were at one point hated by God. As generations passed, the more powerful Noah who believed this were able to take control of the family and do away with those that didn't agree. Soon, all that were left were the 13 Noah you know of."

"But then the 14th came along?" stated Lenalee.

"Yes. And as hard as it is to believe, he was touched by an edict from God; not to be an angel of salvation but an angel of destruction. This time, God judged the Noah as unworthy for all of their corruption of the spirit and power he had given them, and he wanted to cleanse them off of the Earth, just as he had done with mankind and the Great Flood. Usually, Noah are born into single child families but the 14th was born into a family that already had a son; an older son. That was Mana. And Mana loved his brother with all of his heart, regardless of what he was. It was then that the 14th realized that he wanted to save mankind from the other Noah and willingly took on the task appointed to him by God because all he knew of humanity was that Mana was counted among them and he loved Mana with all of his being. If only for that, he wanted to foil the Earl's plans."

Lenalee had wept for the 14th when she had heard this. It was something she never thought she would do in her lifetime. But hearing how much he loved his brother and wanted to save humanity for his sake hit too close to home. After all, didn't she do that a little bit with Komui and her comrades? When he saw her tears of sympathy, Allen had reached over and gently wiped them away with his thumb, knowing she understood.

"The first time he tried to fight the Earl, he made a lot of mistakes but he also learned a lot. He knew what his strengths and weaknesses were. He also learned to love and be loved in return. I think it was meant to be that way. And his spirit was reborn in me not only because he knew I was an accommodator but also because he believed that someone born with Innocence in their blood was also appointed by God. He felt that he could succeed against the Earl when two people charged with the same mission could work together. The Earl loved and hated the 14th. As twisted as he was, the Earl always wanted to welcome the newest Noah with open arms because a great number of his family had died so long ago in the war between those who lived for humans and those who thought they were unworthy and should perish. The Earl was delighted to add to his family after thinking for so long they'd never grow in number. But he also hated the 14th for siding with the humans and reminding him of why there were only so few Noah left in the world. I didn't know it at the time but making me turn Mana into an akuma was his ultimate revenge against the 14th. So when he returned, the Earl wanted to start all over. In his iniquitous mind, the Earl thought they were even and could become a real family again."

"How did the 14th get the other Noah to join him?" she asked, sniffling the last of her tears away.

"He only managed to convince a few, though they were integral to the victory. Tyki had a human family of his own whom he adored, even though he wasn't related to them by blood. I didn't know it at the time but I had met them all on a train once. They did seem close. He was always caught between two worlds that way, though he was certainly very loyal to the Earl. But the 14th never ceased in his plea for the specific humans Tyki cared for. He advocated for their survival as hard as he would have for Mana's and soon Tyki could not think about seeing his friends destroyed. Rhode always seemed to have an affinity for the 14th and hung on every word he said but he seemed to think that the thing that convinced Rhode to save humanity was in getting to know me. I can't explain what it was or why. I don't think I ever did anything to make myself stand out but, in the end, she didn't want humanity destroyed if it meant there were people like that out there who were able soften even her cold heart as the eldest of the Noah. And lastly, Wisely. Even though the 14th had killed him during their last war, Wisely understood why and hadn't held a grudge. In his last incarnation, Wisely was born into the body of a homeless man. He saw much cruelty and hardship before he fully materialized. But he also experienced much kindness and mercy in humanity. In the end, what won them over was a very human trait: selfishness…the selfish desire of not wanting to lose what they valued."

"What happened to them afterwards?" Lenalee asked tentatively, unsure of whether it was all right to ask or if it was something she should let alone.

"Honestly, I don't know, Lenalee. When it was finally time to resurface within myself and fight alongside the 14th, it was years after I had arrived. I saw Lavi and Bookman had been recruited somehow but they didn't know I was still there. For all they knew, it was just the 14th using my Innocence. The war lasted months. With such destructive powers and resilience between them, it was hard to get the upper hand and keep it. I was afraid for Lavi and Bookman because they were like thin sheets of paper thrown into a mill. In the end, it was just me, the 14th, Rhode, Tyki and Lavi. I didn't know how to mourn for Bookman and Lavi was close to death himself. But I was no longer Allen and the 14th had gained more strength in the years he had my form to himself. I couldn't say anything to Lavi, I couldn't tell him I was sorry or tell him I missed all of you and wanted to go home."

Lenalee had reached over to hold his hands then, feeling the sorrow of never being able to go home close to her heart but also relieved in knowing they both found their way back to it, respectively.

"He told Lavi not to concern himself with me and sent him back home almost immediately. I was grateful, even if I couldn't say goodbye," said Allen, ruefully.

"But he sent you back, too, Allen-kun. How…why…?" Lenalee felt strange asking that last part because if she could say anything to the 14th now if she had the chance was to thank him for sending Allen back. But she could not understand how it was possible.

"Why?" repeated Allen, as he thought back to the inner dialogue he had had with the 14th after he sent Lavi back. "He said that he wanted me to live because…because Mana would have wanted me to…because Mana loved me as much as he loved him and he would never destroy something so precious to his brother."

"Oh, Allen-kun…I'm so happy for you…" was all she could say before she had embraced him then. She knew that, for most of his life, the doubt that poisoned Allen's heart was in not knowing whether his adoptive father truly loved him for himself or if it was because he knew of the 14th's soul within. The Noah had confirmed for Allen that he was the sole reason Mana lived and loved.

"Then, abruptly, I felt him leave me," continued Allen, as he held onto Lenalee. "I knew I was whole again and my body was mine. But before I was sent back here, I saw the body of Cyril start to move. I had no doubt he was dead since it was my hand that killed him but it may be that the 14th took over his body. Though I can't say for sure, I think they are going to start to recover and rebuild as a family. And then maybe…maybe they'll come back to live among us. After all, they found a reason to save humanity, as if we were the animals in the Ark this time."

Lenalee was in awe of the time and measure it took for all of that to happen. In his second attempt, it had taken over 20 years for the 14th as he planned, plotted, and executed his mission with Allen's help in the end. And because of it, he was able to save what he and Mana cherished. It was all for that one love he was able to experience and love turned the tide of mankind's fate.

"Good morning, Lenalee" chirped Allen, brightly, as he walked up to her bench, breaking her out of her memories.

"Good morning, Allen-kun!" she said, slightly shaken.

"Is everything all right?" he asked.

"Yes…it's just…I was just thinking again about everything that had happened with you."

"It's a lot to take in, I know," he said as he handed her a cup of hot, steaming tea and sat beside her.

"It is," she replied simply, with a nod, and took a temperature-testing sip of her tea.

"Did you get home okay last night?" he asked, asking much more than the question meant.

"Yes…no one saw me. Thankfully the moon was not full and there were a lot of clouds. But I should tell you, Allen-kun, I am certain my brother knows, though he won't tell a soul."

"I trust him," replied Allen, knowing that his life would indeed be over if the Vatican knew he was still alive but he also knew that Komui would never bring that upon him.

"He was there when I started to remember where I had first met you. I am sure he's deduced who I was supposed to meet at the garden and…"

"And…?"

"And I guess I've been a little too happy lately."

"I don't understand," Allen said.

"Nii-san has noticed. I think I told you a little…I was not…the same these past several years…"

"Ah…" he replied simply, understanding.

"But it's hard to remember how sullen I used to be even though it was just recently. It seems so far away now."

"I wish it never had to be that way for you, Lenalee: For you to never have smiled or laughed for that long...it was my fault, I'm sorry."

"You suffered enough, Allen-kun. You had to be alone all those years, waiting patiently for the right time to fight the Earl, not knowing what the Order or your friends were thinking of you. Even I would say that I wish that never was. But then I think of your sacrifice and what came to be and I wouldn't take it back because we're here like this. I plan on making up for all the smiles I didn't smile and all the laughs I didn't laugh starting now…with you…"

Lenalee placed her hands on either sides of his face and cupped it tenderly, beaming at him with a smile that only genuine joy could produce. Then she leaned in and kissed him lightly on the tip of his nose. When she pulled back, Allen was blushing furiously and looking at her rather winsomely. She laughed freely at his initial boyish embarrassment and enjoyed the warm acceptance and return of affection that shone in his eyes. He took one of her hands from his face in his and brought it up to his lips, closing his eyes and placing his own kiss on the delicate curved fingers that had wrapped around his.

Lenalee sighed, happier than she had ever remembered being.

"Allen-kun, can I ask you one more thing?"

"Of course," he replied softly.

"When you first came to the Order, did you remember that we had met before? How come you didn't say anything?"

Allen chuckled lightly. "Well, if you recall, I was in fear for my life at the time."

Lenalee thought for a second and remembered his first encounter with Kanda. She giggled.

"And after that, as we walked the halls during your tour, you didn't seem to remember me at all. I didn't know what I was getting into and everything was already so overwhelming. So I thought, maybe I would get to know you as we were at that time. But even when I did think of bringing it up later, I remembered you saying how you had lost your memory prior to your parents death and I never wanted to bring anything up that would remind you of something so painful."

"I see…and you kept that ragdoll all of those years…"

"It reminded me of a happy time in my life. When I was with Mana…and when I met a pretty girl who talked with me and wanted to be my friend."

It was Lenalee's turn to blush and she took a sip of her tea to cover it as much as she could.

"The sun is starting to climb," Allen noted, changing the subject for better or worse.

"I should be getting back to headquarters before they notice I'm gone," she said as she set her tea down. "Will I see you tonight, Allen-kun?"

"You will, if you can evade your brother," he said, smiling.

"I'm turning it into an art form. Timcanpy helps keep on the lookout, too," she said.

"Have a good day, Lenalee," he said, finally letting go of the hand he had kissed and had continued to hold for the while.

Allen waited to see Lenalee turn the corner of Hatfield House before he himself walked out and along the streets towards Astley's Amphitheatre and Carnival. He would be training the horses today and he needed to take extra care to make sure he didn't exert all of his strength or else people would wonder how a young man his stature could reign in six large beasts using only his left hand. Though he may never slay or see another akuma again, his Innocence would always remain with him.

As he walked, he couldn't shake the urge that he was being followed. He tried shirking the feeling by taking some side alleys and short cuts but still felt a presence. He went down another darkened, narrow alleyway when he was suddenly jumped from behind and thrown against the wall. He prepared to fight back.

"Allen!"

"Moyashi."

"It's Allen!" was his automatic, belligerent response, as if no time had passed. "Lavi? Kanda?" he managed to eke out when he came to his senses, seeing as how Kanda's sheath had him pinned against the wall by the shoulders.

Kanda lowered his sheath and glowered at him, now at eye level. As much as it was purely out of habit, perhaps 'moyashi' may not ever apply anymore. Lavi came up and clasped Allen by the shoulders, then began shaking him violently, snapping Allen's head back and forth.

"How could you? How long were you gonna keep this from us, man?" Lavi demanded, still shaking him.

Kanda crossed his arms over his chest, Mugen still firmly in his grasp. Still glowering.

Then Lavi suddenly hugged Allen. "You stupid kid…I thought I'd never see you again…" he said, choking on his last words.

Allen breathed and exhaled deeply, patting Lavi on the back. He was hardly a kid anymore but he couldn't blame Lavi for thinking that. After all, it was the last memory he had of Allen.

"Did you follow Lenalee here?" Allen asked.

"No, no one can follow her if she wants to shake you off. She takes off using her boots and I can't even tell what direction she went."

"Then how…?" Allen wondered aloud.

"Komui sent us. He thought if you were alive, you'd be near or around this circus for some reason," replied Kanda.

"What does Komui want?" asked Allen, not sure of where this would lead them all.

"He just wants to know you're all right. Lenalee isn't saying a thing to anyone because she's so paranoid though she's walking around like she's seeing rainbows and puppies all the time," reported Lavi.

"It's disgusting," added Kanda with a sniff.

"Look, no one else is going to know about this, Allen. We're not going to make this a habit. But we had to see you, do you understand? And also, if you need anything, you just have to tell us. There isn't anything Komui won't do to protect you," said Lavi.

"He could start with not sending the whole Order out to see me…" started Allen, wryly, though he couldn't express in words just how wonderful it was to see them…even Kanda.

"Tch," rebuked Kanda. "If the heat is coming, we'll make sure you know."

Allen nodded, thankful.

"Now…we're supposed to be off on our respective missions but, since we're here, why don't you show us around the circus a bit, eh, Allen?" Lavi said as he draped an arm around Allen's shoulders. "Waddya do around here? Can you get us some free stuff?"

"Not with you dressed like that!" shouted Allen, as he pointed to the very obvious Exorcist's garb on both of them. "Come back in layman's clothes next time!"

"Okay, okay, you're right. But just remember, you invited us back," Lavi said, smiling snidely, though his eyes were brimming with unshed tears.

Allen sighed and conceded to that defeat.

As Lavi and Kanda turned to leave, Allen felt more relieved than anything. To see for himself that Lavi and Kanda were all right was more than he could ask for, especially when he could not ever seek them out personally. As he pushed himself off of the wall to go, he noticed Kanda had stopped in his tracks ahead of him. For a moment, he felt unsure of what to say to Kanda after all that had happened with Alma and his last encounter with him that nearly brought the 14th completely into being. But Kanda only turned to look over his shoulder at Allen, nodded once firmly, and then continued on. Allen supposed it was the biggest gesture one could receive from Kanda and he gladly accepted it.

As he headed toward the circus grounds, Allen realized that, at last, his world was slowly coming back together, piece by piece. His friends, who never stopped caring for him, would soon fill up those empty years that he had spent alone in the depths of his mind. And he would keep walking, keep living, as he had promised his father, even if it was outside of the Order. And he would ever start the mornings and end his nights with the first girl he ever met and wanted to know.

THE END (FOR REALLY REALS)


A/N- Okay, I couldn't wrap it up as neatly as I wanted to but I'll leave it at that. Thanks for patiently waiting and reading. In the wake of the disaster in Japan, I know that Hoshino and all of the Japanese will also keep walking and moving forward from this. They are truly admirable in their strength and resilience during this incredibly arduous time for their nation.

A/N 2: OMFG! I just read the spoilers for Chapter 205 and...and...I am so happy! Allen and Lenalee finally got their short moment together and I couldn't have asked for more. Allen, of his own will and motivation, hugs Lenalee tightly and says that he "loves the order...where lenalee and everyone else are..." it bears a slight, very slight, resemblance to chapter 2 of this fic so I couldn't be more ecstatic that things turned out this way because it was something I was hoping for, deep down. Thank you Hoshino! Thank you. I forgive all the craziness that was occurring before this for just those last two pages of Allen and Lenalee! *heart melts*