Disclaimer: I do not own the Dgrayman characters, they belong to Katsura Hoshino. This is done solely for the sake of fan-girlism.

As always, feedbacks and comments are welcomed and appreciated. :3

With This Ring

by Sceaduw

{Part III}

Last night, he found courage that he didn't know he had. He proposed to a stranger and he didn't even know her name. That didn't matter, did it? Should it matter at all? It was just a game.

Then what's with this odd feeling bugging him? He couldn't believe her smile was still in his mind when the sun was up.

Tyki lit a cigarette at the breakfast table despite Sheril's protest.

It was supposed to be a simple bet between him and Allen Walker. The boy dared to challenge him that he couldn't get any random girl to fall for him. The stake was Allen's ring. He chose a random girl, wooed her and gave her the ring. She blushed and ran away with Allen's ring.

There, nothing more. End of the bet. He won and Allen lost. That was it.

It wasn't his fault that Allen lost his ring. He only suggested Allen to use the ring as the stake when the exorcist was so damn sure of winning. Well, it was the boy's arrogance that lost him the ring. What foolishness.

Of course, Allen wouldn't have complied if the boy had known he would be approaching the girl in his gentleman form. He didn't cheat, he was still Tyki Mikk, whether a hobo or a noble. He shouldn't feel guilty about giving away Allen's ring. The boy lost the ring to him, so he could do whatever he wanted with it anyway, right?

So what was this feeling suffocating him? He couldn't figure out why.

"Tyki, cigarettes aren't designed for breakfast."

Sheril took his eyes off his brother, shaking his head at the dozen of cigarette buds on the ashtray. He shouldn't even mention breakfast! It was almost noon. It took quite a while for Tyki to fully awaken from his hangover. Lucky for them that the children had already left for school, leaving the adults alone to some serious discussions. Yes, they needed to talk. Or rather, he needed to talk to Tyki. Sheril even called in sick so he could have a full day to sort out Tyki's 'problem'. The government would do just fine without the minister for one day.

"I'm thinking..."

"Yes?" Sheril was alerted but he tried to smile as usual. Was Tyki going to tell him what happened last night? He waited the whole morning for his brother's confession. He couldn't just start asking his brother direct questions like, 'were you rejected by a guy last night', could he?

Tyki caressed the little jewelry box in front of him as if it was a small pet. Sheril waited but Tyki was deep in thoughts.

"Well...?" Sheril tried to give him a little push. He watched as Tyki played with the box, flipping it open and then closing it again.

"That's a nice box," Sheril began bravely, "is it a gift... from someone?"

Tyki shook his head without looking up from the box.

"Oh, then it's a gift to someone?"

"Nope."

Sheril pretended to finish off the food in front of him. The food had long gone cold but he had to do something to feel less awkward. He took a sip from his cup of tea. He picked up his fork and stabbed a sausage several times on his plate. He waited but Tyki did not reveal anything.

"So where did you get it from then?" asked Sheril, unable to bear the suspense any longer.

"Allen Walker," Tyki replied and he returned the box back into his pocket. Then he heard a clang on the floor. "Hey, ... you just dropped your fork!"

Tyki watched in horror as Sheril froze in his seat. "What're you doing? You're freaking me out!" Tyki went over and picked up the fork for him. "Are you alright?"

Seizing the chance, Sheril dragged Tyki up by the arm and reached into his pocket, pulling out the box.

"This is a ring box! A RING BOX! Why would Allen Walker give you this?"

"Let go! Give it back! What the hell's wrong with you?" Tyki shouted and allowed his arm to pass right through Sheril's grasp. He reached out for the box in Sheril's hand but the older man was swift. Sheril darted backwards, clutching the empty box in his hand as if it was a piece of treasure itself.

Sheril flipped open the box and flashed the love message into Tyki's face.

"You tell me! Allen Walker gave you a ring? He's married!" And married to a vicious woman too, Sheril mentally remarked.

"No!" Tyki yelled and snatched the box from Sheril. "I said it's not a gift from anyone! I won it! From a bet with Allen Walker!"

"Oh... I see." Sheril felt confused.

Then why was Tyki so depressed last night? Waizurii said a man had the ring. Did Allen Walker has the ring?

"What were you thinking, Sheril?" Tyki pulled a long face, "that I was being proposed to... by that boy!"

"Well, no," Sheril said, "what makes you think that?" He tried to laugh it off but Tyki's expression told him he was not amused.

"Sheril, I thought you were that desperate to have me married to someone."

"No, my dear brother! I would never force you into any marriage again! I promised you, remember?"

"Of course I remember. I just hope YOU will remember your promise!" said Tyki. Come to think of it, he owed Lenalee Lee big time. If not for her, his brother would not have given up on finding a woman for him.

"So you won the box," Sheril tried to continue his investigation. His eyes darted over Tyki's fingers. "Just the box?"

"No, I had a ring too."

"... You HAD."

"Yes, it's an exquisite ring. Limited edition of Gabrielle & Draco."

"... And?"

"I gave it to-"

"A man?" Sheril blurted out before he could stop himself. He was so anxious that he felt his heart was racing to a Tarantella.

Tyki paused and threw his brother an ugly stare. He backed off a few steps.

"Sheril, why would I give a ring to a man?"

"Oh, I mean... a woman?" asked Sheril, surprised. Suddenly the air seemed lighter and the day brighter. He gave a serious thought to hanging Waizurii from the balcony and let the night creatures feed on the boy tonight. The brat lied to him! But he could forgive the boy because he was in a good mood.

"Yes, a gentle lady."

"Oh! Wonderful! Whose daughter is she of? Which family?"

Tyki backed off a few more steps urgently as his enthusiastic brother pressed up against him. He was intimidated by his brother's sparkling eyes. Eventually, he was trapped between his passionate brother and the unmoving wall.

"I-I don't know!"

"Oh, come on, Tyki! There's no need to be shy! Is it the Webers? Or the Julius? Oh, surely not the younger of the Stein twins, is it?"

"NO!" Tyki was close to screaming. His cigarette fell from his lips. He could feel his brother breathing onto him. Those were exactly the women he did not wish to see again in his life. Nor in his next life. Those women were shallow, boring and lifeless! They only liked his looks and his close relation with the wealthy Minister Sheril Kamelot. They didn't even understand who he truly was.

They were nothing like the lady he met last night.

The lady was wise and gentle. Somehow, she seemed to know him although they only spent a few hours together. They talked and had a few drinks. And then he proposed to her. Thinking back, that was his first time! And he did it!He believed he had won her heart too, seeing the way she blushed before fleeing the place. It was a shame really to end their relationship along with the bet. The bet was silly, but not her. She was genuine.

Tyki wanted to see her again. But there was only one problem. He did not know her name. He kept calling her 'lady' last night. Well, at that moment he didn't know he would be serious about getting to know her the next morning.

"Tell me, Tyki! I can help you win her back!"

"What do you mean? Win her back?"

"Yes! You were dumped, weren't you?"

"Ha?"

"You were so upset and drunk last night! Oh, Tyki! Let me help you!"

"Yeah, right. Just stay away from me, Sheril," said Tyki as he faded through the wall. "You 'helped' me into your bed, you sick bastard!" It was embarrassing enough for him to find himself waking up in his brother's bed. To add to the shame, he was naked.

"You were really smelly and was throwing up all over this morning! I had to clean you up! Don't you remember anything?" Sheril cried. Tyki came to him by himself last night! It was a huge misunderstanding! He had to go through all the ordeal of getting his brother cleaned up because he didn't want Tyki being touched by others.

If Tyki was not rejected, then what was he so upset about? He forgot to give the girl the box? He didn't get a goodbye kiss? What?

"STAY AWAY!" Tyki shouted from the other side of the wall.

Like hell he would. Sheril ran out after his brother from another door. Who would know the floor plan of his mansion better than himself? He was determined to find that woman! And when he did, he would make her Tyki's bride!

He couldn't help giggling at the thought of a sweet little niece who looked just like Road while he followed Tyki from a distance.

Tyki lit another cigarette as he strolled out of Sheril's mansion. He tried to ignore the goosebumps creeping up his back. He thought he should be safe now. His brother should be heading off to tend to his country now. It was almost noon. How could a country survive without such a great Minister for one afternoon?

"Would you be needing the carriage, my Lord?" asked a bald servant at the garden gateway. Tyki waved slightly. He tipped his top hat forward just enough to shield his eyes from sight as he walked past the man.

"My Lord, would you like to travel back by the carriage?"

Tyki walked on without turning back. Why would he want to come back? He didn't even want to be here in the first place! He couldn't remember how he ended up in Sheril's place. He was having a fun time with the woman and then... what happened?

He took a sharp turn after leaving the front gate.

"My Lord?"

Before the servant could catch up with his young master's shadow, Tyki had already switched his human disguises. Unable to see his Lordship anywhere, the servant stopped abruptly and looked around urgently. He wasn't sure if he should have the carriage ready for use and he needed a command from his masters. His shiny head reflected the sunlight as he moved around. He only found a low-class worker nearby.

"Scram! This road is private property!" The servant sneered at the hobo, waving his arms about as if he was going to hit him.

"Alright, alright, keep your hair on!" laughed the hobo, strolling off lazily.

After the menacing servant disappeared back inside, Tyki walked for not more than three steps before a huge portal door appeared before him. It was Road's personal door.

"Yo, Tyki!"

"Hey, Road! Aren't you supposed to be in school?"

The two glanced around, making sure Sheril was not anywhere nearby. The man wasn't but they still felt it wasn't safe to hang around there.

"Come on, let's go, Tyki!"

"Are you going to give me a lift?"

"Nothing's free, Tyki!"

Tyki grinned and Road pulled him through the portal door. Tyki thought Road could give him some constructive advice. Afterall, Road was a lady and she was much more reliable than Sheril.

What happened last night didn't matter now. Tyki just wanted to find the girl again.

... And then what?

"Tyki, where to?"

"Vatican Central."

"That's a long way away. By the way, how did you drop by last night?"

"I don't know, Road. You see, I met a girl last night," said Tyki, deliberately skipping the Allen Walker part, "and I presented her a ring."

"Oh, Tyki! You fell in love with 'her'?" Seeing their conversation took an amazing turn, Road forgave Tyki for not answering her question. She didn't expect they would be coming to this part of the tale so soon.

Tyki wouldn't have remembered how he arrived to the mansion anyway when he had been so drunk. It was good to have a Waizurii around when one needed to solve mysteries. And it was good to have a wicked Dream around when one needed to interrogate somebody. It wasn't blackmailing, Road promised to protect the psychic from Sheril in exchange for Tyki's little secret. It was an outstanding bargain actually.

"I don't know really, but I want to see her again." Tyki smiled as he showed Road the ring box. "I guess... I want to get to know her better."

"Ohhh, Tyki!" Road giggled, "you can't go find 'her' looking like that! Go switch to your noble version!" She gave the box back to Tyki. Yes, that was the box Waizurii had revealed to her through his Demon Eye. She wondered why Tyki didn't mention anything about the bet with Allen. She grinned slyly and cooed, "you should look your best if you want to win the 'lady's' heart!"

Tyki thought for a moment and then he frowned.

"What's the matter, Tyki?"

"No, it's just... I got her heart last night."

"Oh? That's wonderful! What's wrong then? What's the matter?"

"Road, I proposed to her last night but I was only fooling around then!" Tyki sighed, "I wasn't being serious and I didn't even ask her for her name! I didn't know I'll be attracted to her afterwards!"

"But I don't see what's the problem. Just go find 'her' and do what you want to do!" Road gave Tyki a reassuring but somewhat eerie smile.

"You don't understand," Tyki then paused.

"Try me," Road tilted her little head while waiting for her uncle to spill it out. But she already knew what was bothering him. Waizurii told her everything, any and every little details, he saw. The ring.

"I gave her a ring, supposed to be a token of my affection, but-"

"But?"

Tyki paused again. Road felt sorry for him when she saw his expression. Her ever so playful uncle looked unbelievably vulnerable. She took his hand and squeezed it gently.

"But it's not my ring. It was someone else's." Tyki whispered, "I really like that lady and I shouldn't have given it to her."

Everything became clearer to him now. He wasn't sorry for taking Allen's ring. He wouldn't be sorry if he had thrown it away. He still wouldn't be sorry if he gave it to Road or any other girls. He was sorry for giving it to that lady.

"I see, that's easy! Just take that ring back and give 'her' another one."

Tyki's eyes beamed at Road's suggestion. But how? What should he tell her that wouldn't break her heart? Or should he just steal it back? Tyki buried his face in his palms. He felt like a jerk.

"There, there...," Road smiled sweetly as she hugged onto Tyki, "I'm sure everything will turn out fine! Just go with the flow! Do take my advice, get out of your hobo look and the impression will be better."

"Road, she's not like those other women," said Tyki with fondness in his eyes. He could feel that lady did not mind whether he was rich or poor. He was sure she saw something else in him. That was what made him so fascinated with her.

"I know," Road grinned eerily again. "I'm sure 'she' is very different from the other women. No ordinary 'lady' would attract your eyes so much, Tyki!"

Upon the end of their conversation, Road opened the portal door again. The other side of the door already connected to an alley in the Vatican Central. The two Noahs felt the soft breeze coming through, bringing in a familiar scent of rich alcohol from the drunks, bloody sweat from the ruffians and seductive perfume from the whores.

"Hey, Tyki, can I have that ring when you get it back?"

"Oh? You want it?"

"... Yes. No free ride, remember?" Of course Road wanted it. That ring represented Allen's heart.

"Okay, consider it yours! Are you coming with me?" Tyki smirked.

"Tyki, I'm underage!" Road laughed, "Good luck!" She prayed Tyki could bring the 'lady' home and introduce 'her' to Sheril. Now, that would be awesome.

Tyki felt happier and more refreshed now. He leapt through the doorway with a grin as he changed into his gentleman outlook. He would go back to that tavern to find that lady. It was very likely that she lived and worked nearby too.

So this was how Allen Walker felt towards Lenalee Lee.

It was beautiful and enchanting to Tyki. Yet somehow, deep down inside, the Noah felt it hauntingly disturbing. Tyki began to catch a glimpse of this thing called 'love'. He summoned his new-found courage and ventured once again into the Dark Heaven.

-to be continued-