Title: it's here that we first disbelieve

Disclaimer: Not my property. This is fan-fiction.

Characters: Lenalee, Kanda, Lavi, Allen and Komui. Contains Kanda/Lenalee and Lavi/Lenalee.

Summary: Heartache is what comes after we first stop believing in true love.


[it's here that we first disbelieve]

KandaLenaleeLavi


Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.

(Edna St. Vincent Millay)

:::

Lenalee knows heartache.

Heartache is the black sky that swallows up the gallant crescent moon. Heartache is the sound of the waves slapping against the sandy beach, the winter wind wailing in its wake. Heartache is the shattering of a glass vase in a silent room.

Heartache is what gnaws away at her flesh when Kanda is declared missing.

:::

It's Lavi who brings her the news.

It's summer, and Lenalee sits in the hammock Komui constructed in their little garden, her slim, shapely feet hanging off the sides. She's reading Wuthering Heights and thinks maybe she likes the idea of thwarted love.

It's an interesting concept, she notes, just that it might be too painful for daily living. Not every girl takes well to becoming a heroine bereft of her treasures.

Then Komui calls to her, his voice taut. "Lavi's on the line."

Lenalee frowns and jumps out of the hammock, the book tumbling off her skirt onto the mud. Later on she'll pick the book up and wipe the dirt off and enshrine it as a last testament to Kanda's memory.

"Yes?" she says, somehow annoyed by Lavi's heavy breathing. "What is it, Lavi? You broke up with another girl again?"

"No," he gasps. "It's Yu."

"What happened to Kanda?"

"That's the question."

"Excuse me?"

"He's missing!" Lavi says.

Lenalee crumples up inside, and the edges of her world fold up in an arc. Kanda is missing, gone – and Lenalee finally understands what heartache really means.

:::

They put up posters and call the police, organising large search parties even, but to no avail. Kanda has really truly disappeared, and no one knows whether he still lives.

They will never find him, of course, but Lenalee doesn't know that yet.

When the searches draw to a standstill and hope abates and even Tiedoll sighs and shakes his head, Lenalee hides in Kanda's bedroom.

The bed is unmade, and the black sheets lie stiff and starched against the cushions of the bed. The impression of his head on the old pillow has long since been erased. Lenalee sits on the bed, her feet dangling off, toes poking at the grey rug at the side.

It's painful.

She misses Kanda, misses the way his arms used to envelop her, the smell of soap fresh on his skin. She misses the touch of his calloused fingers, their thin ends lightly touching her skin, his hair lying soft against her clothes.

Heartache is the smell of fresh linen when she hugs Kanda's pillow to her chest.

:::

It's autumn when she finds Allen. He's huddled by the sidewalk, wrapped in a tattered coat. She stops, just because there's a boy sitting among the crimson leaves, and he looks lonely. Sort of like how Kanda used to look when they were in kindergarten together.

Maybe this is what draws her to Allen in the first place, that air of loneliness that hangs heavy about him.

"Are you okay?" she asks. "What's your name?"

"I'm Allen Walker," he answers, looking up. She's astonished by the colour of his eyes – grey, like the mist, like the fog, like the sea in winter.

"I'm Lenalee," she tells him. "You look cold. Why are you sitting here?"

"I don't have a place to go home to," he says. His is a British accent, made hoarse by the relentless wind and a parched throat. She likes the accent. He sounds like one of those snooty newscasters on the television, except he isn't snobby.

This is when she opens her heart up to him. He really does remind her of Kanda, though heaven knows they don't look a bit alike. She takes him home with her, and gives him food.

This is when she first begins to get more sleep.

:::

She doesn't dream of Kanda as much as she used to. Maybe her heart is at peace now, she muses, mussing up Allen's hair as she bypasses him in the kitchen.

But Komui's still worried about her, she can tell. She has no idea why, though. In her opinion she's getting better – especially with Allen here for her to mother.

:::

Allen disappears in the middle of the winter.

Lenalee breaks again; her world is dissolving, dissolving, melting into the mist without hope of returning.

She cries herself to sleep every other night.

The other nights, she creeps into the kitchen and pops down any number of white pills. Komui doesn't know a thing.

:::

This is how heartache is like:

It feels like the breaking of her limbs.

It tastes like tears; salty, sea-like.

It sounds like the keening of a dying man.

Heartache is what assails her as Allen walks away into the fog, his hair and clothes slowly merging into the greyness of the surroundings, his bright eyes merely stars in the evening sky.

She feels the touch of his arms disappear from around her waist; suddenly, the world is so much dimmer.

She never did realise exactly how much he brightened up her life. And now, he's gone, disappeared into the shadows, lost in the rivers that flow between the worlds.

She can't find him.

Heartache is the wind nipping at her fingers; it is the wind tugging at the ends of her scarf; it is the weak wintry sunlight that falls down upon her, lighting up only the shadows at her feet.

:::

"Look, Lena," Lavi says, "there never was an Allen Walker."

"No, no," she says, "he does exist."

Lavi pats her hands. "Calm down, Lena. Listen. There is no Allen Walker. I've checked. No one knows the name."

"I told you, he has white hair. And a scar running down his face. And –"

"No such person, Lena." Lavi scrutinises her. "Has anyone met him before?"

"He has a British accent," she sobs.

Lavi frowns. "Komui said he saw you talking to yourself," he says, eyes darting to and away from her face. "Maybe this Allen was a figment of your imagination."

"No!" Lenalee shouts.

Allen can't have been part of her imagination. She's never been particularly imaginative anyway, so this can't possibly be true. She doesn't want it to be true. Allen's gone, and they should be looking for him, and not trying to decide if he exists.

"Lena," Lavi says, "I want you to go somewhere with me tomorrow."

"Where?" she asks, although she doesn't really have the time for Lavi's plans now.

"You'll see."

:::

The next day, Lavi picks her up in his old, red car.

"Drive safely," Komui says, seeing Lenalee to the door.

Komui obviously knows where they are going, because he doesn't stop to threaten Lavi about Lenalee and her purity. Lenalee doesn't quite care, though. Both of them are preventing her from looking for Allen… poor, dear Allen.

"We're here," Lavi says, and he ushers her into a sterile building. It's painted white, the colour of secrets left to rust in the open.

Lenalee doesn't like the place. There're nurses around, and they blind her in their too-white uniforms.

"Where are we going?" she asks. "Is Allen here?"

Lavi doesn't answer. He steers her into a room. A man, Lenalee notes, is sitting at the desk in the middle of the room. He has yellow hair and sharp features and his name is Dr Bak and good heavens, he's a damned shrink!

Lenalee pushes at Lavi. "Let go of me!"

"No, we all want you to get well," he says.

Dr Bak looks up and Lenalee can see the promise of doubt in them. She shoves Lavi to the side and stomps out.

"Lena!" Lavi catches her at the door.

"Let go of me, you idiot!" she screams – which is weird because she rarely screams. "I'm not sick!"

"Lenalee, we just –"

"Let go."

"Lena –"

She can't take it anymore. She raises her hand – and slaps Lavi. She slaps him hard on the right cheek. "To hell with you!"

He doesn't stop her when she walks off with tears in her eyes.

Now heartache feels like the sting left on her palm.

:::

She misses Lavi. She hasn't seen him in days. It's been almost a whole week, and he hasn't so much as called her.

He's been her best friend for as long as she can remember. They were a trio, she, Kanda and Lavi. Now Kanda's gone, and only Lavi's left.

Heartache is the empty space that stretches wide around her.

:::

The next time she sees Lavi, he has a bunch of flowers in his hands.

"I've something to tell you, Lena," he says, his expression subdued.

"What's wrong?" she says, and bites her lip so she won't ask him why he hasn't talked to her in a whole fortnight.

"I've been thinking," Lavi says.

Lenalee nods.

"I like you," Lavi says. He gently hands her the flowers. They're white roses. They're white, the colour of Allen's hair; white, the definition of secrets; white, the colour of memories and hopes whitewashed into the background.

Lenalee takes the roses.

"I've liked you for some time now," Lavi continues. "Would you –"

"I can't," Lenalee says. The roses don't look beautiful anymore. The petals look like tears masquerading as snow-drops.

"Why not?" Lavi's face is pale now. His face is blanched with disappointment. "Are you still mad about me bringing you to see a shrink?"

"No, it's not that," she says. "I can't. I just can't. It's too soon."

"Lena, Kanda has been gone for five months! That's long enough, for chrissake!"

"I don't feel that way, Lavi." And it's true, Lenalee thinks. Her heart's still with Kanda, locked away in a secret place that mightn't even exist. Her heart's still with Allen, the child of her loss.

Lavi turns away, and she can vaguely make out the hint of his arms across his face. When he turns back, she can see the tiny streaks of grey across his face, near his eye.

"I'll go, then," he says.

He leaves, and doesn't come back.

Heartache is the silence that hangs between the days; it is the loss of a friend, and the disappearance of something she doesn't quite know.

Heartache feels like she has a hole in her heart.

:::

She comes to her senses two months later. Spring is just around the corner, and she's hanging listlessly in her hammock. Komui's worried, she can tell. She knows she's retreating into herself, but it's so hard not to.

Can he understand that? Heck, she can't understand it herself. Lavi's disappearance from her life seems to have wrought some changes to her life. She wants him back.

She needs him back.

They're not the same emotions, those two.

Good heavens, she's really too fidgety today. That's it. She'll go and see Lavi and beg his forgiveness and they'll be friends all over again.

:::

"Lena?"

She wants to say, yes, this is me, why haven't you come by in two whole damned months?

But she doesn't. Instead she smiles and kisses him on the cheek. "Hey, Lavi, I missed you."

"Why are you here?" he asks.

"I miss you."

"No, really, why are you here?" His tone is insistent, needy even.

"I wanted to see you."

"Lavi?" It was another voice. Lenalee strains to catch a glimpse of whoever it was who'd spoken – and the speaker comes to the door and touches Lavi's arm with the palm of her hand.

It's a female, that Lenalee can tell. But the hall is shrouded with shadows and she can't make out the woman's face. All she can see the tanned skin of the outstretched arm, and the faintest scent of cherry blossoms.

"It's okay, Cho, go back inside," Lavi says. "This is just my old friend, Lenalee."

Just my old friend, Lenalee. So that's what she is. She's just an old friend.

She slaps him again. "I really do hate you," she says.

Then she heads off – to the park, to the bistro around the corner – anywhere. Any place where she isn't reminded again of that hole in her heart.

Heartache is the smell of coffee beans in a dark room. It is the sight of an empty chair opposite hers, a hollow space which might have once been filled with numerous possibilities.

:::

Lavi drops by the next week.

"I broke up with her," he says.

"Who?" Lenalee doesn't quite bother to turn her chair around.

"Lena," Lavi says. He's getting closer. She can almost feel the warmth of his body. "I broke up with Chomesuke."

"I don't know who she is."

"You saw her, Lena. At my house."

She nods – what is there to say, after all?

"Lena, listen to me," Lavi says. He grabs her arms and bends slightly to look at her straight in the eyes. "I really like you. Damn, I love you!"

He loves her. So Lavi loves Lenalee. Does she love him? That's the real question, she thinks. Does she love him?

If she says no to him, he'll leave. The rot hiding in the heart of their friendship will spread like a malignant tumour, blackening all goodwill and platonic love, until everything crumbles. Lenalee doesn't want Lavi to leave.

But she doesn't love him. Not in that way.

"Lena," he urges, still looking her in the eye.

The words hang on her tongue. She doesn't know which one to utter…

She tries to navigate through the chaos of her thoughts. It's so hard, though. She can't see the paths.

"Yes," she says, her eyes hesitant. "Yes."

Lavi beams. He takes her hands in his. His hands are too large. They're softer than Kanda's. They're larger than Allen's.

She smiles back at him and swallows the urge to cry. At least now he won't leave her.

Goodness only knows how long he'll stay by her though. She doesn't want to think about the future that will be, the future that could have been.

:::

Heartache is the feel of calloused skin against her own smooth palms. It is the fact that the curve of her body doesn't fit into the hollow of Lavi's embrace. Heartache is the part of her heart that will remain locked away forever.

Heartache is the whisper of a man who could someday have led her to heaven, but will now never have the chance to.


A/N: This is angst, I suppose :S What did you think of this?

For the record, in this fic, Lenalee was romantically involved with Kanda before he disappeared. She wasn't in love with Allen, though. That's more like a sibling or even a parent-child relationship. Whether Allen really existed or not… is up to you (:

Thanks for reading, and reviews/criticism/suggestions would be greatly appreciated (: