Song later on belongs to Red Jumpsuit Apparatus- - -Your Guardian Angel. Enjoy.

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Tyki walked outside to find a lesson going on in front of his tent. Rhode, with one basket of laundry against her hip and another held tightly to her body, was patiently explaining something to Lenalee.

"We wash the clothes separately," Rhode was saying, exasperation and affection mixed in her voice, "Because the garments we use for our lower bodies are more filthy than the ones used for our upper bodies. It's more sanitary to wash them in separate loads so that we keep everything clean." The girl looked thoughtful, her gaze moving to meet Tyki's eyes over Rhode's shoulder.

"Hey, Tyki," She called, making him raise an eyebrow and Rhode turn to smile at him. "Wouldn't it be faster to just wash all the clothes all at once, instead of doing them separately?"

"It might." He agreed, ruffling his niece's hair. "But it would accomplish nothing but contaminating the shirts we wear. You must understand, Miss Lenalee," Tyki continued over Rhode's earlier indignant noise when he semi-agreed, "That the lower body has significantly more germs and diseases than the upper body does, especially a woman's." This time it was Lenalee making a noise in the back of her throat, but Tyki ignored that the same way he ignored Rhode's. "Especially a woman's, because she has the whole bleeding for a week and childbirth, all which occur in the lower body.""So just because we can give birth means we're dirty?" Lenalee asked, her brows furrowed. "But...if that's the case, how do you deal with childbirth?"

"Usually, the new mother is considered dirty," Lenalee made another frustrated noise; again, Tyki ignored her. "To purify her, it takes at least thirty to forty days of avoidance from the other members of the troupe." Tyki smiled slightly, his hand falling on Rhode's shoulder. "It's another reason that Tricia decided on not having another after Rhode. It generally happens in the medical tent- - -which is why Miss Miranda usually sets up a bit further from camp than the rest of us- - -and she is the only one who helps both the baby and the new mother as much as possible."

"That's horrible." Lenalee muttered. "The only way for a girl to gain any respect is through having children, but she is avoided as soon as she has one."

"Only for thirty days, Lenalee." Rhode assured her gently. "And then she can begin to earn respect from the men and women in the troupe." Lenalee gave her a strained smile, taking the laundry basket against Rhode's hip.

"I'll see you down by the river." Lenalee said quietly. Rhode and Tyki watched her walk off, her head bowed in thought.

"Do you think that maybe," Rhode sighed lightly, "Lenalee is regretting joining us? It's been quite a few seasons already, five actually, but she doesn't seem to quite understand our lifestyle yet."

"She may be homesick." Tyki replied quietly. "It would be like you, being around all of us all the time, then leaving us all behind to be on your own. There'd be support where you would stay, but not the same kind you had when you were with us." Rhode looked at Tyki with wide gold eyes as he gestured after Lenalee. "That's how Miss Lenalee feels now. She's spent her whole life with her brother by her side. And though at first she was relieved to be out of his overprotective embrace, she's been away for quite some time and she misses him now."

"So you don't think she regrets it?" Rhode asked slowly. "Coming with us?"

"We may seem strange to her still." Tyki admitted slowly, "Because her lifestyle had been different. But no, I don't think she regrets coming with us." He smiled gently at Rhode, leaned down and pressed a kiss to the largest cross on her forehead, and gave her a slight push in the direction Lenalee went. "Hurry, now, before she thinks you've abandoned her to do the laundry herself."

Rhode smiled at him and darted after Lenalee, basket now balancing precariously on her head as she ran through the camp, singing at the top of her lungs.

"Lord Millennium is in search of you..." As her voice trailed off, Tyki felt arms wrap around his waist and a chin land on his shoulder.

"That was remarkably kind." He shrugged, feeling the edge dig into his shoulder.

"Not particularly." He said carelessly. "I'm very good at comforting my niece when I need to." There was a snort against his neck, and Tyki grinned. "I think you shouldn't say anything, considering your need to stand on the top step of my tent to place your chin on my shoulder, Lavi."

"Ay," The younger boy whined, using his weight to pull Tyki back. "Come inside and help plan for the wedding, you jerk. Don't make me do it all by myself!" With a slight smile, Tyki allowed himself to be pulled back into their tent.

Inside, Tricia sat with her back against Lavi's bed, going through a pile of clothes on the floor before her.

"I've found and hidden the clothes for the ceremony." She said, smiling. "And we sent one of the boys ahead to prepare Bookman. He'll let him know about the wedding. We're almost there, after all, and we have so much to do before we get there."

"Thank you, Tricia." Tyki said, sitting in front of his own bed, feeling Lavi land on the mattress behind him. "What is it, Lavi? I can tell you have something to ask of me." Lavi made an encouraging noise, and Tyki closed his eyes as Tricia left (he deftly ignored the secretive smile that crossed her face as she left). "Now we truly are alone. What is it, Lavi?"

"I was wondering if..." Tyki leaned back against the bed he was leaning against, his head falling back on the mattress to take in the flushing face of Lavi.

"If what?" The red head fumbled for a bit before he spoke again.

"If you really don't mind waiting for us to go back before we get married." Lavi's flush deepened. "I know I've been bringing it up a lot the past season or so, but..."

"Lavi, if I truly minded, we would have been married many seasons ago." Tyki told him truthfully. "There have been so many perfect opportunities. Don't worry about it. Besides," He grinned up at Lavi, who managed a small smile back, "We are almost there. We'll be married soon enough, and no one will remember the past seasons with anything but fondness and enjoyment."

"I understand." Lavi sighed, leaning forward and resting his chin on Tyki's head, his arms draping themselves over the older gypsy's shoulders; his crimson hair fell into his forehead, hiding several crosses from view. They sat in quiet for a few moments before Lavi exhaled sharply and closed his eyes.

"Tired?" Tyki questioned softly, bringing a hand up to tangle in the red locks. Lavi 'mmm'ed and tilted his head slightly towards the contact.

"All the planning is getting to me, I think." He agreed.

"Come." Tyki murmured. "I'll share with you a hiding spot I have found, hidden away from the family."

"You have adjusted to gypsy life remarkably well, Lavi." Tyki told him. "Surely, at least one of your parents had been a gypsy, or part of one. There's no other reason. Even Lenalee, who comes from more or less the same high standard, took a few seasons to get used to our life."

"I'm not sure where my parents are." Lavi admitted to Tyki, both males laying on the ground and staring up at the sky. "Bookman told me a bit, but not much."

"What do you know of them?" Tyki asked curiously. Lavi was laying next to him on the ground, his arm placed under the red head's shoulders while the other was under his own head. Lavi's head was in the space where his arm connected to his shoulder; the two had been relaxing in a spare moment where neither had been needed for any preparations, and the topic of Lavi's parents had somehow managed to come into their idle conversation.

"Well," Lavi shifted slightly on the ground, "Bookman says my father was still alive; I never saw him, but Bookman usually got some money from somewhere to to give to me. He told me once that it came from my father, and was to go directly to me. He also knew my mother, and she had died giving birth to me." Lavi tilted his head to the side thoughtfully. "There...was a time when it stopped coming in, whatever money Bookman gave me, but then it started again..."

"Really?" Tyki mused quietly. "And you have no idea of your parentage? Not a word either way?" Lavi shook his head and Tyki sighed quietly. "Huh."

They lay in companionable silence, the first in a long while, merely basking in each other's presence.

"You know..." Lavi turned to face Tyki as the older trailed off, a thought forming in his mind slowly. The older continued to look at the sky, a frown marring his face. "There were times when Cross disappeared."

"Yea?" Lavi closed his eyes and placed his head against Tyki's shoulder once again. Tyki nodded once; Lavi felt the strands of Tyki's hair brush against his face.

"Yes. The adults- - -like Sheryl and Lulubell, and of course, Lord Millennium- - -seemed to know what was going on, but they would never tell us." Tyki sighed softly. "He always seemed just that much more unapproachable once he returned..." He frowned thoughtfully again. "And while we were gone, he always seemed distracted...and he kept looking in the direction of your old village, as if he wanted to go back."

"Do you think that Cross...?" Lavi trailed off; Tyki snorted.

"I doubt it." He said firmly. "Cross isn't the type to father anyone. And it's a rule of the troupe, an unsaid one. You aren't allowed to have a child without being married in the troupe, and it's a firm rule that hasn't been broken." Tyki bit his lip, then shrugged slightly. "Besides, you're supposed to be a virgin when you marry." They lay in silence; Lavi's mind whirled, coming to a halt on a certain thought that made him freeze.

"What if.." Tyki 'hmm?'ed, and Lavi spoke louder. "What if the mother wasn't a gypsy?" Tyki thought it over for a moment; blood drained slowly from his face.

"That's..." His voice caught in his throat and Lavi heard the rest of the unfinished sentence.

That's very possible...

After all, the older man practically oozed sex when they traveled for any woman that crossed his path, though he had never married. He never seemed interested in finding a wife, either, and despite appearing to not care and just sleep with whichever woman he could, there was a careful air about him as he did so, as if he was trying to avoid some kind of mistake..."That-That horrible, horrible person!" Lavi growled, getting up. "I've spent years, years, wondering, worrying...and all I had to do was walk into camp and speak with Marian Cross?" He began stomping back toward the gypsy camp. Tyki jumped up and ran after him, his eyes wide with surprise. He reached for the furious red head's hand, grabbing it and trying vainly to pull the boy back.

"Lavi, wait a moment!" Lavi ignored him, marching furiously through the camp; startled gypsies moved out of his way, Tyki attached to his hand and calling apologies over his shoulder.

A few moments later, Lavi stood in front of Cross, face flushed slightly, as he stared up at the taller man. Tyki was next to him, hand held firmly in his own.

"You knew." He accused softly. Cross, cigarette in his mouth, inhaled deeply then exhaled the smoke in Lavi's face. He gave the younger red head a bored look, subtly searching the boy for whatever it is he wanted to know.

"Knew what?" The words that were normally a question came out as more of a drawled statement. Lavi let out a strangled sound, Tyki's hand holding his own firmly the only thing that kept him from losing his composure and shouting at the older gypsy.

"You knew who I was this entire time!" Cross' eyebrow went up as he inhaled more smoke.

"Of course I did." Lavi's eyes narrowed, mouth opened to make a response; Cross kept talking as if he didn't notice the red read ready to say something. "You were the kid Bookman wanted, and the non-gypsy friend that Tyki managed to make somehow."

"That's not what I mean and you know it, Cross!" Lavi snapped. Cross put out his cigarette and leaned towards Lavi, his own eyes glaring into the younger red head's as he lit another.

"So I knew who you were. Who you are." He snarled quietly, correcting himself before the younger red head could. "All of the adults know who you are." Lavi held his ground, his grip tightening painfully on Tyki's hand, his jaw clenched and teeth grinding together. "None of us said anything, you idiot. And it's a far cry from not wanting to tell you." Cross' eyes were narrow as he stared down at Lavi.

"Then why not tell me?" Lavi asked through his clenched teeth. Cross laughed sharply, pushing back his own mass of red hair out of his face and briefly revealing the seven crosses on his own forehead. Lavi pursed his lips.

"It wasn't my place to tell." Lavi frowned in confusion; Cross kept talking. "Your mother was a woman from a village- - -I don't remember which one now- - -and she had been good friends with the old panda that took you in. I met him once or twice before you came along; afterwards, when I couldn't care for you any longer, I remembered him and gave you to him as soon as I could." Cross brought the cigarette to his mouth again, inhaling the nicotine as deeply as he could. "By the time I saw you again, there was no point in mentioning it or ever bringing it up. You've had a childhood considerably more comfortable than any of these kids. It's something to be grateful for, I'd think."

"How old was I?" Lavi asked almost shakily; his grip on Tyki's hand helped him stay strong. "When you handed me off to Bookman, how old was I?" Cross exhaled the smoke as he thought carefully, his eyes looking at the sky. There was silence for a moment as he contemplated; Lavi was trying to take in the surprising information, and Tyki stood beside him, firmly offering support as he thought over the situation as well.

"Three seasons or so." Lavi's lips pursed.

"Why didn't you just keep me?" He asked angrily, crossing his arms disapprovingly. "Sheryl didn't have the same problem with Rhode, and- - -"

"That man," Cross sighed heavily, almost patronizingly, as if Lavi were smart enough to figure it out himself, "had Tricia by his side the entire time. He didn't have to worry about a baby, work, traveling, whether or not there was enough food to go around. He could take care of the baby, or he could leave the infant with his wife and worry about his lifestyle without a screaming child in the background."

"And my mother?" Cross shrugged a shoulder carelessly.

"I wanted you more than she did." He drawled flippantly, flicking the ashes of the cigarette in his careless manner. "And I barely wanted you to begin with. She tried to kill you before you were born, and I stopped her. Then she insisted on me taking you and staying as far from her as possible." Cross looked away, his eyes trailing up to the sky. "Bitch died after having you, and good riddance."

"Hey- - -" Lavi cried angrily, but Cross leaned forward again, effectively cutting off the younger gypsy.

"Not a word." He almost growled. "That woman deserved nothing more or nothing less. She messed herself up by trying to kill you in the womb, and it affected her earlier than planned. It was her own fault she died when she did, and I have no sympathy for her, wherever she is now." Lavi's eyes were wide with surprise, and Cross leaned back again, his anger most likely spent. "I took care of you alone as best I could for three seasons, then said screw it and gave you to someone I knew would care for you properly. You lived, didn't you? You stand before me now, do you not, asking questions about a past that was best left untouched?" His eyes glared sharply, and it was Lavi's turn to look away. "Don't be a stubborn fool and drag up what's long been buried. Be grateful, you idiot, and leave what's done." Seemingly finished with the conversation, Cross stood slowly, blowing more nicotine in Lavi's face before he turned and began walking away.

Lavi and Tyki stood in silence for a moment.

"Have you ever regretted leaving me there, with Bookman?" Lavi yelled out after him. "Have you ever thought about what would have happened if you hadn't given up when you did, and took me with you instead?" Cross stopped walking, his back to the two young men, not saying a word. He remained that way for a minute, seemingly stunned by the sudden question, then began walking forward again without verbally answering the younger red head. They watched him walk away quietly once again, neither pushing the older man for an answer.

His pause had been answer enough.

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"Today's the day." Rhode spun around her uncle, draping him in flowers. She was already dressed and ready- - -her hair spiked as much as it could be spiked, a piece of cloth tied firmly to her back so that her breasts were covered, a flowing skirt that spun and twisted in the air before settling on her legs delicately, like one of Tyki's Tease.

The cloth around her chest was a pure white, her skirt seeming to change color between gold and amber as she twisted around. A brown belt, decorated with small stones and held together by an intricate knot through a silver circle, was on her waist. An anklet wrapped itself around one ankle, a bracelet for each wrist as well as a necklace that hugged her throat, and intricate beaded earrings decorated parts of Rhode's body. Her stomach, back, arms, and eyes were decorated with black markings; vines appeared to trail up her arms, with a blooming flower on each shoulder. What appeared to be folded wings graced her back, the tips coming to the top of her shoulder blades, while a sun circled her belly button and seemed to grow outward until the edge of its rays touched her collarbone, the design making its way up her front underneath the fabric. Her eyes, a brighter gold than Tyki could ever remember seeing, were brought out by the intricate curves and lines of the kohl. The marks appeared to jump outwards, making her eyes seem bigger than they actually were, twisting around her forehead (though mindful of the crosses there) and cheeks. When she smiled, like she was doing now, the kohl looked even more delicate and intricate; Tyki mentally applauded Tricia's expertise in the make-up.

"Rhode, my dear, calm down." Tricia said with a smile, moving to brush some flowers off his head. Carefully, she worked her fingers through his hair, tying it off with a spare band that she had found in her tent. "We have to do this carefully, otherwise the whole thing will get messed up."

"I know, Mama, I know." Rhode grinned, then reached out and tugged at Tyki's shirt, trying to pull the cloth off by the shoulders. "Come on, Kak, you need to help us get you ready!"

"Rhode." Tricia said admonishingly, though the smile never left her face. "If I have to reapply any of the kohl on you..." Rhode smiled sheepishly now, her hands stilling on his shoulders.

"Yes, Mama." Tricia smiled, then pulled her daughter to the side, making sure the young girl faced away from her uncle.

"Hurry and change, Tyki." She said gently, "So that way I can put it on you as well."

"Of course, Tricia." Tyki removed his shirt and his pants, kicking them aside almost as soon as they hit the floor. He reached for what he was supposed to wear, ignoring the flutter of his Tease against his shoulder. The majority of them were still in what was designated their corner of the tent; it was still far too early for anyone to be up, the sun's rays barely beginning to cover the land.

He wondered how long the two women in his tent had been up.

With an amused smile, he pulled the traditional pants up, tying the sash around his waist firmly. The pants were dark, with designs in gold and silver thread flashing here and there. They were baggy, and settled on his hips comfortably. The sash, a plain black cloth that felt smooth and cool under his touch, wrapped around his waist two or three times before he tied it off in a regular knot.

Tricia was on her knees in front of him the moment his fingers left the cloth, untying his simple knot and retying an intricate one. As soon as she finished, she stood up, a piece of kohl in her hand.

"You were looking." Tyki said softly. Tricia shrugged.

"I am married." She said simply. "Now close your eyes and don't move." Taking a deep breath, Tyki obeyed. Inhaling sharply when the make up touched his face, he remained still as Tricia traced a small shape around his eyes; when she finished with that, she traced another just outside the first one, pausing every now and then as she looked at whatever happened to be her reference for the moment. When she finished with his face, she moved downward; whatever she drew seemed to vary in size as the pattern continued down his arms, back, stomach and chest.

"Lulubell and Lenalee are helping Lavi." Rhode's voice came from his right, and he tilted his head in her direction to acknowledge what she said. "Lulu was going to come here with Lena, but Mama insisted on helping you today, and she brought me with her."

"Is that so?" Tricia's voice came from behind him.

"I wanted to help you with the preparations." She said. "You're family here, yes, but I'm the one who married your brother. I was among the ones most worried about whether or not you would ever marry. I felt it was my duty to prepare you today." Tyki felt the kohl leave his skin. "There. All finished."

He opened his eyes, glancing at Tricia briefly before moving towards the mirror he had in his room.

His eyes widened.

On his face, by his eyes, the markings on the wings of his Tease were drawn. Around them were folded wings, making it look like two of them had settled on his face. The pattern continued down his arms, on his stomach and most likely his back. Black Tease, in various stages of outstretched wings, decorated him; it looked like they were growing from him, and he controlled their flight.

"You look amazing." Rhode breathed quietly. As if to complete the image, the largest Tease had fluttered down, taking its usual spot on his shoulder and flapping its wings twice before it settled. "You're ready now. Right, Mama?"

"Just about." Tricia smoothed his hair, smiling fondly at him as she did now. "You look so much like Sheryl, Tyki. You're almost the spitting image of your brother at your age." She pressed a kiss to his cheek, mindful of the design she had just drawn. "I wish you every happiness, Tyki. Barvalimos and baxt."

"Thank you, Tricia." Tyki replied, kissing her cheek as well. With a smile at Rhode, Tyki ruffled her hair and moved to leave. "I'm going to check on Lavi and see how he's faring under Lulubell."

"I don't think Lenalee will let you." Rhode said, making Tyki stop and look at her. She shrugged a shoulder, making a 'what-can-you-do?' expression. "Something about it being bibaxt to see each other before the ceremony. I'm not sure."

"Wonderful." Tyki sighed slightly before shrugging, mimicking Rhode. "At any rate, I'm going to go for a walk. I'll be back soon, ok?" Rhode called her assent, watching her uncle walk out of the tent.

"Rhode, come here." Tricia called. "Help me with my make-up."

"Coming, Mama."

Walking outside, enjoying the cool breeze on his temporarily tattooed skin, Tyki relished in the semi-silence of the camp. He could hear the boys fighting in their own tent, their guns going off every now and then. Lulubell, it appeared, had taken Lavi to the dark-haired woman's tent; he could hear Lenalee talking loudly with Lavi over whether or not it would be appropriate for him to be marked for the wedding.

"Lenalee." He called out, standing a few feet from the entrance of the tent. Her face appeared, her body following soon after; the curtain used as the door was held firmly in place as she moved, not allowing him to see inside to where Lavi was with Lulubell.

"Sastimos, Lenalee."

"Tyki!" She gasped; her face was torn as a desire to touch his arm fought with her unwillingness to mess up the Tease Tricia had drawn on him. He chuckled at her, his fingertips touching her forehead softly. "Tyki, what...?"

"It's a tradition." He said. "The people closest to the couple getting married are decorated in kohl. It's almost like dressing up family members." Lenalee opened her mouth, "I know you still don't understand most of our customs," her face flushed now, "But this one is a tradition everyone has upheld for years in the troupe."

"All right."

"I'll uphold your tradition, then." Tyki smiled and ruffled her hair; it wasn't in pigtails, instead trailing down her back in a braid. "I won't see Lavi until the ceremony." Lenalee smiled and raced back into the tent when Lulubell called her, waving over her shoulder at the older gypsy.

Despite her efforts, the door was pulled open when Lenalee went inside; the only thing Tyki saw was Lulubell's face, relief and annoyance mixed on her face and in her gold eyes.

Resuming his walk with a smile on his face, Tyki turned in time to just barely avoid coming into contact with a hooded figure.

"Allen?" The head lifted slightly at the name, and a flash of pale skin was shown.

"Tyki." He said carefully. His voice was guarded, as if the boy was unsure how Tyki would react to finding him on the campgrounds. "How have you been, Tyki?"

"Drop it." He said. Allen seemed to jump, but Tyki continued. "Lavi and I want you and Kanda here. We would have told you sooner, but things got busy." Allen was quiet, almost as if he didn't know what to say.

"We'll leave right afterwards if it would make you all more comfortable, Tyki." He replied hesitantly; his hand was semi-outstretched, as if he wanted to touch Tyki but wasn't sure if he should.

Tyki grabbed the boy's hand firmly in his own.

"The abiav." Allen looked at Tyki, his face mostly hidden by the hood he had pulled over his face. Tyki stared back, face set. "You can leave after that, but at least get some food in you both." He saw what could have been a smile cross the boy's face, but it was hard to tell with the hood shadowing Allen's face.

"All right, then." Allen said quietly. His hand gripped Tyki's tightly before he released it and both hands fell back to their respective owner's sides. "Until then, Tyki."

"Allen." As the boy vanished, something he had always been good at, Tyki heard the combined sounds of two guns being shot at the same time; with a sigh, he turned to Jasdero and Devito's tent.

"Will you stop shooting so early in the morning?" Devito's head popped out of his tent, Jasdero's underneath it. Both boys had mussed up hair, Jasdero's falling in tangles and waves; his headband, a normal sight since he'd bought it, was nowhere to be found.

"We're trying to get ready for your wedding, jackass," Devito yelled out at him. Jasdero giggled, pulling up the edge of the tent to cover his stitch-up mouth.

"We'll stop, we'll stop." He called, "For now. Hee hee!" Tyki rolled his eyes, but stopped short when Cross came up to him.

He'd never really liked Cross; the man was older and wiser in a way Tyki himself would never be, and he had only recently discovered that the older gypsy had suffered in a way he would never have to. While he respected Cross, he liked Cross about as much as his younger self liked Skinn Bolic. Maybe even less than that- - -he wasn't quite certain.

"You." Cross placed his hand heavily on Tyki's shoulders, his other hand touching the underside of Tyki's chin so that his gold eyes met the older emerald. "I have known you longer, but he is still my son in a way you will never be. So you shall receive my warning first; don't mess with him. Don't you fuck with him, ever." Tyki opened his mouth to retort- - -he could hardly hurt Lavi any more than Cross himself did- - -but the look in the other man's eyes stopped him before he even opened his mouth.

There was a dark look in his eyes, aimed directly at himself, and Tyki understood.

This was his last chance to be anything close to fatherly. He had failed before; three seasons was hardly something to be proud of, even if he had carried the burden of it alone until after he and Sheryl had been found. Giving money to a wealthy man more than capable of caring for his own child had left more of an impact on the man than anyone could have ever guessed. When they had confronted him about it earlier, he had made no mention, no motion to accept Lavi. Yet now, here he was telling Tyki to not hurt him any more than he had already been hurt. Cross saw this as what it was: a last chance to mend the bridge between himself and Lavi.

And who was Tyki to deny him anything?

"I'll protect him from everything." He said firmly, hand coming up to hold onto Cross' firmly, allowing him this last chance to do something right; at the same time, the unspoken message made the air between them vibrate with emotion.

I'll protect him from everything, and I will do a better job than you did.

Cross cleared his throat after a moment, patting Tyki's shoulder as he looked over at Lulubell's tent, where Lavi was being prepared. He seemed hesitant.

"I'm sure Lavi would appreciate it if you at least tried to mend things between you today." Cross's eyes met his again, and Tyki shrugged. "It's a big day today, and family is more important than anything at the moment. After all, we only marry once." A shadow of what could have been a smile crossed the older man's face.

"Right." And with that, he moved towards the tent, Tyki watching after him with something like a smile on his own face.

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Tyki felt anxiety running through his body; it clearly showed on his face because it made Tricia laugh.

"Calm, Tyki." Her hand reached to grab his shoulder, paused, then landed on Tyki's head gently. Tricia smiled at him comfortingly. "If you keep pacing, you'll walk yourself right out of the tent and much further than any of us will ever go."

"Really?" Tricia shook her head and allowed her hand to fall from her brother-in-law's hair.

"No, not really." Tyki sighed. "But you need to calm down, my dear. It will do you no good to be stressing out like this."

"I know, I know."

"You've both memorized what you're to say?" She asked. Tyki nodded soundlessly; his Tease fluttered on his shoulder. "Then you've nothing to fear. Things will go well, I promise." Sheryl came in before Tyki could reply, kissing his wife's lips briefly.

"It's almost time! Why are you still here, little brother?" He cried excitedly, his hand grabbing the back of Tyki's head and pulling him forward. "Come, come, Lord Millennium is ready to see you and Lavi for the ceremony now!"

He all but dragged Tyki to the entrance of the only tent that they rarely used.

In front of the entrance, Sheryl looked at Tyki once more, a soft smile on his face.

"This is it, Tyki." Sheryl said softly. "Once you go in, you'll never be the same man you are now." The older gypsy smiled sadly at his brother. "Time goes by so fast- - -but things will go well for you both, I know it." Sheryl brought Tyki's head down, pressing a quick kiss to the untouched skin. "Baxt, little brother." Tyki nodded his head in acknowledgement before entering the tent slowly.

It was dark, despite the midday hour of the sun, and lit by candles strategically placed around. Tyki stepped slowly, carefully inside; he heard more than saw someone enter the tent.

"Lavi?" He asked, just to be sure; no one else was allowed in the tent now, besides the Millennium Earl and the two intended, but it was dark and he was nervous (though never in his life would he ever admit such a thing).

"Tyki?" Lavi's voice whispered back; his fingers reached out and brushed against Tyki's palm. He allowed the contact briefly before he pulled his hand away, careful to not mess up the kohl painted on them both.

"Come here, both of you." They moved into the tent, coming to a stop just before the Millennium Earl himself. The leader of their troupe looked serious in a way Tyki had never seen. His glasses were alit with candlelight, his normal outrageous clothing replaced with something more formal, more traditional. He was barefoot, as was Lavi and Tyki, his pants baggy and tied firmly around his waist; his chest and arms were covered with a decorative white cloth, tied intricately around his body. Tyki knelt at the Millennium Earl's feet, Lavi doing the same. They bowed their heads as a sign of respect, allowing him to begin. "State the name of your intended, and any familial relations."

"Tyki Mikk, brother to Sheryl and uncle to Rhode Kamelot, adopted into the Millennium Earl's troupe." They both turned to Tyki, who hesitated slightly before he spoke.

"Lavi...Cross." The red head gaped softly at him. The Millennium Earl studied Tyki from under his hat, and Tyki continued. "Adopted into first the Bookman clan, and then again into the Millennium Earl's troupe. Son of Cross Marian."

The Millennium Earl looked at him appraisingly, then nodded once and reached to his right. He pulled out a sword, the one he normally used for occasions as important like this- - -the silver gleamed in the candlelight, the dark amethysts sparkling gorgeously in the low light- - -and placed it, tip down, in the earth between Tyki and Lavi.

"Place your hands on the hilt." Tyki and Lavi obeyed, Lavi placing his hand on top of Tyki's. "In this moment, you take vows to stay together for the rest of eternity." The Earl's voice took on a tone of familiar power, and Tyki could close his eyes and let the power of his leader's words wash over him. "Let no one come between you, and banish anything thoughts that allow yourself to not stay faithful to the one you are intended with. There shall be no secrets kept from on another." The Earl placed one hand on Tyki's forehead, the other on Lavi's. "You two intended shall be bonded through all things bad: through the times when we struggle the most with money, food, hatred from others; when there is loss in our family, when there seems to be no hope, faith, or when everything goes wrong, you will have each other to support and be supported by. Likewise, you shall be bonded through all good times: when there is birth, an abundance of joy and material things, when we are as accepted as entertainment as a whole, you have one another to share joy with."

"I shall have no other by me after this; you shall be my one and only, until the day I perish and many more days after that." Tyki responded quietly, his grip tightening on the silver sword. "I shall stand by you with support for the bad times, and to share joy through the good times. I swear to keep nothing from you, and shall share with you any knowledge I gain. I banish any thoughts that would allow me to stray from you, my intended, and I refuse to allow anyone to come between you and myself."

"The same for I." Lavi's fingers tightened over Tyki's as well, his voice steady despite the shaking in his hand. "I shall have no other by me after this; you shall be my one and only, until the day I perish and many more days after that. I shall stand by you with support for the bad times, and to share joy through the good times. I swear to keep nothing from you, and shall share with you any knowledge I gain. I banish any thoughts that would allow me to stray from you, my intended, and I refuse to allow anyone to come between you and myself."

"And the blade cuts diagonally across your palms," The Millennium Earl took their free left hands, slicing them both across the blade, "And the blood spilt between the two strengthens the new bond." He led both hands to identical cups before them, allowing the blood to mix in with the wine before tying each hand with a small white cloth to stop the bleeding. He lifted the cups, swirling them around and thoroughly mixing the blood-wine and switching the positions; the cup with Tyki's blood was placed in Lavi's hand while Tyki took the cup with Lavi's blood. "The shared pain allows them to come together more firmly, and the shared drink represents the shared pain and pleasures they shall experience together."

Tyki drank from the cup, watching Lavi do the same. It was sweetened, the flavor only slightly tampered by the blood from Lavi's palm. They placed their cups down at the same time, and the cups as well as their wrists- - -Tyki's right to Lavi's left- - -were tied together.

"The first half of the ceremony is complete." They stood together, and the Earl placed a hand carefully on each of their shoulders. "Now you shall go the others and prove what you have sworn to each other here."

They stood, bowing to the Millennium Earl as they did so, and left as carefully the way they came.

Outside, the sun had moved sightly, and Tyki could see the troupe surrounding the tent. He saw Bookman and Cross to his right, where Lavi was, and Lulubell, Jasdero and Devito, Rhode, Tricia, and Sheryl filling the spaces in front and to his left. Beyond them, he saw the other members: Lenalee and Miranda, Lenalee's older brother all but hanging off his sister's shoulders. Lenalee also had what was more than likely her brother's science team around her, each of them looking excited but slightly uncomfortable.

And beyond them, almost hidden from view, two cloaked figures that could only be Allen Walker and one Kanda Yuu. The fact that they came did not escape either his or Lavi's attention, and they shared a look together.

Tyki felt his heart stop for a moment when he saw Lavi fully for the first time.

His kohl was dark, bringing out the color of his eyes and darkening his skin elegantly. The design Lulubell had chosen seemed mindless in its twists and turns, but a distinct pattern of something ethereal covered him from his shoulders to his naval. His pants, in contrast to Tyki's dark ones, were white with silver thread, his red tie a stunning silvery-blue that Tyki had no doubt was tied by Lulubell herself. Tyki stared slightly, forgetting their audience for a moment before coming back to himself with a start when Lavi jolted their hands.

"As proof of our union, we present our hands, tied together to represent our new bond!" Tyki held up their joined hands for all to see, and could feel Lavi's smile widen. He flushed lightly, grateful for his dark skin and the darker kohl forming his Tease's wings on his cheeks. "From this point onward, any words or actions against either myself or Lavi are words and actions against us as a whole. We are joined, heart, body, mind and soul, with the blessing of our families and our Lord Millennium as support."

The Earl, hand on either boy's head, addressed the crowd as well.

"Under the laws of our ways, these two are bonded in the most sacred and welcoming trials of marriage. They have vowed to have no other than the one beside them, keep no secrets and tell no falsehoods. With the power I have as leader, I declare the marriage ceremony completed." There was a loud cheer from the troupe. Tricia smiled through tears falling down her face, and even Sheryl fought against tears as he held his wife by her waist. Lulubell was patting Rhode's head, both girls' kohl smearing a bit as tears trailed their faces as well.

"And now, we'll eat!" Lavi yelped slightly when Tyki leaned over and pressed a kiss to his lips, as if to seal their marriage.

"Lavi is right." Tyki grinned to the troupe, holding their conjoined hands higher. "Let the feast begin!"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Tyki stood by Lavi amongst the crowd of people, talking and celebrating with everyone they came across. His hand was firm on Lavi's elbow, making sure they didn't get separated among the crowd of people; Lavi's hand held just as firmly to the red belt tied around his waist so that he wouldn't get left behind.

A sudden hush came over the crowd, one too noticeable to mean nothing but the fact that Allen Walker and Kanda Yuu had revealed themselves to everyone.

True to his thought, when Tyki turned he came face to face with silver hair and cobalt eyes.

Kanda looked older. His hair was longer, held up in the man's familiar ponytail. He was wearing a black cloak, the hood laying on his back where he almost carelessly threw it off. Strapped to his waist, just visible underneath the cloak as he unbuttoned it, was the familiar sword Mugen. He wore black pants and boots; despite the cold, the only thing he had to pass as a shirt were bandages that covered the entirety of his chest and stomach. His cobalt eyes, sharper than Tyki ever remembered, were trained solely on him and Lavi.

Despite the tenseness of the situation, and his normal cold demeanor, his dark eyes spoke volumes of the relief and joy he felt at seeing the two again, especially on such a happy occasion; somehow, he managed to promise painful death to Tyki (for the instance he should ever purposefully harm Lavi in any way; the red head was really his best friend, no matter how much he protested, and Tyki could see how much the samurai cared for him through that one glare) as he greeted him in his normal way.

Allen, on the other hand, looked almost exactly as Tyki remembered him. His silver eyes were wide and innocent, the red tattoo crossing his eye standing out more prominently. His silver hair had grown slightly longer- - -there was a red ribbon tying the strands back. He wore his typical long sleeved shirt; it was covered by a dark vest and the overcoat he wore. The black coat was a few sizes too big for him, and he held the hood as if he feared having to put it on again. He wore the same black pants and boots as Kanda, but his demeanor was completely opposite the samurai's.

He greeted them both warmly, hugging first Lavi then Tyki; he held onto the older gypsy as though he were a lifeline, one he never wanted to let go of. When he pulled away, there was a warmth in his eyes that Tyki realized he missed more than anything, and it was that that made him pull Allen towards him again and hug him even tighter than the paler boy did.

"Congratulations, Tyki." Allen murmured into the gypsy's ear.

"Thank you, Allen." Tyki muttered back. The pale boy stepped back just as Rhode came forward, eyes alight with fury.

"What is the meaning of this?" She snarled, hands clenched. Her eyes met Allen's, and the fury remained despite being slightly dampened by a pained look. "How dare you show yourself here?"

"Calm, Rhode." Tyki placed his hand on his niece's shoulder; she whirled around, the skirt of her dress fluttering around in the air before settling on her legs. "Allen is here on our account. Perhaps it is time," His gaze moved from Rhode to Allen, then to the Millennium Earl, who sat at the head of the table as always, "to put an end to this, hm?" Rhode glared at Allen distrustfully for a moment; almost awkwardly, with a tentative smile, Allen held his arms out as if to offer a hug.

Rhode turned away, looking up at her uncle and hugging him instead. She pressed against him carefully, her arms draping around his waist lightly so as not to mess up the kohl on the both of them.

"I hope you and Lavi are happy like Mama and Papa are, Kak." She whispered before releasing him and rushing past Allen and Kanda to reach Lenalee. Allen watched her leave, a disheartened look in his eyes.

"Give her a moment." Allen turned to Lavi, the red head offering him a wry smile. "She hasn't seen you in..." He frowned, trying to do the math in his head. "Almost seven seasons." He patted Allen's head as if they were kids again. "Just wait a while, ok?"

"You look like you've adjusted to gypsy life, Lavi." Allen smiled, making a face at Kanda when the other man made a 'che' noise and crossed his arms. Lavi flushed lightly, but his smile widened.

"Idiots like him can adjust to anything." Allen looked like he was fighting to keep a polite smile on his face as he rounded on Kanda.

"Can't you at least try to be happy for Lavi today?" He all but growled out. Kanda raised an eyebrow at him, and Allen glanced around, embarrassed; his next words came out quieter, so as to not draw too much more attention to them. "The man's married now, Kanda. This is supposed to be a happy occasion, remember?"

"It's an interesting life, Allen." Lavi admitted with a laugh, interrupting whatever Kanda had been about to say. "I'm having more fun than I thought I would. I really feel at home." He bit the inside of his lip, his gaze sliding over to where Cross was drinking heavily, a bottle in his hand. Allen laughed.

"You sound like you were born a gypsy." Lavi grimaced lightly, making Tyki wonder what Cross had said to him before the ceremony, but Allen didn't notice it. "What do they have you do, Lavi?" The red head opened his mouth to answer; before he did, ("I help build and repair- - -") two loud cracks cut through the air. Kanda's hand moved to Mugen instantly, the sword half-drawn to defend. Allen jumped as two bullets hit the ground just in front of him, each metal object dangerously close to his sides.

The rest of the troupe, used to both the sounds and the danger that came soon after, merely moved out of the way as the two bullets buried themselves in the dirt.

"So, you've decided to come back here, huh?" Allen turned to see Devito standing a few feet behind Kanda, Jasdero sitting on the darker boy's shoulders with his elbow buried in the dark hair. They were on top of a stall, reminding both Tyki and Allen of when Tyki stood at a higher distance. Both boys had their guns out, aimed at Allen. The barrels were smoking. "We missed on purpose, you know."

"Yea, on purpose!" Jasdero giggled madly, picking up his hand from where it was resting by Devito's ear and placing his head in it. "It hurts, when we actually hit." He giggled again, hugging Devito's head suddenly, his chin landing in the dark hair next. His gold eyes, however, were cold when they met with Allen's.

It was a tribute to how often they did this that Devito did not lose balance on the beam they were on by the sudden jar.

"Why are you here, Allen?" He asked.

"Tyki and Lavi asked Kanda and I to be here." Allen called up. Jasdero and Devito's eyes flashed dangerously; they cocked their guns again with an audible click that echoed throughout the area.

"Try again." Devito said with narrowed eyes.

"Again, again!" Jasdero slid down off of Devito's head, moving so that he stood back to back with the other; their guns aimed at Allen again, Jasdero's in his left hand and Devito's gun in his right.

"That's enough, Jasdevi." Tyki stood beside Allen, looking up at the two boys. "Come down now, and talk this out. You shouldn't be shooting at people...especially when one of them has no reason to hesitate when it comes to slicing the hell out of both of you." He motioned to Kanda, who had withdrawn Mugen fully, the sword held in a defensive position. Devito's top lip curled as he snarled quietly, Jasdero giggled in an out of control manner, but both jumped easily from the top of the stand and landed gracefully on the ground.

"So," Devito twirled the gun by the trigger as he nonchalantly walked forward.

"Let's talk." Jasdero mimicked the other boy's action, both coming to a stop on either side of Kanda. "But first..."

"Put that thing away." Devito snarled out quietly.

"Away." Jasdero echoed, giggles heard under his breath. "After all, you're in our camp." He beamed up at the older boy, a maniac gleam in his eye as his finger twitched repeatedly on the trigger. "We outnumber you."

Kanda's eyes narrowed even more as he took in the boys on both sides of him before reluctantly sheathing Mugen again. Devito smirked in triumph, moving forward to stand in front of Tyki, Allen, and Lavi.

"So," He drawled out, "the young runaway gypsy returns to his old troupe for..." Jasdero's eyes flashed; in an instant, they both had the barrels of their guns against a side of Allen's head. "What, exactly?" Gold eyes clashed with silver as each boy glared at each other.

Allen, to his credit, stood firm; he didn't even flinch when the warm gold metal pressed against his temple.

"I didn't return for anything." He said clearly, eyes moving to each boy. "I came with Kanda so we can congratulate Tyki and Lavi today." Devito pressed harder, a crazed grin on his face.

"Wrong answer." He said. They were quietly assessing each other; Jasdero broke the silence with a familiar sentence.

"Give up yet?" Jasdero giggled, the laughter sounding more crazed then it had been a few moments earlier. Devito's eyes widened, sadistic glee filling them as both of their fingers tightened on the trigger.

"We'll shoot." He sang out. Allen looked between the boys, studying them intently for a moment.

"No, you won't." He said confidently.

Tyki watched the exchange with another feeling of deja vu; he remembered the boys doing the same thing when they were much younger, and prone to fighting with Rhode over Lero. He had made them yield when they aimed their guns at Allen with a cold glare; though he glared at them now in the same manner he had back then, the older gypsy doubted it would have the same effect on the two.

Their eyes met his briefly, though; at the look in his eyes, they faltered, glancing at each other out of the corner of their eyes. They seemed to have a silent conversation (you shoot first; I don't wanna! You shoot first!), then Devito dropped his arm, stepping back so that Jasdero could copy him like the blonde always did.

"You always could tell if we were serious or not." Devito muttered under his breath, pulling Jasdero to his side by the blonde's waist; he kept a firm grip on Jasdero, not allowing the blonde to move away. The gun twirled a few times before coming to a stop, aimed as always underneath Jasdero's face.

"It pisses us off that you still can, even after all this time." Jasdero hung half-off the other boy, free arm draped over his shoulder while the gun pressed against Devito's head. Their gold eyes looked Allen up and down with no malice, though they clearly did not trust Allen just yet. Allen gave them the same tentative smile he had given Rhode; they didn't completely ignore him as Rhode had, but they offered nothing else in return.

"Jasdero, Devito, listen to Tyki." They all turned at the voice of the Millennium Earl. Allen seemed to pale a bit, but he stood tall before the man who had been his former leader. In turn, the Millennium stopped between Lavi and Tyki, gaze locked on Allen's. "Hello, Mr. Walker."

"Lord Millennium." Allen bowed his head slightly as a sign of respect. Surprise radiated off the gypsy leader when Allen addressed him; the silver-haired boy licked his lips and took a small breath; Kanda stepped up behind him, hand on Allen's lower back as the pale boy straightened up. "It's good to see you well."

"Little Rhode has told me that you have been allowed here because Tyki and Lavi wanted you to be here." Allen glanced at the two before nodding firmly. The Millennium Earl pursed his lips slightly, and they all could hear how strained and overly polite his next words were; not because he had to say them, but because of who it was he was saying them to. "It isn't my place to deny anything at the wedding of any two members of my troupe, so you both are welcome to stay as long as you want. Enjoy the party, boys." He turned, stopping to look at Tyki. "I want to see you afterwards, Tyki-pon." He smiled at the rest of the group, nodded stiffly at Allen and Kanda, then walked away.

"Whoa." Allen sighed slightly, an awkward look on his face as he realized just where Kanda's hand was, before offering a small smile to the boys around him. "I hope you don't get in too much trouble over me, Tyki." Tyki shrugged almost carelessly, waving a hand while wrapping his other arm around Lavi's waist.

"It's most likely nothing." He said carefully. "I hadn't told anyone you were coming, so it was probably shocking for you both to reveal yourselves." He smiled slightly at Allen, his eyes looking slightly unfocused on the pale boy. "Do enjoy yourselves as much as you are able to." Allen couldn't hide his smile, especially when a young boy toddled over, no more than two or three seasons of age, and tugged on his pants; the toddler looked up at him curiously, his head bandaged to prevent anything infecting his new tattoos.

Smiling up at Kanda, Allen knelt down and took the boy's hand. As soon as he did, the toddler bolted, still holding Allen's hand. The older let out a startled cry but quickly found his bearings, regaining his balance. After a curt nod, Kanda followed after him, eyes trained on the silver boy.

"Tyki, Lavi!" Both turned as Sheryl approached, arms draping over both boys, not minding the kohl still covering them. His hand landed briefly in Lavi's hair, pulling the boy close to press a kiss to the red hair. "It's wonderful to officially have you part of us again, Lavi." The red head glanced at him out of the corner of his eye, but Sheryl continued. "At any rate, boys, you need to enjoy yourselves more! There is much too much tension here!"

With that bright message, the older pushed both boys into a crowd of gypsies. They stumbled into the mass; together, they were jostled together until they were face to face with one another. With a smile, Tyki took Lavi's hand in his own and with a grand swirl, spun the younger in a circle amidst the group.

He pulled him back, moving against the other as Rhode leapt on the top of a stall. Sheryl, standing just underneath it with a guitar, motioned to his wife; she stood beside her daughter, a hand pressed against the younger gypsy's shoulder.

"Stop! Everyone, stop!" Slowly, the troupe looked towards the family of three. Tricia smiled, looking slightly uneasy about being so high above the ground. "Rhode wants to sing a song for the happy couple, as a wedding gift."

"She's practiced really long and hard for this." Sheryl added, strumming the guitar seemingly aimlessly. "I hope you enjoy this, you two." Tyki nodded his head slightly, and Lavi cheered for the young girl. Tricia smiled once more before shakily getting down again. Sheryl momentarily abandoned his guitar, allowing the strap to cross his chest to help his wife down. As her feet touched the ground she kissed him briefly before slipping into the crowd again.

As she did, Sheryl began to play properly.

"When I see your smile, tears run down my face." Rhode held her hands out in front of her, her eyes closed as she sang out over the silent crowd. "I can't replace. And now that I'm strong, I have figured out how this world turns cold and it breaks my soul. And I know I'll find, deep inside me, I can be the one."

Her eyes opened and she smiled at the two members of her family; her gold eyes glittered in happiness, her vibrant spiky hair blowing slightly in a breeze that seemed to only be felt at her altitude.

"I will never let you fall. I'll stand up with you forever." She took a step to the side, her ankle-length skirt fluttering around her legs as well. "I'll be there for you through it all, even if saving you sends me to Heaven. It's ok, it's ok, it's ok."

Her arms moved as gracefully and carefully as her legs did, an ethereal glow coming over her as it always did when the girl performed. It was highlighted when the sun began setting, the glow from the sun dying the girl red and giving her a healthy glow of her own.

"Seasons are changing and waves are crashing and stars are falling, all for us," Each thing Rhode said was punctuated with an elegant spin, her bare feet noiselessly padding across the wooden beam. "Days grow shorter and nights grow longer- - I can show you, I'll be the one."

Her gaze locked with Tyki's; for a moment, Rhode's song went directly to the married couple whose wedding they were celebrating.

"I will never let you fall. I'll stand up with you forever. I'll be there for you through it all, even if saving you sends me to Heaven. Cause you're my, you're my, my, my true love, my whole heart, please don't throw that away."

She spun on the beam, keeping her balance as easily in the air as if she were on the ground. Tyki watched as Sheryl's eyes flickered upwards to keep a wary eye on his daughter. Rhode didn't seem to notice or care, her entire body expanding to the words that slipped out of her mouth.

"Cause I'm here for you. Please don't walk away and please tell me you'll stay. Stay. Use me as you will, pull my strings just for the thrill. And I know I'll be ok, though my skies are turning grey."

Tyki felt Lavi's arm slip around his waist, and he mimicked the action by wrapping his own arm around Lavi's shoulders. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kanda and Allen doing the same, the silver-haired boy smiling softly up at the girl who was like family to him.

Rhode didn't seem to see either of them; she was thoroughly immersed in her performance.

"I will never let you fall. I'll stand up for you forever. I'll be there for you through it all, even if saving you sends me to Heaven." As she repeated the chorus, there was a loud cheering from the people watching the young woman finish. Her face flushed lightly, Rhode looked towards her uncle and his new spouse. Tyki bowed slightly, a smile on his face. Lavi did the same, though he seemed to have tears in his eyes.

Rhode leapt from the stand, her skirt fluttering around her as she landed on the ground. Her kohl was smeared from the day, and she was completely out of breath, her chest heaving up and down, but she still never looked more excited than she had in that moment.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It was later in the night when Allen waved at them, Kanda staring in the opposite direction, as both boys turned to leave.

Tyki felt the brush of cloth on his arm; startled, he turned a second too late as Rhode all but flew towards Allen. The pale boy faltered when he saw her coming towards him, his silver eyes going wide with surprise when she barreled into him, her arms wrapping tightly around his waist.

She muttered something in his ear, making Allen flush lightly as he relaxed and hugged her back slowly. His head leaned against hers as he whispered something back to the girl. They stood like that for a few moments before Rhode pulled away; she seemed to wipe her eyes, making Allen laugh. Rhode leaned in, pressing a quick kiss to Allen's cheek before she turned and bolted, her skirt fluttering around her ankles as she returned to Tyki's side. Tyki almost laughed when he saw how her kohl, almost gone now, smeared all over Allen's clothes. Ignoring his knowing smirk, Rhode turned and waved at the two departing boys.

"Bye, Allen!" Allen waved back again; even with the distance, they could see the happiness in his eyes and face.

"What changed your mind?" Tyki asked his niece. Her arm lowered to her side, but she never took her gaze off of Allen as he walked away with Kanda. "You were so adamant about avoiding him. Why the sudden change of heart?"

"I don't..." Rhode glanced at him out of the corner of her eye before sighing. Her shoulders dropped, as if she expected Tyki to admonish her for doing something wrong. "I miss him. I was surprised to see him, and I tried to ignore him because of Lord Millennium, but I-I was really happy to see him again." Tyki patted her hair; the spikes brushed against his hand, creating an oddly calming effect on both of them.

"I was glad he came." Tyki admitted softly. "This whole thing has gone on for far too long. It is time to put this as far behind us as possible. This was the best step in that direction." Rhode looked up at her uncle curiously.

"You really mean it?" She asked; there was a tinge of hopefulness in her voice as she asked him. He laughed softly.

"Of course." He said teasingly, vanishing for a moment before he appeared under Rhode; he straightened up, the girl shrieking as she found herself holding onto the head of her uncle. His hands found purchase on her thighs, his laughter following after her startled sound.

"Kak!"

"When have I ever lied to you, darling?" Rhode shrieked out a laughed answer, giggles overtaking her as she found her balance on Tyki's shoulders. "Hmm?"

"Kak, put me down!" Despite her protests, Rhode held on tighter as he ignored her and began walking again, heading for the campground. "Really, Kak, what will Lord Millennium think? We are acting like a bunch of children!"

"We're supposed to have fun." Tyki responded easily, not allowing her to move. "It's a wedding party, remember? We've been planning this for many seasons, so I doubt Lord Millennium will mind us acting, as you so eloquently put it, like a bunch of children."

"Yes, I'm sure, Kak." Rhode giggled, glancing only once at the retreating Allen and Kanda. "Never mind."

"Tyki!" Lavi rushed up to him, his arms going around the older gypsy's waist as he tried not to push Rhode off her careful perch. "Did you see Allen and Kanda off?"

"They'll get home safe, hopefully." Lavi pressed a quick kiss to Tyki's lips, smiling widely. Rhode, with all her normal agility, got to her feet and jumped off her uncle's shoulders; as soon a her feet touched the ground, she darted away, headed back to camp. The couple watched her go, amusement and fondness mixed on their faces. "I take it there's no sign of stopping?"

"Sheryl and Tricia are dancing, Lord Millennium is telling stories about when you were a child, Cross is flirting with who he can, even Lulubell looks like she's enjoying herself." Lavi turned slightly, facing the camp before them. "This is going to continue well into the night, isn't it?"

"Most likely." Tyki agreed. "All weddings do- - -either into the night, or until the last of us passes out and drops due to exhaustion."

"Hmm." Lavi leaned his head on Tyki's shoulder and fingered his hammer, which had been placed firmly in its holster on his leg. Tyki watched him out of the corner of his eye, thinking about what Allen had said. He hid a laugh when he thought of the look on Allen's face upon discovering Lavi's father to be Cross Marian, of all people. Lavi looked at him curiously, but Tyki shook his head and took the red head's arm.

"Well, shall we join them once more?" Lavi took Tyki's arm, beaming when their hands touched and Tyki intertwined their fingers together.

"Yes." Together, they headed back towards camp

That...was a crappy ending. Shit. Ever get the type of story where it's like 'crap, how the hell do I end this?'; yea, that's what this was. I'm very sorry.

And then the whole 'Lavi-is-Cross's-kid' thing- - -yea, I have no idea where that came from. It kinda just...sprung up on me randomly. I don't even remember typing it; I just re-read it and was like 'WTF- - -seriously? Cross is Lavi's father?'

The thing at the beginning is kinda a Romani tradition I found. All the things Tyki and Rhode said about diseases and childbirth, as well as the avoidance of the new mother for thirty-forty days, came from wikipedia. (I couldn't remember if it was thirty days or forty days, so I made it somewhere between the two). Before childbirth, a girl/woman has almost no respect (I think), and she gains respect the more she has kids, or something similar to that. I thought it'd be interesting to have that tidbit there, so I created a situation where I could use it. XD sorry if it's a completely random scene.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who's ever reviewed/favorited/alerted this story of mine. You guys are the best, even the silent readers I know are out there, reading this. Thank you all for sticking with this, even when it started taking weeks for me to update. It really makes me happy that you guys pushed through it, especially when my chapters started getting hella long. XD and I had to create a whole gypsy wedding for this chapter- - -hopefully, that explains why it took so long this time. Onward to 'A Bullet With Butterfly Wings'! XD

Again, thank you all! XD

According to the website I found:

Kak=uncle

Barvalimos=wealth

Baxt=luck

Bibaxt=bad luck

Abiav=wedding feast

Arvah=yes