Attached Strings~

Dressed up as myself

To live in the shadow

Of who I'm supposed to be.

We're all part of the same sick little games –Sick Little Games by All Time Low

Angel stepped into the local warily. The air smelled of liquor and cigarettes, stench that made the girl flinch. Even though this was not the first time she entered a bar, her nose couldn't get used to the penetrating, disturbing stink.

She staggered under the weight of her guitar and amplifier. Angel was a petite girl, with skinny limbs and small strength. Nonetheless, she always managed to carry heavy things albeit her physical handicaps. The girl approached the performing platform, elbowing her way between the noisy customers. "Excuse me, excuse me, sir…excuse me…"

Matt's footsteps fell in behind her, following the girl closely. When Angel finally reached the dais, she let her load fall softly to the wooden surface with a dry thump.

As they prepared their instruments for the night's show, different murmurs surrounded them.

Angel knew the source of the whispers, and a secret smile curved her lips. Long strands of yellow hair fell down past her shoulders, the rest of the wig fixed in a high, puffy bun.

The recently applied eyeliner sometimes made her vision blur, so Angel had to blink repetitively to clear her vision and plug the wires where they needed to be plugged. She could still smell, beneath the liquor and cigarettes, the queasy scent of her powder and foundation. It hadn't passed more than an hour since she applied the makeup, and the strong smell of it still leaked into her nostrils.

Matt crouched between the amplifier and the electric socket. "Can you hand me the black wire?" he requested, extending his hand towards Angel.

Angel did as he bid. She let him plug the guitars and amplifiers, and focused on the arrangement of the stuff atop the dais.

A laugh, clear and loud, flew through the air, on top of the other noises. A shiver ran down Angel's spine, and she immediately stepped on her toes to look over the crowd's heads. She scanned the room thoroughly, looking desperately for familiar faces.

Allen's hair was her first reference. The snowy scalp shone in between the bunch of brunettes and blonde heads. Right beside him, Lavi's red hair pointed in every direction messily. He was wearing a bandana instead of the eye patch, and was laughing so hard that his head was thrown back, a hand clutching his stomach. Allen was laughing too, but in a more discreet manner. Lenalee and Izzie giggled elegantly at their side, while Kanda just glowered at them.

They were sitting down on a red couch that curved around a wooden table. In front of Lavi, a beer mug, already half empty, rested. Similar recipients were in between Kanda and Allen's hands. At the same time, Izzie and Lenalee sipped what seemed lemonades.

Angel averted her gaze right the moment in which Lavi recovered the composure. The girl hastily turned around and continued doing what she was doing, trying to control the furious pound of her heart. This was totally out of her plans. She never expected them to be there…she didn't… and the song she had planned to play first…

This was out of her 'baby steps' plan, and she could only hope that Lavi didn't recognize her. It was quite ironic the way the situation had turned around: at first, everything that she wanted was to catch his attention. Now, however, the only thing she prayed for was that he didn't notice her presence there. She couldn't predict the way he'd react if he saw her, and, even though Angel considered herself a pretty strong person, facing him was a perspective that scared her. His skittishness made her nervous, especially because she wasn't familiar with this side of his.

Fortunately, she hid her feelings so well that Matt didn't notice it. Once he was done with the plugging and the final arrangements, the musician glanced at Angel and nodded.

The girl half-heartedly smiled. Sheepishly, she turned the microphone on and tapped it to make sure it worked.

The thump of her finger against the microphone resounded all through the bar. Expectant faces turned around to look at her, and some others simply dedicated the duo a glimpse before returning to their business.

"Hey…hey." Angel greeted. Summoning all her willpower, she kept her eyes away from the table by her left, "I hope you're having a great time. We're going to play for a while and…well…this is called 'Firewood'. I hope you enjoy."

Matt sent her a queer look for the sudden change of plans, but said nothing. Before getting to the place, they had agreed to play one of the two single options to see how it was welcomed by the public. Naturally, she didn't count with Lavi's presence. With him sitting right there, staring at her, with that green, almost liquid eye…

Before she could get deeper into her thoughts, the melody of the song filled the air as Matt played the guitar.

The piano is not firewood yet
they try to remember but still they forget
that the heart beats in threes
just like a waltz
and nothing can stop you from dancing

She sang softly, almost sweetly, closing her eyes and letting herself get lost in the music. When she sang, when she heard the melodies and the music's cadence, everything around disappeared, and there was a moment in which there existed only two things: her voice and the guitar. There was nothing that could hurt or disturb her.

That was what she liked the most about music, and that was the only think that kept her sane after all the things Leverrier and Lavi had put her through.

After the song finished, Angel had recovered enough self confidence to follow the scheme Matt and she had traced for the night. He was the one to introduce the name of the second song, and started playing it once Angel gave her consent with a nod.

Fixating her eyes on the plasma TV atop the bar, Angel pretended that neither Lavi nor anyone else was sitting down at that table in the corner. She wondered if Matt had seen them, and discarded the possibility almost immediately. When he played the guitar, Matt didn't pay any heed to his surroundings. In that moment, a hurricane could be flooding everything around and the musician wouldn't even notice it.

She prayed that Lavi didn't notice either.

I've had so many words
But I had no courage
Now we're saying goodbye
Don't want to miss you tonight
Oh, tell me it's not over now
I can change your mind somehow

I, I give it all
I trip and fall for you
And I hope you wouldn't mind
Just one more try for something new
I need you, I need you

Don't be shocked if I cry
You've changed me inside
I turned my back on you
You were the only reason I pulled through
I pulled through

Tell me it's not over now
I can change your mind somehow
My head feels so heavy
My heart is so empty
I, I give it all
I trip and fall
I trip and fall
I trip and fall
I, I give it all
I trip and fall for you

Out of pure habit, Angel opened her eyes and let them wander across the room. People were staring at her, some smiling, others simply listening. A smirk curved her lips, and she continued analyzing her surroundings quietly.

When her eyes casted towards Innocence's corner, green, bright eyes met her.

She averted her gaze without a second thought, but that didn't prevent her voice from quivering a bit during the last verse.

And I hope you wouldn't mind
Just one more try
Just one more try for something new
I need you
I need you

Matt and Angel halted the show for a moment to receive a round of claps. The musicians dedicated each other one encouraging look, and Angel forced herself to smile.

Please, don't let him recognize me. Please, please…please, tell me he didn't recognize me. For some reason, she didn't want Lavi to listen to the song she had composed for him in secret. She didn't want him to be a witness of her weakness now…not now. Let him listen to the official single and know it was hers: she wouldn't be there when that happened, hopefully. She wouldn't contemplate his possible change of mood, and, therefore, wouldn't get hurt by it. Right now, Angel's plan was to give him his place and stop pushing his boundaries. Let him be and approach him slowly, very, very slowly.

This was totally out of that scheme, and she was afraid…

Still, she kept on singing, pretending that none of those preoccupations existed.

Izzie sipped her drink, her gaze flickering between Lavi and Angel.

Of course she knew it was Angel. Earlier that day, she heard her singing, and Izzie never forgot a voice. Angel's style was sweet, with a delicate high-pitched voice that could rise and octave upper that Lenalee's and one below Hevlaska's.

Lavi may have not recognized the voice at first, but he had a photographic memory that would ensure the recognition of the girl. Therefore, Izzie couldn't do anything but stare at the scene with curiosity.

The moment the group's eyes landed on the singer's figure, Lavi's profile stiffened visibly. His hands clutched the mug until the tendons were visible beneath the skin.

It was true that Izzie didn't trust Angel yet, albeit having to work with her. However, she could see right through the lyrics into the singer's soul. The words were so precise and her voice, so sincere, that one could only wish the girl good luck in her task of getting Lavi back, breaking down all his self-imposed walls.

Izzie thanked the heavens that she had Kanda with her. She couldn't imagine how it'd feel like to be despised by the one you love the most…

Poor Angel.

Her hand slowly travelled under the table to her right, in Kanda's direction, and curled around his fingers timidly. For a moment, she could feel Kanda's limb stiffen, before he relaxed it again. He didn't return the gesture, but left his hand where it was, allowing himself to feel the warmth of Izzie's touch. The first days, Izzie remembered, whenever she tried to intertwine her fingers with his or approach the musician in any romantic fashion, he cringed away automatically. 'That's freaking cheesy' he'd say, and then he'd stride away. That disappointed Izzie to unimaginable levels, although she never showed it. Slowly, as months passed by, Kanda started to get somehow used to the girl's intents, and allowed some of them as long as nobody noticed.

"She sings well." Lenalee commented nonchalantly, eyeing the scenario intentionally.

No, don't say that…don't point out that to Lavi…let him notice by himself…

"And the lyrics are good, don't you think, Izzie-chan?" Allen followed Lenalee up.

You, fool!

Izzie shrugged indifferently and let go of Kanda's hand to grab her glass of lemonade, "They ain't bad at all." Was all she said. Of course she was not following this foolish act.

All of the eyes focused and unfocused on Lavi alternatively, except Kanda's. Izzie suspected the Japanese was not aware of the person atop the dais, or maybe he just didn't care.

Lavi kept on sipping his beer, awkwardly quiet. His gleeful expression had elapsed with the second song, and his veiled eye was lost in the distance, drowned in some kind of forgotten melancholy. His face was carved in stone, but his eye was still as expressive as always, and Izzie, for a moment, felt pity for him. He was so lonely…

The mood in the table settled into a weird silence. They weren't sure if it was wise to speak or not, seeing the sudden change of Lavi's mood. The wisest thing to do would be to talk about any other subject and distract him from his brooding, but nobody said anything interesting, and Lavi kept on staring at Angel from time to time.

Finally, Allen came up with something to lift the humor, "I think tonight is karaoke night, isn't it?"

Lenalee's face lit up immediately, "Yes! After eleven o'clock, right?"

Lavi returned back to earth once he heard the word 'karaoke' be pronounced. His eyes fixated on Izzie and a mischievous smile crossed his face, returning the man to his usual self in less than a blink. "We've never listened to you singing, Izzie-chan…" he enigmatically informed.

"I don't sing well." The girl muttered, lowering her gaze.

At her side, Kanda snarled and sent her a look, "Liar."

Color attended Izzie's cheeks. She met Kanda's knowing eyes for one second, bewildered and flattered at the same time. The only ones that had heard her sing were Angel, Kanda and her own father, because she was pretty convinced that her voice wasn't made for singing.

"It is true." She quietly retaliated, endeavoring to not start another argument, "You know it."

Kanda only scoffed and rolled his eyes. "You're nothing special, but you're not bad." He blatantly said.

Izzie didn't know how she was supposed to take that.

"Well, that's quite a compliment coming from Kanda." Lenalee smiled enthusiastically, as if reading Izzie's mind, "So, it is decided…Izzie sings tonight!"

"Wait, no! I…I don't sing well, and there are a lot of people here…"

Lavi clapped his hands together, his eye shinning, "But you won't be singing for them…you'll sing for Yuu-pon!"

Before the girl could do anything to stop the redhead, Lavi pushed Allen away and nonchalantly approached the sound technician standing by the corner of the dais. Not a single glance escaped in Angel's direction, although he was only a few feet away from her.

The proximity didn't seem to affect the female either. Angel kept on singing to the people of the tables at her feet, but Izzie was quite sure that the girl was conscious of Lavi's presence. Her partner, Matt, she remembered, did notice the redhead, and sent him a sullen glare before focusing again on his guitar.

"Do you think he knows?" Allen asked in a hushed voice, leaning closer to the two females.

"Of course he knows." Izzie answered, "And she knows too, but they pretend they don't."

Lenalee set her glass aside and placed her elbows atop the table, "Did you see how serious he became during the second song? He was almost…sad, the way he was after Angel left… his expression became exactly the same one of those days."

"That's because he misses her." Allen declared, "We all know that, but, does he?"

"He knows, idiot, that's why he fucks whores all the time: to forget it." Kanda muttered in a low voice. All the eyes turned around to stare at him, surprised that he knew what they were talking about…and even gave his opinion about it. Kanda raised an eyebrow, "Stop acting like you don't fucking know him."

"It's because that's the way he makes us feel, Kanda-kun," Lenalee patiently explained, "Since Angel left…"

"He's the same." Kanda stubbornly interrupted, "He's just hiding."

"I said I don't-"

"And Kanda-kun said another thing~"

"But I don't!"

"Go, on, Izzie-chan!" Lavi gently pulled her hand to help Izzie onto the dais –or, more like, force her to get on it.- "You cannot sing that badly!"

"I do sing badly!" Izzie protested, and that was as fruitless as her previous complains. She frantically sought Kanda with her eyes, and found him sitting down tranquilly on their small, red couch, oblivious to her situation.

After Angel and Matt left, Izzie stood up to go to the bathroom, hoping that there may be a possibility to come across her ex-best friend in the way. It didn't happen, but Izzie was sure that Lenalee had bid the duo goodbye in her name.

When she was on her way back, Lenalee and Lavi intercepted Izzie and pulled her onto the performing platform against her will, deaf to her complains.

So, there she was, standing all the curious glances the customers sent them. Lenalee pushed her as gently as she could, while Lavi shove the microphone into her trembling hands. All around her, people turned around to look at the 'brave' girl that dared sing first.

"Lavi, Lenalee…" Izzie hissed, covering the microphone with her hand. "Please?"

The Chinese girl giggled animatedly, "Just enjoy it. The lyrics will appear on that screen." The girl pointed to a plasma TV set in front of the scenario, above the bar, "Remember this is for Kanda."

Izzie blushed, "What song…?"

"I already picked it!" Lavi cackled, and hopped down the dais, "Come, Lenalee-chan!"

Lenalee patted Izzie's shoulder and murmured, "Relax, it is fun!" and left her standing alone on the dais.

"No, it's not." Izzie sullenly mumbled, but they didn't listen. Her legs were trembling, and her heart pounded so hardly that she thought it was going to jump out of her chest. She never liked the idea of people staring at her, especially large crowds; it made her knees tremble and her palms sweat.

Izzie never really comprehended how Lenalee, Lavi, Kanda and Allen and, well, everyone in the music business, coped with thousands of people looking at them, all at the same time. Once, Allen had confessed her that it still made him uneasy to walk onto stage, but that the sensation disappeared after the first songs. From that moment onwards, everything was all fun and adrenaline. No matter how much she thought about it, she still couldn't understand how it could be funny.

Izzie tried to ignore the men and women sitting down at the tables. Instead, she looked for her safe spot, the one in which Kanda was sitting down.

The Japanese was staring at her curiously, his body turned on the couch towards her direction so he could behold the girl better.

That only made Izzie's gut twitch harder.

"What's your name, sweetheart?" Somebody in a far table yelled, and Izzie suddenly realized that everyone was quiet.

"You're Izzie Fletcher, aren't you?" a young male asked.

They must have recognized her. More than three quarters of the customers were conscious of Innocence's presence, and half of them could identify Kanda's partner as well. Once or twice Izzie had caught sight of a picture of hers circulating on magazines and newspapers with ridiculous news about her relationship with the Japanese. Due to the few information that the couple let be leaked, journalists started to elaborate complicated and ultimately bizarre theories about their current situation, most of them a bunch of stupid lies created by very imaginative people.

From the other side of the bar, another girl yelled, "She's Izzie Kanda, you idiot. They say they're already married." Yes, that was one of the bizarre hypotheses she had heard of.

However, she couldn't deny the fact that she liked how 'Izzie Kanda' sounded.

"Err…no, we're not married…" Izzie bashfully corrected, trying to ignore the heat in her cheeks, "Well…I…am…Izzie, and I…I really don't want to do this…so I'll just…go?" she said, as if asking for some kind of permission.

"No! You must sing something!" the same girl of the 'married theory' yelled.

"Don't be shy, sweetheart!" a male from one of the closest tables said. He was visibly drunk, and the sight of his flushed cheeks and confused eyes scared Izzie.

"If you're up, you sing. That's the rule." The sound technician by her left declared. Said this, he pressed a button in the machine at his right, and a cheerful melody filled the air.

Izzie skipped the first part, which consisted on a foolish 'do do do do' that she was not quite sure she should imitate. After that, the true lyrics appeared on the screen, turning from white to yellow as the song advanced.

Let me introduce myself,
I'm all smiles.
You may know me as a former 'most love only last a while.'
Pessimistic, so realistic,
You get the picture.
I met you now my world is so much bigger.

Her lower lip quivered as she followed the song, and her voice came out shaky and high-pitched. Izzie moved away from the microphone and cleared her throat, missing half a line, and then followed the song with a little bit of more confidence than before. Albeit weak and nervous, her voice didn't sound awfully bad in the loudspeakers, and people smiled at her encouragingly, except for the jealous girls at one corner, but, by now, she was already used to the hostile, female glares.

When you touch me, it's like the very first time.
I'm so lucky, to say that you're mine.
I still get those stupid butterflies,
But it's just what you do,
I'm loving everything you do.

Again, she avoided the 'do do do', swaying slightly instead. A timid smile lit her countenance, and she even let herself look in Kanda's direction.

It was weird to have the positions inverted. Usually, he was the one atop the scenario, and, she, the one who contemplated everything, dazzled by his gorgeousness and talent.

She doubted he felt dazzled too, but, at least, she could read certain amusement in the way his eyes glimmered. Never before had she seen such an…almost-cheerful emotion expressing through his navy irises and his heartbreaking smirk. It made her happy to see him…well…happy too.

Crazy how it happened so fast,
Truly blows my mind.
Going on a hunt for four leaf clovers,
To wake up to that smile each sunrise.
Whenever I'm not by your side,
I get home sick.
A little pathetic, with a dash of ooey gooey so romantic.

Upside down off the ground, God I love you.
upside down off the ground is what you do.

When you touch me, it's like the very first time.
I'm so lucky, to say that you're mine.
I still get those stupid butterflies,
but it's just what you do.
I'm loving everything you do.

Before she could control herself, she held the microphone with both hands, and her gaze flickered between the lyric screen and Kanda. She knew she was blushed, because there was no way she could ignore the fact that dozens of persons were witnessing her cheesy exchange. However, somehow, she didn't care. This was not about them; this was about the way she felt, about…

Yes sir you came and you took my breath,
My head is feeling a little light.
All right, I hope that you feel it too.
Yes sir you came and you took my breath,
My head is feeling a little light.
All right, I hope that you feel it too.

By the time the song ended, Izzie was so red that she imagined herself as a light bulb. Her bowels were tangled in a hard mass, and she thought she was going to faint from the embarrassment.

A round of claps followed her as she returned to her table, not looking at Kanda. What kind of madness took command of her while being on the stage?

She purposely avoided everybody's stare as well. Izzie sat down on the edge of the couch, beside Kanda.

"What? Ain't you gonna kiss him?" somebody bellowed. In that moment, Izzie realized that all the eyes were upon them…

"Kiss him!"

"Come on, boy, she sang to you! Kiss her!"

Izzie's heart pounded so fiercely that she could almost choke with it. The girl gave the crowd a dismissive smile and tried to ignore them, forcefully keeping her gaze away from Kanda. Oh God, what had she done?

By twelve o'clock, Kanda was so sick of all the persons in the bar that he and Izzie decided to leave, and the rest of the band imitated them. They paid the bill and strode out of the bar.

Even while walking towards the entrance, some drunken idiots dared boo Izzie and him mockingly for not kissing. Of course they were not going to kiss in front of that bunch of retarded folk. They didn't even hold hands. It was ridiculous and stupid.

And, to finish worsening his humor, Lavi never stopped babbling stupidities. He was half drunk and, his tongue, looser than ever. The stench of his breath accompanied the Japanese all the way to the parking lot.

The parking lot was subterranean, dark and almost deserted. There was only Lavi and Kanda, since they planned to pick up the rest of their companions at the entrance of Arthur's. Lavi was dropping Allen and Lenalee at their homes, although Kanda suspected that Allen was going to end up driving all the way there. After that, Kanda knew that Lavi would resume his night looking for some slut to sleep with. The redhead always concealed his promiscuous habits while hanging out with the band, because he knew the huge fuss Lenalee would make if Lavi dared bring some whore in the group. Besides, he knew that it'd made everyone uncomfortable, and Lavi was not so stupid as to ruin the night's mood. Most of the times.

"So, you're planning to have a great night, hmmm?" Lavi said, winking. "If you know what I mean."

Kanda clicked his tongue. Of course he knew what he meant, and that only irritated him more. His sexual life was nothing that concerned the stupid rabbit. He had told Izzie that he was going to wait, and wait he did, as hard as it was.

With every night that she slept by his side, his desire seemed to grow more and more. Listening to hear quiet breaths made him think of how vulnerable and, well… desirable she was, and the way she always pressed herself against him awakened his lowest instincts. It didn't help the fact that he knew that she never wore any small clothes underneath the pajamas.

"Oh, c'mon, don't be so sullen!" Lavi laughed and poked his cheek, "How is it, huh? Having sex with her?"

Kanda slapped his hand and stepped away from the stupid rabbit, "That's none of your business."

"Oi, oi, it cannot be that bad!" the redhead insisted, "Izzie is cute. I still remember how flustered she was when she told me about the contraceptive pills!"

That immediately called Kanda's attention. He hastily turned to look at Lavi's darkened profile, halting his walk halfway to his Audi. "She told you?!" he grunted, unbelieving the redhead's words.

Lavi regarded him with a questioning look, "Yes, she asked me if it was okay, didn't she tell you?"

She told Lavi…LAVI! And she tried to hide the stupid pills from Kanda, why?! He was her boyfriend, not the idiotic rabbit. Why didn't she tell Kanda instead? Didn't she trust him? Did she trust Lavi more or what?

Kanda growled, frustrated, betrayed and furious. What the hell did Izzie think he was going to do? Tell her to not eat the freaking pills? Those were couple problems that only couples should try to solve, not stupid, promiscuous men.

The Japanese stalked to his vehicle, purposely ignoring Lavi's questions. He could not stand the sight of him right now. He wondered if he'd be able to stand Izzie's sight as well…

A/N: I know it's been AGES. But I have a good excuse!

I entered university and it's my first year know how it is. It's madness! I've had time for nothing until now, and I decided to type this chapter.

Part of it is a filler, I know...but, well...I like fillers.

I apologize for any mistakes. This was not written with the previous carefulness, due to, you know, time -or lack of it-

I'll respond to your PMs as soon as I can! I'm sorry if I hadn't done that yet. I just thought that some of you preferred to read the continuation of this story, the story is...but I will answer, I promise! Just give me some time :(

Check out my profile! There are some cool Attached Strings' Sims that SapphiePeanut45 made! I promise they are cool!


Firewood- Regina Spektor

I give it all- He is We, a recommendation SapphirePeanut45 made.

Everything you do- He is We, a recommendation of ShadowHex27014.

I'm sorry if I still haven't used some of the other recommendations. I'm just putting them where I think they fit, and some of them won't fit until the last chapters. Please, be patient. :S

What about a review for staying up late night to publish this when I can as well be sleeping since I don't have time for that lately? :D