((2nd part to Lucky. Uuuh...I really, really enjoyed your reviews! Thank you! You inspired me to add another chapter!))
Lavi slept for a while after the day he got back. After he slept, he wouldn't leave his room for a week, claiming he was sick from all of the Akuma filth, and wouldn't let anyone see him. No one believed that, and really he was just sulky that he couldn't see his beloved Tyki.
But, after that week, he descended to the cafeteria and ordered a very large breakfast. He sat at a deserted table and ate it all hungrily, Allen and Kanda approached readily, but Lenalee sat sadly at another table. Allen let his trays clatter to the table, but Kanda set his platter carefully next to the glutton.
"So, Usagi are you going to tell-" Kanda began, but was cut off by Link approaching, which was rather ghost-like as usual.
"Director Komui wants you three and," he turned to Lenalee, "and you, to report to his office. There's a new mission."
Lavi perked up, then sunk. How was Tyki going to get him, without suspicion, if there is three more people tagging along, and maybe with Finders? "Okay, okay." He pushed his plate aside and stood, then walked up to the Research Department with Allen (who was still stuffing his face), Kanda (who was quite upset he had to go on a mission with Lavi), and Lenalee (who was still sullen about being turned down).
As they got there, they were surprised to see three Finders sitting with Komui. Komui looked uncomfortable, and also quite pissed. He glared at Lavi, thinking of his sister's heart break, then his features softened to apprehension. Four Finders...all given strict orders to watch Lavi along with the mission's orders...
"What's the mission?" Allen asked curiously.
"You are all going to a town called Reveriel." He points to a remote spot on the world map. "Reports show that flowers there have been acting 'strangely'. Apparently they are changing colors as soon as someone touches them, like a mood ring. If certain moods hit the flowers, they move their stems to mimic the feeling.
"This all started," he checks the file to make sure. "A month ago, when an old woman named Opal Wilomas moved into a chateau in the woods about a mile out of town. She gardens excessively and witnesses say that they think her gloves glow when she tends to some of the plants in town.
"This is most likely an Innocence, so we'd like you to go there and investigate. Talk to the townsfolk and Ms. Wilomas, and check out the plants. Lavi, from what Bookman told me, you know a bit about plants, can you give any insight...?"
"This is unlike anything I've ever seen." Lavi remarked, rocking on his heels impatiently and looking out the window.
Komui sighed, then Lenalee asked the question that Komui had been dreading to answer, knowing he'd have to lie. "Why are there so many finders on this mission? And so many of us? Usually it's only a pair of exorcists for a mission so simple, and maybe one Finder..."
"The Noah have been rather active recently, so we need you to watch each other's backs, in case one of you is to be abducted again. Also, the radius of the flower effect has not been accounted for, and more Finders have been deployed to record this and help you search the town. All the details are a bit sketchy..."
Komui glanced at Lavi, who was staring boredly out the window, and sighed inwardly in relief that he didn't seem to guess what was going on. But he did. He guessed that Central had ordered him to be watched for suspicious behavior, and that made him extremely nervous about what Tyki was doing.
They all headed back to their rooms to pack and then head to the boats, then the trains, then the cars. They are packed into a small town and left in the town square with instructions to head to a small inn, with which reservations have already been made for four rooms. One for the Yullen pair, one for Lenalee and the small Finder girl to share, one for the two guy Finders to share, and one for Lavi to have alone.
Tyki sat in his apartment, twitching with anticipation. It was his job to go to get the Innocence this time, alone. He wasn't going to though, he would let Lavi get it so the suspicion would go down. He still had to fight his lovely though.
How was he going to do that? How could he fight him, not kidnap him, and still spend time alone with him, when they were being suspected? His mind was racing, he was supposed to take Road's door there very soon, and he still had no plan.
"Tyki!~ Time to go!~" Road chirped as she stepped through the newly appeared door.
Tyki stood and sighed, he scratched the back of his head as he walked through the door into a forest. He could smell the fresh air and see the sunlight beaming down on him. He turned and saw Road close the door behind him, staying in his apartment, and soon the door was gone. Now to raze.
Lavi sat at the table with the rest of the group. It was dinner and they had gotten the owner of the inn to set up a table away from the rest for them. He sighed, and the grroup looked at him strangely. He ignored them and gave the waitress his order, then began the conversation.
"So, we should get to know each other now that we are working together." Allen smiled.
The small girl blushed softly. Lavi observed her boredly, then turned away. She had chestnut hair that fell in waves down her back, her bangs held to the side with bobby pins. Her ears and nose looked like they belonged to a pixie, her skin was tanned to a good, non-orange skin tone, her lips were delicate and formed a smile, and her mocha eyes were bright and deep. Her small frame was clad in a sea foam tunic and tight black shorts that only covered half her thighs.
"We already know all about you, you four are famous. My name is Rosalie Pennington, I'm nineteen and both of my parents were Finders. I'd be glad to be of service." She said politely, "I hope we can become friends."
Lenalee glanced at Lavi, to see if Rosalie was the person he was in love with. She hadn't considered he was gay. Lavi was looking out the window at some of the flowers that had been described, and even though she could tell he was listening, she scratched Rosalie off the list of potential girls.
He turned back briefly to observe the next Finder in line. He was a tall, gangly fellow with large eyes and lime green hair spiked into a fohawk. His ears were guaged and his eyebrows, lips, and nose were pierced. His eyes were black and his face looked bored, or possibly tired. HIs lips were chapped and broken, but he didn't seem to care. He wore a tattered black tee and some black leather pants. He gritted his teeth and spoke through them.
"My name is Ellon Kyre, I'm 24 and I absolutely hate exorcists. One killed my parents because they had turned into Akuma, and even if they were bad, I still hate them. The Order forced me to join the FInders after since I was orphaned so young." He seethed in hate, the aura around him was black. "But I'll do anything to keep Akuma from hurting another kid."
Lavi glanced at the final Finder. He was a large man with shaggy white hair and a long white beard. His body bulged with muscle and his skin was tattered, scarred, and tattooed. His eyes were small and knowing, and deep laugh lines covered his face. He smiled at them and Lavi couldn't help thinking he looked like a buff Santa Claus who had been in the army.
"Well, my name is Christofer Klingol, I am sickty-fo'. You can call me Mr. K though, it's easier." He smiled and his face glowed in a kind way.
Lavi stared boredly at the sky as the group began to settle into a happy chatter, the food was given out, but he didn't even reach for a fork. He stared out the window, his mind swirling, hoping to see Tyki soon, and wishing he wouldn't show up at all. Suddenly, his mind cleared as he saw something that confirmed both his fears and hopes, and his hand that was resting near his glass on the table toppled the cup over as he shifted quickly to stare through the window at what he saw.
He heard the clatter and turned to see his cup fall to the floor and the drink to spill over the table and floor. "Shit!" He cursed and glanced at the window, to confirm what he had seen, but it was gone.
The others saw the whole thing, and glanced out the window to see nothing. They looked at him curiously, but Mr. K spoke. "Lavi? What was that about?" He searched the scenery outside for a clue. That was exactly the sort of thing Director Komui had warned them to look for.
Lavi chuckled uneasily. "Nothing, I just thought I saw something."
"What?" Allen asked curiously.
Lavi's face turned away from them. "I'm gonna turn in early, okay? I must be delirious..." he retreated up the stairs and into his bedroom, where he saw Tyki sitting on his bed boredly. Lavi closed the door quickly and Tyki stood.
They walked swiftly and quietly to each other and embraced. "I missed you so much Lavi..." Tyki said smoothly, his voice containing genuine sadness, which was strange for the Noah of Pleasure.
Lavi buried his face in the Noah's neck and breathed deeply. "I missed you too Tyki." He pulled away with a nervous look on his face, "They're on to us though. Central has the Finders watching me like I'm a fool and I can't tell what they're there for. Thank god they didn't see you just now."
"I had to make sure you would leave them. Sorry I made you nervous, lovely." Tyki apologized and kissed Lavi chastely, "I better go, I hear them all coming up to check on you."
"Goodbye." Lavi said sadly, and Tyki floated through the wall going outside and flew off. The next moment he heard loud knocking at his door, so he messed up his hair a bit and put on a tired look. He swung the door open to reveal the rest of the group. "Why can't I take a nap without being interupted?"
"Kanda said he felt a Noah's presence." Rosalie said, "It was from here, and we got worried."
"A Noah?" Lavi scratched his head and faked surprise.
"Yes, baka usagi! In your room." Kanda growled.
Lavi looked back into his room and noticed that the only part of his bed that looked like someone had been on it was the spot Tyki had sat. Bad for an alibi...
"Lavi, was someone in your room?" Mr. K asked politely.
"No...No. Only me." It didn't sound convincing, but he said it anyway.
"We know someone was, you idiot exorcist! It's pretty obvious! Just tell the truth!" Ellon snapped.
"Ellon! You can't just-" Rosalie was interupted by Lenalee.
"Please Lavi, tell us. Who was in your room?" She was practically begging.
Lavi stared at them boredly, a look of supreme annoyance on his face. "No one was in my room. I don't need Central poking in my business, and I certainly don't need exorcists doing it either." He turned and closed his door loudly and could hear them whispering behind it like he couldn't hear. He groaned and flopped onto his bed, falling asleep instantly.
He trodded downstairs to the dining room, the rest of the group walking unsurely behind him. Lavi sat in the chair he had sat in the previous night and stared dazedly out the window as he ate his Lucky Charms.
The others settled into conversation mainly composed of what each of them were going to do that day regarding the mission. Lavi turned to them suddenly and spoke. "I'll go search the forest for Ms. Wilomas's house."
Rosalie perked up, "Oh! I'll go with you Lavi."
"Nah, I can do it alone. There isn't much to do anyway, and fitting two on my hammer is a bit difficult." He turned back to the window, knowing that Rosalie had given a hopeless look to Ellon and Mr. K.
No one said anything else about it, so when they all finished they split up. Mr. K and Rosalie went to search for flower specimens in a nearby meadow, Ellon and Lenalee went downtown to ask the townspeople questions, and Allen and Kanda went to the town park to see how the flowers there were affected.
Lavi stood on his innocence and extended it high in the air, he saw a small clearing a ways off and extended it further to that spot. He jumped down in the clearing and surveyed the area. In the clearing was a small cottage, smoke was billowing out of the chimney, and logs were piled up to the side for firewood. Flowers were beautiful and in abundance, all around the home, even clinging to the sides of the walls. About ten feet from the cottage was a small shed, a few tools lay against the walls.
He walked slowly to the door and knocked politely, after a few seconds the door opened. A small woman with deep laugh lines, salt and pepper hair, and rosy cheeks opened the door. She smiled warmly and gestured him inside. He walked in and followed her into a cozy living room, another gesture sat him on the couch, and soon he had a teacup in his hand and a plate of cookies on the coffee table across from him.
When Lavi was about to speak up, the woman raised her pointer finger to her lips and she sat across from him in a plush peach armchair. "You must be wondering about the strange way that I recieved you."
"Well, maybe it's strange for you to know, that my flowers told me you were going come see me." She chuckled. "Before I say any more, I'd like to know who my strange guest is."
"My name is Lavi Bookman, I'm an exorcist from The Black Order. Some of my colleagues and I heard about your flowers and were sent to see if it was an innocence, which is something that can be used as a weapon against the Akuma and Noah, who are all 'bad guys'."
"Hmmm...I doubt that the flowers are innocence, I buy them all from the florist in town. But perhaps some of my equipment is an innocence. And about what you said about the Noah...you don't look like you think that ALL of them are 'bad guys'. Come along, I'll show you to my shed to check." She took it in stride and stood, collecting Lavi's now finished tea, and headed outside after dropping the dishes in the sink.
Lavi followed her, trotting along behing the woman like a puppy. He liked her, she had a personality that attracted him like a lost child, and she understood him instantly. She swung open the door to her little shed and they both walked inside.
Inside was cluttered with shovels, rakes, trowels, hoses, mulch, potting soil, weed killer, and a large watering can. She twirled around happily and smiled at Lavi with a twinkle in her eye. "This is my haven, look around if you like."
Lavi walked about the small room, inspecting each of the items, but finally he looked upon the watering can. He inspected it thoroughly and tested it outside, surprised slightly by his findings. It was pure silver, untarnished, the water in it was never ending, and any spot watered by it would flourish.
"Where did you get this watering can Ms. Wilomas?" he asked curiously, still holding the peculiar can.
"Ooh! Call me Opal, dear. Anyway, I was taking a walk one day in the city, and I found it sitting out by a dumpster. I thought it was a shame, so I took it home with me. Is it an innocence?" She asked curiously.
Lavi smiled at her, "Possibly, I'll tell my friends about it when I get back."
"Are you leaving now?" She asked, a small frown peeked through her bright demeanor.
"Not unless you want me to, I'd much prefer to stay and chat for a while."
"Wonderful!" She grinned at him, "I barely ever get company, and you are so good! Why don't we leave the watering can in the shed and go inside to enjoy some cookies?"
Lavi smiled and put the can back in it's place, they headed inside and chatted light-heartedly for hours. Over the time, he learned that Opal was a widow, and that her children were adventurers. Opal learned that he had a secret relationship with a Noah, and she promised to never ever tell anyone.
Opal's grandfather clock chimed loudly throughout the cottage, 7 o'clock. He waved goodbye, and promised to come back soon, possibly with his friends. He went back on his hammer, landing in front of the inn. He walked inside with a soft smile playing on his face.
Inside, the others were talking nervously, and when Ellon pointed boredly at the incoming Lavi, they all rushed to meet him. "What took you so long? Everyone else was done HOURS ago, damn exorcist..." Ellon scowled at the red haired man.
Lavi kept the smile, despite the rudeness, "I was talking to Opal. She's rather nice."
"You were talking to Ms. Wilomas? About what? You worried us sick!" Lenalee burst.
"Well...she's widowed, her children's occupations, what she wants to plant next year, what she thinks of the crabby florist, her old job, and you guys." Lavi still kept the smile, although he was now put under a bit of pressure.
"Why would you talk so much to some woman who isn't part of the Order?" Mr. K asked.
"I trust her. She's much more trustworthy than many of the Order's employees." He nodded with finality and walked to the dining room to grab some dinner, the others didn't follow. Halfway into his meal, one of the owners walked up with an envelope.
"Sir? I was told to give you this, with specific instructions for both of us not to tell anyone about it." He handed the envelope over, and left quickly. Lavi knew the note was from Tyki, so he abandoned his half eaten meal and headed up to his room to read it.
Open your window at midnight.
Lavi smiled softly and then shoved the note into his pocket. He forgot to tell the others about the watering can, so he stepped out of his room and found Rosalie looking sheepish next to his door.
"Umm...I was just...I mean..."
Lavi ignored that she was probably spying on him, and told her about the possible innocence. She seemed to be relieved that he let it go, and was consumed in the story he told her. When he finished, she flounced away to find the others to tell them.
Lavi went back in his room and decided to take a nap, waking back up at 11:50. He waited the ten minutes impatiently, and when it was midnight he flung his window open. Almost immidiatly a figure shot through the window.
Tyki straightened up and rushed over to Lavi. "I can't stay too long, they might sense me. I came to-" Banging and shouts came from Lavi's door, they heard the rest of the group assembling and were about to bust his door down. Tyki continued in a low voice, "That woman with the innocence is going to be attacked in a few minutes by Road, a few Level Fours, and I. I came to warn you, since you like her. I'm sorry Lavi, I have to go." He flew out the window a mere second before Lavi's door was broken down.
The rest of the group rushed into the room, searching it. Mr. K approached him calmly and spoke sternly. "Now, Lavi. Who was in your room?"
"No one." Lavi said, everyone glared at him.
"You can't hide it child, we heard the other voice." Mr. K said, rather condescendingly.
"No one." Lavi replied angrily. "We have to get to Opal's house. NOW! She's going to be attacked by Noah!"
"How do you know that?" Lenalee asked, at the same time a huge explosion shook the ground and lit up the sky in the forest, and Allen's eye activated.
Lavi panicked and grabbed his innocence. He extended it to Opal's house, the other exorcists following. He hit the first of six Level Fours hard with his hammer, the rest of the exorcists began fighting as well.
Lavi heard that sickening giggling, he looked into the sky to see a cheerful Road and a sad Tyki. Road flew down and glomped Lavi, making him drop his innocence. She laughed then shot a glare at him, whispering in his ear. "You have misled Tyki. The Earl wants to talk to you. If you don't come quietly, we'll kill Opal. We already have her in our posession, I mean look around. Do you see her?"
Lavi looked desperately around, she was no where in sight. "How do I know you haven't killed her already?"
"Do you think Tyki would have allowed that, loverboy? He begged to keep her safe, just so you'd be happy. Foolish man." Road said, obviously disgusted by the other Noah's actions.
Lavi glanced at Tyki, who was looking even more upset by the situation. "Okay...I'll go...but only if you stop attacking in this area. These flowers are her life now."
Road giggled, "Of course! But you must promise not to tell a soul about what transpires! Of course, you're great at keeping secrets now, huh? Okay Tyki! Lavi will come! Don't worry exorcists, he'll be back in a few days!" She opened up her door and the Akuma, Noah, and Lavi all went through.
The Akuma dispersed, and Tyki took Lavi's hand, giving him a look that showed how agonizingly sorry he was for this situation, Lavi nodded, accepting it. Road led them into a room with a long table. The Earl was seated at head of the table at the far end, and the rest of the Noah were scattered across the length of it. Lavi took a seat across from the Earl, at the nearest end, and Tyki sat at his right. Road skipped to take her seat to the right of the Earl.
"Why hello, Lavi. It seems we have some things to discuss, don't we?" The Earl said.