Heya guys! It's been forever, but I finally settled the plot for this fic. I'm still working on my other stories as well. Thank you for sticking around... If you are a new reader, this first chapter has been edited. It will not flow with chapters that do not yet have an EDITED: mm/dd/year indicator like this first one.
SUMMARY: It started two weeks ago when Allen begins having the same dream: the frozen lake, the Earl-like moon, and this boy... and why in the world are his sworn enemies calling him their little brother?! Amidst all the chaos, Bookman may have just discovered the very reason why the world does not remember there ever being a fifteenth Noah. Allen soon ends up on a journey that will uncover the true seeds of the war between the Innocence and the Noah. What will happen when he finds out?
CHAPTER 1: Dreams and Murder
Allen gradually emerged from the shadows of the trees, his pale figure dazedly walking towards the banks of the great lake.
Above, a white moon that eerily resembled the smug face of one eccentric, pearly tooth Noah illuminated the desolate area. It was a stark contrast to the sky behind it which was pure black. The sky was so dark, indeed, that no amount of light from the moon could brighten up its empty demeanor.
The first time Allen had been here, it was because Tyki Mikk had buried his damned flesh-eating butterfly inside the exorcist's beating heart. Lenalee had been crying, and a shadow had lurked beneath the frozen surface of the water. The second time wasn't quite as dramatic. Allen had fallen asleep again in the fourteenth's hidden room after countless hours of staring blankly at the musical score and munching on the food Jerry had nicely bundled up for him.
The heavens had been as dark as it was now, and its darkness had trickled into the very woods that surrounded the lake. The darkness clung to the trees, making them harsher, like sharp pitchforks, brittle and barren on the white frosted ground.
His left arm, which carried his innocence, his Crown Clown, was bare-bare and clear. Instead of black shell-textured fingers, his left hand looked identical to his right hand. Besides his missing innocence, the absence of a crying Lenalee and a certain ominous underwater figure had been the only clues he had that indicated he wasn't reliving his dream the night Tyki had almost killed him.
That had been two weeks ago, and now, nearly three weeks since they had barely made it out of the Ark alive, Allen was still having the same dream, the same one. Every night, he'd trudge against mounds of snow and through the dreary dead wood. Eventually, he'd reach the banks of the icy lake and as he stared at the water, a red-haired boy would blink back at him. Nothing changed in the last two weeks that Allen had been having the dream. Just like right now.
It was such a soft sound, even his ears had barely been able to pick up on it.
Allen. It's just the wind. Ignore it.
Allen. The wind, wind, wind-it must be the wind.
"Allen. My Allen."
…. The wind? That had never happened before. Surely, this is the same night as before? Allen looked around him. He seemed to be alone, and yet the call-his name-just kept on going. He looked down at his reflection, at his younger days as Red, the little circus boy.
Ah. Perhaps tonight would not be the same night after all.
"Oi." His reflection smiled gently. It looked so odd in his old self-he had been such a rude and unruly child that a smile instead of a forced frown seemed to change him completely. Nevertheless, his reflection was doing things that he, himself, was definitely not doing. "Quit worrying."
"Worrying?" Allen forced his attention back to his current situation. "Worrying about what?"
Allen. Allen. Allen. The time has come.
"You worry too much. It's too soon." The red-haired boy shook his head. "They won't know. At least not yet."
Allen. They'd know. Allen. They'd know…. Allen.
"Um… Who will not know what?"
His reflection shook his head
This is one very weird dream.
Allen. Allen… Yes… Until then, he's still mine.
I'm sorry, Mana. He's my fifteenth.
"Them." The boy's hands began to gray out, and it spread to his chest until the grayness coated his younger self's face.
That skin color! A Noah?!
An ash-colored finger pointed to something behind Allen's kneeling figure. "They won't know."
What? There were people behind him? Allen quickly turned around!
Lulubell had gone to check up on Tyki, Jasdevi, and Road. In her place, Sheryl had taken vigil next to their Earl. Even weeks after they lost the ark to the Exorcists, the first apostle still hadn't left the room where the broken piece of Egg was stored.
The dimmer colors of the new Ark almost swallowed the Earl's huge silhouette; normally bright eyes were flickered with shadows as it took in the destruction in front of him. His stolen Ark. The stolen Egg. The Ark. The Egg. His plans.
For a while, there was silence between the two.
"How… How could they have done it?" The big man curled his fist.
"How. Could. They. HAVE. DONE. IT?!"
The Earl was shouting towards the end. It seemed that his initial horror at their loss of the ark, the Egg, and the total calamity of his plans to terminate the pests finally withered to expose his maddening rage.
"The fourteenth. I had gotten rid of him." His whole body shook with the wave of his fury. "And yet. Even from beyond the grave… he still haunts me. He still haunts me. He still haunts me."
And there, the Earl had begun rocking himself, his hunched form added to the insanity that haunted the bespectacled eyes. For once, Sheryl was lost-he did not know how to act. What could he say to drive away the loss and anger and hate of the Noah? What could he possibly say to alleviate the desire to take revenge? Especially when his own Noah called for blood?
"He still haunts me. He still haunts me." The Earl had continued to rock himself. "He still haunts me."
"Earl?" The first apostle had stood up.
"He still haunts me, Sheryl."
"He still haunts me. Him and his sheeple.* The sheep who follow his will." The Earl's eyes bulged. "Like Walker."
"The fourteenth's player?" Sheryl bristled. Allen Walker-that scoundrel who dared to steal his precious Road's heart just like he had stolen the ark and the Egg.
"I should have killed him when he was younger. That pig." The insanity was back. "That pig! I'm gonna dance on his bloody corpse, that pig!"
As if a switch had been flipped on, the darkness that shrouded the Earl disappeared as the man began to hum and dance.
"I've got it, Sheryl! Those pesky exorcists will die tonight! I'll gut them like the pigs they are." La la la, the Earl hummed. Sheryl wasn't sure whether to be worried about the drastic change in attitude-but hey, at least the first was not moping around anymore.
The Earl found himself standing outside of the Order's walls, just far enough that he wouldn't be detected by the bat-like golems hanging around the gate.
"What are you going to do, Earl-sama-Lero?" He patted the umbrella.
"Nothing they don't deserve, Lero." His spectacles glinted in the dim moonlight. "Starting with one thorn in our side."
~ ~ ~ ~ o0o ~ ~ ~ ~
"Ano sa, Johnny-senpai?" A timid looking new scientist approached the fortress of books and paperwork that Reever, Johnny, and Tap had accumulated on their table. A curly brown head popped out from somewhere on the side of the tower of tomes.
"Huh?" Johnny adjusted his glasses. "I've never seen you before."
"Ah. Nice to meet you, I'm Reever Wenhamm, the Section Chief of Division One." Reever dropped off three more thick books on the one remaining table space before greeting the visitor. "Oh, you're right. You're definitely not from around here."
Tap looked up. The man was wearing a white lab coat, holding a clipboard loosely to his chest. Tap looked at his colleagues-they looked occupied by the new person-maybe…. Maybe he might have time to catch a few winks?
It was just a passing thought, but before Tap knew it, he was already face down in the very tomes he had been reading seconds earlier. "Zzzz…"
"Tap! Hang in there…." Johnny's attention snapped to the sagging figure of his friend.
"Oi! This isn't the time to be sleeping." Reever tiredly called out, shaking the big man's shoulders.
"Ah… You all look so tired… It must be the new piece that was brought in. The Egg, was it?" Those eye bags…. Adam's fingers clenched, but he forced himself to smile. "Is the study of the Akuma Plant progressing well?"
"No, it isn't." Mark Barrows walks in, looking about as energetic as the rest of the science division. "Much of the Egg is still a mystery. We've pretty much been sent back here to study the data that came in from the readings."
Mark briefly looked at the man, before holding out his hand. "Mark Barrows."
"Adam Campbell. Nice to meet you." Adam shook his hand.
"And so far, we've found nothing…" Johnny buries his own head under the books, trying to follow Tap into sleep.
"Oi! You two!" Reever gently wacks both scientists with a particularly heavy tome, which sort of defeated the purpose of using the heavy material to wake the two up. The Australian man massages the bridge of his nose. "Geez. We're all tired, you know. Hang in there-Number 65 just went down to get coffee. Hey!"
"Reever is right, Tap…" the curly-haired scientist yawns, having finally mustered the barest minuscule of energy needed to wake up. He turns to his dozing friend. "The coffee is coming…"
Reever pitifully shakes Tap until the burly man lifts his head off the table.
"If I could sleep right now-I wouldn't mind not waking up for the rest of my life." Tap mumbles, before picking up his book and continuing his reading slowly.
"I'm sorry you came in such a bad time," Mark apologizes to Adam. "It's been worse now that we actually have a physical form to study. Everyone's been working hard to find out as much as possible from the Egg."
"No, it's okay-I understand." Adam shakes his head congenially.
"Oh, yeah-what were you here for again?" Johnny dazedly asks as he took his glasses off to rub his eyes.
"I was sent here to ask for Allen Walker's personal experiences with manipulating the Ark, but I understand if you are all too busy." Adam cringes, looking at all their worn-out faces.
"Ah. If it's Allen you want, I think he snuck back to his room. He's supposed to still be under the Head Nurse's care, but he's been sneaking off as soon as he was able to." Mark smirks exasperatedly. "You can ask a Finder to help you, I think their quarters are much closer to the Exorcists' than ours."
"Thank you very much." The man nods his head at them. "And I apologize for disturbing you-thank you for all your hard work."
"No, it was nothing." Mark smiled, and as the new man turns to leave the library, he catches sight of purplish-pink cane umbrella under Adam's lab-coat.
"I wonder… Was it raining outside?"
~ ~ ~ ~ o0o ~ ~ ~ ~
After asking a Finder to direct him to the exorcists' quarters, Adam couldn't help but smirk as he stood outside the room of one white-haired exorcist.
"Earl-sama, what are you going to do now, Lero~?" Lero whispers underneath his lab coat.
"I think a one-on-one visit is long overdue. Don't you think so, Lero?"
"A-ah…. Definitely, Earl-sama, Lero!"
The fourteenth Noah…. Neah… Even when you're dead, you still find a way to haunt our family.
The Earl shook, but not out of anger. This time, he was afraid. Afraid to encounter the boy who followed the Will of the Fourteenth.
Neah...It's time to end this.