{ { SONG OF THE FOURTEENTH } }

NOTE : This is a rewrite of my original SOTF fanfiction, which I have removed from this website. Bla, bla, blah.

HiThisIsAnAnnouncement: The link to the old SONG OF THE FOURTEENTH (first 20 chappies) can be found on my profile. I'm still bleh about posting it cuz my old, developing writing style makes me facepalm, but meh. -rollsaroundlikeaderp-

Also, I have a poll up! I'd like to see how many new readers I have, as well as how many of you followed me from the old SOTF :D

DISCLAIMER : I do not own DGM or any characters, plot-lines, sayings, etc, that are in DGM. Thing not mentioned in DGM, however, are copyright to me, unless posted otherwise. Chapter quotes that are completely uncredited are my own.

FEATURE : Thank you to vaskeemi, Shiroikage, Myujikaru Sakura, and Wicked Mischief for adding this FanFiction to their alerts and/or favourites!


(|Recap|)

. . . The Destroyer of Time stood up abruptly, preparing to grab Kira and drag her out if he must. However, at that moment, Doctor Phillip returned. Kira, without a thought, immediately got up and walked over to the bald man, accepting the medicine from his hands gratefully and tucking it into her basket.

"Thank you, Doctor! I'll tell Grampy-"

A loud chink! assaulted Kira's ears, and something hard pressed against the side of her skull. The cloaked girl's eyes widened in shock, and without moving her head, her blue-eyed gaze shifted to her right. A blonde nurse was standing next to her . . . with a GUN morphing out of her face?!

"Hand over the Innocence!"

And with those words, Kira Renee Malcolm's life changed forever.


[ Chapter 8 ]

Welcome to Our War

"It's sorta like that awkward moment when you walk out to get the morning paper, and there's about a dozen punks beating the tar out of each other a few feet from your doorstep. It's not that big of a deal to you, at least not until one of them takes out your antique mailbox. Then shit gets serious." (Teach from TSFE on "How people get pulled into war")


It doesn't take long for a crowd to notice something amiss, especially when it's that of a disgustingly twisted gun morphing out of one of their prettiest nurse's faces[1]. The screechy, metallic words of the deformed woman had barely left her sharp-toothed grin before some customer starting screeching bloody murder, quickly followed by everyone else. Amongst the chorus of screaming, flying papers, and tumbling, fleeing humans, Kira was frozen in place, time slowing to an agonizing pace - a crawl - allowing her to fully process what was happening.

There was a gun against her head. For the love of God, there was a GUN AGAINST HER HEAD. WHY COULDN'T SHE MOVE?

Click!

The barely perceivable clicking noise went unnoticed. Instead, the twisted flesh of the woman next to her was forever burnt into her irises - the grotesque gray skin corkscrewing out into a metallic sheen, forming the barrel that was currently pressed threateningly against the side of Kira's skull. A ridiculously twisted look of pleasure shined brightly on the woman's - no, monster's - remaining facial features.

Click!

Allen was struggling not to get trampled. He had lunged for Kira the moment the Akuma had revealed its true self, but the crowd had panicked too quickly and pushed him aside. People stumbled wildly for the door, running over each other in their terror-induced efforts. Link had disappeared, likely pushed out of the building by the mob.

A third click! echoed ominously in Kira's ears.

Three seconds had passed.

A menacing, dark purple glow flashed against her cheek - Allen's voice rang in her ears -

"KIRAAA!"

The last thing she saw was Doctor Phillip lunging forward, his body colliding with hers, shoving her away, his brown eyes locked onto her blue -

BANG!


It was delightfully sunny today. Fat, fluffy clouds lazily drifted above in a sea of clear and calm azure, and the slightest tickle of a breeze teased the lush, green grass of the hill. The patriarch of the Malcolm family stood comfortably atop this sloped bit of land where his modest farmhouse was placed, enjoying the uncommonly good weather. A stronger wind slowly picked up, racing through the wheat fields and up the hill, tugging lightly at the old man's remaining white wisps of hair.

These were the moments Grampy Malcolm enjoyed.

"What'cha lookin' at?"

Grampy grunted, briefly pulled from his daze of quiet appreciation. Turning his head slightly, his old, gray-blue eyes recgonized his red-headed guest, Lavi, who was currently looking up at him, nails sticking out from his mouth and an old, rusted hammer in-hand. His hair lacked support, as his headband had not been returned from Chikita's earlier play time, so it curtained down around his head, looking no neater than it did flopped up. The patriarch noted that perhaps the hair in the boy's remaining eye was slowing him down, as the bunny hadn't finished the rocking chair he'd been tasked to do this very morning, and noon was passing.

"Nothing, and everything," Grampy replied to Lavi simply, voice dusty with age. He really did miss the days he could speak with clarity. Growing old was such an annoyance. "I expect that chair to be finished by the time my granddaughter and your companions return, young man."

To his amusement, the eye-patched teen gaped in horror, the nails falling from his lips and clattering to the porch floor.

"EHHH?!"

However, upon seeing that Grampy was quite serious, the bunny immediately returned to his work, ditching his formerly lazy and loose pace for a frantic one. Thank goodness all he had to do was put together the pieces! Meanwhile, his host turned back to look out across the fields. Reclaiming the calm feeling he'd had before, the elder's eyes located the path to Newton-in-Furness. His gray gaze idly trailed up the dirt line that cut through the fields before it disappeared amongst the wheat.

It was so calm . . . and yet, something felt off.

Grampy shifted some, putting his weight back onto the carved, wooden cane gripped firmly in his wrinkled hand. Was it because he fretted for his dear granddaughter? He wasn't much of a fretter though - no, his wife had certainly been, but not him. But then, why did he feel so anxious?

The old man flashed a glance back to the frantic bunny behind him, the noise of the hammer pounding nails into wood echoing in his ears. Although the fiery-haired, young adult had his coat wrapped around his waist, Grampy could still distinguish the slightest shine of the Rose Cross gracing the breast of the boy's uniform. While the coat wasn't quite as he remembered their uniforms to be - white instead of red trimmed, and much less militaristic in style - that Rose Cross was unmistakable.

No, Grampy Malcolm wasn't fretting.

He was wary.

Wary for his granddaughter.

Only sorrow and pain awaited those who wore that Rose Cross, and his dear Kira, his only branch left in the Malcolm family, was currently in town with them. The last thing he needed was for his remaining family to be wrapped up in the Order's affairs again - no, the first time had nearly destroyed them. He couldn't bear to let it happen again.

No more.

No more, God.

We've done enough already.

"Yo, Gramps, what's up with the demon cat?"

Grampy jerked out of his thoughts. He hadn't realized his gaze had been fixated on Lavi until his attention returned. However, the teenager was not looking at him, but at the front door of the farmhouse, his one visible, green eye wide. Following the youngster's attention, Grampy heard the unmistakable sound of scratching and mewling. The cat flap at the bottom of the door was bulging and trembling, unable to move thanks to a piece of wood for the rocking chair obstructing it.

"You've blocked the cat door," explained Grampy.

"Cat door? You've got a bloody cat door for that little monster?" deadpanned Lavi, as if not believing what he was hearing.

"Of course. Now if you would," Grampy said, motioning to the door and secretly enjoying the briefly panicked look on his guest's face. Kira wasn't the only one amused by Chikita's love for that boy.

Lavi got up slowly, brushing off wood dust from his pants. With hesitant steps, the young man approached the cat door; and once he was a hypothesized safe distance from the entrance, he reached out with a lanky arm to nudge the wood obstructing a certain kitty's way.

His help was unneeded.

Grampy Malcolm felt his entire body stiffen as light blue, almost green, light glowed out from the blocked cat door, and then a yowl split through the air. Lavi yelled out in shock as the cat door abruptly forced itself out, the wood before it and around it splintering and exploding outwards. A black bur jetted out, and Grampy's insides sank at the flash of blue in the determined creature's amber eyes.

A bewildered Lavi and wilting patriarch watched as the shadow of Chikita sped off the hill, landing with unsheathed claws and disappearing onto the path between the wheat fields, grass waving wildly behind her.

There was a moment of stunned silence. The breeze from earlier whispered around them, the calm of the day returning. A bird twittered noisily from the barn farther off as Lavi moved to stand next to the oldest Malcolm, both overlooking the fields now.

"You should go," stated Grampy simply, his voice hollow.

Lavi merely shook his head, attempting a light-hearted tone despite his host's clear disheartened stature.

"They might come here. Can't leave an old man without protection, neh?"

Grampy twitched, ever sensitive about his failing abilities. He wasted no time in responding in an admirably barking tone for his age, "Then get back to work on that rocking chair - my expectations have not changed!"

"Whaaaaa?!"

Unfortunately, not even Lavi's wailing and flailing arms could lighten the old man's heart. Grampy turned away from the complaining child and gazed out over the hill again, gray eyes darkening with regret.

How silly of him. He shouldn't have expected mercy, after all.

Innocence had no sympathies for his old heart.


Glowing white invaded her vision, and then she was airborne - heat, light, and glass exploding around her. Her terror remained choked down in her throat, even as she tumbled to the ground outside.

Everything was spinning.

Something warm and wet trickled down her cheek.

Her eyes unfocused and refocused, her vision blurry and her mind muddled.

Fire was crackling all around her. She couldn't find a way out. She was surrounded by falling, burning wood and kitchenware. The curtains were aflame. The clock fell with a smash, followed closely behind recently washed dishes.

Kira stood there in her mother's kitchen, staring into space blankly in shock. Something warm and wet was spattered against her face, and her hands clenched the edges of her little, poofy dress.

Clench. Unclench. Clench.

Why.

What was happening.

Why was this happening.

She didn't understand. This didn't make sense!

A scream cut through her eardrums. Her little feet burst into action - something grabbed her from behind - she was being dragged away -

"Mummy?!"

"Kira, snap out of it!"

Allen?

Kira's eyes shot open, and she gasped as stinging air flooded into her mouth, invading her lungs. Something firm patted her back as she coughed, choking on smoke and flying ash. She wasn't given time to finish her hacking fit, however, as suddenly the firm hand upon her back became two strong arms grabbing onto her. The stunned young girl yelped as glowing white flooded her vision once again, and then she was yanked back. The place she'd been exploded, cobblestone and earth spraying outwards as a barrage of something purple pelted the ground.

Kira could only manage a broken shout, calling Allen's name as the dust settled, afraid she'd lost him. However, he was still by her, speaking fast.

But she didn't hear a word he said.

Instead, her gaze had become locked on the remains of a brick building, currently billowing smoke and upchucking fire. A terrible heat assaulted her skin, but her flesh chilled as three shadows rose from the chaos. They were bulbous in shape; and a metallic screeching sound echoed from the middle of them as the smoke cleared, chased away by the wind picking up.

As her hair whipped out behind her from the new breeze, Kira's eyes widened in horror. Those bulbous shapes - they had GUNS sticking out of them, odd canon-like weaponry that protruded from their bodies haphazardly; and a - was that a human face? No, the face was like a mask - a mask of utmost sorrow and pain, a permanent blank look and expression of anguish as the mouth gaped open in silent agony and black tears dripped from its pallid cheeks. It was horrendous and grotesque and -

The middle spherical monster was shaking violently. It's body suddenly became distorted, and an inhuman, mixed cry left it as the black pentacle upon its forehead glowed a reddish purple. Before her eyes, the thing changed, morphing into something akin to a mutated porcupine - obnoxiously large, rusted spikes protruding from every inch of its metallic-like body; massive, bear-like claws jutting out from its paws; and that white, sorrowful mask pushing out from its chest, a Roman numeral two printed upon the forehead.

Something was tugging her arm. The stunned and horrified young girl had half the mind to resist, but Allen's voice rang clear in her ears, reminding her once again that he was at her side.

"We have to move! Please, Kira, c'mon!"

Numbly, she staggered to her feet, allowing the older teen to guide her. Her mind was reeling - or was it blank? She didn't quite know. Was this what they called "shock?"

Kira refocused her gaze from the creatures wailing in the rubble and to her white-haired guest, the cursed boy leading her away from the terror before them. Her blue eyes widened as she found that Allen had changed. A magnificent white cape billowed out from behind him, sweeping passed her left side, whipping the air next to her; and a furred hood burst forth from the neck, resting upon the teen's shoulders. His grip upon her wrist was firm and clothed - clothed in the white covering his body, the wrist displaying that of a kind of band around it in the shape of a golden crown, more white fluffing out from the wrist.

When did he change clothes? Better yet, why were his clothes glowing?

The sound of something akin to cannons firing exploded into Kira's eardrums. However, She barely had the time to flinch, for Allen suddenly yanked her (so much yanking, geeze!) behind himself - still making her run whilst he did so - flinging out his left arm -

Holy Mary, mother of Jesus! His left arm was a claw! A BLOODY CLAW!

Kira stared aghast.

"Innocence can take the form of many things - from jewelry to basic house-hold items."

"But your's is your arm?"

"The rarest form Innocence can take is that of a part of the Exorcist's body. Mine is my entire left arm."

And that was when everything clicked. Kira felt as if her shock had been bitch-slapped by a brick wall and flung out of her skull like a cheating husband from his home.

Innocence.

This was Allen's Innocence activated.

Allen was an Exorcist.

And behind them - those creatures - Akuma!

Everything she'd been told, everything was true - the so-called secret war was real, and she'd just been flung into the middle of it!

As a particularly colorful vocabulary (now more extensive thanks to a certain bunny) ran through Kira's panicking mind, Allen's ever-firm grip stayed with her. His left, clawed hand had, as mentioned before, been flung out. Words left his lips, but Kira missed them as the Akuma's gun fire drowned out everything around her.

Beautiful and fierce white light burst forth, circling like a disk before stretching out and forming an encircled white cross, the four points tipped with spheres. The purple projectiles from the Akuma impacted with this light, and Kira felt as if the air itself was pressed back and condensed, pushing past her violently and whipping her hair and cloak out to her side, loosening her balance as she ran.

But she didn't stumble. No, Allen was still dragging her along, quickly and without hesitation - her feet flying across the cobblestone below, trying to keep up with him.

Her ears were ringing - her heart was pounding - her blood was racing - she was terrified and thrilled and filled with adrenaline.

She was scared out of her wits, and yet an excitement filled her.

What was this?

This strange thrill?

Was it the adrenaline?

Was it the thrill of danger?

Screams of the fleeing townsfolk rose up into the air, breaking through the immense pillar of smoke still billowing forth from the remains of the brick building -

No. No, not just a brick building.

The Pharmacy.

Doctor Phillip. The nurses.

Allen had pushed her back for the bajillionth time as two of the Akuma fired once again, the newly formed one twitching and cackling off somewhere to the side. Kira fell on her bum on the cobblestone, but the pain of the landing barely registered. Her eyes were zeroed in onto the once-upon-a-time Pharmacy building across the courtyard.

They were gone. All of them were gone.

Doctor Phillip had pushed her out of the way.

Doctor Phillip had taken the Akuma's fire.

Tears trickled down her soot-stained face, and Kira shut her eyes, covering her face. The adrenaline had left, replaced by the heavy weight of sorrow smothering her heart.

Gone forever.

Gone.

Dead.

Those people you were just talking to a minute ago are DEAD.

"Little giiiirl~!"

Kira's eyes snapped open. Beady red orbs locked onto her gaze - a jaw filled with jagged teeth opened wide - an ear-ringing screech assaulted her ears, piercing through her skull -

"Hand over the Innocence!"

She didn't have time to move. Black, gray, and the gleam of teeth lunged forward -

Allen was in front of her in a flash, his clawed Innocence arm raised once again, this time blocking off the snapping teeth. A loud clang like that of metal hitting metal rang through the air on contact, and a battle of strength ensued, Exorcist against Akuma, pressing against each other - the monster to get to a stunned and frightened Kira, and Allen to protect her.

"Kira, run! Find somewhere to hide!" shouted the cursed boy, struggling against this new, vicious Akuma.

Kira was surprised to find her earlier caught voice bursting from her throat.

"But what about you?!"

Allen actually grinned, though it was strained.

"Don't worry about me - remember, I'm an Exorcist!"

Kira froze, her guest's words sinking in.

That was right. This fifteen-year-old - this boy cloaked in white with a strained, reassuring grin as he fought off the weight of the pressing monster drooling and gnawing upon his clawed arm - was an Exorcist. A soldier of the Black Order.

And I'm just a civilian, a weak and helpless little girl.

The frightened, young teenager on the ground felt her gut plummet.

"Miss Kira, I believe Walker is quite right."

Kira jumped in surprise, head snapping back to find Link standing a safe distance away. His gentleman attire was torn, and soot covered him. It appeared as if the crowd and explosion had taken their toll on the blonde man, though he still stood tall and firm.

"You ought to get to some place safe, preferably before Walker loses his arm."

At that last bit, Kira snapped out of her reverie.

"O-Okay!" she stammered, flashing a frightened glance at the struggling boy before her before scrambling up and turning tail. Kira didn't know quite where she was running, but she figured anywhere AWAY from the drooling demon looking to eat her was a good start. She sprinted to the right, locating a nearby building that looked structurally safe amongst the ensuing chaos.

Meanwhile, behind her, the Akuma out for her blood released a furious roar, irritated that its prey was running off. Allen, of course, wasn't going to let it reach his host. Not on his watch! Now if only he could move his arm out of the Level Two's jaws without it moving to bite his head off -

A strange whirring noise took him by surprise.

Kira had just reached her designated safe zone when she heard it. The young girl turned back just in time to spot the porcupine-like Akuma open its maw and release a menacing, purple-pink light right into a shocked Allen's face. A loud boom resonated through the air, followed by a certain cursed boy's body being flung backward, leaving a trail of ash and smoke in front of him as he rocketed directly through a building, which promptly caved in.

Allen's name ripped from Kira's throat in a scream, fear for her guest blooming inside of her. The young teenager stepped back towards from whenst she came, only to trip on her torn cloak. Kira immediately fell face-first with a yelp, dust invading her nostrils and eyes. By the time she'd recovered to look up, Link had stepped forward, a strange dagger-like contraption sliding out of both of his sleeves. The man, with inhuman speed similar to Allen's, leapt through the air and landed upon the Akuma's skull - the one spot lacking ginormous, rusty needles. Without hesitation, Link stabbed downwards, plunging his golden, serrated knives into the monster's head. However, they didn't appear to have much affect, as the Akuma let out an agitated roar and flung its body to the side, easily tossing the blonde man like a rag-doll into the bakery - or what used to be the bakery.

Kira's eyes widened in horror, and her heart jumped in her throat.

Tossed into buildings - what humans could survive that?!

At that precise moment as if to prove her wrong, Allen reappeared, bursting out of the ruins of his own impact zone, much to Kira's relief. A new weapon was clutched in his hand - or, at least, in his remaining hand. His clawed Innocence left arm had disappeared. Now, he brandished a magnificent, ridiculously large white sword, a black cross prominently stretching across its length and a black, almost blue, glittering border around the edge of the blade.

Kira was done being shocked and surprised. She gave up trying to make sense of the distorted reality around her. Instead, as her guest returned to battle, she processed one thing: Allen was fighting the Akuma. And fighting Akuma whilst defending her and the scrambling townspeople around them was pretty damn hard without help. She needed to do something - anything - anything other than sitting here useless in the dust.

As a spray of purple bullets pelted the ground farther off, Kira felt a new-found power burst forth into her limbs. She sprinted to the side of the courtyard, keeping away from the Akuma and heading for the first group of people she saw, a few folks cowering before the Newton-in-Furness hotel's portico.

"Get out of town!" Kira yelled, an explosion sounding behind her and yet another gust of wind pulling at her body. "Run for the fields!"

The townsfolk took one terrified look at her and did as told, too frightened to care about trivial social rumours at this point. Seeing them flee out of the crossfire, Kira whirled around, looking for others stricken still by fear. She wondered if she should check on Link, and at that thought, she turned, only to stumble again. With an agitated noise, the young girl ripped off her hindering cloak. Just when she thought she was free, however, a loud boom echoed above her head.

Kira looked up just in time to see the building looming over her and at her back collapsing. Rock and wood and dust fell, plummeting towards her -

And everything went black.


Allen was not a happy camper.

No, he was quite pissed actually.

He'd fought in the middle of towns before, yes, but not ones quite as busy as this. And if they were as busy as this, he was always able to lead the Akuma away, like in his first battle alongside Lavi[2].

But noooo, this Akuma just didn't want to work with him! It didn't help that it was ecstatic over realizing it had a personality[3].

"AHAHAHA, this is fantastic! Brilliant! Wonderful! I feel - I FEEL ALIVE!"

Allen deftly ducked under a swinging paw, flinching back as the bear-like claws missed his back by a hairsbreadth. Even with the knowledge that Crown Clown would defend him[4], he figured it'd be better not to take the risk of meeting those claws. The Critical Point Breaker jumped back quickly, following up with a roll as a barrage of pointed spikes launched towards his vicinity.

"Play with me, exorcist! Play with me!"

An image of Road flashed through the cursed boy's mind, and he twitched. What was with his enemies and always wanting to "play?" This most certainly was not playing!

The Level Two opened its maw again, and Allen summoned his cloak out, gripping it by the edge with a finger (he still had a grip on his Sword of Salvation) and flinging the glowing white out in front of him. It immediately stretched and moved, forming a tent-like shield as the beam of purple-pink light from before impacted with it.

That attack wasn't harmful inititally - he had not been burned or stung or injured directly by it that first time it'd manifested. No, Allen had learned that that attack flung you back, and whatever you impacted with was what hurt. A lot. Luckily, however, this Akuma was still only just beginning its "understanding" stage. It still didn't know all of its abilities yet[4], and Allen hoped to use this to his advantage.

The Akuma let out a roar, enjoying the sound of its own voice. Between the Earl's machine and the screams echoing around him from the townspeople, Allen was really beginning to wish he had some earplugs. But now wasn't the time to complain. No, the townspeople were an issue. Allen had to not only defend himself, but also them, as any attack he dodged could likely strike a human, and he couldn't have that. At the very least, the Earl's machine was leaving Kira be, its attention now on him; but Allen didn't know how long this would last, not when it thought Kira had Innocence.

He was going to need to entertain this being of Dark Matter until he could find an appropriate opening. Forming an idea, he used his big ass sword to block a few rusty needles aimed his way.

"Akuma!" he shouted, unleashing a few Clown Belts to keep it preoccupied, "I'll play with you, but on one condition!"

"Ohhh~?" the sorrowful creature sang, tilting its head as it skidded on the ground, claws grinding into the earth as it stopped the momentum of its dodge.

"We go elsewhere!" offered Allen, feeling sweat beginning to bead on his brow. "Out of this town!"

It was becoming hard to ignore the wailing of the Akuma's trapped soul, and the monocle in front of his cursed eye was whirring wildly. Allen grit his teeth as the Akuma tilted its ugly head, seemingly contemplating his proposition.

"I will accept! I accept, I accept, I ACCEPT~!" finally cried the Level Two cheerfully, spinning around happily.

Allen immediately flung out a Cross Grave, slashing out with his sword, but cursed as the Akuma bolted out of the way. The damn thing was fast! But not as fast as a Level Three - he could do this. He could definitely get it -

The porcupine-like creation suddenly jetted off, directly out of town, still singing away in its mechanical voice. Its morbid, spikey body soon disappeared into the wheat fields, the tall golden grass swaying fearfully around it.

As the Level Two's call of, "Let's play~! Let's play~!" became fainter and fainter, Allen flashed one last look back at the courtyard of Newton-in-Furness. His cursed eye still whirring wildly as a world of black and white focused next to one of color.

Kira must have found a place to hide. The townspeople were fleeing for the fields to the north, which was good, considering the Akuma went in the opposite direction, south. Having destroyed the Level Ones, now all he needed to do was chase down that Level Two and destroy it in the fields -

"Walker, there's another town southward."

Allen's heart skipped a beat.

"What?" dropped from his mouth, and the Destroyer of Time turned, his silver-eyed gaze landing upon his supervisor.

Link was bloodied, but still stubbornly standing firm, his arm wrapped around his torso as he approached his watch. Once side by side, the former CROW's reddish eyes flashed warningly.

"Floraston. That town is having a festival today."

The Level Two was heading straight for it.


[ SOTF OMAKE 5 ]

*note: Thank you to Alessia for helping me brain storm this idea! Big creds to her! Ya'll should check out her dA too - 5ds-rabid-fangirl is her username :D

It had been a long, fairly unsuccessful day, but Mr. Fisher was in a bright mood. After all, he'd made more income than the obnoxious shoe seller, Geoffrey Soles, across the way.

The old man grinned, the gaps from his missing teeth glaring into view. That spindly coot Soles hadn't stood a chance, not after he'd bribed the paper boy to start up a verbal match with him about his prices.

"You must be mental if you think that's cheap!"

That's all it had taken. One statement. And then Mr. Soles and the paper boy had gone at it for a good ten minutes, successfully chasing away any possible customers. Talk about brilliant!

Mr. Fisher cackled to himself, scrubbing his bread counter.

"Darling, you've been scrubbing that damn counter for ten minutes. Can't you put away the bread for today now? People will think we're still open otherwise!"

Mr. Fisher's cackling abruptly stopped, and a tick formed above his brow.

"Mathilde, this counter is NOT clean. Can you not see these two CLEARLY dirty spots?" he insisted with a mock fatherly tone.

His wife wasn't amused. If only she could understand that he must make the counter spotless! A single spot was so annoying, and it distracted him from everything. That one stupid finger print to the left - a smudge right next to it -

"You're going to scrub straight through the counter, dear!" Mrs. Fisher snipped, lumbering forward as she folded her apron. "Really, it's clean enough! I don't need you staying up till midnight scrubbing the stupid counter again-"

"Patience!" interrupted Mr. Fisher. "Patience is the key to making my bakery spotless!"

"Patience is for fishing," corrected Mrs. Fisher with a huff. "You need to remember that YOU inherited this bakery from your uncle, and your BROTHER is the one who fishes for a living."

Mr. Fisher grumbled unhappily. It was true. He'd gotten the short end of the stick. Mr. Fisher was supposed to be a fisherman, hence his last name. He was not supposed to be a silly baker!

"If anything, that counter is permanently marked from wear," continued Mrs. Fisher. "We need a new shop."

"Nothing's wrong with this shop," growled Mr. Fisher, still scrubbing away.

"It's old, darling!" argued Mrs. Fisher informatively. "You'd be so much happier in a new shop with new counters-"

"New, new, new! New requires money, Mathilde," retorted Mr. Fisher, finding yet another blemish on his counter. He attacked it immediately, warring against it's mark on the wood. He would not be defeated by these smudges! "I will not spend money on something we do not need!"

Mrs. Fisher huffed, crossing her arms over her buxom chest and equally buxom belly. She wasn't a fat woman, but she was certainly plump. "And when will that be, sweet heart? When this place falls down on your bald head?"

"Yes," replied Mr. Fisher sarcastically. "Now, if you would allow me to complete my work-"

"Complete!" echoed Mrs. Fisher, throwing her hands in the air. "You are never done scrubbing that counter!" she insisted, giving her last words to their argument as she left. "Never!" she called over her shoulder.

Mr. Fisher merely snorted, ignoring his wife's indignance. Really, why were women so fretful? His shop was quite sturdy - he bet even a cannon couldn't take it down! Or a militia of men - yes, his place was a fortification! Mr. Fisher scrubbed harder into the counter, eyes bright as he praised his little bakery. That was right. This wood was strong - unbreakable - nothing could ever -

BAM!

A body crashed through the bakery's front wall, right between the window and door, flying straight through the first set of shelves of bread still on display. Wood and pastries went airborne, and dishes and shelves clattered to the floor.

Mr. Fisher stared at the scene aghast, hand frozen in mid-scrub.

The body that had rocketed into his beloved bakery groaned, blonde hair peaking out from the shelf that had fallen atop of it. As the man slowly eased himself out of the debris, Mrs. Fisher returned, newspaper in-hand.

"You know, dear, there have been quite a lot of odd occurences happening 'round here-" she cut off midsentence, eyes having moved from the paper and to the ruined front of the shop.

"Oh, my."

"Don't say it."

"But, dear -"

"Don't say it!" yelled Mr. Fisher, face bright red and a vein bulging out from his wrinkled head.

A moment of silence. Even the injured man was quiet, eyeing the two with a kind of blank, red-gazed "I don't know what to do about this" look. However, everyone knows how a husband and wife's argument ends. The wife will always get that last word in, no matter how much her husband insists she not.

Mrs. Fisher was keeping to that unspoken marital law.

"Looks like you'll be buying us a new shop after all."

And Mr. Fisher lost it.

"DAMNIT ALL!"

As a raging, rather short and stooped over old man went on a rampage, kicking broken shelves and bread about, Link took that moment of opportunity to slip (or more like limp) out. If anything was scarier than Akuma, it was enraged elderly folks, and he wasn't too inclined to get into their marital spit!


[1] I don't really think of DGray as a horror manga until I remember the Akuma side of the plotline. EEK. Here's some references in the manga for Akuma twisting out of their disguises: DGM Manga: Chapter 27, Page 16; Chapter 28, Page 9, and Chapter 28, Page 17.

*note: The clicks signified seconds. I dunno whether Akuma actually make that noise, but I associate it with a weapon about to fire, so I integrated that into this particular Akuma (which is about to evolve, and therefore would exhibit a few slowly appearing traits that will become official upon its evolution - you can find more on this on dgraymanwikia).

[2] Allen's first battle alongside Lavi is told in Chapters 27 and 28 of the DGM Manga. c:

[3][4] "Level 2 produces a dramatic change. They develop a unique ability and a sense of self. Level 2 Akuma are capable of intelligent thought and are largely independent, though they still maintain unquestionable loyalty to the Millennium Earl and the Clan of Noah." (dgraymanwikia). I was really disappointed to find that dgraywikia didn't detail the whole finding out their abilities bit, but you can read about it in the Martel/Mater/Matel Arc of Allen's first mission with Kanda, when Allen fights his first Level Two.

*note: Sorry if I spend too much time on the Akuma. I enjoy writing about them, as I feel like not enough fanfictions explore them enough when they mention them. Merp.


A/N : This has been gathering dust in Docs for almost a week now, haha. Trying to get a head-start on upcoming chapters, which are quite messy plot and theme-wise -flops-. SO MUCH RE-WRITING BLARG.

I've absolutely loved all the feedback I've gotten. Thank you, everyone, for every review you've given me! I can't express my gratitude enough :D -totallyaddictedtoreviews-

The biggest thing I changed in this chapter: Kira's reactions. I detailed them much more than in the first version - and this time I expressed her terror more as well. I hope I was able to convey her shock and over all turmoil of feelings towards the fighting. Meep.

Also, I tried a new writing style for fight scenes. I wanted it to feel a little rushed (hence the hyphens "-"), but also wanted to keep the details there. I hope it worked out, haha.

PishaGirl - Thank you! :D LOL, who doesn't love Allen? xD I'm thrilled you love Kira and Chikita ;u; I've worked very hard on them, so whenever I hear people like them, it feels fantastic lD Oh, I know the feeling! The reactions are my favorite part to write 8D Especially since we all see things differently, which makes perspective a blast, haha. Plus, fight scenes are epic, and describing them and those involved is fun~! Thank you very much, and thank you for the lovely review~!

Panthershade - Aha, glad you do! Yeaaah, I was ruined when it came to the word "innocence" after I read some badly translated DGM manga followed by a rather poorly done anime sub ("I just wanted to touch your Innocence." -Hevlaska). -dying- Hell yeah. If you're gonna dream, dream wild 8D That's how my dreams are at least, lmao. Link likes corners. I mean, he's practically a paid stalker, no? xD WAIT. IS HE EVEN GETTING PAID? -mindblown- The fish scale design was my absolute favorite. I miss it so much too ;n; Good thing Lavi's hammer doesn't get gnaw marks on it xD Haha, yeah, I found out about Kira's Japanese name meaning after three chapters of SOTF. I was going with the Gaelic for her name, which means "dark" :'D OH WELL. Kanda will show up a chapter or so after Kira gets to the Order - I'm going to be trying to include him more in this version of SOTF, since he was only mentioned, like, once in my last version (oops). No kidding! The Earl is one of the most curious guys in the manga - man insane. Literally, lmao. I agree ;u; Thank you for the nice review~!

Kaite1211 - LOL, that never gets repetitive, not for me xD Haha, that's alright! Well, when it's up, I look forward to reading it :D Thank you, and thank you for the review!

EvaWinters - I didn't even think of that xD Naah, the bold and italisized letters in "Hand over the Innocence!" is just my way of trying to express the vocal tones of the Akuma. Kind of like how people use italics for singing sometimes? If that makes any sense xD You have a good eye though! I hope you're one of the ones who catch the hints I always hide in the chapters |D

KhaalidaNyx - Yay for applause~! :D Even if you've said it before, I certainly don't mind hearing it again! xD Thank you very much. That's a good point about Allen too. With all the discussions I've been a part of, many have come to the acceptance that the "Mask of Mana" has swallowed Allen's personality, now an intregral part of who he is. However, black!Allen is still Allen from so long ago, snapping at Mana and cussing up a storm, lmao. And that's quite true - it's one of the things that pisses Lenalee off in their first fight together, haha. He just doesn't realize that hiding himself is hurting those around him - those that care and want to help, but can only watch him struggle and suffer alone because he won't reach out. (He just needs another Lenalee-bitch-slap -shot-). Gawd, Timcanpy is legitimately my favorite little creature EVER. I can't wait to return him back to Allen in later chapters! Ah, and yes, I believe that perhaps through the few similarities in their cases, a bit of relating will go on between Allen and Kira, that is, if Kira's willing to open up. Allen's not the only one who likes to keep things to himself! Perhaps Kira's opening up will aid him in that. And no probs! No review is late to me xD Thank you again, and thanks for reviewing~!

Skittles-Obsessed-Wolf-Girl - wewt xD Here ya go again then =P The nurse? The nurse was talking to Kira :'D Does Kira have Innocence? Hmmm, guess you'll have to find out ;D Skittles are fantastic. I had skittled today too xD Thanks for the review~!

Lovin' This Hon - I'm pleased you do! Thank you so very much ;u; Here's your next chapter, and thanks for the review!

SupaEpicKittyRdr - amg your anon name 8D Glad you are! They shall continue to come xD And we'll be finding out soon enough just what Chikita can do! Thanks for the review~!

vaskeemi - Here ya go~! Thanks for the review!

Tezzifrea - lol ikr. It took me forever to get over calling a man's breast a breast xD WHAT SHOULD I SAY MANBOOB? MANBOOB CAN WORK TOO /shot. Thank you for the early birthday wishes! ;u; Ah, yes, her pics on dA are /after/ things . . . happen xD You'll find out why her skin disease doesn't show there, haha. I am planning to upload a kind of fake "manga cover" for like the first "act" or "arc" of SOTF where you can see the blotches of black skin on her =u=b Thanks for the review~!

Angel-Levy - BRILLIANT - I'm glad it got you laughing like a crazy person 8'D Thanks for the review~!

B3GIN - JUST FOR YOU, DEAR 8D Pffffff. a;sldfjk "extremely well written" amg -rollshappily- Thank youuuuuu ;u; Ahaha, yeah, and in this version of SOTF, it's a lot worse for poor Kira (I got more evil OTL). I know that feeling! xD Yes, we need moar Lavi gawd. I miss his jokester attitude orz. Thank you for the lovely review, B3GIN~!