I'm actually new to D. Gray-man, and I've only watched the anime. So this story takes place after the end of the anime, not in continuity with the manga. I'll get to reading it eventually.

I Dreamed A Dream (2)
Robbing Innocence

Miranda shivered.

Her hair and uniform clung to her skin, binding the cold to her body as tightly as Tyki had her in his arms.

'Come on, Miranda! Do something!' she screamed to herself. 'You've been trained by two Generals. Put that training to use!'

But she couldn't. With the Chronorangs out of reach and her in the clutches of a Noah infinitely stronger, Miranda had no hopes of fighting back. Her mind went blank on any possible way of turning the tables. Tears of fear and frustration welled in her eyes.

'I'm not going down without a fight!'

She gritted her teeth. There had to be a way out of this mess. She wildly wondered if her comrades happened to be in the area. Tyki didn't budge as she struggled. Miranda tried to sound angry and tough. "L-let me go! I have friends who will come and-"

Tyki cut her off with an amused laugh. "You make a very poor liar. You are the only Exorcist I've seen around here. Besides, my Noah brethren are busy fighting your friends in various places. No one is coming to save you, no matter how much you call for your friends or pray to your God. You can't expect me to believe that little bluff. Look at you. You're trembling."

Miranda felt her cheeks burn with shame. She couldn't stop her knees from shaking. Of course he could see that she was weak and useless. Of course he had laughed at her pathetic attempt to be brave. Who was she kidding?

Tyki was shocked at how little she weighed. Her thin figure in his arms almost felt like nothing, as if her bones were that of a bird's, fragile and hollow. She seemed to weigh as much as Road. Perhaps even lighter. Miranda tried to struggle free from his grip. He kept a firm hold on her, which didn't take much effort due to her light weight.

"Easy, now. Where are you hiding that Innocence?" he asked.

"As if I would tell you."

Tyki ignored Miranda's shaky rebuke. Keeping one arm tight around her waist, his other hand roamed across her uniform. He scowled as his fingers brushed the cold silver cross. The dark side of him wanted to rip her apart, and take devilish delight at the spilling of Exorcist blood. The other side of him reveled in her beauty up close. Tyki leaned in, so that his cheek brushed her curly brown hair. His gray skin looked very dark in contrast to her pale face. The part that admired her proved to be stronger. He wanted Miranda alive. With any other Exorcist, he would not hesitate to kill. But this woman...

'I'm getting distracted. The Innocence. Where is it...?'

Tyki's eyes lit up when he sensed it. He fished the Innocence from her pocket and regarded it with a satisfied grin. Then Miranda gasped as he plucked a silver button from her coat. It flashed in the air as he flipped and caught it like a coin.

"A little bonus for me. I'm very fond of collecting these, you know. Usually I take them once Exorcists are nothing more than mangled corpses. Consider yourself very lucky, Miss Lotto."

Miranda did not consider herself lucky at all. She didn't like what the Noah was implying.

"L-lucky...? You're not going to kill me?"

"Now why would I do that? You're more valuable to me alive than dead."

She let out a bitter laugh. "Me, valuable? You must be joking."

The light in his yellow eyes dimmed as he looked down at her. "I'm being perfectly serious, Miss Lotto. You're not as useless as you think."

She didn't know whether to take such words of comfort from a Noah, her natural enemy.

Tyki skillfully threw up the Chronorangs from the mud with the tip of his foot. He caught both in his free hand, never letting go of Miranda.

"We're wasting time," he said. "I don't enjoy being in the rain for very long."

Miranda had no choice but to trail along as he took a few steps forward. "Where are you taking me?"

"Where else? To the Earl, of course."

A large, checkered door materialized right out of the ground. As if opened by unseen hands, they parted for him. Tyki had neither the time nor intention to explain. Keeping a firm grip on her, he walked through. The landscape of rainy, rural Germany shifted into a dark, bizarre dimension. A long, empty dinner table stretched out before them.

Miranda's eyes darted about warily. Where had she seen these floating candles and pumpkin heads before?

"Tyki! You're back!"

The sudden, high-pitched shout made Miranda jump. A blue-haired girl in a frilly skirt and striped stockings leapt forward to hug Tyki. He laughed and gently dismantled her.

"I've only been away for a few hours, Road."

"But I missed you! You're like my cool older brother."

"I'm your uncle."

She giggled. "Of course I know, silly. That's why I said you're like my older brother." Then she finally seemed to notice the German Exorcist. "Hey, Miss Unlucky. Long time no see."

Miranda gulped nervously as she recognized the Noah who had drilled holes into her hands. Her palms tingled just from the unpleasant memory.

Road tapped a finger over her lip. "What was your name again? Oh, right. I only remember because of that song."

Miranda cringed. She hadn't heard it in ages.

The childish Noah rocked back and forth in her chair gleefully. "Miranda, Miranda. She's all bad luck. Full of doom, full of gloom. What a dumb and ugly-"

"Stop that, Road." Tyki mildly chided. "Find something else to sing. Could you take off my hat for me? My hands are full at the moment."

Road jumped up and snatched the top hat from Tyki's head. She shook out the rain droplets before putting it over her own head. Her fingers curled as she twirled an imaginary moustache.

"Look at me, I'm such a gentleman. Now I need a cane. Lero, where are you? Come be my cane!"

The pumpkin-headed umbrella emerged from a pile of dolls. Then it bounced up and down in hysterics.

"Lord Tyki! Are you out of your mind, Lero? You've exposed us and brought an enemy right into our secret lair, Lero! Lord Millennium will not like this one bit, Lero!"

Tyki wasn't worried at all. "Relax. She is powerless. No longer a formidable threat."

A pair of Noah teens suddenly appeared by the table. Miranda couldn't tell whether the yellow-haired one was a boy or a girl.

"Who do we have here? A visitor?" Jasdero asked.

"And she's not an Akuma!" Debit exclaimed.

"An Exorcist!" Jasdero hissed.

Tyki looked slightly surprised. "Oh, you two. I didn't expect you to return so quickly."

Debit crossed his arms. "Yeah well, we had to tuck our tails and run after that stupid Allen Walker gave us a hard time."

"Stupid Allen Walker with his stupid Crown Clown!" Jasdero crowed.

Tyki said nothing, though Miranda could see the wry agreement on his face. "Where's Lulu?"

"Still in Russia, I think." Debit toyed with his gun and shot a ball of paper at his own face. "She's got a whole bunch of high-level Akuma to help her take on a couple of Exorcist Generals."

"I see. So we won't expect her back anytime soon. Where's Sheril, then?"

"Taking care of political affairs back home," Road replied. "I think he last said to me that he had some important meeting at Lisbon."

Tyki looked around. "Hmm, I see. More importantly, where is-"

"Now what could be causing all this commotion among my dear family?"

Everyone fell silent and turned to where a large, round figure suddenly appeared at the opposite end of the table. The sight triggered a shiver down Miranda's spine.

Tyki acknowledged the newcomer by inclining his head. "It's a pleasure to see you again...Lord Millennium."

Miranda may have seen him once or twice at a glance, but never this close. In fact, right now was much too close to her liking. The Millenium Earl was round, chubby, almost comical with his pointed ears, strange hat and perpetual toothy grin. But something about him made her hair stand on end. Just a few feet across from her stood the creator of all Akuma, the instigator of the world's suffering. There was nothing funny about it all, despite his clownish appearance. Even if he wasn't bent on the world's destruction, Miranda would still be creeped out by him. She hated clowns.

"Welcome home, Tyki-pet. I see that your mission has been successful."

"It has, indeed. And I've come back with more." Tyki brought out Miranda's Innocence and presented them to the Earl.

The Earl's spectacles gleamed. His normally jovial voice held a hint of apprehension. "An accomodated Innocence. Quite dangerous in the hands of a skilled Exorcist."

"Was she easy to beat, Tyki?" Road interjected. "Was she weak?"

"This one surprised me," he replied. "I didn't expect her to take out my Akuma the way she did."

"She killed all your Akuma?" Debit asked.

"Hehehehehee. How embarrassing!" Jasdero giggled.

"Nevertheless, he got the job done. After a string of failures, this is quite refreshing, Tyki."

The Noah of Pleasure raised an eyebrow. "Thank you...I suppose."

Miranda never took her eyes off the Earl as he turned the Chronorangs over in his hands. "Interesting shape," he remarked. "But Innocence is Innocence. No matter what form they take, they are equally despicable in my eyes."

Then he tightened his grip on them. A jolt of horror, stronger than lightning, surged through Miranda's body. It galvanized her like an electric shock. It got her moving. She struggled and thrashed wildly in Tyki's arms.

"No...no, please don't!"

With a simple yet vicious close of his hand, the Earl shattered the Innocence. Her Innocence.

Miranda fell to her knees and screamed. The sheer pain and grief in her voice was so strong that even Tyki winced. His heart went out to her, if only for a moment.

He went ahead and passed the third piece of Innocence to the Earl. He crushed it with the same ease as the last two. Miranda's body shook with sobs. To add salt to the wound, the other Noah laughed at her grief. Only Tyki remained silent, finding neither fun or amusement in her suffering. He bit back a sigh. It had to be done. Innocence was an abomination that had to be destroyed at all costs.

The Earl's gaze shifted to Miranda, as if finally noticing her for the first time. "What do you plan to do with that Exorcist, Tyki-pet?" Then there was glee in his voice. "Oh, perhaps I shouldn't call her an Exorcist anymore."

Miranda flinched at his offhand remark, as if he slapped her.

Tyki shrugged nonchalantly. "It's about time I claim something of my own. Consider her my reward for completing the mission. Let me have her, Lord Millennium. With your permission, of course."

Lero wildly bounced up and down again. "Of course he would not approve, Lero! Your request is absurd!"

The Earl was silent for a few seconds as he contemplated. Then his reply surprised everyone. "Sure. Go ahead."

Only the stitches in his lips prevented Jasdero from dropping his mouth open farther. "Tyki gets to keep the Exorcist?"

"No fair! I want to play with her!" Road whined.

Tyki nearly rolled his eyes. "You have enough toys already."

"Can we share?"

"No. This woman is mine, and mine alone."

Being a calm and laidback man, Tyki normally wasn't this assertive with her. This time he was serious. Road stuck out her bottom lip in a sulky pout. She slouched and crossed her arms. "Hmph. Meanie."

Miranda thought she was going to be sick. The Noah argued over her as if she was an object to be used or sold. That felt even worse than being treated as an enemy. She didn't bother to wipe her face as more tears slid down. She felt so broken, so alone.

The Earl took his usual place at the head of the table. Akuma servants came in with plates of food. "We're about to start lunch. Tyki-pet, Lady Exorcist...you are welcome to join us."

Tyki glanced at Miranda. "Ladies first."

She stiffened. To dine with the enemy was unheard of. To be invited by the enemy was even worse. By doing that, the Earl seemed to be mocking her. She numbly shook her head.

Tyki shrugged and said, "Sorry, but I'll have to skip out on this one. I ate early."

"Suit yourself," the Earl replied.

"More for us!" Road exclaimed.

Tyki waved his hand as he turned his back to them. "I'm going to rest. I'll be back sometime."

"See ya, Tyki!" Debit and Jasdero's reply was muffled by the food in their mouths.

The door materialized again. Miranda stumbled after Tyki as he took her hand. She couldn't bring herself to go on. She felt her legs give way as she silently swooned and blacked out.

Miranda's eyes fluttered open. She sensed that she was laying in a warm, comfortable bed. She felt a blanket draped snugly over her chest as she took quiet, shallow breaths.

Tyki sat by the bedside, his legs just an inch or two away from her arms. He looked quite different this time. His white shirt was partially unbuttoned, his dark hair loose and disheveled. His skin was lightly tanned, no longer tinged gray. The stigmata were gone. His eyes, dark and no longer gold, seemed to study her with intense calmness. She made a quick gasp as soon as she caught sight of him.

"Welcome back, Miranda," he said softly. "Any longer and I would worry. It's good to see you awake."

"...Am I dead?" she muttered.

He raised an eyebrow. "No."

"...Am I dreaming?"


Miranda struggled to sit up. As she did, the reality of it all crashed down on her. Germany, rain, Akuma, Tyki, the other Noah, the Earl...her Innocence, gone. It was real, all too real. And at the same time, an utter nightmare. She hunched over, hugging her arms around herself as tears spilled down her cheeks again.

Suddenly she stiffened and her eyes widened. She was in a strange place, with Tyki. Just the two of them. And she had no idea how she ended up in this bed.

"D-did you-"

"Of course not." Tyki looked slightly offended. Then his lips turned up in a sly grin. "You would certainly feel it if I really did take advantage of you."

Miranda slightly shuffled, consciously gauging the condition of her body. She didn't feel sore, drugged or intoxicated. Slightly groggy, but otherwise fine. She breathed a sigh of relief to know she hadn't been violated in her sleep. Miranda looked down and realized she still had the tanktop she usually wore under her Exorcist uniform. She figured that before putting her in bed, Tyki simply removed the coat instead of stripping her naked. At the corner of the room she saw her coat, wet and dirty from the failed mission.

Then she asked the question she felt she should've addressed first. "Where are we?"

"A villa in Estoril Coast, Portugal. My older brother is quite wealthy. He bought this place so I can enjoy a bit of solitude and luxury." Tyki made a sweeping gesture with his hand. "Minha casa é a sua casa. My home is your home. There's plenty of good food and a comfortable bed here. You'd be quite wrong to think you are stranded. I will even let you roam free in the house. Go anywhere you like. There will be servants if you need anything. Human servants, in case you were wondering."

Miranda said nothing for a long time. Just when he thought she hadn't heard, he barely heard her whisper, "I want the Black Order, and my friends. I want to see them."

An awkward silence lasted for a few seconds. Tyki finally mustered a soft but firm reply: "...I can't let you do that."

"Then you might as well kill me now," Miranda said miserably.

"Have you forgotten so soon? I have no intention to kill you. I'm keeping you alive."

There was no way he could have a chance with her if he had been the one to destroy her Innocence. No, the Earl took care of that. Miranda had another sort of innocence. One that Tyki planned to take someday. To get what he wanted, he would have to play this game carefully. And he always loved a good game.

Seductive, confident and attractive Noah + shy, clumsy and pretty Exorcist=instant hotness. That's probably my only reasonable explanation for shipping Tyki and Miranda.

How is it so far? Great, or terrible? (Hopefully not the latter.) Favorite, follow or let me know by review. :)