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SisterWicked ([personal profile] sisterwicked) wrote in [community profile] dgm2009-10-05 10:37 pm

Regression Ch.2

Hooray.


Regression


A DGM Lucky Fic


By SisterWicked


Chapter 2


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Well, this is awkward.. I really, really wanted to have this done in time, but it looks like I'm a tad bit late.

Besides my slowness and failness, happy belated birthday, Booky. Enjoy the badness :P



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Lavi had always hated trying to sleep on trains.



The constant motion and clamor was too disturbing, especially after spending so many years rooming in with his teacher, who was surely the quietest person he'd ever known. Shifting in mild discomfort, he sighed at the low murmur of the passengers in the next car, the woman's voice scandalized and giggly as her male companion urged her to join him in something obviously more entertaining than a card game to pass the time.



The reminder of his own diversion left him momentarily red-faced, the seatspring digging into his back forgotten at the thought of what was to come. Though he knew the old man firmly believed that a Bookman had no need for affection, he'd always entertained the notion that the man was somehow less than totally unaffected by their long association, perhaps even fond of his young charge, but after the shocking claim leveled by his supposed enemy, he wondered if that were even remotely possible.



'If he gave a damn about me, how could he just take something like that and hide it from me? Erasing the memories that hurt me is one thing, but removing a happy memory..? He'd have to have taken the entire year, the mission, everything.. All that work, why would he have just let it go to waste..?'



Annoyed at the roundabout circling of his thoughts, he frowned. Bookman never did anything without a reason, so there had to be some excuse for so drastic a course of action. Closing his eye, he lifted a hand to the ever-present eyepatch, fingering the strap idly as he strove to find a comfortable position on the narrow seat. There was a slim chance that the Noah had been lying, that he'd gained access to certain bits of the older Bookman's mind, but that couldn't explain his own reaction to the man's story.



Biting his lip, he remembered how simple it had been to imagine the older man knowing him, sharing his secrets and even-



He shook his head at the rush of heat in his cheeks, his fingers pausing at the seam of his eye covering as he shivered. No, the Bookman's knowledge couldn't have made him react as he had, any more than it could have made the brunette's soft kisses strike so deep a chord in him. He'd learned early to force down every sign of his emerging self-awareness, from the giddy thrill at his progressing maturity to the furtive hints of appreciation for the physical charms of others, even the startling knowledge that male forms could be as attractive as female ones.



Tyki had brought those hidden things to light with no more than a saddened look and the gentlest of urgings, something that should have been near-impossible without some degree of leverage.. But why would he have gone to the trouble of creating such a story, with details that could have gone untended and ignored? The redhead massaged his temples tiredly, taking a look at the facts in as much a whole as he could.



The man knew things that could easily have been taken by force from someone who knew the boy well.



He also knew things that no one else could have told him.



The picture, while admittedly flimsy as proof of deep attachment, could have been faked.



The almost-memory of why it hung where it did could not.



He had no memory of the older man's touch, or the sensation of his kisses, but...



They'd been inexplicably welcome, astonishingly enough considering just who it was doing the touching, and though he should have been frightened and enraged at the man's boldness, there had been only a moment of hesitation on his part.



This was getting him nowhere.



Laughing at his frustration, he turned onto his stomach, wincing at the press of the thinly-covered springs against his skin. Pillowing his head atop one arm, he sighed. Did he really want to give away his future as a Bookman to keep the promise supposedly made by another person?



A fleeting image of the Noah's hopeless expression made him flinch, leaving him with little doubt that no matter how foolish a thing it was, he intended to see it through to the end. If the elder Bookman had sealed away his memories of the man, he meant to have every instant of them back, to sort through the tangled half-familiar and alien bits until something logical emerged. If the picture was clearly lain out to give proof to the other's story, the choice would make itself.



He couldn't remember wanting such a thing before, no matter how hard he tried, but the idea was considerably more appealing than what he now had, a life of gathering information and recording it for people who wouldn't even know his name..



His name.



The thought brought him half-upright with a muffled curse, his hands drawn into shaking fists.



Tyki had called him by the name he now used, not the one he remembered as being his before joining the order.



Bookman would have begun preparing him for his new persona as soon as the old one was to be done away with, and no one but he and his apprentice could have known what and who he would be afterwards.



When had he become Lavi?



Stiffening faintly, he realized that he couldn't recall. Throwing himself into the techniques learned over a decade of serious training, he was stunned when the attempt brought only a hazy memory of a boatride through a darkened tunnel, and his teacher resorting to an off-cast name to catch his attention.



If they'd made preparations to enter the Black Order, been tested to prove they could conform to Innocence.. He would have known who 'Lavi' was. He would have taken days to memorize every aspect of who the name belonged to, from his hobbies to his affectations. No part of the persona's life would have been overlooked.



He hadn't known himself.



Tyki had told the truth.



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He spent the rest of the trip mulling over his belated discovery, half curious and half enraged. The time he'd lost was a source of endless hows and whys, but the thought that Bookman had made such a glaring mistake..



Whatever the reason, the fact that his teacher was not infallible left him with a disturbing question. If he'd acted in haste once, how many other times had he been wrong? Had the things he'd taught his apprentice likewise been compromised by the older man's own personality?



Lavi forced himself to be objective in his judgements, but did the much older and more experienced man have his own moments of doubt? He showed no outward signs of such a thing, but after taking the current situation into account.. The Exorcist sighed at the now doubled burden of his thoughts, very nearly missing the conductor's faint knock to announce their impending arrival at his stop. Thanking the man distractedly, he gathered his few belongings, making his way toward the front of the car.



Standing on the station platform, he waited impatiently as his Finder asked the ticket clerk to summon a carriage. The man was nice enough, but he had the unfortunate affliction of feeling the need to fill every moment of silence with talk, usually about something offensive. At the moment, he seemed to have found a kindred spirit in the bored desk worker, the sound of their laughter grating on the Exorcist's nerves as a few stray words caught his attention.



"..must be fucking queers. I mean, who else would hole themselves up in a place like that, knowing there aren't any goodlooking women there at all? I go out every chance I get, but they don't.. Like this one, he doesn't do anything but read and flirt with everything that walks, it's obviously a cover."



Lavi braced himself, anticipating the rush of his temper at the man's crass statement, but instead there was only a moment of irritation at his gossip. Lifting a hand to the still-tender mark at his throat, he snorted.



"If you're done fantasizing about my sex life, could we go? I think the guys are planning an underwear party tonight."



The two stared at him in disbelieving shock, the Finder turning an unattractive shade of puce before replying. "The carriage isn't due for another half hour, Exorcist-san."



The redhead gestured at the thinning fog absently. "It would take that and fifteen minutes to walk to Headquarters.. How about you just stay here with your buddy and I'll catch you later? Don't worry, I'll turn in the report myself, and I'll be sure to tell Komui that you think his sister's a hag while I'm at it."



Smirking at his horrified expression, the Exorcist lifted his suitcase, making his way to the platform edge with a slightly more relaxed outlook on his arrival. Perhaps he could hold his temper with the old man, if he hadn't killed his overly mouth Finder. Descending the steps, he followed the walkway to the street, heading in the direction of the Order's London Branch.



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Though he knew there would be questions concerning his early return to Headquarters, he hadn't expected someone to be waiting for him at the door, the Gatekeeper's visible unease revealing the person to be none other than Allen Walker.



Wincing slightly, the redhead slowed his approach, hoping to give the impression of weariness. Smiling at the younger boy's enthusiastic wave, he wondered how pleased the other Exorcist would be once the truth came to light. After all, the man he.. Loved..? Had torn the Innocence from Allen's body in the not-too-distant past, leaving him for dead with a seeping hole chewed through his very heart.



"Been waiting long?" He hoped his voice sounded as tired as he wished it to, but the other's smile never faltered as he shook his head.



"Not really, maybe a half hour." Reaching for the redhead's travel case, the British boy tipped his head toward the waiting Gatekeeper. "It makes him nervous, I think.. But I'm not going to laugh until he lets me back in."



Stifling a snicker at the other's momentary lapse into sadism, Lavi smiled up at the stone guardian. "Open says me? I'd like to get in before the Apocalypse, if you could.." The door opened smoothly on it's well-worn hinges, allowing the two to enter before it swung shut with a resounding bang that never failed to resemble the closing of some ancient tomb. Glancing down at his still-smiling companion, the redhead took note of the carefully-veiled question in his expression.



"Something on your mind, Moyashi-chan?" He grinned at the shorter boy's mild frown at the nickname, crossing the entryway with exaggerated patience. "The old man says I have an answer for everything, so ask away."



Motioning to an unoccupied bench near the rear door, Allen waited for the older boy to sit, joining him after setting aside the other's luggage. "Was there a problem with the mission? The Finder? You don't look like you're hurt, but you came up alone.. He didn't get hurt, did he? I hate that, because sometimes you can't take care of them and they get in the way.."



The British Exorcist winced at his own rambling, waving a hand. "I don't mean to pry, I just wondered if everything was all right.. You've never rushed back this early, so I thought maybe something bad had happened."



Leaning against the bench's low back, Lavi shook his head. "Its all right. I've been asking myself a lot of question lately."



Seeing the boy's confused look, he sighed. "Have you ever been in love, Allen? I mean, really, really in love?"



The younger Exorcist blinked at the question, his eyes wide as he shook his head silently.



Lavi smiled faintly, expecting the answer. "I was. Before I came here." He straightened, tipping his head back to rest against the wall. "And.. I think I still am. I don't know what's gonna happen now, but I'm here to tell the old man to let me go." Hearing the other's quick breath, he glanced at him from the corner of his eye. "Go ahead and ask.. But you won't like the answer."



The boy hummed curiously, his head tilted in a way that made him resemble something small and furry. "Is it... Someone I know? Someone here..? Are they leaving too?"



Laughing quietly, Lavi shook his head. "It's someone we all know, but not from here. If I tell you, it'll probably be the last thing I get to say to you as a friend." Steeling himself, he took a breath to continue. "It's-"



"One of our enemies. The Order's enemies. Which one is it, then?"



Stunned at the lack of hostility in the boy's tone, Lavi sat up with a surprised noise, his eye wide. "How-"



Allen smiled knowingly, shaking his head. "Because any other time you'd be happy. If it were someone else, you'd have told everyone." He watched the older boy fidget, sighing. "If I had more time, I could probably even figure out who. You like the older type, right? And it wouldn't be someone plain or regular, you wouldn't give up your life here for anything but a completely outstanding person." Laughing suddenly, he leaned close. "Answer me one question before I guess. It's a man, isn't it?"



Still astonished at the boy's apparent approval, he nodded dumbly, his mouth suddenly dry as the white-haired Exorcist snorted.



"Then it's simple. The one you're leaving for is Tyki Mikk. I don't blame you for keeping it a secret, but how did you manage it, Lavi? It's been close to three years since you came here.."



Shaking his head rapidly, the redhead lowered his voice. "I didn't! I didn't even remember until I saw him while I was out-" Taking a breath, he forced himself to relax. "Bookman took my memories, Allen. A whole year of them, and I didn't even know.. I'm here to make him give them back. I couldn't believe it when Tyki started telling me about what we.." He paused, gesturing helplessly. "You think I'm stupid, don't you? To take his word for it and give everything away."



For a long minute, the smaller boy was silent, his expression unreadable. At last, he smiled. "You're a lot of things, Lavi, but stupid isn't one of them. If you really believe him, then you're doing the right thing." Frowning suddenly, he caught the redhead's arm tightly. "No one else knows, right? Do you know where he'll be, after you leave? I've got a pretty strong hunch that the higher ups aren't going to take this very well.. Bookman's not due back til this evening, do you have your things ready?"



Surprised, Lavi shook his head. "No, I didn't think there would be time to take anything with me.. I figured the same thing, and it's hard to run with a room full of stuff." Allen scowled faintly, tugging his arm as he rose from his seat.



"I'll help you get the important things ready. You shouldn't have to leave everything behind, Lavi." Pulling the taller boy along behind him, he led the way to the stairs, glancing around quickly before continuing. "I can't go with you, but I'll do everything I can to help you get out safely.. Komui-san can probably make sure you won't be followed right away, too." Halting at the top of the stairs, he sighed. "Don't let them take your Innocence, either. Keep it in case you have to fight-"



Lavi shook his head in alarm, pulling his arm free. "If I take it, they'll never leave us alone, you know that! It hurts Tyki to be near it, too." Stilling the other's protest with a look, he pressed on. "Part of the reason I'm happy to go is there won't be anymore fighting, Allen."



The younger boy scowled, his jaw set stubbornly. "Komui-san told me that Innocence won't conform to another user if it's original accommodator is still alive, Lavi. If you aren't a Bookman, they'll treat you just like the other Exorcists.. As long as there's an Innocence that reacts to you, they'll be trying to force you back." He winced at the redhead's startled curse. "They might use you to get to him, too.. What will you do, if they send someone after you and you can't fight? He could lose control and kill them, do you want that?"



The older boy paled, swallowing heavily. "What if its you, Allen? Or Yuu.. They'd send someone strong enough to fight a Noah once they knew, and there aren't many that could do that." Clenching his hands, he growled in annoyance. "I'm going to put him in danger, aren't I? Because I'm that fucking selfish.."



"So is he."



The younger boy's words brought him to a halt, his eye wide. "What? No, he didn't-"



Allen waved a hand briskly, his face serious. "You said you didn't know. He came after you, didn't he? He could have left it alone, but he wanted to have you back." Smiling faintly, he shook his head. "It's supposed to be like that, I think.. That's probably why I haven't been in love, I'm just not selfish enough." For a moment, he almost looked wistful, but the expression passed as he continued. "Make it worth it, Lavi. If you're going to do this, do it with everything you've got."



The redhead nodded firmly, pushing down his lingering unease. "Oh, I'm going to. He waited this long, so I kinda owe it to him to make a good attempt, don't I?" He forced a smile, ignoring his remaining doubts. "For me, too. It wouldn't be right to treat it like a fling, not when I'm giving up the life I made here.. I think I'll miss having friends, though."



The smaller boy stiffened abruptly, his gaze so angry that Lavi thought he might actually strike him. "Miss it? Why would you miss it if you aren't losing it? I'll still be your friend, Lavi! If anyone stops caring about you because of this, they weren't your friend in the first place!" He raised his head to stare the taller Exorcist full in the face, his eyes narrowed in anger. "I don't think it matters who you love, Lavi. There isn't one person here that wants to spend the rest of their life alone, fighting and killing every day! If you want something better for yourself, you've the same right as anyone else to have it. Isn't that right, Kanda?"



He glared at a spot just beyond the redhead's shoulder, his eyebrows drawn challengingly even as the older boy whipped around with a startled curse.



"Yuu-chan? Um, hey, how's it going?" He winced at the too-eager pitch of his voice, preparing to move at the slightest deepening of the other boy's frown. "Wow, this is a little awkward.."



The samurai shook his head in disgust, ignoring the redhead's faltering grin. "Moyashi, are you trying to make the rabbit even stupider? We don't need you to start teaching sensitivity classes." Glaring from one to the other, he snorted. "So, you're deserting. Any reason I shouldn't kick your sorry ass and drag you down to our idiot supervisor's office?"



Huffing belligerently, the white haired boy took a step forward. "Because it'll be two on one if you try. If you eavesdropped for the whole conversation, you should know he's got a good reason to leave." Ignoring the other's dismissive gesture, he moved closer. "If he's your friend, you should want him to be happy. Don't give me that look, either. If he isn't, he's the closest thing you have to one."



The older Exorcist glared at him in annoyance, ignoring the redhaired source of their argument. "There's no good reason to shirk your duty, Moyashi. He's not like the other people here, but that's no excuse to sneak away when there's work to be done." Turning to look at the boy in question, he chuckled darkly. "Do you think you're my friend, Lavi? I've never heard of a friend who would abandon their job for a quick roll in the hay-"



Before he could continue, the redhead strode forward with a thunderous scowl, his hands clenched at his sides in readiness for battle. "Don't go there, Yuu. I've spent my whole life working for everyone else, and it got me nowhere! The one person I trusted more than any of you stole a part of my life, and took away a piece of someone else's with it! For what? History? We aren't supposed to interfere with anything, but what else could you call that? If he did it once, who knows how many other things went wrong without me knowing?" He faced the samurai defiantly, holding his place despite the warningly narrowed eyes.



"I never chose this. If Linali wanted to leave, would you be so hateful of her? She was forced, too." Gesturing at the other's sheathed weapon, he shook his head. "You can put Mugen away, anytime you want to. What about the ones who can't? Look at Allen, and Linali now! They won't ever be able to do that, they can't do anything but carry the burden until they die." Sighing loudly, he tugged his own Innocence free of it's holster, brandishing the small form before the still frowning Asian.



"How stupid would I look, letting this rule my life, Yuu? It doesn't think, or feel.. It doesn't care who it hits. I used to be like that, too. Not anymore." Replacing the hammer carefully, he laughed. "It's the damnedest thing, too. Part of the reason I don't feel guilty for wanting a life of my own is you. You're trapped here just like everyone else, but no one tells you how to live, do they? I respected you for that, being your own person even if you were dictated to twenty-four seven."



Shrugging, he stepped back toward the younger Exorcist, motioning to the hall. "Let's just go, Allen. Something else I admired about Yuu was how hard he held onto what he thought was right.. He'll get over it or he won't, I can't make him do anything and neither can you." Firming his resolve, he turned his back on the other boy, walking away without waiting to see if the British Exorcist had followed.



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After carefully deciding what to take and what could be left, Lavi slumped tiredly onto his bed. Likewise, the white haired Exorcist joined him, his expression faintly amused.



"You have a lot of... stuff, Lavi. I'm afraid to even ask what some of it is." Gesturing at the two small travel cases nearby, he smiled. "At least you have clothes and some other things to take with you, though. I won't ask where you're going from here, but try to find a way to keep in touch, ok? Everyone's going to miss having you around to cheer us up."



Lavi grinned, nodding. "I will. It might be a while, but I'll see what I can work out." Standing, he stretched until his back popped audibly, grimacing. "Ugh.. I really hate trains. Besides that, thanks. You'll explain to the people who matter, won't you? I don't want to start any trouble until I'm long gone-"



He froze at the quiet click of the door latch, his eye widening at the unexpected appearance of his soon to be former master. Following his line of sight, Allen also rose, his stance slightly wary as he moved just far enough to one side to be of help, should things not go as well as he hoped they would.



The old man glanced at him dismissively, regarding the redhead with a stern look. "Where are you going, Lavi? There's no mission assigned to you, yet you seem to be prepared for a journey of some distance." Taking in the anxious posture and expression of his pupil, he frowned. "Explain yourself, at once."



Shaking off his nerves, the Exorcist straightened. "I'm not the one who needs to explain. Why did you tamper with me?" Swallowing heavily, he fought to keep his voice too low to carry through the echoing stone, despite his growing anger at the older man's serene face. "You took something very important from me, and I want it back before I go. Give me back the year that you stole from me, Bookman."



The Chinese Exorcist's eyes hardened noticeably, his mouth thinning into a frown. "Stole, you say? I've taken nothing that you needed, Apprentice." Waving a hand at the watching Allen, he snorted. "The things you would discuss have no place in the workings of the Order. Have you forgotten that we never share the secrets we've learned, Lavi?"



Stiffening, Lavi snorted angrily. "We aren't supposed to meddle in people's lives, either! You don't mind a little when it suits you, though, do you? It wasn't just me, you took something from Tyki, too! All this damn time, he's been waiting for me and I never knew! It doesn't matter now, because he found me." Nodding shortly, he pointed at the waiting suitcases. "He told me what happened, and its too convenient to be a lie! He knows things that no one else could have told him, and I remember parts of it now! You can't force me to stay here anymore, I won't work with a person that I can't trust with my own mind. For once in your life, have a fucking heart. Give me back my memories."



The older man drew himself up as if the boy had struck him, his face stern. "You speak of it as if you were forced, Lavi. Nothing was taken that you wished to keep." He folded his arms, his hands concealed within the voluminous sleeves of his coat. "When you asked to have your mind closed to him, I warned you that such a thing is an imperfect solution."



Growling angrily, the redhead clenched his hands into fists. "That's a lie! I would never have asked for that, we were-"



Bookman shook his head implacably, for the first time expressing some hint of regret. "You were young, and foolish. You doubted your ability to keep yourself above partiality on that man's behalf. I also believed it to be unlikely." Walking toward the spluttering redhead, he met the boy's narrowed eye calmly. "You became immersed in your assignment, Lavi. You asked for release, and I granted it despite my reservations. Would you have it undone, then? I told you that the consequences would be most... Unpleasant." Scowling at the boy's obvious confusion, he shook his head. "Idiot boy.. To restore one such memory is to restore all things closed by the same technique. You would remember everything you've forgotten."



Nodding at the redhead's pale face, he sighed. "This is why I told you to be certain, Lavi. Do you still wish to know?"



Swallowing roughly, the Exorcist nodded, his jaw set in determination. "I have to. Please, Gra- Bookman, he's waiting for me." Glancing at the confused Allen, he smiled faintly. "I don't care if he stays, just.. Get it over with."



The elder straightened, inclining his head. "As you wish. Come closer, Lavi.. This is a thing meant to be kept secret." Waiting for the other to bend his head, he began to speak, the words too soft to carry beyond the raptly listening redhead. The language was unmistakably that of the Bookman clan, but a dialect far older and more formal than the two conversed in amongst themselves.



At first there was only a momentary dizziness, and the younger boy shook his head to clear the building sense of unease that settled over him. Closing his eye, he swayed unsteadily as the dizziness became outright disorientation, the quiet sounds of the building around him fading into the background as the older Bookman's voice commanded his full attention despite the surge of almost-nausea brought on by his low words.



As the Chinese man continued to speak, Lavi became aware of an outward press against the boundary of his recollections, a feeling not unlike a dam waiting to burst under an unexpected torrent. When the older Exorcist halted his recitation, Lavi took a choked breath, stunned by the lancet of pain that blossomed behind his temples.



The sensation of wrongness grew steadily more profound, and with a muffled curse he sank to one knee, his eye widening as long-buried images took shape in luridly brilliant detail. Screaming, he clutched his head as the scenes filled his mind, the remembered stench of blood and scorched metal leaving him breathless even as the memory deepened into a nightmare of flames, rent bodies and a child's terror.



Starting forward quickly, Allen stilled at the older man's curt wave. "Do not interfere. He must bear it, or go mad." Shaking his head, he turned to the door, crossing the room with deliberate steps. "I will inform the Supervisor that Lavi is no longer in my charge. You would do well to see him off as quickly and quietly as possible, when he comes to.. Good Evening, Mr. Walker." Without a second look at his crouched apprentice, he left, closing the door firmly behind him.



At a loss, Allen stared from the door to the fallen Exorcist, his eyes wide as the boy's cries became ragged, his hands still buried in his hair as he drew himself into a ball. Mentally raging at the apparent desertion of the older man, he knelt beside his now-sobbing friend, carefully wrapping him in a tight hug. Urging him to relax, he murmured comfortingly, wondering what the older boy had remembered that would reduce him to such a state.



Feeling him stiffen, he drew back just in time to avoid an unfortunate collision with the redhead's flushed face, his arms dropping to his sides as he sat back awkwardly. "Oh, are you all right now..? I didn't mean to.." Breaking off, he frowned at the other's dazed expression, waving a hand in front of his face. "Lavi? What is it?"



The older boy shook his head slowly, swiping at his dampened cheeks. "I did it." He muttered woodenly, leaning away from the other Exorcist. "They- My family died because of me."



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Hooray. Final chapters to follow soon. As always, do not fave/alert list me without commenting first, or I'll send you a rather nasty PM. Happy birthday, Booky!!

Enjoy!
X-Posted leik whut.