. C H A P T E R 1 .
(this story does not start with chapter 1, so please read the prologue first! :] )
As fast as he could without running, Allen hurried through the long hallways of the Black Order. He was glad that his sense of direction had improved – at least as long as it involved finding his way to the cafeteria, for that was one of the most important places in this building.. for him, anyway. Otherwise he was sure he would've had difficulties in finding his way through all these similar-looking hallways.
The prospect of food, a lot of food, and especially Jerry's food, notably brightened the boy's mood. His mission had been long, and the only thing Allen had missed more than Jerry's cooking were his nakama, especially his best friend.
Speaking of Lavi, where is that idiot rabbit? I haven't seen him in forever. Lavi had been on a mission to Italy for a week already when Allen had been assigned to leave to Sweden, so they hadn't seen each other for nearly three weeks.
Allen wasn't sure since when the rabbit was back in the Order or if he had already been assigned to another mission, so he decided to just wait and see instead of searching for him everywhere and getting lost. He wanted to eat first before something like that happened. If he's here, I'm sure I'll see him in the cafeteria. Although... maybe he's in the library, reading or working on whatever the bookman gave him to do – or just slacking off. Either way, he's likely to skip a meal if he's too absorbed in whatever he's doing... Well, the fastest way to the cafeteria leads past the library anyways. I think I'll take a look inside to see if he's there.
With that thought in mind, Allen rounded another corner. He was in the same hallway the library was in now, and he could see the wooden double doors that he knew led to a giant room containing more books and documents than he could ever comprehend. No matter how often he visited the library, the books never ceased to amaze him. He had never really had the chance to read any of them, though he was capable of doing so. Mana had taught him how to read when he was still alive.
Lost in thought, Allen approached the doors, passing smaller doors that lead to storage rooms and the like on his way. However, just when he passed a door about three doors apart from the library, he heard a loud crash. Alerted, the white-haired exorcist tensed and readied himself to activate Crown Clown at the slightest hint of danger. He silently cursed that he had decided to wear his casual clothes instead of his uniform. Then his mind caught up with his body's intuitive reaction and told him that an akuma couldn't be the reason for the crash – his eye had not activated itself. That didn't mean there was no danger, though – after all, he couldn't sense a Noah. He was aware that the sound had come from behind the double doors though, so he approached them faster, albeit still slightly cautious. He was more than ready to barge in and help Lavi, Bookman or whoever else was in there, but he stopped short when he heard a yell.
“What the HELL, old man?! What was that for?!”
Well, that certainly proved that the red-haired exorcist had not been assigned to another mission yet. Allen relaxed. If the crash was caused by one of Bookman's... disciplinary measures, as that yell pretty much suggested, there was not much to worry about. For a brief second Allen contemplated going in to see if he could help his friend, but the thought of experiencing Bookman's wrath himself did not sound in the least bit appealing. Instead he decided to lean against the wall next to the double doors and wait until they finished arguing before he went in there to see his best friend. He was curious; He wanted to know what the idiotic rabbit had done this time. Not that he couldn't ask him later, but the redhead tended to embellish his stories, and Allen preferred to know about the actual situation.
“Watch your language, you idiot! You were thinking about that kid again, weren't you?” Bookman's voice could be heard. Lavi didn't seem to plan on answering the question.
“Look at this mess! It's going to take days to reorganize these stacks! Why couldn't you just have kicked me into the wall instead? That would've saved me a lot of trouble!” he yelled instead.
Allen raised an eyebrow in confusion. It wasn't like Lavi to get so angry about something trivial like this. Sure, he often complained when the bookman used his quite... abusive disciplinary methods, but this felt different, somehow. Angrier than normal.. and without the usual fondness hidden underneath.
“That is none of your concern anymore, Lavi. Not since you've neglected your duties as my successor because of your fondness to that kid.”
“So you're really going to demote me?“
At that, Allen started. Demote? Why? And what does Bookman mean, Lavi neglected his duties?
“I assume you are aware that you are no longer in the condition to be my successor. How do you expect me to find a replacement? I am already quite old, there is too little time to find a new successor and train him accordingly.“
Allen frowned. I don't understand.. Lavi is a goofball, that's for sure, but if there's not enough time to train someone else, can't Bookman overlook it if he's slacking off too much? I don't see why it should be necessary to demote him!
“Yeah, yeah, I know. 'A bookman has no need for a heart', right? Still, you make it sound as if it's my fault! I can't help it if I fall in love, you know?”
“I know that. And that's exactly why I have no choice but to demote you.”
The change in the overall mood of the conversation was almost palpable.
“Jiji...” The tone of Lavi's voice almost broke Allen's heart. But what surprised him the most were the bookman's next words.
“Lavi, I know you cannot change the way you feel, and you have become too attached. If I forced you to leave now to record history somewhere else, it would break you. You know that as well as I do. I have no choice but to find a new successor. It is for the best.”
There was a short pause in which a muffled sigh could be heard – although just barely – through the double doors. Then Bookman spoke up again, “Do not forget that you are like a son to me. I want you to...”
The conversation continued, but Allen suddenly felt really bad about listening in. That's not like me at all. Why did I even listen in in the first place?
Confused, the white-haired boy continued his walk to the cafeteria, deep in thought about what he had just heard.
So Lavi is going to lose his position as Bookman's successor. Because he became too attached. Because he's in love. Allen frowned.
He had an uneasy feeling in his gut, and this time it was not from hunger. In fact, he didn't feel hungry at all anymore. That fact caused his frown to deepen. Does this really affect me so much? I should be starving! Instead I feel as if I ate something rotten.. He cringed at the thought. Eating rotten food was not on his list of favorite things to do.
He wondered why he felt this depressed. I mean, sure, I care about Lavi and him being demoted now means that he has lived all his life working to achieve a goal that he isn't allowed to reach anymore – it's only natural to want to share his suffering and to feel bad for him. Still... isn't this too much? Allen sighed as he entered the cafeteria. Maybe the smell of delicious food would spark his appetite again.