I'M SO SORRY FOR MAKING YOU GUYS CRY! I SWEAR IT WASN'T MY INTENTIONS, I SWEAR!
So, this is the final chapter too, uh? It's really sort compared to other chapters, but I didn't want to write just for the hell of it, you know? It'd destroy everything.
Answer: Well, you don't seem to hate me, so it's a good thing, right?
The casualties of the final battle had been minimal, considering the magnitude of this three-way-war in the first place, but too many had perished nonetheless. For Central, tons of Red Guards and CROWs had been killed by the Akumas, and all of the Fourth Exorcists had died when their Innocence was ripped out by Michael.
On the side of the Noahs, only Toraido, Fiidora and the Earl had met their end, along with all of the Akumas.
As for the Exorcists… Aryane's death had been a big shock for everyone. Many still couldn't believe it. As time passed, they had forgotten that the teen wasn't invincible or immortal, no matter her regeneration abilities.
Everyone soon understood that Allen wouldn't come back either. Lenalee was the most affected, but she never even dared to talk to Nea. She couldn't bear it.
Klaud Marshall had also been struck down by Tyki. For had tried to intervene, but it was too late and already, the arm of the Third Apostle was already ripping through the woman's stomach.
Hevlaska had given up her life in order to give more energy to the Exorcists. By doing so, she had found back her human form.
Madarao hadn't survived either. He stepped in the way when a Level Two was about to kill his sister, taking the deadly blow in her stead.
None of them truly understood everything yet. They knew it was a war, hell, they knew, and with a war came death, for all sides. It was inevitable. However, either they didn't thought they would survive at all, either they couldn't believe people so close to them, so strong and who had been by their sides not hours ago, wouldn't come back at all.
The Noahs had left, Nea stayed behind to clear things up. The survivors of Central went back to report their victory –more or less- to their superiors. As for the scientists, Exorcists and remaining Thirds, all were now in the library of the Ark, having finished to give their reports to Komui. All the bodies had been installed outside for now.
When everyone finally finished explaining their side of the battle, Komui sighed heavily and looked down for a moment, clenching his fists. Then, he relaxed.
"Well, everyone" he got up, hands on his desk. "The victory… is ours"
And that's when they all fully realized what had happened.
Lenalee started crying, launching herself in her brother's arms. Tewaku soon followed, hugging tightly Link and Tokusa. Kanda clenched his fists, but their was no anger, merely resignation. Johnny started crying too, the rest of the scientists wailing behind him. For and Back simply hug, none of them big fans at showing their emotions. Miranda shook for a few seconds, trying to keep her cries in, but couldn't hold back anymore when Krory took her in his arms. Marie was trying to comfort Timothy, but to no avail. Tiedoll started drawing and, for once, Sokaro didn't grin madly as per usual. Bookman simply hung his head down in respect for the deceased. Nea simply bowed, before leaving them to their grief for now.
As for Lavi…
Before anyone could stop him, he darted out of the room and slammed the door behind him.
None tried to stop him.
Everyone, except for Lavi, was now in the cafeteria. Jeryy had prepared a gigantic victory banquet, but no one really was in the mood for eating right now, still in their mourning phase. The tears had stopped falling an hour or so ago, but the pain was still very present.
The doors opened, the apprentice Bookman entered with a dark expression. In his hands was a chest, which they soon realized was the one they stole from the Arembergs some time ago.
"L-Lavi?" Miranda was the first to react.
"She left us letters" his throat felt dry, and his sole green eye was dull. "S-she knew she wouldn't make it. There's one for each of us"
Saying this, he picked up his own, which was still sealed. Then, one after the other, all came to take the one addressed to their name. After that, in silent agreement, they all returned to their room. Behind, the chest stayed opened on the table, four letters still inside that would never be opened.
There would be no victory-banquet tonight.
Lenalee sat on her bed, staring at the pristine white envelop in her hands for a few seconds, before opening it.
I know, I know, I'm sorry! I feel so bad for leaving you, all of you, like that…
Yes, I knew I would die today. I didn't told anyone because, let's be honest: you wouldn't have let me do it otherwise.
Please, you have to understand! It was the only way!
I'm not asking for your forgiveness. I know that, if you did the same to me, I would never be able to forgive you. But… do you at least understand?
But well. It's not as an apology that I wrote this to you. I want to tell you something very, very important…
CHEERS! WE WON! YAHOO!
Well, I'll assume we did, since you're reading this.
I don't know who died. I don't know who survived. I'll take for granted that you're still alive, so listen closely: don't feel guilty. You survived. You don't have to feel bad for that. I know that with mine and Allen's death, you were hurt badly. However, I don't want you to hold back and hurt even more for the rest of your life because of us, because of me. I want you to be happy with your brother, to do the things you couldn't do as an Exorcist, to live long enough and happy enough for the both of us.
If you don't, I'll kick your ass.
Well, I won't extend more than I have to. It'll probably make you cry, and I really don't want that. Also, it's okay to cry, just… do it once, and be done with it, okay? You're prettier when you smile. So smile for me, okay?
I love you, little sister,
PS: I want you to take my feather pendant, the one I used as Silversword. That way, I'll still be able to protect you somewhat if needed.
Lenalee gritted her teeth. She wasn't hurt anymore, she was angry.
"Stupid Ary!" she then yelled, gritting her teeth. "Of course I forgive you, you utter idiot!"
Her hands were shaking as her voice lowered. Her breath hitched, and the tears came back in full force.
"Of course… I forgive you…"
Tewaku opened her letter without loosing a second.
I know we haven't known each other for very long, but I'm really glad I got the chance to meet you. You truly are a wonderful friend, and an even more wonderful sister. I'm sure Mystère can agree with me on that.
Also, I've said it once, but I'll say it again: I forgive you for what happened with the Noahs. Don't make that face! I know you still felt guilty about that. I can see auras, remember? So yeah: I FORGIVE YOU!
I've found a few more books you might like, I've put them in my room so you can go get them whenever you want. I hope you like them as much as I did!
With loads of love,
The blonde took a deep breath. Then, her lips twitch between a smile and a scowl, before she left her room to go pick up her new books.
I'll miss you, Ary. Farewell.
Timothy was crying again, clutching the paper to his chest while lying on his bed.
I'm glad you're okay, I really am. Well, I'll assume you are. But whatever! You can go back to Paris now, and tell how awesome you were to Emilia and Galmar.
Also, could you pass these letters for me, please? I did promised I'd come back to give them the good news myself, but…
You're strong, Timothy. You're brave and awfully smart and I'm really happy to have fought with you as a fellow Exorcist. Kick some more bad guys' asses for me?
PS: The letters are on the envelop too.
PPS: Stop touching my cousin, would you?
A moment later, he fell asleep, Tsukikami watching carefully over his charge.
Kanda wasn't sure whether to bother with the letter or just throw it out. However, after a few more seconds, he gave in. Placing Mugen aside, he opened the damn envelop with a slight scowl.
Not too happy I'm gone, I hope?
Nan, you're probably throwing a wild party in that damn head of yours.
But it's okay, 'cause I love you too!
I won't linger, I know you don't like wasting your time, so here: no matter how much of an asshole you are, you'll always be my favorite.
I'll say hello to Alma for you, okay?
Try to not be too much of a jerk, yours and only,
PS: I want you to have my father's necklace. I don't know what you'll do with it but, if you don't want it, just throw it out or whatever.
The Second Exorcist clicked his tongue in annoyance. Of course this damn Akahato would write something like that. But, curious nowadays, he pulled out the mentioned necklace from the envelop. It was plain, the button of a Finder uniform. For a second, he was really tempted to just throw it by the window or something, before realizing that he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
His scowl deepening, he attached it around his neck before starting to clean Mugen.
Bookman opened his letter, mildly curious as to what the girl wanted to tell him. He had understood quite easily that she knew she wouldn't come out of this battle alive, and wondered what exactly she had planned since the beginning without anyone noticing.
So, I won't bother with apologizing and whatnot, since you're probably the one who'll understand the most. Duty before all, eh?
I wanted you to know this, though: even you were with us only because of your job as a Bookman, you really were part of our big, mad, family. Oh, and your brownies are awesome, by the way.
Also, please don't be too hard on Lavi. I've explained everything to him, and I don't know what he'll do with my last demands, but I know he'll make the right choice. Just give him some time to think, okay?
Also, I've put a detailed report of what exactly happened ever since Gabriel and I went Up there. Yes, I met other Angels. Pretty cool, uh? You can put all of the information in your Bookman records or whatever, since I know you wanted this damn information since forever.
Take it easy, you're getting old,
Staring at the paper for a moment, a rare smile then stretched the man's lips and he chuckled, shaking his head slightly.
She'll never change, will she?
At Komui's demand, Nea came back. Without a word, the man gave him a letter, apparently from Aryane, before excusing himself to go find his sister.
After a moment, the Noah simply opted to go outside, before reading it.
So, we never actually talked before, did we? Well, no matter. I know Allen isn't here anymore, but I don't blame you for it, even if you do blame yourself –I know everything, MUAHAHA!-, so don't worry! Just make sure to do your damn job and keep your Noahs in check, okay? We don't want another stupid war on our arms.
So yeah. That's pretty much it.
PS: Gab says hi!
PPS: Gab still blames you for the Mount Everest.
PPPS: Road's in love with you. Just saying.
PPPPS: Tell Mikk he's an asshole, and tell the mind-rapist to stop mind-raping everyone in the vicinity.
Nea couldn't help it.
I understand better why she and Gabriel got along so well.
Lavi laid on his bed, staring at the ceiling without really seeing it, thinking back to Aryane's message.
So… damn, I really don't know what to say. I've kept this one for last since it was so difficult to write, but I really don't know what to do.
Well… I'm sorry. Not for what I did, but for leaving you, and not telling you either. I just couldn't risk it, and I know you would have tried to stop me if I told you of my plans sooner.
Please don't hate me. I'm not asking for forgiveness, it wouldn't be fair. Be angry, yell, do something. But I'm begging you: don't hate me.
No, scratch that. You have every right to hate me. What I did to you was horrible and I'm a terrible person for leading you on like that. I knew I wouldn't come back, hell, I knew. But… I just couldn't bear the thought of telling you. I'm just selfish like that, and I'm really sorry for it.
Remember the promise we made to each other and also to Jiji? About how our relationship wouldn't interfere with our respective duties as Bookman and Savior? Well, I believe it is time to honor your promise just like I honored mine. Don't let my actions break everything. I want you to fulfill your goal.
And I'm not talking about being a Bookman.
While I would tell you to do what you were born to do, I'm actually telling you to do what you want to do. However, don't do it if it's for me or whatever.
Do you understand that? I'm not sure if I'm just confusing you or something…
I love you. So, so much.
No matter what, just don't forget me,
PS: Take back the necklace you gave me for my birthday. I don't want anyone else to have it.
PPS: Also, take my flute. Do whatever you want with it, but I want YOU to have it.
Feeling tired all of sudden, Lavi passed an hand over his face.
Do what I want to do, uh?
He chuckled, somewhat hollowly.
You already know the answer to that, Ary.
A single tear escaped his single eye.
"Love you too, Tenshi"
They all stood outside. Back on the battlefield, the bodies of the four dead had been laid on white sheets. Clad in their uniforms, their Innocence having been retrieved before, they were all facing the dark, starry sky with their eyes closed.
There were no flowers, no last words. God knows they would have hated it.
After a long moment of silence, in which all said their final goodbyes, Komui nodded to Lavi, who nodded back.
Ary… we all know you would have hated to be sent away alone.
The redhead then approached, taking out his hammer, as the rest took a few steps back, careful.
We are all also well aware of how you despise cemeteries.
"Little hammer, big hammer: grow, grow, grow!"
And how much of a pyromaniac you are.
So there you go, Tenshi. I'm sure you would've love it.
All watched as the gigantic tower of flames elevated itself to the night sky. Then, as they all started heading back on the Ark –Nea had opened a door for them-, Lavi went back to his grandfather, who watched him approach with an unreadable expression, his hands in his sleeves.
"Hey, Jiji" greeted quietly the redhead.
Bookman raised an eyebrow at him. What was he up to now?
As if sensing his wonder, the boy allowed a smile, somewhat bitter, to grace his lips.
"Let's go, Jiji. We've got a lot to record, don't we?"
After a moment of silence, Bookman nodded, and both walked away. None of them looked back, disappearing in the night like shadows.
No matter what, Tenshi…
The others wouldn't realize they were gone before some time, but it was okay.
Wait for me, okay?
Their job here was done.
So, there's only the epilogue left! I've been wanting to write the letters for a while now, but only put those I considered the most important. Sorry if you consider a few of them are missing. Also, I believe it's very in character for Ary to at least leave these things behind. She wouldn't be Aryane if she didn't, right?
Also, just so you know, I felt inspired for the funerals by the song 'Requiem of Red' from the Anime 'K'. Beautiful, really!
There's only the epilogue left!
Question: Bear with me until the end?
Poll: D. Gray-Man it is?
PS: Would any of you be interested if I wrote a side story of, like, four chapters -if not less, maybe a one-shot-, for Gabriel's life?
REVIEWS ARE LOVE!