Title: Somewhere I Belong
Summary – Junior always lived by the rules set by the Bookman Clan. And then Lavi came to be and broke them all without hesitation.
Rating – PG-13
Pairing – Kanda/Lavi.
Warning(s) – Mucho angst. Some language. Possibly some OOCs.
A/N – This is my very first -Man fic so I probably got the characters all wrong and whatnot. Not sure how the idea came to be but I hope you all like it!
DISCLAIMER – I don't own -Man or any of its characters.
He didn't fear Death. Not because he was better than everyone else, or because he believed in those ridiculous ideas of "honor in death" that few believed in, but because he was simply accustomed to it.
He'd seen it too many times before; he'd smelled it and touched it but never tasted it.
He'd seen corpses laid on battlefields like roses on a garden and rivers of crimson red flowing freely through the ground until it soaked the dirt below them. Violent battles, fierce battles, stupid battles all created by the hand of man and forced down upon them by themselves. He'd seen desperation on the battlefield, on the aftermath of a war too. He'd heard pointless bargains, promises and prays to fake and nonexistent deities from the trembling lips of broken and dying soldiers.
Forty-eight times he'd witness it and forty-eight times he'd recorded it.
Seen, memorized and written down.
Hidden history. The truths that lay beneath the facade of a pointless war that's no better than the last.
Power, power, power.
That's all mankind seemed to care.
"Me, me, me. Us, us, us."
Everyone had to prove they were the best there ever was. Individually or in teams, as a person or as a country, it didn't matter to him. He wasn't involved and never wanted to be. He was eyes and ears and no mouth. He saw, he heard and he wrote. No need to talk, no need to get involved at all.
Until the forty-ninth.
'Lavi' had changed everything he'd ever known.
Junior had always relied on statistics, science and numbers. Fixed things that couldn't be changed. Constants of his life that couldn't be altered. He would watch and hear but never speak.
And then he'd been thrown into the middle of a war that he hadn't cared about until he became Lavi.
And Lavi was strong and stubborn and loud and there all the time.
He would grin, smirk, tease and chuckle, snort and guffaw loudly.
And the people around him turned into acquaintances and then friends and then family.
He used to have one. A family, that is. Long ago but he casted that aside when he took on the title of 'Bookman Junior.' And he became an apprentice to a way of life that demanded you to be nothing but eyes and ears and hands to write down with.
Like watching a play over and over again but never being an actor, even if the director invites you to.
You always give a polite no and turn back to your seat.
And the concept of it, the whole idea of that family thing was so ridiculously hilarious that it almost made him cry from laughter. Hysterical laughter that is and maybe the tears weren't out of joy but out of something else that gripped at him like a cold night in the middle of winter.
He wasn't sure if he liked it. He'd never had it before after all.
Friends and family.
But Lavi liked them.
He liked them enough to tease them and laugh with them and care about them.
He liked them enough to risk his life for them.
A life that wasn't even his to begin it.
It never belonged to Lavi, he just came and took it and made it his own as if it'd always been that way.
But it wasn't and it would never be.
Lavi had no right to destroy everything he'd worked so hard to build.
Years and years of hard work and training and watching and hearing and recording.
It wasn't long until he started to blend into that forty-ninth persona.
Lavi liked jokes; he liked humorous poems and vanilla ice-cream.
And Deak had liked non-fiction books, biographies and black coffee.
And before them there'd been Lukas, who'd liked spring, chocolate cake and candy.
And so on and so forth.
Junior liked simplicity. He didn't want anything and never bothered to wish or dream for things that just couldn't be.
He simply was and that'd been enough until the forty-ninth came to be.
Frivolous and friendly.
He was supposed to merely breeze through this record like all the others.
But Lavi held onto life like the last shaking yellow-orange leaf held onto the branch of an old tree during fall. He refused to let go and be erased.
Erased but not forgotten.
Junior could delete Lavi just like he sometimes deleted spelling errors in his logs. And he would forget him with time. He would be another random name of a list of a number of aliases long since gone.
But would the others forget him? Would Allen, who loved humans and Akuma both and did his best to save all, forget him? Would Lenalee, whose world was entirely made of her friends and people she held so dearly and close to her heart? Would Kanda, who believed in honor and duty above all? Would Krory and Miranda and Komui and everyone else whose life he'd touched? Would they forget about him?
Would 'Lavi' be just the name of a person they met once? Fought and risked their lives besides? Lavi was not a name to them. He was not a faceless man. He was a friend and a comrade. He was part of their little family.
A stupid and ridiculous family that would probably die before the end of the war.
Lavi believed in them just as they believed in him. He believed in their strength and that they would pull through, fight together and win. They would win and by the end of the war they would be able to take a long breath, sigh and celebrate that it was over.
Junior believed they would all die. By the hands of an Akuma, a Noah or the Earl himself, it didn't really matter. And he would record it when the time came.
A Bookman has no need for a heart.
A Bookman has no name.
He has no past.
He sees and hears and records.
But he couldn't deny and ignore the way his body reacted to everything Lavi did.
The way the adrenaline pumped through his veins like liquid fire that made his heart beat so fast he thought it would explode right inside of his chest. The way his lungs burned with the necessity of air that he deprived them off by yelling attack after attack after attack in desperation. The way his eye clouded with the smoke of the destroyed town and dirt that falling debris picked up. The way the sweat ran down his temple, his neck, his chest and arms. The way his hands gripped onto Ōzuchi Kozuchi so tightly his knuckles were white and the leather of his gloves burned against his skin. The way his throat hurt and his mouth was dry and parched.
Being Lavi was the best and worst thing that ever happened to him.
For the first time ever he felt truly alive. He finally became an actor in the play of life.
But that awareness of being alive brought on many problems.
He became attached to the people he recorded about.
And attachments were practically taboo for Bookmen.
Friendships, relationships, and all kinds of social attachments were dangerous and frowned down upon.
Junior wanted and craved those attachments as much as he craved a needle stabbed right into his visible eye.
But Lavi needed them the same way that a newborn flower needed special care, water and sunlight.
The thing that pissed Junior off the most was their joined mortality. It was like a sick yin and yang of life and death. Tip it too much to one side and you can end up heavily injured or in a coma. Tip it the other way and you can get drunk with life. And if Lavi dies because he stupidly risked his life for the others then Junior dies too. And a Bookman wasn't supposed to risk his life for others. He wasn't supposed to sacrifice himself for others. That's what martyrs were for. That or stupidly chronic idiotic people who thought sacrifices were for the good of humanity.
Sacrifice yourself and become a hero. A figure of great reverence that'll never be forgotten. Your story will be written down in the history books. They'll make a parade in your honor even.
"Lavi!" the voice sounded so urgent and bordering desperate that it caught the redhead off guard. He'd never heard that tone from the Japanese youth and strongly believed he never would. But it'd been loud and clear with no way to possibly miss it.
However he clearly missed what Kanda had been trying to warn him about as he'd turned towards the voice and not the danger. Kanda stood, high and mighty, with Mugen in one hand and the other waving, motioning towards Lavi's back.
The redhead turned and like a sick slow-motion movie the surroundings faded, the noises hushed until there was nothing but silence and everything slowed for a moment. He held his breath in and his eye widened almost comically. He brought his hammer up to block but that didn't stop the slash from the Akuma. The blood spurted out and created a spray of crimson that arched like a rainbow beneath the dark sky. His mouth opened into a breathless and silent scream. The hold on his Innocence weakened and the hammer dropped to his side just a fraction of a second before his knees gave out from under him and he fell on them.
He lost track of what happened and just like that things seemed to rush back to life. Kanda's hands were on his shoulders and he was shaking him lightly. "…vi! Lavi!"
The redhead blinked owlishly, a half-lidded almost-blank emerald eye glanced up and he cracked a weak lop-sided grin. "Yuu…"
Junior wondered if this was the end. He doubted they would survive. Lavi had been too careless in the battle and now he would pay for it, dragging Junior down with him. Two entities in one body and only one death for both.
Kanda's eyes were filled with worry and concern stretched along his face. Mugen lay to his side, flat against the ground and close to Lavi's fallen hammer. Fear gripped at his heart and he almost suffocated on it. Lavi was too pale, too still and there was too much blood.
Pain everywhere. Blind, hot and pulsating up and down from the tip of his head to his feet, but especially in his middle. Blood everywhere. His mouth moved slowly and blood dripped down his chin. "'M…sorry…" he whispered breathlessly.
"Lavi!" Kanda growled, his voice laced with desperation. "Don't you fucking die on me, you stupid rabbit." His nails dug painfully on the redhead's shoulders and Kanda shook him again for good measure.
I don't want to die…
I want to live…
It's all your fault.
If you hadn't come along…
I'm so sorry.
"I…won't…" Lavi's voice was so soft the breeze quickly silenced it. The blood flooded from his wounds, creating a small, shallow puddle of warm liquid beneath him that slowly seeped into the ground and spread like spilled ink. His pulse was weak and erratic, fluttering wildly like a butterfly flying against a strong breeze and he couldn't suppress the wrecking shivers that ran down his body. He refused to let his eye close completely, afraid that he would never open it again. "Yuu…"
It was like a bad scene from a horrible and cliché movie.
"Don't you fucking dare," Kanda muttered through gritted teeth.
The lop-sided grin fell into a small and faint uncharacteristic smile that seemed too genuine to be fake. He'd always been around Death. He'd seen it, felt it and touched it. But he'd never tasted it before.
He regretted not being able to write about it. The last dying thoughts of a Bookman. The last dying thoughts of an exorcist.
I don't want to die.
I don't want to die either.
"I love you," Lavi whispered from between parted lips.
Junior had felt it before. The love, the horrible and wretched feeling that Lavi felt towards the Japanese exorcist. He'd felt it when it just started, nothing more than mere crush. He'd felt it when it'd escalated into more than that, when Lavi began to care about Kanda as more than a comrade, more than a friend. When Lavi began to have forbidden dreams about it. When Lavi began to wish and hope for it to be reciprocated. But Junior always hoped that it wouldn't.
Lavi, Lavi, Lavi.
It was even more disgusting than everything else. It was taboo. It was going against the rules he'd upheld all his life as a Bookman apprentice.
It shouldn't be and yet it was. It existed and it burned brightly in his heart.
Kanda wrapped his arms slowly, gently, almost afraid to break him, around the redhead's shoulders. He pulled him close and he rocked slowly. "I love you too, please don't die," he spoke softly against the shell of his ear. Junior's heart broke and Lavi's soared.
And then everything went black.
And that's the first chapter. Hope you all liked it and thank you for reading!
Criticism is always welcomed and so are reviews!