Chapter Eight

Losing what was found

It was hard for Lenalee to fall asleep that night. She kept thinking over and over again how she was going to deal with the consequences tomorrow and what she was going to tell Kanda or rather how she was going to do it. She could not bring herself to tell him that she no longer wanted to see him. It was true that she did not want him to get hurt, but she also could afford the luxury of falling for him harder or, perhaps, she was already in love him? Lenalee did not know. It was true that his behavior towards her was than that towards others. He was kinder and nicer to her and it seemed he was more comfortable and open with her than he was with other people – but still that was not enough for her to fall over heels in love with him, right? It was far too soon, far too quick, far too unreal or surreal would be the better word to use. Yes, it was more precise to call everything surreal. The passed month had changed so many things for Lenalee, starting from her everyday life and, finally, ending to her heart. She had lost the only person whom she could tell everything and she had opened her heart for a person she barely knew. It was all too fast for Lenalee to comprehend and she knew she could not. It was too hard and too difficult to do so and she was far too tired to think about all of this, but of course her mind just was not going to leave her alone.

After several hours of twists and turns in her bed with no success at all in falling asleep, Lenalee decided it was high time she did something useful. That was why she got up and changed into her sports clothes and decided to go for a run. She checked her clock, which read 7:42, and decided that it was not far too early to go jogging. The Chinese girl grabbed her keys and phone from her bedside table and exited the dorm room.

The sun had just risen. There were not many people outside, only the occasional businessman hurrying towards his car or a woman running to catch the early bus. Lenalee smiled as she neared the park. It was empty. There weren't even homeless people lying on the benches. She did not sense any demons within the radius of one kilometer, which was quite useful and dare she say it fun. It was also relieving because she did not have to constantly look behind her shoulder or be alert for any attacks. She could relax, knowing that if an akuma appeared, she would be warned beforehand and would have enough time to prepare for the inevitable fight. What her super senses could not detect, however, was the Japanese detective sitting on an empty bench, looking more abject than ever.

Lenalee frowned. She remembered how miserable Kanda had been when his father passed away, but not even death had made him look that wretched. Something horrible must've happened. Her eyes widened. She could not have worried him that much, could she have? If so, what did it mean? Did he genuinely care about her? Did he love her? Or was the cause for his current uncharacteristically disheveled appearance entirely different? Was it even related to her or did she not have anything to do with this? Lenalee needed to find out otherwise her head would turn into an even bigger hurricane.

That was the reason why after taking a few deep breaths in, the Chinese girl made her way to the bench Kanda was currently occupying. Lenalee frowned slightly when he did not look up. Perhaps he was thinking so deeply that he had lost his grip on reality completely. Suddenly his head shot up, his eyes were wide, his mouth, pressed into a thin line. His jaw was clenched and his fists were shaking. One thing was for certain – he was pissed.

"Where have you been?" Kanda asked, his voice dangerously low, almost a whisper, as though he was afraid she would disappear if he talked more loudly.

"Here and there." Lenalee answered, mentally kicking herself for the half-truth. Why could not she just say it? Why could not she just break it off and leave him be? After all, Kanda deserved more than this. He deserved someone who was going to be honest with him and cherished him. He needed someone who was going to stay with him after a few weeks and was not going to die or disappear. He deserved someone who had a normal life, not a school girl who had yet to make the most important choices in her life.

"Damn it, Lenalee! I thought you were dead!" Kanda almost screamed the last part, his eyes narrowing to slits as he glared at the girl. Lenalee gulped and her eyes went downcast from shame and guilt. She had been right. She was the cause of all his troubles.

Lenalee closed her eyes, mentally preparing herself for the immense anger or scolding or interrogation she was bound to receive, but the next thing that happened startled her completely. Kanda was hugging her. He was actually hugging her! He was not yelling. He was not scowling. He was not glaring. He was not walking away. He was not asking her numerous questions. He was simply hugging her. And if that was not enough to make Lenalee speechless, then what Kanda said after definitely did the trick.

"I was so worried." Kanda whispered. He then withdrew slightly so that he was facing her and added in a more audible tone, "Don't ever do this to me again."

Lenalee was so flabbergasted that she could do nothing else than nod. Her eyes were as wide as saucers, sweat had started trickling down her skin and, unfortunately, Kanda noticed her nervousness.

"What's wrong?" He asked, but then added, "Did I do something wrong?"

Lenalee's eyes widened considerably, but this time they managed to get back to their normal size. The sweat stopped trailing paths down her face. Her hands had ceased their shaking. Now they were preoccupied with a different activity – clenching. Lenalee was clenching fists. Red tinted her paler than usual cheeks.

"You think you did something wrong." She whispered, her fringe shadowing her eyes, making it impossible for one to see the ocean of emotions that her dark depths were now drowning in.

"You did not do anything wrong. You haven't done anything wrong… and you never will. It's me. It's always been me. I'm the problem. It's…. you." She choked, going down to her knees, "It's not you. It's me."

Kanda stood frozen on the spot. He was looking at the girl before him, not knowing what she was trying to say. He could not understand where all this was coming from. Why was she hurt? What was she talking about? Was this her way of saying she was sorry? Was this her way of saying they would never work out and needed to end it before anyone got too involved and ended up being hurt? Why was she doing this? Kanda knew something was wrong, but just could not pinpoint what it was. Suddenly it hit him. She knew! Pain clouded his features as he went near the crying girl and embraced her. He let her bury her head into the crook of his neck as though this way he would be able to take part of her pain away.

"It's all my fault." She sniffled as she said that.

Kanda's eyebrows furrowed and he glared at the ground behind them. He sighed exasperatedly, knowing how hard it was going to be to convince Lenalee that Cassandra's death was not her fault. For God's sake! Lenalee was not even there when the tragedy happened… or was she? Kanda shook his head. He could not be thinking like that. He should not be thinking like that. Lenalee was his girlfriend and he was her boyfriend, not potential suspect and detective, waiting to gather enough evidence in order to solve a bloody case that had been nagging at him for a few months. God how he hated the Black Butterfly for killing the loved one of someone close to him. He did not want to admit it, but knowing her situation he knew that Lenalee had no one else aside from Cassandra. And even she was taken away from her. What was Lenalee going to do now?

"Thank you." She said as she rose slightly, lessening the burden of the extra weight on Kanda's shattered form.

"For what?" He asked, not considering the semi comfort he had given her as a satisfactory form of consolation. He could have done a lot more than that, but he just could not bring himself to act so freely around her. Even after a whole month he still could not be himself around her. What was holding him back? Ah, yes the ludicrous idea that she might have something to do with the Black Butterfly, but that was preposterous, ridiculous, absurd….or was it logical. His eyes widened. Now that he thought about it, he had to admit that there was something suspicious about the way Lenalee's disappearances always happened when the Black Butterfly suddenly decided to awake from her seemingly eternal slumber and grace the city with her unneeded and unwelcome acknowledgement. It all made sense now. The reason she was crying. The reason she had mysteriously disappeared. All the scratches and bruises he had noticed, but had never brought up seeing as it did not seem life threatening and he had seen no sign of abuse or any of the like. He understood it now. He now knew why there was the undertone of guilt and slight anger whenever the subject of the so-called Black Butterfly was brought up.

His eyes widened. He clenched his fists. Lenalee had been lying to him all this time. Was there really anything truthful in her words? Had she told him anything that was true or was it all lies to create an image that would not be so easy to suspect? Had her words been nothing but lies? Had her feelings been unreal, just his imagination and the result of precise acting and skillful manipulation? Was Lenalee actually capable of all of that or was there more to this complicated situation that she was not telling him, that no one knew?

His head started hurting from all the analyzing and mainly from over thinking. It seemed as though everything had been fine and then suddenly it had all begun crashing down. The perfect walls he had built up around himself came tumbling down, leaving him defenseless, vulnerable. He was now exposed to the horrible truth that not everything was black and white. He now knew that there was grey in all its different shades, even other colours as well. But he still did not know how to react, how to answer, how to act around Lenalee. He did not even know what he was supposed to be feeling – anger perhaps. He knew it was there. Disappointment. It existed somewhere in the abyss. Guilt. Surprisingly it was there as well. Shame. It was dancing around in his heart, eating away at the remnants that still had not frozen over. However, there was no hatred or thirst for revenge. Only confusion and puzzlement shadowing the rest. The problem was he did not know why he was not feeling what he was supposed to be feeling.

Had Lenalee gone under his skin? Had he actually fallen for her that hard? What would this revelation do to their relationship? Did they even have one now after he had found out? And why now? Why was he figuring things out now? He did not know and honestly he did not care. All he knew was that he needed to get some sleep immediately. And that was what he did. Not hearing an answer to his long forgotten question about the reason for Lenalee's gratitude, he excused himself and walked away, leaving a confused, scared, but surprisingly relieved and intrigued girl behind.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A/N: God! This took forever to write. Not forever. More like a few days but thousands of edits and ideas going down the drain, anyway! I wanted to thank everyone for the wait. I apologize for any mistakes I've made. I know there might be too much, but I wanted to get this up tonight. I know lazy authors and impatient writers. That's me! But I'm proud of it.

Anyway, please leave a review on your way out. I hope you liked it and yeah…

Hope you have an awesome Friday!

Until next time I update and/or post a story my fellow readers (hopefully sooner than almost a whole freaking year),

~ QueenofRhymes ~