Title: A Rabbit and His Moon
Fandom: D. Gray-Man
Pairing: Lavi/Lenalee Lee
Word Count: 5,133
Spoilers: The manga up to chapter 150, including omake chapters.
Notes: Special thanks goes out to flyne , aorin107 , astarlightelegy , 365daysafter , and rain_waltz for providing critiques, commentary, and links.
Warning: Image heavy!
Lenalee (Linali/Rinali) Lee is a sixteen-year old Chinese Exorcist who has been in The Black Order since she was young. After her parents were killed by akuma and it was discovered by The Black Order that she was an Accommodator, she was taken away from her only living relative, her older brother Komui, and held captive at headquarters.
So intense was her grief at being separated from her brother and the isolation and depression of being kept at HQ against her will that Lenalee tried to runaway; when that failed, she tried to commit suicide. The Order prevented both from happening and took a drastic measure of tying her to her bed.
For both their sake (mostly for hers), Komui entered The Order, and together they made HQ their home. Lenalee took to her Innocence (Dark Boots) and resolved to fight to protect her loved ones because for her they are more important than the world.
Despite her dark beginnings, Lenalee blossomed into a well-adjusted and emotionally-mature young woman. She is highly perceptive of others' feelings and thoughts and is sensitive to the needs of others. She is courageous, gutsy, and prone to crying (which, when all the people you love are engaged in the ultimate battle between Good and Evil, is perfectly understandable).
She is a loving person, a caring friend, a devoted sister, and a powerful and formidable Exorcist.
Lavi (Rabi) is an alias, the 49th, to be exact. The one-eyed red-head cast away his real name when he decided to become an apprentice under Bookman, the keeper of "hidden history" (a history that is excluded from historical fact) that his handed down from person to person. He and Bookman are sent by the Vatican to record the "hidden great war between mankind and demons" as Exorcists with The Black Order.
And thus for the first time in his tutelage, Lavi is not just an observer but a soldier. Prior to signing on as an Exorcist, Lavi's views on humans were borderline misanthropic: after recording numerous battles, he concludes that humans are stupid; after seeing hundreds of coffins laid out at HQ, he decides that the war between humans and demons is a losing one (for the humans, that is). So dismissive is he of humans that while the people at HQ attempt to befriend and protect him, he thinks of their existence in terms of it being "excluded from history."
As an apprenticing Bookman, Lavi is taught to be an impartial observer, and in the beginning, he does try to keep his distance by putting on a front of being "frivolous and friendly"; but as the years pass and he fights alongside his fellow Exorcists and gets to know them and the people at HQ, the line between being an apprenticing Bookman and Exorcist, comrade and friend, begins to blur. As Lavi says: "I soon came to the point where I didn't know whether my smiling face was a lie or not."
Not much is known of his past, nor has it been revealed why he wears an eye-patch. What is known is that he is compatible with Innocence: his is a hammer he calls Ōzuchi Kozuchi (Big Hammer Small Hammer) that can grow (man) and extend (shin) at his will.
Lavi's disposition is very good-humored, goofy, and sometimes even slapstick, but he has a dark side, too, and a past cloaked in mystery. What is not unknown is that much like Lenalee, he treasures his friends, so much so that he often acts impulsively and has to be reminded by Bookman several times that as the successor to the Bookman legacy, Lavi is not supposed to get involved with the young Exorcists; Lavi is not supposed to care.
Canon or Subtextual Evidence:
First off, Lavi and Lenalee "meet when they are 16 and 14 respectively" ( flyne), but the audience isn't given a glimpse of the early stages of their relationship until a later chapter: when Lavi is trapped in Road’s dream world, old records (memories) are shown, and in one of them Lavi is eating next to a bandaged Lenalee in the cafeteria (chapter 119). From the reactions of the crew at HQ, Lavi is still relatively new at this point in the timeline, as he is still a dispassionate observer attempting to maintain distance between himself and the Exorcists (Bookman in training, yo!), but Lenalee is obviously comfortable enough with him because she 1) uses no honorifics despite Lavi being two years older and 2) pats him on the back (totally reaching, but bear with me).
As aorin107wrote, "Lenalee calls Allen as Allen-kun and Kanda as Kanda. She added the honorifics -kun for Allen as a person of senior status would do for a junior (cause she's older than Allen by age and she's in the Order longer than him). As for Kanda, she dropped -san and calls him directly by his surname, and it's not surprising cause she knows him ever since she was 8, therefore, it's only natural that she eliminate formalities, but still, she doesn't call him by his given name. As for Lavi, alias or not, it is his name. And since, he's older than her in terms of age, she would probably have addressed him as Lavi-san (if she doesn't know him so well) or at least Lavi-kun (if they are more attached). Calling him directly by his given is something that only very close friends would do (perhaps childhood friends, but heck, this doesn't apply to Kanda). Or couples ;D Which is why I find strange for a person like Lenalee who either addresses the guys with their surname, add honourifics, or by occupation, would actually address him as Lavi XD"
In the present timeline, the first real hint that there could be something more to this friendship occurs mid-series in chapter 56 when Lenalee fails to locate Allen after parting with him to save a child while he attempts to save Suman Dark, an Exorcist whose Innocence is killing him. She rushes back to the ship Lavi is on (he had been fighting akuma that had attacked the ship) and asks for his help in finding their friend.
What stood out for me was not that she sought him out - he’s one of her oldest friends - but that his help in finding Allen wasn’t all that she needed. Lenalee, being the sensitive person she is, needed someone to be there for comfort, and she turned to Lavi for it. They don’t split into different directions to cover more ground in their search for Allen; Lenalee rides on the back of Lavi’s hammer and cries into his shoulder (chapter 57).
So off the bat, we have a scene where Lavi comforts Lenalee. And almost immediately after that, we are shown that he cares deeply about Lenalee’s feelings, perhaps even more than he does his own. After seeing Allen’s Innocence destroyed via Timcampy’s recording of the event - and not finding his body but a ground soaked in blood - they are told to return to the ship and are given the news that Allen will remain in China to recuperate while they continue on to Edo to search for General Cross.
Both Lavi and Lenalee are despondent. There’s no other word to describe how devastated they look not only upon seeing a blood-soaked ground and Timcampy’s memories; they are also distressed by the news that Allen won’t be coming along. But while Lavi is able to see the situation for what it is (how can Allen fight akuma without Innocence?), Lenalee continues to beat herself with a huge guilt stick for not staying with Allen and helping him fight.
And yet despite his own grief, Lavi concentrates on Lenalee’s well-being. She sits on the ship, staring unblinkingly and emotionlessly into space, and Lavi, tired of seeing her walk down Guilt Trip Lane, smashes a window and yells at her: "There was nothing we could have done… we were all desperately fighting for our lives yesterday. There was no way… any of us could have helped him. This is a war! We had no choice! Get over it and stand up!!!" (chapter 58, 11-12)
(Notice how he uses the word "we" in an attempt to unload her of carrying all the guilt?)
Lenalee cries; the others glare at him for making her do so. Bookman hits Lavi aside the head and says to him the words that will haunt Lavi in future chapters:
"Do you believe yourself to be God's apostle? You are the successor of "bookman" and nothing else. Haven't I taught you to be nothing more than an onlooker, regardless of the situation? As Bookman, you must place yourself within that, and record all matters with fairness. You must not be affiliated with anything, nor be biased. In the hidden history, there will be evidence of war, and because of that war, history will change. Don't be taken in by the war. We are only on the order's side "by chance," all for the sake of recording history" (chapter 58, 14)
Lavi tells Bookman he understands, but it's obvious he doesn’t. That night, the ship is attacked by four akuma, and while the ship struggle to fight three of the akuma hidden by the clouds, Lenalee goes to fight the level three akuma Eishi. Lavi shouts at her not to do it because she can't fight him on her own, but Lenalee disregards his concerns and races into the air to challenge Eishi head-on.
Lavi is stuck mid-air on his hammer, an injured Bookman in his arms. He can only watch, horrified, as Lenalee and Eishi battle it out in the glow of the full moon - he doesn't care about the ship below him; he doesn't even care about himself (as he is in a weak position at that moment). No doubt he would fight alongside her if he could, but he is holding an injured Bookman, his own injuries from an earlier attack have returned, and he is unable to fight over water like Lenalee is.
So he becomes an unwilling recorder to a battle that could cost him another friend.
Lenalee kicks Eishi into the ocean; as she falls to the ocean to continue the battle, she tells Lavi to return to the ship, that she has made a decision.
His expression says it all (chapter 66):
Lavi doesn’t return to the ship to protect it until Bookman tells him that there are other akuma in the area.
But even in battle Lenalee haunts his thoughts, as in chapter 70, as he and Krory are preparing to launch an offensive against the three other akuma, he tells his vampiric friend, “If the ship isn’t here when Lenalee returns, how un-cool would that look?” (The statement also reveals that despite his misgivings, he has faith that Lenalee will return.)
Meanwhile, the fight with Eishi isn’t going too well, as his power over gravity makes it difficult for Lenalee to stand on water, and the ship is slowly sinking due to the increase in gravity - Lenalee decides to release her Innocence and go all out as to protect her friends and comrades (see: her world means nothing if her friends are not in it), and before she loses conscious due to maximum invocation of her Innocence, one of her final thoughts is: "Lavi. I planned on apologizing to you once I returned to the ship. Even though we were both distressed about Allen-kun… you were worried about me. Thank you" (chapter 71, 01).
All four akuma dead, the sailors and Exorcists on board count the men and prepare to turn the ship in the direction Lenalee was last seen, but Lavi is impatient, and when he can no longer repress his anxiety, he prepares to ride his hammer to look for Lenalee.
The sailors attempt to stop him; they fail. Miranda intervenes on their behalf, pointing out that he’s yelling at the very people who gave their lives to protect the Exorcists and ship during the akuma attack. She wants to bandage his wounds, pointing out that once he leaves her time recovery all his injuries will return.
But Lavi is unconcerned with
The bad: he doesn’t even answer Miranda’s question.
The good: he’s definitely not being unbiased.
Lavi takes off from the ship in search of Lenalee, and he is shocked to see that in order to protect her, Lenalee's Innocence crystallized around her. One of Cross' modified akuma had retrieved her from the ocean and takes her back to the ship, Lavi following close behind.
Once her Innocence deactivates… well, the reunion has to be seen (chapter 75).
This, I think, is the turning point in their relationship.
(Yes, it is a cliché, but it is true that one never realizes how important another is until that person is
Soon afterwards, the Exorcists and three sailors who survived the attack must leave the ship, as Miranda is struggling to keep her Innocence activated and the fatigue is worsening. There’s tears all around (even Lavi admits to Bookman that the parting is difficult) before the Exorcists brace themselves to enter Edo, a land that is now infested with akuma and ran with an iron-first by the Millennium Earl, the arch enemy of The Black Order.
Once in Edo, Lavi and the Exorcists attack the Earl after he issues an order to his akuma to go after General-level Exorcists. Tyki Mikki, the
So what was so shippy about the whole thing?
Just the set-up for what happens next: Kanda hands Lenalee to Lavi so that he can go kill akuma.
Then the Earl wipes Edo clean with a blast, and Lenalee is torn from Lavi’s grasp.
The first word out of his mouth (besides "uuh…") (chapter 88):
The Noah descend upon the crystal per orders of the Earl, Tyki going after Kanda while Lavi fights with Skinn Bolic.
And even though he is fighting a huge monster-looking creature, Lavi still keeps his eyes on Lenalee. He can only watch as the Earl lowers himself toward the crystal (chapter 88).
But Lavi (and everyone else) doesn’t have to worry for long. Allen reappears and prevents the Earl from biting/consuming/eating (maybe the Earl was hungry?) Lenalee. Allen quickly dispatches of the Earl, but he’s not called the Earl because he’s a dumbass: the smart bastard uses Lero (the Earl’s talking umbrella that has the face of a pumpkin - don’t ask) to create a vortex that sucks Lenalee into the ark.
Allen, Lavi, Chaoji, Kanda, and Krory follow after her. Now, I didn’t notice this earlier, but my eyes have been tainted by Lavilina-ness and they see shippy moments everywhere: while Allen is the one immediately on top of Lenalee in the pile that formed once everyone fell into the ark, it is Lavi who checks on her and thus notices Lero smashed beneath her (chapter 90). (To be fair, Kanda involves Allen in an argument - I’d probably be more concerned with a sharp sword, too.)
Another moment: Lavi’s the one at her side, his arms wrapped protectively around her shoulders, when the Earl makes his appearance to tell them about the ark being completely destroyed in three hours (chapter 90):
From then on, the group is slowly picked off, as Kanda stays behind to fight Skinn Bolic while Krory gives his all to fight Jesdebi.
The three remaining Exorcists and Chaoji make their way to the room that houses Tyki and Road. On their way, this interesting exchange takes place.
What’s with the flustered? And is Lavi… blushing?
Anyway, once they reach the third room, the group is greeted by Road and Tyki, who have set up a table as if for a formal dinner. All four take seats at the opposite end of the table, and while Tyki glares and Road flirts with Allen, Lenalee thinks about Kanda and Krory and balls her fists in anger and sadness -
Lavi, sitting next to her, reaches out a hand to comfort her (chapter 111).
What this moment shows it that Lavi is aware of Lenalee’s moods and acts accordingly, whether it is telling the brutal truth or giving her hand a comforting squeeze. He is aware of her distress even in the midst of violence and terror, heartache and sorrow; her needs, feelings, and well-being are foremost.
And Lenalee does notice. At the very least, she acknowledges all that Lavi has done. While Allen and Tyki fight
Why is Lenalee apologizing? No one blames her for giving her all to ensure that her friends live to see another day. It’s not her fault Road likes to play games; it’s not her fault Road is a sadistic little bitch. Besides, Lavi’s not the first friend to fight for her, and yet she apologizes to him. More than likely, she isn’t apologizing but acknowledging all that Lavi has done. Up till this point, he has looked out for her and comforted her and protected her as much as he could.
And now… he has to fight to free her. Because Road is one bad-ass sadistic Noah, she does not use raw power against Lavi: she makes his Innocence useless by creating an alternate dream world in Lavi’s mind, with his opponent being himself, specifically his emotionless Bookman self, the self he probably would have been if he
Road then “reads” (sees) Lavi’s “records” (memories) and constructs a new world from them.
One of the first she constructs is of Bookman revealing to Lavi the order the Vatican had issued them (joining The Black Order). At first, Lavi follows along with the conversation as if it is happening at that moment, then he remembers that the world isn’t real and that he’s supposed to be fighting with Allen and the rest….
Then a coffin floats by the canoe, filled with flowers and an unconscious/comatose/dead Lenalee (chapter 114).
First: why Lenalee? Because she's a girl? Or because she is The Girl? Road perused Lavi's records so that she could fuck with his mind. She chose Lenalee because she knew it would elicit a reaction based on raw emotion. Just seconds ago, Lavi remembered that the world he was in was nothing but a dream, and yet as soon as dream Lenalee floats by, he jumps out of the canoe and swims to the coffin. Once again, reason took a second seat to emotion; Lavi lost his objectivity.
Road knew what she was doing when she sent Lenalee floating down the river past the canoe.
Perhaps she knows more about Lavi’s true feelings than Lavi does.
How great are those feelings? Even when Road sends more dream people after Lavi, he continues to hold onto dream Lenalee (chapter 119).
(But of course, Lavi lets her go when Fake!Lenalee attempts to stab him. Love hasn't made him a fool… yet.)
Even Allen uses Lenalee in hopes of eliciting an emotional response from Lavi. When Lavi is stabbed in his heart in Road’s dream world, the other Lavi takes over his body and starts fighting with Allen. Allen, who cannot go all-out on his nakama, attempts to appeal to the real Lavi still inside of the fake Lavi: "Lavi… can't you hear… my voice? Here… the only ones who can protect Lenalee and Chaoji are us. Krory said as much, didn't he…? Kanda… is probably fighting… Lenalee… her comrades… the Lenalee who thought of us as more important than even the world is crying…." (Chapter 120)
365daysafter's take on that scene: Allen wasn't there when Lavi had yelled at her than felt ultra guilty, he's trying to weaken his deffense/snap him out of it by telling Lavi that Lenalee is crying. Does Allen appear to know that Lavi is weak against Lenalee her tears?
Unfortunately, Fake!Lavi couldn’t are less about any of them.
But Lavi does pull through in the end bec
Unfortunately, he has Lenalee's fist to contend with.
So… why does Lenalee punch him? As the caption says, Allen did some crazy stunts, too. (Not only that, when she did punish him, Allen merely got a slap!) Lavi didn’t ask to be tossed into Road’s crazy dream world. He did what he had to do to win the fight as to free Lenalee and Chaoji, even if it meant taking the force of his own Innocence head-on.
Ah… perhaps this is how Lenalee shows her love. The stronger the punch, the stronger the love?
(Yes, I can believe that
The group, intact, makes it out of the ark. Sadly, Mugen (Kanda's sword) and Ōzuchi Kozuchi do not: Kanda, Lavi, and Lenalee all lack Innocence.
This is very bad news for the The Black Order HQ: they have the egg (machine responsible for making akuma) but the Earl wants it
Allen and the Generals get in on the action. The three Innocent-less Exorcists attempt to get in on it too
Lenalee and Lavi are intercepted by Komui and thrown into the hospital ward.
And now we come to the chapters that solidified this couple as my OTP for D. Gray-Man.
Lavi's gut reaction is to go where Bookman is (chapter 140):
Lenalee's gut reaction is to be taken to Hevlaska to acquire her Innocence once more (chapter 140).
Why is Lavi shocked? Did he think Lenalee would want to sit this out? Surely he of all people should understand how important being an Exorcist is for Lenalee…. Besides, he understood that Allen needed to stay behind in China to recuperate and re-synch with his Innocence; and yet he looks almost as shocked as Komui by her request.
But whatever. Komui pleads with Lenalee to stay in the hospital ward and goes off to handle business.
Meanwhile, Lavi and Lenalee remain in front of the door the entire time
Once HQ stops trembling, the head nurse rushes to check on them. Lavi is injured, and Lenalee zeroes in on it so fast, one has to wonder if she wasn't
checking out his muscles (because he has to have some) scrutinizing him as he was protecting her.
See how quickly he reassures her? See how worried she looks over a little scratch? Lavi even quickly offers up his boots for her!
Lenalee then cries over how warm the head nurse’s shoes are and cries about being an Exorcist, hurting Komui… angst, angst, angst, angst.
Add about fifteen, twenty, thirty-five more angsts to the above sentence, and that’s pretty much what happens when Rouvelier, one of the few people Lenalee
This is the man that imprisoned Lenalee in The Order, took away her freedom, made it so that her brother had to give up his to be by her side - she hates the man but is even more terrified by him. She goes almost catatonic when he’s in the same room as her, and he has the nerve to grab her?
Lavi don't play that.
Rouvelier and Lavi get into a shouting match - and he calls out Lavi for being protective (which goes against his role as a Bookman apprentice) - as Rouvelier pretty much yells and spits in Lenalee’s face until she collapses and goes with him to see Hevlaska.
Not that Lenalee wouldn’t have gone (
So could there be some other reason why she went with Rouvelier?
And the answer is spelled L-A-V-I.
How can I not believe that Lenalee didn’t think Lavi would come along (chapter 149)?
That didn’t last long at all.
(Please note that being by Bookman's side is no longer his strongest desire.)
Some say that once again he is questioning his role in the proceedings: is he going to record events or to put a stop to it? Is he going because it is his duty as the future Bookman or because he doesn’t want to see her hurt?
Of course he doesn’t want to see Lenalee hurt, but Lavi acknowledged during his battle with Road that he is no longer detached from events. He cares about people; he has friends in The Order….
He has fallen in love?
Ah, but that is a huge step to make, right? He could be going to stop her from making a big mistake.
Well, scratch that. With this panel, it is shown that Lavi’s indecision has nothing to do with wanting to stop Lenalee (I do love a man who respects a woman’s decision); and his request to go with her - pffft.
His entire gaze is one of fear (will she reject his request to remain at her side?), but he shouldn't worry, for I do believe Lenalee
And once more, Lavi is at Lenalee's her side during a tumultuous but significant time.
A Bookman has no need for a heart.
But Lavi has one, and Lenalee has it.
My interpretation of the pairing and why I chose to ship them:
Lavi has been there for most if not all of Lenalee's important moments: he was with her when she lost her Innocence (there was no other way to phrase that, I promise), he was there when she made the decision to go with one of the few people she despises and fears to reacquire it. He has been a pillar of support and has watched out for her.
Lavi loves and respects all his friends, but there is something about how he relates to Lenalee that's different from all the others. He acknowledges and accepts the fact that he has crossed the line and can no longer be objective as Bookman‘s apprentice, but for her, especially for her, he also can't be reasonable; he can't apply logic to a situation and rise above the emotional aspect of it. He is always more emotional than rational when she is involved, even if it is a Fake!Lenalee.
As for Lenalee, she does turn to Lavi for comfort, and she recognizes all that he has done. One of the things I love most about this couple is that everything about them is subtle. It is undeniable that they love each other as friends, and it isn't far-fetched to think that that love might morph into something romantic.
As for roadblocks… well, there are many, with the main one being this "thing" called "Komui." Lenalee's relationship with her brother is all-encompassing (she asks her Innocence to return to his side after this is all over – she fights for him *cries*) and a beautiful thing. I'm keeping my fingers cross that after the war is over, everyone is still alive and Lenalee (and Lavi) and Komui can live happily ever after.
In other words: Komui will have to approve, and he will never approve of anyone. No one's good enough for Lenalee, in his highly biased opinion.
Then there is also Allen, whom is most often paired with Lenalee (theirs is a popular coupling), but again, at least for me, the relationship Lenalee has with Allen is one of Big Sister/Small Brother. She knows more than anyone about the darkness that lurks in the soul, for she has been there and lived through it, and she sees that darkness in Allen but doesn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. In her mind, there is no salvation: he has no family, he is cursed, and he has a shortened lifespan because of his parasitic-type Innocence. He appeals to every nurturing, caring, and loving instinct Lenalee possesses, and that, I think, drives their relationship.
Lavi, on the other hand, is a mystery. She's known him for a long time, and yet she hasn't: she probably knows less about his past than she knows about Allen‘s, but he's older, and he has Bookman, and he is always joking and grinning and laughing and looking as if he is having a good time. She sees what he wants her to see, and I can't help but wonder what Lenalee would do if she found out just how much he has to sacrifice to become Bookman.
Also called: Oh, But We are a Very Small Fandom
Cross My Heart – Diaph Annie
Significance - HPBabe91
The Zephyrs of Fire – Copecetic
Tangled - Snappleducated
Loss of Innocence - Yakaji (one of the few smut fics out there for this couple)
(Thanks to rain_waltz for the links!)
Rabilina – Livejournal Community
LavixLenalee FC on D. Gray-Man Anime Forums (a poster also posted a lot of fanart)
D. Gray-Man (Manga) Online
D. Gray-Man (Anime) Online
Relationship Chart ( rain_waltz)
Omake Translations (posted by tsunderes) *KDR Volume 1 and 6, wherein Lavi confesses to liking Lenalee.