Title: This Saving Grace
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: some SPOILERS for Chap. 92 and upwards

Summary: AU-ish. Kanda recovers after the battle with the Noah. Some fluff at the end.
Theme: #01: Cold Hands


The first thing Kanda noticed when he opened his eyes, was that he could no longer see.

The world, it seems, had become an unfocused blur of static noise in his unconsciousness. His shoulder gives an involuntary twitch and he has to grit his teeth as a hot swooping pain zigzags down his spine and branches off into what feels like every last tiny nerve ending in his body.

He blinks and sees the crackle of electricity behind his eyelids, feels the pinprick tingles scatter across his skin, skin that consequently smells like burnt flesh, though only in memory. Just the thought of it makes his heartbeat pulse under his ribs, the black etchings of his Sanskrit tattoo itching as he thinks of phantom wounds that were no longer there.

His lips part, he's breathing, shallowly perhaps, but still breathing, so he thinks he can safely deduce he's alive…in a manner of speaking. His throat however is constricted and tight – it seems words will be a luxury he won't be easily able to afford.

He blinks again, narrows his eyes – the shadows are separating from the hard light. Too bright, he thinks, and tries to turn his head away. The dark, while it made him feel blind, was nonetheless soothing in comparison.

Kanda exhales through his mouth, his chest rising and falling with a shudder. He can only be healing; surgery never feels like your entire insides are trying to rearrange themselves in alphabetical order. Colour coded. Twice.

'…told you…let me stay…never listen…idiot.'

Finally, Kanda thinks. Some clarity. His focus is still off, but he's heard that tone often enough that even being half dead doesn't deter his logic.

'Beansprout.' His voice is alien to his own ears; it sounds like a chain being forcibly dragged through gravel.

The shadows shift – he can see the blue of Allen's eyes now, however distorted, and he's close enough that his breath is warm against the cold of his cheek. Allen blinks down at him and he notices that his eyelashes are dusty white, like powder snow. Kanda thinks he must be really far gone to be staring so intently, groans low in his chest and looks away.

'Kanda,' Allen says quietly, his tone soft and surprised, almost reverent, as if conversing to someone on their deathbed. It irked him but he'd be damned if he tried rising to announce otherwise – his neck feels brittle and his joints ache something awful enough that he's actually worried something will snap if he tries moving it too soon.

So he scoffs and tries to scowl, but his muscles seem to be against him. 'Not the face,' he hisses, managing a frown. 'I'm still alive you idiot.'

'Hardly,' the other exorcist mutters, and Kanda is grudgingly inclined to agree. He doesn't know how he survived and quite frankly he didn't dwell on that thought for longer than a minute. If fortune was going to unexpectedly favour his odd chances of survival he certainly wasn't about to complain.

The younger boy huffs and Kanda can't tell if he's amused or relieved. Then he shakes his head and says 'You look pathetic,' and Kanda silently wishes he could move his arm and punch him in the face.

A flash of black passes over his eyes – he's passing out he thinks, that's why he can't see – but then it settles solidly on his forehead, thin but weighty. The long silvery claws of Allen's cursed hand scrape his skin gently as they run feather-light across his face, tracing scars and bone structure, travelling down to skirt across his neck, his ribs, his stomach, before returning to rest, palm flat, over his heart.

This hand, while as unnatural as its previous form, looks and feels like any other hand, only the claw like fingers are hard like metal, the 'skin' underneath smooth and burnished. But it was slick with cold sweat and the unexpected chill made Kanda jerk, wincing almost imperceptibly as something in his back gave way.

The touch fled. Kanda, left with an icy imprint on his torso and a pounding ache in his spine, turned with a glare. Allen was cradling his left hand to his chest, eyes to the side. He looked faintly embarrassed.

'What?' Kanda demanded. Your hand's cold; keep it to yourself, he felt like adding, but he honestly didn't have the energy for such a sentence. He sees the thin outline of Allen's black clad shoulders shift as he shrugs.

'Nothing…' he says, smiling in that painfully false way that meant "nothing" suggested that disfigured, cursed hand had caused years of ridicule, grief and abandonment.

Or maybe he was reading too much into this.

Either way, that look in the younger exorcist's eyes – that utter void – that wasn't Allen Walker at all.

It pissed him off.

'You really are an idiot,' He sneers, even though it hurts to make his mouth curl like that. It is damn well worth it.

Allen flushes angrily; the pink of his cheeks stark against his shock white hair. Kanda's vision is clearing – so he looks upon Allen's indignant spluttering with satisfaction. It's not much, but there's a sign of life in those eyes at the least.

Allen is covered in scratches and bruises, but he has miraculously come under no major harm – hell if he did, he wouldn't be sitting here crossed legged and glowering down at Kanda to begin with.

A part of him wants to know what happened after the group had broken away from his fight with the Noah, but presently, he can't really bring himself to care.

He can feel ghost lightning sparking at his fingertips; his Innocence pulses against his hip where his katana rests; thrumming with slow energy. Kanda feels it and thinks about his fight with the Noah Skin Boric; in the end he is torn between being smugly triumphant and in enough pain that he's severely fractious.

'Kanda…?' Allen gives him a strange, appraising look. He sits with his hands in his lap and leans over him, frowning.

'Healing,' he grunts, tilting his head back and scowling at nothing in particular. The ground under his head is soft, not hard and rocky and Kanda thinks he might just have to sit up and trump Allen Walker when he is able to move again because he's had it up to here with the brat using exorcists' coats as makeshift pillows. He wasn't a goddamn girl, this sort of caretaking was unnecessary.

Sweet, he'd be damned if he ever admitted to it, but strongly unnecessary.

'Oh,' Allen says, in the sort of way one does when they don't really understand but think it polite to agree anyway. His blue eyes are wide and curious. Then he smiles and says very matter-of-factly,

'I'm glad you're not dead Kanda.'

'Hnn,' he replies noncommittally. He glances to the side, worries his bottom lip between his teeth for a second, and then tries to move his hand. It hurt, it really did, but he still couldn't reach. Allen didn't notice.

'Really,' he was going on. 'You're lucky you're not, or I'd have to kick your ass so hard-'

Kanda moved his elbow. Pain shot down his arm like a bolt. He grimaced, but dug his nails into the gritty dirt and pulled his hand forward. He didn't stop until his fingers threaded through those hard, metal claws. Allen blinked as his own hand jerked and stared down at him.

'Kanda, what are you…?' Allen placed his flesh hand on top of Kanda's, interlacing with both the elder exorcist's and his own left hand. Cold. Kanda made a face. He squeezed Allen's fingers with as much strength as he could muster.

'I'm fine beansprout,' he said flatly. 'Seriously. So stop worrying. It's making your hands freeze. And I will not have you touching me with cold sweaty hands. It's disgusting.'

He didn't know just how the beansprout might interpret that, but whatever he said, or mistakenly said, it made Allen absolutely beam.

Chapped lips pressed softly against his nose and Kanda had the strong impression Allen did on purpose just because he couldn't fend it off.

'I knew you wouldn't die Kanda,' he whispered and squeezed back.

Kanda narrowed his eyes. 'Sprout, I'm going to pretend you didn't just do that,' he said.

'Alright,' Allen said and kissed him again.

'The fact that you're enjoying this just isn't healthy.'

[END


A/U: Kanda hasn't appeared in probably what, the last 20 or so manga chapters? xD; I'm getting withdrawal symptoms. Thus a semi-AU fic was born :D