Well, since this story was the one that had to wait a million years last time it was updated (mainly because Saya accidentally skipped it...) She's getting her updating order back in...order and updating this one first. Weee...no waiting! No lines! No hassle! -shot- yeah, Saya knows you waited long and patiently...sorry.

Saya doesn't own anyone but the kids, and many other nameless ocs.

Now rated M on occasion because Kanda's horneh...

34. Invocation

Allen didn't wasted any time, taking advantage of the opportunity that had presented itself, and left our group. The kids watched eagerly, waiting and expecting something wonderful to happen. I watched with just as much excitement, though I showed about as much enthusiasm as Ayumu. Actually, he looked a bit shaky still, for he had been ripped away from his usual coolness violently by Allen's question, by the thought of his friends being exposed to the sight of an akuma's soul. Allen asks such stupid questions sometimes, of course no one would want their friends to see that.

Granted, I'd never seen it either, the ability to show that to others had come about after we separated. I wondered if it was really so horrible? Allen seemed to do fine with it, but then he'd lived with it for so long, he'd had time to adjust.

I realized I had never seen Allen's newest invocation either. I had to say, I was looking forward to it. He was a general now, it had to be great, though of course that also meant that I should be dealing with the petty lvl2, not him. Still, there was just no stopping Allen when he wanted to exorcize something, I've come to realize, so I didn't comment on that. I might have to though, if this keeps up.

A little whisper left Allen's lips, and light all but swallowed him. I squinted at the light, as Yui and Ran blocked their eyes. Ayumu stared though, as if entranced, his own eye glowing with innocence. I was sure his eye was reacting to both Allen's invocated innocence and the approaching akuma. I have a suspicion that Ayumu knows a lot more about the war than either of his two friends. He certainly knows more than he lets on, that's for sure.

The light around Allen subsided, but still all I could see was white. Once he started moving, it became apparent that it was a white cape that surrounded him now. It had a feathery mantle, and what looked like a masque was attached to it, which was currently being pushed off his face. My first impression was that he looked something like a clown. I suppose that explains the name "Crowned Clown".

The fact that he was turning his arm into something that looked like a zanbato put a bit of a damper on that image of him. Clowns don't normally wield giant swords, or make said swords out of their arms. But...Whoa, that thing was nearly his height, and he only needed one hand to carry it. Maybe it was like Lavi's innocence and wasn't heavy to its accomodator?

Ripping my eyes away from Allen, who would no doubt destroy the akuma in one swing anyway, I looked over to see the kids' reactions. I didn't like what I saw. Ran was clutching at his fingers, and I could faintly hear the sounds of popping and cracking. He was trying to keep his invocation in, though it seemed he was having difficulties doing so. I don't blame him for having a hard time, he'd never tried to control it before. It was almost disturbing the way the bones seemed to jump under his skin. His face clearly showed his distress, yet he hadn't looked away from Allen.

Yui wasn't much better. She looked like she was about to choke on something, coughing and hunching forward. She was nearly clawing at her own throat, as though something were trapped in there and trying to escape. She did her best to force whatever it was down, and succeeded, though she still looked ill.

Ayumu's reaction was maybe the most disturbing, though the least harmful. He was...smiling, it was almost eerie, and somewhat reminiscent of the cool expression Allen wore when freeing akuma. His invocated innocence eye shone bright green, it was almost white. His human eye was closed, as though keeping both open made seeing confusing. Tears trickled down his face from his left eye, and from the invocated one blood flowed as freely as his tears did.

As soon as it all started it was over. To a general like Allen, a lvl2 was nothing, and honestly the fight was pathetically anticlimactic, Allen would never get the akuma out of his system, even for a little while, at this rate. I looked back to the kids once again, to see that Ran and Yui where both exhaling in a relieved manner, while Ayumu grumpily rubbed the tears and blood from his face, as if he'd just been snapped out a trance and was annoyed with himself for falling into one.

Moyashi walked back towards us, innocence still invocated, with a refreshed smile on his face. It almost disturbed me to know he could feel so relaxed after fighting an akuma, even if the fight was entirely one-sided.

"And that was an invocation and exorcism," Allen said, sounding very much like a team captain who had just perfectly demonstrated a play for his team. Ayumu calmly inspected Allen's invocated form. Ran stared, mouth agape, at the huge sword he was carrying, which had a few akuma blood splatters on it; He looked a bit squeamish. Yui's stare was frantically going from the socket where Allen's arm had once been, to the sword he held in his other hand, to his calmly smiling face, and back to his missing arm again. She pointed wildly between the three, turning to stare at Ayumu urgently as if to say "Speak my words already!" Ayumu nodded, getting her message and sighing. Taking a deep breath, Ayumu prepared to act as Yui's voice.

"Good lord, Allen-san's arm is gone. How did he do that. Does it hurt. How did something as small and scrawny as his arm turn into that huge sword-thing. Things just don't work that way. How does he carry around something that's almost as big as himself with one hand. How is this happening."

I admit, it was pretty funny to hear Ayumu rattle off all of Yui's questions with such a monotone voice, when all of that would usually be asked with a lot of feeling and excitement. Yui seemed content with the flat questioning though, she was probably used to it. Allen chuckled awkwardly, and sat down, allowing his innocence to enter its dormant state again.

"Er...well, my arm is my innocence, so that's why it turned into a sword. I guess the law of conservation of mass doesn't apply to God-matter. It doesn't hurt, and it's really not that heavy at all."

Ran and Yui looked a bit puzzled, while Ayumu looked to be working through what Allen said easily enough.

"Did I do it again?" Allen asked, scratching his cheek.

"You probably lost them at "the law of conservation of mass". They're hardly preschoolers, except for Ayumu, do you think they've covered scientific laws yet?"

"Oh, right." I sighed and shook my head, Allen was so hopeless sometimes.

"Basically, what Allen is saying," I started, turning back to the kids, "Is that normal rules just don't apply with innocence."

"Uh-huh..." Ran said, sighing with relief, knowing that now he wouldn't have to ponder scientific laws until 6th grade.

"Well then, now that Kanda's explained everything for me, let's move on, shall we?" Allen asked happily, once again resembling a teacher or a coach. He'd have probably made a good teacher, had he not been an exorcist. Not an elementary school teacher, seeing as he just can't stop himself from letting his natural intelligence shine through. He'd be a really odd High school teacher too, he'd probably be one of those teachers all the students love...but then if he ever came against a high schooler who was like me, he'd probably get into yelling matches with them all the time, because he doesn't back down. He could probably do middle school though, I'll have to ask him if he ever considered that as a career sometime.

"All right, lets start with Ayumu, seeing as you already have your eye activated," Allen said, looking over to Ayumu. Ayumu looked surprised to hear his eye was still activated, and curiously covered it with his fingers, as though he'd be able to feel the difference with his hands. "Do you know much about your innocence?" Allen asked, to which Ayumu only shrugged.

"It depends on what you mean by "a lot". I know it's in my eye, and it lets me see the akuma's souls. I've been seeing their souls and having visions for as long as I can remember. I don't know what it can do to akuma, because I always go blind whenever they attack me."

Well, that didn't help much. I can only imagine the horror of going blind the moment I saw a monster break out of a human body though. I know if I suddenly lost my sight in the middle of a battle, I'd feel like a sitting duck.

"Oh, you don't beat up the akuma Ayu, one of us do," Ran supplied helpfully, making everyone look over to him for an explanation. He seemed to realize he had attracted our attention, for he grew sheepish as he continued his explanation.

"See, the nuns were really nice to us, and felt a little bad for us too. They tried to keep at least two of us together all the time, even when we got adopted, when they could get the people to take two of us. Yui usually went with Ayu, 'cause neither of them can really work right in the world without each other." Ran received a sharp jab to the side for that one.

"Ow! It's true ya'know! I do a lot better on my own than you two can alone! But anyway...There was one time I went with Ayu, and his eye started glowin', but he didn't tell me why. When the monster came out, my fingers started popping and Ayu passed out. My fingers got really long and ripped out of my bandages. They kinda went right through the thing's face and it disappeared. That akuma didn't look like the one you just killed though, it was round, all the one's I've seen were like that. Ayu's eye did what it was doin' just now. That was the only time I really knew what was goin' on though, I've got no clue about Yui's powers."

Ran let out a big sigh, as Allen thought over everything he said. After a moment, he came to a conclusion.

"I see. Well, It would seem that Ayumu isn't an offensive type, he's more of a defense type, if anything. Maybe he's more of a warning system? It would seem that your eyes just alert you to the presence of dark matter, though I'd say you need to train with them more so you don't pass out...that won't do in battle. Ran might actually have a higher synch rate than you, depending on why you keep passing out."

The kids looked to me for a summary, and I said simply "Ayumu isn't a fighter, Ran is. Ran might know is innocence better and Ayumu needs some work."

Ran looked elated to hear this, while Ayumu looked...well, he looked like Ayumu.

"I...I'm actually better than Ayu at something? Really?! This like...never happens! I mean...yeah!" Allen smiled in an awkward compromise between congratulatory and slightly bewildered. Yui did her best to be happy for Ran without seeming offensive to Ayumu. She seemed to have no problem doing that, as it appeared that Ranmaru was the only person Ayumu wouldn't get jealous of. This could all be potentially troublesome, I just can't wait to see all the complexes these three will grow up to have.

"Ok then, does anyone know about Yui?" Allen asked, to which the three shook their heads. Goodness, how have these kids been surviving when they hardly know about their own innocence? It's a miracle they've lasted so long.

"Well, from what I just saw..." I started, "It looked like her innocence was choking her, or like something was trying to come out of her mouth..." Allen looked worriedly over to Yui, who smiled sheepishly, as though she were embarrassed to be worried over.

"Yui, when you feel your innocence activate itself, do you try to keep it down?" Allen asked, looking a bit displeased with asking about her gag reflexes. She nodded, her expression agreeing with his own.

"Stop trying to fight it down. I'm not sure if it's really your innocence or not, but something tells me that whatever comes out might not be as unpleasant as we think. It'll take a while, but do you think you can do that?" He asked, and air of seriousness surrounding him. She nodded slowly.

Allen smiled kindly, proudly at the three, before standing op straight and dusting off his front.

"Well then, let the training begin."

000

It had been a full month since Allen and I had started training with the kids, and we have moved three times, went through something close to 20 akuma attacks, and made an unexpected amount of progress. That is to say, we hardly made any at all, and the kids were starting to get discouraged with the lack of results.

They had changed some though, Ayumu hadn't passed out once during the last few weeks, and his eye didn't bleed so much anymore. Yui had managed to stop choking, but that wasn't necessarily good, seeing as her gagging was replaced by her breathing being cut off. It was difficult to tell if her innocence could be invocated safely. Ran actually managed to invocate his weapon, though he had yet to be able to make his fingers extend the way he said they could. Still, I suppose for kids who probably didn't really understand half of what was going on around them, they were improving.

Today, however, we weren't training, we were just taking a well-deserved break. The kids were exhausted, and Allen really didn't want to push them beyond their limits just yet, though he feared he already had. So, today we decided it would be best to just relax at home, let Ran and Yui play, and let Ayumu sleep in. However, I wondered how healthy it was for a 7-year-old who'd gone to sleep at 8 the night before to sleep in until 1. Maybe he was really just that exhausted? Ran and Yui weren't doing much better, they were both sitting and staring at the hotel's television like zombies.

Allen wasn't in the room to fret over them at the moment, he was off doing that in Tiedoll's room, and had left me to watch them. That wasn't as hard to do as it once was, for which I was partially thankful, but at the same time oddly guilty over. I mean, the simple training we've been doing over the past month hasn't been that hard, but then I suppose my idea of difficult is a bit different than theirs.

I brushed a few knots out of my hair, feeling vain for bothering to take such care of it. It wasn't like there was much else to do in that small hotel room, but it was the principal of the matter. What's a man like me doing, taking such meticulous care of such ridiculously long hair? Really, if Allen didn't like it, I'd be tempted to cut it off... Ok, I probably wouldn't, seeing as I'd never cut it before Allen came along either. I wonder why that was...?

Ran hopped off the couch to check on Ayumu, to check if he was sleeping well and if he was still breathing. That made me question whether or not Ayumu had ever stopped breathing in his sleep before, because Ran was diligently checking his friend's breathing during every commercial break. Yui seemed to question this behavior too, so I guessed that if there was a problem, she wasn't privy to it.

Seeing as Ran was occupied part of the time, and all but out-cold the rest of the time (if even he was out of steam, we must've been pushing these kids way too hard), Yui turned to me for company of some sort. Cautious as if she were testing ocean water with her toes, she moved into my lap, looking me straight in the face, watching for any hint of irritation. I raised my eyebrow, but otherwise didn't react. Seeing as it didn't seem like I would explode on her, she plopped down and made herself at home, before pointing to the brush I'd held in my hand a moment ago, to her own sleep-muzzed hair (she'd neglected to take care of that this morning).

Getting her message, I reached over to pick it up again, and she turned her back to me. Slowly, being careful not to tug too hard on any one section, I started brushing her hair. Just the bottom few inches at first, and slowly I made my way to the roots. Her hair was nice, like mine, and compared to Ran's, it was a blessing.

"Want me to do anything with it?" I asked, thinking I could probably get used to helping her with her hair. Focusing on hers could stop me from focusing on my own, or maybe it could give me more of a reason to? Yui made an expression of concentration, her brows furrowing the slightest bit, as her mouth drew into a thoughtful pout.

Finally deciding on something, she turned around and pointed to me. I didn't really understand that so much. Catching my confusion before I could voice it, she took one of the columns of hair that hung by the side of my face, and tugged it lightly. I nodded in understanding, and she turned around. Grabbing a hair band from a nearby table, I went to work tying her hair into a ponytail like mine, being mindful to leave some around the sides of her face.

0 Tiedoll's room 0

Allen sat in Tiedoll's room, speaking in quiet tones with the older general in a worried voice.

"It has been a month and they haven't made much progress... Am I expecting too much too soon? Am I doing this wrong, do I have the wrong approach? Or are they just too young for this sort of training? I mean, the oldest of them is only seven...It's sickening to think they'll have to be involved in this war when their training is over." Allen did his best to stop himself from chewing on his fingernails; it was an old habit he'd gotten rid of in middle school that seemed to want to come back to haunt him.

Tiedoll shook his head, and understanding and reassuring smile on his face. "From what I've heard, your methods are perfectly fine. Train their bodies to be able to withstand invocation, and train their minds to accept their purpose. And as for their ages... It's regrettable, but the Order will not be sympathetic towards children... They were born fated to live this way. It doesn't matter that they're young, what matters is giving them the ability to protect themselves. I think you just need to have patience with it, because while there is a need to rush, it's impossible to rush innocence."

Allen sighed in a relieved manner, glad to hear that his only problem seemed to be rushing. He thanked Tiedoll for his advice, and was about to get up and leave the room when Timcampy (who had mysteriously gone missing a while back) suddenly flew in through the open window and crash-landed on Allen's head, successfully knocking the poor general off balance.

"Ow...T-Tim? You've gotten huge again! No wonder than hurt so much..." Allen said, rubbing his head around the area of impact. Tim took to lightly patting the bump with its tail, in lieu of an apology.

After Allen had recovered from the blow enough to focus, Tim sat itself (carefully, this time) on Allen's head, and opened its mouth to show a video message.

"Idiot apprentice, the young lady and I are in your area and will meet you at your hotel in a week. Have a suite ready for us, or there will be more debts to pay."

Allen blinked once, then twice, then three times, before gaping and pointing accusingly at the air space where the hologram had once been.

"Th-THAT JERK! After one month of getting no replies from him on anything, and only having one-way correspondence, he just gives us a two-sentence message and tells me he's racked up more debts for me to pay! O h sure, he says if I do this then he won't make me pay them, but I know if they exist, they'll get to me eventually! Asshole! Scoundrel! Drunk! Baldy!"

"Um...Allen, Cross isn't bald."

"I can change that..." Allen sighed irately, crossing his arms in front of his chest, before grabbing Timcampy by the tail and dragging him into the other room.

0 Kanda's POV 0

I smoothed over the last few bumps in Yui's hair, before declaring it finished. She brought her own hands up to it, before hopping down from my lap and going to the bathroom to look in the mirror. There was relative silence (the t.v. was still on) as she did whatever in there. Then the quick pattering of feet could be heard, and Yui turned the bend back into the main room, and all but jumped into my lap again, hugging me. Not really expecting the attack, I instinctively caught her. She seemed happy, even though all I did was put her hair up. It was...cute. I could get used to this.

Not a moment later, the door slammed open loudly, and was shut in the same manner. Ran jumped, and entered full awareness for all of a moment. Suddenly realizing it was another commercial break, he busied himself with checking on Ayumu again. I looked over to see who would enter our room in such a rude way, only to find Allen stomping in.

When I looked at his face, I saw anger that was quickly evaporating, and something like awe replacing it. At last, he covered his mouth with his fingers to try to cover up a grin that refused to be hidden. His eyes went from me, to Yui, and back again.

"How cute, you're bonding." I could almost hear the little heart wanted to come after that sentence. He walked over to where we were on window-side bed, and lightly patted Yui's head, mindful not to mess it up. "You look so adorable Yui, you might just pull this off better that Yuu does." Yui gave an embarrassed smile, and giggled silently. I pouted, going along with Allen's compliment.

"So," I started, as Allen took his place besides us, "What was that angry entrance about?" Allen's mood became a little darker.

"Stupid drunkard master... He's finally coming back, but he didn't even bother to give a proper explanation! After all of this time! And he piled up more debts! I'll be paying those off the rest of my life! Why can't he just bill the Order, instead of me!?" Allen whined and hung his head, which Yui promptly patted consolingly; The kids seemed to have a habit of doing that whenever it seemed someone needed sympathy.

I sighed wearily, wondering how the father-in-law would take to legally being a grandparent. It would be strange, very strange and possibly dangerous. Perhaps the children shouldn't be around when he learns that important fact.

"Well, I wonder if the kids could possibly melt his heart, or something corny like that?" I asked, with hints of sarcasm. Allen shook his head, making a face as if the very idea was laughable.

"Yeah, like that'd ever happen. In any case, he'll be here in a week." I groaned tiredly, wondering if there was any way to prolong this last week without my Father-complex-having, soon-to-be Father-in-law...

Ack...sorry for the lateness...really. Saya's not dead, seriously ill/injured, and has no plans of stopping...sorry, sorry...sorry...but Summer break is coming up! Lets rejoice, for summer break is coming!

Also, there was a discrepancy in Saya's description of Ayumu. At first, she made one of his eyes innocence-green, and the other brown-black. Then in Kanda's description, he has two normal eyes. The correct description is the first one though. Though it would've been easy enough to just say it changes when Ayu invocates, he didn't have the ability to control his invocations in those chapters, so that doesn't work. Sorry for any confusion.