It was such a shame that she was an Exorcist, seeing as how she was a gorgeous young woman whose sinfully long and shapely legs would have made a spectacular display in a short, sparkly, fringed dress.
Then again, Lenalee's bust had grown all through her teen years and nothing short of a very hard-working strap could smooth down her figure now. She wondered who to ask for advice. There were no young women in the order, unless you counted Miranda, but her fashion sensibilities were still resolutely mired in the age of multiple petticoats and collars that buttoned all the way up the throat. The wallflower was terribly antiquated when she wasn't wearing her uniform, but it suited her somehow. Still alarmingly faint-of-heart despite the century turning, the poor thing was having a hard time adjusting to the insanity "winning" the war had wrought upon the world.
The first long, drawn-out akuma war had ended with a shaky bang. The known Noahs ended up as confirmed kills. The Earl went AWOL and was presumed to be lying low, now that his most useful acolytes were stashed in the science department's morgue. Akuma, even level three ones, still drifted around, but were believed to be leftovers.
All in all, things were not really resolved. But there had been victory, and subsequent peace. The world had seen itself unravel and then get held together by a shadowy organization, all in a time when modesty was considered best. It was quite at a loss what to do with itself afterwards.
Crazy dancing and excessive drinking parties had seemed to be the natural solution.
This new age dawned on Lenalee Lee as a spectacularly beautiful woman, sitting to breakfast with her guy friends, posing an unusual question to them.
Lavi hemmed and hawed, resting his chin on his fist as he weighed the obvious appeal of an unchecked full figure with the slimming current style. As an adult, Lavi was smolderingly handsome. The mischief of his cat's green eyes had deepened to a dangerous, enigmatic clarity, like the rim of an absinthe bottle.
He had been a boyish flirt when he first came to the Order, all talk and no action (typical eighteen-year-old). Now that he was legal, his dalliances with the ladies in smoky bar scenes kept him out late and often. To the extreme annoyance of the Tower custodians in charge of security, the bar scene would sometimes trail Lavi back to the tower in the form of a slender, smirking girl with heavily lined eyes, leaning on his arm.
Allen, Lavi's best friend, sat next him. All the extroverted friends in the world couldn't kill his natural shyness. At Lenalee's question his face flushed red and he stammered something incoherently about her being pretty no matter what she did with herself.
In a nervous tic he flicked his pale hair away from his cursed eye. He'd kept it long to hide the pentacle. The symbol was now taboo in public, so he thought he might as well, but there were not many people who didn't recognize the war hero when they saw him. Allen had the same kind of half-grown good looks Lavi and Kanda had sported once. Even though he was a bit beyond that age, that was where his features had settled.
Allen was also slow in the emotional maturity department. He'd nursed a blatant crush on Lenalee since they'd met as kids. She was patiently and respectfully waiting on him. Allen was still the type to die of humiliation if the girl made the first move.
But, as Lavi impatiently pointed out, times were a-changing. Besides, if she didn't want to be cooped up like an old maid while Allen worked up his nerve, wouldn't she like to come to the club with him? She'd accepted, to Lavi's undisguised surprise, and then promptly dragged Allen along on the "friends' outing".
Lavi gloomily came to terms with his rejection over several strong drinks while Allen spent the rest of the evening being terrorized by bold, sequined flappers calling on him to gyrate with them on the dance floor.
Lenalee had serenely sipped on a strawberry daiquiri as she looked on, thoughtfully wondering if she could make the look work for herself and if Allen would like it so long as she wasn't too flashy about it. But she kind of liked the daring of it, outspoken-ness and getting your chest bound…
But when she brought it up, it was (funnily enough) Kanda who answered her.
Kanda, Lavi's other best friend and Allen's ally-enemy, had mellowed out from his long, painful phase of extreme arrogance and extreme violence. His teenaged hair-trigger temper and stab-happy hands had kept the Order sobbing at the fickle outbursts of a twelve-year-old (and fifteen-year-old's, and eighteen-year-old's, and twenty)…but finally he no longer sicced nightmare creatures on people who tried to help him.
He never became good-natured. Somewhere along the line his adult dignity simply overrode his conspicuous rage. He was longer irked by petty acquaintances like the Finders. He reserved that for close friends, to their complete and absolute horror.
Like a true poetic Japanese warrior, he became elegant in his wrath. Without a single angry word or any of them seeing, when the handle of Lavi's fork inched a bit too close to Kanda's plate, it dissembled into six evenly cut metal tabs half a centimeter above Lavi's hand. They all shifted a bit further away from him on their cafeteria benches.
They'd all gotten better, but Kanda and his Mugen were worthy of legend status. Besides that, his near-lethal eighteen-year-old beauty had at one point decided to be fair to the rest of humanity, or at least reasonable. As he continued to grow and train, it softened slightly as his chest widened and face became more masculine.
People stopped regularly confusing him with a beautiful warrior woman. They did it occasionally instead. Kanda kept his irritation quiet, but started wearing the front of his shirt open so his well-defined pecs did the explaining. There was quite a bite excitement among the females in the Order, but as Kanda really did look more like a (male) samurai that way, it died down and just became part of his natural look. From then on, he felt he could afford fancier hair ties with traditional knots and once a while, a patterned obi. Embroidered storks and the color red suited him. People got it. No breasts equaled man.
He was still stubbornly asexual though, resisting both Lavi's joking advances and townswomen's serious ones. The same long ponytail jerked on his back as he looked Lenalee's voluptuous figure up and down without the least bit of a leer.
"You are unusually developed for an Asian woman, aren't you?" he asked her thoughtfully. "Don't bind your chest though, that will limit your movement."
"And how would you know that, Yuu-chan? Wait, wait! Don't tell me you've been a smoking hot babe all this time and flattening your rack to hide it! I knew it!" Lavi threw a lascivious wink in his direction. Then he playfully drew closer as he mock-whispered to be completely audible: "Of course, you'd still be a smoking hot babe even if that weren't true."
A thin line of red of mysterious origin appeared on Lavi's collarbone and the necklace he had been wearing dropped onto the table with a clink.
Allen rolled his eyes rather grumpily. He wasn't happy with Kanda nicking their mutual best friend or talking about the breasts of the girl he liked. No one else saw it as a very big deal, though.
"What's there to like about him?" Allen grouched once to Lavi. Allen was a good kid who had become a good man, so for the most part he held his tongue on what he thought about other people. Kanda pushed his buttons though. It wasn't hard, with the snooty beauty taking up a fair amount of Lavi's friendliness and his lovely high-heeled Exorcist's attention. Lavi sincerely liked him and Lenalee seemed to have an almost sisterly rapport with him. Kanda didn't seem to treasure either in the least, which was only more of an aggravation for Allen.
Lavi replied laughingly, "Nothing, for you. He's been a jerk to you from the start and he decided to be an even greater jerk by keeping it up for no reason. But the person Yuu shows to you isn't the person he shows to me." With extreme talent, Lavi willed a glint to his eye: "Plus…he's so damned pretty! Prettiest thing in the Order, tied with Lenalee."
"Is he?" Allen was unfazed by Lavi's oh-so-unsubtle sexual overtones. He crossed his arms in stubborn resistance. "I don't know, I always thought he was like one of those self-absorbed high-maintenance women."
"You saying Yuu's a diva, Allen?"
"Yeah, I guess. And just what are these good traits I don't know about but you do? He still insults you all the time."
Lavi shrugged and gave Allen a toothy grin.
"I dunno then, go ask Lenalee then. He's REAL sweet to her, if you get my meaning."
"What?!" confused Allen nipped off to either find Kanda and fume silently in his presence, annoying him, or Lenalee and mope silently in hers, worrying her. Lavi knew poor Allen's "secret" affection would keep him quiet and bothered in either case. He stalked off whistling. Grown or not, Lavi was still a troublemaker.
"Baka-usagi." Kanda retorted with well-checked ire. "Muscle or breasts, it doesn't matter. There's pressure either way."
"All my movement's in my feet, Kanda." Lenalee smiled.
He raised one wry eyebrow. "You breathe with your lungs. The less air you get the slower you are."
"Does it really make that much of a difference?"
"Yes." He spoke impassively. The bandages he wore to disguise the hated marks were always visible now, but they seeped out onto his upper arm, which could not be covered. "It does."
In the end, it didn't matter because Lenalee never got to try on the short, spangled dresses for flat-chested girls that had tempted her.
She was an exorcist, and had to wear her coat.
There was one other big thing about her appearance that bothered Lenalee. After losing her hair at sea, she had grown it back all the way down to her knees and put it into the cross clips. But she was much too old for pigtails now and many times before she had thought about cropping it into short waves, which was the in look right now.
Komui had never approved. He attached herself to her leg and bawled when she tried to go into town to see a hairdresser. She'd gritted her teeth and tugged him along anyways. She made it as far as the front gate that way, scooting her brother along on the floor one step at a time. Reever had intercepted her there and politely requested that she humor Komui for the sake of his sanity and the science department's. Komui was sure to be completely useless for weeks after if his dear sister lost her "most beautiful hair in the world" again.
Komui was going to be sad, if she ever found him again. When she got blasted in the back her hair got scorched off to waist length. She was grateful she'd listened to Kanda and had all the breath in the world to jet away as fast as she could.
He was waiting for her on the highest rock of the hill like he said he would. His own long, intact hair whipped behind him in the wind, getting entangled with those beautiful Japanese cords he used to hold it up. There was a pile of lower-level akuma at the base. He looked like an illustration out of a picture book, the noble feudal swordsman who would vanquish the evil spirits by dawn.
She crash-landed into him, nearly headfirst. He turned her in midair so she wouldn't break her neck against his ribs. She could feel her spine being pushed up by his hands as he carefully repositioned of her wounded body to sling her safely in his arms. It all went to waste because as soon as he was ready to carry her away comfortably, she flailed so hard she fell out his hold.
Her nose slammed into his hard chest. Two delicate trails of blood trickled out of her nostrils and her head shot backward. Kanda was afraid that she would crack her skull and tried to grab her wrist, but her hands seized the lapels of his coat.
Her eyes were wild and unfocused. Her entire frame shook as she held on.
"I lost Miranda!" she screamed hysterically.
It took Kanda several full seconds to remember whom Lenalee was talking about. Miranda Lotte was the frazzled, clueless woman that dressed like a frumpy old doll, but had the highly useful ability to turn back time. She was one of the senior Exorcists, one whose debut had dated from before the end of the first war—one of the ones who should have known what to do when the alarm sounded.
"What do you mean?
"I mean…I lost her! I was flying her, and we were attacked and I was hurt, and Miranda invocated her innocence to keep me going, but an akuma rammed me, and I dropped her, so I dove after her, but I got dizzy and all my wounds came back even though I couldn't have been that far from her, and I couldn't find her again, but they were still after me and I had to keep going and MY GOD KANDA I LOST HER!" Lenalee shrieked.
Kanda pried her clenched fists off and forced Lenalee to sit. He knelt beside her as she held her head in her hands, her pupils dilated.
"Are you trying to say that she died?"
"NO! I DROPPED HER! I LOST HER! I LOST MIRANDA! MIRANDA!!"
Kanda shook her roughly.
"Enough, Lenalee! This not a tragedy about some rookie dying because she did not know what she was doing! Miranda was fighting like she was supposed to, do you understand? Unlike those children, Miranda is a veteran with years of experience. Either she will win as an exorcist and retort back to us, or her contribution to this war, invaluable as it was, has come to an end. That is all! And that is enough!"
At the word "children," Lenalee's eyes had started to fill.
"He killed them all! It was our fault, we never trained them! When we were their age, we survived! We let them be weak and now they're dead! DAMN YOU, KOMUI! DAMN YOU!"
She thrashed away from him like she was going to take off and find her brother and kick him, like she always did when he was foolish. She was at her limit; her feet only glimmered a pathetic faint green and did not invocate. She would have thrown herself down the hillside had Kanda not caught her by the ankle and hauled her back. He threw his jacket over her head as if she were a panicked animal, knowing she would hyperventilate and calm herself down. The last muffled but distinct sensible word he head her say was her piteously angry mewl: "Nii-san!"
He picked her up rested her on his shoulder as he walked. She kicked energetically like a wild doe until he punched her in the stomach to wind her. She was too hurt to waste her energy on hysterics and they had to get away quickly.
Allen was waiting for them. He recognized Lenalee's long legs dangling even though her head was only a black lump bobbing to the rhythm of Kanda's step.
"Lenalee!" he cried and pulled her down into his embrace. The jacket slid off her and her eyes were making mud, tears catching the dirt on her charred face.
Kanda glared at Allen's reproachful look, then brooded over Miranda.
Kanda had not disliked the woman, but was far more sorry that with the science department scattered, they had lost the closest thing they had to a medic. He was right to be.
The second war had barreled into them and blindsided them. It had hurt.
Headquarters was gone, its contents of people and holy weapons looted by the other side. The new apprentice exorcists, eager boys and girls who had wanted to be soldiers and heroes in the next war, were gone too. They had been much softer on them than the last generation. It was Komui and Allen's fault. To eliminate the suffering of gullible young souls under the care of exploitive evil generals, the old training system was reformed and apprentices could take on the best, most experienced Exorcists as mentors. These Exorcists in turn became something like honorary generals. Their apprentices were not allowed to fight akuma on their own.
They were all at fault, and all of them had let them die. There was nothing that they could do about it, not even yell at Komui for his irresponsibility and soft-heartedness, because they did not know where he was.
Why did they have to be so harsh about it, after all? The first war had just been won. They had all been jubilant. They had all wanted to celebrate and relax. The Earl had not been active, nor new akuma been sighted since. Thing weren't so desperate that recruits had to be drilled until they were as traumatized as Allen, as nervous as Lenalee, as cruel as Kanda, as brittle as Lavi.
"Spilled milk." Allen had said bitterly, and then cried.
In the chaos the entire science department had gone MIA. When they talked about what they were going to do next, it was often about rendezvousing somehow. Kanda knew they were dead, but didn't bother saying it, even though it was obvious that it would be more productive to locate the Earl for a showdown.
He didn't express his opinion much because it didn't matter. He would be gone soon and then they could waste as much time as they liked.
They had done a good job hiding from the akuma, which were too powerful to think about without getting depressed. Lenalee hypothesized that the Earl had directed them years ago to wait somewhere until the order was lulled into a false sense of security, somewhere where the church had little influence.
"How does that make sense?" Kanda had retorted scornfully at the time. "The church has never been able to enter Edo, but they still knew when the Earl based himself there. Name one place that we couldn't have gotten scouts to, at least."
Lenalee's weary eyes spat fire. "Antarctica!" she snapped irritably.
So, in theory, the akuma went on an all out melee in ANTARTICA for several years, Kanda thought sardonically. Which was why there were now such things as level sevens, which could demolish ancient towers with one blast, and level eights that they could only take down when they all worked together, so long as they were willing to come to the brink of death each time. Meanwhile, the Earl was making new level ones, and as far as they know they were the only resistance, which was why they cowered and hid most of the time.
Kanda never stopped contributing all his brute strength and skill to Lenalee and Allen's plans, but all the same he was a little relieved that it wouldn't be his problem for much longer. They never spoke of the gaiety that they had lost so suddenly, but their lives were horrible now and they all knew it.
Allen and Lenalee went half-mad with worry over their missing friend and drove Kanda plain half-mad before Lavi finally came back. His clothes were a bit tattered but he was otherwise unharmed. He had not been at the Order when it happened. He had been out, not as an Exorcist, but as a Bookman junior, gathering information with Bookman in South America for something unrelated to akuma. Therefore, they had disregarded wearing their uniforms and had not been at high risk for attack. Lavi excused his long absence by saying that he had been cautious about making his way back after he heard the news.
"All over the place, it's chaos." He informed them. "Akuma massacring people. National armies are fighting back. It's really supposed to be too early to tell if they're being effective, but all they have are regular weapons against akuma. You know how that goes."
"Where is Bookman?" Lenalee fretted. "Is he okay?"
In response, Lavi dashed a compact glowing object to the ground. Allen and Lenalee bleakly beheld the raw innocence illuminating their feet.
"Dead." Lavi squatted by the fire to warm himself. "Not the akuma. He was old, you know? Almost ninety. We weren't even running or anything. I woke up one day and he didn't. C'est la vie. Thought I'd at least bring his innocence back, General." He wryly saluted Allen, then stared into the flames. He looked over them at where Kanda was sleeping.
"Tired." Lenalee whispered. "Let him rest."
It was the middle of the day.
"Fuck. Figures." he said.
Kanda's hair cords, being made of silk, had been slippery and delicate and easily snapped by the grasping claws of a level three. Kanda had wasted all his energy trying to find some way to make the akuma suffer, but as an exasperated Allen pointed out after were all liberally doused with akuma blood, akuma don't really have feelings as weapons, and the soul ultimately ends up saved anyways.
Lenalee had as much trouble keeping her hair neat and out of the way as Kanda. When things became grim, she unclipped her cross mementos and put them away. She didn't think the akuma cared about ruining accessories, but she didn't want to lose them. Instead, she used a pack of cheap hair rubber bands that had been in the backpack she had grabbed before her room caved in. Battles snapped them one by one. She was down to her last two.
But she knew when she saw Komui again, and none of them could predict when that would be, nothing would make him happier than finding her exactly the way he had left her. To him, the twin pigtails would mean that even though he had left her unmonitored, his sweet little sister had stayed pristinely innocent. His cute lolita, her a woman in her twenties already. She hadn't been able get rid of them while he was with her and now she couldn't get rid of them because he was gone. It was a big bundle of rather stupid contradictions, but that was her big brother all over, and she missed him.
She stared at Lavi's bluntly outstretched hand.
"I need one for Kanda. Please, Lenalee, you only need one when you're fighting."
She nodded numbly and took one off with an inappropriate smile frozen in place. It was childish, but her eyes were stinging out of temper. She would have given it up, something as trivial as a hair band. Lavi didn't have to take on such a pleading tone.
Allen must have said something.
She put it in Lavi's hot and sweaty hand. For the past few days he had rarely left the fire, and now he went straight back to it. She turned her back like it was necessary for scooping up her hair into a single thick bunch at the back of her head. She didn't want Lavi to see her crying.
Recently, Kanda hadn't gotten too far from the fire himself. He had never complained about being cold, but had woken up from his nap almost in the embers, though he had started off in the very back of the cave.
Lavi was finally back. At his stony expression Kanda had known better than to greet him or ask why he had been moved.
"Lavi." He had said coolly to his best friend. "Did you come back to watch me die?"
The first thing that he had lost was the ability to produce body heat. As soon as Lavi had returned, he had placed a hand on Kanda's bandaged chest through his open shirt to shake him awake, ignoring Lenalee's protests. His fingers met a cold as deep as the rock floor's. Kanda's body still eerily rose and fell with the drawn-out breaths of sleep.
Allen helped carry Kanda's body—technically, corpse—to the fire. Lavi rubbed Kanda's limbs and pushed at Kanda's heart with the heel of his palm until his heart started beating again and he regained circulation. Lavi peeled back Kanda's Exorcist jacket to find the "flower" as big and intrusive as an octopus, tentacle-like strokes strangling his arm clear to the elbow.
Kanda's body was voiding his life, one vital function at a time. The morning before his organs had started to dissemble. Lavi hourly pressed on his stomach to check for a mushiness under his skin, but Kanda's abdomen was still relatively firm. His insides seemed to be breaking down at a snail's pace. Kanda did not seem to be any pain. He tranquilly accepted that he was not allowed to move, which was unnerving. He let his fellow Exorcists wait on him hand and foot even though dependence was one of the things he hated the most.
"His nerve endings stopped working." Allen had realized, sickened.
"Maybe the part of brain that processes hissy fits did too." Lavi posited dryly. "Well Allen, Yuu's not a diva anymore. D'ya like him better now, or back when he was useful?"
Lavi, their substitute healer now that Bookman and Miranda were gone, attended to all nurse duties. Allen was out because Kanda refused to like him to his dying moments. Lenalee had no medical experience and the whole thing had her nerves completely shot. At the moment, Lavi was coping with keeping Kanda clean. Kanda's guts were disintegrating with a sloth's haste, but for all their slow melting they produced gobs and gobs of blood.
When Kanda spat, he would convulse and his hair would get all over and stick to his red-stained mouth. Lavi found out the first time he had to do it what a pain it was to wash the vomited blood out of Kanda's loose hair.
"Where is your lotus?" Lavi asked him as he plaited Kanda's hair.
A decade's worth of friendship is a long time to go without ever confessing that the oddly luminescent flower in the on your desk has a greater significance than an interest in new-fangled fiber optics. Kanda had never told Lavi specifically about his curse, but to avoid being stingy he had given Lavi two things: one, that he was sick. Two, that the flower was one of the most important things to his life.
"Che. Mugen was in one corner and lotus in another. There wasn't time to take both."
Lavi sighed. Symbols of bloody violence and a beautiful life, and which one did Kanda choose? Typical.
"Really, Yuu, that should be a sakura flower on your chest."
It was like having a conversation with the probably dead Komui, who had been in the know. Lenalee and Allen had treated him like he would become a monster in order to fight other monsters. Almost too dangerous to approach. When Lavi came back, Kanda was reminded what it was like to be spoken to as a dying man.
"Maybe." Kanda agreed sullenly. "It feels like I only got five petal's worth out of it."
"Musta took the Earl a while to figure out how to really destroy it. It's powerful magic."
"Che. Long enough to baby-sit those two idiots for you. You took too damned long."
"Ah, Yuu. How bad could it have been? Lenalee's such a sweetheart that even you couldn't be mean to her when you were an angst-y teenager. And Allen probably took care of himself just fine, or else he wouldn't have been recognized as a General…even you didn't make that rank."
"And have to take on a couple of brat apprentices? The entire reason why those kids are dead now is because Komui didn't want another Cross Marian, Lavi. And for your information, it sucked while you were gone. Those two are useless."
"Like I said, Lenalee is kind and Allen is strong—"
"No, Lavi." It hadn't been since childhood that Lavi had seen Kanda with such a young-looking face. "It was all useless. And stupid. I felt it coming, and after that it felt like they couldn't do anything that mattered. They were always talking about saving everyone, but Allen and Lenalee couldn't anything that could make me care."
"Yuu-chan." Lavi ended the braid with Lenalee's tie, putting it out of the way. "One thing about you that has always made me absolutely sick is your selfish cynicism. Allen and Lenalee may have never cared, but you never cared to make them."
"Know-it-all bastard. It's more selfish to want pity, isn't it?"
"It's even worse to sulk about not getting any, isn't it?"
"Fuck it. I wasn't doing either."
"Ha. You wanna know what's funny? I already knew that." Lavi said. He lapsed into a good-humored silence for a few moments. "I wasn't making things up about being selfish, though. You didn't even ask me how my mission went."
"So?" the dying man tiredly asked.
"Easy. You're not curious about what's going on with me and that's because you're thinking, 'what do things like missions matter anymore?'"
"So, idiot, get your brains together and figure things out. You're dying, not lazy. Like I said, you've always been a selfish cynic and you've never told me anything useful about the lotus. But you're either so slow or unfeeling that you don't even think it's strange that I know so much."
"I went to Komui. He told me everything, and I collaborated with him on and off for years, researching a cure. The trip to South America was the first lead I was investigating, the spring of eternal life. And…then the Order fell. I stayed away from you all so long because I didn't want to give up. I knew the war would take over the entire world again…and that once I came back I wouldn't be able to leave because I'd have to be a hero with Allen and Lenalee. The odds were horrible, and I didn't find anything in the end, but it was my only and last chance to save you."
Kanda closed his eyes in what looked like indifference. He did that often, but for once he seemed genuinely sleepy instead of simply ill. He spoke in that relaxed position.
"…What the hell are you doing, Lavi?"
"Che. I may make you sick, but you're making me sick too. You know I hate naïve people more than anything else."
"Did you think telling me that would make me feel better? I was just frustrated that I would have to die with two useless idiots keeping me company. That's not the case anymore, so what do I care about you failing a mission?"
"Lavi, when you hit on me, were you serious?"
"Why are you asking things like that now?"
"Why not? Got a better time? Answer it."
"Yes and no…I wouldn't have minded. You're amazingly hot, you know. But it's not like it would've been better that way. It was more fun getting you to say 'no.'"
"So you were never serious. Try asking now. If you feel like asking seriously, I'll consider it seriously."
"You're only saying that because you know you won't have to. Heartless as ever, Yuu. Give it up, you can only be what you are. That doesn't change. Not when you're dying and not when you're dead."
"Damned Bookman." In what might be the kindest action of his life, Kanda rested his hand on Lavi's. "Always have to be so fucking indirect. I'll say it for you, Lavi. 'You are my friend'."
"Yeah? Wow, looks like you smartened up while I was gone…"
"….Please don't cry."
"...You're not supposed to be the one comforting me."
General idea: what do you have, what do you hold?
I started this thinking I'd do a quick two page thing. Then a long one-shot. Then…it just got freakishly out of hand. I had to break it up into two parts. Both parts feature nonspecific character profiling/interaction, but you could say the first's theme is death and friendship with Lavi and Kanda. The second will be life and love with Lenalee and Allen. This is more of a narrative than a tragedy.
I hope it's obvious enough, but here's some notes to clarify just in case. The story roughly parallels real-life history. There are two major wars, only between humans and akuma instead of countries. D. Gray-man takes place roughly during the Victorian era, which is immediately followed by WWI and the boozy, flashy "Roaring Twenties" right afterwards. The dates here are fudged a little bit, obviously, just so I could get all the characters in that young adult age.
Few more notes: If I'm not mistaken, Christianity was outlawed in Japan around this time. An obi is the fancy sash of a kimono. Finding the spring of eternal life was an actual motive for some expeditions into South and Central America.