Disclaimer-I do not own D.Gray-Man, but I did come up with the idea of Perfect Mimicry, and this new Bookman skill called Perfect Recall. You'll see what it's about.

A/N—This might be a tad bit presumptuous of me, but if anyone should like to use Perfect Mimicry or Perfect Recall in a story you are more than welcome to, just credit me at least once, please. Also, if you liked this, then review it. I wrote more porn because, well, I've finally broken down and started writing it, and now I don't wanna stop. And lastly, where does this fit in the canon timeline? Uh, it doesn't really, so just take it as is.

Chapter I

Wherein Lenalee experiences an epiphany and some minor arousal, Bookman surprises himself, Krory makes a bit of a mess, Miranda actually is pro-active, Komui is a surprisingly silly sausage of a scientist, and Kanda does what Kanda does best, brood sexily and finish his mission, while also managing to entertain himself, to the slimmest of degrees.

Everyone watched Allen Walker, whether they liked to admit it or not. Lenalee had no problem admitting she observed Allen. In her mind, since she did not look at him and see him as: the Destroyer of Time, a cursed boy, a misshapen boy, a sad boy, or any of the other shallow ways many people looked at him, her observance was somehow better than others'. Hidden under a mask that few people bothered or dared to look past was a strong, compassionate, and deeply righteous man. One whom life had dealt a great many tragedies yet refused to buckle under their weight.

Respect and affection defined her relationship with Allen, despite her occasional wish for more. If she was truly honest with herself, she did not just occasionally wish for more, she had more than a bit of a crush on Allen. How could she not, though? Somewhat so shy, gentle, and full of fire, with such beautiful eyes, hair as soft as silk and filled with a sadness that begged someone to take him in their arms and hold him… What woman wouldn't want him?

Or, Lenalee thought darkly, what man wouldn't want him? The bible was very clear on homosexuality: it constituted a sin. Two men should not lie together as a man and a woman did. Maybe that was why it hurt so much, and not just because she was jealous, because it was wrong in the eyes of God.

Jealous of what, a person might ask her. Lenalee continued to muse as she monitored the source of her discontent interact with her heart's desire. Down below her, nestled together in an overstuffed loveseat were a small white-headed boy and a slightly larger redhead boy. Between them lay an open book, which the redhead read aloud while the white-haired boy followed along, listening and reading in time with the other boy's voice. The scene, which would normally cause her to feel a little flutter in her heart at how adorable the two were together, was now tainted by her knowledge that the platonic relationship between the two boys was not likely to remain very platonic much longer.

At first, it had been possible to pass it off as simple friendship. Lavi would tease and harass Allen much like the older brother he proclaimed he was to the younger exorcist. Calling him a 'bean sprout' and mocking his height, drawing on him while he was asleep and embarrassing him in front of people with personal anecdotes, all the behavior that older siblings utilized to make their younger siblings miserable.

And Allen flourished under the abuse. Of course he would always react strongly to Lavi's teasing, protesting and yelling, even threatening slow dismemberment (a rather unfortunate habit he must have picked up from Kanda). But it was impossible to ignore the gleam in his eyes or the way that he became so animated from Lavi's antics. In reality the teasing meant that someone was paying attention to Allen, close enough to learn his likes and dislikes, and so even though Lavi would mock Allen and prank him, it was really just another way of giving the boy affection, without tripping any of the other boy's defenses. Running up to Allen and hugging him was as likely to make him feel embarrassed as it was to make him feel comforted, boys could be so stupid about their feelings, in particular when they felt the need to be stoic. Worse yet, for some reason it seemed easier for Allen to relate to Lavi, to confide him, simply because Lavi was also a boy.

Jealous? Yes, she was jealous. Lavi could go from one moment taunting Allen about his inability to chat up girls, and the next he would be giving up his dinner during a hard mission, saying he felt sick, just so Allen could have enough to eat so he could fight properly. With one eye covered and the other closed, Lavi would smile bashfully and scratch the back of his head, saying, "oh I can't eat, I'll just puke it back up. Here, you have it, Allen. A Moyashi needs fertilizer to grow big and strong. And you need all the help you can get, my little Sprout." Lenalee closed her eyes and was able to recall Allen's face at that moment, the perfect expression of anger at being mocked and the hidden tender appreciation as he saw through Lavi's teasing a second later.

That was it--that look, that tenderness… The way Allen looked at Lavi, the way Lavi looked at Allen, they were simply too intimate. Even now, the two boys were reading a story together, and half of the book lay in each boy's lap, so that they had to be close to read it, too close. Two heads were bowed together, two messy haircuts meshing with each other, red and white touching and juxtaposed, even mixing as Allen began to drift off, leaning against Lavi more and more. Lenalee raised a hand to her mouth and bit her thumb as Allen slowly fell to his side, so that Lavi lifted up the book and put it on the ground.

Dull pain knifed into her heart and throat as she watched Lavi gently shift Allen so that they were now cradled in the love-seat together, Allen laying on his side against Lavi, resting his snow-white crown on the other boy's collarbone, his legs drawn up slightly under Lavi's left leg which was folded up so he could grab the book and prop it against his knee. Allen shifted slightly, and Lenalee could see that he wasn't fully asleep, more like drowsing, and Lavi continued to read aloud while Allen nuzzled his face into Lavi's chest, ostensibly looking to get comfortable. Her heart chiseled away at the inside of her chest even harder, throbbing pain with each beat as she watched the two boys and how unbearably happy they seemed. Nothing obnoxious like leaping for joy or demonstrative like laughing together, just the quiet sort of contentment that comes from being with someone whose simple presence brings a profound bliss deeper and more powerful than almost anything else.

Jealousy? Not even close, not now, just pain. She really did care for Allen, and she more than anything wanted him to be happy, even if she wasn't making him happy. He was her friend, and she was glad that he felt so comfortable with Lavi. But what they were doing was wrong, a sin in the eyes of God, and now matter how much it seemed a blessing to Allen; they were in danger of damning their souls.

The problem was, Lenalee had never seen a sin that looked so beautiful and pure. She could deal with the fact that Allen did not love her, it was how life worked, and she would be lying if she said her attraction to him was soul-shatteringly deep. A modern, educated, forward thinking woman like herself did not need a man to define her, and she didn't need to succumb to her emotions in vapors and tear stained handkerchiefs. Besides, she'd already cried over Allen, and gotten the whole rotten business out of the way. And she did like Lavi; he was like a sunbeam dancing amongst the dull and dreary exorcists, bringing light and laughter wherever he appeared. The two boys looked so very comfortable and even adorable, but her heart ached for them because what they did was simply wrong, or would be wrong as soon as they realized what they actually felt for each other.

Suddenly, Lenalee strode away from the sight, a terrible frown on her face. It was not right that something so pure as love was wrong, no matter who it was between. She needed to talk about this with someone, there had to be a way to reconcile Lavi and Allen's friendship with God. Lenalee had never been in love, herself, but she knew love, she loved her friends and she loved her brother. She knew the power of love, it was what had motivated her brother to force his way into the organization, to rise in rank and skill until he could see her again, and rescue her. Allen and Lavi had chosen to love each other, even if they didn't know it, and she shuddered to wonder what would happen when they had to choose God over each other. It wasn't right…

Thinking about her past, and her brother, gave her the solution. If anyone would be able to deal with this, it was Komui. Ignoring the surprised looks of various researchers as she leapt down to the first floor from the second, she quickly wound her way through the bookcases to her brother's office. By chance (right, by chance), she walked by Lavi and Allen, and saw that Lavi had stopped reading aloud so that Allen could sleep. But as soon as the redhead saw her, he grinned and waved.

"Hi, Lenalee-mei, how are you doing?" Lavi practically bellowed, and was promptly attacked by a million snakes. Or at least that's how it sounded, with every researcher in the library saying "shush" at the same time and drawing the sound out. Allen stirred on Lavi's chest but didn't wake up, and Lavi shrugged. Lenalee's mouth worked, and despite her earlier inner conflict, she had to giggle at Lavi's carefree and devilish smile.

"I'm fine, but you should let him rest," she said, gesturing at Allen. The poor boy had gone out on a mission with her, Lavi and Bookman, and while the three of them had escorted the innocence back to headquarters, Allen had to go meet Kanda on another mission, and then after Kanda had reported back Allen had gone on yet another mission, before finally returning yesterday, after barely completing the mission and collapsing with complete exhaustion on the doorstep of Headquarters. Of course, the first person to even touch him after he got back, the one who carried him to his room, brought him food, filed his report and the Innocence and generally took care of him was Lavi. Even now, Lavi was still taking care of him, and although she could ignore the brief pang of jealousy, she couldn't ignore the beautiful ache in her throat at how peaceful Allen looked nestled in Lavi's arms.

"Yeah, he's a tired lil' Moyashi, isn't he?" Lavi said, patting Allen on the head in a way that was more akin to stroking his hair. He looked at Allen so intensely that it made Lenalee avert her eyes. Watching that amount of love up close left her feeling dizzy.

She said her good-byes, and tried not to run to Komui's office.

Lacking a heart does not prohibit feeling emotions. It simply means those emotions should not be overpowering in any fashion, and that connections with others would be slow to form, if they formed at all. Removing all emotional contexts from a human being was impossible, and the Bookmen recognized that. However, a Bookman did not need a heart, and indeed, the presence of one made their job extremely difficult to undertake properly.

Bookman had spent years with his apprentice, properly training him to repudiate emotional attachment and learn to be completely objective about the world. It had been easier when the boy was younger, before he developed sexual urges. But even then, Bookman had been able to make his apprentice see reason. Really, the unraveling of all his hard work had begun because of that boy, the Destroyer of Time.

Even before they had actually met Allen Walker, simply joining the Exorcists had begun to work a change in his apprentice. Bookman knew that his own synchronization with his Innocence was somewhat lower than standard for a person of his capability within the Black Church, but it was to be expected from a man who held himself back from everything. Even with the greater risk, he was still more than capable of fending for himself.

Lavi had a fantastic synchronization rate, and if the boy weren't destined to become a Bookman, he could probably become an Exorcist general, in time. Although as it was… Bookmen were not supposed to change, they were supposed to be impartial and objective, observers and chroniclers, not participants. There were, of course, gradations, but telling his apprentice of when it was appropriate to take action would be counter-productive until he fully and truly understood the reasons for avoiding action. Bookman was beginning to worry that the boy would never learn his lesson.

For all the flippant, joking mannerisms of his current cover personality, Bookman recognized that the boy was, in some measure, being true to himself. He'd held the name Lavi for longer than any other at this point, and he was truly becoming Lavi. Such a transformation was… unwise and impossible to reconcile with his duties. Interactions with others required a more open personality, and basically more action than a Bookman ever tried to accomplish. Running counter to their entire philosophy and all the tenets of their profession was practically reprehensible, but there was precedent.

One of the greatest secrets of the Bookmen was that observing a thing changed it, that despite the policy of objective non-interference, the act of recording history altered it, that true objectivity was impossible. Telling Lavi such a thing might only encourage him, so Bookman had avoided it. Lately, though, watching Lavi and his… growth… well, Bookman felt disturbed. Not only was Lavi acting in a manner that indicated his growing attachment to the people and cause of the Black Church, it was the relationship he had with the Destroyer of Time, which concerned Bookman the most.

The first alarm bell rang when he saw Lavi rip up the silk scarf he'd prized from that beautiful daughter of the feudal Chinese lord they'd visited last before becoming Exorcists. After traveling through the desert on their way back to Headquarters with a retrieved Innocence, they'd run into a mild sandstorm. Walker wound up being particularly susceptible to the dry air and dust, developing a terrible, chest-wracking cough. Upon seeing how much pain the boy was in, and how stoic he acted because of Kanda's presence (there were times Bookman wished his apprentice was more like Kanda Yuu—now there was someone who had control of their emotions. At the same time, though, perhaps that was why Kanda was so… no, it was too late to begin questioning his training now) Lavi had leapt into action. Taking out the incredibly delicate silk scarf, one of the few souvenirs Lavi had been allowed to keep of their travels, the boy had stared at it for a moment.

If he closed his eyes, Bookman could still see the scarf. He'd let the boy keep it because it truly was a work of beauty, and despite his own remonstrations about Lavi's heart, Bookman himself was not heartless either. The girl had captured Lavi's mind and soul, despite being betrothed to a much older man whom she did not care for. The two of them had gone on many long walks together, supposedly to chronicle the historic marriage. For a normal man, to watch the two young people stare at each other, and in their stare say more than most people do in their entire lives about love, it would have been heart wrenching. Bookman had simply recognized that it was nearing time to move on, before Lavi involved them in the situation in some manner. She had been without a doubt incredibly beautiful, and so she'd given Lavi the silk scarf to remember her by, and since discarding that name and everything else associated with it, it had become a very precious physical memory to his apprentice.

Precious silk colored deep, deep indigo with a saffron yellow dragon that breathed fire done with rose madder dye. Those three silk dyes were nearly impossible to get, and they were painted on the finest woven silk scarf available outside of the Emperor's palace. It was a gift worthy of royalty, and Lavi had torn it up to wrap around Walker's face to protect him. Watching him do such a thing had given Bookman something he hadn't had in ages, a true shock. He had known that Lavi felt strongly protective of the white-haired boy, even Bookman himself had to admit he was inclined to watch out for him. But that scarf had meant a great deal to Lavi, for him to tear it up without even seeming to consider it was a warning sign so large Bookman cursed himself for missing the signs that must have lead up to it.

Perhaps he was overreacting. Drilling into his apprentice's head the importance of the Destroyer of Time might motivate Lavi to take such an action, and, now that he thought about, tearing up the scar without a sign of emotion was good. It meant that Lavi had quieted his heart enough to destroy the only tangible piece of that girl's love he still possessed. Now all he had were memories. When one has a theory that needs corroboration, it is best to seek another's opinion. Since Kanda speaking about Allen's emotional attachments was less likely than the youth even noticing them, the girl was the best option. He found Lenalee Lee after only a few minutes of searching; as she exited her brother's office, an interesting expression on her face. Bookman knew that even with his years of experience, he was not as good as Lavi at interpreting faces. However, those same years of experience did make him far better at reading faces than nearly every other person on the planet, the equal of highly trained spies and diplomats the world over. The Bookmen were the secret society of secret societies, and the skills of a Bookman were the most accomplished, effective and esoteric techniques humans had ever devised, and a few they supposedly hadn't.

Lenalee Lee wore the face of someone who had been troubled quite severely, and now felt at peace, if bemused. Her boots clicked with each step she took along the stone floor, setting an even, slow rhythm. Unnecessary thoughts banished from his mind, Bookman made his presence known with a small cough, politely obscured by his raised hand.

"Oh, hello there, Bookman-san, how are you today?" the girl asked.

"Quite well, as I was just looking for you," he said. She blinked at him.

"Whatever for?" Reaching out to gently take her arm in his, Bookman put a comforting palm on the back of her hand.

"Perhaps you have a moment, and we might go down to cafeteria for some tea?" A smile like that, as eager to please as daylight, seemed few and far between in this day and age. Bookman allowed himself to smile in return, if only a little.

"Certainly." The two got their tea and settled down.

"What was it you wished to speak to me about, Bookman-san?"

"I wish to know what you think about Allen-kun and Lavi," he said, and Lenalee began to laugh. Her laughter was like wind chimes, light and melodic, but slightly subdued as she covered her mouth with one hand. Bookman looked at her, feeling rather puzzled at the girl's reaction.

"I'm sorry, Bookman-san, it's just that, well, that particular question is one I just discussed with my brother, actually." Bookman raised an eyebrow, now this was a surprise, and at the same time, unsurprising. It made sense that the two boys would be observed by others who could reach the same conclusion he did, yet he had no way of knowing what it was that Komui would do about it, in his position as chief administrator of the Black Church's European Headquarters. Either way, if he approved or disapproved, it could cause them problems.

"And what did you discuss, exactly?"

"To be honest, at first I was jealous of Lavi, and the amount of attention he got from Allen. He keeps things so close to his chest, you know. I've never met someone who can tell you so much about him and yet not say anything. But he tells Lavi everything, and he lets Lavi help him, no matter what it's with." She sighed, and then smiled.

"And the truth is, I also was worried for them, because it is a sin for two men to lie together." Ah, there it was, Bookman's worst fear: that Allen and Lavi actually consummate some sort of relationship, as that was a bond not lightly broken for Lavi. If he didn't have a heart before the act, he would grow one after it. Bookman knew Lavi, and that was the boy's way. However it looked like he already was devoting real and honest affection and care to the Destroyer of Time, and that was dangerous anyways.

"But when I spoke with my brother, he asked me if I forgot the commandments for a moment, and just looked at the two of them, what did I see. I had to answer honestly, and so I did. I saw two young men who suffered a great deal, and who will suffer more before this war is over. I saw that the two of them found something that made them happy, that could compensate for what they have to go through, and…" the girl trailed off, but she didn't need to finish, Bookman could tell what she was about to say.

"If one of them should die, it's better to have let them loved and lost than to die without love," the old man said slowly, feeling as if the words were pulled unwilling from his mouth. Memories he did not wish to acknowledge tried to surface, until, with the ease of long practice, he thrust them away.

"Right, it wouldn't be fair to them, if that happened," Lenalee continued, kept unaware of Bookman's internal turmoil by his blank face. "Brother agreed with me, and then he asked if I thought love could be wrong. The truth is, I don't think it can, but it's against the word of God, only brother said that if the word of God was transcribed by the hand of man, it could be wrong."

"Part of being a Bookman is to ensure that everything we record is done so impartially. Komui is correct to assume that religious officials are not likely to be objective."

"So you agree that whatever happens between the two of them is okay?" Bookman lost control of his face so much he had to blink to reset it. Everything inside of him, all of his own memories and the knowledge inside of him cried out to say no. Only, those were not the words he spoke.

"I think that the Son of God is a divinity of love, and that a God who loves his children would love them how they were made, because that is why he made them."

"Yes, I think so, too," Lenalee said with a smile. "I think it's wonderful that you support Lavi in that manner. I wish we could do more for Allen, but he closes himself off so much; it's really important that Lavi is able to support him. I know that Allen considers us all his close friends, but Lavi is the only special person in his life that he actually goes to when he is sad. Without Lavi, I don't think Allen could be as happy, no matter how much I—we might try to help him." The girl was obviously tired of crying, because she was close to tears but they would not drop. Bookman only noticed her emotions from a distance of great shock at his own words. Being a chronicler of history meant that he did not think of history as something that he contributed to, and yet…

They had joined the Exorcists because of the Earl and the Destroyer of Time. What better way existed to properly observe and record the events of this war than to be in the thick of it? Even so, this sort of participation went beyond the typical act of influencing an act simply by watching it, this was active. At what point did a Bookman decide to stop interfering with history, and what point was objectivity replaced with subjectivity?

Most importantly, what was the point in recording history if no one would be around in the future to read it? Instead of thinking simply of how Lavi was failing to excise his emotions, Bookman considered the consequences of such an action at this point. Removing Lavi's relationship with Allen would be the correct thing to do from the standpoint of proper Bookman behavior, but it would also undeniably have an effect on Allen. In its own way, such interference would be the same as allowing Lavi to love Allen, although it would be a far more negative effect, one that perhaps would even prove ultimately dangerous to the war against the Earl. Lenalee had said that Allen needed Lavi, underneath all her other words and pain she recognized that fact.

A Bookman had no need of a heart, but a hero did. Bookmen all through the ages recognized it and wrote it down, heroes loved, and that was why they were heroes. If Allen was to be a hero, he needed to be able to love, and if he loved Lavi… Bookman bowed his head in acceptance. It was wrong, without a doubt it was wrong (he knew the pain Lavi would feel) but it was also the lesser of two evils.

All it means is that I must survive this war, that after the Earl is defeated, and Allen Walker is most likely to have died, then Lavi will bury and leave his heart behind. As all Bookman who love eventually have done, even myself.

"Yes, let us hope that they continue to find happiness together," the old man said, and Lenalee nodded. Bookman would wait, and watch, and write, as all Bookman had done before him. Lavi would learn the truth of why a Bookman did not need a heart, nor did they want one. A hearth only lead to pain for a Bookman, but some lessons could only be learned through experience.

Being isolated from other people for his entire life gave Arystar Krory a unique view of human interactions. Peculiar observations presented themselves to him all the time, for his isolation made him at once perceptive and naïve. So it was that he knew what Allen and Lavi felt for each other before he even knew that he was watching them. Thinking back on their first encounter, when the two had come to investigate him, even then he'd seen that the two were obviously as close as two friends could be.

Both of them were very fine young men, and Krory knew he was lucky to have them as his companions. Between the two of them, Allen and Lavi could take on any challenge and come out on top. They, and to a slightly lesser extent Lenalee, were the closest friends he had ever had, and not simply because he'd never really had friends. Even Miranda, Kanda and Bookman were kind to him, and supported him. Well, perhaps not Kanda so much, but he knew that the dark-haired exorcist would not hesitate to save him in a life or death situation. Well, not so much "knew" but rather "hoped" that Kanda would save him. Well, not even really hoped, just sort of guessed that Kanda would not want the organization to lose another exorcist.

Lenalee, Allen and Lavi, though, they were firm friends who he could rely upon, and that was important to him. The world outside of his family's castle was a strange place that was unforgiving of those who could not navigate it. Ignorance was not bliss; it was decidedly embarrassing and uncomfortable. Although, honestly, there existed certain things he almost wished he had remained ignorant of. It would have prevented the current state of affairs, for example, if he had remained unaware of the subtler bits of Allen and Lavi's friendship. More specifically, the hidden and forbidden romantic aspect of it.

Constantly mocking Allen as Lavi did had, at first, led Krory to view them as antagonists, like Kanda and Allen were. Except that the two boys obviously cared for each other, and Allen for some reason didn't seem to mind the way Lavi teased him. Krory had asked Lenalee once about it during the lunch meal not too long ago, just before the whole mess started. Even though she had sat at the same table as Kanda, Krory felt at ease joining her, since the Chinese girl easily cowed the surly samurai whenever she so desired.

"Lenalee, why does Allen not get upset that Lavi teases him so?"

"Because they have no self-control or sense of shame," Kanda growled around his soba. Lenalee glared at him.

"Actually, Krory-san, it's because they're flirting."

"Flirsting?" Krory asked, completely bewildered.

"No, flirting." Lenalee's gentle voice could have belonged to a teacher, and prevented Krory from feeling ashamed at his lack of knowledge.

"It's what two idiots do when they're too blind and stupid to—" Lenalee slapped Kanda on the head with her lunch tray.

"That is enough out of you." Krory was surprised; he hadn't seen Kanda be so… verbal, like, ever.

"Ignore him, Krory-san. Flirting is what two people who really like each other do to show they like each other. Those two don't know if either one likes the other, so they pretend to tease each other to cover up for their feelings."

Krory thought about it and nodded.

"So why don't they do something about it?"

"Well, it's not really accepted," Lenalee said slowly.

"What? Why?"

"Are you serious?" Kanda's tone could have withered plants. Krory flinched as if Kanda might strike him.

"I swear, Kanda, I will ask you to go meditate on what you're saying if you insist on continuing this behavior." Kanda sneered, but kept silent.

"It says in the bible that a 'man shall not lie with another man as he lies with a woman.' And most cultures consider the behavior to be abnormal at best, criminal at worst. It only recently became a crime not punishable by death in England, actually." Confusion radiated from Krory, but he did not feel self-concious, because he could not imagine the justification for such a law. Thinking that love of an unusual sort was something perverse made Krory feel righteously indignant, like his battle personality swam near the surface of his thoughts.
"But that makes no sense. Love is beautiful no matter who it is between."

"Not everyone agrees with that," Lenalee said.

"Do you?" Krory pressed.

"At first, I didn't," the dark-haired girl admitted, "but after a great deal of thinking, I've come to a different conclusion."

"What made you change your mind?"

"Talking to my brother about it," she said simply. Then Krory did something that he really had no explanation for. Maybe he simply was somewhat suicidal underneath it all. Death surely awaited him after the words he spoke next.

"What do you think, Kanda?" Luckily for Krory, Kanda's previously bizarre verbosity considering the subject of Allen and Lavi persisted, thereby saving him from a disastrously ignoble death.

"I could care less what either of them do in their bed rooms, but if they continue to prove irritating… I shall—remove—the problem," he said darkly.

"Ah, well then," Krory said with as much diplomacy as he could muster. "Is there a policy in the organization for such a thing?"

"Not as such, although strict adherence to the commandments is expected, a certain amount of leeway is granted given the urgency of our mission, and the autonomy of our agents," Lenalee said, her eyes closed and her body language indicated she was most likely quoting something someone, probably her brother, had told her.

"So they could get in trouble for loving each other? That's just wrong," Krory exclaimed in a whispered tone, trying not to draw attention to them. If what Lenalee said was true, and she had no reasons of any sort to lie to him, then Krory would do his friends no favors if he revealed their feelings for one another.

Kanda made a noise that he didn't necessarily feel it would be such a bad thing if they got in trouble, but since he didn't speak, Lenalee didn't physically reprimand him.

"Yes, so it's best if we just let things run their course, and cover for them if necessary. And not to interfere in any way, Kanda." Warning Kanda of her intent, Lenalee looked him directly in the eye. She looked the wrong direction.

Unfortunately, interference was what happened, and it wasn't Kanda who did it. He did it, Arystar Krory, supposed friend of Allen Walker and Lavi Bookman. And as much as pretending it wasn't really his fault by thinking of it so passively, he was responsible.

They had been on a mission in Prussia, and there had been multiple level 3 Akuma. Despite all of them being skilled and powerful enough to each take on a single level 3 Akuma, the extras and the several level 2s had given them several close calls. The largest one was Allen's, when he'd been literally riddled with bullets after a reckless charge where he took out half of their remaining enemies. Lavi and Krory had made short work of the remaining Akuma with relative ease; they'd all been knocked silly by Allen's attack. But Allen's Innocence had been taxed to its maximum capacity in purifying his body, and it looked like he was losing his battle against the virus. Lavi had begun to panic, until Krory agreed to suck out as much of the poison as he could.

"Ah, that was delicious," Krory purred as he stood up. His darker warrior aspect loved the taste of Akuma infected blood, and Allen's cursed blood was extra sweet on top of that. Energy coursed through him, revitalizing everything he'd exhausted in the fight against the Akuma. The white-haired boy he'd just drunk from collapsed limply on the ground. Lavi crouched down to lift him up.

"Allen, are you okay?" Lavi asked as he cradled the boy in his arms, bridal style.

"Yes, 'm perf'ctly fine, Lavi," came the barely mumbled response. Lavi's face grew concerned, his one visible eyebrow furrowed in contemplation.

"Did you have to suck so much blood, Kuro-chan?"

"My name is Krory, brat," he growled at Lavi. "And yes, I did, unless you wanted him to die. Why, are you jealous that I got to taste him?" Lavi flushed a brilliant red, and Allen's eyes shot wide open. Both boys stared at Krory and then each other, before looking awkwardly away. Despite all of the looking around going on, Lavi still held Allen like a particularly delicate work of art.

"Wha-what are you talking about, Krory-san?" Allen stuttered.

"Please, the two of you are so transparent," the vampire drawled contemptuously.

"I got no idea what you're talking about, Kuro-chan," Lavi said. His voice sounded honest and slightly bemused, but Krory could smell the desire and fear on him. He could see the way Lavi's heart beat faster while it was closer to Allen's, and how Allen's heart did the same.

"Don't insult me. You both want each other so badly I can literally smell it on you. Do yourselves a huge favor and take each other to bed." Both boys stood extremely stiffly, and then Allen pushed himself out of Lavi's arms, stumbling slightly but standing on his own.

"I can walk, Lavi, thank you," the younger boy mumbled, and Krory frowned. What were they doing? Lavi nodded and the two quickly began walking away, in different directions. As Krory changed from his far more aggressive battle form to his normal form, dismay covered his face like dark rain clouds on a sunny clear day.

"What have I done?" he asked in horrified confusion. He knew he'd done something wrong, somehow, but what on earth could it have been? Was he too forward, somehow? They both had to be aware of how they felt about each other… right? But what if they weren't, what if, in fact, they simply thought of each other as friends who greatly cared for one another, and he'd surprised them both with a revelation they had yet to make? That seemed so unlikely, they were so clearly close to one another, and yet… Krory knew that ignorance was not something that bothered just him; it bothered others as well, and shamed them in addition to that. Perhaps Allen was not aware that men could love other men, or Lavi was not aware that he could feel about another boy that way.

Or maybe you guys are all wrong, and they aren't even attracted to one another to begin with? A million different theories and thoughts began to bombard Krory, and he cringed in pain as the guild began to build inside of him. What should he do?

Miranda did not know what had brought this all on, but she knew depression when she saw it. After all, she was one of the most depressed people she knew of. What's more, the signs here were obvious, even if they did not make a great deal of sense to her. Quite simply, Allen and Lavi had stopped talking. Lavi no longer teased Allen about a thousand little things, like being short or young or white-haired or just… anything at all. He didn't even call him Moyashi anymore, just Allen.

Strange as it seemed, the absence of teasing obviously bothered Allen. Miranda could not understand how being mocked could be read as affection, but for some reason between the two boys it was. Only, they weren't doing it anymore. Instead of teasing, yelling, laughing or pulling pranks, now they avoided one another's eyes (or eye in Lavi's case, Miranda thought, and then felt terrible for thinking it) and looked increasingly distraught while doing so. Painful as it was for her to watch Allen be completely miserable, at first she thought it was better that Lavi wasn't harassing him. Except that Allen didn't get better, he only became more melancholy, even as Lavi became increasingly emotionless in comparison.

She'd gone to talk to Lavi first. To be quite honest, she didn't care for the redhead as much, but in many ways that made it easier to confront him. Or rather, shyly talk to him, since Miranda simply didn't do confrontations. She'd asked him what was wrong, and he'd simply looked at her, rather blankly, and said he didn't know what she was talking about. Becoming flustered and fleeing at the first opportunity hadn't been her goal, but she'd gone into the situation expecting something like that to happen. Actually, Miranda was proud of herself for having the courage to ask Lavi the question. For Allen's happiness, she would do just about anything.

At first she had thought that Allen and Lenalee were together, or at least meant to be together. Fate had ideas other than hers, which should have come as no surprise. She hadn't been oblivious, she'd seen the looks they boys exchanged, listened to the conversations people had around her. It was perhaps the widest known secret in Headquarters. What shocked her most was how everyone seemed to be so accepting of the two boys. Perhaps it had something to do with how Lavi made everyone laugh and lighten up, or how Allen simply had a way of looking at you that made you feel warm inside and like crying at the same time. Whatever it was, she'd seen more than one Finder, Scientist or fellow Exorcist look at the two boys in dismay.

So when she went to Allen to ask what was wrong, and he just looked at her with that sad, sad expression on her face and told her "don't worry about it, it's nothing important," she knew she had to do something. Unfortunately, she had no idea what to do. So she decided to put the problem off for the moment, and to approach Arystar Krory to see why he was also looking so down. With any luck it would have nothing to do with romance of any sort, much less forbidden.

It took a fair bit of walking, but Miranda finally tracked the tall, thin sad-looking man down. Training as an Exorcist had given her an exponentially large amount of confidence in comparison to how she used to be. Of course since Miranda's confidence had been so low it was actually negative, she was only now approaching the level of an extremely shy and introverted person. A talk with Arystar about something of this nature, something so very personal and out of Miranda's comfort zone (paired with that thought was one about how everything was outside of her comfort zone). Being your own worst enemy was hard, even more so when you're aware of it. There was a peculiar frustration that went with that knowledge, and the inability to act on it built on it, and then feeling guilty about the weakness and…

Miranda had badly needed someone to talk to for a very long time. Becoming an Exorcist had been a blessing in many ways, but the most valuable, without a doubt, was putting Miranda in a situation where she had people available to her. Finders who were there to support Exorcists in every conceivable fashion: as doctors, bodyguards, secretaries, accountants and counselors. The short amount of time she had spent in her new life had changed her greatly even if she had a long way to go. But for the first time, she felt she could appreciate what life could eventually be like, to be confident and capable, to be able to wake up and truly wish to face the day. A dream that now felt it could be realized, not simply hang as a painful illusion.

Arystar stood by the railing that overlooked the highest easily accessible point in Headquarters. Low clouds usually obscured the view, but tonight the view was perfectly clear. The sky sparkled with its infinite multitude of stars, and slight glow of a distant city (maybe it was London? She actually wasn't entirely clear on their location…) on the horizon. The air sat mostly still; every now and then a sluggish gust would catch at his cloak and tug on it like a shy child. Which was how Miranda felt, at that moment, and perhaps why Arystar didn't notice her approach immediately.

"Ahem," Miranda cleared her throat and Arystar jumped up with a yelp. The sudden noise and movement startled Miranda who shrieked and crossed her arms in front of her face. Framed by the night sky and the stars, they stood stock still, staring at each other, before each calmly lowered their arms and began to speak, only flushed with a bit of embarrassment.

"Hello, Miranda-san, how are you tonight?"

"I'm doing well, thank you for inquiring, Arystar-san. Are you doing well, also?" Miranda cursed herself for sounding so awkward and unsure at her idle question. Small talk was supposed to be easy, and Jason, that nice Finder boy, had even made her flash cards to practice with. Oh she was a failure, now she'd never know what was wrong with—

"Actually, Miranda-san, truth be told, I'm not feeling very good at the moment." Silence lay between the two like gentle frost, cold and uncomfortable but easily broken. It made it easy for Miranda to recover, something she was grateful for.

"Might I inquire as to what you are feeling?" Again it sounded just… wrong, like she had a speech impediment or was wrong in the head somehow. What was she doing wrong, why wasn't it sounding perfect, why couldn't she do this right? The questions were going to rip her apart it felt like, but Arystar didn't seem to notice.

"I'm feeling ashamed, Miranda-san, for I believe that I have destroyed something beautiful."

"Oh?" What a horrible reply, what a terrible, shameful, stupid, wretched reply. Every single response she'd tried to hard to memorize had vanished from her mind's eye.

"I'm afraid it was I who drove Allen and Lavi apart, just as they were beginning to see things for what they are." Miranda's eyes widened and Arystar continued to talk. "We were on our last mission, and ran into several high level Akuma. We barely made it out alive, and Allen was—Allen was hurt, badly. I had to drain some of the blood from him to save him, and he became very weak. When I become feral, I change into a different person, but it still does not excuse what I did." The tall thin man, his face covered in anguish, pounded his left fist against his chest, right over his heart.

"I made a heartless and cruel remark to Lavi, all because he was so concerned about Allen. He held him so tenderly, and was angry with me for draining so much blood when Allen was already so weak. And I… I asked him if," Arystar's voice broke repeatedly as he tried to talk without crying, "if he was jealous that I got to taste him first."

Much like a tall tree, Arystar collapsed against the railing, crying and bemoaning his terrible and wicked other half.

"Arystar-san, it's not your fault," Miranda said, kneeling down and putting her hand on his shoulder. He looked at her with tear-stained cheeks and wide dark eyes.

"But it is. With this dark side of mine I've killed the woman who I loved most of all in the world, and now I've destroyed the love between my two first friends, the two who rescued me from myself. Why was I cursed this way?" He asked, and something inside Miranda snapped. The way Arystar sounded, the pain in his voice, it was so like her own. When talking to the Finders, especially Jason, they'd told her that everyone felt alone and scared at times, no matter how they acted. She hadn't believed them at first, she had thought, from past experiences, that she was the only truly worthless, unhappy and just all around bad person in the world. To the contrary, they told her that everyone felt like that at times, and if someone said they didn't, they were either lying, or someone she wouldn't want to talk to anyways. On some level, she hadn't believed them, despite knowing it was true, that she was not the only person who felt this way, not the only person who felt so alone. She'd seen it in the other's eyes, and in seeing the world she'd been introduced to the dark and gray places humanity made for itself.

Words that could have come from her own lips had just spilled from Arystar's. In that moment, she felt a kinship that she'd never felt with anyone before. People relate in a number of different ways, but the most powerful emotions or feelings that can bridge the gap between two people, and only two people, were laughter and pain. Love could bind them into one, and hate could crystallize a powerful bond, but pain and laughter brought about a sense of kinship unlike anything else. In that moment, she saw someone who felt like her. Knowing and seeing are always two very different things, and epiphany struck Miranda like the bolt of lightning that it was: she was not alone. In that moment, something inside of her blossomed.

"Because you are strong enough to do something about it. Your duty now is to destroy Akuma, and help save lives of many people, right? That is why you had to kill your… love." She'd almost said wife, and somehow the thought of that mistake didn't stop her from speaking. "And now, now that you think you've killed what's between Lavi-kun and Allen-kun, well don't you have a duty to help that too? To save it?"

"Do you think it can be?"
"I only know what I've been told, that you don't a thing can't be done until you've tried. And I think that if we can't think of anything, I know someone who can."

"Lenalee-chan?" Miranda smiled at Arystar, they really were thinking alike.


There is no profession that is cooler than mad scientist. It is a fact. Those people, who are not lucky enough to enjoy the lifestyle, or be in close proximity and/or benefit from it, are out of luck. End of story.

Komui loved being a mad scientist. Although he wasn't mad, far from it. Unless someone had romantic interests in Lenalee. Then even he had to admit to himself he'd cheerfully eradicate the male half of humanity if it would keep his darling Lenalee safe. Except that would probably make her quite upset, so he once again abandoned the idea. Abandon might be a bit of a strong word, though, considering he just put the plan for his Male Seeking Red Weasel Virus back in the secret drawer in the secret file marked "Plans to Preserve the Purity of my Darling and Beautiful and Innocent Sister, Lenalee." There was also an automated gelding machine he'd come up with in there, but working on that robot for overly long made him feel decidedly uncomfortable in his crotch. The thought of losing his bits was enough to make even an eccentric researcher (mad scientist was such a harsh phrase, after all) like him wince.

Fate was on his side today, because the moment he put the plan away the primary objective marched into his office, towing two other exorcists. To his immense surprise, the other two were not a guilty looking Allen and a mutinous/murderous Kanda, or a pleased looking Lavi and a mutinous/murderous Kanda. It was a sad but stunned looking Krory with a sad but stunned looking Miranda. Curious.

"Hello, Lenalee," he sang, putting extra emphasis on the last part of his sister's name. "What brings you here today? Has a boy been hitting on you and you need Miranda and Krory here to protect you? I swear that I'll destroy that octopus… who was it again?"

"There was no boy, brother. Now sit down and listen. Krory-san and Miranda-san and I all agree, the situation with Allen-kun and Lavi has become impossible to deal with. Something has to be done."


"Brother, remember when I asked you if it was wrong for two men to love one another?" Komui blinked once, and then again. His sister stared at him apprehensively, perhaps worried that now that he was faced with the reality of the hypothetical discussion he disapproved. Miranda and Krory both looked worried as well. For a solid moment, there was no movement, but enough tension that it felt like there was. And then Komui leapt up onto his desk with a wild and jubilant cheer.

"Two more boys who aren't going to prey on my precious Lenalee, what a wondrous day, what a magnificent day, that my sister's innocent and cherished disposition remains safer without those two predatory and—" Komui's speech was interrupted by his sister's foot, thankfully without her Innocence engaged.

"Brother I am serious. Lavi-kun and Allen-kun are miserable, and," Lenalee proceeded to explain the why's and wherefores of the situation. Komui nodded along in feigned understanding, although he'd already been more than aware of the situation for quite some time now. Pretending to be an idiot was Komui's greatest skill, even if sometimes his skill got the better of him. He had been pondering whether or not to take action on the situation between Lavi and Allen, or simply letting it work itself out naturally. But if Lenalee wanted it done, then done it would be!

"All right, my dearest sister, I shall acquiesce to your request. Fear not, for within two week's time, I shall have Lavi and Allen get to know each other," here he paused, and lowered his voice to a serious baritone, "biblically." Lenalee hit him again.

By the time Komui regained awareness, Lenalee had taken her two hapless sidekicks and left, probably to go pet some kittens or something. It helped Komui's fragile mental eco-system to always pretend that when Lenalee wasn't in his immediate range of vision or on a mission, she was actually playing with small furry and incredibly cute mammals somewhere. Problems had arisen with this tactic upon the arrival of one Allen Walker, who happened to somewhat fit the definition of a small and incredibly cute mammal. But he was the wrong sort of mammal, for he was no innocent Labrador puppy, no, not at all. He was a boy. A filthy, perverted, sexual deviant, lusting-after-Lenalee, filthy, dirty, no-good, scheming boy. Needless to say, discovering that Allen and Lavi could be paired off was a day for glorious celebration. Allen Walker was dangerously compassionate and attractive, as long as he was single and around Lenalee, Komui had to be constantly vigilant.

Now the only question was, how to get the two boys together. The obvious first step was to send them on a mission together, but throwing them into a combat situation when their relationship was that unbalanced was asking for trouble. Better instead to send them on a forced vacation. Yes, perhaps to some sort of resort, maybe the kind with hot springs so that they would be wearing very little… yes, this sounded perfect. He could see it now, Allen sitting in the water, looking oh so innocent and naïve, while Lavi would offer to sponge his back, and then poor unsuspecting Allen would let him, never knowing about the way Lavi's hands would feel, or how they would slip lower and touch Allen in places he didn't know about, pleading with Lavi to stop but secretly wanting more and letting Lavi take what he wanted—

When Komui regained consciousness again, he realized that perhaps it would be better to leave the actual execution of the plan to someone less prone to violent hentai nosebleeds. Someone who took no shit from anyone, someone who would tell Allen and Lavi what was what without a single care as to their feelings, someone who would get the job done because it was a job and the faster it was done the faster he could get a real mission. Someone who was named Kanda Yuu.

Komui began to laugh, his voice rising and escalating until it filled the office and echoed into the hallways and library. Then he stopped. What good was a mad scientist's laughter unless he had created a proper machine? Komui pulled a piece of paper off the floor. Something about something labeled in bid red letters "IMPORTANT." Probably nothing he needed to read. Turning it over, he drew a giant equation on the paper.

(Factor X+ Robots) x (Allen+Lavi) equals True Love

Tapping his chin, Komui pondered the equation deeply, pouring through his mind searching for answers, and then began to draw a rabbit. Rabbits had fur and were soft, and made warm coats. Warmth… Coats… Coats keep people warm in the cold. Without coats, people are cold. When people are cold, they want to be warm. If two people without coats were cold, then the only way to get warm would be to add their body heat. The sum of body heat times the sum of cold and robots… That was it. A kidnapping robot and a robot snow machine. Now it was time to begin laughing!

"You," Komui slammed open his office door and pointed at a hapless researcher. "Fetch me Kanda Yuu, and be snappy!" Then he whirled around and slammed the doors closed. Slamming things was awesome, but no more time for that. Now was the time for… creation!!!!

Four internal exclamation marks? Oh it was going to be a good night indeed.

Everyone around him had gone insane. Perhaps it was disease, perhaps it was the lifestyle and the fact that their minds were too weak to handle the stress, or perhaps insanity was a social disorder that could spread without warning. Or maybe everyone had secretly been replaced by Akuma and the entire Order was now just one big joke being played on Kanda by the Earl. Any of those explanations were better than thinking about the amount of time and energy being devoted to a friendship between two unimportant boys. Okay, so technically Allen was the Destroyer of Time and Lavi was going to be the Bookman someday, but was it truly necessary to send Kanda on a mission with the goal of, although it had not been explicitly stated as such, getting the two boys to indulge in a sinful homoerotic relationship?

Kanda didn't know what he'd done to piss God off, but he hoped that this punishment absolved him, because, really, this was just too much…

The boat creaked and rocked. Their cabin was definitely a nice one, even if it was a bit cramped since there were only two beds. Kanda had promptly claimed one for himself, and Allen and Lavi were alternating sleeping on the floor. Both boys were reading, and trying desperately not to look at one another. Since they got on the boat yesterday, the two had refused to speak more than a couple words to each other.

Kanda had been aware of far too much for, in his opinion, entirely too long. He'd watched as everyone else gradually came to realize what he had known since he first laid on eyes on Allen and Lavi. That being: the former was obviously fey, and that the latter had the libido of at least a dozen male jackrabbits. Putting the two together should have been easy, but trust both of them to be complete and utter idiots about everything and muck it all up. Frankly, and Kanda was nothing if not frank, he didn't give a shit.

Except… Komui had sent him on a mission. A stupid mission, with a ridiculous goal, but a mission nonetheless. Nominally, it was to give them all some much needed relaxation, part of being an Exorcist was knowing when to allow your mind and body time to heal. After Allen almost dieing and losing his innocence and Lavi being confronted with his heartless future, the two obviously needed some rest and relaxation. Kanda did not; Kanda needed nothing but the next piece of innocence to gather and Akuma to slay.

No matter how much he wished it were otherwise, Kanda would not disobey orders, even trivial ones. No matter how… trivial, or offensive or…

Kanda hated this.

And what was the absolute worst part of all? The worst part was that he could only see one way out of this situation with any speed. To complete his goal as fast as possible and then get back to killing Akuma. Or kill Komui, whichever would make him feel better.

On the other hand, the mad scientist had sent ahead two of his creations that were supposed to help Kanda achieve his goal, somehow. The offhand explanation Komui gave him of how they could be used to force people to rely on each for body heat had not gone over his head, but as he tossed the remotes overboard, he realized he didn't care one bit. He would do this his way, or not at all, and since the latter was a non-option, it was the former all the way. So he bided his time, and while Allen and Lavi stayed silent, he did as well, and realized it was actually rather nice to not have to deal with stupid conversation. So he let the two of them continue to maintain their awkward silence, and did nothing whatsoever to break it.

The situation became so ludicrous it almost amused him. By the time they arrived at the resort Allen and Lavi, desperate for conversation, had started making pointless small talk with each other, frequently awkward and halted regularly by uncomfortable comments and innuendo. It got to be so bad that when they reached the front desk and discovered that rampaging robots had driven everyone out of the village, they actually turned to one another to exchange bewildered looks, and then realized what they were doing and both whirled around to face the opposite direction and made as if to run off. Driven by disgust into a voiceless rage, Kanda promptly grabbed them and told Lavi and Allen that they were both to stay together and relax, or he would slit their Achilles tendon so they couldn't run, and then tie them together.

The robots had vanished and the Exorcists swore up and down that they would protect the town should the robots return. Retrieving the hotel staff was a rather quick affair, once Kanda demonstrated what he would do to the robots should they return, or the staff should they refuse to return. And although the rest of the town trickled back in, none of the guests returned, as they were all completely traumatized by the experience, seeing as how much of them were very high strung people looking for absolute peace and quiet, and instead got giant rampaging robots.

Kanda refused to feel bad for possibly causing the entire affair. Chucking those remotes into the salt water had seemed like a fine idea at the time, but he should have gone with his first instinct in any situation and simply used Mugen to cut them up.

The hotel staff was suitably impressed by Kanda's martial prowess, and the entire resort dedicated its staff to serving the needs of the three teenagers. Their first dinner there was so well prepared, it even made Allen and Lavi loosen up enough to talk to each other.

"The food is rather well prepared, isn't it?" Lavi said neutrally.

"Oh yeah, it's delicious." Allen's mouth seemed to always be eating, and perhaps it was just as well that all the other guests hadn't returned because the white-haired boy was single handedly eating the resort out of its larder.

"It's kinda awesome we're the only one's here. Get the whole place to ourselves," Lavi said, leaning back in his chair. A waiter dashed in and refilled his wine glass, as a series of deserts were then laid out, ranging from custards and crème brulée to rare fruits from the new world and fine cheeses. The three boys all ate a healthy amount, and Kanda actually felt mildly content for the first time in a long time. Now, while he didn't feel like killing anyone in particular, would be a good time to put the plan into action.

"I hear that the hot springs here are exceptional," Kanda said. The two boys paused and turned to look at him. Kanda smirked internally; apparently they had heard something off in his tone of voice. Mildly perceptive of the oafs, how surprising.

"I'm sure they are," Allen said cautiously. The Moyashi's body language indicated a high degree of caution. From the way certain muscles in his legs were tensing, Kanda would bet money the little brat was going to run at the slightest provocation. Why on earth was Lavi attracted to such a coward? For that matter, why did he even bother to care why a moron would love an idiot?

"In fact, there is a spring said to be the perfect temperature and level of minerals to bathe in after eating." The two boys began to surreptitiously look for escape routes. "Since this is a mandated vacation, I feel I should let you know, I am here on orders to make you both relax, together." Both boys looked at Kanda with very real fear in there eyes. It was difficult to ignore how happy that made him.

Needless to say, that same fear was a very fine motivator. The amount of effort it took Kanda to force Lavi and Allen into the hot springs was so low, it almost made the dark-haired warrior pleased with himself. Almost, because he couldn't forget what the original mission objective was, and how much it offended him and his capabilities as a warrior. But Kanda was a soldier, and he completed all mission objectives. The three boys walked outside on top of the raised wooden path to the hot springs. About thirty feet away from the main resort, the hot springs were separated and covered by different finely crafted wooden panels with finely painted naked men and women.

Kanda paused to look at the various options for springs. They were described as varying between cool, cold, warm, hot, and steaming, and each spring had it's own name. Really, all the springs were fed from the same underground volcanic spring, but the resort had set up various pools to achieve the different effects for each one. Kanda smiled as he caught the sign for the pool he wanted.

"This way," he said, making sure his voice was cold as ice.

"Ano… Kanda, this pool is called—"

"I can read,Moyashi, so yes, I'm well aware what the pool is called."

"Do you have something ya want to tell us, Yuu?" Lavi asked slyly, and Kanda sighed.

"Actually, I do, and this pool is the most private." Kanda was pleased that nothing he just said was a lie, even if it wasn't the truth. Both boys seemed to accept his answer though, although why Kanda would need privacy when there was literally no one else at the resort was something they should have thought about. The more fools they.

The building housing the pool called "The Lovers" was made from the darkest wood, with pale decorative panels suspended between the dark wood framing. Wysteria trees grew up trellises to cover the gaps between the panels and the frame, while the top was actually a thick cloth of some sort under a wooden roof. The pool was an irregular shape, carved smoothly out of rock with various seating spots, a couple large rocks in the middle of the pool, and a waterfall that fed the pool streamed out of a dragon's mouth suspended above one of the larger carved seats. Everything smelled faintly of spices that were supposed to arouse the senses, among other things. Kanda could pick out vanilla, cinnamon and sandalwood to name a couple.

"Ah, well, it does smell nice in here," Allen murmured. Ignoring the comment, Kanda undid the tie on his robe, letting it slide down his shoulders, before tossing it to the wall where it neatly fell on a hook. Three eyes raked over his well-muscled back, and Kanda was glad that they saw only his back because he was wearing the closest thing to a shit-eating grin he ever would. Both boys were staring at him, he could practically feel their gazes traveling down his spine to look at his ass and legs. Striding forward, Kanda stepped into the pool, walked down the steps until he was in up to his stomach. Heat suffused his body; he could feel aches and pains from the many wounds he'd suffered in his life (his body was already old in that regard).

"What the hell are you two standing around for?" Kanda snapped as he slid into a seat, stretching his arms out to rest on the rocks. Lavi and Allen were both flushed—Allen moreso than Lavi—and they appeared to be in no hurry to drop their robes. "Get in the water, now." His tone brooked no argument.

Trembling with nerves, like some young colt being separated from his mother for the first time, Allen undid the sash on his robe, careful to keep his back to Lavi. Kanda watched as Lavi's eye tasted every movement Allen made, and as the bookman apprentice slowly revealed his own body, it was clear to Kanda that the redhead's appetite was being… aroused. At one point Kanda had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing as the two tried to enter the pool at the same time, and accidentally touched as they both walked in. Like two magnets of the same charge, they leapt apart and both managed to fall into the water.

After the water had calmed and everyone had spent some time soaking, Kanda decided it was time.

"So… I said earlier that I have something I want to tell you, both of you," Kanda said, slowly and seriously. Lavi and Allen devoted their full attention to him immediately. "It's difficult for me to talk about my feelings, you know that. But this is important, and I want—I want you both to know…" Kanda stopped, as his voice trailed off he closed his eyes and took a tense breath, before exhaling almost shakily. Concern was the most evident emotion on both of their faces, and Kanda reflected on how their emotions were so easily manipulated, a clear weakness to be exploited at his whim. He certainly didn't feel any manner

"You can tell us anything, you know that," Allen said.

"Yuu, man, just tell us, we won't care," Lavi said at exactly the same time. The two turned to look at each other.

"I just wanted you to know, that I—I think you are both the stupidest people I have ever met. Honestly, I can say that you are even stupider than many Akuma I've destroyed. You are so stupid, you make Komui's broken science experiments look like genius." Kanda stopped talking, he'd almost started yelling, and took some calming breaths. Allen and Lavi were, quite simply, stunned. Kanda suddenly hauled himself out of the spring.

"I'm going to leave now, and you two are going to make up, and then probably do something disgusting together. To get this crap out of the way, everyone knows, they want you too together, I don't care, because I don't care about either of you. If you do anything sexual together in front of me, I will geld you." And with that, he turned and left, a job well done.