Author's Note: Why am I starting this, when I have so many other fics to finish?
Oh, and no, this isn't Yullen, just pure gen fic (which this fandom apparently needs). Yaoi/shonen ai just isn't my style, and Kanda's tough enough to work with in platonic relationships as it is. It'll be a challenge, but I like challenges. And gosh darn it, I'm going to use whatever name spellings sound best to me, despite what fandom says…mostly the ones I read in the translated manga volumes. Hey, not all of us read them online XD
Summary: Exorcism: the expulsion of demons, restless spirits or other supernatural entities that have possessed people. Kanda had never believed in ghosts before, but after finishing a blotched mission is forced to confront one, in the form of the recently deceased Allen. There is only one way to bring Allen back, but will time run out for Kanda before he finds it? Brotherly!AllenKanda, no pairings for now.
D.Gray-man and all related non-original (as in, not made by myself) subjects © Katsura Hoshino, Shonen Jump, etc. I'm only borrowing them for a bit, and intend to return them whole and recognizable, I swear!
Chapter One: Duty
"Get out of the way-"
Yuu Kanda had never liked that cursed fool to begin with. He was loud, obnoxious and had one of the most irritatingly pleasant smiles the older exorcist had ever seen.
But that was nothing new, on his part at least. Everyone in the Order knew how much he detested that godforsaken brat of a beansprout.
"Move it, idiot!" he'd snapped, not particularly caring if Mugen 'accidentally' decapitated the imbecile.
The stupidity of the teenager had, indeed, known no bounds. Kanda had never felt obligated to baby or socialize with the other exorcists, though his job naturally demanded a certain amount of cooperation with them occasionally.
However, He had single-handedly not only managed to make missions harder then they needed to be, but royally piss Kanda off in the process. It didn't take much to make the Japanese teenager angry, but very few succeeded to make him furious beyond words. Allen Walker was one of those privileged few.
"KANDA, WATCH OUT!"
And of course then Allen had to go and save his life, at the expense of his own. In such a sickeningly heroic way, too; an akuma blood bullet to the heart wasn't exactly a peaceful way to die.
Not that Kanda was bothered by his death. Exorcists died often in the line of fire, and Kanda was used to absent-mindedly picking out the empty seats that had only days before had a living, breathing person laughing and joking along with their halfwit friends. It was unfortunate, it was common, and it was old news by suppertime. That, quite simply, was life. Something Kanda had accepted long ago.
He bore no animosity towards them. He just didn't care unless it affected a mission, or meant he would have to work harder.
However, as annoying as it was too admit, Kanda felt vaguely cheated. His strict upbringing had emphasized many things, one of the foremost had been honour. He had a debt to pay, but at the same time was unable to fulfill. It was strangely vexing, to know that Allen had indeed gotten the last laugh…and that Kanda was allowing an obligation to a dead man to bother him this much when he should be doing something productive.
Nevertheless, there Kanda sat in his sparsely furnished room, still wearing his torn, bloodied uniform and staring blankly at the hourglass that quite literally meant the difference between his life and death. The sun was setting, casting a bright, dying orange glow across the room and illuminating finer details difficult to spot at any other time of the day. Had it been anyone else, they would have considered the scene almost poetic.
Tch. He was getting soft.
It hadn't even been a difficult mission, just the same mysterious disappearances near some Church or other in London, coupled with strange eyewitness testimonies that seemed to point to the work of a level one akuma.
One blood bullet aimed at him, that was all it took. Kanda had watched with his own eyes as the dark, ominous stars spread across Allen's face…as his wistful smile disintegrated into dust-
Kanda massaged his forehead, hunched over in a position that for anyone else would have appeared almost vulnerable. The memory of the smell and taste of blood made the teenager's stomach queasy, his breathing heavy and erratic. I shouldn't dwell on such pointless thoughts…
He didn't feel any empathy towards Allen. The dead were blissfully removed from the pain the living suffered; a mixed blessing that often tempted even the best of men. But even Kanda was incapable of moving past death when it was so close, so sudden and so…unnecessary.
He wasn't going to cry for someone he'd never cared for in life, or so he told himself. Because truthfully, although Kanda prided himself on not getting involved in pointless niceties, he wasn't as cold as most people thought him to be. No one could be.
He stiffened immediately, a feeling akin to fear racing through his body as a chill ran down his spine. That voice…Allen?
Kanda looked up quickly, his eyes only meeting the hourglass that faithfully sat across from him. "Who's there?"
There was no answer. The tension seeped out of his body as his muscles relaxed, and he berated himself inwardly for letting his senses be compromised so easily. Only a day or two had passed since…since Allen had died, and he had been on edge the entire time. He started at the smallest noise; froze every time he thought he saw something dart out the corner of his eye.
It was pathetic, and quite unbecoming for such an accomplished exorcist as himself.
However, that painfully obvious fact didn't reassure Kanda the least bit. He had no reason to fear a nameless horror, but for some unexplainable reason the exorcist couldn't help himself.
Fear was not an emotion he was accustomed to feeling.
"Kanda? Are you there?" But then the uneasy silence was abruptly broken by a familiar red-haired Bookman, dispelling the shadowy doubts that haunted Kanda's thoughts.
Moments later, he appeared at the door, a solemn look in place of his normal ridiculous grin. Even from across the room, Kanda could see the tear tracks that Rabi had tried so carefully to rub away, his reddened eyes only confirming his suspicion that the other exorcist had been crying.
"Linali's getting…what's left of the body ready. She just wanted to say a few rites, before…"
Before they buried him, Kanda wanted to finish, so great was his annoyance. It was hard to say and it wouldn't change anything once it was said, except perhaps help them to accept it and move on with their lives. But he didn't, holding his tongue for once out of some semblance of respect for the closest thing to a friend he had. Not that he needed friends.
Instead, he opted for something far less likely to provoke conflict. "Why is she in charge of the preparations? Doesn't that useless supervisor brother of hers need help with his mountains of paperwork?"
Rabi shrugged, a casual gesture that contradicted his sad expression. "She wanted to make sure it was done properly, I guess…Allen was a good friend to her. To all of us."
"Not to me." Kanda replied bluntly. For a split second, he thought he saw a mixture of anger and resentment flicker across the Bookman's face, which quickly melted away to reveal a tired appearance that didn't suit Rabi at all.
"Couldn't you have at least a little compassion for a guy who gave his life away to save yours?"
Kanda wasn't moved the slightest. "As infuriatingly true as that may be, might I remind you that Allen is dead, and as such I have no way to repay that debt. Blubbering and spouting false sentiments about him won't make any difference."
"You could attend his funeral." Rabi pointed out.
Kanda snorted. "I'm sure the idiot would appreciate that."
For a moment, Kanda could swear he heard a sob. But Rabi wasn't crying, and neither was he, so what…?
"Well, it's a start." Rabi interrupted his thoughts. "You might not like the guy, but you could at least pay your respects to a fellow comrade. Can't you do that much?"
The silence lingered on for a few minutes, before Rabi sighed. "It's at nine o'clock tonight. Do whatever you want."
And with that, the door closed, leaving Kanda to once again mull over pointless questions that he had no answers to…but not for long.
There was blood, and then a white-hot flash of pain as he was hit by the bullet. Allen could feel the virus spreading throughout his whole body quickly, and he realized with a calm sort of certain clarity that he was dying. He managed a sad smile at Kanda, who could only stare at him in horror as-
Allen opened his eyes, breathing heavily and shaking all over as the nightmarish scene played itself over and over in his head.
Just a dream…it wasn't real, it never happened…Still, the teenager didn't dare move, scared beyond all reason that once he did, he'd find a bloody and obviously fatal hole in his stomach, or familiar purple stars slowly spreading across his skin.
Shivering at the thought, he sat up, nearly falling back down when he was hit by a wave of overwhelming dizziness. Clutching his forehead and wincing at the throbbing headache that quickly presented itself, he forced his vision to focus.
Strange as it seemed, he was lying in the middle of one of the older, less traversed hallways in the Order. The only time he could remember seeing it was when he'd first arrived, and Linali had taken him on a tour around Headquarters…
What am I doing here? Allen thought, puzzled. Getting up, he stood unsteadily and tentatively took a step forward.
To his great relief, he only felt momentarily disoriented, and he managed to shuffle closer to the wall. He reached out to brace himself against it, but to his great shock, his hand went right through the wall like it wasn't even there.
What the- But he didn't have time to finish that thought. Caught off balance, Allen slipped and fell completely through the wall, landing on the floor in a heap. He lay there for a few moments, still recovering from the shock that he'd just managed to pass through a wall.
Oh man…that isn't n-natural…He thought incredulously, frantically searching for a logical explanation. It failed to reveal itself.
Allen sighed unsteadily, trying to calm himself and think rationally. This is just a dream, obviously…people can't fall through walls. It just doesn't work that way.
Come to think of it, he couldn't really feel anything, could he? Allen realized at once he couldn't feel the coolness of the wooden floor or anything…besides the headache earlier, he hadn't been able to feel anything else.
R-right, this is just in my imagination…He thought nervously, slowly getting up again. To Allen's surprise, his earlier wooziness had all but faded, replaced by a faint pounding in his ears.
The sound of trembling breathing drew his attention, and he looked up to find himself face to face with Kanda. Eyes widening, he scrambled back immediately, cringing automatically in anticipation of pain and closing his eyes. When none was forthcoming, he opened one eye a slight bit. Why hadn't Kanda killed him yet?
The sight that met his eyes was an odd one indeed. Kanda Yuu, normally the picture of expressionless disdain, had his hands covering his face and looked…almost sad.
Kanda started immediately, looking up and straight up at Allen with something akin to panic. Allen drew back, distressed by this sudden display of emotion.
However, it left as quickly as it came, as Kanda's expression abruptly changed to a more familiar annoyed look. "Who's there?"
Allen didn't make a sound, as if speaking alone would condemn him. The silence seemed to satisfy the Japanese exorcist. He relaxed, his eyes drifting towards the floor with a distant, unfocused look to them.
Why can't he see me? Allen thought, a sudden feeling of panic making him freeze on the spot. Maybe it was…no, it couldn't be…
I'm not dead I'm not dead I'm not dead…
But then why had he been lying in the hallway? Despite how desperately Allen tried to remember, all he managed to draw was a blank. It had to be a dream, but then why did his heart pound so loudly in his ears with fright? Why couldn't he shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong?
"Kanda? Are you there?" A sudden voice and the sound of footsteps caught Allen's attention, and he looked up to see Rabi at the door. His eyes looked red, and his breath hitched a bit. In other words, the red-haired exorcist looked miserable, despite the deceivingly cheerful smile he sported. Upon seeing Kanda, however, the smile abruptly faded.
Allen opened his mouth, then shut it abruptly, self-consciously turning back towards Kanda. He looked as unreadable as ever, but in his own way strangely relieved by Rabi's entrance. Somehow, Allen knew that speaking now and trying to find out if they really couldn't hear him would be a bad decision…a realization that confused him, as much as it felt like the right thing to do.
Apparently sensing Kanda's current fragile state, Rabi hesitated briefly before speaking. "Linali's getting…what's left of the body ready. She just wanted to say a few rites, before…"
Allen's eyes widened, and he felt himself tense a bit more. Body? What body? Did someone die? Why hadn't Rabi noticed him? It wasn't like him to ignore Allen for no reason…
Not me, please don't let it be me…I'm not dead, I'm…I'm alive! Allen clung to that thought as if his life depended on it, as grimly ironic as the comparison was. An unspeakable terror gripped him, and Allen tried his best to fight it down and regain his composure. He succeeded after a few minutes, though shadowy trepidation lurked at the back of his mind.
To Allen's surprise, it was Kanda spoke up again. "Why is she in charge of the preparations? Doesn't that useless supervisor brother of hers need help with his mountains of paperwork?"
Allen quickly turned back to look at Rabi just in time to see him shrug. "She wanted to make sure it was done properly, I guess…Allen was a good friend to her. To all of us."
Those words were like a kick in the stomach, and for a moment Allen couldn't breath from the terror and incredible, distressed grief that wiped everything else from his mind. But then what did breathing matter, if he was dead? Did anything matter anymore if he was lying somewhere dead and rotting and-
He sank to his knees, willing the terrible away as if willpower alone could keep him from the truth. Tears slowly trickled down his face noiselessly, leaving small wet drops on the neatly swept wooden floor. How could he cry? How come he could walk through walls, but didn't fall through the floor? Nothing was making any sense! It had to be a dream, it had to!
"Not to me." Allen looked up numbly at the words, barely registering the meaning behind him. Another insult to add to injury, though not an unexpected one, which was a comfort (or something close to resembling one, by this point) at least. Kanda looked as cold as ever, with no trace of sentiment or respect.
But Rabi was far from satisfied with Kanda's pitiless opinion. "Couldn't you have at least a little compassion for a guy who gave his life away to save yours?"
"As infuriatingly true as that may be, might I remind you that Allen is dead, and as such I have no way to repay that debt. Blubbering and spouting false sentiments about him won't make any difference." Kanda scoffed. Allen nodded mutely, able to follow his reasoning, however cruel it sounded.
"You could attend his funeral." Allen cringed at the word, hardly able to accept that this was truly happening and he wasn't...alive. The tears came faster, and he couldn't hold back a strangled sob.
Kanda snorted. "I'm sure the idiot would appreciate that."
"Well, it's a start. You might not like the guy, but you could at least pay your respects to a fellow comrade. Can't you do that much?"
Silence. Rabi sighed. "It's at nine o'clock tonight. Do whatever you want."
Then he left. Allen didn't bother to get up, wanting nothing more to collapse on his bed and pretend none of this had ever happened. He was tired…so tired; in spite of the fact he had no reason to be. He held up his right hand, his vision blurred by his tears. Distantly, Allen wondered how he could look and feel normal…despite the fact he obviously wasn't.
This wasn't a dream. And though Allen had known it from the beginning, admitting it made him feel helpless. Dead, which meant he couldn't fight akuma. Dead, which meant he'd let down his friends. Dead…which meant everything was over, and he no longer had a purpose. But how could he go on as a ghost, if that indeed was what he was? Did that mean there was no heaven or hell, or he was stuck in purgatory?
The sadness threatened to consume him, so Allen forced himself take a shaky breath and stand up. He couldn't give up, not when he still…existed, and might be able to contact Rabi and the others.
Wiping away his tears, the teenager steeled himself. There was only one option he could see before him now; try to see if Kanda could really hear him.
"Kanda?…Can you hear me?"
Is anyone OOC? Did I miss any spelling/grammar errors? Let me know, I'm always up for constructive criticism :) I'm sorry this is so short, but since it's the beginning chapter I figured I could get away with that. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have overdue homework to finish…