The idea for this two-shot came when I saw the first few minutes of the movie "The Time-Machine". I remembered how depressed and desperately imprisioned I felt when I read this book for my English Matura. I wanted to portray these feelings, even though I am not sure if it works as well with you as with me. :3
The subject I chose to work with was something I've had in mind for some time, but to tell it from Kanda's perspective was not what I actually intended to do.
This two-shot is practically a look into his head and that's how I decided to write. You'll be getting bits and pieces of the things that Kanda perceives, what he feels (or does not feel) and how he managed to come to terms with the Post-War world. You've been warned. X3
Disclaimer: D.Gray-Man belongs to Katsura Hoshino.
Warnings: Post-War setting, Spoilers up to the recent chapters and musings about practically everything.
Hostage to a Ghost
Countless lives and tears – sacrifices of a war which had been battled on the very borders of history's dusty pages, filled with the glory of a great many of previous wars. Wars have been fought and new societies were built on the chalky bones of those who have been too weak, too unaware or too fierce to give their lives for something not worth dying for.
It had been wearing them out; giving their lives for a war which was not deliberately their own, going on when people fell beside them, restlessly, because maybe, just maybe there was something to look forward to. A life to live after death and war have ended.
The black order was in ruins, but whatever was left of home, every room of dark stone, every corridor and every hall, was filled with joyous sounds. There were ruins at their feet but they had won. No more Akuma, no more Earl of Millenium, no more battles to fight. The exorcists had liberated the world of the present of the chains which would have ultimately dragged it down into the void of obliteration.
After the war had ended everyone still alive decided to "go home" even if headquarters had to be abandoned during the end phase of the war. Headquarters was the place which connected them all, which turned out to be a sanctuary in the end; a place into which peace would return eventually. Right now, just a few short hours after the news of the Earl's defeat have reached the ears of everyone fighting in this battle, all the survivors wanted to do was celebrate their victory. Just for now, their suffering had been enough. They had come home, lifes waiting for them.
Allen, the young hero who had saved them all, was in the dining hall with everyone else. The meal, the kitchen was able to prepare even with limited resources, was the best he had ever tasted. Everyone patted him on the back, thanked him, rasied a thoast in his name, even though people have been doubting him all the time – he was cursed, helped the ones deemed unworthy of saving, tried to protect the enemy and was on top of that a Noah himself. But all of this was no longer important. He had safed them all and that was all that mattered now. Their behaviour might be called affectation, but Allen knew that they were truely glad and grateful. The war was over, he no longer minded.
While the others still enjoyed the party, Kanda sat at the calmer end of the hall. As most of the exorcist he was hurt, but he hadn't died. After finding that person and removing the life restriction of the spell, he had expected that his life would be no longer necessary. But he was still alive. He didn't know what to make of it right now, so he sulked in the corner, waiting for things to calm down. He only looked up when he heard someone approach him. Allen, a smile on his face, walked towards him, hand risen. For just surviving and ending an age-old battle, he sure looked fresh. A few straches here and there were all he had to bear with.
"Hi Kanda", he greeted good-naturedly. Kanda looked up at him and snorted. "I'd like to talk to you. Do you have a minute?", the white haired exorcist asked.
"Why me?", Kanda wanted to know, eyebrows lowered in annoyance.
"Because I need to ask you something", Allen answered and then he was silenty waiting for an answer. Kanda snorted again, then he got up from his seat and followed Allen through the hall. Nobody saw them leave, as everyone was too preoccupied with enjoying themselves. Kanda was fine with it, he didn't want to explain why he left the room with the beansprout – he didn't even know! But somehow he had the feeling that he owned Allen to be nice, just this once. He had saved them all, hadn't he. Kanda guessed that Allen deserved a tiny bit of his hard to earn respect.
Kanda didn't know where Allen led him, or why they weren't arguing all the way to their destination. It just somehow didn't feel right to do it. Even though the young exorcist was smiling while walking there was an unsettling determination in his step. Kanda usually didn't opposed determination, but somehow it was not befitting their current situation. They had nothing to do right now, enjoying a victory was no strain, was it? Not even for Kanda. It was well deserved, it was okay to slack. But no, Allen Walker continued walking with tenacious determination.
They eventually arrived at the most destroyed part of headquarters; everything lay in ruins, the roof had broken in and water covered the shattered floor. In the middle of this chaos was the Ark, only reachable by a path of fallen chuncks of stone. Allen was making his way over the rocks, jumping, climbing, and walking on restlessly. Kanda followed him because something was off.
Allen disappeared into the Ark, the Japanese exorcist doing the same without hesistation. He found himself in the familiar, but strange town of the Ark. White and blue and bright. The decendant of the Noah, who had turned against the Earl, was standing next to an opened door, waiting for Kanda to join him. Kanda complied with the unvoiced request and went inside, finding himself in the white piano room. He knew that Allen had withdrawn to this room when he started changing. But there were no traces left which would indicate that such gruesome things had happened in here. It was white, but Kanda almost expected Allen to turn into a Noah while taking a seat at the piano. It would have fit, in some kind of morbid way. But he knew that Allen meant no harm. He hurt people, that Kanda was aware of, but just becaues Allen tried so hard not to hurt them and wished to carry the whole burden of the world on his own shoulders.
They were silent. Kanda waiting for Allen to speak up and Allen waiting for someone to say the words he actually wanted to say. He sat at his piano, back facing the keys, just waiting. Kanda was growing impatient, but decided to endure it just this once.
"The war is over", Allen finally spoke up and Kanda didn't even snort despite the ridicululousness of this superfluous statement. The white haired exorcist raised his head, meeting Kanda's eyes, "What will you do now?". Kanda raised an eyebrow at the younger man and frowned. What kind of question was that? Why did he ask him such a thing?
"Che. There's nothing to do now. You already said it; the war is over", he replied. Allen looked at him, then let his head drop, a smile on his face.
"Was that all?", Kanda asked dismissivly. This conversation – or maybe rather the lack of it – irritated him. Allen nodded and Kanda turned around. He heard how fabric glided over the smooth surface of the piano stool as the young exorcist moved to face the keys and then he heard Allen whisper:
"It's hard to take". Kanda stopped and turned towards the sound of various keys being pushed at once, the piano uttering a horrible screeching sound. Allen was hunched over, his head touching the score and his arms on the keybord.
"Oi!", Kanda called, but Allen didn't reply, nor did he move. "Tch". Kanda moved back to where Allen was, took hold of his shoulder and janked him backwards. Allen didn't resist and his body dropped limply against Kanda's, nearly sending them both to the floor. Kanda caught hold of the piano, pushing the keys down which resulted in an ackward sound, hurting the Japanese's ears. With a frown he looked down at the young exorcist, who had his head against Kanda's chest. His eyes were closed and his face looked calm, but Kanda knew that something was terribly wrong. Hestitating for some seconds, he put his hand in front of Allen's face, waiting for hot breathing to touch his palm, none came. Neither was there a pulse on his wrist. Kanda froze slowly as dread washed over him. He didn't know why, but Allen Walker was dead.
Kanda stared down at Allen's liveless body, still warm in his arms and soft. Kanda thought that this was probably just some kind of sick dream. So he waited. And Allen grew colder and paler.
"Damn!", was the first thing Kanda could utter, his mind uncomfortably running around in fruitless circles. He put Allen down on the floor, staring at him, willing him to come alive again with his intense stare. He tried everything he could think of to reanimate him, but nothing worked. Even though he had expected Allen to die long ago, this situation was like his worst nightmare coming true. Kanda sprang to his feet and kicked at the armchair, sending it flying against the next wall. "Damn!!", he repeated and stalked through the room, until he had circled it once, his eyes on everything but the dead body in the middle. He returned to Allen and looked down at him. Kanda brought a hand over his face, rubbing it. "What has happened? What the hell is going on?! Why are you dead?!". Nobody answered him.
Kanda never liked being the center of attention, especially not in this situation. When he finally mustered enough courage to leave the room, the festivities hadn't died down one bit. It still was his worst nightmare, he still hadn't woken up. He still didn't even know what happened, what he was doing, what he was going to say. But he pushed himself through the masses of people until he reached the middle of the hall, were Rabi and Linali were with the other young exorcists. His arrival hadn't gone unnoticed and the voices died down because they knew that Kanda was going to say something even though he was still searching for a way to prevent that from happening.
"There you are, Yu! Stop looking so sour!", Rabi said with a cheerful voice. Kanda could have killed him on the spot.
"Shut up!!", he hissed and Rabi raised an eyebrow. "Allen Walker", he started, but was interrupted.
"Now that you mention him; where has he gone? I haven't seen him leave!", Linali said, slight concern in her voice was discernable bu neglectable. Kanda just stared at her as if she had committed a murder. The words he was now going to say stung as if he had been stabbed by his own sword:
"Allen Walker is dead"
"You're not funny, Yu"
"What's his problem?"
"Maybe they had a fight?"
As soon as the first shocked silence was overcome, a huge buzz of everyone talking at once started to fill the hall. Kanda was silent and eventually the noises died down because of his stoic face. They finally realized that something must be not quite right.
"You're lying aren't you?", came a doubting voice and Kanda just glared ahead.
"No", he replied and people started to gasp and new silence reigned. "Allen Walker died in the Ark's Piano Room about two hours ago. I know not the reason for it". When the disbelieving crying and lamenting started, Kanda chose that it was the right time to leave.
The news of Allen Walker's sudden and unexpected death spread like the plague, killing all joy of the well-earned victory and giving birth to more laments than the end of the war had. Why had Allen Walker died? Why him? Why so suddenly?
Komui claimed that he had been perfectly healthy, no illness or unspotted fatal injury, but he went on to explain that it probably was due to his Inncocene. It has consumed his whole life, then he died, simple as that. But the grieving people didn't really care about the reason, losing themselves in the gap that Allen Walker had torn with his untimely death.
Kanda didn't particularily care about Allen Walker, he had never liked him. Under normal circumstances the young boy's death would have probably stung a little bit, he might have brooded over it for some time, but then he would have moved on. There was no point in focusing on something which was absent and couldn't be brought back. "Moving on", in this regard he and Allen had been similar even though they differentiated in the way they put this principle into action. But the point was that Allen's death had not been "under normal circumstances": Why did Allen choose to spend his last breathing moments with Kanda?
"If he knew he was going to die, why didn't he tell us?! Why didn't he want to spend his last moments with all of us?!". Kanda knew that Linali was being emotional, but he could hardly ignore the accusation – as if this was all Kanda's fault. And Linali was not the only one. Kanda had been suspected of being responsible for Allen's death. Now that it was proven that he was innocent people still continued to question him.
"You two didn't even get along! Why would he want to talk to you of all people?!" Rabi was also deeply hurt by Allen's death and by the fact that Allen had preffered to die in Kanda's presence. If he could, Kanda would gladly switch with all of those who were complaining about Allen's peculiar choice.
In particularily bad moments, Kanda wondered if Allen did it just to annoy him; by dying with only Kanda present he forced him to be the one to spread the dreadful news. The question why Allen wanted to talk to him, seemingly chose him, wouldn't let his mind rest. Allen was ever present, even in death. Kanda couldn't move on with his life; Allen Walker's ghost haunted him.
Time passed and Allen Walker started to fade. No one would remember a hero when he was not going to enter history books. He was an exorcist hero and now that exorcists were no longer needed he was disappearing slowly. The dark order had been rebuilt and some people continued to live there. There may no longer be Akuma and the Earl was gone, but there was still Innocene left to be found. Kanda chose to stay with the order because Allen Walker chained him to it. He often was at the newly constructed chapel in which Allen's coffin rested and he observed how the amount of people coming to visit his grave was diminishing. Kanda remained. He could not let go of it, the question tormented him and he desperately needed a way to ask Allen what he had meant. He had replayed their short conversation in his head over and over again, he also considered the things left unsaid, but he still would not understand. Kanda deceided that Allen Walker cursed him: he was cursed to forever think about it because he couldn't understand him. Kanda wanted to turn back time.
Miranda Lotto could not help him, but she tried. After two years of trying and schooling her abilities fruitlessly, Kanda came to the conclusion that he should stop torturing the poor woman and let her go on with her life. Even though she could no longer hope to revive Allen Walker, she was grateful. For Kanda it was a bitter failure and it frustrated him.
"Why are you still trying?", Komui asked, "You didn't care about Allen when he was still alive. Why do you obsess over him now that he is dead?"
"You know why – he died in my presence", Kanda replied grimly.
"But it's not your fault!", Komui protested and Kanda glared at him.
"Of course it isn't, but I still want to know why!!"
"Kanda... You should know that there is no way to bring back the dead", the supervisor said quietly and Kanda didn't reply. Somehow Allen had chosen a good time to die; had the Earl still been here, Kanda would have rather get killed by an Akuma Allen than to go on with the burden Allen had placed on him.
Kanda continued his quest to find all of the remaining Innocence cubes. There had to be one among them that would give him an opportunity to speak to Allen. Thanks to the life-restriction lifted off him, he had all the time of the world. As years went by, Kanda was almost glad that he spent his days searching. It was not the first time he focused his whole existence on finding someone and doing it gave him some kind of stability. He really wouldn't have known what to do after the war. The strange constellation of Allen's death gave him some kind of purpose – even though it was one which would eventually lead Kanda to despair.
Ten years after Allen's death Kanda finally heard a rumour which sounded promising.
"The Innocence is located in a forest, the local people claim that it sends people back in time", Komui told him with a tired face even though Kanda looked at him attentivly. "Kanda..."
"I'll go", he announced and Komui pinched the bridge of his nose.
"I know, I know... But it might not be true. What I told you is all we know... But being sent back in time will not change the present".
"Where is it? I will depart instantly", the Japanese exorcist said, ignoring Komui. The supervisor groaned and shook his head.
"Kanda, you've already spent 10 years trying to chase Allen's ghost. Stop wasting anymore life", he said and Kanda glared at him darkly and with a stern face.
"I just want an answer from Allen that is all. I have nothing else to do than search for it"
There was no need to change the present, it wasn't even necessary to change the past – he just wanted to know what has been going through Allen's head. What was it that was "hard to take"? Did he know that he was going to die and why for heaven's sake did he want to talk to Kanda? The exorcist had had ten years to brood over these questions, ten years to keep Allen very alive in his head. It was as if Allen had possessed him and Kanda wanted to get rid of him.
To get the Innocence was not very difficult. As Komui had said, the Innocence was located in a deep forest. The people from the nearest village had considered it to be an item of the devil, put it in a wooden box which had been sprinkled with holy water and buried it under the oldest tree they could find.
"You should be very careful, this tempting item will do you no good", the mayor of the village told Kanda when he came back from the forest with the wooden box.
"Do you know how to use it?", the exorcist wanted to know and the mayor sighed because the young man didn't seem to care about his warning.
"You just need to touch the item"; he told him, "it seems it will bring you back in time. You cannot choose to which point in your past you will be sent".
"And when does this end?", the black haired man wanted to know. The old man sighed again, hesitating to answer:
"The people which were swallowed by the evil magic don't really talk about it. Listen to me, young man: The dead cannot be brought back to life. God knows what he is doing, don't try to mess with the way he steers fate". Kanda was silent, looking down at the wooden box.
"I don't want to change anything. I just want to have a single question answered", with this he turned around and left the village.
When Kanda got back to the black order there was no one which he really wanted to talk to about it; none of Allen's once dear friends were still at the order. He reported back to Komui but had no wish to argue about using the Innocence. At the age of 30 (even though his body hasn't changed much) Komui considered him to be old enough to make his own decisions. Kanda went into the quiet chapel.
"I'm back", he said to no one then he crossed the hall and arrived at golden doors. He opened them and stepped into the abandoned Ark. If there was a fitting place to activate the Innocence, it was the place Allen had died in over a decade ago.
The room still looked the same, it was untouched white, no dust, no neglect and the musical score still shone over the piano keys. In here no time seems to have passed. Kanda wore his old exorcist uniform and Mugen was strapped to his back. He didn't know what to expect, how far he would go back. He tried to look like he had done 10 years ago, which wasn't that hard because he hadn't aged, but his hair was shorter. But he doubted that anyone would realize this and he didn't think that he would stay long in the Innocence' spell. Maybe it was stupid to touch the Innocence without anyone to supervise it, because he had no idea what would happen or how long the invocation lasted. Despite these insecurities Kanda didn't care too much; he wanted to understand, he wanted to ask Allen what he meant, he wanted to free himself of Allen's looming presence. Kanda put the wooden box on the piano stool, the he opened it. Inside was a brightly shining object; it looked like some kind of pendant, maybe a medallion. Kanda took a deep breath, then he extended his hand and let himself be transported back in time.
To be continued
Firstly, this has been written on a PC without English spell-check. I am deeply sorry if I missed something in the editing process!!
There is a second part of course. However, it still needs editing so it'll work out with the first part. Maybe it's not that clever to seperate it because it would be easier to read it in one go, so the second part can be compared to the first. But well...
I know that my writing style is kind of strange and/ or complicated to follow, but I hope that it's still rewarding. I'd love to hear your opinions! :D
P.S. I am very sorry that this only focuses on Kanda and the other's don't get away too well. But I hope it still is believable the way I chose to write it.