And here's the second part of Invocating Memories! :3 Still Kanda's point of view!
Disclaimer: D.Gray-Man belongs to Katsura Hoshino
Warnings: Spoilers for recent chapters and more musings about stuff. Oh. And blood.
Grey Shades of Memories
Against the whiteness of the piano room this new place was dark, he could tell even with his eyes closed. Kanda could feel the floor shaking beneath his feet and he heard the rattling sound of a train thundering over uneaven railroads. His eyes snapped open and he found himself standing in the corridor of a train. Where was he? Kanda turned around, but there was no one else with him. The man frowed and pushed the door of the compartment next to him open. He peered inside and saw Allen's jacket on the wooden seat. A trainride he had spent with Allen Walker? Kanda tried to remember; ten years since Allen's death were in fact long enough to make his memory fuzzy. He still could remember everything about the day of Allen's death but apart from this the rest was faded.
"Che. No luck", he hissed and slammed the compartment door shut. How could he possibly ask Allen about something which hasn't happened yet?! He calmed and tried to remember this setting. There hadn't been many missions with Allen and him alone. This had to be the train ride back from Rome, where Allen had been questioned about his connection to the 14th,. Kanda remembered that he, being in the vicinity thanks to another mission, had been charged with bringing Allen back home in one piece. Bit for bit the memories came back; they hadn't even spoken once during this journey, not even argued because Kanda had avoided Allen as much as the young boy had avoided him (something he had done very rarely). Kanda sighed, then he went to look for Allen. He walked through the whole train until he reached the far end, where the luggage was stored. But he hesitated. Behind this cheap wooden door, a ghost was waiting for him. Kanda snorted at his own stupidity. Allen Walker was dead, this was only the Innocence's spell, it would all be undone as soon as the invocation stopped. There was absolutely nothing to worry about.
He pushed the door open and stepped into the dimly lit wagon. And there he was and nothing could have prepared Kanda for the shock that came. Allen Walker was sitting on the floor, knees drawn to his chest, crying and alive. He could do nothing but stare, even as Allen, taking notice of Kanda's prescense, pressed his forehead against his knees, trying to hide the tears.
"Allen...", Kanda breathed, still frozen to the spot. The young exorcist raised his head to look at Kanda with a puzzled face.
"What?", he asked hoarsely and wiped away the tears. Kanda pressed his lips together and walked to where Allen was sitting, kneeling down next to him. And he stared. Allen was alive. Alive and in front of him and crying over something Kanda didn't know. Kanda felt the urge to pinch his own cheeks to see if this was all just a dream. He pinched Allen's instead.
"Ouch! Hey!", the boy wailed and swatted Kanda's hand away, "what do you want?!"
"Wipe the snot from your face", Kanda ordered and Allen stared up at him disbelievingly, "and then tell me why you were crying".
The living ghost looked up at him, then he wiped his eyes and turned his head away.
"Why would you care?"
"I don't. I just want to know why", Kanda replied and Allen stared ahead.
"I haven't told anyone yet...", he mumbled and Kanda snorted.
"Is it about the questioning?" Allen nodded and Kanda had a faint idea what this was about, he had heard stories after all, "just spit it out". Allen stubbornly pouted, but then he sighed.
"As it seems... Mana was a Noah... A Noah that betrayed the Earl, but still a Noah...", he whispered without bothering to explain who this enigmatic Mana was, but Kanda knew of course. "I... I can accept that, because he was such a nice person... But... Mana had planed it all... My abduction when I was still a baby, calling him back as an Akuma, getting cursed, being destined to be the musician of the Ark... The path I always thought I had chosen on my own was manipulately paved by someone who I loved more than my own life...". Allen lowered his head and his next words were nearly indiscernable because his voice was thick with tears.
"Mana betrayed me". Allen continued sobbing like a small child, not even the shame of someone as uncaring as Kanda seeing could stop the heavy tears from dropping to the dusty wagon floor.
Kanda remembered this. He remembered what story Allen had told to Komui, what story had spread through the order; Allen was the son of a Noah, the past he used to hint at discreetly was just a fabrication; he had infiltrated the order, everything had been planned by the Noah called Mana. By the father Allen Walker adored. Kanda had never cared about such things, Noah or not, he was a useful exorcist after all. But everyone not deeply involved with Allen believed this story and even some of Allen's friends did. There had been people to protect him from the abuse and shunning, but even Rabi and Linali sometimes cast a doubting or distrustful glance in his direction. Allen had swallowed it all, Kanda could remember. He had laughed and been cheerful, but he had withdrawn from his circles of friends, moving closer to those who didn't know him that well. Kanda had spent more time with the young exorcist and even though their relationship hadn't changed much, they had come to tolerate and trust eachother. Kanda realized this now, now that he saw the true state of Allen, the truth behind the gossip. He had made a first progress in understanding Allen Walker.
Kanda wondered if he had to relive the following three months until Allen's death for the invocation to stop. It was quite bothersome, but he thought of this as a mission; if he saw enough and came to understand enough, he would finally be able to break the chains Allen had on him. It was disturbing Kanda to feel so imprisoned by Allen Walker's death. It was almost as if Kanda really was an Akuma, with Allen tightly fixed to him through some invisible bonds. But now he had the chance to undo it all.
The Japanese general witnessed the spread of the rumours and he decided to do nothing against it. He worried that if he stepped in to stop it, all might change. It was only an Innocence caused time-travel, but he still wanted to be sure. Allen had done fine in reality, he had been the hero to save them all – Kanda couldn't risk changing that.
"You know... Allen is a dear friend and all that", Rabi spoke up when Allen went to order food, "but don't you think it's strange?". Linali nodded.
"He is very nice and I think he means well... But...", she said, but then Kanda rose with a loud sound, which caused the others to look up at him.
"Shut up", he told them coldly and calmly, then he went to the kitchen as well. Allen looked up at him with a puzzled expression as Kanda popped up beside him, making all in the vicinity shut up instantly.
"I need seconds", Kanda lied and Allen smiled up at him.
"You sure eat a lot these days...", the soon-to-be general told him.
"I'm still growing", Kanda answered and Allen laughed.
Allen was to be made General in the evening. He was sitting on the abandoned balcony of one of the order's upper floors. It had been hard to find him but it had even been harder to find someone who was willing to help him; Miranda and Mari had, but the others claimed that they were too busy or that Allen would return when it was time for his promotion.
"I will talk to him. Thank you", he told the couple, which just nodded and returned to prepare the ceremony.
"Quite windy up here", Allen said as Kanda sat down next to him, looking over the dark forest at the foot of the tower.
"Quite lonely I'd say", Kanda remarked, "why are you up here? You should be preparing". Allen turned to look at him and frowned.
"What for? What should I tell them? To just trust me and that I will be a fine General?". Kanda remained silent, but he knew that Allen was in fact going to say that. The young man let out a snorting sound, something unbefitting his usually cheerful attire.
"Will you?". Allen looked at him and made a grimace which probably was supposed to be a mocking, dark smile.
"You surely ask a lot of questions lately", he remarked and turned his head away, fingers going up to his forehead, massaging it absent-mindedly. "I should calm down... my head hurts".
"Yeah...", Kanda remarked, looking at the nearly unblemished forehead, knowing that very soon there will be dark black markings staining his white skin.
Kanda remembered that when he attended the ceremony last time, it had been awkwardly quiet in the huge chapel, reminding him of a sermon. Now he felt that it was rather a funeral, but maybe just because he knew that Allen, who was walking up the aisle in an elegant uniform, was destined to die in two months and three days. The other four genenerals and the people from the Vatican were at the front of the hall, giving their blessings and reminding Allen of the huge responsibility he had accepted. Even Cross looked disturbed by the whole matter, even though he was usually untouched by everything. Kanda knew that Cross wasn't that innocenct either, having dirtied his hands with Allen's ill fate as well. And Allen... He was looking very serious, very grown up and Kanda (watching him closely this time in stead of meditating) saw how bitter he seemed, how strained his smile was and then, when he turned to the people, how all this changed. He faced them, knowing very well that almost everyone mistrusted him, and vowed to give his life for everyone.
"Trust me! I will continue living my life how I have done before. I will honour the title and go on fighting until I die for all those who are dear to me. I will not give up and I will be a good General!" and he meant every word of it. Thus, Allen Walker was proclaimed "child General". And Kanda knew that he was destined to live up to his promise and die.
Things had calmed down a bit around Allen Walker, now that he was fighting so hard to regain their trust. He was succeeding in this and his usual friends returned to him. Kanda hadn't said anything to them. He knew that they held Allen dear but he also knew that they would just go on forgetting him as soon as he was dead. Kanda had fallen out with them long ago and he didn't want to act as if he liked them now. But he was irrelevant in the Innocence's invocation. It was important to keep a close eye on Allen and understand him. Kanda was able to read his emotions somehow in the subtle changes in how he acted, in how his face changed. But he had no time to admire himself, because he also saw how much Allen's hand wandered up to his forehead. He knew of course that he would turn into a Noah very soon (though he could no longer remember when it had started), so he kept a keen eye on that as well. Maybe the reason why he wanted to die in Kanda's presence was somehow connected to him being or turning into a Noah.
One day Allen was suddenly gone. Everyone was in an uproar, finding blood on Allen's pillow and on the clothes scattered on his bedroom floor. Kanda knew where to look and he made sure that he was going there alone.
"I'll go look in the Ark. Don't you dare to follow", he informed everyone and his cold glare left no room to argue. So he went alone.
"Allen, open the door to the piano room. I know you're in there", he called and in reply the whole Ark trembled and from the sky rain started to pour. Pitiful sobs where resounding through the empty streets, like howling wind.
"I can't!", he heard Allen's voice loundly, in between sobs and gasps. Kanda remained silent.
"I know. Please open the door", he answered calmly. The crying died down a bit to hickups and the occasional sob and a door appeared at his right. Kanda lost no time and strode to it, going into the white piano room. Allen was crouching in a corner, his hands clenched on his head which he had burried between his knees. His back faced Kanda, but the man could see blood stains everywhere; on the floor, in a shaky trail to where Allen was crouching, on the keys of the piano, on the score, on the walls, on the shattered mirrors on the wall and on the tips of his white hair. Kanda decided not to say anything, but the sheer dispair even he could feel made something inside him clench painfully. He knew that Allen had suffered a lot while turning into a Noah, his soul probably taking more damage than his body. In the past he had not cared, not even felt pity for him, but now – after ten years – he did. Kanda walked over to Allen and sat next to him, back leant against the wall. And he waited.
The suffering Allen went through was worse than he had imagined. It took all of his strenght (and he was far more powerful than he had been ten years ago) to hold Allen down, to prevent him from hurting himself with his claw. Kanda couldn't imagine how Allen had managed to survive on his own – because he had not been there last time. But he imagined that the Innocence just did what Kanda was doing right now. He had seen before how the Innocence controlled Allen's body. But how Allen could live with Innocence and Noah genes was beyond Kanda. Three days after Allen had gone missing, it all stopped. Allen sat motionlessly on the couch, staring at his feet.
"I feel wretched...", Allen confessed and Kanda thought that this was probably the baddest case of understatement he had ever heard. "I can't possibly face the others". Kanda looked at him; his white shirt was stained red, his hairs were sticking together with crusted blood, his whole face was covered in blood.
"If you clean up you can", Kanda snorted and Allen's head snapped up, his golden eyes glaring at Kanda.
"Stop downplaying this, Kanda!! I'm a Noah! I'm a bloody Noah!!", he yelled and Kanda nodded.
"I can see that. But you're still an exorcist aren't you? Or do you plan to join the Earl?", he asked and Allen lowered his head.
"Fine. Then let's get out of here".
Washed, with his new General uniform and Kanda behind him, Allen Walker strode through the corridor and the masses of speechless people. He did not hide his skin colour, nor his eyes, nor his markings. He just walked on with the same determination Kanda had seen on him on the day of his death.
Kanda had not been there to walk with him ten years ago, but he had been the first to acknowledge him back then (through his usual way of challenging him to a fight in which the loser was threatened with a crude hair cut). Without looking right or left Allen walked all the way to Komui's office, where people were already gathering, but upon seeing the child General, all were too frightened to even talk to him. Komui was trying to be calm and walked up to Allen. Kanda could see his uneasiness, his incertainty and the struggle he was going through. Allen spared him the accusation.
"Yes, I turned into a Noah. And yes, I am still an exorcist. Nothing in my determination to kill the Earl has changed. I will continue fighting for you even if you no longer want me to be one of you!". Komui moved then, raising his hands to put them on Allen's shoulder, squeezing tightly.
"Allen. You are one of us. And I will tolerate no one who dares to defy you!", he promised fiercly, pulling Allen forwards in a thight embrace. Linali and Rabi rushed forward as well, joining the hug. Kanda stayed in the shadows as other people went to express their trust in him.
The real war began one month and 13 days before Allen's death. Kanda, remembering this time better, acted mostly how he thought he had acted back then. Nothing had changed as of now. Allen still had his determination to fight and win. After a particularly fierce fight against a bunch of Noahs, Allen and Kanda sat in the infirmary together. With no more fast healing abilities Kanda wasn't allowed to go all out in battles and was prone to land in the infirmary more often than the others because he still did go over board – even when he tried to hold back somehow (people didn't need to know that he too was now far beyond general level).
"If you don't watch out you'll die", Allen said unnecessarily as Kanda nursed his wounds.
"Che. Shut up beansprout. We both know that I won't die", he said and Allen laughed at that.
"No. Bad weeds grow tall, right?"
"Beansprouts don't", Kanda snorted and it stung a little bit to know that his teasing was true.
"I guess I won't". The dark haired man looked over at Allen, who was patting his hair down. "Tch. All gloomy, aren't we", Kanda said and Allen laughed.
"I'm a parasite type", Allen answered and Kanda knew that Allen had been aware that he was going to die sooner because of his Innocence.
"I know...", he whispered, which Allen took a long time to comment.
"You sure know a lot lately", he said with a sceptical tone, but he still smiled.
"That's because you state the obvious. Noah brat", he replied smuggly.
"Wow, that's new"
Two weeks before they would start the last battle against the Earl, the order was very silent. A lot of people had already died and everyone knew that is was just a matter of time until the Earl would attack them. Kanda was prepared, he knew exactly how things would go. But it made him anxious as well.
"When you found out that Mana decided which path you would have to walk", Kanda spoke up when they were alone up at the balcony, "did you think about turning around?".
"Why are you asking all of a sudden?", Allen wondered, looking up from his sandwich.
"Curiosity I guess", Kanda replied and the young general snorted.
"I always knew my fate... From the day on which I called Mana back. I should have died back then, but I didn't. So my life must have had a purpose. I know now that Mana made up that purpose, but thanks to it I could go on with my life. If I stopped walking down my path and turned around, I would have turned away from life", he said quietly and Kanda looked at him when the boy turned his head. "My life belongs to the battlefield". Kanda looked away. So that was it. That was the answer he needed. Kanda understood. And it was indeed "hard to take".
Kanda fought his part in the war and saw the sun rise on the day that Allen Walker would die. It was a sight he would probably for ever hate; it was blood on the horizon, a dark forshadowing of what would happen. He stayed close to Allen without getting in his way, watching him fight, watching him kill, watching him cry, watching him stand victorious. He was a white figure against the dazzling sunlight, so bright that he himself appeared to disappear. But he was here, he was still alive. And here they were, on Allen's last day. The order was in ruins, no Earl, no Akuma and no Noah except from Allen – and he would fade with the night. If he hadn't know that it would do absolutely nothing to change the situation, he would have shed a bitter tear then. But he knew that this was only a temporal reality, something which would cease to be when the invocation of the Innocence stopped. So he waited for the inevitable to happen and he would finally be able to let go of Allen Walker.
He tired to reenact the day as best as he could. Like ten years ago Kanda sat at the end of the hall were the people were not celebrating, but unlike last time when he had been brooding over what to do, right now he was thinking hard about the next few minutes. He knew that in about 30 minutes Allen Walker would be dead. And he would return to a world where Allen simply ceased to excist because people no longer thought about him.
"Hi Kanda", Kanda was surprised. Was it already starting? Allen stood in front of him, smiling as always. "I'd like to talk to you. Do you have a minute?" No. No. Not that fast!
"Why me?", Kanda managed to ask him, but he forgot that he was supposed to be annoyed at him.
"Because I need to ask you something", came Allen's answer and then silence returned. Kanda wanted to stay in his seat, refuse to go with him, but he couldn't. He had to get through with it.
They left the dining hall and went to where the Ark was. Allen slipped inside the black door, Kanda following reluctantly. The piano room, again. Allen sitting at the piano facing Kanda, silently waiting for something to happen. Should Kanda speak up? Drag him back out and to Komui? He could do nothing. He didn't know why Allen wanted to spend the rest of his life with him, but he knew why he had died.
"The war is over", Allen spoke up, Kanda gave him two more minutes to live. He wanted to do anything, but he was feeling helpless. "What will you do now?". He sighed, massaging his forehead with his fingertips. It was hard not to cry, even for him.
"I'd like to go on... The war might be over but life isn't... I don't care what happens, as long as I can go on living". Before Allen could speak, Kanda continued, "But I doubt this will be easy... After this...". Allen looked up at him, surprised. Kanda walked to him and sat on the piano stool next to him. "It's hard to take". Allen looked up at him and then he put his arm around Kanda to embrace him.
"I know... Don't cry..."
"Why me, Allen...?", Kanda whispered. Allen was silent, still embracing Kanda.
"I had the feeling that in the end, you were the one who knew me best… We're friends Kanda…"
"Yes…", Kanda replied and could hear Allen's faint laughing.
When Allen closed his eyes, Kanda did the same. A warm feeling flooded him and he felt firm ground beneath his feet. In front of him was the empy piano stool, the innocence cube still resting on it. Kanda cried some silent tears. There is no way to change the past, but there was a heavy weight lifted from Kanda. His ghost, Allen, was no longer forcefully chained to him. But he was still here. He might be dead, but Kanda will never forget him.
It's been very hard to stop like this, but I hope that I achieved to portray some change of feelings in Kanda himself. A lot is left open for speculation and interpretation. You might as well read this Kanda / Allen friendship two-shot as Yullen in the end... I'm sorry that Kanda's view of Rabi and Linali was rather bad...
And... For those who are NOT happy with this ending... I've written a bonus which I posted to my lifejournal, have a look at my profile for it (because I am too stupid to include links)! 3
Thanks for reading! :3