Title: The Magic Position
Rating: PG-13/R for language, cross-dressing, sexuality, and slight crack
Disclaimer: DGM belongs to Hoshino et al.
Author's Note: Oh boys in drag. The title is a song by Patrick Wolf. Also, alerting you to the fact that although Kanda may not say much, he's probably thinking a whole lot, which is my approach. I think people need to realize that we're being shown more of Kanda's communicative side in recent chapters, thus there are more possibilities to his character. This, however, is not timeline specific or dependent on the recent chapters.
The Magic Position
Allen explains to Kanda that, no, he cannot be a pompous ass. Kanda counters this with a stricken spasm, like a pot about to erupt, and Allen says quickly that Kanda is prone to outbursts and should hold it in for better timing.
Kanda has no idea what he's talking about.
Allen then tells him, in a very irritating way, to shut the hole in his face because he's already gone over this a thousand times with him and that, yes, those men are coming over. Those men, the men from the back of the room with the handlebar mustaches, yes, those men.
So those men are, according to Kanda, fucking shady, and Allen agrees wholeheartedly. Yes, they are shady, the men who laze in alleys and pick up hookers.
Well, they are prostitute-picking-up-men-who-smoke-cigars-and-adjust-themselves-when-they-think-everyone-is-looking. Those men. Mhm, equipped. Also, Kanda will have to listen to Allen when the time comes.
These men are going to be pounded into a fine pulp if Kanda has any say in this. He won't have a say. Allen is giving him that challenging look that says he'll die if he so much as picks up a knife.
This is a steak tavern, knives are meant to be used.
But not when Allen says they're not. While Allen is in charge, Kanda is in denial. He thinks Allen belongs on a steamship to America, sailing for a saloon, not here in a—
It's not a dress, so says Allen, pursing his lips, absentmindedly touching the rouge on his cheeks to see if it's somehow evaporated. He could pass as a—
But Allen says he will report very bad things—(Kanda should know what he's talking about)—once he's shown Kanda a good time tonight.
Kanda still has no idea what he's talking about.
He watches as Allen baits these men, crossing his legs under the table, which might as well have that taffy-crap-or-whatever, and Allen is even wearing stockings. Black stockings. And a garter, or what Kanda would consider one, but Allen will deny till blue in the face that there's a garter underneath it all. On the contrary, he is red in the cheeks, lightly buzzed by his empty wine glass.
They serve wine here. Good place for a class act. Or circus.
Kanda thinks he'll have to drink the whole bottle, although he despises the taste; it's supposedly bought with Komui's money, anyway, so why the hell not? The expenditure is off the wall when they feel like it, the money slipping between their fingers like this wine. It's not easy living day by day, scarred boys on the road and as frequently in the house.
They are only here for one reason, which is not something he'll ever thank Komui or headquarters for: Atonement. Or rather, that thing you do when you have to say sorry but don't and wind up paying for it in the end.
Setting fire to the castle. My, what a crime to atone for. Komui better enjoy his cushions-and-slippers life now before Kanda returns for a reprisal. Hardcore atonement will be so hardcore that the seven seas will weep all their water into the sky.
Allen has said that's impossible, but time will tell. Kanda does not agree, for it will happen, period. Where there is a sense of duty, there is victory.
When the two men arrive at the table, Allen chuckles gracefully and—thank God there is no fan, Kanda would die if there were a fan. For his part, he sits and waits for one of the men to speak up, or run away like they ought to, Kanda melting in the striped suit Allen had remarked was for clowns and Mana, rest his soul.
It's not about the fashion for Kanda; it is the principle of the matter. If it were the fashion, he'd have trashed his beads upon entering England.
Their predicament is so far from right that it's blasphemy. But, Kanda refuses to atone in anything better, or anything worse at that. He has to pick at the tie that's squeezing his neck. He promises that he will hang somebody with it.
Allen offers a gloved hand to the men and manipulates them. It is like these men get wetter on the mustache and bulkier everywhere else, and it might just be the wine talking. The men are sitting now; and Allen is laughing and being gay, gay, pointedly gay in every sense of the word; and Kanda really would like to slap him a few times for it, or out of it, whichever comes first.
So, he has to look forward to a night of cards, smoke, alcohol, money, and lies.
Allen is responsible for all these things, while Kanda is to rely on sitting and melting into his seat.
It would help if the money was in English, and English currency, but Allen says they'll have to exchange it on the way and this time, Kanda will be wearing a dress.
Yes. No. Yes. No.
Kanda says he'll wear his suit, no further contest. Allen throws a heel at him, like the young woman he's dressing to be. When Kanda points this out, Allen repeats for the so-and-so time that they'll be leaving this inn in corsets and tights. They'll be like life-long friends out in the town. (Kanda just wants to wear the suit to make his self look taller. It's not like any maiden's going to drop at his feet and beg for his babies.)
What. Downright lie. Holy fuck, what is Allen's problem? There is no fucking way, no motherfucking way—how's that?—that Kanda will be leaving this inn in a corset and tights, (and Kanda is already taller), so Allen will have to make him over his dead body. This, to Kanda's disbelief, will happen sometime if he won't stop being a thorn in Allen's side; this sounds like an opening and Kanda suggests that maybe he'll progress to being a thorn in Allen's ass. It'll hurt more, nonetheless.
Well, it'll hurt more, but Kanda will then be reported to the Vatican for forcing himself on Allen. Whatever the fuck Allen is talking about, it's all manipulation again.
Allen demonstrates the facts of life and falls back onto the single bed, crossing his legs with those tights on them, this time red. Where Allen gets these things, shit, where does he get them is a mystery Kanda will forever ignore. He hopes. (Allen probably collects hand-me-downs and begs for charity from family-oriented women.)
See, men have to ogle the legs, they have to know the girl is into them, the men and her very own legs. Kanda doesn't know what he means, and Allen has to laugh that ambiguous laugh. He gets down to business.
Like, here's a demonstration. Kanda will pretend to be the male—
Ah. Kanda's vein pops.
Then Allen reminds Kanda to come closer, don't be shy, it's all right, he has everything Kanda has, there shouldn't be that look on his face. Allen misses the point of the look.
Kanda can't express enough of his concern for Allen's mind (and he won't); how it must need some rewiring after everything that chain-smoking master of his put him through. Plus, all that crap like losing his Innocence and then regaining it and quite frankly how he's going to die sooner than later; moreover, Allen is only projecting a clear case of masochism (and sadism) that should be stopped at all costs. It must die.
Allen lifts a fist and threatens. He may be smaller, lovelier, plain nicer than Kanda, but he is a boy in girly knickers and ruffles and Kanda better appreciate the sacrifices he's putting himself through for their fight that had been, yes, he repeats, yes, started by Kanda himself. (And Kanda can't hit a girl.) Oh, isn't it a remarkable outcome. Allen adds that the lace isn't all it's cracked up to be, but it's still expensive and Kanda better darn appreciate that, too.
Kanda laughs in the face of danger.
They are saving their dirty money as much as possible (and so long as Allen doesn't waste it on sweets), picking bar or parlor one after the next. They always share a bed. They always share a meal. But they do not share their wine. They always share the scenery. They always share the same damned air. But they, however, do not and will not share in any distended happiness that can be found in the busiest cities of northern Italy. They are either a couple in public—that of which Kanda has given up disputing—or half-siblings enjoying their stay. Looking back, he gets a prickling disbelief. Kanda really is not one to give up.
Kanda's told him too many times to count: He will not be stuffing his dick into a dress.
Allen chirps that he's to wear a pair of knickers before putting on the dress, silly.
He is thusly rewarded with a meal in his lap.
There goes their lunch. But Allen isn't too bothered by it and commences picking and eating their tortellini out from his crotch where the butter has seeped through, not that Kanda is looking. Kanda makes a motion to order another serving; Allen is quick on the uptake and kicks him in the shin from under the table.
Is Allen an infant? Right. Never mind.
As the day passes and they are making their way back to their inn, one purse stuffed with money, Kanda enlightens Allen on what Allen is doing that's so sinful that it makes Kanda want to pull his own brains out from his nostrils.
Why would Kanda do that? That would be something ghastly.
Kanda keeps his fists to himself.
They are off on a sudden tangent about the dessert window and how Allen hasn't had creams and tarts in so long—that it turns out Allen will have to suck it and shut up. Allen sticks out his tongue for effect and counts a few coins from his bosom. Oi, chest. It's the corset; it makes Kanda's eyes all wonky, for lack of a very better word. He clenches his teeth.
Allen carries his dress like an expert so that Kanda fails to remember that there's an equally wonky boy underneath all that make-up-stuff, wild wig, boots for the sleaziest. Allen doesn't think so, though. He thinks he rivals the women Cross used to buy with Allen's work-sweat-money.
Kanda wonders if the brat beside him is the Allen Walker, the one who runs into battle head first, crying uselessly out to the dead. Because this brat can't still be Allen Walker.
This brat is making him want to do weird things, and the worst of it is that they may not be too farfetched, these side-effects from a prolonged exposure to Allen.
They are passing through a town now, further away from the border and Milan, seeing rolling greens and yellows. Farmland, splotches of dust, mud.
It's so lovely, Allen is drooling. They're flowers, not food, but that doesn't quite matter in that head of Allen's. True too that, you know, they're not talking to each other at the moment.
This is what happens when they are banished for starting a fight near the open treasury and in effect burning that fucking piece of branch down until everyone of authority is weeping out of frustration for the two of them to get their act together or they'll be put out on their asses in spite of their necessity.
There is a bump in the road, Kanda's hand smacks against the wooden wall of the wagon, and a fucking splinter is born.
This is what happens when everyone wonders how in the hell they dare burn down what the Akuma have missed and so, for certain, they are not to take anything for granted and are to be banished to wherever they may go and wherever money is available, which is everywhere on the most part except where there is poverty or depression.
The ban is no pardon from work. They have a job to do, as well as support themselves. Which is shit.
Now, the two of them can be found in Italy, for the most part, yes, the most part, anonymous and groveling, one of them resenting the Order and all it stands for. The other, Allen, pats away the grumbles from his stomach that's fortunately covered by a drab English coat.
Kanda wants to thank Allen for wearing something normal.
But he doesn't.
Until they arrive at an inn before it strikes midnight. They have already bid goodnight to the innkeeper, uncomfortable at the sight of her nightgown peeking through her outer layers, and Kanda thinks of her cleavage while Allen folds over the eiderdown.
They have a fucking eiderdown. It might be a good night.
Except for the Allen-touching-him-with-his-ass-part. In-bed-where-they-are-touching-touching-for-Christ's-sake-touching-without-really-intending-to-part.
Damn it all, that's it, Allen will have to dress as a boy more regularly; yes, there is plenty more to argue about.
They go through the routine of fighting over the sheets. Kanda compromises with him by shoving the pillow into his face and claiming high and nigh that under no circumstances is the brat to cross the line down the bed.
What line? Allen sees no line.
Kanda flares his nostrils and practically snarls that there is, in fact, a line down the bed that Jesus would swear to God. Accursed brat. The middle of the bed, where Allen's ass is never to meet Kanda's ass, or any appendage of his body for that matter. Allen says that Kanda might have an aversion to whatever Allen says in Italian. Omosessuali?
Kanda has no idea what he's talking about.
But doesn't Allen get it that the line isn't simply a line? It is a great fucking wall, not for fucking, but for an ideal barrier, and those who even so dare breathe on it will die a great death.
There is a waiting period during which Kanda is silently stuck on the word problem that had come out of Allen's mouth a few moments ago, so he wills it away as he climbs onto the straw mattress and tries to forget he is in bed with another male, again, for the something-something'th time in his life. Within the space of a month.
He's not paranoid. He's very paranoid.
Then he bites his tongue and asks how Allen knows so much all the damned time. Allen is so gracious as to provide him with one detail: The magic position.
The what is what Kanda wants to know, and Allen nods and winks and says a few things that mean nothing except how kisses usually precede or proceed or intercede a date, if one's lucky. What? It's the magic position. The Magic Position. Learn it, love it, live it, baby, for this is money they're talking about, and money is money is money.
Allen is told to never call Kanda baby ever again. And with that stupid English accent. Allen probably should stop drinking, by the way. No, honestly, Allen better stop drinking. He's not fooling the fuck around.
He turns away from Allen. Allen reminds him that he's not the only one with an accent, now that he thinks about it. He continues babbling on about how Kanda has this annoying lilt to his voice that sounds like a mixture of Kanda's old country and Southern England. Also, Kanda curses too much.
So Kanda inquires into what the fuck he's talking about.
Kanda can't believe the Order is this fucked up. They have sentenced him to an indefinite amount of time with a cross-dressing freak who is open, terrifyingly open, to seducing scoundrels and their pockets full of shiny, clinking coins and even richer madams who are not too scared to piss away their money on a card game or two. Over gin or tonic or rum that tastes like, well, Kanda only pretends to drink it. (But he thinks it tastes like piss itself.)
Looking at the hole in the wall and thinking that this is where a man has once put his fist, Kanda says he'll have to do that someday to Komui. For real.
Allen seconds the proposal, not that it's much of a proposal, more like a decree, and he says the make-up is sadly making his face look spotty. Kanda sees no pimples, the freak is imagining things.
But when Allen sees-feels a pimple, he is serious and disturbingly obsessive about it. He is wide awake and friendly with the sheets, and as is confirmed, likes pillow-talk. He is everything that makes Kanda cringe at the wall, furiously waiting for everything to subside. He'll fall asleep like this.
It is in the same night that Kanda wakes to a night terror and thinks there is an intruder ready to do very bad things, those very bad things, clubbing further through that hole in the wall to get to this lump of saws somewhere in the bed, which is actually Allen snoring away like he's all humbled to be sleeping with Kanda. The boy snores: He has found another way to disrupt Kanda's life and more importantly sleep, that Kanda cannot forgive him this time, rolling Allen off the bed.
Allen has lost more weight.
The same bony person has been sporting a bruise the size of Sicily for the past few days. He is very hush-hush about it. He is thinking of something insidious. He will do whatever he can to make Kanda cringe, flush, or shudder. Preferably all three at once in front of many, many onlookers.
There is nothing preferable about it.
Before leaving the room, Kanda acknowledges him by Walker and Allen sneers. Then Allen wiggles down his trousers, apparently not wearing any underwear, in order to dress for the occasion. Where are they off to that warrants flashing his ass beforehand?
Isn't Kanda the ignorant fool? They are to gamble tonight. They are to do it cheerfully and without preoccupation.
Why not preoccupation? Kanda will not stop thinking on behalf of Allen's orders.
Kanda is to stop thinking because he gives them away too much. Kanda is a lousy bluffer and moreover, throws off the mood of their table. He practically gives up their game on purpose.
Kanda may have a purpose, but it's to make bank and then make deposit—so he won't have to deal with Allen putting on make-up and tights. Tights.
Does Allen not understand what tights are? He does, though, because Allen says he dresses to be sex in heels. Kanda thinks he's being too literal, and where the hell did Allen learn that crap? Oh, that's right. One of Cross' women. Or all of them.
He doesn't let on what's really on his mind. Appearance-wise, Kanda is a blank slate when it comes to sex, sexual appetite, sexual orientation. Kanda asks if Allen has one of those, and soon they are in a slight dilemma.
Once, didn't curiosity not kill the cat?
They have approached the market street, Allen in his dress and Kanda in his wrinkled suit. They won't start to hustle just yet. Allen is hungry. Kanda says impishly that maybe Allen's sexual appetite has finally kicked in, and goddamn it, the brat is screaming bloody murder and pointing and making accusations at Kanda for being a crude bastard and violator of women.
Violator? Kanda stands there, dumb.
Allen is one smooth actor. That little shit.
Kanda still stands there, wide-eyed and then glowering.
The next time Allen shows his face, Kanda has already made a vow to break it. Allen defends himself by putting on the face no one would ever think to hit, but Kanda thinks it anyway. He thinks on it hard albeit briefly before turning around to rummage through his suitcase.
What is he doing?
Why, Mugen needs some fresh air.
Allen seems to remember the last time Kanda used Mugen on him, and Kanda can hear him run quickly into the corridor, into the common bath, and slam the door.
He even locks it.
Kanda smiles like he means it. Nothing to it.
Allen can hide, but he'll have to come out sometime. Soon.
When Allen does come out, it is because he under the misconception that Kanda will not attack.
Kanda meets him halfway.
Truth is, if Allen gets more battered up than dough, Kanda will be the one in a dress. Alone in misery. He's not sure why he knows this, but there's a definite threat bordering on hysteria in Allen's eyes.
Kanda can make do for now, which means he'll hog the bed and eat all their food while Allen sits by, stewing in his own misery. Even though Kanda hardly moves in his sleep and Allen is the one who lashes out nightly. Even though Kanda doesn't have much of an appetite and Allen is the one who needs all the food he can get.
It's always the one.
They are now nearing Rome. Allen starts to think they should turn around before they get any farther. He also rattles on about how it's so rainy and sad and why is rain a double-edged comfort?
Can't Allen realize he's put Kanda to sleep?
But Kanda has to wake up. Get up, get up, the driver's companion is making noises. The noises are made of shrills and gasps. Right, so. What are they to do?
Hold on. Akuma? No? Only a woman?
Kanda bites into the dried sausage from his pocket. He doesn't say anything; this is a hindrance to Allen's deep-seeded need to save all others. That need is as squeaky as a rusted wheel, and as dangerous.
Kanda finishes chewing. The carriage has stopped on the side of the road. They overhear the desperate attempts to breathe, huff huff breathe, and Kanda remembers his journeys. That's it. He remembers his manners and puts two and two together. Fine, he'll spare a hand.
The pregnant lady climbing out of the front hangs onto the arm of the driver. She is dripping onto the dirt.
Can the driver do anything? Can Allen do anything? Kanda will do something. The lady has sunk to her knees, gritting her teeth, and he tells her to stop, does she know English? It's labor, people go through worse, don't worry, it will end, calm the hell down, at least she's not alone. It's too late to regret the pain.
The driver calms down, slightly, having been frantic about the distance to the next busy area.
Damn it, calm down. Kanda is already getting a headache.
Allen is staring with a hand on his mouth. Kanda will not stand for it and decides to ignore him. The lady has to calm down, yes, sorry lady, but calm the hell down. She's grinding her teeth, and Kanda lets her rest a moment on her hands and knees. He hears far off that it's like the Magic Position, but different.
Kanda believes she'll have to give birth here, on the road. If she can do this, if she'll for once in her life be brave. He asks the driver how long she's been in pain, and the lady shakes her head, swallowing a wail. In the driver's stead, he will play doctor.
Kanda rolls up his sleeves and this time slaps her.
He is not shaking to the degree he thought he'd be. In fact, Kanda is at a kind of peace with himself, something he only feels when he's died and been resurrected by his own qi. He allows a change to the routine: He dreams.
Though he dreams of sleeping in a field, of whey, of hay and flaxen wheat that shines an incandescent white at an angle to the sun. He lies there, impermeable to what is ahead. He is a naked prince. No, what is he truly? He can't tell what. And then, he sees a reflection of light. Him.
He's seeing him perfectly because Kanda's opened his eyes to slits, then wider, catching Allen staring at some part of his body.
Kanda doesn't know if he should feel betrayed. What is it? Allen is staring at him from the bed, hair hanging over the edge. He's holed himself up under the flimsy sheets.
What has Kanda been dreaming of? Allen doesn't appear sleepy or half-lidded; he's been watching Kanda for a while.
Yes, but what has Kanda been dreaming of? Allen's hand drops over the side of the bed, wrist dangling white.
They eye each other. Allen asks what can be so good. Because he was, Kanda was hardly breathing in his sleep with a faint smile and arms spread out on the floor. Like it's sad, too.
Kanda has no idea what he's talking about.
He cannot remember. He thwarts the truth. And then Allen continues to stare at him, almost meaningfully, and it has to be put to a stop.
Kanda can't do it. He says he can't sleep with Allen watching him. He can't sleep with Allen's wrist dangling, shining white, in his face. Allen. Allen is making Kanda's stomach grumble.
The spell is broken.
It is pouring rain more than a week later, and they still haven't brought out the standard wireless golem. (Timcanpy is currently riding first-class on Cross' hat somewhere.) Just because Komui (who gets off on being a hypocrite) furiously handed it to them, telling them to get out, come back when they've reconciled their differences, does not mean they are obligated to make contact. Or reconcile.
This is a nice romp, Allen says so, on one hand sarcastic and the other a trifle humbled. They deserve being banished and left to earn their keep. They're doing nicely, doesn't Kanda think so? They have money stashed to their discretion, they're young, they're beautiful.
Kanda stops him to ask if Allen's shitting him. Allen says he will never in his life shit a Kanda, and there's nothing left to understand there.
Allen suddenly brings to his attention the slap. If Kanda tells him more about that, Allen will give him any of the free information he needs on the Magic Position.
Kanda refuses, more in his way of maddening silence than in any other, and during this maddening silence directed toward Allen, he fathoms that he'll have to tell Allen, in the end. That'll be best. He's not sure why, he's alarmingly not sure.
He tells Allen that he—
Allen interrupts him before he's even begun. Allen is curious, but not that curious, and he definitely already knows what Kanda's getting at.
What is Kanda getting at?
Honestly, Allen had wanted to slap her as well. He'd wanted to but was too hesitant.
Kanda gruffly says, clearing his throat, that Allen can hesitate when there's a woman in labor, but he charges in when there is a chance Allen will die in an actual life-and-death situation?
All Allen does is laugh and wave it off.
A few minutes later, he finally speaks. Yet, he is like a rare bird, tamed.
Allen was afraid of the lady being afraid. Of his hand, arm, eye, him. Afraid. He's still afraid after all these years.
The sky is overcast and flickering with impulses in the masses. They have to get on if they plan to…
Kanda seriously considers telling Allen he's afraid to die.
The thought is smothered in the recesses of his mind.
As they're in Rome, do as the Romans do and visit the Vatican. And, while they're at it, why not stop in on the Pope and have teatime? The trip would have then been worthwhile. (To flaunt themselves in front of the people that could have condemned Allen not too long ago.)
Allen, though, immediately calls Kanda a piece of rubbish. Even Allen has trouble accepting, but he's not about to jeopardize his reputation, what's left of it anyway, and degrade the Pope and his entourage of very important people to the Church. There still remains sanctity, and anyhow, they're not supposed to be sacrilegious during their ban.
Is that so? Kanda does not know what to make of Allen's so-called reputation. If his head's on right, he's also hearing right…
But that can't be right.
Allen counts on his fingers to words uttered silently on his lips, and he deposits a wad of paper money into his underwear.
Kanda watches with an urge to blanch, and blanch he does, although inconspicuously as he pats down the sheet. He doesn't know what he's doing, he both knows and doesn't know why Allen does that—
Hey, Allen would like to say he admires him for his determination. They're in the same boat, but Kanda is the better of the two, with admirable determination, with a good outlook.
Kanda snorts, running his fingers through his hair to comb it.
Kanda really shouldn't do that; he'll pull out clumps. So does Kanda agree that he has an admirable determination?
Sure he does. Kanda won't say it, though. No way, no how, is Allen ever to know what Kanda thinks of himself except for the old adage: He's Kanda.
Allen mutters something close to an affirmative. He's primping up his chest and ruffles. Kanda has to know where the hell he's off to at this late hour.
It's not late, it's early enough, Allen is going solo tonight. He's going to show his determination and earn their keep while Kanda sleeps in hotel heaven. Allen is slowly becoming Allenette during the process, frowning at the hole in his tights, noticing that it's in the crotch region. Oh, it's just that part, nothing to fret. He smiles pleasantly and begins to poke his toes into it.
Kanda stares. His eyes burn and his hairs stand on end. This may not be a normal reaction.
He has to stifle a moan.
Why the fuck must Allen do this in front of him, or at all, and why must it be done and just why? Why does Allen have to pose as a fucking girl, in both senses, who does seem to the unsuspecting stranger to be a real girl.
Why can't Allen be Allen?
And why does he keep smiling like that?
And why should Kanda care in the first place?
Then, Allenette becomes Allen again, reversing the process, looking at Kanda as he finishes removing his wig, the spicy items, everything else until he falls back onto the bed beside Kanda. He says that he'd like to say a few more things.
Hasn't he said enough? He's said enough.
Allen is not finished. Not after that outfit. He's not going to sit beside Kanda and expect gratitude, but he'll sit and talk and Kanda will have to pay mind. This is only proper, Kanda cannot ruin it.
So after a quick pause and assortment, Kanda keeps an ear open to Allen's tightening voice, how it grows curt at times. His jaw sets.
Allen was picked up by a man that had promised him salvation. Salvation from his sin. Allen believed him. He wanted to believe, and as a child, he knew Cross Marian wanted him to believe, and if he didn't, Cross didn't give a rat's ass. Cross treated Allen the way he did for—for good reason. Don't ask about the reason, Kanda will have to sort that out on his own.
Kanda will not. (But will have to.)
Allen now gives Cross credit for what he has become, for without Cross, there would be no Allen Walker. He'd be stuck on the street, or freshly dead, or long dead, or worse, dying to die. Cross gave him a purpose. Cross is to thank forevermore. Allen will hate him forever, too, but not really hate him, and all is well.
How can all be well? Allen's full of it.
Kanda's being a tactless idiot.
How can all be well when Allen is dressing the way he does? There always has to be a reason.
Kanda, of all people, should know that this may not always apply. Allen, in this manner, says he also owes Cross for the finer things in life. Invaluable things. Cross can be, at his best, a key to a treasure chest, and the treasure is a dress of velvet or silk. Why? Because it's soft, oh dear Lord, Kanda must feel the dress and see for himself.
Which reminds Allen of the Magic Position.
Kanda tries to distract himself. (Has Allen been drinking again? You see? This is why Allen is a dumbass for never listening to Kanda. What an impertinent fool. Impertinent fool, yes. That is what he'll call Allen from now on.)
Oh, well, Allen also owes Cross for this invaluable piece of knowledge. Of course, indirectly, Cross kind of knows about Allen's know-it-all presence, and vice versa. Allen had to pick up after Cross, after all. He picked up after him when Cross waved away old business partners and lovers. Allen was there when Cross was cornered for debt, disdain, and discord.
Allen had realized that while watching these women, he understood. While watching these men, he understood. So Kanda has to understand why dressing girly is more practical.
Kanda has no idea what he's talking about.
What does Kanda mean by that? Allen's been telling him all along, men are suckers for sex. And so are women. The rub is that women will be more openly onto each other than men will be, get it? Actually, no, it's not a rub, more like a symptom of society. Actually, well, Allen's lost his train of thought.
The Magic Position ties in through many aspects, such as sex or—childbirth, apparently. It goes without saying, but this position also has to do with money, like gambling. Hold all the cards, baby, and it's a breeze. Lift the skirt, and the men will drop their cash. Arch a brow, and the men will kowtow. They'll especially miss the part with the cheating. Kanda should get off his high horse, cheating is the only way to win these days. Sorry if that's too much trouble for him.
Wasn't Allen a seasoned cheater already—according to Lavi? (And Allen will die, no shit, the next time Allen calls him baby.)
Of course Allen's a seasoned cheater, but female clothing is rather comfy. Won't Kanda give it a try?
They're back at that again, he sees.
Kanda thinks about having almost left Allen on his own. He would have if Allen hadn't piped up all stubbornly that Kanda needs Allen.
Kanda needs Allen?
Yes, for fuck's sake, that's what Kanda had heard from Allen's mouth just as he had been about to leave the brat—impertinent fool—at a fork in the road somewhere near London's waters. Kanda needs Allen. Though Kanda objects to any romanticism about it. Any attachment. It's clearly a case of desperation and nothing else. Allen only says Kanda needs him because what he really wants to let slip is the fact he can't live without Kanda to save his scrawny ass. He can't live without Kanda to pick a fight. Allen just can't do anything right on his own.
Allen may have that invaluable piece of knowledge, but he's still a sprout in the world. He's still growing. (Growing hair, though Kanda is also guilty for the lack thereof.) And Kanda will admit to no one but himself that he is also endlessly learning. He's thirsty. Both are thirsty.
There was a point in France where Kanda would have agreed to Allen's accusation; he could have said it all. Furthermore, he thirsted to, and then to say he wanted…
He doesn't know.
Kanda rises from his chair, not entirely sated for the night. The dish was great, tasty, but not something capable of manufacturing good thought. The tastier the noodles and sauce, the more he wanted Allen to dress up and accompany him to dinner and make those annoying sounds that could be taken as naughty sounds but Kanda doesn't know about that stuff and surely Allenette—Allen—does, and Kanda is maybe too nervous to ask him, perhaps share more than a bed, and then—
He can't, he can't, he can't go on. He will not survive this day.
Kanda suppresses all of himself by yanking on Allen's coat. He is leaving. Goodbye.
Allen tells him to slow down, he's coming, and the way it's said, Kanda bites his lip to keep from dropping it.
Oh. He's bleeding.
Big deal, he's still leaving and this time he's leaving Allen behind. Allen is only a dolled-up-ninny-schoolboy-without-the-school-who-acts-so-above-Kanda-because-he-can-admit-things.
Sadly, Kanda knows he cannot say as much without it getting horridly personal. Allen would more likely call him a violator of women again. Not fucking around.
Kanda leaves him standing there, never looking back.
He has this thing where his thoughts talk to him in his head, over and over, uncontrollable, hissing. It's unhealthy how they torment him. There's no way out. Breathing fast until it stops, expression tight. Thinking. Over and over.
He looks at his beads, and in a fit of jarring realization, aims to throw the bracelet out the window.
Though. It's not the bracelet's fault. It hadn't forced Kanda to do anything out of character.
What worries him is that he may not be forcing himself to do these things out of character.
After a well-deserved brood, he goes to meditate. He's still the same, bracelet hugging his wrist.
Very loud creak is. Very. Loud. His head is stuffed and swirling from a rudely awakened sleep. The first image-thought to surface is sugary scotch, dripping over pudding, someone exclaiming glory over it. It doesn't make sense until the exact thing that's making those creaks so loud rustles in and creaks the door shut, quietly telling the door to shut up as if it's going to listen.
Kanda's awake now, licking his teeth and wondering what time it is. What time? How late? Who—?
Out of the shadows pops Allen, subdued. Kanda is about to ask if he's all right. He licks his teeth again. Waits. Allen strips himself unsteadily by the bed's trunk, haphazardly shrugging off his boy clothes. Jerky movements; he rips a button.
He looks weakened, he looks diminished.
He looks like he's about to slide into bed with Kanda. Again.
Kanda addresses him as Allen. At that tone, Allen predictably stalls, hand resting against Kanda's ribs. What does he think he's doing? Where has Allen been? What time is it? What, what.
This shouldn't matter to Kanda. Yet it should. It really should. Because it does.
It seems Allen's been out and about, wandering around and wondering what to do. Kanda can guess as much.
What Allen tells him is that he doesn't want to sleep alone on the floor. He doesn't want to feel cold or lonely. Especially lonely. It's hurting.
What's hurting? Where does it hurt? Kanda scowls, rethinks it, decides to clear his vision and attempt at conversation. Be brief.
Whatever's happened to Allen, he will not say. He's zipped up his mouth and putting a cold hand on Kanda's hip. They freeze. They're frozen for a minute. Those fingers are so cold, it's probable that they are numb. That is what's hurting.
Downward, Allen has his hand there at his hip. His hip. His hip has no business with Allen's hand. Never the twain shall meet comes to mind.
Kanda believes in never the twain shall meet. It's his nose-in-the-air-philosophy on many things, just as Allen's is about that Magic Position.
Allen is drawing his hand up alongside him, whispering
—can stick it.
Doesn't that sound like someone else, in a different mind?
Kanda has no idea what he's talking about. Or thinking. Over and over.
Kanda can feel himself heat up, turn on, and he has to make a move before he runs out of the room screaming to the heavens about how he's even reluctant to have sex with himself.
What turns Kanda off? What will do it?
He nuzzles his nose into Allen's throat, with no room but plenty of room to back out, smelling what they've been through together. Chests touching, Kanda awkwardly leans against him. He must look foolish and inexperienced; he doesn't care insofar as there is air. He pushes himself to ask Allen again what's happened to him. He does not give up to silence.
Silence is a formidable opponent. They breathe uneasily. Kanda nearly falls back to sleep holding him, but Allen manages to answer before he does.
Allen finds it hard to believe that there's anyone good left in the world.
Finally, the brat has learned the one thing Cross had been strangely incapable of teaching him.
Kanda holds him longer, his fingers on Allen's naked back.
Allen remains in a slump for a day and a half.
He will say no more other than of his need for Kanda. It has to make sense that they need each other.
Kanda doesn't want to pry. It's bad enough he harbors a lust for trusting him.
On that day and a half later, Kanda announces a stipulation.
He will tolerate being a girl for a day, this one evening, if Allen will get his hide out of bed. He's being a brat. He can't stay in bed for a week. He can't whimper and refuse to eat because he just doesn't feel like it.
Kanda won't say he feels sorry for him. He'll substitute that with an excursion into the city. Maybe rob the Vatican.
Allen laughs into the pillow and pulls the sheet over his head.
Plus, Allen hasn't washed in a few days' time and they're due to move on from here. They are overdue for socializing.
Allen laughs again, taking to Kanda's wryness.
Kanda stares at those bare shoulders, the lean muscles. He wants to touch—
Allen shouldn't expect too much out of Kanda today. Kanda lies about the thought of a dress on his frame making him want to gag.
There is a moment that hits rock-bottom, and then Allen is up and at it, displaying an unmistakable bounce. Kanda will have to wear this, and that, oh, and a garter—
No fucking way is Kanda wearing a garter. Plus, it's unnecessary unless he plans to chop off his dick. (Seriously, Allen has a problem.)
Allen says he definitely would not want him to do that. (And that he only has a problem with snobby Exorcists who always refuse.)
Kanda blushes till his nose burns. Allen notices and blushes with him; he winks and smoothes over Kanda's errant bangs.
Kanda tells him to please, please put some clothes on, accursed brat. Right now. Before he loses his patience.
They shove each other.
How Allen looks so deceivingly pretty on top of being a snore machine, Kanda will never…
He asks. Allen flicks a bit of lint from his skirt onto him. Allen does not snore. And if he does, it's because he's either too comfy or too uncomfortable. Kanda should take his pick.
Which is more of a threat? That's a puzzle. There should be an answer.
Allen may or may not snore; it's up to any innocent bystander. He drags on Kanda's arm.
They could be taken for handsome lesbians. They could be mistaken for blushing virgins of the female genre.
Kanda does not know if Allen is a virgin, and hopefully Allen will never know about him. Somehow, there are no words.
They have walked into a perfumery. Kanda realizes this when the shop attendant accosts them and introduces himself as the owner in Italian. Will they try a few scents, probably. Would they like to buy these scents? Perhaps a discount will be in order if they choose two or more.
Kanda and Allen look at each other sideways, looking like they've walked into a trap.
Kanda sighs and folds his arms. Allen can try all the perfume in the store for kicks before they turn right back around for the High Street. (Maybe Kanda will sit by and absorb the accents and mannerisms of the people, meanwhile tapping his foot and giving off a black aura.)
Come to think of it, his nose is having a delayed reaction. He sniffs and sneezes.
There are a few other customers in the store, browsing and snuffing scents. He can feel the scents filling his throat. He can feel their gazes penetrating his, God, stuffed chest, and it's surprising he hasn't snapped yet.
He asked for this. He dug a grave for his pride. His ears are now getting hot, his mouth arid.
Allen had said Kanda looks pretty dashing as a girl, even with that build. He had said—and Kanda breathes erratically—that Kanda is amazing with his long hair that's like a king's robe.
So Allen said. Kanda is almost as good as Cross.
Now, what would ever possess Allen to say such a fucking thing? It makes Kanda want to kick a bitch.
The shoes on him are button-up, tight around the ankles. He makes the decision not to care either way how he presents himself. He bends down to lift his skirt to scratch at the stocking, but he is caught by a sprite Allen bubbling up about how this one smell gives Allen the willies but in fact it is something he cannot describe, boy oh boy it smells really good.
Kanda sniffs again, making him halt his ministrations to get closer to the source. Allen holds out a tiny bottle in the palm of his hand like it's a precious gem.
Oh, is that so? Kanda will have a go, then, but it'll be quick because he thinks perfume causes some kind of congestion that the human race is too stupid to realize. His pride is already six feet under.
Yet. Yet. Yet what is this? Kanda knows, his face perking up, mind speeding off without him. He knows. His heart pounds. Breaks. His heart is breaking and he's not entirely sure how that's possible. Kanda's not sure how his voice comes out this gravelly, how he asks for Allen to put it on with his own voice that suddenly sounds just like Allen's description of it.
Allen hesitates, possibly wondering what effects the perfume is having on Kanda's mind.
Kanda wants to tell him that it weighs a lot. The effects are monstrous. He wants to tell him that he's being engulfed in a fucking tsunami that's too terrifying to comprehend. For Allen, anyway. His neck tingles, his eyes go dry.
Allen follows the request and stands there, his one hand scrunching up his sleeve. He shivers as Kanda suddenly dips his head to bring his nose to Allen's wrist, the normal one.
Kanda inhales as if he can't stop. He can't, not right now.
His heart is still breaking when one of the women in the store whispers about the due ragazze belle. What Kanda imagines her to be saying is something about those beautiful girls, they're so queer, they must love the lotus, that Asian one loves the lotus.
He thinks—not imagines—of their tryst. It hadn't been a tryst; it was merely a slipup of the occasion. They could get away with it, for it had been pushed out the proverbial window by Kanda's denial. It had happened days and days ago. It had happened weeks ago, on the road in France, when Kanda had wanted to tell Allen everything. That was why he used Allen's Christian name in his mind, and still continued with the sneered sprout or Walker on the surface.
Kanda was saving face, in his own way.
He wants to see how long he can go with Allen in front of him, always taunting or teasing, or more commonly smiling softly at him, as if Allen knows more than life itself, knows how to coax his soul into submission. Like Allen has that kind of power over Kanda. Like Allen knows exactly what happens when his hand is trailing down Kanda's stomach and into his pants, and Kanda is whispering curses and clamping that hand to his groin, never loving the seconds any less than they should be loved.
Can something like that be consciously measured?
But Allen does know, and Kanda does know what it feels like to have long fingers, other than his, in his pants, searching and finding and cupping. What it feels like to have his flesh and hair stroked and pinned by the presence of a person whom he's secretly called a friend for a while now, though ignoring the interludes of impure hatred.
Kanda thinks this may be the Magic Position Allen is always talking about.