LOOK AN UPDATE. /points elsewhere
..my god I apologize for completely ignoring reviews for chapter 13 (and the one before that, and the one before that.. and the one before that...). I've just been caught up with school work lately, college crap, life in general, and I seem to just lose my drive for replying to reviews. BUT MUCH THANKS TO Vyrian D for pointing out my missing line-breaks. I went back and looked at the chapters and FUMED AT FF NET FOR FIVE STRAIGHT MINUTES. and proceeded to copy down all the chapters so I could add the line-breaks back in. B|| siiigh ff net.
So um, anyway. really, really, don't expect responses to reviews unless you're pointing out something important. I love reviews and I read every single one of them! truly! I even have a folder in my hotmail made specifically for holding all reviews ever!
On another note, I particularly love this chapter for some reason. Maybe because THE PLOT IS MOOOOVING! YEAH moving plotlines are the best. More plot next chapter. MORE PLOT yeeesssss. /clicks pen and starts writing.
Warnings: F-bombs here and there. Nothing too bad. Flying heads! Conflicting emotions! Huzzah!
Disclaimer: let's all own D Gray Man for one day. just one day. one hour? one minute? one.. second?
Under The Moonlight
That's the word Allen was looking for. He was graceful. Like a dancer. Always moving on a pre-set path at the same beat and rhythm.
A graceful dancer.
..It was kind of sad, actually.
"He's awfully fired up."
"Uh-huh." The red-haired Exorcist nodded absently, observing Kanda's fluid movements. Mowing down Akuma after Akuma, barely having any trouble with the Level 2s and just now learning how to deal with the 3s.
Maybe I should help after all… wait—
When did he have company?
"Um." Lavi blinked, turning to look at the brunette teenager next to him. "..Well."
He coughed. Allen offered a small smile.
"How's your eye?"
"Er." His hand immediately went to the bandaged socket. "..No hope. They took it out."
"What happened to yours?"
The line that Allen drew down his left cheek said more than enough.
"Tough luck. We match."
"I will got mine, though."
It was an awkward sort of conversation. They went back to watching Kanda send a few more Level 1s crashing to the ground. It was strange to just stand by and watch, contrary to what Lavi usually did in these kinds of situations. Despite the fact that, as a bookman, Lavi was entitled to just watching, he sometimes preferred to participate. Curiosity, and all that jazz.
This was not one of those times.
Was Allen going to jump in? No, it looked like he only came to watch, like Lavi. Though his hands did twitch occasionally, whenever Kanda suffered an especially bad blow to the head, and he sighed discreetly whenever Kanda cleaved an Akuma into quarters. He probably did want to help.
What was holding him back, then?
"So…" Lavi coughed again, more to get Allen's attention than anything. "..What're you doing here?"
The brunette said nothing at first, only clenching fist as another Level 3 made its appearance.
"You wanna help him?"
No reply. But Lavi swore he say the boy's jaw muscles tighten. He definitely did want to help in some way, to fight by Kanda's side. Lavi understood why Allen might hold back, though.
It was a scary sight.
Sure, Lavi liked to joke around, but he usually didn't think much about Kanda's tendencies to.. to kill so brutally. So what if Kanda liked to hack off all the limbs before killing the Akuma? He'd seen it happen on a few occasions. In the end, the job was finished, wasn't it? Yeah.
And it was an Akuma anyway. That made it okay.
So Lavi would ignore the guts, the hearts, the brains, the mechanical bones and oily organs. His own victims were usually too smashed to a pulp to discern lung from liver, but Kanda's.
…And how the hell can this kid watch so placidly? Allen looked almost bored. Bored! As if none of this was new to him.
..Well, it wasn't new to Lavi either, but. Still.
"Wait, what are you doing?"
Lavi yelped, jumping back as Allen's left arm suddenly lit up and twisted over. However, instead of turning into a gun like Lavi had witnessed before, his fingers started expanding, lengthening, hardening into sharp nails. From an inch above his elbow, pale skin threaded in between strands of white from the claw, mixing and sinking into his arm, pulsating lightly.
Exchange of nutrients.
Is it… It's alive?
Razor sharp nails flexed, perched at the end of a white, flattened arm. It wasn't skin. It was some hard substance, almost like calcium, but too flexible. It reflected the light of the room, adding a green-ish hue to the glow.
The gun had been the same way, shaped from an eerie sort of metal with that same hued glow. But back then, the gun…
…Lavi swore it wasn't that high up Allen's arm at the time. Just a week ago, he swore it was only a few millimeters short of an inch above his elbow. Somehow, within the span of a little over seven days, it managed to.. crawl up..?
"I'm not an Exorcist," Allen started slowly, curling his nails inward. "...I've never wanted to be one."
Lavi didn't see how that was relevant to the current matter, but he listened anyway. Allen didn't say anymore, though. He just stood there, staring at his palm—if it could even be called a palm to begin with..
..It looked more like a mouth, to be honest.
"I'm not an Exorcist," he repeated, covering his already covered eye with his other hand. "I have no obligation to destroy the Akuma."
His expression tilted, taking on a slightly pained tinge with a hue of melancholy. A splash of sorrow, regrets, and a drop of.. of..
"..I'm saving them."
Save an Akuma? But killing is saving. The people don't have to suffer Akuma attacks any more if the Akuma are destroyed. Killing is saving, destroying is saving, we are destroyers.
Exorcists are not saviors. They do not save the Akuma.
They save the people.
"Even if it costs you your life?" Lavi muttered sardonically.
Even in the Order, where Exorcists basically signed a death warrant, where Finders agreed to put themselves in the face of danger, where nurses were exposed to numerous types of mutated diseases, even where they claimed to give their lives to science, to the people, to the cause—
Even here, there were those who really only wanted glory. And they were usually the ones who did not accept their fate, that they could be killed at any time. They were the ones who shied away from dangerous missions, the ones who always hid first, because they did not want to die, because they could not accept it.
"Even if you die trying?"
But Allen just smiled. He smiled, smiled, and fucking—laughed, like it was a joke. Like it was hilarious. Absurd, even. And it was weird, because Lavi had met only one other person who could face life like this, albeit in a different sense. Someone who could laugh at death and welcome everything that came his way with open arms, a deadly blade, and a sour scowl.
Kanda and his "I'll save the Akuma and the People" act when he first joined (he never really spoke about it, but Lavi could see it. Bookmen are observant, after all), and now Allen with his knowing, empty, sad smile.
His hand dropped from his face and pulled his shirt closer around him, shivering, clenching and unclenching the white arm's nails again.
"I already knew that would happen."
He was not a fool. He was not an optimist. He was not a pessimist. He did not see the silver lining, nor did he pay attention to the negatives. He was not lazy, he was not a hard worker, he was not haughty, but neither was he subservient.
Allen Walker merely took things as they came. Because he knew that he, of all people, had little to no power to change what was going to happen.
So when Allen learned, after Cross had helped with a series of tests on himself, that he only had less than 6 to 7 years left to live…
…He accepted it.
Because he knew the cause, he understood it, he knew that there was only one way around it. A way that he just couldn't accept.
Because, even though his creature, this parasite, Light Matter, even though his left arm was killing him from the inside out, he couldn't just throw it away. He couldn't toss it.
Even though it was killing him, he needed it.
He continued to believe that it would be of use someday, for something other than just destroying Akuma. He continued to believe, perhaps even foolishly, that it could be used to turn an Akuma back into a human, a normal one. There had to be a way to reverse the effects of the Dark Matter's virus, the way it destroyed cells and changed them into biomechanical ones. There just had to be a way.
..And then Allen met Kanda. Kanda, who could heal. Kanda, who was unaffected by the virus, who was able to regenerate lost limbs, who was a bloody arsehole, who made Allen feel half relieved and half depressed whenever he destroyed an Akuma, and yet he was so, so… so alluring.
Allen didn't want to do it. He lo—liked Kanda. Liked him. He didn't want to.. to use him. He had to, if he wanted to save the Akuma, but could his like for this man overpower his want to save the Akuma?
..Could it possibly?
He'd figure that out later, when the time came, when he had Kanda on his side.
Kanda didn't say anything about not wanting to be dragged into Allen's life, after all.
A shriek pierced the air, ending in a dull explosion. Usually an Akuma would pass away silently; once death arrived, the virus would continue destroying and decomposing the cells. Without a source of nourishment, the cells broke down and released oils and gasses. If ignited, the entire thing would blast itself to smithereens.
With most of the Order's weaponry, explosion wasn't common. Not unless there was flint attached, or if it just so happened to spit sparks or flames. Just like bombs sent out shrapnel, an Akuma flung its innards and parts in every direction like a spinning, broken piñata.
A deformed head flew in his direction—sans one eye, half a nose, an ear, part of its cheek, and perhaps ¾ of its hair-- landing a few feet away and rolling to a stop before decomposing completely into dust.
Allen really hated hearing those explosions. He hated seeing them even more. It always made him sad to see something like that happen. On the one hand, the person was no longer suffering. On the other, they had no more chances at life. No extra lives. No Phoenix Down. No revive.
It was game over.
No file saved.
Like they never existed.
Really. It was sad.
"Hey.. Allen, right?"
He looked up from the pile of dust and back at where the red-haired Exorcist was standing, one hand held over his head as though shading his eyes from the sun—or rather, from the moon.
"Can y'see what Yuu's doin'?"
Allen frowned, confused.
"Yuu. I can't see that well from this far away. What's he doin'?"
You? His grammar's horrible. You, he, what? Who the hell is—
And then it hit him.
He whirled back around and squinted, his one eye widening at what he could just barely make out. Frantically, he sprinted towards the landmark from where he and Lavi were watching near the outskirts. The silhouette that he could see from back there made his breath stop—but only for a second, because he might have interpreted that pose wrong, because he didn't really care all that much for Kanda, because--
He was kneeling near the center of Stonehenge, under the light of the bright full moon. His head was bowed, hair streaming down in one, black, velvet curtain that hid his face from view. His arms were in a raised position, holding the hilt of his sword, pointing it at himself, as though—
--as though he meant to kill himself.
Kanda's hand twitched.
The blade plunged down, swiftly, accurately, piercing skin and exiting out the back. Again he couldn't breathe, couldn't keep his mind working, couldn't—couldn't think at all, because Kanda—Kanda had just—just—
Allen's eyebrow drew down, twisted, eye wide with fear. He hesitated, and took a step forward. Another step. Another.
And stopped, morbidly mesmerized by the drop of blood—Kanda's blood –that fell from the sword's blade.
He only liked Kanda, right? Right? So, why? Why did Allen feel like he was the one being run through? Why did he feel so hurt, why did he feel so angry, so frustrated, so worried, so—
This feeling, it made his words come out as a whisper, clutched at his chest and made it hard to draw breath, stuck in his throat and made it hard to swallow. Worry.
Please don't tell me you killed yourself, Kanda. Please.
Lavi groaned, jogging slowly behind Allen. The Akuma dust was messing with his vision and he couldn't tell what was going on. He decided that something bad must've happened when he heard Allen yelling out Kanda's name.
The redhead hopped over a few decaying corpse, skirted around the back of a huge Sarsan stone, stepped onto the scene, and did exactly what Allen had done.
There was his best friend, fellow exorcist, resident monster, kneeling on the ground, hands clenched around the handle of his own sword embedded in his stomach.
Why, Yuu? Why did you do this?!
But before the shock could wear off, before he could ask anything, before he could even register the fact that Allen was nowhere in sight, something hard and heavy collided with the side of his head. He fell.
Vision blurred and swimming, Lavi couldn't focus on anything, not even on Kanda's stained red form. He struggled to rise as a flare went off overhead, fired off from nearby. Very much nearby.
Form behind him, even.
When Lavi looked up, all he could see was the oversized glowing mouth of a living, breathing gun. Allen's auburn brown hair fluttered above it.
The white gauze on Allen's eye came loose and flew off.
Lavi promptly blacked out from inhaling too much of the toxic dust.