It's late, but it's here 8D

Disclaimer: There was no D. Gray Man under my tree this year. D:

-x-

Come Again?

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Allen waited in silence, his white shirt forgotten on the floor and his bare, pasty chest gleaming in the morning light.

Kanda, who wasn't aware of his mouth hanging ajar with deadened shock, now snapped it closed. Before opening it again, "What the fuck is that supposed to be?" He managed, rudely gesturing to Allen's strange left arm with his pointy chin.

"This," Allen said calmly, because Kanda was gripping Mugen and eyeing Allen's maroon arm like it would jump out and slap him, "is what I wanted to show you."

Kanda found his sneer and sneered, taking in the length of the arm, all the way down to the thick, black fingernails. "I can see that."

Allen brought his left arm up to his eye level, -Kanda flinched inadvertently-peering at his dead fingernails sadly, "Justified punishment." He explained, as if Kanda understood any of it.

Kanda, realizing he was being a pansy and that Allen's leathery arm wasn't going to strangle him, loosened his grip on Mugen slightly. "You must have been a bigger idiot than I give you credit for. What the hell did you stick your arm in to get a burn like that?" He said, adding all the venom into his voice for allowing fear to take over his body.

Allen frowned and stared at the cross mark engraved into the back of his hand. "It's not a burn, Kanda." He explained gently, "It's a curse."

Kanda crumpled up his nose in distaste. So now he was sharing his living quarters with a creepy, dead, demonic, cursed stalker. He just had all the luck in the world.

The white haired boy chose to ignore the way the man's nose shot straight up in the air and went on with his story. "Rightfully deserved, of course. It's not like I'm complaining…but, it's not something you want, is it?"

The very thought of his sword toned arms morphing into wrinkly, red Allen replicas, made his stomach curl unpleasantly. Still, he kept his thin lips sealed shut and listened. However, it seemed Allen was done talking and was now waiting on his answer. Kanda hadn't even registered the question had been directed at him. He shook his head when Allen's burning grey eyes became a bit too much and said, "Rightfully deserved?"

Here Allen bit his bottom lip, harshly gnawing on it. "Every crime has its punishment. This was mine."

Kanda rolled his eyes; the child had an infuriating habit of skirting around anything concerning his past life and all its disasterly mistakes. If he was here to 'help', he was doing a pretty crappy job of it. "Care to elaborate, Moyashi?"

Fine, white eyebrows knitted together at the foreign nickname that he was quite sure was insulting. "Not really." Allen said stubbornly, "I'm not here to tell my story, remember?"

"You're not supposed to be here, period." Kanda glared, "But since you are," he spat out, "make yourself useful and tell me all about your little sob story."

Those thin brows crashed into one another and if Allen bit his lip any harder, there'd surely be a bloodless gash in it. "There's a reason I don't want to you know…"

Kanda stared blankly at him. With Allen, the reasons were ceaseless and he couldn't care less about them. "Yet you obviously want to get it off your boney chest. Go on, it's not like you don't have all the time in the world."

Allen peered down at his boney chest. Now that it was brought to attention, he felt awfully exposed. Rolling back his shirtsleeve surely would have been a better option than waywardly flinging off his clothes. Allen scooted over the windowsill, putting a good distance between Kanda and himself, and sat down with his knees covering his skinny torso. Maybe talking about his own criminal activity, no matter how painful, would help Kanda open up. On the other hand, it would reveal just how flawed and evil he was, and that was exactly what he'd been trying so desperately to cover up. But Kanda had his dangerous midnight eyes watching him like prey, and revealing seemed to be the correct answer.

Allen swished his tongue inside the craven of his mouth and flicked it off his teeth, playing with the jumble of words that simultaneously wanted to tumble out and stay safely locked up. "I…" he began in an odd croak, "…sinned, horribly, killed my-" and he paused dramatically, but not on purpose. His vocal cords appeared to be choking him.

Kanda couldn't help it. He tried and failed to hold in the obscene bark of laughter that just erupted from his tightly sealed mouth. Allen turned immensely sorrowful grey eyes towards him and Kanda hunched over with his teeth clattering together in his strain to keep his mouth shut.

Allen didn't understand the comedy of the situation. He sat silently, waiting for Kanda to regain control. Half glad he was cut short and half brimming with grief.

Kanda straightened up, no longer feeling the need to laugh cruelly but a sadistic smirk plastered itself firmly on his jaw. "You?" he asked, waving Mugen towards Allen, "I find it hard to believe, Moyashi, that a pint sized creep like you would be up to committing murder of all things."

Allen's eyes stung with tears that would not come and his still heart clenched horribly. "You asked, Kanda." He said thickly, "I don't care whether or not you believe me. If only you had a reason to."

The intensity in Allen's voice, despite how it cracked, made Kanda think twice about his next harsh insult. Instead he settled for asking, "Who was it?"

Allen knew instantly that Kanda had meant to unravel the identity of his murder victim. Allen struggled internally, if Kanda laughed again he would hit him for sure, but that was no way to go about getting to the bottom of Kanda's many mysteries. Slowly, he let he jaw run slack and said in a bitter, longing sort of voice, "My father."

Kanda blinked as his sword slipped out of his steady hand and fell to the floor with a dull thud. Surely he had heard wrong. Surely, the little demon do-gooder hadn't just said what he thought he did. "What?" Kanda questioned, utterly bewildered but hiding it under his well practiced mask.

Mismatched hands clenched and unclenched and Allen's gaze roamed everywhere but onto the face in front of him. "I won't repeat myself." He said with finality. A tone that also suggested that Allen had officially closed off the subject and would no longer willingly talk about it.

Kanda didn't respond, didn't know how to when his head buzzed questions left, right and center, it was dizzying. The only plus point of dragging Allen's little story out of his unwilling mouth was that the child was in such a strange mood, he no longer felt the need to pressure Kanda into talking. Kanda partly wanted to know the dirty details of Allen's crime, but he couldn't bring himself to care enough, or console a deeply troubled corpse, so he simply got up and left his room silently. And this time Allen didn't follow him out.

-x-

Kanda had grabbed his coat and found himself wandering into a deserted park with broken swings and a rusted metal slide. Most days he hardly bothered with something as menial as taking walks. Today the very thought of remaining in his apartment, one that harboured a mopey, temperamental Allen, wasn't very appealing.

He settled down on a rickety wooden bench, crossing his long legs and chewing on his tongue. He probably should have brought along a stick of gum, to save his mouth from his vicious teeth. There was just too much to think about, and if he thought Allen frightened him before, it was nothing compared to how he felt now. Actually, Kanda couldn't fathom what exactly he felt. Naturally, he wanted naught to do with a homicidal maniac whose primary pastime included stalking and watching him sleep. But Allen didn't strike him as truly evil, no matter how much he may like to tease the boy about it.

A car passed by on the road ahead and Kanda leaned back in his seat, the brightness of the afternoon sky causing him to wince and bow his head again. Worst of all, Kanda rarely ever spent this much mental energy on anyone. People just weren't worth the trouble and time it took to ponder. Then again, Allen wasn't exactly 'people' per se.

A sharp vibrating in the seat of his jeans jolted him upright. Cursing, Kanda fished out his shaking cell phone, glared at the caller ID displaying the glowing word 'Lavi' and shoved it into his coat pocket this time.

Soft sighing echoed close to his ear and Kanda would have jumped out of his seat if not for his trained upbringing. He really couldn't escape from anyone these days.

Allen, who had just popped into being on the bench beside him, smiled softly. He was a bit too close. Close enough that when he opened his mouth to speak, Kanda caught a whiff of that sickly sweet smell he couldn't place and had almost forgotten about.

"Why carry your phone with you if you'll only ignore it every time it rings?" Allen accused, still smiling serenely.

Kanda grunted and fingered the cold metal device in his pocket, "And here I thought I'd finally gotten rid of you."

Allen's grin broadened, he appeared to be over whatever fit he got himself into, although his eyes remained demure. "Oh Kanda, you'll never learn."

That was probably true, but one can hope. As long as Allen remained still and shut up, Kanda didn't have a problem with him invading his personal space bubble. In fact, the older man could even pretend he wasn't there; it was no different than what he usually did.

"Don't look now," Allen whispered, ruining Kanda's semi-peaceful illusion, "But someone's coming this way."

Sure enough, a few seconds later, Kanda's sharp ears picked up heavy boots crunching it's way towards them in the leaves strewn all over the park. And of course it would have to be the very person he constantly least looked forward to seeing. Because, Kanda really did have all the luck in the world.

"Yuu!" An out of breath male voice shouted behind him, quickly picking up its pace and huffing and puffing all over Kanda's coat clad shoulder when he finally reached his destination.

Kanda growled lowly in his throat, "Lavi," he said, "how the hell did you find me here?"

Lavi, the man in question, sucked in a shivery breath and beamed down at Kanda, "Well, I was driving by and on my way up to your place," here Kanda almost groaned, "And who else am I lucky enough to stumble upon but the very Yuu I was just on my way to greeting?"

Kanda really did groan this time, if only he had caught a glimpse of that car that passed by several minutes ago. His eyes drifted over to the quiet road and spotted a red-as-Lavi's-hair vehicle parked close to the curb. He would have had enough time to make a run for it.

"Haven't you ever heard of fair warning?" Kanda said, glaring at the happily smiling red head, trying to shimmy Kanda over so he could park his annoying butt down on the bench too.

Lavi stopped trying to shove Kanda over and frowned at him, "I have, and I did call you, Yuu. I can hardly be blamed when you refuse to pick up, and don't you dare deny it! I drove by just in time to witness the act."

Kanda wouldn't have denied it but he did hold off on reminding Lavi that it was hardly fair warning if he wasn't given the chance to tell the brute to turn around and go back home.

Allen chose that moment to stick his very visible head from around Kanda and peer up at Lavi.

The eye patched young man, having been so busy bothering Kanda, hadn't noticed the other occupant of the park until now. "Well, hello there!" He greeted jovially and quite loudly yelled into Kanda's ear, "Who's the kid, Yuu?"

Kanda elbowed Lavi roughly in the ribs to stop the fool from sticking to his side. "Nobody." He answered gruffly, not wanting to explain who and what the pasty-faced demon was.

Lavi pouted and plunked himself down in the space between his old friend and the newcomer. "What's your name, kid?" He asked, ignoring Kanda's grunt of fury at being pushed roughly aside.

Allen studied the face looming in front of his immediate vision, before smiling coyly. "Allen Walker." He said, extending his gloved hand, which was vigorously shaken.

Lavi dropped his hand and crossed his ankle over his knee, kicking Kanda in his knees by accident.

"I'm going to shove that foot up your ass, if you don't move it." Kanda snarled, moving his own knees as far as possible away, without slipping off the cold bench.

Lavi rolled his one brilliant green eye, "Yuu's a real piece of work isn't he?" he directed at Allen, who smiled sweetly at him, "So tell me, how'd you end up meeting a sourpuss like him?"

"A little bit of stellar stalking does the trick." Allen admitted, his face as straight as inhumanly possible.

Lavi's eyebrows rose but his smile grew to stretch deeply into his high cheek bones. "You're my kind of guy." He said warmly, laughing and ruffling Allen's white hair, "That's actually how I met Yuu, too."

Kanda scoffed, butting into the conversation, "I wouldn't call it stalking, loser. Your platypus feet can't tail shit."

Lavi sniffed in mock remorse, "It's a teensy bit sad, our friendship really is made up of loving, but snarky insults at my good nature." Kanda coughed out something incredibly rude and Allen giggled. "But really, Yuu," Lavi started up again, shifting in his seat so that he now faced Kanda, "How come you've never mentioned this kid before?"

Kanda determinedly avoided eye contact, glaring holes into the ridiculously red car parked a few feet away and hoping dearly that someone came by and attempted to jack it. At least that way, Lavi would run off in a rage and Kanda would be left alone. "Don't you have anywhere else to be?"

Lavi rubbed his stubble free chin, "The old man won't mind if I'm a few minutes late." He confessed, "Besides, he'd understand. I haven't seen my ol' pal for weeks."

A few weeks too soon if Kanda had anything to say about it, but as per usual, Lavi disregarded Kanda's lack of attempt at a conversation and gestured animatedly at Allen, who replied back just as enthusiastically. There was nothing holding Kanda back from getting up and leaving, but his bottom appeared to be glued to the wood of his seat and he had claimed this spot first. Lavi and the petite fiend could take their stupid chat elsewhere. Besides, he consoled, he had to make sure Allen didn't slip and say something stupid.

Kanda decided to listen in just in time to catch Lavi saying, "-that hair is wild. You've gotta tell me how you bleached it that white."

"Actually," Allen said, and Kanda unconsciously held his breath, Allen was very sensitive about his abnormal hair, "It's all natural."

Although Kanda's back was turned, he could practically see Lavi's green eye widen in surprised interest, "No way." He all but gasped, "What happened?"

"It's all right." Allen smiled reassuringly, "I've gotten used to it. And I kind of like it now."

"It's all cool, kid. Very unique." Lavi nodded in understanding before launching himself into the topic of his own, not so unique, fiery red hair.

Kanda let out that held breath and mentally kicked himself. What did he care if Allen burst out in tears or threw a hissy fit because Lavi might have teased him about his stupid, old man hair? Right, he reasoned, it wouldn't do for inquisitive little Lavi to figure out the boy he's so interested in, hasn't taken a single breath of air since he got here. Of course. Settling that, Kanda suddenly felt a lot better. He also realized, Lavi's top speed blabber was started to weigh down on him, and the chitchat wasn't even directed his way.

Kanda stood up without a word and whirled around as if to leave. However, he should have known it wouldn't be that easy.

"Going already, Kanda?" The small voice of Allen piped up, breaking Lavi in mid-sentence.

Kanda shoved his hands in his coat pockets. "It's getting late." He explained simply.

Lavi snorted and craned his neck upward, "Come on, Yuu. It's hardly past your bedtime yet. Stay a while, won't you?"

Kanda glared mightily down at the sniggering green eyed face. "Unlike you, I have work early in the morning." He said, then added as an afterthought, "Besides, if I have to listen to you two talk anymore, I'll go deaf."

Lavi stuck his tongue out playfully at Kanda's retreating back and Allen hopped to his feet. "Pleasure meeting you, Lavi." Allen smiled and dipped his head politely before rushing off towards Kanda with a distant shout of, "Wait up, will you?"

Lavi, left alone on the rickety park bench, found his eyebrows disappearing further into his trademark bandana. He would be paying a definite visit to his dear friend of oldest, early tomorrow morning, over hot coffee and plenty of witnesses.

-x-

It's a few pages shorter but if I had to make it any longer I don't know when I'd ever update.

Moving on, how were your holidays? :D I hope you all got everything you wanted! I know I didn't -.- Feedback is much appreciated!