Author's note: The setting of this story is pretty much right after "Angelus" -- give or take a few months. I chose to use this universe because I just so dearly love the way I've built up their relationship (it gives me warm fuzzies, okay?) and I chose this particular time period because our boys are still in that awkward transition stage of having recently become lovers, not quite used to living together.
Special thanks: This story is dedicated to my beloved loyal readers, and especially to all the members of the Lavi x Allen Fan Club on D. Gray-Divinity, because they gave me the plot bunny and the tools to work with for this interesting little idea. I love you guys, seriously!
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of "D. Gray-man" or its characters. It all belongs to the brilliant Katsura Hoshino-sensei. I'm just playing in the sandbox of this beautiful and complex world.
Warnings: Dark Allen, gambling, cheating at cards, and a "lemon pie" Also, beware the het couple. XP
"In the Cards"
"Lavi," the voice growled, "if you touch that, you're going to lose your hand. I mean it. Back off."
"Yikes!" The redhead pulled his hand away; "Geez, Allen, you don't need to be such a tyrant! Besides, I'm hungry too, ya know!"
"Yes, but that's mine. Go get your own."
"Oh dear me. Is the honeymoon over already?"
Allen Walker and the former Bookman Junior, Lavi, turned to the third voice in surprise. It was the Black Order's prize chef, a man named Jerry. He was delivering another tray of food to the pair. He had his sunglasses pulled halfway down the bridge of his nose, peering at the two in mock sympathy.
"No, Jerry-san," Allen said, glaring at Lavi, "because there is no honeymoon in the first place. Honeymoon implies a wedding, which implies marriage, which of course hasn't happened and never will."
Lavi threw his hands in the air. "Jerry, he's taking possession of all the food! I'll starve at this rate!"
Jerry made a soft, disapproving clucking sound; "Now, now, young man, be nice to others. And share. Didn't your father ever teach you that?"
Allen flinched. "I'm not denying him food. He can eat his own. He just can't eat mine. I don't care how close we are, Lavi, there are some things I'm not going to let you do!"
"I'll keep it coming," Jerry added, with a bit of inflection on the word "coming" that suggested a naughty double-entendre. Allen turned red and lowered his head so that his nearly-shoulder-length white hair might possibly hide his face.
"Tch. Disgusting." Another Exorcist, seated not too far away (merely out of coincidence, though it was an amusing coincidence, to be sure), stood up abruptly with his tray.
"Aw, don't be that way, Yuu," Lavi said, turning on the charm for someone who was completely and utterly immune to his best charm.
Kanda Yuu didn't even bother to look at the redhead as he stalked away.
"He's jealous," Lavi said with a definitive nod.
Allen paused mid-bite; "Jealous? Of what?"
"Us, of course."
"I highly doubt that."
"Pfft!" Lavi grinned. "C'mon, Allen, Yuu's not that bad. You talk like he's a block of ice from the waist down!"
"And you're in a position to know otherwise?"
"Hey now, I didn't say that! I'm just saying, he's not one of Komui's robots. I'm sure he's got a sex drive. He just... doesn't know it yet."
"I think there's something wrong with a sentence that indicates Kanda and sex. Invariably, the only thing I can imagine is Mugen, and that -- "
"That's enough, Allen," Lavi said, his visible eye widening slightly. "I don't think you want to go any further, and I certainly don't want to hear anymore. Ouch!"
"What on earth are you two talking about?"
"You probably don't want to know, Lenalee," Lavi said, as Lenalee Lee approached them. Allen slapped his hand to his face in embarrassment.
The rest of the meal was passed in companionable conversation amongst the three friends. As they finished and took their trays up to the window to deposit their dishes and utensils, Lavi grinned at Lenalee; "You know, maybe you should try dating Yuu. Maybe that'll ease him up?"
Allen almost choked.
"Why would I want to do that, Lavi?" Lenalee blinked.
"Well, you'd do well with him, I think. And I think he likes you. I mean, insomuch as Yuu can like anyone. He doesn't yell at you or threaten you with Mugen very much."
Allen facepalmed again. "Lavi, do shut up. Please?"
"Besides," Lenalee added, a touch uncomfortable, "you know Komui-niisan would never allow that."
Lavi scoffed and waved a hand; "I've never seen Yuu be intimidated by your brother, Lenalee. If anyone can stand up to him, it's Yuu."
Allen was silently amused by the unintentional puns Lavi was making. Even if the redhead was kind of embarrassing when he got wound up, he could still be rather entertaining. And besides all that, Lavi was more precious to Allen than anyone had ever been, except maybe his father Mana, who had even posthumously kept guiding Allen all these years. While his relationship with Lavi was extremely different from what his relationship with Mana had been (Mana had been his adoptive father, while Lavi was his lover), one thing remained constant for both: a complete and absolute loyalty and devotion, from both parties. Allen put up with Lavi's hijinks, even when they became really embarrassing, because Lavi was the person who kept him grounded and human. His unwavering adoration for Allen -- which was enthusiastically reciprocated -- gave the white-haired young Exorcist a new sense of purpose.
A mere six weeks or so ago, Allen had very nearly lost, for the second time in his life, the person most dear to his heart, when a mission had drawn them to the Vatican, where a centuries-old supernatural barrier had eroded away the redhead's persona as "Lavi" and had left behind a cold, calculating and angry person who called himself Bookman Junior. Occasionally, Allen would get chills down his spine when he recalled how close he'd come to being alone again, after finally giving himself over to love someone again.
"I've got some work to do for Nii-san," Lenalee said, splitting off from the pair. "I'll see you guys later."
"Alas," Lavi said with a sheepish grin, scratching at his unruly red hair, "I have work to do too. Boring crap that I don't want to do, that I'd rather skip to spend time with you... but if I don't do it, the panda will smite me again, and I'm still smarting from the last time he did it."
Allen just smiled at him; "I understand. I've got some paperwork to do for the Vatican anyway."
"Pish, the Vatican. What the hell is with them anyway?"
Officially, the reason why Lavi was no longer the successor of the Bookman, was no longer a member of the clan of bookmen at all, was because of his actions in the Vatican when his persona was erased; he'd attacked the Pope in a fit of rage, and might possibly have even killed the Holy Father if Allen hadn't pulled him into the Ark. The actions weren't entirely his fault, but the Vatican had been rather insistent that Lavi be severely punished, and the current Bookman had opted to use this excuse to disinherit his current successor. The official reason was because of Lavi's actions drawing unfavorable attention to the clan. However, Bookman's real reason had been simpler: in falling in love with Allen, Lavi had pretty much lost the anonymity required to become the Bookman.
Allen reached up and grasped hold of Lavi's headband, pulling him close and pecking a kiss on his lips so quickly that even if someone had been around to see, they likely wouldn't have noticed the intimacy. Mostly, though, the kiss would have been missed by onlookers because Allen then head-butted his lover affectionately. "Don't slack off, okay?"
"Urf," Lavi grunted, rubbing his forehead. "Your head is like concrete, Allen. Do that again and I might get a concussion."
"Oh, you're one to talk about someone being thick-headed!"
"Don't you slack off, you hear me?" Lavi stuck his tongue out as he turned to head for the stairwell. "And don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"Oh that helps!" Allen yelled after him as he turned himself to head for the Head Supervisor's office to pick up some documents.
By the time Allen got done with the paperwork, his neck ached from being bent over the cramped desk, filling out paperwork, and he had been signing his name so many times he was getting sick of his own name. As he approached Komui's desk, he saw someone standing there, talking to the Head Supervisor. Even more bizarre, though, was that two female Exorcists stood off to the side. One was Lenalee; the other was a relative newcomer in comparison, a young woman named Catherine Dessaseaux, a nurse-turned-Exorcist whose Innocence had strong healing properties.
The man talking with Komui looked like he was in his twenties or so, with medium brown hair swept back from a face that looked a bit thin and pale from fatigue, but his eyes were bright and clear, and he seemed rather animated. He was dressed in brown tweed and had a very proper, well-mannered posture. His voice was gentle but firm, and slightly melodic; it was the kind of voice one could listen to for a long time. At times, he sounded French, but he spoke English flawlessly, and with the rigid formality of someone from Cambridge. He seemed like a really nice person. Allen silently dropped off the documents on the desk and moved over to where the girls were.
"So who's that?"
"His name is Pascal Beauchamp," Lenalee said. "He came up here to join the Order."
"Hmm. He's not a conformer, is he?"
"No, no. He's applying to join the research teams. Seems he's got a really sharp memory for the written word."
"Where'd he hear about us?"
"Long-time supporter, apparently."
"Not the Beauchamps," Catherine said. "They're old family friends of my family, but they never really knew about the Black Order. They had heard the name, but didn't know what it's about."
"Oh, so you know him?" Allen asked politely.
"I ought to," the nurse said with a tight smile, "since I'm engaged to marry him. He's my fiance, Allen."
Allen blinked owlishly; "Whoa! Really? Wow, I had no idea you were planning to bring him up here."
"Well," Catherine looked a little troubled, "he came up sooner than I'd like, but his health has been deteriorating, I guess, so he's joining the Order so that we can get married, and then maybe he can get the medical treatment he needs. The Order will pay for the medical bills for the immediate family of an Exorcist, so that's why."
The conversation apparently ended, as Komui stood up and extended his hand to Pascal; "Welcome to the Black Order. I can't allow you to room with Catherine right now, but as soon as we can get the marriage licenses up here, signed and ratified, I'll get you two together in a room."
"Thank you, sir." Pascal gave the Head Supervisor a crisp salute -- something Allen hadn't seen for a long time -- as Komui sat back down.
"Komui-san," Allen spoke up, "I've finished the documents. Did you need anything else? Because if you don't, I'd like to go to the cafeteria and get something to eat, and then I'll be in my room, and I'd prefer it if I can have the evening to myself."
"That's fine, Allen-kun," Komui said. "If an emergency comes up, I'll call you, but not for anything less. Fair enough?"
"Fair enough." Allen swallowed a sigh of relief.
By the time he had gotten back to the floor where his relatively new living quarters were, he was looking forward to spending the evening with Lavi, and hoped the redhead was in the mood to be somewhat romantic. He reached his door and paused, his hand on the knob. Part of him wanted to go in the other door, but it wasn't wise.
He and Lavi couldn't share a room without raising suspicions right now. Komui Lee had told them that in a few years, if they still desired to live together, he'd arrange something a little more open and roomy. But until then, they were kind of stuck. Still, someone in the science department had carved a door in the interior wall between this room and the one next to it, and Lavi was assigned to that room. So they had easy access to each other's room without going out into the hallway and potentially raising suspicions. Right now there were a lot of representatives from Central and the Vatican, and no one wanted to get Allen or Lavi in any more trouble with Central or the Vatican than they already were. This solution was about as ideal as any, since it meant that they could still sleep together -- though the beds were a bit narrow for two people -- and yet as long as each entered and exited from his own door, theoretically no one would be the wiser.
Finally, he opened his door and went in, switching the lights on as he did. The door that connected the two apartments was propped open, a sign that Lavi was in his room. Allen shrugged out of his uniform coat and went over to the interior door, rapping lightly on it; "Lavi? Are you awake?"
"Of course I am," came the reply.
Allen took that as an invitation when nothing further was forthcoming, and pulled the door open all the way, poking his head into Lavi's room. The redhead was laying on his stomach on the bed, a book open in front of him. His headband was hanging on the bedpost, and his russet-colored hair was a complete mess. It made him look that much more loveable.
Allen crossed the room and took a seat on the edge of the bed. "What are you reading?"
"A book," Lavi deadpanned.
"I can see that. What's in it?"
"Lavi, come on! What's the book about?"
Allen blinked. "What kind of cards?"
Lavi's eye rolled to the side to look at him; "Your kind of cards." There was a coyness in his demeanor that Allen hadn't seen for a while. "So, have you go the rest of the evening off?"
"As far as I know, yes. I even stopped at the cafeteria before coming here. I should be good for a while."
"Good. Because I have something in mind that might be kind of fun."
"Oh? And what's that?"
Lavi grinned as he reached into a pocket and pulled out a brand-new deck of playing cards; "Howsabout I challenge you to a fair game of poker. And instead of gambling money, we'll make this a little more enticing." He paused, and his grin was positively obscene.
"Go on, I'm listening."
"I know what you're thinking, Allen, and what I have in mind isn't quite that. Not strip-poker, but rather, playing for keeps of a different sort."
"All right, go on. Stop beating around the bush and just tell me already!"
The redhead chuckled; "I was thinking that we'd make the 'jackpot' be who gets to top tonight. So if you think your crafty fingers can outsmart my detail-memorizing eyes, we can have a sporting event of it, but in the end we both win, in a matter of speaking. So if you want to top me tonight, you're going to have to beat me in this. Fair enough?"
Allen grinned, in a manner that would have sent chills through Lavi if he were less confident in himself; "You are so on."
I am so fucked, Lavi thought as he looked at the hand he held. He had a pair of fives, that was it. Well, he did have an Ace high card, but that wasn't going to help. And goddamn if Allen didn't have just about the shittiest poker face! That damned grin was unnerving!
How is he doing it? He's got to be cheating somehow, but I don't get how he's doing it! I memorized the back of all these cards, so he hasn't slipped anything in that wasn't in the stack to begin with!
Lavi had really thought he could outsmart Allen on this. The whole thing with reading a book about card games had merely been a pretense, or maybe a ploy, a way to broach the subject and get Allen's attention. He already knew how to play poker, and knew how Allen cheated it. He'd seen it enough, he knew what Allen was capable of. But apparently, he didn't take into account that not only was Allen adept at cheating at cards, he was also adept at winning honestly at cards too.
"Ugh, fine. Pair of fives."
"Wow. You had me going there, Lavi. I thought for sure you had a full house or something. Straight, ten high."
Well, at least it wasn't a Royal Flush.
"Are you losing on purpose, Lavi?"
"What? Why do you say that?"
"Because you keep watching my hands."
"I don't quite trust you with cards. You have a bad habit of cheating, and I told you, this is supposed to be an honest game."
"Fine, fine, just get on with the next hand. I still think you're throwing it. If you wanted me to top you so badly, all you had to do was ask!"
It was Lavi's turn to deal, so he gathered up the cards and started shuffling them, when he paused. That nine of spades... and the seven of clubs... and the ten of spades... "Allllllllllen," he looked up, "what the hell?"
Allen's face was angelic... too angelic.
"Hey, goddamnit, I told you I want an honest game! We're not playing for money, for crying out loud!"
Allen shrugged, clearly unrepentant; "Old habits die hard?"
So much for Allen being adept at winning honestly.
"Your ass is mine," Lavi grumbled, pulling the offending cards from the stack and checking to make sure that there were only fifty-two now.
"Actually?" Allen simpered. "I believe that's my line."
"Oh no you don't!"
"Even when I'm not cheating, I'm kicking your proverbial butt. You picked the wrong thing to challenge me with, Lavi." Allen was grinning in such a way that Lavi was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. "I have to admit that I'm finding this to be something of a turn-on, too. What say we just call it a night and get on with the jackpot?"
"Oh hell no! Not until you beat me fairly!"
Allen just simpered again; "Sure, okay. But, to quote you, 'your ass is mine' so don't you forget that."
Lavi glowered at him. It wasn't the whole idea of being the bottom for the night that bothered him -- he wouldn't have mentioned it as a possible outcome if it bothered him that much -- it was that Allen was cheating when he'd asked him not to. In the past couple of months or so that they had actively been lovers, they had alternated positions, trying to find their preferred configuration, and Allen had expressed that he rather liked being on the receiving end. He'd said that he actually liked how he felt when Lavi penetrated him. He felt more in control of himself when he was on the receiving end. Lavi, for his part, preferred to be on the giving end. He didn't like to admit it, but no matter how much lubricant they used, Lavi always ended up with a sore backside for at least a day afterwards following a vigorous session of being on the bottom.
All the same, if it made Allen happier to be on the top once in a while, Lavi didn't mind.
What he did mind was Allen cheating to get there, rather than just asking him outright.
As they played, he kept watching Allen's hands. As such, he missed out on Allen's expressions.
"You go first."
"Because you called."
"Oh whatever. Full house." Lavi slapped his hand down, allowing himself a smug grin. "Beat that."
"Ouch," Allen said with a grimace. "All right. Four of a kind." He laid his cards out neatly.
Lavi wanted to scream.
"Four goddamn twos?! How the hell! The lowest card on the pile, and you got all four of them?!"
"I've told you before, Lavi," Allen said sweetly. "I won't lose at cards. Go ahead, check the cards. I didn't cheat. I'm just good."
"Whatever, here, just deal the next hand."
Allen put on a fancy display of shuffling the cards, while Lavi took a moment to get a drink from the washroom. His throat was parched from swallowing so much in agitation. When he got back and took his place on the floor where they were playing, Allen dealt the cards, and the game commenced.
This... is a nice hand so far.
They played for close to ten minutes before finally calling.
"Two pairs," Lavi said, a trace smugly. He'd had a great play this time around. He was hoping to recoup some ground.
"I would like to tell you right now, Lavi, that this was no trick." Allen's slight grimace changed as he laid out his cards; "Royal. Straight. Flush. And I believe that makes the proverbial checkmate."
"How the hell did you...! Allen!" Lavi glowered at him. "You did cheat, didn't you?"
"Here, look at the cards, and the deck. I'm not kidding."
"Geez, Allen, why do you have to cheat so damned much? You're a cheating fool!"
Allen's expression changed abruptly. "I do wish you'd be a little more careful with calling me a cheater, Lavi. I only cheat at cards. In terms of the other form of cheating? Never. Absolutely never."
"Eh?" Lavi blinked. "What other form of cheating are you talking about? You cheat at roulette too!"
"Maybe," Allen said, but his expression was severe, "but I would never cheat on you. We are in a monogamous relationship, aren't we? Even if we can't ever marry, we're in this one for good, aren't we?"
Oh, that kind of cheating. Lavi felt a rush of affection for Allen at the vehement proclamation of fidelity; "I never once meant that, Allen. I know you are faithful. And any flirting I do, I hope you realize, is just an act, to keep people guessing. I hope you know that you're the only one I really love. After everything we've been through, I would never suspect you of being less than honest with me about all this. I'm sorry if I made you think that I suspected you in any way."
"Good," Allen said as the two of them wrapped their arms around each other simultaneously. "I want you to know and understand that I love you more than anything. I would do anything for you. I... it's just an old habit, cheating at cards, I didn't think it was that big of a deal with you."
Lavi brought his hands up to Allen's face, pulling him in and kissing him; "It's not, I suppose. So long as you realize I won't put up with that again, if we ever bother with this again, which I doubt. From now on, you'll just have to say something when you want to top. But, I suppose you did earn the right to do so tonight. So let's get it on, shall we?"
"You know, you're not in charge here," Allen said with a smirk. "I could so throw you across the room right now. And unlike you, even naked I have my Innocence weapon at the ready, and I can tie you to the bed if I so choose."
"But you're not going to do that, are you?" Lavi grinned. "Because then it won't be romantic, and I know you very well, Allen. You like the romance. You like to face me when I top you, because you like to kiss through it."
"Oh please," Allen scoffed. "You like it too!"
"Come on, Allen, let's just get on with the main event. You're getting pretty wound up, I see. Come, I'll get you ready, and you're going to have to make sure you get me ready, because I don't want to be sore in the morning!"
Allen's grin was akin to the proverbial cat that ate the canary and got away with it as the two of them stripped down to nothing and moved over to the bed to get the foreplay underway. Lavi took charge of getting his partner fully roused up, while Allen fumbled with the petroleum jelly. Lavi took his time, getting into his movements and privately enjoying Allen's attentive ministrations on his nether regions. Things were still supremely awkward between them right now -- even having sex every night wasn't easing this awkwardness, since neither really knew exactly what the hell he was doing; they were just doing this entirely freestyle, making adjustments as needed for each other's comfort.
"Are you ready yet, Lavi?" Allen inquired, "because I'm running out of patience and restraint."
With a final lick, Lavi raised his head and looked at Allen; "I suppose. But go easy on me. I'm not used to this, you know."
Allen grinned; "I'll be gentle, I promise. Now turn around. How do you want it -- on your knees or your back?"
"What the hell?!" Lavi's jaw dropped open. "What are you asking?"
"Missionary or animal style?"
"You pick, Allen, you're the one topping."
"Fine; on your knees then. Or rather, maybe you should lay down on your stomach? It might be a little more romantic that way. Won't feel quite so base."
"You're one to talk about stuff being base," Lavi grumbled, shifting around and easing himself down onto his belly, though the warmth in his groin threatened to make laying like that uncomfortable. "Also, don't bite me this time. You bit me the last time I let you top. My shoulder was sore for days! And you don't even have Innocence in your teeth like Kro-chan!"
Lavi tensed up as he felt Allen lay himself over his back.
"Lavi, you're always telling me to relax. Take your own advice for once, please? You like this, and you know it."
"Tch!" Lavi gritted his teeth and tried to force his muscles to relax, but his nerves were too much. With a sigh, he shifted his hips, rotating them so that his legs moved outward a bit, to grant Allen a little better access. "You know I like it the other way better. I'm only doing this because I love you and want you to be happy." A moment later he flinched at his own wording, especially when he felt Allen's left hand on his shoulder.
"Lavi, please, don't treat like this is a chore. It's not fun for me when you act like you'd rather be anywhere but here."
"Sorry, Allen," Lavi said with a sigh. "I'm just... not used to this. I don't really know how it is that you can like it so much."
"And I can't understand why you don't like it so much," Allen said gently, leaning in close so that his mouth was next his lover's ear, breathing the words into his ear. "There's hardly a feeling more intimate than this, I think."
Lavi's breath was pulled in sharply as Allen began a slow penetration movement. When Allen paused, Lavi dropped his head as if to smash it against the ground (except the softness of the bedding pretty much negated the effected). "Just do it, dammit. Stop hestitating!"
"I don't want to hurt you."
"Well, what's most uncomfortable right now isn't that." He tried to raise his hips a bit, to alleviate some pressure. "I think... I think we'd better... Allen, I'm a little... augh, dammit!"
"Yeah, I think we'd better raise up a bit," Allen agreed, cupping his hands against his lover's angular hips and lifting a little bit. "Better?"
"A little. Would you just hurry up? This position isn't very comfortable so hur---oh, shit!"
"Relax, dammit! You're always telling me to relax. You're way too tense."
Time started to lose meaning, as Lavi focused on loosening his rectal muscles to allow easier movement for Allen. But before Lavi could completely give himself over to the eventual ecstasy of the whole experience, he felt Allen reach around him and grasp onto his nether regions; "Lavi, I can't hold back much longer."
"And if you keep man-handling me that much, I won't either!"
"Man-handle, huh? Nice pun!"
Abruptly, the whole world seemed to tip onto its side, as both of them reached climax, making a right mess of the immediate area. Lavi put his face down into the bedding and howled with laughter as the release allowed him to relax a bit. Allen rolled a bit, landing on the bed beside him.
"Why are you laughing so much, Lavi?"
"Looks like we're both going to be sleeping in my bed tonight, eh? Unless you want to sleep in all that? Also, ow! Dammit! I think I'd better take a shower. Sometimes I wish you wouldn't come inside me like that, at least when I'm not prepared for it. I need to go clean out, I think."
"You go do that, ya lightweight," Allen chuckled tiredly, "and then when you get back, you can top. I need to catch my breath."
"Who's a lightweight? You've got no stamina!"
"Pfft!" Allen just relaxed, chuckling, as Lavi tossed a blanket over him in his pique. Lavi wobbled a bit, cursing himself, as he moved into the bathroom. But before he stepped into the washroom, he paused and looked back at Allen.
That ought to teach me to take him on with cards. Still, that was a lot of fun, but I'll never tell him that! I'd rather be the one on top. I can't quite get over the weird feeling when he... geez, I just wish he'd warn me before he comes inside me like that! God that feels weird!
What the hell am I doing, analyzing this? Good grief.
Ouch. I'm going to be sore! Dammit, Allen, you said you'd be gentle! We'll just see how gentle I am with you when I'm done with my shower!