(A/N): It's a TWO-SHOT! This is the first installment. Yeah, so I totally stole the tagline promo for the Twilight movie. You'll know it when you see it. Have fun reading! This has been in the works FOREVER. I had to get it out there. Sorry for any grammatical or spelling errors. I did it kind of fast.
A level three akuma and a Noah. And in less than 48 hours later, he was walking up and about. That was Kanda for you.
And currently, he sat in the Black Order's cafeteria.
"Have you ever heard of the French fairytale, Beauty and the Beast?" Lavi asked leisurely, sitting down and throwing his legs atop the table.
Kanda looked up, irritated. Couldn't he just eat his soba in peace?
Lavi carried on, ignoring his friend's death glare. "It's about a man who's cursed to live in the body of a beast until he learns to love…and in turn, someone learns to love him. Hence, Beauty."
"What point are you trying to make?" Kanda growled. And there had better be a point to this story. Or Kanda would unleash Mugen on the damn rabbit faster than he could yell 'strike!'.
A leer graced the redhead's lips. "The beast is also cursed with a rose, and for every petal that falls, he gets closer to losing himself to the form of a monster."
That grudgingly caught Kanda's attention.
Lavi grinned inwardly, noticing the waver in the swordsman's eyes. "The rose is his own irreversible hourglass. And if he doesn't find someone who discovers his inner beauty and loves him for who he truly is, then the last petal that falls will also be the last breath he takes with a human set of lungs."
He paused for a dramatic effect, searching his comrade's face for any indication that his statement had hit a nerve.
"I've been wondering, Yuu-" Kanda's eyes narrowed at the ease with which Lavi said his name "-who's going to learn to love you?"
He didn't even have a chance to retort for Lenalee had chosen that moment to interrupt.
Lenalee ran into the cafeteria, heels clicking loudly. "Nii-san's been calling for you. Another mission with Allen-kun."
Lavi stared unabashedly at Lenalee upon her brash entrance. One would have thought he was smitten with her by the way he was studying the girl, but Kanda knew better. There was calculative look on Lavi's face, like he was trying to figure out the answer to a very difficult problem.
Lenalee was, to say the least, a bit unnerved by this. "Lavi?"
And faster than either of them could blink, a bright smile suddenly replaced the gauging expression.
"Lenalee," he greeted her cheerfully. "You're looking beautiful today."
The response was immediate. "What did you do?"
"Nothing!" he asserted, eyes wide with mock innocence. "Can't a guy just tell the truth?"
"Not when the guy is you," she muttered darkly.
Lavi chuckled sheepishly. "But you're always a beauty, Lenalee."
She gazed at him skeptically, and even Kanda let curiosity get the better of him by scoffing at Lavi's answer.
She sighed. "Nii-san and Allen-kun are waiting for you."
He waved his hand in the air dismissively. "I'm going, I'm going."
Getting up from his seat, Lavi leaned over the table, his face barely inches from Kanda's.
"Think of it this way, Yuu," he whispered, green eye practically glowing. And again, the use of his first name made him want to snap Lavi's neck. "How many times have you died already?"
'Three,' the answer echoed itself through Kanda's mind.
With a quick salute at his irked friend and peck on the cheek for Lenalee (leaving her slightly startled), he sauntered out of the dining area, smirking like he knew a secret no one else did.
She watched him leave, mystified beyond belief.
"He's not in his right mind today, is he?" Lenalee mused aloud, turning to Kanda.
He grunted, returning to his neglected soba. "Che, when is he ever?"
She bit her lip to keep from laughing as she settled herself in the seat Lavi had previously occupied. "We'll be going, too."
Kanda glanced up in interest.
"Not with Allen-kun and Lavi, though," she clarified. "Nii-san is sending the both of us to Berlin. Something about an innocence acting up."
About to argue that he could retrieve an innocence on his own, Lenalee smoothly retorted, "And before you argue, Nii-san said that he needs the both of us to work on this. One person isn't going to be enough. Especially since Berlin is notorious for level three akuma."
Kanda nodded, accepting defeat, albeit stingily.
Silence reigned over the two of them, with Kanda eating his soba and Lenalee watching him.
"Have you ever heard of the story of Beauty and the Beast?"
The question caught him completely off guard, and he nearly choked on his meal. "What?"
"Beauty and the Beast," she reiterated, cupping her face in the palms of her hands. "Are you familiar with it?"
"Somewhat," he answered cautiously.
'What's so great about this story?'
She beamed excitedly. "Then can you tell me what it's about?"
He cocked an eyebrow at her. "You don't know?"
"No," she pouted. "Lavi mentioned it to me yesterday morning, right after I'd checked up on how your wounds were healing. He wouldn't tell me what it was, but he told me to ask you about it."
A twitch began to develop on Kanda's right eye.
Lavi was going to die tonight.
Right before they left for Berlin.
"It's just a fairytale," he said dryly. "Nothing to be concerned about."
She sighed, frowning. "So you won't tell me either?"
He didn't answer her.
Knowing Kanda wasn't going to say anything any further, Lenalee decided it was best if she left.
"Maybe Allen-kun knows…"
Four level three akumas. They'd told their Finders to run and hide. It was intense, to say the least, as they were only able to destroy two so far.
'Technically, Kanda destroyed them…'
Lenalee jumped away from the attack of one of the smaller akuma in the nick of time, landing with poise next to Kanda a few hundred yards away.
"I'm surprised a Noah hasn't popped up and joined the party," she chewed out, vaguely agitated that they weren't making much progress.
No sooner had she uttered those words when something hot and spicy suddenly evaded her left ear, and the wicked voice of Tyki Mikk from directly behind made her heart drop.
"Spoke too soon, my dear."
She didn't catch it, but she somehow felt Kanda move. Lenalee saw his sword before she saw him, and she suddenly found herself falling into the soft soil as Kanda stood above her, his blade pressed hard against Tyki's throat.
"Good to see you, too, Knife-boy," the Noah drawled.
He held no fear in his eyes, but rather amusement, even though he knew Kanda could have sliced him up into pieces in just three moves.
Tyki's gaze slowly shifted to her, still lying in a heap on the ground.
He grinned. And Lenalee felt sick at how bright and perfect his teeth were.
"Take care of the rest of the akuma," Kanda abruptly demanded, taking another step closer to Tyki. "I'll handle this one."
She nodded, standing up and turning the other direction. All the while, she could feel the unyielding stare of the Noah on her back.
Leaping into the air, she could have sworn she heard Kanda growl, "Your battle is with me."
Lenalee was scared, and she wasn't sure why. And the fear, to her misfortune, affected her innocence.
She kicked the smallest akuma right in the face, and other than throwing it back by force, it did very little damage.
Clawed hands reached for her and she desperately flew out of the way; so fast that all she saw were grey blurs.
Kanda, meanwhile, was attacking Tyki unremittingly. And akin to their one-one-one before, the Noah shielded himself from the Mugen wielder with ease.
"You've gotten faster," he commented.
The blade of the sword collided with Tyki's shield for the hundredth time, causing the smallest crack in its wake.
Tyki was pleased. "And stronger."
"Shut up and fight me," Kanda practically roared.
Mugen hit his shield with another clang.
"Tsk, tsk. So impatient."
Again, Kanda rammed his sword against Tyki's safeguard.
"Wasn't that what I told you last time?" The Noah continued, smirking. "You're too persistent-"
Tyki chuckled. "-and you'll never get a girl this way."
A bright green streak flew by them. Kanda's peripheral vision told him it was Lenalee. The two remaining akuma she was fighting followed her with vast speed. But she was faster.
She twisted around, soaring so quickly between a small space in a cathedral that the akuma didn't even have time to stop. They crashed into the sharp columns hard and at high speed.
Tyki watched this with a smile, all the while obstructing Kanda's brutal attacks. And Kanda received a knot in the pit of stomach when he noticed the look on Tyki's face, for it had been the exact same expression Lavi had given Lenalee in the cafeteria, only with more malice.
The shield unexpectedly disappeared, throwing Kanda a bit off guard as Tyki jumped back to avoid being sliced.
"I'm afraid we'll have to continue this later."
He gave a small salute in farewell and dissolved into the wall behind him.
Kanda scowled, using his sword to cut through the wall.
But Tyki was gone.
Kanda returned his sword to its original state, cautiously looking around the empty storage room for any sign of life.
A loud crash disrupted Kanda's thoughts, followed by the clear scream of a struggle.
Kanda jolted. 'Lenalee.'
A quarter of the cathedral was completely destroyed, and yet one akuma still remained.
Lenalee was breathing hard, her heart pounding so fast that it felt more like a vibration than actual beats.
She was frustrated, crouching on the arch of the church as she cradled in her left arm in pain.
The last remaining akuma floated a few feet before her, smiling in glee - like it knew it was the last one left in the game.
Lenalee mentally jeered. It was always a game to them.
"Ever heard the story of Beauty and the Beast?"
He grew out from the ground below her and asked her the most ridiculous question.
Even though it'd been the exact same one she'd asked a few hours prior.
"Are you the Beast?"
Tyki chuckled good-naturally at her question. "I could be. But I'm afraid my life isn't tied to a flower's."
Lenalee frowned. 'Flower?'
"Two Illusion Blades!"
It didn't look like Kanda's feet even touched the ground as he ran.
Purple light clenched from the Noah's fist, contorting in the shape of a sharp and deadly butterfly and blocking Kanda's attacks with practiced ease.
"Let's play some more!" The voice of the last standing akuma was acidic.
Its clawed hand came at her, and Lenalee barely escaped with a thin graze on her thigh. Her innocence warmed around her legs, and she knew she needed to end this quickly.
The original mission was to find an active innocence, but it had spiraled into a contest of cat and mouse.
Small, ethereal wings erupted from the heels of her boots, answering her needs. Green halos appeared, surging her with a mystical euphoria.
She felt high.
An incisive kick the gut and the laughing akuma fell from the sky. Lenalee didn't give it time to recover. She immediately surged forward, landing another blow. Followed by a third.
'Finish it off…'
A powerful, sharp inkling surged through her calves and thighs, and faster than she could comprehend, her legs cut through the akuma, taking with them bits of jelly-like flesh and the stench of sulfur.
She landed gracefully on the stony gravel in front of the half destroyed church, her breathing hard and labored.
It was done.
Again, Tyki Mikk appeared before her without warning.
She served him a kick meant for his head.
He caught her ankle without blinking.
Dazzling, sharp teeth smiled at her again. His grip hardened around her ankle, and she found she couldn't move without losing her balancing.
An angry warmth radiated from her side, and Kanda's sword - more brilliant than lightening - was suddenly thrust against the Noah's throat once more. Lenalee made another attempt to wiggle free from his clutch, but it was to no avail.
He chuckled, looking amid the two. "Well, isn't this a pretty picture…"
Tyki's gleaming eyes rested on the swordsman. "How about you, Mr. Kitchen Knife? You, of all people, must know the story of Beauty and the Beast?"
The question struck a nerve in Kanda, and Tyki's mocking tone made him only more angry.
'What's so goddamn great about that story?'
Before he could react, Tyki's hand twisted tighter around Lenalee's ankle.
In a move neither of them could have anticipated, he used her leg to swing her body into Kanda's, throwing them back several yards and causing them to land hard against the ground. Kanda's arms were wrapped around her torso, preventing her from taking the impact. Lenalee's arm, which was previously injured from the akuma, was crammed between her body and Kanda's. She let out a sharp hiss of pain, knowing that she'd just caused it more damage.
She tried to remove her injured body from Kanda's form, and found herself crouching between his legs.
"Are you okay?"
He tossed her a look between in a glare and incredulous expression.
She cringed. "Yeah, alright, so that was a stupid question."
Using their surprised and frail states to his advantage, Tyki struck quickly, his fist encircled in an intense purple light. Lenalee barely had time to turn her head. Kanda, however, didn't even blink as he brought out Mugen again.
His sword was the only object between her nose and Tyki's attack. It exuded scorching heat, and Lenalee briefly wondered how Kanda was able to hold it so easily.
She reacted before she could think.
With Kanda's other arm still around her, she used her boots to propel them back even further, away from the laughing Noah.
"Now will you tell me the story?"
Kanda glanced at her quickly.
The timbre of Tyki's sardonic words were wicked. "Oh, so you don't know."
He attacked a second time. Kanda shoved her aside and used his sword to block Tyki's light-encrusted fist.
His laughter rang loudly into the empty night, jumping back and landing on the same arch she'd previously stooped on. "Shall I tell you, then, pretty girl?"
A wretched feeling swathed Lenalee's very soul at the way he was looking at her.
Kanda's eyes narrowed.
"It's the story of a man who is cursed to live in the body of beast for his egotistic ways." He paused to fix a cufflink on his sleeve. "And this cursed life is tied to that of a flower - a rose, to be exact. For every petal that falls, he falls deeper and deeper into this state of a monster…he might as well be dying. And the only way to stop it is to learn to love someone for their inner beauty."
Lenalee's breathing calmed down, but her head swam with thoughts that delved beyond caverns. 'Cursed…beast…flower…love…inner beauty…'
"Of course, the catch is," he continued, smiling cruelly at her, " the girl needs to learn to love him for the same reason…so really, she saves him."
Violet eyes widened at the message Tyki was trying, very plainly, to send them both.
Lavi's mischievous smile made Lenalee want to turn back around and hide in Kanda's room.
Shifting the tray she was carrying which held Kanda's lunch, she gave a halfhearted shrug. "He claims he's fine, but you know how he is."
The Bookman Jr. chuckled. "You always watch out for him, don't you?"
She smiled. "I watch out for everyone I love."
Lavi studied her for a moment, silently taking in the bags under eyes, her mused hair, and her wrinkled outfit. And yet, she was still beautiful.
"I should get Nii-san his coffee now." She turned, about to leave, when he called her back.
"Hey, Lenalee…do you know the French fairytale, Beauty and the Beast?"
Lavi's grin widened. "Really?"
Lenalee frowned, not liking the tone of his voice. "Yes, really. Why?"
He shook his head. "No reason."
"What's it about?"
"Uh, well…" Lavi's eyes darted back and forth, refusing to look at her, when a sudden enlightened expression filled his face. "You should ask Yu about it…when he's, uh, feeling better."
"Why the sudden silence?" Tyki Mikk smirked. "I didn't hit a sore spot, did I?"
Sometime during the Noah's recount of the story, Lenalee's sight had wandered over to Kanda's form.
"Mugen: Two Illusion Blades!"
Kanda jumped, charging at the Noah.
Tyki barked with laughter as he leapt out of the way, settling elegantly on the ground, not a foot away from her.
Anger and irritation washed over Kanda. "Stop toying with us and fight!"
"But half the fight is the foreplay…"
His sword skimmed the soft flesh of the Noah, creating a cut the was so thin it was almost invisible.
"You managed to scratch me!" he exclaimed. "How marvelous!"
Lenalee scowled. 'He really is toying with us.'
She was about to kick up her heels when the Noah made an announcement that caused her veins to grow cold.
"I don't see why you're trying so hard…I've already destroyed the innocence. And as you both are still fighting, you can see that it wasn't the Heart."
'Destroyed…' The sickening word echoed between Lenalee's ears. 'And another one bites the dust. Another potential - another hope - gone…'
Her rage, and her regret, held no precincts. "NO!"
The blood-red boots burned in response, and she kicked herself off the ground, side-by-side with Kanda as she attacked Tyki without restraint.
"Well, this is no fun," he sulked. "You're both so determined and passionate. And you're using such repetitive moves. How predictable."
Wings budded from the tips of his fingers, and by the ridged nature of Kanda's form, Lenalee knew it wouldn't be good.
"No matter, though," Tyki beamed at them. "My mission was to find the innocence and destroy it. Not to fight with a pair of Exorcists. Although, you did entertain me for a bit…so I'll leave you two to it."
He unleashed masses of dark butterflies at them. Lenalee would have thought it to be a beautiful sight had her paranoia not kicked in.
"Bear it with me," Kanda gritted, staring fiercely at the butterflies.
But before he could explain, the swarm engulfed them, nipping away. They didn't hurt at first, but Lenalee soon discovered that the tiny, prickling vibrations were slowly causing her skin to bleed.
She couldn't stand it. "Kanda-"
Smoldering and electrifying came his attack, and she was draped in a warm, shielded glow.
The butterflies fell quickly, all dissipating into nothing but ashes.
Tyki was no longer with them.
Lenalee fell to her knees. Small cuts and bites ran along her arms and legs and her uniform had small blotches of blood all over.
Another innocence, gone. Another mission, failed.
Kanda glimpsed at her out of the corner of his eye, feeling the smallest bit of remorse when he noticed her tearstained face. "Let's go home," he said.
D. GRAY MAN
They were treated for their wounds, and the Head Nurse had informed her she'd sprained her left wrist.
"You're lucky it's not broken," the Head Nurse said, wrapping her wrist in a bandage.
Lenalee smiled. The nurse had always had a soft spot for her. "I look horrible, don't I?"
She shook her head, sighing. "You're always a beauty, Lenalee."
Lenalee trembled at the familiar words. 'Kanda…'
"Are you cold?"
D. GRAY MAN
Lenalee spent the entire night fighting off nightmares of her friends bathing in a pool of their own blood. And she saw Kanda's face, so lonesome, as he was the only on left standing, for he had about another five lives to go before he could die properly.
She went looking for him the next day.
The Head Nurse had informed her that Kanda walked away with merely a few scratches and bruises. So she knew he had to have been training. That or meditating.
…Or eating his soba.
Lenalee glowered. Really, was that all the boy ever did?
She found him sitting by himself, as usual, in the cafeteria.
He looked up in acknowledgment.
"About the story-"
He cut her off before she could continue. "You don't honestly believe that load of-"
"You can't deny the resemblance, Kanda."
He sneered. "So you think true love can save me from my so called curse?"
'You think you can save me?'
She sighed. "No, that's not what I'm saying."
His eyes were cold, though endearing.
"But…you have thirteen lives, Kanda." She faltered. "Er, that is, you had thirteen lives. God knows you've used them to you advantage. I mean, how many times have you died already?"
Lavi's exact words.
Lenalee licked her lips uncertainly, attempting to get her point across. "It's just, well…if you could live forever…what would you live for?"
'Who would you live for?'
The question she presented almost felt like a challenge.
He scrutinized her. "But I can't live forever."
She shook her head. "You're pretty damn close, Kanda."
In that moment, Kanda could have sworn she'd channeled Lavi's attitude somehow.
"Where's my beauty, then?"
That caught Lenalee off guard.
"If I'm the Beast, then where's my Beauty?"
Lenalee's lips twitched in response. "It's in your belt loop right now, isn't it?"
'My belt loop-'
Kanda's hand skimmed the hilt of his sword. "Mugen?"
"Isn't that what you live for? To protect what's dear to you?"
Unbeknownst to them, Lavi was watching the entire interaction. 'Damnit, Lenalee. You just had to make this hard, didn't you?'
He had no answer. She sighed again, knowing she was just going in circles. Even she, herself, wasn't sure what she was saying. "I'll talk to you later."
The sword was a symbol of war and violence, and Lenalee had spun the meaning around, choosing to look at it as protection and hope.
'But who do you protect?'
Lenalee's hair swayed gracefully behind her as she walked out of the cafeteria. The upper-left side of his chest, where his tattoo resided, tingled.
It seemed to be doing that a lot lately. Especially after…
"All you had to do was tell her you loved her, you sword-wielding freak."
Lavi's aggravated voice brought Kanda out of his reverie.
Fierce, wintry eyes locked with brilliant green orbs. "Is being a matchmaker part of the Bookman job description?"
"No," he smiled. "But knowing everyone's business is."
He leaned over the table at the swordsman. "She's the only one here you're willing to tolerate. That's as close to love as it'll ever get with you."
Annoyance flashed through Kanda. "And what makes you an expert on love?"
A glazed look appeared on Lavi's face.
He laughed. "You may have thirteen lives at you're disposal, Yuu, but I have lived forty-nine times."
(A/N): Let me know what you think!