AN: Yeah, I really have no decent excuse for this update lagging for like... A FREAKING YEAR AND HALF? I. AM. SO. SORRY. I just suck like that. D: Sob. I've started uni so idfk, time is... yeah. Once I learn some time management though, I should be able to write in decent intervals. I hope. I really shouldn't pick up multi-chapters... and I'm already considering a sequel, since Alice 2 came out this year... SOMEONE STOP ME or bear with me. :'c

Also, I have gotten a strange urge to retitle the whole fic as "In Hearts". Thoughts, should I do it, should I not? I'd really appreciate any opinions.

So I couldn't pick a single title so I constructed it out of two. Have some more madness! It is slightly weird and jumping all around the place and stuff, but I tried to maintain the earlier, er, style. Hope it goes down well. Consider this an early Xmas present or something.

P.S. Here's a sort of a lame but cute (I hope) fanart, too! http : / / morphine-dementia . deviantart . com / # / d2r03xt

::


::

Chapter X : Mirror Images, On Herbaceus Border

::

What does it look like?

It's an endless void, filled with memories and visions, past, future and present mixing into strange swirls and spots, flashing and spinning in front of your eyes. It's a gigantic abstract canvas in the making, being splashed by paint that is fear, despair and blood, all being sucked in below the surface and devoured into darkness. It's the black that contains all the colours like white should but here doesn't; because this is the twin mirror world.

What does it sound like?

Like emptyness being slowly crushed inside the tallest dome of a church; like the howl of silence in the middle of an empty ice desert. There is no sound at all yet it's breaking your eardrums, and you can feel the low vibrations in the soles of your feet; it's everywhere but not possible to detect, to catch, to describe. It's eerie silence of space engulfed in roaring flames that move the gears of heavenly machinery.

What does it look like?

It's like a maze; the mirror room in the carnival, all lines and statique bent out of shape, waving and unstable, constantly moving and reflecting everything in just as unproportional and estranged images. There's no telling what is what and who is who, and you can't see yourself either, as the rippling surface slowly drowns in shining white petals and flowers, and traces of tiny bubbles show your way through what could have been water if you had to breathe within this cold sphere.

What does it sound like?

A thousand of little bells, a million of little voices, their crying, laughing and giggling breaking the eerie silence from all directions at once yet none at all, like the unborn children silently weeping and cheering hiding behind the twisted flora of the limbo. It sounds like a broken music box crying out its last syllables, like the song of a fish and the sigh of a leaf, like billions of little crystal feet running through glass strings of an unknown instrument used for playing dreams.

What does it feel like?

Madness.

::

June 6th, 1884

It's his twentieth birthday today.

Does he even know? He's barely spoken since that day. Sometimes his words start making sense, but he appears to be somewhere far away. Even though I stopped giving him morphine, he seems to still be stuck there. I wanted to have faith in him, but what good would it make for him to develop an addiction all over again? Either way, he seems to be faring just as he wanted...

I shouldn't have listened.

His family, they probably think so too. You took him away again, they say. You mental doctors do nothing but ruin people. Sometimes I wonder if there's truth in that; an awful lot of patients seem to die in hospitals, even though... What else could have been done? He would have died if I haven't done this. His heart was stopping, he was choking on something invisible, if I hadn't done anything he wouldn't be anywhere anymore.

But I can't tell where he is right now, either.

I think I'll stay the night today, just in case. Nobody should spend their birthday all alone - even if I can't accompany him into Wonderland, I can at least be here. And maybe hold his hand so he knows of it, or at least senses it. I don't think anyone will notice.

::

Standing in front of broken and skewed mirrors, walking and running through halls and halls of them, it doesn't look like it could ever end, this floating, twisted reflection of reality. Like a sphere around, it shuts out all sounds and views that do not go through the modifying glass making it unrecognizable. Voices, screams and laughs, thousands and thousands, and it's impossible to tell whose mouth it is coming from, just like images and sequences that are supposed to belong to someone's mind however it's impossible to tell because there is no memory and only the glass, shaping the present and erasing both past and future. Leaving only a brief moment of being, warped and lighted by confusion, and so it's never possible to comprehend, because the moment is over before you could ever try to. It's like moving through the mist, thick thick fog, when it's impossible to understand you're walking before your foot touches the ground. Everything is around, bright, blinding, noisy and deafening, and all thoughts fade away immediately after being born out of a spark of mind, like a candle blown off by the wind, and all you can do is move forwards, reach blindly, hoping to eventually reach a mirror which doesn't shape and twist, to find anything familiar, a window that shows blue sky or a door that would lead out of this endless maze.

::

Lavi sat by the window, resting his head on his hand as he stared out, briefly turning his eyes to glance at Yu every now and then. August had come sooner than he thought was possible, summer rolling over to its other side. Yu's family had gotten somewhat used to him staying around; he even had a small room under the stairs for staying the night whenever he deemed it needed. Even Karma Daisya Charchoalstar Fluffystripes McSobaWhiskers seemed to have become somewhat friendlier - or, well, ignorant of him. Lavi was happy as long as it wasn't trying to slaughter him in his sleep, although the cat did still like using his pants as a scratching post while he was wearing it. Small price to pay for being able to stay close to Yu, though.

Now it got dark earlier; August nights always had bright stars and, occasionally, meteor showers, which by now were not considered to be an omen, at least not by all of the people. Still, Lavi assumed, superstitions could be nice. You were able to believe you could prevent something bad or encourage something good to happen; wasn't it easier to live that way? There was no harm in it, at the very least. Shooting stars and wishes.

The clock handle turned past twelve, and he was twenty-two, feeling older than a hundred years.

::

A white horse was standing right outside the window, resting its massive head on the pane and looking at him with its huge long-lashed eyes. It felt like it took a year for Kanda to turn his head so he could stare at the creature, which simply had to be a hallucination. Taking another few months to push away the blanket that weighted several tons at least, he slowly sat up and headed towards the window, his bare feet quietly shuffling over the wooden floor.

The horse was still there, its long mane waving lightly in the warm wind. The sky was clear, and Kanda had to wonder if it was summer, or maybe a cool streak of approaching autumn could already be sensed, as well. He couldn't remember how he got there. Almost as he's been standing at the window for eternity, and the horse had been there for a moment longer than that. It felt like a clear sphere, free of time and reason, and he couldn't even feel lost anymore. He reached out for the creature's nose.

It was warm, slightly wet around the nostrils. He could feel the hair of fur against his fingertips. And then, just like it has done so many times before during these last few weeks...

The world suddenly tilted and crashed.

Pieces of the sphere dangled and fell off to the floor, disappearing into billions of shards as soon as it touched, revealing a different surrounding behind it. It was similar, somehow, as the ending summer's air was still there along with the small sunlit piece of floor, but the magic and the white creature were gone, and so was the absence of time and space.

Kanda shook his head a little; he was standing in front of the window and the flowerpots on the pane needed watering. He must have dozed off somehow; he wasn't sure how he got there but obviously he had to take care of the plants. He faintly remembered doing the same yesterday - or at least it felt like yesterday, while in reality there might have been weeks since his last period of considerably clear mind.

He wasn't aware of it, though; he picked up the watering can and casually shambled out of the room to get water. To him it was simply another morning like the one before.

So it was all the stranger when he was met by a rather shocked gaze of a certain redheaded doctor as he got back with the water. "...Yu?" Lavi just gaped. It was a rather rare feat for Kanda to regain his senses, especially like this, since realizing the plants needed watering was quite high up in the list of reason needed for action. In fact, it had skipped Lavi's own mind completely despite of the fact Yu seemed to like flowers.

Kanda knew of no reason that could explain that course of acting, and so he scowled with mild annoyance, heading straight for the flowers with sullen determination. "What the hell are you looking at?"

"You..." Lavi sighed, his face lighting up in relief. Now that Kanda got a better look, the redhead seemed tired and more scrawny than last time. What was quite surprising; then again maybe he had finally gotten cancer due to not eating decently. Not a very nice thought. "You woke up."

"That's what people generally do in the morning," Kanda retorted and tilted the can so that refreshing drops of water would fall on the dry ground. He could almost feel the plants' happiness, and it was strangely soothing. Really, was there anything surprising about him getting up and going around? He actually felt rather well.

He tensed up as following the sounds of footsteps from behind there were two arms wrapping around him. It was strange and he didn't understand it. At the same time, it felt rather nice, and he relaxed into the hold, noticing that something thick yet fluffy and feeling an awful lot like rabbit hair was tickling the back of his neck. "I'm glad," Lavi's voice said somewhere into the back of his shoulder. And then it was all gone; he let go and backed off, looking a little ashamed. Kanda gazed at him over his shoulder for a moment but didn't say anything.

Whatever was the reason, he couldn't help but maybe feel somewhat 'glad', too.

::

August 10th, 1884

It's quite unbelievable and definitely not expected. He's... awake. And more in touch with reality than he's been for the last few months. Not that I believe in birthday wishes... but...

I just hope it doesn't cause another relapse. Stay with me, Yu. This time, stay with me.

::

"I need more flowers here," Kanda muttered as he manoeuvred between the pots, barrels and stems, watering can in hand. His room was reminiscent of jungle at this point; ever since waking up once more he had expressed continous wish of keeping as many plants in his room as possible. And, of course, his loving and considerably rich godfather did his best to amend to that. Various vegetation, from miniatiuric trees to giant weeds inhabited a corner of Kanda's room and most of the floor by the walls, also the ends of his bed and under the window. He could almost hide behind it all in a couple of spots; while refusing to go outside where the nature was withering and dying under the cold hand of the fall, he insisted making his room green as if trying to preserve his own little summer within that safe sphere. He was calmer than before, though, no more panic attacks nor outbursts of violence, so everyone figured the roomgardening was doing him good. "Maybe a palm tree, or something that climbs." He captiously inspected the flower chains hanging off the lightweight constructions on the wall, made specifically for this purpose by Tiedoll.

Lavi blinked. "Don't you think you have enough, Yu?" he suggested carefully and pulled his hair back, sighing. While he did adore Yu when he wasn't an unresponsive vegetable on the bed, his contained childishness and selective obliviousness sometimes got to him, but doctor's excellence stopped him from yelling or shaking said big baby into more senses. "What if it strangles you in your sleep? And I'm sure some of those are poisonous..."

"Bullshit," Kanda cut and disappeared from sight in what looked suspiciously like a dance step. Lavi was about to follow but stopped as he saw the cat crouching on the top of one of the more tree-like plants, looking at him with narrowed eyes clearly ready to pounce as soon as he walked past. Lavi scratched the back of his head awkwardly and decided he didn't fancy becoming food for what now was a perfect domestic replica of a tiger in the jungle, both miniatiurized to fit in a room.

"Fine, I'll tell your godfather that. I didn't know you liked plants so much, though."

"I always liked it."

Kanda tilted the can to water another big plant, tangled all around a good third of the room. Lotus blossoms that nobody else could see were blooming all over the length of its stem.

::

September 3rd, 1884

He's become completely unpredictable. One day he's acting perfectly fine and sane, and the other he's curled up in bed, flinging things at anyone who tries to approach him. He mentions something about the time coming, but nobody has any idea what it is. However he seems alright for prolonged periods of time; I would call it an improvement, but... When it's bad, it's really bad. Sometimes it feels like he doesn't know where he is anymore; the way he decorated his room isn't helping but he gets utterly enraged whenever someone suggests tossing some of those plants out. It's almost like some sort of a security blanket. But from what?

::

October 6th, 1884

Finally, finally something regarding this regions incompetence seems to be moving. The White Cross hospital - the one Yu had been at before being transferred to the Black Order asylum - was given a thorough inspection, while Black Order Asylum is bordering on a shutdown - even if only because all of the administration and half the staff has ran away to France. The result is what matters! Well, my old man is going to be happy with the competition lessening. Anyway.

I had completely forgotten I had filed a report concerning Yu's state upon leaving that hospital, and it appears there have been many similar complaints. Not only that section of the hospital is closed, but also the police is investigating the cause. While the owner of the hospital has mysteriously disappeared (again, that seems to always happen during any sort of inspection), it is quite obvious that it had been more of a money laundering mechanism than an actual care facility. Known suspects of abuse are being arrested and known victims are asked to provide more details. Hopefully this will be an example for all those other mental hospitals that believe allowing people to die painlessly is the best help they can give. I hate this kind of thinking; too bad that here and now it seems like the ultimate belief.

The inspector visited me yesterday, asking for more details - all of what has been a careful attempt to try and meet the actual victim, because my reports never lack details of any kind. I was quite sure Yu would refuse to talk to the police, but after the inspector's many threadings with the red tape I agreed to ask him. To my surprise, he said he could talk to them, though pointing out he doesn't remember much about it. Mr. Tiedoll and I agreed that one inspector could be let in to speak with him today under my supervision. I'm sure he'll be supervising me from the doorway though; he still doesn't seem to trust me completely even though it's obvious who sent that letter.

It was a little difficult.

Well, I mean, I already knew the staff in charge of that section had been doing nothing of use, but theoretical knowledge only goes so far. I think I got the most mad when they asked Yu about their methods. He said a few vague things and showed a few scars, some of which look like nothing else but deep cigarette burns. Even the inspector looked a little taken aback, and inquired if those were really acquired in said hospital; Yu attempted to punch him in the face so I had to catch his hands and suggest the police to return at a later time, meanwhile filing what they already have.

Yu was a little angry with me afterwards; he kept grumbling something about idiots, idiots and idiots and elbowed me in the gut before proceeding not to speak to me for a few hours just like an offended child. Later though, he seemed to have forgotten it, and even let me brush his hair... and I can surely say that alone must make me a very lucky man.

::

Yu's hair was something special, especially now that it was being taken care of once again. Black like a coal, soft like silk and lustrous like... Well, Lavi has never seen the Aurora Borealis, but he was sure even that sort of a comparison couldn't be too much, at least if Yu himself could be compared to the sky, because it was supposed to be beautiful and so was Yu.

And so was everything about him.

Except his personality.

But hell, nobody was perfect all over. It still had a certain charm to it.

Usually only Lenalee was allowed to touch said hair; she usually styled it in a ponytail with two loose strands in front and Kanda seemed fond of that. However, with Lenalee not able to be there all the time when he decided he needed all the knots out but couldn't decently do it himself, Lavi was eventually granted the permission - along with a very believable promise of injury and murder if he dared to pull.

While normally it would have probably caused Lavi to try to reconsider his choices in life, he knew Yu wouldn't actually harm him like that, and so he took the chance. And didn't regret it. While Kanda himself usually looked utterly contented and relaxed while his hair was being tended to - almost like a fluffy cat draped in the sunshine - running a brush or a comb and fingers through those black strands could be an almost hypnotic experience, as well.

Lavi always made sure to be careful; not out of fear for his health but simply because he didn't want such a pretty thing be damaged in any way.

::

It was good to have all those plants around, since the lotus flowers could hide behind it. They wouldn't pile up blocking everything else, and the fog that rised from it wouldn't become too suffocating. It still got worse in the evenings, when it got dark outside the window and the idiot rabbit left for home, whatever rabbit hole that was, and the lotus flower gave out a faint, pink glow which for some reason reminded Kanda of a human body torn open, not that he had seen it. It would get hard to breathe and it would be chilly in some sort of an unexplainable way, almost as if all of his senses were slowly dying out. There would be voices, hissing and calling out and barely sensible, invisible tiny sticky hands pulling at him. But it was still much better than before.

In a few more days, he managed to convince everyone to take turns in staying with him for the night; another presence made it just a little easier to bear.

::

October 31, 1884

It's All Hallows' Eve, and I'm staying with Yu tonight. He seemed strangely upbeat all day; I'm not quite sure how to explain it. He's almost cheerful, as much as it is unusual for him. At the same time, he's also delirious. I think he believes he is in some sort of an abandoned castle.

It is widely believed that today's evening is when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead becomes as thin as ever. I wonder if this has anything to do with how he's acting... and I can only hope it's not the call of the departed. I- I need to be more optimistic.

::

Kanda turned around, almost in the form of a dance pirouette, never letting go of Lavi's hand so he was forced to lift it over the younger man's head almost as if they were dancing with no music and half of the room turned into a forest.

"It's time to sleep," Lavi reminded softly and tugged on Kanda's hand carefully. He couldn't get used to how quickly the young man's moods seemed to switch around; just this morning he almost threw his breakfast at him and now he was acting like they were... well, the closest of companions or something along those lines.

Kanda pouted in a childish manner, however then gave a small, serious nod. "Tonight's the night," he announced with solemn bitterness and climbed into the bed, though never letting go. A little taken aback by how a part his could be treated like a complete property, Lavi took his seat on the chair by the bedside. Well, if Yu needed to hold his hand to fall asleep or something, he didn't really mind; it wouldn't be the first time.

"And what is happening tonight?" he asked, watching the other man fluff his pillow with the free arm while still sitting up.

Kanda looked a little amused. "Everything," he answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. He probably realized Lavi's expression turning a little frightened as he added, "Don't worry," and pulled him closer.

The redhead didn't understand what was happening at first; he leaned in a little expecting to hear something more, while Kanda leaned in with a conspirative expression almost as if planning to whisper some big dirty secret. That wasn't what happened, however.

Next thing Lavi knew, Yu's lips were pressed against his. His eyes widened slightly, but before he could continue being surprised any more, there was a sharp pain, then heat, and then Yu was once again looking at him from two feet away with a contented expression and bloodied lips.

The little bastard just bit him.

Lavi shook his head a little and touched his lips absently before rubbing the blood off with his sleeve. That... really did feel like a demented yet perfectly genuine kiss. He wasn't sure how he was supposed to feel about it. So for the moment, he was just going to go with the flow and whine.

"Ow, that hurt."

Kanda looked down at him with a triumphant expression, then flopped down on the pillow and turned on his side, pulling Lavi's hand under the blanket along with his own like some kind of a trophy. "Don't let go," he replied simply, and was asleep the next moment.

Lavi stared for a few moments, then giving Yu's hand a light squeeze and leaning back into the chair. What had just happened? Did Yu... want to tell him something... Or was this just another delirious outburst? What was he doing here, becoming so attached here and to a person who could probably never be normal again? What...

He didn't even notice when he had fallen asleep while sitting up himself.

::


::

End Chapter

::