Written by xmystorytime
Summary: RE-WRITTEN. One-shot. 'The large window had a human-shaped hole in it. Cross peered outside, staring down at something, and Allen was nowhere to be seen. Cross does care about his pupil - honest.
Warnings: there's a lot of language in this. If that offends you, please press the back button.
Disclaimer: I would seriously love to own Allen and Cross. I think I'd sell my soul to own them, actually - they're worth so much more than a donut. ^_^
"... and a happy new year!" Lavi cheered with everyone else when the song, and the horrendous singing from the group of finders, ended.
When the cheering died down he sank back on his chair with a sigh, only to yelp as the movement spilt the alcoholic beverage all over his hand. He bit back a curse and brought his hand close to his eyes, becoming entranced by the way the brown liquid ran down a finger and dripped onto his lap.
"Hey Allen," he said, his voice sounding distant, "I think I might be drunk, hahaha!" he watched the monotonous drip, drip, drip.
"Don't give a crap," Lavi blinked and tore his gaze away from his hand to his friend. The teenager slumped against the other half of the sofa, half on and half off, and clutched a sticky, empty glass to his chest. He was glaring at the floor and Lavi blinked again.
"... dude, the floor isn't going nowhere," he commented, trying to work out what felt off about this picture, or had the alcohol affected him more than usual?
"S'not staying still," Allen grumbled, glaring harder, and Lavi turned to study the floor. It looked pretty still to him, however, and his brain whirled. Eventually, he caught on and squinted at his unusually moody friend.
"You... are a moody drunk!" he declared, ignoring the way Allen's glare turned to him, "you're a moody drunk! I can't believe it!" he couldn't stop his grin.
"Shut it!" Allen snapped, "no one likes a smart mouth!" but Lavi couldn't stop laughing because, of all the things Allen could be when drunk, he'd never imagined a moody, improper British-ed Allen (the boy was usually so polite and proper it was freaky).
"Innocent Allen's a pissy drunk!" he cackled, then winced when a hand crushed his wrist. Pain shot down his arm and unconsciously he dropped his drink, the glass landing on the sofa between them and making a dark mark. "W-what the hell?!" he stared wide-eyed at Allen, cringing under the fierce look that reminded him far too much of Yu Kanda.
Except Allen looked a lot scarier than Yu did right now.
"Allen-kun, Lavi, would you – what's going on?" the red-head gave a reassuring smile to the arrival, not really worried because he trusted Allen wouldn't hurt him (too badly). "Allen-kun?" Lenalee bit her lip.
"Don't worry Lenalee, Allen's just a tiny bit grumpy!" he kept his voice light and cheerful while, out of sight, worked on prying Allen's grip off his wrist. "Did you want something?"
"Oh, yes!" she smiled and the room seemed brighter, "I was wondering if you and Allen would be willing to join me in a song." Success! Lavi beamed and massaged his wrist, while Allen moved back to his previous slumped position.
"I'd love to!" he jumped to his feet, "I've been waiting for someone to invite me! What're we singing?"
"Well, I can't decide between Jingle Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "what do you think?" he pulled a face at the options. Personally, he hated both of those songs – Jingle Bells was overdone and the other was far too long – but Lenalee looked so hopeful he found he couldn't say no. He'd always been a sucker for pretty faces...
... well, the dark look from the protective older brother was also a good reason.
"Let's do Jingle Bells," he decided, "everyone knows it so they can join in! What do you think Allen?" he and Lenalee turned to look at their friend. Allen glared at them.
"I'm not singing," he hissed, "ain't no way you're getting me to sing," Lenalee lent in, placing her lips near Lavi's ear while the male snickered.
"Is he okay?" she whispered, and he grinned.
"He's just a bit drunk. It seems that when he is, his speech goes down the drain," he whispered back and Lenalee's mouth shaped like an 'o', before she smiled in amusement and looked back at their friend. She made sure to appear soft and encouraging.
"Please Allen-kun, it won't be the same without you!" she took a few steps closer to the sofa, "it's just one tiny song, please?" Lavi sighed in relief; for once, the puppy eyes weren't being directed at him.
"Guh," Allen got to his feet, resigning himself to his fate with a dark scowl. Lavi snickered and wrapped an arm around his shoulders before guiding their friend through the vast crowd towards the karaoke box. He sought for some way to remove the dark scowl, because if it remained during the performance then their song would be ruined and then Lenalee might be upset and Lavi would get the blame because he'd got Allen drunk.
That was a big no.
"Just think, if you embarrass yourself, come morning you won't remember! Let loose, man!" he slapped the other's shoulder, but by the look he received his words had done the opposite effect intended.
Lenalee linked arms with Allen, "I really appreciate this," she told him with a soft smile, "it's only one song, right?" they reached Komui and she untangled herself from Allen, beaming at her brother. "We're going to sing Jingle Bells now Brother!"
"You'll do stunning my darling Lenaleeeee," Komui crooned, and then tried to escape the wire's clutches. In his eagerness at seeing her sing, he'd spun around and got himself tangled up. After a group effort, he staggered free and then saluted, "You're gonna make them cry in happiness!"
She blushed and took the stage, the two males following behind her. She picked up the microphone as Lavi moved to stand next to her, grinning at the many eyes on them. After a long moment, and a hasty shove from Lavi, Allen took her other side.
"Hello!" Lenalee waved to the crowd, "if you don't mind, Allen-kun, Lavi and I are going to sing Jingle Bells now."
Lavi stole the microphone, "Like you have a choice though! We'll be singing whatever you wish – it's tradition, right?" he ducked under Lenalee's attempt to get the device back and danced over to Allen. "Now remember, it's Allen's first time doing this so whatever comes from it, be nice!" he waggled a finger at the crowd.
He wasn't too worried, but he'd said it as a precaution anyway. It was tradition for Lenalee to sing at least one song, although who sang it with her varied each year. Last year she had managed to convince Kanda to join her – no one knew how – but no one liked to remember either.
Suffice to say, she wouldn't be asking him again anytime soon.
"Give us a few minutes to find the song," Lenalee managed to get the microphone back, so Lavi entertained himself by looking out at the crowd. He could put names to all the faces he saw, and when he spotted Bookman drinking tea with Arystar Krory he waved. Bookman rolled his eyes. "Here we go! You guys ready?"
"Heeey, why don't we split up the verses?" he asked, the idea having come in a flash, "Allen does the first, I do the next, you do one and we all do whatever's left?"
"That's a great idea! Are you up for it Allen-kun?"
"Does it matter?"
Lavi pouted, "Allen! Can't you show some more cheer?!" he felt a tiny bit put-out by the moody attitude, even though it probably seemed worse because he wasn't used to seeing his friend so grouchy. To be fair, Allen didn't normally appear angry, so maybe this was pent-up anger?
"L-let's just start now, shall we?" Lenalee pressed play and handed the microphone to Allen. She and Lavi stepped back to allow Allen centre stage and everyone held their breath. None of them had heard Allen sing before. Would he sound brilliant like Lenalee, dreadful like Reever or decent like Lavi? "Allen-kun, in three. One... two... three..."
"Splashing through the snow in a one horse open way," they blinked, "o'er the yields we go, giraffing all the way!" the rest of the Order blinked.
Although part of their surprise came from Allen's singing voice – who knew he could be so good at it? – it mostly came from the words. Lavi couldn't work out whether they were accidental or deliberate, but either way they made for an entertaining performance.
There was a lot of laughter in the audience and Lenalee hid her smile with a hand. Lavi didn't bother.
"Bells on cod rails sing, make spirits right, what fun it is to graph and ring a braying song tonight, oh!" Allen threw the microphone at Lenalee. She fumbled for a second or two before hurrying to catch up.
"Jingle all the way," she smiled, "oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh."
"Hey!" the entire audience joined in.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!" she continued, "oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh!" Lavi took the microphone with a flourish, winked at the audience and danced around Lenalee until he stood next to Allen.
"Why a day or two ago I thought I'd take a ride," he waggled his eyebrows, "and soon Miss Fanny Bright was seated by my side!" he rest his elbow on Allen's head and pointed at the kid with a grin. Allen glowered, "The horse was lean and lank, misfortune seemed his lot, we got into a drifted bank and then we got upsot! Oh no!" he threw the microphone back to Lenalee.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!" there was something comforting about her voice. Although Allen and Lavi weren't bad singers, Lenalee had the right pitch to make the rendition perfect. "What fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh, hey!"
Lavi hurried to stand next to her, dragging Allen behind, and then they all shared the microphone.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is ride in a one horse open sleigh!" well, Lavi and Lenalee sang the last bit.
"Oh what fun we have to slide in such an open way!" Allen sung. The innuendo sent half the audience into hysterics. Laughter bubbled up inside Lavi but he valiantly suppressed it.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way," they sang again. Allen obviously knew this part, "oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh!"
"Oh what fun we have to slide in such an open way!" Allen repeated and Lavi couldn't hold back anymore. He cracked up; falling to his knees and clutching his sides as Lenalee faithfully finished the song with Allen singing the wrong lyrics. He gasped for air as he rolled around the floor, his frame shaking and mind twisting in all the many ways he could torment Allen about this night in the morning.
The song finally finished and Lenalee lost the fight with her giggles. Allen didn't seem to understand why everyone was laughing.
"What!?" he snapped.
"Oy, idiot apprentice!" Lavi wiped his eyes and sat up, looking to General Cross, and Allen's master, "I taught you that song under the promise to never repeat it in a place like this!" Well, that explained a lot. It seemed everything 'abnormal' in Allen's daily behaviour came from Cross.
"Shut the hell up, didn't try to stop me did ya?" Allen grumbled and Lavi fell in love with the accent. How entertaining would it be if Allen talked like this all the time?
"Oh fuck, who got him drunk?" Cross grunted, striding across the room, "I told him to stay away from the damn stuff!" Lavi whistled when half the room turned to him. Okay, so he might have pushed a bit with the alcohol, and so what if at first Allen hadn't been so receiving? It had been worth it.
"Got a problem?" Allen snapped, "You drink all the time!"
"But I don't bring down whole houses," Cross got closer to the stage. Several eyes widened.
"Once! You never let me forget!" the apprentice pointed a finger at his master, "I'm a damn good chef if you listen to all the whores, but you never did!" Lavi's jaw dropped. Did Allen just-?
"Three times! You 'found the flames shiny!' Cross mimicked what Allen had said and Lavi snorted. He thought back to the times he'd seen Yu and his master, General Tiedoll, interact, and decided Allen and Cross were almost as entertaining as them. "And don't think I've forgotten when you tried to shave me bald!"
The General halted in front of Allen and they glared at each other. They both looked like they'd forgotten they had an audience, although it was also likely Cross just didn't care (after all, it was his apprentice he was embarrassing, right?). Lavi tried to imagine how that evening went down and couldn't picture Allen staying alive.
"How was I supposed to know that was you?" the younger grumbled, glancing away.
"Who else would it be you damn brat?!" everyone inhaled sharply when the red-head suddenly threw Allen over his shoulder, like a naughty child. "You cost me twins that night!"
"W-what the hell are you doing?! Put me down!" Allen demanded, his fists pounding Cross' back, "I said put me down damn it! Bastard! Whore! Git! Retard!" Lavi scrambled to his feet, eyes growing wider with each new name that came out of Allen's mouth. Some of them hadn't even been heard before, and Lavi had thought he'd heard every name under the sun.
Cross sighed, like he had some terrible burden, and suddenly jumped. Higher, higher he went, and while he still had momentum on his side, he let go of Allen. The teenager might have screamed when he fell, but it was silenced upon impact.
Everyone winced and then Lavi inched to the edge of the crater and peered over.
"Yo, Allen, you still alive?" Allen grunted. Lavi glanced to the side when he heard a small ruckus just in time to see Lenalee push her way to the front of the crowd. She halted beside Lavi, biting on the nails of her right hand as she gazed at Allen's prone form.
"Allen-kun, are you okay?" she asked.
Cross chose this moment to land on the other side of the crater, "He'll be fine," he snorted, bending down to pick up the dazed boy. "He's survived worse." Lavi shivered at the matter-of-fact way Cross spoke. He'd always assumed Allen was exaggerating whenever he spoke about his past, but it seemed he really hadn't.
Well, Lavi should have guessed that, seeing as Allen wasn't the type to exaggerate.
"Bloody manwhore..." Allen had started getting his bearings back. Lavi grinned and had to admit he didn't want Cross to take Allen away yet. This abusive, drunk Allen was far too cute to be rid of so soon!
Cross shook the boy with a scowl and, right then, Lavi decided Allen and Cross were way more entertaining than Yu and Tiedoll.
"Damn it brat, get your head together! You're not on the streets anymore!" Cross snapped and Lavi's grin slipped.
"Fuck you," Allen hissed, "what does that life have to do with this?!" he bashed his fists on Cross' back, "You're bloody kidnapping me! I'm announcing my rights you stupid-"
"Idiot!" open-mouthed, Lavi could only watch as, without warning, the red-haired General threw Allen into the wall with a large amount of force. The exorcist was momentarily hidden by the ensuing dust and all watching inched away from Cross, not wanting to suffer the same treatment.
When Allen darted out through the smoke, mouth twisted in a cynical line, the atmosphere felt chillier, "Stop bloody doing that!" the male snapped, wiping at a line of blood trickling down his lip, "You! You think you're so damn perfect and can do whatever the hell you want because you're so bloody arrogant-"
Lavi shared a nervous look with Lenalee, and the latter inched closer to him and linked their fingers together. They had a feeling the interaction between master and pupil had turned serious now.
Cross didn't bother to reply to Allen's rant. Before anyone could stop him (and not like they could if they'd tried), he strode forward and kneed Allen in the stomach. The exorcist doubled over.
"Now will you listen?" the General scorned, "this is why you're kept away from drink. You do things you regret, you get irrational, you return to who you used to be – and never stop to think that in doing so, you forget everything Mana-" several people gasped, "-taught you! Does his memory mean so little that you'll forget it with just a few drinks?"
A deathly silence descended over the room. No one knew anything about Mana, save for that he was important to Allen. Lavi winced at a sharp pain in his hand, and looked down to find Lenalee gripping it so tight her knuckles had turned white.
"What... what do you know? What the fuck do you know?!" Allen hissed, "I can never forget about him! Even if I wanted to I could never forget! He left me, he cursed me, and I can do nothing except admit it was my fault! I'm responsible-" he clenched his fist, a bitter smile emerging on his face; "I can never forget him, so shut up about what you don't care about!"
Cross stood silent, so Allen continued, "What, you forgot what you said already? 'Forget about him, idiot apprentice, because he went and got himself-'" whatever else Allen said was cut off by a slap that sent the boy reeling. But, he didn't even acknowledge the reddening mark on his cheek, "Wasn't that what you said?!"
"You're right," the General sneered, "I don't give two shits about him, idiot apprentice, but you do." And, in a flash, it hit Lavi. It was abusive, it was destructive, it likely would come back to bite him in the end, but this was Cross's way of showing he cared.
He might be abusive, rude, callous, exasperating, cocky, a slut and whatever else he'd been called earlier... but at some point, Allen had worked his way under his skin.
Cross had been trying to prevent Allen from embarrassing himself.
Maybe, Allen sensed that too, because he held himself a little taller and, instead of the bitter smile from before, a much lighter, pleasant smile replaced it. When people saw it, the tense atmosphere lifted and there were smiles all around.
"Master," the white-haired boy began in a sing-song voice, and Lavi and Lenalee shared a confused look. While they'd been looking forward to the change in mood, this seemed a bit too freaky. "Do you know where Timcanpy is?" Especially when it seemed like the previous argument never happened. All the watchers frowned, trying to work out why Allen would ask for his golden ball.
"No," Cross stated.
"But master, Timcanpy and I had so much fun together last time-"
"No!" the General snapped, taking a step back. Allen took one step forward, "if you take one more step, idiot apprentice, I will not be responsible for my actions." The boy's grin widened. Heads looked from one to the other like ping-pong balls.
"Timcanpy!" Allen called, "where are you Timcanpy?"
In the space of two seconds there was a red blur, a squeak from Allen and a deafening crashing sound. Everyone cringed, shielding their ears and wincing when something light bounced off their skin. Lavi opened eyes he didn't know he'd shut and gawked.
The large window had a human-shaped hole in it. Cross peered outside, staring down at something, and Allen was nowhere to be seen.
"Oh no!" Lenalee gasped and shot forward. She shoved Cross aside and knelt on her knees, peering out over the edge. "Allen-kun! Allen-kun! What did you do that for!?" she glared at Cross while activating her Innocence.
He blanched and took several steps back, "if you'd known what he was planning, you would have done it too," he muttered, glancing away. Lenalee gave him a withering look before leaping off the edge, going to prevent her precious friend from a bloody, painful death. Lavi scrambled forward and winced when he couldn't see the ground – that was a long way.
But, at least they had the comfort of knowing Cross expected Allen to survive it, somehow, so they had no reason to worry.
Wings fluttered above, and the golden golem, Timcanpy, floated into Cross' open palm and made a show of looking around, before its wings dropped when it couldn't find Allen.
"He's gone for a trip, but he'll return... eventually," Cross smirked. Timcanpy bared its teeth, as if saying he didn't believe Cross was as innocent as he pretended, and then flew out the hole and down into the misty depths. Cross rubbed his hands together and looked around the group, "So, guess we won't see them for awhile. Where's the last of the alcohol?"
But, no one responded. They couldn't get over how Allen really hadn't been exaggerating. In fact, it seemed likely he'd been downplaying it...
Cross didn't notice. He snapped his fingers, an impatient frown on his face, "just who do I have to talk to to get some alcohol around here?" he pointed a finger at Lavi, "You!"
"Me?" Lavi squeaked.
"Yes, you! As my idiot apprentice's friend, you'll take his place in his absence. Get me my alcohol!" Lavi's jaw dropped.
"You're kidding, right?"
A/N: I wrote this story almost a year ago (to the day, in fact - just four days out!) and it's become so popular I can hardly believe it. It's easily my second favourited story, but I never saw anything that special in it. Still, obviously I did something right, else there wouldn't be so many people who like it, right? XD So, on the 02/04/2010 I uploaded a re-write. Nothing major changed, just any writing mistakes, a few dialogue lines... new techniques I've improved on in the past year. The plot's still the same though.
Thank you so much to everyone who has enjoyed this, and may enjoy it in the future. Keep an eye out - to celebrate, I might just write a companion piece to this -grin-