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~~~~~~~~~~ABOVE BEST FRIEND~~~~~~~~~~

CHAPTER 6

17 years old. Present.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring! Urgh, stupid alarm clock, I have to wake up... Where the heck is it? Ring! Ring! Ring! Oh yeah, I purposefully left in by the table far away from my bed, so I would get up, without picking the snooze button. Urgh, I don't know why am I doing this to myself on Saturday, but it won't really matter. It's 7 a.m. and I have to prepare breakfast for my uncle. That lazy bum is not capable of preparing any meals...

Well, with heavy sigh, I got up and went straight to the bathroom. Toilet, then sink, then wash my face and quick look in the mirror... I don't look half bad, though my white hair is standing in every direction possible. Quick brushing should do the trick.

Now for today's plans... What day is today, anyway?

"ALLEN! WAKE UP AND GO TO THE KITCHEN!" Oh no, he's up earlier than usual...

"I AM AWAKE!" I shout back. God, he really annoys me. I seriously have to look for a new apartment right after my graduation.

"THEN HURRY UP AND GET YOUR SLEEPY-ASS DOWN!"

"I HAVE TO PEE, BE THERE IN A MINUTE!" I've done that already, but that old man won't understand it unless I say something off. Of course, it worked.

"I DON'T NEED TO KNOW WHEN YOU PEE, THAT'S DISGUSTING!"

"THEN STOP RUSHING ME!" I flush the toilet to make sure he believes me. It's going to be a good day. Right when I was going down the stairs I heard cheerful barking. My cute Labrador, Timcanpy, is probably the only sane being in this house. "Hey there, who's a good boy?" He barked. I like to think of his answers. "That stupid Uncle gave you anything to eat?" I looked at Timcanpy's bowl. Well, what did I expect – that my lazy-ass Uncle will take care of any living creature under this roof? If I wasn't around, even the most environment-proof object would just simply die in this house. I was just about to say something... But then a delicious smell of pancakes hit me.

"Took you long enough..." My uncle, Marian Cross, was sitting near well-served breakfast, smoking his awful cigarette and reading today's newspaper. "Sit down and eat, the food is getting cold." Pancakes with maple syrup, whipped cream and a side of butter, served with toasts and poached egg, two slices of crispy bacon and freshly squeezed orange juice. I can feel myself drooling. It looks soooo delicous~. But wait, it's not usual behavior! "Are you going to stare like an idiot or what?" I shook my head.

"You forgot to feed Timcanpy" I sat down and looked at this feast of breakfast a little more.

"I will give him your food unless you stop gawking like a madman." Usual conversation with my uncle – we barely show any politeness to each other. It's pointless to start the day with an argument. Especially in front of the majestic food... I would die for a good meal... But it still seemed off. Since when Marian does anything for me?

"What's the occasion?"

"What do you mean?" Before answering, I already stuffed my cheeks with pancackes. Oh my God, if eating was a sin, then I hope they have a great kitchen in Hell...

"The breakfast?" Uncle finally put down his magazine and decided to look me in the eye. Finally, we may have a proper conversation.

"You have quite busy day ahead of you and I won't be able to bring you to the graveyard today."

"The graveyard?" My plate was almost empty. Well, I'm a growing boy, I need all nutrients I can have. But what does he mean by graveyard? What day is today?

Quick glance at the calendar. Today's day was circled in black.

Oh...

"You seem to have forgotten." And you are right...

"..."

"If you want, I can give you a lift, but I need to leave in 5 minutes and then you'll have to walk on your own."

"...It's alright. I have to walk Timcanpy first."

"You sure?"

"Yeah... I'll maybe ask Mr. Bookman to ride me there."

"Suit yourself." He stood up and was heading to the main door. Right when he was passing me, he stood next to my chair. I felt his palm landing on my shoulder and shaking gently. "Take care of yourself, kid."

"Yeah..." Even though most of the time I would like to scratch this man's eyes off, there were times like this that actually made me feel like I have a guardian. My uncle rarely shows any emotions towards me. Heh, his main "emotion" is to make my life hard and show his displeasure by hitting my head with his trademark hammer. But at the same time, I can understand him. His life wasn't to kind to him either and whatever he was doing, he just wanted to prepare me for the worst... Alright, no longer thinking over! Timcanpy seems in need. "Tim! Come on, let's get some fresh air!" Bark! At least he doesn't have to worry about anything... Now, it would be good to know if I get any ride today. It's almost 8:00. Nah, Lavi doesn't have to sleep that long... Let's dial him...

"...Whaaa?" Hehehe, as expected, I woke him up.

"Lavi?" Yeah, I always know it's him answering, but habits die hard.

"Al'n?" Some ruffling on the other side. He's probably looking for his watch. "Dude, it's mornin'... Saturday mornin', to be precise..."

"Yeah, I know, but-"

"Goodn'ght..." Wha-He hung up on me! Urgh, why he is so lazy! I swear, one day he will get a job and he'll have no other choice but to wake up VERY early. I won't be discouraged, I'm phoning him again...

Beep... Beep... Beep... "...Stop callin' me so early..." He picked up and hung up immediately... Alright, this is probably one of these days, where everything just doesn't go as planned... Oh, I need to watch Tim, he probably got interested in something buried in my yard.

Beep... Beep.. Beep... "..."

"Hello?"

"...I will murder everything and everyone you love..." Petty threats. Nothing unusual.

"But that would mean you'd also have to commit suicide."

"...I hate you..."

"Lavi, please, sober up! I have to ask you-TIMCANPY! NO, LEAVE IT!" That rascal! He found a dead rat in our yard and he seemed to be more pleased than he should be. "TIM!" Now he probably came up with an idea to play tag with me. Oh God, I have to wash his mouth, now!

"Allen?" I could hear Lavi calling faintly, but that wasn't my main focus. Tim was looking at me, straight into my eyes, as he dropped the dead rat under his feet.

"Tim..." He was pretty aware I was coming closer. "Come here, boy..." He hid the corpse under his paws and lied on it. Nooo~, his belly will stink... "Tim, I will give you a nice treat if you come to me." He shifted himself on the side. Oh no, I know this sign. "Tim, no." That dog is mocking me! "NO." He's so pleased with himself and his mischief. He finally started tossing himself on this poor rat. "NOOOO!" I ran as quickly as I could, but Tim did enough barrels to cover his golden fur with guts and... Ok, I don't want to describe that... "Nooooo... Timcanpy..." He gave me a goofy-doggy smile and sprinted to my house, suddenly stopping and turning his mug at me. "Don't think you'll run away from the bath!" Tim only stood there, happily wiggling his tail.

"Allen, what's going on there?" That's it, I'm no longer interested in requesting any lift or asking for anything from anyone... I'm about to wash my dog, who thinks that guts and dead limbs are the newest trend in dog perfume industry...

"I'll... Call you later..." I really feel like crying right now...


9 years old.

"Allen!" Finally the school was over and we were moments before our Summer holidays! I was so super excited for it and what else should I do than share this joy with my best buddy, Allen? "Allen, wait up!" He stood near his locker and looked at me. Looking at his rather lifeless face, I could feel my eagerness dropping. "Hey, Allen, cheer up, will ya? The school is finally over!"

"Yeah..." He became even less talkative than when I first met him...

"So, what should we do this summer? My dad thought that maybe you and your uncle would like to go to the lake and fish with us for a week?" Allen only looked at his books and school supplies. "Well, it does sound kind of boring, that's why it'd be great if you joined, we could swim in the lake and make some sandcastles, and hunt for frogs, and..."

"My uncle has to decide..." He shut his locker and went straight to the exit, leaving me behind... No! I won't be discouraged! I quickly caught up with him.

"I'm sure your uncle won't mind!" Allen was pretty quick, I was almost out of my breath. We were almost at the entrance, when I noticed... Oh, speaking of the devil, Allen's uncle was talking to our homeroom teacher. Allen stopped for a moment and looked at them. We could hear some of the conversation.

"...It can't go on like this, Mr. Cross." Mr. Kamui Lee is a good man for us, but it's strange to see him this annoyed.

"It'll be over soon."

"Please, it's been almost 6 months and I don't think he's getting any better. He has to talk to a psychologist."

"Psychologist? So what – he would be labeled as a mentally-disabled child?"

"Mr. Cross, please, listen-!"

"No, you will listen to me!" Allen's uncle seemed to be agitated... "Allen is a good, strong kid. What he needs now is something to take his mind off and not remind him every time of his problems!"

"Sir, Allen has to go through such a loss! He has to speak about it!"

"He will speak about it when he wants to! You won't be forcing anything out of him – not on my watch!"

"Mr. Cross-!"

"I am his official guardian, so whatever I decide, has to stay..." With that sentence he noticed us. Gulp! I probably should have gotten used to his glare by now, but... It's more than impossible... "Allen, get in the car." Obediently, he listened to his uncle.

"Bye, Lavi." I wasn't even able to say goodbye properly, because he just vanished outside the school...

I hope he'll agree to come with me...


17 years old. Present.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

"J-Just a moment, please!" I wonder what kind of mess Allen got himself into this time with that stupid dog. There was no point in going back to sleep, Allen woke me up enough times to get my ass up... Oh, the doorknob is moving! Aaaand... Allen stood there, all wet and... UGRH EWW!

"Jesus, what's that smell!?" Allen's vein popped out.

"Good to see you too..."

"What did Tim do this time?"

"Rubbed poor rodent's corpse all over his body... I've been cleaning him for almost an hour..." Ghhh...Hehehe...GYAHAHAHA! "That's not funny..."

"S-Sorr-HAHA!"

"Lavi..."

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Hehehe... Well, I think in any animal religion, if there is any, that would count as profanation."

"Then Tim already earned his place in Dog Hell for eating a dead bird last year." Allen chuckled. Just as he said that I noticed that furball of evil walking down the stairs, all soaking wet. He decided to shake the water off all over the corridor.

"I think he would also go there for disobedience." I pointed at him, so Allen could notice.

"Tim, nooo..." I would probably kill my dog if he was doing the same. "He ran away from his bath, again... And now the floor is wet..." Tim decided to join us and greeted me with his happy bark. Oh, he would probably run away from Allen, but I was quick enough to grab his black collar. The dog whined at my betrayal.

"Sorry, buddy." His big puppy eyes won't affect me! "We need to clean you first." Displeased, Tim couldn't resist my hold and we both went to bathroom. Allen closed the door and followed. "You need to be more strict with him, Allen." This dog is a beast! I barely could lift him up and put him back inside the bathtub. That's what you get for only petting and feeding and treating the dog like a toy for hugging!

"I'm strict!" I looked at him in disbelief... "Erm... Or I'm at least more strict. I stopped feeding him under the table!" Another look... "Well... He's not given any snacks at least... twice a week?"

"Wow... That's impressive assertiveness..."

"Oh, quit mocking me! Now be useful and hold him." He took Tim's sponge and started washing off last traces of the corpse. "Anyway, why did you come?"

"Well, you haven't finished your request on the phone and I was already awake..." I get bored pretty easily, you know? Of course you do, we know each other so well. "And also..." That wasn't the only reason I came to see you. I wanted to see you very much... "I thought you might want some company for today?" Allen smiled sadly. I know what today's date is and I have already arranged my day to be free of anything. I really wanted to support you, Allen...

"Everyone seems to remember this day... Except me." What? What does he mean? He saw my puzzled, one-eyed look. "My uncle made a breakfast for me today and reminded me..." I wonder if your day would have been better if you didn't recall this day? "I was hoping you could ask your grandpa to give me a lift to the graveyard? Uncle's on the business trip and had to leave today early."

"Aww, sorry, man. Panda-jiji has left yesterday with his retired old-geezers club. They had a planned party at the health resort for the weekend." Allen's face dropped. "And besides, yesterday's forecast said it'll be blizzard today."

"Blizzard? At the end of November?"

"Uh-huh" Tim tried to set himself free from my cruel grip. I can feel so much hate resonating from this little monster... "I think your dog is clean enough."

"I need to rinse him now." He grabbed the shower and poured the water down. Tim was howling... "Tim, this doesn't hurt!"

"Ain't making this job easy, ey~?" At times like this, I really really hate this dog...

"I wonder what should I do... Maybe I should call Stella?"

"She has a car?"

"I know her brother does."

"..." I had no comments. I wasn't able to help Allen, it's understandable he seeks lift somewhere else. Just for the purpose of this trip and Allen's well being – I am holding back all mean comments about that witch!

"Okay, time to dry yourself Tim!" At least the dog is happy. "Okay, all cleaned up and ready to go!"

"Unleash the beast!" Allen laughed at me and opened the bathroom door. Yeah, Timcanpy was more than willing to take this escape opportunity. I went down to see if the rascal wasn't messing up the living room too much. And so I noticed the condition outside the window. "Eeee, Allen! You might want to wait before calling Stella."

"Wha?" Allen was soon next to me. He noticed the weather as well. Well, that's unfortunate... "OH, COME ON!"

"Yup, it's blizzard alright."

"..."

"Guess we're stuck here for now."

"..."

"..."

"..." Allen sighed loudly and looked at me. I should probably suggest something...

"...Soooo... perhaps a movie?"

"...snacks?"

"Depends on what I can make out of your fridge."

"There should be some cheese, veggies, herbs, milk, eggs."

"Do you have pasta?"

"Yeah."

"I'll make Mac'n'Cheese then."

"And I'll pick a movie."

"Deal!" And so we prepared for the morning movie session.


9 years old.

"..yeah, I will see what can be done. Thank you for your offer." I hear my uncle talking on the phone while I was taking all clothes to the washing machine. I hadn't had a single peaceful day with him – he demands so much. For now the responsible one for house chores is me. "Allen." He noticed me eavesdropping and came to me dangerously close. For some reason I'm no longer intimidated by his looks. I got used to it. Or... I just don't care at all? I can't really tell.

"Who were you talking to?"

"Your annoying friend's parents called me about the trip to the lake. They said Lavi had told you about it two weeks ago." He did? I don't remember too much... I haven't seen Lavi since the school ended. "They were asking for my permission." I looked at him, waiting for his answer. "I said no."

"Why?" I felt my chest clutching tightly. Somehow, I felt really bad.

"Because you didn't tell me anything, so I assumed you didn't want to go." My uncle came back to the living room and sat down, lighting a cigarette. I was ashamed that I didn't remember Lavi's offer to go to the trip. There were too many things inside of my head. "Guess these holidays are going to be spent at home, then..." I dropped my head and silently went to the bathroom, taking care of all clothes. It was the last thing on my to-do list. I went back to my uncle.

"I'm done for now."

"Then what are you going to do now?" I looked at the floor. I know his eyes were on me, but I didn't feel like looking at my uncle.

"I'll go to my room now..."

"And what will you do there?"

"...I don't know..."

"Wallow in pain and grief?" I could feel my eyes watering. "Seclude yourself from everyone?" I feel horrible. "Cry to that stupid stuffed monkey?" His words don't help... "Allen, I'm not going to force you into anything, as long as you're doing your duties properly. What you do in your own free time is your business." I nodded and tried to dry away my tears. Uncle is a very wise man, but sometimes he acts so cold... "Sometimes I just wonder if life of a shadow suits you... I guess it does, since you seem to like it."

"I-I..." I felt this tension inside of me. I wanted to scream, hit, cry my heart out.

"Y-Y-You what?" He mocked my speech.

"I-I d-d-on't like it..."

"Oh no, you do like it. You've accepted it." He stood up and came closer. This nervousness is killing my insides. "For 6 months you've done nothing to change yourself." My mouth was opening and closing. I couldn't answer anything. "No wishes, no likes, no will of living. The only thing you're good at right now is taking my orders."

"B-But..." Why did I feel an urge to defend myself? Whatever Uncle was saying was right...

"Everyone, including me, are free to insult you."

"T-That's not t-t-true..."

"You're showing your back to everyone that care about you. Such a disgraceful manner..."

"I-I-I don't want to!"

"You're not?"

"N-No!"

"Then what did that young Bookman told you?" I froze... I couldn't remember. What was Lavi asking me? It was about the trip. It'd be great if you joined!

"He wanted me to go to the fishing trip with everybody..."

"And your answer is?"

"...I-I..." I don't want to show myself to anyone. Not in this condition...

"Yes or no?"

"..." Again, I felt warm tears... I'm a horrible person. People like me don't deserve any happiness... But it's selfish of me...

"Do you want to go or not?"

"I-I... I-I-*snif snif* -w-w-ant to-*sob*-g-g-o..." I hate being here all alone... I hate sitting all day in my room... I hate looking at my pet monkey, wishing that I would... I could feel tight embrace. Uncle had never hugged me like that before, not since...

...Since my dad died...

"You're finally speaking up, Allen. I knew you had it in you..." I cried... I wanted to cry a lot. I missed everything so much. I missed my old self... "We will go with Bookmans, then." We stood there for a few minutes. My sobbing stopped, but I didn't want to let go. I needed this hug more than I thought I would... Everyone wanted to cheer me up, but I've been pushing everyone away. Finally, I've been locking myself up in my room, where I was lying on my bed and hugging the plush monkey my dad once gave me from his trip. Every time I saw that stuffed animal, it reminded me of him...

"...I miss my dad..."

"...I miss him too, Allen..."


17 years old. Present.

"That was the lamest horror movie I have ever seen!" Allen threw his head back and cried in desperation. I groaned as well, though I was more than glad that the credits showed up.

"You always had a terrible taste in movies, Allen." I put down the bowl with nachos. "At least the black guy wasn't the first to die~!"

"Yeah, like it's the only good trait this movie had. I really wished the main heroine would just perish..."

We've seen so far 5 movies, 2 picked by me and 3 picked by Allen. Of course, my taste is uncanny, I picked one drama and one Russian fantasy, while Allen went for two Spanish movies B-class and this failure of a horror. I looked outside the window. It wasn't getting any better with the blizzard, though the sun already went down. Allen took the remote and turned off the TV completely, leaving us both in the dark.

The clock rang 6 times. It was already 18:00. It was a little bit too quiet for my liking...

"Maybe we should look at funny videos instead?" …No reply. I could barely see with just one eye in the dark. "Allen?" I heard his breathing got a little bit irregular. Where the hell is he? If I could reach his shoulder... Oh, I reached something alright, but it was more soft and... wet... I felt his breaths on my wrist. I must have touched his cheek... "H-Hey..."

...So it happened. It finally got him... Allen reached for me and embraced me tightly. Well, I feel flattered, it definitely doesn't help with all the butterflies in my stomach... But just feeling his tears make my heart break.

"You know, this sucks..." He mumbled something against my chest. "I can't even properly see his grave..."

"He probably doesn't mind...As long as you remember him."

"No, it's not alright!" Allen broke free from me. "I want... I want to honor his memory properly..." Honor his memory, huh? Well, this is probably why destiny decided to put me here with Allen today. I stood up and looked for a light switch. Of course, I tripped... Ouch! "Lavi, are you alright?"

"Argh, stupid one-eye vision..." Finally, found it! Now, looking from brighter perspective... I know Allen's house better than mine, he's always so organized. "Just stay on the sofa, I'll be in a second." Aaand in no time I have found the photo album. There was a big photo of his dad, smiling at the camera while juggling 8 balls! This was the perfect memorial photo! Oh, and some candle's would be good. A lot of them, actually. I wonder if Allen is keeping his incense sticks as well... Yeah, found them! Ok, three things ready, I need a good frame for the picture. I can feel Allen's stupefied look when I threw away some lame-ass flower picture and used the frame for myself. Ok, now to add everything up... Put the picture, light the candles and incense, put everything neatly together... Perfect! "Done!"

"What is it?"

"It's a small shrine I made for your dad. You can now greet him properly!" I was pretty proud of my work! Allen seemed to be very shocked. He stood up and... left without a word... Oh my God, did I do something wrong!? Just as I was panicking, Timcanpy ran to me. Great, 'cause I wan in serious need of a hug "Timcanpy, Allen probably hates me right now..."

"What? No, I don't." Gyah! He scared me. And the look he gave me... Allen was heavily crying, but somehow was able to smile warmly... "I though that this shrine also needs some of his spirit". He put down a purple stuffed monkey. Oh God, I would recognize that toy everywhere... Allen hanged the monkey on the frame. He switched the light off and the three of us sat on the sofa. This monkey really gave me creeps... But I ignored that. There was something in that thing and it just fitted to the joyful picture of Mana Walker.

"Hi dad..." Allen clapped his hands. I did the same. "It's been a while. I'm truly sorry I have forgotten about you this morning." He looks so sad...

"Hello Mr. Walker. Please, don't punish Allen too much, I won't stand more whining..." And I'm always the one to crush this saddness.

"Lavi!"

"What? I'm saying 'Hi!' to your old man."

"I'm not whining!"

"Yeah, suuuuree... I think both Mr. Walker and I know better."

"I'm not!" Allen whined, of course. OUCH! He hit me in my ribs... "Sorry for that, dad, Lavi is just his usual idiotic self..."

"Oy!"

"But I guess I can't be mad at him today..." He looked at me and smiled brightly. "He pulverized most of my house just to bring you here to me and make you this perfect shrine... And I'm more than sure that you like it as well. I'll give him my thanks from you, dad."

"Hehe... It was nothing, really..."

… It's probably my imagination, but I think Mr. Walker's smile on the picture grew wider...


AG-RO-TAG'S NOTE!

Oh my goodness... it's been almost 7 years after the last update...

What happened? A lot... Mostly I got caught up with my life that I abandoned some of my stories...
And so... I re-read them. I'm updating some chapters I got prepared after the re-read, but I don't think it'll last for long. Welp, at least something appeared :)

I will be giving up my account to my friend, who wants to continue my stories. It'll happen soon, you'll probably notice ;) So far the original Ag-ro-tag is here :)

Hope you liked this chappy! I missed Above Best Friend, I really loved the story in here... I hope you did too!