Disclaimer - I do not own DGrayMan
"How would you like to be an Exorcist?"
That was the question that Cross Marian had asked of him that day when he had appeared at Mana's graveside and yet Allen Walker had yet to experience any sort of training. He merely followed his new master around, attempting to stay out of the harsh man's way, and waiting to learn something of use.
Cross never offered to teach him anything and instead the young boy had been spending all of his time either following Cross and being told how useless he was or else being left behind and accosted by the people that Cross owed money to. The first time this had happened Allen was scared out of his mind however after awhile the boy decided that he needed to come up with some way to earn money and prevent himself from being beaten up on a regular basis.
And that was what led to Allen Walker learning how to play poker. Or, to be more precise it led to the young boy learning how to cheat at poker. Cheating was the easiest way to pay off Cross' debts as well as earn a living for himself and the boy decided that he would become so good at cheating that he would never lose a hand of poker.
Finding time to practice was incredibly easy since Cross had yet to teach him anything about being an Exorcist and was in stead constantly piling up debts that he didn't have the funds to pay off. He preferred for Allen to be far away while he drank and tried to pick up women which meant that Allen was able to practice his poker face and slight of hand every other day.
Allen was sitting in the floor of a room that he and Cross had been renting for a couple of days, shuffling a ragged deck of playing cards that he had acquired to practice poker, when the door suddenly burst open to reveal his master. Startled by the sudden appearance of his master Allen lost his concentration and as a result the cards that he had been shuffling flew from his hands, scattering in all directions.
The red haired man took one step into the room and lowered his gaze to focus on the youth who was sitting in the floor, surrounded by a scattered deck of cards.
Wanting to ignore his master but knowing that it wasn't a good idea to do so Allen reluctantly gazed up at Cross, who wore his customary scowl. The golden golem Timcanpy was sitting on his head as always. "What is it Master?"
"There are some men who are going to be coming by today," Cross said, casually taking a drag of the cigarette that was dangling from his mouth. And without another word of explanation the Exorcist turned and left the room, leaving his young apprentice alone to worry about what exactly his master had gotten him into this time.
"Why me?" the boy thought to himself as he began picking up the scattered cards. He'd wanted to become an exorcist so that he could free the tortured souls that had been turned into Akuma by those that they loved which is how he'd ended up with Marian.
Who of course had yet to actually teach him anything about being an Exorcist. All he'd learned since becoming the man's apprentice was how to cheat at poker. This wasn't a skill that he particularly wanted but was instead a skill that he was mastering, out of sheer necessity. Cross continued to accumulate debt with no means to pay them and Allen had to find some way to pay for them so that the people who came to collect said debt didn't maim or kill him.
"I can't believe that the master has gotten me into this again," he muttered as he proceeded to shuffle the cards that he had retrieved from the floor. Allen sighed, knowing that there was nothing for it. The master was who he was and there was nothing in this world or the next that would change that fact.
Allen's gaze once again went to the door and this time his gray-eyed gaze fell upon a group of three very large, very angry looking men. These must be the visitors that Cross had told him to expect. The youth gazed up at the men, trying his best not to show the fear that was threatening to overwhelm him. "Calm down Allen," he mentally coached himself. All he had to do was convince them to play a couple of hands of poker with him and the debt should be settled.
Luckily most adults were easy to coerce into playing the game with him because they saw him as an easy target. After all who in their right mind would think that a little kid could beat them in a game like poker? This stereotype benefited Allen greatly.
"H. . . hello," Allen stammered as the men entered the room and closed the door with a thud that caused the boy to jump.
"We're looking for Cross Marian," the apparent leader of the group snarled, his narrow eyed gaze focused on the boy who was still sitting in the floor. "Do you know him?"
"H. . . he's my. . . master," Allen replied, knowing that it would be useless to lie.
"Great," the man snarled. "Then you can pay his debt."
"I don't have any money," Allen said in a quivering voice, holding up the deck of playing cards that had recently been scattered on the floor. "But may. . . maybe we can settle this. . . with a game of poker?"
The man was completely shocked by this offer from the child, who appeared to be around the age of ten, and he actually laughed in the kid's face. "You're kidding right kid?"
Allen shook his head, a determined expression in his gray eyes.
"Alright then," the man said, recovering from his bout of laughter and sitting down on the floor in front of Allen. "But when you lose you'd better hope that you have some way to come up with the cash that you owe me or else I'm going to be pissed. You got that kid?"
"Y. . . yes," Allen replied, attempting to swallow around the lump that had grown in his throat.
The man nodded. "As long as we have an understanding. Let's begin."
Allen nodded, determined to win the game and settle his master's debts. "Right."
Thirty minutes later Allen was surrounded by the three debt collectors, now dressed only in their boxer shorts. A stack of clothes had been tossed behind Allen and there was a stack of money, both paper and coin, on the floor beside him. A small smirk appeared on the youth's face as he revealed the cards in his hand. "A royal straight flush."
"What the hell?" the three debt collectors exclaimed in unison, their eyes growing wide in disbelief. When it came to poker this kid had some freaky skills and they were humiliated by the fact that he'd beaten them yet again. Growling in frustration they tossed over all of the money that they had left, having lost everything except their underwear to the strange white haired youth.
Allen watched as more money was added to the small pile that lay at his feet and then he shifted his gaze back to the men. "Shall we play another hand?"
"There is no way in hell," the leader of the group snarled as he got to his feet. "That I will ever play another poker game with you."
And with these words the three men left the room that Allen was sharing with his master. Grateful that his skills had been enough to get rid of the debt collectors Allen began to gather up the money that had been tossed at his feet. He had more than paid his master's debts and had ended up winning all of the money that the three men had on them as well as their clothes.
"Piece of cake."
No sooner than Allen had gathered up the cash the door of his room was once again unceremoniously thrust open and Cross once again stepped inside. A gleam appeared in the man's eyes as his gaze fell upon the money that his apprentice held in his hands and, crossing the room in three steps, he seized all of Allen's winnings.
"Is this all you got?"
"Y. . . yes," Allen replied as his winnings were taken from him. "Darn it," he thought as his master pocketed the money and then sat down in a chair that was positioned next to the room's only window. "And I was planning to hide some of that."
If only his master hadn't shown up when he did.
Unfortunately Cross had impeccable timing when money was involved. He never failed to show up just after Allen had made some money with his cheating skills and the money was always confiscated before he had time to spend any of it. And it was never enough.
"Get rid of that stinking pile of cloths," Cross ordered as he pulled a cigarette from the pocket of the black and gold coat that he always wore. Closing his eyes the Exorcist put the cigarette in his mouth and then lit the end of it.
Knowing better than to argue about the subject Allen gathered the stack of clothes that had belonged to the debt collectors and made his way outside to dispose of them. The boy's stomach began to growl and Allen decided to get something to eat once he'd gotten rid of the clothes. A smile appeared on the youth's face as he thought about food however it quickly faded as he was surrounded by a group of men.
One of the men was the leader of the group of debt collectors from earlier however the rest were completely unknown. Panic seized the boy as he surveyed the group, thinking that they were going to beat him up because of his poker victory earlier.
Swallowing hard Allen offered the man the stack of clothes that he had been sent to dispose of. "H. . . here mister, you can have your clothes back."
The man snatched the clothes and then pointed to Allen. "This is the boy that I was telling you about."
Allen's gray eyes grew large as all eyes were once again focused on him. "This is it," he thought, taking a step back away from the men. "I'm going to die today."
"Boy," one of the new men snapped, breaking into Allen's thoughts.
"We came to challenge you to a game of poker."
Allen immediately felt relieved. So they had only came to challenge him to a game of poker and not to kill him. The boy nodded his head and pulled the deck of cards from the pocket of his slacks. Without another word to one another the men and the boy sat down next to one of the buildings.
As he gazed at the men Allen thought that if he won enough money from these guys he could buy himself something yummy to eat and a smile appeared on the corrupted youth's face.
The cards were dealt and the game began.
A/N - I wanted to write this one-shot after watching episode 27 and so I did. Cross is such a tyrant and I feel really sorry for Allen, even if he is kinda goofy at times. Hope you enjoyed this little fic, please review and tell me what you thought.