Disclaimer - I do not own D Gray Man nor any of it's wonderful characters. Just having a little fun with them

Just Clowning Around

As always Mana Walker had risen early, leaving his young charge sleeping peacefully in the bed. After all the little boy was still weak from the fever that had racked his body for over a week and Mana didn't want him to overdo things and risk getting sick again. Unfortunately Allen had proven to be a very stubborn child and leaving him sleeping was the best way the clown knew to make sure that Allen stayed in bed. After all the child wasn't the most obedient person that Mana had ever met.

"Come on," Mana whispered to the little terrier who was sleeping curled up at Allen's side.

The dog obediently jumped to the floor and together dog and master left the caravan trailer and made their way outside. The early morning air was crisp and the grass was still wet with dew and yet Mana was still getting a later start than the rest of the performers. The circus grounds were already alive with activity; performers practicing their acts while the non performers went about their appointed jobs.

"Looks like we overslept," Mana muttered to the dog as he adjusted the collar of his clown costume. "Which means that we'll have to practice twice as hard to catch up."

The dog yipped and did a back flip.

Mana laughed at his partner's antics before getting to work.

As the sun rose higher in the air the sunlight that was streaming through the caravan trailer's one small window fell directly onto Allen's face. This disturbed the sleeping child and, groaning in irritation, the little boy sat up in bed and rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hands. It was only seconds before Allen realized that he was completely alone in the trailer and the boy quickly jumped to his feet.

The boy was already dressed in the only clothes that he owned so all he had to do was slip on his shoes and he was ready to go outside. Opening the door Allen stepped out into the bright sunlight, shielding his eyes against it's harshness as they adjusted to the brightness. Scanning the circus grounds it wasn't long before Allen's gaze landed on Mana and the little dog.

Mana was standing still and for a moment it looked as though he wasn't doing anything. That wasn't the case and after a few seconds of preparation the clown ran forward and vaulted onto his hands. Then, once the clown had found his balance, he began walking around on his hands. As soon as Mana began walking the little terrier stood on his hind legs, balancing a little blue ball on the tip of his nose as he walked toward his master. For a few minutes all Allen could do was stare at the sight, mesmerized. He was well aware of the fact that Mana was a clown but he hadn't expected for him to be so acrobatic. All of the clowns he had ever seen had just acted stupid in the hopes of making the crowd laugh. He hated that but this. . . this was something different entirely.

Pushing off with his hands Mana did a back flip before landing next to the dog, who didn't even flinch. Instead the little terrier used his nose to toss the ball that he had been balancing to Mana, who caught it with ease.

Suddenly making a decision Allen turned and dashed off across the circus grounds.

"You boys look like you're working hard," the circus' resident cook and mother figure Anna Hall said as she walked past them, carrying a large bucket of water. The woman was older than most of the other circus people and she had the tendency to treat everyone as though they were her children. "And where is young Allen on this fine morning?"

"I left him sleeping," Mana replied as he tossed the balls that he'd been juggling into a box. "He still hasn't recovered his strength and I thought that he could use the rest."

Anna nodded, a smile appearing on her face as she walked away toward the tent where she prepared the meals. "You're a good man," she called out over her shoulder.

"Well," Mana said as he wiped the sweat from his brow. "I guess I should go and check on the little stray pup."

The terrier yipped and together master and dog made their way back over to the caravan trailer that they, along with Allen now, called home. Mana opened the door and stepped inside but he froze as his searching gaze fell upon the empty bed.

His heart suddenly began pounding as he realized that the boy wasn't in the trailer. "Where did he go?"

Whirling around Mana hurriedly left the trailer, not even bothering to close the door behind himself, and frantically began searching the circus grounds. Where on earth could the child possibly have gone? And why had Allen left without telling him first?

Had the child decided to go back to where ever it was that he came from after all?

Sniffing the ground the little terrier suddenly barked and dashed off. Hoping that his partner had picked up the scent of the child Mana quickly gave chase. He followed the dog to the edge of the grounds and, sure enough, there was the child. Mana started to walk over to him but paused as he realized what the child was doing. Or more precisely what he was trying to do.

Allen ran forward and attempted to do a hand stand. Unfortunately the attempt was unsuccessful and the child fell onto the ground. Mana winced in sympathy as the child's knees collided with the ground before he rolled head over heels in the grass but still he resisted the urge to go over to Allen. He wanted to see what the child would do next.

Would he give up?

Getting to his feet Allen completely ignored the scrapes on his knees and once again attempted the hand stand. This attempt was better than the first but the boy still ended up sprawled on the ground. Completely undeterred Allen jumped up, a determined expression in his eyes, and tried again.

And this time he succeeded.

A smile appeared on Allen's face as he balanced himself on his hands and took a couple of shaky steps forward. Delighted that the child had kept at it until he succeeded Mana took this as his cue to go over to the child. "Allen."

The little boy jumped at the sound of Mana's voice and as a result lost his balance and fell forward. The boy's eyes narrowed in anger as he sat up and allowed his gaze to shift warily to the man that had taken him in and cared for him when he'd been sick. He was still cautious around his caretaker, as though unable to believe that he could trust anyone, but he was slowly losing some of his distrust.

After all Mana had already had more than enough opportunities for cruelty and hadn't acted on any of them.

For his part Mana was patient and allowed Allen to progress at his own pace. He knew that he couldn't force Allen to trust and accept him but he was convinced that the child would begin to open up if he continued to treat him with kindness.

Allen's gaze went to the ground as Mana walked up to him.

"Sorry about making you lose your concentration," Mana said as he came to a stop beside the boy. "But that was a really good hand stand."

Allen looked up so fast that Mana was surprised that he didn't hurt his neck. The child's eyes were wide and it was obvious that he wasn't used to receiving praise of any kind and this broke his heart. What kind of horrors had this child experienced in his short life? "Can I offer you a little advice?"

Allen thought about the question for a few minutes before finally nodding.

"When you do the handstand try not to focus on your hands," Mana said. "Find a spot out on the horizon and stare at it. That makes it easier to maintain your balance."

"Thanks," Allen said in a barely audible voice.

"So why exactly are you out here training?" Mana asked, his curiosity aroused. Unfortunately it seemed that this was the wrong thing to ask because Allen instantly stiffened and his gaze shifted immediately back to the ground. "I. . . I just wanted. . ."

"It's alright Allen," Mana said in a gentle voice, not wanting to cause the child any undo stress. "You don't have to explain anything to me. I was just worried that you were going to overdo it. You still haven't fully recovered you know."

"I'm fine," Allen muttered.

"Except for those scraped knees," Mana said, his gaze shifting down to the stains that had appeared on the boy's trousers.

"It's no big deal," Allen maintained.

"Well even if it's no big deal we should probably take care of it," Mana said and, without thinking, he leaned forward and scooped the child up into his arms. Allen stiffened once more and had to bite back the urge to yell at the clown but once the shock wore off he settled into Mana's arms.

Never before in his life had Allen had someone who cared about him as this man did and he found that it was hard to get used to. Every time the man spoke he expected to be yelled at and every time the man raised his arms he expected to be hit. And Mana surprised him every time.

"Is this what it's like to have a father?" he thought to himself as Mana carried him across the circus grounds to the trailer that they had shared for just over a week.

Freeing one hand so that he could open the door Mana juggled the child with the other arm. Allen's arms instantly wrapped around Mana's neck, as though he were afraid that the man was going to drop him, and the clown found that he liked the feeling of the little arms embracing him. "Don't worry," he said in a quiet voice. "I won't drop you."

Allen scowled and snapped, "You can put me down you know. I can walk just fine on my own."

"I know you can," Mana said with a smile as he deposited the child on the bed. "But we're already here."

Allen's scowl only deepened as Mana rolled up the legs of his trousers and began dabbing at the cuts on his knees. He wasn't used to such treatment and although he wanted to protest he didn't. He sat still and allowed Mana to clean the cuts and rub some kind of ointment onto them.

"There," Mana said, getting to his feet. "Now how about we go and get something to eat?"

Allen's face lit up at the mention of food and he nodded.

"And after that would you like for me to teach you some more tricks?" Mana didn't know what made him ask the child that particular question but it was too late to think about that now. It had already been said and couldn't be taken back.

Allen thought about the question for a few minutes before he finally nodded.

Mana smiled brightly as he made his way to the door of the trailer, followed closely behind by the child. The progress was small and the going was slow but Mana knew that he could turn Allen into a friendly and loving child. All it would take was a little time.

A/N - I really enjoy writing stories for Mana and Allen so if anyone has any ideas feel free to tell me. I'm open to all suggestions and would greatly appreciate some help. Hope you enjoyed this little one shot. Please leave a review and tell me what you thought.