Quid Pro Quo

Two years, it had been two years since Kanda watched Allen disappear from his life. Two years of fruitless searching for what was now a ghost to the Order. The war was still raging and people were still dying, but amidst it all Kanda couldn't bring himself to care. He dragged his missions out for as long as possible, hoping to get a lead or catch a glimpse of white and a flash of silver on the horizon. He had never wanted something so much before in his life. He had never worked so hard for something before, never had the drive to fully apply himself. But he wanted Allen and he was doing everything in his power in order to find him, which brought him to another abandoned town in the middle of nowhere.

His mission was to retrieve the innocence and eliminate the hoards of akuma plaguing the town. What he found when he got there was the empty town and a whole set of evolving akuma. Stuck in a fight with two level fours and a really persistent level three, Kanda felt the ice of impending death on his back and whirled around to face the descending scythe of an arm. For a split second he thought that this was the end; he'd never find Allen, and he'd never see the damn war he'd been fighting all these years come to an end. Then a streak of white crashed down on the akuma, catching the scythe with his right hand and shoving a clawed left hand through the body of the akuma. Without hesitation the boy dashed past Kanda eradicating the last two akuma as if they were merely level ones.

"Moyashi?" Kanda whispered, staring in a shocked stupor as the ghost he'd been searching for approached him. Two years had worn off some of the childish softness to Allen's features and he had grown a bit taller, though still remained an inch shorter than Kanda. Snowy locks hung messily like they always had but the silver eyes he'd always loved were no longer there, rather dull grey eye flecked with gold stared out at him.

"Are you alright exorcist?" Allen asked, his voice hollow, without a single shred of familiarity.

"Allen, it's really you?" Kanda asked, instinctively reaching out a hand to caress the face of his ghost to assure himself that he was not in fact hallucinating.

"I'm sorry, but do I know you?" Allen asked dully. Kanda's heart broke at those words, though it wasn't surprising. Allen's memory had been fading when he'd left; it only made sense that now it wasn't there at all.

"Yeah," Kanda said almost nostalgically, "must've been a lifetime ago."

"I see, my apologies for forgetting," Allen said bowing respectfully.

"What are you doing here?"

"Master Cross said to deliver this fragment of innocence to the Order, I imagine he'll be rather furious with me for being seen but it's only by chance that I saw you and it seemed like you needed help."

'Cross is still alive,' Kanda thought in puzzlement. The man had supposedly died, even before Allen had begun to lose himself, he remembered it clearly. Allen had been a wreck of nerves then, though he kept it, for the most part, locked away behind his smile. It wasn't as though the general hadn't fallen of the map before, but usually there was a trail of debt left in either Allen's name or made out to the Order. How he had managed to stay hidden by himself for however long before he met up with Allen again, was seriously a baffling question.

"Do you take innocence to the Order often?" Kanda asked.

"No, it's easier to leave it for you exorcists to get it, that way we don't get involved," Allen said with a shrug, "I'm not sure why exactly but Master was rather adamant about staying hidden, though I suppose that's all blown to hell now."

"I won't tell anyone," Kanda said, "I have no reason to do so."

"I believe something like that warrants gratitude," Allen said "but things in this world never come for free. What is it that you wish in return for your silence?"

Kanda was taken aback by the boys' words but shook his head, "I need to talk to Cross. After that I'll take the innocence back to the Order with me."

Nodding Allen began walking in what Kanda remembered to be the direction of the closest town that had a train station. The navy haired male followed without another word. There was a world of difference between his Allen and this hollow thing wearing his skin. Even so he had no other choice but to follow and hope answers and maybe a solution may lie with the renegade general.

xXx

Other than the rickety shifting of the train cars and the continuous whirr of the wheels against the track, the cabin the two were in was completely silent. Kanda couldn't take his eyes off the snowy haired boy. Allen was sitting across from him, not moving, not speaking, just staring down at the tiny golden golem in his cupped hands. He had a million questions for Allen, but he couldn't ask them; it was pointless. This Allen wouldn't be able to give him the answers he needed.

"How did we meet?" Allen asked deciding to make some conversation with the strange man who was, in a sense, following him home. "You said that we knew each other," Allen clarified to the questioning look in the man's cobalt eyes.

"I attacked you because of that curse mark across your eye," Kanda said not sure what Allen knew of the Order - what Cross had told him.

"Oh, I guess that's not surprising," Allen said expression blank as he spoke, "you don't happen to know how I got it do you? Master won't tell me."

'He even forgot things like that huh,' Kanda thought frowning, "no I don't, you never told me." It wasn't exactly a lie.

"I see," Allen said cold eyes causing Kanda to stiffen with mild discomfort; it hadn't been like this before. There was nothing in Allen, not a single shred of emotion. "I wasn't aware I knew any exorcists. Are you the only one?"

"No, I'm quite sure you knew at least a couple others," Kanda answered carefully gauging Allen's reaction for any sort of sign that he was remembering.

"Is that so? Master will be quite angry with me then," Allen said. With a statement like that, Kanda expected to see the boy's dust pink lips to turn down in a frown, it felt so wrong that even simple reactions such as that were no longer part of the boy's repertoire.

"Why, it's not like you remember," Kanda said.

"Well that is true, but Master seems to be angry with me for just about everything," Allen said, "he always gets this annoyed look on his face, like he wants to hit me or something and then storms off to the nearest brothel."

"Sounds like the bastard hasn't changed a bit," Kanda muttered dully.

"How long have you known Master?" Allen asked.

"I wouldn't say I know him, rather we crossed paths several times before," Kanda said, "and then he kind of disappeared for awhile."

"I see," Allen said "like you, he claims to know me. I really can't be sure about anything though, because my first memory is of him calling a name I didn't recognize."

"Your first memory?" Kanda asked thinking that maybe he might get some answers out of this Allen after all.

"I think it was a year ago, maybe a bit longer than that," Allen said "I woke up with a splitting headache and Master was calling me Allen, I hadn't known that was my name nor did I have any recollection of anything before waking up in that room with a furious redheaded male, and the smell of poignant alcohol and cigarette smoke permeating the air."

"He told me a lot of strange things and kept yelling at me, saying that I had to remember," Allen said "that persisted for about a week before he gave up with the fragmented story he'd been fussing over and told me who I am and what my purpose is. I'm still not clear on what that is but I know that I'm to follow his Orders."

'Bastard fabricated a life for him,' Kanda thought silently fuming.

"Master always says how the Vatican is corrupt, and that exorcists are stupid pawns that they move at will," Allen said, "why is it that you work for them? Your eyes aren't those of one easily controlled."

"If you expect me to say something like, it's my duty, you'd be wrong," Kanda said smirking at the same perceptive nature he recalled of his Allen.

"I don't expect anything," Allen said, unsettling gold flecked eyes boring into cobalt ones.

"At first I had no choice and nothing better to do," Kanda said "now I use them as a means for my own purpose in life."

Allen nodded his acknowledgement before returning to simply gazing down at Timcanpy.

"Has Tim been with you all this time?" Kanda asked.

"Yes," Allen said.

"It used to be more active than this," Kanda said frowning at the golem's lack of presence.

"What were we?" Allen asked suddenly looking up. Kanda stiffened, not knowing what to say. "Were we friends?" Allen clarified when he got no response.

"I guess you could say that," Kanda said with some difficulty. If he said they had been involved he had no idea what kind of reaction that would cause, and frankly if the boy had any doubts about him, there was a high chance that he'd disappear without a trace like last time.

"Was it wrong to ask that?" Allen asked "you seem to be troubled."

"No," Kanda said "it's strange is all. To be blunt, I don't know how to talk to you when you have no recollections of anything."

"I see," Allen said "I apologize for making you uncomfortable. I was asking because we seem to have been...what's the word...close?"

"You're not wrong," Kanda said.

"Do you know what happened to me?" Allen asked. Kanda's heart rate spiked at the question. Hell yeah he knew what happened; he'd lived it up until the point when Allen ran away.

"I haven't seen you in two years," Kanda said trying to avoid the question, "you just kind of fell off the map."

Allen nodded, he was well aware of the way Kanda's answer skirted the question but he figured whatever the reason the male had for doing so was grounds enough to drop the subject.

xXx

For the rest of the train ride the two remained silent, both lost in thought, replaying their conversation in their minds and looking for clues to their respective queries.

After the train pulled into the station and the two disembarked, Allen led the way through the town into the line of trees bordering the field. About a ten minute hike up the forested incline they arrived at a house. Allen hesitated only a moment – wondering if it had been the right course of action to bring Kanda here – before entering the house with Kanda at his side.

Kanda's eyes widened as he observed the front hall. There were gates that were unmistakeably created by the ark lining the walls.

"What..." Kanda didn't even know how to breech the topic and his voice died away in his throat.

"Master had me open these doors," Allen said "it makes travel easier he'd said. I don't too much care for them though."

"So he could be anywhere in the world right now?" Kanda asked.

"I can sense which door he used last," Allen said with a shrug, "but I don't see the need to go looking for him. It's more trouble than it's worth."

"When will he be back?" Kanda asked.

"I'm not sure but he doesn't usually stay out for more than a couple days without checking in," Allen said, "he says he's just making sure I don't do anything stupid."

Kanda looked at the doors and felt a sickening twist in his gut. Allen had always been pained to use the power of the ark. He'd done it that first time returning it to how it was in order to save everyone, but he was loathed to rely on the power of the Noah inside him but did what needed to be done, opening doors at the command of the higher ups.

'He did say he didn't care for them but to think that he's using that power-' Kanda's thought came to an abrupt stop as Allen's voice cut in.

"What?" Kanda asked having not heard the boy's question.

"Is there anything I can get for you?" Allen repeated, "Master may take awhile to get here."

"No, I'm fine," Kanda said as he followed the boy into what appeared to be the living room.

"You can wait here if you'd like," Allen said, about to head into the kitchen.

"Idiot apprentice, did you finally lose your mind?" Cross called as he waltzed down the hall, "talking to yourself like a fucking schizo..." Cross's voice trailed off as he entered the living room to see none other than Yuu Kanda of the Black Order sitting on his couch.

"Master this is-"

"I know who this is!" Cross snapped. "What I'd like to know is why the hell he's here."

"He was having some difficulty with some level four akuma," Allen said without flinching at the harsh tone he'd been addressed with, "I helped and apparently he knows us and wanted to speak with you."

"You damn idiot," Cross grumbled lighting a cigarette.

"Master?"

"Pour me a glass of wine and then go to sleep," Cross said "you used your innocence didn't you?" Allen nodded in confirmation before heading into the kitchen and pouring a glass of wine for Cross. Setting the long stemmed glass in front of the man on the table, Allen quickly bowed his respect to Kanda before disappearing into the hall. The soft patter of his footsteps could be heard against the wooden floor as he headed further into the house, then a door clicked shut and a heavy silence settled over the room.

"He's not the boy you knew," Cross said taking a long drag on his cigarette.

"I know that," Kanda snapped suddenly much more irritable than he'd been a moment before.

"Then why did you pursue him?" Cross asked.

"I don't know." It was a lie. He knew all too well why he couldn't just let Allen go. A million times he'd run after him; in his dreams he didn't hesitate. In his dreams Allen never left. He had sworn if he ever did find him again he wouldn't let him go, he wouldn't watch him walk out of his life again.

"Pretty stupid thing to do on impulse," Cross said balancing his cigarette between two fingers while he lifted the wine glass to his lips. Kanda didn't say anything, if he wasn't so tightly strung he'd have snapped back at the man, said all manner of profanities in his annoyance, but his thoughts kept wandering to the door leading to the hall where Allen had passed through a few minutes ago.

"I found him wandering around," Cross said, deciding to give the boy the information he came for. He'd seen the recordings in Timcanpy and knew that Allen had been involved with Kanda. He'd even seen their last conversation before Allen chose to leave. With how messed up their relationship was in the first place and then a parting like that, it wasn't surprising that Kanda hadn't thought about anything but keeping Allen within his sights. "It's like he's stuck, not yet a Noah but no longer Allen."

"How is that possible?" Kanda asked.

"I can't say, but I do know he was a blank slate when I found him, I asked him what his name was but he couldn't answer me. Something was interesting though," Cross paused recalling the conversation, "I asked him if there was anything he remembered and he said your name. Funny isn't it? That he would remember your name long after he'd forgotten his own."

Kanda's eyes widened a fraction though he remained silent. He didn't know if it was foolish but hearing that gave him hope if only the barest sliver of it.

"I told him who he was and what we do, but I didn't tell him about what he was to the Order or the Earl. He knows about both, but as far as he's concerned he's never been to the order and he's never worked under them," Cross said.

"You selfish bastard, what-"

"He isn't like you, or that apprentice bookman, or miss Lee," Cross growled impatiently, "if he'd gone back to the Order, the Vatican would have killed him." Kanda frowned, he'd known that already. He knew that even before Allen had begun to lose himself, after all, for a while there Allen was under suspicion of treason and one wrong move and Louvelier would have been too pleased to sentence him.

"Is there no way to reverse this?" Kanda asked.

"Not as far as I know, I've looked. At first I thought it would be better for him if he didn't remember the cruelty of his past but he's so hollow it's irritating," Cross said, sounding frustrated even with having to think about it, "I searched for anything that could revive that lost part of him but found nothing, there are no records of an exorcist becoming a Noah let alone one who got stuck between the transition or how to reverse it."

Kanda was silent as he thought about what Cross had said, wondering what sources the man would have consulted for such information. As far as Kanda knew only Bookman would have access to literature like that.

"You've seen him and you know what's going on now, so get out," Cross said placing his empty wine glass on the table. "And I don't think I have to remind you to stay quiet about all this."

"Che," Kanda scoffed as he stood. He didn't want to leave but he had disappeared in the middle of a mission and if he didn't get back soon things could get unpleasant. "The Moyashi said there was an innocence fragment he was supposed to deliver, where is it?"

"Tim probably has it," Cross said with a shrug, "he never leaves the brat's side. Go get it and then get out." Sighing Kanda headed out into the hall and down to the closed door which he assumed to be Allen's room. A brief knock out of habit was all the warning Kanda gave before entering the room.

It was dark, there was a piano to his right and against the far wall was Allen's bed. A smile curved up Kanda's lips as he took in Allen's lithe frame curled atop the sheets, boots kicked off at the end of the bed and jacket casually strewn on the back of a chair to the left of the bed, the boy's shirt riding up a bit to reveal a strip of pale flesh.

Kanda wanted so much to climb in next to Allen and hold the body against his, but that would have to wait. Kanda turned his cobalt gaze to the golden golem nestled into the soft snowy white of Allen's hair, almost jealous of the tiny machine.

"Oi, Timcanpy," Kanda called as softly as he could manage. The golden ball twitched to life and flew over to Kanda fluttering about in front of him in a bit of a disjoined pattern. In all appearance the machine was annoyed for having been forced away from its master's side.

"Che, I'm going now," Kanda huffed at the irritating creature, "just give me the innocence." A row of razor teeth came into view as Tim puffed up before spitting the glowing ball of light into Kanda's hand. Kanda watched as Timcanpy resumed its place in Allen's hair before he pocketed the innocence and turned to leave.

'I'll come back soon,' Kanda thought as he headed out of the remote house, 'don't disappear on me again.'

xXx

"So what really happened, Yuu?" Lavi asked grinning from ear to ear.

"What the hell are you going on about?" Kanda frowned as he placed down his chopsticks to glare at the exuberant redhead.

"You went missing for two days, the finders had no idea where you were, you didn't take a golem with you and then you show up with the innocence an-" Lavi was abruptly cut off as Kanda stood walking towards the cafeteria doors.

"Nothing happened!" Kanda snapped when Lavi didn't take the hint to leave him alone.

"Then why are you so strung up?" Lavi asked "I haven't seen you this animated since Allen was-" Kanda slammed Lavi against the wall with one hand, Mugen held against his throat with the other, a menacing look in his cobalt eyes.

"You really don't know when to shut up, do you?" Kanda near snarled. If anyone were to come up with that kind of conclusion of course it would be Lavi.

"Calm down, Yuu," Lavi said hands held up in defence.

"Che," Kanda huffed as he sheathed Mugen, "mind your own damn business."

"It's been two years, when are you going to forgive yourself?" Lavi muttered as he watched Kanda stalk off down the hall.

xXx

"Master Kanda!" the finder called searching the area, a mildly panicked sound to his voice.

'Damn nosy finder,' Kanda thought as he waited for said male to get far enough away so he could break away. Unfortunately for him, this time the mission had gone by without a hitch. There was no innocence to be spoken of and he'd taken care of the akuma, but with the rather mellow events he hadn't managed to ditch the ever persistent finder.

Once sure that he wouldn't be noticed, Kanda slipped off through the woods to the next town, not willing to take the chance that the finder might see him getting on the train in the town his mission had been in.

It was risky but he needed to see Allen again, needed to get him to remember.

xXx

"What the heck are you doing back here?" Cross asked annoyance already brewing in his veins.

"I'm not here to see you, so it isn't really any of your business is it?" Kanda bit out rather snappishly.

"Got quite the mouth on you," Cross smirked, "you sure as hell didn't get that from Froi." Kanda's eye twitched in irritation at the mention of his general and self-proclaimed father.

"I'm going to talk to him whether or not I have your permission to do so," Kanda growled, "if you don't get the fuck out of my way right now, I'll cut that damn smirk off your face."

A moment of tense silence passed before the smirk on the redhead's face broadened and he turned, lighting a cigarette as he walked into the house.

"Brat's asleep," Cross said as he took a seat in the living room pouring himself a glass of wine. Kanda frowned as he followed the eccentric man into the house, taking a seat across from him.

"He never used to sleep this much," Kanda murmured.

"A lot more strain is put on his body when he uses his innocence because of the Noah genes that are in him," Cross said with a shrug, "he doesn't eat nearly as much as he used to so I suppose he has to get his energy from somewhere."

"Has he-" Kanda stopped mid-question as a thud from the next room caught his attention. Looking at Cross for an answer he frowned when none was given and stood up, walking briskly into the hall, despite the man's protest.

'Really, if he didn't want me to go then he shouldn't have acted so nonchalant about it,' Kanda thought as he ignored the man, opening the door to Allen's room to see the younger boy curled up on the floor. Kanda felt an immediate tightening in his chest as he took in the trembling form of his Moyashi. Tears were streaming down his face and mismatched hands were fisted in his hair tugging furiously on the white locks.

Kanda took a step into the room hesitantly before making for Allen's side only to get stopped by a large hand on his shoulder.

"Don't go near him," Cross said.

"What the fuck is going on?" Kanda snapped glaring at the man. Allen was in pain and he needed to do something to help alleviate it; that was all Kanda was thinking.

"Nothing, you should leave," Cross said trying to steer the Japanese male out of the room.

"No way in hell is that going to happen!" Kanda snapped shoving Cross's hand away. Sighing heavily Cross grabbed Kanda's wrist and forcibly yanked him from the room. "You're just going to leave him like this?"

"He'll be fine," Cross said, "I'll explain, but we can't be in here when he wakes up from this."

Back in the living room and seated across from each other, Cross watched in mild amusement as Kanda glaring heatedly at him before glancing towards the hallway, obviously wondering as to Allen's condition.

"This happens every so often. He has nightmares and it causes him pain, like his head is splitting with flashes of things," Cross started having gained Kanda's rapt attention, "and before you say anything, he's not remembering. Even if he calls out when he's like that, even if your name happens to fall from his lips, it's not him. It's more the memories on his innocence than anything else."

"I don't-"

"Innocence feels for its user," Cross said already knowing that Kanda would need an elaboration on the concept, "it's why emotions have such a strong effect on the power and shape of which the weapon takes, more so for parasitic users than anyone else. Allen might've told you before, that his innocence is humming or something to that effect, well that's the resonance. It's reflecting feelings to Allen and now that he's pretty much a Noah and cannot feel emotion, it's hurting him...tearing at parts of him that no longer exist."

"I still don't understand," Kanda said with a frown. How was it that the innocence had memories and how could they be hurting Allen?

"Think of it this way then. When Allen began the transformation bits a piece of him began to fade or dissolve; whatever you'd like to think of it as. Now imagine that those pieces are matter, something solid that was holding a place within him. Once that's gone the space is still there, like a hole or void in him," Cross said pausing to casually sip from his wine glass. "When he feels and the associated matter isn't there to accept the feeling and elicit a response accordingly, then the feelings rub raw at the hollow place within him. The feeling is essentially tearing at those hollows as if searching for that bit of him that's been lost. That is why it hurts him. It's like trying to fill a glass with wine – only so much can go into it before it overflows. Once Allen lost the capability to feel, the emotions no longer have anything to contain it and overflow."

"Allen-"

"When he wakes up he'll be no different than when he went to sleep. He won't recall the pain or the memories and feelings being forcibly poured into him," Cross said "it's probably better this way."

"He's not remembering?" Kanda asked.

"No, he isn't," Cross said "he'll never be the same boy he was and you should stop seeking him out, for his sake as well as your own."

"I can't do that," Kanda said brows furrowed and a hard look in his cobalt eyes, "after two years of searching I finally found him. Even if he doesn't remember me, even if he can't feel...I can't lose him again."

"It's not him," Cross said stiffly. He hated the pitiful yearning he saw in the younger male's eyes, it was downright ridiculous.

"It is, at some level it must still be him and-"

"That thing isn't Allen!" Cross snapped. "What makes a human? Is it their body? If that's all there is then yes it's still him. But that thing is barely human anymore. Without memories, without feelings and desires, without mortal ties he isn't human. He isn't the Allen Walker you knew and there isn't anything you can do to bring him back. He may look like him and feel like him, hell he might even display qualities or mannerisms that are distinctly Allen but it isn't him."

"His soul is the same," Kanda said, "he wouldn't have put himself in danger to save my life if he wasn't still Allen...if there was nothing left."

"You're so hardened to believe he'll go back to the way he was that you think you see things in him that simply aren't there," Cross said.

"Even if he doesn't go back to the way he was, I can't let him go," Kanda said, "I don't give a shit about the memories, we can make new ones. I don't care about that distance in his eyes; I'm used to it already because he's always been hiding. Though he doesn't know it and though you can't see it, I know that he couldn't possibly be anything but the naïve Moyashi that wants nothing more than to save and protect."

"Stupid brat, sounding like Froi all of a sudden," Cross scoffed in amused annoyance, who'd have known that the princess with the icicle up his ass would be so adamantly sentimental.

xXx

Whispering. Allen could hear a whispering voice, slipping between the crumbled ruins. Dull grey eyes surveyed the area with interest; he had seen this place many times in his dreams. It was always cold and desolate. The nightmares came often, though the consciousness would chase away the pleading voices and the blurred images, he didn't understand the pain but he knew it would linger into his waking life, whether he recalled the dreams or not.

Allen...

The voice was no more familiar than the hollow reflection staring back at him from the waters edge. He could not tell what was real. There was a moon in the water, it was black like tar. Behind the twisted grinning figure of his reflection was a forest, trees of the purest white. Withered? Dried and dying? No, simply dormant.

Looking up to the sky Allen saw a gorgeous disc of ethereal silver. And the only things behind him were fragments of what must've once been something important.

Allen, you have slipped away...too far away...can you no longer hear my voice?

The voice sounded so close and then so very distant, sometimes so close he could swear he could feel a breath on his neck. He tried to speak but no sound came out. He wasn't surprised. Then the sound of sobbing met his ears. A desperate screeching of reed against taught wire, a terrible weeping. It was the wailing of a final strained note, an evening song that had once been his own.

Remember, won't you return to me Allen?

Allen's glassy grey eyes stared blankly ahead, there was only darkness; the world he had seen was no longer there. The pain and his tears long since ceased. He wasn't sure how long he'd been in that state, neither conscious nor unconscious. The sensation was like drifting underwater, swimming slowly up through the translucent green-blue liquid, closer and closer to the surface there is a patch of light glimmering over the rippling facade, not quite reaching him at his depth. There were voices too, but he could not make out what they were saying.

Then he was choking, coughing, sputtering for air. Not drowning, but waking. And there he was, confused at the concerned cobalt eyes staring at him and the back of the man he called master. Neither occupant of the room said anything to the boy as he sat up.

Allen didn't really know what to make of the two men in his room and was about to ask as to the reason they were there when loud jarring sounds shattered the room and phantoms around him. Gold flecked silver eyes blinked open, as the boy wearily rubbed at them to clear his sleep hazed vision.

'The ceiling looks much higher than it normally does,' Allen thought only vaguely aware of the hardness beneath him that was most definitely not his bed. Sitting up he registered the fact that he was on the floor and sighed, it hadn't been the first time this had happened but he still wondered why it was some days he'd wake up on the floor, looking quite distraught with trails of dried tears on his somewhat flushed cheeks.

Shrugging he stood, dusting himself off before staggering out of his room and down the hall to the bathroom. Dull eyes stared listlessly into the mirror image, wondering as to the strange cotton like fluff filling his mind. It was always like this, on days he'd wake up on the floor especially, a fog blanketed his thoughts, he could never recall anything of his dreams.

Leaning over the sink, Allen cupped his hands under the faucet and splashed his face with water. Loud voices drew his attention as he turned off the faucet, looking towards the door. Recalling that the reason he'd woken up had been these loud noises he dried his face and headed out to see what the ruckus was about.

"Master who are you-" Allen cut himself off as Kanda turned in his seat to face the boy who'd just entered the room, "Oh Kanda, hello again."

"How have you been?" Kanda asked frowning at the rather sickly pallor to Allen's skin.

"Well, thank you," Allen said almost habitually as he took a seat beside Kanda on the couch. "What brings you back here?"

"I..." Kanda glanced at Cross, unsure of what he should say. Unsurprisingly the man simply took another sip of his wine giving no more of an answer to the boy's silent question than a shrug. "I was on a mission in the area." Allen nodded acknowledging the statement.

"Would you like some tea?" Allen asked as he stood and headed towards the kitchen.

"No, I'm quite alright, don't bother yourself," Kanda said though the boy had already put the water to boil.

"It's no trouble at all," Allen said as he opened a cupboard and produced two tea cups and placed them on a serving tray along with a teapot and small canister of tea leaves.

"Idiot apprentice, quit being so hospitable, he's no guest," Cross muttered "he was just leaving anyway." Kanda shot the man a glare but nodded in affirmation of the man's statement, he really should head back before anyone started to get suspicious about his whereabouts.

"Will you be coming by again?" Allen asked. If not for the unmistakeably empty tone in the boy's voice, Kanda would have taken the question to be hopeful.

"Whenever I have the chance," Kanda said meeting Allen's gaze with his own.

True to his word, every time Kanda was sent out on a mission he'd find a way to slip off to visit Allen. Sometimes Cross was there and would snap at him for his apparent idiocy, but most times the man was off being a despicable womanizer in various cities around the world. His visits were always short, and the conversations he had with Allen were never anything substantial. He wanted Allen to remember but no matter what he talked about, nothing seemed to spark any sort of recognition in the younger boy.

Though his expression never changed, Kanda was quite sure that his visits had become somewhat of a routine for Allen. One time he'd walked into the house and there was already tea on the table and Allen was waiting while tugging at Timcanpy's wings like he used to. Kanda still didn't know how Allen knew he was coming or why he'd suddenly taken to one of his old habits, but he'd entertained the idea that Allen had been anxiously waiting for him to come by – no matter how far fetched it seemed.

xXx

Each time Kanda would go back to the Order and would act as though nothing had happened. Most were afraid of his volatile temper and didn't dare ask about why he often disappeared on missions, for those who did ask, Lavi and Komui for instance, he would shrug and say it's not his fault the finders are too inept to keep up with him. That usually satisfied everyone.

Recently however, there hadn't been any missions and he was restless. His thoughts were a chaotic whirlwind of questions, worry and longing. It had been almost two months without any missions turning up and he was going out of his mind just waiting.

Every waking moment was spent thinking about Allen and ways he might be able to get through to him – even if he couldn't get his memories back, to at least get him to experience the full range of human emotions again. His dreams were filled only with wishes, fantasies of past encounters and ones yet to be had. He dreamt of warm bodies dancing together in passion, kisses to pale skin and hands clutching at him desperately as he drove the smaller body beneath his to new heights. Then he'd wake up flushed and flustered, sweat on his brow, stained sheets and the coldness of the empty room.

It was maddening.

"Yuu, you've been really out of it lately," Lavi said "is everything alright?"

"Che," Kanda stalked past the apprentice Bookman. Lavi was the only one who wasn't won over by his callous attitude and all too predictable answers. Kanda felt like he was always walking on thin ice with Lavi, fearful of saying something that might lead him to the conclusion that Allen was the reason he kept disappearing on missions. Lavi was Allen's friend and being a Bookman he had no obligation to report anything to the Order, but Kanda couldn't take the chance.

The weeks continued to pass without any missions turning up and Kanda was just a few days away from screwing the Order to hell and just disappearing. He needed to see Allen again, he had to go back, but he could only do so if he was sent on a mission.

"Kanda," Lenalee called from the doorway of the training hall, a tray of coffee in her hands, "my brother wants to see you in his office."

'About damn time,' Kanda thought, the tension already lessening.

xXx

"Kanda, what are you doing here?" Allen asked as he continued to dress the gaping wound on his side.

"I needed to talk to you, but that aside, what happened?" Kanda asked approaching the smaller boy.

"Some strange guy with grey skin in a gaudy outfit shot me with some sort of exploding bullet," Allen said with a shrug looking curiously as Kanda soaked a cloth and crouched at his side to clean the wound and stop the bleeding.

"What are you doing?"

"What the fuck does it look like I'm doing," Kanda snapped "and who the hell taught you first aid? You have to stop the bleeding before you bandage it baka."

"It had stopped, then I turned to see you and it started again-" Allen said as the pressure on his side evoked the barest tingle of dizzied pleasure within him.

"Che, then obviously it wasn't properly stopped," Kanda scoffed.

Once the bleeding had stopped Kanda bandaged him up, Kanda looked up to meet two dull sterling eyes with golden flecks tarnishing their purity. He got closer, watching the blank expression, vivid images from his nightly fantasies coming to mind – just wanting to push the boy down and kiss him until they could no longer breathe and their lungs burned.

"Kanda?"

"Shut up," Kanda grunted tugging Allen forward into a kiss, it had been too long and still it wasn't enough, he wanted Allen to kiss back but the boy was motionless like a statue. Breaking away Kanda found no expression on Allen's face or in his cloudy grey eyes.

"Do you want something from me, Kanda?" Allen asked seemingly unphased by the action. He wanted him so much...even if he didn't remember.

"If I said yes?"

"I don't understand the look in your eyes," Allen said "it's not lust, I've seen lust and that isn't it."

Shock registered in Kanda's eyes. Taking a breath he schooled his features and looked seriously at Allen, "do you trust me?"

"Trust?" Allen cocked his head to the side in thought, "I don't understand." Kanda would have smiled at the childish action if it hadn't been accompanied by such a blank expression.

"Could you leave your life in my hands without a thought and simply know that I would protect you?" Kanda asked.

"Protect...my life? You...yes, I suppose I could," Allen said with some difficulty in grasping the idea that Kanda was trying to get across.

"Then I need to tell you something that I should have told you as soon as I saw you, even before that," Kanda paused, "you and I were lovers Allen and I know it's late but I lov-" Kanda cut himself short noting the slight strain in Allen's expression.

"I don't..." Allen's eyes widened as he felt a tearing within him, like his soul was ripping apart. Letting out an agonized scream his hands flew to his head, threading in his hair as he crumbled in on himself.

"O-oi Allen!" Kanda had no idea what to do, mentally cursing himself for eliciting this kind of pain from the boy he'd wanted nothing more than to protect.

"You just could leave it alone could you?" Cross said from the door, drawing Kanda's attention. There was an unmistakeably annoyed look on his face as he brushed past Kanda and tugged Allen into his arms, restraining the writing boy. Working one arm around Allen's neck, Cross applied pressure consistently until the boy's eyes fell shut and his body went limp. "Fucking idiot, I told you-"

"I don't give a damn about what you told me, you fucking prick!" Kanda snapped, the emotions raging in him too much to subdue.

"So you'll make him suffer because you're selfish?" Cross asked with a dark look in his eyes, "if you want to screw him then do it, but don't tell him things that you know will hurt him."

Cross laid Allen back on the bed before leaving the navy haired male alone to his thoughts. A few minutes passed before Kanda decided to move, dragging a chair to Allen's bedside and slumping into it unceremoniously. He knew he should go back, that he'd spent too much time away from his mission already, but he couldn't bring himself to leave. Especially after sending the boy he loved into a fit.

He'd go. After Allen awoke, he'd apologize and then he'd leave.

xXx

When Allen woke, he found himself staring at a dark figure in the shadows of his room, asleep on the chair next to his bed. Blinking a couple times, Allen took note of the long navy locks and the gorgeous and ever so stiff features of the male's face.

Allen really couldn't place the emotion he'd see in Kanda's eyes. When Cross looked at him, he could clearly see annoyance, when some villagers saw him he could see disgust or fear, but Kanda had a dull sheen of indifference barely masking the unnameable feelings beneath it. Allen recalled the first time he had seen Kanda, the disbelief and joy that was there hadn't made sense, no one had ever looked so...happy to see him.

Throughout Kanda's visits Allen took note of many things. From the way the man always seemed to be on edge, to the sarcastic remarks he just couldn't help but make. Then there was the concern and the strange softening of the man's expression, even the violent dip of his navy brows as he reprimanded Allen for his carelessness in battle.

Shaking his head to clear the thoughts, Allen sighed as he slid from the bed, ignoring the stinging pain in his side.

His feet made soft pattering sounds as he made his way to the kitchen, leaving Kanda alone in the room.

xXx

Kanda woke to a sweet grassy smell. Cracking his eyes open, Kanda registered Allen's presence to his left and the steaming cup of tea he had held out to him. Kanda looked up at the boy curiously; he hadn't realized how tired he must've been to have not noticed when Allen woke up.

"It's a bit sweeter than you're used to, but I ran out of green tea leaves," Allen said waiting patiently for Kanda to take the offered beverage.

"Thanks," Kanda muttered as he took the cup, warmth instantly diffusing from the porcelain into him. There was a long period of silence as Allen took a seat on the edge of his bed sipping slowly from his own cup of tea.

"About earlier," Kanda started gazing into the rich amber coloured liquid as it sloshed up the sides of the cup, "I'm sorry."

"What is it you're apologizing for?" Allen asked, now rather confused. He recalled Kanda coming to visit and dressing his wound and the kiss... but then everything after that was hazy until he woke up with Kanda asleep next to him.

'He doesn't remember,' Kanda thought as he stiffened, his grip on the cup tightening. For some reason, having him forget hurt much more than having to apologize.

"It's nothing," Kanda said head bowed a bit, dark bangs casting shadows over his face and hiding his expression, "I should go."

Without another word Kanda stood, setting the untouched tea on the bedside table before heading out of the house. Unknown to the young samurai, Allen had instinctively found himself following after him, stopping in the door frame and staring after the man's retreating back, a painful throbbing making itself known in his chest.

xXx

'What the hell is this?' Allen wondered trying to comprehend the flash he'd seen in his mind. It was blurry and the edges of the image were smudged and hazy like a dream sequence. There were people he didn't know and there was Kanda standing off to the side looking at him with those same piercing eyes. Allen felt a jolt of pain streak through his body, making his head throb violently.

Moyashi

'Kanda's voice?' Allen's eyes widened, pupils narrowing to pinpoints. He wrapped his arms around himself instinctively, as if to ward away the ache seeping into him through the strange apparitions in his mind.

Allen

A soft female voice attached to the blurred image of a welcoming smile.

Shounen

A light carefree voice associated with the widely grinning, scruffy vagabond in some train car, and the smell of cigarette smoke that clung to his clothes.

Allen Walker

A cold, unsettling voice coming from a strange stocky man in a top hat.

Walker

A cold voice accompanied by even colder, condescending eyes that belonged to a stiff-backed man.

Hands threading through his hair, Allen clutched at his head, tugging hard on the silky snow white strands. So out of it he was, he didn't even notice when the door opened or when a voice asked what's wrong. He didn't even notice when arms encircled him and gently began to rock him, while brushing away tears. Had he been crying? Was he even capable of such a thing?

'What is-'

"Damn it, say something!" Kanda growled shattering the images, fragments falling around a trembling child with white hair and sorrowful silver eyes. Gold flecked eyes came into focus, to see a well of concerned cobalt.

"Kanda?"

"What the fuck happened to you?" Kanda asked, brows creased together in worry.

"I- I don't know," Allen said looking down at his innocence; the cross's glow was dimming.

'Is it because of this?' Allen wondered. Kanda followed Allen's gaze to the cross embedded into the back of the black hand recalling what Cross had told him before.

His innocence is the only thing that's left of Allen. It resonates with his memories but his body cannot process them, cannot make sense of them so it hurts him.

'Che, bastard said that it only happens when he's sleeping,' Kanda mentally cursed.

"Are you alright?" Kanda asked, to which he was met with a blank nod.

xXx

"Is it alright for you to be staying here for this long?" Allen asked after the seventh hour had passed, Kanda not making any show of leaving.

"Yeah," Kanda said. It really wasn't alright, but he felt at ease being by Allen's side and didn't want to relinquish that feeling just yet.

"Then would you like to go for a walk?" Allen asked. "We could head into town for a bit." Kanda nodded, it was a nice change from always sitting around and drinking tea.

Their walk through the forest was silent, and Kanda found that he missed small things like this just as much as he missed holding his lover. Allen led Kanda around through the town feeling rather soothed by his presence. Allen had spent little time anywhere but in the house, having no reason to do anything else, but he found that he rather enjoyed walking aimlessly through the town with Kanda.

"Are you hungry?" Allen asked to which Kanda merely shrugged, "we could eat here if you'd like, or I could make something back at the house."

"You'd cook for me?" Kanda smirked lightly at the thought.

"Yes, though I'm not all that good in the kitchen, I've managed to last this long so I must be doing something right," Allen said. Cobalt eyes widened at the rather snappy remark, and for a moment he could have sworn it was his Allen walking beside him again with a bright grin on his childish features.

"Well then chef, one order of soba," Kanda said a light lilt to his voice, fighting down the smile that wanted to twist up his lips.

xXx

"How is it?" Allen asked as Kanda took his first bit of the dish the younger boy had prepared.

"I was kind of worried because your presentation was rather poor, but it tastes good," Kanda said, "then again you can't really screw up boiling some noodles, can you?"

"Perhaps not," Allen said indifferently. Kanda mentally sighed at the response; he'd purposely tried to raise some playful banter from the boy, but that had been a rather unsuccessful endeavour. After the one comment in town, he'd acted a bit more relaxed around Allen, making light-hearted quips that used to get a rise out of his young lover. The closest he'd gotten was when Allen had come back through one of the portals leading to Japan with soba noodles to boil.

"Why the hell did you go to Japan?" Kanda asked.

"Where else did you expect me to get those particular noodles you wanted, China?" Allen retorted calmly as he headed past the older male into the kitchen.

"You don't eat much do you?" Kanda asked noting the small portion of food Allen had taken out for himself.

"I suppose not," Allen said "I don't feel all that hungry a lot of the time." It was strange but Kanda just attributed the change in his eating habits to the fact that he was part Noah – it was the only viable explanation.

xXx

'I wonder if he'll be coming by today,' Allen thought as he watched the rain failing through the window. It had been seventeen days since Kanda's last visit, during that time Allen had gone on a quick assignment for Cross. Usually Allen insisted on taking normal means of transportation, no matter how much longer it made these assignments, but he'd been using the ark gates more frequently in order to return as quickly as possible, not wanting to be away if Kanda came by to visit.

Cross had been surprised at first when he noticed Allen travelling via the ark gates but had said nothing about it, choosing to be amused in silence. He had to say that this kind of Allen, no matter how hollow was much more tolerable than the one with no presence whatsoever.

Allen shifted his gaze up to the golden golem nestled in his hair and reached up to tug Timcanpy down by his tail.

"Do you think he's going to come today?" Allen asked the tiny machine turning his back to the window.

"Are you talking about me?" Kanda asked, elegant navy brow arched in question as he entered the house.

"Kanda," Allen whipped around to see the older male pushing the door closed, hair and clothes sopping wet. "You're wet."

"No shit," Kanda smirked, "it is raining." Allen said nothing as he disappeared into a side room, coming out with a couple towels and a pair of slacks.

"You should dry off," Allen said. Taking the offered items Kanda stripped off his coat and hung it by the door. He next made to remove his form-fitting navy vest but Allen put a hand on his to stop him. "You can change in my room."

"I didn't think you'd be too pleased with me dripping all over the floor," Kanda said revelling in the warmth of Allen's hand over his own.

"It's just water, it'll dry," Allen said simply, "but I don't know what will happen if Master comes back and you're stripping in the hall."

The corners of Kanda's lips quirked up into a bit of smile at the comment and followed Allen down the hall into his room. Allen sat cross-legged on his bed while he waited for the navy haired male to finish changing. Once done, Kanda tossed the damp towel at the back of Allen's head smirking triumphantly at the bit of a pout that somehow made its way to the boy's face as he turned to him.

"That was uncalled for," Allen said. Dull grey eyes fell from the smirking face of the young samurai to the fading ink pattern on his chest. Blinking Allen observed it with interest from his distance.

"What is it?" Kanda asked noticing the extra attention that was fixed on him. The slender boy moved closer, pale fingers feathering over the remnant of the lotus curse.

"A curse," Allen muttered softly.

"Is that a question or a statement?" Kanda asked.

"It's fading, is it gone?" Allen asked as he looked up to meet smouldering cobalt.

"Yes, around a year ago," Kanda said thinking back to the event. He'd been dragged back from one of his searches for Allen. Komui had told him not to go anywhere, how he only had a single lotus petal left and they couldn't take the chance that he would die. A month later and apparently many hours of hard research and planning on Komui's part and he devised a way in which to sever the man's connection with the flower. And he did.

Now in battle Kanda had to be weary of injury just like everyone else. He was still different but his wounds no longer healed as fast. He found the wait to be painfully dull and only now that it was gone, did he appreciate the extra strength the flower had once given him.

Now that Kanda thought about it, the loss of his curse was the reason he had been fighting in such a guarded manner with the akuma the day that Allen had dropped out of nowhere to save him.

"Was it painful?" Allen asked, gaze returning to the ink markings, tracing the black tendrils from Kanda's left pectoral up to his shoulder. Kanda's breath caught in his throat, stifling a groan of pleasure at the gentle touches.

"Kanda?" Allen paused in his examination of the tattoo when the man didn't reply.

"Don't stop," Kanda whispered clasping his hand over Allen's and pressing the boy's hand flush against his skin – God how he'd missed the feel of Allen's touch.

Allen blinked, his expression blank as he studied the older male. Kanda's eyes were closed, breathing hitched as he forcibly restrained the rumbling of pleasure in his chest. If Allen were to describe the look with one word, it would be nostalgic. Allen slowly slid his hand up over the warm flesh of Kanda's skin and lower feeling the increased heart rate pusling through his fingertips.

"Kanda."

Clouded over cobalt eyes filled with longing and need bored into Allen's gold flecked ones, as the older male gently tilted the boy's chin up with his thumb and forefinger. 'What the fuck did you do to me, Moyashi?' Kanda thought as he admired the ivory skin, 'making me crave you like this...'

Allen felt an uncomfortable tightening in his chest and pulled away from Kanda. Desperation flickered across Kanda's gaze as he reached for the retreating male only to come to his senses a moment later and retracted his hand.

"Kanda, I-"

"I'm not sorry," Kanda said looking off to the side, "you make me need you."

The barest flicker of yearning passed over Allen's gaze, but was gone before either could register the emotion.

"How long are you staying this time?" Allen asked walking past Kanda to the door. Kanda's hand shot out, calloused fingers wrapping around Allen's wrist and jerking him to a stop.

"No tea," Kanda said.

"Then what-"

"I'll be leaving at daybreak," Kanda said, "until then just let me hold you." Though his voice was firm and betrayed none of the uncertainty he was feeling, to Allen he may as well have been on his knees begging. The snowy haired male couldn't understand the vulnerability he saw in the older male, nor why he wished to hold him.

Taking Allen's silence as a rejection to his request Kanda released the boy's wrist, hand falling to his side limply. He felt so foolish, falling apart like this in front of the boy. It wasn't Allen's fault, the boy simply didn't understand...

"Like this?" Allen asked startling the male as he leaned back against Kanda bringing his arms around in a loose embrace.

Once over his shock, Kanda tightened his hold around Allen bringing the boy flush against him. Resting his chin on Allen's shoulder, Kanda breathed in the smell of soap that clung to the snowy locks.

"Yeah," Kanda mumbled as he angled his head, lips brushing against the boy's neck, "just like this."

xXx

"Kanda," Lenalee called as she jogged over to walk with him a grin on her face, "you seem to be in a good mood. Something happen?" They had both just returned from theire respective missions. Kanda was, to say the least, elated from having held Allen all night long. Apparently, even with his default scowl firmly in place, he was exuding a joy he hadn't felt in years.

"Che," Kanda scoffed, "what the hell could have happened? Your idiot brother sent me on another wild goose chase; there wasn't even a single akuma to say I got some practice in, a complete waste of my time."

"Is that right?" Lenalee asked though her smile didn't fade, "my mistake then."

"Oi, what-"

"I'll see you later, Kanda," Lenalee called as she ran off. 'If he found Allen, he should have at least told me,' Lenalee thought feeling happy for her friend.

'There's no way she could make the connection,' Kanda thought as he watched the girl disappear down the hall towards the science labs and Komui's office. Shrugging he headed to his room, he could give his mission report later – not that there was anything to report.

As Kanda neared his room, he caught sight of a blur of red and instantly changed course in the opposite direction – like hell he wanted to deal with Lavi first thing when he got back. He already felt his mood dampening at the thought. Kanda heaved a sigh as he heard the sing-song voice of his commrade whilst said male bounded down the hall towards him.

"Yuu!" Lavi called grinning brightly as he launched himself at Kanda, slaming the breaks on and hands instinctively rising up in defnese as Mugen was pointed threateningly at him.

"Keep your distance, baka Usagi," Kanda snapped.

"Oh come on, you just got back and you're already pissed at me?" Lavi laughed nervously, "There's something not right about that."

"Whatever," Kanda scoffed as he sheathed Mugen making to head past Lavi. The redhead blinked a couple times, following Kanda with his gaze a couple feet before something clicked.

"Eh, that's it?" Lavi asked running to catch up to Kanda, quickly falling into step at his side, "no, if you don't shut up I'll take care of that other eye of yours, or, I could introduce you to some methods of torture that makes death look like salvation?" Lavi asked putting on his best Kanda impression.

Kanda's eye twitched in annoyance as he continued to walk, trying his best to ignore Lavi's incessant chattering.

"...Allen this way," Lavi pouted, the name instantly drawing Kanda's attention as he turned his gaze to Lavi, catching him by the collar of his shirt.

"What was that?" Kanda growled, brows knititng together as his gaze hardened on the once again defensive redheaded male.

"I just said that you wouldn't treat Allen this way," Lavi shrugged, "you disagree?"

"Che, doesn't mattereither way, he's not here," Kanda snapped.

"That may be true in a physical sense but he's always just over your shoulder," Lavi said as Kanda released him. "Face it Yuu, ever since Allen left, you've been in a rut. Lately you've been a lot more animated, but you're always on missions and when you're here you act like you've got Mugen shoved up your ass."

"Shut up and go away," Kanda barked angrily at the comment.

"Just tell me one thing before you go off to brood or kill someone," Lavi said leaning in next to Kanda's ear, "is he alright?" Kanda stiffened at the whispered question and shoved Lavi away from him, stalking away without another word.

xXx

"Another mission?" Kanda asked surprised at how soon he was being sent out, not that he was opposed to the idea – it just meant he'd get to visit Allen sooner than he'd expected.

"Yes, I know you just got back, but Lavi left with Bookman earlier this morning and I can't possibly send my precious Lenalee away again so soon," Komui wailed at the mere thought of it.

"Where is it?" Kanda asked ignoring the useless blather.

"There had been a lot of akuma activity in Madrid over the past couple of weeks and we have reason to believe that this is because of innocence," Komui said reading over the main points from an open file on his desk, "your train leaves at noon."

Kanda heaved a heavy sigh at what appeared to be the makings of a very troublesome mission and headed off to his room to get ready. Kanda donned his traveling cloak over his exorcist coat, affixed Mugen to his side and slung his bag over his shoulder before heading down to the docks.

xXx

The scenery passed by as a blur of muddled greens and browns, bleeding in with the pale blue-grey of the sky. Cobalt eyes traced the dusty pane of glass absently registering the rickety clinking of the wheels against the tracks, a dissonant harmony in the otherwise silent train compartment.

'What goes through his mind?' Kanda wondered, 'sometimes I could swear he's rememebring.' It had been hard to see at first, but the more time Kanda spent with Allen, the more he could pick out things about the boy – little quips and habits – things that were clearly a consequence of emotion.

A knock at the door drew Kanda from his thoughts; he wasn't travelling with a finder so no one should be disturbing him.

"It's open," Kanda called, the door sliding open to reveal a snowy head of hair and emotionless gold flecked wells of grey, set into flawless porcelain skin. After a moment of shocked silence Kanda was up yanking Allen into the cabin and slamming the door shut, clicking the lock into place.

"What the hell are you doing here? Someone might see you!" Kanda snapped.

"Master told me that you were going on a mission and that I should accompany you," Allen replied, not ruffled in the least by Kanda's tense tone.

"Why the fuck would he tell you to do that, and how the heck did he know about my mission anway? I just found out about it," Kanda grumbled.

"You seem upset," Allen said.

"Upset? Of course I'm upset!" Kanda snapped. "You're a stone's throw away from a group of people wouldn't think twice about locking you up or killing you!"

"I've been following you since you stepped off the docks," Allen said "I assure you no one saw me." Kanda fell silent as he took a deep breath to ground himself.

"Did Cross say why he wanted you to join me on this mission?" Kanda asked.

"No," Allen said.

Kanda couldn't say that the idea of being able to go on a mission with Allen like in the past didn't stir his blood or set his heart racing with excitement, but it was far too risky. If the Vatican caught wind of Allen's presance then there was a high chance that he'd lose him.

xXx

Dull grey eyes followed Kanda's movements across the room. He was restless, pacing back and forth, back and forth across the wooden floor in front of the bed. Allen didn't know why but for some reason seeing the older male so agitated was rather unsettling for him. Kanda's mind was in chaos. He knew that he'd been spending too much time away from the Order. Komui wouldn't do anythign about it but central was less likely to forgive misgrievances like his frequent disappearances should they become suspicious of something.

Cross was right about the Vatican and Kanda was well aware that he was putting Allen in danger simply from consorting with him. And now the boy was accompanying him on a mission, courtesy of Cross's stupidity. The man had insisted that Kanda stayed away from Allen and yet that same man had decided to send said boy to the very person he'd wanted him to stay away from. What kind of fucked up logic lead to an outcome like that? What the hell had the renegade been thinking?

"Listen, I want you to stay out of sight and keep your hair covered at all times," Kanda said pausing in his pacing, "and keep your distance from me when we're out." Allen quirked a brow in unspoken question at the peciuliar orders, patiently awaiting an explaination.

"I can't be certain but there should be a few finders in this town and if they see you it would be...problematic," Kanda said "can you promise me you won-"

"Is this worry?" Allen asked.

"Excuse me?" Kanda's brows furrowed at the question.

"This emotion, your anxiousness and agitation, is that worry?" Allen asked "are you fearing for my safety?"

"Che," Kanda grunted as he yanked Allen into an embrace, "don't say it like that."

"I don't understand."

"I know you don't," Kanda said "I know..."

"I'm sorry," Allen said hesitantly bringing his arms up to mimic Kanda in returning the embrace.

'It's still him,' Kanda thought, 'only he is capable of making me need him so much. Only he would do whatever he could for someone else...returning an embrace though he felt nothing, and apologizing though he didn't know what for...it's all him.'

xXx

How they'd ended up fighting againt members of the Noah family was a bit unclear. There was a day of fruitless searching in town, and then there was a heavy silence when they'd returned to the inn before the floors became clouds and the pastel colored walls bled into ivory oceans dotted with indigo stars.

"Shit," Kanda cursed forcing the Bonds of Noah away. He'd heard about their abilities when becoming one entity but had wished he'd paid more attention while Lavi was blabbing on about it. Sparing a glance to the other end of the rather fucked up dream world he could see Allen fighting the Pleasure of Noah, whilst the Dreams of Noah calmly sat off to the side watching the exchange in amusement.

Three Noah at once...God really did have a sick sense of humour.

Another bullet dodged and another eviceration evaded, the samurai's dance persisted. Even with his second illusion invoked getting close to the Noah was proving to be rather difficult – being able to materialize things from a distance and having hair that acted as its own weapon with nothing more than a thought from the Noah were two abilities that Kanda wouldn't have minded never witnessing first hand.

'Damn I'm sick of these games,' Kanda thought as he ran at the Noah, dashing up to him, sword drawn and ready to strike only to glance Allen's way and pull back just enough to give he impression that he was going to run to Allen's aid. Once sure the Noah was going to attack from his back, Kanda swung around and sliced both swords through the body. A blast of energy sent Kanda flying back into the wall. Shaking his head and standing, Kanda frowned as he noted that his opponent had turned tail and ran.

xXx

"It's a shame you don't remember," Tyki said as he phased through the floor coming up behind Allen, "we had some really good times."

"Won't you come with us, Allen?" Rhode asked "Those cruel exorcists brainwashed you. They stripped you of all your memories and have been lying to you and still you won't come home?"

"I don't know who you are but I'm quite sure that I'd never consider a place with people like you home," Allen said dully as he countered Tyki's attack bringing his clawed hand down, shredding the Tease that were blocking him from his goal.

"So damn stubborn even like this," Rhode frowned. Turning her golden gaze over to where Kanda had been fighting Jasdevi she found that said Noah was no longer there and that Kanda was hastily making his way towards them.

"Tyki's playing with Allen now," Rhode grinned as she dropped down in front of Kanda, blocking his path, "I won't let you interfere."

Kanda didn't hesitate as he lunged at her, after all he still had to repay the favor for the time she'd strung him up to use as bait for Allen.

"Do you hate me for what I did to you? Or is that murderous look because you can't stand the thought of what Allen means to me?" Rhode asked smiling.

"Sorry to disappoint but you don't warrant much more thought than, stupid bitch talks too much," Kanda spat as he crossed the blade and sheathe in front of him only for her to float out of reach.

"Is that so?" Rhode smirked, "unfortunately for you, you can't even touch me, whereas I don't even need to try in order to kill you." In that moment tens of spiraled candles pierced Kanda's hands, knocking Mugen to the ground. The firey blue aura surounding his weapon dimmed until it was completely estinguished, Kanda's eyes wide at the sting of pain in his hands where two candles were now lodged.

"And for that matter, Tyki doesn't have to try either," Rhode said just as the Pleasure of Noah phased through the ground in front of Kanda hand shooting forward to pierce into the samurai's body. In the split second of realization that this was going to be the end of him, Allen dashed in front of him, Tyki's hand disappearing into the boy's chest.

A deafening silence fell over the group, cobalt eyes widened in shock staring down at Allen's crumbling form. Pale lips were parted, breathing laboured and hollow grey eyes wide but seeing nothing but black.

"Oh look Allen saved him," Rhode exclaimed "Tyki you really shouldn't have hurt him like that though."

"Allen," Kanda said as the boy threw up blood. There was no wound. Tyki had just yanked his hand from Allen's chest but there was nothing. Allen had taken the blow that had been meant for him. Why?

"I'm fine," Allen wheezed, pale hand trembling as his eyes brightened to gold, a cruel violent color. And things began to fall apart – the dream world around them began to unravel. Rhode's eyes widened before narrowing darkly. There was no piano, no song falling from Allen's lips, and yet a haunting melody danced through the air, the boy's innocence glowing violently in protest. Kanda had never felt a killing intent off Allen this strong and bothersome before. Allen felt many things but hatred was not one of them.

The world was gone and they were once again in the room at the inn. Rhode and Tyki were writhing on the ground holding their heads in pain. 'What the hell is this?' Kanda wondered as a dream door appeared, it was flickering though, in and out like it was taking all of the Noah's power to keep it there.

The Earl appeared with a dark grin on his face a horde of akuma swarming at Allen and exploding breaking whatever spell he'd cast on the two and allowing them enough of a reprieve to escape.

"This isn't over, Allen Walker," the Earl chuckled and then he was gone.

Golden eyes faded to hollow grey and Allen's trembling increased, clutching at his innocence. It was as if the blackened flesh had begun to burn away, blood vessels burst, blood spilling down his arm, painting the still angry glow of the cross in black.

Kanda didn't know what to make of it and settled for bringing Allen's trembling form into his arms, ignoring the twitch of pain in his hands – it wasn't serious, he'd experienced much worse.

"We're going to Cross, just hold out until then okay," Kanda said.

"No," Allen breathed heavily.

"What the heck do you mean no?" Kanda snapped "you're-"

"Master will be angry," Allen murmured, right hand gripping Kanda's forearm – a gesture of pleading.

Kanda was torn on the situation, "what do you want me to do? I can't just leave you like this."

"I just need a day…I'll be better…just give me a day," Allen made out between gasps.

"I'm going to need answers," Kanda said. A weak nod was Allen's only response as his vision blurred, it had become difficult for him to just breathe let alone remain conscious. "Where to?"

"Here's fine," Allen said fighting back the encroaching darkness.

"But there's a gaping hole in the wall," Kanda said glancing over to the splintered wood and broken glass resulting from the self-destructing akuma. No sooner had he said that did things begin to rebuild, pieces of splintered wood and glass rising from the floor and becoming whole as if nothing had happened. It was a much softer melody but Kanda knew it had come from Allen.

Once complete Allen was thrown into a fit of coughing, Kanda rubbing soothing circles on his back, hoping to ease the pain in any way he could.

"I don't want you to use that power anymore," Kanda said sternly as he laid Allen down on the bed. Dazed eyes followed Kanda's movements around the room until the navy haired male settled himself on the edge of the bed a small basin of water on the chair he'd dragged over, a cloth hanging over the rim and rolls of bandages next to it.

"If you're tired you can sleep," Kanda said as he undid the buttons on Allen's shirt and eased it off his shoulders, leaving the boy's upper body bare. Allen shivered as the cool air of the room leeched warmth from his skin.

Dampening the washcloth, Kanda gently cleaned the skin of Allen's left arm, carefully sliding the cloth between each of the boy's fingers and washing away the flaking obsidian blood. Even clean the apendage looked terrible, the veins in the boy's hand were strained around the cross, his fingers were twitching slightly from obviously damaged nerves, and the flesh from around the cross up to his elbow was cracked and shiriveled so much so that the raw muscle was visible in some areas.

Setting the washcloth aside, Kanda picked up a roll of bandages and carefully began to wrap Allen's arm. Once finished Kanda brought the bandaged apendage to his lips and pressed a chaste kiss to the cross. 'Please don't hurt him anymore.'

Kanda looked over the skin of Allen's chest and found no sign of where the Noah had tugged his hand free. Frowning, Kanda looked up to see hazy eyes staring at him, though with the glassy sheen over them, it was likely that Allen wasn't seeing much of anything at the moment.

"Can you hear me?" Kanda asked cupping Allen's cheek in his hand, a nod was his answer. "Can you tell me where you feel the most pain, that Noah-"

"I'll live," Allen said with some difficulty.

"He ripped his hand from your chest and you were coughing up blood," Kanda said, brows furrowed in worry, "I can't see the injury so I need you to tell me about it so I can help as best as I can."

"It'll heal," Allen murmured, eyelids feeling heavy, "missed my organs..."

"Allen," Kanda sighed as he carded his fingers through Allen's hair, brushing back the locks from the sleeping boy's face.

xXx

"Answers now," Kanda demanded.

"What do you want to know?" Allen asked, breaths short and shallow, but consistent.

"I want to know what that was back there," Kanda said "that music and your arm."

"There's not much to tell, just abilities unique to the fourteenth Noah, that's what Master told me," Allen said. "They conflict with the innocence, so naturally this is a result of using those powers," Allen lifted up his left arm indicating the "result" he was speaking of.

"If it hurts you, why do you do it?" Kanda asked, "this isn't the first time."

"No it's not," Allen affirmed, "and the reason is simply because I had to."

"Did you have to take the attack that was meant for me too?" Kanda asked, tone a bit more somber.

"I had a higher chance of surviving it than you," Allen said. It was true, but at the time the only thing running thorugh Allen's head had been Kanda's name. Such rationalizations had come only now that the question had been asked. He wasn't supposed to be feeling anything. His heart wasn't supposed to speed up in fearful apprehension at the thought of the older male dying.

"Baka Moyashi," Kanda muttered shaking his head. How foolish he was to have thought differently.

xXx

"You said to give you one day and I gave you two, I'm going to take you home now," Kanda said looking out the window at the bleak weather, "we have to move quickly, it looks like it's going to rain."

"I'll just make a door," Allen said only for a hand to be placed on his shoulder.

"No," Kanda said sternly, "I won't have you using any more of those Noah abilities, your body can't take it. Your innocence is still recovering from the last time." Kanda's gaze drifted down to the tightly bandaged left arm, heart constricting at the thought of how painful it must've been.

"I'll heal," Allen said staring blankly at Kanda, trying to understand the emotions in his voice and reasons for what he said.

"So you've told me," Kanda said shaking the thoughts from his head, "trust me, I'll get you back safely," Kanda said grabbing his jacket and turning it inside out to hide the fact that he's an exorcist. Nodding mutely Allen tried to sit up, only to sharply intake a breath from the ache in his body.

"Don't make any unnecessary movements," Kanda said as he walked over to Allen, scooping the boy up in his arms and then maneuvering him onto his back. "Your only task is not to let your hood fall off." Slender arms wraped around Kanda's neck loosely and Allen rested his head on Kanda's back, eyes drooping with fatigue.

Allen was only vaguely aware of the fact that he was moving, feeling little more than the excessive warmth radiating from Kanda and the ache in his chest and arm.

xXx

"What the hell happened?" Cross growled angrily as Kanda walked into the house with Allen sleeping soundly on his back.

"Noah, three of them," Kanda scowled, "and we even had a short visit from the Earl. Damn eventful, don't you think?"

"He used those abilities didn't he?" Cross frowned.

"Che, and I suppose those abilities are the ones you neglected to tell me about," Kanda snapped walking past Cross and depositing Allen into his room for the time being.

"You didn't need to know," Cross shrugged as the navy haired male pulled the door shut behind him to limit the amount of noise getting intot he room.

"Bullshit," Kanda hissed, "you sent him with me on a mission issued by the Order. From the moment you put his life in my hands, I needed to know everything." For once Cross didn't feel it appropriate to say anything in retort and watched as the fuming samurai disappeared back into Allen's room.

'Well ain't that something,' Cross thought smirking as he headed through one of the ark gates.

xXx

Allen slept for the rest of the day, by the time he woke up it was almost morning again. Kanda had fallen asleep in the chair beside his bed again and they appeared to have made it back to the house. Slowly sitting up Allen shuffled over to the edge of the bed taking note of the hard features of the older male – even in sleep he was tense.

Reaching a hand out, Allen brushed a strand of navy hair behind Kanda's ear, mimicking the way the samurai had often done with him. He made to retract his had but found he couldn't, having been caught in a steely grip. Cobalt eyes opened, drunk on fatigue and not filly aware of what was going on. Allen simply stared; he hadn't expected the man to be such a light sleeper.

"What is it?" Kanda asked groggily.

"I'm feeling better, you can go if you want," Allen said his eyes a void of warped greys and voice still a bitter emptiness. Allen felt a twinge of something in him, almost regretful for having said what he had when cobalt eyes hardened and narrowed to angry slits.

"I'm not going anywhere," Kanda said, voice cold and biting, "If you think I'd be here if I didn't want to then you're fucking wrong."

"You'll get in trouble," Allen said voice even, gaze firm, "you're a member of the Order, you abandoned your mission when I got injured, and even after getting me back here you still insist on remaining at my side. I'm grateful for what you've done for me, but I don't wish to see you punished because of my weakness."

"Baka Moyashi," Kanda muttered as he shifted closer to the bed and drew Allen into his arms. Allen felt a gentle hum resonating through him, in all of the memories he had this was the first time his innocence didn't scream with sadness. Hesitantly Allen brought his hands up to return the gesture, burying his face in Kanda's neck and breathing in the comforting musky earthen smell that clung to the man's skin – so very grounded and real.

xXx

Two days had passed before Allen was up and about, claiming to be fully healed from the attack. Things fell back into a normal routine of sorts, Allen making tea and going for short walks with Kanda – that was one thing that had changed. Kanda hadn't left, he was still there and though pleased by his presance, Allen couldn't help the wavering feeling tugging at the sinews in his heart, such strange aching feelings that he couldn't name.

We exist as lust and pleasure and bonds but not love.

'What was that?' Allen thought, white brows knitting together and hands threading in his hair, trying to will away the oncoming headache. The voice had been cold, angry, and almost desperate; where had it come from and why had it invaded his thoughts while he'd been thinking of Kanda?

"Allen," Kanda called as he walked into the boy's room, "are you alright?"

"Just a slight headache," Allen said, not bothering to turn to face the supposed object of his new found problems.

"Maybe you should lie down," Kanda offered moving to Allen side. Allen shook his head, regretting the action as it sent his mind reeling.

"Che, you're too tempting like this," Kanda smirked at the glassy eyed look that had settled on him.

'Tempting...lust?' Allen thought trying to make the connection. He still didn't recognize the emotion he saw in Kanda's eyes when he looked at him like this. There was a deep rooted need, but it was different from the lust he'd seen in other people's eyes.

"Why do you restrain yourself?" Allen asked to which a completely shocked look overcame Kanda's face. Cross desired women and he sought relief from them, it only stood to reason based on his limited knowledge of such feelings that if Kanda wanted him then he would take him in order to sate those wants.

"Do you have any idea what you're asking?" Kanda asked.

"The emotions you feel, I don't understand them," Allen said "you've asked me to trust you, you've shown much concern for me, and your eyes tell me you desire me. But these things, they don't make sense. The words, they feel empty and it hurts whn I try to match your expressions with them."

"Damn, you're such an idiot," Kanda sighed throwing caution and restraint to the wind. Lips pressed against lips and Kanda pushed Allen back against the wall, small hands tentatively hooking around his neck as the lithe boy trembled at the calloused hands running up his sides.

"You'll never understand if you can't feel it," Kanda mumbled as he broke the kiss, licking his lips in satisfaction that Allen had at least partially taken part in it this time. His blood was already searing trails through his veins, setting his body on fire. Kanda rested his forehead against Allen's shoulder angling his face towards the crook of the boy's neck and sucking on the sensitive skin. The softest gasp escaped Allen's parted lips as Kanda bit into the soft flesh, running his tongue over it to soothe the sting, leaving a blushing red mark on the boy's skin.

"What did you just feel?" Kanda asked "when I bit you?"

"Dizzy, but not nauseaus," Allen mumbled trying to find the right word to describe it, "pleasure?"

"Good," Kanda smirked as he leaned in and repeated the action eliciting another barely audible gasp.

Kanda was hard, a prominent bulge in his pants and a burning need in his abdomen, heat racing to his engorged cock. Allen took note of the hardness of the male's arousal and palmed the front of the Kanda's pants making him hiss at the pleasurable pressure.

"Shall I relieve you?" Allen asked.

"Don't say it so casually," Kanda frowned, "I want to take you, and mark every inch of you as my own. It's nothing as impersonal and casual as relief." That said, Kanda tugged Allen's shirt over his head, tossing it to floor as he continue his trail of kisses, nips and licks from the boy's collar down his chest, stopping to taking a stiffened nipple into his mouth.

Allen's eyes widened at the sensation of Kanda's tongue rolling the pert nub along his tongue, the hands laced behind Kanda tightened instinctively drawing the male closer. A low rumbling chuckle reverberated through Kanda, and Allen could feel it in his tingling skin.

"Was that good for you?" Kanda smirked when the boy nodded and switched to the other nipple, earning him the same reaction. Sliding lower down Allen's body Kanda hooked his thumbs in Allen's pants dragging them down as he knelt in front of the now fully exposed boy. Kanda took a moment simply admiring the milky skin he'd missed since that day Allen had left on a mission he didn't intend to return from.

"That fluttery feeling in your chest and stomach, the feeling that's making it difficult to breathe but you can't seem to quell the burn in," Kanda said as he breathed over the younger male's arousal, "that's desire."

'Desire, this is what it feels like?' Allen thought through his foggy mind.

"And this," Kanda turned his attention to the stiff organ, running a finger up the length to the tip, "this is your excitement as a result of that desire."

One last look up at Allen's flushed features and glossy cloud colored eyes and Kanda was smirking into the organ he'd engulfed in his mouth. A beautiful little whimper escaped Allen as his body trembled from the sensation. Kanda was enjoying finding out what kinds of sounds he could pull from those pale pink lips. Running his tongue up the underside of the boy's cock elicited a low groan, and grazing his teeth over the slit drew out a gasp and the boy's body would tense up ever so slightly.

A few moments later Kanda felt the boy's body tense, his breathing becoming short pants and he knew he was at his limit.

"What you're feeling now, the pressure here," Kanda said hands gently cuping the boy's balls, slowly massaging the flesh and tugging some delicious little mewls from Allen, "and the stiffening here," Kanda traced his other hand up Allen's length in a deliberately slow motion, "can you tell me what it is?"

"Please," Allen whimpered mind hazy with need, "need to cum, please."

"Not yet, love," Kanda said, unable to contain his grin at hearing that breathy voice begging. Standing up, Kanda hoisted Allen up, legs wraping around his waist as he walked over to the bed with his panting lover.

Once he'd laid Allen down on the bed, Kanda caressed teasingly up the inside of the creamy thighs as he spread them. The body beneath him trembled, at the peak of his pleasure but without the desired release. Allen's half lidded eyes snapped open as a finger probed at his entrance, pushing past the tight ring of muscle into him. The sensation made his mouth hand open in a silent gasp, trying to suck in the air he'd somehow forgotten to breathe in.

Kanda smirked as he leaned down pressing a kiss to Allen's weeping cock as he pushed the second finger in quickly followed by the third in his dwindling patience. Curling his fingers Kanda grinned triumphantly as Allen bucked off the bed vocie catching in his throat at the hight of pleasure that exploded in him, dragging him ever closer to his desired release.

'Found it,' Kanda thought as he pulled his fingers out of the now frustrated younger male. One more brush of the boy's prostate and he'd have been cumming, and he couldn't allow that without first penetrating him.

"Please, don't stop," Allen whimpered softly once he'd found his voice, "I need you...so close...so very clo-" Allen was cut off by lips against his own.

"Alright, Allen," Kanda breathed against the boy's ear, spreading the boy's legs and hooking one over his shoulder to give him a better angle. Allen's whole body tensed and shuddered as Kanda pushed against his entrance, slowly sinking forward until the head passed the ring of muscle. Allen's arms tightened around Kanda's neck as his body instinctively fought against the intrusion. Kanda stopped for a moment to look at the boy's face.

Panting, flushed, sweat on his brow, and glassy desire filled eyes. Allen was a vision of eroticism, completely gorgeous and sexy beyond belief. In one hard jerk of his hips, Kanda sheathed himself completely, wrenching a scream from the smaller body that arched his back off the bed in his high, pearly white cum painting both of their stomachs.

Allen gasped at the feeling of being filled so intimately, it was like nothing he could recall feeling and yet it felt so very right to have Kanda lodged deep inside of him. Kanda groaned at the delicious heat drawing him deeper from the constricting muscles, trying to milk him of his cum. It had been far too long.

Once Allen's body had stopped twitching, Kanda pulled out before pushing back in and began a slow rhythm, building up the boy's arousal as he increased his speed.

'He's quieter than he used to be,' Kanda registered absently as he took pleasure in every bit of fragmented emotion to cross his lover's face.

"Nngh, Ka..n...Ka..n..ghaa..." Allen panted as Kanda pushed into him over and over; brushing up against the boy's prostate and making him see stars. Heat was churning in Allen's abdomen, tightening in his erection again, and from the frantically erratic pace that Kanda was drilling into him at, he was sure that he felt it too.

"Yuu," Kanda groaned as he felt Allen's muscles constrict around him, dragging him deeper into that heat, "call me Yuu."

"Yuu," Allen breathed out testing the name on his tongue, it tasted so sweet, made that fluttery desire expand in his chest.

"God yes, Allen," Kanda groaned, as he tore into the smaller body, raming headlong into the boy's prostate as he came.

"Yuu!" Allen cried out, mind going blank for a moment as the jets of cum spurting directly at his prostate tipped him over the edge and he came for the second time, legs twitching from the heightened sensations.

Kanda collapsed against Allen, breathing heavily as they slowly came down from their post-orgasmic high.

"What you're feeling now," Kanda murmured as he rolled to the side of his young lover, drawing his body against his, "do you know what it is?"

"Bliss?" Allen breathed, the heady scent of Kanda and sex leaving his mind a fuzzy mess.

"That's right," Kanda murmured as he buried his nose in Allen's snowy locks, breathing in deeply of the musky smell with contentment.

xXx

Kanda woke with Allen asleep in his arms. That night he'd held Allen had been nice, but he'd wanted to hold his lover like this much more. He wished he'd never have to let go.

"I love you Allen," Kanda whispered as he tightened his hold around the boy's waist not knowing said boy was awake.

'What is this? It hurts so much and yet I crave it...why? Is it love? Is that what this painfully familiar feeling is?' Allen moved a hand over Kanda's startling the older male.

'Shit, he's awake!'

Kanda wasn't sure how Allen would take his confession, the boy still didn't remember what they had been to each other and the last time he'd said he loved him he'd snapped into pained hysterics. Kanda made to pull back a bit but stopped when Allen's smaller hand gripped him tightly.

"Again," Allen whispered.

"What?"

"Say it again." Unsure Kanda turned his hand lacing his fingers with Allen's.

"I love you Allen," Kanda said waiting for the eruption that never came.

He could feel it...that dull aching in his chest, the throbbing pain in his innocence and head that threatened to rip him in two. Drawing strength from the hand holding his, Allen craned his neck to look back at Kanda. He was beautiful and warm and Allen had felt things because of this man – painful and frightening things – things that he wanted to continue experiencing until he died.

"Then don't let go."

xXx

"I don't give a damn about the Order," Kanda growled, "I have no reason to go back there."

"You really are a fool," Cross said watching Allen run about in the kitchen making lunch. The changes were slight but it was obvious to anyone who looked, that Allen wasn't as dead as he had been just a few short months ago. Even without memories and without the whole range of human emotions, he was acting more like his old self. "What happens when they come looking for you?"

"Che, they looked for him for months," Kanda said gesturing to Allen, "they'd looked for you for years until you decided to play dead. They'll look for me for a couple months and it'll be over."

"Froi really has some stubborn brats," Cross muttered as he took a long drag from his cigarette. Kanda huffed at his general's name but said nothing. "You'll do what you want even if I tell you otherwise so as long as you're here, look out for that little troublemaker over there will you."

"As if I needed you to tell me that," Kanda bristled as his gaze traveled across to the room to his Moyashi.

xXx

He didn't know how it happened, how he'd ended up clutching at his lover's broken body, all too reminiscent of the incident a month ago. He couldn't recall how they'd come across exorcists from the Black Order fighting desperately against the group of Noah – a war? No, more like a slaughter. Finders and new accomodators already dead and littering the battlefield.

He didn't remember when they'd joined the battle, or the expressions of their once commrades as they noted the presance of two of their lost friends. He didn't know when the Earl had showed up, and he sure as hell couldn't understand why it was that everything was screaming around him as he noted the Earl's fallen sword and the singed top hat rolling by, the stocky man nowhere to be seen – dead or alive he didn't know, but he hoped it was the former.

He didn't hear the voices of the people who'd been Allen's friend, nor could he hear the debate between them and the generals that were present thinking about procedure and whether or not to report to central about the situation. Kanda's world was narrowed solely down to the fragile boy lying in front of him.

"Stay with me Allen," Kanda said urgently as he wadded up his coat and pressed it firmly to the wound in Allen's torso. The gasping boy registered no fear even as he felt something in him telling him if this persists he was going to die.

"It's alright, you don't have to worry about-" Allen stopped short as he was over come by spasms, coughing up blood and bile.

"Baka!" Kanda hissed tears of frustration beginning to streak down his cheeks. 'I can't lose you again.'

"You're crying," Allen said a trembling hand reaching up and thumbing away a tear. Kanda's eyes widened it was definitely something Allen would do, not the empty Allen but his Allen. The pale hand retracted as Allen looked at Kanda, "why?"

"Why the fuck do you think?" Kanda snapped applying more pressure to the wound hoping desperately that the blood would clot. "I won't allow you to leave again. I should have told you before, so many times before, since that day in the church. I should have told you how much you meant to me, should have made you stay. I love you Allen Walker, even without your memories, you are still the boy that I fell for and are still the boy that I intend to spend whatever's left of my damned existence with."

"It hurts," Allen said dulled eyes falling to Kanda's lips, the place from which many stiff and condescending remarks had come from and the same place where the declaration of something unfathomable to Allen had come from.

"I know it hurts, but you can't give in, stay with me," Kanda said "I refuse to let you die."

"No, that's not…here," Allen said lifting a hand over his rapidly beating heart "it hurts here, when you speak like that."

"You still love me," Kanda said with a smirk, "that's what it means."

"I don't know how I know, but I know that you don't say things like this," Allen said forcing himself into a sitting position, hands trembling to support his weight.

"Don't mo-" Kanda's eyes widened as lips pressed against his.

"If you're satisfied with me…maybe…maybe I could fight a little bit longer," Allen said a slight turning of his lips painted a ghost of a smile on his face.

Can a Noah love? It's debatable isn't it? Love, desire, admiration...are there some boundaries that can be crossed if one wishes hard enough? If one suffers long enough? Can a Noah love? Maybe not, but then again, Allen Walker isn't defined by such things.

Quid pro quo – one thing in return for another; something that is given or taken in return for something else – what had he lost? What had he gained? A lover from a friend, a new life from the loss of an old one...it's doesn't always have to be a bad thing.

End


A/N: I finally finished! I'm sorry it took me so long, I hope it isn't disappointing. The ending was a bitch to write, I rewrote it five times beore I decided this way was the most satisfying. I know it's kind of open ended, what with Allen being wounded on the battlefield and the generals arguing over what to do, but the focus was meant to be on Allen. In one of the endings I drafted out I continued a bit after but it detracted from the effect I wanted in the ending.

This chapter was considerably less angsty than the last, but I hope the detachment and gradual progression into something akin to feeling was evident. Kanda's character was bit difficult to write this time around, trying to keep him in character while getting him to say and do things that were perhaps a little too honest for his personality was quite the challenge, but I hope I managed to pull it off.

Exams are in a little over a week. My goal was to finish this story around the middle of the month and then get the other one I'm working on for the end of the month but clearly that didn't happen. Once again sorry for the long wait, I hope it was worth it.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who's read and reviewed my works.

Comments are welcomed – they make me happy :)