Disclaimer - I do not own D Gray Man
Nighty Night Allen
It was the end of another long day of performing and Mana and Allen were both exhausted as they made their way to the inn where they were renting a room for the night. The town was in the middle of a festival and the two traveling performers had been kept busy by crowds for practically the entire day. Allen lagged behind as Mana led the way across town and, after the child had fallen to the ground twice, Mana took pity on him.
"Come on Allen," Mana said as he knelt down and offered the little boy a piggy back ride. "Climb up on my back and I'll carry you the rest of the way."
Allen was slightly embarrassed by the fact that Mana was offering to carry him but he was too tired to object. Slowly he clambered onto Mana's back, gripping the man by the shoulders so that he wouldn't fall. A smile appeared on Mana's face as he gripped the child underneath the knees so that he could hold him in place. He had grown so attached to Allen in the time that they had spent together and couldn't imagine life without the little boy.
Groaning slightly Mana got to his feet and continued down the street toward the inn where he and the child were staying. Due to the heavy crowds he and Allen had made more money in one day than they normally did in a week and the clown decided that they deserved a little treat.
"Hey Allen," Mana said, suddenly making a decision.
"Hmm?" It was obvious by the sound of Allen's voice that the child was tired.
"How would you like to stop and get some ice cream before we go back to the inn?"
The child perked up immediately, all thoughts of how tired he was apparently forgotten due to the mention of food. It wasn't often that the two of them were able to afford more than the necessities and he was excited by the prospect of ice cream, a rare treat. "Yea Mana!"
The enthusiasm in the boy's voice caused a smile to spread across Mana's face and he immediately turned and began walking toward an ice cream parlor that he had noticed when he and Allen had left the inn that morning. Allen absolutely loved to eat which was why Mana always chose to reward the child with food.
Mana slowly made his way to the ice cream parlor and when he and Allen arrived there he deposited the child on the ground and allowed the little boy to pick out a treat. Allen had a difficult time deciding what he wanted but in the end he chose a vanilla cone. Mana smiled as he paid the man and handed the treat to the little boy, whose gray eyes were shining in excitement.
It really didn't take much to please him.
"Thank you," Allen said, smiling widely as he took the treat.
"You're welcome," Mana said, pleased with how well Allen was progressing with his manners. It was almost impossible to recognize this child as the rough little street kid that he had first adopted. Although Allen did slip up every now and then but hey, no one was perfect.
Once Allen had his treat in hand Mana turned and began to walk toward the door. He paused however when he felt a small hand grip the sleeve of his costume. Turning around the clown gazed down at the child, who was looking up at him with a questioning look in his gray eyes. "What is it Allen?"
"Aren't you going to get anything for yourself?" Allen asked, his head tilted slightly to the side as he gazed up at Mana.
Mana shook his head.
"Is it cause it costs money?" Allen asked, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a couple of coins. He held his palm up, offering the coins to his foster father. "Cause I'll pay for it if you want me to."
A broad smile spread across Mana's face as his surrogate son offered to buy him a treat. He was touched by the child's generosity and, reaching down, he tousled the young boy's already unruly brown hair. "Thank you Allen but I really don't want anything."
"Okay," Allen said, stuffing the coins back in his pocket. He still looked confused, as though he couldn't believe that anyone would turn down an offer of ice cream, but he didn't pursue the matter further. Instead he focused all of his attention on the ice cream cone that he held in his hand.
"Come on," Mana said, leading the way back outside. "I can't wait to get back to the room so I can change."
Having forgotten that they were still dressed for their performance Allen gazed down at his own clothes and smiled. "Me too."
When Mana and Allen reached the room that they had been renting for a couple of days the older of the two clowns reached into his pocket and produced a key, which he used to unlock the door. Allen rushed inside, followed closely behind by Mana who couldn't help but laugh at the little boy. The child sat down in the floor, happily licking his ice cream.
Normally any food that the child was given vanished almost instantly but Allen knew better than to do this with ice cream. He had already learned that lesson the hard way and was forcing himself to eat the treat slowly so as not to suffer the same fate again.
Mana made his way over to a small table and filled a porcelain bowl with water. Dipping a wash cloth into the water and then wringing out the excess water began to wipe the thick white makeup from his face. It felt so good to be rid of it and Mana let out a little sigh. Next he traded his too large clown costume for a pair of trousers and a white button up shirt.
"Much better," he said as he came to sit beside Allen on the floor.
The child had finished his ice cream by this point and now he looked as though he had tried to put on makeup twice, one coat on top of another. The red smile that had been painted on his face was now streaked with white. Chuckling softly to himself Mana used the damp wash cloth to clean the makeup and the ice cream from the child's face. Allen squirmed as his foster father cleaned his face but Mana finally managed to get him cleaned up.
"Go change your clothes," Mana said, giving the child a playful little shove. He could tell by the look on the child's face that Allen was tired and he wanted the little boy to get into his pajamas before he fell asleep. It was almost impossible to change the kid's clothes while he was sleeping and Mana didn't want to have to go through that if he could help it.
"Okay," Allen said as he jumped to his feet.
The child soon returned, dressed in the blue pajamas that Mana had bought for him. Being a street performer Mana didn't have very much extra cash however he had used what little he had managed to save to buy the child some clothes since the only clothes that he had owned before Mana had taken him in had been ragged and too big for him.
Allen sat back down beside Mana, leaning his head against his foster father's chest. Mana casually ran his fingers through the child's hair. "Are you tired Allen?"
"Mmm," was the child's reply.
"You did a good job today," Mana told the little boy, proud that Allen had performed alongside him all day long. They had only taken a few short breaks so Mana knew that the child had to be absolutely exhausted. He knew that he was at any rate.
"Thank you," the child said in a quiet voice.
Mana could feel the child's body relaxing and he decided that he should probably get Allen into bed before the child ended up falling asleep in the floor. Personally he didn't want to spend the night this way and he gently nudged the child who was leaning heavily against him. "Allen..."
"Why don't you get into bed before you fall asleep in the floor?" Mana asked, gazing down at the little boy.
"But... I'm not... sleepy," Allen protested.
"Uh huh," Mana said, not the slightest bit convinced by the child's words. "Bed, now."
Allen grumbled a little bit but slowly got to his feet and walked over to the bed that he had claimed upon their arrival here in this room. He pulled back the covers but then paused and gazed back at Mana, who had just risen to his feet. "Um... Mana..."
"What is it?" Mana asked.
"Will you... tell me a bedtime story?" Allen's face flushed red, as though he were embarrassed by this request.
Mana was somewhat surprised by this request since Allen had never asked him to do something like this but, after the shock wore off, he offered the child a smile. "Sure. That might actually be fun." Mana made his way across the room and waited while Allen climbed into bed. Reaching out he pulled the covers up and tucked them in around the small body before settling himself on the edge of the bed.
"Once upon a time there was a young man who was born with a strange power, a gift some would call it. This boy, who's name was Nicholas, was an accomplished musician and could even use music as a weapon. The music that he played on the piano had the power to bend space and time itself and could be used for many purposes. Now this was a rather unusual power and Nicholas soon found himself approached by people who wanted to use this power for their own gains."
Mana paused at this point, not sure what had possessed him to speak of this let alone turn it into a child's bedtime story, but it somehow seemed to fit. And Allen was gazing up at him with a rapt expressing on his little face so Mana continued.
"Now Nicholas wanted to make the world better for the people who lived there and the Creator, as the man who sought him out was called, had promised that he could help Nicholas do this. Promised Nicholas that he could help him refine his skills and learn to use his gift to his full potential. So the young man joined the Creator and was introduced to other special people with gifts similar to his. Now none of their powers were the same and Nicholas soon found that his were more powerful than most of the others. He thought that this would be a good thing but it didn't turn out that way."
A picture of his younger brother appeared in Mana's mind as he told this story and he had to fight hard to keep tears from appearing in his eyes. He had fought long and hard to banish these memories from his mind but ever since he had learned that Allen knew the notes of the Score he had found himself thinking about his brother on occasion. He still missed his brother to this day and would give almost anything if he could have him back, if things could go back to the way they were.
"You okay Mana?" Allen asked, reaching out a hand to touch Mana's arm.
"Yea. I'm fine," Mana assured the child, clearing his throat as he prepared to continue on with the story that he should never have started. "Anyway things soon turned bad for Nicholas and he realized that his powers were being used not for good but for evil. This greatly upset him and he used his powers to fight against the Creator and..."
"Then what happened?" Allen asked when Mana paused.
Mana didn't want to tell Allen the truth, that Nicholas had died fighting against the Millennium Earl. That was far from the ideal ending for anything, let alone a story that he was telling to a small child. In hindsight this hadn't been the best choice for a child's bedtime story but it was too late to take it back now. It had been done and now it couldn't be undone. "Nicholas defeated the Creator and went on to live a life in which he helped other people."
"That's good," Allen whispered, appearing on the verge of falling asleep.
"Good night Allen," Mana said, brushing a stray lock of brown hair away from the child's forehead.
"Good night Father." Allen closed his eyes and, with a sigh, the child fell asleep.
For a moment all Mana could do was stare down at the sleeping child, all thoughts of his brother gone and the sadness along with it. That was the first time that Allen had ever called him anything other than his first name and Mana found that he liked it. A broad smile spread across his face as he thought, "He called me Father."
A/N - it's another D Gray Man one shot from the Musician. Sorry that the bedtime story sucks but it was all that I could come up with. Hope you enjoyed this little one shot, please leave a review and tell me what you thought.