"Goddamn touch it and die."
The men laughed heartily, ignoring the furious glare, slapping each other on the back and pointing pudgy fingers at the slight figure. Once they stopped wheezing and caught their breath back, the foreman tugged the cord to bring his chainsaw to dangerous life and approached the line of trees.
He reached out to pat the head of the dark-haired youth with the deceptively nasty tongue.
"Get out of the way kid, we got clearance to chop them down. Go hug a tree somewhere else."
The men behind him laughed some more.
That is, until the scowling boy kicked the roaring, spinning saw out of the foreman's hands, sending it flying into them.
There were a few terrified screams but no injuries, Kanda noted sourly. He knew wearing steel-capped boots would end up being helpful, someday.
He kicked the slack-jawed foreman in the gut for calling him "kid", before moving back to lean against a tree.
"I'm not a bloody tree-hugger, I'm Kanda. Try to be a macho lumberjack anywhere near me, and I'll make sure to aim better when I kick heavy machinery at you."
He buffed his fingernails, and smirked.
"Now fuck off, boys"
"There were six of you guys!"
The recently-abused foreman hung his head angrily.
"Six! And he was... You say he's some scrawny Asian kid with girly hair!"
"Do you have to repeat everything I just told you, or are you going to go and do something about him?"
The red-haired boy laughed, shuffling through the papers in his hand.
"Oh no, no, Mister... Macho Lumberjack" he stifled a snort, "you don't get to be testy with me when I'm the one who's got t'go 'nd pry some environmental kamikaze off a tree that you should have chopped!"
Lavi laughed again. Few things caused his hyperactive mind to conjure up mental images as amusing as hearing six burly men with arms bulging with muscle being terrorised by some ninja kid with an attitude and a green streak a mile wide.
"I'll go and chat with him, 'kay? I'm just the surveyor, but I'm going t'help you. You know why, mister?"
"'Cos I like you, that's why. Wouldn't want t'see you get into trouble, so I'll go all psychology 101 on him! For all I know, this time tomorrow he'll be offering to clear the woods himself."
Lavi stuffed some notes into his backpack, and added sandwiches and a carton of juice he had pilfered from the fridge. Handling environmentalists was hardly part of the job description, but he was only doing this for experience anyway, and exposure to the weirdness of other people was something that money simply couldn't buy.
"D'you reckon he sleeps in the branches or something?"
Kanda frowned, irritated that he was interrupted right in the middle of an exceptionally gnarly Calculus question. It had taken him the better part of the day to spread his things on the plateau among the branches he had made an age ago, and when he was finally settled in and able to be productive, some other careless bastard had to come and irritate him. Again.
He pricked his ears, and didn't bother moving. He couldn't hear the metallic sound of heavy machinery, nor could he smell gasoline. The Irritation was an irritation, and one that he thought, based on experience, would go away if he scared it enough.
He growled loud enough that he knew The Irritation could hear, and bit out a harsh, angry "Fuck off".
Something red and incredibly maddening began blinking in and out of the corner of his eye, and Kanda turned to aim his glare. When all he could see was a shock of red hair, he reluctantly climbed lower down, coming face to face with The Irritation.
Who was actually just a boy, no older than himself, Kanda guessed, with a stupid smile and an eye patch.
He waved. Kanda the social queen flipped him off.
"You told the other guys the same thing too. Except for obscenities your vocab ain't much, is it?"
"Either die or go away. Whatever. Just stop annoying me"
The redhead held out his hand, one that Kanda could not reach from his position on the branch, and one that he had no intention of grasping. The Irritation must have thought he was being coy or a wimp, because he started jumping up and down, fingers reaching for Kanda's loosely hanging hands.
"Stop hopping like a retarded rabbit, I'm not going to shake hands with you. Leave before I get angrier."
Because Kanda's default state was angry, and there was nowhere to go but up.
"Don't you want to know my name and why I'm here?"
"Only if you keel over and die afterwards."
"I'm Lavi! I'm a part-time surveyor, and the guy who surveyed this place and Okayed it to be cleared! I-"
Kanda didn't say a word, simply standing up to grab something in the canopy, Lavi unable to see clearly. When he tried to kick-start the conversation, Kanda made a half-growl and calmly jumped off the branch he was on to stand in front of Lavi.
He held an umbrella in his hand, the tip looking pointy and menacing, and aimed it at Lavi's throat.
"Fine. Now I know your name, and I know that you're responsible for all of this crap. Prepare to die."
Lavi tried to push the umbrella away, but rolled his eyes in exasperation when the arm that held it maintained perfect form. "I'm not going t'be killed by a girl in some freaky umbrella accident, find someone else to act out your fetish on."
Kanda was suddenly frozen solid, a body of anti-movement, and Lavi had a really, really bad feeling about this.
"Hey, I was only kidding when I said you have a fetish-"
"That's what you're upset about, right?"
"I'm not a woman, you half-blind rabbit!"
Lavi prayed that he could somehow salvage the situation and avoid having an air hole punctured through his throat by the tip of an umbrella.
"I was kidding, kidding, damnit! And be fair! You haven't even told me your name, what was I supposed to think?"
"You were supposed to leave, idiot."
"What do you have against surveyors anyway? You can't take it out on me if some surveyor in your dark past tried to give you candy or something!"
The umbrella looked more and more menacing by the moment. Lavi wondered if he should take off his backpack and use it as shield, but looking at the other boy's unwavering stance, he wasn't sure sandwiches would be enough to deflect the... pointy part.
"You said you let those men come and clear this forest."
As if that explained anything. Still, the dark-haired boy hadn't lunged for his throat, so Lavi carefully turned his head, looking expectantly for more umbrella-wielding green warriors, probably as blood-thirsty as their leader.
"What are you looking for?"
"Your mates. These stakeout things happen in packs, right? Or are they busy havin' tea in the tree house?"
A muttered "bloody fool" later, and the umbrella was withdrawn. Lavi was obviously mentally out of it, and Kanda would never soil his (somewhat) good name by hurting dumb creatures. The redhead was obviously completely insane, and "surveyor" and "obscenities" were probably words he learned from some cheap-ass word-a-day calendar some pitying soul had given him.
Kanda could be said to be lacking in common sense and rationality, but owing to his I-hate-everything personality, people seldom realised that his imagination could travel quite far quite fast.
Lavi, with his multiple degrees and certified prodigal nature couldn't figure out why the whacko with the murderous aura had retreated to his tree, like a bad-tempered cross between a miffed Batman and an exasperated Tarzan.
"Oi! You nearly made me wet my pants with that umbrella thing, at least tell me your name!"
Well, since he told the other guys the same thing, I guess it's not an alias. Ka-n-da. Japanese, so...
"Is that your real name?"
"Like I would lie to a stupid rabbit."
The reply came from a disembodied voice, Kanda now back where he was before the Great Interruption, twirling his pen absently as he tried to get back to his question.
Summer holidays were over in a few weeks. He didn't have time to deal with idiots, finish his homework and discourage people from destroying his favourite haunt.
Lavi pouted, ignoring the fact that Kanda wasn't looking.
"You're Japanese, aren't you? So is Kanda your family name, or your name?"
"You'll go away if I tell you."
Kanda made questioning statements. He didn't just plain ask.
"I'll shut up."
"Yes, me. Who the hell else do you think is having this weird conversation with you?"
"Fucking idiots who don't know that Yuu's a name when they ask for it should shut the hell up and die"
The rebuke was unexpected. Being smart (fucking brilliant more like) meant that Lavi wasn't often corrected or insulted for his intelligence, and mostly did the correcting himself, andfailing to realise that Kanda's Yuu and not me is... incredibly embarrassing.
Lavi put it down to clouded judgment. He was, in effect, talking to a tree right now, thanks very much.
A tree that he had vowed silence to in return for Yuu.
Lavi groaned, sat down leaning against the tree, and took out his Chemistry of Co-ordination textbook. He'd deal with Mr. Obstinate when the other went for his potty break.
A sub-topic away from loudly calling out to the other boy to tell him that his new nickname was "Bladder of Steel", Lavi closed his textbook. There was rustling overhead, and maybe Kanda would finally show his human side and relieve himself as nature intended.
A booted foot dropped like a stone, and were it not for Lavi paying careful attention to the sounds above him, Kanda would have quite happily stepped onto his head.
"You're still here."
Lavi shrugged, dusting himself off and putting his book away. Besides, this was the first time Kanda had initiated any type of contact, and he would not waste that opportunity.
"I'm supposed t'convince you t'go 'nd live in a shrubbery somewhere else and let the developers clear this place. It's not like I can send you a text message to sway you, can I?"
Kanda stopped in his tracks, before slowly turning on his heel to face Lavi.
"You're an actual surveyor."
"Didn't I already say that?"
"Not an inmate of a mental asylum."
"Whatever gave you that impression, Yuu?"
Kanda had his trusty umbrella in his hand, and lashed out so fast that it took Lavi a few moments to realise the burning pain in his ribs.
"Don't call me so familiarly."
Lavi wheezed, trying to get air into his abused lung. When he stopped seeing double, in a fit of childish revenge he swung his bag and hit Kanda's shoulder with it. The other boy looked insulted to have been dealt such a pitiful excuse for an attack.
Kanda turned and continued on his journey, completely ignoring Lavi.
"Why're you so against getting those trees chopped? If it's anything to do with global warming, help me God, I will scream."
Kanda started swishing his umbrella menacingly, the sound of wind whistling past slippery plastic occupying the empty air.
"That's my place."
"Not according to real estate records, it ain't."
Kanda snorted, increasing his pace. With any luck the annoying rabbit-boy would get tired and pass out.
"Like that matters. That place is mine, and no one is allowed to touch it. And I don't like global warming either."
Lavi screamed, because he was a man of his word.
"Do you have some sort of deep love for trees, you anti-social maniac?"
They came within view of a whitewashed house, old and regal-looking. Lavi wondered if Kanda had decided to go on a felonious crime spree and start with breaking and entering.
"They don't fucking talk."
Being the kind of guy that liked knowing what was going on, Lavi had already dialed 999 on his cell phone, hand hovering over pocket for when Kanda went on a rampage, so that he could press call immediately. When Kanda jumped over a metal fence with dire disregard for the warning signs ("Trespassers will be persecuted", "Do not enter", "Dogs will go straight for the jugular"), Lavi blindly stabbed the call button, accidentally pressing 1 instead.
"You know that you shouldn't be doing this, yeah?"
They're going to need a witness to put him in jail. Reckon I should do my civic duty and tag along... And demand immunity.
Flinging his bag over the top of the fence and grinning when it landed neatly next to an impassive Kanda, Lavi gripped the fence and proceeded to hoist himself over it.
He was at the top of the fence, enjoying a feeling of accomplishment before a strong poke to his chest sent him toppling back from whence he came.
"What the hell, Yuu?!" and he rolled away quickly, barely missing the jab aimed for his eye.
"You're not completely blind. No fucking trespassers." Kanda smirked, and picked Lavi's backpack by the strap, holding it the way an angler would the one that didn't get away.
Lavi took that to mean that either Kanda was a career criminal and this was a familiar haunt, or the other boy actually lived in the house.
He didn't know why, but the first option seemed more likely.
"Fine, whatever, be unreasonable! Just gimme back my bag!"
Kanda shouldered his prize and turned on his heel towards the house.
"I am unreasonable."
Lavi sat leaning against the fence, wondering vaguely where Yuu had got to, where the supposedly-murderous dogs were, and hey, weren't those giant nimbus clouds responsible for rain-
"How'd you do that?"
"Climb the fence without getting wet! It's pissin' cats and dogs!"
It was, but Kanda had his umbrella with him, the one that was like an extension of his person, and he was dry as a bone.
Lavi looked like the walking Swamp Thing, water-laden clothes dark and dragging under the weight.
"If I die of hypothermia, I'm going t'come back and haunt you. What the hell took you so long? Did you pause to powder your nose, madam?"
Something rectangular was thrown at him, and Lavi winced before realising it was his backpack.
"I was training, rabbit. Nobody asked you to wait."
"How am I supposed to get you to find some other place to be anti-social in if I don't talk to you?"
Kanda looked at him disbelievingly.
"You're talking to me now, and it still isn't working."
"That's 'cos we aren't close yet! Just you wait, the minute you succumb to my wonderful charm-"
"I'll wear a fucking dress and sing Hallelujah. Dream on, rabbit."
"Could you please call me by my name? Throw a boy a bone, at least pretend I made some headway into getting you to listen to me!"
The storm descended into a drizzle that blew left and right a little before it too died, just as they reached their first meeting place.
Kanda shook his umbrella dry, before closing it. Lavi shook himself like a dog, trying to get as much water off as possible.
Straightening his black slacks, Kanda stood looking upwards for a moment before he was gone, lifting himself up to the little platform that he had, with unusual foresight, covered with tarpaulin. Hooking the plastic sheet to branches, Kanda made himself a little tent, before he took out the sushi he had smuggled out of his home. Saying a quiet thanks Kanda tucked in, completely ignoring Lavi rambling about his intellectual standing and street-cred.
He muttered a "Fucking finally" when the voice eventually died away, Kanda figuring the idiot had finally reached the end of his patience and had upped and left.
He didn't expect the strangled scream or the sound of nails clawing for purchase on slippery bark. "Heeeeeeelllllllp!!!!!"
Kanda scowled. What would it take for him to have some privacy here? Actual homicide?
An option that was looking more appealing by the second, but Kanda doubted that he'd be given any more peace and quiet if he allowed the redhead to slip and fall to his death.
"You owe me, hell's rabbit"
Dragging his feet through the glass doors, Lavi barely made it to his seat before collapsing. At this point, he couldn't even care about the fact that he looked like death warmed over.
A smug grin so full so self-righteousness he could hear it, and the macho mister foreman was by his side.
"Any luck, Lavi?"
The boy turned a tired green eye to face the older man. Determination to defeat that Asian Abomination would come soon enough, after a hot shower and proper dinner.
"Depends. I sold my soul to the devil, but at least he didn't drop me from the tree"
A/N: I think this chapter will be the shortest. The story was inspired by two things; the urge to make Kanda attack people with an umbrella, and the stunning realisation that he probably likes trees more than he likes the entire human race. Which is like, an awesome way to gauge what kind of stuff will fill this story. Do read and review! I like knowing that I'm not the only one who thinks I'm funny :D