Disclaimer - I do not own D Gray Man
Chapter One - Reunion and Introduction
It was mid afternoon and twenty seven year old Mana Walker was seated in the sitting room of his home, peacefully reading a book, when he heard the sound of someone knocking on the door. Glancing away from the pages of his book the young man arched one eyebrow, somewhat surprised by the intrusion. Placing his book on the arm of his chair Mana slowly got to his feet and made his way toward the front door. He was confused to say the least. He wasn't exactly what one would call a very popular person and couldn't imagine who would want to pay him a visit.
Reaching out the man slowly opened the door and he actually gasped as he came face to face with a man that he hadn't seen in nearly four years. Appearing to be a couple of years younger than Mana himself the man was dressed in a tuxedo, complete with top hat, and was holding a small, brown haired child in his arms. The little boy appeared to be asleep with his head resting on the man's shoulder.
"Hello Mana," the man said in a quiet voice, focusing intense gray eyes on Mana. There were so many things that he wanted to tell the man who stood before him but none of them were things that he could say while standing on the doorstep. It required privacy and, although he would never indulge, a stiff drink. "May I..."
Realizing that he was being rude Mana quickly stepped aside and motioned for his visitor to enter the house. Nicholas complied and Mana closed the door behind him. Then he turned and, after a moment's hesitation, pulled the man into an embrace, at the same time being careful not to disturb the child that was sleeping in his arms. "It's been almost four years... I thought that you were..."
"I'm sorry big brother," Nicholas said as he gazed at Mana, an apologetic expression in his gray eyes. "Believe me, I didn't want to stay away for so long and let you think that something had happened to me. But it was safer for you if you weren't anywhere near me."
Mana gazed into his younger brother's eyes, searching for the bits of truth that Nicholas was hiding from him, but he couldn't discern anything. He knew that his brother was leaving things out but he decided that he was so happy to see the boy that he didn't really care. The truth would come out, of that he was sure. It would just take some time, which he had plenty of. He offered Nicholas a broad smile.
"Come into the sitting room," Mana said, gesturing toward the door that was located down the hall from their current location. "You can tell me everything."
"Right," Nicholas said, having known that his brother would say this. And considering the reason why he had appeared at his brother's door the young man realized that he didn't have much of a choice in the matter. He was going to ask a great deal of Mana; it was only fair that his brother should know the reason why.
The two men retired to the sitting room, where Mana sat down in a chair while his brother chose to sit upon the sofa that was directly across from it. Nicholas carefully positioned the sleeping child so that he would be more comfortable and then he raised his gaze to meet that of his brother. Mana's brown eyes were locked onto him and Nicholas offered him a small smile. "I know you have questions Mana. Ask whatever you want and I promise that I'll answer it if I can."
"Tell me about the child," Mana said, his voice quiet as he gazed at the little boy that his brother held gently on his lap. He was fairly certain that he already knew the answer; the resemblance between Nicholas and the child was definitely there but he wanted his brother to confirm his suspicions before he lent voice to them.
"Allen," Nicholas said as he gazed down at the child, a strange light shining in his eyes. "...is my son. I wanted to tell you about him; I actually started to come and visit several times but... It was just as dangerous for me to be around him as it was for me to be around you so I've only seen him a handful of times myself."
"Son?" Mana repeated, slightly shocked despite having guessed as much.
Nicholas nodded. "His mother Lyssa was... I met her shortly after I left and it was love at first sight. We married but unfortunately I had to keep it a secret. My... associates didn't enjoy sharing me with anyone. Which is, unfortunately, the reason for my visit today."
Mana heard the note of sadness that was veiled inside the younger man's voice. "What happened Nicholas?"
"Lyssa is gone. They made it look like an accident," Nicholas said, his gray eyes hardening as he recalled what had happened to the woman to whom he had given his heart. To the mother of his child. "But I know it was them. And I'm going to get my revenge." Having said this, Nicholas turned pleading eyes toward his brother. He knew that the request he was going to make of his brother was extreme and a little selfish but he had to do it. For Allen. "It was only by a miracle that Allen survived the so called accident but now that they know about him..."
Nicholas paused at this point and Mana had an idea what his brother was going to ask of him. And for some strange reason he found that he was actually okay with the idea. "I know what you want Nicholas and... and it's okay. I'll take care of my nephew as though he were my own child."
Relief washed over Nicholas as he heard these words spoken by his brother. He had been so afraid when he had came here and now to hear Mana offer to take care of the child, it was a huge relief. He knew that Allen would be in good hands with Mana. "Thank you so much brother."
Mana could actually see a look of relief appear on his younger brother's face and he was somewhat concerned for Nicholas. What had his brother gotten himself into? "You're welcome."
Nicholas smiled at his brother and then turned his attention back to the little boy who is sleeping peacefully in his lap. He placed a hand gently on the child's shoulder and gave Allen a little shake. "Allen... hey Allen. Wake up little one, there's someone that I want you to meet."
The child mumbled something incoherent in his sleep and then stirred, opening his eyes and turning to gaze at his new surroundings. The little boy surveyed the room for a few seconds but froze the minute he noticed that someone strange was in the room. His eyes widened as he spotted Mana sitting across from him and his father and Mana noticed that their eyes were the exact same; the gray of the sky just before a thunderstorm.
"Hello," Mana said in a soft voice.
"Allen," Nicholas said, speaking softly to the child. "This is your Uncle Mana. Can you say hello?"
Allen gazed at the man for a few moments more and then spoke, in a voice that was so soft that Mana had to strain to hear. "Hello."
Nicholas placed the little boy down on his own two feet, which allowed Mana to get his first good look at the boy. He was small for his age, which Mana was estimating to be around three, and had shaggy brown hair and expressive gray eyes. Intelligent eyes. The little boy was dressed in black trousers, a white button up shirt and a black vest. He was even wearing a little pair of white gloves which made him look like quite the little gentleman.
"Go over and meet your uncle," Nicholas encouraged his son, giving the little boy a little push from behind.
Allen looked absolutely frantic for a few seconds and, as though out of instinct, Mana eased himself out of the chair and knelt in front to the little boy. "I'm very pleased to meet you Allen," he said in a quiet voice, gazing into the child's charcoal gray eyes as he spoke. He held out his hand and, after a moment, the little boy accepted it and they shook hands.
Nicholas couldn't keep the smile from spreading across his face as he watched his brother and his son interacting. He was happy that the two of them were getting along so well since it would be vital to the role that Mana was going to have to play. Another plus was the fact that the family resemblance between them was enough to ensure that no one would ever question that Allen was Mana's and that made Nicholas happy.
And yet at the same time he couldn't help but feel a little sad. After all, he was losing the opportunity to watch his son grow up. It was a small price to pay for the child's safety but the ache in his heart refused to listen to reason. It shouted for him to fight to keep possession of the child that, in reality, he barely even knew. But Nicholas knew that it would be selfish to keep Allen with him and would only endanger the child further. And this was something that he refused to do.
He'd done enough to the little boy as it was.
"Mana," Nicholas said in a quiet voice, getting to his feet and gazing down at his brother. "I should return to the inn where we were staying and get Allen's things. Do you mind if I leave him here with you while I run this little errand?"
"Not at all," Mana said, not failing to notice the sad expression in his brother's eyes. "It'll give us a chance to get to know one another."
Nicholas nodded and knelt down and placed his hands on Allen's little shoulders. "I'll return in a little while with your things Allen. In the meantime you're going to stay here with your Uncle Mana. Be a good boy alright?"
"Okay," Allen chirped, offering his father a smile.
"Good lad," Nicholas said, releasing his hold on the boy and getting to his feet. "This shouldn't take very long Mana and... and I just want to thank you again for agreeing to this."
Getting to his feet Mana pulled his younger brother into a hug. "I promise you that I will love him as though he were my son."
"I trust you," Nicholas said, turning and walking away. The Musician slowly made his way to the front door and left the house where his brother was playing with his son. He knew that he had to make it across town and collect Allen's things, then make it back to Mana's house, without being seen by any of the people who could cause problems for his family. Nicholas had gotten himself into this mess and that was something that he was going to have to deal with, but he refused to allow his family to suffer because of it.
At least any more than they already had.
"I'm sorry Allen," he whispered into the wind as he made his way down the sidewalk. "But I get the feeling that you are going to play a vital role in this war. I just hope that when the time comes, you are prepared."
A/N - It's AU! Oh no, I started another one. And in this one the Musician is actually Allen's father. Kind of an interesting concept and a request from a friend of mine who shall remain nameless. Hope that you enjoyed this chapter, please leave a review and tell me what you thought.