Pairing: Allen/Kanda, The Fourteenth/Kanda
Disclaimer: DGM belongs to Hoshino Katsura et al
A/N: Spoilers for chapter 188. Just a bit of speculative horror, maybe a worst case scenario.
Things, in real life, shouldn't happen this way. Thing is, it's happening.
Allen looks around him, for what's directly before him, his sword swinging about as if on wires; and then he looks beyond him, past Tyki, and he stalls. Drops his sword, dug into. He turns red, red hot, and grabs his throat.
What have you done! He screams at the bad men, and maybe to question his comrades lined up against the wall. Allen drops his hands, and then drops to pick up his sword, lip sucking in. What have - you done, he repeats, moving slowly toward the enemy.
Tyki raises his hands in mock surrender, as if giving up would be such good theatre.
He pulls off one glove, stares at it, and then, pulling it back on, glares at Allen's hands. What could you ever do with that, boy? You've already fallen into. It.
No, Allen says. He very nearly stomps his foot in haughty reply, like he used to.
Things used to happen this way. And now, he's on strings. He can see, out of the corner of his eye, Cyril, dusting himself off, hair is disarray, that sacrosanct smile upon his face, fingers doing their thing. That thing.
Allen's stomach rebels, and shatter-splatters.
I will kill you all, and I will do it in spite of that, he says, spreading his hand over the crowd of victims-to-be. The crowd seems to be growing in number, and his bowels seem to be flooding with bile.
Don't overexert yourself, dear boy. You wouldn't last, Tyki says mutely, somehow into Allen's ear. He releases one man-eating butterfly. Allen can't tear his eyes away from it.
Welcome, somebody says, with a voice that could, would hurt a child, given the opportunity.
Allen turns his eyes upon the voice. The Earl –
With a voice that could really hurt him.
There's something worse about him. And the opportunity is always there, leering over him.
Don't go near him, Walker! Shouts another voice. Reever? Australian accent lilting the vacuum space around him, capsizing in sound.
Allen faces the Earl head on, planting his sword between them. I dare you, Allen's eyes say, feeling as if they're bleeding directly from the iris, colorless, reckless.
The Earl continues to smile, as usual, making the fighters sweat. Allen looks beyond him and visibly nods his chin up.
Shut up, he wants to tell him, shut up.
He's going to kill –
Kanda's going –
Walker, it's Kanda, look at him!
Chanting, look at him!
All these voices, coming from the wall. Allen catches a glimpse of Rouvelier, and he shakes his head at them all. Then, after several attempts to keep his gaze clean and nose up, he shouts, shut up!
And for whatever reason, they do.
Allen, again, grabs his Adam's apple. The Earl seems to brighten at this, and he twists on his toes, tracing a circle around Allen. Allen, as it is, is choking on something. Sing a song, sing it wrong. No. That song.
His vision goes scratchy, wishy-washy, almost disorienting to the point of fainting. He panics inside, his insides screaming in dance, an ant circus; he makes a dart for his sword, the base of his shoulder burning, as if crying out for his arm. Please give me. Forgive me. Pray.
There's something in his throat. Fuck. He whispers, fuck, to himself, just alive on his lips. He knows it's all a baiting. He knows what they really want. He knows that they know he can see Kanda gathering himself from the ring on the floor. Allen reaches for him, but retracts, spitting. But it's colorless. He spits again, and now there's blood, cherry red, pooling. This place is a dungeon.
There is a hint of a feral growl, like a lion coming out of its hidey-hole, more than annoyed and definitely aching to bite into a pound of meat.
Pound, pound, his heart does pound.
Allen finally feels the lump in his throat come out, and it's a slice of apple, with the blackened seeds, spilling out of him. He coughs it into his hand, and realizing the depth of it, throws it away from him, where the Earl crouches down, crooning over it fondly. Allen's heard that feral growl before, and he's heard that song before, coming from the Earl's engorged teeth.
He closes his eyes. Wills himself to look at Cyril.
Cyril has moved, crossed his arms, collar fluttering with an invisible breeze. Then, once the breeze stops, he twirls his hair around a finger, eyes like pincers, pining for Allen's pain.
Ow! He breathes, holding his belly. He rips at his uniform, worrying himself to shreds. What is it! He screams, fighting the urge to get on his knees and grovel, plant his face into the ground to hide his pain. God, it's there, right there, eating him from behind.
What are you doing, Allen spits, drool stringing along his lip, and then dripping to the ground, where the blood is.
We said, looook, Cyril says, almost forbidding anyone to look, throwing his hip out and pointing with a long blackened nail at the animal mass of hair on the floor. Allen refuses to look.
A scientist starts to cry, and then another one, until there is an entire group of sobbing grown-ups. Stop. Stop it. It's so unbecoming, so uncalled for, that Allen almost throws his blood at them. He needs quiet now. He must think. He must have the choice. He swallows the seeds that are still in his throat, and with a hurt, if not battered, ego, he relents and finally takes a glance at Kanda.
Kanda, who is moving quite swiftly for a dead man.
Allen barely misses getting his head removed with a slice of metal.
He's quiet despite all the internal screaming, not in his ears, but in his stomach, where the hoodoo voodoo is practiced. He just hopes Cyril will stop in the meantime. He can't take an internal struggle at the same time. He knows what he must do before he even truly knows it. It's something worse than intuition.
Stop! He points at Cyril, who raises a spidery eyebrow. At Tyki, who pauses in the middle of picking up a doll, what, a doll. . .
Allen stares at Road. Road, he says, I'll never forgive you. But it's almost false, empty, falling flat. No one believes him. Road, least of all. Her form remains stuffed and animated, mouth zigzagged, hardly a children's toy. She's stuff of his old dreams, no less. He hisses, gurgles, and wipes away more drool. He misses another cut from Kanda.
Stop, Allen calls, stop. You're gonna kill me, Allen says. The Noah laugh in synchrony.
There is an outrage converging inside his stomach now. He can feel The Fourteenth, charming him. Let me out, let me out now. I can do this.
Allen backs into the coffin that had tipped over; he can hear Road cackling as Kanda bleeds from his nose. Allen hits him in the nose again, to try and damage him, temporarily, but it has no effect.
What're you doing, Allen says midway between crawling over the coffin and attempting to send Kanda flying across the room. Allen, instead, lies sprawled on his back, head having slammed into the floor. He sees stars; he can see Mana for a brief moment. It's all just within reach.
Come on. . .
Kanda brings his weapon into the floor where moments before Allen had lain. It lands in deep. Too deep, it makes Allen queasy.
You are not my enemy! He shouts, grabbing his sword, and when a pincer runs through him, a part of his mind acts on its own – it can't be betrayal? - and sets the sword as an arm again, leaving Allen defenseless, alone.
Kanda hesitates. Actually pauses, a haze over his face. His lips move to bare his teeth, move to scowl? Say something of importance? Curse at him, maybe?
With his back to most of them, Allen can only feel a brush of material, and then flesh against his earlobe. He hears a whisper, faint, but there, like licks of fire, coils of a cookout. Smoke. Burning aspen wood. He feels a tooth.
Allen, she says - Road is saying - Allen, you don't have to fight it.
What are you talking about? He says. He doesn't dare breathe lest he drown out what she says next.
I mean to say, she says, arm slinking against his bad one, is that you, and Kanda, there is no competition. It is not your sin. It is meant for them.
Allen turns, coughing, toward the scientists. He looks at Epstein. She stares blankly back, face matted with sweat.
I see, he says, bad fingers flexing. He wonders if he is still capable. He was just in Jordan. He was just with Link (where is he where is he) sending Akuma back in peace. He had just been doing his job, his will, his life's penance. He had just been doing what he had been called to do. He'd almost, almost gotten his itchy fingers around Tyki's neck. Forget the anti-Akuma weapon. Forget it. It proves nothing.
Only that he is willing to deal with them all.
Little Road, what are you up to? The Earl sings, using his umbrella to torture Bak Chan. Bak calls out for Allen to ignore her witch's spell, but he breaks out into hives and the umbrella comes crashing into his ribs. He doubles over. Allen feels like doubling over, too.
Kanda stands there, feet planted, chest heaving, watching Allen. Road hangs onto the latter, watching Kanda.
Those humans, they created that thing, she says, as if letting the greatest secret slip.
Allen opens his mouth to object, but he falters, maybe because he had already caught wind of something dreadful, something of mastermind, of sickly driven men. And maybe because this is a part of the biggest intuitive feeling he's ever had.
Nah uh, she says. Listen, Allen, she says. That, she points toward Kanda, who stares at them, eyes glossing over. That thing was created between the world of the living and the world of the dead. By that reasoning, don't you think he should be an, how we say, Akuma? And, that it does not belong here?
Allen almost swallows his words. She rubs his arm, and then brings his own hand to his heart. She holds his fist with such a cold hand. She kisses his neck. Well, she says, he was never human. Fuck humans. But fuck those.
Allen's fist tightens over his heart. Never? Fuck?
No, Allen, never ever. Her voice lowers even more, breath ice cold to sun hot. His neck basks in it.
There is laughter from that boy with the eyeball in his forehead. Not like Timothy. It's like, he's, he's reading Allen's –
Yes, I can hear everything you think, the boy announces telepathically. Allen flinches and Road holds him steadily. His head, it's being ripped apart. The headache! It's from beyond the grave.
She continues to point at Kanda, who is now, dare Allen think it, sobbing silently. Tears peel down his face, all the way, just tearing down, as if he is meant to collapse on himself. Don't do it.
Kanda lifts his sword like a well-oiled machine, masochistic to the core, demon possession. Don't do it. Allen can smell him now. He can smell Kanda, that animal smell, that inhuman smell, that smell that was always there, getting thicker, pungent, filling an experienced exorcist's nostrils, lungs. Allen begins to cry. It just comes out, like he's wetting himself, bucketfuls.
Allen tries to form words. Kanda. Don't make this harder than it is. But, please, it doesn't have. It doesn't have to be this way.
Road sighs pleasantly. You see where we'll have the difficulty, Allen, she says. She steps off from him, and wags her finger at someone, and Allen bows his head, cupping his heart. There must be a way, this can't be it, there must be a way, he almost had him, he almost. Almost, almost.
I don't blame you, Kanda finally says, but.
Allen hugs himself, encouraging himself to form another weapon.
I will kill you, Kanda finishes. He takes a step and bows his head, just like Allen.
They stand there, like silly loons, heads bowed, looking as if to only pretend to pounce. It shouldn't be like that.
Things don't happen like this.
Allen remembers that he is wounded, and that, though Kanda shows signs of wounds, he is healed.
Would you like me to kill him again? That boy asks in a bored whine, and Allen understands him.
First of all, Allen says, stepping up his game, growing some hair on his chest. First of all, you are a demon, from hell.
Kanda seems to consider this.
Allen cuts in further. You. You were never my friend.
He can hear Road's frightening glee.
You were never there to listen to me.
Kanda raises his weapon, and it shines like the bluest sky.
Allen wills his arm to come off. Come on, just one more time, I need you, I love you, I've learned to love you. You're all I have.
You're all I have, someone says back, from the depths. Allen can feel his eyes go wide. Kanda watches him, partly confused, maybe.
Now Allen wills The Fourteenth out. He's slowly strategizing. Can you fight him?
I was always meant to.
Allen trips and falls to the floor, banging his elbow, and thus, hearing it crack. Hard.
Splitting the air apart.
Someone shouts for him, and yet, everything remains as silent as the snow, falling on cedars, on the imminent apocalypse, on himself.
Were you? Allen asks, keeping himself from saying it out loud, for everyone to hear. Were you? Are you? Answer me!
I am here, Allen Walker.
Are you. Are you coming out now?
A fighting pause. Please don't kill him.
I must. You have no choice in the matter.
I have a say.
Yes, but no choice. They will turn the monster on your comrades if you do not go with them. I have always known this much. They have far more experience in the ways of evil than you could ever imagine.
I doubt it.
I doubt he'll kill them.
Allen gives him silence once again. He can't even open his inner diatribe. His body is quitting on him. There it is, a curtain, falling over him. Tucking him in.
Allen, you've always been in denial. You bring a beauty to it.
Allen listens. And stares at his newest enemy. At Kanda's open sob. At Kanda's closed sob.
And a grander hush yet.
Allen takes the hint, and slowly turns. Road is planning their deaths, swaggering like Tyki toward Kanda, her outfit showing more skin than Allen has possibly ever seen on a girl.
She pulls her arm back crudely, and before Allen can get up and shout, she strikes, arm going straight through like rays of light, straight through Kanda's neck, from side to side. The front bulges unnaturally, and Kanda's eyes die out, from blackest blue to the grayest blankness, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
There will never be enough.
Allen screams, losing his grip, stampeding at her. He swings his fist into her face, and she vanishes.
He's a mouse amongst the elephants. They'll stomp right on him.
He's a mouse in a trap. And they've finally, finally trapped him.
He's not just a mouse, but the littlest mouse, in a cage of wildcats, with nothing, nothing around him but the end.
The line stops here. His safe train ride is over.
He looks around. She is not there.
Allen, don't delay, The Fourteenth tells him, like a warm friend.
Allen, however, is busy watching Kanda on the floor as he begins to stir, coughing, throat magically mending. Kanda's fingers scratch at the grit, and Allen, unbearably, steps on his hand. Step. On. It.
Don't move, Kanda, I can save you, Allen says, though he can hardly believe his own words. Really, he doesn't believe them at all.
You can't save anyone, The Fourteenth reminds him.
Kill him, kill him! Road is screaming.
You might as well choose, Tyki is saying, sitting on the coffin, now upturned once again. It glitters in waves. No, it's just Allen's vision again.
I used to have respect for you, dear boy, Tyki is saying.
Allen shouts, shut your mouth!
Tyki leans back, humming and smiling.
I can do this, Allen thinks.
No you can't, The Fourteenth says.
No, against that, you will die, the eyeball boy says aloud.
Allen goes feral just like the smell, only for a moment, but it's still there, and he goes feral, ripping his arm clean off. The change is instant, though loopy.
Not so much a change as it is being defeated.
Blood splatters over the floor, onto Kanda's back. Kanda sniffs. Allen backs away. Kanda gets up. Allen moves before he can take a chunk out of him.
Kanda takes a chunk anyway, too fast for Allen, too fast for anyone to see. The world goes red, then black, then white, and then it's clear again. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out.
He thinks, I will kill you.
He thinks, I will die too.
Or he will kill you, The Fourteenth says, aloud, as if an apparition nearby.
In a struggle to rival all struggles, Kanda is upon him, hands around his neck.
Allen is choking on that apple again. A whole bloody apple -
Someone cries out, and they all cry out, until an unearthly hush falls over them once again. They can't talk, Allen knows. He can't move, he can't breathe, Allen knows.
I am programmed to kill the enemy, Kanda says this time. It is very loud.
Allen pokes Kanda in the eye. They continue struggling. Allen's arm is lying there, beside him, unformed, useless, bland. As if it had never saved his life before.
Allen rips out his hair, but Kanda rips his head back, to the floor, and Kanda is straddling him, breath unknown to him.
He can hear Tyki saying, all right, I think I've seen enough, let's move on with the show.
And then he sees Tyki tear someone from the line up, kiss her deeply - and thrust his hand into her chest.
Allen doesn't scream. No one screams. Allen closes his eyes. Filters his bleeding out. He can't hear her crumple to the floor. Anything, anything. He can't hear anything.
But he can hear Kanda breathing, doing this to him. Entertainment. Denouement. What have you. It's all a plus for them, and.
What! Help me!
Allen, let me come.
A part of Allen laughs like them.
Allen, I love you. Close your eyes again.
Then it will kill you, and I can come out.
Allen hesitates, feeling his breath go. He launches his fist at Kanda. Sorry, so sorry.
If you die, I can resurrect you.
Don't lie to me.
I can surface as you, just as they want. And I can control whether they kill your comrades.
But you will kill.
I will kill it. Yes.
Allen watches Kanda through slits. That grip, that.
You must understand me. He will kill them once he kills you.
But all they want is you! All along!
You will remain with me, just as I have remained within you, inside. I have sheltered you, and clothed you, and raised you.
That was Mana.
That was me. Don't you remember me?
Silence. Huffing. Pounding. Kanda's groin rubs against Allen's, and he quivers inside, the spot where The Fourteenth lies.
What did you say before, Allen demands aloud, hyped. Kanda stalls, loosening his grip.
I love you, The Fourteenth says.
I hate your humanity, Kanda says, less confused now, fingernails ripping into flesh. The hole in Kanda's neck has closed up already.
Then! Allen closes his eyes. Do it. Rip me to shreds.
Finally, they can reach an understanding, speaking all these tongues, a great build of hellfire. A deposit of emotion. You know how it goes, all of it wasted on him, insignificant, like trying to talk to a dead man.
Road's raging laughter. Crying laughter.
And the ring of death, silence reigning over for what seems like bliiiss, taking him away from all of this, ice, fluid. His skull splits open, or something. Just something. And –
Here we are.
Hello, Kanda, The Fourteenth says, practicing his words, dragging them out like spring.
Kanda leans in, eyes lit up, lips thralled. Gearing to bite, tear, again and again. And Kanda kisses him, and they kiss, ah, what it means to return, molesting wet flesh, inhuman flesh, impatient for each other. It's been a long time. This, this is how things really go. This is reality. This is what happens behind every curtain, around every corner. Nah uh uh, we're here now. No time to run. We've waited so long for this, we've waited so long.
Monsters know monsters.
After all, after all.
Dearest Howard approaches from the shadows; a wicked grin, a teapot for refreshment. And the undying desire to serve The Fourteenth. This is their kind of undying love.