Disclaimer: D. Gray Man is H. Katsura's property.
A/N: Thanks to Klappy for being my beta!
White flakes were falling lazily over the peaceful and small village nestling at the bottom of the mountain, covering the landscape with a soft and sparkling carpet of coldness. All the inhabitants were locked inside their houses, giving the impression that the village was deserted. However, a little way away from it, a small house had its door open and two silhouettes could be seen standing on the threshold. They were young and yet, their traits were those of men who had seen more than what life should have showed them if it wasn't so cruel.
The taller one raised his hand to the other's face and gently caressed the pale cheek, wiping out the single tear that was trailing on it.
"Go back inside now, or you'll catch a cold." He said with concern.
The younger boy shook his head, catching the hand on his cheek with his own as if to delay his lover's departure, and rested his head on it, eyes closed, enjoying the faint warmth against his cheek.
"I don't want you to leave." He said softly.
"I don't either, but this is the Emperor's order. You know war is coming to our borders." The other one replied as he slid his free arm around the boy's waist and pulled him against his armored chest. "I have to leave to protect the country... to protect you." He whispered.
"I need you here. With me." The boy also murmured, letting go of his lover's hand to allow the other to fully embrace his frail body. How he wished to remain like that, indefinitely, within those strong arms where he always felt safe.
"I'll come back."
"I will. I promise."
Both of them knew it was a lie, but it didn't harm them to pretend the contrary. The boy shivered violently and started coughing.
"Here, I told you to hurry inside." The older male said. "You're getting cold."
"You know perfectly well that it isn't cold that puts me in this state." The boy replied with a sigh before coughing again. The man didn't reply, but pain could be read in his dark blue eyes. Yes, he knew. His young lover was ill, but no doctor had been able to cure the illness that was slowly devouring the boy from inside and was irremediably taking him nearer and nearer to that doomed borderline that separated this world from a world where they would never be able to be together any more.
He tightened his embrace around the boy, running his hand in those soft, silver locks of hair. Their gazes met, their foreheads touched, and their lips closed in a last, passionate and desperate kiss. They took time to taste each other, as if it was the first time they discovered each other. They finally pulled back, breathing out tiny white clouds.
"I'm leaving now. Go back inside." The man murmured again as he released the boy but grabbed his hand instead. "I don't want your state to worsen." It was futile, he knew it, but right now, all he wanted was to speak a bit longer to the one dearest to him. The boy nodded reluctantly and watched as his lover stepped back, their hands still intertwined; then the grip loosened, fingers only brushing before they were separated completely. He watched as the tall silhouette silently went away, long and dark hair contrasting with the whiteness surrounding them, before fading progressively from his sight.
As silver eyes closed, a single tear rolled down his cheek.
He was lying on his futon, coughing. The fits were more and more frequent now, and he was perfectly aware that he wasn't going to last for much longer. The blood that tainted his hand as he removed it from over his mouth was evidence enough. He was going to die soon, with no one by his side.
Winter was over and spring was also reaching its end, and his lover hadn't come back yet. A bitter smile appeared on the boy's lips. It wasn't as if he hadn't expected it; but that didn't help ease the pain in his heart. For months, he had sat every morning in front of the house, hoping to see a familiar figure appear from the horizon, ebony hair flying in the wind. However, his body was too weak for him to move now, and all day long he had to remain in bed. He kept hoping to once again throw himself into those comforting arms and feel their warmth around him, but today, something was telling him it was his last day on this world. And it hurt, more than any illness, to know that he'd never meet the person he had given his heart to again.
He closed his eyes in an attempt at finding sleep, and silently prayed that death would take him away while he was still plunged in the depths of slumber.
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break."
Grey eyes opened. Where did that voice come from? It was the middle of the night, who could possibly come at that hour? And those lines... He knew them... They were the same lines that were supposed to be uttered by the Lunar God whenever he wanted to link two people together, for eternity.
He had always thought it was a mere legend, a tale for desperate lovers; but a sudden, soothing feeling seized the boy, filling his being with a serenity he'd never hoped for, and to him, it was as if he had been touched by the hand of the god himself and wrapped in his infinite mercy. The ache in the boy's heart faded.
If he had been blessed by a god, then no matter when, no matter where, no matter how, they would be reunited again. For sure.
A serene expression was displayed on his face as a last breath escaped his pale lips.
He fell on his knees, several arrows piercing his chest. Over. Everything was over. During his last moments of consciousness, his thoughts drifted to that ever bright and smiling face he had adored since the first time they met. A face that he'd never be able to see again. He felt regret. Regret for having left his most precious person's side, for being not strong enough to keep his word and come back home, for giving his life for the sake of a country he had never cared about. He was going to die, heart filled with regrets.
Then, a voice coming out from nowhere rose in the middle of the battlefield, echoing in his head. He perfectly heard the words that voice was uttering, despite all the muffled sounds of human screams, metal slashing through flesh and corpses falling heavily on the ground.
And he closed his eyes, all burdens removed from his heart, a smile on his lips.
If the legend was true, then they would meet again, maybe in another place, another era, but they would meet again.
And when they would, he'd never leave his side any more.
18xx, Black Order Headquarters
Allen woke up and opened his eyes, only to find them filled with tears that flowed uncontrollably down his cheeks. He sat up on his bed and quickly wiped them off his face, disconcerted as he couldn't explain why he had been crying. A vague, blurry sensation was tightening his chest and filling him with overwhelming sadness, though he couldn't tell its origin. What was that piercing feeling of sorrow that was seizing him for no apparent reason? Maybe it was that dream he just had? What was it about again?
He frowned, unable to remember what he had just been dreaming of, then shook his head. Never mind. It was just a dream. Today was going to be a day like any other day, there would be nothing particular.
It was after lunch that he was called by Komui to his office for a new mission. As he stepped into the room, another Exorcist was already standing in front of the supervisor's desk. Allen sighed mentally. Great. So he was going to be paired with Kanda once more. Seriously, wasn't it clear enough that they weren't the best of friends in the world? Or was Komui waiting for one of them to kill the other off to finally realize it was a mistake to put them together on a same mission?
"Ah, Allen! Very well, I'll start your briefing then." Komui greeted him. "I'm sending you both to China. There's a report from the Asian Headquarters and they asked us to send Exorcists over there. They said there's a high probability to find a compatible Innocence user, so I want you to check that fact and bring the potential user back to the Asian Headquarters."
"Why didn't they check by themselves?" Allen asked, curious.
"Oh, they did." The Chinese man replied as he handed Allen the report. "But the people Bak sent couldn't find anything, though they are pretty much certain that something strange is occurring in the town they investigated. As you can read in the report, the suspicious person is a weaver who seemed to make 'magical clothes', but that weaver simply refuses to hand over even the smallest sample to be examined."
"What do you mean by 'magical'?" Kanda intervened.
"That's what I'd like you to determine as well." Komui replied. "The people who bought some of those clothes refuse to give any detail about it. And..."
"'They keep repeating the same words'," Allen read the report out loud. "'Now we'll be together forever.'" The boy frowned. "What does it mean?"
"We're supposed to find out about it by ourselves, stupid Moyashi." Kanda replied sharply. "It's Allen, Bakanda!" The younger Exorcist snapped back.
"Please, don't start bickering." Komui tried to calm them down, an amused look on his face. "And be ready to leave if there isn't any other question."
At first sight, the town looked like any average Chinese town, with its lively streets filled with people busy trading and chatting who didn't really pay attention to the arrival of two strangers, even if one of them had occidental features and unusual white hair. Allen kept looking everywhere around him, enjoying the simplicity of those people's way of life and at the same time wondering what could possibly look abnormal in that town. However, his partner on this mission didn't look as pleased as him to walk in such crowded streets. Well, it's not like Kanda had ever enjoyed anything in his life, and the fact that he was paired once again with Allen didn't help lighten his mood.
The Asian branch had given both Exorcists the weaver's address and they were now heading for the place at a more or less quick pace, given that Allen kept stopping at almost each shop to admire the local crafts from small wooden sculptures to beautiful jewels, as well as the few restaurants that were giving off appetizing aromas of all kind. To Kanda, he looked like a five-year-old kid in awe in front of an alley of toy stores.
"Oi, Moyashi, speed up or I'm going to leave you behind." The Japanese Exorcist called, annoyed as Allen was lagging behind for the hundredth time.
"It's Allen, Bakanda! And you should also enjoy yourself a bit while we're in this nice town." Allen replied, but hurried to catch up to his partner. He sighed inwardly. Was there any way for Kanda to loosen up sometimes?'I guess not.'
"We're not here to 'enjoy ourselves'. We've got a damn mission, and the quicker we're done with it, the earlier we can go back." Kanda replied dryly.
They kept walking silently, and Kanda had to admit that he was quite surprised to see that the boy wasn't stopping at each shop any more but was merely following him without a word. A glance on the side showed him that Allen wasn't displaying his usual bright smile either.'And why should I care?'It wasn't his fault if the moyashi acted like a scolded kid; yet, it somehow upset the older male that Allen hadn't argued with him any further. Well, the way the brat's mind worked was a mystery to him.
Actually, while he was trying to dismiss any consideration about Allen off his mind, the latter had his thoughts totally focused on Kanda. Since the very first day they had met, their interactions had been more than electrical, though the silver-haired boy couldn't explain why. At first, he thought that it was because of his cursed arm and eye since Kanda had made it clear that he categorically refused to have any contact with someone who was cursed.
However, as weeks, then months, passed, he started wondering if he hadn't been wrong since the beginning as he and Kanda kept bickering whenever they had the opportunity to. And it intrigued Allen. Usually, Kanda would simply ignore whoever irritated him – which meant everyone – and act as if they didn't exist. Yet, Allen was an exception, and the boy couldn't help but wonder what in him made him so particular that Kanda wouldn't behave like he normally did.
Unconsciously, the boy let a small sigh escape his lips and failed to notice the frown he earned from Kanda.
"Kanda, you're sure you know the way?" Allen asked after several minutes of walk.
"Unlike a certain someone, I can read maps correctly." The Japanese male merely answered.
"Couldn't you give a nice reply even once in your life?" The boy asked, exasperated. "Tell me what I've done for you to keep hounding me and me only?"
"I'm not hounding youonly." Kanda snapped. "Don't think so high of yourself."
Allen opened his mouth as if to reply something, but in the end he merely shook his head and raised his arms out of defeat. It was simply no use trying to have a normal conversation with such an impossible man. Now he only wished for the mission to be over as soon as possible so he could be spared from Kanda's more than unpleasant company.
A gentle hand caressing his cheek.
Allen froze, startled as an unknown image flashed in his head. What was that just now? For a mere second, it was as if a piece of memory was brought back from god knows where, only to vanish right after. Except that he had no record of when that memory had taken place.
"Oi, what's wrong?" A grumpy voice brought him back to reality.
"Huh? Oh, nothing. Let's go." Allen replied absent-mindedly as he resumed walking. Well, it was probably a mere trick of his imagination.
The two Exorcists left the crowded streets for a more quiet neighborhood, with less shops and more houses where children could be seen playing. Allen glanced at Kanda, wondering once again whether he knew where exactly the weaver's shop was, though he didn't dare upset the Japanese male by asking him directly. He merely followed without a word.
Warm lips pressing against his own.
Now Allen almost jumped and instinctively raised his hands to his lips as a new image flashed again. Fortunately, he was walking slightly behind Kanda, so the latter didn't notice anything and, above all, didn't see the blush on the boy's cheeks. That memory – no, it was stronger than a mere memory, because Allen had almost been able tofeelthe lips on his – was exactly like the previous one, both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, and Allen couldn't understand why.
"It's here." A sharp voice cut his thoughts.
The silver-haired boy raised his eyes to the small shop in front of him. The only detail that indicated that it was a weaver's shop was the wooden sign hanging above the door where a single thread was carved. Except for that sign, the house looked like any other house, plain and small, with nothing that could have showed any link with Innocence.
Without wasting another second, Kanda pushed the door open and stepped in, followed by Allen. The inside was unsurprisingly small though there was more than enough room for the young woman who was sitting in front of her loom, working with her skilled hands on the dozens of threads that joined together to turn into a long piece of cloth. Her long, black hair was braided loosely on her back and Allen noticed a small moon-shaped birthmark on her neck. Around her, neatly folded pieces of the same fabric were put away on a table or on shelves. And what immediately struck Allen was that the woman only used one color of thread: a blood red thread.
As she heard the two Exorcists coming in, the young Chinese woman raised her head from her work and greeted them with a smile:
"Good afternoon, what can I..." She suddenly stopped and looked at them with wide eyes. Then she blinked a few times, as if she was unsure of what she was seeing. "You..."
"What?" Kanda asked, annoyed.
"You... both of you are... It's the first time I've ever seen it... that's..." The woman went on, completely ignoring Kanda's irritated look. Allen was certainly as intrigued as his partner by her behavior, but his tone was nicer as he spoke:
"Is there anything wrong?" He asked.
The woman looked startled by the question, and frowned.
"No, of course not." She replied gently with a smile. "I'm simply very moved to see you two here." She added as she stood up and walked to them.
"But why?" The boy insisted.
"Because you're bonded to each other, of course." The woman answered as if it was obvious.
Silence filled the room for a second, before a very incredulous Kanda broke it with a dangerous voice:
"What did you say?" He asked slowly.
"The red string. Both of you are linked by the red string of fate. I can see it." The woman repeated very calmly.
"What's that crap? I certainly don't share any link with the stupid moya..." Kanda snapped, but was interrupted by the weaver:
"What's wrong?" She asked worriedly, though she wasn't talking to the Japanese Exorcist. The latter turned his head to the side, only to see an immobile Allen, silver eyes opened wide and tears streaming down abundantly on his cheeks.
Allen had no idea what was happening to him. As soon as the woman had pronounced those words, he felt engulfed by a powerful emotion; powerful enough to bring tears to his eyes. It was exactly the same feeling that had seized him after waking up and finding himself unable to prevent the unexplainable tears from falling. And this time, it wasn't only one or two images that came to him; countless of them were flashing through his mind, filling it with memories from a long time ago, memories that brought back to him a nostalgic and melancholic feeling of a long lost love.
Long, dark hair slowly disappearing behind the curtain of snowflakes.
Being left alone, waiting for his lover to return.
Who never returned.
Despite a promise of coming back.
Death coming near, taking away any hope to meet again.
A god's voice.
Bringing the promise of a yearned reunion.
It didn't make sense at all for Allen, those memories didn't belong to him; yet, the sensations had something familiar, and that's what was troubling the boy the most.
Tears kept pouring out, leaving two thin and shiny trails on his cheeks. The sadness that was consuming him wasn't his, yet it was affecting him to the deepest of his being. What was going on with him? Just what was wrong?
"Oi, Moyashi!" A voice brutally snatched him back to reality, and he found himself facing an angry – worried? – Kanda. Given the Japanese male's tone, Allen was pretty certain that Kanda had been calling him for a while now. He was shaking the boy by the shoulders, and as soon as he saw that Allen was finally reacting, he released him and let an annoyed sigh out.
"What the fuck happened to you?" He asked, a hint of irritation in his voice.
Allen didn't reply at once, trying to dry his tears first. Embarrassment was written all over his face and his cheeks were tainted with a faint blush.
"Are you ok?" The woman inquired with concern. "Do you need something? Water, maybe?"
"N-no, don't worry. I'm fine. I don't know what happened." Allen said truthfully as he shook his head apologetically.
"Come and sit." The woman invited as she gestured both Exorcists to follow her to a back room.
It was obviously the room she used as an office, and she motioned them to sit on the small sofa while she sat in front of them on a chair. As none of the Exorcists seemed willing to start the conversation, she spoke first:
"I haven't introduced myself yet: I'm Yue Wen and it's a pleasure to meet you. Call me Yue for short. But really, it's wonderful to see you here."
"Don't give us that crap again." Kanda immediately cut.
"Kanda, don't be so rude!" Allen said before addressing the weaver: "Could you please explain what you meant earlier when you said we are... bonded?" He asked carefully, not missing the small grunt from his partner. He was still shaken by what had happened to him, and his voice trembled a bit as he spoke.
Yue Wen smiled gently before resuming:
"Have you heard about the legend of the red thread? It's a very common legend here." She asked, then went on as Allen shook his head: "The legend says that Yue Lao, the lunar god, will tie an invisible red thread called the red string of fate between two souls destined to be together, and that they will never be separated once the string is tied." She paused, then took a breath in and recited:
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break."
Silence followed her words, before Kanda stood up abruptly:
"I'm done wasting my time with this. We didn't come here to listen to such tales. Now show us those 'magical clothes' you make." he demanded.
Surprise showed on Yue's features, then she smiled again:
"You don't need any of them. You are already bonded to the young boy here." She said softly.
As Kanda was about to snap, he felt a hand on his arm and turned his head to glare at Allen who had also stood, in an attempt at cooling him down:
"It's a legend, Kanda. Only a legend. There's no need to get so worked up for that." He said calmly. Yet, as he pronounced those words, something stirred in him, a faint but uneasy feeling that was telling him that he didn't believe his own words.
"No, it's not a mere legend." Yue insisted. "Though you are the first ones, I can clearly see the string bonding you and I can assure you of its nature. However, I admit that it can be difficult for you to believe me, so I'm willing to answer your questions. I usually never answer questions about my work or myself. However, you are special enough for me to make an exception." She added coolly. "Will you sit down? I'll bring some tea."
Allen looked at his partner, waiting for the latter to react, and smiled when he replied with a mere 'Fine.'
For minutes, they silently waited more or less patiently for Yue to return, Allen trying to get rid of that persistent feeling he couldn't identify and which was beginning to bother him seriously. He kept glancing at Kanda unconsciously, as if he expected the older Exorcist to do something – but what? He had no idea.
Then, he felt an impulse. An impulse to hold out his hand and touch Kanda, to...
Run his fingers in that long and soft raven hair.
Allen froze. Again. Just what was the meaning of those images that kept appearing so suddenly in his mind; as if to remind him of something he should have never forgotten? And why, why was he slowly feeling drawn to Kanda, why couldn't he help but reach a hesitating hand for the Japanese Exorcist while the latter looked completely oblivious to the turmoil in the boy's head?
"Sorry for making you wait." A feminine voice rose, making Allen quickly pull his hand back. "I brought the tea. I hope it'll be to your convenience." Yue said as she put a tray on the table in front of the two Exorcists. She then poured the tea and handed them the cups, before helping herself and sitting back on the chair. She inhaled the sweet fragrance with satisfaction, then sipped at the warm liquid, delighted.
Allen glanced at Kanda once more and got the surprise to see him drink his tea quietly as well, instead of getting impatient that the woman still hadn't said anything. Well, it was true that the only food and beverage that Kanda could stand were soba and tea, after all.
Yue Wen finally put her cup down and addressed the Exorcists:
"Now, would you like me to tell you about my job?" Ahe asked quietly. As Allen nodded, she went on: "I'm a weaver. Until a few months ago, I was a normal weaver, making normal fabric with normal thread. And then, one day, something miraculous happened." She paused, a gentle smile on her lips. "Look." She merely said before presenting the palm of her hand to the two Exorcists.
Allen's eyes widened when he saw thin, red threads appear in her palm and float in the air.
"I discovered this gift not so long ago and I am now called by the folks 'the weaver of the Lunar God'. See my birthmark? It's shaped like a moon, some people may see a sign in it." She went on softly. "I don't know if I really deserve this title, but at least, I can make people happy with these threads." She added with a kind smile.
"I told you about the legend, didn't I? Well, the strings I create are the same as the red string of fate in the legend. To put it simply, people come here to buy a cloth I made with these strings and offer it to the people whom they are in love with, and a bond is created between them."
"This is nothing but crap." Kanda stated, annoyed. "It has nothing to do with Innocence. We're wasting our time here."
"Kanda!" Allen snapped. "Don't be..."
"It's ok, don't worry." The young woman cut him, not offended at all. She then addressed Kanda: "This is the truth. And I'm fairly sure that it's because of my gift that I am able to see the link between both of you. Believe me, you two were blessed by a god who wishes for you to be together, who wishes for your happiness."
"I'm fed up with this. I'm not here to listen to such tales." Kanda stood up abruptly and left the room before Allen could even react.
"Kanda!" The boy called him before standing up. "Please excuse us." He apologized to Yue Wen before running after Kanda.
"Come back any time." The woman merely replied with a smile.
Allen exited the shop and spotted the Japanese man quickly walking away.
"Kanda!" He called again as he ran to catch up with him. "Kanda, why are you so upset by her words? Hey, listen to me!" He pulled on Kanda's sleeve to make him stop.
The older Exorcist glared at him before snatching his arm back.
"And how could you remain so calm while she spouted such things!" Kanda snapped back violently.
"Well, I... oh, never mind that! Slow down a bit, will you? Where are you going anyway?" Allen asked as he kept following Kanda.
"Hotel. I'll call Komui to tell him we're going back to the Headquarters tomorrow." The latter replied dryly.
"Wh- But we aren't done here!" Allen retorted.
"Yes we are."
"Just tell me what irritates you so much in a legend you don't even believe in!"
Kanda stopped dead. He couldn't believe that the brat had asked him that. Was he stupid or something? He cast an icy look at the intrigued boy and merely replied before he resumed walking:
"What irritates me? It's that she thinks I can share a 'bond' with someone, and with you of all people."
He didn't see the deeply hurt look on the boy's face as he walked away without another word. Allen was frozen on the spot. How could... how could he... the silver-haired boy knew that Kanda wasn't famous for his kindness; still... those last few words had been spat like venom at him, and it hurt. It hurt more than what Allen was willing to acknowledge, it hurt more than what it should have because he perfectly knew that it was how Kanda acted towards everyone.
He watched as the tall figure was walking away, not understanding why he was being so affected by those mere words. A bond? Between them? It was impossible. Allen shook his head and managed with difficulty to pull his self together; at least enough to catch up to Kanda and go to the hotel.
They remained silent all the way there, didn't pronounce a word as they went to their respective rooms, and didn't even act as if they were aware of each other's presence.
As the door closed behind Allen, the boy headed straight for the bed and collapsed onto it, face buried in the warm duvet, and remained there motionless. He was unable to grasp what was happening to him. Pain was gripping at his chest, persistent, indefinable and thus, incurable. One word kept repeating in his head – or rather, one name: Kanda, Kanda, Kanda. The harshness of the words he had pronounced were still piercing the boy cruelly, and the latter couldn't explain why they affected him so much. For the hundredth time, he tried to convince himself that it had always been like that, that Kanda had always despised him, that he was used to being addressed that way by the older Exorcist; yet this time, the dull ache within him wasn't subsiding.
I'll come back.
Allen fisted the blanket as the words echoed in his mind, and a sudden burst of anger seized him. Why did those images keep coming back to him despite having nothing to do with him? And who was supposed to come back?
"Cut the crap, damn it!" Allen heard himself swearing. He sat up on the bed, a hand over his tired eyes, and let a loud sigh out. There was definitely something wrong with him. He wanted to go and see Kanda, to ask him to do something – anything – to stop the bleeding within him. He wanted the Japanese man to tell him that he had never really meant what he had said. But he wasn't stupid enough to believe that Kanda would actually help him.
Then an idea came to him. Perhaps the young weaver could help him understand what was going on.
By a twist of luck – or was it fate? – Allen managed to find his way to the weaver shop without getting lost. He pushed the door open and looked around inside, searching for the young woman who wasn't working on her loom. He entered the shop and carefully closed the door behind him, then made a first attempt at calling:
"Excuse me? Is there anyone?"
A second later, the door of the office opened and as soon as she saw Allen, the weaver gave him a warm smile before asking:
"Hello there. Your friend isn't with you?"
"Ah... no." Allen replied, trying to look as natural as possible while his heart clenched at the mention of Kanda. "I came here by myself to ask you for some answers. If you're willing to listen to me, of course."
Yue gave him an intrigued look, then nodded:
"Of course I am. You're more than welcome here. Come in." She invited Allen in her office.
She sat in the sofa and offered the boy the slot next to her, then asked:
"I still don't know your name. Would you mind telling me?"
"I'm sorry! I completely forgot!" Allen apologized immediately. "I'm Allen Walker."
"Very well, then, Allen. So, what kind of answers are you seeking for?"
"Actually..." Allen paused, not knowing where to begin at first, then took a deep breath in and spoke.
He told her about the memories that kept coming back to him, how he felt affected by them though he was certain the memories weren't his, how Kanda's behavior hurt him in an incomprehensible way, how he couldn't overcome the dull sorrow that was making his whole being ache in spite of himself. In a way, by pouring his problems out, he felt lightened, especially as he could see that Yue was listening to him with attention and without interrupting him even once. After he was done, both of them remained silent as the young woman looked deep in thought.
A whole minute passed before she finally spoke:
"And you're wondering what's happening to you." She sighed, then turned to Allen with a reassuring smile: "The memories you have are those of a past life of yours. Do you believe in reincarnation?" She chuckled at Allen's frowning face. "I guess it never crossed your mind."
"Reincarnation? But... what do these memories have to do with me? And why did they appear now?"
"Because the string has decided that it was time for you to meet with your past love again."
Allen forced a laugh.
"So you're really convinced that Kanda and I are... were lovers? Because I can't really imagine that someone like him can even feel something even close to concern, not to mention anything stronger." He said with a weary tone.
"I'm sure your friend does feel something for you; the string of fate cannot be severed, by any means. He may simply be a bit stubborn about it, that's all." Yue replied.
"A bit stubborn? After leaving your shop, he told me I was the last person he'd acknowledge a bond with. You don't know what kind of man he is." Allen bit his lip, still feeling the icy blade of those words on him. "I thought I did, though." He added, more to himself. Yue frowned.
"He really said that?" She asked, then went on as Allen nodded: "Listen. I don't know about your past lives, but if Yue Lao decided to create a bond between them, it means that your previous incarnations still had something to achieve but didn't manage to at that time."
"What do you mean?"
"I can't tell you exactly since it depends on each person. It could be either that they were separated for a reason or another, or that they weren't able to keep a promise, or it can be anything else. So, to put it clearly, it means that your friend must also have felt something happening to him, though I have to admit that he hides it very well."
Allen opened his eyes wide.
"You mean that Kanda also has these kinds of memories coming back to him?" He asked, incredulous.
"That's what I'm trying to say, indeed. Memories of one of his own past lives." Yue replied calmly.
"Then why didn't he say anything about it?" Allen started losing his cool. "Why didn't he... I don't know! Just... he could have said something!"
"I suggest you go talk to him about this. He may have been too confused to dare say anything, but if you explain to him, I'm sure he'll open to you." The young woman added with a sincere smile.
Allen didn't reply at first, too busy registering her words. Then, after a moment of silence, he resumed talking, though hesitantly:
"But... if everything you told me is true, then it means that... any feeling I can have towards Kanda isn't actually mine, right? That string is responsible for my thinking that I... like him, isn't it?"
Yue gave Allen a look full of kindness as she asked back:
"Are you telling me that you have always been indifferent to your friend until the memories started coming back?"
"No, how could I be indifferent to him? He pisses me off to no end!" The boy replied, maybe a bit more violently than what he had intended. "You don't know how much of a jerk he is! When I talk to him, he makes fun of me. When I eat with him, he says I'm a glutton. When we spar, his greatest pleasure would be to see me at his feet! And..."
"And you keep staying in his company." The weaver cut him with an amused tone.
"I-no! I just... it's just that we all live at the same place and... and... Why are you smiling?" Allen asked, uncertain.
Yue didn't reply, instead she merely stared at him with that smile on her lips, as if she could see through Allen with her piercing eyes. The boy was beginning to feel uneasy under the stare.
"Wh-what is it?" He asked again, which made Yue sigh. She put her hand on Allen's shoulder and explained with the patience of a teacher:
"If you really disliked his company, you wouldn't talk to him, nor would you eat with him, nor would you spar with him, am I wrong?" Then, seeing that Allen couldn't see anything to reply despite all his effort to find a decent answer, she concluded on her most serious tone:
"Your feelings are your own and your own only. The Lunar God doesn't force anything on anyone; he simply offers happiness to people who deserve it. Now, go back to your friend and talk to him."
Allen nodded, feeling as if a heavy burden had been removed from his chest. He was going to talk to Kanda, and everything would be fine.
"And you came here just to tell me that load of crap?" Kanda asked with obvious contempt in his voice.
"Kanda, has nothing strange happened to you lately? You haven't been getting some... flashes of memories coming to you?" Allen asked back, almost desperate.
"Cut it out. I thought that even a kid like you would have stopped believing in such tales a long time ago, but it seems I overestimated you. I already called Komui, we're going back tomorrow, end of the story."
"I said, end of the story." The Japanese Exorcist cut sharply. "Now get out of my room." He added icily.
To say the least, Allen was completely stunned. He hadn't expected such a violent rejection from Kanda, and the little hope he had to sort things out with the older male were reduced to naught, while the deep pain clenching him inwardly only kept increasing.
"Are you deaf? I said get out." Kanda repeated, now really pissed.
Allen stared at him for a second, before turning his back to him and storming out of the room.
"Just what's the problem with you!" The boy let out as he slammed the door behind him. Then he went back to his own room, and threw himself on the bed only to bury his face in it to stifle his silent sobs.
Was everything that Yue had told him a lie? About how the bond was supposed to affect both Kanda and him? Was there even a thing such as a string of fate to begin with? Perhaps Kanda was right, perhaps it was nothing but a mere tale, a legend like any other that had been created by humans to give themselves hope that soul mates did exist, that somehow, life wasn't so cruel as to doom someone to loneliness. A mere legend. Then why did it hurt so much to admit that he and Kanda didn't share – had never had – a bond of any kind?
Before all of this started, the boy had to admit they had never been on good terms, but it never went further than constant and childish bickering that Allen never took seriously; they would snap at each other, then ignore each other and keep on living normally before starting over again. However, today, Kanda's reactions weren't comparable to their traditional fights. Allen was under the impression that the Japanese man truly despised his very existence, that he was nothing but a repugnant being unworthy of any sympathy. No, it wasn't an impression. Allen was certain that it was what Kanda was thinking.
I'll come back.
The boy sank even deeper into his own tormented despair as those last words rang like an empty echo in his head.
The morning after, both Exorcists left the hotel to take the train as Allen hadn't made any other attempt at convincing Kanda to stay for further research. As they left, they failed to notice the silhouette observing them from the corner of the street, a braid falling on the back and a moon-shaped birthmark on the neck. No smile graced the lips of the observer.
Allen coughed. Since the morning of their departure for the Black Order headquarters, he had been coughing, and it didn't help improve the tense atmosphere surrounding the two Exorcists who were sitting in the train, their eyes gazing at anything but their partner.
Kanda hadn't addressed the younger Exorcist since the day before, not even pretended to be aware of his presence, and though Allen tried his best to ignore him as well, his mind was constantly disturbed by thoughts of the Japanese male in spite of himself.
The silence that was prevailing in the compartment was only interrupted by Allen's few coughing fits. The boy sighed mentally. He had certainly caught a cold, despite the warm temperature they had in China. A quick glance in front of him showed him the irritated face of Kanda who was biting his lip, obviously in an attempt at refraining himself from letting out a disagreeable remark about his coughing. It's not like Allen could help it anyway; he'd get better very soon.
After an hour, the train arrived at its destination and both Exorcists got down and headed for the rendezvous point where they'd take the Ark to go back to the headquarters. As Allen crossed the gate and set foot on the familiar ground of the Black Order, he was greeted by their supervisor:
"Welcome back, Allen, Kanda. So, no trace of Innocence at all?"
"No." Kanda replied dryly before Allen had any chance of pronouncing a single word.
"Well, I'll be waiting for your report as usual. You may go and rest for now." He dismissed them.
Allen went back to his room and lay on his bed, feeling strangely more exhausted than usual. He blamed it on the mental strain he had been undergoing since the trip to China and which was still slowly eroding the little resistance he had left in him.
He coughed again, wincing a bit as his throat was getting sore. Maybe he should go to the infirmary to ask for some medicine; but the boy didn't feel like moving at all. Later, he'd go ask. For now, he rolled on his side and closed his eyes, engulfed by a wave of weariness.
"This is weird. It's almost past dinner time and Allen hasn't shown up." Lavi commented as he brought the fork to his mouth.
"True, I wonder what he's doing now." Lenalee added, nodding. "Do you have any idea, Kanda?"
"Why should I?" Said Kanda asked grumpily. He hated it when people started asking him about the damn moyashi. Were they all so blind they couldn't see he could care less about the brat?
"Well, you came back from mission with him a few hours ago, so I reckoned you'd know..."
"I don't." Kanda cut the girl sharply before he put his chopsticks on his bowl and got up abruptly. "I don't concern myself with him." He added sharply, then left without another word.
Lavi made sure Kanda was at a safe distance enough before addressing Lenalee:
"He's in a worse mood than usual. I wonder what's gotten into him."
"Well, they didn't manage to bring any Innocence back according to my brother. That may be the reason." The girl replied.
"But this doesn't tell us where Allen is. He never skips a single meal usually. Wanna go check his room?" Lavi suggested.
"Yes. Let's go."
Both of them left the cafeteria and headed for Allen's room, then knocked at the door.
"Allen?" Lenalee called through the door. "Allen? Are you there?" She repeated several times, but with no answer.
"Seems like no one's inside." Lavi sighed. "Let's check around and see if someone knows where he is."
The girl nodded.
Inside the room, in his state of half-slumber, Allen heard the voices and the sounds of footsteps fading gradually. His limp body hadn't deigned to get up and open the door to his friends, nor had his numb mind allowed him to reply. He was lying on his bed, curled up in a mere ball of something barely living, eyes half-open and reflecting nothing but the shallowness that was filling him. The only signs that proved his living state were the – now more frequent – fits of coughing that were preventing him from finding a semblance of sleep.
Through the window, Allen could see the pale rays of the crescent moon falling on him, and it reminded him of the young weaver. The weaver of the Lunar God, huh? The same god who was supposed to bring two persons together so they could live happily ever after? Bullshit.
The fate of human beings was to struggle endlessly by their selves to seek a happiness that would always be out of their reach, no matter how hard they tried. Enduring pain was their daily bread, yet they kept on struggling while hoping for their happiness because pain and hope were two words that expressed the same entity, after all. And Allen was a human being.
A divine voice descending upon him.
Allen shut his eyes tight. No, no, no. He wasn't going to believe in such fantasies any more.
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
He covered his ears with his hands, refusing to listen to the voice inside his head.
Regardless of time, place, or circumstance,
Why did those memories keep coming to him? Was it to torture him? It was a legend, a legend only!
The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
A legend... Yet, the memories were so vivid it was hard to believe they weren't real. Were they really the memories of a previous life? There was no other explanation, unless Allen's sanity was to be questioned. But the weaver seemed to know exactly what she was talking about, right? Allen only regretted that not everything she had told him was true. Kanda wasn't the one who was connected to him.
The boy's stomach tensed up, warning him that a new fit was coming. His throat was getting irritated because of the coughing, but what made him wince was the short and sudden pain he felt in his chest.'I really need to go see a doctor tomorrow.'He thought. Tomorrow. Tonight, he didn't felt like moving.
The morning after, he went to the infirmary.
"This is nothing serious." The doctor said reassuringly. "Take this medicine and it'll be cured in a week."
Allen thanked him and left.
Goosebumps raising on the pale skin under the caresses of warm hands.
Kanda punched the wall of his room out of anger. It was at least the hundredth time that those stupid 'memories' came to harass him, and he couldn't ignore them any longer as the scenes depicted in those flashes were getting more and more... embarrassing? And that stupid moyashi who had asked him whether he was having memories coming back to him... Of course he was! Of course they disturbed him! But the brat hadn't really believed that Kanda would have admitted it, had he?
He said that they were memories from a previous life, how ridiculous! He didn't believe in reincarnation, nor did he believe that one of his previous lives had supposedly been theloverof one of the moyashi's previous lives! It was utterly ridiculous.
Even if the weaver's words really made sense, Kanda couldn't bring himself to believe that he could feel anything but contempt towards the cursed brat. It was simply impossible. And yet, the disturbing – no, not disturbing,infuriating– feeling that kept poisoning him was drawing him closer and closer to a conclusion he absolutely refused to admit: he was obsessed with the silver-haired boy.
An obsession. It was nothing else but an obsession. His mind was constantly filled with thoughts of the boy, despite all his efforts to get rid of them. Thoughts of a twisted desire to submit the boy to his will, to break his illusory fantasies about a string of fate, to break him. And it only increased his loathing for Allen. Every part, every cell of his being rejected that anomaly of an Exorcist that was Allen Walker; whenever Kanda saw the brat, he felt the urge to grab him by the neck, slam him against the nearest wall, choke him until those pitiful silver eyes turned dull and...
Lips pressing against expecting ones, a tongue savoring the sweet taste of pleasure.
This time Kanda kicked the chair next to him, sending it flying across the room. Obsession, fixation, infatuation, whatever. It was getting on the Japanese male's nerves. For hell's sake, he despised the boy! That pathetic excuse for a human being could die in the most atrocious pain and Kanda wouldn't even raise a single finger to help him.
And yet, Allen Walker was the only one haunting his thoughts, permanent, persistent, and tenacious.
Bliss of two bodies joining, gasps, moans, two beings melting into one. Desire.
"Damn it!" Kanda swore. This was too much for his self-control.
Without wasting another second, the Japanese Exorcist stormed out of his room and headed straight for Allen's, swearing to the god he didn't believe in that he'd cut the boy to pieces later if he wasn't in his room now. Lady luck had to be with him for, as he knocked – or rather, banged – at the door, it opened to reveal a surprised, then frowning Allen.
"Kanda, what do you w..."
The boy didn't have time to finish as he was roughly pushed back inside his room by Kanda who slammed the door behind him and locked it before grabbing Allen by the collar and dragging him to the bed. Before Allen could say anything, the older Exorcist dropped him unceremoniously on the bed and literally smashed his lips against the boy's ones in a rough, ungentle, and painful kiss. He heard the sounds of protest dying in Allen's throat, though the boy was trying unsuccessfully to soften the kiss, and smirked mentally. Too easy. It was too easy.
Everything was happening too quickly for Allen; not thirty seconds ago, he was lying on his bed in the doldrums, and now he was still lying on his bed, but with Kanda over him, ravishing his mouth and not letting him breathe an ounce of air. Was he happy? He couldn't tell. There was something wrong with Kanda's behavior. It wasn't like him at all to suddenly come and act like a... a what? Allen didn't know. He didn't know whether to rejoice or not that the man who had been the cause of his torments was now holding him and kissing him.
He didn't have more time to get lost in thoughts as Kanda bit on lips, forcing them to open, before shoving his tongue in and claiming the boy's mouth with a rare violence. Allen couldn't help but let a moan escape, though it was immediately stifled by Kanda's own mouth; his head was spinning, his arms unconsciously wrapped themselves around the Japanese Exorcist to pull him closer – if that was even possible – to him.
Finally, Kanda pulled back, leaving both of them panting heavily, dark blue eyes locked into silver ones. But he wasn't done yet, far from that. He kept repeating in his head that he was acting by himself, not because of some stupid string of fate.
"Kanda..." Allen called him, panting. The next second, a pair of hands was ripping his clothes apart and Allen gasped as Kanda's tongue started trailing on his now exposed chest, sending shivers through his spine. His cheeks were hot and flushed under Kanda's restless actions; it was as if fever had struck him, except that fever wasn't supposed to arouse anyone. And to his horror, he was already more than aroused, which didn't go unnoticed by Kanda who raised his eyes to Allen:
"Che, impatient kid."
He sat up and removed his coat, letting it fall on the ground, before unbuckling his belt, still looking at Allen who was having a hard time not to blush any more at the sight of Kanda's bare chest. The silver-haired boy was still only half-believing what was happening; not a day ago, Kanda had rejected him with such disdain that it was hard for him to believe that the same Kanda was now in the same room as him, on the same bed, and about to do something that had never brushed his mind.
It was only a matter of seconds before all clothes were discarded, leaving full room to pure skin contact between the two hot bodies that were now pressing against each other, one completely offered to the other. Kanda was kissing Allen again while his hand was working on Allen's arousal, making the latter moan again and again. Allen thought he was on the verge of releasing when the grip on his member disappeared.
"Kan..." He started, but didn't manage to finish as Kanda sat up again and slipped his hand under the boy's back to flip him over on his stomach and raise his hips.
"What are you....aah!" Allen let a cry out as Kanda grabbed his erection again, running his hand on the length at a torturous and slow pace and enjoying the sight of the trembling body under his sole care. He leant forward, over Allen's back.
"Like it, don't you?" He whispered at the boy's ear, but Allen was in no state to give him a reply, too busy trying to keep his voice down. "Che."
Once again, he removed his hand from Allen's aching member, and reached for his entrance. The mere intrusion of Kanda's fingers was enough to make Allen release as he arched his back.
"Kanda!" He called. "Oh God..." The amount of pleasure he was receiving far exceeded everything Allen could have imagined, especially when Kanda managed to reach a certain inner spot that made him cry Kanda's name again. Everything he had wished from the Japanese male looked derisory compared with what he was being given right now. He barely had any time to recover from his first climax that he felt his pleasure building up again in him as Kanda kept stretching him skillfully.
The older Exorcist leant over Allen again:
"Don't be so quick at coming, I'm not done with you yet." He said as he pulled his fingers out.
"I... know that..." Allen managed to reply between two pants.
"Che." So the moyashi knew what was coming next, right? Then it would be impolite to make him wait.
Kanda aligned himself with Allen, and slowly moved his hips forward. He clenched his teeth as Allen involuntarily tightened around him and refrained himself – though with difficulty – from forcing his way in with one swift motion. He could hear Allen's heavy breathing and soft gasps though the boy was making obvious effort not to be too loud.
Allen was gripping at the sheets so hard his knuckles were turning white, eyes shut tight as he felt Kanda enter him, breathing erratic because of the pain mixed with pleasure he was receiving. Kanda was soon fully inside him, and when he started pulling out to push back, it was as if his body had been set on fire. To him, it couldn't be real; yet, the intensity with which Kanda was claiming him relentlessly was definitely not fake. The older male was anything but gentle; at each thrust, Allen could feel his raw power pouring into him, overwhelming him like an intimidating aura. And he couldn't get enough of it.
Nor could Kanda get enough of entering the boy again and again, devoured by an unexplainable attraction towards him. No, it wasn't an attraction, it was a mere, physical desire aroused by those 'memories'. There was no way Kanda could actually feelattractedto Allen. No way. It was on that last thought that he released inside of the boy, then pulled himself out while Allen completely collapsed on the mattress.
They were both panting heavily, silent during a whole minute. Kanda was still on his knees, watching the pale figure of the boy who was trying to catch his breath back.
That was all. He had slept with the damn moyashi to let the tension and the frustration out, and the mission was complete. He got out of the bed and started dressing himself, noticing from the corner of his eyes that Allen was watching him with more or less discretion. Then, as he was about to leave, he felt a hand on his wrist and glanced down to see the expectant look in Allen's eyes.
"What?" He asked dryly while pulling his wrist back. Though slightly surprised by the harsh tone, the boy replied anyway:
"Well...aren't you going to say anything? You planned to leave like that, without telling me anything?"
"Don't get the wrong idea." Kanda paused before pronouncing the cold, piercing and hurtful words that were going to slowly crush Allen from inside: "What I did was to show you that I can do how I fucking want to. I feel nothing for you, even after sleeping with you. Nothing. See? There's no stupid string to tell me how to act."
Then he left without turning back, leaving a dumbstruck boy behind him. It took Allen a while to realize the impact of Kanda's words on him, and when he did, the only thing that his body allowed him to do was to collapse on his bed and let silent tears out. And this time, the pain was really his own.
His whole body tensed as a fit of coughing seized him violently. Well, at least he'd be cured in a week.
A week later, Allen was coughing out blood, and his chest burnt him at each fit. During that whole week, he stayed locked in his room, only getting out for meals, which started worrying his two friends, namely Lenalee and Lavi. When they inquired about Allen's condition, he merely replied that it was nothing serious. What else could he say? He categorically refused to talk – or even think – about Kanda, about the blow he had received, about the mental and physical pain that were devouring him a bit more every day.
In the end, as Lavi and Lenalee kept insisting, the boy finally snapped:
"Just leave me alone and mind your own business for once, will you?" He shouted at them angrily before locking himself in his room again.
Needless to say, the two Exorcists were startled by the reaction.
"There's something really wrong since Allen came back from his mission." Lavi said, frowning.
"I noticed that too, but my brother said neither Allen-kun nor Kanda mentioned anything particular in their report." Lenalee sighed.
"I wanna ask Yuu. I'm sure he's got something to do with this. And then we have to drag Allen to the infirmary one way or another." Lavi said firmly.
The girl nodded. She didn't want to see her friend letting his self die without doing anything.
The blade slashed the air in one sharp and precise movement. For the whole week, Kanda had been spending more time than ever in the training room, exerting his body from dawn to dusk restlessly. Why? Because it was the only way for him to distract his mind from unwanted thoughts about a certain silver-haired boy.
Kanda slashed again. He was pissed. He couldn't understand what was going on with him. He had thought that, by sleeping with Allen once, he'd be completely free of his obsession for him; however, the result was the entire contrary. Despite his continual attempts at forgetting about Allen, his thoughts kept being directed towards the boy, as if the latter was carved in Kanda's mind.
Wrench of a forced separation. Departing, never to come back. Unfulfilled promise.
Out of rage, the Japanese Exorcist plunged his sword on the ground. Nonsense, it was pure nonsense! And then, a strong emotion coming from nowhere seized him, filling him with something he'd never have thought he could feel: guilt, regret, remorse. But for what? He didn't know. It was as if the feelings were those of another person, yet it affected him, and he couldn't explain why or how. He couldn't even explain what those scraps of memories represented, and it was driving him crazy.
He grabbed his sword and pulled it out of the ground, then gazed straight in front of him, ready to resume his training. And then, his eyes opened wide.
In front of him, the young female weaver was standing, staring at him with an undecipherable look. Her usual smile was nowhere to be seen.
"Your stubborn rejection is killing him." She said coldly.
Kanda blinked once to make sure he wasn't hallucinating, but during that short time, the weaver had already disappeared. The Japanese male swore; great, now he was seeing things, as if he didn't have enough problems already. Still, the apparition intrigued him. What did she mean by 'killing him'? Killing who? Kanda shook his head, angry towards himself to give even the smallest credit to what was certainly a trick of his imagination.
He was about to resume training when the sounds of footsteps getting closer made him sigh of irritation.
"Yuu! We have questions for y..." Lavi barged into the room but stopped dead as he felt a cold blade grazing his neck. Behind him, Lenalee gasped as she almost bumped into him.
"Kanda, please stop that, will you?" She requested, sighing. "We'd like to talk with you about Allen-kun. His state is more than worrying. And please don't tell us that it doesn't concern you, because we noticed how both of you have been acting strangely since you came back from your mission together." She quickly added before Kanda had time to retort back.
The Japanese male glared at her before slowly lowering Mugen, to Lavi's relief.
"Now, will you tell us what happened on your mission?" Lenalee asked patiently.
"Ask your brother for the report." Kanda replied shortly.
"Kanda, don't be stubborn. The report doesn't mention anything that could explain why Allen is letting his health degrade and why he doesn't want any help from us."
"He hasn't been himself lately." Lavi added. "He even snapped at us pretty violently, which isn't like him at all."
Kanda sheathed his sword, remaining silent. Then, as he walked past them towards the door, he declared icily:
"If he plans to act childishly, then let him do so."
It had happened all too quickly. A second before, Allen was walking in the cafeteria with a tray in his hand, and the second after there was a loud noise as the tray crashed on the ground and Allen had collapsed on his knees, a hand holding on to a table and the other hand over his mouth as a violent fit of coughing seized him. Immediately, some Finders rushed to him, and one of them exclaimed:
"Someone go get the doctor! Hurry up!"
"I-I'm fine..." Allen managed to speak.
"Sir Walker, please don't talk! And you're not fine at all!"
Indeed, the ground was tainted with small droplets of blood, and Allen's hand was also covered with the crimson liquid. His chest was burning him, air had trouble finding its way to the boy's lungs, and his vision was blurring around him... blackness.
In the middle of the ruckus, only one person remained seated at his spot, merely observing the scene with his dark blue eyes. It was none of his business, after all.
A few hours later…
"I can't explain it. At first, it was supposed to be mild, and I gave him drugs that should have cured him in less than a week. I can't explain how his state deteriorated to this point." The doctor said, shaking his head.
"But can you treat him?" Komui asked as he glanced at the sleeping boy lying on the infirmary bed on his side.
"This is hard to tell. As I said, I've never seen something like this. It's as if his body refuses to heal, no matter what I do."
The supervisor frowned, wrinkles of worry appearing on his forehead.
"Please do your best." He merely said as he left the room.
A silhouette who was standing right behind the door quickly left before the supervisor exited the infirmary. No, Kanda wasn't concerned about Allen's state. He had just happened to be passing by, that's all.
An unknown disease slowly taking his lover away.
Kanda clenched his fists. He decided that a meditation session wouldn't harm him. He went back to his room, sat cross-legged on the floor, closed his eyes and let the surrounding silence invade him progressively. During a few minutes, his mind relaxed, allowing him to enjoy a moment of peace.
"I'll come back."
The Japanese male bit his lip. It seemed that no matter what, his mind wouldn't be able to find some rest. What had he done to deserve it? In spite of himself, every time those memories streamed past his head, his thoughts would drift to Allen Walker, source of the mental torture he was suffering from. He had been wrong when he had thought that sleeping with him would have erased his obsession towards the boy; on the contrary, it had been increasing to the point that not a single second could pass without Kanda thinking how much he loathed the boy. He loathed Allen for putting a mess in his mind, he loathed Allen for leading him to sleep with him, he loathed Allen because he had become infatuated with the boy.
Kanda uncrossed his legs, rested his arms on his knees and buried his face in his hands. Was it possible to deeply hate and desire someone with the same intensity at the same time? To Kanda, the answer wasn't as easy as it seemed.
The last akuma went down by the grace of Kanda's blade. The Exorcist had been sent on a mission to retrieve an Innocence in a small town of Scotland, but there was no trace of the precious weapon around him, and the folks didn't know anything about it. Kanda's mood wasn't particularly cheerful, and the fact that the Innocence was nowhere to be found only worsened it. He came back to the hotel and used his golem to phone Komui.
"Really? No Innocence? However, if there were akuma, it means that there must be something near. Do you mind staying there a few more days to look for it?" The supervisor asked.
"Che. Not like I had much choice." Kanda replied before closing the connection.
Night came and Kanda lay on the bed, not particularly trying to find some sleep; for the past few days he was unable to sleep properly because of the mess in his mind. When Komui had called him in his office for a mission, he had thought that it'd help him take his mind off things, and of course, he had been completely wrong.
Was the moyashi still dying at the infirmary? Did those good-for-nothing doctors find a medicine to treat him? Those questions kept playing in Kanda's head, and it was bothering him to no end. The day before his mission, he had paid Allen a quick visit while the latter was sleeping, more on a whim than out of concern, and the sight of the pale and miserable figure lying on the bed, that mouth letting nothing but hissing breathing out had stirred something very disagreeable in Kanda, though he couldn't name it.
Again. It wasn't the first time that memory came back to him, and he couldn't help but wonder why he felt so concerned about it, despite he had absolutely no idea what kind of promise it was. He closed his eyes, deciding to put that issue aside until his mission was over. Miraculously enough, sleep took over him on that night.
That was until his golem woke him up after a few hours. Swearing mentally, Kanda sat up and set the connection up.
"Kanda! We need you to come back to the Order right now."Komui's voice spoke through the golem. Given his tone, there was visibly something wrong.
"What the fuck, Komui. My mission isn't done yet." The Japanese male replied grumpily.
"Forget about the mission, there's more important here. It's Allen, he's in a very bad shape and..."
"What does it have to do with me?" Kanda cut him, annoyed.
"Listen, go to the station immediately and take the first train back here. I'll explain on your way."
"Che. Fine." Kanda replied, already on his feet. Three minutes later, he was already walking to the station while listening to Komui:
"... has been deteriorating since you left. The doctors are unable to tell the cause and said that Allen is only surviving by sheer willpower, but they fear he isn't going to last pretty much longer."
"You still haven't told me why you need me back."
"Well... that's the strangest part. The only words that comes out from Allen are your name and 'Come back, you promised me.'"
Kanda twitched; though he managed to stay calm a minimum.
"And you're calling me back to headquarters because the moyashi said some nonsense crap?" He asked slowly, in a dangerous tone.
"Kanda... this isn't all. Actually, something happened that quite... troubled me."Komui went on cautiously."You... were told about the red string of fate during your mission, didn't you?"
"What about it?" Kanda asked dryly.
"Well... the weaver, I met her. Or more accurately, she kind of...appeared in front of me."
This time, the Japanese male stopped dead.
"As I said, it was rather... strange. She told me she's the messenger of the lunar god. She also told me that Allen was dying because of you, because there's a promise you still need to fulfill towards him. I don't really understand what she meant but she added that you would know what to do. Do you?"
"No." There had been a second of silence before Kanda's reply, but that mere second of hesitation was enough for Komui to insist:
"Listen, I won't ask you about details, but I simply request that you come back and do the necessary for Allen to recover."
"And I'm telling you I don't know how to cure the damn moyashi! Wasn't I clear enough?" Kanda retorted back, irritated. His thoughts were upside down, messing his mind up and making him react accordingly, namely very badly.
It was at that moment that a noise made him raise his eyes and frown darkly.
"I'm not coming back before my mission is done. And I'm closing the connection, akuma are coming." He added, pissed off.
He unsheathed Mugen, ready to slice the akuma that were flying towards him. There were only level one and two akuma, however the number was abnormally high, about fifty of them. Kanda activated his Innocence, and charged.
One after another, he cut them down, not allowing his body to rest even for a second for he knew that the moment he lost focus would be fatal for him. The akuma were surrounding him, forcing him to constantly watch his back to avoid mortal hits. Needless to say, he was getting quickly exhausted and in the end, had to escape in a narrow alley to take his breath back. There were around half the akuma left, and they were reducing the town to ruins and ashes. Kanda could hear people scream, see them running everywhere before being blown up by a blast, and feel the ground shaking under his feet.
He was also injured, though not badly. The only way for him to extricate himself from the situation was to finish the akuma off as quickly as possible before exhaustion completely took over his body. He inhaled deeply and was about to get back to work when the apparition in front of him made him freeze on the spot.
The weaver. Again. She was standing in front of him, gravely, and Kanda noticed that the moon-shaped birthmark on her neck was darker, exactly like a tattoo. Her eyes also were now tinted with silver glints, giving the impression of looking at two miniature lunar stars.
"You promised him to come back." She said. Despite the deafening sound of explosions around him, Kanda could hear the woman distinctly and it seemed to him that her voice resonated around him.
"I never promised anyone anything. Now get out of my sight, I don't have time to deal with you." Kanda spat.
"Your previous life did. The string of fate is there to allow you to fulfill the promise you made hundreds years ago."
"I don't believe in that crap." Kanda snapped back as he walked past her.
"Liar." She said, and the word echoed in Kanda's head like a distant reminiscence.
"I'll come back."
"I will. I promise."
Kanda turned round abruptly, but the weaver had already disappeared. The Exorcist swore, what did that woman know about him? Declaring he was a liar while she knew nothing about him, it infuriated him. Still, the unpleasant and diffuse feeling that she may somehow not be that wrong kept stirring in him. A promise to come back? That was ridiculous.
At the same moment, a loud bang was heard not far from him, and the wall next to him started collapsing. Cursing under his breath, Kanda jumped out of the alley to avoid being buried under the falling rocks and stood ready to defeat the remaining akuma.
It was at that precise moment that his heart failed a beat. Not only more akuma had joined the battle, but at least a dozen of them were level three. The sky was now clouded by those creatures and the destroyed streets of the town were also invaded by them.
Kanda gritted his teeth. He wasn't foolish enough to believe he'd be able to handle all of them by himself, though it didn't mean he was going to give up so easily. With Mugen tightly held in both his hands, he took a deep breath in, and released his first illusion.
One down. Two down. Three down. The akuma were falling one after another under Kanda's merciless attacks, yet their number didn't seem to decrease.
Surrounded by enemies.
For once, the memory fitted Kanda's present situation well.
Kill. To survive.
That's right. The only thought that was leading his movements was survival, no matter what.
To come back to him.
He slashed another akuma down. A new strength was filling him, though he couldn't tell where it came from; it didn't matter as long as it allowed him to keep going.
To meet him again.
Kanda bit his lip. Why were those memories so persistent? And why couldn't he stop thinking about a certain silver-haired boy at each of those flashes?
And then, the worst of the visions came to him: a delicate and colorless face breathing its last, lying alone and wishing for his special person to return before he left this world for good, and not having his last wish granted. Kanda clutched at his sword even more tightly as a new resolution formed in his head: he wasn't going to let it happen. He was going to come back, because he had to. A strong feeling rose in him that prompted him to make every endeavor to survive and come back to the one he once thought he despised most.
That momentary lapse of concentration prevented him from noticing the akuma coming from behind him, and the second after, he was sent flying against a wall. Kanda cursed silently, angry at himself for letting his self be distracted by thoughts that were uncalled for in the middle of a battle against hordes of akuma. As he tried to stand up, a sharp pain in his left arm made him wince, but it wasn't time to care about his injuries now; another lack of attention could end up with something more serious than injuries.
An arrow piercing his chest. Blood splashing on the ground.
His previous incarnation got killed, so what? It didn't mean Kanda was going to repeat the same mistake. He unleashed his second illusion, ignoring the exhaustion of his tense muscles and the vision blurring around him. Damn curse, why couldn't it heal him more quickly?
A second arrow. Strength leaving him in spite of himself. Anger, rage, fury.
Kanda gritted his teeth. All the stubbornness he had put into denying any bond with the silver-haired boy was now poured into fulfilling that – stupid – promise to come back. It didn't matter that his blood was flowing out from several deep wounds, nor did it matter that he was breathless, barely able to stand properly on his legs that threatened to fail him at any time, his coat in tatters. It didn't matter that akuma kept coming at him, bringing carnage and destruction with them; he would annihilate them all, and then go back.
Because he had promised it.
A third arrow, straight at his heart. Knees on the ground, violent pain clenching at his heart, though it's not physical pain.
There was no way he could die here, in the middle of those ruins, in the middle of those corpses, in the middle of those akuma that seemed to mock him with their number. Yet, his life was slowly slipping away at the same time his blood was continuously pouring out of his wounds, progressively reducing any illusion of survival to nothing.
Kanda gazed around him, trying to assess the number of akuma left despite his mind was feeling more and more dizzy. There weren't many of them remaining; however, the Japanese Exorcist was far too injured to deal with them properly. He closed his eyes for a second, and during that mere second, an image flashed in his mind. It wasn't one of those past memories, but a real image of his own, a face framed by silver hair, a sad smile displayed on his lips, forgiving grey eyes that slowly closed, never to open again.
"No." Kanda breathed with effort. He wasn't – couldn't – let it happen. Someone was waiting for him to return, and he wasn't going to fail that someone. A smirk crossed his lips. He wasn't cursed for nothing, and if there was a time when he was grateful for bearing such a curse, it was now. If it wasn't healing him quickly enough, then he only needed to force the healing.
Which he did. It was going to shorten his lifespan a bit more, but this was the last of Kanda's worries. The tattoo on his chest expanded, tracing new black patterns over his skin; at the same time, Kanda hissed as he could feel his wounds closing progressively, leaving no scar on his body. However, the effort it cost him was making him pant heavily; it was the first time he tried to force his curse to such an extent, and he knew that the next time he'd check on the lotus flower, there would be at least one or two petals missing.
But at least, for now, he was alive. And ready to reduce the remaining akuma to dust.
And after that, he'd go back.
Slowly, very slowly, Allen opened his eyes. He stared expressionlessly at the white ceiling above him, not bothering to move his weakened body. He had been stuck in the infirmary for days, and yet his condition hadn't improved at all. Not that he cared. To tell the truth, he didn't feel like healing; it was much more tempting to let himself drift away from this world without struggling, to end the throbbing pain of waiting for something that he knew would never come.
Kanda would never come back. Not for him. The older Exorcist had made it clear how he felt towards the boy, and it was all the more cruel as the said boy couldn't stop longing for his return despite everything.
Today, however, Allen had no more will to bear with that unceasing torture. Today would be his last day. As if to prove him right, he started coughing blood again, feeling as if his lungs were being torn apart under the repetitive coughs. Today, he would say goodbye to a world that had never welcomed him to begin with, thus he wouldn't regret it.
Regret. Of not seeing each other again.
Allen shut his eyes tight. He kept thinking that he didn't care about it anymore, that he wasn't stupid enough to cling to a person who had brought him nothing but suffering, yet a small voice at the back of his head kept murmuring 'liar'.
"I will. I promise."
Enough already. Enough. There was no point in hoping for something beyond his reach and he wasn't going to regret giving up on a dream. Then why did silent tears start falling down his cheeks? Why was it so painful to feel life slowly leaving his body? Why couldn't he think of anyone else but...
The irony, now Allen was hearing voices, andhisvoice above all. Did God enjoy playing with his creatures that much?
"Moyashi, damn it! Don't you fucking dare die on me now!"
This was getting strange. Allen could feel the presence of someone next to him, could feel a hand on his cheek, a thumb wiping his tears away. He could hearthatvoice calling him repeatedly by that nickname he had come to like hearing. Perhaps it was how it was like to die?
Silver eyes opened, and met with dark blue ones. Silver widened in shock while dark blue closed in relief.
"Moyashi..." Kanda murmured as he leant forward and pressed his forehead against Allen's, holding the delicate face between his palms.
As soon as he had come back from his mission, he had rushed towards the infirmary and stormed into the room, telling the doctors and nurses to get out and leave them alone. And then, his eyes had set upon Allen, whose cheeks were marked by shining trails of tears, and for a second, Kanda had feared the worst.
But now, the object of his torments was between his hands, and the promise was fulfilled.
"I'm back." He whispered against Allen's lips. "I'm back."
The boy was immobile, still not daring to believe what was happening. It couldn't be... it simply couldn't... yet, the warmth that was taking over his body was too real to be a mere trick of his imagination. It was as if the life that had left him was being poured back in him, coloring his pale face again with the colors of rebirth.
Carefully, he reached a trembling hand to the long, black hair falling on either side of his head, brushing it with his fingers as if to make sure it wasn't an illusion. And finally, his mouth opened:
"Why... now?" he asked weakly.
Kanda remained silent for a second before replying in a murmur:
"I don't know. I just... don't know."
"I was ready to give up on you." Allen breathed as he closed his eyes again.
"I'm sorry, Allen. I'm sorry." The older Exorcist's words were barely audible.
None of them spoke for an entire minute, but words were not needed at that moment. The only thing Kanda needed was to feel the warmth coming back to Allen's cheeks against his palms, and the only thing Allen needed was the contact of Kanda against him.
"Kanda... you're really back." He finally said, as if he still couldn't believe it.
"I promised you." The older male merely replied before closing his lips over Allen's.
They gently tasted each other, their lips meeting in soft touches, playing and teasing the other only to end up pressing eagerly into a so-long-awaited kiss. This was nothing comparable to the first time when Kanda had burst in on Allen, this was what the boy had been yearning for without really hoping it.
When they pulled apart and their gazes met, Kanda could see expectation in Allen's eyes, expectation for something more than a mere kiss, something that would give the word 'bond' its full meaning. It was at that moment that the last remains of doubt in Kanda's mind about a link between them vanished completely. Allen was his, and his only, and his duty was to never let him go again.
Lips met once more, souls merged together.
Neither space nor time mattered any more.
If the legend was true, then they would meet again, maybe in another place, another era, but they would meet again.
And when they would, he'd never leave his side any more.
Somewhere, a female weaver smiled before vanishing into silver stardust, her mission finally completed.
Damn, that was my first long, angsty one-shot. I hope you guys liked it! Comments are really appreciated! And for those who are expecting Shikigami, don't worry, I'm still working on it :]
Special thanks to my lil alien Hanistar7 for giving me some advice on this shot!