Disclaimer - I do not own D Gray Man


It was the end of yet another hard day of performing and Mana and Allen had retired to a small inn for the night. It wasn't exactly a glamorous place, in fact it was somewhat on the shabby side of the spectrum, but the price was decent and it was one of the few available rooms.

Those two things went a long way toward making the decision to stay there. After all, as traveling performers, Mana and Allen were far from well off as far as finances went.

And Allen didn't seem to mind their shabby lodgings. Upon entering the room he had immediately changed out of his clown costume and claimed one of the twin beds that occupied the small space.

And now the child was fast asleep.

As he gazed at Allen's peacefully sleeping form Mana could hardly believe that a year had passed since he had taken in the young boy that he had first found at the circus. The changes in Allen were more noticeable than ever and the clown couldn't believe that he had managed to transform the little street urchin into the little gentleman that he now knew.

He and Allen had been traveling together and he had taught the child the tricks of the trade. And Allen had picked the tricks up faster than Mana would have believed possible.

The little boy was now truly his partner.

And tomorrow was Christmas day, which marked the one year anniversary of the day that he had adopted Allen.

"I should do something special for him," Mana thought to himself as he absently thumbed through the novel that he had pulled from his suitcase. He was fairly certain that Allen wouldn't have had any experience with the holiday, having had such a rough early childhood, so he decided that he would do his absolute best to make the day special for the child.

Getting to his feet Mana checked to make absolutely certain that Allen was asleep. And then, once he had determined that Allen was likely out for the night, the clown got to his feet and opened his suitcase once more.

He placed the novel back in it's place and then pulled out a small envelope. From the envelope he pulled out some money and then quickly counted it. Now it wasn't like Mana to spend a large amount of money on something frivolous but he found himself wanting to do something special for the little boy that he had came to view as his son.

So he was going to make an exception this one time.

At least he told himself that it would only be this one time. However the voice in the back of his mind was calling out that this would become a yearly tradition and he knew it.

Which Mana couldn't deny.

Sunlight was just beginning to spill in through the partially open curtains when Allen awoke the next morning. The little boy sat up slowly, rubbing at his eyes with the back of his hand.

"Good morning Allen."

When he heard these words, Allen's gaze went to his foster father, who was sitting in one of the chairs that were positioned at the far end of the room. And the boy's gray eyes widened as he saw a box sitting at Mana's feet, wrapped in brightly colored paper.

He was both intrigued and confused by the sight.

"Merry Christmas," Mana said, offering the little boy a smile. He saw the look of confusion in the child's smoky eyes and it only confirmed his suspicions about the child not having any knowledge of the holiday. "And Happy Birthday."

"Birthday?" Allen said, his voice quiet as he climbed from his bed and slowly made his way across the room toward Mana.

"I know that it's not your real birthday," Mana said, the smile still on his face. "But I thought that we could celebrate it on Christmas since that's the day that I took you in."

"Celebrate?" Confusion was still evident in the little boy's voice as he sat down in the chair that was positioned beside Mana's. "Do people celebrate birthdays?"

Mana nodded. "It's customary to celebrate the day that you're born." As he spoke Mana used his foot to push the box toward Allen. "This is for you."

Allen's eyes widened as his gaze once again focused on the brightly wrapped box. It seemed as though he were having trouble believing that it was actually for him.

"Go on," Mana encouraged, giving the box another tap with the toe of his shoe. "Open it up already Allen."

Leaning forward Allen picked up the box and held it his lap, a look of awe on his face. Mana chuckled to himself, thinking that if the box brought the boy so much enjoyment then he was really in for a treat when he finally got around to opening it.

If he ever did.

Taking hold of the side of the box Allen made a slit in the wrapping paper and then pulled it off, revealing a brown box. The child pulled the lid from the top of the box and gazed inside.

Mana heard the small gasp of surprise as Allen gazed at the gifts that he had bought for him. They were all simple gifts, most of which could be used in their act, but Allen seemed to be positively delighted.

The child turned bright gray eyes toward Mana. "Th… thank you Father."

"Come on," Mana said, gazing at the child with kind eyes. "You can thank me better than that Allen."

With a bright smile on his face Allen jumped from his chair and tackled his foster father, hugging the man fiercely. It was still somewhat difficult for him to show his feelings but it was growing easier with Mana.

Mana was the only adult that he had been around for any length of time who hadn't caused him pain. In Mana's eyes he was just an ordinary child and that fact meant the world to Allen.

"Thank you," the boy murmured again, his face buried in the fabric of Mana's shirt.

"You're welcome," Mana said, gently tousling the boy's hair. "And once you're dressed you and I will go out and have a special breakfast."

The word breakfast seemed to light a fire under the child. He pulled himself from his foster father's arms and immediately set about gathering up his clothes.

"Dress in your normal clothes today Allen," Mana said, seeing that the child was gathering up the pieces of his costume. "We're taking the day off today."

Allen turned back toward Mana, yet another look of surprise in his gray eyes.

"Can't make you work on your birthday," Mana said with a laugh. "Now hurry up and get dressed. I don't know about you but I'm absolutely starving."

Tossing the pieces of the clown costume aside Allen went about gathering up his everyday clothes. Within minutes the child was completely dressed and standing at Mana's side.

"Well," Mana said, laughing at the impatient expression that had appeared on Allen's face. "I suppose you'd like for me to get up now huh?"

"Yes please," Allen said. He remembered his manners but it took every ounce of his self control to use them.

It was always harder when he was hungry.

Knowing that his child really was making an extraordinary effort to be polite Mana got to his feet, placing a hand on the child's shoulder. He was already dressed for the day and he directed Allen toward the door, laughing to himself once more as the child practically tore the door from it's hinges in his haste to leave.

This day had already been filled with laughter and Mana was enjoying the holiday more than he had in years.

He hadn't celebrated any holiday since the death of his brother but with Allen around the clown found that he could get into the holiday spirit once more. It all seemed so different when seen through this little boy's eyes.

"Thank you for sending him to me," Mana thought to himself as he gazed up at the ceiling.

"What are you looking at Mana?" Allen asked, noticing that his foster father had paused and was gazing up at the ceiling. He focused his gaze there as well but he didn't see anything of interest.

"It's nothing," Mana said quickly, striding toward the stairs that led to the first floor of the inn. "Come along and we'll find something good for breakfast."

"Kay!" Allen exclaimed, falling into step behind his foster father. This was the happiest that he had ever been and he couldn't keep the smile from his face.

This was what it was like to have a real family.

He had seen real families together before and Allen had always wondered what it would be like to be a part of one. And now, with Mana, he had finally found the place where he truly belonged.

And he was happy.

This first experience with a birthday was the greatest feeling and Allen made it a point to take in everything and commit it to memory. He never wanted to forget this feeling; the feeling of being with Mana and being loved.

A/N - another Allen/Mana one-shot! Haven't written one of those in awhile and since Christmas is approaching I decided to write this one. Hope that you enjoyed!